Mark's Malarkey

Obviously there was no Malarkey last week, and truth be told I haven't exactly been busting at the seams to get cranking on this one. Still, this country should move forward, right? And that moving forward should include the re-embracing of our prior passions, should it not?

For those who are still wanting to now live only in fear, and do nothing but re-visit the terrible loss that was inflicted on our nation, I propose a different approach: study your history, realize that if the attempts of last Tuesday shocked you then you were naive about current world affairs, and toughen your resolve to bear out the good and bad that is soon to come from our actions on the world stage. America has been on a sort of holiday for the last three decades, and hopefully we haven't grown too soft. Oprah and Rosie-nation should realize that now that the going has gotten tough, well, you know the rest of the cliché...

So here's the blanket statement, to cover things from here on out: Yes, mere games such as football are trivial pursuits, in the big picture. They, in fact, always were. But we are all smart and rational enough to realize that if we cower in fear from a one-day attack by religious fanatics, we've given them what they sought. (Nod your head. We do realize that, don't we?) So we won't. Cower in fear. If we are now worried about terrorism, I submit we always should have been. If we now feel patriotic, I submit we always should have been. Let's just say then, that we are a little wiser now. That's ok. But we will not feel guilty about enjoying the freedoms and passions available to us in this greatest of countries. And here in the South, to a lot of us, that means college football. So no more apologies. We hold our heads high, we support our administration as it seeks justice (even when unpleasant side-effects come to be produced), and we do begin to move on.

Now, how was our new season, just barely begun before last week's attacks forced national cancellations, affected? I'm afraid there will be significant impacts. In the short-term, the worst aspect to the cancellations will be the massive layoffs faced by many teams. As this coming Saturday was a widely-used "off" weekend, a whole lot of teams will end up going three weeks between games. That will impact performance, and possibly lead to more injuries due to conditioning issues. The teams that play this week, and then face opponents the following week that were off, have the most to gain. In the long-term, well, let's just say that depth really becomes valuable. No late-season off weeks, no time between conference championships. So the teams that stay the healthiest through the season may have the upper hand. Oh, and that "FSU method" of losing early, and then sneaking back into national title hunts at the end of the season because of sympathetic voters, just went out the window. In many cases those losses are now going to come at the end of the season, when they hurt worst.

But enough of the bad news, did anything good come out of the cancellations? Sure -- Florida and Georgia Tech got the worst of the rescheduling. (Ha ha, just a joke. Regarding Florida, anyway.) The evil Gators now face Tennessee (who will be better, by then) after getting banged on by FSU, and the Trade School faces FSU (who will DEFINITELY be better, by then) after getting banged on by UGA. Adding insult to injury, the Criminoles will be off while the bees are scrapping with Georgia.

So in a way, the season re-starts this weekend, beginning with a good match-up on Thursday night between South Carolina and Mississippi State. I, for one, am looking forward to it. And I think we all should be.

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