Every week when I sit down to write this column, I feel a little bit like Shirley Bennett...
So far this season we’ve had (1) a conclusively good watch (b) a conclusively bad watch and (iii) a watch that was good, but also bad for deeper more confusing reasons. And now we’ve got... I don’t know y’all, whatever the hell that was on Saturday. How do you write about that other than the way Nate did in his takeaways piece, which opened with the most apt piece of analysis one could take away from that mess.
Add this to the pantheon of games that Missouri fans point to when they say, “Naw man, they’re going to Mizzou this one”. You know what I’m talking about. 5th-down. Flea Kicker. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOINK. And now Peat fumbling out the back of the end zone when simply being tackled out of bounds would have been an acceptable outcome.
I’ve now been alive for three of those four events, have personally been witness to one — the sound haunts me so much that I believe it altered my genetic code — and have covered Mizzou for this site during the most recent. True to meme lore, it does appear that God is giving us his hardest battles.
But you know what? When God gives us his toughest battles, we make lemonade. Not because those battles come with lemons, but because we dig deep, we plant lemon tree seeds, we wait approximately 24 to 31 years, we harvest those lemons and then we make lemonade. And Mizzou fails us in nearly all of those years. But hey, there’s fresh-squeezed lemonade waiting for us on the other hand, and that’s better than college football success, right?
Onto the Revue.
If I had to give you three guesses as to which movie this is ripped from, would you get it? Probably. Most people have seen Now You See Me at this point, and at least a handful of people stuck around to watch the sequel (not me, sorry.)
I ask because Now You See Me has entered a very specific pantheon of movies for me, movies that sort of represent how you would categorize a game like Saturday’s if you absolutely had to under pain of death. And that would be, for lack of an official term, “deliriously awful.”
If you’ve seen it, you may be able to empathize with what I’m saying. In almost as many ways as can possibly be measured, it is objectively bad. Poorly conceived, poorly executed, poorly performed, poorly ended... this one’s got it all! And yet, there’s something truly endearing about it? I use the word delirious specifically because there’s a state one enters, a state of euphoria stemming from the misery, once things kick into Mach-10 levels of terrible. You start to float, weightless, on the lack of gravity it produces. You become one with the cosmos, letting this absolute dog lift you up.
Wait, am I talking about the movie or the game at this point?
I don’t want to step on the Watchability Meter too much, but I don’t think I’m alone when trying to categorize this game. Somewhere in the fourth quarter, Auburn vs. Mizzou went into Sicko Mode and the entirety of the college football world noticed. Don’t believe me? Sickos Committee was on it.
What do you call free football that no one reall wants?— Sickos Committee (@SickosCommittee) September 24, 2022
The never ending offensive feebleness reminded me of that moment in Now You See Me where the magicians do the thing and then the cops are like, “No, don’t do it!” but then they do it anyway. Classic movie! Classic game! It was terrible and beautiful at the same time, and it should be nuked out of our memories through the use of strong, illegal chemicals.
Again, am I talking about the movie or the game?
Games like Saturdays are sort of hard to evaluate from a watchability standpoint.
On one hand, this game was foul to its little core. A dumb, pointless, poorly-played, senseless act of violence against the game of football. There were no redeeming qualities about it apart from it being a pure Sickos’ Delight.
ON THE OTHER HAND... wasn’t that an objectively entertaining game? Sure, it was messy — most college football games are. But it consisted of two teams in college football’s most decorated conference slugging it out until the final whistle blew. The
offensive performances left something to be desired defensive performances were good enough to make it an old fashioned rock fight. There were several close brushes with victory (all of them falling in the opposite direction of Mizzou, I should add). And the end of the game provided a genuine moment of horror/delight for the competing teams and fanbases! If it weren’t this season and Mizzou were on the other side of the outcome, we might argue that this game was, in fact, very good.
However, you still have to take the quality of the play into consideration, and it was quite bad. It’s not enough to be a midway point, but I personally feel as if the excitement is enough to bring this week’s score up to 2 toilet paper rolls out of 5. They won’t last long, seeing as Auburn students are going to huck them up in a tree. So let’s make them one-ply. After all, two one-ply tubes is much worse than two two-ply tubes.
Disrespectful Play Index
Disrespect isn’t always about flash. It’s not about pomp and circumstance. Sometimes disrespect runs deeper.
It’s not always about walking up to your sworn enemy and saying, “Hey man, you’ve got an ugly face.” Hurtful? Yes. But a sworn enemy could assume you thought such a thing. Disrespect is about finding ways to make it known that, “Hey, I don’t like you, and I’m going to make sure other people know why I don’t like you.” It’s the antipathy plus the indirect nature of it all. It’s you walking by your sworn enemy with a friend and saying, “Hmmm, look at that guy’s face. Kind of ugly, yeah?” It’s within earshot. It’s slander. It’s disrespect.
