By Jan Hubbard
A great philosopher once said the only constant in the world is change, which suggests that philosophy is probably a good field to enter because it doesn’t take much to be considered great.
Change has been constant in college football, but, more accurately, it’s been brutal. The off-season was filled with headlines of criminal activity, adultery and drug problems. Those arresting topics made the normal big time college football issues of greed, power, wrath, pride, lust and envy seem almost trivial.
Presumably, college football and its administrators have not purposely designed their sport in the image of the Seven Deadly Sins. But let’s just say the similarities are unmistakable.
So in honor of the concept of seven, as the college season begins in earnest this weekend, let’s address seven compelling stories and their consequences.
1. Joe Paterno went from a living legend to a broken man whose 46-year career of personal and professional achievement ended in scandal, termination and death. In a few quick months, Paterno’s inability or lack of common sense to recognize the severity of former assistant Jerry Sandusky’s sex crimes destroyed his reputation.
Consequences: The image of Penn State football went from spotless to smutty in a matter of months. Nine players transferred to other schools including a star running back, wide receiver, backup quarterback, kicker and two tight ends. There was no death penalty, but Penn State will know what it feels like to be football teams from Indiana and Minnesota in the Big Ten.
2. After 118 meetings, the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry ended – at least for the foreseeable future – when the Aggies tired of the overpowering shadow of the University of Texas and moved to the Southeastern Conference.
Consequences: Because it was tired of being bullied by UT, A&M picked up and moved to a conference that has won the last six national championships and in a division with four of those winners. Looks like a classic Aggie response to an insult.
3. Bobby Petrino celebrated the spoils of elevating Arkansas to a level of competing for a national title with a woman half his age, which did not go down well with his wife or his employer. Despite a 21-5 record the previous two years, Petrino’s life crashed in a motorcycle accident when he was with his paramour and his attempted coverup was quickly, well, exposed and he was fired.
Consequences: The yell “Woo, pig, sooey,” has taken on an entirely new meaning.
4. Twenty-four schools announced they were changing conferences, including TCU to the Big 12 this year and SMU to the Big East next year. North Texas also will move from the Sun Belt to Conference USA next year.
Consequence: The Frogs are one of 10 teams in the Big 12 and the Mustangs are one of several teams West of the Mississippi in the Big East. It does seem both schools are challenged in basics like counting and geography, but at least the football will be better.
5. The young LSU defensive back referred to as Honey Badger apparently had become a little too dependent on his own brand of honey and a potential Heisman Trophy run stopped before it started. Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off the team and subsequently it was announced he had enrolled in a clinic for drug treatment.
Consequence: We are to assume that like many men in their early 20s, the Honey Badger thought he was bullet proof. The clinic he entered suggests the bullets were more powerful than he thought.
6. After two years on the sideline, Mike Leach will take his offensive system talents to Washington State, which has had a 9-40 record its last four years.
Consequences: College football’s resident wacky pirate may be in the far Northwest, but his history suggests that when he starts firing those big offensive cannons, Pac-12 opponents better duck.
7. College football lost great quarterbacks to the NFL with Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Kellen Moore all departed. USC’s Matt Barkley stayed and is the Heisman Trophy favorite, but Barkley said if he had left school, he would have been taken ahead of RGIII in the draft.
Consequences: It’s good to know that if for some reason Charles loses his voice, we have another Barkley to continue with the outrageous statements.