The Situational: Week 8

By Ramzy Nasrallah on October 18, 2012 at 4:00p
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Florida State and Miami hook up on Saturday night in a rivalry that currently resembles a fading actress whose roles in Hollywood have steadily diminished.

These days the game serves as a reminder of how enticing it once was, back when it was played in the Orange Bowl and both teams' rankings summed a single integer. 

This game was as good as any midseason classic prior to 2004. That's when it abruptly became a protected clash between ACC Coastal and Atlantic Division foes that still have yet to meet in the conference title game.

If that brand of hopeful manufactured scheduling sounds familiar, it's because it is.

And if the lady in the middle looks familiar, it's because she's Jenn Sterger. During the 2005 Florida State/Miami game she was fortuitously captured by an ABC cameraman, who brought the audience back to her and her fellow Cowgirls again and again and again.

Brent Musburger took it from there, and several years and media jobs later Brett Favre was texting her pictures of his dong. It's your typical girl-meets-camera-meets-notoriety-meets-NFL-creep storybook path to fame. You've seen it happen a thousand times.

Chilly weather and red leaves are the best weather and the best leaves! Let's get Situational.


Imagine finding a crumpled one of these in an old pair of trousers back in 1934:

Chris Webber money, circa 1992

It would be like finding $1,709,636.36 in your trousers hipster dungarees today, and in either case you would be in some trouble because that thousand-Benjamin bill was only used for transactions between Federal Reserve banks. You'd have some explaining to do, or at least your jeans would.

General population folks like you and I didn't have access to this paper. Even soda machines dismissively spit them out no matter how perfectly they were inserted. Some things never change.

The cat on that hard-to-find bill is Woodrow Wilson, our 28th POTUS who served between William Howard Taft and Warren Gamaliel Harding. Both of those guys were from Ohio, which means that President Wilson was America's Palate Cleanser™ despite proudly having the most Ohio name ever.

Wilson is remembered as one of America's finest leaders, having navigated our still-flailing republic through globally turbulent times. That doesn't mean he isn't controversial; the idea that the United States is morally required to intervene in international affairs is often referred to as a Wilsonian worldview. He's that guy.

It's hard to really delve into his particular presidency without trampling 11W's politics mandate, so we'll keep it light: Wilson got American into and out of the Great War, and the efficacy of his handling of the latter has been, at kindest, questioned.

He also pseudo-influenced the movie Dave by stroking out in office and having the degree to which he was incapacitated covered up by the government. Kevin Kline was not available as a stand-in while Sigourney Weaver was on assignment aboard the Nostromo. #cinemajoke

Regardless, Wilson still possesses the coolest currency photo ID of any POTUS or Ben Franklin. It's just too bad you have to die before they mint you.


THE JUNGLE CAT: AUBURN TIGERS  (+8) against Vanderbilt, while still losing because Satan hates Auburn.

THE MOUNTAIN CAT: BYU COUGARS (+14) against Notre Dame, which is back to being hated again for the benefit of the sport.

THE SERVICEMAN: NAVY MIDSHIPMEN (-3.5) over Indiana, because its defense is 25 spots better than Ohio State's and we all know how accurate the transitive property in college football is.

THE INSURGENT: UNLV REBELS (+27.5) against Boise State and its crazy Halloweenish black uniforms, which are unfortunately required this year since the Broncos lost their Sweetheart status in East Lansing.

THE  ENDLESS BUFFET: OKLAHOMA SOONERS (-35.5) against Kansas. Everyone's rallying around Charlie Weis! With torches!

LAST WEEK: 3-2  | SEASON: 14-21


Below is a side-by-side look at the 2007 and 2008 ACC Championship games held in Jacksonville and Tampa, respectively. Your clever everybody came dressed as empty seats joke is extra HURR-worthy and already well-traveled.  

Quick side note: Those locations - especially the Jacksonville one on the left - were deliberately contracted by the ACC under the assumption that Miami and Florida State would be playing there for the conference title. They got Virginia Tech and Boston College in both of those years. Whoops.

