All That and a Bag of Mail: Happy Thanksgiving

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Oct 17, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles before a game against the Florida Gators at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports Derick E. Hingle

I was going to take off the mailbag for Friday, but then I thought, what about all the poor bastards who have to work today or hate their families? The least I can do is give them fifteen minutes of escape. 

So here we are. 

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is my five year old son. This morning at 3:30 am he rolled off his bed and split his head open. We get to his bedroom and there is blood everywhere. When we found the wound on his head, it was such a deep cut I almost passed out. Seriously, I would be the worst doctor ever. On top of that there is nothing worse than being a parent with a sick or injured child. I mean, nothing on earth compares to this.  

So I take him to the emergency room at four in the morning down here in Naples and he gets three staples in his head like a goddamn champ. I was so proud of him. Anyway, happy Thanksgiving and thanks for letting me brag on my second oldest.  

On to the mailbag:

Connor writes:


I’m in my last year at LSU as a student. I’ve been a student at LSU for what seems to be the worst four year stretch at LM’s tenure at LSU. Three weeks ago, I was on top of the world. Certain things have happened and now life sucks for an LSU fan right now.

I absolutely love Les Miles. I think he runs an incredible program and always has us as a contender. You don’t get to 110-32 in 11 years by being a bad coach and relying on talent alone.

I’m not sure how much I love Coach Les Miles. You’ve watched a lot of LSU football in the Les Miles era and I’m sure you know what LSU fans are talking about when we say our offense is bland and predictable. We constantly lose to teams we shouldn’t and can’t produce a quarterback.

I’m not aboard the fire Les train, but SOMETHING needs to change. I understand that 110-32 is probably filed under “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, but I think LSU just needs something fresh, whatever that may be. I do think all of these problems stem from one man, and that’s Nick Saban. If LM gets fired, people are going to regret firing a top 50 coach of all-time because he couldn’t beat a top 5 coach of all-time consistently.

What do you think LSU should do, Clay?”

I’d keep Les and wait for things to actually get bad. Because, guess what, they might not ever get bad. If LSU beats A&M you go 8-3 this season — which is really 9-3 since the McNeese game was canceled and not rescheduled. Win the bowl game and you’re 9-3, actually 10-3, with the top offensive player in college football returning next year and the number one recruiting class in America headed to campus. That seems like a recipe for a pretty good 2016 to me. 

What’s more, no school has ever fired a coach who has won 75% of his games or more and replaced him with someone who has won a higher percentage of games. (The only exception here is Bobby Bowden for Jimbo Fisher, but that’s not fair because Jimbo had basically taken over already.) Ask Michigan, Texas, and Tennessee how difficult it can be to fire a national championship winning coach who won at a high level. All three programs immediately tanked. Why do you assume the same won’t be true of LSU? Remember that LSU was pretty awful for much of the 1980’s and 1990’s. You probably aren’t old enough to remember Gerry Dinardo. But trust me, it was atrocious. Be careful what you wish for. It took three hires for Tennessee and Michigan to get back to a decent level. And Texas is nowhere close to being decent. 

I agree with you that Les hasn’t had very good quarterbacks, but that isn’t uncommon in college football right now. How many good quarterbacks are there in the SEC this year? Dak Prescott, Brandon Allen, Chad Kelly, maybe Kyle Allen when he’s healthy and Will Grier when he’s not juicing. Most college quarterbacks aren’t very good because most quarterbacks aren’t very good. LSU has whiffed on a lot of top quarterback prospects, but so have most schools.

Maybe Brandon Harris will be good over the next two years, maybe he won’t. 

But you’ll probably be a top ten team next year and Alabama comes to Baton Rouge. 

Do you really want to bail on Les now? I think it’s dumb. 

A bunch of you:

“So who gets Chip Kelly?”

