All That and a Bag of Mail

Nov 7, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry (2) celebrates a touchdown with offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin during the third quarter against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports Marvin Gentry

It’s Friday, time for the mailbag. 

Our beaver pelt trader(s) of the week award goes out to the Fox digital crew who have got Outkick the Show ready to roll. Starting today we will be off and running with the show. Every weekday at 12 eastern, 11 central, 10 mountain and 9 pacific you can watch me embark on this new experiment on Facebook, Periscope, YouTube, and Fox Sports Go. After it airs live we’ll turn the daily show into a podcast as well. The plan is to soon have the show streaming live on Outkick as well. So it will be virtually impossible to miss.  

In big news — and as as my Christmas gift to all of you — Outkick pants are now $20. These are essentially the same pants that cost over $100 at Vineyard Vines. So if you don’t buy up all of these at this price you’re all insane.

Okay, on to the mailbag:

Bert N. writes:

“Since we are in the silly season where teams believe hiring a hot coaching candidate can take them to the top instantly, I decided to see when the last first time national championship winner was. I never would have guessed, but it was Florida in 1996. Here’s the last 5 first time national title winners:

1. Florida, 1996
2. Florida State, 1993
3. Washington, 1991
4. Colorado, 1990
5. BYU, 1984

I got this information off the NCAA official website, so there may be some schools on the list that don’t claim titles as liberally as Alabama does. Did you know only 43 schools have ever had a share of a national title, dating back to the first one the NCAA recognizes in 1869? This includes the following schools that will never win another national title: Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Penn, Lafayette, Chicago, Cornell. Some schools, such as Syracuse, Army, Maryland, Illinois, BYU and Minnesota, seem highly unlikely to ever contend again. There are effectively 30 schools that are at the top of the college football world: they’ve won before and it is plausible for them to win again. Sure there are teams that come out of obscurity or overcome historical trends of being terrible, such as Baylor or Boise State, but they are the rare exceptions, and they have not won it all.

So my question is this: why do schools think that college football is a “national championship or bust” proposition? This isn’t the NFL, where parity reigns. There is a clear elite class of teams and everyone else is schedule filler. Realistically, why are schools so crazy about instant, overnight success? The deck is stacked so far against the 90+ schools that haven’t won a national championship to get over that hump. Also, who is the next likely first time title winner? Oregon and Baylor are the only schools jumping out to me.”

Baylor and Oregon are both good bets. I’d add Oklahoma State, Stanford, and both Arizona schools to this list as first time winners that wouldn’t shock me over the next decade. (Stop with the emails in advance, we’re using the above linked list. I know there are a billion different organizations that have awarded national titles over the years). 

Your point is a good one though — it’s pretty much an illusion that a team that hasn’t ever won a national title is going to suddenly win one in today’s era. Winning national titles is hard to do in general: there are relatively few schools that can compete for one. And with the rise of the big five conferences it’s becoming even harder for a non-traditional power to win a title. If you aren’t in one of the big five conferences you’re effectively shut out of a title opportunity these days. So I don’t think we’ll ever see a Joe Paterno at Penn State or a Bobby Bowden at Florida State, a guy who builds a program into a power during his tenure. 

Here’s where I’d disagree though, I think the importance of coaches in big five conferences has surpassed the importance of programs. That is, everyone is aware that if they get the right coach — and keep him — they could, in theory, be the next Baylor or TCU. I mean if Art Briles can have the success he’s had at Baylor can you imagine how much he would have won if he’d ended up at Texas instead? The flip side is also true, a top program can’t hold up someone who stinks. They get exposed pretty quickly. I’m looking at you, Derek Dooley.

There are only a handful of “great” coaches right now too, right? So if you don’t have one of those guys you’re constantly trying to get one. In the NFL everyone needs a great quarterback to win a title, in college football the equivalent of a great quarterback is the head coach. Look at who is in the playoff this year: Nick Saban, Mark Dantonio, Bob Stoops and Dabo Swinney. Other than Dabo, who is still young but has won at a high level, the first three guys are unquestioned top ten coaches in college football, right? Look who is just outside of the playoff picture this year: David Shaw and Urban Meyer, both unquestioned top ten coaches as well.   

