In-State Rivalry Week

For the most part, college football this year has been a big disappointment.  There were two bright spots for the year, the resurgence of Mississippi State (I know this gives my Dad something to smile about), and Cam Newton’s smile (see photo at the left for an example of the radiance of this phenomenon).  As it turns out, Cam’s Smile may be bought and paid for and this fact was brought to light by that resurgent Mississippi State team.  I am nonetheless trying to give the kid the benefit of the doubt, because look at that smile!  On that basis alone he wins the Heisman.

Sadly, though, the outcome of football games are not determined by to-die-for dimples and pearly whites.  It is determined on the basis of referee decisions, the ability of opposing teams’ spies to conduct team espionage from the vantage point of the law library (at least, this is what UNC coaches think), and the ability of a team to score more points than their opponent.   So from that perspective, here is my take for who should win this week’s Top 10 In-State Rivalry games, according to ESPN.

** Note – “Should” in my opinion doesn’t actually reflect which team will win, but who I think is the less-detestable, or in some instances, more likeable team.

1. Auburn/Alabama – This one should be obvious. Clearly, I am cheering for Cam Newton and his pearly whites. Look, I have nothing against Auburn. Their fans have been long-suffering, and compared with contemptible Alabama fans, they are polite and down to earth. For their sakes, I hope that the allegations about Cam Newton are not true.  They deserve a win and they deserve an undefeated regular season after so many disappointing near-misses in the past. I really do hope that their days of NCAA violations are behind them. I have a soft spot in my heart for Auburn, since the star of my high school football team, Demontray Carter, went to Auburn, only to ultimately face a team that was burdened with NCAA sanctions. Poor kid; first, he had to face down a sex-scandal on the high school team, then his college team had an even higher profile scandal. 

2. Florida/Florida State – This is an easy one to pick too. I will pick the Gators every time. When looking at which of the two largest public universities in Florida has more academic credibility, the University of Florida is the easy pick. Both schools are renowned for their partying prowess, but I can count over 100 jokes that involve Florida State coeds as the punchline. The only university with possibly more punchlines involving drunk co-eds is Arizona State.

3. University of Southern California/UCLA – I hate both of these schools, so this is really a question of who is lest detestable.  Hands down, UCLA wins that contest. USC is basically the Duke of the college football world. Every year, USC inspires privileged douchebags to deck out their Land Rovers, purchased by Daddy, and engage in an insufferable display of excess.  The sad thing is, year after year, these people think that they are better than you.  Now, in Lane Kiffin, they have a coach who brings that level of pompousness to entirely unfathomable new heights. The more these guys get humiliated on the football field, the better the world is as a whole. 

4. Texas/Texas A&M – I really don’t care. Can I just take a pass?

5. Oregon/Oregon State – Ordinarily, I wouldn’t care at all about this one either, but this year, since Oregon is carrying the banner for the PAC-10, let me just hope for an Oregon State victory. I hate the PAC-10 that much. And yes, one of my degrees is from a PAC-10 school and I still feel that way.

6. Oklahoma/Oklahoma State – I don’t care about this one either. Both schools are irrelevant to me, so I guess I will just cheer for the underdog. Oklahoma State, then?

7. BYU/Utah – Look, I will keep this simple. I want BYU to win, obviously because I went there. However, I really hate this rivalry.  I hate it so much that I will not be going with the rest of David’s family to the game at Rice Eccles Stadium when I am in Utah on Saturday.  I wasn’t really into BYU football when I went to school there, and I have no desire to sit outside in sub-freezing temperatures to watch this game. I have no desire to listen to either side stereotype the fans or people who attended the other university, because I have enough experience with both sides to know that those stereotypes generally are not true. But, I do not want to go sit at the game, because I certainly have no desire to subject myself to being stereotyped by Utah fans out in the open.  Instead, I get to spend a lovely afternoon with friends in Salt Lake City.  I hope BYU wins, but other than that, I don’t really care. 

8. Georgia/Georgia Tech– In this battle, I go with the cuter mascot.  UGA all the way. Yellow jacket stings are no fun at all. Besides, I hate Georgia Tech’s basketball team.

9. South Carolina/Clemson – I have to go with the Gamecocks in this matchup. I dislike the Clemson basketball team, and my good friend Erin is a Gamecock, so I am going with Spurrier’s B-team. If someone as great as Erin could come from a school in Columbia, South Carolina, then it must be a pretty good place.

10. Mississippi State/Ole Miss – I love that the University of Mississippi goes by Ole Miss. That is unique and different. I think that the Grove in Oxford is a beautiful place. However, call out Christopher Walken, and have him order up some more cowbell, because there is no way that I am cheering for anyone other than State.  When I was a kid, Mississippi State was the first college football stadium where I ever attended a game. I have many pictures of me in maroon bulldog t-shirts, and for the love of my Dad, you better believe that I will be pulling hard for these bulldogs too.

Not making the list – UNC/Duke: We lost to NC State last week, so here is hoping that those Tarheels can pull it out over that other in-state rivalry school this week. It is always an embarrassment if the football team loses to Duke.  Considering that from my law library vantage point, overlooking the football practice fields, I haven’t seen the football team practicing once this week, something tells me, they aren’t worried.

Now, an unrelated word about high school football: My Pensacola High School Tigers are still undefeated this season and making their way through the State playoffs!  I feel another state championship is within our grasp. In fact, they are currently ranked #41 or #67 in the nation depending on which poll you consider.  Now, that is some sports news to cheer about.

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