All That and a Bag of Mail

Before we get started with the Friday mailbag I want to thank all you guys for the overwhelmingly positive feedback on Outkick’s big news yesterday, starting Tuesday morning at 6 eastern Outkick the Coverage will become the nationwide lead-in to Dan Patrick’s show on 220 stations nationwide.

Yep, every weekday from 6-9 am eastern we will be entertaining you coast to coast. Which stations we’ll be on in which markets still has to be worked out, but in the meantime I’d encourage you to download the Iheartradio app. You’ll be able to listen there no matter where you are in the country. And you can also stream it live through the main FoxSportsRadio site.  

Before we get going any further, pure gold from Fox vice president Jacob Ullman, who Tweeted out this 1980 beer chugging contest between USC and Alabama, featuring beer chugging coaches O.J. Simpson, Joe Namath and, wait for him, Bruce Jenner. 

Seriously this one of the most entertaining videos I’ve ever seen on YouTube and it’s perfect with Alabama playing USC this weekend. 

Your mind is blown isn’t it?

Okay, with that in mind, here we go. 

Tons of questions about Appalachian State-Tennessee and South Carolina-Vandy so here goes with my thoughts on both games:

First, you need to think about the college football season as the equivalent of the NCAA tournament in basketball, the goal is to survive and advance each week. Tennessee was like a #2 seed in the NCAA tourney playing an underseeded #15 in Appalachian State. Yes, the Vols could have lost this game, but they found a way to win in overtime after dodging a couple of shots that could have knocked them out for the season. 

And somehow Josh Dobbs survived this hit and it somehow ended up being the winning play for the Vols. 

Yep, it’s oftentimes better to be lucky than good. 

But what happens with tight first round games in the NCAA tourney, they’re forgotten if you keep winning. So if Tennessee beats Virginia Tech next weekend — reminder that Outkick will be in Bristol for that game — and then beats Ohio the week after — and I think the Vols will do both — then Tennessee will be 3-0 with Florida rolling into town. I’ve always seen this Florida game as the slingshot game for Tennessee all season, win it and they win the SEC East, lose it and there’s a decent chance the team goes 8-4 again. 

Certainly you can argue otherwise, that this game is a reflection that Tennessee is way overrated — top ten ranked Auburn barely beat Jacksonville State last year in week two and stumbled to a 6-6 season — but Tennessee is still way more talented than Virginia Tech, Ohio, Tennessee Tech, Missouri, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. It would take a tremendous choke job to lose to any of these teams. So I still think the floor for Tennessee is 8-4. I had the Vols going 10-2 with losses to Alabama and at Texas A&M and I’m sticking with that prediction even after week one.  

App. State deserved to win the game and lost, Tennessee didn’t deserve to win and found a way to lose. I tend to think App. State has a pretty good football team. They host Miami — really, what the hell was Miami thinking — on September 17th. If they can beat the Hurricanes this App. State team might not lose again all season. 

Second, Tennessee has got to figure out what’s going on with Josh Dobbs. The guy is just not an accurate passer. Look at the number of swing passes he had guys wide open on and he just couldn’t hit those throws in stride. When you’ve got Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara those throws should be easy to hit and then you’ve got talented backs on the edge against a defense. 

Dobbs has been starting at quarterback four years now. He has to be more consistent than he was against App. State or it might be time to think about getting Quinten Dormady some reps as well. As is, it’s pretty easy to see what the game plan against Tennessee will be all season long, stack the line of scrimmage and make Dobbs beat you in the passing game.  

Third, App. State’s coach, Scott Satterfield, committed coaching malpractice last night against Tennessee.

With 32 seconds left and the clock stopped for a timeout, App. State had the ball at the Tennessee 33. From there it’s a 50 yard field goal, but given how bad the kicking had been App. State needed to get much closer to have a realistic shot at making the kick. The next play they run, a swing pass, gets blown up and they lose four yards. 

Their player is tackled in bounds. At this point you have to take your final timeout and set up a play that gets you a first down or hits the sideline to stop the clock and give you a chance at either a field goal or a hail mary. 

This isn’t a complicated decision. 

Instead App. State’s coach does nothing, the clock continues to run, the quarterback takes the snap with six seconds left and the clock runs out before he can scramble out of bounds. 

So with 32 seconds left in the game and a timeout, you get two plays off and never use your final timeout. 

That’s inexcusable.

It’s not just a coaching error, it’s coaching malpractice.  

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason had his own substantial failure as well. With 1:21 left in the game, Vandy stuffed South Carolina on 3rd and 5 at the Vandy 37 yard line. The clock had been stopped before the play for a Vanderbilt timeout — which followed a South Carolina timeout, but whatever I’m giving Mason a pass on that — and the back was tackled with 1:20 left on the clock. I immediately turned to my friends in the stands at the game and said, “Mason needs to take a timeout here.” 

My thinking was pretty simple — you’re coaching against Will Muschamp, the odds he’s going for it on 4th and 6 here are low. What’s more, if he does go for it on 4th and 6 the odds favor you stopping them and then taking over possession and being in an excellent spot to drive and score to win the game. And if you’re worried about the field goal kicker I don’t know that Muschamp attempts a 55 yard field goal with 1:20 left on the clock. Even if he decides to punt, which was probably the most likely outcome here with 1:20 left if you take a timeout, you’ve given yourself plenty of time to try and do something offensively with the ball.

Instead Mason does nothing and the clock runs all the way down to 41 seconds whereupon South Carolina takes a timeout. With that little time left on the clock Muschamp decides to roll the dice and attempt a 55 yard field goal. Would he have attempted the field goal with 1:20 left on the clock risking giving Vandy the ball back near midfield? We’ll never know. But even if he had still attempted the field goal and made it, worst case scenario your offense takes over with 1:20 left down three.

