What is Dynasty/GOAT discourse?
By Maddy Sperling
Unlike the famed stories of Rocky, Miracle, Robocop and Blade Runner, where the struggling, working class hero rises up to defeat the oppressive status quo of power, many popular stories today in both Hollywood and sports media center around already powerful and dominant individuals and groups grow and prove their superiority in the face of doubters.
For the last few years, we’ve seen several sports franchises make recurring back-to-back appearances in their respective championships such as the Patriots, the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Golden State Warriors, and whatever team Lebron is on. This often triggers a very reactionary series of arguments between fans and writers on social media and web articles calling a team/athlete overrated and broadcasters aggressively yelling stats and titles at each other.
I call this Dynasty/GOAT discourse, enduring and ceaseless arguments about whether an esteemed and accomplished athlete, coach or team deserves the title of GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). In the story of “the GOAT” their biggest obstacle to overcome is proving the naysayers wrong and establishing themselves as the undisputed greatest of all time, especially against legends of the past. However, unlike Rocky and the 1986 US Hockey team, these teams and individuals have already established a legacy of winning and often hold significant advantages over their opponents.
Despite being an Alabama fan myself, even I have to admit that with millions of dollars in annual revenue, the Crimson Tide has a huge advantage in recruiting, training, and coaching (e.g. Nick Saban’s salary) that most NCAA programs just can’t compete with.
By no means am I dissing any of these dynasties or diminishing their accomplishments, but I think it should be mentioned that some of these teams even resort to cheating to maintain their status of GOAT. And yes, that is Colin Cowherd calling Patrick Mahomes disrespectful for referring to Tom Brady as 'one of the greatest.'
Vs. The Underdog Story
While these dynasties and winning legacies seem to dominate national discourse, underdog stories are often limited to a certain area and only a few days of coverage and media attention. This past Saturday, an unranked Purdue trampled on the No. 2 Ohio State. This triumph by a 4-3 team was even more moving as the courage and strength the Boilermakers displayed mirrored that of Sophomore Purdue student Tyler Trent in his battle with cancer. However, following this stunning upset, the national conversation seemed to be centered around Urban Meyer and his future at Ohio State. Trent and the Boilermakers' story demonstrates exactly why underdog stories are so important and why they should not be pushed aside so that Colin Cowherd can talk about Tom Brady for the 700th time.
A true underdog story is not just a team predicted 15-points beneath their opponent, it's a team or individual that has overcome years of adversity through bravery and determination, and by adversity I don't just people trash talking you online. Think of the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series in 2016 after their 108-year drought. Baseball fans consider game 7 of the 2016 World Series one of greatest of all time in terms of drama and tension, and the subsequent celebration of more than five million people was one of the largest gatherings in human history.
Why We Need Underdog Stories
One of the reasons underdog stories are so appealing is because they’re super relatable and remind us that we can overcome obstacles in our lives that also seem impossible to us. Are we so numb to the status quo of power that we’d rather engage in stories about “dynasties” and people who dominate the game for decades than a team or individual who defied the odds and triumph over them? Is it just easier for us now to accept that the big guy wins and the little guy loses?
Even our president, who amassed significant support from middle and lower class Americans during his campaign, was born to a wealthy family, was always financially supported by both his family and the government and was even able to avoid the draft. Like The Patriots and Lebron James, Trump was still the son of wealthy parents who became a tycoon billionaire who then became even more wealthy and more powerful. The same goes for popular Country music, a genre that originally represented the plight of the working class man, has become increasingly about relishing in the comfort of middle and upper class life. Popular Hip Hop has also strayed away from its roots in shedding light on poverty and racial inequality in favor of luxury items and making arguments for why they deserve the title of industry GOAT over their rival. This is not to say that their stories are invalid or that they shouldn't be told, but I think it's safe to say that the world will always need underclass heroes to remind us that hope, faith and hard work do pay off and that any giant can still fall to an underdog.
Dynasties & Underdogs in College Football Today
This season in college football has seen a lot of surprising turns at the hands of plucky underdogs like Washington State, Purdue, Tennessee (who beat Auburn week 7), and many other teams that have been disrupting the college football hierarchy week in and week out. Unfortunately, in college football, only the top 4 teams, usually dynasty teams with NFL-sized budgets, get to compete for the chance to hoist the CFB National Championship Trophy in January. Hence, underdog discourse doesn’t hold as much significance when you look at the bigger picture. I think we can all agree that stories like UMBC and the college football freshman from a 2A schools in the middle of nowhere are more enjoyable and inspiring than another Lebron vs MJ debate.
FCS Over FBS Upsets 2018
UC-Davis Beats San Jose State
Coach Hawkins boasts a 112-61-1 record as a collegiate head coach and it comes as no surprise that UC-Davis was able to defeat San Jose State in the season opener. UC-Davis has suffered only one loss this season to the hands of our fifth ranked FBS Stanford Cardinals and have had exceptional play out of QB Jake Maier.
Villanova Beats Temple
Temple Football either got off to a very slow start, or Villanova and FCS football are to really be feared on the national landscape. Why? Temple lost 19-17 to 'Nova and then proceeded to lose to Buffalo who is undefeated. Maryland upset now nationally ranked Texas, but Temple was able to dismantle the Terrapins 35-14 a few weeks after their triumph over the heavily favored Longhorns. Maryland has since gone on to beat Minnesota by a score of 42-13 and hosts Michigan on 10/6. To further exhibit the strength of FCS-1AA football in 2018, Towson beat 'Nova on 9/15 45-35 which begs the question, "how is this possible in college football today.
