Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Sitcom-Based Guide To College Football's Pre-season Top 15

On Friday, USA Today released the pre-season college football coaches’ poll. As Hayden Fox did throughout much of the 1990’s on Coach, the leaders of the top-ranked programs enter the season with high expectations. The Minnesota State Screaming Eagles did not make it into the poll. However, the top 15 teams all relate to a notable television comedy, as shown below.

15. Michigan: Home Improvement. The Wolverines must play better in Ann Arbor, where they lost three times in 2005. Especially considering the tough road schedule, for which coach Lloyd Carr will need sage advice from partially unseen neighbor Wilson.

14. Georgia: Two And A Half Men. What opponents need, at a minimum, to keep All-America defensive end Quentin Moses from reaching the quarterback. He’s as fixated on sacks as Charlie Sheen is on getting into the sack.

13. Louisville: That 70’s Show. Point totals the Cardinals’ high-powered offense could reach. Especially September 9 against Temple, whose football program has contributed more to comedy than alumnus Bill Cosby.

12. California: Who’s The Boss? Coach Jeff Tedford is uncertain who his starting quarterback will be. On the other hand, running back Marshawn Lynch has made Berkeley as hostile toward opposing defenders as it is for Republicans.

11. Miami: The Wonder Years. Hurricane fans long for the dominant days of 2000 to 2002. When “wonder” did not mean “I wonder if we’ll beat UNC.”

10. Florida State: All in the Family. All-time coaching victories leader Bobby Bowden is aided by son Jeff, FSU’s offensive coordinator. Paying tribute to the series, Seminole fans constantly refer to Jeff as Meathead.

9. LSU: Gimme a Break! Coach Les Miles reacts to a schedule that includes trips to Florida, Auburn, and Tennessee. Why is a guy named Les Miles traveling at all?

8. Florida: Everybody Hates Chris. Actually, that’s an exaggeration of the treatment for quarterback Chris Leak in Gainesville. Until his first interception.

7. West Virginia: Scrubs. What most of the opponents on the Mountaineers’ schedule are. These teams were less successful in 2005 than FEMA.

6. Auburn: Full House. Jordan-Hare Stadium will be packed for showdowns with fellow Top 15 members LSU, Florida, and Georgia. If the Tigers sweep those three, plus the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa, the town will be renamed Tuberville.

5. Oklahoma: Curb Your Enthusiasm. Sooner fans’ national title hopes were tempered by quarterback Rhett Bomar’s dismissal. Fortunately, the Peterson in the OU backfield is Adrian, not Norm.

3 (tie). USC: A Different World. The Trojans begin life without Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. The talent drop-off is so steep, they’ve slipped completely out of the top 2.

3 (tie). Notre Dame: The Brady Bunch. Quarterback Brady Quinn may be the first Heisman winner in South Bend since Tim Brown. Fortunately, he’s more accurate with the football than Peter Brady, so he won’t give his sister a grotesquely swollen nose with an errant pass.

2. Texas: Happy Days. Longhorn fans are still ecstatic over the national title. Despite the departure of Vince Young, the follow-up should be better than Joanie Loves Chachi.

1. Ohio State: According To Jim. Coach Jim Tressel looks for his second national championship in Columbus. When it comes to Buckeye coaches, Michigan fans preferred Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.

An early 1-2 showdown looms on September 9, when Ohio State visits Texas. Like most of the shows noted above, the game will be taped before a live studio audience. Of more than 80,000.