The Situational: Play Ball

By Ramzy Nasrallah on September 16, 2020 at 1:15 pm
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, here being tackled by Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl in December, is part of a emerging collective of college football stars hoping to play this season.
© Adam Cairns/Dispatch

Shaun Wade never deserved to be ejected from the Fiesta Bowl.

The guy he sacked on his final (?) college play is half a foot taller than he is, and had been standing upright one half-second earlier. Wade barreled toward Trevor Lawrence, who ducked himself right into Wade getting tossed for targeting.

The next time we see him in action - barring a reversal of his Monday decision - he'll be at least $18M richer, assuming his 1st round grade stays intact through what is certain to be a hollowed-out season, even with the B1G uncanceling its own this morning.

nothing on planet earth has gone well since this moment
Only thing Wade was targeting was a compliant tackle

Did you try watching any of the live, vacant games taking place after the conference tripped over itself doing damage control to atone for the failed damage control that was intended to correct the tone deaf damage control that only made the optics for abruptly canceling its season without articulating anything resembling a rationale or a plan - as its contemporaries at least tried to salvage a piece of theirs - even worse?

That sentence was easier to stick with than some of those games - nearly everything has sucked out loud since Wade was tossed in Glendale. But if you're good with Select or Standard cuts of football meat instead of Prime or Choice, you're not going to care. This will be the escape you needed.

Once it is fully distilled, this bitter 2020 college football vintage will be excused for being subpar. It will be lauded for just surviving, and this year - survival is everything.


Devin Smith scores against Buffalo, 2013
Devin Smith tracking a deep ball better than the defensive back guarding him? Preposterous. 

There are 2,430 Major League Baseball games every year, so we have been well-prepared for empty stadium sections on television. NBA courtside seats are generally occupied by the world's worst people, so watching that league's abbreviated sprint inside a bubble with no tech bros hurling insults at players from the safety of their ill-fitting khakis has been an upgraded experience.

NFL lower bowls are rabid, disgusting and beautiful so that first Sunday was a tough pill. Likewise, College Football Saturdays are all about atmosphere. The pregame shows are built on it, which is why they physically take their studios to the best atmosphere each weekend.

Even the layup games have atmosphere. On Earth 2 we'd be in the middle of Buffalo Week™ with the Bulls mercifully being all out of Khalil Macks. Even the sleepy Horseshoe vibes late in the 3rd quarter would have produced more energy than an empty stadium.

But is hollow football better than no football? Everything is better than no football. Let's get Situational.


Back in 1979 Peter Gabriel spent a full year making a self-titled album, which was a deeply personal experience. When his label (Atlantic) heard it, they hated it so much they refused to distribute it. Gabriel was justifiably pissed and signed with another label (Mercury) and it became one of the most highly-regarded albums of the Eighties.

Atlantic realized it had screwed up and tried to get Gabriel back, but welp actions have consequences. He went on to sell millions of weird and deeply personal records after that initial weird and deeply personal album revealed...that's exactly who he was.

The high-pitched refrain you hear throughout this 40-year old banger from what Atlantic hated is jeux, sans, fron-ti-ères which is the title of the song in French. Our solo this week is the whistling that accompanies it. Let's answer our two questions.

Is the soloist in this video actually whistling?

They are whistling, but neither whistler appears. Producers Steve Lillywhite (Achtung Baby and all of the Dave Matthews Band albums Gen Xers still listen to on private mode in Spotify) and Hugh Padgham (The Police, Phil Collins and Sting) waddled through a thick kush haze to the other side of the studio glass to lend their whistling talents to the song. VERDICT: Yes.

Does this whistle solo slap?

The lyrics include whistling tunes we hide in the dunes by the seaside | whistling tunes we're kissing baboons in the jungle. You've got to consider that Gabriel could have dropped waves-crashing sounds or baboon-human macking noises with all that French chanting. Instead he asked his producers to whistle.

