It’s mailbag time.
And y’all continue to deluge me with spectacular questions.
So much so that it’s actually getting hard to pick the best ones.
As you can see, Katherine Webb is now posing for Vanity Fair in her underwear. When will people stop punishing her for being beautiful? My gosh, the world is such a horrible place. I don’t know how she sleeps at night with how cruel and unkind everyone has been to her since Brent Musburger called her beautiful during the BCS title game. First Inside Edition at the Super Bowl, then the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, next a reality television show that’s advertised during the Oscars, and now a Vanity Fair interview?
It’s just so unfair to her.
Our beaver pelt trader of the week is AJ McCarron.
Because of his two new tattoos.
AJ told the Dan Patrick show yesterday he had two new tattoos.
St. Michael fighting Lucifer and the Mobile, Alabama skyline. (Note, maybe it’s not Mobile. He’s from the gulf coast, but this is the closest city. What other skyline could it be?)
We. Must. Have. Pics.
Come on AJ, you know you read OKTC, just email the site pictures of the new ink.
On to the mailbag.
Travis R. writes:
“How would you rank the SEC fanbases combining football and men’s basketball? All other sports are useless and aren’t worth debating. For example, Alabama and Auburn have great a great football fan base but their basketball fan base sucks so they would be somewhere in the middle.”
First, I dispute that SEC baseball is worthless — it’s actually pretty awesome — but I accept your premise that the average fan only cares about football and basketball. (By the way, even basketball is a stretch. Have you seen the SEC crowds of late at Auburn, A&M, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Vandy? They’re awful. Our article readership reflects this as well. When I write about SEC basketball, the readership is a fraction of anything I write about SEC football. This is true, in general, of college football vs. college basketball all over the Internet no matter where you write. College football just crushes college basketball in terms of general fan interest. Outside of the NCAA tourney, most sports fans just don’t care about college basketball.)
Given how popular SEC football is, all teams draw well there, but which programs have the best combination of basketball and football fandom?
Here are my rankings:
UT is the only SEC school in the top ten for both football and basketball crowds. Everyone knows Neyland Stadium is huge, but did you know that Thompson-Boling Arena seats over 20,000 people? Last year was the seventh consecutive season that the Vols were top five in basketball attendance.
The Razorbacks have a great football and basketball facility and draw well for both sports. Especially now that Mike Anderson has the local fan base fired up again.
I know the Gators don’t have perfect crowds for basketball, but they draw very well relative to the rest of the SEC.
Notwithstanding the final Joker Phillips year, the Wildcats actually draw pretty well for football. And, clearly, they draw supremely well for basketball.
Alabama has a sneaky good basketball history, and if they got a great coach — Bruce Pearl, anyone? — down in Tuscaloosa, they would show up in a big way.
Near capacity in both football and men’s basketball is an impressive debut for the Tigers.
7. Mississippi State
This year’s basketball team is awful, but traditionally Mississippi State is very successful in basketball. Football sells out under Dan Mullen.
This is the first year you can say that Vandy’s basketball attendance is actually putting a drag on the football team’s standing. Is Vandy really a football school now?
The basketball program has had a great deal of success, but the fan support is still not extraordinary.
10. Texas A&M
It’s hard for me to judge Aggie basketball interest, but it doesn’t seem very substantial based on the games I’ve watched and Twitter activity during Aggie games.
11. South Carolina
I’m not sure South Carolina basketball fans will ever fill up their brand new, spectacular arena.
12. Ole Miss
Even with a good season going, there have been quite a few open seats in Oxford for basketball.
Does anyone at Georgia care about basketball? Georgia’s continued futility in basketball is one of the most amazing failings out there. How can an awesome campus an hour from Atlanta not be a top twenty program?
If you ranked the SEC football and basketball programs 1-28, Auburn basketball would be 28th.
“I’ve been trying to think of a way to ask this question without coming off as a jerk, but I can’t so here it goes.