Northern Arizona Over UTEP
The UTEP Miners are not very good in 2018 as they have started the season 0-4 and have struggled offensively. With that being said, their defense only allowed 24 points against an SEC opponent in the Tennessee Volunteers and Northern Arizona was able to light up the scoreboard in their 30-10 upset. Northern Arizona has since gone on to lose to nationally ranked Eastern Washington and get obliterated by Missouri State 40-8. Makes you start to wonder about the recruiting strategies of FBS programs as a whole.
North Carolina A&T Beats ECU
North Carolina A & T is no joke and obviously ECU failed to acknowledge this fact after they re-scheduled and lost the game against the Aggies 28-23 at home. NC A&T has since gone on to beat Gardner-Webb handily, but slipped up recently in a 16-13 loss against the bears of Morgan State. The Pirates of East Carolina were then able to pull off a shocker against in-state rival UNC and you started to wonder if the Tar Heels were the worst football team in the state of NC. ECU was able to win handily over the Heels in a 41-19 decisive victory. However, they recently lost a heart breaker on the road against a very well coached and undefeated South Florida team by a score of 20-13.
Maine Beats Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky nearly pulled off the upset against in-state rival the Louisville Cardinals, as they lost the contest 20-17. The week prior, The Hilltoppers then hosted Maine and learned more about Black Bear football, as they were upset 31-28. Maine was so excited they called out UCF on Twitter and asked them to add them to their schedule. It was a bold move that proved to backfire, as their offense sputtered out at Central Michigan in a 17-5 loss. Still exhibiting more of the power the lies in FCS Football.
Illinois State Beats Colorado State
Illinois State, who we regard as a Top 5 team nationally in our College Football Today FCS Rankings, was able to upset the Rams 35-19 in Fort Collins, CO. We had no question that this would be a contest, but we did not see the Redbirds running away with this game so easily. With over 50 "3-Star" recruits boasted by the Rams and not one on the Illinois State roster, I believe this further proves the severe lack of scouting on a national scale in College Football Today.
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Is College Football More Popular than the NFL?
NFL vs. NCAAF: Economic Influence
It’s no secret that the NCAA selection committees leans towards programs with illustrious histories and powerful fanbases. Sometimes this is validated in top programs that have proven they’re worthy of the title. Other times, it can keep struggling big time programs in the top ranks at the expense of less influential programs with undefeated records. The argument that strength of schedule plays a big role in the decision process has validity, but it seems to be selectively applied based a team's economic influence.
With college football, these markets are the most stable in states and areas where NFL franchises wield little influence and vise versa. “But if the NFL and NCAAF air on different days, how would that affect viewership?” Well Mr. Football McFootball Face, contrary to what you might think, most people don’t spend their entire weekend watching football. Which is why there are NFL strongholds, college football strongholds, and battleground states, where viewership and influence fluctuate between NFL franchises and college football programs. Looking at the bigger picture, sure, there could be an equal number of college football and NFL fans out there, but the more an NFL franchise or college football program dominates in an area the more pervasive it becomes in the culture and social lives of the people who live there. This is economic influence and it's what the NCAA is trying to gain more of. Economic influence comes from viewership, ticket sales, merchandise sales and general fan engagement with a franchise or institution. The more people that watch a game in particular area, the more social engagement with the team goes on amongst the people of that area. Social engagement with the traditions of franchise/institution and news about the season contribute to rises in ticket sales and in turn merchandise sales. The more fans in a city or neighborhood wearing jerseys and socially engaging with related content on game day, the more viewers are drawn to the franchise/institution and the cycle repeats. Psychologically speaking, humans create a sense of belonging and will often conform to feel like a part of a community. The NFL and the NCAA earn the most revenue from places where buying fan merchandise and engaging with the local team is an easy way to fit in and get that sense of belonging.
How the AP Poll is Really Decided
Below are two maps from separate collections of data showing where the NFL and the NCAA wield the most commercial influence and where commercial domination is contested. The first map is from an ESPN fan survey taken in 2012, and the second is from an analysis conducted August 2017 by Ben Koos from the Comeback. In both cases, the NFL won but college football has clearly minimized the gap.
(above, courtesy of Ben Koo from The Comeback; below, courtesy of ESPN)
SEC Country and the rest of College Football Land
States where college football holds a football fan monopoly are shown in a deep red. These states have two defining qualities, the lack of a (satisfactory) NFL franchise and a deep-seated sense of nostalgia, sentimentality, and tradition associated with their college football teams. The deep-seated influence college football teams have in these areas is compounded by the fact that many alumni of these institutions remain in-state and raise the next generation of college football fans with a sense of sentimentality associated with their team. If you’re from one of these states, you probably already know the faux pas of planning your wedding or any big family event on a Saturday in the Fall. It is completely socially acceptable however to have Nick Saban riding an elephant hoisting the Coaches Trophy as your wedding cake that your bride will fill with Auburn colors as prank I assume is a part of some SEC marital ritual.
Why is Alabama Always Number 1?
