Welcome to the most awkward co-mingling of cultures since those discoverers of bubblin’ crude skedaddled to Beverly Hills and settled in to ruin prime-time television as part of the Backwoods Triptych (”Beverly Hillbillies”, “Green Acres”, and “Petticoat Junction”). We’ll be working blue tonight… as well as orange… we fear this will never make the Bravo Web site.
(We miss college, where we could get drunk and pretend we were saying meaningful things next to an inflatable swimming pool and a UC-Irvine DJ…)
Below is Brooks’ pregame report and pictures of SbB Girl Alex coaxing shy college football fans in front of the camera.
Take it away, Brooks:
I walked around for two hours before the game. Very subdued. Tennessee fans were the only ones providing color and personality for the game. Shocker!
I knew it was dead when there wasn’t a giant line for the port-a-potty.
They have this Orwellian Rick Neuheisel message blaring on the PA when you walk into the stadium, welcoming UCLA fans to the game, and nothing else. Needless. Just sounds creepy. Come to think of it, it’s perfect. I’m looking forward to the Norm Chow PA greeting at the in-stadium salsa bar. (Ed. note: “I laughed; I cried; it was better than ‘Cats’. I would eat it again and again.”)
Alex is excited; she’s been to Arizona State games (old boyfriend) and the Washington-Notre Dame game we went to, but this is her first game at the Rose Bowl, and she lives 2 miles from the stadium.
And here’s how excited we all are:
Here’s what we’re noticing from early pictorial returns: Tennessee fans haven’t a lick of irony in their bones. UCLA fans? One-A-Day Plus Irony pills.
And then there’s the all-important inflatable mascot competition:
We’ll take Tennessee and the ears.
ESPN just listed all the things they plan on talking about instead of the game. We plan on surprising you. But first…
14:55 Holly Rowe’s on the case. We’ve loving the summer velvet, Holly; very Sgt. Pepper of you.
14:22 “Two new young quarterbacks in the game”. In other words, this will have more than a bit of the uglies to it. That just means more time to hear about where the announcers ate this week.
13:59 Fumbled snap for UCLA; recovered by Kevin Craft, UCLA’s young quarterback. And, by the way, why do announcers call juniors and seniors “veteran” players? That second or third year’s really a big difference?
12:47 Now UCLA throws a screen pass that the quarterback lofts high into the sun for the running back. This one may have to be moved to the Inland Empire for being too ugly for Los Angeles.
10:10 Rico McCoy is an awesome football name. Also a great name for a bar scene in any pulp novel.
10:00 Tennessee picks Craft on a play both fugly and indecipherable and we’re prepared to start calling the UCLA playcaller “Craft Services”.
8:00 It’s clear from the first few minutes that these two teams just plain don’t… know each other. Awkward passes, clumped blocking, fumbled snaps… could we do team introductions next time?
6:15 The ESPN announcers just implied that Tennessee fans are uneasy with widening the gene pool. It took Mike Patrick a good 10 seconds to find the correct words to not say “inbred coaching”. We need to freshen his whiskey sour.
5:24 A 51-yard field goal attempt by Tennessee falls short and right. Points for earnestness, though, right? No? Okay. Still 0-0.
5:00 Kareem sighting! We hope he spoke eloquently for 45 minutes before the game about jazz musicians and black aerospace engineers; that would explain the snoring by the UCLA offense.
4:38 One pass, one INT for Kevin Craft. But this son of a coach sure threw that pick smartly.
4:38 AAAAAND replay. We’d rather listen to Kareem.
4:38 Aaaaaand the ruling is upheld. A heady son of a coach would have gotten that overturned.
3:47 Punt. 0-0.
At this point, Brooks has sent us a picture of his seats. We don’t know if he’s pointing out how awesome his seats at the 50 are or if he’s merely pointing out the six-yard stretch of dirt where nearly every play has occurred.
3:00 Holly Rowe throws down her first injury report, but the cameraman, producer, and talent had to cram themselves so close on the sideline that she’s out of focus. That or it’s an HD crutch. We’d insist on being a pasty blur, too, if we had to be in HD.
2:15 Punt. 0-0. Another list of topics having nothing to do with the game appear before the break. PTI has invaded the games themselves and not just halftime. (”Oh, I was going to take a crap during this commercial, but they’re going to talk about Saturday’s games; I’ll just turn the TV up so I can hear it in the bathroom.”)
