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Notre Dame Vs. Michigan State Highlights Week 3, And We Interview Clemson Tom (The Hybrid)

Week 3 of college football is here, and SBN Chicago's Bobby Loesch is rolling with MSU-ND as the game of the week. He also interviews Clemson diehard, Clemson Tom.

August 31, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive end William Gholston (2) reacts after call during the second half at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 17-13    Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
August 31, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive end William Gholston (2) reacts after call during the second half at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 17-13 Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

So I got LASIK on Wednesday, and the early returns have been great. Other than these goofy soft goggles I had to wear the first day and ensuing seven nights, I'd rate my experience thus far at about as close to an A+ as one can get. Vision's 20/20 and so is the spiritual clarity. I wouldn't say I have a single regret so far.

Well... unless you count last night when I stumbled upon my roommate watching "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo", and I saw the mom. That made me want blurry vision for life.

* * *

This week, we've got mild happiness, a good game or two, and I'm proud to present my exclusive interview with Internet and college football celebrity, Clemson Tom. So let's get up and go, eh?


Quick, Selective Hits On The BCS Top 25

1) Alabama (48): The bad news? Alabama's schedule just got slightly easier with Arkansas now totally in a state of flux. The worse news? The Western Kentucky defense did a better job containing 'Bama's running game than Michigan. (I'm over it! I'm over it!)

/not over it

2) USC (8): Everyone needs to go here and make fun of Matt Barkley's negative rushing yards.

3) LSU (4): Have they played anyone legit yet? I feel like I've barely seen this team around.

4) Oregon: Did you know one of Oregon's tackles was in a random Will Ferrell movie?

Also, this.



5) Oklahoma: Dropped 69 last week.

5) Florida State: I could really go for FSU in a huge, prime time game. Like when they played Oklhoma last year and it felt like a borderline national championship. Wouldn't that be fun?

7) Georgia: Leave it to the SEC to treat an expected victory over a team brand new to the conference like this world-shifting mission statement. Though I'm bitter, Georgia had every right to enjoy this one just a little more.

8) South Carolina

9) West Virginia: Were they off last week? They were.

10) Michigan State: This might sound like I'm bashing this team's ceiling, but I look at it as more a compliment: MSU has a real chance to become what Wisconsin just was to the Big Ten over these last three or four years.

11) Clemson: Last week, I introduced SBN Chi to the coolest Clemson fan on the planet, Clemson Tom. We had a chance to exchange a few e-mails, and I'm posting the transcript below.

SBN Chi: Let's start basic: who is Clemson Tom, and what does he do?

Clemson Tom: I'm just your average guy, with an over-average love for my team.

Work wise, I do sports talk shows for numerous sports media outlets. I have sponsors for my YouTube videos and get paid for appearances. I sell shirts and koozies with my different phrases on them.

SBN: So do you have a traditional 'day job', or is this kind of your full-time thing? And is the fandom limited to football, or is it all Clemson athletics?

CT: This is pretty much it for me. It pays pretty well. I only do football because it would be too much to do every sport. I do attend basketball, baseball, and other sporting events for Clemson.

SBN: How did you parlay this into a career? Walk me through the path...

CT: Well, I started out calling into a local radio show in Tampa. One day Trey Wingo from ESPN bad mouthed the TB Bucs coach and I flew up to ESPN and looked for Trey.

After that, I moved to North Florida. I called into a show, which I thought was a local show out of Gainesville, FL. It was actually a huge radio show out of Houston, "The Cablinasian" hosted by Sean Pendergast. I called in because they were dogging Clemson football. So Sean and I talked for about 15 minutes that day on the air. Towards the end of the show, I realized it was out of Texas and gave him my Twitter name to follow me. After that day, their producer asked me to call in on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Sean's show really took off well for me because it was a national show.