I think the Tennessee Titans have to be the leaders. Chip Kelly has gone 24-19 in nearly three seasons in Philadelphia. His first two seasons the team went 10-6 and this year the Eagles are 4-7. His starting quarterbacks have been Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford. Even Bill Belichick wouldn’t win with those guys. He’s had two winning seasons with these guys at quarterback.

Jeff Fisher had just six winning seasons in 16 years with the Titans. In fact, Fisher is headed for a fourth straight losing season with the Rams, meaning he’s now had just six winning seasons in twenty years as an NFL head coach. Why does anyone think he’s a good coach? 

I think what you get here is NFL guys hate for a college guy to succeed at their game. So Chip Kelly is being held to a tougher standard than most NFL coaches. The simple fact is it’s hard to win in the NFL without a good quarterback and Kelly doesn’t have a good quarterback. What could he do if you paired him with Marcus Mariota, who is unquestionably going to be a good quarterback, and perfectly fits Chip’s system? I can’t imagine a more perfect fit.

Sure, Chip might not win, but doesn’t he give the Titans the best chance to win of any coach they could hire? I think so. Plus, Nashville’s a relaxed media market. The team sucks now. People won’t expect an immediate fix. Hell, most people don’t even know the Titans are an NFL franchise right now because they’ve been so damn boring for so long. Chip’s a perfect fit. If I owned the team I’d sit Mariota down and say, “Do you want Chip Kelly to be your coach?” And if he said, “Yes,” I’d go get him. 

If Chip goes back to college then I think USC has to be the top choice along with LSU. Both teams are stacked with talent, but I think it’s easier to win a championship at USC. Selfishly, however, I’d love to see Chip coaching LSU for the Saban-Kelly battles. That would just be fantastic.

If Charlie Strong leaves for Miami then Texas has to offer Chip whatever it takes to get him to Austin.

I don’t see Chip going anywhere else unless Under Armour decides to go all Nike and just gives him gobs of stock options as an endorser on top of what Maryland would pay.  


Given some of the subject matter of your recent articles and your raging popularity (or lack thereof) on certain college campuses, please help clarify a hypothetical question that I and some of my fellow coworkers have had over the past couple weeks.

Assume the plot to the Schwarzenegger movie “Running Man” was able to be orchestrated in reality and you were chosen as a participant to be “hunted” for a 24 hour period on one of the following four campuses: Ohio State, Alabama, Missouri and West Virginia. What would be your rankings from 1 to 4, with 1 being the school to most likely to succeed in killing you the quickest and, obviously, your least desirable location to be hunted in.

My top 4:
1)West Virginia
4)Ohio State

I assumed West Virginia and Bama would be the least desirable due to the fact that they would more than likely be more experienced hunters and more proficient in long range weaponry like rifles and such. Whereas, Mizzou and Columbus are more urban settings with lesser tracking and hunting skills, plus the fact that half the Mizzou campus would be too busy protesting and starving themselves due to the fact that an actual human was being hunted on campus.

Thanks in advance and happy Thanksgiving assuming your gay, Muslim, racist family celebrates such a Western holiday.”

I actually think Alabama would be the safest place for me because we have a ton of readers on campus there who love me and I think those Bama fans in the 15% would smuggle me around and hide me from the people trying to kill me. This might blow your mind, but it’s possible I’m the most popular sportswriter in the country on Bama’s campus.

So Bama would take the longest to kill me.

Despite being hated by some people at Mizzou, I’m also incredibly beloved by lots of people on campus for being willing to point out that the protesters were full of shit, so I’d say I’d last the second longest there. 

I’d get killed first in West Virginia — no doubt that the number of people with gun facility is highest there — and I think Ohio State would be the second fastest to kill me. I just don’t have a lot of underground support on those campuses.  

So my rankings for the ease with which people would kill me goes:

1. West Virginia

2. Ohio State

3. Missouri

4. Alabama

Short guy writes:

“Read the anonymous mailbag and as always, it’s brilliant.

