All That and a Bag of Mail: Vandy QB Cheerleader Edition
By Clay Travis
It's hard not to like Vandy quarterback Jordan Rodgers. Last month I noticed his Twitter picture and had some fun with it as an awkward quarterback photo. In a first in the awkward photo oeuvre, Rodgers retweeted the article to his followers. That's probably what I would do as well. And it's what a lot of you with better senses of humor would do if you were featured in the awkward fan photo collection. So it's hard not to like a guy with a sense of humor about himself. Jordan has a chance to start two bowl games in his Vandy career. If that happens maybe dressing up as a cheerleader should become a new Vandy quatertbacking tradition.
We're six days away from one of the biggest Vanderbilt football games in school history -- a Thursday night kickoff to the entire season against a top ten South Carolina team.
Earlier this week we had James Franklin on 3HL and asked him what player he needed to play extraordinarily well for his team to have a shot at an upset. His answer?
The same Jordan Rodgers who recently dressed up as a Vanderbilt cheerleader.
Yep, if the Gamecocks get upset, it's going to be squarely because of this man.
(Confession: There are photos of me dressed up in women's clothes during college too. Yes, yes, that's because I'm gay Alabama fans. I'll save you the trouble of the allegations).
3HL intern Justin came across these Facebook photos and sent them to me over a month ago, but then I forgot about them until this week. So our beaver pelt trader of the week is Vandy's Jordan Rodgers, who isn't afraid of dressing up like a cheerleader. (Which honestly, in the paradoxical world of college hook-ups, probably got him more ass at Vandy than dressing up as the actual quarterback).
Okay on to the mailbag.
Jeff Bailey Tweets: "What kind of car would it take to get you to play for Mississippi State?"
I'm not a car guy, so there's no way I'd go anywhere based on the car someone got me.
I'd rather just have straight cash, homey.
As for what it would take to get me to sign with a school, I went to George Washington for a scholarship which, when you think about it, is basically the same thing as giving a non-athlete cash. So if I would go to GW, an inferior academic school to others I could have gone to, for a scholarship -- something that the athlete is already getting -- I would have clearly taken $100k plus a scholarship to go to any major school in the country. Hell, I would have been ecstatic with $50k. That's more money than my dad or mom ever made from their jobs in a year in their entire working lives.
And if you had $50k in college, you could live like a king.
What did you actually have to spend in college? All your meals were covered, same with lodging, beer specials meant you could get ridiculously drunk for like $20. I mean if you had $200 a week on most college campuses you were rolling in cash.
With $50k you'd have no issues at all.
So I'd want the cash. I could have bought a cheap car with the cash and no one at the NCAA would have ever been aware of it. In fact, the older I get the more likely it is that I would have sold my services. At 17 I would have been too nervous to try and pull it off. The 33 year old me is thinking, "Do you know how much money they're making off you? And you want me to risk permanent injury for a free ride to Mississippi State? No thanks."
Remember, when you break down the actual role of the NCAA it's this: Ensuring that poor kids remain poor.
Because having a rich parent isn't an improper benefit. So rich kids are never going to need anything.
From a moral and capitalistic perspecitive, the NCAA's role is completely unjustifiable.
The Big Lead tweets us a question:
Rank the following college football writing/reporting staffs:
SI, CBS, Fox, ESPN, and Yahoo.
Okay, first how am I determining my rankings? The answer is easy, the frequency with which I find myself clicking on articles from Twitter. I don't go to major site front pages anymore. In fact, I can't even tell you the last time I was on ESPN.com, CBSSports.com, or SI.com's actual front page. I only read from Twitter and about 80% of the time I'm reading on my iPhone.
With that background in place, here are my rankings.
1. Sports Illustrated
The trio of Stewart Mandel, Andy Staples, and Pete Thamel is the best college football trio in the country and since Brett McMurphy left CBS, there is no close second. Toss in Holly Anderson and I click on SI links for college football much more often than I do any other site.
Bruce Feldman and Dennis Dodd are really good for lots of original and interesting content. As is Tony Barnhart, who writes less frequently, but when he does write it's perceptive and coming from deep SEC sources. With Brett McMurphy still there breaking lots of news -- and the bloggers adding to the content -- I think CBS would have been number one on my list.
Without him, CBS is number two.
By the way, if you add in college basketball then CBSSports.com, with Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman absolutely owning college basketball, becomes tops in college sports online and there isn't a close second.
There is no doubt that Yahoo breaks the biggest and most important stories in college athletics. This is all the more amazing because they don't really have that many people working to cover college sports on a regular basis. Yes, Dan Wetzel is everywhere in college, but he's the best national columnist in the country so he's really covering everything. Charles Robinson is great for investigative pieces, but have you ever read anything by him about college sports that isn't investigative?
Pat Forde is really the only guy Yahoo has on the college beat. Pat's great, but Yahoo, when you really break it down, doesn't have that many writers.
Which is why it's third.
I just don't get ESPN's strategy with college football coverage on ESPN.com.
On television, which is ESPN's real focus, they're outstanding at college football. (But I'm not really factoring television in here because otherwise there's no point in including Yahoo or SI.com. This is all about online.). But what's the gameplan online? Other than Mark Schlabach who even writes traditional and relevant columns about college football on the site?
