2017 Preseason Cavalcade of Whimsy: The Likes Of Which The World Has Never Seen Before
It’s the 2017 Preseason Cavalcade of Whimsy, gearing up for another college football season. And why not?
2017 Preseason Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
Look, writing football columns and lazing around watching John Wick 2 on an endless loop don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business writing college football columns, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. Okay, raise the SAT requirement at Skip and Shannon: Undisputed and see what kind of team they have. You lose talent and then the product suffers.
“What else am I supposed to do, stay here and learn?”
What you didn’t read in the terrific Bleacher Report interview of UCLA QB Josh Rosen by my – to channel my inner Sid Hartman – “close, personal friend” Matt Hayes was Part Two, when Reality stepped into the Bruin football complex to finish off the discussion.
Rosen: “Football and school don’t go together. They just don’t.”
Rosen: “Human beings don’t belong in school with our schedules.”
Reality: “Yup … want a sandwich?”
Rosen: “No one in their right mind should have a football player’s schedule and go to school.”
Reality: “No (bleep). And it’s not like there’s nothing else to do at UCLA. Oh, and by the way, you know what other college students have problems with their schedules and time management? ALL … OF … THEM.”
I’m a firm believer that college football players should have a bigger voice and far more benefits – even with all they’re currently given.
They should be unionized. They should be able to have agents. They should be able to take money from anyone who wants to give it to them, do endorsement deals, and have jobs if they want.
However, there’s a certain reality built into the college football machine that can’t be stopped at this point – of course playing high-end college football is a full-time job. Of course being a real college student is a full-time job. That’s the deal.
If you want to be a true college student and also have fun playing football, Division II needs quarterbacks, too.
Otherwise, don’t play football and just go to class – if you’re good enough, the NFL will give you lots and lots of money to play no matter what.
Or, if you’re Rosen, you could do just enough to stay eligible for the next month, rip apart everyone in the first few games of the schedule, look like an amazing top ten-caliber NFL quarterback, and then quit, saving yourself for the next level.
The problem, though, with the system and what Rosen said is that 1) he’s 100% completely and totally correct in his views, and 2) no one cares.
Try convincing Johnny Student Loan, Suzy Part-Time Job, or any parent currently under soul-crushing debt that college athletes on scholarship with room and board need more help.
With that in mind, the answer is simple: make Football, or Athletics, a major.
If you can get through college on some phony-baloney dance major, or by playing a cello, or by taking something called film criticism – or whatever pretend field of study it was that helped me fool the world into giving me a degree – you should be able to spend all of your academic time concentrating on something related to sports, if that’s what you choose to pursue.
But football doesn’t prepare you for a job in the real world, right? Ask your Uber driver how focusing on 19th Century French Poetry helped him slay the planet.
Two more words on the whole life skills & college myth: Communication Arts.
Josh, I’m with you, I will carry the flag for you, and I will champion the idea that college athletics can always use more thoughtful young men who want to step up and be heard.
But first, might I suggest, sir, that your brilliant right arm cashes the check your mouth wrote with a 30-of-38, 365-yard, three touchdown day in a win over Texas A&M.
”You’ll have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel.”
I’m not so sure why a whole slew of over-reactionary people feel so threatened by a college kid like Rosen speaking his mind. All he’s doing is starting a conversation and trying to figure it all out – which is the entire point of going to college in the first place.
But now in our pick-a-side-and-despise-the-other-view-with-every-fiber-of-your-being-because-you-keep-falling-for-the-same-maniplulative-trick-by-some-person-on-a-news-channel-that’s-probably-not-the-one-I’m-watching-so-of-course-you’re-wrong-you-big-dumb-dope world we live in, the concept of give a flying fig about nuance has gone bu-bye.
With that in mind, from 974 miles away, I see what’s coming next this season.
You know how fans of ultra-successful authoritarian jerkweed head coaches always try to explain away boorish and occasionally offensive behavior with the “listen to what he says, not how he says it” line of bullspit? That same logic needs to apply – in a totally different way, of course – to any players who choose to step out and be heard.
