Clardy's Corner: Manufactured Outrage

In this day and age, whether it involves sports or not, manufactured outrage is all the rage. Troy Clardy explains. Plus, Troy caught plenty of college football this weekend, and offers his thoughts on Wake Forest, Washington, Colorado State and more.

I was watching ESPN's raw feed of Navy-Ohio State last week, and during one of the commercial breaks in the first half, the people in the production truck spent time rewinding and advancing the tape of a close-up of Buckeye QB Terrelle Pryor under center, as if they were trying to find the perfect frame to freeze on. A look revealed what the camera was trying to focus in on: Pryor's left eye-black, on which was written "Vick". As in Michael Vick.

Initially, I didn't think too much of it. Now, as most of you long-time Clardy's Corner readers know, I was disgusted with how Michael Vick was acting during his last full football season, and I certainly wasn't pleased with the events that led up to his stint in the Grey Bar Motel. But if the kid wanted to show his support for a boyhood hero of his, well, fine.

But of course, any time someone brings up Michael Vick, it's a perfect chance to manufacture outrage. And predictably, some folks back in Ohio took that chance and ran with it.

Buckeye message boards have been blowing up all week, but instead of looking ahead to this weekend's Game of the Century, some are too busy calling Pryor almost every name in the book for supporting Vick. One blog titled its entry on the subject "Terrelle Pryor Might Have Started The Apocalypse." Even the mainstream media have piled on, with one Cleveland Plain Dealer column declaring Pryor unfit to be the Buckeyes' leader.

None of us should be surprised about this reaction, I don't think. After all, in this day and age, whether it involves sports or not, manufactured outrage is all the rage.

Three things always amaze me about manufactured outrage. Nine times out of ten, it's completely unnecessary. It's generally directed towards things you can't control anyway. And once the reasons behind the so-called "outrage" are explained, you wonder what all the fuss was about to begin with.

Cardinalmaniacs aren't immune to this. Here's a rough example of a little manufactured outrage I saw when it came to last week's Stanford-Washington State game: "We had four shots at the goal line, Toby Gerhart in the backfield, and we came away with no points! No points! We didn't even kick the field goal! ZOMG!!!!!"

Reading those types of things, I didn't necessarily LOL. But instead of dismissing that manufactured outrage with an STFU, I had two responses. One, freaking out about going for it instead of kicking the field goal is completely unnecessary in my view. Any time you have an opportunity to completely put the game away, you take it. A field goal there still gives the Cougs a bit of a moral victory. A touchdown there makes it 29-3 and ends all doubt before halftime. That's a risk I'm willing to take.

Two, it's the first game of the season. Relax. Not everything is going to look perfect right now. This is just the starting point, not the finished product. I would much rather Stanford look perfect when November rolls around…when, quite frankly, they might need to.

Another little bit of manufactured outrage concerns this week's game, particularly the 9:00 a.m. Pacific kickoff the fellas will be facing in Winston-Salem. You know what? Stanford can't control the kickoff times when they go on the road. You know what's even better? Stanford can help control the kickoff time when Wake Forest comes west in 2010! I predict some manufactured outrage next year from Demon Deacon fans about a 10:00 p.m. Eastern kickoff from The Farm.

So even behind the Eucalyptus Curtain, there's enough manufactured outrage to go around. That said, there are things out there that should generate legitimate outrage. One is LeGarrette Blount's postgame punch in Boise State. Once you saw that unfold, I'm sure you called it disgusting, cowardly, and repugnant. Tom Cable probably just called it a normal staff meeting.

Once LeGarrette decided to inflict Blount force trauma to Byron Hout, the entire sports world stopped. On its entire family networks, ESPN probably replayed the punch at least 300 times on Friday (I'm not kidding…and that might be a conservative estimate). Every single message board went bonkers. Even my Facebook home page started blowing up.

And even though I still heard and saw some comments that made me cringe, the outrage there was justified. Hout didn't need to razz Blount like he did, but Blount obviously made an unfavorable situation bad by responding with a straight right to Hout's jaw. Then he made a bad situation worse by fighting with his own teammates. And he brought it to DEFCON 2 by literally being dragged punching and screaming into the locker room.

(By the way, the unsung hero of that whole situation is Scott Frost. Yes, that Scott Frost. He is now Oregon's receivers coach, and he was the one who saved Blount from going into the stands and bringing that situation to DEFCON 1.)

