Cavalcade of Whimsy
College Football For the Handsome
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- Part 2 COMING TOMORROW - Ten stupid predictions of
things that have absolutely no chance whatsoever of
Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … my hand is tired after all the autograph sessions I did simply because I'm a neat guy.
"Hey, uh Brett, what are the chances I could get your autograph on this pump? Something nice for the wife and kids." ... There
are only two questions that need to be asked in the Johnny Manziel autograph "scandal" – if I could type air quotes, I would, because if there's anything foul going on here, I hope he gets away with it. The entire thing is ridiculous and he should be able to make bazillions of dollars off his name, likeness and signature.
1) Why, considering it seems like you don't really like to do much of anything other than serve as the living definition of the word party as a verb, did you sign all those autographs if it wasn't for money?
2) If there's nothing wrong happening here and there's no money changing hands – and, therefore, no proof of anything untoward and no NCAA violations - why the need for a lawyer like Jim Darnell?
Fun Things That Happened This Summer! Part 1 ... A bunch of really dopey people seemed to care a whole bunch about a really wild college football star who doesn't appear to have any real interest in playing college football any longer than he absolutely has to.
Here's the deal, Mr. Football. No, it's not okay for you to be just a college student, because you aren't.
No, it's not just "boys will be boys" when it comes to you and how you conduct yourself off the field, because you have an entire university, team and alumni base counting on you to represent them, and every other star quarterback knows that. Braxton Miller, for example, said that between the Terrelle Pryor fallout and the Johnny Football Travelling Fun Show that, yeah, he has to act and carry himself differently because he's the starting quarterback at Ohio State University.
It might not seem fair, Johnny, and it might not be exactly what you signed up for, but if you don't like it, quit. No one is forcing you to play college football anymore. No one is forcing you to do anything, but very, very soon, you're going to want to play in the NFL, and that off-the-field side combined with the lack of height and big-time arm is what turns quarterbacks into fifth round fliers.
By the way, follow me at my new handle ...
"How many times have I had you in my house? If you're a rat, then I'm the biggest mutt in the history of the Mafia." ... Texas A&M, five words you need to be saying over and over and over again: Let the process play out.
Texas A&M makes a huge deal out of its Corps of Cadets, the largest body of uniformed students outside of the military academies, yet its Heisman star appears to be just a tad bit undisciplined. Now the school is standing by its Manziel, which is fine until it isn't, and if there's any evidence whatsoever of violating NCAA rules, then A&M is sort of on the hook or else USC fans are going to rightfully go batspit ballistic.
Forgetting how it all actually went down, the NCAA nailed USC for not controlling the Reggie Bush situation better, even if, technically, it wasn't remotely fair to demand that Pete Carroll and the coaching staff knew what Bush was doing. If the NCAA has any teeth whatsoever, and it turns out there's a cancelled check sitting somewhere proving Manziel took money for autographs, yeah, Trojan and Ohio State fans will be a wee bit interested to see what will happen next.
A&M, here's how you play this. Let the NCAA do its thing. It's not going to find anything because it's the NCAA, and then the ruling will come and all is going to be well. Until then, you find a My Buddy for Manziel like Jack Haley was for Dennis Rodman and you demand that everything goes on lockdown for the next four months. Then it's over.
"Half the people in this room are mad at me, and the other half only like me because they think I pushed somebody in front a bus, so that's not good." ... Here's how the Johnny Lohan scenario goes. 1) He rocks and does that again this year, including a win over Alabama, making the off-the-field stuff part of the legend, or 2) he's good, but not great, and people point to the lifestyle and pressure for the reason he slid, or 3) this turns into a flaming hot mess. I'm sort of cool with any of the three.
"And before yesterday, I might have even said that there were reasonable grounds for those suspicions. Now, I'm not so sure. After yesterday, there is no proof of motive here. There is no evidence that there ever was an intimate relationship between the defendant and Ms. Polhemus." ... The public indifference to Manziel's autograph "controversy" – again, I wish I could put that in air quotes - has nothing, absolutely NOTHING, to do with race. If this was Braxton Miller or Jadeveon Clowney under fire, the world would have the exact same attitude that it really isn't that big a deal. The difference between the Manziel situation and the Terrelle Pryor and Reggie Bush incidents is evidence. There was something tangible for the NCAA to go off of in those cases – dug up by media outlets and not the NCAA – and there isn't a smoking gun here. At least not yet.
Fun Things That Happened This Summer! Part 2 ... The Paterno family found some sycophantic lawyers to exhaustively and effectively prove without a shadow of a doubt that absolutely no one watches Costas Tonight.
Follow me or this puppy dies, unless you hate dogs in which case it lives, comes to your house and jumps up and paws you in someplace tender as you open the door ...
"Jolly good. Well your first question for the blow on the head this evening is: What great opponent of Cartesian dualism resists the reduction of psychological phenomena to physical states?" ... Welcome to the official 2013 Fiu Cavalcade of Whimsy stance on concussions, CTE, player safety and other injuries.
While loads and loads of research still has to be done, and the total and cumulative effects of football on the brain are still being figured out, we all pretty much know the deal. Football isn't a net positive on the melon, and despite the NFL promo ads with actors dressed up in lab coats trying to tell us otherwise, the only way to not injure your brain playing football is to not play football. Therefore, if you're under the age of 18 and you're playing football, you have bad parents and any and all of your injuries and repercussions from your time in the sport are because some adult allowed the risk.
