All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday, rejoice.

I’m headed down to Tuscaloosa this evening for the LSU-Bama game tomorrow. So if you’ll be in town, I’ll be there with my nine year old for the festivities.

I can’t wait.

Should be an awesome time.

In the meantime, go ahead and play our Outkick college football pick’em challenge. It’s free and you can win $10k of my money this week. Dive in:

Okay, here we go with the mailbag:

Dustin writes:

“I think it is great you’re taking your son to the Bama/LSU game. My question is; who will you be cheering for during the game? Will you be the encouraging dad cheering on the team his son has sworn his allegiance to, or will you go against your son?”

I’ll be cheering for Bama to win — to make my son happy — but for LSU to cover — to make his dad happy.

The most ridiculous thing about this trip is I offered my 11 year old the opportunity to go too, but I told him he couldn’t root for LSU at the game just to upset his younger brother. (My oldest son’s favorite college team is Clemson; a team he has picked as his “favorite” entirely to make his younger brother upset. They fight over whether Alabama or Clemson is better all the time, especially on Saturdays when I have to send them to different parts of the house so I can watch college football in peace.)

So my oldest son doesn’t care about LSU one iota, but I knew if I let him go he’d turn into the biggest LSU fan on the planet the minute the game started. To my oldest son’s credit (or discredit) when I told him he couldn’t cheer for LSU the entire game just to upset his younger brother who would be rooting for Alabama, he said he didn’t want to go to the game.


This means my oldest son turned down the opportunity to go to this game because he’s afraid Alabama will win and he doesn’t want to see his younger brother happy about Alabama winning.

Talk about a hater.

I have no idea whether most brothers are like this or not, but this is how competitive my two oldest sons are with each other.

So it will just be me and the nine year old at the game.

Honestly, I can’t believe it has been eight years since the last huge game between Alabama and LSU in Tuscaloosa back in 2011, but this year’s version of LSU-Bama is, I think, even bigger than the 2011 version because in addition to the usual SEC West, SEC, and national title implications, this game may well decide the Heisman trophy and go a long way towards deciding who the overall number one pick will be in the NFL Draft.

I can’t wait.

Lots of you: “what do you think about the Chase Young suspension at Ohio State?”

First, I suspect he’ll be back for the games that actually matter: Penn State, at Michigan, the Big Ten title game, and maybe the college football playoff.

I mean, isn’t it always incredibly coincidental how schools seem to discover NCAA issues right before they play crappy teams?

Second, isn’t there a decent argument here that Chase Young should pull a Nick Bosa and just bail on the college football season at this point? I know Bosa had an injury issue, but when you look at how well Bosa’s NFL career is going — and how highly drafted he was — what does Chase Young have to prove at this point in college football? He’s going to be a top five draft pick unless he suffers some sort of catastrophic injury. So why risk it? To me this NCAA suspension gives him a convenient excuse to avoid injuring himself and ride off into the NFL sunset where he’s set to make tens of millions of dollars.

I know, I know, he wants to compete for a championship with his teammates, but what happens for him in the next couple of months is relatively inconsequential compared to what could happen for him in the next decade or more in the NFL.

Rather than submit to an exhaustive investigation by the NCAA, I’d be tempted to just go pro and say screw it now that I’m already suspended for one of my final college games.

Trey writes:

“Your thoughts on FSU hiring Deion Sanders?”

I think it’s pretty crazy.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the logic behind it. This would merely be expanding to college football the recent trend of hiring famous alums to be your head coach in college basketball: Penny Hardaway at Memphis and Juwan Howard at Michigan.

But there’s a huge difference between the responsibilities of running a basketball program and running a football program.

A basketball program is a speedboat, a football program is an aircraft carrier.

You can turn the speedboat around in a hurry, turning an aircraft carrier is a major undertaking.

I understand the argument that Deion could recruit top football talent, but recruiting top football talent is only one component of having a winning program.

Hell, FSU’s got good talent already.

