With the NHL unable to get their shit together, a time normally dedicated to debating the Sabres lines and going on an NHL ’13 binge must be allocated elsewhere. With plenty of the deeg covering the comedy of errors that is the Buffalo Bills, I’ve decided to offer you something almost as good: a weekly column dedicated to previewing the week’s college football games. It’s almost as good in the way that college football is almost as good as the NFL. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
I know the local media hasn’t mentioned it much but the NHL lockout is still going on. It appears everyone on the roster is in Rochester, Europe, or slowly disappearing into the ether like the final scene of “The Sandlot.” Therefore you get another week of my college football wisdom, which I believe still qualifies as the least depressing topic we’ve covered in a few weeks. We got five matchups between ranked teams and even a CFL game to moisten your palate between now and Sunday’s likely debacle at whatever-the-hell-they-call-Candlestick-Park-now. Let me guess; it’s too early for you to care about college football what with Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman sucking the hockey life force out of you? Well no fear! I come bearing information you can actually use!
One of my closest friends is getting married in a few weeks and this Friday is his stag party. Having attended a large amount of these over the past several years for friends, friends of friends, and total strangers alike, I will offer you my expertise on what you need to know about what makes a perfect stag party because unless you are devoid of friends, you will eventually have to work on planning one of these things for a buddy, and you don’t want to be the dick who threw a lame-ass stag party. So here we go with just the tip(s) and of course, some notes on this week’s slate of games.
(13) USC at Utah- Thursday 9pm, ESPN
Why does a team from Utah always seem to show up in the weekly preview? I think they play interesting teams in an attempt to stay relevant. In any case, the last few weeks have shown us that the Pac-12 is pretty goddamn good. By my count they have five teams in the top 25 and if they end up beating each other up and missing out on the right to play Alabama in three months, it will be too bad. At the moment I have to assume something like that will happen but if you haven’t watched any Pac-12 football this year, you need to start.
Location: This isn’t difficult, but it is important. First, if you intend to have strippers, ensure that you will be allowed to have them at your location. Several years back my buddy found out the day before the stag that our proposed location wouldn’t allow any strippers and had to struggle to find a suitable replacement, which ended up being the basement of a now-burned down bingo hall, complete with rat feces in the hallway and forty dudes crammed into a space slightly larger than a jail cell. Remarkably it turned out to be a great time but could have been much worse. Basically, any fire hall, American Legion, VFW or member’s only bar with a banquet room should suffice. Ensure you have room for fifty or sixty people, and more importantly that the proprietor’s won’t give a shit about noise or anything like that. If they offer to do the post-stag cleanup themselves for a few extra bucks, jump on that. That stag I just mentioned? The best man was cleaning cheetos off the floor for forty-five minutes afterwards since the groom had been throwing them into an oscillating fan.
Hamilton at Edmonton- Friday, 9pm NBCSN
Consider this your PSA to do your part against the evil ESPN empire. Every morning I watch the former Versus’ highlights show and every evening I watch Sportstalk instead of the bloviating assholes on Around The Horn. Any time you find yourself bitching about one of The Buffalo News sportswriters, watch Woody Paige or Bomani Jones on this show for five minutes. These fucktards need to be sent to our embassies for use as human shields. Plus I’m getting sick of some snide asshole like Rovell tweeting about NBCSN’s numbers being in the tank, as if it’s because of quality and not the fact that ESPN panders to the most ignorant assholes in our society, the ones who make your ears bleed the second you start talking sports with them. Oddly enough, I think Mike Harrington would be a perfect addition to Around the Horn.
Invitees: This is simple: EVERYONE. Did some kid steal a bottle of liquor at a house party you threw when you were 19? He’s invited. Your mom’s boyfriend who’s never met the groom? He’s invited. The guy in your office who eats baked lays every day and crinkles the bag at such a volume you want to toss a grenade in his cubicle? Invited. The creepy alcoholic cousin who hits on a girl then calls her a whore when she politely declines his advances? Definitely invite him. The goal is to make money for the groom and the amount of men who will show up for an all-you-can-drink event for twenty or twenty-five bucks is staggering, and that’s with or without strippers. We don’t exactly pull in Romney money here in WNY; five hours of beer and food will bring in plenty. I’ve probably been to at least five stags where I had to ask multiple times who the fuck the groom was, and I doubt he would have taken offense given the two hundred bucks my friends and I donated to his big day.
