I nearly died from a fire ant attack this week. I was on an island right outside of Naples, Florida and had to pee. The water was kind of cold so I decided I'd just go behind a tree. I took my six year old with me because he had to go too.
We were both barefoot and started across the sand when we ran into a huge patch of sand spurs -- these are the most diabolical little bastards I have ever seen. They're basically thorns designed to destroy your feet. After I stepped on a couple I waved my son back -- this is what I would imagine soldiers did in World War II when they realized they had entered a mine field -- but he'd already been felled by the damn things too. I kept going on up a hillside and then found a place where I couldn't be seen peeing. (Because now that I'm somewhat of a public figure I assume that at some point in time I'm going to get arrested for public urination and it will go on the front page of the paper. "Travis Arrested For Public Urination," is -450 to be the headline if I'm ever arrested for anything. Open container on a boat is -700. We could have a lot of fun having Todd Fuhrman set odds for all arrests. Drive by shooting suspect is +100000.)
Anyway, so I find this spot where no one can see me while I'm peeing and I'm standing there peeing and my left ankle starts to burn and I look down and I'll be damned if I haven't decided to stand right on top of a fire ant hill. So I'm standing there with my dick in my hand, my leg swarmed by fire ants and burning like hell, unable to stand on the soles of my feet because the sand spurs are embedded there, and I'm thinking, "I am totally fucked."
This is basically "The Revenant" with ants.
I've never been attacked by fire ants before so as they're biting me I'm thinking, "What if I'm deathly allergic to fire ants and this is how my life ends?" Because I just got stung by 100 simultaneously, I'm going to die if I'm deathly allergic to them.
So I finish peeing and I want to sprint to the ocean to get rid of the fire ants all over my left foot, but at the same time I can't run because if I run then all the sand spurs are going to get deeply embedded in my feet so I awkwardly waddle back to the ocean on the side of my feet, where the sand spurs haven't embedded themselves, walk in, and drown all the fire ants. Then I try and act like I'm perfectly fine when I come back out of the ocean because my wife is already mad at me because our six year old has sand spurs in his feet and he's sitting on the sand crying while she pulls them out one by one.
My wife didn't even find out that fire ants almost killed me until the next day when she saw my leg covered in bites.
I just kept quiet about it. She only heard about the fire ants when my mom called her because I'd talked about it on the radio. (Yes, my mom called my wife to make sure I was okay. Your mom probably does this too. Your mom cares about your health much more than your wife does.)
Every married man has been in this situation. Where your wife is already mad at you for something and you just keep quiet instead of making it worse.
Which reminds me, when I was like 12 years old my dad pulled me aside and said, "One day you're going to get married and I'm going to give you the best three words of advice I can ever give you. "Placate the woman."
For those of you who don't know what placate means, it means to make someone less angry or hostile.
I didn't know it then, but it's honestly perfect advice. In my experience married women are always mad about something. Generally it's their husbands. We never do things like they want us to do things. And if they're mad at their kids they'll get over that because of biology. No mom can hate her kids for long. So everything gets foisted on to the husband.
When my three kids screw up I know it's always going to end up my fault somehow. Which is bad because I screw up enough by myself.
Worst of all, sometimes I screw up while trying to think like my wife. That is: I DON'T EVEN MAKE THE DECISION I WOULD NORMALLY MAKE, I TRY TO MAKE THE DECISION I THINK SHE WOULD WANT ME TO MAKE AND I'M STILL WRONG.
Anyway, think about this, how often are you, as a married man, genuinely mad at your wife compared to how often she's mad at you? Women are mad at men, based on my rigorous scientific analysis of my own life experience, at least ten times as frequently as men are mad at women.
So try and placate the women.
Also, hate to brag, but I'm a hero for not dying from fire ants.
Further, I'm about to hop in a car and drive with my wife and three boys, ages eight, six, and two, to Atlanta for the Alabama-Washington game. So pray for us.
My wife is going to be so mad at me by the time we get to Atlanta.
On to the mailbag.
"Arkansas and Texas A&M fans write in after the bowl games, what should we do about our coaches?"
First, I am furious at Arkansas. They have cost me so much money this year. But last year was just the final kick in the fucking teeth. I had Arkansas +7.5 last night.
At halftime, with the Razorbacks up 24-0, I had Arkansas +31.5.
My win percentage on Arkansas +31.5 with only one half left had to be like 99.99%.
