One might think we have little to discuss given that the season is now wrapped up, but honestly, my brain is swirling with subject matter.
The most intriguing topics of interest:
- Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore having a legitimate shot to go number 1 and 2 in the NFL draft. Wow. Wow. Wow. This is even more extraordinary than the Tannehill extravaganza last year. Incredible publicity for two incredible players (one incredible school).
- Recruiting wrap-up... a bit tough to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of high school players that have yet to set foot on college campus. With that being said; incredible recruiting class. I was personally overjoyed by the Ricky Seals-Jones process. Commit to UT, de-commit from UT, have UT claim they aren't recruiting him anymore (I am pretty sure the number one recruit in the state makes that decision, not you Mack Brown), then have it come full circle with a Texas A&M commitment. A clear indicator of the shift in power in our state.
- Jake Matthews coming back and thereby giving us a good shot at ANOTHER incredible year of offensive line work. Those big boys in the trenches are the engine to the football team.
- Hyman having a sit down with Manziel. Don't you dare restrict Manziel's swag, Hyman. Let the boy "peacock" all he wants.
- Can I mention how I think it is fun that Manziel's family has a ton of money; thereby, driving the haters wild as he lives a life of luxury without consequences.
- Potential preseason rankings. I want to be somewhere between 3 and 6. Perfect placement in the polls to control your own destiny, perfect amount of respect, minimal amount of pressure as opposed to somehow being ranked number 1 ahead of Alabama.
Alright, take it where you please Ben. I am open to anything and everything!
Ben: Okay, you brought up a number of great topics, but we'd be doing ourselves and our handful of readers a huge disservice without discussing our favorite overrated athlete of 2012... Manti Te'o!!!!!!!!!
1% of me MIGHT feel bad for him. I DON'T BELIEVE FOR ONE SECOND THAT HE IS INNOCENT AND IS THE VICTIM HERE. However, he is obviously a complete moron that thought he could get away with this. For his stupidity, I do feel a little sorry for him.
Scott, start it off. Give me your thoughts on Manti Te'LOL...
Scott: The world is buzzing over one of the most insane stories I have ever heard. I am going to resort back to bullet points in an attempt to organize my thoughts (and probably be more inquisitive and less harsh than you).
- There is obviously a SIGNIFICANT level of delusion in Te’o's life. Regardless of what he knew, or didn't know. Holy cow, how does anyone on earth think they can get away with such things in today's society. Social media is a shark, and there is ALWAYS blood in the water.
- Is he gay? This is the least discussed outcome thus far by the big media avenues. And honestly, I think this is the only result where he saves a moderate amount of dignity to a portion of America. Come out with a sob story of fear and confusion and, no doubt, the gay community comes to your defense based upon the potential for discrimination. That doesn't justify anything... but it makes him somewhat of a sympathy character. Stay tuned for this "thought-line" to gain steam in the near future.
- I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the comparisons between Notre Dame's awkward press conference and the Tennessee butt-chugging press conference. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Manti Teo being in the same sentence with butt-chugging (even if they aren't directly related).
- Obviously, as A&M fans, we thoroughly enjoyed his football demise in the national championship game. All stat-based analysis puts Te’o well behind the likes of other defensive studs (uhm... Damontre Moore)... yet his undefeated team and supposed story lines carried him to the Heisman presentation. WOW, could the college football nation be ANY happier with Manziel winning it? The cream always rises to the top.
- I hope ESPN gets ripped apart for knowing this information before the national championship game. ABSOLUTELY RIPPED APART. Listen, I read and watch ESPN just as much as anyone (mainly because they have a monopoly... that's just life), but they truly are the farthest thing from an unbiased news source, and I love every story that makes them look bad.
- I hope Notre Dame and Manti Te’o get what they deserve here. Fraud and deception undoubtedly occurred. I hope every bit of truth is uncovered in this story.
There you have it, LOTS of viewpoints (I like all the side stories) to play off Ben. Enjoy.
Ben: I don't think Te'o is gay, but honestly that is the only viable path forward for him. The sports landscape is ripe for a star male athlete to break down that barrier. Considering he loves attention, being know as the "Jackie Robinson" for homosexuals in sports may actually appeal to him. It certainly would provide a shield for him to hide behind at this point.