A friend of mine actually talked me into the videos. I didn't think they would do well but they got a lot of hits. I've been featured on Deadspin a few times, ranked in the Top 20 by Bleacher Report. The videos also got me on the Clemson radio station. I help out with the James Thurn Show and also the Tiger Pre-Game show on game days. I've spoken at different Alumni events around the country. It's crazy to thank how much they have taken off, Dabo even called me a Clemson Legend.

SBN: Do you consider yourself Clemson's biggest fan? How did you become so diehard for this program?

CT: I don't consider myself the biggest Clemson fan. Fans do thank me for saying what everyone is thinking, though. Doing all of these things has made me more of a fan than what I used to be.

I have family that has been donors to Clemson. Buildings, boosters, etc. I first went to Clemson as a child, and when I saw the pawprints in the streets, leading up to university, that made me a big fan. I wasn't allowed across the street, and yet, at Clemson, you are allowed to paint paws in the streets.

SBN: This is the first video of you I'd ever seen. Why is it the greatest thing ever? I've never given much thought to hating or liking Clemson either way, but it immediately made me more invested in their success. I want to buy you multiple beers. What kind of feedback do you get on stuff like this (both good and bad)?

CT: I get positive and negative feedback from both sides of the fence. Most of the opposing fans instantly do not like me. Some understand that's all in good fun and tell me that they love the videos.

Some Clemson fans actually do not like my videos and pretty much dislike me. They tell me that I am embarrassing their beloved university. I simply laugh at them. I'm talking about college football, not the chemistry department. I've met some of the people that dislike my videos. They all remind me of the people from the movie "Footloose". They get really angry with me when I have a beer in my videos. I get a good laugh from them, especially when they get their pleated pants all in a bunch.

Now, I do have a great fan base in Clemson. Clemson has by far some of the greatest fans! I get asked to sign autographs, take pictures, tell stories of my tailgating adventures, etc. Those are the fans that understand all this is done in fun. There are more fans that love me then fans that don't. All the coaches and the players -- including Dabo -- watch my videos every week. That's when I knew I was doing OK. I understand I'm going to get a lot of criticism, especially for putting myself out there so much.

Clemson is the greatest thing ever because of the community, and the fan base is so small, it's more like a family. There's not much else that can compare to Tiger Nation. We're Pawsome.

SBN: A couple quick hits here, and we should be good.

I'm more of a Big Ten guy who follows the national landscape as well, and not being super familiar on Clemson, how would you answer critics who consider them talented but susceptible to "blowing" a game each season? Is there validity to that?

CT: That's been our label for years: "Pulling a Clemson." I understand why they say that, but that was the older teams. Dabo is starting a new regime and a new label, we are in Clemson!

SBN: C.J. Spiller is...

CT: CJ is a great person and will always be a legend at Clemson.

SBN: Your honest to goodness reaction to

CT: Tajh is a friend of mine but seriously, what was he doing there?

I've seen Clemson spelled "Climpson" for years on blogs and such. Is that just a product of how people pronounce it down there? Is that spelling embraced or considered derogatory?

CT: With our southern accents, when we say Clemson, it kinda comes out sounding like Clempson. Mostly, Gamecocks (Coots) or other rival fans say that. They're usually mad because our institution is classier than theirs.

SBN: Coots?!

CT: Yes. we call the Gamecocks "Coots".

SBN: Speaking of nicknames, when you call someone a 'Yankee', that's got a bad connotation, right? Do you have any fake or real beefs with people from up North?

CT: If I call you a Yankee, it's usually not a good thing. Doesn't mean that I don't like you, it just means you have a certain way you live your life. Yankees don't believe in sweet tea, grits, etc. Football is a way of life in the South, it's just a hobby in the north. We are just different in so many ways, it's just too hard to explain. I have a saying to people when they're being either mean or rude: "Don't get all Yankee on me!"

SBN: Lastly, anything you want me to plug/promote? Anything additional to say to your fans in the Midwest?

CT: Just my Twitter (@ClemsonTom) and my YouTube channel. To the fans in the Midwest, I hope this somehow makes you cheer on the Tigers of Clemson.

You've got a fan for life in me, good sir.