You said that bald men are the only target left where it is OK to make fun of these days. You are wrong. As a full grown male of 5’2, I can tell you that short people get it and get it bad. If I get mad or even somewhat upset at all over a joke…want to know what I get? Yup…”he’s got a Napoleon Complex.” Not only that, but go ask a girl what she looks for in a guy…want to know what the first thing she says will be? “I don’t date guys shorter than me.” Pulled over by the cops in my teenage years because I looked too small to be driving? Multiple times. Hell, the lady at our local store wouldn’t sell me a lottery ticket when I was 18. I had to get my mom to come in…true story.

Go to a bar with a short guy and ask him to go up and get a round of drinks from the bar….it will take longer…trust me. They either overlook you (seriously…look right over you on accident) OR they just flat out keep going to the next person. Walk in to buy something expensive or a house or just a high end store and you will get followed if you look too young. Happens to me all the time. It’s not fun, but it is what I deal with all my life. I usually just try and make fun of it first and kind of beat people to the punch.

Yea, being abnormally short is pretty bad. Not gonna lie. I don’t think I’d want to be 6’9 or anything, but shit, 5’7 wouldn’t be bad.”

You’re right, short guys get crushed. It’s totally normal for girls to specify that they want to date tall guys. Most guys don’t really care about anything but hotness, but girls will eliminate guys based on height all the time. If you’re a short guy and you’re bald, you’re really fucked. You better be funny as hell. In fact, the only short bald guy in American history to be successful was Danny Devito. And he was only successful because he was short and bald. If Danny Devito looked like Brad Pitt he would never have become a comedian.  

We need to do a privilege ranking on Outkick, figure out who the most advantaged people in America really are. Right now our privilege discussion ends with #whiteprivilege, which is just way too lazy. 

The most privileged people in America today have to be hot chicks, right? #hotprivilege is definitely real.

How much different would a hot chick’s life be if she suddenly became an ugly chick? And vice versa, if an ugly chick became a hot chick overnight she wouldn’t even realize how much different the world was. Hot chicks can get away with anything. The rules literally do not apply to them. 

I’m going to think on ranking this though. Some definite privileges are conveyed via genetics: height, attractiveness, intelligence, American residency, wealth. I think all five of these factors are infinitely more important than your race. 

Would you rather be a hot, tall, brilliant, rich American black man or an ugly, dumb, short, poor Canadian white man living in the frozen tundra?

No contest, right?

Bill writes:


Assuming LSU goes through with their firing of Les Miles, how many SEC coaches have either lost or left their jobs because of Nick Saban? By my count, you have Tuberville, Fulmer, Meyer, Chizik and now Miles gone because of their inability – or perceived inability – to compete with Saban. Anything to my theory (which I hate btw because I hate Alabama)?”

If Nick Saban signs Drew Brees instead of Daunte Culpepper, I think he’s still coaching in the NFL and some of these guys might well still be employed at their old jobs. 

It’s fascinating to think how everything in college football changed because the Miami Dolphin doctors refused to clear Drew Brees’s shoulder. If that medical decision is different, Nick Saban has probably won a couple of Super Bowls and is considered one of the top coaches in the NFL. 

That’s why I think Saban still has an itch to go back to the NFL. He wants to prove he’s as good of a coach as Bill Belichick, who he went 2-2 against while he coached Miami. 

Michael writes:


The recent article you retweeted by the Washington Post got me a bit fired up. The author writes a lengthy article about the fiscal malpractices of many Power 5 schools, yet never mentions the cost of other sports. Sure football is expensive but it also brings in the most revenue. Being in these Power 5 conferences is extremely important in today’s sporting landscape. The TV money generated, more than pays for expenses at most schools for football, and even spills over to other sports.

So here’s my question, is Title IX basically forcing the equivalent of sporting socialism on college institutions? Without Title 9 how many schools field 20+ sports? If they aren’t revenue positive wouldn’t most sports get canned?

