College football is officially bat crazy.
Already two of the best programs in the country, Clemson and Alabama, have lost. No one expected this so early in the season. Makes you suspicious a bevy of their best players now excel for the University of Colorado Buffaloes.
What’s every bit as stunning is college football fans who are deliberating about Duke now being a legitimately good football team. This never happens.
There have been games delayed by lightning, unfathomable payments to players to transfer and play for other schools, and a country riled up every Saturday to watch football all morning, afternoon, and evening. And College GameDay is the best show in world history, which tells you all you need to know about modern-day America.
America is addicted to the chaos, excitement, disorder, thrills, and unfathomable lack of guardrails.
Money is all.
Thank goodness for cliches
And yet a few college football traditions persist as they have since Red Grange and those pioneers who played football without facemasks. Probably irresponsibly, I’ve been watching dozens of hours of press interviews with college football coaches, studying game films, and attending press conferences.
Binge-footballing has been a comforting experience because coaches continue to say pretty much the same words and concepts and cliches we’ve all come to tune out but feel a certain calm when we hear them. Here are a few:
We need to step up our game. We need to play complementary football. We need to take away what they do well. We have to stay within ourselves. We need to tackle in space. We need to not beat ourselves. We need to make big plays. On our team, it’s next man up. There’s no “I” in team. We need to tackle as a team. Our opponent next week presents problems on both sides of the ball. He can take the top off the defense.
I could come up with, oh, 700 more of these if I thought about it for a while. But why put you or me through that? Of what necessity would that be?
But I do want to dwell on one, well two. The first is “we need to play within ourselves.” The obvious question: How do you play outside of yourselves? Is the coach suggesting there’s an option for a football player to do something that is outside of himself? Conceptually, maybe. But absurd in reality.
Still, this concept may be closer to reality than we at one time believed because the age of artificial intelligence has arrived with a thunderbolt. Maybe coaches will one day start saying “We need to play outside of ourselves” meaning leverage the fast mental processing speed of AI to become more like a robot playing football.” I know robots playing football is a controversial topic but controversy sells.
Sort of related, I wonder about this coaching staple: “We need to tackle in space.” Unless I missed something in high school physics – which is likely — all tackles are made in space. You can’t tackle anyone who isn’t in space.
This is all so cerebral and, arguably, unimportant. But my head is swirling with thoughts of what college football has become, a hotbed of new and multi-dimensional pandemonium, and where all this will land.
At least we still have cliches to keep us all playing as one team.
Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here:
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