Football is a part of the American landscape. The buildup to each season is always exciting.
Like most of you, I am a football fan.
This affinity for football has been with me for many years. At the start of each season, I have these football talks with my friends. I am sure that as college students, you do too.
Our discussions run the gamut. We talk about spread offenses and who has the best defense.
I am an old-school guy, so I can talk high school, college, and professional football.
While all football is great football, I especially like college football. Maybe it is because these guys are student-athletes. As we know, most college football players will not go to the professional ranks. There are only 32 teams in the NFL (National Football League) and nine teams in the Canadian Football League).
Another topic that we have spirited debates about is football coaches. Recently, after a short discussion about professional coaches, we quickly moved to the college coaches.
HIS NAME STANDS OUT
One name that stands out for me in the college ranks is Deion Sanders.
First off, in my opinion, there has not been a college coach in any sport that has come on the scene like Deion Sanders.
He is an eight-time All-Pro, 1994 NFL Defensive Player of The Year, and a two-time Super Bowl Champion. These are impressive credentials, no matter the yard marker that is on the field.
If you recall, Deion Sanders, now Coach Sanders, was a star student-athlete at Florida State University. He was accustomed to winning. Losing was not a part of his profile.
Yet, Coach Sanders did not receive his degree from Florida State University.
Coach Deion Sanders is a proud graduate of Talladega College, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Alabama.
While Coach Sanders has won numerous prestigious awards and honors, I believe his college graduation ranks right up there as one of his most outstanding achievements.
Jackson State University in Mississippi named Deion Sanders as its head football coach ahead of the Spring 2021 season. This HBCU gained instant worldwide publicity because of it.
Folks may not know about Jackson State University, but they do know about Deion Sanders.
It is my firm opinion that HBCU athletic teams have benefitted directly from him being in college football. Coach Sanders has changed the conversation and brought with him a different perspective.
Before Coach Sanders was hired, I cannot recall HBCU football getting so much airtime, especially on ESPN. Media at all levels have stories and interviews regarding football at HBCUs almost daily.
The Grambling State University and Southern University Bayou Classic football game was probably the most consistently televised HBCU contest.
THE DEION SANDERS EFFECT
Now, every week, you can listen to or watch HBCU football. That is what I call the CSE (Coach Sanders Effect).
Coach Sanders wants to truly market HBCU football. He has commented how the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) and the MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) can work together.
He is thinking about the future and where does HBCU football fits into it. I believe he is challenging traditional mores, and that is a good thing.
Recently, I read where he wanted the players' names on the back of their jersey. That is a good idea. Parents want to identify their sons by their names and not by their number.
SWAC and MEAC schools are formidable opponents and have excellent academic reputations.
If there are discussions about working together, allowances and compromises will be on the table. “Give and take” is what makes for healthy agreements.
Power 5 conferences create alignment opportunities when they see it is feasible for them to do so. For example, Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the SEC (Southeastern Conference) in the future. Both are currently members of The Big 12 Conference.
We will have to wait and see what happens with the SWAC and the MEAC as to whether it will gain a first down in the decision-making room.
Nonetheless, you cannot say that Coach Deion Sanders is sitting by and just watching things happen. He wants to have a hand in making things happen. I am cheering for him.
I believe Coach Deion Sanders has come to Jackson State University at "prime time."
COULD RECENT SUCCESS MOVE COACH PRIME?
The Jackson State University football team is having an outstanding season. Their eight wins and one loss have them in football conversations across America.
They are currently No. 1 in the SWAC East and No. 15 in the FCS Coaches Poll rankings. Jackson State University is on the move.
Could Coach Deion Sanders be on the move too? Many are saying, "say it isn’t so!"
According to reports, Coach Sanders and Texas Christian University have had at least one conversation about its coaching vacancy.
Texas Christian University is a member of the Big 12 Conference and is in Fort Worth, Texas.
Don’t forget Coach Sanders played for the Dallas Cowboys and is revered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Can you imagine Coach Deion Sanders, the Hall of Famer, recruiting in Texas?
It is my opinion some schools are holding their breath right now. Let us suppose that Coach Sanders ends up at TCU. Can you imagine the number of student-athletes who will go into the transfer portal?
Will some of those players be from Jackson State University?
There are so many ramifications to this story. The rumor mill and the barbershop talk will be on high alert in the coming days.
“I’m not saying he is going to get the job, not saying he’s the leading candidate at this point, but he’s in the mix”, a source told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
He’s in the mix is an age-old expression. I believe he is more than in the mix; Coach Sanders is stirring the pot.
Coach Sanders may end up not getting the job. However, he will be a “prime” candidate for future coaching jobs.
We may need to stay tuned for breaking news. If you are at Jackson State University now, what are you thinking?
We are at the goalposts. The question is, whose goalposts?
We will soon find out.