This is the time of year I start seriously Jones-ing for football. Here’s a highlight package I put together of Kansas State quarterback Jesse Ertz. (Stiff-arms included at no extra charge.)
Let us be clear: the NFL is very “ugh” right now.
But I still find it hard to hate the thing completely. For one reason, I hear rumors that the New Orleans Saints are still very much a part of the league (even despite the absurd punishments handed down during “Bountygate”). For another, the good flavor of the Falcons blowing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl is still fresh.* And finally, the draft itself is always going to have some merit even for people who hate the NFL because it’s one last chance to see their favorite college players paraded in front of the camera before they’re officially professionals. So, yay.
* This is one of the more improbable things I’ve seen in my sports-watching lifetime. Like, the Falcons literally had to have everything go completely wrong for them to pull it off … and they did it! And my enjoyment of it was fueled by a persistent Falcons hater laughing at them and dancing around my living room throughout the proceedings. It was truly a memorable and enjoyable experience, even for someone disillusioned by the league and basically anything that it tries to do.
I am reminded of how hard communication is on a daily basis, both in professional terms (How do we produce content people want … and how do we make sure they see it?), and in my own home life (How do I tell my wife something that accurately conveys how I feel?).
That second one is sometimes harder than it sounds, because well, our feelings don’t always make a whole lot of sense. And if they do, they’re complicated. It’s not as simple as, “Me angry. You do better.” Usually (always?) it’s more convoluted than that.
Which is why I am sympathetic — to some degree or another — to any goober who makes an ass of themselves on social media.
A former Kansas State student did just that yesterday, and she did it in an entirely upsetting way. Racism is not a good look, nor does it reflect particularly well on my alma mater. This is frustrating to me, as an alum, but also as a human being who wants to see the best in other people.
As the Big 12 meanders its way toward an expansion that may or may not be inevitable (per “sources”), fans of the affected institutions continue to wait for some measure of resolution. The good news for the eager applicants is a move to 14 is apparently still on the table.
I still think 12 makes more sense. And if you read this, you’ll find out why. But 14 has its advantages, including the more money thing, but more importantly (to me anyway), the opportunity to rebrand away from the toxic Big 12 name. Yes!
If 14 is still a realistic scenario, let’s look at how it can actually work.
Once again, I don’t have any particular insider knowledge on any of this, which is pretty much useless right now anyway. The amount of misinformation out there at present is significant. For that reason, trying to predict how expansion unfolds is equally pointless. What’s perhaps more useful is attempting to apply logic to the situation to offer a recommendation or two.
Trying to read the tea leaves and interpret/predict Big 12 expansion is mostly pointless in principle, because one is most assuredly going to be wrong. And not just wrong, but often times spectacularly wrong.
Since I have no fear of being spectacularly wrong, you’re in luck! You’ve come to the right place to read a few words on the subject.
First off, a primer. That link should give you some decent insight. And this one. And maybe this one too. If you don’t want to read all that, the short version recap is this: The Big 12 is a conference that suffers a fragile ego, due in large part to its having been raided by other leagues earlier this decade. Stuck at 10 teams and stuck with a TV contract that is by no means terrible but which still lags behind that of its competition (in particular, fellow “major” conferences Big 10 and SEC), several schools in the conference are seemingly unhappy and pushing for expansion. Or maybe they’re just sort of mildly concerned. Or maybe this is all an act and we don’t know.
This is the part of the process that I think confuses people the most: They can’t predict what the institutions will do, and they can’t do that because each institution is subject to the whims of multiple individual people. Presidents. Boards of directors. Powerful boosters. Athletic directors and coaches (not really, but it’s best to be polite and include them anyway). The point being, what if one of these people has a louder voice than the others? What if said person is having a bad day? Or is just a generally irrational person? And what if the media and common layman can’t predict who might wield the most influence, what they might think on a given day, or even what they might think today?
You’d be served up a nice helping of “fuck if I know” ice cream, which is what all the reporting on this topic reveals. The best one can do is try to approach this from a logical vantage point and guess at the things that seem to make sense. That doesn’t mean the key figures in this play will act rationally at the end of the day, but it does give the observer a better understanding of perhaps what *should* happen.
And thusly, I’ve written well over 300 words without getting around to talking about expansion, which is what this article is supposed to be about.
Oh now, you know this had to make the blog. The K-State marching band makes national headlines for performing a halftime show that resembles Jayhawk fellatio, and you think I’m going to pretend that didn’t happen?
Nah. Nah, man. Nah.
Much will be written about new Kansas State starting quarterback Jesse Ertz in the coming weeks, months and more than likely years, given his status as a sophomore, and presumably the majority of the words will be fair if not accurate. When he struggles, his game will be taken apart and evaluated on a deeper basis. When he performs well, he will be praised in glowing terms. And when evaluators just don’t know … well, that’s when they’ll be unfair due to bias more than likely, but hey, at least they’ll be informed by the good times and the bad.