Unless you root for Eastern Washington or Sam Houston State (and if you do, we hope you're happy being constantly coddled and favored by the national media, jerks), you've waited more than 200 days to see your team play football again. You likely did a lot to pass that time, but you couldn't have made it this far alone. Coaches, players, and Internet idiots all helped you survive the last seven months.
There's no question that Bo Pelini was the MVP of this offseason, and if you need a quick reminder why, it's right here. His was truly the only 5 Bo Pelini Cats (the official measurement of offseason fun) performance. We thank Coach Pelini for his outstanding efforts keeping us amused and distracted and wish him the happiest four-loss season possible.
And, while they didn't win, other offseason things deserve to be acknowledged and given a wholly subjective grade.
FOUR AND A HALF CATS
- Charity is good. So is Adam Jacobi being forced to ride a horse. The good people at Black Heart Gold Pants found a way to make both happen at the same time without it being some extremely creepy thing (it's creepy, sure, just not EXTREMELY creepy).
- Steven Godfrey's longform on the secretive world of college football bagmen? Enthralling. The Taiwanese animation of that same longform? Perhaps the greatest gift the arts have ever bestowed upon mankind.
- The science of beauty is a confounding field that exists somewhere in the intersection of biology, anthropology, and psychology. There are almost no absolutes, and conversing about what is and is not beautiful quickly devolves into an argument about personal preference. But no being with a heart can deny the raw beauty of these Mizzou linemen putting in twerk.
THREE AND A HALF CATS
- It's great that you're taking good care of yourself, Larry Fedora, because it allowed Dave Doeren and David Cutcliffe to walk into a convenience store, stroll up to the cashier, introduce themselves, and then say "Is it cool if we just hold some beer? It's for a picture we're sending to a friend." (Cutcliffe probably bought a small sleeve of Lorna Doones, in fairness.)
- We teach our children that they should follow their dreams. But what if your dream is to leave your longtime assistant coaching position at a Big Ten school and open a fast food franchise that's noted for serving cheese curds? YOU FOLLOW THAT DREAM, THAT'S WHAT.
- It remains to be seen just how enjoyable the SEC Network winds up being and whether most of us watch it for anything other than games that aren't otherwise available, like Chuckie Keeton versus Maybe You've Heard But Tennessee Is Rebuilding. The commercials have been worthwhile, however, and without them we wouldn't have Puncho.
- LSU freshman Leonard Fournette is fast. Percy "Master P" Miller is 44 years old. There is no reason why the two should be engaged in a footrace, but the offseason doesn't need reasons. It just needs time and opportunity, and it has both in spades.
TWO AND A HALF CATS
- For every one funny or lighthearted thing you saw about the Jameis Winston Seafood Caper, you saw three which were unbearable in any number of directions. There's also going to be at least one columnist who uses the incident as a framing device for his Why I'm Not Putting Jameis On My Heisman Ballot scolding.
- For all its flaws and unnecessary length, the NFL Draft always has that moment where an awesome college player gets picked and the fans of his new team don't know quite how to react. This isn't someone that they had read about, and the team wasn't taking him in any mock drafts. But we know, because we've already seen him do that awesome stuff. I imagine it's the same feeling a parent gets putting a movie they love on so their kid can watch it for the first time. WAIT WAIT WAIT HE'S NOT ACTUALLY LEFT-HANDED WATCH THIS.
- The O'Bannon trial is an important landmark in the structure and governance of college sports, and the ripples from its final resolution will be felt for decades. That said, aside from the occasional opportunity to laugh at a stupid answer given by a witness, civil trials are slow and boooooooooooooooooooooring. There's a reason NBC never made Law & Order: Antitrust Investigations.
- Dan Rubenstein was bored, so he decided to live tweet a football game that wasn't happening. In this non-game, Dan criticized the Michigan offensive line (which wasn't playing) for its poor play (which wasn't real). And the Michigan players were so incensed by this unfair criticism of something that wasn't taking place that they decided to use it as inspirational material. Spend more time working on your booty shake skills, guys.
ONE AND A HALF CATS
- There are two kinds of people who went to the World Cup and brought a collegiate flag to display in the stands: those who packed a Washington State flag, and those who made a mistake.
- You really want to make me choose between tortillas and Arizona State football? Because I know how that's gonna end up.