Please, I’m begging all of you, when – not if – a college player pulls a Kaepernick and chooses some form of non-violent protest to express his views on something so important to him that he’s willing to risk the slings, arrows, scorn and ridicule that comes with it, your first reaction needs to be to simply listen.
And this especially goes for the hot-takers out there.
Don’t hide behind your prefabricated talking points or excuses, and don’t immediately assume that he does or doesn’t speak for you or to you. Just listen.
That won’t happen, and there will be the predictable protests and arguments from all sides. But try.
If Jerry Jones can throw himself a $16 million Hall of Fame party, then he can toss a little extra out there for a next-level funeral
I get it. Like you – you young person who has yet to be worn down by life – I hate it when old farts drone on and on about old farty stuff that was only cool because they didn’t have cell phones, internet porn, or more than three channels of TV.
However, you have to trust me on this one. As strong as the current crop of high-level college football announcers are – Chris and Kirk are really, really good – there has never been a better in-booth team than Keith Jackson and Frank Broyles.
Broyles died this week at the age of 92, known mostly for his legendary career as the Arkansas head coach winning 144 games at the school, highlighted by the 1964 national championship that Hog teammates Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones helped to keep alive and make famous.
However, as an announcer, he was even better.
Even today, he and Jackson still sound like what a college football Saturday should be.
I admit it. I’m an awful person for never, ever getting the whole squishy-for-Vin Scully thing, but I’ll attempt to make up for it with this.
Please. Do yourself a favor. Click this YouTube video, and lose yourself in Jackson and the syrupy-southern voice of Broyles doing their thing at the highest of possible levels.
But it’s a whole lot better than what’ll happen when I go. “Pete Fiutak. Cause of Death: Pie Overdose”
Dying just sucks.
No matter who you are, what you did, or how accomplished your life was, it can all be busted down into one little thing that will define everything you were, and everything you will be.
Frank Broyles might have been Arkansas football, and he might have been among the greatest color commentators of all-time. But what comes up when you Google Frank Broyles? A brief bio, when he was born, when he died, and this …
Monday afternoon meeting with St. Peter at the pearly gates …
“Congrats, Frank. You lived a wonderful life, made a great impact, and for the most part, always did the right thing … now, about that 1971 Liberty Bowl.”
Five Preseason 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. The Big 12 is going to regret having a conference championship game.
No matter what, it’s going to be a rematch, and it’s going to be stupid.
Hopefully, the College Football Playoff committee will see through the obvious attempt at trying to win one extra game to have a shot at getting into the tournament and not reward the conference just because a team has 12 wins instead of 11.
But here’s the thing. First year aberration of the CFP aside, an 11-1 Big 12 champion would almost certainly get in, no matter what. An 11-1 Big 12 team that now loses in the new championship game is almost certainly out.
4. You’re sleeping on Washington you silly, silly person.
USC is good, but you – and the rest of America – are falling too hard for Sam Darnold and what happened in the Rose Bowl. Oregon has improved, Stanford is about to be fantastic again, and Washington might be even better after winning the 2016 Pac-12 title.
Go ahead. Suggest that Jake Browning will end up as the First Team All-Pac-12 quarterback. You know you want to.
3. If Lamar Jackson deserves the Heisman, vote for him.
Louisville won’t be as good, and there’s a whole lot of retooling to do, but if Lamar Jackson is Lamar Jackson again – or better – and he’s the best college football player this regular season, I don’t want to hear any sort of contrarian-click-bait crap about how he’s not worthy of being the second two-time Heisman winner.
You know who’s on-field accomplishments aren’t deserving of being a two-time Heisman winner? Archie Griffin. You know who does deserve to have been a two-time Heisman winner? O.J. Simpson – he was robbed in 1967.
Yeah, winning it twice would put Jackson into a legendary stratosphere – and he might be just good enough to earn it – but let’s not make it something it’s not. And worse, let’s not make it a barrier if he deserves it.
