Thanks to last year’s national champs, the College Football Playoff picture became a good bit clearer on Saturday.
Entering Saturday just 3-5 on the season, LSU went to The Swamp to face No. 6 Florida and managed to pull off a 37-34 upset of the Gators to effectively end their hopes of jumping into the Playoff talk, excluding something truly unforeseen next week.
In the SEC Championship, the Gators will need to beat Alabama as noteworthy underdogs and also get a lot of assistance from others everywhere the country to have a shot at the four-team playoff. It wasn’t just that Florida lost to LSU, but how they lost that caused sufficient conversations and an awful lot of jokes on social media.
The Gators had actually stopped the Tigers on their final drive on third down and seemed destined to get the ball back, only to see a flag fly in for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Marco Wilson for picking up an LSU player’s shoe and, as the referee said, “throwing it 20 yards downfield.”
That extended the drive and allowed LSU to kick a go-ahead 57-yard field goal, with Florida missing a 51-yard answer on their ensuing drive. There were immediately jokes and memes that flooded social media, with a lot of Austin Powers jokes and also plenty of GIFs of Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi throwing his shoe at George W. Bush.
Al-Zaidi has a very popular Twitter account where he regularly and proudly interacts with folks who ask him about that incident, and he even responded to the Florida shoe-throwing penalty with the same reaction as just about everyone that watched that game had.
I really wish he had broken down the game tape like Ron Jaworski and given us some insight into proper shoe-throwing motion, but I’ll accept this as well. It warms my heart knowing the most famous shoe thrower in the world is now aware of (and enjoyed watching) college football’s most infamous shoe-throwing moment.