College Football

1st and LOL: What Did You Do, Sparty

Sparty Pulled Off A Miracle

Chronicling the funniest and/or dumbest things that happened in college football this weekend.

1st Down: The Ending To Michigan/Michigan State Was Everything

Michigan had finally done it. After several years of mediocrity, national irrelevance, and being laughed at by practically every other nationally relevant team, the Wolverines were finally exercising the first of what would surely be many of the demons that had plagued them over their stretch of haplessness: “little brother” Michigan State. It didn’t matter that it was fourth down, nor did it matter that there were ten seconds still on the clock. There was no reason to think that this game, with a two point Wolverine lead and the chance to put the ball deep into the Spartan’s territory, was anything but over. Even Michigan State had shown the signs of giving up. The Spartans had elected not to send back a return man, showing that they knew the only way they were going to win was a fluke; a blocked kick, a bad snap, literally anything that fell outside the realm of probability for a play that every team in the country reps hundreds of thousands of times. The Spartans had even already taken it upon themselves to deliver the Paul Bunyan rivalry trophy, one that they’d had held for the previous two season, to the Wolverines’ sideline in lieu of their inevitable defeat at the hands of their cross-town rival. All that was left was sell out on the final play in the hope of one final improbable happenstance that would somehow give the Spartans one more shot at a win.

It isn’t a part of the above video, but prior to that 4th down play, after the Wolverines had taken a timeout to allow the maximum amount of time to run off the clock, the announcer for ESPN was trying to convince everyone, albeit half-heartedly, that the game wasn’t completely over yet, and goes on to say that the Wolverines still have to get the snap off, keep the Spartan blockers at bay, and get a decent punt. It’s obvious that even he knows what he’s saying is fabricated drama for the sake of keeping viewers sticking around until the end. That game was as done as games can get without being officially over, with the official odds of Michigan State winning at that point having been reduced to .02%. But, as it happens so often with numbers, the odds fell victim to human error; the improbable panic of a 22 year-old kid after a bobbled snap resulting in an errant lob that sails towards a rushing Michigan State defender in an arc so impossibly perfect, it’s almost makes you believe that some things are destined to happen. It made the dull final moments of a game that was already locked up explode with emotion, as evidenced by Michigan fans who’d gone from celebrating in the stands, to looks of shock and dread, and reduced several to sobbing, wailing tears, as shown by videos all over the internet. It was so thrilling that it even sent one fan to the hospital due to a heart attack suffered in the immediate aftermath. It was crazy, emotional, and a hell of a lot of fun for anyone that wasn’t a Michigan fan. It was the pinnacle of college football, which is crazy when it wants to be and, frankly, doesn’t give a damn for things like your projected odds of victory.

2nd Down: Utah Inexplicably Gets Safety On Weird Return Play

Utah, the No. 4 team in the country, had just given up a field goal that cut their lead against Arizona State to just three points. On the ensuing kickoff, Ute returner Britain Covey received the ball in his own end zone and then…well…

Not only did this play clearly not work at all, as the Utah player that was supposed to catch the ball was swarmed with defenders, but if you notice, Covey’s pass was a forward one, which is a penalty in American football, in that circumstance. Because it took place in the end zone, the result of the play was a safety in favor of the Sun Devils, cutting Utah’s lead to a single point and getting ASU the ball back. Ultimately this didn’t matter, as the Utes won handily 34-18, but it’s just a reminder that the Pac-12 does all sorts of misbehavior after dark, and this is why most of their games are played well after any normal person has gone to bed.

3rd Down: Les Miles Went All ‘Les Miles’ Against Florida

Last week in The Huddle, lead college football writer Taylor Venema said this:

I have the strangest feeling this is the game where Les tries a fake field goal from his own forty or something.

And then, nearly a whole week later, this happened:

I’m not saying it’s a coincidence that Taylor predicted this fake in the same year that the Cubs were predicted to win the World Series by Back to the Future 2 and are currently in the NLCS with a chance to do so, all I’m saying is we don’t know that a DeLorean can’t actually be a time machine, nor that Taylor owns one.

4th Down: Texas Tech Defense Kindly Allows KU To Take Fumble Out Of End Zone

This is not how you football, Texas Tech. This is not even remotely close.

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