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The Smoking Barn - Week 7: South Carolina Gamecocks

A fiery football Chieftain will reunite with his pretty pretty Canadian princess. A love story for the ages.

Dang it, is that boy wearin' red socks with that suit?
Dang it, is that boy wearin' red socks with that suit?
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


Hatin' Ass Spurrier

The Ol' Ball Coach

The Head Ball Coach

Shirtless Steve Spurrier

Sorry, I was just reading through Spencer Hall's Twitter drafts from 2010 through, well, the rest of forever. And the rest of CFB Twitter, for that matter.

Steve Spurrier jokes...that's definitely not a skill of mine. It's certainly not something I would put on a resume. And with a record of 4-3 (2-3 SEC), it appears that Steve's only resume skills include walking around shirtless, playing golf, making Spurrier faces, and throwing 50 shades of shade at everyone he comes across...oh, and beating Clemson every year because he signed a deal with the devil before he left Florida...because the devil is a Florida State fan.

But see? I stole almost all of that material from Spencer Hall and CFB jokes. I don't have anything original to say about Steve Spurrier. I honestly don't know that much about him as a person, a coach, a pizza buffet connoisseur, what have you. All I know is that you can turn just about any photo of that man into a meme, any quote of his into a running joke that never runs out, and any football-related comment he makes into a back-handed compliment. All of this I base on the principality of CFB Twitter where Spencer Hall is the mayor, but he sends a proxy to those town hall meetings because he's too busy being the king of the rest of CFB Twitter. That is, when Ryan Nanni isn't trying to usurp His Throne-liness. I don't know...

So in light of this, I've decided to focus on the one thing that nobody else seems to care about, and that's a special reunion of two people that I don't--nay--REFUSE to understand...perhaps one more than the other. A match made in heaven between star-crossed lovers. A song of fire and ice, yet the only nudity you'll force yourself to watch involves Steve's nipples, but you'll insist to your work buddies who don't watch HBO that "It's art, man," or "It's about real stories and real people who grapple with life's give and take," but at the end of the day, it's just a bunch of smut that you think is super intellectual, but it's only because you're grasping at straws to justify the perceived genius of some old bearded guy in glasses who, in ANY OTHER CONTEXT, might have a red dot on his house on Google Earth.

(Now I want you to go back and read that imagining I said all of it in Mark May's voice--and in one breath, as is tradition.)

I'm talking about the glorious reunion of Steve Spurrier and Jesse "Jessica"/"Jessie" Palmer.


On Saturday night, a man who has made his living throwing shade at the world will have his actions analyzed out loud, with words, by a guy who tries his best to throw shade at Auburn, but fails to disguise his bias behind terrible hair-do's, non-matching, bargain-bin Van Heusen outfits, and that imminently closing-in-on-you darkness that your only real achievement in life was your role on the Bachelor.


Can you imagine what it'd be like if HBC/HAS ($1 Spencer Hall) had the Jessed One as his quarterback again? You know Jesse would love that. He wants it. He needs it. Spurrier doesn't need him, though. Dylan Thompson is okay, plus he isn't a huge douche. But you KNOW Jesse Palmer would love nothing than to suit up for his old head coach from the Swamp against "an overrated Auburn team."

By the way, would you like a reason to throw up tonight? Well here it is: Auburn didn't beat Florida ONCE while Jesse Palmer was on the Gators roster. And although Jesse got his first career start against Auburn, he didn't get to play us his senior year because he had some kind of respiratory trouble. Really? Jesse Palmer couldn't breathe, and thus couldn't/didn't talk? What a world. Regardless, Auburn just couldn't get it done. To be fair, though, Steve Spurrier was a pretty damn good football coach in those days.

The fact is, for all practical purposes, Jesse Palmer never lost to Auburn. I don't know if y'all knew that, but let that sink in. That's like when you date a girl for at least a year, and then you find out--right before you're thinking about a ring--that she used to date the guy you HATED from your high school class who is currently 30 and still unemployed...and BALD...("I dunno...I thought I could fix him..."). Yeah, THAT guy. The girl you're thinking about marrying...she allowed herself to be seen in public with that guy.

That is the situation with Jessie Palmer, folks. Are you at least starting to understand why I hate him so much? I hate him enough to pretty much blatantly overlook the actual football logistics of this upcoming game with SOUTH CAROLINA--a team that Jesse is in NO way affiliated with--and roast him over a spit.

But seriously, let's get back to Saturday. Here are your talking points, fellow Barners.

1. Nick Marshall is a pretty good quarterback, people. Jesse Palmer is not a quarterback anymore.

In fact, I'd like a quarter back OF MY LIFE where he just didn't exist.

Nick Marshall has "struggled," according to some. We've had some Twitter rumblings that sound like this, "Hey, when's JJ gonna start?" The gas station attendant down the street from my house always asks me this. "You know, they oughta put Jeremy Johnson in there at quarterback. He's a better passer."

Look, boss. I pay you to give me Red Bulls, gummy bears, and unleaded gasoline in the weekly amount of $34.28, not to give me football takes (although, I admire your spirit, and you work hard, and I will always give you my business because you say, "War Eagle" to me every time I leave your store).

Folks, Nick Marshall is still our guy. If you really want to point fingers, he's lost one game this year. Yep. That's it. He's won all the others.

You know how many rushing yards Jesse Palmer had under Steve Spurrier? -124 ( That's over the course of 27 games, regardless of whether or not he started/played. Nick Marshall has 492 rushing yards this season alone. I'm not gonna let some sissy-boy Canadian candy wrapper named Jesse tell me who's a good quarterback and who's not.

