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The Crazy World that is – College Football’s Offseason

Gus is planning on running his offense so fast this season that we will actually travel backwards in time.

The finals scores have been tallied, the standings have been finalized, but college football isn’t done making headlines. This is nothing new for anyone who has followed the sport for any significant amount of time. For every Heisman highlight that spread like wildfire through media outlets, there is an equally buzz-worthy story waiting outside the lines to overshadow it. Fictional girlfriends, model girlfriends, recruiting shenanigans, and fickle coaches are just a few of the intriguing topics that will circulate over the next few months. Welcome to the crazy world of college football’s offseason.

Manti Te’o sees your traditional Heisman Trophy campaign and raises you the story of his imaginary girlfriend’s death. Although it is purely speculation at this point, Te’o’s tale of his girlfriend passing away mid-season is looking more suspicious by the day. Joe Theisman, no doubt, stands in awe of the monumental shamelessness this potential Heisman campaign tactic would require. According to Yahoo Sports writer, Tom Coyne, Te’o has even mentioned the non-existent girlfriend twice since informing Notre Dame that she had falsified her illness and subsequent passing. The hammering Notre Dame took at the hands of Alabama in their recent matchup is nothing compared to the damage this story can do to the program if proven true. Te’o is presumably innocent until proven guilty, but there needs to be some tying-up of loose ends soon or this story will spin completely out of control. 

Meanwhile, SEC quarterbacks, Johnny Manziel(Texas A&M) and A.J. McCarron(Alabama) were taking a different approach to the “girlfriend publicity” angle. Manziel’s girlfriend was revealed to be a part-time model and McCarron’s relationship with the current Miss Alabama (and ironically an Auburn graduate) was highlighted heavily leading up to the BCS National Championship game. I only mention this here because McCarron and Manziel’s relationships respectively, continue to garner news coverage (even with Manti Te’o pulling out all the stops in his exploits). This just in: the top 100 incoming college freshmen quarterback prospects have expressed interest in playing in the SEC. Nick Saban has offered all of them and has promised to make room. What a nice guy.

One man feverishly preaching the benefits of being an SEC quarterback (and specifically one in Alabama) is long-time sportscaster Brent Musburger. He made these comments regarding A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend during Alabama’s matchup with Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game which drew some criticism. ESPN quickly apologized on behalf of the comments made by Musburger, and in my opinion, it was too quickly. I can’t help but think that ESPN was being a little too proactive due to their alleged history of sexual abuse. This was a classic case of oversensitivity and a perfect example of the clumsy fashion in which ESPN handles many stories

And finally, in college football news not relating in any way to a mid-afternoon soap opera, Chip Kelly has decided to indeed make the jump to the NFL. He made this decision after initially appearing to have decided to remain at Oregon for at least another season. I am really interested to see how he plans to adapt his offense to the NFL. Could this be the beginning of a new era of NFL football? I don’t think so, but I do believe Kelly has the potential to leave a positive mark on the game by adding a previously non-existant element. Just what that addition is and if he is able to succeed in the NFL at all remain to be seen, but one can’t help but like his chances with Michael Vick taking snaps.

It also raises the question as to what will become of the Oregon Ducks program. While Kelly fell just shy of putting his Ducks over the top once and for all, it is clear that he brought the program into the overall group of elite national programs during his time there. His presence and offensive scheme were so heavily tied into the identity of the program that it will be interested to see what direction the program takes from this point. It does not in any significant way benefit my Auburn Tigers, but I certainly would enjoy seeing the Ducks being able to remain relevant nationally. Their uniforms and style of play have a certain degree of universal appeal (if for nothing else, sheer curiosity) and the college football landscape would be a little too bland without those Oregon Ducks from the other side of the country that never wear anything twice.

Looking back, who knew girlfriends and significant-others would play such a pivotal role in the 2012 season? Little did we know that last summer, Bobby Petrino was simply laying the groundwork for what was to come. It just goes to show that you never can quite tell what awaits in the near future. We all impatiently anticipate the arrival of the Fall season and those cool Saturday afternoons spent tailgating, but it’s the journey to that point that makes its arrival that much more special. 

 

13 Comments

  1. DBAU81 says:

    New sign in the Notre Dame locker room:

    “Play like your fake girlfriend died today.”

