All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday, rejoice.

If you’d like to buy an autographed copy of my new book for Christmas you can do so here.

Okay, here we go with the mailbag.

Cody writes:

“As I watched the eulogies and stories on George H W Bush it’s clear that he will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents (at least in the way he held himself and treated others). My question for you is: as a country will we ever get back to voting for “high character” presidents? It seems we have fallen a long way and I worry that our country is more concerned with personality than character (full disclosure I voted for Trump). What do you think?”

I think George H. W. Bush was a great man of high character, but I also believe that when everyone dies we immediately forget their flaws and turn them into saints.

Will Trump one day be lauded at his funeral? I don’t know, it depends on how long he lives, but I do know that when Richard Nixon died everyone praised him at his funeral and Nixon was every bit as controversial as Trump during his presidency.

I also think as a country we’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that everyone’s private flaws are more visible in our modern era than they were in the past. That doesn’t mean that character is fading, it just means that we’re more aware of a president’s flaws than we were in earlier times.

My concern, at least prior to Trump, was that a national fixation on personal life flaws would mean our politics mostly attracted bland, uninspiring and pedantic leaders, the kinds of people who never made mistakes in their personal lives.

But I think Trump has shattered that expectation. If Trump, who is on this third wife and has been banging porn stars for decades, can get elected president despite his past, I truly think anyone can.

Austin writes:

“Hugh Freeze takes the HC job at a private, Christian school, Liberty, while turning down OC interest at major programs like Florida State, Auburn, and Tennessee. The OC jobs obviously seem like better paths back to becoming the HC at another major program again. Is this a shortsighted decision on his part, or a good move because he can presumably stay at Liberty for a long time and be given benefit of the doubt while simultaneously continuing his Southern, gospel-preachin’ schtick he’s been selling for years?”

I can’t speak for what happened at Florida State, but I know the SEC didn’t want Huge Freeze to return to coaching in the SEC without having a job elsewhere first. I don’t know exactly what the restrictions would have been on Freeze if he were hired in the conference, but I believe the SEC programs were pushed away from hiring him by the league office.

As a result I think Freeze has made a good move by taking the Liberty job. Liberty went 6-5 in 2017 and 6-6 last year. Let’s say Freeze gets Liberty on the right track over the next couple of years and gets them bowl eligible.

Boom, I think he’s employed at a major school in no time.

In fact, I think he could be Bobby Petrino like in that a major school will hire him after only one year at Liberty if things go decently. You’ll recall that Petrino went to Western Kentucky for just one year before leaving for Louisville. Now that eventually turned bad for him at Louisville, but Petrino had four consecutive bowl seasons at Louisville before the wheels came off this year.

I suspect Freeze will be back coaching in major college football before long, probably even in the SEC.

Micah Moyers (@micah_moyers@yahoo.com) writes:

“Hypocrite!

Why are you not protesting Tennessee considering Kendal Briles (as offensive coordinator), when he was there during the awful situation at Baylor? You led the outrage for Schiano. The situations are similar, as both were cleared by the NCAA, but were both at their respective schools during their scandals. Also, I do not want to hear the argument that it matters less because Briles is an assistant coach. He will still be setting an examaple to young men in a leadership role. I just want to know how you justify this.”

First, Tennessee hasn’t hired him. So you want me to protest the consideration of a candidate?

Second, Briles was never fired by Baylor and left in good standing at that university. He’s been an offensive coordinator at FAU and Houston for the past two years and Houston just signed him to a substantial extension. If he was hired at Tennessee he would be an offensive coordinator there, which means he’d be doing the same job he’s already doing, just at a new school.

I’m not sure if he’s the best choice — this would represent Jeremy Pruitt embracing a spread offense which is a different system than they were running under Tyson Helton — and I’m not sure Tennessee has the talent to run this system right now.

But I am confident that Briles is well qualified to be an offensive coordinator at Tennessee.

While I understand that many people fixed on what Schiano did at Penn State, the root cause of most Tennessee fan’s opinions of Schiano was that he was a poor fit for Tennessee. What’s more, many Vol fans distrusted the administration making the decisions on coaches based on one failed hire after another. No one has any idea whether Pruitt will succeed or fail at Tennessee, but he’s got a great track record of fielding dominant SEC (and ACC) defenses.

Third, there’s a massive difference between being a coordinator and a head coach. The fact that you don’t see that as substantial is indicative, I think, of some personal issue with Kendal Briles, Tennessee fans, or me. (It also makes me believe you think Briles will be very successful at Tennessee because otherwise why do you care?) I haven’t heard any Tennessee fans demanding Ohio State fire Greg Schiano as defensive coordinator and I don’t think Tennessee fans would have had any issue with a new coach bringing in Schiano as defensive coordinator. (Interestingly, I have seen many Ohio State fans demanding the school fire Greg Schiano as defensive coordinator because he’s not good enough at his job, which is the same thing Tennessee fans said about him last year).

