Insane rumors about who’s going and who’s staying in college football…and how much they’re being paid to stay. But can you believe what you hear for the sake of a good story?
The Buckeyes landed last week in Dallas for their Friday Cotton Bowl appearance against Missouri, but the game itself is taking a back seat to all the rumors and unsubstantiated stories about which Ohio State players might opt out and not play…and which ones, including Marvin Harrison, who might actually return for their final season in 2024.
Fans, and the populace, eat this stuff up. A friend from Cleveland texted this week that “someone offered Marvin $20 million to return for his senior year. Keep your fingers crossed that he does.”
I’m not crossing anything. If he leaves, he leaves. And if some insurance company or big box store gives him $20 million to stay, guess who’s going to pay for that down the road?
It’s a good story, and that’s all that it is.
What I heard this weekend that I do believe is what I hear every weekend from the talking heads on Monday morning football…the analysts who went to the same schools as Marvin Harrison and Jayden Daniels…who literally can barely talk – who butcher the English language and we give them a pass because it’s sports, and it really doesn’t matter if you sound like a fool.
One member of the Baltimore Ravens, when asked about the race between Lamar Jackson and Brock Purdy for league MVP, following the 49ers loss on Sunday: “I know what I ‘seen’,” he said.
One of the analysts on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ show on Monday morning, talking about how the Raiders beat the Chiefs because of better quarterback play. Robert Griffin, III, a former Heisman winner, said of one particular Raider receiver, “Him and the quarterback was on the same page.”
I’ve given up altogether on basketball analyst Kendrick Perkins, who’s really hard to understand because his words and sentences are so tangled, except for the part when he says, “Hell, yeah.”
If all this is true (and hearing is believing), why do we even teach language? Why do we spend so much money on it? And why do we keep giving out ‘As’ and ‘Bs’ for the sake of eligibility when they can’t pass the simple rudiments of speaking English?
The demise of language, and how we speak, is literally to the point that you’re surprised when you do an interview and the subject actually talks with proper parts of speech. A post-game interview during the state football tournament went this way: “I mean, you know…him and me been playing together since we was kids.”
Unfortunately, not enough superintendents and principals will read this, but they know…I’m not making it up. This is not one of those $20 million dollar stories about staying in school.
And if someone does get $20 million to come back, shouldn’t there be a clause about at least a remedial English class?
We often hear about criticizing game officials for calls made, or not made, that would impact the outcome of a game, and sometimes we hear from officials, themselves.
Or the miniature strike zone that governs how baseball is played, because the plate is 17 inches wide, dammit, regardless of whether it’s Little League or the Major Leagues. And the integrity of the game is a stake.
Well did anyone happen to see the final play of the game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday afternoon…when Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor scrambled to find an open receiver on the game’s last play, one that could have enabled the Giants to force overtime. He eventually did find a receiver in the end zone, only to have that player pushed out of bounds before the pass arrived…and there was no call.
Again, this is not a $20 million dollar rumor…just another example of the horrid officiating that comes with the National Football League. And some still believe in the legitimacy of major league sports, when literally hundreds of millions of dollars are being wagered not only on the outcome, but the margin of a win.
In this particular case (Giants vs. Eagles), the foul was so egregious that the network (Fox) didn’t even show a replay: https://twitter.com/i/status/1739449260955865416
Of course, we’re conditioned by the past that you have to let that play go…let the players decide outcome, while the officials streak for the locker room. In this case, I don’t think there’s any question about the Eagles defender deciding the outcome.
Finally, I really don’t know how the Cotton Bowl will play out, although I’ve believed since the beginning of the season that Ohio State is the most athletic team in the history of Buckeye football, and they’re bound to get better with the recently signed recruiting class.
But I, along with others, continue to be puzzled as to why with all that size and speed they cannot consistently run the ball? And when they do run it well, why they don’t run it more?
I do have this unction about Alabama and Michigan…and Washington versus Texas. I remember last year’s Michigan game against TCU, and how much more athletic TCU was…how they just ran past Michigan defenders all night to put up 51 points on Harbaugh’s defense.
And I think Washington is the best team I’ve seen all year, at least on television.
And I believe this. This is the last of the four-team playoffs. And it’s probably the last year when the trophy you get for winning the Cotton Bowl, or the Sugar Bowl, or the Orange Bowl is actually meaningful. Next year they go to twelve teams, more games, more weeks, and by the time it’s over you’re going to be as tired of football as you are of basketball and the NBA Finals in June.
As good as they are, I predict you’re going to be tired of hearing Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler over-analyze football beyond the obvious fact of blocking and tackling….and justifying the backups who play because the starters are afraid of getting hurt before the draft.
Things have changed, and times have changed, but the fans who pay for it all largely have not. They still have household budgets, and many do not have enough money at the end of the month.
So, given the direction of NIL and who gets paid by whom to either stay in college or go pro, you wonder if fans making $40,000 a year, and taking as much overtime as they can get to make it, will be happy enough to even watch…when the national championship rests on the shoulders of the second string quarterback?
While the starter watches with his agent?