Saturday, September 11, 2010

Old Vs New

I was watching a college football pre-game show today from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where tonight the Penn State Nittany Lions will attempt to upset the Crimson Tide at home. Personally, I don't think Penn State has a shot, but that's not what this post is about.

Behind the commentators was a crowd of pro-Alabama fans (who would have thought.) One gentleman held up a giant sign that said "Clash of the Titans." Below the title were two pictures: one of Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and one of Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

My first reaction was anger. How dare this kid compare flavor of the year Nick Saban to a legend like Joe Pa! Paterno is an institution. He is as much the identity of Penn State as the bland uniforms or the Happy Valley crowd. He graduates kids and he makes them decent citizens. You don't hear of shoplifting and drug selling on his teams.

Saban? His loyalty is to one place: himself. He goes where the money and fame is. He keeps his kids in class mostly, but have no doubt, he's there to win football games. Well, unless he decides to go down the street to your rival school and coach there. He disgusts me.

And then I thought about it and realized that is what a college football coach has become. And it's our own fault. As much as I love Joe Pa, when is the last time I stopped down just to watch a Penn State football game? I know they've had a recent resurgence, but they are still a boring team and I've personally never seen them as a national title contender for over a decade. The Penn State teams are just like their coach: solid.

Saban? He's one of the most successful coaches in college football right now. He's won two national titles this decade. His teams are usually in the top ten. His defenses are legendary. Ask fans and they'll take that any day. Solid citizens can't be bragged about at the bar. Championships can.

So I stand corrected. This game really is the clash of the titan coaches. But instead of a heavyweight fight, it's more like the lightsaber battle between old Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader from the original "Star Wars." One man is noble and a beacon of light, but he's old and losing power. The other is a dark lord who is at the top of his game. Saban is the new face of college football: a mercenary coach for a money making machine. And it's exactly what most fans want.

Go Penn State.

No comments:

Post a Comment