All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s the Friday before a holiday weekend which means many of you slackers have already cut out of work. We won’t be leaving town until tomorrow morning when I’ll have three boys from seven to eight months old in my car headed down to 30A.

Pray for me. 

We have two beaver pelt traders this week. The first is the guy pictured above, who just nailed a 99 yard punt. We’re going to have to put him in the Outkick hall of fame. 

Our second beaver pelt trader of the week is David Letterman, who ended a remarkable run on Wednesday night. From the age of about 11 to 18 I watched Letterman regularly and during the summers his Late Night show on NBC was the highlight of my day. Somehow he made you feel like you and he were the only people awake. The mailbag on Outkick is a direct descendant from Letterman’s show. While I know Jay Leno always had more viewers than Letterman, Leno was always too sunny for me. This won’t surprise any of you, but I liked Letterman’s comedic dark side, his edge, his sarcastic cynicism. 

Before we get going any further, how about a dick joke from my four year old?

Two days ago he’s sitting at the table eating his lunch when he pulls a cheese stick off his plate, puts it over his groin and says, “Look, mommy, a cheese pee pee.”

I mean, that’s not bad, right?

My wife laughs — because who doesn’t laugh at a dick joke? — and says, “Okay, that’s funny, but if you did that at school you might get in trouble. We don’t make pee pee jokes like that at school.”

My four year old nods and says, “Oh, I would never do that in school, mommy.” My wife nods back, convinced she’s won this argument. But my four year old wasn’t finished talking yet, “Because we don’t ever get cheese sticks at school.” 

Yep, he’s my son. 

On to the mailbag:

Heath writes:

“Something happened recently that would surprise even the most liberal, sexist, right-wing, communist, anti-American, flag stomping, gay, Muslims such as yourself. A high school student from Memphis, Tennessee — Ronald Nelson — was accepted into every Ivy League school in the United States. The element of surprise doesn’t derive from the fact that he was accepted into each school that he applied to, but that he turned down every one of these schools…except one: Alabama. Although one of his reasons for not attending any of the Ivy League schools is reasonable (he plans on going to medical school, so he wants to save that money now).

I imagine that you, much like myself, must be having a hard time wrapping your brain around this fact pattern. Keeping in mind that Nelson has a 4.58 combined grade point average with 15 Advanced Placement courses, a 34 out of 36 on the ACT, and 2260 out of 2400 on his SAT, my questions are these: 1) Will he be the smartest member of the Crimson Tide fan base? 2) How many students will “share his academic interest” at Alabama compared to those who do not? 3) Will members of the 85% brag about bringing in this 5 star academic recruit as if he played football (assuming they know he exists)?”

While I make fun of all the dumb fans, Alabama has a bunch of really smart fans too. These fans hate the 85% with a blinding fury. In fact, people always ask me, “Don’t Alabama fans hate you?” Sure, some do, but most smart Alabama fans love me. Because I say and write exactly what they’d like to say to the 85%. They wish they didn’t share a fan base with them. 

Alabama has become a really good school so this new kid won’t even stand out that much. Sure, he’s smart, but Alabama has a ton of smart students now. In fact, and this will shock some people, actual Alabama students care much less about football games than non-Bama students. That’s the real story behind Nick Saban being so upset at the students for leaving games early. These students, over half of whom are from out of state now, enjoy football, but it isn’t their life. 

Also, when you see the headline you think this kid is crazy, but once you read his rationale it makes total sense. All of the Ivy League schools base their scholarship money on need. Since Ronald didn’t qualify for much in the way of financial aid, he picked the school where he’d graduate with zero debt. He then plans on going to med school, where he’ll take out substantial loans before he’s done. He just didn’t want to be up to his eyeballs in debt. So did he make a smart decision or not?

You’d be amazed how many emails I get asking for help making a college decision. My advice is pretty consistent, if you know you’re going to grad school and you’re concerned about how much debt you’ll be taking on because your family isn’t wealthy, go to the “lesser” college for undergrad and go to the better one for grad school. (This is assuming you’re going to grad school for law, medical or business school. Your grad school carries infinitely more weight with recruiters than your undergrad if you’re pursuing one of these degrees. If you’re going to grad school for other degrees, I think your grad school matters much less.) 

So I think this is really a smart decision by Ronald. It’s a somewhat similar decision that I made. I only applied to six schools when I graduated from high school: Virginia, Georgetown, George Washington, Wake Forest, Tennessee and Davidson. I was wait listed at Georgetown. The other five schools admitted me. I went to the honors program at GW because they gave me the best scholarship and accepted all my AP credits. (UT would have been free, but I wanted to go to school in a different part of the country). So I went to GW and graduated in three years — I spent the fourth year in DC working on a novel with no class to attend. (Yes, this was a great way to spend a year.)

