The responsibility had to fall to someone, and SMQ, accidental vanguard of obscurities such as chronicled in Mid-Major Mondays, did indeed spend precious hours Wednesday consuming the very lowly anticipated Florida Atlantic-UL-Lafayette fender bender. Or at least the second half. Or well, you know, most of the second half, when commercials were interrupting South Park's escalating and sublime assault on social mores concerning near-graphic depictions of statutory kindergarten rape; SMQ, for one, found FAU and ULL at least as offensive.
Let's go to the tale of the provocative tape:
South Park: Included post-coital scenes of a nude female kindergarten teacher in bed with an unintelligible five-year-old male student, while making it very clear verbally the two had just engaged in intercourse.
UL-Lafayette at Florida Atlantic: Combined for six turnovers.
South Park: Portrayed law enforcement and males in general as unprofessional, uncaring, neo-frat boys devoid of decency or perspective in even the most depraved instance concerning the sexuality of young, attractive women.
UL-Lafayette at Florida Atlantic: Portrayed Howard Schnellenberger as the "Best-Dressed Coach in College Football."
South Park: Trivialized the damaging effects of alcohol as a debilitating addiction as well the hardships and sacrifices endured during the often torturous process of recovery.
UL-Lafayette at Florida Atlantic: Trivialized the concept of offense with 15 punts, a long play of 23 yards and a zero percent conversion rate by Lafayette on 14 third down attempts.
South Park: Included the exchanges:
Cartman: What's to understand? You get a boner, slap her titties around some, stick it inside her and pee.
Miss Stevenson: No, but when I was little my uncle used to make me and my sister kiss then take pictures of it.
Social Worker: Nice.
UL-Lafayette at Florida Atlantic: Included an exchange lasting the entire third quarter and consisting of endless rails against the University of Miami's most recent behavior on the killing fields of the Orange Bowl.
On this note, Stewart Mandel, of all people, has been perhaps most lucid:
Reading and listening to such virulent backlash, you would think Miami is the only program in the country that's ever experienced disciplinary problems.
You might not believe this -- you might not want to believe this -- but over the past decade, Miami has had fewer player arrests or NCAA-related incidents than almost any other major program in the country. Miami has not had 20-plus incidents involving shoplifting, assault, gun charges and failed drug tests over the past two years, as Tennessee has. Miami has not had to dismiss a star player for earning money through a phony job, as Oklahoma has. Miami has not had a star linebacker accused of sexual assault on the eve of its bowl game as Florida State did last year. And Miami's most recent Academic Progress Rate (956) placed it in the top 20 to 30 percent of all Division I football programs.
To the Miami lynch mob, however, none of this seems nearly as relevant as, say, its tawdry sportsmanship in a Cotton Bowl played 15 years ago, or the fact that the 'Canes showed up to a Fiesta Bowl two decades ago wearing army fatigues, or an NCAA Pell grant scandal that occurred more than a decade ago.
SMQ won't defend Miami en toto - uh, Brandon Meriweather? The recruitment of Willie Williams? - but a bench-clearing brawl is not unprecedented, nor the sign of the crumbling of civilization. It's a fight. It's a violent, emotional game and sometimes kids fight. One commentator Wednesday night wanted Miami's players out of college football and possibly banned from the NFL or any other football field for life; an otherwise silent sideline guy cut in twice to passively insist - via his own "concerns" about the situation - on Larry Coker's ouster. It sounded, if SMQ hadn't seen the video, like the backup offensive line went Last Boy Scout summarily executed FIU's training staff on the midfield "U."
Why did this particular instance of inappropriate fisticuffs have to reflect poorly on the entire landscape of college football, as opposed to the specific individuals who instigated and escalated it, and who have now been disciplined within the university structure? Why is this outside the typical purveyance of dumb kids doing dumb things? If there was injury and malicious or criminal intent, deal with those individuals criminally. But really, it was just another big fight.
Never before has such excessive depravity been witnessed on the pristine beacons of civility and a class you and I once knew as a football field, except all those other times.