So, of course, Arkansas gives up 35 second half points and is held scoreless to lose the bet for us. I woke up this morning still mad over this game. Hell, while I'm writing mailbag responses right now I'm still mad too.
So what should Arkansas do? I think the way the Razorbacks lost coupled with a senior tight end getting popped for stealing from Belk in the Belk Bowl -- seriously, this is the best viral marketing in Belk Bowl history -- it's clear that Bret Bielema, who is now 25-26 and 10-22 in the SEC after four years, is not the answer if your goal is to compete for championships
Now, if your goal is to go 7-5 or 8-4 and win half of your SEC games and every four or five years contend for the SEC West, I think Bielema can pull that off. But anything more than that isn't happening. Arkansas's problem is two fold: 1. Bielema has a 15 million buyout and 2. who else can you hire that's definitely better?
I think Bielema would be a good coach in the Big Ten -- where we already know he won big at Wisconsin -- or the Big 12. But the problem is he's at Arkansas and right now the Razorbacks are the 8th or 9th best job in the SEC. (Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida are all definitely better jobs. And South Carolina, Missouri and Ole Miss are roughly equivalent jobs. The only schools in the SEC that Arkansas is definitely a better job than are Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt.)
So if you're going to win big at Arkansas you need to have a coach who either has a schematic coaching advantage, like Bobby Petrino, or one who recruits consistent top ten talent. Bielema offers neither of these. So how is Bielema ever winning at a high level at Arkansas?
It's simple, he isn't.
But who would definitely do better at Arkansas? I'm not sure there's an easy answer.
And the same is true for Texas A&M.
Kevin Sumlin has gone 11-2, 9-4, 8-5, 8-5 and 8-5 so far in five seasons with the Aggies.
Who is 100% guaranteed to do better than that who would coach A&M? There are only two guys that come to mind -- Chip Kelly and Bobby Petrino.
The simple truth is this, there aren't very many top available coaches in college football right now.
There are ten guys that I think are top level coaches right now and this is how I would rank them at this exact moment in time: 1. Nick Saban 2. Urban Meyer 3. Jim Harbaugh 4. Chris Petersen 5. Bobby Petrino 6. Jimbo Fisher 7. Bob Stoops 8. James Franklin 9. David Shaw 10. Mike Gundy I've dropped Mark Dantonio outside my top ten after a disastrous year.
My point with this list is pretty simple, there aren't many top coaches.
But if I were an AD this is what my list would look like if I had to fill an opening. Other than Bobby Petrino -- and maybe James Franklin and Mike Gundy -- none of these guys look particularly mobile.
Lots of you:
"Why is the SEC 1-4 through five bowl games so far."
Because Nick Saban has murdered SEC coaching.
In trying to find their own Saban LSU, Georgia and Tennessee have all fired three of the most successful coaches in school history. Les Miles, Mark Richt and Phil Fulmer all won 75% of their games and all three got fired because they couldn't beat Saban. That's because Saban has set an unrealistic standard for successs now in the SEC.
Everyone looks at what Saban is doing and asks why we can't do that too. The answer is easy, because you don't have Saban. If Saban were at any of the top seven programs in the SEC, he'd be winning at the same level. This isn't about Nick Saban, it's about Alabama.
SEC schools have all tried to find their own Saban by hiring his assistants, Derek Dooley, Will Muschamp, twice, Jim McElwain, Kirby Smart, Saban's such the gold standard that every SEC school is trying to replicate his talent by hiring coaches that have worked in close proximity to him.
The problem with this is Saban's the coaching genius, everyone else is relatively disposable. Indeed, Nick Saban has coached against his former coaches ten times, winning every game by 14 or more points.
You don't get William Faulkner's prose by hiring his typist.
Saban is Michael Jordan and Les Miles, Mark Richt, and Phil Fulmer were Patrick Ewing, John Stockton and Karl Malone. Except imagine if the Knicks and the Jazz had fired those basketball players because they weren't winning championships during the Jordan era and tried to replace them with guys who could beat Jordan.
That would have made the Knicks and the Jazz worse, right?
Well, that's exactly what the SEC has done.
The SEC coaching ranks beneath Saban have never been weaker.
If I were ranking SEC coaches right now, who is the second best coach in the league?
Nick Saban is clearly number one.
Then there's a huge gap.
