At times, humor seems in short supply. One can be hard-pressed to craft the usual outrageous commentary about sports when the world has gone temporarily mad yet again. In the wake of such a tragedy, we are faced with the typical American reactions to the news of innocent bloodshed. Traffic on FreeFrenchDictionary.com increases 100,000%. American goobers sprint to their social media device of choice to remind us of their stance on violence and terrorism (which is generally that they’re against it unless they get to choose the target). An even more vocal and eternally under-informed subset of the populace announces that they’d “never let that happen” because “we dont have GUN CONTROL here becuase it DOESN’T work OBUMMER.” A precious few will inform us that they’d have saved the whole of the city with the trusty Glock that they clean nightly to a soundtrack of heavy breathing. Mind you, this is a group of folks who largely cannot keep their arsenals safe from toddlers. Such is the cognitive dissonance of the average internet news commenter. Makes you think tbh.

The larger point is that the internet has made every tragedy an instant arena for opinion, ripe for both immediate mis-reporting and an avalanche of social media #HOTTAEKS. The onslaught of messages about loving Paris (in bad French), standing with Paris (in worse French), and the pointed reminders that we should all be praying for Paris are neither good nor bad, neither helpful nor hurtful. They’re just…nothing. They amount to little more than the trite platitudes of half-a-world-away. Threats to join the Foreign Legion are always good for a chuckle, though, since they’re most often levied by those whose primary residence is a couch and whose most significant employment involves a nametag and $1 tips.

Pointed sarcasm aside, perhaps that is part of our reckoning as a species. We claim to stand with Paris because there is guilt in the safety that distance brings. For as much as we may enjoy maligning our French comrades’ history of military blunders where the Huns are concerned, the fact remains that they have dealt with terrorism for far longer than our upstart gang of states. They also make our “militarized” police forces look like a Pop Warner team. When the Gendarmerie is strolling through Paris during times of high tension, they aren’t carrying the aforementioned Glock-with-Cheeto-fingerprints on it. If Henri and Pierre get called in from the Provinces to bolster the authorities’ footprint, they come loaded for bear.

This year has been a rough go for our French pals. Do we stand with them? Are we praying for them? Are we “united”? Above all, does any of that really matter? I doubt it, but such sentiments help us feel not so alone when the fabric of sanity frays at the edges. As the streets of Paris run red yet again, all we can really do is spectate from afar, powerless to save those people who — aside from their far superior taste in food, wine, and fashion — are just like you and me. That is the true horror of such moments. The only reason it happens there first is because they’re right next door to the bad part of town. We aren’t immune, just luckier this time.

Also, it’s crucial to note in these times of strife and unrest in the City of Light that The Savior with Dennis Quaid is literally the only French Foreign Legion movie worth watching. If you have done something truly abhorrent in your life and feel the need for a biblical penance, I invite you to Netflix either of the two Van Damme movies, which have the same plot (shocking), about the Foreign Legion. You’ll wish you were humping a ruck through Algeria in no time.

So, it is with the realization that few things matter less in our lives than gridiron football that I bring you the surefire prognostications for Week 11 in this, the year of our Lord, 2015…

Alabama (-6) at Mississippi State. For once, MSU is the worst Bulldog team to take the field in the SEC. Mark Richt is the gift that keeps on giving, folks. To be honest, I’m not so sure why there’s been so much talk about MSU on every hour of football radio. Sure, they’re 7-2. But so is Northwestern and nobody thinks beating them is a quality win. Dan Mullen’s bagmen must’ve had trouble gathering funds this off-season, as the Starkville talent level has gone from inexplicably high to, well, the usual. State is 3-2 in SEC West play this year, and will almost certainly be 3-3 after a Bama team that hamblasted Leonard Fournette’s Heisman campaign into the same trash can where ABC throws 95% of its sitcom pilots comes to town. Granted, Saban had two weeks to get ready for LSU. Like Urban Meyer, Saban could probably beat the Russians at Kursk if you gave him fortnight’s heads up. I’d take Bama on this line all day.

Tulane at Army (-2.5) Army is favored! Truly, end times are upon us. The pro-Army betting line is merely a function of Tulane wretchedness…which means they’re also 2-7 like the Black Knights. It’s probably time to give up on this Army team, but I’m going to ensure they win by betting my house and dogs on Tulane. Because Army always finds a way to screw me. Tulane upsets Army at home for their first road win of the season.

Wake Forest at Notre Dame (-26.5) Should be a squeaker. Notre Dame will win by 30 and vaults to #1 in the CFP rankings, because reasons.

Arkansas at LSU (-9) Hey Arky, got any more of that Big Bert magic in you? Yeah, doubtful. The problem for the corpulent coach and band of Too-Slow-for-Bama-Too-Dumb-for-Vandy minstrels is that Leonard Fournette only got 30-odd yards last week. He hasn’t forgotten that, and as a team with no defense to speak of, that doesn’t bode well. Bama gave you the recipe to win. You just don’t have the ingredients. LSU wins by a touchdown.

Ohio State (-17) and Illinois. The most talented offense in the country with a top-ten defense isn’t even a 2.5 touchdown favorite over an Illinois squad that didn’t score a point on Penn State. Don’t ever fucking mention Cardale Jones’ name again. Should’ve gone pro, big guy. Your draft stock is falling like a homesick brick. JT Barrett will spark the offense, but after a week out, it’ll take a quarter to find rhythm and he’ll force one bad pass for a pick. Bucks barely cover the line thanks to Ferguson’s running putting Illinois on the board.

SMU at Navy (-20). Sob. I hope Keenan Reynolds ends up on a destroyer. Serves him right. Navy covers.

Michigan (-11) at Indiana. The Har-ball keeps rolling along, flinging clipboards and turning in mediocre performances on offense. It makes me fucking sick. I’d love to see Indiana knock the weasels down a peg, but even with the two-headed beast of Jordan Howard and Devine Redding in the backfield, they won’t come close. Michigan wins by two scores. 

Miami at UNC (-11) Norfkerlina is the Stanford of the east coast. Somehow, they dicktripped to a pretty blah team in their opening game. Throwing three picks to the same defender didn’t help. Since then, that team’s coach has quit and the Tar Heels have been crushing skulls. They’re the only legitimate threat remaining on Clemson’s schedule. It’s a good thing the game is in Chapel Thrill and not Miami. People might actually attend. UNC covers.

Georgia (-2) at Auburn. Apparently Georgians and their money (or earnin’s as they say) are soon parted. Why is Georgia, a team that beat Mizzou (whose coach just resigned) 9-6 favored over anyone? I’d give a bowl of oatmeal even odds against Richt’s team right now. Auburn upsets Georgia.

Minnesota at Iowa (-8.5) – The Floyd of Rosedale Trophy. Do the Goophs have a big win in them? You’d think after a 51-14 beatdown of the Hawkeyes last year, they’d stand a good shot at winning, but no. David Cobb is gone and so is pass-catching tight end wunderkind Maxx Williams. Also, Iowa flushed twice and managed to get Rudock all the way to Ann Arbor. Tracey Claeys is now the for-real coach, so this is his coming out party. Gophers lose by three scores.

 

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About The Author

Rob Paulsen. Old Grad staying young, staying hip to the fresh jive. Hating Navy around the clock. O-H. I-O.