The Ring Race

By Jeff Beck on May 6, 2013 at 2:00p
Ring MeBeyonce demanding a ring for 2-10 Illinois

If you are in any way pleased with it than you should put a ring on it. 

That’s the message being sent by some college football coaches who have decided to hand out gaudy finger pieces to players as a signifier of a successful season, even if “successful” is up for interpretation.

As you know, your very own Ohio State recently caught some heat for distributing 12-0 rings to players to commemorate an undefeated season.

Let’s hear it, Mark!

Obviously Mark May despises the idea, but I’m of the camp that believes any flawless outing in terms of a sporting record shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Slightly more controversial is the practice of handing out rings commemorating valiant, albeit flawed campaigns. Let’s take a look at some of the 2012 efforts coaches deemed ring-worthy.

Division Champs

You didn't win the national championship, ok. You didn't go undefeated, ok. You didn't win your conference? No problem. Have a ring.

Recently Larry Fedora doled out championship rings for his Tarheels winning the ACC Coastal Division. The 2012 effort was not without its road bumps as North Carolina ended the year with an 8-4 record overall and a 5-3 record in conference.

Those numbers are less than stellar, and they’re compounded by the fact the Tarheels were ineligible for the postseason due to NCAA sanctions. Still, Fedora felt his boys deserved some bling, so shine is what they received.

Staying in the “Division Title Swag” space, Georgia also decided to hand out rings for winning one-half of the SEC. The Bulldogs’ hardware came via a respectable 12-2 season that saw them go 7-1 in conference.

While those numbers are incredibly impressive, especially in the war zone that is the SEC, the fact remains Georgia finished second in the conference, losing to Alabama in the SEC title game, 32-28. Looking at their swag, second place ain't half bad.

Bowl Champs 

No championship? No unblemished record? No conference crown...or division crown? Ummm ok. Have a ring.

Ring-mania also caught fire down in Texas, as Mack Brown decided to reward his 9-4 (5-4 in conference) squad with Alamo Bowl championship rings, despite the Longhorns finishing third in the Big 12. According to Brown’s Twitter feed, the rings were a reward for winning the bowl game and should serve as an impetus for momentum in 2013. 

Finally, we have Oregon, who recently received these gigantors for beating Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Ducks finished 12-1 overall with an 8-1 record in conference but failed to win their division thanks to a Stanford OT win against them in the regular season.

Everythings Bigger In Texas

The ring barely fits in a player’s hand, yet on paper Oregon’s season slipped right through them.

While I understand coaches wanting to show appreciation to players, are these pieces becoming a little too much?

Just take a look at the piece Brown handed out to his 9-4 Longhorns compared with the ring the 2005 squad received for their undefeated national championship winning season.

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to determine (with the exception of the giant #1) which prize was awarded to the best team in college football, and which was given to a team that didn’t even finish first (or second) in its conference.

So I ask you the reader, what are your thoughts? Are these prizes warranted? Are they merely a recruiting tool? Or are these rings going to players' heads (because they're half as big as them)?

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