Five Cavalcade of Whimsy footballey opinions and, like, other stuff
1. What we learned this offseason, Part 1
This should be the easiest of tap-in putts.
Don’t use the n-word.
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever.
Don’t use it when quoting rap lyrics.
Don’t use it when citing Tarantino.
Don’t use it when singing along with “Savage” while three pages deep in a Megan Thee Stallion Google image search.
College football coaches, just don’t say it, NO MATTER WHAT.
Besides it obviously being wrong, someone on a team will hear it was said – even if he didn’t hear it directly – and then bad things will happen.
That’s not being all woke; don’t use it.
Don’t use it if you’re trying to be relatable, or if you’re trying to hype up your guys, and even if it’s for the right reasons, don’t say the n-word when telling your players to stop saying the n-word.
In fact, don’t even say, “the n-word.”
2. The opt out
I’ll probably go into a bigger thing about this next week, but out of all the changes to come in the college football world after this crazy year, the normalization of the opt out might be the biggest.
I’ve been arguing this for years, and now it’s finally happening. If you’re a top 50-caliber NFL prospect, you never, ever play one more down of college football than you absolutely have to.
The three-year-out-of-high-school rule for NFL eligibility has always been unfair. Players are finally realizing that it’s not worth the risk, and that’s okay.
Many are legitimately using the concerns over COVID as a reason, just like college basketball players used to claim family hardship to jump early to the NBA. Soon, the right business decision is going to be the new normal.
And college football will be just fine.
3. “How can anyone be for (insert candidate here).”
Here’s part of the reason why wanting sports media types to Stick To Sports doesn’t work. No one understands the tribal nature of being on a side better than those who cover college sports.
You think there’s really that much of a leap from the the world of insanely liking and forgiving your candidate no matter what, to insanely liking and forgiving a sports team no matter what?
Penn State ring a bell?
How about whenever there’s a scandal involving a star player at a school. The base circles the wagons, ignores all logic and reason, and stays true to the colors. If that same thing happens to the rival, commence blasting away.
4. Maybe it’s the whole after dark thing.
The Pac-12 college football fans care.
I’ve been on the business end of the USC outrage from time-to-time, and Oregon and Washington fans can be as feisty as anyone. But there isn’t a fan base anywhere – and this includes the SEC – like Ohio State’s, and that’s not necessarily a compliment.
The Buckeye types are making a whole lot of noise, because that’s what they do.
How many Wisconsin fans lost their stuff over the Big Ten not playing football in 2020? That pin you heard drop came over the deafening silence from the Maryland and Rutgers bases.
Even Penn State and Michigan fans have been relatively calm during all of this.
Nebraska went berzerk, and the Ohio State faithful would get angry at free chocolate chip cookies. The Pac-12 doesn’t really have that. It doesn’t mean the fans don’t care.
5. What did we learn this offseason, Part 2
Every team will have someone who’s mad, and he’s more than happy to tell you about it on social media.
Finally, the players have a voice and can keep the college coaching staffs accountable when something isn’t right. However, among any group of 100+ people in a highly-charged setting, there are going to be ruffled feathers, and there will be disgruntled parts wanting to state their beef.
There’s a difference between calling out a coach for being insensitive to an issue or being just flat-out wrong, and a misunderstanding that can be cleared up in a five minute meeting.
What did we learn? Coaches had better make sure every single player from the star quarterback down to the walk-on punter knows that the door really is always open, and to come in first before hitting the button.