Unless You’re The Lead Dog....
Nov 9, ’12:
There a saying about being in a sled-dog team running the Iditirod: “Unless you’re the lead dog.... the view is pretty much the same for all the rest.”
In today’s chapter of “BobLee way overthinks sports” we examine that point-of-view relative to the college football fan experience.... and the harsh reality of being a Head Coach. .......
Color & Pageantry 2012 is winding down. The wheat and chaff (sheep & goats.... haves & have less....) is clearly separating. The unbridled optimism of pre-season projections are giving way to the grim reality that sometime in mid-January there will be one lead dog..... and 100+ other dogs all looking up some other dog’s butt.
Some of those “other dogs” will take solace that the number of dogs’ butts they must look at is fewer than for all the dogs behind them.... but that will be little consolation as they ruminate why they are paying some galoot umpteen million dollars and their respective giant is still sleeping. If their giant IS awake, he ain’t bigger, faster, strong enough to whup that dog holding that crystal football. ..... Just one winner telling jokes and a buncha losers grumbling and saying “deal”.
A few examples from various points along the sled dog line:
UNC’s Fighting Fedorians:
A quite odd situation where Larry’s Legions have been playing all season with a version of “house money”. UNC has a realistic chance to finish 9-3 – the best record in 20 years including a dramatic W over its arch-rival. The three losses all came down to one-two plays and a handful of points. A “coulda been” of 12-0 in Year One of Era of Fedora will be a warm fuzzy thru early 2013.
OK, there is that little matter of bowl ineligibility and the lingering dark cloud of Great Unpleasantness, and that “bad night at The Wally” .... but hey.... ain’t Gio something and ain’t it fun to watch Wuffies turn on The Marine.
Carolina's really on a sled dog team this year. Probably “being on probation and ineligible” isn’t the ideal way to go, but all things considered it’s been a fun year. What about the easy schedule with no FSU, no Clem, and VaTech going into the crapper, etc.? Yeah, well, that helped too.
Not a happy place these days. Watching David Amerson chase Tenn Vols across the goal line in Week One was a precursor to another year of unrealized overly-ambitious expectations. The high point (so far) of the big FSU win created a false hope that this really might be a special season. Gio and then the woeful Hoos bitch-slapped that notion to smithereens. Probably a “Christmas In Shreveport” still looms but who much cares..... “We’re a basketball school now....”
The Dukes of David:
Ahhh, here’s a fine example of simply moving up in that dog sled line.... still looking at lots of other dogs’ butts but at least not all the way in the back-of-the-line. It matters.... 6-6 would drive a Sooner or a Gator fan to stay away from sharp scissors, but it’s a treat for a WallyWorld fan.
The Deacs of Grobe:
Pretty much where they always are. In that 6-7 Ws spot in the dogsled line. Not going to be one of those “lightning-in-a-bottle years”, but they don’t expect those. They simply enjoy them when they happen. Unlike their neighbors in West Raleigh, they accept who they are in the BCS World.
The ‘Neers of Morgantown:
Dangle a brass ring in front of those sofa-burning hillbillies in Sept then jerk it away in October. Luckily that crowd isn’t into contemplative thought. WhatsHisName their SuperQB went from Heisman SureThing to being #56 behind a punter from Ball State and a nickleback from Northwestern. ..... the guy that got hurt the most in their fall into the abyss is the fella who sells used Sertas in West Virginia.
Traditional Powers Like.....
Georgia, Michigan, Clemson, Florida, USC, Texas, Oklahoma: Sure they’ve had “pretty good” seasons but not by their fans’ very high expectations. One/two early Ls and it’s over for them. Like UNC in BkB, it’s all or none and that means usually none and that means looking up another dog’s butt.
Semi-Traditional Powers..... Iowa, Auburn, VaTech that have gas-piped really bad. No one outside of Iowa much cares about paying Kurt Ferentz $5,000,000 to finish .500 but some Hawkeye alum that owns a dozen muffler shops in Des Moines & Cedar Rapids ain’t too happy. And the trees in Toomers’ Corner ain’t the only thing dying in Auburn. ...... Betcha Gene Chizik isn’t getting too many attaboys and backpats these days, Gene was a One-Cam Wonder ..... In Blacksburg, Beamer & Bud will survive just fine. Well, maybe not fine.... but they will survive.
In mid-January, if Nick is hoisting yet another crystal football.... maybe K-Staters will be happy if they're #2 and maybe there'll be some "we're back" if it's the Golden Domers, but the Nike Ducks won't be happy. In the end, only the Lead Dod Laughs.
I’m not sure what all the above means in the grand scheme of things, but how often does one get to write about “looking at dogs’ butts” in a reasonably erudite fashion?
Our guest on Good Sports this Saturday at 10:30 on WCHL 97.9 FM is legendary Sports Illustrated scribe – Curry Kirkpatrick
. But Art & I are the REAL STARS of the show, of course. ...... (Chansky likes it when I include him... hehehehe).
A very special VIP will be visiting The Choo Choo Lounge at the Half on Saturday.... in addition to The Fabulous Comparato Twins.
TeamBobLee deep in think tank mode about some changes around here. Better use of “social media” and fewer long-form columns. Everything is on the table except “going away”..... that’s not an option AT ALL.