Take some feel-good newsbits and unserious readings with you into the first bleak weekend of this interminable offseason. We'll get through this together, I swear, by the blood of Terry Bowden.
• Speaking of the offseason: It's here. And it's horrific. Pre-Snap Read is here to help, with 230-item to-do list to while away the winter, spring and summer with tasks from the practical ("Make a new set of house keys") to the conciliatory ("Go to one NBA game — but that’s it") to the fantastical ("Imagine ’95 Nebraska against 2011 Alabama") to the downright goofy ("Don’t use chewing tobacco for a month").
• Here's one way: How many paranoia-induced patterns can you spot in the last AP Poll of the 2011 season? Re-rank the one-loss teams. Re-rank the four-loss teams. Marvel that Cincinnati is in there at all. We killed an hour with this at breakfast, easy.
• The greatest downtime distraction returns: The Fulmer Cup makes its triumphant re-entrance onto the national scene, with a couple false alarms already on the books
but no official points tallied after three days and change. We spoke too soon! Great hustle, South Carolina! C'mon, Ohio State, get with it! Urban Meyer's your coach now and everything!
• Not strictly college football, but necessary: Andiambro! Stephen Garcia prepares for the NFL, wherein he is forced by circumstance to act like he is sorry for being a cut-up college kid all those times during his tenure with the Gamecocks. We remain devastated by his departure from the South Carolina football team because we really wanted to see Steve Spurrier ride to his second consecutive division title on the skills of a quarterback he so openly disdained.
• Not strictly whimsy, but necessary: Eric LeGrand's rehabilitation progress continues to warm even the most pitted of hearts.
• Totally counts as whimsy: The Big East and West Virginia are going into mediation over WVU's desire to depart the conference with all haste. After seeing the Orange Bowl, and with the Big East fielding a crop of better-than-average defenses but offenses that cannot hope to keep up with the Airraid in full flower, who wants to play WVU so badly next year anyhow?
• Terry Bowden fills out his staff: That's all. We just continue to be tickled that Terry Bowden is back. Terry Bowden is the only Bowden with a D-I head coaching gig for the 2012 season. Just let that marinate. • Etc: Dang, James Franklin, just imagine how deep it's gonna get once you put together a winning season. The fresh-ink swelling on Nick Hill's arm just adds dimensionality to the clouds, don't you think? Mountaineer fans, you'll want to keep this close to hand. Miami's Threadless contest shirt looks like a normal Miami shirt, while Auburn's could've been designed by the timeless folks at No Fear. And as astute as Mike Locksley is at recruiting, he's got nothing on his own agent's prowess at contract negotiations.