While the college football programs in these states don’t need to compete with an NFL franchise, they almost always have intense, long-standing rivalries with neighboring college football programs that can get at times get unnecessarily heated. These rivalries appeal heavily to the football fans’ competitive nature and further compounds their personal identity with their home team. Because the personal significance of these teams run so deeply in these states, college football programs don’t even necessarily have to win to maintain their commercial value. The Tennessee Volunteers have won more than 10 games in a season since 2001 and are continually blown out by their SEC rivals, but that won’t stop a Vols fan from claiming superiority over another team for titles they won in the 90’s. Though college football's economic stronghold in these states remains stable even through losing slumps, there is a powerful incentive to rank them favorably and bring them to the BCS. It is much more financially advantageous for selection committees to push these teams into the forefront of the national CFB playoff conversation. When making BCS selections, a selection committee will usually ask the question, "will this fanbase buy expensive memorabilia and continue to engage in college football content through the off-season if they win the national championship?" With fans like these, the answer is always yes.
Best Rivalries in Football
NFL Territory: the rest of the country
On the other end of the spectrum, in metropolitan areas such as New York, DC, Denver, Chicago, Seattle, etc, NFL franchises dominate football fan markets and can take away significant viewership from any college football program that exists in the greater metropolitan area. The states where the NFL dominates are shown in a deep blue. Not unlike the deeply red states, football is a pervasive part of life for fans, and no matter how successful the local college football team is doing, local news coverage, sports bars, and football fans will always favor their beloved NFL team. If you look closely at the electoral map, you'll see that long-time rivalries make for deep-seated influence. Whereas, Ohio and Michigan are strong college football states with their intense rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois, who share a long-standing rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, lean towards the NFL.
I have always lived in NFL cities. I grew up in DC where there was one Maryland fan for every 100 Redskins fans, despite the fact that Maryland was actually closer to DC than FedEx stadium in Landover, MD. Now I live in Fort Collins, CO and despite being miles and miles from Denver in the same city as a D1 FBS team with a brand new multi-million dollar stadium, more people wear blue and orange on Sundays than green on Saturdays. Being a college football fan in areas like this is difficult, because nobody plans their weekend around watching college football, so it's near impossible to catch every game of the season and still maintain a social life. Much like how college football programs conflate support and team spirit with a sense of identity and belonging through unique chants/catchphrases and sometimes odd traditions like petting a rock before a game, NFL franchise create this connection literally through their names. The New England Patriots is a reference to the area's celebrated history as the birthplace of the American Revolution, the Pittsburgh Steelers is a reference to the city's steel and mining industry, the 49ers is a reference to the California gold rush, etc, etc.. As such, there is little economic incentive in giving college football programs in California or Pennsylvania serious coverage in the national CFB playoff conversation. Sure, Penn State, USC, Pitt, UCLA, or Cal fans might rally together for a playoff run, but the NCAA is fighting a losing battle trying to compete in NFL strongholds, when they could be catering to places where people will buy a college football merchandise just to fit in.
The Battleground States
The states where domination of the fan market is contested between the NFL and the NCAA are shown in either light blue or light red. In these states, there are prevalent NFL franchises and college football programs whose popularity can fluctuate if they experience a losing slump. In the cases of Wisconsin and Indiana, the NCAA risks losing reliable sources of fan-based revenue to NFL franchises with more flash and overall stronger economic influence in the area despite its influence weakening in recent years. Thus, there is economic incentive to keep Wisconsin and Notre Dame in the national CFB playoff conversation. Yes, both teams have strong core fanbases and consume Notre Dame and Wisconsin Badgers content year round, but in order to redirect the attention of more casual fans from the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts, there has to be something to invest in, which is why the NCAA risks lost profits by cutting down or discounting these programs, even if they did struggle against Ball State or lose to unranked BYU. More than anything, the economic potential of Notre Dame's exclusive television contract with NBC is a cash cow that needs to be milked. Unlike NFL dominated states, the state of Indiana is no stranger to college football culture and can be tapped for a lot of profit if Notre Dame can at least appear consistent year after year.
Of all the NFL vs. NCAA "swing states" shown here, Texas and Florida are by far the biggest battlegrounds, as they are also two of the most highly recruited states in the country. Both states have multiple NFL franchises as well as a considerable number of big time college football programs. In these states is where you'll find those rare fans like Mr. Football McFootball Face who spend their entire weekend watching football, including their local high school football team as well. In cities like Miami, there is considerable fluctuation between the Dolphins and the Hurricanes. Both teams have celebrated pasts, like the Dolphins' perfect season in 1972 and Miami's multiple national titles during the Jimmy Johnson-era in the 80's, so they share an associated sense of nostalgia and sentimentality by the football fans of South Florida. For this reason, there is a big economic incentive to keep U of Miami nationally ranked, especially with the profitability of those gold chains.
