All That and a Bag of Mail: Gus Finally Doesn’t Cover Edition

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MANHATTAN, KS – SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers calls out instructions against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first half on September 18, 2014 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Peter G. Aiken Getty Images North America

Welcome to the mailbag, your escape from work on a Friday. It was a big week for me with the arrival of Nash, the third Travis boy born since 2008. If you have daughters in Nashville between the ages of zero and seven, look out. This makes our beaver pelt traders of the week really easy, congrats to his mom and Nash. If you don’t have kids, at some point you probably will. If you do have kids, it doesn’t matter how many you have, that moment when they arrive in the world is the most amazing thing that happens in your life. It’s simply incredible. 

Speaking of incredible, can we talk about how awesomely dad-like Gus Malzahn’s outfit was last night?. He went sweater vest over a turtle neck short sleeve Under Armour shirt — honestly, I didn’t know those existed, who has ever wanted a warm neck and cool arms? — with the visor combo. This is the most dad-like sideline outfit in college football history. Remember when Polo stopped allowing people to create their own Polo shirts online because the color selections were killing the brand? I feel like Under Armour may have to do this with Gus.  

On to the mailbag. 

James C. writes:

“My wife and I just found out we’re having twin boys. We’re in the ultrasound room and she rolls her head toward me (I was fully expecting tears that neither was a girl) and the first thing she says to me is: “They’re not watching Star Wars.” We’re both in our early 30s and, although I was never into Star Wars as a kid, I enjoy the movies well enough and understand why kids love it. I”m also pretty excited to see what JJ Abrams is going to do with the upcoming movies. Clearly your kids are obsessed with the movies. Here’s the bigger question: at what age will you start worrying that your kids are going to end up being 6th graders reading comic books and getting wedgies by the kids who are playing sports and having bottle rocket fights? Or do you just say screw it and know that your kid is going to be making three or more times what those other kids will be making in 20 years? Thanks for the parenting advice!”

I don’t even think of Star Wars as being something that nerds like. I think every boy on earth — and a huge number of girls — loves Star Wars. Now if you told me that my kids were going to be really into Dungeons and Dragons, I’d get a little nervous. I feel like there’s a definite correlation between the more you’re into Dungeons and Dragons or Sci Fi and the more socially awkward you are. Like, if you had to pick a single non-criminal social activity that a high school kid could do that would guarantee he wouldn’t be elected president one day, could playing Dungeons and Dragons be beaten? Okay, maybe a Renaissance festival juggler. I try to be open minded but I wouldn’t ever vote for a Renaissance festival juggler in high school to be President.

My second-oldest boy turned four on Monday and he’s been dressing as General Grievous all week. It’s fantastic. Plus, you get to go back and re-experience all these movies again. So you really need to start working on your wife and tell her to quit being a Star Wars racist.  

Sandra writes:

“Mr. Travis

I just wanted you to see the email I sent to Fox News about your Alabama Fans. I hope you use more class the next time you want to insult the Alabama football fans and the state of Alabama.


I can’t believe you would allow Clay Travis’ column about Alabama fans to be published. It went way too far to even be funny. Just an article that not only disrespects the University of Alabama but the whole state of Alabama. The suggestion of inbreeding is not a subject that I take lightly .On what does Mr. Travis base his article.?  I think an apology from Fox News and Mr. Travis is warranted .

Sandra Birdwell
Tanner, AL”

How much dumber are the fans who find the dumbest fan base article a year later and get offended by them than the fans who got offended a year ago when the articles were written? Forty percent dumber? Higher? Every day I get an angry email or Tweet about the dumbest fan bases article. My kids are going to be going to college off the money these ten articles made me. 

The number of people who demand that I be fired and email Outkick is well established. But the number who also email Fox News demanding that I be fired is vastly underrated. 

Someone in Fox News PR is like, “Who the f— is Clay Travis and what did he say? Does he not want Obama impeached?”

By the way, here is Sandra Birdwell’s Pinterest in case y’all are interested in learning more about her.

A bunch of you:

“What’s up with Jameis?”

First, how many of you have had to explain to your parents what Jameis did to get suspended and finally you’ve just given up. My mom asked and I’m thinking in my head how to address it, “Okay, Mom, there’s this thing called an Internet meme?”

Mom: “A what?”

Me: “A meme. It’s like when people ironically endorse something that went viral on the Internet and then…”

Mom: “Viral?”

