From the Hart: Football’s back; the South rises again

tsj column writers - from the hartBy Ron Hart

It was a great weekend. College football is back! I spent ten hours in my recliner watching SEC football teams play and eating anything I could dip into something else. I didn’t get a lick of exercise.

After watching both political parties beat each other up, it was nice to watch opposing sides give each other concussions over something other than the Iran nuke deal and who has a war on women. Nothing grabs our interest more than college football punctuated by commercials featuring cleavage, stiffy pills and beer.

If you drive south in the fall, about the time you start seeing Elvis artwork and shot glasses with the Confederate flag on them, folks will be watching SEC football. Driving south from Kentucky, through Dixie, then on south to Orlando, you will see SEC school flags a-flying outside of homes to show support for their football teams. Keep driving, when you get south of Tampa, you are back in Michigan.

It’s fortunate for the North that college football began in the South when it did, so as to distract us from thoughts of secession.

After eight consecutive years of Southern teams winning the national championship, Ohio State won the title last year. Afterward, Ohio State increased Urban Meyer’s annual salary to $6.5 million. Universities make hundreds of millions in football revenue, but they still do not pay the players—proving Southerners’ point that the North fought the Civil War over secession and not to end slavery.

When Ohio State won with a third-string quarterback last year, Coach Meyer said, “He does not know the meaning of the word ‘fear’.”  Based on his SAT verbal score, he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of other words either.

The last time a non-Southern team won, Southern Cal beat Texas in 2004. USC was then stripped of the title for paying Reggie Bush, who was punished by the NCAA and forced to date Kim Kardashian. The tainted national title was then offered to Auburn and other SEC schools, which refused it. As a matter of political principle, Southern states don’t like handouts.

We Southerners take pride in football like Northerners do in corrupt politicians, high taxes, cold weather, potholes and second-guessing their police. It is an article of faith here in the “Bible Belt” that SEC football is holy. You are to have no other gods before it, not even NASCAR or the lottery.

Northern elites resent pretty much anything Southern; that is why it is fashionable to be snarky about colleges in the South. To be fair to Northerners, if I lived in a state that smelled like bong water, had high taxes, a race riot-based economy and which lost its top football recruits to the South each year, I’d be angry too. The North is left with just hockey, which is its own punishment.

After last year’s aberration, it looks like a Southern team will end up on top again and the world will make sense. Notre Dame, of course, is again over-ranked in the polls, given that every Catholic sports writer in the North votes for the Fighting Irish. They will again falter. It’s too bad the Irish do not have some sort of time-honored custom in which they commiserate with each other and drown their sorrows.

It has become difficult to get four SEC teams into the BCS playoff. They have to play each other and even Mississippi State and Vanderbilt have been going to bowl games. They tend to have more losses. But steel sharpens steel, so the SEC teams, once they are in playoff games, tend to win. I hope political correctness-seeking, geographic affirmative action doesn’t continue to shape BCS picks. Let the best teams win. Two years ago, the game between Alabama and Georgia during the season before the BCS was the de facto national championship.

Psychiatrists will tell you that football in the U.S.A. is a proxy that satisfies our lust for war. But just to be safe, our government gets us involved in a lot of wars around the world.

Rest assured, the South beating the North in football is rooted in far deeper issues than an amateur athletic contest. It might just be maneuvers in preparation for secession.

(Ron Hart is a libertarian op-ed humor columnist, author and TV and radio commentator. He can be contacted at Ron@RonaldHart.com or RonaldHart.com.)

 

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