It's college football's offseason. That's not my problem. It's not your problem. It's Nick Saban's problem. And Nick Saban's problems call for oatmeal creme pies, shoe lifts, and hitmen with no compunction about offing a couple of teenagers to prevent them from counting against hard scholarship limits that come around every August.
Since none of us needs to whack anybody and therefore we have some free time on our hands, I present to you 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.
Cue the jingle, please:
Of course Kyle and I are glad that you people choose to spend your time hanging around our little digital clubhouse. But you may not have realized that there are actually 293 other SB Nation blogs. Ponder that for a moment. 293. If you chose to visit a new SB Nation blog every single day, you would need roughly 42 weeks to get through all of them. And by then we;d just make more and you'd have to start all over again. It's a veritable universe of sports blogs.
All of which brings me to some of the newest additions to the SB Nation stable of fine bloggery. First things first. I like sports bars. I like sports (obviously), I like beer and greasy food, and I really like hanging out with other people who like sports, beer and greasy food in locales purveying sports, beer and greasy food. That's why I've bookmarked Sports Bar Nation. It is a blog about sports bars, tailgates and the finer things in life. They've already paid a visit to Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta (for those who consider politics a sport, I suppose) and recently covered the best places to hang out if you're in Arizona for spring training. Two posts in I already suspect that I'm going to like this site a lot. Check it out.
As announced yesterday over at the Blog Huddle, SB Nation has also absorbed one of my favorite college sports sites, Barking Carnival. BC is sort of Texas-centric, but the writing is always solid, and when they do branch out into the larger college football landscape it's usually worth the read. Their recruiting coverage is also top notch. Bottomline: we're assimilating all of the sports blog universe into the SB Nation Borg*. Resistance is futile.
Speaking of futility, the NFL owners and the NFLPA are currently locked in the world's least sympathetic game of chicken, in which either the clueless billionaires or the entitled millionaires will be the first to blink. The internet is chock full of smart analysis about the situation, but let me merely point out one aspect of this little curfuffle that may have been overlooked. How long do you think it will take ESPN to move some college football games to Sundays in September if there's actually a work stoppage that impinges on the season? I'm betting there've already been some email chains and meetings in Bristol to discuss this very idea, and some intern is looking for soft spots in the schedule on which to crash land some Big East games.
Speaking of crash landings, by now you've probably heard about BYU star Brandon Davies being unceremoniously jettisoned from the school's basketball team for having premarital relations with a young lady. This story really hits all the talk radio buttons: religion, race, sex and charges of hypocrisy intertwined with all three.
As I've listened to the national discussion of this issue I've been reminded of a story I heard as a young attorney preparing my first case to go before the Georgia Court of Appeals. It's called the tale of the scorpion and the turtle. Once there was a terrible forest fire. As all the animals of the forest fled across a river to safety, a lone scorpion stood there on the bank in dismay. Paniced, he haled a passing turtle. "Please, I can't swim! Can you carry me across the river to safety?" he pleaded. "I don't know", said the turtle, "you could sting me halfway across the river and I'd die. I'd just as soon burn as drown."
"But that's crazy!" retorted the scorpion. "If I sting you then I'd drown too." After a moment of contemplation, the turtle finally agreed to ferry his venomous passenger to the other shore. As they cruised into the deep, swirling water the scorpion piped up "I really can't thank you enough for this! As long as I live I'll tell of your generosity to the other scorpions!" He then immediately sank his deadly barbed stinger right into the back of the turtle's neck.
The turtle cried as he faded into the water "But . . .you said . . .now we're both going to. . .gurgle-gurgle . . . " to which the scorpion replied with his last words "Hey, I'm a scorpion. This is just what I do."
The moral of the story for lawyers is that appellate courts tend to have very stringent rules, and if you break them you lose before you ever get to the courthouse. Not because the court is trying to be unfair, or nitpicky or unnecessarily tedious. But because appellate courts institute and enforce rules. That's just what they do. The moral for Brandon Davies and for college athletes in general is that Brigham Young University has an Honor Code. It is, by most modern American standards, nitpicky and strict and in some senses a bit odd.
Like a lot of rules the rules at BYU are probably not enforced in a completely uniform manner, and the punishments probably vary just as wildly. Personally, I think Davies is being used as an example to allow the Church to trumpet it's standards at its flagship school when a more appropriate response would be to demonstrate a little Christian mercy and forgiveness. College students shouldn't be treated as agenda items. But when you sign on to give the scorpion a ride you can't really complain when he stings you. BYU told Davies they could punish him for what he admitted he did. That may not be fair or moral depending on your personal belief structure. Maybe it is precisely what is required under your personal belief structure. But it is the deal Davies signed on for, if not the one he expected.
I'll be out of town and off the site for most of the day, but I trust you all to fill this space with something worthwhile. Like your bets on which SEC football coach is most likely a fan of American Idol, and which coaches remind you of actual American Idol contestants My votes?At this point Les Miles is totally the Sanjaya of Deep South football. He just keeps winning, and none of us understands why. And Simon Cowell may or may not want him dead. Steve Spurrier is Reuben Studdard preparing to drop his new hit "I'm Sorry (For Offering You A Scholarship I Don't Actually Have In) 2011" Until later, keep it steady, and . . .
*Except Bleacher Report. Homey don't do slideshows.