Well, this season certainly saved its best for last, tart-wise. True, no one in college football could match the real Tart of the Week. That honor belongs to Peloton, for its stunningly weird and tone-deaf holiday commercial that features, in the words of Twitter user @ClueHeywood, a “116-lb woman’s YEARLONG journey to becoming a 112-lb woman,” and a large dose of potentially unhealthy relationship dynamics. However, in the best tradition of the internet, the gaffe has launched many, many memes—you can see my favorite parody here:
when my husband gets me a Peleton for Christmas ........ pic.twitter.com/Z2d3ewMhPu— Eva Victor (@evaandheriud) December 2, 2019
Oh America. We’re so fucked.
Thump would also like me to note that he self-nominated for Tart of the Week on the basis of believing in Illinois for even a minute, but you’ve probably already read enough about that in various comment sections this week. Suffice to say that
On to the tartiness, shall we?
In Which a Husker Thinks He is Leonardo DiCaprio and Acts His Ass Off, While Falling On It
There were a lot of issues with the officiating with this game, as your friendly neighborhood Hawkeye fan will be delighted to remind you ad nauseam, so perhaps Jack Stoll simply felt that things needed to be sold particularly hard to a crew that at times appeared to not really get it. Whatever the reason, when A.J. Epenesa jumped a little too early, Stoll made certain the officials saw it, with a full-on, Mario-Kart-banana-peel flourish:
In my opinion, the best part is Epenesa’s exasperated reaction.
Still, in terms of Husker players randomly falling down at the line of scrimmage, he’s still second fiddle to whichever Cotton this was. GOAT.
In Which Michigan Does the Unthinkable
Or, if not the unthinkable, the certainly inexplicable. Take a moment and click through this series of events:
You can watch it unfold at speed here. After bringing down OSU’s J.K. Dobbins, Michigan defenders Aidan Hutchinson and Carlo Kemp work together to... untie and remove Dobbins’ shoe? Their motives remain unclear—as my colleague Jesse Collins noted, “Was it planned? Was there a reason? Do they think he can’t just put it back on?” Truly, we have many questions.
But Jim Harbaugh, in spite of his claims to be answering questions, apparently found this only another insult, and the origins of the laughably ineffective defensive tactic remain mysterious.
In Which a MACtion Official Shows He’s Been Eating His Wheaties
Or, in the words of the ESPN announcer, perhaps he’d been eating too much turkey. In any event, Popeye here got a little too tough with the first-down marker:
”Somebody had a little too much turkey!”— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 29, 2019
The ref really broke the chain off the first-down marker. pic.twitter.com/EIqqaZmmEQ
Credit to the officiating crew here though—they got this sorted out pretty quickly. If this happened in the Nebraska-Iowa game, they’d still be playing.
In Which Mike Leach is Scolded Forcefully by the Lt. Governor of Washington
First, I want to point out that my favorite part of this story was learning that Washington’s Lt. Governor is named Cyrus Habib. That’s an incredible name, something that should be, and possibly is, a character in a 19th century novel or possibly a student mentioned in passing at Hogwarts. It’s magnificent. So was the dressing down that Cyrus Habib gave to Mike Leach, who demontrated that if it is possible to have less than zero filter, that is his actual situation:
Apple Cup day ends with the Lt. Gov yelling at Mike Leach. Okay then! pic.twitter.com/dimhXdtnJP— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) November 30, 2019
I’d come down harder on Leach, but to be honest, half of you say those same words to me and the other “writers” on the regular, and we let it slide. However, now that I know Cyrus Habib is fighting the good fight, perhaps we’ve found the authority we need to fight back!
In Which The Hat Game Delves into Philosophical Musings
Namely, the two schools pondered the question: “If Northwestern and Illinois play a game, but no one is there to see it... did it really happen?” I don’t know the answer, never having been much for philosophy, but I do know that not very many people saw this game:
To be fair, further down that Twitter thread, someoneposted a photo of the stands under the upper deck, and it is significantly less sparse. We probably shouldn’t blame the Illinois fans, given how this one turned out—the Illini managed to lose to an absolutely putrid Northwestern team in terrible conditions. If you forced someone to go to this game, it would probably be a violation of the Geneva Convention. Nevertheless, given Illinois’ absolute futility in recent years and their nearly miraculous previous month, it’s a bit disappointing that a few more fans didn’t turn out.
In Which What Happens in Reno Does Not Stay in Reno
I don’t know if this is entirely notable other than the fact that it was a massive brawl and one in which coaches and officials had a really difficult time bringing things under control. The Battle for Nevada (which... why?) had an exciting conclusion, as 4-8 UNLV defeated 7-5 Nevada courtesy of a nice catch by Steve Jenkins. The score helped UNLV to a 33-30 win, and things got a little testy from the Nevada folk...
(Please note that this video is awesome with the sound on, but also contains melodious phrases like “pu$$y-ass pimp” being yelled by grown men, so you know, maybe be careful where you listen to this.)
