The lack of College Football Playoff angst changed the tenor of this week’s questions. This was to be expected. Years of NCAA basketball tournaments have taught us that the anger about the teams left out dissipates quickly and is replaced by excitement for matchups to come. But that doesn’t mean all the angst is gone.
In the video, we answer these questions:
• Why is the Michigan coaching search taking so long?
• What do Miami fans have to be optimistic about?
• Can I pay off my rival school’s players and get that school on probation?
• Is it acceptable to buy the wife pots and pans for Christmas if they are really nice pots and pans?
Read on for more questions and answers …
From @KWright_Frog: Will TCU be a preseason playoff pick and Trevone Boykin a favorite for the 2015 Heisman?
Yes and yes, Kevin. The Horned Frogs could return as many as 16 starters from a team that went 11-1 during the regular season, so they’ll probably be the preseason favorite in the Big 12. And if you read this week’s Punt, Pass & Pork, you know Boykin is basically in the same -- albeit healthier -- place that Oregon’s Marcus Mariota was at this time last year.
Does that mean either dream will come true? Not necessarily. Oklahoma looked like the Big 12 frontrunner coming into this season, but the Sooners wound up losing four games. Baylor will lose quarterback Bryce Petty, but the Bears have proven adept at reloading under Art Briles. Texas should be better, and if the Longhorns find their quarterback of the future, they could contend quickly. Oklahoma might fare better without the weight of crushing expectations. So there are no guarantees, but TCU is as well positioned as anyone going into 2015.
As for Boykin’s Heisman chances, Mariota’s landslide win is encouraging. It seemed the past few years that the sports media culture had begun to move so quickly that preseason favorites were jettisoned from the race by October simply because we wanted to move on to the next thing. Mariota was the favorite going into 2014. He was the best player in ’14, and he won the trophy. If Boykin improves even slightly on this fall’s production (4,356 yards of total offense, 39 touchdowns accounted for) and the Frogs are as good as advertised, he’ll be in New York on Dec. 12, 2015 and the team will be in Miami Gardens, Fla., or Arlington, Texas, on New Year’s Eve.
From @twdrenth: Four 16-team conferences please. This arbitrary made-for-TV and radio trolling sucks all the fun out of college football.
I see this sentiment quite a bit, and while it would be fun to be the one who correctly -- though satirically -- predicted this arrangement, it would also actually suck a lot of the joy out of college football. (Also, no one makes anything for radio. It’s not 1932.)
The best thing about college football is the variety. Even after some fairly radical realignment, the SEC is different from the Big Ten. The Big Ten is different from the Big 12. These are unique, discernible brands. The playoff is no less potentially corrupt than the bowl system, and that’s also a draw. Though the balance of power may shift from year to year, the NFC East doesn’t look fundamentally different than the AFC South. The NFL playoffs are decided by records and results; there is no subjectivity. NFL fans have nothing substantial about which to argue, and that is evident in their is-Joe-Flacco-elite talk radio discourse.
We love college football because it is loaded with contrasts, contradictions and corruption. We don’t want it to become just like the NFL, where they only have the corruption and none of the fun stuff. I think reader Dave put it best when he compared the NFL to a chain steakhouse and college football to a six-stool restaurant in Northport, Ala., that gets swarmed by flies in the summer and also makes the best ribs on the planet.
From @savorbrahms: To which songs would you most love to see a playoff montage set?
ESPN’s college football bumper music has been up and down through the years. A few years ago the network was playing Mumford & Sons when the band was still a little-known bunch of banjo pickers and not your brother-in-law’s ringtone. That was good. Playing Nelly’s “The Champ” into every break during bowl week in 2011? Not great, Bob.
Personally, I’m partial to the underappreciated classics. The most famous montage in sports movie history is the “Gonna Fly Now” sequence from Rocky, but that’s not even the best montage -- or best montage song -- in the Rocky series. That belt belongs to Vince DiCola’s aptly named “Training Montage” from Rocky IV. After all, nothing gets the blood flowing like synthesizers pumping while a steroid-fueled Soviet killing machine trains with every high-tech gadget imaginable and his all-natural American underdog opponent trains by helping sled drivers retrieve their vehicles from icy lakes. Admit it. You’ve always wanted an indoor track with speed bags placed at random intervals. Just take this song, replace Dolph Lungdren and Sylvester Stallone with Nick Saban and Urban Meyer -- I have no idea who is Drago and who is Rocky in this scenario -- and there you go.
Of course, there are the fully appreciated classics. The best football practice montage ever filmed was the “Welcome to the Jungle” montage in The Program. It’s a pretty simple formula, but it would work with Oregon, Florida State, Alabama and Ohio State. Take football action, add quick cuts, Axl and Slash, and voila.
We shouldn’t limit ourselves to sports cinema. Trey Parker and Matt Stone penned the finest montage song ever recorded for South Park. Then they repurposed it for Team America: World Police. If ESPN wants a truly great montage, it will choose this song.