College football canceled: Blaming the media? I'll take credit - Sports Illustrated

The Media Canceled College Football? I'll Take the Credit, Thanks

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You don’t have to look far to find somebody who blames the media for canceling the college football season, and says we are trying to cancel NFL season, too. I will be blunt here: This ticks me off. “The media” is not canceling college football season. I am doing it all by myself, thank you very much.

Look, we all got bored and anxious during quarantine. Some people put together jigsaw puzzles. I dismantled a sport. It helped pass the time.

You might wonder if I was “rooting for the virus.” Well, duh. What self-respecting journalist would not root for a virus that has killed 160,000 Americans? It all falls under the umbrella of being a bad person, O.K.?

Of course, it’s “better” for sportswriters to have “sports” to cover. It gives us “work” which helps us get “paid.” But I am devoted to my passion of being a bad person, and sometimes—I recognize the irony here—being a bad person means being unselfish. If I can work and get paid, my colleagues can work and get paid. That’s a non-starter for me.

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As you might assume, having a dream job for two decades can make a person bitter and angry. Sure, we get to travel to cool places, get paid to cover events that others pay astronomical prices to attend, write interesting stories and talk to fascinating people, but … where was I again? Oh yes. Bitter and angry,

There is no cheering in the press box. But as I have often wondered: What if there were no press boxes? What if we all just sat at home, with no place to go, nothing to do, no money to make, no touchdowns to watch, no national anthem to despise with every bit of our freedom-hating existence, and no marching bands in perfect formation, playing some of the most inspiring music in the world?

Wouldn’t that be great?

A view of Ohio Stadium during Penn State vs Ohio State

It’s a little early to say for sure. I haven’t yet experienced the joy of a fall Saturday with no college football. Maybe the crisp autumn air, fall foliage, cider and donuts will ruin it for me. But for now, I feel really good about canceling the sport.

Of course, not everybody is happy with what I have accomplished. As my colleague Ross Dellenger reported, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska wrote a letter to Big Ten presidents asking them not to cancel the college football season.

I certainly respect Sen. Sasse for taking the controversial position in Nebraska of being in favor of college football. That’s the kind of bold leadership America needs. But Sen. Sasse wrote that a lot of college presidents privately agree with him, and he knows this because that is what they say “when the cameras aren’t rolling,” and …

Whoa, whoa, whoa! A Republican senator says that people hold different opinions privately than when the cameras are rolling? Where on Earth did he get that idea?

Nice try, Senator. Those of us on Team Virus always believed we would triumph. Of course, if simply rooting for something was all it took, the Browns would have won six Super Bowls by now. Rooting for the virus, while certainly a rocking good time, was never going to cancel college football on its own.

So how did I pull this off? I’m sure you would like to know. But a magician does not reveal his tricks, a coach does not share all his plays, and a chef does not share all his recipes, except sometimes, like when the chef publishes a cookbook or has a TV cooking show or something, but work with me here. Anyway: A reporter does not explain how he personally got a sport canceled.

I will say that college football is built on rivalries. Sure, USC will lose millions of dollars and alienate a lot of fans and recruits with this decision, but as I explained to the USC administration: So will UCLA! Totally worth it!

Next thing I knew, the Pac-12 canceled it season. The Big Ten had already canceled its season.

How do I feel now? Empty, soulless, and never better. It even surpasses the joy I feel when nobody wins the lottery.

Alas, my work is not finished. The Big 12 just released its new schedule, and the SEC plans to go forward with its season. But I still believe, in the bottom of the place where my heart would be if I had one, that I can get those leagues to cancel their seasons, too. I feel good about my chances, and I guess it won’t hurt anything to tell you the real secret to my success.

I just tell people not to wear a mask. Works every time.

More NCAA Coverage From SI.com Team Sites:

As SEC Marches Forward, LSU Preps for Fall Practice
There's No Guarantee for Big Ten Football in Spring, Either
Herm Edwards Reacts to Pac-12 Canceling the Season