My girlfriend and I are both in our late twenties, both working professionals, and have been seeing each other for over four years. We have plans to get married in the future. She has a rear end like Jessica Biel and in that respect, I am very fortunate. However, she has a small chest. She also has pretty bad vision. I don’t know the 20/whatever value. She’s not legally blind without vision correction, but she probably shouldn’t drive without her contacts in either.
She wants to undergo elective surgery (breast augmentation and lasik) to “fix” both of of these issues. We can afford both, but not at the same time.
My opinion surprisingly matters to her on how we proceed from here. I have pretty good vision, so I can’t really relate to the hassle of having to deal with contacts or glasses. I do like big boobs, and am having to deal with the hassle of not having them available.
How can I steer her toward the breast augmentation first, without it coming off as self serving? Is that even possible?
PS- DO NOT use my name or an abbreviation of it! Make something up! She follows the website, and is smarter than me. I have to have plausible deniability on this if she sees it.”
Hopefully for you there are a ton of women with great asses who are simultaneously planning both lasik and a boob job and regularly read the site. Otherwise your plausible deniability is screwed no matter which name I use for you.
I’ve been wracking my brain to try and come up with a way that you can make the boob job argument first and I really can’t come up with a plausible reason why she should get a boob job first. That is, I don’t believe there is a single reason why you have elective surgery to correct something that is entirely cosmetic over something that actually needs fixing. The lasik should come first, right? What if you convinced her to get fake boobs and then she got in a traffic accident late at night because she couldn’t see that well.
You’d be the worst boyfriend ever.
What if she died in the accident and her crying mom was like, “I just can’t figure out why she decided to get those fake boobs before she got lasik?”
So be careful here.
When situations like this arise, I would counsel brutal honesty. Your girlfriend is probably better than you at subtle hints and she’s smarter than you — as most women these days are — so you’ll just end up pissing her off if you hamhandedly argue it makes more sense to get the boobs first.
But, contrary to the cliche, women respond pretty well to brutal honesty.
If you’re deadset on the boobs first, just tell her you know it makes more sense to get the lasik first, but you are so looking forward to seeing her with the new boobs, that you can’t bear to wait. Then leave it up to her. After all, she’s the one having the surgery, she should decide which one comes first.
What does a few months matter in the long run?
Bigger question, have you considered the ultimate danger here, with new eyes and perfect boobs, what if her self-confidence soars and she leaves you?
Secondary question, do you have to wait extra time to propose if your girlfriend gets new boobs? You guys have been dating four years. If you wait like a week or even a month and then propose after the new boobs arrive, it could look like you’re proposing to the new boobs and not to her.
Which would never happen, I’m sure.
“Jadeveon Clowney was a star before his hit on Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl, but that hit took him into the stratosphere. Can you think of a single play by a college football player that has had more impact on how he is viewed in the public consciousness?
(Answering my own question: Buck Belue is the least talented radio personality on the planet, and without Lindsay Scott he has a different career. But I don’t think that play caused him to be viewed differently on the field.)”
Well, on the negative side, Bill Buckner’s misplayed ball in the 1986 World Series eclipsed everything else he’s ever done in his life. But the error made him a superstar. If Buckner fields that ball correctly does anyone even remember his name today?
Scott Norwood’s missed kick in the Super Bowl also comes to mind. He’s still pretty famous for that and that alone.
But on the positive side and in the world of college football, I’d probably point to Herschel Walker running over Bill Bates. That play made Walker a superstar even in a non-YouTube era. In the same way that Clowney’s hit was an announcement of a freakish athletic talent, Walker running over a guy in perfect tackling position — who would later go on to a great NFL career — was more than just a dominant play. It was the announcement of a superstar.
I’d also dispute with you that Jadeveon Clowney was a star before that hit. I think he was a star to SEC fans, but did casual college football fans all know him prior to that hit? I don’t think they did. Did casual NFL fans know him? I don’t think so. Put it this way, would SI have put Clowney on the cover of their magazine without that hit? I don’t think so. That play made him a national star.
