While we still have one college football game left on the slate - Army vs. Navy this Saturday - it's fair to say that the 2014 regular season has come to a close. The College Football Playoff field has been selected, bowl games have been announced, and the coaching carousel is in full swing. It's time to look back on the year that was. We're going to take a different angle than most, however. We're going to look at the most viral stories of the college football season.
No, some of these don't have anything to do with play on the field. In fact, most don't. But they do all have one thing in common - they got people talking. Some are embarrassing, some are uplifting, and some are just downright confusing. But at the end of the day, they're all interesting.
Here are the top 12 most viral stories of the 2014 college football season:
No. 12 - LSU's Students Serenade Nick Saban >>>
12. LSU Students Serenade Nick Saban
LSU may have lost this season's SEC West battle with Alabama 20-13, but the students certainly made themselves known in the stands during the game. Of course, the LSU administration would have probably preferred if they hadn't...
During overtime of the game in Baton Rouge, the student section decided to let Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who held the same position at LSU from 2000-04, know how they feel about him. Hint: you may want to plug in your headphones if reading at work.
">November 9, 2014
Naturally, the school apologized for the chant a few days later:
“...Unfortunately, a small minority of people chose to diminish the image of our great university by engaging in a profane chant directed toward Coach Saban. We are deeply sorry that such crude behavior occurred in Tiger Stadium, because that is the antithesis of what we represent at LSU.
The "small minority" of fans sounded like the entire student body, but we digress. Alabama fans were offended, LSU fans (and Auburn fans, we assume) loved it, and clips from the game circulated around the Internet like wildfire. Of course, Saban got the last laugh, landing a victory after tying the game on a field goal with three seconds remaining, and winning in overtime on a Blake Sims touchdown throw to DeAndrew White. How will Saban be received when he returns to Death Valley in 2016? The same exact way, if we had to bet.11. Michigan's "Stake" Into Michigan State >>>11. Michigan Players Plant Stake Into Michigan State's FieldMichigan football has been a circus all season, so when the Wolverines traveled to face their in-state rival Michigan State, one would assume that they would leave the unwarranted braggadocio at home and just try to win the football game. As you can imagine, neither of those things happened.Up 28-11 on Michigan late, MSU's offense continued to run its offense, and scored a late touchdown to push the lead to 35-11, when it could have run out the clock. When asked about that decision, quarterback Connor Cook said that the team had watched Michigan 'disrespect' them by shoving some sort of spear or stake into the ground during pregame.
">October 25, 2014
After the game, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio was not happy, and went on a rant about "little brother stuff" that his team resents, and spoke further about why his Spartans ran up the score.
It wasn't until the next day that people really figured out what had the Spartans so riled up. As Cook said, before the game, Michigan's Joe Bolden drove a tent stake into the field in an effort to get his team fired up.
The next day, Michigan's Brady Hoke apologized for the stunt, which was definitely an embarrassing moment for the program when the game wound up being a blowout.
Official statement from Brady Hoke on the pregame spear. pic.twitter.com/AKA3bYbYNC
— Joshua S. Henschke (@JoshuaHenschke) October 26, 2014
This Michigan season was full of strange moments. The athletic department was caught giving away tickets with the purchase of a $1.50 bottle of Coca-Cola, the team came under scrutiny for its handling of a concussion to quarterback Shane Morris, athletic director Dave Brandon was fired mid-season, and eventually, Brady Hoke met the same fate. There have been happier seasons in Ann Arbor, for sure.
10. Notre Dame Player's Porn Star >>>
10. Notre Dame's Josh Brent And Lisa Ann
Most of the wild stereotypes that go along with being D1 football players probably come from powerhouse schools in the SEC, but don't tell Notre Dame freshman receiver Justin Brent. On October 23, porn star Lisa Ann, 42, took multiple Instagram photos with Brent from a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.
While conventional wisdom would say that watching the 2014 Knicks would be the ultimate turn-off, things seemed to progress from there. Deadspin posted this selfie of Lisa Ann and Brent laying in bed together, which went incredibly viral in college football circles.
Of course, not everyone could just let these two be. ESPN's Darren Rovell took to Twitter to post a section of Notre Dame's honor code in response to the apparent Brent-Lisa Ann relationship.
">October 24, 2014
As one would imagine, fans didn't love Rovell tattling on the Fighting Irish freshman.
">October 24, 2014
Darren rovell setting new levels for squid factor with that ND code of conduct tweet
— James Ford (@Jim_ONeill10) October 24, 2014
Now, a few months later, Brent is back in the news after posting photos with a woman nicknamed "Elke the Stallion," who is semi-famous for appearing in Major Lazer's "Bubblebutt" music video. Brent's having quite the busy fall for a player who is yet to see the field. A quality redshirt year indeed.