When it came time to apply to grad school I wanted to go to Stanford for law school, but they rejected me. So I went to Vanderbilt. Which was probably the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Vandy law school was the three most fun years of my life.

I also get asked a ton about law school and my advice is go to the best national school you get into unless you already know where you want to practice. Then going to a state school in that region makes the best sense. While I said spending money on grad school would be my choice, you can also make a strong argument for taking a full scholarship to a lesser law school. That’s especially the case if you know you aren’t that interested in going to work in a big law firm. The legal job market is tough and the amount of recent law grads with six figures of debt and no job can be incredibly overwhelming. There’s nothing like graduating from law school and immediately moving back in with your parents.  

So that’s my school advice. 

The only reticence I have on telling you to take the best deal for undergrad isn’t about the education at all — it’s about the kids you meet at school. Your peer group at an Ivy League school will end up being an incredibly impressive collection of people. The friends you make outside of class actually end up every bit as important — if not more so — than the actual education you receive in college. 

My buddy J.T. at 104.5 the Zone writes:

“I’m an Ohio State homer – and the roster may change – but has there ever been a time when a school (Ohio State) has its 2nd and 3rd string QBs be better players than any starting QB currently in another power conference (SEC)?”

Before I get into this question, here’s a great bar bet for you to win over Memorial Day weekend assuming your friends aren’t also reading the mailbag. (By the way, if your friends aren’t reading the mailbag, you need new friends.) Do you know the last quarterback from the Big Ten to be drafted in the first round?

Don’t look ahead, make a guess now before you keep reading. 

Okay, here’s the answer:

Kerry Collins. 

Seriously, Kerry Fucking Collins in 1995 from Penn State was the last first round quarterback from the Big Ten. That’s unbelievable, isn’t it? For a major conference to go twenty years without a first round quarterback.

Since 1998 the SEC has produced Peyton and Eli Manning, Tim Couch, Matthew Stafford, Jamarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Rex Grossman, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel, and Tim Tebow. (Ryan Tannehill and Blaine Gabbert too if you count current SEC schools). That’s 13 first rounders since the 1998 draft. 

Even more amazing, 10 of the 14 SEC schools have produced a first round quarterback since 1998. (The only ones that haven’t are Mississippi State, South Carolina, Arkansas and, surprisingly, Alabama. Several people have pointed out Arkansas QB Matt Jones was also a first round pick, but he was drafted to play wide receiver so I’m not counting him.) 

This year there are three guys that may challenge for first round draft status in the Big Ten: Christian Hackenberg at Penn State, Cardale Jones at Ohio State, and Connor Cook at Michigan State. At long last this is the year of the quarterbacks for the Big Ten. 

As for your question, it reflects both the quality of Ohio State’s back ups — Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett — and the lack of proven quarterbacks right now in the SEC. 

If you had to rank the top five returning quarterbacks in the SEC this year, what would your list look like?

Here’s mine:

1. Dak Prescott at Mississippi State

2. Jeremy Johnson at Auburn

3. Josh Dobbs at Tennessee

4. Whoever ends up Texas A&M’s QB 

5. Maty Mauk at Mizzou

You might disagree with my order, but it’s hard to argue that someone else belongs in the top five here. (Stop, Kentucky fans, just stop). That’s not to say this will be the final season top five — other quarterbacks could and probably will emerge — but Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett are certainly more proven than any of the guys on the list other than Dak.

So Dak Prescott is the only quarterback I can see taking over Braxton Miller or J.T. Barrett. And I’d probably take Braxton and Barrett over Dak.  

Cory writes:

“Clay,

I’ve recently been thinking about how awesome Field Day used to be when I was a kid and how it was the second best day of school (Obviously, the last day was the best day). We looked forward to it for months and it was a great opportunity to compete against your peers in an organized event.

So I was thinking about how awesome this could be in the workplace after a long busy season. Can you imagine how competitive and hilarious a sack race would be between executives and the trash talk that would ensue?

If you were to have an adult Field Day, what events would you suggest to make this the event of the year? I’m sure we could come up with a pretty solid list.”

Well, my first thought is that adult field day has to involve alcohol. But then it turns into an employment liability disaster. Honestly, field day in general is an employment lawyer’s worst nightmare. 

But assuming you could make it happen, I’d go with the following five events:

1. 100 yard dash

I mean, field day without the 100 yard dash is like an SEC football game without a tailgate. Shit makes no sense. 

2. Three legged race

No, that’s not just the guy with the huge dick in your office running naked. You tie two people’s legs together and make them race. 

3. Dizzy bat race

Show me a man or woman who doesn’t laugh every time they see a dizzy bat race and I’ll show you a serial killer. 

4. Sack race  

You’d probably need multiple heats. 

5. Water balloon toss 

They’re head to head bouts and you set up a bracket like the NCAA tourney. 

