Ah, another college football season is upon us. So much to look forward to after an offseason filled with so much shock and drama. But there’s still some George Carlin in me — “things I can do without” — in college football. And it has nothing to do with sketchy recruiting, fans behaving badly, an unfaithful pinhead coach that apparently can’t ride a motorcycle properly or one Un-happy Valley. Here’s my list:
No. 10: Idiot school presidents that allow rich traditions to die
Welcome to the 2012 college football season, and no more tradition-rich, late season games like Texas-Texas A&M (1894-2011); Kansas-Missouri (1891-2011); and West Virginia-Pittsburgh (1895-2011) thanks to the greedy, pencil-neck Dean Faber’s and their power-hungry quest to join a new conference and pad their pocketbooks. Instead, enjoy that turkey with Texas-TCU! But, hey now, we’ve got new traditions to look forward to. It’s the “Battle of the Columbia” — no, not the river. It’s Missouri-South Carolina! Only 870 short road trip miles, Tiger fans! And West Virginia-Kansas, “Fight Fire with Fire” against Mountaineers (but don’t burn them couches! That’s a felony now)!
No. 9: Coaches voting in any stupid poll
You know it’s a sad state of affairs when USC coach Lane Kiffin — you know, the one who abruptly gave the Vol Navy and The Hill the one-finger salute on his way out of Knoxville — has to remind us of just how stupid it is for coaches to be voting in any stupid poll. Especially one that plays a role in determining (breath in now people) the Bowl “Championship Series” title game (breath out, remember, only two more years until the playoffs). After all, as Kiffin rightly noted when he relinquished his vote, coaches have neither the time nor the genuine objectivity to be casting an opinion on teams others than there own.
No. 8: Conference names that make absolutely no sense
Now back to Dean Faber. First, kudos to Pac-12 school presidents for agreeing to change the conference name from the Pac-10, following the admission of Colorado and Utah. Now, memo to the Big 10: time for a name change. No, I’m not talking about your “Leaders” and “Legends” divisions. First things first. You are educational institutions, are you not? Well, way to lead the next generation into an era of inaccuracy and confusion. You’re not the Big 10 — you’ve got 12 teams. I mean, seriously. You’re the Big 12. Wait, oops. That name’s already taken — by the Big 12. But the Big 12 now has 10 teams (thanks a lot for causing us this mess, Nebraska and Colorado!). So now the Big 12 has a name problem, too.
College football kicks off
CFT's Preseason Top 25: Look for Matt Barkley and USC, which is bowl eligible for the first time since '09, to end up No. 1.
Hey, here’s an idea Big 10 (I mean, 12), why not call yourselves the “Biggest 12 Conference” since this name would match the arrogance of your “Leaders” and “Legends” division quite perfectly? And the Big 12 (I mean the Big 10)? Let’s call you “The Stealthiest 10,” for you created the public appearance of avoiding panic in times of crisis when it seemed your conference might well be obliterated.
The Big East? Well, in 2013, you welcome four teams west of the Mississippi River — you know, San Diego State, Boise State, Houston and Southern Methodist — so let’s just call you “The Big Yawn.” Bluto agrees.
No. 7: Listening to how the Big (L)East/yawn thinks it ever will be relevant in football
Already, there’s been Ad nauseam from the (few, the proud, the remaining) Big Yawn conference members (that simply haven’t fled yet themselves to the Big something) about how it belongs in the top echelon of college football along with the likes of the SEC. Please!
After all, this is a conference made famous by defections (see: Boston College, Virginia Tech, Miami and, starting next season, Pitt and Syracuse) and even coaches that scold their own fan base for caring more about enjoying another frosty in the parking lot than being inside for the kickoff (see: former Connecticut coach Randy Edsell, plus I can also personally attest to witnessing this behavior among BrewConn fans).
And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Big Yawn has invited programs into the conference for next season that have a much more aloof fan base than UConn, which averaged less than 37,000 fans per game to a stadium that’s a 30-minute drive from campus. Yes, SMU is in the large Dallas-Fort Worth market, but the Mustangs barely averaged 20,000 fans per game last season; ditto for Memphis, which will also join the conference next year.
The fact the Big Yawn didn’t invite East Carolina speaks volume to its genuine ineptness and futility. The Pirates outdrew every team in the Big Yawn last season, selling out each contest and averaging 50,012 fans per home game. Not only that, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is on campus and part of a vibrant college town, and get this — it’s in the East! What a concept!
No. 6: Off-campus venues and neutral-site games
Baseball is meant to be played outdoors in a park — and college football is meant to be played outdoors on a college campus. Period. Syracuse will take its hideous Carrier Dome and Pitt will keep playing its games in an NFL stadium when the two schools debut in the ACC next season. But The Big Yawn looks forward to welcoming fans and visitors to the San Diego State University Chargers and the Memphis Liberty Bowl University Tigers to their respective decrepit 1950/1960s half-empty stadiums a year from now, joining the Temple Philadelphia Eagles/Owls University and the South Florida Buccaneers/Bulls University of the existing Big Yawn.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
I’m all for Oklahoma and Texas at the storied Cotton Bowl but Alabama and Michigan at Cowboys Stadium? North Carolina State at Tennessee at the Georgia Dome? Miami at Notre Dame at Soldier Field? Cincinnati at Virginia Tech at the FedEx Field? Listen, if I want to see a Cowboys, Falcons, Bears or Redskins home game, I’ll buy an NFL ticket and go see a game there. And it’s one thing if we’re talking about moving a college basketball game to a neutral venue — there are plenty of more hoops games on the schedule. But you’ve only got a handful of home games on the football docket — and a beautiful campus and awesome, on-campus tailgating tradition to boot. Most importantly: why waste valuable home-field advantage, Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech? Why it’s just stupid.
DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick he wishes he was spoken to in private prior to the insults.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
Saban hurt by colleagues' comments?
DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick what he think of these comments.
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