This week's podcast features discussion of college football's wildest Week 11 fan stories, the US Men's National Team's unique fandom, and the consequences of renaming beloved stadiums.
Watch/listen to the full conversation here:
Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, & Stitcher.
Mike Lewis 0:08
Hey, welcome, everyone. This is the Fanalytics Podcast. I'm Mike Lewis and I am joined by Doug Battle. Doug, how you doing? College football in it, Doug. You know what this. This is the time a year of sports where it's almost. I'm almost feeling overloaded, like, I can't quite keep up. And that might be a little bit strange since baseball has now concluded. But I feel like we're kind of getting to the nitty gritty of college and pro football and then you throw in the NBA and college basketball, suddenly, there's a lot of a lot of games and hey, as we were waiting to start to tape today, the USA tide whales one to one. I don't really know what that means. But I think it means now that if the US loses to England, they then have to beat Iran by a lot of goals to advance to the second round of FIFA. Duck we're not going to talk a lot about soccer. We can talk about soccer fandom, but we're not going to embarrass ourselves okay.
Doug Battle 1:08
I appreciate that Mike. Yeah, there's a new wrinkle had already felt like you know, I'm having to keep up with who's doing what and then NBA apparently the Utah Jazz are still top of the Western Conference despite trading away their two all stars in the offseason, NFL of course in full swing, getting close to playoff time for fantasy football, and college basketball. Now off to a great start. I know my family's been keeping up with UVA, having a great start to the season, maybe better than expected. And college football, which of course we've talked about every week, throw in soccer now. And first of all, my first observation with soccer, Mike,
Mike Lewis 1:50
is if there's nothing, I just feel like this can go well,
Doug Battle 1:55
that there is this is about soccer fandom, there is an unspoken an unspoken duty amongst American men between the ages of 20 and 40. Maybe to pretend that they know or care about soccer, anytime the USA is playing. So every every several years after not watching soccer for several years, there's a there's a whole cohort that shows up and they're like, wooing and go into the bars and buying jerseys of players they've never heard of before, and then pretending like they're really into it. It's fascinating to me.
Mike Lewis 2:37
Yeah, I mean, I think you bring up kind of a, you know, there's sort of initial part of the reason why, you know, my interests broadly as an academic are in popular culture fandom, I tend to want to focus on sports, because I think it's the most honest of the fandoms, right? I mean, Taylor Swift, who's, you know, engaged in a massive marketing operation to sell a bunch of tickets, suddenly shows up to the American Music Awards, and I think takes home six trophies, right? Man, you're,
Doug Battle 3:08
by the way for an album, that was a remake of an album from maybe 10 years ago, that probably also want American Music Awards. So she double dipped on an album and it worked.
Mike Lewis 3:19
Well, you can almost imagine there's a negotiation of I will show up for no, not one award, six awards, I want to have more words than I can carry, or I'm not showing up, right. So like this notion of like manufactured fandom, so when I think about the men's soccer team versus the the women's national soccer team, we know Megan Rapinoe, we know you know, we know, you know, the names, names always kind of escaped the professor's but. But I know, you know, with without the pressure of the microphone in the camera, I can probably name five or six players on that, on that team. I was just looking through some of the hype for the FIFA. And you know, it's just not the same the the amount of marketing effort that goes into the front end is just so vastly different, that it is hard to sort of, you know, that emotional connection has to come from somewhere. And it's not prepackaged in the case of men's soccer. It's an interesting look. I love the sport from a fandom perspective, right? It's the biggest sport in the world. It's the biggest event in the world. This one seems to be kind of spectacular are some of the stories that have come out. Doug, the stories I've seen the pronunciation of Qatar the possibility that there's some fake fans, where there seem to be doing photo ops where they're kidding out and that's that's their word for jerseys. A group of the same men over and over again in different in different names. She's on teams, and then a controversy over the fact that they're not going to sell beer. And that seems really important to the soccer hooligan culture.
Doug Battle 5:10
Right? I liked this story about the fake fans being paid, I kind of liked the idea of being a mercenary fan. I think that it might, you know, having painted up for college games, I felt like coming out of college, there should be a draft where an NFL team gets to draft like a really great fan to be on their front lines and that I would have been pretty high up in the draft with my history. And so I'm like, you can get paid for this. Now, I know college athletes are enjoying the benefits of NFL and really like, oh, wow, we can get paid for this now. I think fans are starting to see that with the this. You know, the story here and I liked the idea. I think if you're one of the agents looking for good fans, I'm I'm more than happy to pay up, you know, for the right rate for the right team, the wrong team. You know, I would love to be a mercenary fan.
Mike Lewis 6:02
Well, like I mean, the background on this FIFA have and again, politics intrudes on every part of every part of himself every
Doug Battle 6:11
week. I mean,
Mike Lewis 6:13
the the Qatar FIFA event, you know, has been taking a beating in the in the press for for the better part of a decade. And now even there's an LGBTQ controversy in terms of armbands that the US and the UK team wants to where they will not look, you know, the old saying that, you know, politics is downstream from the culture. Now it's all together, you know, the culture, the politics, the sports, it's all one. I'll give you another fun facts and all this time to look it up. It's fun fact to me. So the US just tide Wales, the Welsh population, if you want to name a metro area that's equivalent to the population of Wales. The closest one you find is Tampa St. Pete.
Doug Battle 7:05
That's fantastic. So is this. I know the bar isn't super high for us, men's soccer. Is, is this a win? moral victory? Or is it? Do we feel like we kissed our sister? What's the story here? Because I've, I've been to bars for us men's games, doing my patriotic duty as an American man to pretend that I care about American soccer. And it's like, well tie somebody and people are high five. And while that was good, yeah, we advanced now because we tied this team. Is this a? Is this a good tie or bad tie?
Mike Lewis 7:38
Well, Doug, I'm doing my best. Okay. And I believe they the announcer said Black Friday is the US versus England. So within our group, England is the big dog, I think, five top 10 team, the US and Wales were beat each hovering around like number 19, number 20. And then I think that and I think Iran is the fourth team in there. So basically, Wales is the US has main competition. That next book gets to the next round.
Doug Battle 8:10
Something seems wrong, though. It seems like you know, it seems like we're Texas and we just tied Appalachian State in a football game. And we're, we're pleased or we're not mad about that. At the very least, it feels wrong to me. I think this is the this is inherently why soccer doesn't appeal as much to Western dudes. And ladies, but I feel like there is that there more than appeal with the US women's team. But yeah, it's tying tying a team like whales just doesn't do it for me, Mike.