I think all five of these would be outstanding. Did I miss any? 

Lee writes:

“I spent my past Friday afternoon being a giant child shirking work and watching a live stream of Dwayne Haskins — a four star quarterback — making his college choice online and did a big fat Gary Williams fist pump when he called out 20 recruits by name before saying “The Movement is real I’m going to the University of Maryland.” For about 5 years now I’ve been waiting for my alma mater to finally cash in on the backing that Under Armour gives the program and take the next step in football and I’m thinking the Haskins signing coupled with the new facilities set to open in two years might finally make that dream a reality.

Am I delusional to think that Maryland is finally about to turn the corner in football and consistently bring in top 20 recruiting classes and start making runs at B1G titles and BCS bowl games? The money is there, the fertile recruiting ground is there, the facilities will be there… it is all set up for success right? I don’t really think that Randy Edsall can coach his way out of a wet paper bag so that is obviously a deterrent but I figure we can get to the “consistent 8 and 9 wins” level on talent alone for a year or two and then go get the real coach to take us to the next level. Thanks for all the great work distractions!”

I love the analogy of Under Armour being for Maryland sports what Phil Knight and Nike have been to Oregon. 

The only flaw I see is this — college football success is all about the coach. Facilities, support, fans, all of it is secondary to the right coach. I mean, think of it this way, would you rather have all of Nike’s financial support at your favorite school or Chip Kelly?

Anyone with a brain picks Chip Kelly, right?

So I think “sleeping giant” programs are somewhat passe. College football is a lot like the NFL, except instead of all that matters in the NFL being the quarterback, all that matters in college football is the coach. Just like in the NFL there are only about 10-12 guys who can play quarterback at a really high level, I believe there are only about 12 coaches who would truly win big anywhere they coached. I’ll do a ranking at some point in the offseason, but those my top ten coaches in college football right now are: Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn, Urban Meyer, Art Briles, Bob Stoops, David Cutcliffe, Mark Dantonio, Bobby Petrino, James Franklin, and Gary Patterson. (Franklin gets in all top ten coaching lists as a condition of our divorce settlement). 

I think these 10 guys would win at any big five conference school. Hell, I should just do a top 25 coaches list.

I’ll do that next week.  

Spoiler: Randy Edsall will not be in my top 25 list. I doubt he would be in most Maryland fans top 25 either. That’s the biggest issue with Maryland football becoming a consistent top 25 program.  

J.C. writes:

“I throughly enjoy your website and writing style. I’m a Circuit Court Judge so please just refer to me as J.C. if you decide to use this.

I was wondering what is the dumbest thing you have seen or heard that caused a fist fight over the SEC/college football? A few years ago I was in Knoxville for the UT v. UGA game. I was at a mixed tailgate, with fans from both schools (usually a bad idea). All was well until a drunk Georgia fan loudly and publicly accused The Great Bill Dance of fishing in stocked pay ponds to film his show. Numerous Vol fans took immediate offense and demanded a public retraction of said insult. When the Dawg fan refused to do so, a burly Vol fan promptly stomped his ass, literally an hour before kickoff. It was hilarious and idiotic at the same time. Go Vols!”

Can you imagine going to jail because you got in a fight over whether Bill Dance was an honest fisherman?

You know you’ve gotten in a stupid fight when even Bill Dance wouldn’t get in a fight over this.

There have to be some incredible tailgate fight stories. Email them to me. I actually don’t have any. In my experience seeing fights at SEC games is pretty rare.  

Richard writes:

“With the 2015 SEC Spring Meeting happening next week, we will finally be able to see what the SEC conference distributions will be for the past year. Given that people within the SEC leadership have said that an estimate of $5,000,000 per school from the SEC Network would be “conservative,” what is your best gay muslim guesstimate as to what the SECN payout per school will be?”

This year’s payout will just be an SEC Network appetizer. Keep in mind that you’re only getting five months of the first year’s payout. The network launched in late July and you get the full months of August, September, October, November and December. What we don’t know for accounting purposes is how the cost structure to buy out pre-existing third tier contracts will be offset. Also, the expenses for the launch were substantial. If you’re really interested in the math behind SEC Network revenue, go read my column on it from last year.  

I’m forecasting nearly $20 million a year in revenue for each school by the third or fourth year. That may prove to be too optimistic, but I don’t think it will. 

Last year the SEC distributed $20.7 million to each school. That was without the SEC Network money. I think $6 million is a good estimate for what the SEC Network will be worth to each school in this first partial year. Coupling that with the rising payments from ESPN and CBS, I’d set the over/under for SEC financial distributions at $27.2 million per school this year. (This number will be announced next Friday. We’ll see how I do with my forecast.)  

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours and thanks for spending your Friday with the mailbag. 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

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