9. @FauxPelini's Final Rant >>>
9. Faux Pelini's Final Rant
One of the most universally loved college football Twitter accounts is @FauxPelini, the parody account that lampooned ex-Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. Not only would he make jokes about various Pelini topics -- like yelling at people for calling Sept. 4 "Bo Pelini Day" due to his propensity for coaching 9-4 teams in Lincoln -- but he would chime in on things outside of the realm of college football. Here's an example:
">@WorldHeadliners: World’s oldest man dies — Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini)
WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING RT @WorldHeadliners: World’s oldest man dies
— Faux Pelini (@FauxPelini) April 30, 2014
">April 30, 2014
However, after it was announced that Nebraska had fired Pelini, many people asked the same question: what was going to happen to Faux? While he's still been tweeting, his best moment since Pelini's firing came when he offered advice to new Huskers coach Mike Riley. Over 19 tweets, Faux went on one of the funniest Twitter rants of the year. Here are some of the highlights:
">December 4, 2014
">December 4, 2014
">December 4, 2014
">December 4, 2014
It was quintessential Faux. Was it hilarious and borderline inappropriate at times? Of course. Did it point out some of the incredibly high expectations at Nebraska, and that the still-anonymous man behind the account thinks it was ridiculous that a guy who won either nine or 10 games a year for nearly a decade wasn't considered "good enough" by those in power in Lincoln? Yes, it did that too.
We have no idea what's going to happen to @FauxPelini. Maybe it will turn into @FauxRiley. Perhaps it will continue to be @FauxPelini and it will follow whichever team the former mercurial coach heads to next. It could always turn into this guys personal account. There's even the chance that the account gets shut down.
If that last one happens, we're glad to know that one of our favorite Twitter accounts had an incredible final chapter, in the form of the best rant of the year.
8. UAB's Emotional Meeting >>>
8. UAB's Final Football Meeting
Sports are supposed to move us to extreme emotions. The euphoria of victory and the complete and utter sadness that comes from defeat are what make sports so unique. We as fans have zero impact on the outcome of a sporting event, and yet when we feel emotions from sports, they're as intense as the emotions we feel from other real life events which occur every day.
However, when we saw the video of UAB's players reacting to the news that their program was shutting down, we all knew exactly what they were feeling. While we may not know what it's like to get stuffed on 4th-and-1 on the opponent's goal line on the final play of a 24-20 game, we know how it feels to lose something that we love. We know what it's like to feel the unique mix of anger, sadness and despair that comes when you lose something, which is what made the video of UAB players unloading on school president Ray Watts go viral.
Admit it: to some extent, you have felt this kind of hurt before. You have been told that you have lost something that you love. When UAB tight end Tristan Henderson started laying into Watts at the 50-second mark, it gave us all some strange sense of satisfaction, but it doesn't take away from the fact that this is a horribly sad way to end a program.
The movie Cocktail features a line that is applicable to the way UAB football ended: "Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end." Hopefully all of these players can continue their careers somewhere, and maybe one day, Birmingham will have college football again.
7. Josh Shaw's Bizarre Story >>>
7. Josh Shaw's Ever-Changing Storyline
It's amazing how you can go from a hero to a villain. Usually with sports, it's based on making a big play, but then later costing your team a game. In the case of USC DB Josh Shaw, he went from a sterling example of how we should all act when someone is in danger to an example of how not to further complicate a mistake you've made.
Shaw was lauded by many for putting the well-being of his nephew over his own health. During a family party, Shaw contended that he injured both of his ankles while he was saving his young relative from drowning in a pool. Shaw received acclaim for his selfless act of heroism, as you should when you do something this dangerous.
There's just one problem: this never actually happened. Over the next handful of days, more and more details came out about how Shaw suffered his injury. Eventually, it was revealed that Shaw's injury came after a dispute with his girlfriend which led to him running away from the police. In his attempt to escape the authorities, Shaw jumped off of a balcony and got hurt.
">August 27, 2014
The revelation led to an unfortunate sequence of events for the senior. Shaw was stripped of his captaincy on the team and was suspended indefinitely. He eventually made his return to the squad, but it wasn't until the 11th game of the season, and he barely played in the two games in which he took the field. His teammates were supposedly furious with the decision to bring him back.Maybe things would have gone differently for Shaw if he didn't lie. Perhaps he still misses a few games, but comes back sooner and has a far more productive final year. Instead, we were left with quite possibly the strangest college football story of 2014.6. Mike Golic Loses A Bet >>>6. Mike Golic Loses A BetBack in mid-November, Notre Dame had just two losses on the season - both to good teams - and the Irish were still in play for a big-time postseason bowl game. Northwestern, in the midst of a down season, had just three wins, and needed to defeat the Fighting Irish just to stay alive for postseason eligibility.ESPN radio host Mike Golic apparently felt confident in his Irish being able to handle the Wildcats. He wound up making a bet with his Mike & Mike co-host Mike Greenberg - wagering that if Notre Dame lost, he'd recreate Kim Kardashian's famous #BreakTheInternet photo. Well, Notre Dame wound up blowing an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, and lost to Northwestern in overtime, 43-40. Golic, at first, was in disbelief. A few days later, he made good on his bet, and delivered one of the most ridiculous photos of the year.
