As we wait without much hope for The Ghost of Archie Manning to tell us which four teams will be named to screw the other 124 in the playoffs, we give you another installment of the Sad Man’s Top 25. This week, points will be added for smugness, so the sky’s the limit.
1. ALABAMA (11-1, beat the pancreas out of Auburn, 55-36, in the Iron Bowl): And then the people all gathered around Sabanhenge and worshiped the great glowering tower that controls their every thought. Then they took jackhammers to Highway 280 and burned all the structures between the two schools as an offering.
2. OREGON (11-1, beat the white corpuscles out of Oregon State, 47-19, in the Civil War): Mark Helfrich lost the battle of the hats, going with the shapeless gas station attendant hat (Nike spends a lot of money to make sure you don’t look like Gomer Pyle out there, Secret Squirrel) while Mike Riley went with the full beanie (points off for no pompom on top) on an absurdly cold night in Cor-Vegas
3. FLORIDA STATE (12-0, beat Florida, 24-19, in the Muschamp Memorial Book Fund Charity Fundraiser): Angered no people outside the state this week, only the second time all year.
4. OHIO STATE, 11-1, beat Michigan, 42-28, in a rivalry game of mostly local interest): Urban Meyer knew something when he started pimping the Buckeyes. He always knows something, damn it.
5. TCU (11-1, beat Texas, 48-10): Would have been much snottier if Baylor had puked up its lead to Texas Tech. Now, they just get to play the unworthy victim.
6. GEORGIA TECH (10-2, beat Georgia, 30-24, in overtime): This game will not come up in polite conversation in Atlanta, Athens, Augusta or Macon. Not at all. Ever. Trust me.
7. BAYLOR (10-1, beat Texas Tech, 48-46, which we sort of told you already): Well, you blew that arguing point, didn’t you, Art?
8. WISCONSIN (10-2, beat Minnesota, 34-24): Reached the Big 10 title game against Ohio State, making it must-miss television again.
9. MICHIGAN STATE (10-2, beat Penn State, 34-10): Mark D’Antonio celebrated the win by noisily devouring an infant bear.
10. MISSISSIPPI (9-3, beat Mississippi State, 31-17): Oxford is one of those places where the gentility of the Old South combines with the weirdness of the New South to give Ohio State fans a new feeling of insta-smug.
11. WESLEY (11-0, beat MIT, 59-0 in Division III Playoffs): Yeah, these kids risked Armageddon and beat the team that could nuke them back to the Stone Age with just the managers. If my team did that, I’d smug as all hell, until we got bombed to hell.
12. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (8-4, beat Notre Dame, 49-14): After UCLA cacked up the Pac-12 South by being coat-hangered by Stanford, you may rest assured Trojan fans talked until their tongues fell out and were eaten by ravens.
13. CLEMSON (9-3, beat South Carolina, 35-17): Clemson’s first win over the Ol’ Ball Coach in six years, and let the tavern brawls ensue.
14. ARIZONA (10-2, beat Arizona State, 42-35, to win the Territorial Cup and the right to apply for statehood): Plays Oregon in the Pac-12 championship, and the winner goes to the playoff, unless it’s Arizona.
15. MISSOURI (10-2, beat Arkansas, 21-14): Plays Alabama in the SEC championship, and the winner goes to the playoff, unless its Missouri.
16. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (10-2, beat Western Michigan, 31-21): Plays Bowling Green in the MAC championship, and the winner gets ignored. As does the loser.
17. FORDHAM (11-2, beat Sacred Heart, 44-22): Best record of remaining Division 1-AA teams, which must mean something to my bartender.
18. BILLY BEANE (1635-1314, beat Josh Donaldson, 401): Running the best garage sale in recent club history. Top-quality merchandise priced to move.
19. GREGG POPOVICH (1127-537): Missed two games for a minor medical procedure (an Aldridge-ectomy), but returns for big games against Boston Sunday and Philadelphia Monday. He is expected to rest all 12 players against the 76ers and let Becky Hammon coach the marketing department.
20. JUDGE BARBARA JONES (1-0, beat NFL in Ray Rice ruling): Despite what NFL counsel Jeff Pash says, she pretty much called Roger Goodell a stuffed shirt mall cop and bloviating fraud-bully. There is no home-and-home schedule planned.
21. UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL (11-1, beat McMaster, 20-19): Won the Vanier Cup, Canada’s college football championship, which doesn’t contain the word Tostitos and matters as much to their players as ours does to us. Montreal has never won before, did it with a blocked field goal at game’s end, and the beer is just as cold north of the border, so suck on that.
22. SOUTHERN METHODIST (0-11, lost to Houston, 35-9): Lost by less than their seasonal average score of 43-9, making them slightly better than the nation’s other winless teams, Savannah State, Columbia, Nicholls State, Minnesota-Crookston, Anna Maria, Earlham, Hamilton, Lewis And Clark, Southern Nazarene, Northeastern State, Cheyney State, Wilmington, Maranatha Baptist, Grove City, Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham and Minnesota-Morris. In other words, they're not in the Bottom Ten -- just the Bottom Ten you pay attention to.
23. LOUISIANA TECH (8-4, beat Rice, 76-31): I have no idea why. It wasn’t like running up a score was going to get them from the New Mexico Bowl to the Baton Rouge Bowl or anything.
24. VLADIMIR PUTIN (267,588-0-1): Allowed Mickey Rourke to box someone in his country. Not a big deal, but majorly smug.
25. WESTERN KENTUCKY (7-5, beat Marshall, 68-67): By a two-point conversion in overtime, an entire state’s self-worth and sense of wrongdoing is undermined, and no, we’re not talking about Kentucky. Kentucky has John Calipari. Every time someone is smug about his or her favorite team, Kentucky gets a royalty.