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Watch Grid: Covenant Eyes
We're not so different, you and I
Hello, hundreds of new subscribers, and thank you for joining. Here’s stuff about me, in case you’re unfamiliar. During college football season, this is mostly a sports newsletter. Outside of those months, it’s mostly not. Or it’s both.
Perhaps you’ve joined by way of college football media empire Split Zone Duo, my friends who are newly installed on Substack. This Saturday, I’m going to post along in their live game chat device thing over there, however that gadget might work.
ICYMI, I’ve been posting variations of the following weekly CFB schedule preview since 2015 or 2016 or whatever. It’s been totally free, with no ads or anything, for the past few seasons, and once people started very generously asking how they could tip for it, I said I’d certainly appreciate it if they buy my book as soon as it’s available for preorder — via Shutdown Fullbooks and everywhere else. (A book that’s entirely worthwhile regardless of which spreadsheet screenshots have exchanged hands via email.)
For the moment, everything is about Michigan.
Any minute now, the Big Ten could punish Jim Harbaugh for employing a sovereign vacuum refurbisher/Central Michigan University cosplayer/nemesis of Someone Named Jeff.
At the same time, Michigan is arguing the rest of the Big Ten is just as dirty, seeing as Ohio State and some lil guys conspired to share advanced advance scouting on the Wolverines.
A ridiculous counterargument! But … is it?
After all, what’s the functional difference between one non-Jeff guy covertly scouting an opponent and three entire coaching staffs covertly collaborating to share far higher-quality intel? The latter even provides a much greater competitive advantage, right?
“The NCAA rulebook is the difference,” someone might say, but any time anyone cites the NCAA as if it’s real, here’s what they sound like:
The only way to consider any of these Big Ten hands clean is to obsess over the letter of a dilapidated organization’s law, a law based on antiquated technology and a bizarre privileging of gossip as sacred, but physical observation as profane.
Yes, a Michigan staffer broke rules, and punishment of some sort would be fair or whatever. (Dock them three touchdowns from each of their wins so far! Oops, they’re still 9-0 with the exact same path to the Playoff.)
Pick apart the logic of those rules, though, just as we’ve done with every other NCAA scandal over the last decade-plus, and … wait, what logic?
When your entire scandal boils down to these two things …
Michigan was quietly paying extreme attention to its neighbors’ secretive hand movements.
Meanwhile, those neighbors were trading Deeply Concerned whispers about Michigan’s behavior lately.
… then friend, your entire scandal is nothing but a church accountability group gone awry, the kind that’s devolved into a circular eyeball-firing squad of Bill McCartneyist McCarthyism.1
(Regardless, it will be funny until the end of time/football that the school centering in multiple overlapping scandals — remember Harbaugh’s three-game suspension to start this season didn’t end his normal NCAA troubles — is also the epitome of a We Do It The Right Way school. All have fallen short. Even you, Michigan.)
Also, I want to note South Dakota State is working on a stout case to be considered the best FCS team ever (Randy Moss’ Marshall and a couple of the North Dakota States are the usual list-leaders). They’ve already beaten #5 Montana State, #6 South Dakota, #10 North Dakota, #11 Southern Illinois, #12 North Dakota State, and #15 Northern Iowa. Add in the playoffs, and they could end up with wins over almost the entire top 10. 1971 Nebraska plus 2019 LSU.
Also also, read Chris Vannini on the status of the UConn-UCF trophy nobody wanted until everybody realized how fun it is to want something nobody wants. I laughed out loud like five times.
Topical reference, thanks to news about new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and his son using software called Covenant Eyes to monitor whether each other views porn. That news freaked out regular people for the past five days or so, just as it did the previous time Covenant Eyes was in the news. Sure, I get that, but buddy … it’s quite possibly the least weird thing about Evangelicalism. I’m gonna crash-course you on way, way, way stranger stuff. (In the meantime, catch up on VBS! Episode in the works on fake-deep grindset dork King Solomon.)