Let's start with Leonard Fournette, Mr. Heisman Trophy pose. Sorry, but in my opinion, that was not the way to act after his first LSU touchdown run. Maybe some people liked it, but I know two who didn't: Tigers coach Les Miles and me.
As Fournette came to the sideline, Miles greeted him, and I don't think he was exactly congratulating him. I would say "chewing out" is more like it. My reaction: Good.
Too soon, Leonard. (Get used to the "too soon" phrase. I'm going to repeat it.)
|LSU freshman Leonard Fournette: C'mon, kid, be serious -- you're not |
Heisman Trophy material yet, not after one or two TDs. (photo, Getty Images)
My posted comment: Don't like that, and neither did Les.
Jim Kleinpeter, the T-P's longtime beat writer on the Tigers, quickly returned a comment to me: "C'mon, Nico, don't turn into an old fart just yet. lol"
Yeah, lol. As I replied to Jim -- an old buddy from our early Louisiana sportswriting days -- it's way too late for that. I have admitted to old-fartness in several blog pieces, and I'll stick to it.
I don't like athletes acting out, period. It spoils NFL games for me, same for the NBA, and I especially don't like it in baseball. Every walkoff victory is followed by a silly team-jumping, dump-the-water bucket-on-player and/or shaving creme-in-the-face pie on player ... even if the team is 10 games out and has no hope of making the playoffs. I know, my team is one of those. Can't stand it.
Of course, the guy who played third base in years past for my team -- when he's not hurt or serving a suspension for PED use -- is one of the most call-attention-to-yourself players in history. If he never plays another game, I'm fine with that.
I'm getting away from the subject, which today is football.
I love college football; it's hard not to. There's a joy about it, an enthusiasm, an appeal that goes way back, a loyalty to a school and a program -- or in my case, two schools and two programs.
In my opinion, college football so far surpasses the NFL these days. It's not even close. At least not on my television. I have some friends in journalism whose jobs are to write about NFL teams, and I'm happy for those guys. But read on.
What I like about college football: Walking around a campus; the "walk" to the stadium -- Victory Hill at LSU, the Vol Walk at Tennessee, up The Grove at Ole Miss, etc., all are good; the tailgating (but not irresponsible drinking); the bands (can't show the bands enough for me; I like the pregame show, the fight songs, clips and sounds during games ... in fact, I want to see the halftime show on TV).
I want the halftime show on TV because I refuse to watch any of the pregame, halftime, postgame analysis -- no Lee Corso, no Lou Holtz, no anyone. Really don't want it now that Tim Brando no longer the lead guy on the studio show at CBS.
Like the fired-up players (except when they make a show of the whole team running down to the end zone).
Don't like ticket prices. OK, I'm cheap. But I cannot pay $65-70 or a lot more for a game ticket. We will save our money for season tickets to the Pops Series by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at Bass Hall.
Obviously, a lot of people will pay the price. Many stadiums are full, or mostly full, and I do marvel at full stadiums. And that's why we have 50 bowl games (see below).
Like close, competitive games between ranked teams -- Southern Cal and Stanford on Saturday, for example. Oregon-Michigan State, Virginia Tech-Ohio State.
Which brings up this: Don't like the Big Ten, never have. Overrated almost every year now. Let me repeat: overrated. Michigan State lost Saturday, Michigan lost (big-time to Notre Dame). Ohio State lost. Purdue and Northwestern lost to mid-majors. Send the Big Ten champ to the Rose Bowl, and see what happens almost every year.
Don't like one-sided games -- majors vs. mid-majors. Here are scores from Saturday's Top 25: 37-12, 41-0, 52-7, 59-13, 73-3, 70-6, 56-0 (LSU), 41-3, 58-23, 37-3, 73-7,66-21. Boring.
I even turned away from the LSU game several times, and on computer watched Louisiana Tech take care -- good care -- of Southwestern Louisiana (not "Louisiana").
Yeah, those "money" games for the mid-majors often reek. But then you get McNeese State almost beating Nebraska, and that makes the day.