Justin S. writes:
“So if you haven’t been following it, Michigan and A&M are battling it out for the NCAA14 cover. It is a facebook poll and it is getting epic. Michigan had a huge lead, but A&M has made a comeback and now it is neck and neck on the final day. So how are these fan bases getting all these votes you ask? They are pooling their money together and “buying” votes through a voting service that probably has some third world kids creating FB accounts. Basically we have a bunch of middle aged men paying money to have a 22 year old kid on the cover of a video game that they won’t even be in and the people buying votes will never play. Is America officially doomed?”
The only thing better than the cheating is the middle-aged anonymous men on message boards obsessing over the video game cover because of the recruiting benefits.
Blake M. writes:
“Okay so me and my wife just had a son in January. He was six weeks premature. Of course like any father I’m putting all my retirement chips in his pro sports career. However my wife is having a hard time breast feeding/pumping and I am urging her to keep it up because we all know the benefits of breast feeding. She’s had enough of it and says she’s through with it in two weeks when she goes back to work. I think I should put a disclaimer that this doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him she is just having trouble with it. That means our son will go on formula. I’m concerned that with the lack of breast milk he won’t get the proper nutrition to go pro. So to win an argument what percentage do you think of pro sports players were exclusively breast fed? What sports would it not matter? Golf? NASCAR? Do I need to start investing in an IRA now or focus his training on a different sport than the big 3?”
First, let me just say, breastfeeding is hard to manage. As soon as my wife started breastfeeding I understood why all the rich women back in the day had wet nurses. Is it politically incorrect to have a wet nurse now? Does anyone still do this? Is it even legal? Because if we had a third child, I might try this.
Also, did your wife have the breast pump contraption that sounds like a car engine from 1932? That thing is terrifying. My oldest son was scared of the sound and always ran out of the room when it was turned on. Technology has made breastfeeding even easier — the refrigerator, the breastpump, bottles — and it still sucks.
The good news is that if your wife has breastfed for the past couple of months, she’s given him like 90% of the benefit he needs from breastfeeding.
So he’ll be fine.
Now for my hypothesis of what percentage of pro sports players were breastfed. (My favorite mailbag questions are the ones that I have no basis to know the answer to but convince myself I can figure it out just by thinking through the issue. This might be my best talent.) Your average big three sport pro athlete is, on average, from a lower level socioeconomic background, right? That is, the richest kids don’t typically end up playing any sport other than golf and tennis. The richer you are, the more likely your mom is to breastfeed you. Why? Because the most likely breastfeeder is probably a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t have to go back to work. And if your mom stays home in this era, you’re probably wealthy enough to be able to afford that. Lots of working women continue to breastfeed too, but it’s really difficult to pull off that planning. The more flexibility a woman has in her schedule, the more likely she breastfeeds.
So I would venture that like 95% of all pro golf and tennis players were breastfed. Hell, I think Rory McIlroy is still being breastfed. By the time you get to baseball, football, and basketball, the percentage moves to well less than half, I bet. So I don’t think breastfeeding has any real impact on your son’s future athletic ability.
But if you want to maximize his potential athletic earnings, hockey is the sport to get him playing. Given the NHL salaries and the lack of competition — what percentage of Americans even play ice hockey? — it’s the best odds of making it pro.
Also, I have no idea if LeBron James was breastfed, but are you really telling me he would have been significantly smaller without breastfeeding? No way. Genetics are way more important than breast milk. (This should be a bumper sticker).
Note: after I answered this question I looked up socioeconomic status and and breastfeeding to see if my hypotheses were accurate. (And my breastfeeding hypotheses above are completely true. Told you I’m good at this.)
Accordiing to the above link only 45.9 percent of black women in the South breastfeed at all.
So where are all those dominant SEC defensive tackles coming from?
Congrats on your son.
Michael S. writes:
“After reading about your search for a private school in Nashville, I’m curious about your feelings on public school vs. private school. I’m a product of the public school system and used to think I would never send my children to private school. Back then we considered private school children spoiled-rotten snobs. Now that we have a 4-year-old, we’re sending her to a private school instead of our public school system because of concerns over safety and quality of education. Does that make us hypocrites, or has the public school system deteriorated so much in the last 20 years that parents have no choice but to seek other venues if they can afford it?”
