All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday, time for the Mailbag.

But before we get to the mailbag, Outkick is now six years old and in honor of that majestic achievement I’m offering $10 off all Outkick apparel at outkickgear.com. Just use the code dbap10

We’re close to being sold out of all of our gear and new apparel will be coming for the fall. But stack up now.

Also, and I can’t believe this is real life, but I will be on Inside Edition this afternoon talking about airline hair lice policies. Baller status? Infinity.

Okay, here we go with the mailbag:

Ryan writes:

“My girlfriend has recently announced herself a “Social Justice Warrior.” This is fine, and I am a liberal snowflake often times when it comes to these issues myself. In fact, I’d like that slave owner George Washington off of my $1 bill! (Sarcasm).

Here is my issue. Social justice is in some ways, a bad religion. A person (in religion it could be a priest, in social justice it is anybody but a white man) says that something is bad (Harry Potter, masturbation, the hamster you named D’Brickishaw (black name), a college mascot) and from then on it becomes unacceptable. If a black person is offended, then social justice warriors believe that means it is inherently offensive. I have absolutely no say in what is right or what is wrong, and upon learning that yet another behavior of mine is wrong, I am supposed to immediately change or face social scorn (and less blowjobs).

Sometimes I just can’t handle it though. Literally everything a white man does is bad now. My girlfriend recently complained that the voice announcing a stop on a bus was a white man (authority figure has to be white while the driver was a black woman).

My girlfriend keeps telling me I have to come to her side or else. I think her side is good and does a lot of amazing things (I think religion does amazing things as well, I just think there is room for questions, etc), but sometimes I want to say, no, that wasn’t racist/sexist/etc. But then I’m racist!

How is someone supposed to handle this?”

Find a new girlfriend.

Seriously, that might seem flippant, but if you are dating anyone and they are demanding you have the same opinions about every issue they do, why would you date that person?

Let’s take this outside of social justice warrioring and put this in sports.

Would you switch your favorite sports team because your significant other told you he or she didn’t like your team?

Of course not.

Let’s go political, would you date someone who told you that you had to vote the same way as them or else? Of course not, right?

So find a new girlfriend.

Matthew writes:

“The one thing that’s consistent with every group of college football fans on the internet is HOMERISM. What’s your take on  homerism? Is it healthy? Is it unhealthy? Is it hope? Or is it delusion? Does it manifest from true love? Or does it originate from pure stupidity?

Part of me thinks it’s adorable and sweet to see grown men fall helplessly in love with their college football teams and players. Ignoring their flaws and obvious shortcomings and desperately trying to convince anyone that will listen that everyone else is wrong and THIS is truly their year.

As an Auburn fan, I just can’t do it. We have a new QB. Everyone’s excited. Things are coming into place. But I still know that there’s an autistic robot roaming the sidelines as our coach that’s just begging to malfunction during games.

What should I do? Should I make myself vulnerable, fall in love with this team, and shout to the rooftops that this is AU’s year? Or should I remain rational and cynical and brace myself for another heartbreak?”

Homerism is, like everything, healthy until it’s not. Being insanely optimistic about your team — and believing the “experts” have under ranked your team is insanely common in college football. Unless your team is ranked number one, there has never been a fan base that didn’t believe his or her team wasn’t getting enough respect coming into the season.

I’ve got good buddies who are Kentucky football fans — we’re talking about some of the smartest guys I know — and they have been telling me they are going to win the SEC East every year since 2001. I mean, stone cold, this is our year talk. And they really believe it.

Every August.

It’s like clockwork.

Odds are you have these friends too, people who root for teams you know have no chance to win titles, people who otherwise make completely rational decisions in their lives, who convince themselves their teams, which aren’t very good, are actually good.

So how does this happen?

Football is the biggest sport in America by far and college football fans care more about their teams than any other American fans do. Sure, the NFL is bigger than college football, but deep down everyone who roots for pro sports teams understands pro athletes are mercenaries and that they’re rooting for a business. Whereas in college football at least you’re rooting for a state. And as much as you may want your NFL team to win, it’s hard to root for a business as aggressively as you root for a state.

