Cavalcade of Whimsy: What If Alabama Takes A Knee?
Will a wild weekend of NFL controversy trickle over to the college game? What would happen if Alabama decided to do some sort of gesture?
2017 Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
The column’s Hail Mary attempt to pass a health care bill was about to get batted down, and the investigation of the alleged collusion with the Russians just took a few new turns.
If that wasn’t enough, there really isn’t a whole lot it can do in a big hurry to clean up all the messes from the historic natural disasters; it’s frustrated as hell at that small rogue blog that keeps putting a finger two inches from its face saying, “I’m not touching you”; and it has to make amends with the ticked off readers after doing the unthinkable by reaching across the aisle to work with Bleacher Report to get this thing done.
So, as a diversion, and to change the narrative to anything else, it boorishly picked a fight with a bunch of pro athletes and …
Fish bites hook. Again.
Of course the debate it stirred up is important, but go ahead and yell at the column and fire up all the discussions you want about what it said, because while you’re doing all of that, you’re not talking about – and the press corps isn’t asking about – allllllllll the other stuff.
Try to be the adults in the room
Look, no matter what football players do or don’t do with the pregame controversy, someone’s always going to be extremely mad – and that’s fine.
Everyone is trying to figure out how to handle this the best way possible considering – obviously – not every player, coach, trainer, fan, etc. has the same belief. As we’ve seen during this firestorm, even when someone is trying to do what they believe is right, it might not come across as pitch-perfect, and then they get absolutely hammered.
And those are the professionals.
So with that in mind, and now that the college coaches and players are all being asked for their opinions on what’s going on and what they’re going to do, please recognize that if any college kid chooses to say anything, make a statement or take a stand – or a knee – on any side, they’re probably doing it under an enormous strain they’re almost certainly not used to.
Social media, old guy superfans who go apespit whenever a 16-year-old superstar receiver prospect is seen wearing a hat of a rival school, and most importantly, coaches who do everything possible to maintain an iron grip control, let these guys release the pressure without destroying, mocking or threatening them – especially if you disagree with what they say or do with every fiber of your being.
Yeah, right. Next you’re going to say that Colin Kaepernick’s protests led to the owner of the Dallas fricking Cowboys going down on one … wait, what?!
With the way social media heads were exploding left and right after Jerry Jones and the entire Dallas Cowboy team took a knee before the anthem was played against Arizona, here’s a hypothetical for you that would take this whole thing one step further.
What would happen if Nick Saban and his team took a knee before this week’s home game against Ole Miss?
I’m not getting into any debate here. I’m merely wondering aloud about what might happen if they did anything that acknowledges the controversy and the issues.
Of course, there’s no chance Coach “I don’t keep up with all that stuff as much as maybe everybody else does” will do anything to disrupt The Process, but …
Think about it for a second.
It’s one thing for LeBron to fire out a “U bum” tweet, and it’s another for NFL owners – even the ones who donated to Trump – to stand arm-in-arm with their players, but just imagine the firestorm of fascinating theater it would create if the head coach at the University of Alabama and his team pulled a Dallas Cowboys near Ground Zero of the speech that started it all.
The reaction would be at a whole other level – on both sides.
Trust me. I’ve dealt with the ire of the Crimson Tide fan base whenever I’ve merely suggested that Saban might want to retire someday, or take another shot at the NFL, or – and this really got me ripped apart – dared to pick the other team to win. And that was all over nothing.
The internal conflict that would ensue for a portion of the Bama nation would be overwhelming if Saban – easily the biggest star and personality in the state – allowed his team or players to do anything like what happened on Sunday or Monday.
What would the disapproving segment of the Tide fans do? Boo? Root for Auburn? Stop loving Alabama football? Of course not. This would twist a bunch of them into a pretzel.
And now, because I really do feel like spending the rest of my week getting yelled at …
Like clockwork, I KNEW what was waiting for me 14 seconds after the game was over
Ohhhhhhhh, no you don’t, you Joe Paterno truthers out there who puff your chests out when Penn State football does something great – as if Trace McSorley’s brilliant game-winning touchdown pass proved any sort of a point in your favor.
You will NOT ruin this for me.
I’m a huge fan of James Franklin. I’m a huge fan of Saquon Barkley. I’m a huge fan of the way this Penn State team plays.
I love watching this magnificent team, and my enjoyment of it isn’t going to be ruined by knowing how happy you are.
At least, I’ll really try. But for a large portion of Saturday night …
The one thing in this world everyone on all sides can get behind, except …
I’m the jerkweed who has no time for human interest sports stories with plinky poignant piano music, and I’ve somehow become all I’ve ever despised when it comes to anything getting the way of the integrity of the game.
However, in every way possible, Iowa’s new tradition of the fans waving to the kids watching from the hospital overlooking Kinnick Stadium is as beautifully awesome as a gesture can get.
I’m already an unabashed fan of Kirk Ferentz’s – fueled partly by the work he and his family are doing for families with premature babies – and now with this, how do you possibly not root for Iowa and this wonderful thing it’s doing?
And that’s going to be a slight problem for broadcasters.
Now, when you’re watching a game, how are you supposed to feel if you cheer against Iowa?
