Jim Harbaugh might be Twitter transparent, but the Michigan coach is much more guarded in releasing information about his team. Among the items he withholds is a weekly depth chart.
After learning Harbaugh's depth-chart policy, Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre understandably decided not to put one out, either, for Saturday's game at Michigan Stadium.
That was all the ammo Dave Plati needed.
Plati, Colorado's longtime sports information director, began crafting a mock depth chart, which is included in the team's media notes packet for the Michigan game. Although the Big Ten Network broadcasters will receive the actual Buffaloes depth chart, Michigan can begin preparing for the likes of Elmer Fudd, Austin Powers, Lloyd Christmas, Bernie Sanders and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
All of those and many other familiar names are on Colorado's mock depth chart, which is brilliant not only for whom it includes, but the positions they play.
Let's break it down.
At quarterback Plati went with comedic stature over actual physical size. Elmer Fudd, a 5-foot-2, 165-pound senior, gets the start over Danny DeVito, at 5-3 and 200 pounds. Fudd and DeVito will direct a Single Wing-T scheme against Michigan's aggressive defense
Protecting Fudd and DeVito is starting left tackle Eric Cartman, a homegrown product from "South Park" fame. Plati got Cartman's actual size (3-foot-5, 195 pounds) when the "South Park" characters introduced the Buffaloes before a 2007 game against Nebraska. Backing up Cartman is the more imposing Fat Albert at 6-foot-6 and 400 pounds. Flexibility doesn't appear to be a strength here, but is anyone else excited to see Michigan's Taco Charlton face Cartman or Fat Albert?
Left tackle is one of several positions with interestingly sized players. Colorado will start Olive Oil, at 6-2 and 95 pounds, at the thin receiver spot, opposite wide receiver. The late, great Manute Bol, at 7-foot-6 and 220 pounds, will back up Oil. Good luck covering them, Jourdan Lewis. At weak safety, Stewie Griffin, the baby from "Family Guy," gets the starting nod over his father, Peter, who tips the scales at 6-3 and 430. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a Hall of Fame NBA center, so naturally, he's listed as a center here, too, but as the backup to Jim Otto. Plati said he debated listing Abdul-Jabbar behind the inflatable pilot from "Airplane!" Both placekickers, Scotty Smalls and Squints Palledorous from "The Sandlot," stand well under five feet.
Plati also had some fun with positions. At right guard, Colorado lists two deodorants, as Gillette Sure starts over Secret Degree. The free safety spot includes two famous socialists, starter Bernie Sanders and backup Vladimir Lenin. He also included the mysterious grouper position next to snapper. Something's fishy here.
Movie pairings are littered throughout the depth chart: Vito Corleone and Luca Brasi ("The Godfather") at nose tackle; Danny Noonan and Carl Spackler ("Caddyshack") at strong safety; the somewhat obscure Archie Leach and Wanda Gershwitz ("A Fish Called Wanda") at cornerback; and my personal favorite, Bill Lumbergh and Milton Waddams ("Office Space") at left guard. The Hansen brothers from "Slapshot," -- Steve, Jack and Jeff -- occupy the halfback position. James Bond, number 007, is the starting defensive tackle, backed up by Auric Goldfinger.
Clark W. Griswold starts at tight end for Colorado, but his measurables (6-foot-5, 280 pounds) look off. Anyway, good luck defending that, Jabrill Peppers!
Plati didn't hesitate to identify the most interesting position: Roamer Dude. "We’re playing a 4-0-7 defense, so no linebackers," he explained. "So I was trying to fill in. I came up with the roamer from co-ed softball where you have that 10th player, the roaming outfielder. I was like, 'Let’s have a roamer person back there.'" In a controversial decision, Plati went with the free-spirited Bill Walton at starting Roamer Dude over The Dude Lebowski, who we all know is the true roamer dude of our time.
The special teams crew is fascinating. Plati went with golf-themed punters, as Happy Gilmore starts over Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy. The holder spot honors the late Gene Wilder with Frederick Frankenstein as the starter, backed up by Willie Wonka. Punt return could be a concern as Christmas and Harry Dunne from "Dumb and Dumber" handle those duties.
The depth chart isn't Plati's first mock masterpiece. In the 1990s, when teams issued official injury reports, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder refused to release one, so Plati countered with fake reports for Colorado.
"The best injury I had was Don Corleone, doubtful, bullet wounds," Plati said.
Plati's lone regret with the depth chart is no "Simpsons" references.
"The week's not over yet." he said.
After an impressive 2-0 start, Colorado clearly is having some fun this week. On Monday, the Buffaloes revealed their uniform combination for Saturday -- the same one they wore on Sept. 24, 1994, when they beat Michigan on a Hail Mary pass from Kordell Stewart to Michael Westbrook in one of the most iconic finishes in college football history.
The depth chart includes a reference key to help the young or out-of-touch understand who's who. It's complexity and creativity will astound you, and perhaps even get a Twitter response from Harbaugh.
Plati said he put it all together in 20 minutes.
"I'm a geek," he said.
Or a genius.