1:30 Receivers for both Tennessee and UCLA do not have any concerns about marring the stitching of the numbers on the front of their jerseys with forceful football throws hitting them and tearing the numbers off. In other words, no one’s throwing at their chests.
1:17 Since we can only get excitement off punts, UCLA blocks the ever-lovin’ snot out of a Tennessee punt and takes it to some kind of scoring zone at the end of the field. UCLA 7-0.
0:00 Consider this an antidote to the first quarter. Take as needed.
This is Alex’s third visit to the Rose Bowl.
First time she was bribed by her grandma to see Billy Graham here. Her grandma gave her a TV to attend! (Ed. note: we assume the television could only tune in Billy Graham specials.)
And the second time was for the monthly flea market they hold in the stadium. Seriously.
Speaking of excitement, Alex dropped her phone in the toilet when we first came into the stadium, which apparently inspired the Vols’ punt team.
We’re ready to call this crap ourselves.
14:12 Crompton completed a pass. Note it in your journal.
13:15 To make up for it, Crompton forgets the snap count and pulls out too early. Jesus, it’s like watching the Chicago Bears practice. Or play.
12:22 Tennessee Quarterback Bipolar Theater continues with a 32-yard pass to the 11 yard line.
11:59 An 11-yard touchdown run and we get random shots of UCLA fans staring into space and UT coordinators in the booth through that lipstick cam they shove in the booths now. Don’t they look studious and intelligent from below? We want to call it an impressive drive, but it was mostly the lesser of two fails. UT had numerous false starts and stutter steps before two big plays took care of business.
We’ll take it, though. 7-7 and it appears both teams have found the stadium successfully.
9:49 “ESPN Bio-Blast” sounds wrong to us.
8:29 If we understood ESPN’s analysis for the reason Phil Fulmer accepted the holding penalty that set up third and 16 instead of fourth and 6 correctly, Fulmer thinks Kevin Craft is too stupid to live and will somehow screw this up badly.
8:15 Craft manages to only suck a little, throwing an incomplete pass on a rollout. A punt follows. No one scores or dies on the punt. 7-7.
8:15 ESPN verifies that UCLA has cheerleaders.
7:40 Neuheisel’s working the sweater vest tonight. He couldn’t bring himself to wear that steely blue of UCLA. How he survived four years in that uniform, we’ll never know.
6:43 Apparently, Fulmer was projecting. Crompton throws a pick to UCLA that can kindly be described as “quarterback-baiting” by the UCLA cornerback.
6:43 Another few minutes lost to a fake review call. Apparently, the buzzer for the review system just goes off randomly with annoying results. We wonder if the buzzer wants to be quarterback for UCLA. Norm Chow’s looking for applicants.
6:29 How much did USC pay the Pac-10 to put the words “Academic Excellence” under their logo for the Pac-10 commercial? And how many commercials have aired in the last 15 seconds? Time compression like this usually comes during an explanation of relativity.
5:49 Neuheisel’s first tantrum of the game, directed at what will be a beleaguered quarterback this year. That ought to be a constant source of entertainment for UCLA fans this season. If he’s seen ripping the young man, it’s clearly not Neuheisel’s fault. First season saved!
5:40 Punt. We’ll talk about the game more when there’s more game.
4:55 Brooks just asked us if we’ve seen the Tennessee pooch, Smokey. We explained that the only dog we expect to see all game is the hangdog look on Craft after he comes off the field.
4:11 Punt interrupted by a timeout from UT for only having 10 boys on the field. (”Men” seems premature here.) We can’t even have a punt without two commercial breaks.
2:39 Craft is picked. Neuheisel waves his finger at him and unleashes a barrage of manly words one can only learn in college. Or on a scooner. Can Kareem take snaps?
1:57 Tennessee seems to think UCLA has stolen their signals because they just replaced all the offensive wristbands. Or (as we suspect) it’s an artificial motivator: see, you don’t suck! They stole the signals! Now get out there and execute!
1:45 It’s working. Crompton has them driving downfield.
1:24 It’s stopped working. New wristbands!
1:14 Failed 55-yard field goal attempt. Does Fulmer think he’s kicking indoors because the sky’s so purty?
0:41 UCLA drives a tiny little bit, only for Craft to throw his FOURTH INTERCEPTION of the half. It’s run back for a UT touchdown. Neuheisel has given up on yelling at Craft. It’s like beating a puppy dog now. It’s not learning anything but how to pee on the carpet when he turns his back. He’s putting his hand on Craft’s shoulder now and telling him he’s a good boy and it’s okay because everyone has accidents sometimes but maybe not all the damned time, okay? UT 14-7.