Mike Lewis 8:49
Yeah, and again, yeah, I'm
Doug Battle 8:50
sticking by that.
Mike Lewis 8:53
Well, like it's just us tie the equivalent of playing the team from the Tampa St. Pete market, right? Something's, I don't know, you know, and maybe we should just leave that at that we will get more and as the US team beats England on Friday, we will start to catch this wave of fandom. And we'll be wearing us soccer jerseys by the time we tape the next time.
Doug Battle 9:19
You know, I thought about that I thought I was going to come out and start with this kind of I'm not so sure about this whole soccer thing. I mean football. And you know, if they were to actually make a run, I could see us following that for several weeks and wearing the jerseys for the final out episode. Getting all into it. I do remember I mean, I've gotten into when the women's teams have been good I've gotten into I think the problem is, is it goes back to fandom and sports. You know, kind of one of your main points about building fandom in sports is like these NFL franchises that you study or MBA like it always comes down to championships and winning. And it's there's it's no secret as to why the Green Bay Packers have such a great fandom or You know, such a big fan base, or the Dallas Cowboys or even more recently, the New England Patriots, the women's soccer team, they have those championships. And so they have that appeal. The men's teams like we don't know any of the players, we don't know any other names, we they get a first or second round exit any tournament I've ever seen them play. Probably doesn't help build fandom with guys like me.
Mike Lewis 10:19
But if they went on a run, and they want a World Cup,
Doug Battle 10:23
we'd all be I
Mike Lewis 10:25
suspect we've seen an explosion of fandom. We'd be
Doug Battle 10:27
naming our kids after them. Yeah, it would be they'd have some there'd be some new Michael Jordan and US marketing and it'd be a football player. So yeah, we'll see what happens. But I'm never super optimistic about that group.
Mike Lewis 10:41
But but it's a fun one to watch, right? Because if they do, I mean, you can almost, you know, you can see what the narrative is gonna be at. Right? So will they you'll start to see stories about, you know, what's it gonna take for them to advance? And then stories are easy to write of? is US Soccer more respectable? Do we expect to get to the I think they call it the knockout round? Do we expect to get it to the knockout round? And if they win a game beyond that, is that when they start to actually build something? Yeah, you know, and what does it take to? And again, sort of the fascinating thing is, what does it really take to build? I mean, the US National Woman's team is also kind of interesting in terms of, you know, the fact that Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, that they have played, it seems like they've been around forever, right? So it's kind of it's fully built out in terms of what, okay, we get to see the we get to see the same group again in there. And they're dominant. What would it take for the US team, men's team to actually get there? It seems unlikely though. It's kind of a pipe dream, I think.
Doug Battle 11:52
Yeah, I certainly feels like a pipe dream. But I'm loving the fake fan stories and seeing if you hear anybody yelling, I'm in a house right now. And there's some folks watching soccer, who haven't watched
Mike Lewis 12:07
it. I mean, I suppose we could also add to this, I mean, again, this one goes into the head, the category that has been talked about for quite a while now sports washing, right, where you have a country that has essentially bad press, in terms of human rights, and they, you know, the Saudis start a golf League. Qatar, you know, pays big money to get the to get FIFA to come to China, the Olympics, right? The Olympics, right? And, you know, this is the narrative in the Western press. I assume there's very different perspectives on this and the rest of the world. But you know, there's a lot of you know, we're talking about the US men's soccer team building their brand developing fandom, you know, what is what is cutters goal and all this? Right, what do they want to seen be seen as, after this? sports watching
Doug Battle 12:52
is a real thing. And you see it all the time on the individual level with athletes who, you know, if a ordinary citizen goes into slaps a girl, co ed at Tennessee in the face after losing a football game, they're probably arrested. They're probably you know, they're probably kicked out of school if their student when it's Jermaine Burton, you know, when Alabama's receivers and he goes in this week, I think, yeah, like 100 Something yards and a touchdown or two, and he's a big star, he's a big hero, and it's like, hey, he was, uh, you know, he was, it was a tough situation to react to. And, you know, we're able to look past that, because, you know, these guys are, are, you know, they deserve some forgiveness and some grace and see that all the time. So Ben Roethlisberger had some very cancelable stories, and still probably will be a Hall of Famer, who's worshipped by all of Pittsburgh for all of time. Jameis Winston had those, you know, a number of stories like that. The list could go on forever.
Mike Lewis 13:49
Your guy. I mean, Kobe Bryant, back in the day. Yeah. Well, that I thought of that. I, you know,
Doug Battle 13:54
I thought about the
Mike Lewis 13:55
brutal story. I mean, that's before your time. But that was a brutal story, at least in terms of, and again, you know, I'm probably too much of even handed academic on some of this stuff. In terms of I'm saying it was brutal in terms of the coverage. I know, there's passionate people on both sides of right wing.
Doug Battle 14:14
Yeah. And I mean, I think the the biggest example, in semi recent memory has got to be Penn State football, right, Joe Paterno that I remember when that story broke, thinking they're gonna have to, nobody's gonna support them anymore. No one's gonna want to be affiliated with them. No one's gonna want to be a part of that. And it's like two years later, the white out you know, they get a winning football team, the sick one Barclays out there. And that's not something I don't even think people's minds connect Penn State with that story anymore.
Mike Lewis 14:50
No, I'm not going to name any names. I remember being at an academic conference. Hence longtime Penn State faculty and this is like in the early days of when this was coming out, basically taking the perspective of I'm not throwing any stones because you see this everywhere. I mean, you know, fan bases, our fan base is love. They're connected to their teams. They're part of the organization, right? It's almost like a family. And so when it first came out, you know, some of these Penn State faculty were like, the story is being kind of blown out of proportion, blah, blah, blah, and people just looking at him like, Are you out of your mind? You need to run away from this one. fast as possible. I can think of in terms of like, some of the Illinois sports scandals, which are always sort of, you know, did they pay players whose Perl says, blah, blah, blah. Illinois fans are completely convinced we did not do anything wrong. And if you have a canceled check, and photographic evidence, all that means is everyone else is doing it as well, right? I mean, there's always that these were kind of gone out on a limb here.
