Thus, here it is — our first (and last) annual Olive-Branch Guide to College Football in 14 Easy Steps:
1. Central Michigan was just 1-11 in 2018, but with new coach Jim McElwain, the return of injured running back Jonathan Ward and an energized punt-coverage team, I suspect the Chippewas can improve to 3-9 this season.
2. There are 130 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Best I can tell, at least 101 of them have no chance of ever making the four-team College Football Playoff, and likely 127 of them have no chance of playing for the national championship. This is vaguely reminiscent of the 1986 presidential election in the Philippines in which Ferdinand Marcos won in a landslide.
3. Let’s say Boise State goes 12-0 this season. This would give the Broncos, oh, about a 1.3 percent chance of making the College Football Playoff due to the fact that they are not in the Power Five but in the Group of Five. For casual readers unaware of this distinction, the Power Five is like the Kennedy compound and the Group of Five is like a prison compound.
4. Why do they keep interviewing Jim Harbaugh? What, suddenly the Michigan coach is Winston Churchill in a visor? I could’ve sworn I heard Harbaugh asked about Brexit last week.
5. Recently, on comedian Jeff Cesario’s hilarious weekly podcast, “Play With Pain!”, sportscaster Chet Waterhouse asked me who was the worst coach in the Big Ten. Well, if you are a Big Ten first-year honcho with a career record of 3-31, I’ve got to believe — by definition — you are the worst coach in the conference. Maryland’s Michael Locksley, come on down!!!
6. That naturally leads to the question, “Who’s the worst coach in the Pac-12?” Let’s talk about the University of Southern California. The Trojans have, like, 250 scholarships — they actually enroll football players as gymnasts and put them in pads every week — and they were 5-7 last season. Guilty as charged: Clay Helton. P.S. Little-known fact: O.J. Simpson went to USC on a women’s soccer scholarship.
7. I hate the Southeastern Conference like anthills hate rainstorms.
8. Do you have any idea how many Secret Service agents protect the president of the United States when he gives a speech? Probably 75. Do you have any idea how many state troopers jog off the field surrounding Alabama Coach Nick Saban at the end of a game? Probably 77. Then again, Saban usually has a better year than POTUS.
9. Les Miles is back — identify the emergency exit closest to you.
10. Notre Dame reminds me of the only barbecue joint in southern Utah that proclaims “best ribs anywhere,” then goes to a national competition against barbecue joints from North Carolina, Texas, St. Louis, Kansas City and Memphis and finishes 13th.
11. I would root for a swarm of Starbucks-bound locusts dedicated to wiping out all human life before I would root for Alabama.
12. TCU kicker Cole Bunce is out indefinitely after a motorized scooter accident. “I don’t think he’ll be able to play the rest of the year,” Coach Gary Patterson said. “Sometimes you have luck and sometimes you have no luck at all.” And sometimes you should just take the bus.
13. Clemson is scheduled to play Alabama for the national title at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Jan. 13, 2020.
14. Urban Meyer has joined FS1’s college football studio show in the role, I believe, of ethics and morality analyst.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Olympic NBA players are dropping like flies. How soon before they turn to your Stepson of Destiny, Isaiah Eisendorf? (Chuck Smith; Woodbridge, Va.)
A. Isaiah is about to start his second season playing pro basketball in Israel, plus — like me — he doesn’t have time for a lot of extracurricular stuff because he sleeps in most mornings.
Q. If Bryce Harper can be paid $330 million over 13 years for mediocre performance, shouldn’t you be making the same? (Kim Hemphill; South Riding, Va.)
A. I see no need to sideswipe an underpaid, underappreciated sports columnist when getting snarky about Bryce Harper.
Q. In a song last year, Jay-Z told the NFL, “You need me, I don’t need you.” Was that hip-hop-crisy, or just a job application? (Mark Pattison; Washington, D.C.)
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!