As all good Seinfeld fans know, Festivus dinner is highlighted by the airing of grievances, consisting of "lashing out at others and the world about how one has been disappointed in the past year." Frankly, if any collegiate sports fanbase is going to be lashing out about their disappointments in the past year, I think it should be ours.
I'll go first. These are a few of the things that my SEC brethren and the media who cover them have done to disappoint me so far this offseason:
- Fawned over Arkansas to make noise in the SEC. I'm skeptical. Their 2009 defense was as bad as ours. The difference? We did something to change ours. Sure, they return 7 starters from last season's unit. But there's a difference between returning a bunch of guys from a unit that led the league (the Arkansas offense, for example) and returning a bunch of guys who played defense like the French army last year. Plus their schedule is brutal, with road dates at Georgia, Auburn and South Carolina, to go with home contests against Alabama and LSU and a second annual game against Texas A&M at Uncle Jerry's Texas-Sized Funtime Emporium. 9 wins looks like the absolute ceiling to me. 8 sounds about right.
- Bought a gajillion more Daniel Moore paintings. Seriously, Bama fans. If you have $200 to spend on a print of a blocked field goal against a middling Tennessee team, let me make a suggestion. Give that money to your church. Or Heifer International. Or refugee soccer players. Or your neighbor who lost his job when the plant closed down. Look, I have a bit of University of Georgia memorabilia myself. Some of it cost a bit of money that I probably should have used to buy shares of Apple before it went over $200. But if you're going to invest in paint-by-number art at least make it epic. Either in the traditional sense or in some ironic way. Colt McCoy walking toward the locker room with a wall of Tide fans gesturing in the background. Tim Tebow sniveling like Terrance Cody points and laughs. Nick Saban devouring oatmeal cream pies with a side of walkon. Andre Smith running the 40 at the NFL Combine. Not a blocked kick to save a game that never should have been close to begin with.
- Forgot about basic geography. I don't know if any of the media-types discussing conference expansion have ever visited Mapquest. Take Texas for example. Austin seems to be the pivot point of a lot of conference expansion talk. But I don't know that the folks talking seriously about Texas going to the Pac-10 have stopped to consider exactly how far it is from Austin to Pullman, Washington. And Seattle. And Corvallis. Of course this is not a problem for the Longhorn football team which, to a man, sweats gold dust and towels off with $50 bills. But for nonrevenue sports the travel would be prohibitive. Ditto for the Longhorns joining the Big 10 and roadtripping to Happy Valley, Columbus and Ann Arbor. Only if it's a football-exclusive deal would that type of alignment make sense financially while also insulating administrators from travel-related complaints. And the notion of multiple, single-sport conference affiliations is just fraught with uncertainty. Heed the words of Andy Staples, my friends. I cannot believe I just typed that. OK, heed the words of vineyarddawg instead. That's better.
- Crowned John Brantley the new chosen one. I know Florida fans, you want to believe that John Brantley is just as good as Tim Tebow, though only in a diffferent way. I wanted the same thing for John Tereshinski, III. And for Joe Cox. But he's not that good, at least not yet. I'll stake my collection of Drive By Truckers live concert audio on it, which is a surprisingly (and perhaps disturbingly) large bet. Lightning like that may strike twice. It may even strike twice in the same place. But it damned sure won't strike twice in the same place back-to-back. John Brantley may be good, even very good. But he won't be Tim Tebow. Even Tim Tebow wouldn't have been Tim Tebow last year were it not for a defense that saved the Gators' collective tails from being seasoned and batter fried. Listen to the reasonable ones among you, Gator Nation. Give the kid a break, because he's going to need it eventually.
- Getting too excited about Fox's Hounds. Yes, the news on the mens' basketball front has been promising through the offseason. But this is still a team that had its biggest win of 2009 on January 23rd against Tennessee, then finished 5-9 down the stretch. A team that lost at home to Wofford and that didn't win a true road game the entire season. Unless you count the game in Gwinnett County in which our fans were, shamefully, probably outnumbered by supporters of the University of Illinois. While there are certainly several reasons to be excited, the 2010 Bulldogs will not sneak up on anyone. They will rely on several guys who either haven't actually played or haven't even stepped on campus yet. I'm looking at you Gerald Robinson, Jr. And you Sherrard Brantley. Ditto, Marcus Thornton, Cady Lalanne and Donte Williams. Being the trained skeptics that you are, you all knew this. The 2010 Georgia Bulldogs show a lot of promise. But they will also be very different from the 2009 iteration. And change is not always what you believed it would be. I'm not saying they won't win a conference road game, I'm just mapping out the problems, or problematique, in some detail:
Because one minute you're three lads from Devon who were influenced by Depeche Mode, and the next thing you know some American woman is writing vampire books and dedicating them to you, and you become the favorite band of tweens who paint their fingernails black as a form of rebellion and television writers with a thing for alien lizards. Life changes just like that.
Now it's your turn. What college sports developments are griping you, Dawg Sports readers? Until later . . .