As is Muschamp kicks the field goal and there are only 35 seconds left in the game. Vandy can do nothing on offense and the game ends.

I’m illustrating both of these stories because it blows my mind how much coaches — who claim to be working 80 hour weeks during the season to ensure they can find any competitive advantage — kill their team’s chances to win with dumb management decisions.

Every year this happens again and again and it boggles my mind that coaches can be this bad at the crucible moments in games. 

It only makes sense when you consider this theory — coaching is the only profession in America where but for the coach being a coach making $4 million a year, that guy might make $50k a year as a high school gym teacher. That is, it’s my thesis, that you can’t find me any “grown up” job — pro athletes don’t count — where a guy is making $4 million a year and if he wasn’t making that salary he’d be making $50k.

In most American fields, you can’t make over a million dollars a year without being really smart. (I’m also excepting people who get jobs because their parents are wealthy.) Coaching is a clear exception. I think there are many college football coaches of very average intelligence making a ton of money coaching a game.

Now, there are clear exceptions here. For instance, does anyone doubt that Nick Saban ends up a millionaire no matter what he does for a living? Saban happened to put all of his focus on coaching college football, but if he’d gone into business with the same kind of focus, he ends up incredibly wealthy there too, right?

So why don’t coaches have clock experts on staff? I think it’s because coaches overrate their own ability to make decisions on the sideline. They aren’t smart enough to realize how bad they are at clock management. 

You can argue that with better coaching just in those end of game situations with App. State and Vandy the outcomes of both games could have been reversed.

You can see thirty minutes of game discussion from Outkick the Show last night, by watching this video.  

Rob writes:

“Hey Clay,

I was wondering how much Outkick has changed your fandom throughout the years. I just finished reading Dixieland Delight, and in that book you are unabashedly all Vol. I don’t get that sense in your articles anymore though. Do you think Outkick has made you less of a fan over time?”

That’s a good question and one I get asked quite a bit. 

I’m still a Tennessee fan, but my job isn’t just to talk about the teams I’m a fan of — it’s to talk about dozens of teams. So, notwithstanding last year’s collapse against Florida, I don’t lose my mind over football games as often as I used to. I suspect that’s partly about getting older too. A decade ago I didn’t have any kids, now I’ve got three. Football’s fun, but it’s a small part of my overall life. 

Whether my team wins or loses, I’m still changing diapers. 

Ten years ago if I had to choose between watching Tennessee play Ohio or the best SEC game of the week, I’d have picked Tennessee. Now I’d pick the best SEC game of the week. So I’m probably a bigger fan of college football and less of a fan of my favorite team. 

I wouldn’t attribute that to Outkick, I’d say it’s just a function of the growth in what I do. If you only write or talk about one team then you’re limiting your audience pretty substantially. Especially if that team isn’t very good or doesn’t have much national relevance.

You also have to keep in mind that our gambling content is pretty substantial here on Outkick. If you’re going to gamble, you have to be objective about what you see. Certainly I have my sports biases, but when it comes to gambling I try to be as clear-eyed as possible.

B. writes:

“I recently moved across the country (Midwestern state to Southeastern state) for grad school. Unfortunately, my girlfriend is in law school back home, so she couldn’t make the move out here with me. 

I love this girl more than anything, and I trust her completely. But every time she goes out, I get very insecure and jealous. I can’t help but check her snapchat and Twitter throughout the night to see how she’s doing. I’m afraid of something bad happening to her, but it comes across as me being overly possessive and controlling. 

I know I’m acting irrationally. I want to just be supportive and let her go have fun with her friends, but I can’t help my feelings. How do I get over it and stop acting so jealous?”

You aren’t afraid of something bad happening to her, you’re afraid that she’s going to meet someone else when she’s out with her girlfriends.  

Modern technology makes keeping tabs on someone easier than it ever has been before and you can’t help but sit around and wonder what she’s up to all night long. 

What’s the worst case scenario here, your biggest fear? She cheats on you and you find out and break up with her. It may seem awful, but is it really that bad? If she’s going to do that, wouldn’t you rather find out before you married her? And here’s the thing — can you really do anything to keep her from doing that? I don’t think you can. 

I know it’s tough, but my advice to you would be to go out and have your own good time. 

Confidence is sexy, clinginess isn’t. 

Michael and his multicolored pants writes:

Hey Clay:

“Just received my order of 3 Outkick pants and wanted to share what will inevitably be my near future experience with them.

A little background first: Color number 1 is crimson since everyone knows chicks dig a guy wearing red. Color number 2 is purple which is the perfect choice if I want to peacock out at the bars, and color number 3 is carolina blue which draws the local ladies’ attention to my eyes.

What this will all lead to for the unfortunate souls in Chicago who weren’t smart enough to order OKTC pants is that there will be no girls left for them as 100% of the local female population will be flocking to the single gent in the outstanding pants of many colors.”

You know I’d never lie to any of you right?

But everyone who buys these Outkick pants is going to have five more sex partners this year than they otherwise would have. 

Guaranteed. 

Speaking of guarantees, the blood bank guarantee is 1-0 after last night’s South Carolina-Vandy game didn’t even sniff the 42.5 over/under. 

Here are nine more week one winners for you.

Have great weekends and get geared up for live Outkick shows all day Saturday as we revel in awesome games. If you haven’t followed Clay Travis on Facebook Live or Periscope, you have no idea what you’re missing.

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.