12) Ohio State: Braxton Miller is just carrying my fantasy team right now. Denard might be flashier (and the closest thing to God on Earth), but Braxton is just so skilled -- and he's still putting it all together.

13) Virginia Tech: Since I never have anything to say about V-Tech, can we just talk about the Washington D.C. high school football players who were kicked off their team for hiring prostitutes? I mean, D.C. is close to Blacksburg, right?


It's 4.5 hours away.

14) Texas: Big FU to Texas for unloading their crappy O-coordinator on Iowa. I suppose my first red flag should have been when I heard the phrase "horizontal passing game". One touchdown against a MAC team and then Iowa State really tells you all you need to know.

15) Kansas State: Sure, K-State embarrassed Miami, but they also embarrassed themselves. I present to you: the failed behind-the-back pass. Yes, a play so questionable, my tackle football team probably wouldn't let me run it, was attempted in a major college football game. And *of course* it failed. Not to say I was rooting against it, though.

And on the Miami end? Man. I wish I got 'over the top angry guy mode' about my team. I'm a fan more of the 'sniffling alone' variety.

16) TCU
17) Michigan: Look, I know it's obviously not news when Denard loses his shoe running for an 80-yard TD, but can I interest you in Michigan's freshman TE Devin Funchess doing the same thing in the same game? I deem it slightly interesting! Oh, and on Funchess: this dude was a 3-star recruit who broke out in Michigan's Week 2 game against Air Force with one of those "he's just so much bigger than anyone defending him performances". It was fantastic. Speed, size, jump ball murders. As a Patriots fan, it had shades of Gronk to it for sure. Even better, I picked him up in my Big Ten college fantasy football league. So all he has to do is replicate that performance every game for the rest of the season, and we'll be all cool. In all seriousness, try to look into this dude.

18) Florida: Major anti-props your way, Texas A&M, for your homophobic -- and more importantly, not clever -- 'Gaytor' sign. It was, however, redeemed by this sign, and cemented with Deadspin's amazing caption: "A Little Wordy, But The Guy On The Left Is Selling It."


19) Louisville
20) Notre Dame:
I asked Paige, the biggest (and only?) ACC fan I know, to give her two cents about Notre Dame joining the ACC in every sport but hockey and football (though we'll see ND in more ACC football games than before). She said, and I quote, "Notre Dame and the ACC can go 69 each other." ... Well then.

So, instead, I guess we'll just have to go with this tweet.

21) Stanford
22) UCLA

23) Tennessee: Well, they made a shirt based on Tyler Bray's iffy looking back tattoo. Now, before you click this link, look at this picture, and exclaim "That's the worst tattoo on an SEC QB I've ever seen!" I'd really advise you to also look at Alabama QB A.J. McCarron's chest tattoo. And yes, I'm going to post that picture at every opportunity possible until his career ends.

/just so, so not over it

On the other end of the SEC tattoo spectrum is this Ole Miss tattoo highlighting various landmarks in the tolerant state of Mississippi. The best part? A pile of poop where Starkville (and Mississippi State) is located. That's some legit hatred right there.

24) Arizona: One of the things I miss most about RichRod The Greatest Ever at Michigan are pictures of him and his family looking happy after big wins. Here's the first one I've seen from his Arizona tenure, and it comes after the Wildcats' victory over Okie State.

Also, this Tom Fornelli tweet wins the week.


25) Brigham Young

Dropped from rankings

8) Arkansas
: Kudos to the AP for dropping Arkansas from the polls entirely after their Week 2 loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The 'Backs will have the rest of the season to get back in, and, in the mean time, their ranking -- or lack thereof -- is reflective of what they've accomplished thus far. Oh, also: we rag on teams a lot for making victory shirts, but Louisiana-Monroe? Nah. You've earned it.