Doug Battle 16:02
But I think it's good. I mean, we talked about sports fandom, and you're getting to some of the core parts of being a fan. I feel like we need to make like a list of rules for being a fan. But there's kind of this unspoken list of like, your team didn't cheat. It's just if they're caught cheating, it's because everyone's cheating. If your team loses, it's because the other teams cheating and your team didn't or because the officials are bad. You know, if someone on the other team is hurling, Doug is
Mike Lewis 16:27
foreshadowing the comments of an Illinois fan in a few minutes.
Doug Battle 16:31
Yeah, well, if someone on your team is hurt, it's a permissible excuse for loss of someone on the other teams hurt. They don't have enough depth. They haven't recruited if you know if it's college sports haven't recruited well enough. If it's the NFL, they haven't drafted well enough or if it's NBA. So there's kind of these unspoken rules with sports. And I think one of them is kind of that that cheating thing where it felt like if your team did something bad, it's because well, that's what everyone's doing. And they're just doing what they have to do to keep up.
Mike Lewis 16:59
Yeah, well, good luck. I mean, you know, I mean, and how far does this go? I mean, I go to a lot of girls, lacrosse girls, high school lacrosse games. And I've seen the boys lacrosse team show up at Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia. And they will do their chance if, if the other team gets a little rough. You know, they'll have a dirty player chant. If you know the Walton girls get a you know, two inside baseball inside lacrosse. If Walton gets a little rough, the chant will be let them play. I mean, it's just it's automatic. It's the asymmetric relationship in terms of how fans view it's us versus them, right. It's
Doug Battle 17:38
us versus them. And I love I love one of my favorite examples is the NBA because there's so much turnover with players. And I know like Patrick Beverley is a guy who, whatever team he plays for the fanbase adores him. They love him because he's scrappy, right? He's scrappy. He's a lunch pail guy. He's, you know, he's, he's tough. He's, he'll do what it takes to win and Draymond Green, another guy like that, opposing teams will say, He's dirty. He's, you know, he's cheating. He's a Showboat. He's, and and then when that player like Patrick Beverley, there was a time where I think the Lakers hated him because of how he was, you know, going at it with them, and then he ends up on the Lakers, and now it's Lakers fans have to, they have to contradict themselves and say, Hey, we got this scrappy guy, you know, he's the kind of guy you want and play off. He helps. He does what it takes to win. He's, he's a team guy. He's got a lot of heart, a lot of hustle, he's gritty. You'll hear those terms from the same people and I personally love seeing that in in professional sports.
Mike Lewis 18:42
I'll give you a couple more example classic examples of that. Dennis Rodman when he was in the Detroit Pistons was one of the dirtiest players in the league. moved over to the Chicago Bulls. What a guy what a hustling
Doug Battle 18:58
you know, high energy high motor
Mike Lewis 19:01
I'll give you an I'll give him he's a champion. My personal favorite and all that was there was this guy there was this coach it this basketball program, Memphis minor figure named John Calipari. I do recall. And Kentucky fans. The John Calipari could not have been the biggest cheater. Right? Should have been banned from college basketball when he was at Memphis, moved to in a move to Kentucky and completely, completely forgiven instantly.
Doug Battle 19:37
I always love asking fans. I remember when LeBron was with Cleveland. And I had a buddy who was a Lakers fan who was a huge LeBron hater. And I was asking him, what how are you going to feel if LeBron comes to Los Angeles so you're going to you're going to start pulling for a different team. He's like, I couldn't watch him. It was just it would feel wrong. It would I feel and then sure enough, a couple years later, LeBron makes the transition to LA and I talked to him about and he said, Well, you know, LeBron, he's really a great player. And you got to respect him as a man. He's a father. He started justifying everything about LeBron and kind of and at this point, he's a full on. He's got the jersey. He's got. So there's there is this element in sports of bias, that fans share, unapologetically. And it's a sight to behold.
Mike Lewis 20:32
Yeah, I mean, it's something we should talk a little bit about LeBrons current marketing situation where he's, you know, featured with, I guess, Aquaman playing Father Time and bringing his Son into the ads, but we can push that down the road as we get to the NBA. Okay, Doug. So one of the things we've been following closely this year, is college football fandom. Yes, there was a bunch of good things this this weekend, inexplicable things. In fact, it seems
Doug Battle 21:01
as though when it rains, it pours with these things. We'll go weeks with maybe one little story here or there, but there are some weeks for college football is just on one. And this was one of them. Mike, you sent me a video of a couple. Fellas, I was gonna say brothers, but we don't know if they're in a fraternity at Texas, you just assume they are at Texas a&m, and a semi empty stadium, swinging a towel or a shirt around. They're all shirtless. And then running across the bleachers from one section to the next one empty section to the next. And handing off the shirt. Like it's a relay race like it's a baton. And the next guy swinging the towel and running from one section to the other. Do we know what was going on there? Texas a&m has had a down year I know this was for a stadium that's has a reputation of being one of the loudest one of the most intimidating stadiums. Man that that took some points away from them.
Mike Lewis 22:06
100,000 people in that stadium, I think is about what the capacity and very I mean, they are the original 12 man. I mean, that was always Texas a&m thing.
Doug Battle 22:17
I think this game, it looked as though they literally had a 12 man. Like they had 11 guys on the field. And they had one guy in this in in the stadium, or at least in each section of the stadium. So maybe it was a tribute to that.
Mike Lewis 22:28
I don't know. I mean, it was it was almost in to do it justice. It was almost like they were you know, were they drunk. And so they were running in sort of semi slow motion because they didn't want to fall wasn't
Doug Battle 22:40
a question. We know the answer to where they
Mike Lewis 22:44
was it because it was the first time they could ever really spread out in that stadium. I did some googling on this. And I have not found an explanation no one has. And there probably isn't on right. No one's spoken to the the journalists did not track them down. They don't know. Oh, yeah.
