15 days away from kickoff, 13 days away from the start of it all, here is this week’s Five for Friday:
1. Steve Spurrier just can’t leave Dabo Swinney alone. Today Spurrier yet again made headlines for comments related to the coach up the road. Among his statements was this:
“Last year at this time Dabo’s favorite USC, Southern Cal, was preseason #1 in the country. I call them Dabo’s favorite USC. But anyway, we are playing Dabo’s North Carolina too. He loves North Carolina and Southern Cal for some reason.”
Once again, Spurrier refuses to just let sleeping dogs lie, as the saying goes. He brings up something old instead of just saying what he wanted to say. Quite frankly, who cares what his point is? The bottom line is that he has made a career out of being a provocateur. More on that Monday (wink, wink).
2. “Why so serious?” The famous statement from Heath Ledger’s characterization of the Joker in The Dark Knight perfectly epitomizes Dabo Swinney’s decision to give his football team most of Thursday off to rest and relax. Obviously the Joker’s intentions were more dastardly, but the point is the same.
It would be easy for Clemson to take Georgia incredibly seriously, and to a certain extent, that’s exactly what they must do. There is a lot on the line, and having a primetime ESPN television audience makes the situation abundantly serious. A great deal of the players’ and coaches’ hopes and dreams rides on the result. But Swinney took the opportunity to reward his team for a job well done in camp so far. He has also mixed in a movie night this weekend.
College players need to be reminded what they do is just a game from time to time. Swinney’s actions illustrate that point.
3. The aftermath of the official announcement that College Gameday is coming to Clemson went as expected. When the worst-kept secret (even by ESPN’s own people) in college football was revealed last week, an interesting thing happened in Las Vegas.
The line on the Clemson-Georgia game swung hard in favor of the Tigers, to the tune of 2-3 points, depending on the handicapper. Essentially, the game is a pick ‘em now, and it will eventually become about a field goal in favor of Clemson. In other words, things are progressing exactly as I said they would when people were freaking out over Georgia being the opening-line favorite.
4. Louisville may have just ended the Fan Appreciation Day experience. Simply put, if you aren’t giving out autographs, then why are people even there? It doesn’t make any sense. But that’s what the Cardinal administration decided to do with its fan day this season.
I get that people are trying to protect student-athletes from poachers and those who might want to profit from the talents of supposed amateurs. But these types of events aren’t the problem, period. All this does is take away joy from a little child who relishes the chance to get a pre-issued item signed by their favorite player.
5. Stop expanding instant replay. Just stop it. Baseball is now on this replay kick, and this has to end. Now they want to give the coaches challenges throughout the games—one in the first six innings, two in the final three.
First of all, there’s something innately wrong with valuing the final nine outs above the first 18 outs. That’s messed up in the worst way. But why make a slow game even slower for a system that is guaranteed to still miss a few calls here and there?