May 12, 2009
We are not in the habit of criticizing any Alabama columnist not named "Paul Finebaum," but his curmudgeonly sentiments seem to be escaping his hobbit-hole and coloring the views of his countrymen. Here's Al.com's Ray Melick with maybe the worst idea we've ever heard, "Maybe it's time Mike Slive put a muzzle on SEC coaches":
That league didn't have LSU's Les Miles and his 2007 BCS national championship on one shoulder to go with a giant chip on the other.
That league didn't have Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss, who's now at Tennessee as an assistant. And it certainly didn't have the loose lips that Lane Kiffin has brought to Tennessee. Or even Gene Chizik and his innovative if somewhat controversial "Tiger Prowl" limo tour of Alabama.
Melick's argument that the SEC is on the brink of dissolving into infighting and squabbling is both hysterical and completely contrary to the salient point: Infighting is an unqualified good for the sport. (And for bloggers -- and yes, even curmudgeonly columnists -- in particular: Without offseason bickering, where would we get our springtime entertainment?)
How would a beleaguered flotilla of Tennessee fans know where to turn after their first administrative turnover in nearly two decades without the brash leadership of Lane Kiffin? And as a presumptive fan of the game, dear reader, which incarnation of Steve Spurrier do you prefer? The one who admits to the press, "I used to think I was pretty good coaching quarterbacks," or the one who postulated that Peyton Manning returned to UT for his senior year because "he wanted to be a three-time Citrus Bowl MVP"? On an empirical level, we vastly favored the previous incarnation, and chances are, so did you.
And why shouldn't coaches bait each other? This is no cocktail party. (Actually, the UF-UGA game is a Cocktail Party, but taunting remains de rigeur in Jacksonville.) To gentrify the game is to veer dangerously near the handshaking, backslapping, entirely fabricated good nature of the NFL, and that way madness lies. The creep of such loathsome regulations as increased penalties and enforcement of endzone celebrations is but one symptom of a culture turning increasingly to Emily Post when it should be taking its cues from the WWF.
If anything, it's time for college football to get back to its roots, to the glory days of the "Brawl Miami" tunnel fight in '88, to emulate Georgia's infamous team-wide touchdown celebration. Who do you nancies in their ivory towers (um, of the Internet) think you're fooling? By all means, we'll let these barely post-adolescent boys inflate their bodies to inhuman proportions and make millions of dollars off watching them destroy each other for the sake of a giant crystal paperweight, but for goodness sakes don't hurt anybody's precious feelings. Spare me your caterwauling, put on a helmet and pads and go knock somebody in the dirt because you don't like the color of their jersey. You'll come around in no time.