University of Tulsa vs. Rice

Rice Stadium – Houston, Texas

November 24, 2007

Todd Graham's Inferno

Introduction

Video Display:

A dark wood; "Where is Todd Graham?"

 

[ MOB is gathered in the tunnel. ]

Announcer:

The MOB decided it was high time to give Todd Graham a piece of our mind. We searched high and low, asking "Where the hell is Todd Graham?" Lucky for us, we found Dante, wandering in a dark wood, who told us we should be asking: "Where in Hell is Todd Graham?"

Video Display:

The Gates of Hell

Music:

Dies Irae

Field Action:

MOB runs onto the field.

"Where is Todd Graham?"  In a dark wood? At the gates of Hell: abandon hope all ye who enter.

2nd Circle: Your Mom

Announcer:

We knew he wasn't in Limbo (since he had no spine), so we started our search in the second circle of Hell. We didn't find Todd Graham among the adulterers, but your mom suggested we go lower.

Video Display:

Stiffler's Mom

Formation:

2

Music:

YMCA (as played incessantly in Hell)

Your mom!  (That is, if your name is 'Stiffler.')

4th Circle: Franchione in Hell

Announcer:

We thought we might find Todd Graham in the fourth circle with the greedy and the avaricious, but he was nowhere to be found. However, we did find his shredded Rice contract — leading like breadcrumbs into the inferno — and there, gathering the pieces, was Dennis Franchione.

Video Display:

Former Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione

Formation:

4

Music:

Sell Out (by Reel Big Fish)

Dennis Franchione is on fire!

8th Circle: A River (of poo) Runs Through It

Announcer:

Since he had made all those pretty speeches about how much he loved Rice and would never, ever leave, we were sure to find Todd Graham with the flatterers in the eighth circle, wallowing in donkey dung. But the damned said they'd had enough of his B-S.

Video Display:

Donkey & dung

Formation:

8

Music:

Cotton-Eyed Joe

That's a pretty big pile you just laid, Donkey.

Tulsa: Damnation

Video Display:

The Devil in flames

Announcer:

And lo, The MOB descended to the ninth circle of Hell — home of traitors and the Prince of Lies. Yet, of Todd Graham, there still was no sign. Cautiously, we approached Satan to inquire.

Demon:

Todd Graham?! That oaf knows better than to hope for the sweet release of my ninth circle.

Announcer:

We thought him scum, to be sure, but did he deserve an eternity beyond Hell's greatest depths?

Demon:

If you wish to see his fate... come.

Announcer:

A twisted path led down to a door, blackened by flame, inscribed with three frightful words: Welcome. To. Tulsa.

Formation:

10

Video Display:

Welcome to Tulsa

MOB:

... Five! Six! Six! Six!

Music:

Louie, Louie

My, my!  What large horns you have. Welcome to Tulsa.  Spend a week here today!

Closing

Announcer:

You know, that reminds me of a joke: A priest, a nun, and a rabbi walk into a bar. Now, I forgot how the rest of it went, but I think in the end Todd Graham is a douchebag.

Ladies and gentlemen, the two-thousand seven Marching Owl Band. Please send all complaints to: your mom at mob dot rice dot E-D-U.

Epilogue

Anonymous wrote...

If there's one thing we learned from this show, it's that Tulsa's athletic department is pretty damn hypocritical for whining to the conference office because of ‘unsportsmanlike conduct.’ If we learned two things, the other is that the word douchebag is not quite as ‘mild’ a vulgarity as we had thought. Oops. I'm neither particularly proud that I uttered the word over a loudspeaker nor am I ashamed of it; after all, it was a rather succinct and accurate term. — the Douchebag Announcer

Game day was absolutely miserable: cold, windy, and wet. A few students braved the elements – most of their classmates were still on break for Thanksgiving – joined only by the most committed of the Owl faithful. Of fair-weather fans, there were none. It was about what you would expect for the end of a disappointing season. Despite an early lead, Rice spent most of the game playing catch-up and valiantly brought the game within a single touchdown before the clock expired and gave Tulsa its 48-43 victory.

Down 27-22 at the half – five points the Owls could never seem to recover – the number of bodies in the stands was nowhere close to the reported 11,000 tickets sold. The MOB gathered in the tunnel for Dies Irae and an endzone field entrance, wondering how well the show would be received by what little audience there was.

