What a Weird Start to the 2014 College Football Season


By J. Frank Parnell

We waited for months for what turned out to be one of the weirdest starts ever to a college football season.

If you watched the SEC Network, you were led to believe the 2014 college football season began with the South Carolina-Texas A&M game. You were led astray. Eastern Washington rolled out the tacky red carpet for Sam Houston State last Saturday. Granted, those are two FCS schools, but they’re very good FCS schools. And the game, which EWU won 56-35, was entertaining.

If you’re a college football fan, you know about Kenny Hill and A&M’s amazing win over USC, which isn’t as good as most folks, including the Old Ball Coach, thought.

Ole Miss sputtered long enough to beat Boise State, 35-13, in a dull affair in Atlanta that matched two former Arkansas State coaches.

The weirdness continued in Nashville, where Vanderbilt gave seven turnovers to Temple and lost, 37-7, in a game that ended at 1:15 Friday morning because lightning delayed the start. The Commodores, adrift in the storm, couldn’t even “Anchor Down” in their illegal jerseys. Meanwhile, the Vikings and Titans played an NFL preseason game downtown, a few miles north.

Something tells me the Vandy game would have at least been closer had former coach James Franklin not left to coach Penn State. Or maybe the SEC isn’t as tough as everyone thinks. Maybe a power shift within the conference is beginning. Who knows?

And it’s just Friday.

Binge watching ESPN left me with a sense that the talking heads, experts and prognosticators weren’t particularly shocked by the odd start of the season. It’s also more apparent than ever that the sports cliches and nonsensical phrases they use have gotten worse. Since I’m up late anyway, let’s take a look at some worn, silly or inaccurate words we hear too much on the SEC Network and other sports outlets.

Brutal — If a team has a tough schedule, it’s described by this word. Again and again and again.

In terms of — I think this is a relatively new, meaningless phrase. “In terms of winning, Alabama is doing well.”

Film and tape — How long has it been since you, or anyone, used either one? We hear, “They have to go back and look at the tape” or “They need to spend more time in the film room” over and over. Can’t we start saying “video?”

Commit — It’s a verb. A high school kid is not a “commit,” nor does a college get a “commit” from a high school kid. It takes just one more syllable (ment) to get it right.

Execute — What’s it mean? It’s so vague that it’s worthless.

I’m also trying to figure out why anyone would pay Jason Sehorn and the other guy on “CFB Daily: The Edge” to talk about football — or about anything. Ditto for Paul Finebaum, who reminds me of a boring uncle. Just try to endure Finebaum and Danny Sheridan drone on about SEC minutiae.

I’d rather listen to Charles from Reeltown or Phyllis from Mulga holler.

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