">November 16, 2014
Kids - never make a bet that involves taking your clothes off.No. 5 - Jameis Winston's Vulgar Outburst >>>5. Jameis Winston's Vulgar OutburstFlorida State quarterback Jameis Winston has been in the news for a number of ridiculous reasons this year - rape allegations, crab leg theft, stealing soda in ketchup packets, shooting bb guns on campus, etc. But it was screaming a popular Internet meme in public that got him his only suspension of the 2014 college football season. It's hard to believe.Back on September 16, a number of Florida State students, almost at once, tweeted that they had just witnessed Winston stand on a table and scream FHRITP on campus (very NSFW - read about it here). The news went viral, and Florida State was forced to deal with it. Winston was suspended for the first half of his team's all-important ACC matchup against Clemson. After the school learned that he wasn't completely forthright with what happened, it later suspended him for the entire game.Somehow, though, that wasn't the end of the story. Winston, for some reason, suited up for the game and went through warmups. Head coach Jimbo Fisher was shown on television yelling at Winston - telling him to go back to the locker room and change into street clothes.Florida State pulled out the win in overtime. If it hadn't, you can bet there would be a lot of Seminoles fans angry at Winston.4. Katy Perry Takes Over Ole Miss >>>4. Katy Perry's Ole Miss SaturdayBack in early October, Alabama had to head to Oxford, Mississippi, to take on the undefeated Ole Miss Rebels. ESPN was able to land pop superstar Katy Perry as its GameDay celebrity guest picker, mostly because her manager is an alum of the school. It all set the stage for an incredible weekend.Perry, who claimed to have never been to a college football game, poked fun at LSU fans for smelling like corn dogs. She confessed her love for Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight. And in the end, she picked Ole Miss to upset big bad Alabama. Perry's prediction came true, as the Rebels knocked off the Tide, 23-17. During the game, she made the Ole Miss mascot's dreams come true. After the game, she trolled Nick Saban on Twitter.
">October 4, 2014
And late night, she was seen chugging beers at an Ole Miss bar, partying like crazy.
Oh, and did we mention that Ole Miss' students tore down the goal post and paraded it through town? Yeah, it was quite the scene.
3. Todd Gurley's Autograph Scandal >>>
3. Georgia RB Todd Gurley Suspended
Five games into their 2014 season, the Georgia Bulldogs were 4-1 and considered by many to be the SEC East favorite and a contender for the College Football Playoff. Much of this was attributed to the play of their star running back, Todd Gurley, the clear-cut Heisman frontrunner after September.
Georgia, though, had to play its sixth game - and its seventh, eighth and ninth - without Gurley. On Oct. 9, it was reported that Gurley had been suspended indefinitely by the university. Gurley, a junior, was being investigated for accepting extra benefits from memorabilia brokers.
The #FreeGurley movement took over the college football world during the running backs' absence from the field. There were T-shirts, hand signals and even a decorated parking garage.
">@GAFollowers: A UGA fan decorated a parking deck in Athens reading, “Free Gurley”. pic.twitter.com/DBqtGy2E2S — Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi)
— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) October 14, 2014
">October 14, 2014
Gurley returned to the field Nov. 15 against Auburn after serving a four-game suspension. His return was short lived, unfortunately, as the star running back tore his ACL against the Tigers.
Gurley is expected by many to forgo his senior season of eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft. After going through what he had to this fall, that seems like a good idea.
2. Devin Gardner and J.T. Barrett >>>
2. Michigan QB Devin Gardner Consoles Injured J.T. Barrett
The final weekend of the college football regular season is known for its rivalry games. Ohio State-Michigan. Alabama-Auburn. Florida-Florida State. The games are great, and a lot of that has to do with the pure disdain the program's share for each other.
This season's rivalry weekend will be remembered for sportsmanship, though.
During the second half of the bout between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines, redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett fractured his ankle. For a couple of minutes, Barrett rested on the Ohio Stadium turf in agony. He was eventually carted off the field with his leg in an air cast, but before Ohio State trainers lifted Barrett off the ground, he was consoled by Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner.
">November 29, 2014
The kind acts between Ohio State and Michigan would continue after the game. Gardner kept in touch with Barrett following the contest, offering words of encouragement as the Buckeye quarterback rehabs his injury. Ohio State's administration showed their appreciation for Gardner's interaction with Barrett by sending the Michigan quarterback a thank-you letter. The Barrett-Gardner interaction was college football at its purest. Nothing is a better example of what the sport is all about.No. 1 Most Viral Story >>>1. FSU QB Jameis Winston Cited For Stealing Crab LegsYou knew it was going to be this, right? On April 29, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was cited for stealing crab legs from a Publix grocery store in Tallahassee, Fla. The redshirt sophomore and 2013 Heisman winner was given an adult civil citation. He had to serve 20 hours of community service and was suspended from the Seminoles' baseball team until his community service was completed. During that time, Twitter was taken over by crab jokes and memes.
">April 30, 2014
— Mike Dyce (@mikedyce) April 30, 2014
">April 30, 2014
Winston has two years of eligibility remaining, so it's possible he could return to college football and continue providing the sport with viral stories. Unfortunately, the Florida State quarterback seems to be a lock to leave school early for the NFL.
What viral stories will next year produce?
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