College football is back, for what that may be worth, but concepts like The Top 25 are not bound by mere convention. We and we alone will decide what constitutes a Top 25, not some hidebound gaggle of tedious sportswriters who think this nonsense actually matters.
Oh, wait. I’m one of those malice-enriched sportswriting swineherds. Damn it. I hate having to cede high moral ground that never actually belonged to me in the first place. Anyway, here it is, you desperately bored children, with parenthetical references to the current record, record against the spread where applicable, and where they ranked in last week’s lack-of-poll.
1. ALABAMA (1-0, 1-0. Last Week: 0): Hammered Southern California, 52-6, in an entirely expected fashion, but lost the all-important groin-stomp tiebreaker, one Jabari Ruffin boot to the joy division to nil. This could cost the Tide in the polls come Tuesday.
2. US AS A CULTURE (240-0, 107-128-5. Last Week: 0): For making Colin Kaepernick a seven-day story when at best it was probably a three-banger, by throwing in not only ingratitude, free expression, disrespect, the cops, the military, wealth, job competence, melanin content, beef consumption and socks. We are the worst people so far.
3. TOM BRADY (194-60, 140-106-8. Last Week: 0): For apparently scraping off the NFL logo on the back on his helmet, a level of civil disobedience that puts Kaepernick’s sedentary protest to shame. Next up: A helmet decal of Roger Goodell with a red slash through it, emblematic of the javelin he would like to ram through the actual head.
4. HOUSTON (1-0, 1-0. Last Week: 0): Handily beat Oklahoma, 33-23, but couldn’t have done it without a mid-week team-bonding exercise in which they pitted two graduate assistants in bunny suits against each other in some sort of weird wrestling thing that enraged PETFBAL (People For The Ethical Treatment Of Felt-Based Animal Likenesses).
5. SOUTH ALABAMA (1-0, 1-0, . LAST WEEK: 0): Beat Mississippi State, 22-21, thereby causing Starkville to painted and remodeled before burned to the ground. Having covered only seven of their last 23, the Jags are this week’s Pick To Click.
6. CLEMSON (1-0, 1-0. Last Week: 0): Beat Auburn for the the third straight time. Didn’t watch a play. Didn’t miss anything. I think this don’t-give-a-toss thing could get addictive.
7. NEBRASKA (1-0, 1-0. Last Week: 0): For taking a delay of game on its first punt to commemorate the absence of punter Sam Foltz, who died in July. No snark, just yes. Very yes.
8. MICHIGAN (1-0, 1-0. Last Week: 0): Good cover (63-3 on a minus-38) over Hawaii. Would have been higher, but hell, Cal loosened the jar lid with 51 last week against the ‘Bows.
9. SAM BRADFORD (25-37, 36-28-1. Last Week: 0): Once the mightiest Ram, next the semi-mightiest Eagles, now the Viking who isn’t Teddy Bridgewater. But at least he’s a covering machine.
10. OHIO STATE (1-0, 1-0. Last Week: 0): Bowling Green, eh? You needed all 77 points, did you? I mean, I could see why Samford needed to put on a double-natural on Mars Hill, but this is beneath you, Urbs.
11. THE CROWD SIGNS AT COLLEGE GAME DAY (1-0, 1-0, winning and covering every week. Last Week: 0): Highlights from Lambeau Field include “Les Miles Killed Harambe,” “Maybe JaMarcus Russell Should Try MLB” and “Warriors Blew A 3-1 Lead In The Finals.” The reward? Wisconsin beat LSU.
12. NORTHERN IOWA, EASTERN WASHINGTON, RICHMOND AND ALBANY (4-0, 4-0. Last Week: 0, 0, 0 and 0, in that order): Our Division 1-AA brethren rising up against their misery-sodden overlords. Good.
13. SPENCER HALL (1-0, 1-0. Last Week: 0): For this. Go on. Read it. It’s not like you’re doing anything more important, or even likely to.
14. STANFORD (1-0, 1-0. Last Week: 0): Dear David, covering isn’t so hard now, is it?
15. MARK STOOPS (0-1, 0-1. Last Week: 0): The Kentucky coach apologized to fans after his team’s 44-35 opening day loss to Southern Mississippi, blowing a 35-10 lead in the attempt. John Calipari walked past after the game and spat on his chest as a traditional Lexington gesture of support.
16. KIDS AND ASSORTED MALCONTENTS (1-0, 0-1, because kids win all the time and never cover. Last Week: 0): Turned Colin Kaepernick’s jersey into one of the hottest sellers in the country. Kids are overrated, of course, but malcontents are the best people, and it’s such a great word anyway.
17. ATLANTA BRAVES (52-83, 69-66. Last Week: 0): May sign Tim Tebow. And no, I don’t want to know why.
18. THE MOUNTAIN WEST (0-4, 0-4 against power conference teams. Last Week: 0): Have allowed 201 points in those four games, so if you’re going to an MWC game this year, bring a full weekend’s worth of supplies, to wit:
19. WYOMING (0-1, 0-1. Last Week: 0): Delayed the start of their game with Northern Illinois for four hours because of weather, and still got their faces kicked in. Maybe turning off the lights entirely would have helped.
20. ZENIT ST. PETERSBURG (Last Week: 0): Was offered $5.5 million to change its team name to Zenit Burger King, but is leaning toward a competing offer to accept $0 to change its team name to Zenit Vladimir Putin. The flame-broiled Whopper has nothing on a quick sprint to Vladivostok.
21. BOB MELVIN (57-78, 72-63. Last Week: 0): Watched his team allow 1.5 runs per inning for the first two games of their series with the Boston Red Sox and still resisted the impulse to use a position player, a coach, a fan, or Billy Beane to throw an inning. But there’s still Sunday.
22. JOE NAMATH LIVE-TWEETING ALABAMA-USC (0-0, 0-0. Last Week: 0): Why?
23. PALERMO: With 19 coaches in the past five years, the city and team supporters were hoping that Davide Ballarini’s third stint with the club would be the long-awaited charm. He quit after two games, and the team may be sold by loonball owner Maurizio Zamperini to, he claims, Frank Cascio, whose main claim to fame is having Michael Jackson as his mentor. Oh, and Palermo is also trying to sign Mario Balotelli because, well, why the hell not?
24. DUBUQUE (1-0, WHO THE HELL KNOWS? Last Week: 0): Beat Bethel, 70-53, but I am reliably informed from local barbershops that the game went under.
25. THE SANTA CLARA POLICE DEPARTMENT (No record. Last Week: 0): For trying to give the Kaepernick story one last breath of life. Nice try, but it didn’t work, fellas. You cannot beat the news cycle when it says it’s had enough.
Next week, author Jane Coaston explains the principles of her all-pass interference offense, which if you watched Boston College and Georgia Techwill make crystalline sense. Until then, go away.