(24) Northwestern at Penn State- Saturday Noon, ESPN
This is that weird part where you notice that had Penn State’s kicker not shit all over the field against Virginia, the Nittany Lions would be 4-1. Now they get a Northwestern team that is suddenly poised to become the sweethearts of the Big 10 on homecoming weekend and a fan whiteout, even if whiteouts for noon games are stupid. The grand marshall’s of this year’s homecoming parade? Terry and Kim Pegula of course, which is why I predict a Penn State victory for the first time all year, if for no other reason than the feel-good stories about the program that will cause every PSU hater to have a ragegasm.
“Oh sweet, Florida is good again,” said absolutely no one. Any place that erects a statue and plaque for a third-rate quarterback who simply says he’s going to try hard for the rest of the season needs to lose all state funding. In this week’s reminder that this school is located in Florida, remember that these are your future UF students. I can’t believe I’m rooting for a school that gave Josh Reed a “general studies” degree, but lesser of two evils I guess.
Music: Another simple yet important task. You ever stand in a room with a few dozen dudes just talking to each other? It’s a waste of your time, you might as well turn on fucking C-SPAN and make up a drinking game for it. Even if you have an outside event at a park shelter or something, make sure you can hook up an iPod or something. Make a playlist, whether that’s simply “Shots” by LMFAO on a loop or a death metal playlist because that’s the only thing that gets you in the mood for strippers, make a playlist. No one wants that Simple Plan album you bought in 2001 popping up on shuffle you overemotional douche. If you have a buddy in a band- that’s actually good- that wants to play, by all means let them. This happened at one of my friend’s stags last winter and was great.
(5) Georgia at (6) South Carolina- Saturday 7pm, ESPN
Ah yes, the teams in the SEC that haven’t been good long enough for us to develop an inherent loathing about them. Enjoy that while it lasts. If the winner of this game could be the SEC’s representative in the national championship I wouldn’t be mad, and if you appreciate cheering for the underdogs you should too. Oddly enough I’m partial to South Carolina in this matchup just because it’s sure to be a wild crowd and the Bulldogs’ best receiver tore his ACL in practice this week. That’s a state I’m totally okay seeing either on the football field or when they’re arguing about flying the most racist symbol aside from a klan-hood on their state capitol. They’re exotic to me, like Kandahar.
Prizes: Key. For your friends and the younger attendees, load up on liquor bottles, both top and bottom shelf. Crown, Jack, Evan Williams, hey throw some Black Haus and Rumple Mintz in there for fun. Odds are high that one or two of your buddies will win that bottle and subsequently end up passing it around after the raffle just in case the endless beer didn’t slobber you up enough. For the older guys, your typical gift cards to Best Buy, Home Depot, Tim Horton’s, even Red Lobster or Delta Sonic are good. Maybe some tools or whatever you can obtain. For everyone, sports memorabilia is a can’t miss, assuming you know your audience. Sabres and Bills jerseys (whichever isn’t currently in a lockout) is good, a pair of tickets, some autographed material, you’ll sell plenty of raffle tickets regardless. Shit I’ve won both a Steve Bernier autographed puck and a Terrance Mcgee autographed football. You could sign this shit and raffle it off.
Some stags throw in a special gift, like a beer-ymid with several cases of beer and a couple cheap bottles of booze, or a special beer fridge, or an authentic team jersey. All of these work and while the pricier ticket may not sell as many, you’ll definitely have your buyers.
(8) West Virginia at (11) Texas- Saturday 7pm, Fox
If you still have your Bills Geno Smith boner, please seek assistance. Also, please don’t attend any stag parties. Yes, last Saturday was one of the best quarterbacking performances you’ll ever see, but I’ve been down this road of getting excited for the quarterback’s in that year’s draft class only to see the Bills not pick one or pick a shitty one. Talk to me in April when Chan Gailey wastes a fifth round pick on some asshole from Toledo. Until then, just enjoy watching the Mountaineers, who have totally gained me as a fan. I mean fuck, if I gained 300 yards with a receiver in a video game, I’d start feeling guilty about either the level I was on or for not spreading the ball around to my fake players.
The Cornhuskers looked good coming back against Wisconsin last week even if their uniforms were hideous. As for the Buckeyes, I’m not exactly sure how a one-point win in East Lansing coupled with wins over titans like UAB, Cal, Central Florida and Miami of Ohio equals a ranking in the top-fifteen but then again I’m not a pollster. I can only assume that the media will continue to fawn over Urban Meyer for the rest of time or until Tebow is inevitably arrested for sexual assault. I don’t think a tattoo scandal should have eviscerated their program, but I do think it’s far too early to start swooning over the Buckeyes not missing a beat. Nebraska wins.