NFL vs College Football
As more and more self-proclaimed "football purists" are rejecting the NFL, the NCAA has been given a new market of viewers who want more straightforward football but are accustomed to a certain level of production quality. Pandering to alienated NFL fans through cross-promotion and boosting the standings of previously well liked programs is effective in getting more casual football fans to engage with their favorite team. However, in doing so, the NCAA employs a lot of the profit-driven production gimmicks that actual football purists feel not only dilute the game of football but is unabashedly money-grubbing considering the student-athletes at the center of it all don't receive a dime of the profits. It's one thing for the NFL to sign players solely for public attention and have a corporate sponsor for every conceivable facet of the game because at least the athletes are being paid while they irreversibly damage their bodies. For the NCAA to adopt an identical business model is callously unfair to the student-athletes. Fans have been drawn to FCS and lower levels of college football as less diluted alternatives where student-athletes are just that, student-athletes.
UCF 2017-18 National Championship Claim
The Validity UCF's Claim
Since their victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl, the UCF Knights and the entire city of Orlando, have unabashedly insisted that, as college football’s only undefeated team, they are national champions. One of the former BCS computers, the Colley Matrix, ranks UCF No. 1. It adds some validity to UCF’s claim.
Turn to page 108 of the NCAA’s football records. There you’ll see a list of “national champion major selectors.” These are national polls, computers, historians, and other rankings that the NCAA recognizes as contributing to the selection of national champs throughout the sport’s history.
It’s also significant because even 2017’s consensus champion Alabama has much more dubious claims on its list of past titles.
The hypocrisy of claiming a "Power 5 Bias"
Many may claim that denying UCF a championship for low level of competition is “Power 5 bias” but there are reasons behind it. Most college football teams, UCF included, only recruit certain areas in Florida, Georgia and California. In fact, UCF’s 2017 roster had only 13 players that weren’t from big time football states such as Texas, Florida, Georgia, California, Alabama, etc. Why is that UCF? Could it be that, to you, the level of competition in these states makes their players unequivocally better than the top standout players in other states? Hm? You call out college football for having a power 5 bias because they favor teams in more competitive conferences, but you follow the same principle in your recruiting.
If the level of competition doesn’t matter as much as you say, then make a statement and recruit outside the big time football states and 6-7A schools. Find recruits that are overlooked for the same reason you were overlooked by the CFB playoffs. Otherwise, your claim to a national championship is tainted by your hypocrisy of employing the same logic of this so-called "power 5 bias" in your recruiting.
Loss of Head Coach Scott Frost
Ok UCF, let’s say the BCS expanded it’s playoff system to 8 teams instead of 4. Do you really think you could have bested Ohio State or Wisconsin, let alone Alabama or Clemson? Sure, you bested Auburn in the Peach after they defeated Alabama in the Iron bowl, but you also allowed Memphis to score 55 points on your defense. What’s more, mere hours after that game ended, Scott Frost takes the head coaching job at his alma mater, Nebraska, while still agreeing to coach UCF through the bowl game.
Now let's see how UCF fares with their new promising head coach Josh Heupel. Adrian Killins Jr. is a powerhouse and so are many their players, but is it enough to maintain a winning record this year? We'll find out today in their opening game against UConn.
Gameday : Week 0 Prairie View A&M @ Rice
I remember waking up on Saturdays, it was as if there was an eerie silence about everywhere you walked. You would see your teammates, and no matter how close you were, a head nod was all that you could do. It was as if there were no noise at all, you could walk and hear the wind blowing through the trees, engines running on the cars passing by. But at the same time there was a death metal concert going on in your head, gunfire, a shit ton of bass, the anticipation building over the war you were about to stroll right into. As a college athlete there was nothing that could replace that feeling. Today, we are blessed to see the beginning of another football season! Blessed to get to watch as fans of the greatest game ever played in America on August 25th 2018! This 2018-19 College football season is officially underway, and even though this isn’t a Top 25 matchup, there will be helmets crashing, hot dogs consumed, beer… tons of beer, cheerleaders, top performing marching bands, coaches yelling, fans cheering, mascots mean mugging another, but most importantly today.. there will be a team that goes home a Loser, and that goes home a Winner!
I think as much as this game is about the players, and what they do on the field, I’m going to put today’s matchup on the coaches. I think the players are somewhat irrelevant, as much as they are everything. Today’s Coach that gets to put their first career “W” on their resume as Head Coach will be determined by that coach. As far as the Owls go, I feel that will be their biggest weakness. In press conferences this week HC Mike Bloomgren has mentioned that they have not named a starting QB yet, that he plans on beating the odds of playing both QBs in this game. I think this strategy is horrible, and screams dissention within the ranks not on the field between QBs, but in the office between a HC and an Offensive Coordinator. While Bloomgren was a very successful OC, leading Stanford to several winning seasons, his current OC Jerry Mack was very successful HC at North Carolina Central University. It hasn’t been said but I am willing to bet they both have chosen their starting QB, but they have not both chosen the same QB.
There is a reason why planning on going with both QBs never works out. In college football there is crucial element called momentum. And the problem with playing both QBs is that you never know when one is beginning to find his momentum, and the other is not. You take one out without knowing if the next drive he was going to complete the pass your cold-armed quarterback coming off the bench couldn’t quite make. I think it is a mistake to go into week one without naming a starting QB.
With that being said...
I am willing to go out on a limb and say, PVA&M has a chance to upset Rice today. They seem to have the opposite problem. They have a starting QB, they have an OC in Ted White that can put points on the board. If they can put enough on early, I think HC Bloomgren will go home with an L today and hopefully learn an important lesson…Be Humble and let your OC coordinate the offense.
