All That and a Bag of Mail: VY vs. Cam Edition
Okay, kids, it's mailbag time.
Hopefully you've all had productive weeks at work because that's about to come to a close right now.
And not just because Obama has unleashed the gay white homo demons. Look out, black women!
Before we go any further, I get lots of email questions from people who want advice or suggestions from me. (I know, this is terrifying). Lots of you are college-aged, some of you are much older than that. Regardless of your age, many of you want to actually meet me in person. Leaving aside the fact that I don't really like to meet with strangers and I'm not that entertaining in person, from August to February this is pretty much impossible because my schedule's too wild. But I always feel bad about not having time to talk with the people who have legitimate questions or want advice. Because I really do value all of the time you guys spend on Outkick and the ownership many of you feel for the site.
So, and this could turn out to be a total disaster that ends in my death, I'm going to start Outkick office hours. Yes, as if I was a professor teaching on a college campus. For one hour every week during the spring and summer, i will make myself available for whoever shows up with questions. This is only in person -- I'm not talking on the phone because I'm a Southern dad now and Southern dads don't talk on the phone. Generally these office hours will be from six to seven every Friday evening at Nashville's Tin Roof bar, directly across the street from our radio station.
I'll take to Twitter to modify changes in the event that I'm traveling for work or vacation.
I can only promise one hour, but I'll be there to help mold your minds.
Office hours start today at six.
We'll see how this goes.
Our beaver pelt trader of the week is True Detective writer Nic Pizzolatto, thanks for creating the best six episode drama in TV history. Here's to hoping the final two episodes don't suck. (Also, programming note, set your DVRs to record "The Americans," on FX. You'll love it, trust me).
On to the mailbag.
Randy D. writes:
A simple football discussion between two drinking buddies has resulted in an unresolvable rift that can only be spanned by your football expertise. This rift has long been developing as my buddy is an SEC homer and, me, I'm just an unrepentant Big 12 fan (I know, right?). That said, it's impossible to argue the football superiority of the SEC, at least with a straight face. So, I'm generally reaching...
Our differences came to a head last weekend when I asserted that college Vince Young was superior to college Cam Newton. Now, we can easily compare the statistics of the two and see that they are generally comparable in their last year at the collegiate level of competition. We can also see that Newton clearly has a better foothold in the NFL, while Young has quite the knack for personal finance. SEC defense = blah, blah, blah.
Newton was unquestionably great and I would love to have him on my teams. He played his part and played it very well with the hardware to prove it.
I can make the same statement about Young. But I also distinctly remember Young completely taking over several games - including the NC Rose Bowl - and being utterly dominant. I mean, he looked like he was physically superior in every way to virtually every other player on the field. I don't recall ever seeing Newton play in such dominating fashion as to completely take over a game. This is clearly my perception and I concede that I am biased.
So, please settle this very important argument once and for all. All things considered, who was the better college QB in their final college season, Newton or Young?"
Vince Young's performance in the 2006 Rose Bowl was the single greatest big game performance of any of our lives. He passed for 267 yards and rushed for 200 yards against an undefeated dynastic USC team. That's also the greatest college football game of my life. Yours too, probably. Nothing that Cam Newton ever did at Auburn compares to that game. In fact, Cam's best game in 2010 was probably against Kentucky, when he posted over 400 yards of total offense, rushing for 198 and passing for 210. Meanwhile Vince's best regular season game, he rushed for 267 yards against Oklahoma State while also passing for 239.
As much as I love Cam Newton, Vince Young was the superior college football player.
Now, in the pros this has reversed itself. Primarily because, you know, Cam Newton can actually read, but VY was a better college player.
The final capstone to this argument, the off the top rope argument coup de grace, is this -- think about how much better of an offensive coach Cam had than VY did. In other words, what could Gus Malzahn have done coaching Vince Young for an entire season in 2005?
Yeah, argument over.
Jonathan H. writes:
"My wife is pregnant for the first time, and I'm pretty sure it's mine. We're very excited and can't wait for it to be born and blah blah blah. My wife will probably have at least 3 separate baby showers thrown for her in 2 different states. This child will have more clothes than me before it's even born.
Here's my question: why don't men throw other men baby showers? And let me be clear on what I mean by "baby shower": I mean going on a gambling bender while (binge) drinking as if they're in college again. It could be in Vegas, or even Shreveport or Biloxi, but something where the guys get away for a weekend and act like their world isn't about to be rocked. This is our first child, so I know I'm naïve, so your response will be something like "there's no way in hell any woman would let you get away with that while she's pregnant," but I think we as men should work together to help make weekends like this a part of our culture. Women have baby showers and the baby gets clothes for the first 2 years of its life. Men have baby showers and lose the initial deposit on the kid's college education fund. Can we make this happen?"
