Marching bands are part of what separates the college game from its oppressively corporate, sterile pro counterpart, but as far as halftime shows go, most fall into the category of eminently forgettable wankery in the face of otherwise depressing apathy. Just do the fight song, and the other one that's not really the fight song but we do every time anyway, and for heaven's sake, stop playing when the offense has the ball. At Michigan, for example, apparently the halftime show to close the season against Ohio State involved some sort of tribute to, or perhaps even performance by, Cirque de Soleil. Okay, whatev. Play football.
If you're not the Sonic Boom, don't even try.
- - -
Graham left Rice for Tulsa after just one season. His Golden Hurricane defeated Rice 48-43 to win the C-USA West Division title. Tulsa plays Central Florida for the conference championship Saturday.
The band's show depicted a search for the former Owls coach through different circles of Hell -- based on Dante's "Divine Comedy."
The Tulsa World reported Tuesday that the show ended by calling Graham an offensive name over the public address system.
- - -
To find out, I put in a call to Tulsa's media department, where a very nice representative took my number, actually called me back and, going above and beyond the call of communications assistant duty, directed me to the Web site of the Marching Owl Band, which contains the following transcript:
Announcer: The MOB decided it was high time to give Todd Graham a piece of our mind. We searched high and low, asking "Where the hell is Todd Graham?" Lucky for us, we found Dante, wandering in a dark wood, who told us we should be asking: "Where in Hell is Todd Graham?"
2nd Circle: Your Mom
Announcer: We knew he wasn't in Limbo (since he had no spine), so we started our search in the second circle of Hell. We didn't find Todd Graham among the adulterers but your mom suggested we go lower.
4th Circle: Franchione in Hell
Announcer: We thought we might find Todd Graham in the fourth circle with the greedy and the avaricious, but he was nowhere to be found. However, we did find his shredded Rice contract -- leading like breadcrumbs into the inferno -- and there, gathering the pieces, was Dennis Franchione.
8th Circle: A River (of poo) Runs Through It
Announcer: Since he had made all those pretty speeches about how much he loved Rice and would never, ever leave, we were sure to find Todd Graham with the flatterers in the eighth circle, wallowing in donkey dung. But the damned said they'd had enough of his B.S.
Announcer: And lo, The MOB descended to the ninth circle of Hell -- home of traitors and the Prince of Lies. Yet, of Todd Graham, there still was no sign. Cautiously, we approached Satan to inquire.
Demon: Todd Graham?! That oaf knows better than to hope for the sweet release of my ninth circle.
Announcer: We thought him scum, to be sure, but did he deserve an eternity beyond Hell's greatest depths?
Demon: If you wish to see his fate... come.
Announcer: A twisted path led down to a door, blackened by flame, inscribed with three frightful words: Welcome. To. Tulsa.
Announcer: You know, that reminds me of a joke: A priest, a nun, and a rabbi walk into a bar. Now, I forgot how the rest of it went, but I think in the end Todd Graham is a douchebag.
Offended parties are instructed to send complaints to, quote, "your mom at mob dot rice dot E-D-U."
To recap: noncontextual French-Canadien bizarro acrobatics? No. Hyper-contextual Medieval revenge parody referencing "averice" and "donkey dung"? A million times yes. Hats off to you, Marching Owls Band. See you when your suspension ends in 2016.