Right now in college football the coach is everything. 

Sure, a Gene Chizik can bubble up and win a title if he has a transcendent player — and a good offensive coordinator — but other than Chizik and Larry Coker at Miami, which national title winning coaches in the past twenty years would you say weren’t incredible head coaches?

Chris D. writes:

“Let’s give Lane Kiffin some love. Everyone I talk to that is a true ‘Bammer hates Lane. The world seems to hate Lane. Why? He is a big reason for the past 24 wins in 27 games for Alabama. Let’s look what he’s done.

He has led two of the most prolific offenses in Alabama history. With no real threat at QB. With two different style of offenses. Broken all types of offensive records. Has had two Heisman finalists at two different positions, in which one will probably win this weekend. Players love him. He can recruit. I know he has a shady past, but we are talking about a profession that will allow anyone to start over…I mean come on! John L. Smith just got another HC position!

Alabama will miss him more than Kirby. If I’m an AD, I’m snapping this guy up in a heartbeat. Thoughts?”

I think Kiffin’s performance as offensive coordinator at Alabama has been outstanding. Other than not giving Derrick Henry the ball enough against Ohio State in last year’s playoff game, can you really question anything he’s done? And Lane definitely doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done with Sims and Coker the past two years, we’re talking about two guys who had never started a college game before. 

You can question Kiffin’s ability to handle head coaching duties, but I’m stunned that he didn’t get a major job this offseason. 

Put it this way, if Kiffin had never been a head coach before and was Nick Saban’s 40 year old offensive coordinator coming off two straight seasons in charge, everyone in the country would have been trying to hire him this offseason, right? Unlike Kirby Smart who is basically running Saban’s defense, Kiffin has total control of the offense all by himself. And it’s not like the guy has ever tanked as a head coach. Kiffin’s only been a head coach for four full seasons and he went 35-21 during that time. He’s never had a losing year and he recruits really well. Now his first recruiting class at Tennessee turned out to be a disaster, but other than that — and the fact that he is awful with the media and tone deaf about how he’s perceived — I don’t know what football criticisms you could make about him.

 

Hell, Will Muschamp just got another SEC job and he only went 28-21 at Florida. That’s quite a bit worse than Kiffin did at USC while they were in the middle of probation. 

Let me put it this way, the SEC East presently has the worst and most unproven collection of head coaches in the history of the division: you’ve got Butch Jones, Mark Stoops, Will Muschamp, Jim McElwain, Kirby Smart, Derek Mason and Barry Odom. 

Where would Lane Kiffin rank if you added him to these seven? I’m not sure Kiffin isn’t more accomplished than all seven of these guys.

If Muschamp can get another chance, Lane definitely deserves another head job.  

Ben writes:

“I just wanted to add my 2 cents to the risk of sending a dick pic. You mentioned your technical ineptitude as a reason you have not sent a digital copy of your schlong. (I’m already annoyed and tired of typing “dick pic” a few sentences in to this…). A friend of mine sent a dick pic to a girl he was seeing. He is a very smart guy and has a promising career ahead of him. At the time of this incident he had just started a new job. This is important because all the new “friends” he had on Facebook were his new coworkers.

One night the girl comes over and they get into an argument. Everything settles down. He gets a shower. They go to bed. She wakes up earlier than him and heads off to work. At this point he wakes up to check his phone. He has many Facebook notifications, messages, and frantic other text messages mostly saying “CHECK YOUR GOD DAMN FACEBOOK!!” Things were not as peachy as they had seemed the night before because while my friend was in the shower, this conniving woman resent the dick pic back to him, got on his phone, and posted the picture in all its glory to his Facebook page. Since he had gone to bed without checking his phone the picture had a solid 8 hours of public viewing time before he could remove it.