So on one hand writers choose to rip the cost of football but also don’t take into account the expense of all other collegiate sports. Would these Power 5 schools all have to take stipends and funding from general academic funding if they weren’t propping up other sports on campus? I’m not trying to make an argument for getting ride of Women’s athletics, so I hope the debate doesn’t turn into a sexist one. There are plenty of male sports that run deep into the red at universities.

I look forward to hearing your enlightened response bearded brother.”

I’ve been arguing for a while that revenue producing and non-revenue producing sports should be treated differently. College athletic departments are a strange hybrid of business and non-business. The revenue producing sports are run like for profit businesses — that’s football and men’s basketball — and the rest of the sports teams are run like non-profits.

All of the money that football and men’s basketball make is funneled into scholarships for athletes that would never receive scholarships in a purely market-based economy. So instead of paying football and men’s basketball players for the economic talents they have and the money the produce — which is the foundation of capitalism — we take the profits their talents create and give them to other athletes whose talents wouldn’t otherwise pay for themselves. It’s sports communism, a totally unAmerican move, take from the rich and give to the poor in an effort to keep everyone poor.

That’s why I’ve been arguing that you really can’t pretend that football and women’s lacrosse are the same thing. They aren’t. Men’s basketball and men’s swimming aren’t the same either. Basically any sport other than football and men’s basketball is a big-time money loser on a college campus.


Toss in Title IX, which requires equal scholarship numbers for men and women, and men’s sports are getting gutted in order to equalize the 85 scholarships that football takes up. Those scholarships have to be equalized in women’s athletics even if the market demand for women’s college athletics — outside of a handful of women’s basketball teams — is nonexistent.  

So wouldn’t it be more profitable, honestly, for some athletic departments to become for profit and pay a tax on the money they make off their popular sports instead of being forced to comply with Title IX? I’d be intrigued to know the legalities of this.  

Finally, someone asked me an interesting legal question a while back in the mailbag, can you argue that football isn’t a men’s sport at all? That it’s actually coed and no women — generally — make the team? I mean, football isn’t like men’s and women’s basketball or men’s and women’s soccer, right? It’s not men’s football. A woman can play football, she just has to make the team. The fact that men make the team at a much higher rate than women doesn’t mean that women can’t play.

My position on college athletics is pretty simple, I’m a markets guy. I think the people with the talent that other people are willing to pay to see play should get the money they create. That’s called capitalism. If you’re really talented in something that no one is willing to pay you for, well, that doesn’t mean you can’t play, it just means you don’t necessarily deserve a scholarship for it. Why should a football or basketball player’s talent subsidize a talent that wouldn’t pay for itself otherwise?   

Mizzou fan writes:


Since you’re the voice of reason in the world, I need your advice/help.

So my friends and I pick one away game a year to attend. This goes back to about sophomore year of college when we were still in the Big 12. When Missouri joined the SEC in 2012 we couldn’t wait to find out when we would be going to LSU. In 2014 when it was announced we’d be going to LSU in 2016, we knew that was our trip, just had to wait a couple years for the date to be announced. Fast forward to October 2015, about a week before the 2016 dates are announced. My wife’s best friend gets engaged and my wife will be the matron of honor. They set the date for October 1, 2016. Literally a week later, the 2016 SEC dates are announced and, you guessed it, of the 14 week season Mizzou will travel to LSU on October 1, 2016. Now, I know this couple fairly well and the bride-to-be was in our wedding. But unlike my wife, I’m not in the wedding, which means 95% of the day I’ll be by myself anyway. Am I obligated to go to this wedding since my wife is in it? She believes it is rude for the matron of honor’s husband to not be there (although I know for a fact the groom would be perfectly fine with me going to LSU). Is it reasonable for me to think skipping for a planned football trip is no big deal? What’s my best play here? I’m counting on you.”

It will be 12 years until Mizzou goes back to LSU. (This, by the way, is why I believe divisions should be scrapped in the SEC and every team should play three yearly rivals and alternate the other ten teams in the league five and five. This way you’d play a home and home at every school in the league every four years.) 

Skip the wedding, head to the game. 

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. 


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.