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The Final Say | August 2017

screen-shot-2017-08-05-at-5-36-06-pmZach’s State Of College Football Address

By Zach McCrite 

Here ye, here ye.

As we embark on another season of college football, in the backyard of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, it is I, the all-knowing (hardly), almighty (not really) Zach McCrite here, leader of Sports Gasbag Nation, to give you the State of College Football Address.

There will be no predictions, as predictions are doomed to fail (I fail enough on my own, thank you).

There are, however, expectations. Expectations created by fans, media and even the donors and administration at their respective school.

Do the coaches have their own expectations? Of course. And, short of a College Football Playoff berth, those expectations never seem to be met, so I, your fearless (most would disagree, but let’s go with it) leader of Sports Gasbag Nation moves to strike them from public record.

Let us begin nationally, where I can say this once and for all: The Southeastern Conference is not your king.

They’re not good. It’s Alabama and everyone else. Anyone who tells you differently is likely an SEC fan mad that their team isn’t in the same ballpark as Nick Saban’s NFL farm.

You see, the patented SEC “honk” has a patented SEC move: to tell others if teams in their conference are not living up to expectations, it is for no other reason than the league is “just too good” and everyone in the league is “just beating up on each other” because the SEC is just a different animal.

It is I, leader of Sports Gasbag Nation, who will agree that the SEC is, indeed, a different animal. We shall call them a kitten.

Of course, the exception to this is Alabama. Because Saban.

This year, instead of going at these delusional pro-SEC people with your own set of facts and opinions, all you have to do when you hear these nimrods tout their conference as almighty is this: chuckle.

Now, a minute, if you will, on each of the “big three” college football teams in our own backyard.

THE STATE OF LOUISVILLE FOOTBALL 

I hereby declare that the Louisville Cardinals are national championship contenders. Why not? Many publications that deem themselves smarter than I are predicting that Louisville is no better than the third-best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, behind Clemson and Florida State.

There are simple reasons why that can, and should, be disproven.

First, too much emphasis is being placed on the finish, albeit regurgitation-worthy, of last season. That season-ending three-game spiral began with a blowout loss at Houston. Nevermind that Houston had already beaten perennial power Oklahoma earlier in the year.

The Cardinals laid an egg, plain and simple.

Ging into that game, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee had deemed Louisville just one spot out of the playoff, ranking them fifth in the country.

That Houston loss, combined with the earlier loss at eventual national champion Clemson in one of the best games of the season, took Bobby Petrino’s bunch out of the national title discussion with just one game left in their season.

And that one game left was Kentucky.

Let it be known, Kentucky was the better team on that day against Louisville. But they wouldn’t have been the better team that day, in your leader’s eyes, had Louisville still had a national championship berth for which to play.

By the time Louisville play LSU in the Citrus Bowl, they appeared to be at a football game that they did not want to play in, getting bludgeoned 29-9.

I hereby grant UofL a reprieve from that unbelievably embarrassing season-ending tumble. Too much of the Cardinals’ 2017 public expectations are based on their performance in the final two games of the year, which had far less meaning to the coaches and players than it did to the college football world.

Also, lest we forget, the Cards have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Clemson lost their all-star quarterback, and Florida State was embarrassed by this same Louisville team just 12 months ago.

I hereby declare the Cardinals title contenders.

THE STATE OF KENTUCKY FOOTBALL 

Ah, Kentucky. You are quite the lovable football character. You are the program we pat on the head like a good dog who just brought back the ball we launched into the neighbor’s yard.

Sure, you may urinate in a million places that we don’t really appreciate (like vs. Southern Mississippi), but every once in a while, you find a bone (like at Louisville).

And for some reason, the majority of fans seem fine with this. It’s like they said “hey, we’ll take all your 7-5’s and your 6-6’s and your 5-7’s. Just get us to basketball season and try not to embarrass us.”

And this season is no different. Kentucky feels like another mediocre-at-best member of the aforementioned below-average-after-Bama SEC.

THE STATE OF INDIANA FOOTBALL 

Let us start off the field. I, your leader of Sports Gasbag Nation (an admitted IU fan), am still a little salty with how athletic director Fred Glass introduced Tom Allen as the new head coach of Indiana University football.

Glass made Allen, on what quite possibly was the best day of Allen’s professional life, sit mostly idle at the press conference table while Glass announced the very sudden firing of former coach Kevin Wilson. Save for a quick statement from the new head coach on how this was the opportunity of a lifetime, the press only cared about “Where’d the old coach go?” Glass didn’t give his new head coach his own day filled with positivity about the football team. That’s sat with me all offseason.

Now, as far as the actual football is concerned: see Kentucky.

So, let it be written. So, let it be done.

– Your Leader of Sports Gasbag Nation

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