Spastic Random Thoughts

By Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 in Featured Article, Football, Memories 14 Comments »
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One of the most important plays for Auburn’s 2013 football season came against Texas A&M. (photo:Julie Bennett,al.com)

We (or at least I) interrupt our usual presentation of quality analysis and rapier wit to provide you just what the title says.  We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get going (numbered for your commenting convenience):

1.  Can anyone explain to me why ESPN and the media in general have their lips permanently implanted (notwithstanding Item 2 below) on the posterior of the Crimson Tide and Coach Saban?  How does that enhance their bottom line?

2.  We might be seeing a sea change with the above situation, after the obscene gambit that Saban, through his de facto lackey Bertie Boy, tried to pull with the 10-second rule proposal.  A lot of his cred seemed to evaporate with that move, at least amongst the coaching community (and, who knows, the media might just follow).

3.  Another question: Why were all the Tide trolls coming over here sincerely wishing us well in the aTm game?  Bama already beat Johnny Football a few weeks before; it would have behooved them and their obsession against AU for the Aggies to take us to the woodshed.  (Someone told me the answer to this is the aphorism “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  However, this analysis works only if UA hates aTm more than AU, and if that is the case, I feel thoroughly insulted to be the object of a lesser hatred.)

4.  Speaking of aTm, I am willing to say that the turning point of the whole season (and not just that particular game) was the moment Sammy Coates shoved that Aggie defender off of him and down to the ground (I still replay that gif file a few times and shout “GET OFF ME!  GET OFF ME!”).  That play showed we were ready to play and beat anyone put in front of us.

5.  Sub-thoughts from the BCS-NCG:

     a.  Florida State was not as good as everyone thought.

     b.  That said, Florida State was really good, and evidently better than us on that day.

     c.  I don’t think that anyone can blame any big play or missed field goal for losing that game, as there were plenty of busted plays and breakouts for both teams.

     d.  Isn’t it interesting that no one told Cody to “drink bleach” for missing a kick whereas Cade wasn’t so lucky?

     e.  I was shocked to see the idiocy of the FSU internet fans during the buildup to the BCS.  I was very upset at losing to “that kind” of a fan-base, until I saw the half of my high school class that went to FSU (expected as I grew up in Jacksonville, FL) were a classy kind of fans.  Then, I felt better that the joy we had in 2010 could be shared.

6.  Leading from Item 5e above, does anyone else wonder how sports rivalries across the board got so ridiculously nasty?  Can we not all agree something went way, way wrong in the last twenty years (in general)?  Can anyone stop it?

7.  As Derrick Roberts pointed out in his great article here Friday, the decision by the NLRB  on Northwestern football players unionization may end college football as we know it.  My own feeling is that if college sports becomes nothing more than a professional league, it will lose what makes people love it–that sense of being represented. College sports works because we alumni, and others with a heartfelt connection, feel like a part of that team in a way that pro sports can’t ever deliver.  I will be sad to see the death of yet another once solid cultural institution in my lifetime.

8.  If my one of my best friends (and FSU fan and current doctoral student there) ever sends me a freaking Seminole shirt, you’ll soon be seeing me here in a very compromising situation (yeah, we had that kind of a bet).

Michael Val

(who is often spastic or random, just usually not at the same time!)

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  1. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    1. ESPN was pumping the sunshine of the “Champs of the world” because they are invested in the SEC, and you promote the winner of that conference more so. I, as an Auburn fan have been particularly disgruntled with that. As a businessman though, I see the logic. From a sports promoting point of view, having one team stand out actually helps promote all of the opponents of that team. Perfect example is Tiger Woods. Where would Phil be without Tiger?

    2.Might, being the operative word here. I think it has more to do with they actually lost back to back games.
    3. I don’t want inside their thoughts!

    4. I shouted the same thing on that play. Yes, that gave them the confidence as admitted by Malzahn.

    5. A & B -FSU proved they could compete vs. SEC competition. Deserved champions in my book.

    5. C & D Yep.

    5. E and #6 We all have those fans. Every single one of us. Just troll the comments sections of some other blogs if you don’t believe me.