And I haven’t even gotten to the part where he says f— her in the pu—y and I have to explain why that’s funny. So I just told her he was cursing in public. 

But let’s just pretend that you’re Jameis. If you had been arrested in the off-season for stealing crab legs and you had narrowly escaped prosecution for rape due to the tremendous incompetence of the Tallahassee police force, is there any way you climb up on a table and start screaming about sex? Even if it’s a joke? Of course not, right? All you have to do is keep your damn mouth shut for three months and you’re a first round pick in the NFL Draft. But he can’t even do this.  

And how about the fact that Florida State football finally suspends Jameis for words over actions? I understand this suspension is kind of a lifetime achievement for stupidity, but, come on, this is like the least dangerous thing Jameis has done to get in trouble.   

Remember when Jameis Winston said he didn’t want to get Johnny Manziel disease? If only. I’m already terrified that the Titans are going to go 7-9 or 8-8 — which is what the Titans do every year — Marcus Mariota, Bryce Petty, and Brett Hundley are already going to be drafted because they haven’t been accused of raping anyone — and the Titans are going to draft Winston to replace Jake Locker. FML. Right now Jameis seems to combine the worst traits of Vince Young and Ryan Leaf. And he’s done all this without any actual money. Imagine when he has actual money to spend.  

The most absurd thing about this is whole story, by the way, is how delusional FSU fans, who believe that there’s a media conspiracy to get Jameis, are going to react like Jameis is Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead when he enters the field for the second half. Just wait. It’s going to make you want to gag.  

Adam writes:

“I’m in the doghouse big time. I’m a fairly recent newlywed, as in 3 months. About 2 weeks ago I bought a new Jeep with approval from the wife. What I did not get approval on was the dog that I adopted the very next day. It was one of those things where we had a conversation about it and because she said we’d talk about it I just went with it and got a dog.

This was a tragic error. I have very quickly learned that my wife has an amazing ability to be super pissed off but act like she’s not. I am not handling this well. I don’t know if you watched “The League” last night but I’m in a situation similar to Andre right now where I’m trying to punish myself to make things better but it’s just making it all worse.

I know your experience may be limited to gay Muslims but if you could help me out here my ability to watch Auburn play for the rest of the year would really appreciate it.”

Well, if your wife makes you give the dog away, you probably should get divorced. Because you’ve married an awful human being then. Better to find out sooner rather than later. But, yeah, one of things you’re going to learn about marriage is that your wife is always going to be mad at you for something. This is just inevitable. If you wanted to live with someone who is never mad at you no matter what you do, you should have kept living with your college roommate who, if he arrived home to find out that you’d accidentally burned down the house trying to drunkenly light Bacardi 151 on fire, would just shrug his shoulders and be like, “I can see that.”

It’s also important to know that it also doesn’t matter who you married, that woman would be mad at you for something too. Most of the time when you get divorced and remarried, it seems to me that you’re just trading one set of problems for another. What you try to do as a married man is just limit the new reasons she’s mad at you. Which you failed to do. 

Here’s what you do, tearfully confess that the reason you got a dog was because you want to have kids with her, but weren’t sure you were ready and wanted to take on the responsibility of a dog. This is a lie — and anyone who compares having a dog to having kids should be lobotomized — but it will probably work to allay her anger.

Good luck.   

Joshua writes:

“My friends got into a heated debate and I need the gay, liberal muslim to add his input. Could an average sized male (5’10 185lbs) with no fighting experience or training beat Ronda Rousey in a UFC match?

My friend says he could drop her easy. I say she’d take his ass to the ground and put him in some sort of arm-bar thingy and he’d have to tap out.”

I’m six foot, 180 pounds and last summer Ronda Rousey was in the Fox green room at the same time as me. We were kind of joking around about fighting and she put me in an arm bar in eight seconds and could have immediately broken my arm. Now I wasn’t trying to defend myself, but trust me: She would beat the living sh– out of an average guy.

I actually think this would be awesome to watch. In fact, I’d much rather watch Rousey but up an average dude than fight another woman.  

William writes:

Imagine your phone rings, and it’s Roger Gooddell. He says, “Mr. Travis, the League and the NFLPA have come to the conclusion that the only man who can possibly handle Ray Rice’s appeal for us is you. As a gay Muslim who is already hated by the populations of several states, we can be certain that your hearing of the appeal will not be influenced by public pressure.” How do you conduct the appeal, and what would shape your ruling?”

