It's college football's offseason. That's not my problem. It's not your problem. It's our problem. And collective problems call for collective solutions.
Thus we present Free Form Friday. Until further notice, I'll spend Fridays posting a vaguely organized compendium of non-sequiturs, pop culture observations and college sports miscellany which you may discuss in the comments, or ignore in favor of your own topics. Think of it as your weekend open comment thread.
I've somehow managed to avoid writing about the Tennessee/Daniel Hood saga, until now. If you don't know what I'm talking about you can go here to catch up. Others far brighter than me have noted that real life is often a murky, morally challenging business. But I'll say this: I read the Tennessee Court of Appeals opinion from Hood's appeal. In my chosen profession I've sat through more rape and child molestation trials than I care to remember. The details have a way of sticking with you, and the nausea may dull, but it never really goes away.
Having said that, if Hood were going to wear the red and black, I am fairly certain that I would disapprove. Largely because I've seen a lot of 13 year olds, and I feel certain that most of them are keenly aware, in a very adult sense, that duct taping a 14 year old girl to a bed so that she can be raped with a foreign object is wrong. Morally wrong. Legally wrong. Wrong in a sense that defies all but the most compelling arguments about "mens rea" and "culpability" and "emotional quotients". This young man is a walking, talking gamble. A gamble that I'd rather our coaches not take, even if others were willing to.
Perhaps Lane Kiffin is a better human being than me. Perhaps if I sat down in a room with him like Kiffykins, and looked young Daniel Hood square in the eye, and he told me he'd changed, I would believe him. Or perhaps General Peachfuzz just needs pass rushers more than I do.
It's probably cliched to say "this is either going to end well, or it is going to end badly." That's the story with every decision, to varying degrees. But it is accurate to say it's all up to Daniel Hood at this point. He's the one for whom visiting fans will sneak saran wrap and toilet plungers into games. He'll be the one who has to avoid googling himself in order to avoid what are sure to be some of the most tasteless photoshop jobs ever. He's the one who cautious Tennessee coeds will be leary of being alone with. He's the one who will spend four or more years with the knowledge that he's one misdemeanor away from bringing down fire on himself, his teammates and the University officials who're taking a chance on him. In a very human sense, I hope this ends well. But I think the odds are long.
On a much lighter note, is there an event in sports more interminable than the NBA playoffs? Oh yes. Brett Favre's long, slow goodbye. This guy needs to find a hobby. And the Vikings need to find a quarterback who won't implode on them down the stretch, dispensing interceptions like lollipops at a pediatrician's office. To paraphrase Rusty Ryan from Ocean's Eleven, I ask you Vikings management, to "tell me this isn't about signing the quarterback who signed your playoff eviction papers over the last decade and a half."
If you get a chance, head over to SB Nation's Boise State Bronco blog, One Bronco Nation Under God. Kyle linked to kevanlee's angst-tinged yet ultimately affirming post on what it means to be a big fish in a small football pond. They also have a great take on the 5 types of fans you'll see at a Boise State game. I think you'll recognize a few species, as they appear to have expanded their ranges substantially south and east, even to the banks of the Oconee River.
I think anyone who's ever played EA Sports' NCAA football video games knows that the pixelated signalcaller wearing number 7 for the University of Georgia "is" Matthew Stafford in some sense. And that the goofy looking pixelated quarterback for the University of Florida team in recent versions "is" Tim Tebow. And we all know that they're not profiting from those games. But why shouldn't Sam Keller?
The former Arizona State/Nebraska quarterback has filed suit against the NCAA, claiming that EA's game used his likeness, and he didn't profit from it. My reaction? First, there are about 3297 college football players who deserve a bigger slice of the revenue pie than Keller. I doubt anyone has ever actually played the game with "Pixel Keller " at quarterback. At least nobody who was trying to win.
Second, dadgummit, he's right. At least in the sense that EA is clearly using player likenesses to sell video games. Of course, ESPN is doing the same to sell advertising. And a host of licensees just like EA are using players' names and likenesses to sell DVDs, coozies, waffle irons, teeshirts and lampshades. That's the magic of licensing, and Keller's attorneys will have quite a time explaining how what EA does is any different, and thus not legally defensible. Is Keller right to think that Myles Brand and crew are making money off him? Of course. Is he an idiot for having just realized this? Hell yes.
I checked the tally of site traffic provided by Site Meter this morning and found that you folks have been hitting Dawgsports pretty heavy this week. Not coincidentally it's been a particularly good week for insightful and entertaining comments as well. Thanks for that.
Wednesday's post on Big Ten expansion was a prime example of that. Speaking of which, here's another bit of advice from Uncle Skeet: when you act like a boob, admit it. Or, as Derek and the Dominos advised, Tell The Truth:
I'll be back over the weekend with some recruiting coverage. Until then . . .