An existential crisis in Fayetteville, an unplanned birth in Baton Rouge and more acrimony in Nashville: just another wild week in the nation's most soap-operatic football conference.
BORN. To the Auburn Tigers, a quarterback controversy, at LSU Medical Center on Oct. 22. The three-headed, 640-pound controversy was immediately admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, as doctors reported observing erratic, uncoordinated movements and an inability to recognize a pass rush. "We're doing all we can to help them survive," said the hospital's chief attending physician, "but births with this condition typically don't last long." A grim-faced Gene Chizik pledged to love and support the newborn, whose three heads have been named "Clint," "Barrett" and "Kiehl" by the Auburn faithful; offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, however, has already issued a statement denying paternity.
TAKING A LEAVE OF ABSENCE. Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, citing burnout and growing disinterest at his job, on Oct. 25. According to Petrino's publicist, the coach "has recognized that no matter what happens between now and the end of November, Alabama and LSU will be earning the conference's BCS bids, so he's taking this time to find himself." Sources say Saturday's game, in which Petrino's Razorbacks spotted hapless Ole Miss a 17-0 lead before storming back to win 29-24, was a manifestation of this disaffection, as the coach was trying to "manufacture some sort of challenge for himself." Petrino will reportedly spend the next month and a half pondering his next career move and working on his book, College Football's Great Programs and Why I Would Be a Great Coach at Them. In his absence, he has requested that all of his mail, including any Cotton Bowl invitations, be left with his assistant.
CITED. Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, in Nashville on Oct. 22. Nashville police responded to complaints by visiting Army football fans that Franklin was insulting them by "blasting loud music over their alma mater"; an undershirt-clad Franklin answered the door with a Natural Light in his hand, angrily denying the accusations. "I didn't take any crap off Georgia and I ain't about to take any crap off these guys, whoever they are," Franklin yelled. When informed that the offended party was the Army Black Knights football team, Franklin reportedly responded, "Never heard of 'em. Only musical army I salute is the Kiss Army."
FILED. By the Tennessee Volunteers, a petition to shorten college football games to two 15-minute quarters, with the NCAA in Indianapolis, Ind. Under the proposed rule change, which would also eliminate overtime periods and allow for ties to be entered as official game outcomes, the Vols would now be 3-2-2 (0-2-2 SEC) and still in contention for the SEC East title.
ON PROBATION. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, in preparation for this weekend's game against the Florida Gators in Jacksonville. Grantham made headlines a year ago for making a choking gesture at Florida kicker Chas Henry as Henry lined up for what turned out to be the game-winning field goal in overtime. Sources in Athens say Grantham's probationary period was prompted by an athletic department staffer finding a baseball bat in Grantham's office with the name "Chris Rainey" scratched into it with a knife. Grantham insists he wasn't planning on actually using the bat as a weapon but was merely going to "slap it into the palm of my hand repeatedly, you know, just to look intimidating." Grantham will have to leave the bat in Athens when the team makes the trip to Jacksonville and, by request of the Duval County Sheriff's Department, will wear an ankle monitor for the duration of his stay.
SHUT DOWN. The University of Alabama's Department of Parking Enforcement, following a top-secret investigation earlier this week. University officials issued no statement announcing the move and offered no explanation. When asked about the decision by reporters, University President Robert E. Witt denied that the institution had ever had such a department. "Parking tickets are a nuisance, which is why we have never issued them at the Capstone and have no plans to start doing so," Witt declared, tugging anxiously on his collar. "Now let's have no more speculation about this bizarre cover-up."
PUBLISHED. A new book from Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, 1,001 Obscure Things I've Been Right About, by the University of Mississippi Press. Nutt said he was inspired by his confrontation with a beat reporter who erroneously predicted the Rebels would lose by 39 to Arkansas, and realized that he's been proven right about all sorts of things nobody in their right mind would ever care about. "From scores of long-forgotten games in a variety of sports to the identities of various aliens in the Mos Eisley canteen scene in 'Star Wars,' Coach Nutt is a walking wealth of information that is as accurate as it is irrelevant," read the publisher's press release. "After only a few pages, readers will know better than to be wrong about anything in Nutt's presence, no matter how petty the topic." Nutt's book tour kicks off Dec. 3 in Oxford, Miss., on Neal McCready's front lawn; additional dates are scheduled in Starkville, Miss., and Fayetteville, Ark.
THANKED. Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips, by the impoverished South Sudanese town of Tumbura, for his donation of up to 1,000 Kentucky "Blackout" T-shirts. While no such donation has been officially announced as of yet, by either Phillips or the Kentucky athletic department, Tumbura County executive director Matthew Paul said he was just "playing the odds" by expecting some leftover shirts. "Based on the attendance for Kentucky's game last week against Jacksonville State, the people of Tumbura are quite confident that the University of Kentucky will have more than enough shirts left to make a most gracious and compassionate donation," Paul said in an e-mailed statement. "We are pre-emptively overwhelmed by Mr. Phillips' presumed generosity."