College Football Today's Texas Contributor William Cruz III
Madeline Sperling, Staff Writer
Urban Meyer Apology
Urban Meyer Suspension
On Wednesday, the Ohio State Board of Trustees came to a final decision on Urban Meyer's fate in the wake of a domestic abuse scandal involving his WR coach Zach Smith. I recently wrote about how Meyer's Twitter apology spoke to a greater issue in how NCAA institutions handle domestic violence, but I think Diana Moskovitz of Deadspin hit the nail on the head with this one:
"This is what any discussion of violence against women in the sports world looks like; it turns women into just another pawn, a thing to be debated in sports terminology of missed games, impacted statistics, upcoming schedules, and how it will affect a man’s career. Any concern for the safety of Courtney Smith and her family will discarded without a second thought."
Every time an accusation or lawsuit involving domestic violence or sexual assault against a woman arises in the world of sports, the crime itself becomes lost in a wave of reports and broadcasts solely focused on the perpetrator's career and how this will affect their franchise or program's success. This narrative set up by administrators who address their apologies to their fans and reinforced by sports broadcasters sets a precedent that getting caught is the real crime.
Both Urban Meyer and the OSU administration have repeatedly stressed the importance of setting an example for the young student-athletes in their program. However, this narrative that emphasizes a coach or athlete's career over everything else teaches these young student-athletes that the worst thing you can do is get caught.
Urban Meyer's insincere apology
In my previous article on the Urban Meyer scandal, I spoke briefly about the art of the public apology. Watching Meyer's formal apology reminded me a bit of that South Park episode where they made fun of BP CEO Tony Hayward's phony and insincere apology for their Gulf Coast Oil Spill. I realize there are legal ramifications of apologizing to Courtney Smith directly, but Meyer failed to even recognize her a victim and even went so far as to implicate himself as a victim. It's sad when the world is looking to you to say something sincere and from the heart, but all you can do is ambivalently read off a pre-written statement and deny culpability for your actions. The truth of the matter is that for years Courtney Smith and her children suffered greatly from abuse, harassment, and violent threats by a man who remained in a power position. Not only did Meyer fail to acknowledge Courtney Smith as a victim of domestic violence, but he redirected the question to insinuate that the upheaval and consequences suffered by him and the OSU administration was the real abuse. Watching Meyer going on about how deeply sorry he is to Buckeye Nation for putting them through this ordeal, it is clear this man doesn't believe he did anything wrong. He's just sorry everyone found out.
In their lenient decision, OSU make the distinction that it was not a 'cover-up'
In the Board of Trustees' public statement on Wednesday, the OSU administrators defended their decision to not fire Meyer because neither he nor AD Gene Smith participated in a cover-up. The university's official report read: “Although neither Urban Meyer nor Gene Smith condoned or covered up the alleged domestic abuse by Zach Smith, they failed to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith’s misconduct and retained an Assistant Coach who was not performing as an appropriate role model for OSU student-athletes..."
So what constitutes a "cover-up"? At what point does allowing a man habitually accused of abuse and harrassment to be a prominent member of a program responsible for mentoring young athletes covering up a potential scandal for the university?
It's overtly clear now that Ohio State values winning above all, and Urban Meyer is sorry he got caught. According to court documents, several police officers in two different states, two respected reporters, including one interview on camera, and now to Ohio State investigators, Zach Smith physically and emotionally abused his ex wife all while being comfortably employed by a top 5 FBS college football program. All this became public knowledge because she went to court to get a restraining order; in her request, Courtney Smith wrote that Zach Smith stalked her, threatened her, and hacked her email. All this woman wanted was to feel safe and raise her children in a safe environment, but neither Ohio law enforcement nor the OSU administration would help her. She did everything that people in abusive relationships are told to do, but she continued to be threatened, stalked and harassed by her abuser who remained a powerful figure at OSU and a mentor to young student-athletes.
DJ Durkin Maryland Football
How many athletes die from heat stroke?
Since 1995, an average of 3 high school or college football players die from heat-related illnesses.Ninety percent of those deaths occurred during practice. Many programs combat the risk of heat-related health problems with cold water immersion tubs, indoor practice facilities, and encouraging players to drink a lot of water.
I grew up in the DC Metro area, so I know how hot and humid it can get in the Summertime. Maryland, like any other college football program, knows the dangers of overworking in this kind of heat, as well as the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and how to treat it. So how did Jordan McNair’s case of heat exhaustion develop into a lethal case of heat stroke? In a press conference on Monday August 13th, the University of Maryland took full legal and moral responsibility for Jordan McNair’s death. On top of this, they have put head coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave following allegations of abuse from Durkin's staff, leaving many wondering if he will be fired before the start of the 2018 season.
How Tough is to Tough?
In the wake of Jordan McNair’s tragic death, many have posed the question, ‘how tough is too tough?” Though some reporters and opinion leaders have approached this issue critically, others with more traditional outlooks on football are quick to defend the rough and tough, no-excuses type of football coaching that they experienced as players and continued as coaches. However, those who see this question of “is there an issue with football culture” as an attack on their tradition of football fail to see what part of football culture is actually lethal: the unwritten rule that you can’t tell your coach that you don’t feel well. The celebrated tradition of coaches pushing players to their limits to make them the best athletes they can be is by no means under attack. Tragedies like McNair’s untimely death should be a wakeup call to athletic coaches of all levels to be more attentive and empathetic to the needs and safety of their players.