    7. I am not smart enough to be able to decipher all the changes that could come of this. There was a time in our country when Unions were a necessity, now they are as big a burden to the American labor force as our government is.

    8.I like those types of bets, good thing I won’t gamble on college football ;)

    • mvhcpa says:

      Thanks for the read and for those answers. I think you may have posted the gif–and the phrase–of Sammy’s knock-down that I love so much! MVH

  2. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    3 – At that time of the season, Auburn was perceived as either no or less of a threat to contend for the SEC West. If TAMU ran the table and Alabama slipped in any game, another loss to TAMU would leave the race down to head to head between LSU and Bama. A victory by Auburn over TAMU would be ‘insurance’ against a repeat of the three way tie scenario that threatened in 2011.

    Little did they know,….

    • mvhcpa says:

      Thank you for spelling that out, Sully; it makes a lot more sense now. However, looking at it from our side, I personally wasn’t very enthused when Bama beat the stew out of LSU, even though that outcome was essential in setting up the Iron Bowl of All Time for us. MVH

  3. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    1. What Kool said…
    2. Nothing last forever…not even dynasties
    3. They were hoping to play an undefeated AU team in the Iron Bowl
    4. Harumph!
    5a. True
    b. Unfortunately
    c. Yeah but it sure would’ve helped
    d. I wonder if Cade has any regrets for going to UA
    e. The mark of an intelligent fan is one who can win with class and know that they had absolutely nothing to do with the win/loss. We are merely spectators.
    6. Human nature’s innate desire to find worth or value in life…If my team’s a winner, then I must be a winner also. Stems from low self-esteem and lack of stimulation as an infant and not being breast fed. But that’s just a guess.
    7. My fear is that 10+ schools (who actually operate in the black and don’t compete with other professional markets) will eventually break away from the NCAA and start their own semi-professional league to actually support their universities. We will eventually have a form of what we have in men’s basketball (NIT and NCAA tourneys). I blame it on greed (administration, coaches and athletes). Whenever a lot of money is being made – everyone wants some of it…and lack of breast feeding.
    8. If you made a bet, you must honor it…I think it’s in the Creed somewhere. My suggestion is to keep your bets simple (steak dinner, pick up bar tab, etc…)

    • mvhcpa says:

      Thank you for all of your organized thoughts on my spastic thoughts, Tigerstripe. As I was adopted as an infant, I hope that my own lack of breastfeeding doesn’t turn me into a 5e and 6 case! Plus, such an EPIC game had to be memorialized between my friend and me with an EPIC bet! MVH

      • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

        Ha! Good stuff and I had similar bets on the uga game…Thank God, that work out or I’d still be wearing a thong!

  4. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Good read Michael. As for Item No.1, it appears to be man crush.

  5. mvhcpa says:

    Thank all of you for your reading and commenting–who knew that spasticity could be so much fun! MVH

  6. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    GREED. Its why ESPN smooches Bama choade and why ESPN and their parent company ABC are destroying the college football and with it all college athletics. Of course all of the networks are complicit, but ESPN/ABC most of all by handing out these gargantuan TV contracts for the rights to college football and basketball. It was only a matter of time before some slime of the earth lawyer(s) was going to decide that they could siphon off a goodly portion of that gargantuanous profit for themselves and try and sue the Universities to start paying players. Never mind that 90% of Universities don’t make enough off their sports programs to fund a decent sized taco stand, no, everything will need to be destroyed because 10% of the Universities are making a mint.
    Of course, maybe its all for the good. Once we descend the slippery slope towards paying athletes, the lawyers will have a feeding frenzy suing for every athlete that has a beef with their university until the system implodes and universities cease to run athletic programs due to the high cost of operation. At that point it will be back to students playing for fun again…in the parks, just like in 1898.
    What makes me mad, is to think of all the 10′s of thousands of athletes who got an education that they would never have had a chance at, thanks to an athletic scholarship…..all will soon be a thing of the past. Once the players unionize and are compensated, they will be just another slab of meat jettisoned as soon as they aren’t productive or not living up to potential. There will be no education for them, just a few grand for their time spent in service to the university. Some will make out like bandits, but just like the ones going pro, it will just be a handful. Where will the lawyers be then? At home counting their ill gotten gains, that’s where.