Doug Battle 22:59
It's the whole situation. Texas a&m coming into the season. I think they were top five another top 10 Team number one recruiting class in the country. beat Alabama last year. You know, here's something I've noticed my if a team beats Alabama Yeah, they not only do they get over ranked or overhyped, like their status is elevated, oh, years back, it was Ole Miss upsets, like the bottom line is, every year Alabama seems to play a game on the road where they just become a bad football team. And what you know if it's Ole Miss, all of a sudden Ole Miss is in the top five and the next season. They're preseason top teams, they beat Alabama last year, and they have some returning players this year was Tennessee, at home beating Alabama. And you know, turns out they weren't as good. But last year was Texas a&m, where, you know, it was kind of like, okay, they beat Alabama. And this year, they've got returning players, they got the same coaching staff, they're gonna be great. And, you know, they get this big recruiting class. They're not going to make a bowl game. I don't know how Jimbo Fisher stays there. I don't know. But I know that fan base is very cultish. And I think that's a word that a lot of people use that have been around them. Everyone I speak to in Texas when I say what's Texas a&m, like they say it's like a cold. First thing they'll say every time you know, I imagine it's probably those guys finding a way to have fun in the midst of a pretty brutal season. And you gotta tip your hat to that I appreciate a fan who can still enjoy themselves despite massive disappointments in a season like this,
Mike Lewis 24:29
ya know? I mean, and what a visual they created, right?
Doug Battle 24:35
What a visual. Yeah, it was. I think that the that beats like the paper bag over the head that used to be my favorite way of showing. You know, we're not very proud of our team. But I think having one fan and each section of the stadium and what's supposed to be one of the most daunting places to play in college football, shirtless, maybe not the most impressive physiques across the board, but proud nevertheless In perfect physique for what they were doing exactly perfect, perfect representations of a fan base that's trying to make the most out of a tough situation. But in that same game, like we had another, another instance another fandom situation that I appreciated we had prior to the game, two opposing players in the endzone, on one knee. praying, I assume praying or giving tribute to a loved one, I don't know, something probably serious or meaningful to them. Unfortunately for them, they're in front of like a smoke cannon. Just like
Mike Lewis 25:40
Texas a&m, shout a cannon at these guys.
Doug Battle 25:45
And the fans were cheering it on. You can hear the audio in the video someone said that was awesome. Man, that was the I think the 12th man is whoever's got the button for the cannons. That guy is he's on the lookout he's state, you know, he's looking for. He's looking for an opposing player within sight. So you can shoot that far cannon at him. I enjoyed that. And that's one of my favorite things in college football is that we can have a game that doesn't really matter. I don't even know Texas a&m was playing this week. But it's like Texas a&m has been out of contention. And yet they can have two of my favorite stories from the whole week because there's always something unpredictable, particularly with fans. One unpredictable thing with fans that happened this week was the USC UCLA game, which tag of a game by the way,
Mike Lewis 26:28
let me just put a point on Texas a&m. Because, you know, in some ways, you know, Texas a&m Is you described them as cultish, which I think is perfect, right. Yeah. But they've always been number two in that state, after Texas, Austin. And so they're it's also kind of a fascinating story. Where we finally had an opportunity to see the Clippers surpassed the Lakers, or to see the Mets surpassed the Yankees that they had these amazing kind of recruiting classes, seemingly on a run now playing in the big leagues of the SEC, while Texas is still back in, in the Big 12. And it just collapsed on them. Right? So does
Doug Battle 27:11
it not happen every time with these friends? I can't tell you how many times in my life, the nets will have a stack. I mean they do right now they have a stacked roster. And like when they acquired when they when they ended up with a roster with James Harden Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. I think everyone just assumed you'd like yeah, they're gonna win a championship. And do they we talked about on the podcast maybe a year or two ago? Do they now supplant the Knicks as New York's team once they win a championship or several championships? It's like, it doesn't matter what players are on your team. If you're that second team in the city, good luck winning anything of significance. It's like the sports Gods just will not allow it to happen. So you have a taxane, and we've seen with the Clippers million times, and of course, the nets I'm sure there's other examples I can point to across sports, but it's an interesting phenomenon to me.
Mike Lewis 27:58
And sadly AIIMS window is about to close right as Texas. SEC. Yes.
Doug Battle 28:04
This is their shot. This was a shot. This was their shot. So but I was saying USC UCLA Heck of a football game battle for Los Angeles, Pac 12. I guess championship spot at stake, potentially. And we had a fan on the field. And it wasn't Bobby Wagner this time? No, it was a security guard who later hit stick on him. I have a theory that I think we need to do uh, where are they now and like all of the guys who were like safeties and linebackers back before, before there, were targeting penalties, because I think they're all security guards of these football games now.
Mike Lewis 28:44
Yeah, you know, the, my takeaway from that one is I think, you know, so I'm gonna, I'm gonna guess that the security guard was the guy in yellow, right, that there's sort of Camp field security. And then there's off duty cops, right. And you noticed that the off duty cop got out run to and then the security guy got the hit. And it was like the late should have thrown a flag on the off duty cop because he took a shot after the guy was down late hit. It was nasty,
Doug Battle 29:17
unnecessary roughness. You know, cops have a history of, of unnecessary roughness and getting away with that. So it's unfortunate though the ref was right there. Vishal was right there. And, you know, I think if you're able to review
Mike Lewis 29:33
we know was about on that one.
Doug Battle 29:36
No. And you know, I wish I did, because normally it's something fun, like animal rights or some something relevant to football.
Mike Lewis 29:45
And you know, I don't know if you can, you know, my favorite was an early on. Was it an LSU fan that just came and stood like on the five yard line?
Doug Battle 29:53
Yeah, he was just watching the game. Yeah, you know, he wanted that front row. I think now you know, they have those VR headsets and you can sit anywhere in the stadium with those when you watch and I think he might have been used to watching football that way. And
Mike Lewis 30:07
this year, it seems like we've seen more of these hits, maybe because of the protests. And then maybe there's always a natural level of, I'm going to run on the field kind of behavior. But this year because of, you know, protesting of this or that we've kind of doubled or tripled the numbers.
Doug Battle 30:22
Yeah. And hey, I'm here for it, man. It everything. Yeah, I can't find. I can't find any info on what inspired this person to run onto the field. So I don't know. They didn't you know, they didn't have like a little smoke bomb with pink smoke coming out like that one guy at the Rams game. So, you know, I don't know if this one doesn't seem to be a gender reveal. or anything of that sorts. I think. I think every I think every American man deep down in their, their soul, they have a longing to do that. Just whites. And so these guys always envy them a little bit. I say that tongue in cheek, of course. But I do think Yeah. Have you ever been in the game and you're just standing and you're like, am I am I about to run onto the field? Is this gonna help? No, I probably shouldn't.