(Note: The ball girl next to Neuheisel on the fourth interception looked distraught and put her hands to her mouth when she saw the field reverse.)
0:00 How’s Los Angeles treating you now, Rick? UT 14-7.
Here’s the patented Tuffy’s Halftime Question: Is this game Marty Feldman ugly or Charles Bronson ugly?
If it’s Marty Feldman ugly, then it’s disconcerting to look at but knows how to make you laugh reliably. Craft’s reaming qualifies.
If it’s Charles Bronson ugly, then you mostly want revenge for having to look at it. Special teams make us want to hunt someone down tonight.
Brooks claims this is peewee action at halftime at the Rose Bowl. If that’s true, then why was Neuheisel scouting them for a quarterback? We don’t beli… oh, wait. There’s Tim Floyd. We believe you now, Brooks.
14:49 Rick Neuheisel doesn’t want to hurt Kevin Craft’s confidence now. On the other hand, Norm Chow spent halftime texting Ken Whisenhunt, asking for a job. Any job. He can cure Matt Leinart. Let him just try. Please.
13:53 Punt. Muffed catch. UT falls on it and keeps the punt. Halftime adjustments must have included custard pies and greasepaint.
13:00 Arian Foster wants to open a philosophy store when he graduates. We are deadly curious about the UT Philosophy curriculum now.
11:30 Foster bounces and wiggles for 40+ yards on the UCLA defense; we want to buy his motivational poster.
10:17 Tennessee works down to the 7-yard-line, only for Foster to cough up the ball like a hairball. We want our money back on that poster.
9:30 A pinball catch caused by an errant Craft throw moves UCLA towards the goal they wish to enter. The teaching skills of Rick Neuheisel shine through.
9:00 And now an injury report from our own Holly Rowe. Holly?
Thanks for that “engage”-ing report, Holly.
6:00 They’re throwing to a local color food report after the break and we’re looking forward to it. Who doesn’t love early season college football?
5:55 Brooks reports the temperature has dropped ten degrees in the stands. The temperature around Neuheisel has stayed steady.
5:50 In case you were concerned, Todd Blackledge has a per diem.
5:45 Punt. Yes. We know. UT 14-7. Also: Levi’s wants you to have casual sex without emotional attachment.
5:32 Craft completes a pass over the middle without twisting his testicles. Congratulations!
5:00 Todd and Mike are eating pie now instead of calling the game. We do have to give them credit for savvy. Pie would definitely improve this game.
3:00 Craft has thrown at least three consecutive passes successfully without contracting Crohn’s Disease. Well done!
1:15 UCLA kicks a gentle, loving field goal within three nautical miles to ramp the score up to UT 14-10. That’s how field goals are scored, Fulmer! Eat it!
0:16 You didn’t have confidence that UT could squeeze one more punt into the third quarter. This team doesn’t have quit, though. They don’t sell quit at their philosophy store. There’s no T in Quit except at the end which UT doesn’t get to because they don’t quit. Punt.
0:00 We end the third quarter where we started: stumbling around on a loss of yards, looking for one team to stop attempting to swallow its collective tongue. We’ve definitely upgraded to mediocrity since the half, so… yay us? UT 14-10.
15:00 We like to imagine the Vonage woman and the Progressive woman are sisters that haven’t spoken in, like, 15 years after a nasty fight over a boy in college. We hope those two crazy kids can get over their animosity and have a nice Thanksgiving this year.
14:29 A thirty-minute review of a possibly safety. After all that, no safety, giving UCLA another chance to screw it up.
14:10 Only for Tennessee to screw it up with an offsides call on the goal line, followed by another two-yard loss for UCLA. Would the first team interested in winning a college football contest please pick up the pink courtesy phone?
13:08 Another punt with a long return by UT, getting down to the UCLA 25. We’ll take wagers now on how this will end up on the UT 45.
12:15 We’ll take “coverage sack followed by delay of game on FG attempt” for the block. Another 51-yard-field goal attempt canceled out.
11:30 We think Brooks and Alex have signed a pact to not allow the pain to continue if this game goes to overtime.
9:00 We are searching the Internet at the moment to look for the documentation necessary to report secondary violations to the NCAA against Rick Neuheisel. We figure there must be a template with his name already entered somewhere out there.
