Looking at the stories of the week, here we go:
Writer’s note: out of respect for common decency, I will not be covering the Jets and their god-awful, never-ending, highly problematic quarterback discussion. Seriously, I hate how much it comes up.
1. The NFL Referee Lockout
Let’s get a few fast facts out of the way: (1) all teams are evenly effected by the subpar replacement referees and (2) the regular refs will be back before mid-season; I hesitate to give an exact timetable since labor situations tend to become quite fluid once some positive progress is made.
The NFL needs to pay the refs and get this situation resolved, and sooner rather than later. Referees are the true unsung heroes of the game, that’s right I said it. We idolize the gun-slinging quarterbacks, we love to hate the camera loving divas at wide receiver, and there is nothing quite like watching your favorite linebacker stop the running back at the two yard line, but the referees keep the game moving, and they keep the game fair. Even if they are off on a call, nine times out of ten they are off in the same manner for both sides, and you cannot have subpar guys filling that slot.
2. Can the Saints have a great year?
I think the real question is: when will the Saints reach top gear and get their engine at full efficiency?
Seriously, you cannot doubt the Saints: they still have Drew Brees, who has reached the level where, just like Tom Brady (and arguably Peyton Manning), he can single-handedly bring a team back and win the game for New Orleans, which will need a boost after the damage inflicted by Hurricane Issac.
3. Look out for the super lame beer commercials
Starting next Wednesday, the worst part of the football season returns… when the football season returns; I’m talking about the incredibly lame and horrific beer commercials that appeal to beer drinkers who either have a distorted image of what it means to be a man, and/or guys with serious self-esteem issues.
I’m dating myself here, but Miller Lite (the worst culprit in recent years) had a brilliant series of commercials in 2005 and 2006, where a group of guys known for manliness dictated Man Law. In contrast to Miller’s recent “Man Up” campaigns, the “Man Law” campaign had some intelligence and was far more funny.
These years, though, all three major brands have annoying campaigns that insult the intelligence of anyone who has, well, intelligence. Normally, I just mute the commercials anyway, but when I’m at a sports bar it’s not a viable option, and it’s pretty rough to endure for hours at a time.
A Word About the Approaching College Football Season
Jerry Sandusky tarnished Penn State’s last two decades of college football, trashed the legacy of Joe Paterno, and has effectively left the problem hobbled for the next five to eight years. However, that is the past. The present reality is that Penn State has accepted its situation, and so thus should the rest of us.
Penn State has the chance to truly engage in a new beginning, with a depth that few teams, college, high school, or pro, can. They no longer have Joe Paterno. The players’ names will on the back of their jerseys, which will be different as well, for the first time ever. Beyond that, a few players have decided to transfer to Penn State, and the players that remain have a determination to sustain the program and not let it fall to shambles as a result of second harshest punishment ever passed down by the NCAA unto a football program. Penn State enters this season with a new beginning, an enthusiasm other programs would kill for, and something far more exciting to see: loyalty.
Down south, Les Miles and LSU are happy that a new season is dawning, after losing the BCS title game last season. After an off season of minor turmoil, they are set to not only reclaim the crown, but additionally keep the crown in the SEC.
USC is looking for a title, and Matt Barkley, in a show of devotion, will lead the Trojans on the campaign trail. The Pac-12 will provide a ton of resistance, and we could easily see a battle between the Pac-12 and SEC champs for the BCS title. USC, coming off of NCAA sanctions, is looking for a renaissance of its own, rebuilding a new football world. They are primed, pumped, and set for a run.
I’ve only chosen a few teams to discuss, but all college football teams, including my two alma maters UC Davis (FCS) and Cal Lutheran (D-III), are looking for the chance to compete for the big one, to raise that special trophy at the end of the season.