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Random Thoughts: Power Shift in College Football

All the College Football news, scores, injuries, gaffes, upsets, derps, and snark that you can handle.

Has the student become the master?

Texas 34 Alabama 24 - On a warm September night in Tuscaloosa, it felt like the Earth moved a few inches to the left. The Texas Longhorns came into town and left with one of their biggest wins in decades over the vaunted Crimson Tide and Nick Saban. And it was no fluke. The visiting ‘Horns were the better coached, better prepared team, and were more physical. Not that long ago, the Alabama program bragged that Saban had never lost to a former assistant. Then Jimbo Fisher beat the Tide in 2021. That was followed by a loss to Kirby Smart and Georgia in the 2022 CFP Championship. And now we have the first defeat to a former assistant, Steve Sarkisian, in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Texas also handed Alabama the worst home loss of the Saban era and its worst home loss since 2004.

Home losses since 2008:

11/26/10 No. 2 Auburn No. 11 L 27–28 Citrus Bowl Win
11/05/11 No. 1 LSU No. 2 L 6–9 OT National Champs
11/10/12 No. 15 Texas A&M No. 1 L 24–29 National Champs
09/19/15 No. 15 Ole Miss No. 2 L 37–43 National Champs
11/09/19 No. 2 LSU No. 3 L 41–46 Citrus Bowl Win
09/09/23 No. 11 Texas* No. 3 L 24–34 ?

Since the beginning of the 2021 season, all of Alabama’s defeats can be partially blamed on bad mistakes, such as penalties and blown coverages. This game with Texas had those things but it also appears to be the first in which the Tide was out-muscled. Many Tide fans claim that opponents are not afraid to play the Tide anymore. Is that the case? Is there finally reason to be concerned about the Tide head man and the future of the program?

Last week, Clemson got thumped by perennial doormat Duke. Even the most ardent supporters of Dabo Swinney are no longer keen on the former Tide walk-on returning to the Capstone as Saban’s eventual successor. The two programs who won five of six CFP Championships from 2015 to 2020 suddenly appear to be very human.

Miami-FL 48 Texas A&M 33 - ‘Canes QB Tyler Van Dyke redeemed himself after a sluggish effort last season. He picked the Aggies defense apart for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns on 21 of 30 passing. This all happened despite Miami having a punt blocked on their first possession and punt muff a few series later that led to TAMU scores. Conner Weigman had another sketchy performance for the Aggs (31/53, 336 yards, 2 TD 2 INT). Miami’s Brashard Smith’s 98 yard kickoff return in the third period changed momentum their way.


Ole Miss 37 Tulane 20 - Even with Tulane star QB Michael Pratt (left knee) not playing, The Green Wave led the Rebels 17-7 in the first half as OM had a rough second and third quarters. The Black Shark Bears outscored Tulane 27-3 in the second half with 20 coming in the fourth. Missy RB Quinshon Judkins again had trouble getting on track, gaining only 48 yards on 18 carries.

Mississippi State 31 Arizona 24 (OT) - Clanga-Clang forced five turnovers, but still needed OT to hold off the Sun Devils. LB Jett Johnson had 7 solos, 4 assists, 1 sack, 2 TFL, and 2 INTs. On offense, MSU had 39 running plays and only 17 passing - quite a drastic change from last season. Last season, Will Rogers’ lowest pass attempt total in 2022 was 37 against a cupcake in which he played three quarters.

Auburn 14 Cal 10 - After Hugh Freeze stopped whining about having to go to California, Payton Thorne tossed a fourth quarter 5-yard touchdown pass to Rovaldo Fairweather to complete the Tigers’ rally late Saturday night. In a straight-up fugly game, Aubie lost three fumbles and threw a pick while the Bears missed three field goals and had three turnovers of their own. The War Eagles had 94 passing yards.


The final scores don’t show it, but there were some real struggles this weekend.

Ohio State 35 Youngstown State 7 - The Buckys led 14-7 until nine minutes to go in the first half. anOSU had one score in the entire second half and 123 rushing yards in the entire game.