  2. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Excellent post D.R. on several levels,

    And what fan can’t relate to that closing line, “We all impatiently anticipate the arrival of the Fall season and those cool Saturday afternoons spent tailgating, but it’s the journey to that point that makes its arrival that much more special.”

  3. spanky says:

    Kelly could bring big changes to the NFL. Remember, most of what is used in the NFL has been developed in the college levels first.

  4. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    I think we may have our first known gay athlete in the “Big 4″ professional sports. Manti Teo did not strike me as a publicity hound….AT ALL…during his Heisman campaign. In fact, I think that made him even MORE impressive of an athlete. He came out did his job spectacularly well…was the unquestioned emontional leader of his BCS title seeking team, and he was EXTRAORDINARILY humble, well spoken and well mannered. He alone made me root for the Golden Domies. He does not fit the profile of a glory hound who wants to make up stuff to get attention. What he does fit the profile of is someone who is emotional, loyal, sensitive (I mean, how many college kids have great relationships with their grand parents??) and by all accounts very innocent for someone who is a senior on the football team at Notre Dame.
    I don’t think for a second that he concocted this girlfriend angle. It appears he was fooled into having an online relationship with a girl and that someone was pulling the strings to screw with him emotionally. If you hear how he talked about her it was very much like he loved the idea of her, instead of how emotionally devastating it would be lose someone you were intimate with….and it was because he was never intimate with her and what kind of star football player has a NON-INTIMATE relationship with a girl in college….self proclaimed virginal, bible toting missionaries from Florida notwithstanding. I think Manti is gay, and was using the online girlfriend as a reason to “look straight” to his teammates. I really feel bad for him if thats the case, because he seems like such a great kid and now he is going to get run through the media wringer and he is already being vilified for something he was probably a victim of in the first place. If what I am thinking is true, he will either have to endure this public humiliation or come out of the closet to explain this away…..and endure that public humiliation. Either way he’s in a really awful situation personally and I feel bad for him because nothing I’ve seen from him would indicate that he is anywhere near this cynical or manipulative. I’m probably wrong but this just doesn’t fit the mold of someone looking for publicity.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      I don’t know why some folks are thinking that Te’o is gay? Is it because there was a d00d behind the fake girlfriend? (I don’t know much about catfishing, but from what I gather, the gender/sexual preference of the charlatan has nothing to do with the gender/sexual preference of the mark.)

      More importantly, why does it matter if Te’o is gay or straight? It’s not like a person changes the way they play football (or do anything really) because they are gay or straight?

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..Answer: it shouldn’t, but it would. You’d never hear the end of the debate from announcers and columnists. There could also be some pretty ugly bulletin board material also.

        …..I’ve been getting off work about 11:30 PM every night, and listening to Fox Sports Radio on the drive home. Rob and Amy EVERY NIGHT this week have been trading theories on the Te’o saga! I’m sick of it! Cover some real sports, ok?

      • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

        It doesn’t matter. The only reason I think it is the “why have an imaginary girlfriend” factor? Its a good human interest story but its not going to win you the Heisman and he couldn’t have dreamed back at the beginning of the season that he would be a Heisman finalist. I like the kid and don’t care if he’s gay. In fact I’m worried that he may do something to himself, if he is trying to manufacture a story to hide it.

        • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

          Gotcha….I’ve seen that theory floated on the twitterz and I was just curious as to the thoughts behind it….the whole thing seems sad and bizarre to me.

    • aubaug33 says:

      i have no doubt that te’o was involved. from his parents lying about meeting her, him lying about it, him not going to see her in the hospital, or go to the funeral..or video chat with her. he said he found out the hoax in december yet still had interviews where he talked about her. i wouldn’t even want him on my arena league team..he is an absolute fraud

  5. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Great article and the line that really got me was, “This just in:”

    “the top 100 incoming college freshmen quarterback prospects have expressed interest in playing in the SEC. Nick Saban has offered all of them and has promised to make room.”

    Now that’s funny.

  6. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……Michael Vick has had some incredible games. He’s also not remained healthy an entire season. Running backs in the NFL are very rarely productive beyond 3-5 years, and being a “running quarterback” has even a shorter shelf life. Bear in mind, I have seen Cam and Colin Kaepernick running wild this season. Still, how long will either keep doing that? Interesting times. I’d love to see Harbaugh and Kelly set the NFL on its ear!