It is time yet again to address our weekly preseason college football question. Much has transpired since last the pigskin traveled along the gridiron and it is appropriate to use the time leading up to the kickoff of the 2005 campaign to address some of these changes.
For instance, did you know that C.B.S. has announced that its new fall lineup will include a spinoff called "C.S.I.: S.E.C."? In this new hour-long drama, police will investigate crimes allegedly committed by football players at the University of Tennessee and the University of South Carolina. Unfortunately, there are only 22 episodes in a T.V. season, so they won't be able to cover all of the crimes allegedly committed by Volunteer and Gamecock athletes in the past year, but they'll get to as many of them as they can.
For now, though, we once more find ourselves concerned with offseason coaching changes in the Southeastern Conference and we turn to an issue that has caused many a denizen of Bulldog Nation much existential angst. Therefore, we wrestle this week with the following inquiry:
Is it all right for me to like Urban Meyer?
No, it isn't.
Several people have commented to me that Urban Meyer seems like a decent enough fellow and, clearly, he is an excellent football coach. His name lends itself to a natural (if somewhat premature) nickname ("Urban Legend") that is so blatantly obvious that it occurs even to University of Florida graduates. As blasphemous as it sounds, I even had someone tell me that Urban Meyer came across as "another Mark Richt."
Yeah, well, there once was a "Star Trek" episode that featured "another Mr. Spock," only this one was from an alternate universe and had a cool-looking goatee. The only problem was that his employer was evil incarnate. (I'm sorry, but I felt the need to work in a "Star Trek" reference, in honor of the late James "Scotty" Doohan, whose recent passing was reported at http://entertainment.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=196936.)
It was all right to like Coach Meyer when he was a rising star at Bowling Green and Utah. However, there are two very good reasons for disliking Coach Meyer now.
First of all, he turned down the head coaching job at Notre Dame. Now, I hate Notre Dame like every good Protestant American should, but Coach Meyer is a Roman Catholic. He is, in fact, named after a Pope, not after a major metropolitan area or a video rental category including movies by Spike Lee.
When your religious faith is headquartered in Vatican City, your first football loyalty has to be in South Bend. I'm a Methodist, but even I know that a Catholic who shuns Notre Dame is going straight to Hell like the protagonist of a Drivin' 'n' Cryin' song. Some would say that, since his mailing address is now in Gainesville, Coach Meyer has been sent to Hell already.
That brings us to the second reason for disliking Urban Meyer, which I have chosen to sum up in a little song I like to call "Oh, I Wish Urban Meyer Was Not a Weiner." Every citizen of Bulldog Nation should sing it repeatedly while in Jacksonville and it goes something like this:
My opponent has a first name.
My opponent has a second name.
Oh, I'd love to beat him Saturday,
And, if you ask me why, I'll say:
"'Cause Urban Meyer works today
Maybe Urban Meyer is a good guy, but, as Jackie Gleason said in "Smokey and the Bandit 2," there's an old saying in law enforcement: when you raid a house of ill repute, you arrest the piano player, too. When Coach Meyer stopped wearing red and started wearing orange, he lost all claim to our affection, our admiration, or our willingness to hit the brakes if we happened to see him crossing the street.
Case closed. Next question?
Actually, before we move on to the next question, we still have a question remaining unanswered, don't we? Last week, I posed an odd college football question to the group, asking what I would have in common with Hines Ward, the former Georgia Bulldog and current Pittsburgh Steeler, if I were to appear as the 12th Man at a Texas A&M home game. The keys to the question are Hines Ward's current N.F.L. team and the fact that I would be taking the field for the Aggies in College Station. (The answer also involves phonetics.)
Texas A&M plays its home games at Kyle Field. The Steelers play their home games at Heinz Field. The answer, therefore, is that each of us would have taken the football field in a stadium bearing the same name by which he is called.