And, remember, that was the entire argument about hiring Willie Taggart — that he would bring top talent to Tallahassee because he’d been recruiting the state of Florida at South Florida, where he’d won big.

The problem is, talent isn’t everything in college football. You need to coach and develop that top talent as well.

We’ve seen a ton of young coaches be unable to manage a football game on the sideline. And these are young coaches that have spent a decade or more coaching college football. What in the world makes you think Deion Sanders would be prepared to put on a headset and manage a big college football game on the sideline?

You or I could coach a baseball or basketball game. It’s not really that complicated in the grand scheme of things. We’d understand the conversations and decisions required to make during the game.

But a football game?

Most of us couldn’t put on a headset and even have a clue what was being discussed.

Are you telling me Deion Sanders is a big analytics guy? That he’s going to know when to go for two or not? Hell, most college coaches can barely manage this already and they’ve been doing it for decades.

As if that weren’t enough, being a head football coach is like being a CEO of a large corporation. You have so many moving parts and details to be on top of each day.

It’s a 90+ hour a week job.

Has Deion ever worked a single 90+ hour week in his life? I doubt it. Now suddenly he’s going to work that many hours a week every week for the next several years of his life? I just have significant doubts that’s very likely.

Again, and this bears repeating because so many people don’t understand it, athletes don’t work very many hours — or very hard — compared to most highly paid professionals in America today.

Put it this way, if you told a 25 year old investment banker and a 25 year old pro athlete to switch places, who do you think taps out over the work hours first?

I mean, it’s no contest, the pro athlete does.

If you’re a young lawyer, investment banker, doctor, you name it, you work WAY more hours than a pro athlete does.

Yes, being a pro athlete is physically grueling, but you can only work out a few hours a day before your work becomes counterproductive.

Let’s use my own life as an example. If you gave me LeBron James’s size, strength and athleticism and I kept the exact same work ethic I have now, is there any doubt I’m a highly successful pro athlete?

I don’t think so.

Now if you gave LeBron James all my physical and mental attributes and his work ethic, would he have ended up where I am?

I have no idea.

But if you had to bet on one of us, wouldn’t you bet on me to achieve LeBron’s success over LeBron to achieve my success?

I would.

That’s no knock on LeBron, it’s just a testament to the importance of a pronounced work ethic. You know I work my ass off, do we really think LeBron works that hard on a day in and day out basis? Does LeBron, for instance, work harder than your average partner at a law firm?

No way.

College football coaches are absolute grinders. They get no down time at all.

So I think the idea that you can parachute in and do a good job is crazy.

What’s more, top players, whether it’s baseball, basketball or football, almost always end up being bad coaches because they’re frustrated that the players they are coaching aren’t as talented as they were. It’s usually the grinder, the guy on the edge of making the team or being a pro, who ends up being a success in coaching.

Those are the guys who are more likely to be diligent students of the game.

I mean, I love the idea of Deion getting the job because it’s an incredible story to follow, but I don’t understand how he can possibly be FSU’s best option.

Dustin writes:

“Assuming Arkansas fires Chad Morris, who would be the hire that would be best possible scenario for the Hogs?”

I actually feel sorry for Arkansas football fans with what they’ve been through over the past several years.

The Razorbacks are 4-17 under Chad Morris so far, 0-14 in the SEC. Adding in the final year of Bret Bielema the Razorbacks are 1-21 in their past 22 SEC games.

That’s unfathomably bad.

So I’d like to see Arkansas decent again just because they have a good and loyal fan base.

If I were hiring for Arkansas these would be my top five guys, in no particular order: Mike Leach, Mike Norvell, Joe Brady (LSU’s young offensive guru), Hugh Freeze, and Lane Kiffin.

I think all of these guys would be big improvements over what you have now and I think all of them, maybe except for Lane Kiffin, would be open to the idea of taking the job.

Mike writes:

“Who should be the next USC head coach?”