Where Do We Draw The Line?
This culture in football that discourages players from speaking up about how their feeling physically goes beyond just heatstroke. Many injuries suffered by football players are caused less by big impact collisions on the field and more by untreated and perpetual damage to their bodies. You don’t have to become Bob Ross to be an empathetic and thoughtful coach. However, allowing and even encouraging your players to be more forthright with their feelings, you can prevent things like heatstroke, injury, and sometimes even suicide.
How does Bobby Petrino still have a job?
Written By Madeline Sperling
Don't be Ignorant, Save a LIfe - Turtle Style
Colin Cowherd Baker Mayfield
The Perfect Sized Football Player
When it comes to what size you are suppose to be at a certain position on the football field, it is often thought in society that players in football are much bigger than they really are. This may be how the game used to be 10-15 years ago, but football has actual gotten smaller at positions we think only the tallest or heaviest players are dominating at. The best defensive player in the NFL Aaron Donald according to Todd Gurley is "the perfect size", as he has the quickest "get off" in the NFL and is built like a destructive cannon ball. Much like James Harrison, who is listed at 6'0, I am not sure he is 6'1 as every network seems to "round up" for every athlete. Doug Flutie proved that the Baker Mayfield's of the world can play at a pro bowl level and lead teams at the highest level of football to victories. Rob Johnson replaced Doug Flutie in the playoffs after a pro bowl season from Flutie and found himself very stagnant in the pocket and was sacked time and time again. This was the same case with the overrated Brock Osweiler and many other highly touted taller, but less mobile quarterbacks. Antonio Brown is on the cover of Madden 2019 this season and he is listed at 5'10,186lbs, which again he is probably more like 5'9. Over the past three years in assisting some of the top collegiate athletes in America, I have found similar players like Aaron Donald, who were told they were to short to play at the D1 level. Players like Ramsey Sites out of Oak Hill High School in Ohio were able to dominate much larger opponents using their massive strength, but also utilizing a leverage advantage to get lower than their opponents. I was always told in football that the "lower man wins", well if that is the case, than I guess Todd Gurley is correct when he states Aaron Donald is "The perfect size". I have watched players who were very tall and also very awkward get blown off the football time and time again. I then see the same player with offers from power five programs and either never see that player on the field and/or see them get blown off the football by a high octane machine coming off of the line of scrimmage. Than if the Quarterback is highly immobile, which most guys over 6'4 tend to be, it becomes a royal feast for players built for mass destruction like Donald.
It is said "Football is a game of inches", when in reality it is a game of tenth's of a second.
What makes guys like Russel Wilson, Drew Brees, Fran Tarkenton, Michael Vick and Doug Flutie extremely hard to sack? Well, they all have or had extremely quick releases when they decide to let go of the football and all of them were known for being great athletes, while improvising with uncanny results. If you ask any defensive linemen, they would rather tee off on a 6'7 Osweiler, rather than a very mobile Baker Mayfield. I really think ESPN decided to leave all the boisterous clowns on board and got rid of guys who reported the facts like Brent McMurphy. Baker Mayfield actually looked extremely good if you know quarterback play and was able to deliver darts downfield accurately, even when having to get to his 2nd or 3rd reads. Most of his passes that were not caught were a timing issue with his receiver and or just through their hands, as seen on the wide receiver screen pass in his first preseason contest against the New York Giants. When watching Baker escape the collapsing pocket to pick up critical first downs, I am reminded of the great escape artist Doug Flutie. When I witness Baker Mayfield deal the ball quickly out of the pocket, I am reminded of Drew Brees. He has great athletics at the QB position, but is not a run first QB, as we seen in the game against the Giants. He will let the play develop and has a outstanding football IQ when it comes to play concepts and where, when and how to deliver the football to his targets. Baker was coached under one of the best QB coaches in all of college football in Lincoln Riley and can complete passes based off of reading the defensive coverage or manipulate you with one on one match-ups. This is why the Browns made an outstanding first round draft pick and for once, have two outstanding quarterbacks heading into the 2018 NFL season.
The fraction of a second timed in the 40 yard dash is crucial to where a prospect lands in the draft. Avoiding pressure comes at the same cost when evaluating QB's. A Fraction to late, the ball is intercepted, a split second early and it is 6 points.
Part Two Will Feature The Top College Players At D1 FBS Level Who Are Under 5'10
Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa
Today we spoke about the Heisman Trophy "Watch List" and our Maxwell Award "Watch List", where we feature the players we believe have the most legitimate chance to win these prestigious college football awards. We will have our own awards at the end of the season for each level of play in collegiate football, including the NAIA level. We will announce our "watch lists" for each college football award from each division and start to announce our College Football Today awards for the 2018 season soon.
Alabama is Favored to Win in Every Game This Season.