That was an outrageous event, and the reaction it caused was warranted. Can't say the same for the "controversies" surrounding Terrelle Pryor and some of the minutiae surrounding Stanford Football right now.

It's too bad manufactured outrage can't count towards our Gross Domestic Product… the economy would be in much better shape, no?

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RANDOM PAC-10 THOUGHTS

Stanford's offense showed me two dimensions we hadn't quite seen before: Chris Owusu as a big-time weapon, and Andrew Luck as a runner. Obviously I hope we see much more of the first dimension than the second, but the more things this offense can show, the better…

I'd love to give a deeper analysis of Andrew Luck, but quite honestly, I didn't see much of him. The cameraman working the game for Fox Sports Northwest in Pullman saw to that. Thanks for nothing, guys!

Watched most of Wake's loss to Baylor as it unfolded on Saturday. From what I saw, if you can get outside on Wake's defense, you've got a shot to do good things. And if you force Riley Skinner to make plays with his arm, you've got a shot to win. But if you let Wake's misdirection running game be effective, you might be in trouble…

To those of you Cardinalmaniacs making the roadie, I'll see you in Winston-Salem! And I'm taking suggestions on a good spot in Raleigh-Durham to check out USC-Ohio State…

By the way, I can't wait to hear my favorite college fight song live and in person this week. I just hope to hear as little of it as possible during the game…

So much for my pick of Oregon to win the Pac-10. Ugh…

Okay, so the Washington Huskies' performance against LSU surprised some folks. If the Tigers don't get a pick-six and the Huskies don't miss two tackles on Terrance Toliver, it's likely a different result. Heck, the Huskies looked downright frisky at times. Good for them. Let's see what happens when they go on the road and face an opponent they haven't spent weeks focusing in on…

That said, Jake Locker looked better throwing the ball downfield than he ever has. That's definitely a good sign in Seattle…

U$C-San Jose State kicked off at 12:42 p.m. Pacific time. After being down 3-0 for quite a while, the Trojans didn't score until 1:37 p.m. By 1:55 p.m., it was 21-3…

What did we learn from Oregon State over the weekend? Well, we already knew the Brothers Rodgers are bad dudes (302 all-purpose yards and four scores between them). So I think we learned nothing, really…

If you can find it, check out the highlight of Jacquizz Rodgers's 43-yard score against Portland State. His slashes and cutbacks would make a state budget director jealous…

Teams we're going to learn a lot more about this week: U$C (at Ohio State), UCLA (at Tennessee), Stanford, and Oregon…

Quote of the Week, courtesy UCLA safety Rahim Moore after the Bruins' win over San Diego State: "It was a little Frazier-Ali out there. They were Ali for a while, we had a little Frazier in us. But we flipped it around. In the end, we added a little bit of Floyd Mayweather." Given the events in Boise, I'm not sure that's an analogy the Pac-10 would appreciate, but Moore still made his point…

Not a Pac-10 thought, but… really, Virginia? Getting rolled at home by William & Mary? William & Mary?! Really?!??!?

Not a Pac-10 thought, but… the next time you get a chance, watch Colorado State's offensive line. They remind me a lot of Stanford's line last year. It was fun watching them erase the Buffaloes on Sunday…

Not a Pac-10 thought, but… since everyone in the NFL spent last week firing their offensive coordinators (sad to see Turk Schonert get the boot in Buffalo), can we get Josh McDaniels to fire his?

Not a Pac-10 thought, but… if I were dating Tila Tequila, I wouldn't tell anyone. All the penicillin in my medicine cabinet would probably be a dead giveaway anyway…

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CLARDY'S CORNER INBOX

Agree with this Corner? Disagree? Got something else on your mind? Drop me a line at my Scout.com inbox (username: troyc) or e-mail me at troyc@thebootleg.com. The best e-mails will be answered in next week's Clardy's Corner Inbox!

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Troy Clardy hosts the Stanford Daily Update, airing every weekday at 7:30 p.m. on Cardinal Sports Network flagship radio station XTRA Sports 860 in San Francisco, and available in podcast form atgostanford.com and on iTunes.

Clardy's Corner appears Wednesdays on TheBootleg.com. You can also check him out online at TroyClardy.com.


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