USC, to me, has to go aggressively after Urban Meyer and James Franklin. Those are the two guys that make the most sense by far and they’d immediately make the Trojan program relevant again.

If both of those guys say no then I’d probably go hire Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and be pretty happy with that selection.

Remember, in each of USC’s coaching searches over the past generation they’ve swung and missed on their top targets. Pete Carroll, Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, and Clay Helton were all well down the initial lists the school had. So while I understand the pining for Urban or Franklin, getting either of these guys would be a much more successful search than we’ve seen for the Trojans over the past generation.


“You can have one former President on your show for an interview. Who do you choose and why?”

Bill Clinton.

I think this is an easy choice.

There are so many different angles to pursue with Clinton that I think would make for a really interesting conversation. Sports, growing up in the South, his presidency, what it’s like to be the spouse of a presidential candidate, all of them are incredibly fertile topics.

I just find Clinton to be a thoroughly fascinating person so he’d be my top choice by far.

Drew writes:

“Did Epstein kill himself?”

I think the answer is yes.

I understand the conspiracy theories here, but it just boggles my mind that a prisoner could be killed inside a locked jail cell and there would be zero tangible evidence it occurred.

That is, think about what would have to happen here in order for Epstein to be murdered. Either: a. a jail employee is paid to murder Epstein and he stages a fake suicide or b. outside individuals enter the jail without being seen or recorded by anyone, enter his jail cell, kill him, and then exit, again, all without being seen by anyone.

I think the first scenario is far more likely, but there would be lots of evidence here. For instance, wouldn’t a prison guard have to be paid a tremendous amount of money to kill Epstein? Wouldn’t they likely have bruises or injuries on their body from this killing? (Again, you have to presume Epstein would have struggled with his murderers).

The second scenario is even more implausible because it presumes an external entry into the jail and there being zero tangible evidence of this occurring. Even if you assume someone deletes the evidence — external cameras and whatnot — that just creates a larger conspiracy.

I think it’s much more likely that Epstein, a man used to living the high life, suddenly realized what the rest of his life would be like in jail and couldn’t psychologically cope with the collapse of his life.

So he just snapped and committed suicide.

PT writes:

“Do you think Cam Newton will be traded or allowed to come back next year?” 

Cam has one year and $19 million left on his contract with the Panthers.

I don’t think he will be back with the Panthers, but I’m also not sure any team will trade for him because I think most teams will anticipate Cam gets released and given the opportunity to hit free agency.

Assuming Cam becomes a free agent and the Bengals and Dolphins draft new quarterbacks in the first round that would mean these teams could potentially be in the market for him to be their starting quarterback: the Titans, the Bucs, the Bears, the Chargers (if they let Philip Rivers leave), the Redskins and the Broncos.

Maybe the Bears make sense here?

But do any of these teams give Cam a $20 million+ contract and install him as their starter coming off these injuries? I find that hard to believe.

I don’t see Cam attempting to sign up for a back up role, which is why I can see Cam deciding to pull an Andrew Luck and retiring in this offseason.

Jim writes:

“Will the Chargers sign Philip Rivers to a huge contract this offseason? They play at the new stadium next year.”

We debated this on the radio show yesterday and today. Philip Rivers, who had an awful game last night against the Raiders, is an unrestricted free agent and the Chargers are effectively the side chick of the new LA NFL stadium and the overall LA market in general.

But without Rivers what interest does this team generate?

I think they pretty much have to resign him unless they are willing to let him go and grab a quarterback in the first round and start the rebuild.

But who buys tickets then to watch Justin Herbert or Jake Fromm?

Other than drafting a quarterback in the first round and starting the rebuild, who could the Chargers sign in free agency as their starting quarterback? Cam, Mariota, Tannehill, Eli, Bridgewater? I just don’t see any of those guys as better than Rivers.

Which is why I think he’ll be back in LA next season.

Hope you guys have a great weekend and look forward to seeing many of you in Tuscaloosa tomorrow for LSU-Bama.

Go play our free college football pick’em game here. You could win $10k.

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.