Jon Solomon nails Todd McShay with this:
Let’s stop with the narrative, as put forward by ESPN’s Todd McShay, that Tunsil sold out his Ole Miss coaches by supposedly telling the truth to the media. This thinking sums up what’s wrong with the negative stigma created by the NCAA about amateurism. In McShay’s mind, it’s better to lie publicly than to be honest when caught about getting paid. Only in college sports is this line of thinking acceptable. The NFL couldn’t care less about Tunsil getting paid.
It’s time for my obligatory reminder that news of college players getting paid under the table is neither shocking nor worth taking a moral high ground. This happens far more often than people want to believe — imagine if the federal government ever went after tax evasion for these under-the-table payments — yet fans keep passionately watching the college games whenever a story like this comes out.
I get the “NCAA rules are NCAA rules” aspect to this, as Solomon does in his next paragraph, but that’s Ole Miss’ problem. As far as Tunsil goes, it’s not like he committed a crime. Outside of the folks left at the school who have to clean up the inconvenient mess they helped make, ultimately nobody cares but McShay. Well played, Mr. Solomon.
You guys know I’m not a fan of Cinderella when it comes to the college football postseason, but despite the subject of this piece, I’ve got to admit this is one helluva lede:
In roughly two weeks, the oligarchy that controls college football will begin its latest attempt to quantify that which defies quantification: On November 3, the College Football Playoff committee will issue the first of its weekly rankings, and given the joyous and unpredictable clusterfuck that this season has become, it will no doubt engender tremendous gales of message-board fury.
So much nailed there in one short paragraph.
If you don’t read anything else today, read Charlie Pierce’s take on Baylor. It’s a tour de force from start to finish.
The University of Texas, you may have heard, has decided to allow the sale of beer and wine at football games.
The response of Texas A&M’s chancellor to the news is three shades of awesome.
Too bad Steve Patterson’s preoccupied with brand building in Mexico. With world class sarcasm like that, if there’s ever a deceased rivalry game that should be brought back from the dead, it’s Texas-TAMU.
Historically speaking, a Mandel Mailbag is typically fertile grounds for snarky responses, but not today, as he does a fine job of skewering the tortured efforts of the conferences as they struggle with the consequences of realignment in the current CFP environment:
I have to say, I find it equal parts amusing and annoying watching conferences wrestle with “issues” entirely of their own creation. Hold a championship game or don’t. Employ divisions or don’t. Many, many smart people are going to spend countless hours in meeting rooms this spring and in the near future wrestling with such mind-bending conundrums, and I just want to say: You know, nobody forced you guys to realign a few years ago. While certain schools (TCU, Texas A&M) have certainly benefited immensely from joining new conferences, you’ll have a hard time convincing me college football in general has benefited in any way from “bigger is better.”
Amen to that.
Jon Stewart, on the Indiana religious freedom law, for the win:
Stewart pointed to the NCAA’s opposition to the bill as a turning point in the state.
“When you’re being criticized by a company whose entire business model is based on exploitation…” he said. “‘You can’t discriminate against gays. You can profit on their likeness without compensation. Here’s how you can get away with it: Just call them student-gays.'”
When you make Mark Emmert look broadminded, you’ve lost. Sorry, Hoosiers.
What Charlie Pierce lacks in predictive ability, he more than makes up in stylish fury:
I mention all of this because, in the opening round of the inaugural Cash Drop in college football this year, Mariota will go up against last year’s winner, the curiously unindicted Jameis Winston, who (I suspect) will lead the Tallahassee Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice to a whopping win that will make the Heisman voting this year look even worse.
“Curiously unindicted” is a mere drop in the bucket. Do read it.
UPDATE: If you liked that, don’t miss Pierce’s Sugar Bowl piece. Especially the opener.
We should pause now, before the trumpets really start to sound, and the luxury suites begin to ring with barely disguised corporate corruption and plutocratic deceit, and before the entire shiny new circus of the College Football Playoff (presented by Gigantocorp, a Monstro company) descends on Jerry Jones’s monument to Freudian overcompensation in the vast real estate desert outside of Dallas.