Now two days removed from my love letter to college football, and I'm really starting to regret what I wrote.
News broke last night that Dave Clawson, head coach at Bowling Green, has taken the job at Wake Forest. The Orange and Brown gets immediately cast aside for the, what, black and gold? And a wheelbarrow full of cash. The kids that got him there? The kids who led a surprising upset of the 14th ranked Northern Illinois Huskies? Left in the dust. "Have fun at the Pizza Bowl! I'm off to North Carolina!"
Can someone tell me if the hardware shop is even finished printing "Bowling Green Falcons" on the MAC Trophy yet?
Texting a friend of mine who's in the sports management business, he says "When a school calls, they want you immediately. Particularly for recruiting."
I don't buy that for a second. There is no bit of recruiting that can be done between December 9th and December 26th that's going to make a lick of difference. If a school can't wait for you to honor your committment to your current team, then perhaps they're not a school you want to coach for. If they don't care about your loyalty for your kids, then how can you expect them to be loyal to you?
Or maybe Coach Clawson isn't loyal. Maybe he's like so many others who pass through the MAC. Like the city councilman who wants to be mayor, it's just a stepping stone. Willing to toss people aside at a moment's notice for a shot at more.
I don't blame these guys for taking bigger jobs. I honestly don't. But at least do your kids the service of leading them into their bowl. There are plenty of other teams that didn't get that luxury.
Just a day after I penned my love letter to college football, it spit in my face and kicked my dog. Metaphorically, of course.
The bowl committees of the world turned their back on the Toledo Rockets, who will be sitting at home this postseason. A 7-5 record made them eligible, but despite wins over eventual champion Bowling Green and Tough-as-nails Buffalo, losses to Northern Illinois, Ball State, and Akron was enough to sink 'em.
The rumor mill was that they'd be going to the Beef O' Brady's Bowl, but a last-second push by Ohio got them the trip over Toledo.
How surprising was the news? They were so sure they'd play in the postseason, that they hadn't stopped practicing. They got the news after practice on Sunday.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised: it's never about what you did at the start of the year, but rather what you did at the end. And a loss to Akron burns. It doesn't matter that the pieces that helped Toledo beat Bowling Green and Buffalo were out with injury, the fact that you couldn't win without them is damning enough. Can't really argue with that.
Coach Campbell made no excuses, saying that you can't put your fate in other people's hands; you have to go out and get it. And, in the silly bowl system that college football exists in, merit isn't the only thing that matters in bowls. Television draw, travelling crowds, etc. etc. etc. can push one team out and another in.
But let's look forward: The men's basketball team is a perfect 8-0. They even got a vote in the AP poll this week. And if I know Coach Campbell, he'll have this team reloaded and ready to go in 2014.
Dearest College Football,
Just when I think I couldn't love you anymore, you go and do this.
Last week, at the Iron Bowl. You pop the tires of Dark Lord Saban with a missed field goal return for a TD at the end of the game. Not only does it destroy Alabama fans, but it gives Ohio State fans hope. Suddenly, they're number 2! They've got a shot at the BCS championship game! And all they have to do is beat Michigan State! Why, that's Little Brudder!
Oh, College Football. You sly dog you. You knew you were going to get the SEC through.
Don't get me wrong, I don't like the SEC. A lot of people don't. People in the media do, though, and this will feed into their BS machine. Fine. A small price to pay to see hope ripped away from Urban Meyer.
But you make this magic happen, knowing that Michigan State had nothing to play for. A win wasn't going to send them to the National Championship Game... so they'd go to the Rose Bowl. If they lost, though, then OSU would have gone to the NCG, leaving Sparty to go to... The Rose Bowl. So all they had to play for was pride. And that they did. See also: Bowling Green, who may have cost the MAC millions of dollars by beating Northern Illinois, but did so in the name of heart, grit, blood, sweat, tears, and "everything we've worked for".
In an age where professional teams are talking about tanking, or standing out on the sidelines to interfere with plays, you are doing all the right things.
I may get mad when coaches get poached away from my conference. I may kick and pout when teams get snubbed for bowls. But you're fixing your mistakes. You're ditching your silly little BCS. And on nights like this, you remind me why I love you so much more than your professional brother: because for all the entitled fans, for all of the disparity in talent, and for all of the "they don't deserve", sometimes it just happens anyways.
Treat yo' self this bowl season, college football. You deserve it.