Anyway, the official attendance at these games was 53,212 and 27,360 from left to right. Look again at the picture. Look back at the numbers. Look again at the picture. Repeat until it makes sense.

The weather was too nice, obviously.Every single college football fan from New England was present at both games.

Based on capacity, those figures mean the two stadiums you're looking at are 68% and 41% full, respectively. You'll be shocked to learn that isn't true.

Among the sillier and largely inconsequential things about sports today (manufactured ESPN-driven narratives, NHL labor disputes, replay booths staffed by octogenarians who cannot figure out the remote, etc) is how attendance is calculated. The figure that's used is "paid attendance."

Paid attendance is a unicorn term. It refers to something that doesn't exist; a combination of two terms that don't belong together, kind of like a horn and a horse.

It serves as bad camouflage for the actual term that should be used, which is "tickets sold." The critical component of "attendance" is the number of warm bodies present. It's actually the only requirement of that word.

If paid attendance was accepted and adopted anywhere other than stadiums, students whose tuition obligations were met could completely skip out on the "school" part entirely and still get credit. Or as it's more commonly known: North Carolina.

Waiting until the third quarter to announce paid attendance also makes it seem like there is a deliberate intent to mislead, as if some actual counting took place.

More than anything else, it's bad acting. According to the University of Miami, there were 38,510 people at this gameThe other 33,000 people were waiting in line to pee. Hurr? HURR.


There is a bourbon for every situation. Sometimes the spirits and the events overlap, which means that where bourbon is concerned there is typically more than one worthy choice.

You don't need a PhD in whiskey science to figure our this week's Situational Bourbon, though we can all agree it would be the best post-graduate work ever.

A Boilermaker simply requires one beer and a shot of whiskey. A Purdue Boilermaker mixes in a photograph of Drew Brees, a sexy mustache, hot dog water-scented incense to bring about that West Lafayette aroma and two exploding ACLs (all optional).

We'll just focus on the drink part. You have some options here.

You could consume the whiskey and beer with speed or deliberation, separately or together. Situationally it's going to depend on the quality of your ingredients as well as how much you hate yourself.

If you've got your hands on some good whiskey and beer, enjoy them at your leisure, as you're blessed by your fine resources. The ultimate Boilermaker would be a double Pappy Rye followed by a Bell's Two-Hearted Ale, consumed sequentially at the speed of your average senior citizen behind the wheel of a Buick Lucerne.

However, if you're staring down 1.5oz of janitor-strength ammonia and a pint of discount skunkwater, drop the shot into the beer and quickly consume the entire medley in fewer than two gulps.

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: You'll want to be careful not to shatter your orthodontic work or end up getting ambulatory rhinoplasty: A shot glass combined with gravity has the potential to create a one-man bar fight that you will lose every time.


Imagine taking everything in your fridge, squashing it all into a blender and drinking the resulting mixture. Once you finally finish vomiting you'll wonder why you ever brought yourself to do that.

Musically, that unnecessary concoction is Suzanne Vega's Tom's Diner.


Once you get past the song's flavorless hip-hop beat poured atop the sanitized elements of several musical genres all blended to the point where babies can comfortably digest it, you're left with this gripping introspective:

I am sitting in the morning at the diner on the corner I am waiting at the counter for the man to pour the coffee

And he fills it only halfway and before I even argue He is looking out the window at somebody coming in

Vega's song about nothing is set in Tom's Restaurant on 112th and Broadway in Manhattan, which you might recognize as the fictional Monk's Cafe from the 1990s sitcom Seinfeld, a show about nothing.

The difference is that Seinfeld is probably the greatest sitcom of all time, while the only enduring value Tom's Diner has is for torturing prisoners at Guantanamo. If Ohio State allows Purdue to score like Indiana did, this song and several of those janitor-strength Boilermakers might come in handy Saturday.

It would be like hammering your thumb to take your mind off of your stubbed toe. Might as well go full-masochist if Purdue can get its second Columbus win in 45 years. Might as well go to Tom's Diner.

See you next week. Remember, Florida State may have the Cowgirls, but Ohio State has sexy superfans of its own.

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