Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
Follow Randball on Twitter
Nick Saban has led Alabama to back-to-back BCS titles and could add a third this season. That said, SB Nation has uncovered some gaping holes in his resume: namely, the 63 Division I-FBS programs he has never defeated as a head coach.
OK, it's mostly a joke post -- play Idaho already, you coward -- since the Tide would roll over most if not all of these teams tomorrow.
But how many of the 63 do you think you can name without looking at the full list?
Report back, if you dare.
That said, there were TWO long-ish things that made us read start to finish today.
One: Bill Barnwell's take on the upcoming Vikings season. It's full of facts and stuff. If you are wearing purple-colored glasses, you might not care for it, but there are some important cautionary tales (and some surprising pro-Ponder numbers, which Clarence Swamptown will dismiss as voodoo). A sample:
I would love to see Adrian Peterson run for 2,000 yards this year. It was so much fun watching him do it last season, clowning opposing defenders and leaving the rest of the NFL in his wake. He easily deserved his MVP, and last year is probably going to be the season that solidifies his Hall of Fame case when he retires. I suspect that he will be the best running back in football this season. But that will likely mean 1,500 rushing yards, not 2,000. And if he's "merely" the best running back in football, that changes the way Minnesota's offense looks.
Two: Timothy Burke's look at the long and interesting Manziel family history. Oil. Cockfighting. Swindling. MANZIELS DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE. A sample:
It turns out the Manziels are a much more colorful and interesting bunch than any of the profiles thus far have indicated. Their fortune was indeed made in oil—wildcatting, specifically—but there were also family sidelines in cockfighting, small-time grifting, match-fixing, and, if you believe the federal indictments, cocaine-trafficking and murder. In fact, the first great sporting success under the family name wasn't Johnny Football; it was the Manziel grey gamefowl, bred by Johnny's great-grandfather. The Manziels arrived in Texas after cockfighting was outlawed, but they wound up with a breed named after them anyway. That's the story of the Manziels in America. It's the story of making money just this side (and occasionally that side) of the rules.
You could spend 20 minutes looking at a bunch of slide shows of cute puppies, or you could actually expand your mind tonight and read.
He should ignore the arbitrary and absurd NFL eligibility age-limit — the league might be able to keep him from playing professional football until May 2014, but they can’t keep him from being a pro, status earned not by getting paid to actually play football, but simply by getting paid to be a football player.
He should immediately start training full-time for the NFL Draft with a quarterback guru like George Whitfield — something he already has done this year and a full-time move he likely will make in January anyway. His NFL stock won’t get higher by playing another season of college football — not as much as it would if he single-mindedly dedicated the next nine months to preparing himself to actually play in the NFL. Among other propagated myths, college football has never been about prioritizing an individual player’s NFL development.
And he should immediately start cashing in on his celebrity status: The massive shoe and apparel deal. The sports-drink deal. The trading-card deal. The dozens of other marketing deals waiting for the most popular college football player West of Tebow.
Food for thought. Money in college sports is a runaway train. We personally don't think college athletes should be paid because 1) you have to draw the line somewhere and 2) Those on full scholarships are already getting, in many cases, a six-figure compensation over the duration of their time. Is it gross that the NCAA makes tons of money without much overhead in terms of its talent? Yes. But paying players isn't the solution.
Your thoughts on Manziel, the NCAA and money in the comments, please.
On the heels of a startling, electric piece on Johnny Manziel by ESPN's Wright Thompson, the NCAA has correctly found some troubling facets surrounding last year's Heisman Trophy winner.
Predictably, however, they have nothing to do with the root of his problems and everything to do with the NCAA's facade of amateurism. Also per ESPN:
The NCAA is investigating whether Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was paid for signing hundreds of autographs on photos and sports memorabilia in January, "Outside the Lines" has learned. Two sources tell "Outside the Lines" that the Texas A&M quarterback agreed to sign memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure flat fee during his trip to Miami for the Discover BCS National Championship. Both sources said they witnessed the signing, though neither saw the actual exchange of money.
That kind of thing would be a serious NCAA offense. But in the grand scheme of Manziel's life, it would be about the 150th biggest real-world problem. Would the NCAA not be interested, for instance, in the fact that Manziel -- a 20-year-old -- is described in various situations with alcohol in Thompson's piece (enough and in the types of circumstances that Deadspin made an entire thoughtful post about it).
Would the NCAA not be interested that the very hyper-intense culture of college football that it helps curate is perhaps tearing apart its best player, a man-child ill-prepared to handle it all?
Of course not. They'll stick to black and white, not grey.
Despite the rapidly-filling "L" column in the standings, though, I can't say with any real conviction that it's bothering me, as a fan. I'd rather see wins than losses, but like most Twins fans, I labored under no illusions about this year's chapter of Twins history; most of the team is either young and filled with potential, or Eddie Harris-like stopgaps, here to fill in until other players arrive.
It's a shame to see another year of Joe Mauer go for nothing, and it's a shame that Glen Perkins can't pitch on a better team, but it's hard to feel anything other than curiosity about the rest of the squad. From the rookies, like Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks, to the guys like Brian Dozier, Chris Parmelee, and Trevor Plouffe who are in the neighborhood of 500-1000 career at-bats, the losing is less interesting than the question that we ask about any young player: is this guy going to be any good?
I'm sure there are plenty of fans out there who are irrepressibly angry about the Twins' losing, even now. Perhaps you want Ron Gardenhire fired at the All-Star break; perhaps you want Bill Smith waterboarded for his crimes against success. If you're angry, though, truly angry about this Twins year, I have only one question for you: what did you expect?
*On with the links:
*John Bonnes looks at the Ricky Nolasco trade to learn a few important lessons about this year's MLB trade market.
* Parker Hageman, guesting at Baseball Prospectus, talks to Twins VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff about the Twins' top prospects, including newcomer Kohl Stewart.
* Speaking of prospects, Aaron Gleeman looks at previous duos who - like Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton - were in the same organization, and appeared at the same time in the list of the Top 5 prospects in all of baseball.
* Turning to football, Grantland's Robert Mays looks at Vikings center John Sullivan - part of Grantland's All-22 All-Stars.
* And finally: Having trouble remembering the schools that are in the new American Conference? Spencer Hall has written a poem to help you. (Well, I laughed.)