THIS ONE'S FOR ALL THE NUGGETS
As you enter into this final Tailgate of the year to promote the annual matchup of the ACC and SEC on ESPN on NYE in ATL, you'll find my smack today to be truly uninformed. I know nothing of Duke except for, as a kid, I used to think Christian Laettner was the coolest guy ever. I have a very close friend who attended Wake Forest that doesn't curse much... until you ask him about Duke. "F*** Duke," he says. Every time. Every. Single. Time. There's no real anger in the statement, just a stone cold "F*** Duke."
We all know Duke is a basketball powerhouse. Hell, Coach K is pulling down north of $7 million/year, making him number one with a bullet in the rankings of collegiate basketball coaching salaries. I'm sure he heard about Saban's raise, muttered some curse-word laden rant about "new money," kicked a puppy, took a lollipop from a toddler, cancelled every holiday in the books and started a PAC dedicated to the abolishment of the delicious fried nuggets from our bowl's title sponsor. You have to think the recent exposure of Duke Football is giving Coach K the screaming red ass, but apparently that's a chronic condition of his.
Enough about that crap, let's cut to the football. Did you know that all Duke students get free tickets to the bowl game thanks to alumni donations? Think about offering that at A&M for a second. If you think about it any longer, your head will explode from math. There is no way that offer could ever be made at Texas A&M, but I think it's pretty cool that the alumni are ponying up to get some support in the stadium. Good on them. A school like Duke can make a basketball arena deafening, but it takes coordination to get a dome amped. Good luck out-yelling the Aggie faithful, Devils.
Duke is 10-3 this year with an appearance in the championship game. They were sacrificed to FSU to the tune of 45-7 in the ACC championship game. Who wants some highlights of that one? OK, here you go. After watching that, I think it's safe to say the Aggie offense is going to have a great day. Let's hope the defense arrives with more than a chip on their shoulders.
ABSURD GAME PREDICTION
Duke wins the coin-toss, marking the high point of the Blue Devils' New Year's Eve. Bertolet line-drives the kickoff so hard that 3 Duke special teams players are taken in for medical evaluation after being football-kabobbed into the wall of the Georgia Dome. On the very next play Nate Askew causes a safety by shooting lasers from his eyes until the Duke offense just runs out the back of the end zone for a safety.
Manziel steps out on the field, lines up behind Matthews, takes the snap and throws the ball through the dome's roof. The defense, confused and amazed, stares at the now smoldering football-sized hole in the ceiling. Unnoticed, Manziel has walked at a casual pace toward the end zone.
Standing on the ampersand in "A&M," Johnny begins to do a version of the "Dirty Bird" while Cashing Out. Just as the Blue Devil defense notices his shenanigans, the ball comes rocketing back through the roof like a meteor. Johnny catches the ball one-handed, completing an 80-yard touchdown pass to himself.
The players unsuccessfully attempt to give Kevin Sumlin a Gatorade bath, but it boils off of him instantly. He's so hot right now.
Ags 54 Blue Devils 14
CAST: SHUNNED vs STUNNED EDITION
BY DR. NORRIS CAMACHO
P: First Team All-America and had the highest punting average in the country, but no Ray Guy Award. OK, let's turn him loose in a dome and let him get some nice bounces on that artificial surface. And I'd like to see another violent tackle too, Drew.
OT: The highest-rated offensive tackle heading into the 2014 draft, and he loses the Outland to an ACC defensive guy. Oh look, we play an ACC team in our bowl game. (*side note: Aaron Donald totally deserved it)
QB: What can be said here that hasn't been said on this site a hundred times? This is your audition and your swan song, Johnny. This is where you remind us where all the hype and expectations came from. Time to CA$H OUT, #2. Records were made to be broken.
WR: The Blue Devils have guys splitting time at QB and RB, but they do have a feature WR. In addition to having nearly 100 catches and 1200 receiving yards on the year, he's apparently the only Duke pass catcher not named "Braxton" in some way.
CB: Do you remember seeing those highlights where the guy scored touchdowns on three consecutive touches? Yeah, that was this guy, and it was on defense and special teams. The true freshman finished the year with four total return TDs.
MLB: He started the year listed as a backup, and finished it with 122 tackles. He's going to be called upon to make a good percentage of that total against a resentful Johnny Manziel, so we'll see what happens.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Because they’re a basketball school amirite? Well to be honest, yes they are a basketball school. And yes they play in the ACC, where aside from one phenom talent with a checkered past the talent is even worse than usual. But before you brush aside the Blue Devils lightly, watch this video (skip to 3:10) and remember something that our friends down the road in Austin seem to have forgotten: that sometimes the most memorable coaches are found digging mid-level teams out of the ashes and turning them into bowl opponents to be reckoned with. Duke football? HELL YES IT’S DUKE FOOTBALL!
