By now, everyone in America should be hating their favorite team, because it is the natural order of things. As Ovid once said, “Querimur queri incessanter qui non curant igitur sumus” (“We complain incessantly to people who don't care about our complaints, therefore we are”).
The point is, there aren’t many teams left who people can rely on unreservedly any more, and that usually results in firings at season’s end, diminishing season ticket renewals, a drop in alumni donations and ultimately the death of civilization as we know it.
But screw it. That’s not our problem.
1. MIAMI (4-0, 4-0, 3-1): This is why we do what we do. All that other stuff about educating young men and making money for Old State U and warming the hearts of wealthy alums and honoring traditions and culture – all of it is crap next to the simple act of covering, and those who forget it shall plowed under by the cruel bulldozer of history.
2. CLEMSON (5-0, 3-2, 1-4): Outgunning Louisville is a useful win, and frankly never hitting the over is as useful as always hitting it.
3. WASHINGTON (5-0, 3-2, 4-1): Crushed Stanford, shattered Christian McCaffrey’s Heisman hopes and broke the Cardinal-Duck hegemony in the Pac-12 North. Also failed to cover against Portland State, and that cannot be forgiven.
4. HOUSTON (5-0, 3-1-1, 2-3): Ground lost by pushing against UConn cannot be regained. Tom Herman may no longer be the hottest name in coaching circles as a result.
5. COLORADO (4-1, 5-0, 3-2): Covering every week is as close to the divine as anyone in this plane of existence can get
6. OHIO STATE (4-0, 4-0, 2-2): Smothered Rutgers, 58-0, extending Urban Meyer’s secret but obstinate belief that conference expansion is what killed the Austro-Hungarian empire.
7. THE MAC WEST (19-10, 22-7, 15-12): And that includes Northern Illinois being 0-4 against the line. Without the Huskies, the division would be covering 88 percent of the time, and who can’t support that?
8. ALABAMA (5-0, 3-2, 2-3): We’re just giving in to convention here, because when you don’t cover at home against Kentucky, it’s like you’re not paying attention to the real reason you exist. If we had any guts, we’d have them out entirely.
9. OREGON (2-3, 0-4-1, 3-2): Losing to Washington State (and never coming close to covering) means Duck fans have only a few more days before the rainy season starts to burn down Autzen Stadium.
10. WESTERN BULLDOGS (15-7, seventh, plus-249 Pythagorean margin): Won the Aussie Rules footy title for the first time in 62 years, joining Leicester City in the hall of improbable champions this year. This means good things for the Chicago Cubs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Cougars and whoever might be playing De La Salle this year for the NorCal prep title. Bet with confidence, suckers.
11. SOUTH FLORIDA (4-1, 4-1, 4-1): If there were more categories, they’d be 4-1 in those, too.
12. GUYS CRYING WHEN THEY HIT A HOME RUN (Dee Gordon, Mark Teixeira, Matt Holliday): Me, I’m a live-and-let-live guy. I believe in letting a hundred schools of thought contend, to paraphrase the quote from that old baseball scout Mao (Three-Finger) Zedong. But I do like the fact that millions of old and/or dead ballplayers hate this, no matter how valid and real the emotion might be.
13. ARKANSAS STATE (0-4, 0-4, 1-3): The number tells you what you need to know.
14. FLORIDA ATLANTIC (1-4, 0-5, 4-1): The only team that has failed to cover all five times it has played, and still a great over bet. Can’t ask for a fairer deal than that.
15. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (1-4, 1-4, 2-3): Beat Florida Atlantic for its first cover of the year, thus rewarding itself for brilliantly firing coach Ron Turner the same day LSU fired Les Miles.
16. FLORIDA GALACTIC: Joins Division 1-A as an independent next year, followed by Florida Mythical and Florida Student-Free Tax Dodge.
17. TY BLACH (1-0, 1-3): Owned Clayton Kershaw in his first major league start, got his first major league hit, and then his second, and authored the Giants’ fastest game of the year (54 minutes faster than their 3:10 average, proving that the slothful pace is what kept them from the 137-win season they should have had). He also completely turned Vin Scully around on that piker Sandy Koufax.
18. LSU (3-2, 1-4, 0-5): Like Florida International, won with a new interim coach (Ed Orgeron), who is himself becoming better at covering (18-27, 21-20-1, 14-27-1), though he remains utter crap at beating the over.
19. SAM ALLARDYCE (1-0): Fired as England coach after one match (obliterated Slovakia, 1-0, in extra time) for slagging the present rules of player acquisition on tape by a London newspaper and therefore offending his superiors. If he coached American football, he’d already be doing network pregame shows because, hey, 1-0.
20. BUFFALO (1-3, 1-3, 1-3): Not much to claim record-wise, true, but rolled up 67 total yards in a 35-3 loss to Boston College. Total. 67 yards. 201 feet. 2,142 inches. That, my friends, is purpose.
21. TORONTO RAPTORS (1-0, 1-0, 0-1): Beat Golden State in Vancouver Saturday night, thus rendering the Warriors’ big dreams utterly inert even before the season begins. Steve Kerr will be fired before Christmas, bank on it.
22. BAYLOR (5-0, 1-4, 1-4): Couldn’t cover at Iowa State. They disgust me. Okay, they disgust me more than they already did.
23. JED YORK AND TRENT BAALKE (1-2, 1-2, 2-1): Did not enjoy Michigan’s win over Wisconsin. Definitely did not enjoy the 10-man I-formation Jim Harbaugh ran. Did enjoy their failure to cover.
24. NEBRASKA (5-0, 3-1-1, 1-4): Illinois escapes Lincoln with a huge cover as the heat increases on Mike Riley from people who bet their corn harvest and gave the 20.
25. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (not the school, which covered at home against Arizona State): Rumors of the possibility of a massive earthquake along the San Andreas Fault based below the Salton Sea were downgraded by whimsical scientists from 1-in-100 to 1-in-500. Bad news for the late Bill Hicks’ hopes of Arizona Bay.
And with that, until next week, you know what to do. As in, go away.