College football is steeped in geography, the idea that whether you live in Tennessee or Georgia is a really big deal, that the difference between Ohio and Michigan is seismic. College football is our last regional sport. Anyone who cheered for the AFC East to win or the NFC over the AFC would be ridiculed to the high heavens. But rooting for the SEC against the Big Ten? That makes total sense to most fans. (It makes more sense in the South, where a sense of place is still paramount. Why is this? I suspect it has something to do with the agrarian history of the region. Land matters and, essentially, football is a game of land and territory.)

One of our earliest writers here, Hayley Frank — she’s since married Barton Simmons of 24/7 sports, memorably summed up why she believed pro sports were absurd by writing, “People that my city pays are better at doing things with balls than people that your city pays! This means you suck!”

It’s a hyper logical analysis of why fandom, which is entirely illogical, makes no sense. But I think there are three primary reasons, in addition to the above, why college football fans are so delusional.

First, college football fans are the dumbest in all of sports. If there were a test, I have zero doubt the results would confirm this. Combine idiocy with deep passion and you get total irrationality. Most college football fans are incapable of rationally analyzing their team’s strengths and weaknesses. What’s more, they take the next step and project their raging bias on to anyone out there who analyzes teams.

My favorite example of this? After JT Barrett was arrested for a DUI an Ohio State fan wrote a letter to the editor to the local newspaper saying THERE WERE TOO MANY DUI STOPS IN TOWN.

Your quarterback just got arrested for a DUI and it wasn’t his fault that he was driving drunk, it was the police’s fault for setting up DUI stops. Do you think he would have written the same letter to the editor if Michigan’s quarterback had been arrested for a DUI? Of course not.

That’s why the first thing I do when I analyze any opinion I have is put like players in like situations on a variety of teams. I’m hyper rational about my sports opinions. I ask myself exactly what my opinion would be if a player on my favorite team got arrested and what my reaction should be if a player on my least favorite team got arrested. And I believe my reaction should be the exact same. If it isn’t, that’s a sign of bias. And my goal is to eliminate bias from my analysis.

The result has been, if anything, that I’ve ended up being tougher on Tennessee players and coaches than I probably would have been if I’d never grown up a Tennessee fan.

In life, I am not a true believer of very many things. But in college football that’s an extreme rarity.

Second, the players pick your school. Unlike in pro drafts where players are selected by teams, cities and states, college football players consider every possible option out there and then pick your school. So that’s a form of validation to begin with, “See, we really are awesome! (Insert 17 year old) picked us!”

In the event you went to the school too, this kid’s pick of a school is a further validation of your original decision to go to that school too. The connection is real.

Third, the players aren’t with you for very long. So you constantly have to pick new favorite players. This means every team turns over entirely every four years. Pro sports are about dynasties and superstars, whereas in college coaches are the only ones who endure. As you age you move from identifying with the players to identifying with the coaches. But that turnover means that hope springs eternal. If you’re a Jets fan you probably aren’t beating Tom Brady very often, but if you’re a college football fan then Tim Tebow, even as good as he is, is only there as a starting quarterback for three years.

Justin writes:

“What do you think about the practicality of buying a Tesla? Here’s the situation. I’m 29, make about 200-250k, married, wife stays home with our 2 toddlers. Very possible my income continues to go up. (I told myself I’d never be that guy writing to you telling you my income, but here we are.)

I’m not really a car guy at all. Similar to you, my wife and I’s biggest financial goal is to have a Rosemary/Alys beach house at some point. Obviously buying a 70-90k car is a horrible financial decision if we care about houses a lot more than cars.

But here’s the issue-we live in Houston and my in-laws are in Dallas. I absolutely hate having my kids on I45 in a 10 year old Nissan. We go on significant road trips several times each year. With Tesla, it’s not as if you’re just buying a nice luxury car, you’re buying the fact that whoever rides in that car will probably never be in a life-altering car accident. Obviously stuff can still happen, but it’s by far the safest car in the world…and second place isn’t close.

So that’s the question-before tesla, there was never an option for money to remove almost all chance of serious injury or death from a car accident. Now, you can pay more and have exactly that. If something happened to my wife/kids, I’d obviously be crushed…and then feel like a total idiot for not getting the Tesla when I can make it work. What do you think?”

