Jury prize for unparalleled excellence in entertainment. Michigan-Notre Dame 2011 is less than 48 hours old and already destined for the cult classic pantheon. Ever play the “wouldn’t it be crackers if …” games during time-outs and commercial breaks, concocting wild and impossible scenarios in which you might get to see cheat-code-caliber play unfold on a real college football field? All of that happened tonight, in an after-dark romp in Ann Arbor that was a schematic low point for both the Wolverines and Fighting Irish but a high-water mark for disinterested third parties basking in pure spectacle. Just look at Denard Robinson’s stat line. If Stewart Mandel hadn’t been there himself, I’d have said they played this game on a soundstage. I believe this game actually happened like my great-uncle believes in the moon landing, which is to say despite overwhelming evidence — and my own eyes — I’m still not sure it actually happened. But oh, what a night.
Best actual award. T.Y. Hilton, your Walter Camp offensive player of the week.
Best speechified cat metaphor, Big South Conference (or anywhere). The Pat White Memorial Cat Noise Trophy is awarded to Coastal Carolina head coach David Bennett, whom I seriously hope lands a I-A job someday, especially if he intends to keep talking like this. As an owner of multiple trollsome cats and dogs who enjoy acting spoiled, I can sympathize at the thought of attempting to coach them into a football team.
Best animated short. The wicked SEC partisans of Adult Swim tacked this jaunty T-Pain’d tune onto the end of the Squidbillies’ season premiere.
Best pre-game diversion. These fine young people engaged in a little … jousting? … on Florida State‘s campus in the hours leading up to kickoff.
Best in-game diversion. Patrons attending the Tennessee-Cincinnati game were able to witness the construction of Derek Dooley’s orange trousers!
Best halftime diversion. The Rice band, forming the International Space Station on the field, no big deal.
Best traveling horde. Crimson Tide fans showed up strong in Happy Valley.
Best missed assignment. De’Anthony Thomas‘ accidental 69-yard touchdown.
Fastest-canceled new Longhorn Network game show. “What Was That, Garrett Gilbert?”
Best Ghostbusters III fanfiction. There’s a wire or something attached to the top of levitating Justin Hunter’s helmet here, right? Spookay!
Best school ad. BYU, willing to endanger Steve Young for some media buzz. Edgy!
Worst first aid. Mizzou fans wanting to banish memories of their time in Tempe will have to pony up a cool $40 to watch the Tigers beat up on Western Illinois.
Best divine intervention, graven idol category. That new CyHawk trophy? Lasted about as long as its reviled predecessor.
Thinnest-veiled portent of things to come. Jadeveon Clowney, you are to be feared.
Best in-stadium camouflage. Unknown Ohio State fan, we salute you.