Fourth, why didn’t you protest at FAU and Houston? If Kendal Briles shouldn’t be an offensive coordinator at Tennessee because of the example he sets for young men, why is he allowed to be one at FAU and Houston? Why do you not care about him having those jobs? Did you obsessively Tweet Lane Kiffin and Major Applewhite about their offensive coordinator hiring decisions. If not, aren’t you being the hypocrite?

Fifth, is it your position that no one who ever coached at Baylor should ever be able to coach again in college football? If so, why aren’t you protesting all assistant coaches that are currently working at other major programs in the country who were on Art Briles staff? Why is your outrage limited to Tennessee? Phil Bennett was the defensive coordinator at Baylor and he’s now the defensive coordinator at Arizona State. Have you been obsessively Tweeting fans of Arizona State about Herm Edwards’s decision to employ Bennett? Have you written to the Arizona State version of Clay Travis outraged over his acceptance of Bennett’s employment?

Sixth, I actually think if you read all the stories out of Baylor that Art Briles was scapegoated. There’s a reason Baylor paid him out a massive multi-million dollar settlement rather than litigate his lawsuits against the university. I’ve written on this site that I think Art Briles deserves an opportunity to coach again. If I believe Art Briles, the head coach at Baylor when the mess arose, deserves to coach again, wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I didn’t believe his son should coach again?

Seventh, I always apply a talent vs. problems analysis for all players and coach decisions in athletics. Greg Schiano was not a good coach and he was a poor fit for Tennessee. In addition to that, he was named a witness under oath to child rape. He denies this, but those allegations, in court, are far more serious than anything alleged about Kendal Briles.

Finally, and I’ll say it again, my standard for a head coach is different than my standard is for a coordinator. These are very different jobs with very different responsibilities. Most people who are big college football fans will know a head coach, his name and his history. Most people will not know offensive or defensive coordinators.

Put simply, these situations are not very similar at all and this is one of the major problems with social media today, people who aren’t very smart try and analogize situations that aren’t very similar and apply the same standards to completely different situations.

If Tennessee were poised to name Kendal Briles as their head coach, I think you could point out the Schiano distinction and write a column about it if you were a national media member with an obligation to produce a thousand words three times a week, but I suspect most reasonable people won’t see these as very similar.

Finally, new rule, if you want to email outrage to me I’m going to publish your full name and email address in the mailbag. I hope you enjoy the new top result for your name on Google. This way everyone can see what a paragon of virtue you are and how morally superior you are to everyone else on the Internet.

Eric writes:

“For too long, Alabama has had its way in the SEC (still do really).  What is your take on Georgia challenging Alabama (though they need to win one)?  Does this game have legs to become a great annual match up?”

It’s hard for it to become a rivalry, as you assert, without Georgia winning a game.

Furthermore, the odds of both Alabama and Georgia dominating each of their respective divisions are, I think, relatively low. That is, I don’t think the two teams will meet every year in the SEC title game and we need that to occur in order for a true yearly rivalry to occur.

We’ve had the SEC title game for over 26 years now.

Alabama and Florida have played ten of those years, which is a pretty substantial number of times.

But since 1996 we have only had title game rematches twice and we haven’t had two teams meet for three straight years in over twenty years.

So I think we’d need to see it four or five years in a row — the college football playoff could count, by the way — in order for it to truly start to feel like a big rivalry game.

That’s why I hate divisions. If we did away with divisions Alabama and Georgia could play every other year, home and away.

That should happen.

Robert writes:

“Do you think Donald Trump will be impeached? I am a supporter and own a small business. I do wish he would bring us all together more, and not tweet crazy shit as much, however his economy has helped my business and many others. 

However, I think the Democrats will get him impeached. I also think it is going to play out like Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Trump will stay in office, but probably won’t win 2020 with this impeachment if it does happen. I think this is the plan from the left. I would love to hear your thoughts. Am I way off? Love your show(s) Lock it in is great.

The epilogue in your book was amazing too.”

The worst thing the Democrats in the House could do is impeach Donald Trump. Which, you guessed it, probably means the Democrats will impeach Donald Trump. (He will never be voted to be removed from office because that would require 67 votes and right now there are 53 Republican senators. So twenty of them would have to abandon the president which is just never going to happen barring a White House murder or something like that).

Unlike you I actually think the impeachment would help Trump in 2020 because it would lead to the Democrats embracing the far left wing fruitcakes of their party, which would make Trump look moderate in comparison.

I keep saying this, but the way to beat Trump is by ignoring him. If you follow him into the mud, he wins. Look at Elizabeth Warren. She’s a brilliant Harvard law professor yet somehow Trump convinced her to take a DNA test and argue that because she was 1-1024th Native American it rebutted his Pocahontas charge. But in making this argument, she turned into a racist separate but equal era politician who was effectively arguing the one drop of blood rule.

Amazingly, many of the mainstream media bought this argument, but the general public didn’t.

They realized this for what it was, a total absurdity, that may well have crippled Warren’s campaign before it ever begins.

Donad Trump has an intuitive sense for how to attack someone’s weaknesses. I think the way you beat him in a general election is simple, you come out and say, “Look, I think Donald Trump has done many things well, but I can do the job better. This election isn’t about what Donald Trump has done poorly, it’s about what I can do better than him.”