  7. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Maybe I have a slightly different perspective of this whole unionization thing. If you look at the Northwestern suit (has anyone really read what they have been arguing for and against?), it clearly demonstrates that a student athlete is more athlete than student–often spending an inordinate amount of time/week on athletic-related activities. More time than many folks spend in their full time paid jobs (do you see what I did there?). The time spent on athletics occludes time that could be spent in the classroom or studying or hanging out with tutors. Basketweaving 101 isn’t only for the illiterate; they are credits that allow ‘balancing’ (term used loosely) 2 disparate responsibilities: 1. athlete 2. (a distant 2) student.

    I wonder if you compare the time that a student athlete spent studying versus practicing in the 80′s to the time(s) spent today? My guess is that it is not even close. If we want to be more competitive then we need more time in the film room, weight room, time outside of the NCAA-mandated limitations on practice time.

    The main argument in the case is that if the time differential (ie time spent as athlete v time spent as student) is happening at Northwestern (and it is) where their academic standards are higher (more focused-what have you), then what about the student-athlete at State U. If we don’t want to pay players, then the NCAA needs to saque up and start limiting practice time (more), weight room time, etc. etc: basically reevaluate and redefine what is happening in real time on college campuses around the country. It might lead to less competitive Saturday’s (I doubt it), but it will validate and fortify the notion that a student athlete is actually a student, and their athletic ability is a really great vehicle to afford them a kickass education.

    …..Or we can just keep escalating this thing off of a cliff and start a professional sports major in college…whatevs. I hear that ESPN wants to start the trust fund with their earnings off of all of their networks…..

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      All good points TotM, but (no disespect) I like what former Auburn Tight End Philip Lutzenkirchen said on Twitter:

      “For me, a free multi-thousand dollar tuition was plenty. This generation needs to be more grateful.”

      • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

        I see what you and others are saying, I do. But clearly the balance for these student athletes, are more athlete than student. I’m actually not advocating paying them (for many reasons listed below by KB)–I am advocating an honest evaluation of our expectations of these kids on the playing field and in the classroom. When you are spending 60-80 hours a week working on athletics, it doesn’t leave a lot of time to do school work. Perhaps, Uni’s need to be more proactive in opening up classes to have flextime, so an athlete’s schedule doesn’t negate the ability to take a necessary class for one’s major (highly common problem for STEM student athletes, who have to balance a myriad of lab schedules on top of the lecture time).

        Look, when I was in college, I was a dancer and a Biology major. Eventually, I had to stop dancing because the rehearsal times conflicted with lab times and the course work was consistently getting harder-so I needed more time to study. The thing was–i was there on an academic scholarship, not a dancing/athletic scholarship. I could *afford* to stop dancing. Many student athletes could not afford school without their athletic scholarship–so quitting on sports is not an option–unfortunately, quitting a certain academic track/major is. Which is exactly my point. Reevaluate the ‘student’ in student athlete and it will go a long way to resolving this tricky matter……..

  8. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    The biggest problem for any student athlete will be the transformation from a true student at a University, to the employee level.

    Keep in mind the State and Federal requirements to taxable income. Add to that the administration costs of keeping the checks and balances of those requirements will not come cheap to the University. As these costs go higher, ticket cost to you will go higher.

    Add into the mix, that most schools can not afford the extra staff that would be required to adequately maintain quality control in these areas and any number of things could happen. Most severely would be the loss of Athletic Department funds to other school sports. Loss of scholarships to these “non profit” sports programs such as softball, gymnastics, swimming and diving etc….

    A lot of the money the big programs make would be diverted to uses that us the fan would never realize in a physical sense. A perfect example of that is the new Athletic Dorm building.

    This is going to be a fiasco, and the NLRB and our government have stepped in it now. I for one, do not like the smell.