8:30 Craft has quietly moved down the field with dinking and/or dunking. Rick Neuheisel calls timeout to give the Rose Bowl a chance to applaud the effort before Craft throws the inevitable interception. How thoughtful; he’s built a teachable moment into a failure. Now that’s coaching!
8:25 UCLA comes out of a timeout for a four-yard running loss. Now that’s coaching-adjacent!
8:00 Somehow, Craft connects on a third-down conversion and then immediately hits the tight end down at the three-yard-line.
6:51 …touchdown UCLA? Like, on offense? We… what happened? Did we have to wait for the evening news in New York?
6:51 Oh, thank God. It’s under review. We were concerned some sort of narrative flow might find a home in this contest.
6:51 Touchdown. UCLA 17-14.
And now your Actual Football-Related Content for today, September 1, 2008:
Brooks: Fulmer’s dumbass staff are the only people west of the Mississippi not to know DBs should be jumping UCLA WR routes. What are they doing?
Answer, of course: kicking field goals from Pomona. This has been your Actual Football-Related Content for today, September 1, 2008
6:22 UCLA’s defense nearly commits a positive act but snags a face mask. First down, UT.
5:27 Another two downs of destruction by UCLA’s defense. UT fans are in full rear clench.
5:00 Going. For. It. Fourth and one. Roughly midfield.
4:45 First down. Barely.
3:30 UT is at the 30. We’d call it field goal range, but Fulmer felt he was in field goal range from the LAX tarmac.
2:45 UT at the 25. Settling for another lengthy kick, are we, Phil?
2:13 First down at the 20 for UT. Coming up next: SportsCenter with Hannah Storm.
1:54 An actual offensive play run for 20 yards scores points for UT. That felt for all the world like a real running play. Better late than never, we guess. But next time? Not late, please. UT 21-17.
Brooks opines, “Game ova. Craft is hopeless without a script.” We note we haven’t been given the rest of the game off, so we’ll see.
1:45 Right to midfield with a slot throw. Another to the 40 and we’re moving fast.
1:22 Short of a first down by a link. 2nd and 1. Maybe… a slant? Like all game?
1:07 Slant fails, but QB keeper works.
0:49 Another second and short. Time out, UCLA. Where did THIS game come from?
0:44 Another great pass to the 11. Timeout, UT. Clearly, Kevin Croft is a vampire and can only succeed in the dark.
0:35 A middle screen of questionable legality takes the ball to the 3. Last timeout for UCLA.
0:31 Craft misses his tight end in the end zone. Oops. Third and 2.
From Brooks: “Crowd reminds me of 13-9 USC game two years ago. As close to bedlam as you’ll get here.”
0:27 Bedlam. Moya receives the pass he dropped last play. Touchdown. We guess football teams arrive late in LA, too. UCLA 24-21.
0:27 Fulmer is currently in field goal range. No kickoff yet; he’s just in range.
0:23 UT on their 40. One time out left.
0:18 20-yard pass barely missed. Second down.
0:12 Exact same pass connected now. One more second for a spike play and we’re on the UCLA 40.
0:05 Sweet baby Jesus and Mary Chain. Another 10 yards and there’s a 47-yard field goal attempt lined up. Honestly, we thought third acts were the hard part in LA. Who’s writing this one?
0:00 …. overtime. OVERTIME. 24-24.
Just so you know, this was our last liveblog. Grab a pillow.
Also, we do not understand the squib kick. We almost never do. Is it embarrassment over common sense? Kick the damned ball.
Also: seven, not three.
Tennessee wins the coin toss and elects to defend first. (Naturally.)
OT1.1: In the time it takes to say “Emily Litella“, UCLA goes three and out. Field goal’s good. UCLA 27-24. That can’t feel good, though.
OT1.2: Somehow a Brian Bosworth “flamboyant” comment surfaces. Fulmer and Neuheisel have clenched up tightly. Another three and out. At least the 25-yard-line is broached, though.
The 34-yard-field goal is much, much too close for Fulmer and Lincoln, his kicker, and he swings it wide left. UCLA wins, 27-24!
UCLA has bought itself a few more weeks in the mirror to consider its new look. Right now, it’s the Red Bull and vodka talking, but it feels pretty darned good. (At least the second half.)
Tennessee… be sure to ask for the dessert menu. The Chocolate Thunder From Down Under® is to settle for a third-tier bowl for.