What is there left to be said at this point?
Tired of lopsided bowl games? Over your conference’s pathetic showing in bowl season? Suffering the early stages of football withdrawal as January announces its presence with authority?
Or maybe you’re not a Big 12 fan. (Who knew West Virginia would be the pride of the Big 12 this year? And how about that insane TCU win in O/T?)
Either way: join your fellow fans for the NCAA’s Final Hurrah weekend.
Congratulations to Navy, Virginia Tech, Nevada, LSU, TCU, and Toledo. You go!
To everyone else: better luck – better skill, better health, better coaches, 220, 221, whatever it takes – next year.
One last Monday Night Football opportunity window coming up. It feels so wrong when the NFL moves on to the playoffs, but at least we get the College Football Playoff National Championship Game Presented By AT&T on 11 January, to help ease us through the transition.
As the kickoff nears, we do fear there will be more chatter than we can really take about Nick Saban’s Terpsichorean turn, incident to the win over Michigan State. We here are basically wishing he hadn’t done that, because it forces us to retaliate with The Movie Scene.
The Blind Side (courtesy of Script-o-rama)
[Nick Saban] Hello, Michael. Nick Saban.
– Nice to meet you.
– Nice to meet you.
[Saban] – And you must be SJ.
[S.J. Tuohy] – That’s me.
[Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock)] Michael, why don’t you and Nick go into the living room to talk?
[Michael Oher] Can SJ come?
[Saban] Absolutely. We’ll recruit the both of you.
[Leigh Anne, aside to husband Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw)] I find him extremely handsome.
[Sean] Yeah, I’m right here, Leigh Anne.
[Leigh Anne] Yeah, I know.
And we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that Mr. Saban is not only handsome but a powerful man.
He looks kind of 18-cu.-fridge old-school compared to his CFPNCGPBAT&T opponent, however. Dabo Swinney is an Internet-of-Things-Age phenom, all strategic anticipation, automation and features and tie-ins. If he busted a move on the sideline, somebody’d have to pay him a royalty for it:
As part of Swinney’s $3.3 million compensation package in 2015, Clemson paid him $500,000 for the rights to market his name, image, and likeness. Thanks to the trademarks, other parties that sell Swinney trade-marked products must pay 10% of wholesale price to Swinney for using his name (Dabo Swinney or just Dabo), and 10% to Swinney for using BYOG or Bring Your Own Guts. So Swinney makes 20% on items that include both. The Collegiate Licensing Company, which helps manage the relationships between’s Swinney’s representatives and outside vendors, has given permission to 13 companies, including Nike, to sell merchandise — mostly apparel — stamped with the BYOG slogan or Swinney’s name or both. …
Soon after Swinney got the head coaching job at Clemson in 2008, his agent, Mike Brown, pushed to trademark his name. “We knew it was so unique, that when he had success, people would want to leverage and use it,” Brown says. (Swinney’s given name is William, but his older brother Tripp called him “that boy” when they were toddlers in Alabama. It sounded like “Dabo” and has stuck ever since.) …
Before this season, and Swinney’s BYOG moment, Brown says his client hadn’t earned any meaningful royalties from his trademarks. And the BYOG/Bring Your Own Guts trademark applications also sought to cover “charitable fundraising services.” Some or all of the new revenue could go to charity, Brown says, although he says the two have not yet discussed how it will be distributed.
We’re not saying gack about the licensing and royalties here. We’re saying gack about the “toddlers in Alabama” connection to the licensing and royalties. Come on. I’ll take Sandra Bullock mooning about Nick Saban over that, any day.
Is it football? You decide. It is 2016, after all. Football is, like, a totally holistic experience now, whether you want it to be or not. You can’t get away from the holistic-ness of it. The old days of following the game without camera drones and digital first-down stripes hovering over the field are gone. It’s all replays, all the time now, dudes and dudettes. We can’t make “line” decisions on our own anymore – nobody can – so we might as well multitask and monetize the margins.
So on Monday night, we get the Galloping Copyright versus the Boogie-woogie Mogul. Mark Cuban versus Donald Trump. #1 Clemson versus #2 Alabama (-6.5). Sixth-ranked offense versus third-ranked defense. Phoenix, Arizona (where it will be clear, dry, and in the low 50s for the kickoff). Be there. A bunch of really good players will be, and they might just give us a good game.
North Dakota State has put it to bed for yet another year, prevailing 37-10 in today’s FCS championship showdown with new blood Jacksonville State. This is sometimes a really good game, but we can’t say today’s was all that inspiring (although you can never offend us with a sunny day in Frisco, Texas). Unless you’re a Bison fan.
If you are, you’re off celebrating NDSU’s fifth consecutive national title – a feat no team in any NCAA division has achieved since before 1936, when the polling era began and reliable records of recognizable football activities started being kept.
Strap in, shipmates. Here we go. From here on out, every one counts. Sudden death with every kickoff. It’s crunch time.
Our Inner Circle is well represented in Wild Card weekend:
The 10-6 Steelers face off on the road with their division champ 12-4 Bengals, starting here in about three hours. The Steelers split the divisional meetings during the season with Cincinnati, slapping the Bengals around pretty good in December on a very productive day for Roethlisberger. Can they do that again? Sure they can. (Even if they’re missing DeAngelo Williams.) Cincy has Dalton and McCarron back, but Pittsburgh dealt with that summarily last time. We’ll see. The Steelers give 2.5.
On Sunday, Redskins Redskins Redskins, standard-bearers of the inbred-idiot NFC East, have homefield advantage in their meet with Green Bay, which has been in a serious slump in the last several games, off rhythm and looking like a herd of deer on Valium, transfixed by the headlight of an oncoming freight train.
Washington, 9-7, brings momentum, heart, and Kirk Cousins, if not anything even faintly resembling a definable NFL football reputation. Still, the 10-6 Packers have been a science experiment in Brownian movement recently, and the Skins are giving 1.5 in the home stand.
In other play, Chiefs and Texans are at it in Houston as I type, with KC leading 7-0 on a 106-yard kickoff return in the opener.
And, as every schoolboy knows, Seahawks will be at Vikings in the early slot on Sunday, fending off The Worst Weather Like Ever That Anybody Can Remember Although Maybe the Ice Bowl Had ‘Em Beat But We’ll See. We understand special underwear is involved, but we’re just as happy to let that be the teams’ problem. They’re at least playing midday, when it’s supposed to be above 0 degrees F. (4F-ish, to be exact.)
Seahawks, 10-6, give 4 to the 11-5 Vikings in the line. That seems a tad optimistic for Seattle.