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Don’t Watch This; Watch That: The Anatomy of a College Midterm

In which we put the fear of God in some 16-24 year-olds’ hearts and also pretend we’re not screwing around on the internet at work, just like they are in class.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Hawaii Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

As I prepare this on Wednesday morning, I am sitting in a room with 30 students aged 16-24 who are collectively shitting their pants over a midterm.

You see, I occasionally dabble in teaching college classes. Might be a career, might not, I don’t want to brag. Regardless, for Intro to Modern U.S. History, we’re at that magical point—the Great Depression!—where I throw on the brakes and ask them to recall concepts, themes, and trends from 70+ years of American history.

What follows is how this day has proceeded since I arrived on campus:

8:55: Arrive at office, check email one last time. There have been only three students emails since we adjourned class on Monday, only one all day yesterday, and no students took me up on extended office hours. Is that a bad sign?

8:56: Fire up OTE, dick around for 25 minutes.

9:21: Alright, time to log off and walk down the hall.

9:24: Logs off

9:25: Leaves

9:26: Surveying the room, it looks like a wake.

9:26:10: Student approaches me: “What do you mean by ‘legacies’ of Progressivism?” [Internally: “Little late to ask what that means, you fucking moron.” Externally: “What they did.”]

9:27: “When you say you’ll give us ten ID terms and we’ll pick five to answer, what does that mean?”


9:27:20, choking down the previous response: “You only need to identify five of those ten ID terms.”

9:28: “Alright! Let’s get an early jump on this—I’ll start handing out the exams.”

9:30: All the exams have actually been handed out, meaning my good intentions were for naught. Damn my stubby sausage fingers.

9:31: “You have ‘F’ twice in the matching bank.” [Interally: “FUCK.” Externally: “I don’t know, make it a ‘Z’ or something.”]

9:31:30: First anguished look from the high school student sitting in the back row.

9:32: Fire up OTE.

9:46: FIRST FURTIVE EYE GLANCE. Checking the kid’s grade, he’s sitting at an 83% anyways. We will keep that in mind if/when he is on the cusp of a B versus a B-.

9:47: Shit, I forgot to make extra test booklets. Everywhere I’ve studied or taught supplies them to their lecturers, and here we have to add them to the course’s book list so the students can buy them themselves in the school store. That seems like a level of torture beyond just making them take a rather extensive history exam, so I printed a booklet for them. Stapling function on the office printer was out of staples, too, so I stapled all 30 exams by hand. APPRECIATE ME, YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE SHITS.

9:50: It was really rude of the woman at Student Accessibility Services to laugh at me when I dropped off the exam, folded in an envelope. “Most people just email it”—WELL I’M NOT MOST PEOPLE, JANE. I CARE.

9:52: A rough survey of the room shows 11 pencils. The FIRST THING on the list yesterday was “bring a pen,” you little bastards.

9:56: Realize I’m not up on the cheating methods this generation is using. No more answers on the inside label of the water bottle? No notecards in your crotch?

9:58: A student comes up to me and asks if he can use the bathroom—he points to his phone sitting on the floor next to his desk. A different student in this class has ulcerative collitis. I let the first student use the bathroom, but have I made a mistake? It’s only a 1:15 class period, dude. Go before you get here.

10:05: Answer procedural question.

10:09: Answer content-based question.

10:10: Shit, the morning coffee just hit me. I should’ve gone to the bathroom earlier.

10:19: I missed the point where I would normally say “Half an hour left—make sure you’ve begun all three sections if you haven’t already.”

10:20: The first student rises to turn in the exam.

10:21: I do a discreet check—he got 3/10 on the matching section. Wildly inauspicious.

10:26: The flood of students leaving has begun, including one who still has not turned in her first writing assignment. It was due 2.5 weeks ago, and I have already handed them back. Legally, she gets zero points. Extralegally, she can get up to 50% of the credit as long as she gives me something. It is very uncomfortable—she is backing away as I ask her what the plan in, then vows to turn it in today.

I do not think she is going to turn it in today. Whatever, it’s not 10% of my grade.

10:38: Asking “Will my handwriting be a factor?” as you turn it in is never a good sign.

10:39: A student smiles and crosses himself as he hands me his exam. I like a fellow Papist with a sense of humor.