Stephen A. Smith on Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts
Just like Lane Kiffin stated that Kyler Murray should stick to baseball, Stephen A. Smith should stick to covering basketball for ESPN. Just because he was at the national championship, as were many, does not give him any credibility as all he does is raise his voice and make preposterous assessments that he knows nothing about. Has anyone pointed to the fact that Coach Kirby Smart may have game planned very strategically against Jalen Hurts' skill-set and was completely unaware of what Tagovailoa brought to the playing field? No, because they are to quick to jump on the most "trending" team in America because people like Stephen A. Smith need something to get loud and obnoxious about. They prey on Alabama fans because they are the most loyal and winning fans in America and causing any turbulence in that close-knit inner circle they see as needed. That being said, Coach Saban has stated on numerous occasions that we could wind up seeing both players on the field for the Crimson Tide. Which brought me to a offense that I personally developed for two quarterbacks to play at once. One of the two quarterbacks or both would have to be a "dual-threat" style QB in order to run this offense and both be able to throw the football. Having a left and right handed QB in the game at one time that could both make plays would be very hard to game plan against, but normally the QB position is a solo job. Both QB's are capable of leading a team that is projected to win every game to the national championship and both will get the opportunity to compete. Both QB's have made comments over the off-season and this quote by Tagovailoa would make me question where his head was at heading into the fall.
“I called my dad and asked him if my offer to the University of Southern California was still available,” Tagovailoa said via Hawaii News Now. “I wanted to leave. I told my dad I wanted to go to a school where I thought it’d be easier for me and wouldn’t challenge me so much.”
Jalen Hurts Transferring
Averion stops mid-sentence because the idea of his son not playing for Alabama isn’t one he takes lightly. What if Jalen doesn’t win the job, he is asked?
He shakes his head slowly, answers begrudgingly, “Well, he’d be the biggest free agent in college football history.”
The Grass is Not Always Greener on the Other Side of the Fence.
Jalen Hurts is only 15 credits away from graduating from the University of Alabama and does not appear to be transferring in his recent interview. That being said, If I were the media, I would just let the chips fall where they may and stop speculating on Coach Saban and the Dynasty he has created through hard work and learning from past mistakes. With all of the hardware that Coach Nick Saban has accumulated through-out his storied career, I think he can handle the situation better than anyone in all of football today. So shut the hell up and lets play football. Maybe you will get to sit at another Alabama National Championship victory again or you will be laid off like your other friends at ESPN Stephen A. Smith.
What Urban Meyer's Twitter Confession Means for the Ohio State Program
On Friday, August 3rd, Urban Meyer tweeted out a long awaited response to the string of domestic violence, harassment and stalking allegations against former OSU WR coach Zach Smith by his ex-wife which began in 2009 and persisted until as recently as 2017. When Smith was fired July 23rd after being arrested for criminal trespassing on his ex-wife’s property, news reports alleging Urban Meyer and the Ohio State administration’s knowledge and subsequent inaction against Smith surfaced and the media turned to Coach Meyer for answers. Now that the head coach has made a public statement addressed specifically to “Buckeye Nation,” there are now more questions about how Ohio State and perhaps even the NCAA handle accusations of domestic abuse.
Reading Meyer's letter, I am reminded of the countless public apology letters about things as small as an insensitive comment made by a celebrity to a large corporation addressing a major blunder in their business practices. Sometimes public apologies can do more harm than good if the apologist seems insincere in taking responsibility for their words or actions. A good and properly executed public apology will make the person or entity more popular than before as their full and genuine admittance of guilt and even a pro-active *action* to prevent or fix the issue or situation humanizes and provides them with some much needed good will. In Coach Meyer’s case, his attempt to apologize for some “alternative facts” he provided on the subject on Big 10 Media Days (video below) clarified his own role in the scandal, but in doing so diffused responsibility from himself to whatever “proper channels” he allegedly reported the allegations to.
The fact of the matter is that from 2009, when allegations of domestic violence against then Florida coach Zach Smith first came to Meyer’s attention, until July 2018, no arrest was ever made and Smith remained on both Florida and Ohio State’s payroll with zero penalties or public statement by the Ohio State administration.
If Meyer is lying (again), he violated a Title IX clause in his contract that requires the him to “promptly report to Ohio State’s Title IX Coordinator for Athletics any known violations of Ohio State’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate violence and stalking) that involve any student, faculty or staff … For purposes of this Section 4.1 (e), a 'known violation' shall mean a violation or allegation of a violation of Title IX that Coach is aware of or has reasonable cause is taking place or may have taken place.” According to this clause, a college or university that receives federal funding may be held legally responsible when it knows about and ignores sexual harassment or assault in its programs.
Either way, Ohio State has a critical decision to make: fire Urban Meyer for lying or fire whoever Meyer allegedly reported the allegations to. There’s no retracting at this point, it’s be stated now that not only Urban Meyer, but administrators above Ohio State’s head coach knew about these allegations and continued to allow Zach Smith the privileges of being an OSU coach despite Courtney’s Smith’s 9 calls to law enforcement–none of which ended in an arrest. In fact, according to Courtney Smith's interview, in the state of Ohio you can not get a protective order unless you can prove the person is actively trying to kill you.
Timeline of these Zach Smith Allegations
According to Courtney Smith’s interview with Stadium, one of the reasons she stayed with Smith following the domestic abuse incident in 2009 was due to pressure from Urban Meyer’s Attorney, Brad Koffel. She was allegedly told, “if you don’t drop these charges, he will never coach again,” and even went on to absolve him by saying, “he’s never hit you before. He was drinking… and he probably won’t do it again.” Mrs. Smith ultimately dropped the charges under pressure from not only Koffel, but from Zach Smith’s parents and two of Meyer’s closest friends and mentors, Hiram de Fries and Earle Bruce as well. Meyer has since admitted that he knew of the incident stating:
“As I do any time, that I imagine most coaches or people in leadership positions, you receive a phone call, you tell your boss, let the experts do their jobs. We’re certainly not going to investigate.”