Needless to say, things were awkward for him for the next few days in the office.”

What a savage move by this chick. I mean, that seems like it should be a crime, doesn’t it? 

Hope he was having a good dick day when he sent her the pic. 

Tyler B. writes:

“Thanks to the concussion crisis the number of football players playing each year continues trending downward and it’s slowly dying from the bottom up. What are the odds that in 10 years tackling will be eliminated (flag football) and it becomes more of a “positionless” game like the NBA? For instance, if the stretch-four has replaced the plodding center so wouldn’t a TE make offensive linemen obsolete?”

I don’t think you’ll ever eliminate tackling, but I think football will have to evolve a great deal. I really don’t think we’re very far removed from an era when parents start to question letting their sons play football. Just like your average mom and dad today would never put their kids in a boxing ring and let someone else hit their kid in the head, I think the same thing will hold true for football. In future years most kids won’t play football until high school and many of them will never play at all, having started other sports at younger ages and come to really like them instead. 

That should be terrifying to pro football because there simply aren’t enough quarterbacks now. Even with millions of potential quarterbacks playing the sport now, look how few truly great quarterbacks there are. Only 12 or 14 teams are actually happy with their quarterbacks in a given year. Would the Tom Brady’s and Russell Wilson’s and Manning brothers of 2040 have grown up playing football? Or will they have drifted into other sports? How bad would football be now if half the top quarterbacks weren’t in the league?

As for changes coming to the sport, I think they will have to be substantial. It wouldn’t shock me if in twenty years there isn’t a traditional line of scrimmage in football. It’s the repetitive hits on the line of scrimmage that causes CTE, not the big concussive hits. And let me repeat this for the third straight year, if you haven’t read “League of Denial,” you really have to do it. It’s the single most important sports book of the past 25 years. 

Kerry B. writes:

“Is dressing up as Pocahontas for Halloween racist?”

That depends, how hot is the girl?

I kid, I kid. 

Of course it isn’t racist. (Unless the girl isn’t dressing as slutty Pochahontas. Then it’s disrespectful to Native Americans). 

The entire point of dressing up for Halloween is to be someone that you aren’t. Now I wouldn’t lather yourself in black face or yellow face or white face in order to portray someone of a different race, but I think everyone needs to chill the fuck out about Halloween costumes. 

Jon H. writes:

“I was watching Fargo last night and they brought up a question my friends and I have debated for years. Is peeing in a pool less disgusting than peeing INTO a pool? If so, then try to explain why.”

This is a great example of how perspective changes everything. 

Undoubtedly if you stand on the side of a pool and pee into it you’re a reprobate. I mean, I would never invite that person over to my house again if I invited them over and saw them doing it. But if that same guy peed in the pool? I’d still be upset, but I probably wouldn’t know. And even if I did know I’d understand it more. 

This is similar to my position on how reading on the Internet changed everything about acceptable office behavior. How many of you reading the mailbag at work right now would feel comfortable reading the mailbag if it was in an actual book? Similarly, how many of you who will read a newspaper online would feel comfortable spreading out the entire newspaper on your work desk and read it there?

You should never pee in a pool, but if you pee in a pool while standing outside the pool, I think you have major psychological issues. 

Ole Sawbones writes:

“I read in your mailbag recently that bald guys and short guys are the only two people who can still be ripped on in today’s PC society. What about professions, or part-time jobs? I know one that the PC bros haven’t touched—the official.

I officiate basketball from 5th grade up through varsity, and have heard nearly every insult in the book. I don’t know of any other profession where people can scream ignorant insults at you while being in the same building, and a lot of times from no more than 15-20 feet away. And I use the term “profession” loosely, because I do it for the exercise and beer/weed money. In basketball especially, the people screaming don’t even know the rules. And they want you to call every foul, but I can assure you, dumbass obese woman, if we called every foul we would be here all night.