However, once you turn 18, you're allowed to vote, you can legally purchase that copy of Juggs that's been teasing you behind the 7/11 counter when you're buying your Strawberry Lemonshade Slurpee, you can legally appear in that copy of Juggs behind the 7/11 counter that's teasing young men as they're buying a Strawberry Lemonshade Slurpee, you can buy nitrous oxide, you can enlist in the military and you can be convicted as an adult. Therefore, if you're 18 or older, please, I beg of you, destroy your body and mind playing football for my personal entertainment and amusement. However, here's the caveat; you must be forced to watch the documentary "American Man" before the start of every season. If after seeing that you still want to take the chance and the risk for the scholarship, the NFL dream, the fame and the glory, please. America demands it.
There is no real solution to truly make the game safer. No, you can't take away helmets or deemphasize them, and no, it doesn't matter if you take away the kill shot, because it's the constant bip-bip-bip that's the problem. But now players are getting better medical diagnosis than ever when it comes to concussions and brain injuries, and now they're more and more aware of the dangers.
There will always be people
who smoke, there will always be people who drink too much, and there will always be people who worship the sun for a golden tan – and if they happen to be female and reasonably attractive, yippee.
And there will always be people who'll want to play football.
Fun Things That Happened This Summer! Part 3 ... Aaron Hernandez was indicted by a grand jury on a first-degree murder charge to go with the other first-degree murder charge along with five weapons violations, or what
collectively would've been labeled as a "violation of team rules" during the Urban Meyer era at Florida.
And it's not his fault that New England hasn't won a Super Bowl since Spygate ... Why did Urban Meyer have to catch any heat whatsoever about what Aaron Hernandez allegedly did as a New England Patriot? Granted, the whole Florida prayer circle thing apparently didn't take, and Meyer's record off-the-field in Gainesville wasn't exactly stellar, but dogging him for anything Hernandez is currently being charged with is like blaming The Disney Channel for Miley Cyrus doing a bit of how's-your-father
on stage with an innocent foam finger.
These colors don't run – and neither does the Louisville offense ... Seriously, The American Athletic Conference? Why not just name it the God Bless America Stars And Stripes Forever Freedom Conference Of Glory League, better known as the GBASASFFCOGL? Or make it easier and do the inevitable by combining forces with Conference USA – it's already the feeder system into the old Big East – and create the American USA Conference.
I'm saluting as I'm typing this.
"There is one thing I forgot to tell you guys. It's a league rule: cups and supporters. Gotta be worn at all times. Either you wear 'em or you don't wear 'em and you don't play." ... College football players should get a bigger stipend? Why aren't Little League World Series players being paid? As a nation and a sports culture we have
got to get past the idea that it's okay for a group of people to make a ton of money while the people doing the actual revenue producing – no matter what age – are demanded to simply be happy to do what they do.
"Well those are whole pennies, right? I'm just talking about fractions of a penny here. But we do it from a much bigger tray and we do it a couple a million times." ... Let me break down the
basics of the Ed O'Bannon-led anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company for making gobs and gobs and gobs of money by using college athletes' likenesses in video games -
(clears throat) the NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company make gobs and gobs and gobs of money by using college athletes' likenesses in video games.
Yes, the format is a blatant rip-off of a phenomenal Louis C.K. bit, because he's far smarter and far sharper than I am and I couldn't think of a way to frame this better ... Of course Middle Tennessee's Steven Rhodes, who served five years in the Marines, should be eligible despite playing in a rec league when he was serving in the military. The whole dust-up started when the NCAA said Rhodes wasn't
allowed to play this season since a player loses a year of eligibility for every year outside of high school he plays in organized competition. Of course, what Rhodes
participated in was hardly some semi-pro league, so of course he should be allowed to play. However, the NCAA sure did buckle in a big hurry when the public pressure started to kick in. NCAA, are your rules just a bunch of hooey or not? What happens the next time this occurs and the guy isn't a veteran? Let's be clear here; no way, no how does this get reversed if the "support the troops" angle wasn't involved, and now the precedent has been set.
The NCAA can't say no to the next guy who wants to
In a nice piece of PR 101, did you notice how the picture of Urban Meyer with Reed couldn't come out fast enough once the Hernandez thing started to heat up?... Of course a child trying to overcome cancer is one of the toughest things life could possibly deliver. Of course it's brutally unfair, and of course it tugs at the heart whenever a sick child and his or her family has even the slightest moment of relief or joy, like when a kid is healthy again after being stricken by cancer. Of course, of course, of course. But there's something just a little … crass, about equating cancer with Michigan, even if it's all joking and in good spirits and fun.
By the way, give Michigan head coach Brady Hoke total and complete credit for being pitch-perfect with everything he said and did regarding 12-year-old Grant Reed and the entire story.
And you can't name your child Mike if your last name is Jordan, Jackson or Hunt ... Of course a child trying to overcome cancer is one of the toughest things life could possibly deliver. Of course it's brutally unfair, and of course it tugs at the heart whenever a sick child and his or her family has even the slightest moment of relief or joy, like when a sick child tears off a touchdown run in a Nebraska spring football game. Of course, of course, of course. But if your last name is Hoffman, you can't name your son Jack.
Follow me or I'll come to your house and eat your chips without closing the bag with a tight seal ...
"So please please please
let me, let me, let me
let me get what I want
this time" … Welcome to Week One, 2013 of my shameless and impossible quest to be on the committee that helps pick the playoff
teams. Why do I deserve a spot? At Lollapalooza, because they asked for it, I managed to always and without fail unnecessarily tip the cute quirky college kids for moving my order of beers six inches and then opening the
pull-tab. Okay, so on my walk to each day of the festival I passed by homeless people of various states of true despair and human suffering without giving a dime, but I paid my penance by sitting through three songs of the Mumford & Sons set.
- Part 2 COMING TOMORROW - Ten stupid predictions of
things that have absolutely no chance whatsoever of