CAMDEN I’m sure I wasn’t the only college football fan to find this past season kinda boring.
Congratulations to Coach Dabo Sweeney and the Clemson Tigers, but outside of seeing a team go 15-0 and a phenomenal SEC championship game, the rest of the season was bland to me.
Apparently there are others that share my opinion. Some have blamed the lack of luster that is usually garnered by bowl games on the college football playoffs. The bowl season was watchable but not nearly as intriguing as years past.
After pondering why this season felt different arrived to this conclusion: College football was too much like the NFL.
The somewhat innocence of college football was tainted this year by all of the things that happened out side of the game, similar to what we see in the NFL. What I mean by that is that it was too much controversy happening off of the field for us to really enjoy the game. It became exhausting.
There were so many letdowns this season - not because of the play of the student athletes, but because of the character and under performance of the people who are supposed to be leading them.
Letdown No. 1: The tragic death of college football student athlete Jordan McNair.
Last May, Maryland student athlete Jordan McNair died two weeks after collapsing during practice from a heat stroke. After a lengthy investigation, it was discovered that McNair had displayed signs of extreme exhaustion prior to suffering from a seizure, there was an unexplained hour between the time of the seizure and hyperventilating that was observed by a coach and that the proper protocol wasn’t followed. Maryland’s head coach D.J. Durkin was eventually suspended indefinitely. The suspension was lifted only for him to be fired in October. It didn’t make sense. After spending five months of watching the blame tossed around, hearing the pain of McNair’s family and even the president of the university taking a stand by resigning, why would anyone even think about letting Durkin anywhere near another College Football program? (Not to spoil anything but see Letdown No. 3)
Letdown No. 2: The debacle at Ohio State.
Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer lied about his knowledge regarding his assistant Zach Smith’s domestic abuse allegations which led to him being “suspended” even though he was still able to meet with his team. Meyer makes it back on the field four games later, ironically right in time for conference. Smith is fired and becomes a Twitter tyrant attacking Texas Longhorns Coach Tom Herman and Ohio State goes on to win a bunch of close games in an archaic conference against teams that are no where near as talented as Ohio State. That was until Purdue trounced Ohio State and almost on cue, Meyer’s “health issues” resurfaced.
I definitely don’t want to make light of Meyer’s brain cyst. That’s not a joking matter. Neither is the gastroesophageal reflux disease (acid reflux) that caused him to retire when he was coaching the Florida Gators. He admitted to ESPN that stress plays a factor and he becomes extremely stressed when his teams are losing. You know, kinda like when Florida went 7-5 after being ranked No. 1 in the nation. That would stress me out too. My question is, why didn’t we hear about these health issues when 30 of his players were being arrested during his tenure in Florida or when one of his assistants at Ohio State was being charged with domestic abuse? I guess winning on the field gets more attention than losing off of it.
Meyer “retires” again, at least until he finds another perfect situation to take over. So basically Meyer will get to escape a program that has been plagued with questionable morals, just like Jim Tressell was able to in 2010 when his players were selling championship rings. What more could you expect from a university that hires coaches that punch opposing players in the throat? (Woody Hayes, 1978)
Letdown No. 3: Alabama Crimson tide.
Alabama might have reaped what it has been sewing when it loss to Clemson the way that it did Monday night. I’m a major fan of the SEC, but perhaps it was poetic justice.
Well for one, that D.J. Durkin guy that I mentioned earlier was brought on as an unpaid consultant for Alabama during its lead up to the CFP. I don’t know much about his role with Alabama, but again, why would you even want to bring that type of energy to your program?
Alabama has always greedily grabbed college football coaches right after they are fired. I’m still on the fence about rather or not that’s a good tactic. I can understand hiring someone like a Lane Kiffin who is a complicated person but has a brilliant offensive mind, but I can’t understand hiring a Dan Enos, Butch Jones or a Steve Sarkesian thinking that they would somehow benefit a football program.
Another reason why Alabama was embarrassed is because Nick Saban has notoriously treated the media like trash and what goes around eventually comes around. He snapped on ESPN analyst Maria Taylor for basically doing her job. He tried to make it seem like she was asking him to choose between his two quarterbacks like the rest of the world was asking him to do when she was actually him about his thoughts on their performance during a game. To his credit, Saban apologized.
This was also the worst Alabama defense that I’ve seen in a while because of the focus that the Tide has placed on the offensive side of the ball. I mean, Arkansas scored 30 points against these guys and Arkansas couldn’t score 30 points against North Texas. It’s not really a shock to me that Bama got torched by a freshman QB from Clemson.
There were several other letdowns this year. There was the Kelly Bryant transfer, the Heisman being a two-person race since Week 1, the struggles of notable teams fans love to hate such as Florida State, Miami and USC, the return of Chip Kelly to college football and the one sided CFP games. All of these were just major letdowns. It was only fitting that the last game of the season would be yet another letdown.