The ballcast is back! And so is football. (Thank goodness)
We preview tonight’s matchups, hear from the coaches, and I wonder if any offseason has been as tumultuous for the sport of football as a whole as this one.
Our podcast is on iTunes. Just search for OVC Ball.
The full teleconference sound can be found on the OVC website
My opening essay, in text form:
To some, it may feel like football is under attack. This offseason alone, the prospect has been raised of an NCAA breakaway, a super league that would create more division in an already fractured setup. The outrage over student-athletes being paid, schools and conferences, even video game makers, profiting off of, and exploiting the students whose talents and work create millions of dollars in revenue, while students struggle to survive, despite being given opportunities not available to thousands of students at those same schools. At the controversy’s center, a fall from grace, at best, of last year’s freshman sensation, a young man who pulled off a feat rarely accomplished, made even more amazing by the oft repeated revelation that he nearly wasn’t even considered the best man on the team the Spring before.
At all levels, the game is being ruined, some will argue, by new rules meant to prevent concussions, only to lead to more injuries in new areas, like player’s knees. Newly implemented rules de-emphaize kickoffs, almost to the point that it wouldn’t be out of line to just set the ball down at the 25-yard line on every possession. Defenseless players, and head-to-head hits are phrases that only recently entered our football lexicon, but just their very mention already bring more than a few sighs and eye rolls.
And of course, there are the arrests, the suspensions, and the transfers. Everything from violence to drugs, to a otherwise sane person dancing on top of someone else’s Ford Fiesta.
Every offseason, the negative, the controversial, always outweigh the positive. And maybe it’s just the recency, or the neverending media cycle that I myself contribute to, but you wouldn’t be alone in feeling that this offseason that been especially brutal, not just to individual teams or players or even leagues, but that the sport as a whole, the most popular sport in these United States, is under attack, an attack that won’t end until we don’t even recognize the game any more, or it just fades into obscurity.
But today, we finally have something more to talk about. Something real, something that’s not the product of a sportswriter or commentator’s twisted fantasy. Even though these week one games quite often fail to produce meaningful contests, we can finally talk about football. Real football, not what the game could or should become, but what the game is.
For the OVC, that begins with a four-game slate on a Thursday night.
Every year, this night excites me. But I’m not sure there’s ever been a year I’ve been more ready for the season to kickoff.