Like any parent I sometimes wake up having had awful dreams about something bad happening to my kids. I think all dads do this and I think moms do this even more often than dads. Like you, I’m fortunate to have enough money to do things that, hopefully, make my family’s life safer.

My first home cost $75k. Our most recent car purchase was more than that, a Lincoln Navigator. Why did I spend more on my car than I spent on my first home? Because I wanted my wife to be driving a tank. My kids are in there and they matter more to me than anything.

I drive a four door Mercedes now that’s seven or eight years old. As you note, I’m not a car guy. I’m a mansion and beach house guy instead. But we’re talking about buying a Tesla too when we replace this car.

The biggest danger that any of us face on a day to day basis is dying in a car accident. So if you can lower that rate — and you have the money to do so — why wouldn’t you do it?

(I don’t know what Tesla financing options are, by the way, but I know our Navigator is 0% for five years. So I’m taking five years to pay it off and then we’ll drive it for another five years before we buy a new car. That’s ten years at $7500 a year, $625 a month or $21 a day. That seems like decent money spent.)

What I’m really looking forward to, hopefully, is self driving cars.

Did you know that 40,000 a year die in car accidents in this country? That’s nearly a Vietnam War worth of deaths every single year on our roadways. Do you know how many unarmed people are shot and killed by police a year? Less than 50.

Do you think your average person knows this?

Of course not.

Tyler writes:

“As a current student of an SEC school, I’m very proud of my conference. My coworkers (all Big 12 grads) believe that the SEC is the worst big five conference and definitely worse than the Big 12. I think they are all delusional. The Big 12? Come on. You can make an argument for the Big 10 maybe but saying the Big 12 is better than the SEC is absurd. So I am turning to the King Solomon of the Internet to figure out exactly where the SEC stacks up to other conferences.

Also love the show. Chick-fil-A rocks. DBAP.”

Your co-workers are jealous of the SEC, even they don’t believe what they’re telling you.

Right now the SEC has the best players by far. But the ACC and the Big Ten definitely have better coaches. And the Pac 12 might. (The Big 12 might have too before Bob Stoops left.)

Nick Saban is by far the best coach in college football. Then Urban Meyer. Then Dabo Swinney. Then probably Jimbo Fisher.

I’ll give you my top twenty college football coaches next week.

Gregg writes:

“Everyone knows you’re the King Solomon of the Internet but we also know you’rer married which means she owns the key to her secret lock box. Explain how you can turn off always being right and getting laid at the same time. That combination doesn’t work at home. 

The proof she runs the show is evident with her dressing your kids alike and you not saying a thing.”

She dresses the kids alike on vacation because it’s easier to find them in crowds that way. Which, to be honest, it totally is. If your kids have matching shirts you can scan a crowd and find them much faster than if they don’t.

As for whether I am always right at home, of course not.

No wife in the recorded history of time has ever believed her husband was right about anything.

I guarantee you Obama is hearing all the time now, “Oh, you could get Obamacare passed, but you can’t remember to take out the garbage, huh?”

No way Dwight Eisenhower didn’t hear, “So you can organize the entire DDay operation, but you can’t remember to put your dishes in the dishwasher, huh?”

That’s just marriage.

Daniel writes:

“I need your wisdom on a heated topic in my friend group. A buddy of mine believes with 6 months training he can play AA- minor league baseball. Now, I’ll admit he is of an athletic build (6-4ish, 220?). He definitely  has some skill, but I don’t think he could even play single A ball. He currently plays in a men’s softball league and does pretty well. But it’s a men’s slow pitch softball league. He did play baseball in high school, but never got any college offers. He played intramural sports in college (Large SEC school) and won in almost every sport.  He claims that he played against guys who played college division 1 baseball in high school and since he did well against them he could continue that success now. He says he never wanted to play in college so he didn’t actively look for those opportunities (whatever that means). He points to Tebow and Jordan, but those were real athletes, not a normal 25 year old. If he was given 6 months to train and an opportunity to try out, could he do it?”

Your friend is an idiot.

He has a 0% chance of pulling this off.

 

Send your mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com

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.