Mike Lewis 31:12
Hey, it'd be interesting if there were stats on this. I mean, Tennessee, obviously, you know, rushed the field after Alabama, right and tore down the goalposts. I think there were a couple more right. I think Vanderbilt rushed the field because they beat Florida, South Carolina
Doug Battle 31:26
rush the field against Tennessee this week. Yeah,
Mike Lewis 31:29
I mean, it's in the fines are my understand is the fines seem sort of randomly distributed of this as 100,000 or this is 200,000. But up
Doug Battle 31:39
the ante and the SEC, for they've upped the fines this year, it has not been effective as a spike squad member,
Mike Lewis 31:46
did you ever rush the field?
Doug Battle 31:48
Note, Georgia, it's not something that happens there hasn't happened. And I don't know that they've like, I think even if when I was a student, if we'd beaten Alabama, I don't think it would have happened. So I don't know some schools lend themselves better to I think when you're not expected to be as successful as Georgia is, it's a little bit different. Like Georgia, to me is like a you know, I'm biased. But I mean, I truly think Georgia is kind of like a it's like if UNC or Duke fans rush the court and basketball like that'd be kind of silly. Doesn't matter who they're playing. They, they you don't really do that when you're UNC or Duke. And, you know, of course, Georgia doesn't have a history of either of those programs, but in recent memory, and I think the expectations with the recruiting advantages and stuff is that they should be where they are. And so to rush the field would be a little bit embarrassing. So last story, with with college fans, this is a first for me, I've never seen this before. And Arkansas, I'm assuming student but an Arkansas fan, appeared to have stolen the helmet of an Ole Miss football player and runs up the stadium of the you know, up to the concourse holding his his helmet. And this Ole Miss football player comes into the stands and I was you know, they were very close to having malice at the palace type situation where you got player versus fans duking it out in the crowd. Of course, the fan was armed with the helmet the player was patted, it would have been quite interesting to watch. And I think security ran the guy down. I don't know, but some of the fans were cheering for the guy to run away with the helmet. I mean, they were cheering for him to commit a crime of
Mike Lewis 33:30
Sure. Are you sure because I read through a lot of responses on Twitter to that video. Okay, and so the question is, where did he get away? I mean, this is a this is a Twitter source. So it means absolutely nothing. But I did see something that some tweets and said, Yeah, he got away so I have no idea. Yeah, I mean, I saw
Doug Battle 33:51
that the security ran after him. But so I mean, maybe he did. But you know, if you list that on eBay, you're putting yourself at risk. So I don't know what he's gonna do with the helmet.
Mike Lewis 34:02
Or to sign it, right.
Doug Battle 34:05
Yeah, I don't I don't know. You know, it's gonna be great next year or two years from now is if Ole Miss returns to Arkansas, and there's one Arkansas fan in the crowd with an Ole Miss helmet on in Arkansas jersey. And like, that's the guy. That's the guy we got him but everyone else would have forgotten about it. But yeah, it's I will say this. Some of these fans, they're a little bit I don't think they understand who they're messing with sometimes like these guys are. I know it's fine. Like to Hackel players and stuff. You start stealing stuff or hitting them or doing anything that's like, you know, could be considered a crime. I think you're endangering yourself. We saw I mean, we saw it already. Like I mentioned earlier, Jermaine Burton hitting the young lady at the Tennessee game and of course not being punished because of sports washing, which I love that term by the way my Did you coin that or is that as I've been a term that's been out there for I'm just behind on so such things but due to sports washing? Yeah, I, you know, I don't think that the frat boy at Arkansas would have would have felt good about his decision had he come within five feet of the Ole Miss football player? Well, look,
Mike Lewis 35:16
I mean, the sad thing is the Okay, so as that's going down, I 100% get the fans in the crowd actually even like, inadvertently getting in the way of the security, right? Helping the guy, I'm gonna get away, I get that mentality. It's like, that's, that's automatic. Part of me wonders in this day and age of facial recognition. Are they going to find this guy? Did they get the winner? And then, you know, like, every, I mean, think about where fake facial recognition is. Everywhere. You know, you do a sell out at a target. And urine A database is linked to your name now, right? I mean, yeah.
Doug Battle 35:56
Big Brother's watching. Yeah, there were literally,
Mike Lewis 36:00
you know, it's one of the funniest things during COVID. Right, you had to stand and take, you know, facial recognition for the digital temperature check. Right? These things are all in databases. And so does law enforcement go after this kid in this crime, passion.
Doug Battle 36:17
But this is where it gets really interesting. What if law enforcement it's in Fayetteville, Arkansas, what if law enforcement or Arkansas fans, I mean, it's the same guys that would probably stand in the way of security. I don't know that they're looking into this one.
Mike Lewis 36:33
Dog a crime, a crime committed in front of 100,000 people is, you know, it's peak fandom in a way, right.
Doug Battle 36:45
I'd love to see the FBI get involved with this. I'd love to see the local police not do their job and go to a federal level. And let's make this let's make this a big deal. Let's get the President talking about it. Let's have the you know, for the next election, let's have this be a talking points and things that are debated as to how it would have been handled. I'd love to see that. But sports and politics intertwining once again. Yeah, so I guess my takeaway from all of this is that, it seems like fans, you mentioned earlier, it seems like there's been more people on the field. There's like a rising, maybe it's the younger generation, the audacity of fans is increasing. And whether it's a maybe it stems from the things being on Twitter and being able to directly attack players and insult them and meme them and toy with them. And taking that to the next level with you know, what I you know, I can say whatever I want to this guy, we had a little back and forth on Twitter. So yeah, I can, what if I steal his helmet, that'll be like the next level, I just think the audacity of fans is getting to a point where at some point, we're going to have a mouse at the palace type situation. Because I think players aren't too happy about it. Bobby Wagner taking out that fan was a perfect example. It of course, like I said, I've mentioned a couple of times your main burden. And I think there's Ole Miss player, probably if you'd gotten within five feet probably wasn't gonna show a lot of mercy to the Arkansas fan.