Rice should only be suspended for two games. Maybe a single game more for lying, if it can be proven that he lied. So I’d give him three games. Sure, people will be angry at me, but that’s the fairest outcome. Why should Rice be penalized because the NFL stupidly undersuspended him?

The bigger issue for the NFL is that since they’ve decided they need to be in the off-field suspension business — something I’ve been arguing against for seven years — they need to establish clear suspension guidelines that the Internet mod can understand.

Mine would be this — if you are charged with a violent felony you are automatically suspended until your case is resolved. If you’re a good player the team will put you on the inactive roster and continue to pay you. If you’re not a very good player, the team will just release you. This rule would eliminate the social media mobs from ignoring the much higher rates of violent crime that exist in society elsewhere and spending days and weeks ripping you to pieces.

For those who are always Tweeting me about “due process” and “innocent until proven guilty,” those are rights that exist in the criminal justice system. Not to you keeping your job. If most of us get charged with a violent felony, we’d get fired. Plus, let’s be clear here, if you’re rich and have a good lawyer it’s really hard to be 100% innocent and get charged with a violent felony. If you’re rich and have a good lawyer and get charged with a violent felony, you probably did it. Now, you might beat it because the beyond a reasonable doubt standard is so difficult to meet, but you probably did it.

Stop citing Duke Lacrosse to me too. That’s like citing the asteroid that hit earth and wiped out the dinosaurs as a weather threat every morning. The Duke Lacrosse case was such an abomination of justice that the students charged all become multi-millionaires via settlements in the case. Duke Lacrosse is the legal equivalent of an asteroiod wiping out Earth. 

The violent felony rule would be easily applied and it’s easily understood by players, fans, and teams. Now, you could also argue that the automatic suspension should be for all felonies, but just about all NFL felonies are for crimes of violence. Plus, will the Internet mob really care if someone gets charged with felony tax evasion or insider trading and keeps playing? I don’t think so. So I’d go with violent felonies.    

Cole R. writes:

“Clay –

I know you like a good hypothetical question. Let’s say that the SEC had decided to add Florida State instead of Missouri to the SEC East. What would Florida State’s record be in 2014 if they were playing Missouri’s schedule? Give a quick game-by-game prediction. Would they win the SEC East? SEC Championship? Be in the playoff? Win the national title?

Cole Robertson

For ease of reference, here is Missouri’s 2014 schedule:
Vs South Dakota
@ Toledo
Vs Indiana
@ South Carolina
Vs Georgia
@ Florida
Vs Vanderbilt
Vs Kentucky
@ Texas A&M

@ Tennessee

Vs Arkansas

Mizzou’s a bit tricky because they have one of the easiest schedules in the SEC this year. But if FSU played this schedule, I think they’d go 10-2. They win all four out of conference games and then go 6-2 in conference with losses to two of these three teams — at South Carolina, Georgia, or at Texas A&M. They may or may not win the SEC East depending on tiebreaks.

There is also a 0% chance, by the way, that FSU would have gone undefeated playing Auburn’s 2013 SEC schedule.  

Scott F. writes:


Congrats on the third boy. I’m the middle of three boys myself, keep an extra eye on that youngest.

Sticking with the new son theme, what’s the appropriate age to bring our new son to his first college football game? Does your answer depend on where the game is being played? We’re LSU fans and clearly know not to bring him to the game on November 8th (Bama) but we can’t decide whether bringing him to any of the less exciting match-ups is appropriate.

My first concern is whether my boy can handle it. Second, I don’t want him to affect the fans around us. Third, I like to have a good time myself and can see most of the responsibility for the little guy falling to my wife. On the other hand, I wish I had a picture of me at my first tiger game at 4 months old, I’d like to show him off to the people I’ve watched games with since I was 6 years old, and worst case scenario we leave at halftime up 35-0 on New Mexico State.

Please resolve this dispute once and for all.”

I went to my first game in Neyland when I was six years old. It was the 1985 Tennessee-UCLA game that ended in a 26-26 tie. But my mom didn’t make the trip so it was just my dad in charge of me at the game. I think that changes things a ton. If it’s just dad in charge then I think you probably need to be at least five or six to go to a game. This is because dads are infintely less trustworthy with kids at games than moms are. 

On the other hand, my wife and I took our oldest son to his first football game at nine months old. My second son went to his first football games, both college and pro, at three years old. If mom’s going, I think six months or older is fine. But just plan on leaving early and bring him some earmuffs.

