Posted April 25, 2012

Coaches at play: Handicapping the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge

ACC, Big Ten, Charity Golf, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Dabo Swinney, Dan Mullen, Derek Dooley, Frank Beamer, Frank Spaziani, Gus Malzahn, Houston Nutt, Hugh Freeze, Jim Grobe, Larry Coker, Larry Fedora, Mark Richt, Mike London, Nick Saban, Paul Johnson, Randy Edsall, SEC, Steve Spurrier, Tom O'Brien, Urban Meyer

Paul Johnson and Jon Barry won the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament. Paul Johnson is clearly as bewildered as we are to learn he excels at the serene sport of golf. (Abell Images)

The Chick-fil-A Bowl’s annual charity golf tournament kicks off this weekend, forcing 16 ACC and SEC skippers to mute their phones (probably), partner up with celebrity alums from their current programs and battle for scholarship dollars in the carefully sculpted wilds of Georgia. The pairings for the main event have been released. We have some thoughts.

Tennessee's Derek Dooley fences an invisible Phil Fulmer. (Abell Images)

• Derek Dooley’s team placed second in last year’s tournament. Would a victory over partner Tom O’Brien here negate the disturbing scoreboard omen that popped up during Saturday’s spring game?

• Pairing most likely to finish the afternoon with several clubs mangled by human teeth: noted nail-spitters Frank Beamer and Nick Saban.

• It is a cultural tragedy on par with the death of the laserdisc that history didn’t align to pair Jeffy Bowden and Larry Coker in Group 3. The repartee!

• Mike London was clearly paired with Randy Edsall to keep him from wandering off the course toward a “dream tournament,” but will ask to transfer to another pairing before the tournament even begins.

• Somewhat unadventurous of the organizers not to pair Steve Spurrier and Dabo Swinney here, however prudent. They could’ve reenacted the final explosive seen from Caddyshack without dynamite.

• Nobody has ever made a really good Jim Grobe joke, and we don’t intend to start now.

• Paul Johnson and Urban Meyer (whose presence here means we get to count every Buckeyes conference win this fall as an SEC victory over the Big Ten) are listed as a “coach rivalry pairing.” This is entirely accurate. They are rivals at glowering. Urbz will convince Jon Barry to join his team by the sixth hole.

• Larry Fedora and Spurrier will fall down the leaderboard after being distracted by their territory-marking contest, which will cover the majority of the course and end in an emotionally unsatisfying tie.

• Dan Mullen vs. Hugh Freeze is the Homer-Flanders matchup here. Spiritual Ole Miss athletic director Sean Tuohy is Reverend Lovejoy.

• Mark Richt and Frank Spaziani, not listed here, will spend the weekend playing foosball in the clubhouse. Richt wins. Georgia loses some bad football games, but not 2012 Boston College bad.

Participants for several of the sideshow events include Kellen Winslow, Ralph Friedgen, Gus Malzahn, Houston Nutt, Alge Crumpler, Dikembe Mutumbo and Dave Neal. If anybody needs us, we’ll be staking out seats at the hotel bar, so as to have a front-row view if David Greene decides to pitch D.J. Shockley into the lake. Chick-fil-A branded chicken fighting will ensue.

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