Arkansas 24, Penn State Junior Varsity 10
Were it not for a lucky, busted-coverage, Sean Clifford to KeAndre Lambert-Smith touchdown pass, the Lions would have wound up with a meager three points.
Did anyone really watch this game? Did anybody really care? Five defensive starters opted out on defense and go-to wide receiver Jahan Dotson opted out on offense. What we were looking at was not the 2021 Penn State Nittany Lions. It was more like the backups who couldn’t tackle a blocking dummy versus an inspired Razorback team (with only one high-profile NFL-inspired opt-out). Losing was a foregone conclusion, but I watched it anyway.
Enough of our crappy Outback Bowl. Begin rant. Flame on…
Ruining the College Experience
Given the current trend of players increasingly opting out of postseason play because they’re training for “da nex’ level”, does anybody really care about any of the bowl games other than the playoffs? Hopeful fans are routinely disappointed at season end by their teams’ bowl game performances. From the players’ perspective, they don’t count for anything, so they represent an optional end-of-season party. Why play hard?
I remember sitting in Salt Lake City airport, a major western hub, waiting for a flight to Orlando around the turn of the century. Hayden Epstein, a long-forgotten Michigan Wolverines placekicker and punter was en route from his home in San Diego to the Florida Citrus Bowl (or whatever it was called back then). He was sitting across from me talking to a friend on the phone. “It’s just a party, that’s all it amounts to,” he was saying. Of course, that’s the attitude I’m talking about. If the players aren’t serious, then why should we bother to watch these things? Besides, what Jewish family ever names their son Hayden?
Hayden was last seen kicking for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2008, but I digress. Just a sneaky way to give you one of my geezer stories.
It used to be that players would be keenly interested in winning big games, like the New Year’s Day games. With the coming of the playoffs, that interest seems to have been displaced to only the games that count toward the SSMNC. It’s Number One or nothing, so the rest of the games are meaningless. Who would have ever thought that players would opt out of competing in the Rose Bowl?!?!?
NFL Farm System?
I am serious about this whole “NFL farm system” approach ruining college football. WTF can anyone do about it? Loyalty to the alma mater evaporates with the waving of a magic wand (or the waving of mega-million-dollar contracts, as it were). Players leverage CAH-ledge to gain exposure to display their talents to NFL scouts, while universities unabashedly use star players to bolster football program revenues. Penn State is no exception — when the hated Louis Freeh declared that Penn State had succumbed to the “culture of football”, he hit the mark. The fans buy into it, but in the end, they wind up getting fucked.
It could be worse, like the NBA signing players with no CAH-ledge at all. Right now, they require only that the player be nineteen years old. The NFL requires that players must have been out of high school for at least three years and must have used up their CAH-ledge eligibility. However, they CAN request exemptions from the NFL to skirt that rule. I expect that we will see an increasing number of such exemptions in the future.
Show Me the Money!
Will allowing players to receive endorsement money for plastering their images on video games and cereal boxes solve the problem? Hell, no! Those who thought it would do anything but exacerbate greed were way the hell off base.
That Schmuckeyes star wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson would opt out of the Rose Bowl — the ROSE BOWL, ferchissakes! — is a travesty. Who wouldn’t want to play in the most storied college Bowl game of them all? Kirk Herbstreit, former tOSU quarterback, who was on the Rose Bowl broadcast team for Disney/ABC/ESPN, eventually apologized due to social media pressure for characterizing some of today’s players as lacking a love for the game. However, he hit the nail squarely on the head. Herbstreit would have loved to have been in the Rose Bowl but was always a bridesmaid during his playing career. (Don’t give me your reflex hatred for Herbstreit, just because he’s an OSU homey. Be objective.)
Some are saying that we can solve the problem by expanding the playoffs. So, instead of players from four teams only being interested in postseason play, it would be eight or sixteen. Does that seem like a solution to anybody with a sense of college loyalty and tradition? It might serve the networks better — and I fear that’s where these suggestions emanate — but does it do anything for the fans?
Sorry to end the season on a rant, but with all these pecuniary-minded jaggoffs opting out of the bowl games, I’m pissed off. It’s my blog, so I blow cathartic wind on it. Fucking sports agents!
Well, OK, let me change course and end the season on a positive note. It was becoming increasingly difficult to blow off on rants like the above, because the computer screen was a blur due to my geezer cataracts. Some of you who are over sixty know what I’m talking about. Most of us will face the clouding of our natural lenses at some point, in the past, a daunting prospect. Back then, removal of cataracts involved using thick glasses, which were better than nothing. Now, the options are many.
My eye doctor had told me that I was approaching the point at which I would want to make the decision to proceed, although I could put it off for six months to a year. However, I had had enough of the crappy vision. I decided to proceed with cataract surgery by the end of the year to take the tax deduction in 2021 as a side benefit.
The doc presented several options. All of them involve compromises such as requiring glasses for near vision, requiring glasses for distant vision, having issues with night vision, etc. None would ever be as good as our own natural lenses. The one I chose would eliminate the need for glasses but would cause some halos around point light sources at night. I do not drive much at night, so I felt the slightly compromised night vision would affect me the least.
The lens I chose was the Alcon Acrysof® IQ PanOptix® Toric Tri-Focal IOL and the surgical technique was the femtosecond laser. Left eye surgery took place on December 14th and was quick and painless. They had sedated me with Versed, which typically does not work on me, so I could see and remember the entire process. One more for my catalog of life experiences!
I had only minor blurriness the evening after surgery and was able to drive to the next day’s follow-up, where distance vision was 20-30 in the operated eye. That is about the same as the other eye. My astigmatism had been corrected. I still could not focus at reading distance, but the doc explained that the powerful dilating drug they had used would keep my irises from reacting properly for a couple of days. Sure enough, at the one-week follow-up, I was seeing 20-20 at near, intermediate, and far distances through the left eye. My right eye was jealous, but it wouldn’t have long to wait. Although it sees 20-30 at distance, presbyopia and the cataract make anything at computer distance or closer a blur.
I’m happy to say that the right eye joined the left with a new lens on December 28. By my informal testing, I’m seeing 20-20 from about 14″ to infinity. The computer screen is in sharp focus.
The most onerous part of this whole ordeal (aside from the cost of the premium lens and the LensX laser, which are not typically covered by insurance) is the need to adhere to a schedule of instilling eye drops for several weeks. One is four times per day, one is twice daily, and one is once a day. For five days after surgery, I also needed to wear a plastic shield over the operated eye when I was going to sleep, as they don’t want you rubbing the eye on the pillow. Otherwise, no swimming or heavy lifting for a week after each surgery were the only restrictions.
Happy New Year to All!
I’ll end this season with a wish that all of you have a safe, healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year. May 2022 erase all the negative memories of 2020 and 2021. Onward and upward!
(I might be back to blow some more wind if I feel the need for catharsis; however, there is no reason to believe that my slovenly habits of past years will fail to re-evidence themselves this year, so you might not see me here until August! On the other hand, now that I can see the screen, I might be giving you some more BS than in recent years. We’ll see.)