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Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama, poses on stage prior to the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Lang's World: The Joy of Hate-Watching

by Lang Whitaker | Grizz Gaming GM

Watching college football is very rarely a purely partisan experience.

No matter which squad is your favorite team, they will only play about a dozen games, maybe a couple more if you’re lucky (or maybe if they’re lucky).

But no college football fan only watches a dozen games. I can’t speak for everyone, but since the college football viewing window is such a limited experience, lasting only from August through December, if there’s any random college football game on during that time span I will usually tune in. It doesn’t matter who’s playing, I just want to watch college football.

Whenever I’m watching two teams where I have no real vested interest, I will usually root for whichever team is ranked lower. That is, unless my own team (UGA) can somehow be affected by the result, in which case I will root for whichever team can most directly help my team.

There are very many games where I tune in and cheer for teams to lose. Hate is a strong word, a term I do not like to invoke frequently, but I have to admit that for the most part, my college football viewing experience is mostly just hate-watching.

Cheering for my team is a singular experience which usually leaves me physically and emotionally exhausted. Hate-watching is a much more passive experience, requiring mostly smug grins and schadenfreude. It also offers a greater variety of teams to follow, mostly based on my own team’s current situation.

There are certain schools that I historically hate-watch. For instance:

  • Notre Dame, because I always disliked the mythology involved.
  • Florida, because they’re one of UGA’s long-term rivals.
  • Auburn, because my grandfather was an Alabama fan.
  • Any team Chip Kelly is coaching, because I think he’s wildly overrated.

Any of these schools could be lining up to play against the most evil of empires, like for instance the New England Patriots, and you would find me donning a Tom Brady jersey and cheering for the Pats.

Georgia Tech is UGA’s most virulent rival, but I can’t really bring myself to consistently hate-watch a team running the same offense as the high school in “Remember The Titans.”

Over the last few years, I’ve consistently hate-watched Alabama, because not only is it remarkable when they actually lose a game, but they’re usually incredible to watch no matter what. And it's always hilarious when their kicker screws up, because that happens regularly, too.

This season I’ve hate-watched Oklahoma, mostly because my coworker Geoff is an Oklahoma grad and constantly extols their greatness. I’ve hate-watched LSU ever since they beat UGA. I am currently actively hate-watching Clemson and Michigan, since they’re ranked ahead of UGA and any loss would only help the Dawgs.

I’ll cheer for UGA forever and watch all of their games. As for the rest of the SEC and the NCAA, well, I guess you can call me a hater, because haters gonna hate.


2.

Speaking of UGA, I am very excited that my UGA Bulldogs have once again won the SEC East, which they clinched on Saturday with a decisive win at Kentucky.

Entering this season, I suspected we could win the SEC East, which is not as mighty as in years past, but I was concerned considering the offseason saw us lose our two best offensive threats as well as most of our starters on defense. Luckily nobody else in the SEC East stepped up, and it feels like right now UGA is juuuust starting to round into form. We get Auburn this week, then UMass (lol) and Georgia Tech, and then on December 1, things get real when we play Alabama in the Championship game. I still think this UGA team is a year away from reaching their full potential, but I’m already dreaming about getting revenge against Saban himself.

In the meantime, please enjoy this clip of D’Andre Swift planting his right foot into the ground so darn hard and leaving numerous Kentucky defenders in his wake...


3.

Whenever I’m speaking to young journalists who inexplicably come to me for career advice, I try to stress to them that one of the great things about the media landscape we live in today is how they can easily put their own content out there with very few restrictions. And if that content is good enough, people will pay attention to the work that they’re doing.

I don’t know who this dude is putting out Alabama game recaps on YouTube, but I am absolutely going to watch this man, who goes by the name John Doe, break down highlights every week.

We need more people using “SKRRRT!” in highlights.


4.

Gus Johnson used to seemingly be all over the place, calling big games with big endings week after week. Now it seems like I rarely hear him, on Twitter or when I’m flipping around between games. Which makes it all the better that he was calling the West Virginia/Texas game on Saturday which ended with a huge play, and Gus had another signature call...


5.

Punt of the week came from Austin Baker at Heidelberg, which may or may not be a real school, who managed to get away a 95-yard punt on Saturday.

Sure, it was only a net of 75 yards, but still. You try and kick the ball from one end zone to the other.


6.

LSU coach Ed Orgeron is basically a walking stereotype of a what a football coach was fifty years ago, a guy who cares about winning the line of scrimmage and playing the game hard and all the other maxims you can buy in a frame at Successories. He also has a voice that is basically impenetrable -- a mixture of sandpaper, gravel and whiskey, all put into a blender. He’s impossible to understand, which is why I just spent a good minute laughing at this poor closed captioning person’s attempt to decipher Coach O.


7.

Pick of the week goes to Coastal Carolina, who benefitted when Appalachian State’s quarterback tried to complete a pass to a receiver who was staring into the sun. BOINK!


8.

We’ve seen plenty of turnover gimmicks around college football this season, but this one from Oregon State is both on-brand (for the Beavers) and kinda terrifying: It’s the turnover CHAINSAW. Just wait until someone loses a finger over there on the sideline.


9.

My pick for catch of the week goes to Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler. After the DB tried to tackle him by grabbing his arm, which seems like a questionable strategy to begin with, Butler literally threw the defender aside...


10.

Finally, as we head into Week 11, let’s bid a fond farewell to Kansas coach David Beaty, who will not return next year after winning all of 6 games over the last four seasons.


Bring back Charlie Weis!

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Memphis Grizzlies. All opinions expressed by Lang Whitaker are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Memphis Grizzlies or its Basketball Operations staff, owners, parent companies, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Memphis Grizzlies and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.