You already know which teams I picked in this week's S.E.C. outings and in the national games of interest . . . you already know about MaconDawg's pessimism and his efforts to be more festive . . . so now it is time for us to unveil the national game of disinterest.
You know the drill. Each week, there is one game of such unrivaled insignificance that I am unable to generate anything other than indifference towards its outcome and the participants who will vie with one another in pursuit of that anticlimactic and irrelevant result. This is the national game of disinterest.
Garth Brooks is seen here ignoring both the national game of disinterest and reality.
To find this contest, we need look no farther than the conference in which this evening's combatants compete. Tonight, Boston College and Virginia Tech square off in a battle for Big East supremacy and . . . I'm sorry, what's that? The Eagles and the Hokies aren't in the Big East anymore? Oh, that's right! What about Miami? Them too, huh? Well, then who the heck is left in the Big East?
Oh, yeah! Now I remember! That means this week's national game of disinterest is . . .
Pittsburgh at Louisville
Dave Wannstedt. Steve Kragthorpe. Two guys whose last names sound like spelunking terms but whose coaching achievements are mediocre on their best days.
Purely on the basis of their location, the Panthers ought to be a decent team. Johnny Majors won a national title there. Jackie Sherrill posted three straight 11-win seasons there. Walt Harris won a conference title there, for crying out loud! How did Dave Wannstedt manage to run this program into the ground so swiftly and completely?
The Cardinals, by contrast, have been hampered somewhat by what might be called the Dippin' Dots syndrome. After spending two decades as the "ice cream of the future," shouldn't Dippin' Dots, at some point, have become the ice cream of the present?
Seriously, didn't these share a segment with "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" on "I Love the '90s"?
That said, U. of L. has made great strides since Howard Schnellenberger prematurely declared that Lee Corso's old team was on a collision course with the national championship. Louisville posted seasons of double-digit victory totals under Coach Schnellenberger, John L. Smith, and Bobby Petrino. How did Steve Kragthorpe succeed in scrapping the defending Orange Bowl champions so thoroughly?
These are two good programs with respectable histories and bright prospects for the future playing in a B.C.S. conference with an improving reputation. Why, then, are the Cardinals and the Panthers getting lapped by Cincinnati, Connecticut, Rutgers, South Florida, and West Virginia? Why is this the least compelling Big East matchup outside of a Syracuse intra-squad scrimmage?
This game isn't intriguing, it's just sad. It's one thing for Duke or Indiana or Stanford to be bad; what basis, really, did those teams ever have for being good? Louisville and Pitt ought to be good, though, but they aren't. That unfortunate fact has reduced what should be a critical Big East showdown to this week's national game of disinterest.