2. "Jeremy Johnson is the best backup quarterback in the country." - Jesse Palmer

In case you're playing Jesse Palmer Bingo at home, that quote right there is good for B-12, I-29, I-17, Free Space, N-40, N-41, N-44, G-49 and G-50, and the entire row of O. He says this every chance he gets. Jesse Palmer is the MASTER of hyperbole. Every stat that leaks out of his mouth is coupled with "in the country." There is no other measuring stick.


Nick Marshall is still a good passer, folks. Yeah, we've had some batted passes that have ended up being intercepted by opposing teams, but are you really going to blame Nick for all of those? Whenever you hear Jesse Palmer use this stat, what he's really doing is belittling Nick Marshall as a passer. Let's not nod in blind agreement when this happens. South Carolina's defense is egregiously porous, folks. I didn't think they were that good with Clowney on the line (did he ever win that Heisman, by the way?). In 2010, their defense was so bad that they let us beat them twice--and that SEC Championship saw my boy Darvin "Clutch" Adams haul in a last-second Hail Mary Touchdown to close out the first half. Nick will have no problem lighting up this defense, and he'll do so with over 5 different receivers.

3. Auburn's defense is quietly busting their tails to make plays, and they're getting better each game.

Look, don't preach to me about the Mississippi State game. There were some very bright moments in that game from our defense. Dylan Thompson is a good quarterback, but he's no Dak Prescott. At best, he's Stephen Garcia on a Saturday morning before his first two Bloody Mary's. So we have little to worry about on that front. I like South Carolina's rushing attack in this game, but our defense knows all about that. They'll be okay.

Man, can't you just picture Jesse Palmer dressing out in his mind for just one more round with the Ol' Ball Coach so he rack up those Tom Ritter flags on our secondary for pass interference against his receivers (and one on Sammie Coates, who's on the sideline, just for good measure)??? This is gonna be tough for ol' Jessica.

4. Nothing in this world would give me greater pleasure than to watch Montravius Adams make a quick snack out of Jessica on Saturday night--except maybe if it was Carl Lawson.

Jesse Palmer didn't start against Auburn in his last season in 2000. Jessie was a senior, and he had an upper respiratory condition that kept him from suiting up against the Tigers. I'm not going to reach back that far and talk about who our D-linemen were that year, but it doesn't matter. It wouldn't matter to me if he started that game, because I was like, 11, and I didn't care. But really, it's more about the satisfaction for me as the self-proclaimed President of the "I hate Jesse Palmer" fan club. I would only be satisfied with a hit on Jesse's delicate little Brylcreem body if it came at the hands of Monty Adams or Carl "He Eats Quarterbacks for Snacks" Lawson. I would thoroughly enjoy that.

You remember when you heard the Beatles for the first time? You remember when you first tasted chocolate? You remember your first kiss that wasn't from a family matriarch and not on the cheek? Roll that joint up and smoke it, and it's still not the kind of YEAR-long euphoria I would experience watching Jesse Palmer get slammed to the ground at the hands of any of our current defensive linemen. Again, I expect our defense to take care of business, only I'll pretend that those guys are imagining Jesse's stupid spiked hair on Dylan Thompson's head as he shamelessly talks about condiments.

My favorite condiment? It's a little French dip called STOP TALKING.

Let's face it, folks. Jesse Palmer is no Danny Wuerffel, but his relationship with HATIN' ASS SPURRIER ($1 Spencer Hall) might be just as juicy. How many times in this universe do the stars align and allow Jesse Palmer to call a game in which his former coach plays a team that he never lost to? There isn't a "blessed" with a big enough hashtag in front of it in this world. I considered writing a "choose your own adventure" with Jesse and Steve at a Thanksgiving dinner, but that would've taken too long. Let this long rant at Jessica's expense suffice.

And let's be honest, I was this close to snagging his phone number from that one time he actually called Foy Help Desk during a broadcast. That would've been all the inspiration I'd need for this thing. The only thing that makes this weekend relevant for me is this classic duo being in the same broadcast for 4 hours. I can only imagine how many times Brent is going to ask Jesse about playing under Spurrier (Jesse Palmer isn't fit to put Gus' chewed-up Double Bubble back in the wrapper to throw away). And we're probably going to see a handful of old photos and video footage of Jesse in a Gators jersey, so just prepare yourself for that.

Auburn will win this game handily. If they don't win by at least 3 touchdowns in Jordan-Hare at night, then this team really is in trouble, and then you can tell me Nick Marshall is a bad QB and that Jeremy Johnson should be starting. Nick Marshall will get back to whatever form you think he oughta measure up to, doubters, and our receiving corps will show up--all of them. Roc Thomas will have a good showing. Auburn will score more football points than South Carolina, and thus, Steve Spurrier--the Ol' Ball Coach, the Shifty One, Dabo Swinney's worst nightmare--will leave Jordan-Hare with another "L" on the board against the Tigers. Maybe at that point, he really will want Jesse Palmer back. And trust me, Jesse would suit up faster than Uncle Rico if given the chance.

So keep your Spurrier jokes, Spencer Hall and CFB Twitter. I'll be watching with eyes wide open as the love story of our generation--the one that the football gods pre-ordained to be told--unfolds right before me... the petals of a rose in the hands of a man who was on The Bachelor and isn't ashamed of it. This is sports.

Football Advantage: Auburn

Condiment Advantage: Jesse

Opposing Team/Coach/Fans Hate Index: 6.8/10

Score Prediction: Auburn 42 - South Carolina 14

Because where there's smokin' hot shade being thrown, there's fire, and I'll fire these hot takes until the cows come home. DON'T TELL ME HOW TO BARN! WAR DAMN EAGLE!

p.s. Jesse, feel free to get a Twitter account so we can chat. I'll buy you a beer and let you convince me that you're an all right guy after all.