I went to public school K-12. So did my wife.
My intent was to put my kids in public school. We still would like to put them in my public high school, Martin Luther King.
But we’re going private school.
There’s a massive difference between a good public school, an average public school, and a bad public school. I went to all three during my K-12 schooling. We live in downtown Nashville now and were recently rezoned into the worst school district in the city from one of the best. Thanks, Nashville. When we built our house we planned on our zoned public school. Once we were rezoned, we had two options: either move or go to private school. We love where we live so we didn’t want to move twenty miles outside the city like a lot of other people have done. And we didn’t want to pay a half million dollars for a 1930’s bungalow in west Nashville either.
So that meant private school was the only option for us.
Come this fall, we’ll be at Ensworth.
Forrest D. writes:
“Clay – I have a client who is a big OU booster, and he got to know Kevin Sumlin back when he coached there. So Coach Sumlin and his family are going to stay at my client’s coastal resort house for Spring Break. Coach Sumlin and his kids like to deep sea fish, so my client calls up and asks if I can line up a fishing trip, because another one of my clients has an awesome boat. Weather permitting, I got the fishing trip lined up. Do I go with them on the fishing trip? I do not want to intrude, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is further complicated because based on my previous three deep sea fishing trips, there is a 33% chance I will toss my cookies in front of Coach Sumlin and his kids. As an Aggie living in SEC country whose quality of life has dramatically improved this past year, meeting Coach Sumlin will be much more awesome than meeting the President of the United States (regardless of party affiliation). What do you say to someone like that? “Hey, coach, great job coaching last year. You guys gonna beat ‘Bama again this year?” I mean, come on. What do you say?”
Is your buddy also on the boat, or is it just Sumlin and his family? If it’s just Sumlin and his family, I’d suggest you show up to make sure they get on the boat okay — meet him and get your picture then — before leaving. After all, the guy works his ass off and probably wants to be able to just escape and hang out with his family sometimes.
Now, if your buddy is also on the boat and it’s more of a group fishing event, then I’d say you have to go.
I’ve been deep sea fishing before and I hated it. If the ocean is calm, it’s fine, but the ocean is usually not calm. Which means you get seasick as hell. I hated it so much there are only a few people I’d be willing to go deep sea fishing with — Larry David, the President, Jennifer Lawrence — hell, that might be it.
As for what you say, I think you go with, “Howdy, who got more ass after y’all beat Alabama, Kliff Kingsbury or Johnny Football?”
Gator Grad writes:
“Clay – with the latest false rumor about Les Miles it seems that the only thing that can take down a successful coach in the SEC is a sex scandal. I’ve read your idea of boosters from every other SEC school pooling their money to buy out Saban. But what if they all just pool their money and pay as many Spitzer-esqe call girls as it takes to get to his little Saban? Secondly, with his success do you even think Bama fans would care if he got caught up in a sex scandal? For 99.99% of them certainly not. Hell I’d bet a lot of them would contribute directly to a Saban hooker fund just to ensure he stays satisfied and relaxed ad possible off the field.”
Short of a murder charge, I’m not sure what Saban could do at this point to get fired at Alabama. And if Saban denied the murder charge, I think there would be a substantial segment of the Alabama fan base that would support his remaining coaching while he stood trial. That’s what cults do, support their leaders even when they’re at fault.
Everyone has a flaw, but I’m not sure what Saban’s is.
Plus, as you’re pointing out, there’s no way Alabama replaces Saban for a sex scandal.
The best possible way to get Saban out of the SEC would just be if fans pooled their money to get him to retire. Seriously, how much money could the rest of the SEC raise if it meant Saban would leave? Could every fanbase raise at least a million online? I think so. What would Saban’s response be if I asked him how much money it would take for him to quit coaching? Because I’ll ask next time I see him, which will probably be at the SEC spring meetings down in Destin.
Start saving up your money.