Whether I’m at a coffee shop or the gun range or Pilates class, I always get the same two questions:
1. How come you’re so much better looking in person than on TV?
2. What’s wrong with college football?
I am naturally modest – there are no mirrors at my home in Los Angeles or my bachelor pad in Monte Carlo – so I prefer to address college football’s multiple maladies this week.
So, what is wrong with college football?
Everything is wrong with college football.
College football is a disease with only one known cure: abolition. But the chances our institutions of higher learning would abandon their lavish football programs are roughly equivalent to the chances of me showing up at Jessica Alba’s doorstep at 6:15 p.m. and eating dinner with her at Golden Corral by 6:45.
Among the sport’s chronic ills:
Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban. These fellas know how to win football games, for which they are rewarded with multimillion-dollar annual salaries, and, in Saban’s case, a $3.1 million home paid off by Alabama boosters.
If Saban could solve the world hunger crisis, he’d probably have to take a pay cut.
Couch Slouch doesn’t much care for the cut of Saban’s jib or the cut of Harbaugh’s jib, nor, would I imagine, would Saban and Harbaugh care for the cut of Couch Slouch’s jib. These gridiron bon vivants are captains of a world with no moral compass; they get a bully pulpit because, in a society with skewed values, they are celebrated for having all the wrong ones.
Yeah, they win. So what? It’s a game – nothing more, nothing less.
Harbaugh and Saban no more belong on a college campus than Roger Ailes belongs at a NOW rally.
The SEC. There are two SECs that pollute our lives – the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Southeastern Conference. As a lifelong observer of our federal government’s excesses and imperfections, it pains me to say that the Securities and Exchange Commission is less of a threat to our nation’s well-being than the Southeastern Conference.
P.S. The only reason I was rooting for the South to secede in the 1860s was so they would take the SEC with ‘em.
The talking heads. The number of words uttered on ESPN in regard to which teams should make the College Football Playoff or which player should win the Heisman Trophy on a single day exceeds the number of words produced by William Shakespeare over his entire lifetime.
And, trust me – and I intend no personal offense by this – Kirk Herbstreit is never going to tell us, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Video review. If you’re really lucky, you’re on this Earth for 30,000 days or so. The thought of spending hundreds of those days waiting for a referee to determine if a wide receiver’s left foot was in or out of bounds when he caught a ball somewhat depresses me.
I’m not a big proponent of “an unexamined life is not worth living,” but I am a big proponent of “a life examining whether-his-knee-touched-the-ground-before-he-fumbled is not worth living.”
Crimes and misdemeanors. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but my sense is that Division I student-athletes playing football in a Power 5 conference are arrested at a higher rate than Division I biomedical engineering student-scholars not playing football in a Power 5 conference.
I am addicted, of late, to the arrestnation.com Web site; all the latest athletic unlawful acts, with a treasure trove of stats – arrests, citations and charges by month, by sport, by school. Georgia and Nebraska are on top of the heap in 2016 with seven offenses each, mostly football culprits. Go Bulldogs! Go ’Huskers!
The myth of the student-athlete. I also don’t have these numbers in front of me, but my guess is that anthropology majors at, say, Clemson or Florida State graduate at a higher rate than football players at Clemson or Florida State. I was actually thinking of flying down to Tallahassee to research this, but I’m not sure there still is a campus library at Florida State.
Q. Have you ever been suspended for not tightening a lug nut properly? (David Downs; Houston)
A. No, but I once had to stay after school for leaving a sharply worded note to my teacher on her desk chair with a lug nut on top of it.
Q. If Colin Kaepernick’s practice of kneeling during the national anthem catches on with other players, will the NFL be accused of promoting religion? (Paul Walorski; Columbus, Ind.)
A. If his knee is down, I believe the play is whistled dead.
Q. If you were to do a random act of kindness for any sports figure, program or fan, what would it be? (Jack Leininger; Spokane, Wash.)
A. I would convince Skip Bayless to join Greenpeace.
Q. Did the fact that the Rams’ season-opening game started after sunset create any special problems for Jared Goff? (Matt Horowitz; Fulton, Md.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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