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From Greg

Jay,

I think you missed a real opportunity on the actual 150th anniversary of the first college football game.

Think of the college football Rushmores you could have offered us — best games, rivalries, uniforms, players, coaches, stadiums, mascots, the lists are everywhere.

 

Greg -

All that email was missing was the "I expected a little more from a varsity letterman" line from Paul Gleason's character in "The Breakfast Club."

I thought about it, truly, and who knows, maybe I should have. But in truth, the time for that look back would have been better served covering a week in July, regardless of the actual day of the anniversary.

Think of all the things that were happening in the middle of this week?

But to your point maybe we should have offered more of a pause on Wednesday as the 150th birthday of college football occurred.

Wow, where would you start on a Rushmore of college football? If I had to do just four, I think it would be Heisman, Rockne, Bryant and Saban.

Think about that. Saban on the all-time monument to college football.

Of all the great compliments you can pay the Alabama coach, that may be the greatest.

How many athletes/coaches doing work in a team sport right now could make that claim?

I know that Geno Auriemma is on the Rushmore of women's basketball, but is there anyone else?

Maybe Belichick, but as great as he is would Belichick make the NFL Rushmore? Not sure.

Saban? Absolutely. (Heck, if you want to argue for someone like a Spurrier who I left off, then pick one of the other three guys to replace.)

As for the rest of the Rushmores around college football? Man, those would be so tough and more than just about any other regular talking point would be swayed by personal bias.

If you are a UT fan or a Johnny Bulldogs Backer or a devout Irish follower (hiccup) then your view on biggest moments, best players, uniforms, stadiums, et al., is going to be shaped by your fandom.

And that's one of the main reasons we love college football as much as we do.

Happy Birthday, college football. Much love — for the joys and the agony.  

That brings us to this week's Rushmores:

Rushmore of "lucky" — Lucky Luciano, Lucky Charms (they are magically delicious, friends), "Luck be a Lady Tonight" (Sinatra was such a boss), and good luck.

Rushmore of modern pitchers' nicknames — The Mad Hungarian, Oil Can Boyd, Catfish Hunter and Nolan "The Express" Ryan. (This one was more difficult than I expected, because this leaves off some great ones like El Presidente for Dennis Martinez as well as the Big Unit, Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, and a slew of others.)

Rushmore of board games — Monopoly, Scrabble, Risk and Trivial Pursuit.

Rushmore of Matthew McConaughey roles — His classic turn as Wooderson in "Dazed and Confused" is on there, of course. From there we'll add a great effort in "The Wolf of Wall Street," as well as the coach in "We Are Marshall" and the laugh-fest that was "Dallas Buyer's Club." I watch that last one three times a week. At least. Good times.

 

From Bob

"Good Morning — First of all, I paid for my children's education — had saved and planned for it. I don't hear anything about the value of an education afforded a scholarship athlete. Only that they should be "paid" for their skills — So, tuition, books, room and board, this is not payment? If not, then it needs to be taxed like income.

Also, what is to keep, for sake of talking, a Pilot Oil offering 5-star recruits a payment to do "commercials" for them? Say at $ 50,000.00 a pop.

Just my thoughts.

 

Bob -

I don't disagree with the sentiment of not hearing about the "value of an education" enough, especially in the day and age of skyrocketing student debt.

And that argument works in terms of money directly from the university, especially with Title IX.

Kudos for your commitment to education and your children, but just a guess here, it's unlikely they had the marketable skills of Zion Williamson or Trevor Lawrence or Katie Ledecky or any other five-star superstar.

And to compare apples to apples, if your kids got an academic scholarship or a music scholarship or a computer scholarship, even acknowledging the value and cost of education, they could have found jobs in their areas of expertise and cashed checks without ruining the "student-musician model" or the "student-rocket scientist model" like so many claim will destroy the "student-athlete" structure.

And don't get me started on how if said musician is asked to tour with the Rolling Stones or Taylor Swift or if NASA or Apple need lil' Johnny or Janey Genius, they can go do that any time they choose and be compensated and return to school without it effecting their eligibility or their scholarship.

The longstanding bedrock of the NCAA rule book that we could all understand was the premise that student-athletes would not get any benefit that is not available to regular students at any college or university. But now we're holding student-athletes to a much more stringent and rigid standard than we hold normal students. How is that fair? 

The California bill is terribly named — Fair Pay for Play Act — and it gives the implication that athletes are going to be paid for just playing. They are not.

This is about their likeness and marketability, and yes, it likely will need to be taxed, but that is for folks smarter than me to decipher.

As for the "Also, what is to keep, for sake of talking, a Pilot Oil offering 5-Star recruits a payment to do "commercials for them? Say at $50,000.00 a pop." Well, we already have that in college hoops, don't we, and no one even raised an eyebrow or talked about the "amateurism" of college sports during all the details of the FBI trials in college basketball.

And how many businesses are really going to do that for one recruit when they are already giving millions to the programs for bigger needs? Seriously.

And if that's the biggest concern, then it's on the NCAA to make sure such deals are negotiated after the recruiting cycles. I mean the NCAA needs to be doing something other than picking between move 1 (The Chicken Little, "This will kill college sports as we know it") and move 2 (The ostrich in which they bury their head so far in the sand, they come up for air in China) on this matter.

The page has turned and the leadership of college sports flipped the script with billion-dollar TV deals and assistant coaches make seven figures annually.

What's the argument against this now? There's not enough money? Well, that's somewhat true coming from the schools in terms of Title IX, but if outside business wants to pay the freight, then that's a different matter altogether.

The biggest worry from the schools and the presidents, in my opinion, is it's going to take away donations to the program as a whole.

If Sally Scholarship Donor is giving $10K a year to her alma mater above the cost of season tickets and membership fees right now, in the future she may want to give $5K to the school and $5K to Quenton Quarterback to come sign autographs at her son's birthday party.