But who is the second best SEC coach? Hell, it's got to be Gus Malzahn, doesn't it? Or Kevin Sumlin? And neither of those guys have accomplished that much at their present jobs. This is an amazing stat, but the only other SEC coach right now to have ever won an SEC title is Gus Malzahn.
Think about how insane that fact is.
The entire SEC has just two SEC title winners coaching in it right now. Want an even crazier stat? Gus Malzahn, Nick Saban and Jim McElwain are the only three coaches to have ever coached in an SEC title game.
If you compare the Big Ten or the ACC's coaching talent right now with the SEC's there's no contest. The SEC players are still the best, but the coaching is a disaster.
Right now in the Big Ten I think all of you would definitely agree that Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh, James Franklin and Mark Dantonio are really good coaches. That's four pretty heavyweight coaches before we even need to get to Kirk Ferentz or Pat Fitzgerald or Lovie Smith. The ACC has Jimbo Fisher, Dabo Swinney, Bobby Petrino, and David Cutcliffe. That's four outstanding coaches too. Toss in Mark Richt, Larry Fedora and Justin Fuente and the ACC has pretty good depth too.
Who are the SEC's best four coaches? Nick Saban -- then a huge gap -- and Gus Malzahn, Kevin Sumlin and, who else, Dan Mullen? Hugh Freeze? Jim McElwain? The SEC coaches are awful right now. You can't even pick four good ones.
Now maybe that's because there are a bunch of young coaches, but how many SEC coaches could leave for big jobs right now? Other than Saban I'm not sure any of them would get hired anywhere else.
The reason the SEC is down and other conferences are up is pretty simple, it's the coaching, stupid.
"What's the last major topic you changed your mind about? Like you were sure you were right and then a new piece of evidence came out that makes you totally rethink your position?"
I've been pretty firm on most of my beliefs for the last decade or so. The one area where I've changed is since having kids I have a lot less of a bleeding heart when it comes to parents who have multiple kids that they can't afford.
I have more empathy for the kids, but less for the parents.
I'm willing to give anyone a pass on one accidental kid. But if you have more than one kid by accident that you can't afford you're an idiot.
It's not that hard to avoid getting pregnant.
If you have more than one accidental pregnancy, you're too dumb to procreate.
"Clay - you should refresh your memory on Tyreek Hill at Oklahoma State.....played for most of one year, got in trouble for domestic abuse (he punched his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach and choked her) and was immediately kicked out of school. Compare that to Joe Mixon at Oklahoma.
Tyreek was able to transfer to West Alabama, and was able to make it to NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs. But he received punishment, was given a second chance, and made the most of it."
Oklahoma should have definitely dismissed Joe Mixon, but it is a fascinating question that never really gets discussed very much, if a player is too violent to remain safely at a large school, why is it okay to bring him to a small school and let him redeem himself there?
Isn't that small school basically saying that the safety and well being of its students don't matter as much as the safety and well being of the big school?
In other words, if Tyreek Hill is too violent to attend Oklahoma State and play football, why is it okay for him to go to West Alabama and play football.
Our idea of the punishment here is predicated on the quality of football, not the severity of the offense. Isn't this a strange punishment? We're basically saying that his punishment is just going to be a lot less people watching him play football.
I'm not trying to establish the limits of redemption or decide who deserves a second chance and who doesn't, but it is always interesting to me who gets a second chance and who doesn't. If you're supremely talented in something, we let you screw up a lot more than once.
"Some buddies and I were debating how long it would take to view all the pornographic material on the internet. We came up with the constraints that it has to be videos, and it has to be legal. The videos are played non-stop, without skipping a single second.
One guy said he thought you could do it in 10 years, personally I think it would be longer, maybe 15-20. How long do you think it would take?"
You guys are way off, it would take hundreds of years and that's only if pornography production ceased at some point in the future. It might already be thousands of years.
Let's so some basic math here, if you watched porn for 24 hours a day for 365 days, that's 8,760 hours of porn a year. I have zero doubt that many more hours of pornography are produced worldwide than this each year. So if you watched porn for an entire year straight, you'd still lose ground.
Add in the fact that porno videos have existed in substantial numbers for at least 40 years -- the advent of the VCR led to a boom in porno movies being made -- and you're talking about millions of hours of porn to view.
And we're just talking about professional porn.
Can you imagine the billions of hours of amateur porn out there now?
It's essentially infinite.
We'll have an Outkick Show tomorrow discussing the college football playoff.
Until then, love you guys and thanks for supporting Outkick in an incredible 2016, our most successful yet.