Altered landscape makes ‘Happy’ fans completely impatient, heightens greed in college sports

His name is Willie. He’s one of this week’s social media sensations and easily identifiable as an Alabama fan because of a video posted on his Twitter feed “rolltidewillie” last Saturday night.

Apparently, Willie did not possess the patience and perspective to accept the Crimson Tide’s earliest loss in a football season since dropping Game 2 in 2003.

Instead in a 90-second rant videoed by his highly entertained friends, it appeared an angry, inebriated and thoroughly disgusted Willie had downed a beer for every point then-No. 11 Texas scored in a 34-24 beatdown of then-No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

“I’m gonna tell you like it is,” said wild-eyed Willie, wearing a fashionable `I Don’t Give A Piss About Nothing But the Crimson Tide’ t-shirt. “You go out and get five-star players who are supposed to be the best and you can’t win a damned ball game. . .YOU SUCK!”

Willie then turned away, beer in hand. and walked off in a feeble attempt to calm his rage. Then, he stepped forward again to deliver his second salvo to the cell phone videographer who was recording Internet gold that will be shown for years to come.

“GAH DANG, I don’t like it,” Willie sputtered. “You got a man up there making $12 MILLION A YEAR,” Willie said. “He can’t win a DAMNED ball game! We want to WIN a NATIONAL title. We CAN’T win it like this. If you done got too old and can’t win anymore, then you need to STEP DOWN.”

Yep, rolltidewillie thinks Alabama’s Nick Saban, arguably the greatest winner in college history with seven national titles in 27 previous seasons as a college head coach, is yesterday’s news. Done at age 71. The Nicktator needs to go ahead and move into the new $17.5 million Florida beach mansion he bought in August.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is only 53 years old. He’s won two national titles and averaged 11.8 wins in his last 12 of 15½ seasons guiding the Tigers.

But Clemson fans think the program is slipping. After playing in four national championship games in five seasons, the Tigers missed the playoffs in 2021 and 2022 and opened this year two weeks ago with Clemson’s first loss to Duke since 2004.

Finally, as much as 57-year-old Jimbo Fisher lost in his first five seasons as Texas A&M head coach – 4.2 losses per year – it’s amazing he’s back for season six.

Last week, A&M failed its first legit test of its tough schedule. The Aggies fell on their faces in a 48-33 loss at Miami against a one-time power now rebuilt with 60 players (as of six months ago) with NIL evaluations of at least $63,000 each.

And then there’s Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, with just 35 games of college head coaching experience, who’s opened his tenure at Colorado by guiding the Buffaloes to consecutive wins vs. last year’s national championship loser TCU and former national powerhouse Nebraska.

Sanders imported 52 transfers from four-year colleges. They replaced the more than 50 Colorado players who entered the transfer portal

Sanders was named head coach last December 3. He proclaimed at the first team meeting that players should consider transferring because he was already importing better talent.

”We got a few positions already taken care of because I’m bringing my own luggage with me,” Sanders. “And it’s Louis (Louis Vuitton), OK.”

Sure, it’s still early in the season. Fortunes can flip.

But judging from the failures of Alabama, Clemson and Texas A&M and the sudden ascent of Colorado, you’re seeing college football parity instantly being created because the transfer portal and NIL deals for players have run amuck.

Saban and Fisher haven’t tapped heavily into the portal and Swinney publicly loathes it.

While it’s true by the end of the season the four playoff teams will be familiar names, some of them may be the return of past storied programs like USC, Florida State, Texas and Notre Dame.

Remember the sleazy fictional booster named Happy Kuykendahl in the 1994 movie Blue Chips? He called himself a “friend of the program” who bought blue-chip basketball recruits (two of whom were portrayed by budding NBA stars Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway) for a Bobby Knight-type head coaching character played by award-winning legendary actor Nick Nolte.

Here we are almost 30 years later and college sports, especially football, are being run by an infinite number of Happy Kuykendahls. These rich, jock-sniffing boosters can now legally buy high school recruits and transfers by funneling funds through the sham NIL money floodgate in which athletes are finally cashing in big.

The best talent no longer is limited to perennially dominant college football powers who have annually bought five and four-star recruits with under-the-table deals. Those blue-blood programs had control of college football because there was honor among thieves.

They rarely, if ever, turned each other in for recruiting violations. If one power outbid another power on buying a player – whether it was with cash, purchasing a new car or funding a kitchen remodel for a recruit’s mother – the loser tipped his cap and lived to maybe win the next recruiting battle with the highest bid.

Now, EVERYBODY can buy ANYBODY. And ANYBODY can transfer at ANY TIME.

It’s why the head coaching careers of veterans like Saban, Swinney and Fisher may be closer to the end than they care to admit.

It’s harder to win than it used to be for all college head coaches because they no longer have the control they once relished. They also know no legislative body wants to step in and infuse common sense transfer rules and create NIL parameters and consequences with bite.

While paying athletes has long been overdue, considering their sweat equity has earned millions for their college, the line between college and pro sports has been completely erased.

They are now both greedy, uncontrollable businesses, a never-ending cash grab that has erased evaporated loyalty and the much-admired concept of team play.

That’s the price paid for more equitable talent distribution that’s injected parity into major college sports and money into the hands of hundreds and hundreds of previously cash-poor athletes.

And it’s more than enough to eventually sober up the ’ol GAH DANG rolltidewillies of the world.

(Editor’s note: The photo inset above with Ron’s smiling mug shows the sleazy fictional booster Happy Kuykendahl)

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