Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University and pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeye baseball team from 1971 through 1974.  He furthered his baseball career as a minor league league umpire for seven years, working in the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA).  He has written for numerous websites, and for eight years served as a regular columnist and photo editor for Gettysburg Magazine, published by Morningside Books, in Dayton, Ohio.  Widely knowledgable on that period of American History, Fulks is a frequent speaker on the Civil War at local roundtables throughout the country.  Involved with a number of writing projects, he and wife Mindy have two grown children and live in Covington, Ohio.

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Relative to questions about the new college football playoffs, and the questions we’d like to ask about all things sports, here are some obvious points that need to be made.

Understand, please, that Tuesday’s announcement by that group of “suits” representing college football was reminiscent of a doctor walking into an expectant waiting room to notify everyone that the new baby had arrived.

And like with all new babies, there are more questions than answers.  What’s it look like?  How big is it?  How’s mom doing?  The obligatory stuff.  But wait, don’t we also know that with new babies…it takes a while before you even know what to ask!

There were “key” words, though, and Tuesday the “suits” came out firing.  The word “committee” was used, as a reference to how the four teams that will ultimately  determine a national champion will be chosen.

They used the word “good” a lot, as in…”This is ‘good’ for college football.  This is ‘good’ for the kids.  This is ‘good’ for the game and the fans.”  Really?  I was waiting for someone in the back of the room to cough and disguise another word,  that starts with “bull”,  and then add, “This is good  for cash.”

More questions than answers, for now, anyway, knowing hopefully that Tuesday’s announcement is nothing more than the appearance of the “first” baby, a template for more to come, perhaps.  We know that for the present it’s a cinch that the four teams selected are always going to come from the power conferences…the SEC, The PAC 12, The Big Ten, The Big East, et. al.  One thing sure…there’ll never be a Hoosiers in college football. 

Teams from the MAC and the WAC are never going to see a championship opportunity even if Ball State gets so good that it goes 12-0 and wins the league for ten straight years.  Even if they’re ranked fourth nationally, there’ll always be a reason given to go with bigger, more glamorous schools.

That’s not to say that a different system can’t and won’t come with the next baby.  And believe it, there’ll be an outcry for more babies.  There should be.  That’s what you get when you have more questions than answers.  More cash, than satisfied customers.

As for now all anyone gets is one more football game to determine a champion, a template for the future (you can’t say they’re not trying)…and a way for the present to make a whole lot of money. 

Good for the schools?  

Good for the kids?  

And good for the game and the fans?

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Hey, I laughed last week when Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper told the Canadian reporter who asked him what kind of beer he liked best, “That’s a clown question, Bro.”  It brings to light the process between reporters and interview subjects and just how far some will go, without thinking, to cross the line…to go where no one in the media business really has any business being. 

It brought to mind a phrase that Gary Burbank used to use in one of his radio schticks on WLW radio…something about your right to exist supersedes our right to know. 

Bingo. 

And given that Bryce Harper is 19 years old, that he’s Mormon, and assumedly does not drink beer (because that’s a staple in the Mormon discipline), it “was” a clown question.

It doesn’t give Nevada senator Harry Reid the right to jump on and use the phrase, however.  He’s a clown in a different suit and the questions we’d all like to ask our political leaders in this day actually do deserve serious consideration…not some failed, veiled, attempt at humor. 

No, in the interview game it’s tough enough getting a good answer for a “good” question sometimes, but it happens.

In the aftermath of a good football drubbing last fall between Troy and Vandalia Butler I asked Butler coach Greg Bush, post-game, a question pertaining to his team’s inability to defend the same play that Troy ran three times, with the same player, all for touchdowns.  Nothing about his favorite beer, or his religion…or his politics.  Just the football game.  He gave me the Bryce Harper.

“I’m going to remember you,”  he said, turning to leave without answering. 

Likewise. 

It can happen to anyone.  Occasionally, we all feel like clowns.

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