Today I’d like to start a series called “Five for Friday”. Each Friday, to commemorate the end of the week, I’ll throw out five things that have gripped me during the past week. During football season, it’ll probably be games or storylines, but today I wanted it to be more comprehensive.
Without further ado, here is the inaugural installment of “Five for Friday”:
1. Baseball’s All-Star Weekend stunk, but it’s still the best of all major sports. For the first time I can remember, no team started the second half of the season with a Thursday game. This meant there were two off-days after one of the least entertaining Midsummer Classics I can remember. (Still waiting on a good at-bat from the National League…………)
I think it’s good in some ways to do it like this, with all of the teams coming back at the same time from a longer break. But I also like easing back into the schedule with a few Thursday contests. This has caused me more angst than it probably should this week.
2. I still don’t quite understand the uproar over Darius Robinson. He’s a projected starter at cornerback for the Tigers this season, which is why he is relevant to me. Putting his name on the decade-long Ed O’Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA—while certainly groundbreaking—doesn’t really change any of the facts on the ground.
His reasoning for taking this step is valid, as outlined here in a brilliant piece by Andy Staples on SI.com. I won’t steal his thunder, but the piece goes into great detail explaining why Robinson feels passionate about going this route.
Robinson has said this will not be a distraction, and I believe him. Maybe it’s because this court case has dragged out for half of my lifetime, but for whatever reason, it still doesn’t register on the radar screen as far as the upcoming season goes.
3. Johnny Manziel is not a 20-year-old kid. As much as he wants to have his cake and eat it too, the Heisman Trophy is a line that separates Johnny Nightlife from every other college student on the planet. Something doesn’t quite seem right about a young man whining about just wanting to be a normal college student, then flying from Birmingham to Los Angeles to walk the red carpet at the ESPYs.
This is the perfect example of someone wanting the pleasures of fame without the responsibilities. Now we have the plethora of excuses coming out of Manziel’s inability to show up for meetings as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy. Due to all of the lying and misdirection—which is exactly what it is—Clay Travis is totally justified in writing this piece where he examines a plausible explanation for all the shady storytelling. I’m not saying he’s right, but Manziel opened the door for speculation by telling four different tales explaining his absence.
4. There is a quiet confidence around the Clemson program this offseason. In the past, I’ve gotten the sense that the Tigers felt they needed to prove themselves—like there was a chip on the shoulders of every player and coach. This season is setting up to be a bit different.
I’m not saying players aren’t motivated to do well and to prove people wrong. However, for the first time I can remember, the program appears to feel self-sufficient and able to stand on its own two feet in the national conversation. This has the representatives of the program conducting themselves with a certain kind of quiet swagger that contributes to the perception there may be some surprises in store for opponents this season.
5. Jadeveon Clowney can say whatever he wants, but there are still consequences. Following my blog on Wednesday, Gamecock fans inundated me with comments critical of my stance. Some of them agreed, but many were considerably upset and mischaracterized my position.
I’m not concerned about this. What bothers me is the idea that Clowney can say anything without repercussion because of the way he played last season against the teams and players he spoke of in his comments. Sure, the guy has bragging rights, but Clemson, Georgia, Texas A&M, and anybody else has the right to react in any way they see fit.
Clowney had a bully pulpit at the SEC media gathering, and he used it. He had the floor. It was an open opportunity. But it seems that many are saying any reaction from an opponent or from the subjects of Clowney’s diatribe is irrelevant because the Heisman candidate can speak however he wants.
Simply put, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Of course Tajh Boyd can respond. Of course Aaron Murray can respond. Of course opposing fans can comment. He opened the door for criticism the second he opened his mouth. Now he has to back it up.