Mike Lewis 38:07
Well, and you know, here's the sad truth and all this, it might actually be rational behavior, like I suspect, I suspect that this younger jetlag, the younger generation, and like, I'm not one of these guys, that's like, oh, the younger generations a weak participation, trophies, blah, blah. But I do think, you know, as you get younger, there's been more of an emphasis on essentially safety, right, this idea of the safe space of always making sure that people are all right, and mental health. And I think that does tend to put people in a bubble. Now you add to that, and sort of put next to that the fact that and this is I think the the scary part of this story. It might be a rational move, to commit these crimes publicly, or this foolishness publicly, right. These guys at Texas a&m, for example, to take a really benign example, if they had been the ones posting their, their relay race with a T shirt, and that goes viral, then suddenly, they've got a viral video, right? They've got 10 million hits on that. They've got the social cachet that that comes from that. In some ways. The same thing with that, that kids stealing the helmet suddenly these are suddenly their content creators
Doug Battle 39:22
as Harvey Updyke, Harvey Updyke and the modern day for those who aren't aware Harvey Updyke, the gentleman who poisoned offerings, oak tree that is rolled after every big win the Alabama fan who plays in the Auburn tree and became somewhat of a celebrity amongst Alabama fans and of course, public enemy number one in Auburn, Alabama in the open like a region. In today's day and age, he could have become an influencer. He could have you could have cashed in basically and I owe money from that. I mean, I'm of course, I'm exaggerating, but there is kind of this. I'll tell you this. I have heard I won't say special civics. I've heard of fans at the college level being compensated via endorsements due to their massive social followings as superfans and that's the thing. Yeah. And I L has has trickled into the fandom world.
Mike Lewis 40:15
I'd have an, you know, having an endorsement deal yet your
Doug Battle 40:19
I have heard. I have heard murmurs so that you know, don't write this down, but I've heard murmurs that there's some kind of some kind of arrangement with with some students who aren't athletes kind of profiting in the way that student athletes are. So you know, who's to say that helmet guy doesn't become a meme and you know, start a tic toc and gets off the Arkansas hog nation behind him and cashes out with some barbecue endorsements or somewhere where's the Ole Miss helmet over you know, always eat some barbecue on a commercial and, and make some money off of it. It's it's a it's a changing landscape and fandom as it is with college athletics.
Mike Lewis 41:05
Yeah, you mentioned Auburn and Auburn and Alabama in passing there. Right. It's that's where we're at now. We're in rivalry worry. Yeah, we are. This is, in some ways. In some ways, this is like what we play the whole season for. It's almost like there are three events in college football, right. We play the whole season to get to rivalry week, the conference championships and then the college football playoffs.
Doug Battle 41:31
Yeah, I want to make this point. First off Michigan, Ohio State is like, that's the rivalry game of all time, potentially, potentially a playoff spot on the line. Although it's possible that both teams make the playoffs or not point it won't mean all that much. Well, I
Mike Lewis 41:44
don't know. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, Michigan has a one loss team. So it's not that big of a deal. You want to do you need to talk about that. That's as far as I want to take it.
Doug Battle 41:54
Okay. Just I'm here for you. Yeah, so college football. First things first, like big picture. For college football playoff teams is enough. I'll say 12 playoff teams would make Tennessee's last this last week meaningless Albion was losses to Tennessee. And she'll say lose to LSU meaningless, like all these teams will be in? I don't know. I kind of like it at four. I feel like there's not more than four good teams, there's
Mike Lewis 42:24
well, so you want the radio season to matter? Right? I like
Doug Battle 42:27
it mattering. I think it's I think that's what differentiates it. Like, I love the NBA. It's really hard to be that invested in any single NBA game. Because it's like they play the two of them. They're gonna end like if you're good, you're gonna make I'm even like that. Not a lot of people are like this. I'm like that with college basketball turned on again. I think last week, there's a game it was like Michigan State versus Duke or something. And I kind of shrugged it off. It's like, yeah, like they'll both be in the tournament doesn't really matter. Just they if they turn it on at the right time, they can win it all this game isn't gonna affect it could affect the difference in them being the two seed or the three seed. You know, I don't know how big a difference that makes. And so I like, I think that makes college football special.
Mike Lewis 43:03
I think it's a good observation in as we have, as you say, this is probably the only sport where the regular season still matters.
Doug Battle 43:10
Yeah, I mean, definitely to the level that it does, because there's so few games.
Mike Lewis 43:15
And so the idea of moving away from that strikes me as potentially a big mistake on the part of college football, right. You know, in some ways college basketball, that tournament is their season now. Yep. College football. All 1112 weeks matter, right. I mean,
Doug Battle 43:30
every week matters all weeks matter, as they say. And I you know, I think Michigan Ohio State this week, if it's a Trump team playoff doesn't really matter.
Mike Lewis 43:40
21 number, right. And remember, Georgia, Tennessee, Drew 13 million people, which was more than the World Series game. Right. So So those folks out there that want to say, you know, the money's in the playoffs? Maybe it is maybe it isn't right. You kind of cheap in the you know, in that number of 13 million people. That's probably, you know, three times what's going to watch in the average NBA playoff game, you know, so you know, you know, think it through college football in terms before you start to go that far in that direction, where you know, the LSU and the Tennessee's and the Alabama's would still have would still have a shot at this right. Maybe those fan bases.
Doug Battle 44:20
I just think it cheapens. I think it cheapens the regular season. I think the regular season. I think it like you said it's the one sport where the regular season really is special. And I think it has that playoff atmosphere in the middle of October or September. And I think that's you don't you don't get that in any other sport. And I think that's part of why we see all the craziness we see in college football. And you saw it you know this week with South Carolina getting to knock Tennessee out of the picture. That's a game that probably doesn't matter. I mean, Tennessee's their number eight or something like that. Now they're still in the playoff and a 12 team or a team playoff. They're still in the playoff they're, you know they still get the revenge game with Georgia. They probably We get a rematch to Alabama at some point, who by the way, it's like teams like Alabama, are able to go a whole season only beat their cupcakes, not beat a single impressive opponent and still make the playoffs. And if they just turn it on for like three or four weeks, they're national champions. I don't like that. Like I don't I don't think that's rewarding to a team like TCU, who has gotten the job done all year. To this point, of course, or team, you know, teams like Georgia or Ohio State, you know, or Michigan who have who have been great all year. It doesn't reward the team that has the best season. It's, you know, the team with talent returns at the end
Mike Lewis 45:38
of the season, and great all year. Say what? Michigan hasn't been great all year. Oh, yeah,
Doug Battle 45:43
that's to be honest, Georgia hasn't either. And I say the same about Ohio State. If you look at their week to week, but they've gotten the job done, they've won the games that they've needed to win. The game hasn't done that. Tennessee hasn't done that.