10:45: Eight of the thirty remain. All up one seems surprisingly calm about the fact that in five minutes I will blow an air horn and loudly declare “TIME’S UP” as they weep for one more second.

10:48: The last student leaves. The air horn will have to wait for another day.

I’m still worried about the fact that no one emailed or came to office hours, that no one had questions asking me to clarify during the exam, that they just sat there and took it silently. Will this be a disaster of epic proportions?

Thursday Night

Don’t Watch This

{WSOC} Penn State at Indiana [5pm, BTN]
{WSOC} Ohio State at Purdue [7pm, BTN]
{WNBA} Connecticut Sun at Washington Mystics [7pm, ESPN2 — Game 5]
{NFL} New York Giants at New England Patriots [7:20pm, FOX]
Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors (9:30pm, NBATV)

Watch That

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at N.C. Central Eagles

5pm | ESPNU

Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros

6:07pm | FS1 | Game 5

Syracuse Orange at N.C. State Wolfpack

7pm | ESPN | NC State -5 | O/U 54

ULM Warhawks at Texas State Bobcats

8:15pm | ESPNU | ULM -3.5 | O/U 60.5

We’re meeting today at lunch with our mortgage lender to discuss whether we should refinance our home, which is always a swell feeling to be reminded not only by my wife but my mortgage lender—a friend and former co-worker—that I am a graduate student/university lecturer and make jack shit. It’s not a masculinity thing—I’m comfortable with the fact that my wife makes more than me (it’s 2019, fergoshsakes)—but when your yearly income is only five digits, you’d really like it to start with a crooked number.

Pay teachers more.

This will also be the place where I mention how proud I am of the Minnesota Twins. If there’s anything that unifies a state or players in a franchise across generations, it’s a collective inability to win sporting events. Now Joe Mauer and Nelson Cruz have something in common.

Couple of Game 5s tonight—WNBA finals at 7pm on ESPN2, Tampa-Houston on FS1 at 6. If the Rays do the damn thing I am going to be even angrier at the Twins. Fuck the Yankees.


Thursday night?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Syracuse-N.C. State
    (34 votes)
  • 22%
    (45 votes)
  • 1%
    ULM-Texas State
    (2 votes)
  • 13%
    (27 votes)
  • 5%
    (11 votes)
  • 18%
    Something else
    (37 votes)
  • 15%
    I think I’ll read a good book.
    (30 votes)
  • 7%
    I am Boilerman or WSR and will be having beers with MNW in the Northwest Metro.
    (14 votes)
200 votes total Vote Now

Friday Night

Don’t Watch This

Lafayette Leopards at Princeton Tigers [6pm, ESPNU]
#20 Virginia Cavaliers at Miami-Fluoride Hurricanes (-2, O/U 44) [7pm, ESPN]
{VB} Michigan State at #2 Nebraska [8pm, BTN]

Watch That

United States vs. Cuba

6pm | FS1

Colorado State Rams at New Mexico Lobos

7pm | CBSSN | CSU -3.5 | O/U 66.5

Colorado Buffaloes at #13 Oregon Ducks

9pm | FS1 | Oregon -21 | O/U 58

No matter how many times I spell out “Miami Fluoride”—a bit that remains unfunny but that I will keep doing, damnit—I still look at that word and think “there’s no way ‘Fluoride’ is spelled u-o.”

If I were the commissioner of the ACC, though, I’d be pissed that I rolled out a shiny new network, have the reigning College Football Playoff champion...and the two other ranked teams my shit conference can offer are Virginia and Wake Forest. VIRGINIA AND WAKE FOREST, GUYS. Watch the points roll up at Dreamstyle Stadium instead. Maybe Hollywood Hawk Hogan will be there with the Mrs.

There is no reason to watch Colorado get piss-pounded at Oregon save for the fact that (1) it’s football, and (2) it’s late and nothing else is on. AND SO WE WATCH.


If I’m not down at the local high school field in my letter jacket, I’ll be watching...