Obviously certain jobs have employees that are easy to rip on–fast food, walmart, moving companies, customer service—but do any of these involve a gym full of people?

I know all officials are frustrating, especially when gambling money is on the line at the college and pro level. But wait until your boys start playing organized sports—the worst in humans come out while watching their kin compete.”

Interesting question for you guys: why are fans so willing to forgive player mistakes, but so unwilling to forgive officiating mistakes?

Put another way, is there any profession in America that the general public expects to be more perfect at their job than officials? I can’t think of one. 

Chris writes:

“Clay,

I always like hearing your thoughts on what grown men should/shouldn’t do.

I work field marketing for a popular energy bar company. Last weekend I was at a community event and my booth was right next to a group of grown men making balloon animals. I talked to them during slow periods in the event because I have no idea how someone can get into this as a hobby. They said they get together once a week and practice together at one of their houses.

It lead me to think, what is the most pathetic hobby a grown man can have? Surely getting together and making balloon animals with your friends is up there.”

Let’s put it this way, if you were a woman is there a guy you would be less likely to bang than the guy who gets together with his friends and makes balloon animals in his free time? I mean, has any woman in world history ever said, “I can’t wait to fuck that dude who makes those balloon animals. Look at that balloon alligator. He is so hot.”

So balloon animal guy would rank really low. But the absolute worst human hobby right now is college protester. These people are the worst by far. “I’m going to get together with my college friends on campus and instead of doing literally anything else, we are going to protest things that aren’t actually a problem.” 

Peanut butter eating wife writes:

It has come to my attention that my husband has emailed you for teh anonymous mailbag about ‘the peanut butter problem;’ I prefer that both sides be shown in this scenario.

I am currently six and a half months pregnant with our first child – we are beyond elated. (I believe he said I was seven months pregnant in his email to you? This would be a proverbial ‘strike one’ in my book). However, this pregnancy has not only meant me losing weight first trimester (8 pounds), but an inability to keep any type of full meal down the majority of the time. Our daughter is moving around quite a bit, so I can only take a few bites of food at each sitting before I feel full. I have been forced to put in small snacks throughout the day, and it gets to the point that fatigue sets in. After a long day at work,, am I going to cook myself a large meal only to not be able to eat it? Not a chance.

But yes, the infamous peanut butter problem.

On occasion, perhaps maybe twice a week, I do dip chocolate icing (or a chocolate chip cookie) into a jar of peanut butter. It’s diviiiiine. It gives the calories I need, plus it’s quick and easy, which allows for me to continue on with other household demands. Dishwashers don’t empty themselves, floors don’t magically become vacuumed on their own, and laundry sure doesn’t get folded by some invisible deity. Now, do understand that when I ask my husband to help, he does without fail – but I know he’s had a long day too, so I try to do the majority of housework on my own. My husband did buy another container of peanut butter so that I could “have one for my own” – but REALLY. Was it necessary? No. Furthermore, if he ends up making sandwiches from “my” jar, the whole concept is lost. Additionally, after being married almost five years, the thought of having ‘my food’ and him having ‘his food’ is laughable. When you pay bills together, any and all pantry food is fair game for either party.

Also – this trend has only really happened since I’ve become pregnant – he’s got three more months of this, and then it’s back to normal. While I have been known on occasion to do this before I was pregnant, it hardly ever occurred. Do I sometimes do it to do a rise out of him? Possibly, but who doesn’t occasionally mess with their spouse if it results in a good laugh for both parties?. However, 99% of the time, it’s a convenience factor. After March, cookies and peanut butter will no longer mingle unless they are out of the jar…..or until Tennessee beats Alabama in football.

Thoughts?”

First, good luck with your upcoming baby. 

Second, I’d hide peanut butter in the house to use for myself if I was your husband.

Hope y’all have great weekends. Thanks for reading Outkick.

And please go buy these pants so I don’t go bankrupt this Christmas. 

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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