Then you sell your vision for America and refuse to climb on board the Trump crazy train.

I think that would enrage Trump. Let him say whatever he wants about you, but just run a relentlessly positive campaign. Let others attack him in your party, but you stay above the fray.

Trump’s primary emotion is anger and I don’t think you beat an angry candidate by becoming more angry than him, I think you embrace another emotion — optimism, hope, you name it, something positive — and focus on your own race.

Unfortunately for Democrats I think they’re going to climb aboard the Trump crazy train and give Trump another chance to win in 2020 by fighting the election on his terms.

Luke writes:

“What is a year of your life worth? How much money would you pay to go back to the age of let’s just say 24 (my age). And vice versa if someone offered me 1 million to skip to the age of 44 would it be worth it? Thought you might have some interesting insight on this.”

I think if you live your life right you would never want to go back to another age or jump forward to another age either.

Life, to me, is mostly about the people you surround yourself with. I’d only want to be 24 again if everyone I was friends with at 24 was also 24 again. What’s the benefit of being 24 if you have no friends or common experiences with everyone else who is 24 too?

Plus, there is no way at all I’d want to give up being with my kids at these ages right now.

So I’d only want to change ages if everyone else I care about would also do the same and even then I like my life so much right now I’d mostly be worried about going back in time and screwing things up.

It’s not the age that makes life fun, it’s the people you get to spend the age with.

Being 24 without any good friends is, I think, much worse than being 64 with good friends.

Having said all of this, from a pure fun perspective, it’s hard to beat your twenties.

So live it up while you can.

Josh writes:

“The MLS Cup Championship is on Saturday Night Primetime on FOX. Atlanta United vs Portland Timbers. Game in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Likely 70k folks in attendance. Is this a big deal or not? Will MLS ever be as popular as the other Big 4 sports leagues in the United States?? And if Atlanta United wins Saturday (which they are favored too) does this technically end the 23 year Championship winless streak for the city of Atlanta?”

Soccer will continue to rise, I think, in the United States and as the quality of the overall players grow in MLS the amount of interest will as well.

By 2026, when the World Cup is here, I think soccer will be a clear top five sport in America and I think there won’t be much difference between it and hockey. I suspect soccer will continue to rise for the next several generations as America’s sporting interests evolve. Remember, the NFL seems ancient, but we’ve only had the Super Bowl for just over fifty years.

Pro football was much less popular than college football for most of our nation’s history.

As for whether Atlanta United counts as a major championship for the city of Atlanta, let me ask you this — if Tennessee wins a women’s basketball championship this year will everyone say the Vols are back and the championship curse is broken in Knoxville?

Of course not.

Right now the MLS is to pro sports as women’s college basketball is to major college athletics. It matters, but not that much.

Rob writes:

“Friend question. Best friend since we were little (age 8 or 9), now 31 years old. I consider myself a normal guy – have a good job, still go out on weekends and occasionally during the week, degenerate gambler (respect the picks), blah blah. Recently got married and continue to do the same things because I married the right girl and dbap. My best friend on the other hand, has always had a knack for being a spineless pussy when he’s dating someone. He’s done it his whole life – single and really fun to hang out with, then starts dating someone, is obsessed (posts cringeworthy Instagram pics, is super fucking weird when we all hang out, etc.) and becomes a shitty friend. He’ll go MIA for weeks, doesn’t return texts and then will come back with “hey what’s up stranger” like I’ve been the bad friend for not reaching out to him. But I always have my phone and you can all or text me at any point and I’ll get back to you quickly. After 3-4 attempts to text him, I realize he’s being a pussy with his girlfriend and I stop trying. My question is this – what approach would you take with a spineless friend like this? When he’s single, he’s great. When he has a girlfriend, he’s a total fucking loser. Normally I just wouldn’t be friends with this person, but we’ve been best buddies since we were little.” 

If you get involved in a relationship and completely change the person you were before the relationship then you are a very insecure or unhappy person, probably both.

Many people who behave like this believe that if they had the right girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife, suddenly they would be happy and everything in their life would be perfect.

As you get older you realize that the only person who can make you happy is yourself.

Happiness is sexy and contagious. If you are happy other people will want to spend time around and with you. That’s why Henry Kissinger got things wrong, it’s not power that’s the ultimate aphrodisiac, it’s confidence, which ultimately leads to power too.

And to be confident, you’ve got to be comfortable in your own skin and you have to like yourself.

Your buddy isn’t happy and he keeps thinking a girl will make him happy.

But that isn’t true.

At some point he may realize this, but he probably won’t. You’re in your thirties now, he’ll get married soon, remain unhappy, and then call you when he gets divorced until he goes on searching for another woman to make him happy.

If he’s your friend and you enjoy spending time with him, that’s fine, but don’t expect him to change, he is who he is and it’s not your responsibility to change him either.

Happy Friday!

Send your mailbag questions, as always, to claytravis@gmail.com

Comments

Get the Daily Outkick

* indicates required