I like where you're going here, but we need to figure out a way that the baby benefits from the event. I.e., the baby shower is designed to clothe the baby and shower him or her with gifts that, in theory, will make the baby's life better. Also, keep in mind, that baby shower creep is slowly spreading into the male calendar. That is, there are now couples baby showers, which are a tremendous terroristic threat to our masculine way of life. Basically the couples baby shower is the Al-Queda of male married life, we must combat it with eternal vigilance lest it flourish, grow, and eventually destroy us.
How about this idea, what if the male shower is considered the college fund founding? Men all gather for a weekend and write checks for the coming baby that are then deposited in a college fund account. Each man gives what he can afford to the baby. The guy who gives the most money to the baby doesn't have to pay for anything for the entire weekend, everyone else picks up his tab. That way you're incentivizing decent donations. It's a closed-bid system, no one knows what anyone else has given until the envelopes are unsealed. This actually makes the gift-giving kind of fun and competitive itself. How much do you need to give to make your trip free? (Note: you can't all collude and return to the future mom after a weekend with eight guys and announce that you've raised $48 for the college fund. That would be in poor taste and get the male baby shower killed on arrival.) If everyone gives at least a hundred dollars, you could raise around $1k for the college fund.
Raising the money and opening the envelopes takes like fifteen minutes to do. The rest of the time you spend gambling and drinking.
It's money well spent, right?
Could this work? Can we make this happen?
We should try.
It's for the kids, after all.
David B. writes:
"Texas A&M is renovating Kyle Field to be the biggest stadium in the SEC passing Tennessee's Neyland Stadium by only 50 seats. This is disappointing to me as a UT fan and alum, but I was curious what your opinion was of stadium renovations that remove seats. As I'm sure you know Neyland stadium used to have a capacity of 104,079, but after renovations to put in larger and more luxurious boxes and press areas the capacity was reduced to 102,455. My question to you is do you think it is worth it for a school to put in more boxes that take away from seating capacity if it means losing the title of largest in the conference, or is seating capacity not that big of a deal?"
I think one of the major stories of the next twenty years is going to be that many of these college stadiums are way overbuilt.
It used to be that having a big stadium, or the biggest, was a real bragging point, but I think, increasingly, big stadiums are going to be albatrosses hanging around athletic department necks. Sure, if your team is outstanding you'll sell the tickets, but your team is not always going to be outstanding. Eventually, no matter which program you are, fallow years will arrive. Then the empty seats become easy fodder for the failures of a team.
Plus, have you ever climbed to the top of these big stadiums and watched a game from there. I have, in every SEC stadium. It's a pretty awful experience now that the HD TV era and social media have arrived. Instead of experiencing a game in vivid detail while being able to simultaneously converse with all your friends across the country on text or Twitter, you're squinting down from the upper deck, your phone won't work, there's no beer, and it's hot as hell.
So I think the future is to build smaller stadiums, but make them filled with kick-ass amenities. Because those crappy seats in massive stadiums are going to get harder and harder to sell. Plus, the TV experience just keeps getting better and better.
For instance, I was walking around Costco this past weekend -- Costco, by the way, is the only non-bookstore I shop at in the entire country, I love that place -- and 80 inch televisions, 80 inches!, are like two grand now. That's halfway to a legitimate movie screen in your house. I think within the decade most of you reading this here will have actual movie rooms in your house with TVs that are over 100 inches hanging on your walls.
And, guess what, your movie room is a more awesome place to watch college football and NFL games all day than the actual stadium.
It just is.
Why not just tailgate in your actual house with your buddies and their wives and everyone's kids can run around in your backyard playing football, instead of driving all the way to the actual stadium, paying a ton of money, and sitting in crappy seats? I really believe that TV is finally going to kill the gate at games. Every year it's going to get worse.
So be careful building those massive stadiums.
The, "If we build it, they will come," era is over in sports.
Lots of you have been asking this on email, Twitter, and in person, so I'm just going to address it here: what's your radio contract status?
Both of my radio contracts are up at the end of August, 3HL and my Saturday NBC radio gig expire on the same day. Since Cumulus bought Dial Global/Westwood One, both of these are now Cumulus contracts. Right now signing a new deal isn't my decision. And it's also not a decision that's going to be made locally. I really like all my local-level bosses, they're great. My radio contract is a decision that will be made by John Dickey, the head of Cumulus programming. Right now I'm like Mike Trout, drastically outperforming a rookie-wage contract. So either Cumulus will step up and pay me some of the millions I help them make, or I'll walk and make millions for another radio company.
I have a three month non-compete, but just in Nashville. So I could go live nation-wide on September 1st. Or I could just wait, take some months off of radio to focus on more writing and TV, and bring radio, TV, and Outkick all to the open market on July 1, 2015.
