There is a saying around the hallowed hallways of SB Nation.
“Everything is pro wrestling.”
The latest evidence to support that axiom comes from the world of college football. Consider what we have seen in just the past few weeks: Coaches beefing with coaches, coaches beefing with retired coaches, band members beefing with teams, reality stars beefing with quarterbacks from prison, and even coaches beefing with networks.
It … is a lot.
Consider this your early season CFB beef explainer.
Jay Norvell and Deion Sanders
One of the first examples from this year comes to us from the heated Colorado-Colorado State rivalry. This was touched off when Jay Norvell, the head coach at Colorado State, did this on a local show:
MORE SHOTS AT COACH PRIME: Colorado State Head Coach Jay Norvell Takes SHOTS at Deion Sanders and Colorado “When I talk to grownups, I take my hat and glasses off, that’s what my mother taught me” #CUBuffs pic.twitter.com/IWFWkVKqsS
— Ice Cold Sports (@IceColdSprts) September 14, 2023
First Coach Prime spoke to his players, outlining how now Coach Norvell had made it personal:
“It was just gonna be a good game, but they done messed around and made it PERSONAL”
“Why would you talk about us, when we don’t talk about nobody”
Deion Sanders responds to comments made from Coach Norvell and things are getting heated pic.twitter.com/U9Em4bPiJ5
— College Transfer Portal (@CollegeFBPortal) September 14, 2023
Then, the Colorado head coach had some gifts for his players.
Of course, there was still a game to be played, one which was perhaps the marquee matchup of Week 3, especially with all the fireworks before the game. Colorado pulled out the win in overtime, thanks in large part to a 98-yard touchdown drive orchestrated by quarterback Shedeur Sanders to force overtime.
The two shared a hug following the game, perhaps a nod to putting this beef behind them.
At least until next September.
Ryan Day and Lou Holtz
In the minutes after Ohio State topped Notre Dame in a thrilling game Saturday night, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day talked with NBC reporter Kathryn Tappen.
And all but challenged retired head coach Lou Holtz to meet him in Temecula.
Yeah let’s back up.
Earlier in the week, the retired coach sat down with Pat McAfee on The Pat McAfee show, live from South Bend, and talked about his expectations for Notre Dame not just against Ohio State, but all season long.
First, Holtz began by praising Notre Dame, their offensive line, and quarterback Sam Hartman.
“Notre Dame is a better football team than Ohio State. And let me tell you why: we have the best offensive line in the country. Sam Hartman won’t even get his jersey dirty all year. He has time to throw the football. We have great running backs, averaging 10 yards a carry. We have great receivers. Offensively, we’re set, and defensively, our defensive line is better.”
Then he turned to Ohio State.
“I coached under Woody Hayes at Ohio State. We won the national championship when I was there. I’m proud of that. However, he has lost to Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Michigan twice, and everybody that beats him does so because they’re more physical than Ohio State, and I think Notre Dame will take that same approach. I know our schedule hasn’t been the best. We’re 103rd in strength of schedule. However, that doesn’t bother me, because every day we get to practice against good. We get to practice covering good receivers, and it won’t be much different than covering the great receivers they have at Ohio State.
“Plus, we’re playing at home. It’ll be a close football game, but we will win because we believe. Forget who in the hell we’re playing. Just tell Ohio State this: you tell them they better bring their lunch, because it’s going to be a full day’s work.”
You can view his full comments here:
Well when the Buckeyes won — and the Fighting Irish had just ten defensive players on the field for the final few plays — Day spoke with Tappen, and did not hold back:
On the one hand, Day is going to bat for his players. Holtz called them out a bit, said Notre Dame was tougher, and Day had his players’ backs.
But … this is Lou Holtz. He’s 86 years old. Beefin’ with an 86-year-old retired coach? Sure, Holtz did not hold back in his comments, and they clearly got under Day’s collar. Maybe we can just chalk this up to the heat of the moment.
The Texas State Trident Affair
This was a head-scratcher when it popped up Saturday night:
Got told there was a Texas State band member who was escorted from the stadium due to throwing a trident at the Nevada football players.
