Oh, I concede its eventual necessity, no doubt. But not today.
• In a Word, a Gulf: An editorial in the Benton County Daily Record makes an interesting comparison to distinguish your hardy, devoted Arkansas fan from the frothing, coach-bashing, nasty e-mailing, information-requesting, lawsuit-filing fanatic:
For instance, many people who consider themselves fans -- even avid fans -- of the "Star Trek" universe would never dream of wearing a pair of pointed, plastic ears, especially in public. But as we all know, there are countless people who do just that. They dress up as their favorite "Star Trek" characters and mingle in hangar-like convention halls with thousands of similarly inclined "warp-drive " enthusiasts.
We call them Trekkies, and the word "fan" really doesn't do them justice. They're a breed apart -- something few of them would argue. They're fanatics, and hard as it might be for the rest of us to believe, many wear that label with considerable pride.
(While we're on the subject of science-fiction fanaticism, those with a nostalgic soft spot for the "Star Wars" movies have often been forced to contemplate fan/fanatic distinctions of their own. Standing in line for tickets next to a grown man brandishing a replica lightsaber tends to force that kind of reflection.) (What about next to a man with a plastic pig on his head? - ed.)
Is there really any less difference between the sports fan -- a description many Americans happily apply to themselves -- and the sports fanatic ? More specifically, what about the difference between Razorback fans and Razorback fanatics ? Is there a gulf, and if so, how wide is it ?
There is a massive gulf if this well-written, well-reasoned small town editorial is submitted as evidence alongside, say, this. Its also right that the specifically negative, melodramatic, counterproductive mindset of the Nutt-bashing base needs a name of its own to set it apart from the humble, levelheaded folk who just love their school. But why the trouble with terminology?:
Maybe, like the Trekkies, those on the fanatic side deserve a description all their own. Piggies might work.
The good editorialists of Bentonville are able to construct the beautiful Trekkie/Star Wars analogy for Arkansas' bile-spewing "fanatics," yet have missed out on its perfect linguistic corollary: Darksiders, which I appropriated from a message board in April and, in light of an apparently emerging market, hereby call to make official.
(What is that line Easterbrook uses – Mr. Data, make it so! Right? I've never watched Star Wars.)
• Let Us Never Forget: Auburn's mythical championship snub in 2004 was about its preseason ranking, not its schedule, but if that year's unholy non-conference triumverate of UL-Monroe, The Citadel and Louisiana Tech is a catalyst for more big boy series like the 2010-11 home-and-home announced Thursday with Clemson, let the myth live.
The Tigers' recent record against toothy out-of-conference fare in September is terrible (0-5 against USC, Syracuse and Georgia Tech from 2002-05), but AU had an absurd eight home games last year, and a steady, high-calorie diet of Buffalo, Tulane and Arkansas State leaves too little room for error and too much for pollster second-guessing in a pinch. Champions cut out the snacks for lean meat! Even with the complete absence of a non-SEC road trip again, this year Auburn gets Kansas State and tougher-than-it-was-scheduled-to-be South Florida, with West Virginia and now the other orange-clad Tigers coming on in the next five years. It will charge more for these games, because they're actually attractive to fans - as opposed to the contemptible cycle of I-AA punching bags like Western Carolina, Western Kentucky, The Citadel and Tennessee Tech - but it's also that much tougher to win big in the long-term without them. Kudos to Clemson, too for reviving this series and, beginning in 2013, its traditional game with Georgia. So more, more peer scheduling, por favor.
Tim Tebow, still waiting for the right girl?
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* Quickly: Cuz he's so telegenic: Larry Coker signs up with the Worldwide Leader ... Eighteen commitments in, Tom Lemming cannot believe how well Notre Dame is doing in the class of 2008 ... Bridging gaps at the first annual Heisman winners retreat. And playing golf, of course. Lots of golf ... Kenny Ingram, back in the fold at Florida State ... Weber State picks up a quarterback courtesy the SEC ... A week after his academic suspension from Maryland, it's the supplemental draft for Jared Gaither ... They call them Bulldogs of the morning ... Ryan Perrilloux and Ricky Jean-Francois are still enrolled at LSU, but there's no timetable for their return to football ... Colorado's athletic budget hits all-time highs. For what, 2-10 and a sub-NIT basketball team? ... Musical quarterbacks an unsettling likelihood at Kansas ... And Oklahoma simultaneously raises tuition and salaries, so stupid questions get a pass.
The Rap Sheet
Crimes, misdemeanors and eligibility-crippling issues legal, academic, institutional and otherwise.
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Booted, by an "embarrassed" Phil Fulmer following his very serious arrest for possession of crack cocaine, Tennessee walk-on Justin Jackson, whose car was found to contain "a bag of marijuana, a bag believed to contain crack cocaine and $632 in cash." His "accomplice," as it were, standing next to the car, was charged with "selling or possessing drugs" after police apparently found 37 bags of crack on him.
Jackson is dumb for a) possessing crack, and b) possessing crack in plain of an officer during a routine traffic stop. Why was he searched in the first place? Suspicion of a "possible seat belt violation," in a car that according to reports was already stopped. No word on whether he was cited for that egregious threat to his body, too.
Success in life, according to Woody Allen, is mostly just showing up. A lesson learned the hard way by Florida State defensive tackle Paul Griffin, a returning starter, who was briefly jailed for violating his probation and skipping out on a court date earlier this week. Griffin was charged with a DUI last November and subsequently driving with a suspended license in March, and according to an affidavit cited in Emily Badger's Orlando Sentinel blog had failed to attend DUI school, counseling, victim awareness programs, community service, etc. as his six-month probation neared an end last month. Griffin failed to appear Tuesday, was arrested and booked Wednesday and was released on bail Thursday. His next hearing is July 24. Dude, show up! For the Seminole Nation!
As to Griffin's eligibility, Badger cites FSU's discipline policy, which restricts game participation by any felon. But since Griffin's charges are misdemeanors, the decision falls, naturally, to "the head coach, after review by the Director of Athletics, relative to circumstances, background, as well as current and past deportment of the student-athlete involved..." Bobby Bowden reported he would sleep on it.
Arrested, after turning himself in, a 19-year-old charged with stabbing South Carolina offensive line recruit Quintin Richardson last weekend. Ross Montgomery Grant was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill for stabbing Richardson "several times in his back and arms" during a fight at an apartment, but Grant said in a statement at his bond hearing, "...please know that I acted in defense of my life."
Acquitted, former Iowa receiver-turned-sheriff's-deputy Ivory Webb, of attempted voluntary manslaughter for shooting an Iraq war veteran several times after a car chase last year in California. In a videotape of the shooting, it looks like Webb fires as the man is obeying his order to get off the ground, but the jury apparently believed the defense's contention that Webb thought he was reaching for a gun.