There are lots of great options out there so stay-tuned.
But don't blame anyone at our local radio station if things don't work out, it's not their call.
"This weekend is the start of our spring break. It also happens to be the start of Mardi Gras festivities. My girlfriend is from New Orleans, so I'll be making the trip down there. In fact, a big group of friends and I are go down to NOLA for Mardi Gras and we will be staying with my girlfriend and her family. I don't intend on getting super weird by any means, but I am trying to have a good time with my buddies. It'll be just my second time meeting the family which prompts my question. Should I expect to be held to a different behavioral standard than the rest of my friends, even if I am told otherwise? And are my friends an extension of me in that any mistakes they make equate to mistakes made by me?"
Yes, you will be held to a different standard and yes, you will be potentially to blame, more so than they will, for the stupid things that your friends will do at Mardi Gras. But, and this is key, your girlfriend's family is choosing to host college-aged kids at their home for Mardi Gras. It's not like you're going to build houses in Peru and somehow you get drunk and pee all over the new drywall you just hung, you're going to get drunk and stupid at Mardi Gras. This is expected. They know this. Would this be the best way to meet her family for the second time? Probably not, I'd have advised a hotel, but you're in college and all probably broke. So, good luck.
During my first year of law school, I went down to stay with one of our classmate's Ally, at her parent's Garden District mansion. It was unbelievably awesome. But the best thing about it was that when we arrived her dad handed us each a laminated card to put in our wallets with a phone number to call if we got arrested. And he said, "Do not talk to anyone else if you get arrested, just call this number."
It was a get out of jail free card!
Welcome to New Orleans at Mardi Gras.
No one got arrested, but the mere fact that these laminated cards existed was pretty good evidence that her family knew what to expect from Mardi Gras collegiate-aged revelry. I'm betting your girlfriend's parents do too. Have fun.
David W. writes:
"One comment about the NFL combine: The single biggest attraction at the combine is the 40 yard dash and nothing comes close. So why are NFL clubs and the combine itself still decades behind the times in terms of laser timing? I can't figure this out for the life of me. I watch the combine and in the stands are countless NFL execs all holding hand held stop watches. STOP WATCHES!!! When you are running a sprint, measured in tenths and hundreds of seconds why can't NFL clubs learn what the track and field world learned decades ago: That human error and reaction time will render ANY hand timed sprint meaningless?? This is readily apparent on every single 40 time I saw this weekend where the "unofficial" time was always lower than the official time, sometimes by a tenth of a second or more (which is an ENORMOUS margin in a 40 yard race) Laser timing has even permeated highschool track events! I remember back in the late 90's early 2000's running highschool track with laser timers everywhere. These magical timers could spit out 'official' times in instantaneously. Look at the olympics; "official times" spit out instantaneously and when a time is adjusted the adjustment takes seconds. Why can't the NFL, which can afford to pay its commissioner 45 MILLION dollars in 2013, get with the times and purchase laser timers that can spit out official times instantly?"
I've wondered this myself and the only thing I can figure out is that they know if they do standardized times no one will ever break the earlier hand-timed records.
You know how every year they debate whether someone will break Chris Johnson's record? If they went straight to lasers, I think it would prove how faulty all the timing was from previous years because everyone would be much slower. It's a real shame that we don't have standardized times for the past 25 or 30 years of NFL forty times.
How much cooler would that be if the combine had that standardized data and you could immediately compare, say, Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Chris Johnson's forty time?
The old guys sitting with their stopwatches are total jokes. Even the best are providing horribly flawed measurements.
Kyle C. writes:
I think the Incognito-Martin situation is actually quite simple. Incognito has huge, tribal tattoos on his floppy, offensive line arms. As an educated lawyer and pro analyst-please divulge your opinion on the correlation between intelligence and tribal band tattoos."
If you have a tribal band tattoo, you are 800% more likely to have committed a violent-crime felony and your average IQ has to be substantially below that of other college grads.
The only tattoo worse would be a barbwire tattoo, which was the immediate dumbass precursor to the tribal band tattoo.
In related tribal band tattoo questions, David M. writes, yes two tribal band tattoo questions from two different people in the same week,: "Has Nick Lachey done more in life with a tribal bicep tattoo than anyone else with a tribal bicep tattoo?"
A tentative yes.
Can you guys name anyone else more successful in life with a tribal band tattoo? I'm open to nominees.
Mont F. writes:
"Friend and I have been arguing about this my entire time in college, and I have finally decided to ask what appears to be the end all for theoretical sports scenarios. What is stopping the NAIA or another collegiate sports league from eliminating most if not all recruiting regulations and/or paying student athletes? If said scenario were to happen, how much would college sports change? Would we see players in recruiting battles between Freed-Hardeman and Alabama? At what degree would the schools have to obey title IX regulations, could they get away with just paying football and or men's basketball. Personally, I believe it would take somewhere around a decade for the system to gain traction, but once the programs have shown stability and ability to produce professional talent, it would take over college sports."