Georgia 45 Ball State 3 - This spectacle was scoreless after one quarter. UGA had trouble moving the ball on offense for much of the game. A punt return touchdown, a turnover on downs, and three interceptions by the Dawgs defense set up short fields and led to all but one Georgia touchdown.

Arkansas 28 Kent State 6 - Arky’s first score was a pick-6. The Hogs’ first offensive score did not come until there was 2:20 left in the first half. The Razorbackes scored one TD in each quarter as the starters were forced to play the entire game. Arkansas put up only 308 total yards on winless KSU who gave up 56 points and 723 yards to UCF in Week 1.

Clemson 66 Charleston Southern 17 - The Tigers only led 24-17 at the half against an FCS team that barely beat Division II North Greenville 13-10 the week before.

Tennessee 30 Austin Peay 13 - The Vols advantage was a mere 13-6 at the break. Joe Milton was a meh 21 of 33 passing for 228 yards for the game in which the starters went the distance. UT was 3-12 on third down (0-1 on fourth) and had 10 penalties for 88 yards, including two pass interference calls. This slop led to a players-only meeting following the game.

LSU 72 Grambling 10 - The Bayou Bungles led 14-10 after the first frame before waking up and scoring the next 58.

Kentucky 28 Eastern Kentucky 17 - EKU trailed 21-17 with 8 minutes to go when UK found the end zone one final time to put the game away. The most impressive drive by the Wildcats might just have been the final one that lasted 7 plays and 48 yards that ate up the final 5:11.

Missouri 23 Middle Tennessee 19 - Mizzou tried like heck to blow this game but in the end held MTSU off. The Tigers managed only 316 total yards against the Blue Raiders.


Florida 49 McNeese 7 - A Gator walk-on running back fumbled at his own 8-yard line and blew the shutout for UF. It was a thorough beating but poor Florida fans had to listen to godawful Beth Mowens on TV.

South Carolina 47 Furman 21 - Spencer Rattler had a near perfect game stat-wise (25/27-345-3-0) against the FCS foes. SCar WR Xavier Legette had a second straight game of 100+ yards receiving.


Wake Forest 36 Vanderbilt 20 - The above play amazingly stood and Wake’s touchdown put Vandy in a hole they could not climb out of.


Memphis 37 Arkansas State 3 - Butch will be back washing Saban’s Mercedes in no time.

Boston College 31 Holy Cross 28 - The Eagles got the win, but just barely. If not for a HC fumble at the BC 33 yard line with a minute to go, Jeff Hafley may have been fired on the spot.

James Madison 36 Virginia 35 - UVa blew a 35-24 4th quarter lead. Tony Elliott is 3-9 at Virginny.

Purdue 24 Virginia Tech 17 - Brent Pry is only in his second season at VaTech, but it’s home games like this that he needs to start winning.


Notre Dame 45 NC State 24 - After a first quarter field goal, the Irish led the entire game but the ‘Pack kept it close until ND scored three TDs in the final quarter for the win against their meh ACC opponent.

Kansas 34 Illinois 23 - KU built a 34-7 advantage and hung on as former Ole Miss QB Luke Altmyer led two late TD drives with two point conversions to make the spread a little tighter.

Iowa 20 Iowa State 13 - The Hawkeyes lit up the scoreboard with a massive TWO whole touchdowns - one by the offense. An Iowa pick-6 made it 17-0 in the second frame. U of I’s second half series were made up of four punts, a field goal and a kneel down.

Washington State 31 Wisconsin 22 - Wazzu was up 24-6 before Wisky stormed back to score 16 straight. A fourth quarter TD by the Coogs with 5:30 left clinched the upset.

Colorado 36 Nebraska 14 - The above video went viral but nobody bothering to mention that the pass went incomplete. America’s latest team beat up a still-sucky Cornhuskers team with 393 passing yards and 2 touchdowns by Shedeur Sanders. The Buffs managed only 58 rushing yards. Nebraska lost three fumbles and threw a pick.

Oregon 38 Texas Tech 30 - The Dux came back from a 27-18 deficit to outscore the Red Raiders 20-3 over the final 15 minutes. The darkhorse B12 contender is now 0-2.


[Yes, that is Christian McCaffrey kid brother. He started his career at Nebraska.]

