Those countless hours watching games, reviewing drive charts, reading stories and gathering information by any means necessary are never put to waste. Instead, notes are funneled into a little corner of the hard drive where — at the end of each season — the file is opened and combed through to find the most despicable moments in college football.
We call this feature classless acts and it has become one of the most popular on the site.
First a definition of a classless act for the newbies in the audience. It's any attempt to degrade an opponent, player or the game we love. It's the stuff that often isn't in the summary but gets mentioned years later when somebody extracts retribution.
After the jump are 10 classless acts. At the bottom of the post is a poll where readers can vote for the most classless act of 2010. You get only one vote, so make it count.
1. Urban Meyer, Florida
Meyer has always carried himself with a high degree of jackassery, but he took it to an extreme level in March when threatening then-Orlando Sentinel reporter Jeremy Fowler for some obscure reason.
By season's end, Meyer had quit as Gator coach for the second time in a year. He cited family reasons, of course.
Meyer's reward for being a jerk? He turned up on the four-letter network with none other than Nick Saban in some Axis of Evil analyst pairing for the BCS title game. Welcome to the dark side, Urban!
2. Jim Harbaugh, Stanford
Stanford led Virginia Tech, 33-12, with less than seven minutes left in the Orange Bowl. Instead of taking the high road and trying to run out the clock, Harbaugh decided to pile it on. He kept Andrew Luck in the game and had his quarterback throw deep to Coby Fleener, who ran untouched for a 38-yard touchdown with 6:05 left. Stanford held on for a 40-12 victory.
Earlier in the season, Harbaugh's team was leading Wake Forest, 68-24, with less than six minutes left when he decided to throw the challenge flag, alleging his team had caused and recovered a fumble deep in Demon Deacon territory. He lost the challenge.
And turning the clock back to 2009, who can forget the "double nickels" game against USC, when Harbaugh went for two with his team leading, 48-21. The try missed, but the Cardinal added another late score to win, 55-21.
Of course, Harbaugh won't be around The Farm for any repercussions resulting from his acts of poor sportsmanship. After flirting with Michigan, he decided to move up the San Francisco Peninsula and take NFL money from the 49ers.
3. Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
Wisconsin had just scored a touchdown and increased its lead against Minnesota to 41-16 with 6:39 remaining. Then Bielema decided to rub the Gophers' nose in it by going for two. The try failed, but Tim Brewster — in one of his final acts as Minnesota coach — called Bielema on it. "I thought it was a very poor decision by a head football coach and he'll have to live with that," he said. "It was wrong. Everybody in here knows it and everybody in college football knows it. It was wrong."
Bielema wasn't finished. A few weeks later, his team was leading Indiana, 69-13. There was no need for backup quarterback Jon Budmayr to be passing, let alone throwing deep to Jared Abbrederis. The two hooked up for a 74-yard touchdown with 7:26 remaining to increase the lead to 76-13. Wisconsin added one more score on a 17-yard run with 1:57 left and won, 83-20.
4. Ron Zook, Illinois
The Zooker got in on the fun in a late October game against Purdue. After the Boilermakers scored a meaningless touchdown to cut the deficit to 37-10 late in the fourth quarter, the Zooker kept starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase in the game. Scheelhaase guided the Fighting Illini on an eight-play, 57-yard drive that included three passes, the last a 15-yard scoring toss to Chris James with 1:36 left.
"That's their choice, their call," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "I would not have done it. He's the coach. If it makes him feel better about him and his team, call it, chuck it and run it up."
5. Randy Edsall, Connecticut
In the locker room after the 48-20 loss to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, Edsall turned to junior tailback Jordan Todman and reportedly said, "Jordan, I think you have something to say to these guys." Todman manned up and informed his teammates that he was making himself available for the NFL draft.
When it came time to board the team's charter flight the next day from Phoenix, Edsall was nowhere to be found. When the plane landed in Connecticut, players turned on their cell phones and started getting text messages saying Edsall had agreed to become Maryland's coach.
"[Edsall] made Jordan address the team to say he was leaving, and he isn't man enough to do it face to face to us?" one player told the Hartford Courant.
Edsall did address his former players in a conference call later that night. "Guys, this just happened. It was a spur of the moment thing. I had no idea," Edsall reportedly told the players.
The truth? Edsall had been negotiating with Maryland for a week.
