'Playoff Castoffs,' coming this winter

icon
Wednesday July 11th, 2012

Two more hours of ESPN college football programming means two more hours of possible Lee Corso sightings.

Did the Huntsville Times just portend the next great leap forward in reality television programming?

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama --Nick Saban figures there's one certainty about the new college football playoff scenario. There will be "a two-hour ESPN show on who got left out," he said.

Far be it for us to fail to heed the auguries of Saban (or to dare to meet his gaze directly): A sister program to our summer hit, the Selection Committee Selection Show, is clearly called for. Run it in that dead stretch of actionless time in the days between the Army-Navy Game and the New Mexico Bowl.

First Segment: Man vs. Self

We open on a tight shot of Tom Rinaldi, clad in an exquisite white tuxedo and oversized silver platform sneakers, seated at a grand piano on a turntable that rotates at a sedate speed. Casually, with effortless grace, he ripples through a sonata of unknown origin. The camera pulls back to reveal Dabo Swinney, unproud head coach of a 12-1 Clemson squad. He stands on a scale model indoor football field. Around his neck is a veterinary Elizabethan collar. "Explain what you saw that the committee didn't in the ACC Championship Game," Rinaldi probes. Mechanized animatronic football players rise out of the turf, but Swinney, hampered by the collar, cannot place his whistle in his mouth to activate the simulation. His screaming will haunt you for all your nights to come.

Second Segment: Man vs. Nature

In a soundproof booth, on hidden camera, Gary Pinkel is informed he can bump Mizzou's strength of schedule up one slot in next year's rankings for every exotic poisonous insect he selects and eats. He gobbles the entire tray without question. Doesn't even take a sip of water.

Third Segment: Man vs. Man

Rinaldi's hands shift on the ivories, and the familiar strains of "Rocket Man" fill the studio. Mack Brown appears, descending from the rafters on a flower-covered swing, and alights on a small circle of parquet dance floor. "Can you describe, in vivid detail, how it felt to once again have the Longhorns be mired in a three-way tie for division champs?" Rinaldi asks. "Tom, I've given this some soul-searching," Brown replies, "and I'd like to express my feelings through the power of dance." Brown begins a deft tap-dance on the pedestal, whirling with ever-increasing speed, to ever-increasing applause, until a wooden hook from offstage drops a banana peel labeled "IOWA STATE" directly in his path. He tumbles off the pedestal into darkness. Paul Rhoads screams out from the audience, "I AM SO PROUD OF THIS BANANA PEEL RIGHT NOW."

Fourth Segment: Man vs. Society

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.