Mike Lewis 45:54
Michigan needed a lot out. We'll just say
Doug Battle 45:57
Michigan, Michigan. Yeah. So you point against Michigan for Ohio State game? Do you feel like that would avenge it somehow? Or do you think it's too late for that?
Mike Lewis 46:09
I mean, like Doug, this is rivalry week. So you know, we look we as fans, fans love their teams, they are one with their teams. The other side of this, you know, it's Batman and the Joker kind of thing. There will always be teams that fan bases despise, and it's entirely a positive. Right. So we're I've been alluding to the fact that there were some very questionable calls in terms of Illinois versus Michigan. The idea of beating Michigan at the Big House for Illinois. Wow, that is spectacular. Now you asked me you know, if I'm giving you a short list of the teams that I love to beat as a as a as an Illinois guy. Yeah, it's Indiana and basketball. It's Iowa and basketball. It's Michigan and football. I mean, look, you're at Georgia guy. Doug, who do you want to beat more than anything in a given year? Is it Auburn? Is it you know, Florida? I mean, there's a lot of good candidates, but I know that you've I know some of them mean more than others. Let's say that
Doug Battle 47:20
they absolutely do. So I'm just curious for Illinois football fan. You guys are gonna make the big 10 Championship right
Mike Lewis 47:27
now. Now they're out three game losing streak.
Doug Battle 47:31
Bomber because I was thinking you know, Michigan wins this week get a rematch but I lost track of it. You know, the big 10 is a little interesting because you got one division that has Ohio State, Michigan and infants stayed in it and another division or it's kind of always up for grabs. So yeah, still Mike I'm like I know you said you don't want to talk but it's a division
Mike Lewis 47:53
that's gonna get very strange with conference realignment with you're gonna have suddenly USC and UCLA in the same division with Wisconsin, you know, these kind of farm schools. Yeah, beauty and strange times ahead.
Doug Battle 48:09
Strange times ahead. College football though. A lot of interesting potential scenarios right now. First off another observation is that Tennessee has been jumped in the rankings by Alabama both teams are nine and two Tennessee has the the wind the head to head wind, and they're ranked behind Alabama. That's an AP poll right now. So I've heard clamoring for you know, Alabama is going to sneak into the playoffs. I don't see how that's really possible.
Mike Lewis 48:39
No chance this is this is just the example that not the you know, the it's a fair playing field. Alabama doesn't guys, this is the year right where it's like there's a team at this.
Doug Battle 48:49
So Ohio State and Michigan play each other this week, one of them's going to inevitably lose that game. It's not soccer, no ties. And Georgia LSU. We're gonna play each other if Georgia wins LSU is out. If LSU wins. They're probably both in so that you know that's in two weeks. That's gonna
Mike Lewis 49:06
I don't think so. I don't think I don't think a two loss LSU look, I think I suspect this is going to be the year when the big 10 gets to teams. Michigan
Doug Battle 49:15
does that render this week's Ohio State Michigan game more or less meaningless?
Mike Lewis 49:21
You know how this is you grew up in Alabama? Is that is the iron bowl ever meaningless?
Doug Battle 49:28
No. TCU seems to be hanging on by a thread every week as is USC. USC has got Notre Dame this week and Notre Dame has been hot as of late after a really rough start to the season. They've been on fire. And I'll say it I kind of expect them to win that game against USC and, and Los Angeles and so nother game to keep an eye on and then the one team that I do think has a shot to creep into the picture under the right so circumstances that everyone rode off is Clemson. Because you look at TCU and the way they've been playing, how fortunate they are to be in the position that they're in. I think it's very possible they lose either Iowa State or Big 12 championship. USC, I think it's very possible they lose Notre Dame or Pac 12 championship. I think it's very possible LSU loses to Georgia, or even if they win, that they, you know, wouldn't make the playoffs like you were saying, and that next team is Clemson sitting at Tennant. One, they've got South Carolina this week, a South Carolina team that just whipped up on Tennessee. So all of a sudden, you know, from a resume standpoint, that's maybe a more impressive win. If Clemson is able to pull it out. I don't know that they will. But if they are, and if they go win ACC championship against you and see who's got a quarterback who's had, you know, drawn a lot of attention this year. He's had a great season. And you're looking at a situation where Georgia is in winter of Ohio State Michigan's in that next team, yet Oh, TCU. And this, you know, they may or may not went out but they could be in or they could be one loss. I think if they're one lost, they're out. I think if USC loses another game, they're out. And so Clemson is kind of that next team and he could be like a conference champ won last Clemson versus like a one loss, Michigan or Ohio State vying for that final playoff spot.
Mike Lewis 51:24
I tend to think this moment, at this moment, the big 10 gets to Georgia TCU in the big 10. But I don't know if
Doug Battle 51:33
like I said if TCU loses who's that next team, USC
Mike Lewis 51:37
but we if we know anything about college football, there's gonna something's gonna happen. It's gonna get a little weird, right?