On a much larger scale, let's say a multi-billion-dollar apparel giant that sounds like Mikey is paying millions to dozens of the top schools and their coaches so said schools will wear their gear. What if that company that sounds like Mikey starts giving it to the players directly to lay the foundation of future relationships with star athletes?  

Great question, but this toothpaste is already out of the tube and it's on the leadership of college sports now to make this part of the framework of the future of these great games.
 
 

From Dom

Not for nothing Jay but you're making money off of these kids also. Without them, there's no college Gameday and you're irrelevant. Hypocrite.

 

Dom -

For some background, this was in answer to a question I asked Jay Bilas on Twitter. To Bilas' credit he answered it clearly and promptly.

I asked about the hypocrisy of coaches like Jim Boeheim complaining about "the money grab" of playing a conference game in early November.

Then Dom weighed in and, somewhat amazingly, I got caught in a "Jay" crossfire. He was going back and forth with Bilas a few times before I realized he was not talking to this Jay.

Alas.

But it's still an interesting talking point because Boeheim sounded like a whiny jackwagon with his post-game mornings after Syracuse scored all of 34 points in the season opener.

Here's Boeheim's bellyaching:

"You never want to play the league games early. That's stupid. It's just a money grab. They've got scheduled games for TV, for the TV contracts, so you've got to play games early and then somebody had the brilliant idea of opening up the first game with a league game.

"I just don't think it's good. I don't think it's smart. You want to build up to league. The league's the most important thing, so why would you play the first game of the year in the league? Makes no sense to me but that's what happens when you go up to 20 games and someone wants you to play early."

Uh, coach, you made $25,000 in 1975-76 in your first season as Syracuse head coach. You signed an extension and are making north of $2 million this year at age 74.

To coach basketball. Who's in the money grab again?

You are making that much coin in large part because of the popularity of the game and its appeal on TV.

If you are going to shout "Money Grab!" and wag your finger at TV for scheduling ACC games with one hand, then the other better be digging in your pocket to find some cash to be handing back.

Also worth asking, if Syracuse had scored 54 instead of 34 and had topped Virginia, are you bellyaching then?

I think no, so it's only a money grab when your team loses?

Got it.

 

From LT

OK, I read the 5@10 everyday and wonder how you come up with all this crazy stuff.

I normally don't write in to the Friday questions thing but I could not help but wonder why you like buffets so much. They are gross.

Thanks for your morning thoughts — it's a regular part of my work day.

 

LT -

I fell in love with the buffet as a young fella.

And not so shocking, I was rather big-boned/husky as a lad. Doctors said I swallowed a lot of aggression along with a lot of pizza.

My three go-to eateries were the McDonald's, the KFC and the Hungry Horseman (I think that was the name of the joint) which was a buffet at Cobb Center on South Cobb Drive right there between Smyrna and Austell. It's where Howard's later moved when the ol' Hungry Horseman closed.

Hey, when you're a kid and a picky eater, the buffet is gold. You get to choose what you eat and how much. Good times.

(That said, with a rotation of Mickey D's, the Colonel and someplace called the Hungry Horseman, it's not a shocker that I was a large child before I got really into sports. Hmmmmm. That clears some stuff up, huh?)

Anyhoo, the Rushmore of buffets likely would be Ryan's, Golden Corral, every Chinese buffet everywhere and the Shoney's breakfast bar. Wow, anyone else hungry?
 

 

From Lunch Bunch

Thanks so much for taking the time last week on our question. Your John Candy response was great.

We have a bunch of guys who cheer for different college football teams and this week have been discussing what will happen with the FSU Seminoles/Criminoles.

What do you think — is FSU going to rebound or are they headed for a decade similar to what has happened in Knoxville?

 

LB -

Glad to. Candy is even better than we remember friends. I'm down with you guys being regular Mailbag contributors, so I picked this excellent question.

I do not think FSU is headed to a decade of irrelevance like UT fans have suffered since Fulmer was fired. (A decade that appears to be turning at least a little bit with Jeremy Pruitt's recent strides. Are they back? No one is saying that. Are they playing better and looking improved? Absolutely.)

First, UT bottomed out because of some impossibly unlucky combinations and series of events.

I personally think Lane Kiffin would have won — and lifted the program to contender status and into the NCAA crosshairs — if USC had not come calling.

(Side note: USC has been every bit the dumpster disaster as UT has been and the fall from grace is likely worse. That said, if/when the Trojans dump Clay Helton and hire Urban Liar, they will be back in the mix by 2021. And we do not doubt that for a moment. USC should be good every year. End of side note.)

Then there was the Dooley hire, which was inexplicably bad. Historically bad and will age with the grace of dirty sweat socks.

This hire is critical for FSU in a lot of ways, but the Dooley direction is possible.

Still, one of the reasons UT has plummeted is that the rest of the SEC continues to chase after Bama.

FSU does not have that issue with the rest of its conference.

Certainly Clemson will be hard to catch in the foreseeable future, and as long as Dabo is reeling in 5-star talent the Tigers will be the class of the ACC.

But FSU is one good hire and one good recruiting class from being no worse than the second-best team in the ACC.

Plus, the recruiting abilities in the panhandle are amazing.

Still, where these big buyouts really hurt programs is that money is spent paying millions to dudes like Butch and Taggert to not coach while the facilities lag behind as other schools spend those millions on upgrades.

Welcome to the arms race that is big-time college football.

And for both UT and FSU, the lease is only going to get shorter because the economic lesson is simple: Paying a coach millions to go away is better than losing tens of millions because your football team is irrelevant.

Have a great weekend gang.

(Crud, forgot my NFL picks. We'll have them around lunch. Deal? Deal.)

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