Boobs/Entertainment: Interestingly enough, I’ve found that if all the above elements are done right, it really doesn’t matter whether you have naked women at your stag or not. I mean really they only do their thing for an hour out of the evening and after the first twenty minutes you can usually check out for a smoke or catching up on your fantasy team until the last twenty minutes or so. However, if you do want to get strippers, there are some key things to consider, and I will attempt to parse these out to our readership without coming across like a misogynistic creeper.
First: Do your research. A lot of this can come from strippers you’ve seen at other stags. Did things get weird? Were limits few or practically non-existent? Then talk to their handler, because at least you know you’re getting a good show that won’t disappoint. Also, make sure you get two strippers, as one gets remarkably boring and can turn a little too voyeuristic with forty dudes staring at the same girl. If there’s requests from the groom in terms of the ethnicity of the stripper, do your best to assuage those requests but attempt to balance that with what they’re willing to do. Oftentimes they’ll pair a crafty vet with one of the new chicks which I’ve found is a good match, kind of like putting together a solid Ryder Cup pairing. You don’t want two vets, that’ll just make everyone depressed and nauseous, kind of like Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods.
Two: Have musical backup plans. At the aforementioned relocated stag, the stripper’s handler couldn’t get his little stereo to work and eventually asked for an iPod from one of the attendees. Unfortunately the only iPod anyone had was dead. So what did the strippers do without their go-to shedding clothes playlist? Well we put on Kiss 98.5 for their club music, and wouldn’t you know that they cut to commercial minutes into their grinding on the groom and best man. Yes, seeing strippers gyrate to the Celino and Barnes jingle is immensely hilarious but you become acutely aware of the dozens of adult men silently staring at the naked girls in front of you.
Three: Etiquette. Now, it is impossible to expect that everyone will be a deferential gentleman in front of the women that possibly just blew coke in the bathroom and are taking their clothes off for money. No worries, the girls are aware of this. I have one friend who spends most of the first twenty minutes or so yelling ridiculously misogynistic things from the 300’s, some ten feet away from the circle of chairs the girls are making their way around. It happens. Hell, a good “fart on him” from a random guy on the crowd will always get a laugh. If there’s certain- ahem- oddities about the entertainment, go ahead, point them out. If you’re one of the people that wants to sit in the front row, be aware that you may be asked by them to do something weird and/or gross. I won’t elaborate, but be aware.
Tip well. This should be obvious but I’ve been to a few stags where my buddies and I didn’t even know the groom that well and yet were spending the most on the strippers while his buddies wallets seemed to be super-glued shut. Remember this is for him more than it is you. If he wanted strippers, keep tossing out singles, in a proportion to how close of friends you are. This isn’t Mints, circa 2003 when you could get on stage with a looney so come prepared.
(23) Washington at (2) Oregon- Saturday 10:30pm ESPN
You thought I was going to preview Miami-Notre Dame? Fuck off. As you can tell, I love the Pac-12 this year. Last week I said that every few years a team from Washington pulls off a major upset against a top-10 team and what did they do? If you guessed exactly that, you’d be right, and we can disregard the fact that I ultimately thought Stanford was going to take down the Huskies. Now they find themselves in the top-25 and heading to Eugene to face the team of the radioactive jerseys. I still feel Oregon is going to lose a game, and I should feel confident in Washington based on what I saw last week, but I’m picking against them again. Oregon simply scores too many points, and holds on to the second spot just a little while longer.
POST-STAG: Congratulations! You’ve had some pizza, played some beer pong, won an autographed picture of Ville Leino along with a bottle of Absolut to drink before you set the picture on fire, and perhaps even seen some naked women. You’re now ready to head out on the town with your boys!
Or are you? Did you chug half a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and now find yourself puking everywhere? Someone should call your wife and give you a garbage can to puke in. Did you show any restraint at all to avoid being that kid who gets the ambulance called to his dorm the first weekend of college? Then you’re ready to go out! If you don’t have a family or a career to be concerned with, then you’re generally in the clear. Even if you get rowdy it’s likely to be chalked up to a youthful indiscretion, but otherwise be careful. I’d never really bought into that drunken, testosterone-fueled male gang mentality you hear about when some crazies beat the shit out a homeless guy or a brawl erupts at the Ralph, but after years of stag parties, I am inclined to believe such a thing may exist; therefore, concentrate on not getting arrested, if you can concentrate on anything.
If you’ve made it to either your bed or your late night food stop by four am, you’ve done well. If you follow the formula set out above, odds are everyone had a great time and the groom pulled in some substantial booty to put toward his honeymoon. Now you can spend the next day doing what I intend to be doing Saturday- sleeping it off and watching college football!
Obligatory Depressing Bills Prediction: 49ers 35 Bills 17