Doug Battle 51:45
There's there's a level of unpredictability in college football that Ken and we saw it this last week, Tennessee, I don't know that anyone expected them to lose certainly not in the fashion that they did against the South Carolina team that looks horrible the week before. And you know, they went from being some people's favorites for national champion to completely eliminated from the playoffs that happened to Alabama earlier this year. And so now with just one week left of the season, and then conference championships, it's like, okay, let's, I feel like something always happens in the Big 12 That eliminates their team and with it being TCU. And the way that they're playing, I'm just like, something always happens. I don't know who exactly they're gonna play in the Big 12 championship, but I am keeping an eye on them. They barely escaped a pretty bad Baylor team on Saturday. As did I guess, USC, you know, escaped of decent UCLA team. And now USC has got a tougher opponent, I believe against Notre Dame. So wild times. But it's I think, I think that like college football,
Mike Lewis 52:47
say we're about to get wild. Right. So something will go down. I think
Doug Battle 52:53
that Georgia, Ohio State Michigan, USC would feel it would feel like for elite teams, but there's certain things up being like Georgia, Michigan, really teams in Michigan. Yeah, well, of course, because they're one loss to Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, TCU and USC or Georgia, Michigan, TCU, Clemson or Georgia, Michigan, USC, Clemson. Those those scenarios I think Georgia fans like myself would love to see but it probably would feel a little bit fluky that some of those teams slide in there in five states eliminated be pretty crazy for two years in a row for how good they've been to not make the playoffs. So what we'll see what happens on Saturday,
Mike Lewis 53:40
Doug, I'm looking at the clock, and I'm happy that you know a lot of time on sort of fandom fundamentals rivalries. Fans out of control. Let me say something real quick about the NFL and then we can talk a little bit about some some interesting things again, the world of finance invade sports. The NFL, top six quarterbacks buy yards thrown. Okay, I spent a lot of time thinking about quarterbacks, top six. Patrick mahomes Number one, Josh Allen number two. Joe burrow number three, Tom Brady, number four, Justin Herbert number five. Aaron Rodgers. Number six. Maybe quarterbacks analysis is the simplest thing possible. You know, with all the trouble that's gone down for some of these guys over the course of the season. That to me is a remarkable list. Yeah. And if I go to buy touchdown passes the top, the top five are mahomes burrow, Allen Rodgers and tua
Doug Battle 54:48
Intuos miss some games so he might with yardage. He might be up there too, if you did on a per game basis, but I as a fantasy football guy I always expect for players like Joe burrow or Tom Brady Aaron. Rogers, I just expect a regression. I mean, I think early in the season, all three of those guys got off to a little bit of a rough start. And that's where I was, I was like, alright how, you know, let's acquire these guys, because their values down right now. And it's almost inevitable that they're going to unless they get hurt, they're going to make it up over the course of the season. And that's what we've seen,
Mike Lewis 55:19
you know, with more data with more experience, it's like, the talent comes through, right? I mean, less are those or if you're building a team, those are the guys you would want to have. Right? Those are essentially the top five the top five quarterbacks? Yeah. Okay, Doug, last thing on the agenda. And, you know, we talked about this briefly, maybe you looked it up. Where and again, kind of trivia question, where did the Pittsburgh Steelers play?
Doug Battle 55:49
They play at Heinz Field.
Mike Lewis 55:53
Yeah. So the Pittsburgh Steelers now play it? I'm not even sure how to pronounce it. Accra share, which is an insurance company field, not the same, not the same, not the same. Where do and the reason why this is this is Top of Mind is because there's been a crypto, you know, it's been all over the news in terms of the collapse of ft x. And part of it. Part of the story is that FTX had the naming rights for the Miami basketball arena. Do you know who do you know what who does? The arena was named for before? FTX
Doug Battle 56:29
I believe it was American Airlines. It was American Airlines. Yeah, crypto exchanges getting arenas because I know that crypto.com has the the old Staples Center. And when Celsius went down earlier this year, another big crypto exchange. It crossed my mind. Well, what what if that happens to crypto.com and they, you know, they they own this arena, they own the naming rights for for such a big sports arena.
Mike Lewis 56:57
You and I grew up in different eras. Right? When I was when I was a kid, you know? And the ballparks were named? And some of these are still named right Fenway Park. It was Shea Stadium it was the Lakers played at the forum. Yeah, it was Boston Garden Madison Square Garden you know, based on based on the address the bears played in Soldier Field you know, the but these teams have now in and so as a kid you know, it's almost like these these arenas have like a, you know, they're almost have like a religious significance. Right. They're like the modern day cathedral, right? Yeah. This is where the thing that I love the most where they play. We're now on I think generation two or generation three, in some cases of the corporate sponsored arena. And Doug, I hate it.
Doug Battle 57:53
It feels like it cheapens the product. I remember when events I mean, SunTrust Park was a new park for the Atlanta Braves. But when it became truest Park, Braves fans did not like that at all. They did not like that.
Mike Lewis 58:07
There's no you know, in all I can think is that in some ways, the arena or the stadium was part of the team's part of the team's brand part of the team's legacy. In by selling off the names, it's like, they're no longer let's say building the, you know, like, the idea is like, you know, Michael Jordan was playing and she was winning championships in Chicago stadium. And there's magic in this building, but then you throw a corporate sponsor on that. And then that corporate sponsor disappears, and you get the next one in there. And they destroy any equity being attached to that arena.
Doug Battle 58:46
See, I don't like I talked last week about how I don't like the NBA City Edition uniforms. I don't like having the brand on the uniform. Like it's NASCAR. I don't like seeing especially. Yeah, especially when it's like not if it's Gatorade or some athletic related at least, but if it's like a paper count, you've got Dunder Mifflin on your jerseys, and you're not the screen basketball team. It's just kind of jarring to me and it feels cheap and corporate and I don't like it. I don't like it as a consumer. And the stadium names like you said, it's, I mean, imagine your college team. Imagine like as a Georgia guy, imagine if Sanford stadium became you know, I'm trying to think of a company but
Mike Lewis 59:31
he's barbecue stadium. And then three years later, it becomes American Express stadium, right. Then five years later it becomes you know, the Chevy Tahoe field at the you know, at the at the FTX stadium,
Doug Battle 59:47
right, it's Bitcoin arena.
Mike Lewis 59:51
it cheapens to try to you know, again, I don't think, you know, I think when you look back historically what these naming deals were worth, it seems like it was These were about $2 million deals per year. If you go back to the turn of the century, now, there may be 15 to $20 million a year things. But it's definitely there's a cost to it that I don't think the sports industry is. You know, maybe they think about it, but they'd just rather have the money and then pretending that it doesn't exist. They're just going to be someone else's problem. But you know, look, the Georgia Sanford stadium that means something to Georgia fans. Oh, yeah. Okay. That means something then Sharpie stadium when they, you know, they switch over to a pen based brand. I mean,
Doug Battle 1:00:41
all right. We're, I, I am sickened by the thought of that and Sharpie Stadium at a Bitcoin field in Athens, Georgia.
Mike Lewis 1:00:53
Well, and I suspect, why is this fact one of the things that's going on like with the Chicago Bears, so the Chicago Bears seem to be in a bit of a fight with the city of Chicago with threats to move out to where wherever the old horse racing? I think it was Arlington parks were used to go bet on the on the ponies that I suspect part of that deal is the bears played soldiers field, right? I think it's very difficult to take something called soldiers field and put the logo of FTX on top of it. Right? You know, that's you. But if you move, then suddenly, I think you go, Hey, now we got a $20 million a year revenue stream. And that's what makes that deal, you know, so attractive. But
Doug Battle 1:01:38