EW Staff
February 14, 2009 AT 11:00 AM EST

Drama in Dillon. After Smash road off into the sunset of College Station, Tex. (and he will be greatly missed), everyone’s lives kept going. Tami is all up in everyone’s business, trying to keep Tyra from dating a pill-popping cowboy, and freaking out that Julie got, in my opinion, an extremely tacky rope-heart tattoo. Watching this story unfold was extremely special for my parents and me, because at the young age of 13 the words “pip 33” were inked into my flesh (still there today). These scenes with the Taylor family were so similar to the “discussions” (me being yelled at) that took place in my house; it felt like I was watching home movies.

In other Panther news, Street is back. He’s teamed up with a lovable band of idiots (Herc and the brothers Riggins) and trying to flip Buddy’s house to raise a “nest egg” for his new born, Noah (a “nest egg” is actually the act of putting a pseudo egg in a hen’s nest to encourage it to lay more; the connection between this and financial savings is not entirely clear to me, but oh well). And after, heroically, coming in as a sophomore, stepping into the huge shadow of Jason Street, after valiantly leading the team to a Texas state title, after almost three, I may say, courageous seasons as the starter, young Matt Saracen has been benched for the younger, and apparently better, J.D.

McCoy? Really? C’mon coach, he’s a freshman…and he’s not even cool. (Everyone is thinking it, I just said it.) Seriously, though, his name is Joe Doyle and he likes to brag about the fact that his parents bronzed his first diaper. Lame.

Bring Voodoo back, fine, he was kinda intimidating and nefarious. A good Goliath to Matt’s David. Even his name was scary, “Voodoo,” petty creepy. But Joe Doyle? The kid has a trust fund, what’s unnerving about that? Of course he’s good, his daddy hired a private coach who used to play QB for USC or some fancy school like that, but Matt has heart. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player ever because he made the players around him better. Matt Saracen makes his team better. This McCoy kid is a question mark. Eric Taylor said it himself, “I know Matt Saracen, I don’t know your son.” Well where’s that mentality now coach? Funny how quickly one loss can make you forget the little people that helped you get that pretty ring on your finger (not the wedding ring, the state championship ring).

addCredit(“Paul Drinkwater/NBC”)

Fine, whatever coach, you’re just mad that I used to hook up withyour daughter. And now that I’m a backup, I’ll probably have a lot morefree time. Maybe I’ll spend it with Julie.

Seven’s got a lot of stuff going on right now, what with his grandmaand his mom, not to mention the fact that Carlotta doesn’t have Internet in the Guatemalan village she moved back to, so he can’t eveniChat with her. (I’m hooking you up with a little insider informationhere, may be on the DVD deleted scenes, but hasn’t made it into anepisode yet.) The last thing Saracen needs is a quarterbackcontroversy. But true to his name (a “Saracen” is a nomad of theSyrian and Arabian desert at the time of the Roman empire), he will notgive up, but strive to find fresh pastures. He may mope for a littlebit like any high school kid would, but to quote the wise sage TamiTaylor, he’ll “pull himself up by the bootstraps,” whatever that means.

After three years, you get attached to your character. It getsharder and harder to separate yourself from him and you start takingthings personally. Thus, this episode was dreaded. The proverbialwriting was on the wall from episode 1, but watching it play out waspainful. Ineffectual as it was, I tried playing harder in practice, Ipoured over the playbook and committed all of its intricacies tomemory. But it was to no avail. I guess that kind of stuff doesn’taffect the scripts. There was nothing I could do. I was getting benched.

Honestly, it has been humbling. Losing your job to a trust fund babynamed Joe Doyle will knock anyone’s ego down a couple notches. All Ican do now is work hard, enjoy my extra time with Julie, and wait formy chance to make a dramatic comeback.

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