Quickly, a couple of the most recent bits of what SMQ missed during his hiatus:
• First prize for most idealistic new head coach is in the mail for the office of Randy Shannon, who is turning in a virtuosic performance in his attempt to remake the proud tradition of undaunted thuggishness at `Da U,' embodied first by the fatigue-clad machismo of the Jimmy Johnson era, the recreational drug use under Dennis Erickson, the persistent legal troubles of former `Canes Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis and Sean Taylor, among others, a two-year stint on probation in the mid-nineties and even a mascot who once drew a fifteen-yard unsportsmanlike penalty against Florida in the 2001 Sugar Bowl. Larry Coker's seemingly clean run culminated in a season of ex-player-approved brawling and gunplay ranging from the relatively minor (Brandon Meriweather's retaliatory shots in the preseason) to the completely tragic (the murder of Bryan Pata not far from the small arsenal in his apartment).
Randy Shannon wants no more Hurricanes misbehavin’.
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• The Wizard of Odds is appalled at the implications, but Orson at EDSBS more accurately nailed the comedic futility of USC's "White Power" page, and SMQ has only to add for the shocked (shocked!) that such a lame grab for ironic laughs is a regular feature of lowbrow campus yuks and the very predictable result of aggressively post-postmodern, lazy Family Guy-style humor, which thrives on the premise that the reference is funny enough. The ridiculous USC version happens to be an extreme example with less inhibition and even less of an attempt at actual comedy than any of the lame modern shock cartoons catering to the college/stoner set - Sarah Silverman is playing it to the hilt and damn, even the latest episode of South Park advanced some incoherent mush about social response to racism - but SMQ remains certain everything bad in the world over the next three decades will be somehow traceable to Family Guy. If the thorough shaming of a sexually confused Brian Cushing is a necessary part of the process of public awareness and eventual cultural eradication of this tired rhetorical menace, then his role is for the ultimate good.
• For the record, SMQ will not tolerate the premise of a Florida-Ohio State championship in basketball, too, a result that should rightly lead to some sort of antitrust investigation. Is this not America? Florida and Ohio State have football, Duke and Kansas have basketball, and ne'er the twain shall meet. Not in the same calendar year, anyway. (Gratuitous and mostly ignorant final pick: Georgetown, carrying the torch for the true basketball school, nevertheless falls to no-longer-bored Florida. The Gators winning is cool as long as it's not in a championship redux with OSU. And vice versa).