- Did you happen to see the video Clay Travis posted at OKTC today? It's a Taiwanese cartoon that includes Te'o and the Buttchugger. Remarkable.
- Bill Simmons has his 'Tyson Zone'... That may be another alternative for Manti. Become an unpredictable character that can become a cult hero because of his insanity.
- What I really want to know is if Te'o actually did get duped at first and then played along or created the entire thing from the beginning. If he was duped at first, why would anyone do that? Is that not the dumbest prank ever?
- I was shocked by the ND press conference last night. How in the world can they stand by him after knowing the details? I'm not saying they should ostracize him because he has undoubtedly been a model student-athlete that the administration made a lot of money off of, but what do they have to gain by claiming the whole thing was a hoax? In fact, shouldn't the AD lose his job next week, once all of the details have emerged?
- This could crush the ND program. It will hang over their heads for a long time. What are recruits thinking right now?
- The entire scandal has me praising Aggie baby Jesus for giving us a genuine rock star in Johnny Manziel, who seems to have his head on straight enough to never get caught up in something like this. Pushing the limits (if even) as far as NCAA rules go, pales in comparison to perpetrating something like Te'o did.
If anything good comes from this, it's that the media finally got their serving of humble pie after pimping Te'o and the Irish in Heisman race, lead up to national championship, etc. Any Fighting Irish hater should be glad to know the media won't ever sensationalize something like this again.
Scott: So many avenues of thought... I like our scattered approach.
Again, the gay path is easiest way out. If he is gay, I don't know what he is waiting for, if he isn't gay, well I don't think he is going to take that path... that would make for a very uneasy future as a faux-gay football player.
Don't think the 'Tyson Zone' is a feasible result. He doesn't seem to have the personality. He might be sneaky, and he might have perfected the public humblebrag, but I don't seem him as the entertaining psycho sort...
As I said before, I hope Notre Dame (and ESPN) gets ripped on this. The Notre Dame AD definitely put himself in a tough situation. All the stories out there contradict his overall sentiments, and that will likely come back to haunt him. As far as recruits and the future of the program… well, I honestly don't think it will be that devastating. I don't see any NCAA sanctions coming out of this given that the root of the story doesn't have anything to do with his college education or his athletic career. Though, it is a sensational, emotional, twisted story and Manti Te'o's life is significantly altered for the next 5-10 years.
Another fascinating question... in the testosterone driven NFL world... what in the world are those players going to think when their team drafts Manti Te'o and he strolls into training camp? I mean his play on the field better speak LOUD... or he is in for an eternity of awkwardness and discomfort.
Do you think his draft stock will be dramatically affected? I think so, I could totally see him drop to the second round given that so many of his "positives" were intangible driven. Well he is now the king of "intangible" girlfriends... and that is not a plus to NFL scouts.
Thank you, Johnny Manziel for being the king of swag. Swag doesn't lose in Waco. Swag doesn't make up girlfriends. Swag doesn't watch a teammate assault a girl. Swag doesn't resort to online dating.
Swag dresses up as Scooby Doo... and lives the "tangible" college dream.
Ben: Yeah, maybe I was getting a little carried away about the damage this could do to ND's program. Wishful thinking.
I don't think this will end up hurting his draft stock. One or two teams may shy away from that kind of stuff (there's no way a locker room with Ray Lewis-taught Ravens would accept a guy after all this) but in the end, talent matters in the NFL more than off-field issues.
Where do you think he'll get drafted? I have seen him all over the first round in mock drafts, but I really don't know about him being a first round pick. He looked great against bad teams, plain and simple. When he faced a real team, he looked like a boy among men. Also, am I the only one that thinks a lot of his game is based on just being in the right place at the right time? Dropping back in coverage and the QB doesn't see him, a pass gets tipped right to him, a fumble shoots out right at his feet... he never jumped out at me as a 'playmaker'. Maybe I'm not giving him enough credit, but I just think he is so overrated as a defensive player. Give me Damonster ANY DAY.
Scott, how will you handle it if Joeckel and Moore go 1-2? Will you immediately buy Chiefs and Jaguars jerseys, and sew them together, and wear it to sleep every night?