Speaking of routs: What in the heck, Texas and SMU? Hard to digest what's happened to those great traditional programs so dear to the Lone Star State where I live now.
I do not like "sack" dances/celebrations, particularly on routine plays. If it really makes a difference in a game, fine. Don't like receivers giving us a first-down signal or defensive backs waving their arms "incomplete" after a pass breakup. It's ridiculous, showoffs.
Deplore late hits and tackles with the helmet. Don't have a problem with any rules put in to punish the offenders. Here was a beauty I saw Saturday: After breaking up a pass intended for a La. Tech receiver, a ULL defensive back got in his face and got a 15-yard penalty for taunting. His team was behind by 27 points ... in the fourth quarter. Stupid.
Love "the play is under review" -- in any sport. As long as the technology is there and the procedure is relatively quick, great. Let's get the calls right. It's one of the best developments in sports in my lifetime. Love it in college football, the NFL, NBA, NHL and baseball (which should expand its system). Soccer, too.
Here is one of my current major gripes: bowl projections, Heisman Trophy watch, Davey O'Brien QB Award watch, wind-your-watch and scratch-well, your nose watch. And the most important watch of all: What teams are going to make college football's first Final Four playoff?
Too soon, people. Too soon. All of the items above.
They were talking about this last week after the first week of games. They're talking about it this week. The season is two weeks old. Too soon.
Yes, my newspaper friends are writing about it, the sports magazine writers are projecting and predicting and ranking, the talk shows everywhere -- radio, television -- go on and on.
A lot of these people writing and talking are my friends; my son-in-law is a radio sports talk show host. Sure, it's good fodder ... for them. For me, I refuse to read any of it or listen.
One more time: Too soon. I will start paying attention about Nov. 1, or maybe Nov. 15. By then, everyone might have a clue.
If it were up to me, I would not release any national rankings before Oct. 1. But I understand this is what people want, what they can talk about.
I think the college football playoff is so long overdue, and I think it should be an Elite Eight, not a Final Four, and after some team(s) get a raw deal, it will be. While we are it, let's cut out all but about 20 bowl games. In fact, let's cut it to about 12 -- and really make them count.
On the playoff selection committee, I think it's a select group -- great diversity and knowledge. And, yes, I think Condeleeza Rice is a darned good choice; she's smarter than most of the guys, and she'll be fair.
This group will do the best it can be done. They'll be criticized, but any panel doing this would be. In fact, they can do the pairings for the 12 bowl games I've suggested.
What else? Oh, the NFL.
I love the history of the NFL, the days when Tom Landry coached the Cowboys and they won pretty consistently. Watching Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman as their QBs. I wasn't as big a fan of Jimmy Johnson as of Landry, but Jimmy's teams were consistently efficient and often dominating. There's never been a better Cowboys player than Emmitt Smith or a more overblown, overpaid one than the current QB.
Saints? Didn't care then, don't care now. Sorry, Saints fans. I know you're out there, and more power to you. The Saints whip the Cowboys every time they play now. I don't like it.
What I like about today's NFL:
(That's right ... that's a blank space up there.)
I'm not watching. I'll tape the Cowboys' games. If I feel like reviewing the game, I will, and I'll skip the parts when they show Jerry Jones. How's that for front-running?
Don't like the violence. Don't like the concussions. Don't like the announcers (well, I could tolerate Troy Aikman ... but I won't watch). Got other things to do on Sundays, Monday nights, Thursday nights. See ya.
Don't like the players woofing at each other, and celebrating every tackle and every touchdown and every passing of gas (oops, I slipped and got ugly). I'm back to where we started, players acting out.
Enough football. Now let's talk about Duck Dynasty and the Duck Commander and his family. I'm just kidding. Let's not. I'll let all you people who have nothing to do talk about them.
Enough opinions. Let's take a break from this blog. How about that? That I like.
Oh, Leonard Fournette. Let's win the Heisman before you give us the pose again. This old fart doesn't approve.