You've got individual bloggers like Chris Low -- who is the best conference writer ESPN has and who covers the SEC really well -- spread out across the conferences. But that's a tough gig because you have to balance an immediate take on the biggest news with longer form list pieces -- the best defensive tackles in the league -- while occasionally mixing in opinion pieces. The result is a lot of content -- ESPN.com's college bloggers do yeoman's work -- but not the necessary time to sit back and craft three or four really good columns a week.
Wright Thompson, when he writes about college football, is very good, but he's rarely writing college football and when he does they're epic features of thousands of words.
Brett McMurphy and Joe Schad are almost entirely on television guys.
So the question remains, who is a must read college football writer at ESPN.com?
Hell, even broader than that, who is a must read college sports focused columnist at ESPN.com?
I don't think there's a single one. Which is pretty damn amazing when you consider how big ESPN.com is.
5. Fox Sports
I would rank Fox Sports last in its coverage of every sport. In its humor. In everything that it does online. I truly have no idea what this company is doing. FoxSports.com is a complete and total disaster of a site. So it's no surprise that it's also bad at college football. It's also behind SBNation, Bleacher Report, and even OKTC.
But what's stupider is the teacher's application of the policy. The Oklahoma school district only allows OU or Oklahoma State gear because they fear gangs using university apparel to establish their gang bona fides. Leaving aside the stupidity of this policy -- don't you think the gangs could just pick a color instead of a school? -- was it really intended to keep five year olds from wearing college colors? Are five year olds out there starting gang fights? Shooting each other?
I hate dumb people with a fiery passion.
But you know what's worse than a dumb person? A dumb person trying to apply a rule. Because this is what happens, they have no ability to discern the purpose of the rule and apply it to a unique set of facts.
Anyway, I'm guessing most moms spend a good deal of time thinking about their five year old's first day of school wear. For instance, my four year old starts pre-k the day after Labor Day and I'm certain my wife already has his first week outfits planned. That's assuming she doesn't let him pick, which would mean that he would wear pajamas every day. (He's like a young George Costanza.)
There's no doubt that Alabama leads the nation in percentage of first day school outfits being Crimson Tide gear.
"If you had to be locked in an airplane bathroom with any person of your choice (dead or living) who would it be and why?"
This isn't that difficult because, not surprisingly, I've thought about a variation of this. (Although, bathroom is a bad choice because I'd probably pick the smallest other person I could rather than the person I'd actually like to be locked inside with. For instance, Gabby Douglas would be able to sit anywhere and take up no space, making her the perfect person to be trapped in a tight-quartered airplane bathroom with. Whereas George Washington would be much more interesting to speak with than Gabby Douglas, but he's massive and could probably beat me up. So I'm modifying your hypothesis).
Namely, remember that guy who spent a weekend trapped in the elevator? I've always wondered who would be the best person to be trapped in an elevator with. Clearly, kids are the absolute worst to be trapped in an elevator with. But who would be the best.
Here's my top five:
1. Abraham Lincoln
The best Presidential storyteller ever.
2. William Faulkner
You know he'd have a whiskey flask and he's my favorite writer.
3. Mark Twain
My second favorite writer and maybe the best spoken storyteller of all time.
4. Bill Clinton
Can you imagine the stories he can tell?
5. Charles Barkley
I'm torn because I've gotten to go out with Barkley several times. But his stories are amazing. And I feel like the conversation would turn into amazing debates. So this is the only person I actually "know" on the list, which probably makes it the most valid of all.
You'll note that all these are men. I think this is a bit of an aberration because generally speaking women would be more interesting conversationalists than men would. The reason? Lots of men are dumb and cavemanlike. So if you had to choose man or woman to be stuck in an elevator with, you'd go woman. You should note, however, that I didn't attempt to stock my elevator with five hot celebrity chicks and just try and get them to sleep with me. Which, to be honest, lots of guys would make the mistake of doing. Tell a guy he can be stuck in an elevator with anyone in the history of the world and immediately lots of us think about sex. Right now, I guarantee you, there's some guy reading this who is thinking, "Clay, you're an idiot, my list is Kate Upton 1-5. It's going to get hot and she's going to take off all her clothes and then she's going to think I'm funny and before you know it's she's going to..."
No, she isn't.
Pick five people you'd actually like to have a conversation with.
Or pick Jesus and ask him to work a miracle and get the damn elevator moving again.
Shane Walker writes:
"You're such a asshole. Why do I enjoy listening to you so much?"
Because I don't care what you think. In this day and age, most people are fake because they're worried about not offending you or making sure that you like them. But in so doing we can see through that. I.e. you're saying this so I'll like you or you're taking this position because it's the least offensive for a broad audience.
I don't take either of these things into account, which means you can feel pretty confident that if I write or say it, I'm not particularly worried about what others think of it, but I believe it.
I have three pretty good traits for the modern media era.
1. I don't care what people I don't know think of me.
2. I'm fearless.
3. I don't take myself too seriously.
In an Internet age these are three of the most important traits to have. (Being willing to work hard is another).
But these three traits make for pretty good radio.