You think doing your tax returns is difficult, try figuring out how to pick the top team in college football for this crazy year of 2020.
Fans moaned and groaned over the playoff system ... but that's going to be child's play when this year's shortened, mixed-up season starts picking the best team in the land.
So this week's conversation will be dedicated to my thoughts about college football ... some serious, some not so much.
Take, for instance, Auburn's number "0" on the roster this year. To my way of thinking, it takes a lot of courage to wear "0"or "00" in any sport, That certainly hasn't slowed AU sophomore Owen Pappoe, a true standout LB for the Tigers last year who started every game of the season. It would appear that it's "cool" to wear "0" in college football the lowest of the popular single digit numbers in use today.
While some schools have talked openly about un-retiring some of their jerseys of their football greats, at Auburn, you just don't fool around with No. 2, No. 7, No. 34 or No. 88. That stands for Cam Newton, Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Terry Beasley. 'Nuff said.
During a recent conversation about college football, I said it took a clever man to come up with the shape of the football and the scoring used in the game. Let's take a look at the points awarded for scoring in a game and how they've changed over the years.
Take the most familiar score in the game on the collegiate level: the touchdown. Starting in the year 1883, you got two points for a touchdown. In the years 1883 -1897, you got four points. In 1898-1911, a TD was good for five points. It went to the present day six points in 1912.
The points awarded for a field goal have gone steadily downhill since 1883, when it was worth 5 points. It stayed there until 1903. From 1904 until 1908, the field goal netted you four points. It moved down to three points in 1909, where it has stayed since.
The conversion (extra point by kick) got your team four points up until 1883, two points from 1883 through 1897, and a single point from 1898 to present. The two points awarded for a safety moved up from one point starting in 1883. And the two-point (non-kick conversion) began in 1959. And, by the way there WON'T be a test afterwards.
And now to the ball and its all important shape. It is made of cow hide leather ... as prescribed by the NCAA. Much to the dismay of coach Jackie Sherrill, it is filled with air ... not helium — or some other lighter-than-air gas as he had accused when Auburn kicker Terry Daniels punted the ball extraordinarily long against Coach Sherrill's Mississippi State bulldogs.
Daniels had been averaging about 48 yards per kick but really put the shoe to the pigskin in the Mississippi State game, averaging 56 yards on his two punts. Sherrill was so convinced that Auburn had doctored the balls that he got the SEC to confiscate one of Auburn's balls after an extraordinarily good effort by Daniels resulted in punts of 55, 71, 44 and 37 yards. Daniels later said he was punting with the wind in the first two long kicks and against the wind in the last two. The SEC office found nothing awry with the air inside the ball and the matter went away.
Speaking of the ball, did you know the extraordinary shape of the football (which often bounces crazily on the field) is the work of former official "Shorty" Ray, who introduced the more pointy shaped ends to the ball in 1934. The new design was to help make the forward pass more effective. It worked.
There is so much more we could discuss but we've run out of time.
Until next time, stay classy Auburn.