Rice 43 Houston 41 (2 OT) - 40-year old JT Daniels passed for a career high of 401 yards and three scores. The Cougars failed a two-point conversion to end the game.


Utah 20 Baylor 13 - In case you are confused, Baylor was trying to let Utah score so they could get the ball back with some time on the clock. The Utes running back was trying to kill as much time as he could. The Bears made it a close one and it sure looks like Utah got away with some PI in the end zone. Where were these refs at last year’s TSIO??


Is it just my imagination or are the refs calling pass interference much lighter this season?

  • 24%
    Much lighter.
    (76 votes)
  • 18%
    A little lighter.
    (57 votes)
  • 16%
    It’s just your imagination.
    (50 votes)
  • 40%
    Not sure. Get back to me after TSIO.
    (122 votes)
305 votes total Vote Now


North Carolina 40 Appalachian State 34 (2 OT) - App State almost pulled off another major upset. [Had that been Alabama on defense, a flag would been thrown, PI or roughing the passer. Amirite?]






Yes, we are third-graders here.


Yes, the Coast Guard Academy has a football team. And, yes, their mascot has bitchin’ abs.


Did Tennessee join the CFL?


Harold Perkins had one tackle against Grambling. Hmm.



  • UGA running back Kendall Milton had 7 rushes for 18 yards (2.57 ypc). The Dawgs finished with only 99 ground yards on 28 carries (3.5 ypc) against big bad Ball State.


  • Tennessee had 228 yards of passing and 228 yards of rushing against APSU.
  • So Cal freshman WR Zachariah Branch now has a touchdown via reception, punt return, and kickoff return.
  • With wins over Army and Lamar, UL-Monroe begins the season 2-0 for the first time since 2018. They finished that campaign 6-6 but were not invited to a bowl game.
  • Notre Dame has 29 straight regular-season wins against ACC teams.


How this guy was allowed o play in six different seasons for four different teams makes no sense at all.




GameDay and Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff are both headed to Boulder. SEC Nation will be in Starkville for Miss State-LSU.


  • JMU? Memphis?
  • Wyoming (2-0) is at Texas (-29.5) but Bama needs the ‘Horns to keep on winning.


  • South Alabama (1-1) - The Jags and SE Louisiana were tied 7-7 at the half. USA turned it on in the second half for a 35-17 W. A trip to Oklahoma State (-8.5) next weekend will be quite the test.
  • Troy (1-1) - As expected, the Trojans fell to K-State. But one might have thought they would have put up a better fight than the 42-13 throttling they took. Scary good James Madison (2-0) comes to town as a 2-point dog.


  • UAB (1-1) - The Dragons and Georgia Southern had a wild back-and-forth game with the Eagles taking over in the fourth quarter for the 49-35 win. Next is ULL (+2).


  • Army (1-1) - The Black Knights destroyed Delaware State 57-0. Friday, the Cadets head to UTSA (-10).
  • Navy (1-1) - The Midshipmen defense did a fine job of shutting down woeful FCS Wagner, but the offense struggled a bit in their 24-0 victory. Thursday, they travel to play conference favorite Memphis (-16).
  • Air Force (2-0) - Sam Houston gave the Falcons a big scare until AFA scored a touchdown with 5+ minutes remaining and held on for a 13-3 win. Next up for Air Force (-10) is a MWC game with a tough Utah State team on Friday night. Don’t bet this one.


Eliminated: All non-P5s, Boston College, Virginia, Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford, Cal, Vanderbilt

Endangered: Clemson, Alabama, LSU, TCU, Texas A&M, Florida, Rutgers, Mizzou, Sparty, Minnie, BYU, Center Florida, Auburn

Extremely Endangered: NC State, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Iowa State, South Carolina

A way WAY WAY too early look at the College Football Playoff (CFP) picture:

DraftKings odds to win the 2023 National Championship found on their “FUTURES” tab:

  1. Georgia +220 to+240 (bet $100 to win $240)
  2. Michigan +800 to +750 to +700 to +475
  3. FSU +2000 to +1100 +1000
  4. Texas +2200 to +1000
  5. Ohio State +700 to +750 to +900 +1200 - Vegas is not impressed.
  6. Southern Cal +1500 to +1600 to +1500 +1400
  7. Penn State +2200 to +1800
  8. Notre Dame +3500 to +2800 to +2200
  9. Alabama +600 to +550 to +2500 - !!!
  • LSU +1100 to +3500 to +3500
  • Clemson +1800 to +7500 to +8000
  • Texas A&M +12000

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.