Why do you want the kids with cancer to be sad? What kind of a monster are you? The announcers will have to be mindful of this.
It wasn’t lost that after Iowa was doing that amazing thing, then the attention was turned back to the field where the Hawkeyes were playing that program.
Penn State didn’t exactly become the villain – Chris and Kirk said a whole slew of complementary things about Barkley and several other Penn State players – but after such an emotional scene, yeah … go Hawkeyes.
Horrifically tasteless line cheerfully withdrawn about how he’d still be the best tight end on my fantasy team
Aaron Hernandez had advances stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy? Noooooooooo, the hell you say.
This caused a stir, as if a football player having a messed up brain was some sort of surprise.
If you choose to play tackle football for an appreciable length of time, you’re going to injure your brain. If you’re cool with that, then go out there and entertain America. If you’re not, then don’t.
That’s the deal, and you knew that already. Quit acting like now this is an eye-opener.
Five Cavalcade of Whimsy footballey opinions and, like, other stuff
Five conversation starters at your next dinner party, and/or to impress that special someone at the right moment …
5. Frost Warning In Lincoln?
UCF just blew out Maryland. Nebraska needed everything in the bag to get by a woeful Rutgers team.
It’s just a question of which way the new Nebraska AD is going to want to swipe.
Even if Scott Frost isn’t quite ready or proven enough yet, the Huskers aren’t going to be any worse if he’s the head man.
Can’t we just get you to kids together already?
4. NYC GameDay
I actually feel sort of bad for GameDay – it can’t win.
Why do you care where it does its show from? So it went quirky and did it from Times Square – sort of cool.
But for some reason, it offended the sensibilities of some college football heads who thought it wasn’t collegey enough.
Really?! You care if a pregame show is in Tuscaloosa, or Clemson, or Fargo, or my breakfast nook? Take away the helmets from the front of the set and you wouldn’t know where they were, anyway.
And to those who had any sort of a problem with NYC being featured, where do you think the Heisman is presented?
3. Subway My Way
You win, Subway.
With your ad for the loaded carved turkey thing, you succeeded in 1) making me immediately want Subway (not hard), but more importantly, 2) making me download both the live and studio versions Ramones’ rendition of “Surfin’ Bird” and 3) annoying my family by playing it on a continuous loop ever since.
Come on, Massachusetts Minutemen. Get this done against Ohio this week and get a win already.
It’s time for the program that has just one win – 21-13 over FIU last season – over an FBS team since the end of the 2015 season to catch a break. Since moving up to the FBS world in 2012, it has won just ten games and has yet to beat a team that finished with five wins – Ohio will win the MAC East.
Ever since that win over FIU, over the last 13 games against FBSers, the Minutemen have lost seven of them by a touchdown or less, including three this season.
The ultimate play-and-lose-up-or-down-to-the-competition team, UMass has run the range, losing in a thriller to Hawaii by three, and last week pushing Tennessee in a 17-13 loss.
And besides, any team with a coach named Mark Whipple deserves something.
1. Targeting name change
The term Targeting doesn’t really cut it.
It’s more than this, but to keep it simple, targeting implies that a defender intentionally hits a defenseless player when it should be so much more than that.
Players have figured out how to deliver big hits without using their helmets. Florida State’s Derwin James absolutely lit up an NC State player with a blast from the shoulder – it really is possible.
You can’t hit players in the head with your helmet. It doesn’t mean you targeted them, it means you missed, and you can’t do that.
Targeting sounds too calculated. Let’s give the penalty a rebranding boost. From now on, let’s call it Brainsmashing.
This week’s reason why Nick Saban didn’t suspend me for the season opener against Florida State …
He actually did after I took away the focus from the team with my first few segments for this week’s column. Of course, it’ll be my fault now if the Crimson Tide can’t beat Ole Miss.
The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week
PICK SO FAR: 26-6 SU, 19-10-1 ATS
I held serve, and for that, I apologize. 3-3 isn’t how we roll around here.
USC -3 over Washington State
Navy -5.5 over Tulsa
Georgia -7.5 over Tennessee
Mississippi State +9.5 over Auburn (but Auburn outright)
Clemson -7 over Virginia Tech
Air Force PICK over New Mexico
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Keegan-Michael Key’s impersonation of James Franklin
Underrated: Keegan-Michael Key getting blowback from a slew of stupid Penn State fans who thought he actually was James Franklin
2) Overrated: Animals
Underrated: Any time a squirrel runs on the field and goes for the end zone
3) Overrated: Firing the athletic director
Underrated: The contract extension and astronomical buyout clause that the athletic director gave to the head football coach
4) Overrated: Baseball … until right now, as highlighted by …
Underrated: The FS1 promo correctly stating that “the only thing that matters is October.”
5) Overrated: The dogging of the NFL being boring/overrated/over …
Underrated: A fantastic and thrilling Week 3 in every way possible
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
There was an “egregious” hit on my first few segments. I’m not putting this all on Purdue, this is league-wide. There needs to be a way to X-ray a blurb at the stadium. There needs to be a minimum standard of care for each pretentious line. We put a lot of emphasis on health and safety of the column, but it didn’t even seem sanitary.