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (7 votes)
  • 17%
    (30 votes)
  • 5%
    Colorado State-New Mexico AND Colorado-Oregon
    (10 votes)
  • 26%
    Virginia-Miami AND Colorado-Oregon
    (45 votes)
  • 1%
    Just CSU-UNM
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    Just UVA-MFl
    (12 votes)
  • 17%
    Just Colorado-Oregon
    (31 votes)
  • 20%
    What’s on Eleven Sports Network?
    (35 votes)
173 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Morning

Don’t Watch This

South Carolina Gamecocks at #3 Georgia Bulldogs (-24.5, O/U 53) [11am, ESPN]
#16 Michigan Wolverines (-22, O/U 49) at Illinois Fighting Illini [11am, ABC]
Mississippi St. Bulldogs (-7, O/U 52.5) at Tennessee Volunteers [11am, SECN]
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Indiana Hoosiers (-28, O/U 49.5) [11am, BTN]
Miami-Hydroxide Redhawks at Western Michigan Broncos (-13, O/U 56) [11am, ESPNU]
Toledo Rockets (-26, O/U 64) at Bowling Green Falcons [11am, CBSSN]
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Duke Blue Devils (-17.5, O/U 48.5) [11:30am, ACCNx]
Drake Bulldogs at Butler Bulldogs [12pm, Facebook]

Watch That

#6 Oklahoma Sooners vs. #11 Texas Longhorns

11am | FOX | OKU -10.5 | O/U 75.5

#23 Memphis Tigers at Temple Owls

11am | ESPN2 | Memphis -6 | O/U 50.5

Maryland Terrapins at Purdue Boilermakers

11am | BTN | MD -3 | O/U 55.5

Bucknell Bison at Colgate Raiders

12pm | Stadium

It’s a lifelong dream of mine to watch an international soccer game on the Faroe Islands. Wave a flag, shout chants in a language I don’t understand, and boo Cristiano Ronaldo as he plays a serious match on some godforsaken rock in the Atlantic Ocean.

You might be wondering why “Bucknell vs. Colgate” is listed here. You see, while Lafayette (0-5) at Princeton (3-0) should be hilariously non-competitive on Friday night, Bucknell at Colgate should be an absolute travesty. The Bison are 0-5 (Sagarin 244), with an FBS loss to Temple and the rest FCS losses. The Raiders, at 0-6 (Sagarin 216) were tipped as a Patriot League contender to start the year, then were BTFO’d by Villanova in the opener and have a closest margin of defeat of 35-21 to Maine.

This is what DWT;WT is all about. SOMEONE has to win this.

Fairness in Rivalry Trophies Act: It’s Bowling Green! It’s Toledo! It’s the Battle for the Peace Pipe Trophy General Transportation-related Battle of I-75! This rivalry is so lopsided that it has a section on Wikipedia called “Recent Toledo domination.” The Rockets have not lost to the Falcons since 2009.

What, you thought I was going to talk about the three trophies of the Red River Shootout? Nah. Let’s find some new Monopoly pieces to celebrate.


No Premier League to hide behind; what’s on?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Red River Shootout
    (84 votes)
  • 14%
    My Big Ten team is playing at this time.
    (33 votes)
  • 23%
    (53 votes)
  • 3%
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    South Carolina-Georgia
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    International soccer’s on, though!
    (6 votes)
  • 19%
    what the fuck is happening here
    (44 votes)
228 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

Northern Iowa Panthers at North Dakota State Bison [1pm, ESPN+]
Old Dominion Monarchs at Marshall Thundering Herd (-16, O/U 46.5) [1:30pm, Facebook]
New Mexico State Aggies at Central Michigan Chippewas (-10.5, O/U 56.5) [2pm, ESPN3]
North Dakota Fighting Hawks at Idaho State Bengals [2:05pm, PlutoTV]
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-16.5, O/U 61.5) at #24 Texas A&M Aggies [2:30pm, CBS]
Florida State Seminoles at #2 Clemson Tigers (-27, O/U 60.5) [2:30pm, ABC]
Michigan State Spartans at #8 wisconsin badgers (-10.5, O/U 40) [2:30pm, BTN]
BYU Cougars (-6.5, O/U 51) at South Florida Bulls [2:30pm, CBSSN]
Kent State Golden Flashes (-14.5, O/U 57.5) at Akron Zips [2:30pm, ESPN3]
Northern Illinois Huskies at Ohio Bobcats (-7, O/U 49.5) [2:30pm, ESPN+]
UConn Huskies at Tulane Green Wave (-34, O/U 59) [2:45pm, ESPNU]
Texas Tech Red Raiders at #22 Baylor Bears (-11, O/U 58) [3pm, FS1]
San Jose State Spartans at Nevada Wolf Pack (-2, O/U 59) [3pm, AT&T Sports]
UNLV Rebels at Vanderbilt Commodores (-15, O/U 59) [3pm, SECN]
Iowa St. Cyclones (-10.5) at West Virginia Mountaineers [3pm, ESPN]
Rhode Island Rams at Virginia Tech Hokies [3pm, ACCN]
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Florida Atlantic Owls (-10.5, O/U 63.5) [3pm, ESPN+]
Idaho Vandals at Portland State Vikings [3:05pm, PlutoTV]
Georgia State Panthers at Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (-5.5, O/U 66.5) [4pm, ESPN+]

