At the start of the 2014 college football season many teams appeared to be unbeatable and apparent shoe-ins to punch their #Road2Arlington tickets to the inaugural College Football Playoffs. The close calls in week four has all but destroyed these cloaks of invincibility. The Auburn Tigers high octane sputtered in Manhattan but was bailed out by a dominant run defense and uncharacteristic miscues by the Kansas State Wildcats missing three field goals and two sure handed touchdown passes.
The Oregon Ducks offense may not have been as abysmal but the Ducks offensive line was dominated by the Washington State Cougars defense who sacked the frail Heisman front runner Marcus Mariota seven times, who had to run just to survive. The Ducks defense was a complete no show surrendering 480 yards in passing alone. The Ekpre-Olomu Darrell Revis comparison from this summer looked downright laughable as he was victimized frequently as Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday showed little fear attacking the All American corner.
While the Ducks were saved by Mariota the Florida State Seminoles nearly lost because of the selfishness of Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. The nations longest winning streak was on the verge of being snapped until defensive tackle Eddie Goldman saved their season and as well as their championship hopes when he caused a fumble with his bear claw.
Routes come and go but these close calls were a huge wake up call for several title contenders. Although battered, bruised and humbled these week four close calls will either bring the team together or serve as a sign of things to come. The diagram their championship demise is no secret and their adversaries smell blood: Auburn can not run; Oregon cannot protect or defend; and poor FSU who knows what Winston will do next. Upsets are inevitable, the only question is who will be next victim? Stay tuned…I know I will.
In stadiums and pubs all over the planet fans grab a brew and dawn a jersey rooting on their favorite team. Our fandom and allegiance is largely built around the dazzling play of some of the world’s greatest athletes. We love them because they are able to do things that we could only imagine like Kobe Bryant’s 81 point record breaking performance; Adrian Peterson triumphant MVP performance 9 months after reconstructive knee surgery.
These once in a generation talent gain infamy for their clutch performance. Because of their talents and ability on the field we see Hope Solo on Wheaties boxes; Ray Lewis selling Old Spice deodorant; and Tiger Woods selling Buicks. Every time we cut on our televisions we welcome these athletes into lives. But we must remember that these athletes endorsing these products are no different than you and me.
For some reason we mistakenly presume that in addition to their athletic exploits that guys like Dez Bryant, Tony Stewart, and others have a heightened moral compass that prevents them from making the mistakes that ordinary joe and jane make each day.
The Ray Rice fiasco has reminded us all that no one is immune and mistakes are a widespread epidemic that impacts and influences all mankind. The actions of Rice and Stewart are deplorable, however both incidents can serve as a teaching lesson on how important it is for us to access before we act.
Each of the athletes mentioned has been exposed, not as villains but as human. Although these athletes have been punished or will be, the real question is will you alter your views and perceptions and address these issues in your homes and in your communities? You may not possess world class speed of Hermes or the physique that would make Hercules jealous but you can make a difference but will you? Because at the end of the day Sir Charles Barkley said it best, (ATHLETES) I AM NOT A ROLE MODEL. Stay tuned…I know I will. –