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Rumorology Round 1: Rumor Roulette

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A catch-all for some of the college football tales that don’t fit into other categories.

2013 Heisman Trophy Presentation - Press Conference Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Let’s finish out our rumor bracket’s first round with a cross-section of all-time great college football-related rumors that just don’t really fit into any of our other categories.

Ladies and gentlemen, our rumor roulette.

Note — I made a change to our sixth seed, subbing in a certain LSU rumor that’s far more juicy then talk of Barry Alvarez calling in plays as Wisconsin’s athletic director.


1. 1/9/12

It’s a date that will live on forever among LSU fans. The day that the Tigers’ dream 2011 season ended with the wettest of farts. A 21-0 shutout in the BCS title game to Alabama, one that saw what had been an inspired LSU squad look completely listless and uninterested, a quality that only heightened as the ugly game trudged on.

In the aftermath, it all just seemed so unreal compared to the team we saw for the previous 13 games, and fans were more than happy to offer any legion of theories to explain it. Les Miles’ refusal to attempt to change quarterbacks while Jordan Jefferson flailed and floundered with Jarrett Lee sitting on the bench was a natural talking point. Rumors that players were similarly frustrated begat rumors of an open argument in the halftime locker room. That got specific involving senior offensive linemen T-Bob Hebert and Jefferson, with some implying it was a borderline race riot with white players backing Lee and black players Jefferson.

Hebert, now a Baton Rouge media personality, has frequently denied the rumors, as have other members of the 2011 team. But it seems that some LSU fans are determined to keep them alive forever.

2. Joey Freshwater

Ah, Lane Kiffin. College football’s favorite wunderkind coordinator’s colorful lifestyle and carefree personality has always led to its share of rumors. But he’ll never quite live down this rumored monicker, true or false.

During his stint at Alabama’s offensive coordinator, talk began to surface that Kiffin was known to frequent the college bars on Tuscaloosa’s strip, trolling for...companionship, as well as some other possibly illicit activities. Of course, he’s not exactly inconspicuous, but when asked for his name, he reportedly offered “Joey Freshwater.”

Why? I’m not sure, that’s really a question you ask Lane Kiffin.

3. Manziel vs. McCarron

In the summer of 2013, reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was the toast of college football, and already developed a reputation as a partier. So when he was sent home from a counseling gig at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La., after a late night in New Orleans caused him to oversleep and miss morning meetings, many weren’t suprised.

When things got interesting was in later weeks with the report that Manziel’s roommate, Alabama QB A.J. McCarron, had purposely let Manziel sleep in without waking him for the meeting, reportedly out of jealousy due to Manziel’s heightened celebrity. McCarron, of course, had just led Alabama to its second straight national title, and had his model girlfriend called out by Brent Musberger on national TV.

The two exchanged some terse comments at SEC Media Days, but nothing was ever really proven. One rumor even suggested that McCarron had woken up extra early to help sneak a lady friend out of the room. We’ll never know the truth, but it suffice to say these two will never send each other birthday cards.

4. Oklahoma and Texas to the Pac-12

Conference realignment rumors remain one of the hottest topics in the game, even with TV contracts keeping things relatively stable for at least the next few years. But in 2010/11 it really got heavy, as it talk that the Big 12 was completely falling apart got hot and heavy.

Chief among the many rumors were that the conference’s two heavies, Texas and Oklahoma, were looking to jump about as far as it gets — all the way to the joining the Pac-12.

In the end, the Big 12 did lose two teams — Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC — but many still believe there’s an eventual future for the Longhorns and the Sooners to add some West Coast partners in some form or fashion.

5. Brodie Croyle dies in a hunting accident

This was as random as it gets. Shortly before his senior season at Alabama, during the dog days of summer, a very brief — it was quickly quashed — rumor went around that quarterback Brodie Croyle had been killed, tragically, while on a hunting trip with family in South America. It was just random and juicy enough to catch fire, but it also didn’t take long to burn out.

6. “Those assholes with numbers on their helmets...”

Sometimes, with the right accelerant, message board rumors burn hot enough to catch some mainstream media attention, no matter how wild they may seem.

During the 2002 regular season, following LSU’s last second win over Kentucky, a post appeared on some board — I believe it originated on an Alabama forum — that then-LSU coach Nick Saban went off on a profane rant in front of his team to prepare them for an upcoming matchup with the Crimson Tide.

The “speech” was laced with profanity, notably a line referring to the Tide as “those assholes with numbers on the sides of their helmets,” along with copious references to cheating (Bama was on NCAA probation at the time, and were banned from the postseason). The writing was detailed, including a “get the fuck out of here, Jordy” line, a reference to then-LSU radio network sideline reporter Jordy Hultberg. The whole thing was larger than life, and made very little sense to anybody with any knowledge of Saban or how he typically motivates his players, but this is Alabama we’re talking about. The Boston Sports Fans of college football are nothing if not thirsty for the idea of disrespect. It caught enough traction that Paul Finebaum discussed it on his radio show and insisted that Saban make an appearance to refute it. In fact, after the Tide shut out Saban’s Tigers the following weekend, Bama coach Dennis Franchione reportedly chastised Saban in a postgame handshake.

7. West Virginia in Conference Realignment

The West Virginia Mountaineers proved to be one of the great hot potatoes of conference realignment as the Big East fell apart. Rumors linked them to the SEC and ACC — and the school certainly made efforts with both leagues — but they ultimately wound up in the Big 12.

A few years later, as the Big 12 remained unstable, Twitter member @DudeofWestVirginia circulated a random series of tweets insisting that the conference’s move to the ACC was imminent, even suggesting that the move would have the pull to bring Notre Dame into the league as a permanent member as well.

8. Corndogs

Anyone reading this site has certainly heard it before, and we’re at nearly 20 years of staying power at this point. Some time around the turn of the century an Auburn fan got ahold of a chain email from Oklahoma fans making fun of Nebraska fans. Given that originality is not exactly Auburn’s thing, they subbed in LSU fans and an enduring meme was born.


Poll

Which rumor was crazier?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    1. 1/9/12
    (88 votes)
  • 29%
    8. Corndogs
    (36 votes)
124 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which rumor was crazier?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    2. Joey Freshwater
    (95 votes)
  • 23%
    7. West Virginia Realignment
    (29 votes)
124 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which rumor was crazier?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    3. McCarron vs. Manziel
    (60 votes)
  • 51%
    6. "Those assholes with numbers on their helmets..."
    (63 votes)
123 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which rumor was crazier?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    4. Oklahoma/Texas to the Pac-12
    (46 votes)
  • 62%
    5. Brodie Croyle Dies in a Hunting Accident
    (77 votes)
123 votes total Vote Now