Game Balls: Mike Gundy’s Media Days Mullet

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Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and his “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin-inspired hairdo, debuted at this week’s Big 12 Media Days, captures the tone of this time of year.

The head Cowboy’s mullet sports business in the front, and coaches do indeed push the serious tone during media day season. But, the party in the back conveys the loose, optimistic nature of the College Football Summer.

Am I attributing far too much meaning to a simple hair style? Absolutely. But it’s the subtleties of the sport that invariably reignite my love every year.

I admittedly reach a point in the summer when I get comfortable and think I am not quite ready for the grind of the season. When autumn comes, I sleep a few hours less every night, I log a few hundred more miles on my car, and I find far less opportunity to visit the gym, stroll the beach or do much of anything not related to college football.

Then, I attend media days and all my trepidation quickly turns to eagerness.

At Pac-12 Media Days in Hollywood, Washington State wide receiver Gabe Marks summed up the dynamic between reporters and college football players nicely.

“How could you not have fun doing this?” he said. “People act like they don’t like doing this, and they’re lying. It’s like, c’mon dude. These are grown people who are asking you about life…and you’re going to act like a baby?”

Broken down like that, to its most basic level, it really is pretty remarkable how serious we sometimes take sports. But ultimately, it should always be fun.

Covering college football is indeed a grind when fall comes; enough so that my Sundays now are dedicated football-free. Don’t tell anyone — I don’t want OCP the NFL sending an ED-209 to my house to force me to tune into Sunday Night Football.

Abandoning the NFL was easy for me as a fan, because the fun dissipated. College football, whether as a reporter or fan, I’m in the for the long haul. Should I ever become the grumbling stereotype Marks alluded to (and which very much exists), I’ll know it’s time to do something else.

Sunday night IS Football Night -- or else the ED-209 will visit your home

For all the billions TV networks dump into college football, and the meddling to make the game more closely parallel the NFL, the college game retains its personality. I have written in this space previously that some of college football’s appeal can be attributed to it being tied to college life.

For 31/2 hours every Saturday, attending a game live or following the alma mater on TV takes me back to my own college days. Mike Gundy’s mullet achieves the same thing, funny enough.

Even as we all get older, college football stays college age. Alright, alright, alright.

Fashion Statements at ACC Media Days

Mike Gundy wasn’t the only head coach to make a grooming statement this week. North Carolina’s Larry Fedora rolled up on ACC media days sporting a beard that was positively Ulbrich-ian in its manliness.

fedora

I don’t know if he’s prepping to beat Florida State, cut down pines in the Yukon or star as the villain in a daytime drama with that look.

Tar Heel do-everything receiver/returner Ryan Switzer referring to Fedora’s beard as “a mid-life crisis” manifesting on the coach’s face might earn honors as the best quote of media days, regardless the conference.

If Fedora’s only facial alteration is to grow a beard, consider it a win. It could have been worse — he could have donned grease paint. Considering the alternate logos North Carolina’s trotted out as part of the Fedora “Freak Show” gimmick, I’ve yet to see compelling evidence that says Fedora isn’t a Juggalo.

Were he, though, he’d only be the second-most outlandishly attired attendee at ACC Media Days. First place, in a walk: Clemson Tigers linebacker Ben Boulware.

With fashion sense that cutting edge, might I propose a nickname? Boulander.

More Fall Fun

OH YES!

OK, it’s not football, but it does air on Saturdays in the fall. I subscribed to Starz specifically for Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 1, and it proved worth the investment.

Admittedly, Ash vs. Evil Dead appeals to a specific niche audience, of which I am very much a member. I love the original trilogy of Evil Dead films specifically, and well-done horror-comedy in general. If that’s up your alley, this series is an autumn DVR must.

Stanford Band on Its Fight Song: #NeverTrump

They’ve taken on a religion, one of the 50 states (at minimum), and now, the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band takes aim at the most vitriolic presidential campaign of recent memory.

LSJUMB issued a characteristically tongue-in-cheek cease-and-desist to the Trump campaign for its use of Free’s “All Right Now.” That happens to be the adopted fight song of Stanford football.

This isn’t the first time in this particular presidential election LSJUMB took aim at a candidate — albeit the first time was indirectly. The Stanford Band drew the ire Iowa Hawkeyes fans at January’s Rose Bowl — Iowa of course being the favorite team of Stanford alum, Carly Fiorina.

fiorina-tweet

UNIFORMS!

Let’s wrap this week’s Game Balls with some fashion. I’m a sucker for a good uniform conversation — SHAMELESS PLUG, read my Pac-12 Uniform Rankings at AthlonSports.com — and this week provided plenty of material.

Up first, Tulane unveiled this wicked, gray helmet that features its amazing, throwback logo.

tulane-helmet

That’s even more boss than the white lid with the same Green Wave logo tweeted earlier this summer.

Idaho also added some old-school flavor to a new look. Silver has always been one of the Vandals’ official colors, but taken a back seat to black and gold for as long as I can remember. No longer.

Silver is front-and-center in the newly unveiled line of Vandal uniforms, which feature 18 possible combinations.

Praise for Idaho’s new garb approaches universal. Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series? Well…I think Peter Berkes can best handle that one.