Five for Friday: Helpful Tips for College Football Pundits
By Tony Gerdeman
I try to be a helpful person. I open the door for people. I will let most people merge, unless it's "that guy". After seeing "Batman and Robin" in 1997, I walked out of the theater urging people who were standing in line for the next showing to leave now and never return.
"This land is only sorrow", I told them. Or something similar. I was newly 21, there wasn't much that I was going to say that would have made sense.
Anyway, I told you that story to tell you this one, I'm still a helpful person, and today I'm going to prove it once again. Last year I tried to keep college football media types on the straight and narrow when it came to Manti Te'o, but I was only one voice. Granted, it was a righteous and correct (and humble!) voice, but it was still just one voice.
I think back to last year and wonder what would have happened had I been able to help people sooner. Would fewer of them have looked so completely silly? Maybe.Maybe.
That's why I wrote this piece. Consider it your Dear Abby of letters that you never would have sent me because you didn't even know that you needed the advice. These tips are for you, college football pundits, please use them.
1. Let Jadeveon Clowney earn the Heisman invite before awarding him a ticket.
Remember how foolish so many of you looked last year touting Manti Te'o all year long? Remember swooning at Te'o for all of his interceptions that were thrown right to him? Remember your embroidered pillow with Te'o's trademark look of ignorant bliss? Remember how you cried into that pillow when Alabama ran at him like he was a checkpoint in a racing game. "Oh my God, time's running out. We have to hurry up and get to Manti Te'o! Whew, just made it! Now we can continue to be successful." I am in no way saying that Clowney and Te'o are similar, I'm just saying that you have a way of latching on to a defender in hopes of proving to other pundits how smart you are because you've sided with a defender as your Heisman candidate. Remember your precious Honey Badger? The fact that anybody was leaning Te'o's way instead of Johnny Manziel is grounds for voting privileges to be revoked via a baseball bat. Jadeveon Clowney is a fantastic player. He is probably the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He put up huge numbers last year. (Jarvis Jones put up better numbers, by the way. Would he be a legitimate Heisman candidate this year? I doubt it.) All I'm advising is that you simply let nature take its course. Or, in the case of Clowney, the unnatural.
2. Speaking of the Heisman, just because Johnny Manziel may not match his statistics from last year doesn't mean he won't deserve the trophy.
I hate the argument that Johnny Manziel has to top last season in order to win the Heisman Trophy again, as if his numbers last year were the very cut-off point of Heisman winnery. If he "only" passes for 3,500 yards and rushes for 1,200 yards and compiles 40 touchdowns, is that really so bad? It would be a reduction of over 400 total yards and seven touchdowns, but it would still be a ridiculous season. Don't punish Manziel because there's been nothing like him before. Appreciate him for it. When Archie Griffin won his second Heisman in 1975, he rushed for 245 fewer yards and eight fewer touchdowns than the season before. If the only player to win two Heismans didn't have to top his previous season, why should the next one? If Manziel is again the best player in the nation, don't punish him because you've grown bored with the astounding.
3. Stop with the "Big Two, Little Ten" until both Michigan and Ohio State actually do something to warrant it.
Over the last few years, the phrase "Big Two, Little Ten" would more accurately describe Wisconsin and Michigan State, and not Ohio State and Michigan. After all, over the last three seasons, the Badgers and the Spartans are the only teams who have won a Big Ten Championship. Ohio State's last conference championship was 2009, and Michigan shared it in 2004. Yes, the Buckeyes were undefeated last season and won the Leaders Division, but Wisconsin went to the Big Ten Championship in their absence and flattened Nebraska like Reggie Jackson at a parade. Everybody is pointing to the recruiting that the Buckeyes and Wolverines have done the last couple of seasons, and for good reason. However, that's how it's always been. Despite that fact, Wisconsin has more Big Ten Championships than Michigan this millennium (3), and Iowa has the same number as the Wolverines (2). There's also the fact that starting next season, only one of OSU and UM will be able to win the B1G Championship, which means they're going to be harder to come by. Plus, why is it so hard to acknowledge what others are doing in the Big Ten? It's not like this is the ACC.
4. Please stop telling everybody how great the following teams are every year: Florida State, Clemson, Georgia, Boise State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas.
I know that this is asking a lot, but it's for everybody's own good. I feel like Lucy lines you up perfectly for the kick, and then --spwiff-- the ball is pulled back and you completely whiff on your pick of Clemson going undefeated. Now don't get me wrong, there aren't many more entertaining teams to watch than Clemson, but it's a lot like a 'Fast and Furious' movie. It's hard to take your eyes off of the screen, but you know that's you're not watching Oscar material here. And don't even get me started on Florida State. They couldn't handle hype if it was put in a baby bjorn for 'em, and then slung on their shoulder. Boise State? If they want to prove they belong, then they need to prove it every year, and do it on the road like every other team has to do. I won't give you too much grief for taking Georgia all the way. After all, I feel just as badly for them as you do. They have actually had some pretty good teams, but they just can't get out of their own way at times. I used to call them the Clemson of the SEC, but now I'm thinking they're more along the lines of the Sparty of the SEC. No offense.
5. If you want to be smarter than you actually are, pay attention to everything that Mark May says.
And then say the exact opposite.
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