Watch That

Balls Tate Cardinals at Eastern Michigan Eagles

1pm | ESPN+ | EVEN | O/U 58

Washington State Cougars at #18 Arizona State Sun Devils

2:30pm | Pac-12 | EVEN | O/U 60

#25 Cincinnati Bearcats at Houston Cougars

2:30pm | ESPN2 | Cincy -7.5 | O/U 54.5

Cincinnati-Houston is a study in contrasts. The Bearcats did their go-round with former P5 coaches—I’m not counting Luke Fickell—like Tommy Tuberville, and schools like Houston apparently looked at them and thought “We see no problems; let’s give Holgorsen a go.”

Fairness in Rivalry Trophies Act: When the Golden Flashes and the Zips meet, you throw out the fucking record book. That’s right—the Wagon Wheel is on the line, and it demands your undivided attention.

Now imagine being a 14-point home dog to Kent State.


Saturday afternoon! MNW downs his seventh Marzen in New Ulm, and you turn on...

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    (12 votes)
  • 64%
    Michigan State-wisconsin
    (142 votes)
  • 4%
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    Balls Tate at THE FACTORY
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Alabama-Texas A&M
    (3 votes)
  • 4%
    Iowa State at West Virginia
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    don’t think i don’t see you slipping PlutoTV in there like it’s normal, you freak
    (12 votes)
  • 12%
    Save me an Oktoberfest, I’ll join you
    (28 votes)
221 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Evening

Don’t Watch This

South Dakota St. Jackrabbits at Youngstown St. Penguins [5pm, ESPN+]
UAB Blazers (-12.5, O/U 45) at Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners [5pm, ESPN+]
North Texas Mean Green at Southern Miss Golden Eagles (-3.5, O/U 58.5) [6pm, Facebook]
Army Black Knights (-4.5, O/U 42.5) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers [6pm, Stadium]
Massachusetts Minutemen at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (-33, O/U 60.5) [6pm, ESPN3]
Ole Miss Rebels (-11.5, O/U 58) at Missouri Tigers [6pm, ESPN2]
Charlotte 49ers at FIU Sunblazers (-5.5, O/U 61) [6pm, ESPN+]
Cal Poly Mustangs at UC Davis Aggies [6:05pm, Eleven]
USC Trojans at #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-11, O/U 59) [6:30pm, NBC]
Louisville Cardinals at #19 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (-6.5, O/U 65) [6:30pm, ACCN]
Arkansas Razorbacks at Kentucky Wildcats (-6.5, O/U 53.5) [6:30pm, SECN]
#7 Florida Gators at #5 LSU Tigers (-13.5, O/U 55) [7pm, ESPN]
#15 Utah Utes (-13.5, O/U 60) at Oregon State Beavers [7pm, Pac12]
{VB} Ohio State at #5 Penn State [7pm, BTN]

Watch That

Fresno State Bulldogs at Air Force Falcons

6pm | CBSSN | AFA -3.5 | O/U 51

#10 Penn State Nittany Lions at #17 Iowa Hawkeyes

6:30pm | ABC | PSU -3.5 | O/U 42

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Minnesota Golden Gophers (-7.5, O/U 49.5)

6:30pm | FS1 | Minn -7.5 | O/U 49

Navy Midshipmen at Tulsa Golden Hurricane

6:30pm | ESPNU | EVEN | O/U 51.5

It’s the return of Eleven Sports Network! Truth in advertising: I do not know whether Cal Poly or UC-Davis are actually good, but I know that from this recap of UC-Davis’s 38-36 loss to North Dakota at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, I have a few takeaways:

  • UND is coached by Bubba Schweigert. Not only is BUBBA a fantastic North Dakota Football Name, it’s also followed by Schweigert, which is the name of a Minneapolis sausage company that is now run from La Crosse. So you say “Bubba Schweigert” and I hear “BUBBA HOT DOG.”
  • The Fighting Hawks kicker nailed a career-long 46-yarder after the Aggies took a 36-35 lead by going for two instead of what would’ve been the tying PAT. On the ensuing drive a delay-of-game took the Aggies out of any shot at a 52-yard FG.
  • UC-Davis’s coach? Dan Hawkins! Let’s look at the former Boise State and Colorado man’s career:

I will let you decide which of those things is rock-bottom—Hawkins was also an analyst for ESPN for five years.

Part of me wonders if, for the next five years or so after Auburn and Mississippi State played to 3-2, if every year fans clamored for a repeat of that shitshow. Because we’re going on 15 years since Iowa did this to Penn State in Happy Valley, and the closest the two have come is a 13-3 Penn State win in 2011.

Perhaps some things are just supposed to be legends—like the M00N game. Have we run that into the ground, laughing about how Northwestern-Stanford should’ve been N00S or Sparty-Northwestern could’ve been S00N? Unless Northwestern and Purdue play to a scoreless half at Ryan Field, there’s no joy left in this for me.

Fairness in Rivalry Trophies Act: Doesn’t look like any historic rivalries I’ve heard of in this section. Bummer. So go donate to Chair-ity!

We’ll even give you a bonus, from FotB SpartyOnHuskers:


Another Saturday night...

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Penn State-Iowa
    (125 votes)
  • 38%
    (104 votes)
  • 0%
    Fresno-Air Force
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    USC-Notre Dame
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    (2 votes)
  • 6%
    (17 votes)
  • 2%
    Goddamnit, now Eleven Sports? REALLY?
    (6 votes)
268 votes total Vote Now


Which career stop should Dan Hawkins be most embarrassed about?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    University of Colorado
    (13 votes)
  • 3%
    Montreal Alouettes
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 21%
    US Men’s National Football Team
    (39 votes)
  • 24%
    Whatever the Vienna Vikings are
    (44 votes)
  • 8%
    Almost being Butch Jones’ OC at FIU
    (16 votes)
  • 34%
    Working for ESPN
    (64 votes)
183 votes total Vote Now

It’s late and I’m drunk...

Don’t Watch This

Washington Huskies (-6.5, O/U 58.5) at Arizona Wildcats [10pm, FS1]

Watch That

Hawaii Warriors at #14 Boise State Broncos

9:15pm | ESPN2 | Boise -12.5 | O/U 60.5

Wyoming Cowboys at San Diego State Aztecs

9:30pm | CBSSN | SDSU -3.5 | O/U 38!!!

Washington-Arizona probably should also qualify as “Watch That” because Arizona is dumb enough to give up lots of points and turn this into a high-scoring affair, but the Huskies are Just. So. Boring.

We make it no secret here or on Twitter of our love for DWT;WT Team of Choice Hawaii.

I don’t know much about Boise, save for they’re probably pretty decent and have a quarterback named Hank Bachmeier, which is an objectively-good Football Man Name. With my favorite Not-Actually-Divorced-Dad Nick Rolovich on the sidelines (seriously, he married his college sweetheart and I feel bad making those jokes, but he really looks like a guy who’s on Hawaii Life looking for a 2-bedroom condo for when his kids visit), Cole McDonald won’t have as much time to find Cedric Byrd II, but run-and-shoot is BACK, baby. Blue turf? DOOOOOON’T CARE. ‘Bows, 34-31.


It’s late! You head down to the neighborhood VFW. Enjoy those $3 Mich Golden Light taps—what’s on?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Hawaii-Boise State
    (61 votes)
  • 10%
    Wyoming-San Diego State
    (19 votes)
  • 9%
    (17 votes)
  • 18%
    Whatever the bartender has on; it’s all football at this point
    (33 votes)
  • 26%
    lol i passed out hours ago
    (47 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now

Enjoy the games.