We’re now 93 days out from Alabama’s return to the Georgia Dome for our skirmish with the Hokies. This means we have about 63 more days of internet banter about secondary violations, coaches oversigning, forthcoming NCAA decisions, long cars (remember my ban on the name of that kind of vehicle) and whatever else comes down the pike on talk radio, message boards and blogs. Once August gets here, conversation will shift ever so slightly toward actual, tangible football news.
At that point we’ll talk about who did or didn’t qualify, injuries, practice reports, and the newcomers turning heads and taking positions.
But right now, I feel like I am on an innertube in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Whichever way the current takes me or wind blows, I’m just sort of drifting along. I have no control over the currents, but they are determined by a little equation that I’ve come up with. You’ve heard it said that perception is reality. I’ll be quick to argue that perception is not always truth, but the meaning of the phrase means that if it’s generally perceived to be true by the public at large (who accept things on the surface), in the minds of the casual passers by, it is “reality”.
Basically, my equation goes something like this:
Modicum of Truth x Exposure + Fan Base + Tradition x Rivalries = Reality
The reason I abhor politics is because there is very little truth in what is said. It is all spin. Throughout history, men and women have died behind enemy lines because politicians can’t agree. And that’s with only two major parties in power, maybe three if you want to count the occasional independent that comes along to screw an election up. But with less parties than fingers on my hand, we can’t find the truth in America…but there is plenty of “reality”, if you get my drift. Each party has its own agenda, its own party line, its own point and counter point to the matter of the day.
Now enter college athletics. Football specifically. Currently there are 119 Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the NCAA. Not all carry the same weight (see my equation), but there are enough heavy hitters that the truth gets lost in a sea of spin. Basically, we’re dealing with a 119 party system here.
What’s going to happen to Alabama on this textbook thing? Deal in the truth and common sense tells you, not much. They self-reported everything to the NCAA, they suspended the players in question, the NCAA let the University know when the players were cleared to play again, and Bama finished out 2007 with four losses and a nail biter against Colorado. Plus, track and field was the main player in that scenario.
What’s going to happen to Auburn? Again, deal in the truth and common sense says big deal. They are clearly behind in the recruiting game, but are doing whatever they can think of to catch up, stumping their toe in an orchestrated recruiting event.
What’s going to happen to Tennessee. Again, deal in the truth and common sense says they are in for rough waters ahead. Maybe not on what’s already been committed (though possibly), but on what is yet to come (history always repeats itself, remember?). In his brief, Mike Pricesque tenure at UT, there have been more secondary violations to raise an eyebrow…or fifty…at this spring, led by a czar who clearly is likened to a 14-year-old behind the wheel of a Maserati. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, it is going to catch up with him, and the University of Tennessee is going to have to pay the hefty ticket.
But the problem is, we don’t deal in the truth in here…or at least, ya’ll don’t. Or on any blog or message board. Or on talk radio. It’s all perception, and how much exposure a given issue gets, and how hated the program is that the issue centers on, and how many can benefit from the “dark cloud” the spin can create over that school.
But in the end, the truth always comes into the light. And 63 days from now, when the pads start popping, hopefully the Speculation Express will have sailed and we can again focus on the truth.