You also hit on a key point here, I think the kid has to be around eight or nine before he can go to a big game. He or she has to understand the stakes. There’s a clear growth chart evidenced by what games you can attend. Out of conference, conference game, and finally big conference game. It’s like with women, they break out their best outfits for the biggest games. Every woman reading this right now knows there’s an out-of-conference outfit and then there’s a big conference game outfit. Same with kids. They have to earn their stripes. 

Anonymous writes:

“Clay, I have a dilemma and I desperately need your advice. I’m currently a sophomore at A&M and I’ve been dating my girlfriend for around 9 months. About 4 months ago, I farted in front of her for the first time and she laughed. Ever since then, I’ve kind of just let them loose whenever and she’s been grossed out but never had a problem. The other day, I let one loose right as I got in her car and she got pissed. She told me I was disgusting and needed to stop doing that. I needed to plan and not fart in her car. I said that farting was a part of being in a long term relationship and something she needs to get over. I don’t think I’m unjustified and I need some back up. What do you think? Shouldn’t that be one of the benefits of having a long term relationship?”

You should have farted outside the car. Are you an animal? I don’t blame your girlfriend for being upset. First you fart in the car with the windows rolled up, next thing you know you buy her red heels and a sexy pirate outfit and then show up with a crate of mice, tell her to put on the outfit, and ask her to step on the mice while wearing the wench heels for your snuff film. 

Louis N. writes:

“Is Derek Jeter the most loved/respected figure in sports? Does anyone hate Jeter?”

Jeter is the last of the hero era athletes. But he’s also an instructive lesson for athletes going forward — if you aren’t married no one cares what you do off the field. Derek Jeter has screwed half of the upper east side and everyone applauds this fact. Women, too. 

If you’re a pro athlete, why in the world would you get married before you’re 35?

Lauren J. writes:

“First off, I am a female and obviously don’t agree with what Ray Rice did. I am simply playing devil’s advocate here. Now that that’s out of the way, do you see a double standard in the Ray Rice situation and Tiger Woods situation?

In Tiger’s situation, a woman beats a man with a club because he cheated on her. Yet, when this happened the focus was on Tiger’s cheating not on Elin hitting him with a club.”

No doubt, there’s a clear double standard here. Remember Taiwanese animation videos went viral of Tiger Woods getting beaten up by his wife with the golf club. Imagine if someone had done a Taiwanese animation version of Ray Rice beating his wife. Twitter mobs would have murdered that company. Perhaps literally.

I think the reason for the double standard is because most of us don’t see women on male domestic violence as that dangerous to the man. We think the men, who are generally stronger and bigger, can escape that violence easier. Hope Solo is another easy example of this, by the way. She’s playing for the women’s soccer team despite her off-field issues. No one seems to care. 

I’ve also written about this, but why focus on just male on female violence in sports? Isn’t male on male violence just as bad? For instance, would Aaron Hernandez’s alleged murders be worse if his victims were women? If so, why? I don’t think they would. I’ll make an exception for child victims, which I think is worse than harming an adult, but otherwise you’re talking about an odd focus on male on female violence. To me, the NFL should be combatting all violent crimes.  

This is where I also reiterate that the NFL’s rate of all violent crimes is lower than America’s rate of violent crimes. The Twitter mob focusing on NFL crime seems very arbitrary to me. Why not focus on the country instead? 

Jeremy Sheldon writes:

“Subject: You are dumb

Who are you a fan of in college football? I except all your insults with pride because I know that you are probably just as much of a dumbass as you think the Alabama fans are. Looser”

I get emails like this every day from Alabama fans. I just thought you’d enjoy a little interlude here. 

Russell writes:

“Congrats on baby Nash! Let’s say you’re holding him late one night and an angel appears to you and says, “Clay, despite your Gay Muslimness God has seen fit to greatly bless the child you’re holding. You can decide if you want him to be a genius on par with Einstein, Da Vinci, Isaac Newton. He could otherwise be a pro athlete who would be more dominant in his sport than young Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, or Peyton Manning.” What is your decision?”

That’s an easy decision, I go with the genius. Einstein, Da Vinci and Newton changed humanity for the better. How much societal difference does a dominant athlete make? I mean, if Jordan doesn’t exist is our world really that much different? Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and Patrick Ewing probably have title rings instead of Jordan having six. This probably makes Barkley even more famous than he already is. My point is, if an athlete doesn’t exist then another athlete just steps up and takes his place.

But think of how much difference Einstein, Da Vinci, and Newton made to our society. No contest, I want the non-sports genius.  

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.