  • ACC - Florida State is the leader in this league. Miami-FL won’t last. UNC is fragile. Clemson is looking like a Weedeater Bowl is in their future.
  • Big 12 - It’s Texas and then a whole lotta nothing.
  • Big Ten - anOSU, Michigan, and PSU are all 2-0 but haven’t played anyone.
  • PAC-12 - Southern Cal with Washington and Oregon, maybe the Utes.
  • SEC - The ESS-EE-SEE is suddenly looking pretty crappy. Georgia and Tennessee have struggled with doormats. Alabama and LSU already have a loss each.
  • Indies - Notre Dame sits at 3-0 but have yet to play a team worth a crap. CMU is this week and then they host anOhio State.
  • Non-Power 5 - Tulane and Boise both loss games that they needed to stay in contention for the CFP.


Don’t you know that the National Press thoroughly enjoyed voting Alabama down? Many post-coital cigarettes must have been smoked. Michigan State graduate Mike Niziolek of the exalted Bloomington Herald-Times (IN) voted the Tide at #16. Fellow Sparty graduate Sean Reider of the Albuquerque Journal and hockey reporter Randy Johnson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune think Bama is worthy of number 15. Some guy from the football hotbed of Reno, Nevada has them pegged at 14. The hate is strong with them.

  1. Georgia (55)
  2. Michigan (2)
  3. Florida State (3)
  4. Texas (2)
  5. Southern Cal
  6. Ohio State
  7. Penn State
  8. Washington
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Alabama
  11. Tennessee
  12. Utah
  13. Oregon
  14. LSU
  15. Kansas State
  16. Oregon State
  17. Ole Miss
  18. Colorado
  19. Oklahoma
  20. North Carolina
  21. Duke
  22. Miami *
  23. Washington State *
  24. UCLA *
  25. Iowa *

* Newly ranked.

Those dropping out of the Top 25 include Wisconsin (19 last week), Clemson (25), Tulane (24), and Texas A&M (23).

anOhio State, Tennessee, and Oklahoma dropped two spots each due to their struggle wins. UNC slid four spots.


  • Of the 131 FBS teams eligible for the post season, only 51 are still undefeated.
  • Notre Dame Southern Cal are 3-0.


  • The following teams already have two losses after two games: North Texas, East Carolina, Virginia, Texas Tech, Baylor, Nebraska, Middle Tenn, Sam Houston, UConn, Buffalo, Kent State, Ball State Boise, Nevada, Arkansas State.
  • The following are 1-2: New Mexico State, UTEP, UMass, San Jose State, Hawaii.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to Tampa General Hospital who is donating $25 million to the University of South Florida to support its athletics department. I don’t want to start a whole healthcare debate in the comment section (or do I?) but - double-you-tee-eff? A hospital has 25 million lying around that they can donate to a doormat garbage football program? How much are they charging their poor patients?


I hope you did not put money on Jalen Milroe because his odds plummeted to +9000. Jayden Daniels also continues a downward trend. Quinn Ewers rocketed up to +900. Below are just some of the top Heisman picks in order of the money lines.

It is still early and some teams have not really played anyone worthy of accurate evaluations (So Cal, UW). We’ll start speculation after conference play kicks in.

Odds are provided by DraftKings on the “AWARDS” tab.

  1. QB Caleb Williams (JR, Southern Cal) +450 to +400
  2. QB Quinn Ewers (Texas) +1300 to +900
  3. QB Jordan Travis (FSU) from +1400 to +900
  4. QB Michael Penix (Washington) from +1600 to +900

  • QB Jayden Daniels (RS-JR, LSU) +1100 to +3000
  • QB Cade Klubnik (Clemson) down to +8000
  • QB Sam Hartman (Notre Dame) fell from +1600 to +2000 even with a win.

[Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.]


  • Miami-FL All-American safety Kamren Kinchens was carted off the field following a freak hit on a Texas A&M receiver and was sent to a local hospital. He has since been released and said to be in “good shape”.
  • Center Florida QB John Rhys Plumlee is out for multiple weeks with some sort of leg injury but it will not require surgery. Gus Malzahn will have to turn to some dude named Timmy McClain who transferred from USF. They host Villanova this week but travel to K-State the following week.



  • Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker has been suspended without pay from the team after he allegedly “sexually harassed a prominent sexual assault awareness speaker after she was hired to address the Spartan team.” Normally, this case sounds like an overreacting triggered lawsuit chaser. However, Sparty has been under some major scrutiny since the Larry Nassar case, etc. and need to act fast and with all strictness. Former coach Mark D’Antonio will act as head coach in his place.
  • Former disgraced Baylor coach Art Briles was seen entering the field at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium following Saturday night’s win over SMU wearing an Oklahoma shirt. Briles had a conversation with his son-in-law, Jeff Lebby, who is Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator. Sooners coach Brent Venables was unaware of the situation and later said the situation is “being dealt with.” Lebby commented “he’s my father-in-law. That’s the grandfather to my two kids, so he was down with our entire family well after the game, but he was down there. ... He’s with his entire family.” On one hand, Briles is a scum bag. On the other, what’s the big deal? Let me have it in Comments.


  • Urban Meyer’s son once told him, “I have an imaginary girlfriend.” Urbie sighed and said, “You know, you could do better.” “Thanks Dad,” the son replied. Urbie shook his head and said, “I was talking to your girlfriend.”
  • Fat F*** Phil Fulmer is so big that Christopher Columbus refused to try and find his way around him.
Black and White TV


The Sept 23 Ole Miss-Alabama game will kickoff at 2:30/3:30 and air on CBS.


(Below is an abbreviated list of highlighted games of interest with lines provided by DraftKings. If you REALLY need to know about the big Tarleton State-Texas Tech showdown, you can find the details here.)

Thursday, September 14

Bethune-Cookman at Miami (no line) 6:30/7:30 ACCN
Navy at Memphis (-16) 6:30/7:30 ESPN

Friday, September 15

Virginia at Maryland (-14) 6pm/7pm FS1 - The Terps are looking to go 3-0 on the young season.
Army at UTSA (-10) 6pm/7pm ESPN - A tough road environment for the Cadets.
Utah State at Air Force (-10) 7pm/8pm CBSSN - An early and vital MWC matchup.

Saturday, September 16

** GAME OF THE WEEK ~ N/A. Not a lotta good must-sees this weekend.


LSU (-9.5) at Mississippi State 11am/noon ESPN - No repect for the Bullies!
Kansas State (-5.5) at Missouri 11am/noon SECN - These two used to play annually until Mizz joined the SEC. K-State won last year at home, 40-12.
South Carolina at Georgia (-27) 2:30/3:30 CBS - The creampuff schedule continues.
UL Monroe at Texas A&M (-36) 3pm/4pm SECN
Tennessee (-7) at Florida 6pm/7pm ESPN - A good indication of who both of these teams are.
Samford at Auburn (no line) 6pm/7pm ESPN+ - Nobody cares, Aubie.
Vanderbilt (-4.5) at UNLV 6pm/7pm CBSSN - Vandy doing a home-and-home with UNLV?? What a bunch of cheap MFers. What are they doing with all that SEC money?
Georgia Tech at Ole Miss (-19.5) 6:30/7:30 SECN
BYU at Arkansas (-10) 6:30/7:30 ESPN2 - Despite being 2-0. the Mormons are not very good this year.
Akron at Kentucky (-25) 6:30/7:30 ESPNU - I give Zip cares about his one.


Penn State (-16) at Illinois 11am/Noon FOX - I only list this one because it is the kind of game that the Illini sometimes win as of late.
Minnesota at North Carolina (-6.5) 2:30/3:30 ESPN - Odd dance partners.
Colorado State at Colorado (-23) 9pm/10pm ESPN - This should be a beat down, but the Buffs have @Oregon and vs So Cal coming up back-to-back.