Regardless of who declares for what and when, there is no doubt that some of the talent on display for this game will be gracing our TVs on Sundays in the coming year. The time is past for dwelling on what could have been with the 2013 season. For now, let’s just enjoy watching these gods among men for one last game in maroon and white, and trust that our future is in good hands.
All joking aside people, let’s talk about the Polynesian Sauce. In a dystopian future after peak oil, the American landscape will resemble Road Warrior with more jorts. Water will be in short supply, gasoline even shorter, but the new economy will be based on the barter and sale of this, the single greatest condiment ever to grace a waffle fry. It is loved by foreign dignitaries and actual lunatics alike. In my days on campus my friends and I once posited the question, "If you could have one condiment come out of your finger on demand, what would it be?" Polynesian Sauce, my friends. All other answers are pedestrian and short-sighted.
ELSEWHERE IN THE SEC
All of the SEC action you can possibly handle, as 10 of 14 SEC teams were invited to bowl games. I’m sure that Bob Stoops has an explanation that somehow fits his narrative that the Big XII is superior, maybe because this year they are ‘top-heavy’.
OLE MISS vs GEORGIA TECH
You cannot put a price on the experience of watching a man who is too drunk on bourbon to notice that he has soiled his seersucker slacks talking trash to someone in coke-bottle glasses who is only attending the game to devise an algorithm to explain the movement of drunks in a crowd. Expect to see the slide rules and calculators a-flyin’ as the ramblin’ wrecks from Georgia Tech try to devise a cutesy rhyme for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
ALABAMA vs OKLAHOMA
Big Game Bob will have another opportunity to demonstrate his moniker by dropping yet another big bowl game to yet another SEC team, this time in the Sugar Bowl. Still, Bob, thanks for your efforts in trying to secure Mack’s future at Texas this year.
VANDERBILT vs HOUSTON
Nothing says that you have arrived as a program like Birmingham,Alabama. Just sayin’, Longhorns - if an emissary from Belmont made the journey to the BBVA Compass Bowl to speak with coach Franklin, no one watching FlightAware would be any the wiser…
MISSISSIPPI STATE vs RICE
The Bulldogs began this year with higher hopes than the Liberty Bowl, but after this rollercoaster season they will take what they can get. They had better be careful not to go into the game flat-footed against a Rice team that is clearly pumped.
LSU vs IOWA
This year’s Outback Bowl pits a match-up that is fun just in how unlikely it is. SEC fans will feel confident walking into this game, but nothing cures a groggy B1G season like a bowl game against Les Miles...and maybe another one of these.
MIZZOU vs OKLAHOMA STATE
Isn’t it zany how bowl season pairs up the most unlikely of opponents?! Crazytown!
GEORGIA vs NEBRASKA
The TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl is the Richtiest of bowl games. Remember that you can’t spell ‘Georgia’ without S-T-A-T-U-S-Q-U-O. This game is watchable if for no other reason than the 84% chance that Bo Pelini steals one of the linemen’s hats, urinates on a pylon, and then the Nebraska AD apologizes to him for some reason.
SOUTH CAROLINA vs WISCONSIN
Remember a couple years ago when then-Wisconsin-coach Bret Bielema said, "I can tell you this: We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC – in any way, shape, or form." Well, he continues to maintain the difference between the B1G and the SEC by not making a bowl game this season at Arkansas. Instead the SEC will send good will ambassador Steve Spurrier to the Capital One Bowl.
AUBURN vs FLORIDA STATE
This is apparently a game of some importance.
LET'S HAVE A STATGASM
WHAT TO WEAR
PRESENTED BY AGGIELAND OUTFITTERS
You are an Aggie. This isn't your first bowl game t-shirt. 2010 Cotton Bowl? Baby burp cloth. 2009 Independence Bowl? Car Cloth. 2007 Alamo Bowl? Window Cleaner. 2006 Holiday Bowl? Goodwill. I promise this year's Chick-Fil-A Bowl is different. Texas A&M is riding the modest wave of a two-game postseason winning streak. And Kevin Damn Sumlin with a freshly minted contract. And, let's be completely honest... Duke. You won't be resigned to wearing this t-shirt to bed only. You can wear it while mowing your lawn and flipping off your neighbor who is buffing the family Prius with a 2013 Alamo Bowl t-shirt. I promise. If I'm wrong, free GBH for a year.
BEST CASE / WORST CASE
Win and win big. Nothing like a lop-sided bowl victory to get the offseason chatter going. Manziel improves his stock with an other-worldly performance. Mike Evans does what only Mike Evans can do and just is Mike Evans. Ben Malena gets 3 touchdowns. The players dump a cooler of Chic-Fil-A Sauce on Sumlin after the victory. Nuggets are found to cause more rapid metabolism in 30-something year-old men. Baby New Year doesn't see his shadow.
There is only one worst case, and it's going to happen. The offseason starts right after the game.
God help us all.
The Blue Devils are going down to Georgia. We all know this story ends with a triumphant Johnny. #GBHTailgate
There is no truth to reports that Texas A&M will join the SEC in the spring of 2012. None.