If your allegiance doesn’t rest in South Bend, there’s a solid chance you don’t know much about the kid. Well, everything you need to know exists in an old letter.
When Bonner was in eighth grade, he wrote a letter to himself that he would open before going off to college four years later. Recently, it came time to reflect on what he wrote and see if his original vision is unfolding like he planned.
1. Day 1 of Big 12 Media Days in Dallas brought fireworks of various degrees. First, commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressed the media and blasted the NCAA enforcement system. “Cheating pays,” Bowlsby said. Then, after the Big 12 made a fuss that leagues like the ACC and SEC don’t play nine league games, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher called it ridiculous the Big 12 doesn’t play a league title game, to which Baylor’s Art Briles said, “He needs to worry about the ACC. Don’t come to Texas telling me how to do my business.”
Was any actual football talked about? Yes, but nothing of significance (coaches aren’t giving away much about their teams now, anyway), and so we’re left with Briles’ bold words and Bowlsby’s incredibly bleak outlook on the future of college sports dominating the day.
2. How about Day 2 of ACC Media Days then? More of the same! This time, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney – one of the sport’s best talkers – took the stage and settled some scores. Maryland coach Randy Edsall, formerly of the ACC, said he’s excited about joining the Big Ten because he’d finally be in a “football conference.” Swinney wasn’t having that. “We just beat Ohio State [in the 2013 Orange Bowl],” he said Monday. “Aren’t they in that conference?”
Then Swinney was asked about his relationship with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. “He’s from Pluto and I’m from Mars,” Swinney joked. It’s all in good fun; Swinney has great respect for Spurrier. On a more football-related note, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher also spoke and discussed rebuilding the Seminoles to defend their national championship.
3. The Big 12 Media Days wrap up in Dallas today. Taking their turns at the mic: Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads, West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and Texas’ Charlie Strong.
THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
1. The Big 12 unveiled a new PSA at Big 12 Media Days, which included coaches morphing into each other. And, well, this produced a really awkward moment involving Kliff Kingsbury and Charlie Weis.
2. Texas A&M ranked 109th in total defense last season, so improving that unit is probably even more important than figuring out who will take over long-term for QB Johnny Manziel. On Monday, Texas A&M lost two more players off that defense – one who left the team to attend to personal issues, another who was suspended – after two others were booted for disciplinary reasons earlier this spring. Not good.
3. Isaac Kolstad, the victim in the alleged Phillip Nelson assault case, is making progress in his rehab but still has a long ways to go for a full recovery. He and his family could use your good thoughts.
THREE THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO KNOW
1. This might be the coolest story from Monday’s Media Days. Briles was discussing how Baylor QB Bryce Petty is well known nationally this year after having a huge 2013 and leading Baylor to the Fiesta Bowl. He said even those at a Dairy Queen in Salem, Oregon, know who Petty is now. Well, there happen to be six Dairy Queens in the Salem area, and a radio station called all of them. None of them had heard of Petty (listen to the three minutes of audio – it’s terrific). This made it back to the Baylor social media guys, who had a little fun with Petty on Instagram. Take a look:
Who knew Petty and Salem, Oregon, Dairy Queens would form this special bond? Media Days are the best.
2. Aaron Brenner notes three rule changes to keep in mind this season. Take a peak, because you’re bound to get pissed at least 10 times due to one of these (probably the one relating to QB hits).
3. On Monday, Alabama coach Nick Saban held up his end of a deal that awarded a non-football scholarship to a former Tide football recruit who can no longer play after suffering a neck injury during his senior high school season. Speaking of Saban, Alabama journalism instructor and former Sports Illustrated vet Lars Anderson writes about Saban and The Process. This is an example of the perfect match between writer and subject (Anderson has spent a ton of time around Alabama reporting a book due out soon, so he knows the community and program better than most).
On the Crimson Tide: “You realize if it’s not the national championship, Alabama don’t even care who they play.” Oh.
On life: “Life’s not fair. Life’s not fair at all, you know? To live is to struggle. To survive is to find meaning in the struggle.” Preach, Oakman.
* SI’s Lindsay Schnell writes about how Oakman and Baylor’s defense are trying to create more of an identity for themselves this season.
* Ex-LSU and current Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger was reportedly sucker-punched by an Alabama fan in a bar called “Losers” after a friend of that fan yelled, “Roll Tide!” What in the world is going on?