— Colton McWilliams (@ColtonBMc) September 24, 2023
Now I must admit, my mind went exactly to where yours just did:
There’s a trident at this game?
Is this a Brick Tamland situation?
So as it turns out, Nevada introduced a “Turnover Trident” last season, and they even added a “Touchdown Trident” for the 2023 campaign. However, they lost track of the “Turnover Trident” on Saturday night.
And it somehow ended up in the Texas State student section:
FINAL UPDATE ABOUT THE TRIDENT INCIDENT: The person in question DID NOT throw a trident at the Nevada players. The Turnover Trident in question was lying on the ground and was given to the student section which obviously caused a bit of a stir. https://t.co/CzdhDCoYLk
— Colton McWilliams (@ColtonBMc) September 24, 2023
Images of the Turnover Trident in the student section soon circulated on social media:
There’s something special about college football.
Joe Exotic and Jordan Travis
We will not spend too much time on this one because, well, it is one of those moments that almost speaks for itself. You outline the situation, and let the imagination take over.
Joe Exotic, who grew into a household name during the height of COVID when everyone who was cooped up inside and binging reality television grew addicted to the “Tiger King” docudrama on Netflix, has stated he is going to sue Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis, who is selling shirts referring to himself as the “Tiger King” thanks to wins over the LSU TIgers, and the Clemson Tigers.
Oh and Exotic, whose failed Presidential campaign in 2016 did not generate much traction, outlined his lawsuit against Travis from prison, where he is currently serving a sentence of over 20 years due to 17 federal charges of animal abuse, and two counts of attempted murder for a murder-for-hire plot he engineered against Carole Baskin, a rival in the animal exotic animal world.
Did you get all that? Good, because we are moving on.
Jake Dickert and ESPN
One of the more intriguing games this past weekend came in the battle of the “Pac-2.” Washington State and Oregon State, the two remaining teams in what was once the Pac-12, are in limbo after recent realignment moves, but entered Saturday with both teams ranked in the Top 25.
However, ahead of the game Lee Corso talked about this matchup, and his comments that did not sit well with Washington State head coach Jake Dickert following the Cougars’ win:
Jake Dickert was fired up about the lack of respect shown to WSU on ESPN this morning saying Lee Corso called today’s game the “No one watches Bowl” This is 1:32 well worth your time to hear Coach fight for his team pic.twitter.com/l9zZfhiUK2
— Andrew Quinn (@andrewquinny) September 24, 2023
Former WSU quarterback Ryan Leaf also chimed in:
However, as outlets such as Awful Announcing soon clarified, Corso was not calling this game the “no one watches Bowl,” but he called it the “The Nobody Wants Us Bowl,” and went on to say regarding the situation at both schools: “Nobody wants them, poor guys.”
Which … is a somewhat accurate assessment of the situation. After all, both Oregon State and Washington State remain in limbo, which is what Corso was referring to.
Something Kirk Herbstreit emphatically pointed out in response to Leaf:
Is this a real tweet???
You must have been hacked Ryan.
Lee’s point OBVIOUSLY was-it is 2 teams that have been left out-that haven’t found a home yet-NOT the “no one watches Bowl”. Know you’re excited your boys won but DAMN! https://t.co/hfMIBt9YX8
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) September 24, 2023
So, why do we have all this beef in college football?
Could it be a drive for content and clicks? That is something Oregon head coach Dan Lanning used as part of his pregame speech before Oregon’s game against Colorado this weekend, which also drew A METRIC TON of attention on social media Saturday.
Could it be influenced in part by coaches wanting to go to bat for their players more and more, given the growth of the transfer portal? It is much easier to both keep players — and bring in players — if they believe you will have their backs in the future.
Could it be good old fashioned motivation? After all, the first time a college football coach used something from the outside to motivate their players was probably before the very college football game, so this is nothing new.
Could it be a mix of everything?
Or is the axiom true, especially for college football.
“Everything is pro wrestling.”