That’s sort of what we’re getting at with this week’s play. Was it the most disrespectful play we’ve seen this year? Perhaps not. But in the face of the game circumstances and what is likely to follow in the coming weeks, it felt pretty dismissive.
As a reminder, our categories for the Disrespectful Play Index are...
Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the play? (0-20)
Category 2: How hard did the defense try? (0-20)
Category 3: How much did his teammates help? (0-5)
Category 4: What did the player do immediately afterward? (0-20)
Category 5: How did everyone not involved react? (0-15)
Category 6: Is there a backstory/context to consider? (0-20)
Here’s the play in question:
Seems pretty cut-and-dry? Follow along to find out why it wasn’t.
Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the play?
God, Eli Drinkwitz does love a play to the short side of the field, doesn’t he? He does unbalance the field of play a little bit by sticking two guys out to the left and pulling some extra coverage that way. That being said, he’s going with an option here and Cody Schrader isn’t the fastest guy on the field. Auburn’s defense, as shambolic as they may be at times, is still Auburn’s defense, meaning they’re stacked with dudes. Cook does time the pitch pretty well, however, giving Schrader a good chance. The execution needs to be pretty spot on in this instance, but everyone is giving Schrader the best possible chance at this conversion. 13/20
Category 2: How hard did the defense try?
It’s difficult for me to say the defense didn’t try here, especially because I praise Cody Schrader’s ability on this play in a later category. However, I have a hard time believing that this offensive line gave this run defense this much trouble. But I’ll air on the side of optimism and say, “Oh boy, the offensive line sure has turned a corner [crosses my fingers so forcefully that I sustain two compound fractures]!” 12/20
Category 3: How much did his teammates help?
This has been a bread-and-butter category for our disrespecters this season, mostly because the plays have come when the rest of the team was playing like ass. So let’s check the tape to confirm.
...huh. That’s actually a pretty tight seal. Schrader gets the ball 15 yards from the goal line, yet the first time anyone approaches him is within the five-yard line. That’s not great for our man Cody’s score, but at least I don’t have to spend a few dozen words eviscerating Mizzou’s offensive line (again). 1/5
Category 4: What did the player do immediately afterward?
You know that thing that football players do when they get really hyped up? They sort of bow their legs, flex their arms and scream while their head shakes arrhythmically like a broken bobblehead from hell? Well, Cody Schrader did that and it scared the hell out of me like it does every time. 14/20
Category 5: How did everyone not involved react?
Your honor, I have two pieces of evidence to enter into the official court record this morning.
Gorgeous. Immaculate. Picturesque. Stunt on these hoes, Truman.
I appreciate that somewhere in the world — especially after the first three weeks that Mizzou has had this season — that there’s a group of people that went out, spent what is likely an unreasonable amount of money and then went absolutely mad when Cody Schrader scored to bring Mizzou within one touchdown of Auburn in Jordan-Hare. These are the people who will save Mizzou Football, and they should be in charge of hiring Eli Drinkwitz’s offensive coordinator. 6/7 for Truman, 8/8 for these folks, so 14/15 in total.
Category 6: Is there a backstory/context to consider?
The announcers say a good chunk of it out loud in the linked highlights. Schrader has effectively lost his starting role at this point after taking the week one reps with the starters. It’s not that he’s a bad player — as his time at Truman State will clearly show — it’s that Nathaniel Peat has clearly proven to be the more effective playmaker against high-quality competition. But Schrader has his moments. He caught a burst of speed that he doesn’t always access for this run, and made Auburn’s defense look slow on his way to his first ever SEC touchdown.
But here’s where the disrespect I mentioned earlier comes in. Imagine you’re Eli Drinkwitz, yeah? Your old boss Bryan Harsin is on the ropes at Auburn. Hell, he’s not even on the ropes, he’s half-dead on his way to the mat. You know that no matter what you do, he’s going down for the count. But you’ve got one last swing on the way out. One last opportunity to get your digs in against the man who brought you up in the college football coaching world. You could’ve flexed a little bit and thrown out Luther Burden III to highlight your recruiting prowess — hey, it’d look good in a job interview — or been a little cheeky and designed a run for Brady Cook. But no. You sent in Cody Schrader, the Kirksville Comet, to drop the hammer? Even without the win, that’s some delicious disrespect. 18/20
Cody Schrader’s touchdown was 72 percent disrespectful to Auburn and its fans.
Superlatives and Awards
Most Likely to be Unemployed: Checking the numbers and... nope, still Bryan Harsin!
Butteriest Hands: Errrr...
Clear winner, unfortunately.
Most Likely to Be Terminally Online: Anyone who posted about Luther Burden’s social media activity. Congratulations, here’s your reward.
Go ahead. Touch it.