This could have become a Pacific Life commercial or a bestiality anthem. It became neither, and for that we should be grateful. VERDICT: Like a sledgehammer.


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

We don't talk enough about Value Bourbon, and obviously that's on me. I'll remedy that now.

Value Bourbon should be the cornerstone of your home bar. It's a seven-day bourbon that's ambiguously appropriate, which allows it to suit nearly all situations. In a pandemic/comprehensively garbage year like 2020, it could be the entire bar foundation. Hell, it could be the whole house in this liquid metaphor.

Panty Melter. You're Welcome.
With a name like Quality House, it has to be good.

As we enter college football's first-ever Value Season - shoehorning a limited number of games into a pandemic - Value Bourbon is more important than ever. Everything is going to feel strip-mined and odd, and for that we'll need legitimate bourbon that sheds all the vanity and presumption that accompanies higher-shelf bourbons - while keeping the quality intact.

Discovering these bourbons requires courage, trial and error. I look for a new Value Bourbon every summer, while previous ones either whither away out of consumer neglect or ride newfound fame to higher price points without product improvements.

Bulleit held my Value Bourbon belt for several years, several years ago. Demand curves and pricing strategies are funny things, and Bulleit priced itself out of the Value Bourbon frontier. Old Grandad, Evan Williams (black label) and Four Roses (yellow label) are still in that horizon. But remember where we are, friends:

Hell, it could be the whole house in this liquid metaphor.

Appropriately, the 2020 Value Bourbon belt belongs to Quality House. 

It's from Heaven Hill, which is both reputable and good. This is the smoothest bottom shelf bourbon I have ever had, which speaks to its youth and quality (cheap bourbon generally hits you like a turpentine/gasoline cocktail). Instead, Quality House hits you like a handful of pralines and peanuts. And if you pay $15 for a bottle, you've way overpaid. It's $11 at my liquor store.

As for the packaging, I assume they called it Quality House to repel vanity bourbon hunters. It's kind of like how Iceland calls itself Ice Land to keep rubes away from a place that looks like this. Find it, but please - do not hoard Quality House. Just be cool. Allow it to wear the belt as long as possible.


justin fields vs. a bunch of fucking horses

Let's review the road to here:

JULY 9: B1G announces it's going conference-only in 2020. Good decision. Better control.

AUG 5: B1G releases its conference-only schedule, including twice-weekly testing and 14-day quarantines for positive tests. Okay, we're going to try to do this. Let's gooooo-- *record scratch*

SIX DAYS LATER: B1G shuts down football and fall sports for 2020.

AUG 11-SEPT 15: [loud noises]

THIS MORNING: B1G announces it's starting football next month, with daily testing, enhanced cardiac screening, 3-week quarantines for positive tests, a cardiac registry for COVID research and measurable stipulations that could bring competition to another halt. 

So there's no B1G football yet, and there's no guarantee. Worst-case scenario, B1G football players provide tragic amounts of data for their institutions to publish. Best-case scenario, they give researchers a big fat shitburger and play the entire season, disease-free.

Here is my public service announcement and personal plea:

Wear a mask when you're in public. Wash your hands regularly, even if you don't see physical dirt on them. Stay six feet away from other people you're not regularly shacking up with. If you're young, healthy and immortal don’t be a vector for COVID to latch onto you and eventually jump onto someone else. Try to avoid being another organism that perpetuates this disaster.

If you're successful, we could see B1G football games taking place while other conferences who might have won the optics battle in August having to shut it all down in October. Vigilance cannot be optional or someone else's job. It will take every single person to render COVID homeless. It needs homes to survive. Let's kill its miserable ass.

You're not required to care about yourself or other people, but if you've gotten this deep into another one of my nothingpieces on this web site it's likely you care too much about Ohio State football. So do it for the team. Do it for the season. Let's just get the outcome we all want. Play ball.

Thanks for getting Situational today. Go Bucks. Take care of each other.

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