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Sports Commentary 2/6/13: Much Ado About Letters

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It’s College Football National Letter of Intent Day !!!   Big Whoop !

commentary 2-6

MUCH ADO ABOUT LETTERS

Get ready to hate me.  Maybe that’s too strong a word.  Get ready to dislike me, with a heavy dose of lost respect for me as a sportscaster, if you had any to begin with.  Perhaps we can talk later.  Anyhow, my problem this morning is, I don’t care.  I don’t understand what all the hoopla’s about.  To me it’s much ado about nothing.  It’s national letter of intent day in college football.  So what?  I know in other corners of the sports media universe it calls for a big time sell.  At least one major all sports network that shall remain nameless is planning a full day of the decisions made by high school kids and the impact those decisions will have on the college football landscape next December.  How do they know?  They don’t.  If they did it would all make so much more sense when it plays out at the other end.  Certainly it would make more sense than a program that didn’t have a single top thirty recruiting class over the four years in which it stocked itself with enough talent to earn a BCS bowl berth.  There would be much more sense to it if a program ranked in every service’s top 20 four years in a row had even qualified for a bowl berth this past season or a program that, over that same stretch, never finished in anyone’s top 10 in recruiting weren’t in the top five in the final national rankings for three of the ensuing four years, yet all of those scenarios have played out, just check the prognostications against the results for UConn, Tennessee and Oregon.  It makes one wonder how much the so-called experts actually know and why they spend so much time on letter of intent day trying to make you believe they actually know how a teenage kid is going to develop and how he’s going to respond to the most pressure he’s ever been under in the four most formidable years of his life.  Many of these kids have yet to solo in the famliy car.  They still have a lot to learn about personal responsibility and responsibility to family, or in the world now confronting them, to team.  Most of them, particularly the most sought after among them, the three stars and up as rated by the recruiting services, have spent their athletic lives so far in ‘men against boys’ situations, standing head and shoulders above most of the competition.  From this day forward most of them will no longer be the best players on their own team, let alone in their league, or, in some cases, their state.  Now they compete for jobs on their own team against others who were the best on the team, in the league and in the state, which is what makes recruiting analysis such an inexact science.  Letter of intent day puts a lot of attention on 17 and 18 year old kids who haven’t had a chance to be kids yet.  Now we expect them to pass “Go” and vault right into adulthood, almost overnight.  Some of them have the ability to be coached “up” and will be much better than advertised when the next four years are up while some of the highest profile names get lost in the shuffle.  I know for some today is the day to begin salivating over the main course.  I prefer to wait until dessert, when the proof is in the pudding.  To me, today is just for show.  With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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