UTEP at Arizona (-17) 10pm/11pm PAC12


Below is a count of career FBS/Division I-A win totals for coaches.

For those of you new to RBR Random Thoughts, we count all on-field wins at the FBS/Division I-A level. So, before you go squawking about Frank Beamer, 42 of his wins came at Murray State. Mack Brown had six victories in one season with Appalachian State when they were still in what was known at I-AA (FCS today). Brian Kelly won 118 games with something called Grand Valley State. So, let’s stop talking about his win record with such reverence. In addition, we don’t recognize NCAA sanctioned forfeits. If you won on the field, it counts in our books.

Rank Name Years Wins Losses Ahead/Behind
1 Joe Paterno 46 409 136 123
2 Bobby Bowden 40 346 123 60
3 Bear Bryant 38 323 85 37
4 Pop Warner 44 319 106 33
5 Nick Saban 27 286 70 -
6 Mack Brown 33 270 139 -16
7 LaVell Edwards 29 257 101 -29
8 Tom Osborne 25 255 49 -31
9 Frank Beamer 33 238 121 -48
10 Lou Holtz 30 236 115 -50

On a rare weekend, Mack Brown actually picked up a game on Saban as his Tar Heels barely escaped App State in double overtime. He still has 69 more FBS-coached losses than Saban.


  • In the first quarter of the Texas game, senior defensive lineman Tim Smith went down with an injury. He walked off the field under his own power and later returned to the field.
  • Junior linebacker Trezmen Marshall exited the game late in the fourth quarter, and also walked off under his own power.
  • Senior DBs Jaylen Key and Malachi Moore were listed as day-to-day last week but both ended up playing the entire game. Moore was seen in a walking boot following the game. He told reporters that the boot was for “precaution”.
  • Nick Saban did not provide details of any injuries at the post-game presser or on Tuesday.

GAME 3: Saturday, September 16, 2023

Alabama Crimson Tide (1-1) at South Florida Bulls (1-1)

Tampa, FL ~ 2:30/3:30 ABC

  • USF is a struggling program. The Bulls went 4-29 under former coach Jeff Scott plus an interim coach. They now have former Tennessee OC Alex Golesh in his first season in Tampa (FUN FACT: Golesh was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to the United States as a child.).
  • South Florida lost at WKU by 17 in Week 1 and defeated FAMU by two touchdowns last weekend. Dual threat QB Byrum Brown is basically their whole offense.
  • For the trip to Tampa, Alabama will receive two return trips from the Bulls in Tuscaloosa in 2024 and 2026. The advantages include recruiting exposure in a sizeable market of the Bay area, as well as playing in USF’s home stadium of Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Bucanners. But the real attraction lies in the 2-for-1 deal − netting two home games without having to pay the exorbitant payouts to visitors (usually $1M+).
  • The last time the Crimson Tide played a road game at a non Power-5 team’s home stadium was a visit to Hawaii in 2003, a head-shaking 37-29 Alabama defeat in Mike Shula’s first season.
  • Bama and USF have met once, a 40-17 Tide victory played in Birmingham in that same 2003 season.
  • Alabama is 1-2 all-time in Tampa, all of which were post-season games. The most recent was the painful CFP National Championship loss to Clemson for the 2016-17 season (too soon?).
  • The Tampa weather forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 89°. Be sure to hydrate if you are making the trip.


Are you going to Bama-USF in Tampa?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    (16 votes)
  • 3%
    Maybe. Prices have probably dropped.
    (9 votes)
  • 91%
    No, but y’all have fun.
    (266 votes)
291 votes total Vote Now
  • TV Announcers are Bob Wischusen and Robert Griffin III with Kris Budden adding very little from the sidelines.
  • Eli Gold stays home for this one. Chris Stewart takes over play-by-play duties on Alabama Radio.
  • The point spread according to DraftKings has Bama as a -32 favorite as of post. The Over/Under is around 61.5.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.


How are you feeling about Alabama’s CFP chances?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Over and out.
    (192 votes)
  • 29%
    Still in it.
    (136 votes)
  • 28%
    Not sure.
    (130 votes)
458 votes total Vote Now