On another draft note, I saw a tweet about Christine Michael impressing scouts at practices for one of the all-star games... He got lost in the shuffle this year, but we can't sleep on him as a stud in the NFL. Remember, Jamaal Charles lost his way at UT before getting drafted in the 3rd round and promptly turning into a beast on Sundays. Where do you think C-Mike gets drafted?
Whoa, Trey Bahney just came out of the woodworks to share his thoughts…
Trey: WHOA! How did I get here??
Well this Te'o thing makes about as much sense as this email thread, but I'll toss my two cents into the wishing well.
- Only way he saves any face is if it turns out he is gay. If he is, he can't admit it because he's trying to get drafted into the NFL. If he isn't he could double up on all his terrible lies with one mega-lie and get some people off his back. By the way, how awesome would it be if he admitted he were gay and then was the Jackie Robinson of gay representation in the NFL for years, just for the truth to come out that he was never gay??? #MINDBLOWN
- Let's be real, Te'o is not gay, he's just an ultra priveleged kid who was told ever since birth that his stuff don't stink. He got himself into a little white lie and, as the lesson goes, that little white lie just grows bigger and bigger. People that don't make mistakes in life are the people who are LYING TO YOU! That's one of the problems I had with RG3 and that's why I DON'T have a problem with Johnny Manziel. There are few things in the world I respect more than when someone ownes up to a mistake and says, "I messed up. I'll learn from this mistake and it won't happen again."
- The Notre Dame Athletic Department: If their goal was to deflect some of the blame that is going to Te'o, they succeeded in taking it all for themselves. Absolutely terrible stance on this thing. They messed up the timing, they SOAKED UP the story line, they tried to cover it up, they told Te'o to lie about it at the NCG, and they STILL can't own up to the truth of the matter. ND needs to take a hint from the Penn State ordeal and realize that they need to STOP COVERING THINGS UP or this will happen with something more real than a fake girlfriend, like a rape/suicide.
- As for ESPN, I don't think they intended to break the story. Quite frankly, I don't think ESPN wants to be a watchdog to the sports world anymore. Investigative reporting is not going to make friends for them. Imagine if ESPN used all of their interviews as proof to put together a story showing that Te'o was lying. Well, the next popular player from ND wouldn't sit down with them for an interview. It's a classic case of "good cop vs. bad cop" and ESPN picked to be the good cop and let the story be broken by Deadspin.
- To bring the topic back to Aggieland, I'm extremely proud to say that A&M could never be "Stanford" in this story because, if a student passed away, we would hold Silvertaps. Since she wasn't real, no Silvertaps would have been held for her, therefore, many inquisitive Aggies would have put two and two together. No offense to Stanford students, but there's a reason why A&M considers itself a big family.
Scott: A whole new voice is heard. Obviously the current summation of the Te’o situation is that NOTHING makes sense. Way too many holes in everybody's story (especially Te’o's).
Without more concrete facts, I still have the mindset of utter disbelief at how a 22 year old college student and athlete would be interested and then ultimately fooled by an online relationship. That is not feasible. I understand that this is a confusing and deceiving technological world we live in, but you don't get duped in 2012. Getting duped in 2002 by an online relationship? COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY. Everyone was still figuring out exactly what the internet was and what it was capable of doing.
Also, I want to know more about the phone calls. Were they real? Was he talking to one certain girl the whole time? Incredibly easy to fake a person online via email, twitter, text, etc, but on the phone? That is way different. It brings in the element of time (both people are connected at the same exact time) and the sense of hearing (it obviously has to be a girl on the phone).
WAY TOO MANY HOLES. No way on earth that that a functional human being (and we can fairly assume that given his collegiate education thus far) doesn't smell the [cat]fishy smell.
Phew... alright, this is wrapped up. Ben, to address your draft questions... of course I will have a mental overload at the thought of my boys going 1 and 2. ALTHOUGH, I would almost root against it, given that I don't want either of them to be selected by the black hole known as Jacksonville. ALTHOUGH, Jacksonville is still better than a bunch of other teams I hate. I guess I can’t win; unless they all go to my own personal black hole, the Dallas Cowboys.
And Christine Michael, you better believe he is a risk worth taking mid-to-late in the draft. The guy is still a physical freak and could absolutely be a running back in the NFL with the proper opportunity. Running backs are revolving doors in the NFL.
In summation, thank you deadspin.com, for currently being one of the most objective internet outlets we have.