Clearly I am getting old. It happens to all of us. And as I get older I get more annoyed by the pettiest things. Which again, I think happens to many of us. I’m asking you to indulge me today as I get a few things off my chest.
These, to me, are some of the dumbest things in college sports today. Not dumb like bad rules in place or not allowing players to gain some advantage (besides a free college education) off their popularity and profit from the crazy amount of money they generate for universities and the NCAA. No, I’m not trying to tackle something like that.
I’m talking about the things that fans get worked up about or the things that are pushed out as some level of importance when it is truly and utterly meaningless.
1 - Preseason Award Watch Lists
I mean honestly, if this isn’t the Merriam-Webster definition of meaningless, I don’t know what is. I’ll lead with the understanding as to why the award committees release a list and then the schools subsequently send out a press release hyping their player as one good enough to be recognized as potentially one of the best at their respective position. The award gets some press, the school gets some press and really in June/July there is nothing else going on in the college sports world. As with most, “get off my lawn” moments, there really is zero harm being perpetrated here.
But that won’t stop me from pointing out just how dumb these lists are.
Players who had a good previous season, will get some pre-season love. Then the season actually happens and players who were not expected to be at the top of their position have breakout years. Are they ineligible for a post-season award since they weren’t on the original list? No. They just get added.
Mohamed Ibrahim is a perfect example of this. 12 months ago, Ibrahim was not an any preseason watch list for the nation’s top running back. Then he went out and averaged over 150 yards per game and had 15 touchdowns in a shortened season. He won the Big Ten running back of the year award and...AND...was ADDED to the various running back awards lists.
So despite not being even on the list to start the year (a list with dozens of names), Ibrahim ended up as one of 10 semi-finalists for the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s top running back.
Tanner Morgan in 2019, another great example of someone who did not make any “prestigious” preseason award watch lists, yet finished as one of the 16 finalists for the Davey O’Brien award for the top quarterback in college football.
Announcing the list of finalists for the award at some point late in the regular season? I am fully on board with that. This is actually the limited list of names who have earned the right to be considered for the actual award. Giving us a lengthy list of names in June that provides no actual input into the eventual winner? Pointless.
2 - Recruits listing their “top 8” schools
Don’t get caught up on the number 8 here. I find top 6 or 10 equally as ridiculous. Getting down to a top 3? I can see how that makes a little sense. But there is no way that if the recruit is able to narrow down their list that they really think there are 10 schools who are all on equal footing.
It is a lot like The Bachelorette where they have to widdle down their list of candidates slowly, but they know. They know who the final 3 or 4 are. And in the world of recruiting, there are no television production reasons to keep me on the edge of my seat with 8 potential schools.
At a minimum, wait until you are setting up your 5 official visits.
Oh boy! Tyus Jones included Minnesota in his top 6 but never really had any intention of ever playing for Richard Pitino. I just have a giant eyeroll on this.
3 - Fans tweeting at recruits
On a semi-related topic, what is the deal with fans tweeting at recruits?
When Anthony Smith (current verbal commit to Gopher football) announced his official offers from various schools, every one of them garnered some replies from their respective fan bases.
- Ole Miss - 6 replies, though some were more SEC-centric.
- North Carolina - 17 replies!
- Michigan - 11 replies.
- Minnesota - Just 5 replies.
How in the hell did we manage to land this guy when random Gopher fans failed to show Smith the proper love and help PJ Fleck and staff land this highly regarded defensive end?
I’ll tell you how we got him. Because despite the fact that high school kids might be making their college choices based on weird criteria, none of them are basing it off of what they read from fans on Twitter.
Most of you are grown adults who are following 17-yr old athletes on Twitter AND you are commenting on their social media. Follow them all you want, recruiting is
creepy fun. But for the love...have some respect for yourself and please do not think that you have any influence. Cause you don’t and it’s just weird.
4 - Fans worrying about their coach leaving
Here comes another one for the fans, and this one might be more pointed at Gopher fans. But can we PLEASE stop worrying about whether or not the current football or men’s basketball coach is going to leave Minnesota for another job? PLEASE?
We were worried for a couple seasons that Richard Pitino was going to leave. We were worried that Tubby Smith was going to leave. We thought that Jerry Kill was heading out the door. We even were scared that Tim Brewster was going to use Minnesota to parlay a “better” job. Most of them were all fired.
And now, we are concerned that if the 2020 season is a success, PJ Fleck is as good as gone.
We have been over this before. But this is a good job. Period. Is this the one and only, most elite-est job in the history of football? No. PJ Fleck might leave the Gophers for a better job. But it will clearly be a better job.
Charlie Walters, in his column this week, mentions that if the Gophers can get to 8 wins this year, that Fleck is possibly headed to Virginia Tech.
There’s already buzz that if the Gophers football team wins eight games, which is probable, Virginia Tech could be coach P.J. Fleck’s next job at $6 million a year. Fleck, 40, signed through 2026 at $4.6 million a year, has a contract buyout of $4.5 million this year.
I would bet that this “buzz” is just one man’s opinion. Virginia Tech currently has a head football coach. And even if you think that Virginia Tech is a better job than Minnesota, it really isn’t by all that much. I’m not getting into the discussion about if it’s better, how much it is better, etc. The fact remains that Power 5 coaches don’t leave for another Power 5 job unless it is a major step up.
But lets be very clear that Fleck still has a lot to prove as a P5 head coach. I’m a huge fan, I really like what he’s doing here and 2019 was fantastic. But can we wait until there is actually something to get worried about before we get all worked up?
5 - MLB postponing games on threat of rain
Technically this isn’t college related, but it is very recent and really dumb. I’ll just let the St. Paul Saints handle this one.
You: It's raining now, shouldn't the Saints postpone the game.— St. Paul Saints (@StPaulSaints) June 29, 2021
Us: It won't rain tonight
You: There's a 30% chance at 1, just postpone it now.
Us: Games at 7
You: But it's cloudy at 7 so it COULD rain and then you've opened the gates & we bought food.
Us: Ummm, ya, we're playing
There you have it. The 4 things in college sports that annoy me most, plus a bonus MLB annoyance.
What did I miss?
Get off my lawn!