Best video I’ve seen of the fight. Appears Nevada’s Austin Arnold threw the first punch (a punch from behind on UNLV’s quarterback). Kenyon Obland might have said something to spark it, but that punch led to the brawl.— Chris Murray (@MurrayNSN) December 1, 2019
Even as the melee begins to break up, several UNLV players can be seen absolutely not desescalating the situation by taunting the Nevada crowd in the stands.
However, the very best part? The guy at the :45 second mark who yells in absolute futility “Stop fighting!” Something tells me that guy has kids.
In Which Auburn Fans are Overcome by Nature
As you may have heard, Auburn defeated Alabama 48-45, thus handing Alabama its second “quality loss” of the season, thereby proving that Alabama remains the best team in college football. It was a thrilling game even for the unaffiliated, and Auburn fans, understandably, were overcome with emotion at the end of it. This led to many of them rushing the field.
Or trying to, anyway.
You see, Auburn’s Jordan-Hare stadium features some lovely field-adjacent landscaping in the form of a tidy row of hedges. These hedges, presumably mostly designed for their aesthetic appeal, prove to have put up more of a defense than either team on the field did throughout the entire game. If only Southerners had recognized the defensive advantages of hedges in 1861, we might not have to admit that Mississippi is part of the country today. Alas.
First, we have the thrilling tale of Cheryl and Kathy, two women who enjoy wine, wine-themed decor, and anything related to Chip and Joanna Gaines:
When rushing the field goes wrong... pic.twitter.com/kXhIId7juE— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) December 1, 2019
Cheryl is able to fight her way through, but Kath has a harder go. Still, Kath perseveres, and exhibits an impressive high kick as she attempts to free herself—her yoga classes are really paying off.
Next, the hedges claimed a more intrepid adventurer, a woman so bold as to leap into scratchy foilage while wearing a midriff top (ouch). It did not end well:
The look on her face at the end pic.twitter.com/8wbZVT2h2M— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) December 1, 2019
Her face at the end, with those pleading eyes peeking between the vicious leaves, is everything we never knew we needed. Let’s also give a shout out to the CBS camera operator who recognized the beauty of the moment and stuck with this story to its glorious finale.
Luckily, while we do not know if Kathy ever escaped the hedges, we know that the young woman above did, because (of course) she tweeted about it. She seems to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. While it lacks the cinematographical value of the CBS shot, we have to salute the effort:
Thoughts and prayers to Kathy, and also to the Auburn groundskeepers.
In Which Miming Peeing in the Endzone Shockingly Turns Out to be a Poor Decision
If you follow college football at all, you’ve already seen this, because it’s quite possibly the all-time King of Tarts. Facing off in the Egg Bowl,
our nation’s shame the state of Mississippi annually enjoys the heated rivalry between Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
The game was tight and tense, and Ole Miss trailed in the final minute of the game. The Rebels (and this is another reason I love this—if you’re still calling yourself “the Rebels” in 2019, you deserve to lose everything always amen) were facing a 4th and 24, and the situation looked grim. However, displaying the defensive prowess the SEC has been known for this season, Mississippi State allowed a conversion and then gave up a touchdown to Elijah Moore with only four seconds remaining.
And here is where Elijah Moore streamed into the memories of college football fans everywhere. He chose for his celebration to mime a dog peeing on the MSU logo:
It was not cute, and was of course met with a 15-yard penalty, as it would have been even if it had been a less creative “celebration.”
The problem, as Moore and his teammates soon discovered, was that this was not a go-ahead touchdown. The touchdown merely set up the possibility for a tie and a chance in overtime. After the touchdown and penalty, Ole Miss still trailed by one point. And Moore had just added 15 yards to the extra point attempt.
Because the football gods are occasionally just, Ole Miss missed the extra point.
Ole Miss celebrated a TD pretending to pee like a dog, which was a penalty...and then missed the longer extra point and lost by 1 pic.twitter.com/PrGOP3yeVZ— Someone's An Idiot (@SomeonesAnIdiot) November 29, 2019
I’m not sure how you face your locker room after that happens. You have to assume your teammates would be a mite pissed off. Especially when you didn’t exactly have a stellar day before that:
That’s… not how it works. pic.twitter.com/aa4yK29qKQ— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 29, 2019
No, this is a day Elijah Moore would undoubtedly like to forget. Unfortunately for him, it’s a day no one else is likely to.
That brings us to the end of Tarts for the regular season! Let’s have one final go of voting, shall we?
Who Tarted Hardest?
This poll is closed
Nebraska’s Flop of the Decade
Michigan’s Shoe Vendetta
MACtion Refs Hulk Out
Cyrus Habib vs. Mike Leach
If a Game is Played in an Empty Stadium, Did Anyone See It?
Fighting for Nevada
The Mighty Hedges of the South
Ole Miss is Pissed Off