The Ottumwa Courier

December 24, 2012

Recruiting: A male soap opera

Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — Recent message board post on Iowa College Football Rivals: “Just read the Hawkeyes recruiting wish list report: Linebackers Reggie Spearman and Jake Roh, dual-threat quarterback Damon Mitchell, wide receivers Brian Lemelle and Jacquelle Veii, and defensive tackle Mailik Collins. Roh just tweeted he’s going to Boise State. We just lost four-star Delano Hill to Michigan and have troubles with another three-star linebacker. We’re back down to 16 recruits. We’re probably going to lose more.”

It’s true recruiting is the male football fan’s soap opera. We’re freaking out  with every development.

While a lot college football fans check out after their season’s over, many obsessively follow the recruiting watch lists with signing day in early February. Then they gossip, whine, brag and pout on college football message boards, like Iowa Rivals.

Is this five-star recruit really going to go there? Why is our verbally committed four-star recruit flirting with Michigan? How dare he! I saw this three-star recruit’s mom mentioned she wants him to stay close to home. His girlfriend tweeted something about Georgia Tech ...

This is the world we live in today. The competition, the jealousy, the drama. There’s less gossip and consternation in the movie “Beaches” than on these message boards. And there’s no wind beneath anyone’s wings.

It’s a hard thing to explain. Now, Seinfeld was always a show that could explain oddities about society that didn’t really fall in any one category that you could clearly define. The “close talker” or the “re-gifter” or you “have to bring wine to a party when you’re invited because it’s rude not to — even though you’d rather bring Pepsi and Ring Dings.”

Maybe the Seinfeld show could have explained this oddity in society — the male soap opera of following college football recruiting. Sure, Seinfeld writer Larry David had an obsession on how much Ted Danson makes, but I think he still could have shed some light on this subject. Remember that lost Seinfeld episode about college football recruiting? I remember it like it was yesterday. George and Jerry were arguing about recruits ...

George: “Oooohhh, I’m scared. I’m so scared. It’s called ne-go-ti-a-tions, Jerry, we’re negotiating — this is how recruiting works. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. This is how it’s done. So, what do you think? We’ll fill the rest of our commitment list out with four-star recruits, right? You know what Ted Danson gets? He gets all four-star recruits, and some five.”

Jerry: you’re comparing us to Ted Danson?”

George: “I didn’t say we’re Ted Danson.”

Jerry: “You just did, you said we’re Ted Danson.”

Later, Iowa gets another three-star recruit while Ted Danson lands a five star. “That’s insulting!” George exclaims. “Ted Danson gets all four and five stars. He just got a commitment from Joe DiVola. He’s a 6-1, 200-pound safety who loves to lift weights.”

Jerry: “Joe DiVola! He’s crazy!”

George: “Yeah, he can get a little crazy on the field ... but he’s rated a four-star on Scout, Jerry.”

Jerry rolls his eyes: “And we know how accurate these stars are by these recruiting services. So, would you stop with the Ted Danson getting four-star recruits.”

George: “Well he does ... I can’t live knowing Ted Danson gets more four and five stars than Iowa. Who’s he?”

Jerry replies: “He’s somebody, somebody like Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Oklahoma.”

George asks: “What about Iowa?” and Jerry replies, “You’re nobody.”

George asks: “Why him and not me and Iowa?” and Jerry replies, “He and they are good. You’re not.”

George says: “I and the Hawkeyes are better than him and those other cheaters,” and Jerry replies, “You’re worse. Much, much worse.”

 So George is out with Susan and she tells him a three-star player has accepted their offer. George passes on the three-star recruit, explaining that it’s much too low.  Susan tells him, “You know, because you usually average three stars, it’s a pretty standard deal,” and George replies, “Standard? Is Ted Danson’s deal standard? Is Alabama, Michigan or Ohio State’s deal standard?” Susan laughs and tells George, “You know, you’re not Ted Danson. Nor are you Ohio State, Oklahoma or Notre Dame.”

Later Jerry tells his mom that George had Iowa turn down a deal with a three-star recruit. She asks Jerry why and he responds, “Because of Ted Danson. And Michigan.” She asks, “What does Ted Danson and Michigan have to do with it?” and Morty suggests, “Maybe he doesn’t like Ted Danson and Michigan.” George comes in and they ask him why he’s turning down three-star recruits. He responds, “Because I can’t live knowing that Ted Danson and Michigan are getting that many more stars than me and the Hawkeyes. We’re better than them!”

And eventually, Iowa ends up with a bunch of two-star recruits on signing day. And it’s all because of Ted Danson. And Michigan. It’s re-cruit-ing! It’s ne-go-ti-a-tions. It’s a male soap opera.

Matt Brindley is a nighttime editor at the Courier.