2. There’s no more purely American sport than college football … and that’s not necessarily a plus.
Let’s just say the old adage that a billion Chinese people don’t care who wins the Super Bowl also applies 99% of the planet when it came to the “resignation” of Hugh Freeze.
This summer, I took a 15-day trip to Qatar and Tanzania. I tried eight times to explain what I do, and not even the over-the-top-nutty-about-Chelsea football safari guide cared about the videos on my phone from the sidelines of the College Football Playoff National Championship.
“Yeah, imagine my embarrassment when I emphatically said in front of 80,000 people in the stadium that Clemson couldn’t win, but look, I was right there next to Nick Saban … ”
(Cue the crickets and smile of polite pity and condescension from a guy who two hours earlier watched a cheetah take down a wildebeest.)
And then there was the visit to the Maasai village.
The chief and unquestioned main man in charge wore a lovely plaid-red shuka … with a Texas Longhorns t-shirt underneath.
I tried explaining the significance of wearing a shirt like that in such a remote part of Africa, but the concept of college football to him was like someone trying to break down the latest Game of Thrones to me. I’ve never seen it, and I really, really just don’t care – but good for you, though.
And then he showed how to throw a spear without slicing your jugular vein – apparently, that’s an issue – with better throwing mechanics than Shane Buechele.
And finally, sort of speaking of Texas …
1. My biggest offseason call that I’m not going to back down on even if and when it doesn’t happen …
Bob Stoops will be your 2018 Notre Dame head football coach.
No, I haven’t heard anything, and this is complete and total speculation.
I have absolutely nothing to go on other than my own dumb tingling sense that it seems too obvious, and the conditions are going to be perfect for the marriage a few months from now.
Stoops isn’t going to stay out of the game for long – the guy just needed a breather.
While the Chicago Bears will probably give him a look, they’re going to want a big-time NFL offensive mind to take over. There might be other pro openings, but Notre Dame is Notre Dame, and Stoops is a college coach.
Before Brian Kelly was hired, we were told by a low friend in a high place that Stoops was going to be the next head man for the Fighting Irish. Of course, that didn’t happen, Stoops laughed it off, and he got paid more and took home a few more Big 12 titles.
Notre Dame will be fine this season, but underwhelming. The Stoops rumors will start, and will snowball from there before he takes over the job in mid-December.
Or, because he’s Brian Kelly and can’t be denied, Notre Dame will go 10-2 and show promise – and Kelly will get an extension through 2119.
This week’s reason why Nick Saban didn’t suspend me for the season opener against Florida State …
Despite literally knocking myself out on the Maasai chief’s low-hanging doorframe to one of their houses – and not knowing how I ended up sitting behind the wheel of the safari Jeep with my head on the steering wheel – I wasn’t driving, so I didn’t put anyone at risk. However, for my community service punishment, I have to go on a walk-along with the Maasai warriors to find a goat to slaughter.
The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week
Do you realize what I gave you, America? Last year before the bowls I went 37-21 straight up and 36-21-1 against the spread.
Try to blow off my Urban Meyer-doesn’t-lose-Fiesta-Bowl-like-games call, and my Alabama-doesn’t-lose-national-championships rant – I was 63 fricking % ATS for the regular season.
And now I shall recreate the magic …
I’ll give my first Week One picks next week, but here are three others to throw on the pile to get this all going.
1. FIU +17.5 over UCF (but UCF to win)
2. Marshall PICK over Miami University
3. Boston College -2.5 over Northern Illinois
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Alabama vs. Florida State
Underrated: Michigan vs. Florida
2) Overrated: Minnie Driver
Underrated: Baby Driver
3) Overrated: Guam
4) Overrated: Sitting rookie quarterbacks
Underrated: (so far) Mitchell Trubisky, DeShone Kizer, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes
5) Overrated: The world and …
Underrated: … its desperate need for college football as soon as humanly possible.
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
When it comes to my fantastic, No. 1-ranked 2013 column, if you have facts about a violation, email compliance@ … uh. Sorry. Nothing to see here.