At the end of the introduction, by the time the audience realized where we were going with the Dante reference, the Rice fans cheered with enthusiasm; from the press box, a faint whisper of boos seemed to come from the visitor sideline. The your mom bit came next. Thankfully, Dante placed adulterers in one of the earliest circles, and that's where we like to put our weaker material; however, the student section seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. Our Fourth Circle garnered an excellent response from the entire stadium, thanks to Dennis Franchione. (Coincidentally, Dennis resigned as head coach of Texas A&M the previous day.) Wallowing in "donkey dung" received an amused reaction, but otherwise the Eighth Circle did little more than build the mounting tension of anticipation.

By now, everyone in attendance knew where the show was headed: the ninth and final circle – home of Satan, Judas, and the other traitors. This final segment was pre-recorded on CD to include the processing effects for our demon voice. At this point the eyes and ears of the entire stadium were glued to the field. We had everyone's attention and it was dead quiet; surprisingly, Tulsa's fans (who had boo'd extensively for Sell Out) were listening to every word. The exchange between the narrator and demon built up to those final three words and, as the video board displayed the final graphic, the crowd (Rice and Tulsa) literally erupted in a tremendous roar of applause. A standing ovation. From the sound of it, you might have believed the reported attendance. The Rice student section, much to the dismay of one particularly irate Tulsa fan, jumped in glee. In a word: success!

Now, somewhere in the rejoicing, mixed with Louie, Louie, one little controversial word – a word used on network television – bellowed from the stadium sound system. Yet, the Rice crowd's applause remained as strong as ever.

By the time reports of the show reached the Internet, there had been a few misinterpretations and misconceptions. The most blatant of these was that we had directly referred to Graham's mother as an adulterer in the second segment. It's quite clear from the script that it's a general your mom joke, but this rumor gained quite a bit of headwind online – particularly among those whose only knowledge of the performance was second-hand, at best. Others claimed the show specifically targeted the Tulsa fans in attendance and their school. While alluding that Tulsa (the city) was worse than Hell may have been a pot-meet-kettle cheap shot (coming from Houston), this show specifically avoided any comments regarding Tulsa (the school), its fans, students, and employees (save one former Rice employee). It should be painfully obvious that, as the Rice band, our show was directed to and produced solely for the enjoyment of the Rice audience.

And, then, Tulsa's director of athletics decided to file a formal complaint with Conference USA. Never mind that Bubba (what an excellent name) was directly involved in the whole less-than-honorable departure of Graham from Rice; he has the moral authority to decide what is or is not adequate "sportsmanship" at a Rice event. Of course, when a university files an official complaint against a band, it tends to raise some eyebrows. In this case, the Associated Press picked up the story.

Chart of Web server statistics

What started as a somewhat intellectual "screw you, Todd" finale to an otherwise lackluster football season quickly became national news. If you've ever wondered what kind of publicity can be generated thanks to a small blurb on the Associated Press news wire, The MOB's server logs provide a pretty picture.

Our server, per month, averages about 8,000 visits — a single "visit" is the set of all requests made by the same IP address within a contiguous block of time — by 4,000 unique IPs. For our largest audience in 2007 (UT at Austin in September), these numbers showed a slight raise to 8,700 and 6,200, respectively. Now, compare that to November, 2007: nearly 20,900 visits by about 16,100 unique addresses!

Here are some other Web traffic statistics:

  • This page (the script) was the top requested page for the entire month, receiving 14,228 hits (in only one week).
  • The site received at least 130 search hits for "todd graham['s] inferno".
  • ... and, to show we have a sense of humor, 234 hits for "nerds".

As far as we can tell, the general reaction (outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma) has been enthusiastically positive. There seems to be an even balance between those that consider "douchebag" too inappropriate for the venue and those believing it's a dead-on description worth the consequences. One thing, however, is perfectly clear: the satire of Dante's Divine Comedy has been very well received. You can find a selection of our favorite articles below.

The editor wrote...

Unfortunately, the Internet is not permanent and some articles have disappeared since first appearing online.

The Futon Report
See, I don't even care about either team, and I feel like standing up and clapping... As you can imagine Tulsa wasn't all too pleased with that halftime show. Pssh. Philistines.
Original URL: http://futonreport.net/index.php/2007/2254977

We received additional coverage on numerous fan message boards, as well as from:
ESPN.com, SI.com, The USA Today, NYTimes.com, and Fark.com

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