6. Carl Pelini, Nebraska
No coaches struggle with anger-management issues like the Pelinis. Carl, the defensive coordinator, and brother Bo, the head coach, are at their explosive best when things don't go their way.
But Nebraska's 9-6 loss at Texas A&M sent Carl into the stratosphere. A video surfaced that allegedly showed Carl going Woody Hayes on a credentialed member of the media after the game.
Like a villianous pro rasslin' tag team, the Pelinis denied any wrongdoing. Carl, you see, was simply trying to pull a Nebraska player out of an encounter and Brandon Jones, the person running the video camera, happened to be in the way.
Then photographs surfaced that showed there was no Cornhusker player in the vicinity and that Carl indeed had attacked Jones, who works for TexAgs.com. The Pelinis quickly backpedaled, confessed their sins and apologized to Jones.
Yes, the coverup can be worse than the crime.
7. Arizona fans
There's much love on this blog for Tucson, place that boasts an average of 350 sunny days a year and is home to American Badass Jay Dobyns. Lil Abner's Steakhouse is the place of legends and then there's Dirtbag's, a part of growing up.
That said, what in the blue hell has gotten into Arizona fans? An Iowa fan shot this video during the Hawkeyes' visit to Tucson in September.
Then there was this middle-aged man who proudly gave the one-finger salute on national TV. Note the impressionable young Hawkeye fan wearing the McNutt T-shirt in the middle of the photo. He likely took some new skills back to the Hawkeye State.
8. Mike Locksley, New Mexico
Ryan Tomari, the sports editor of the student newspaper the Daily Lobo, wrote a column last summer saying the New Mexico program was in shambles under Locksley. A few weeks later he bumped into the coach at the Uptown Sports Bar and Grill in Albuquerque and things turned ugly.
Locksley reportedly confronted Tomari in an angry exchange that included the use of profanities by the coach.
Editors at the Lobo were going to let this one slide until they learned that a surveillance video existed that would support Tomari's account. They also learned that Locksley had returned to the bar days after the incident and obtained a copy of the video. In the interest of fairness, the Daily Lobo asked the bar owner for a copy and he declined.
"I gave a copy to Locksley since he is always misrepresented," owner Adam Krafft told the newspaper. "Write something good about the program and fill the seats. All the negativity doesn't help the program win."
Meanwhile, New Mexico officials were holding private screenings of the tape. Albuquerque Journal reporter Greg Archuleta was allowed to view it in the presence of Locksley and an unnamed athletic department official, but a reporter from TV station KOB was told no.
The university took the unusual step of saying that Archuleta "came to the identical conclusion of the athletic department that there was nothing to the dialogue, and there was no story or wrongdoing on the part of coach Locksley or the reporter."
Archuleta did write about the incident, saying that Locksley acknowledged confronting Tomari but denied cussing at him.
What became of the tape? "After the video was viewed, we got rid of it because there was nothing on it," Lobo sports information director Frank Mercogliano said. "There was no reason to keep it."
Tomari, of course, was right. The program is in shambles. Locksley has a two-year record of 2-22. The two victories equal the number of times he has been sued since becoming coach.
He first was sued for sexual harassment by a former administrative assistant. Then came the lawsuit by former receivers coach Jonathan Gerald, who alleged — among other things — that Locksley choked him and punched him in the face.
On a sidenote, Archuleta was taken off the Lobo beat in October.
A recent poll of Wiz readers gave James the analyst a disapproval rating of nearly 90%. Why? Perhaps it has more to do with James the father, who threatened to sue Texas Tech if it didn't investigate Mike Leach's treatment of his son Adam, a receiver on the team who was recovering from a concussion back in 2009.
After Leach was fired, the finger of blame was pointed at James. It was only a matter of time before ESPN would be dragged into the legal mess.
In November, Leach filed a lawsuit against the network and a public relations firm that was hired by James. The suit claims the network coverage of Leach's firing was "willful and negligent defamation" and that it failed to "retract false and damaging statements" it made from "misinformation" provided to ESPN by Craig James.
The suit also names Spaeth Communications as a defendant, claiming James hired the firm for "purposes of creating public opinion hostile to Leach."
As for Adam James, he had 17 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown in Leach's last season. Under new coach Tommy Tuberville in 2010, Adam finished with two receptions for 26 yards.
10. Miami fans
The season got off to a swinging start in Miami, where fans attending the Hurricanes' game against Florida A&M decided to get in on the action. The great part of this video is the background announcement talking about what a fine university they have in Miami.