If Urban Meyer truly had an issue with domestic violence and saw it as something that contradicted his core values of respecting women and teaching his student-athletes to do so which he claims in his Twitter post, he would have fired Zach Smith back in 2009, and especially in 2015 when the abuse allegedly began to escalate. Instead, the 2009 incident swept under the rug by people in Meyer’s inner circle, which allowed WR coach Zach Smith to not only continue his abuse and harassment for years to come, but remain a major influence in the development of the young players that Meyer so passionately feels responsible for.
When Zach Smith resumed his physical and emotional abuse against Smith again after being hired by Meyer to coach at Ohio State, she made a conscious decision to separate from her husband in hopes that abuse would end for good. However, in 2015 the Ohio State WR Coach came to pick up his son early before his legally allotted time arrived. According to her interview, when Smith stood her ground to tell her then-separated husband to leave, he threw her up against a wall with his hands around her neck–something the former Ohio State coach allegedly did habitually when the couple was still together–while her daughter clinged to her leg. Despite the fact that Zach Smith illegally left with his son that night, and the police allegedly had “more than enough evidence to convict him for domestic violence,” no arrest was made–something which seems to still baffle* Courtney Smith to this day. Once again, if Urban Meyer had reported this incident to the “proper channels” as he claims, there was still nothing done by supposed authorities to either remove Zach Smith as an Ohio State Football coach or take legal action to protect Courtney Smith and her children from further abuse and harassment.
During the Big 10 Media Days, Meyer staunchly denied any knowledge of the events that transpired in 2015; “there was nothing . . . once again, there’s nothing—once again, I don’t know who creates a story like that.” The head coach has now walked back this statement, and admitted to knowledge of the 2015 incident not long after former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy recently released text messages between Courtney Smith and Urban Meyer’s wife Shelley Meyer, which made his Media Day denial seem highly implausible. In the open letter, Meyer claims that his “core values and respecting women” which he teaches to the 105 young men of the Ohio State Football program, is not “lip service” and that he takes the issue of violence of against women seriously.
For those of you still defending Urban Meyer and Ohio State administration, there are two major takeaways from what happened here: 1) neither calling the police nor separating from her husband helped to protect Courtney Smith from further abuse and harassment; 2) her biggest fear was that her son would learn by the example of his father and continue the cycle of abuse as an adult. Urban Meyer Admits he failed in his responsibility to be truthful, but he also failed in setting an example for the young men he is responsible for by demonstrating that domestic violence is not a fire-able offense and is permitted if you're winning national titles.
It’s time to stop seeing domestic violence as ‘one mistake made by a nice guy’ or ‘that’s their business.’
1 in 4 women–and 1 in 7 men– will experience severe physical abuse by the hands of their partner. Domestic abuse, assault, harassment, etc thrive and propagate in cultures where it’s seen as an exclusively private matter by both the victim’s friends and family and law enforcement. In the case of public figures and celebrities, accusations are very often reacted to by fans, who due to cognitive dissonance, will do mental back-flips to maintain the reputation of their beloved hero by grasping at straws to discredit their accusers or fabricate intricate conspiracy theories. I’ve read and heard many Ohio State and Big 10 fans accuse Courtney Smith, Brett McMurphy, and others of conspiracy to take down a renowned college football coach. Though, to much of the Buckeye Nation's credit, most of them have just switched to talking about basketball for the time being.
But even the pieces condemning the lack of action taken against Zach Smith are narrowly focused on how this affects one individual man’s career and even defend him as a “genuinely decent man of faith.” I am not going to interpret the bible here, but a quote by Edmund Burke is often referenced when talking about watching evil happen, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” By no means am I going to judge a man’s faith here, but in the case of domestic violence, standing idle and letting it continue with impunity because ‘it’s not my job to intervene’ and ‘he’s a good guy/good at his job so it’s not my problem’ is whyonly 8.32% percent of domestic violence incidents lead to charges being filed.
Nonetheless, this issue is much bigger than Urban Meyer’s reputation. This scandal is indicative of a much larger problem in the world of College Football. The same culture of discretion and‘win-at-all-costs’ when it comes to the off-field activities of winning college coaches that influenced Meyer’s decision to not report or fire Zach Smith is the same one that allowed Jerry Sandusky and others continue their abuses with impunity.
It’s no secret that domestic violence is an issue in the world of both college and professional football. Today, 44 active NFL players have records of domestic violence, and 12 were invited to join NFL teams even as they were facing outstanding court cases based on alleged physical or sexual assaults, many committed against intimate partners. Part of being a college football coach is being a leader to young men between the critical ages of 18-22. Arguably the best coaches in college football today uphold player guidance and personal leadership as one of the central pillars of their coaching philosophies. If football and the greater world of professional sports is to fix this recurring problem of misogyny, assault, and abuse then there needs to be a systemic change starting with those who are suppose to be leaders to the next generation of pro athletes and coaches.
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