This is a great question.
I don't know why it hasn't happened with lower-level colleges who are looking for a competitive advantage. Why not just leave all amateur athletic unions and pay players? Now, you'd need a group of like-minded schools, but, for instance, what if all the historically black colleges and universities just said, "Screw it, we're losing all these top black athletes -- guys we used to sign in a pre-integration era -- to the football and basketball factories now. We can't compete at a high level for top athletes and we're losing money because casual fans -- and our alums -- don't come to the games, let's just leave all college organizations and start paying athletes to enroll at our school."
How much would it take for a top high school player to turn down a scholarship at a football or basketball factory for actual cash to play elsewhere?
Would $100k in cash do it?
Basically, why wouldn't someone exploit this loophole and pay the players? Now, the challenging angle might be putting together the cash, most of the programs that could afford to pay the players are the ones that are rolling in cash already, but given that 18 year olds can't go pro, why not start a semi-pro league on a small college campus and try and buy players? Most of your money comes from television rights. If you suddenly had lots of top high school basketball and football players heading to non-major programs, you could sell the TV rights to those games for quite a bit of money. As the TV revenue grew so would your money to spend for better players.
I'm surprised it hasn't happened yet.
"Is Vandy's Kevin Stallings coming out and saying "Hopefully, the powers that be over at Tennessee will tune those idiots out and give (Martin) the kind of time he deserves to do the job he needs to do," a genius play to keep Cuonzo Martin around for a couple more years? If UT hires back Pearl, Stallings knows that's two more games a year he really has to worry about whereas with Martin there, he knows if Vandy is good they should be able to beat a Martin coached team and he can maintain in-state dominance."
Kevin Stallings hates Bruce Pearl for the same reason the dumb, ugly girl in the sorority hates the hot, smart girl in the sorority -- jealousy. Pearl's charismatic, entertaining, beloved by fans, and he wins big. Stallings is none of these things. He's an embittered bald man whose team and coaching staff don't really like him very much. Hell, Stallings has a losing record after 15 years of coaching in the SEC. Think about how crazy that is. He's 118-123 after 15 years of SEC games.
If you want to know why SEC basketball is so down, it's because guys like Kevin Stallings can last 15 years coaching basketball. Can you imagine any football coach lasting that long with a losing record in the SEC? No way. He'd have been gone after three years. Stallings has been to six NCAA tourneys in those fifteen years and he's won just one NCAA tourney basketball game in the past seven years. Oh, and he's also lost in the first round as a high-seed favorite in three of those last four tourney appearances.
Vandy deserves much better than Kevin Stallings. Him defending Cuonzo Martin and calling those fans that want Bruce Pearl back "idiots," is eerily similar to when Nick Saban kept praising Derek Dooley's performance. Only Saban actually wins games, Stallings mostly loses.
Stallings doesn't want Pearl back at Tennessee for the same reason every other SEC basketball coach doesn't want Pearl back -- because Pearl would kick their ass. And they know it.
Jimmy B. writes:
I am an extremely positive, die-hard Mizzou fan but this year’s basketball team is wearing me down. Like a large majority of Mizzou Alums, I live in St. Louis. Right down the street is St. Louis, a Top 10 basketball program that is fun to watch, runs an offense, and actually plays defense. As a joke, I told my friend (SLU fan) on 2/13 that if Mizzou loses to Arkansas I will be submitting my paperwork to join the SLU bandwagon. He advised that he would, at that time, be accepting applications, but could not guarantee that a future application would be accepted. My Tigers won, sucked me back in, only to let me down again on Tuesday night against Georgia. My application is now being denied because “the bandwagon is full”. I am fearful that the Selection Committee will, rightfully so based on our performance, not call the Tigers name. I love everything about March Madness and while the office pools and small wagers placed on games make it very entertaining, I also like to cheer for “my” team. When is it OK, if at all, for a fan to ‘submit paperwork’ for bandwagon status of another school/team?"
Since you wrote this email to me SLU lost at home to Duquesne.
So I feel like the SLU bandwagon still has some room and your email might be partly to blame for this loss.
In general, I don't think you can jump on another team's NCAA tourney bandwagon until your team is totally eliminated from contention. For instance, what if Mizzou ends up a 12 seed and plays a 5 seed St. Louis in the NCAA tourney? How big of a turncoat would you look like then? So you have to ride out the rest of the season. Having said that, once your team is eliminated -- and many of your teams are eliminated -- it's certainly fair game to become a bandwagon fan of a team that isn't favored to win the title. I don't believe, however, that you can become a bandwagon fan of a one or a two seed. That's just too much bandwagonism.