Oh, and while we're on the subject of the SEC/random t-shirts, I'd really love to give props to Mizzou's hilarious, team specific "Welcome to our stadium" t-shirts, customized for various SEC opponents. This is an idea so awful on paper yet so hilarious in practice, I can't help but love it. Sure, using the Alabama 'A' to write "Always a pleasure" or the Georgia 'G' to write "Great to meet you" is a little weak, but anyone who is against the Kentucky 'UK' spelling out "UKickin' it at Faurot Field" is just a hater of all things fun.

Haha, UKickin' it.

13) Wisconsin: Oh, what a glorious, glorious loss. Jesse Palmer blasted the o-line's technique, and that same week, the coach got fired. It sounds like something personal might be going on behind the scenes, so I'll refrain from commenting, but man, who could have seen Wisco in a state of disarray like this? Brian at MGoBlog asked if Purdue was now the favorite in their division... only it's actually not crazy to think that.

16) Nebraska: Killer game against UCLA, and it's a shame someone had to lose it. Also, can Nebraska really lament Rex Burkhead being out when his backup rushed for 119 yards, 2 TDs, and 7.4 yards a carry*. At QB, T-Magic rushed for 112 yards and a TD at 8.6 yards a carry. This would be fine and good if he hadn't uh... averaged 5.8 yards per completion through the air while throwing no TDs and a pick. Oh well.

* - on my bench in fantasy; UGH KILL

18) Oklahoma State: Still nothin' but love.

Any Sweet Games This Weekend?


Friday Night Lights
Washington State at UNLV: Aw hell yeah; the Cougars on TV again playing a non-BCS team in its home stadium? Where do I sign up? I'd tell y'all to watch this and give Mike Leach a second chance to show you his offense, but Wazzu's QB might not play, so... probably no one watch but me.

Wake Forest at Florida State (5): This game isn't cool at all, right?

California at Ohio State (12): See how Braxton/Urban do against their first BCS defense.

Virginia Tech (13) at Pitt: I mean... Virginia Tech is undefeated, so I guess. But Pitt is still winless. I will not watch this game.

TCU (16) at Kansas: Rock solid.

Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn: Can ULM continue their reign of terror through the SEC?

Tennessee Tech at Oregon (4): Come on, Ducks -- when are you gonna play a real team?


Ooh, Arizona next week. Spread show!

Furman at Clemson (11): In honor of Clemson Tom.

Alabama (1) at Arkansas: What shoulda been our Game of the Week. Freaking Arkansas.

Navy at Penn State: Both winless. So what happens?

James Madison at West Virginia (9): You know how guys defend themselves after seeing chick flicks by saying "Yeah, I saw such and such, but Mila Kunis is hot?" That's kinda how I feel about defending this game (West Virginia's offense = Mila Kunis).

Florida (18) at Tennessee (23): Sneaky good game. Two undefeated SEC teams, with the winner having very much to gain. Plus, Bray's back tattoo.

USC (2) at Stanford (21): "Now *that's* a game!" I just exclaimed to myself in my head. Though USC probably isn't as good -- nay, great -- as we all might think, I thought they got way too much shit for beating Syracuse by, like, 20 in New York/New Jersey last week.

Notre Dame (20) at Michigan State (10): Though the combined team rankings (30) is a little higher than USC-Stanford (23), I'm too Midwestern of a boy to not call this our Game of the Week. How legit is the MSU defense? My MSU coworker said the defense has a goal of not giving up a touchdown all year, which, you know, you'd wanna make fun of if they *weren't already doing that*. Granted, they haven't played a BCS team yet, but it's not like Boise State flat out sucks. ND, on the other hand, has so, so much to gain from winning this game. They seem a little paper tiger-y to me, though, so let's see if they can't shut up my stupid face. Also, Tommy Rees as The Closer is awesome, and we better have a photoshop by next week. In the mean time, this will have to do.

Random Picture I Came Across While Googling Stuff For This Post


Wrapping It Up...

Enjoy Week 3, and big, big, big thank you again to Clemson Tom for dropping some truth on all you Yankees out there. Myself included.

Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to SBN Chicago. He can be reached at bobbyloesch [at] Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy.