To Love You More

By Ramzy Nasrallah on July 24, 2012 at 1:00p
17 Comments
Joyful noise.

IT'S WAY TOO EASY to reminisce your way into a nostalgic good-ol-days trap that is unfairly rigged with wasted youth, free rent and a ferocious metabolism. Those long-departed variables artificially sprinkle and coat everything that once was with fond remembrance and good feelings.

That lens of yesteryear has a funny way of meddling with your memories. My favorite sport - favorite thing, really - used to begin when summer ended and finish when the day the calendar changed. Then it disappeared completely for several months.

hated that. Now I kind of miss it.

You probably still remember those offseasons back when sometimes an entire week would pass with barely a thought toward college football. At their twilight, the biggest off-the-field firestarters were BCS mathematicians and Trev Alberts' troll tongue. Feels just like yesterday, if yesterday had been broadcast in standard definition.

For most of those grace periods between the seasons, we were served contrived lists that acted as stale placebos, begging us to debate the country's best stadium, worst uniforms, Heisman finalists - things we still have today but no longer pay much attention to, like basement treadmills and boring relatives.

Those old summer rituals don't even generate fake outrage anymore. I always hated that fake outrage. Now I kind of miss it.

College football was safely tucked into an unnecessary bubble in my formative years of wasted youth, free living and unintentionally skinny jeans. It was civic pride, controlled violence and hot dogs for me, but for the grown-ups who encouraged and enabled my burgeoning addiction it was their secret bookshelf passageway back into a room they once knew.

Back then improper benefits and recruiting violations were silly. They still are, against the even sillier face of amateurism - we just view them differently now. The lens of today has a funny way of meddling with what's really important.

If you haven't already seen it, watch Pony Excess - or if you have, watch it again - and take notice of how the cheaters who cratered a major college football program actually romanticize how they were complicit in SMU's destruction.

The Mustangs went away for a couple of seasons, but during those springs and summers in-between, almost everything to do with football went away. We learned about Oklahoma paying the price for its "anything goes" approach to winning college football games when it landed in our mailboxes.

Today, Terrelle Pryor is a bad guy for having his hand out. I kind of miss the way we used to look upon Eric Dickerson for the same reason.

Now we've got College Football Live shown daily on ESPN in June and July, embedded reporters and bloggers at football camps that appear to be multiplying like uncaged rabbits and Twitter, where if you follow the right people the season doesn't end for more than fifteen minutes and usually not until after 4am EDT. 

And most recently, we have the ghastly demise of Penn State football, which has demolished the escape that college football provides, injecting suspicion into what else this germinating leviathan might also be callously hiding elsewhere.

"Reader looking for a mouseOVEERRRRRRRRRRRRRR! HE GOT ITTTTT! MOUSEOVER!"YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE AT MENS WEARHOUSE IN 1970

It exposed the heinousness of man in a place no one has ever looked for these kinds of lessons. Corporate scandals, foreign dictators and corrupt politicians should have an iron grip that role. We still don't possess the emotional capacity to handle or process this type of scandal where it absolutely shouldn't exist.

We still don't, but now we have the awful experience. I kind of miss not having it.

The Penn State scandal swiftly transformed a significant portion of its fan base into citizens of Pyongyang and forced sportswriters and fans to placate outsiders by repeatedly and explicitly condemning child rape at every turn, since that previously-common sense assumption was also a casualty of the scandal.

Penn State's tragedy came on the heels of what had been the most egregious violation of amateurism ever meticulously covered by national media, which involved Ohio State players selling their own possessions in exchange for tattoo discounts and pocket money, all callously obscured for eight months by their nefarious head coach hell-bent on winning what he had always won.

Sports media has generally developed into a blob hell-bent on proliferating stupidity and hyperbole. I still don't miss Tatgate.

It's bigger and louder but - Penn State aside - there's nothing new about it. Football scandals ruining football are as fresh as the forward pass. There hasn't ever been a significant gap between big, bad stories going back to when Fielding Yost was playing both for and against Lafayette within the same month.

None of us were alive for that scandal. But if we were, we'd probably miss it.

The push to give college football the 12-month season we always thought we wanted has had one unintended consequence: The backstory is slowly overwhelming the story itself.

Previously those sordid tales of academic casualties, misdemeanors, naked corruption and conference realignments popped up to kindly remind you that college football was still around; it was just sleeping. It barely ever got in the way of your baseball box scores.

There's heightened interest in the NCAA Committee on Infractions now. Notices of Allegations PDFs are read and downloaded by fans. Twenty-five years ago you found out about SMU's death penalty as it was administered.

Information about the deliberations wasn't the spectator sport that it would be today. The college football backstory has become its own, large entity under the guise of college football.

Those high school commitment hat dances previously reserved for late January and early February are now occurring throughout the calendar. Recruiting wars are publicly waged over kids without learners' permits. Sixteen-year olds are calling press conferences and grandstanding, and ironically 45-year olds are personally reaching out to them to condemn their decision-making.

Bonus features and previously deleted scenes have filled what used to be our void. Not every few days or weekly, but hourly. They were manufactured and placed on shelves for willing consumers to seek out and find them.

Offseason college football news is now deliberately sold and packaged as breaking news. Payola scandals, tattoo scandals, public urination scandals, pedophilia scandals, academic scandals, recruiting scandals and all of the coverups that dutifully wear their scandals' corsages.

Tom Rinaldi's weepy piano music is on 24-hour standby. There's outrage and heartbreak in every conference, whether or not it's deciding to realign, break apart, expand or transfer.

It's everything we always wanted but never thought was possible: College football all year. Hell, college football all day.

A far more innocent and simpler time: 2011THE MOST SCANDALOUS YEAR IN COLLEGE SPORTS

Late in the last century, my first five minutes ever of Internet access (thanks, free AOL trial!) consisted of hunting down ways to secure VHS copies of Ohio State football games that I wanted to see again. MAC games, lost games, bad games, good games, spring games - it didn't matter.

It was June and I desperately needed college football. Buckeye Sports Bulletin shipped every few weeks, the Dispatch might have published one story every several days and the word "blog" didn't exist yet. I treated game tapes the way paleontologists treat fossils. Collect and study, then dig for more.

Several more of those stupid free trial CDs later, I had built a modest library of lousy Ohio State games with recording quality that frequently rivaled scrambled porn. 

Never in my wildest dreams did I envision those games being rendered down to the meaningful highlights free of charge or media, in pristine video quality set to rap music so hideous that even I would hate it.

I love Youtube, but I still have my VHS tape dungeon. Even though I still have it, I kind of miss adding to it.

But back then my wasted youth was already closing in on its final expiration, I was paying my own rent and my metabolism was loudly hinting that my 6,000 calorie days were no longer without consequences.

That fond remembrance of college football as a precious, seasonal resource isn't sprinkled or coated with the unappreciated benefits of childhood.

McDonalds was incredible when my only means for getting it was via my mother's willingness, car and money. It's still pretty good today, even though I'm now too aware of its dark side. As a kid I thought I wanted McDonalds every day. As an adult I realize that I don't.

Even with college football's dark side both fully exposed with ubiquity that spans both the calendar and clock, fans are no less engaged.

The demand still hasn't been eclipsed by what's available, and if the last few years of scandal have shown us anything, we're more than willing to consume bad news in a place where we've traditionally run to escape it. We've essentially become children taking our mothers' cars and purses to McDonalds.

And now we have what we always wanted. But let's keep it exactly this way. I don't want to imagine what will have happened to college football if someday in the future we are missing this.

17 Comments

Comments

Denny's picture

Fun fact: Musby was in line to be an extra in Donnie Brasco and ended up in the broadcast booth on accident.

Taquitos.

Riggins's picture

Looks like he could've been Starsky's double as well.

buckeyedude's picture

My first thought on seeing that Musberger pic was: Fred Gwynne before he donned his Herman Munster makeup.

 
 

Buckeyes_Terrapins's picture

Really, really nailed it. Your articles are always good but this is just stellar. In my opinion, the theme of "maybe this is too much" really can be extrapolated to the rest of our society. So many things come so easily and conveniently (for most of America), that what used to be awesome and new and unique has lost a lot of value.  My 2¢.

Maestro's picture

Good read.
Camp opens in how many days?

vacuuming sucks

Dougger's picture

"Youre looking LIVE at men's warehouse in 1970"
Hahaha. brent's attire, mcdonalds, scrambled porn and college football wrapped up into one article? Perfect. Could there be any advancements of social media compared to now? I don't really want to know the answer. 

I like football

tennbuckeye19's picture

Hey Brent-
Remember that Purdue game when you coined the phrase "Holy Buckeye!"? That was awesome.

Bucksfan's picture

I think that the moment controversy with the BCS started is when it became abundantly clear that campaigning for your school became an instrumental part of the national championship hunt, as well as getting selected for a given bowl.  People want to know more and more about their team and other teams so they have ammunition in the debates about who's the best when they fire off emails to national pundits.  Plus, the internet has given fans a conversation outlet of indefinitely length and scale to both discuss intelligently and trash-talk incessantly.  You still have USC fans and LSU fans going at it over the 2003 national championship, and they have only ever played each other twice.  That debate wouldn't be possible without the internet to keep it inflamed.
Anyway, I wish I had known college football pre-internet.  It's a far more addicting sport to follow now.  I've been on the internet talking about it for the past 8 years or so?  Pathetic..haha.
 

Bucksfan's picture

P.S.  Why do I know USC and LSU have played twice?  Because I had the thought while I was writing that, looked it up on Google in 5 seconds, and now I know this meaningless piece of trivia about two schools that if this were 1993 I wouldn't give 3 sh*ts about.  Thanks 21st Century.

RBuck's picture

College football was more pure before the internet; at least in the public's mind.
Well, that's what I got out of this editorial and I agree. Sometimes there is just too much information.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

Baroclinicity's picture

Ignorance was bliss.

Tim's picture

I agree that too much information can make everything seem worse and that remembering how things used to be always makes them seem better than they actually were.  I even remember 10-15 years ago when I was young/naive enough to enjoy Sportscenter and pretty much anything else on ESPN (maybe it wasn't as bad as it is now either; I'm not sure).

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

ESPN used to show basically non-stop highlights. Now it's non-stop talking heads. I despise what ESPN has become. Thank god for 11W and the other informative, up to the minute sports websites.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Tim's picture

Yeah, I feel the same way about 11W and the other sources I go to for sports news, which are mostly blogs now.  You're right -- it did used to be a lot more highlights, which is definitely better than what ESPN is now.

Abe Froman's picture

Was the title a Celine Dion Song?  What happend to Maybe?

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

It is and was reader-submitted on Twitter. Plug it into the YouTube machine if you wish to take it for a tearful spin. 

buckeyedude's picture

I've been told by one of my friends, especially after Tatgate and my defense of Tressel that, "you're too involved." Algore's greatest invention has been a curse and a blessing. Hopefully, we can keep the overbearing, always-striving-to-get-more-power federal government out of it.
I've mentioned this before, but back in 2009 I went through a divorce and Ohio State football and 11W was my diversion from my temporary horrible reality. For that, I am grateful for this website and it's writers. I don't know any of you personally, buy you feel like family. Same goes for many bloggers.
I can't help but love the Buckeyes, but I try to balance it out with other recreational activities to stay sane. Some like dark chocolate.  Buckeye football and 11W especially, is my guilty pleasure.