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"These Pretzels are Making Me Thirsty"

Heavy “Waits”
What a weekend!  Alright so the hype for the weekend ended up being more fun than watching the blowouts occur, but this is why College Football is one of the most exciting sports in the U.S.  Regardless of how the weekend turned out, the build up had me excited to actually watch college football.
I’m reminded of my personal view of boxing.  Boxing is a sport that is the most exciting when we have big name heavyweights.  The best we get nowadays are 150 pound fighters playing defense and whatever form of boxing they are trained in…cough cough…Conor McGregor….cough cough…Mayweather.  Boxing is at it’s best when we have 240 pound dudes wailing on each other.  We need Tyson, Ali, Holyfield, Frazier, Foreman, the list goes on.  That’s what it takes to get the average fan watch a boxing match, we need the heavyweights!  On Saturday, that is what we got.
UGA vs AuburnNotre Dame vs MiamiOklahoma vs TCU.  All matchups of top 10 teams.  Even a 12 vs 13 matchup in Mich St. vs Ohio St.  These are the heavyweight bouts I want to see.  I couldn’t schedule anything else Saturday that didn’t include MY butt parked in MY chair watching title contenders slug it out.  Unfortunately, all were one sided affairs.  UGA took body shot after body shot, Mich St was knocked out in the early rounds, TCU and Notre Dame were out played in every facet.  The only 12 round unanimous split decision was Alabama over Mississippi St, in what turned out to be a heavy test for a Bama team looking to be getting fatigued.
The hype was big and attractive and in the end only one thing was clear, forget what you thought you knew, everything will be decided in the next 4 weeks.  Until then, Auburn and Miami get their time in the hype machine while others we thought were out of it have life again.  This week is the calm before the storm because when rivalry week hits, all bets are off.
My top 10:
Alabama
Clemson
Miami
Oklahoma
Wisconsin
Auburn
UGA
Ohio St
Notre Dame
Penn St
The Trifecta of Happiness
If you read my last post you’d know I was struck with a trifecta of losing last weekend when my 3 favorite football teams lost in convenient fashion, late.  Losing games you should have won in the end can be disheartening for fans, players, fans…OK I’m just really emphasizing the fan part of that.  It was tough, so I’m glad to see all 3 respond from said disappointments.
Georgia Southern after closing out the week of turmoil, I’m counting 7 days here with their 2 losses in 5 days, Started a new week off on Friday going to Wake Forrest and beating the Demon Deacons in basketball to start the season off the right way.  The Eagles were led by Tookie Brown‘s 22 points and Mike Hughes 5 three pointers to upset an ACC opponent at their house.  At 1-0 the Eagles basketball team now has more wins than the football team, so hopefully that’ll fuel an atmosphere of winning around campus.  I hope the attitude continues tonight as the Eagles host Cal State Bakersfield for a chance to start 2-0 for the first time since 2002.
Georgia Tech Football rebounded nicely by beating the better of the Virginia schools at home on Saturday.  Virginia Tech had a chance at the on the GT side of the field but couldn’t get the job done as GT beat VT 28-22 in a little different of style.  Georgia Tech had a nice game on the ground but it was the 2 bombs, one an 80 yard TD pass to Ricky Juene and the other a 60 yarder to Brad Stewart that won them the game.  It’s not the typical narrative for a team that 4th in the nation in rushing the football but to beat good teams you have to adjust the gameplan and Georgia Tech executed enough to win.
Finally, I love what the Falcons did this past weekend.  Domination was how I would describe this game.  It was almost too boring to watch all the way through because once we got the lead, the game was over.  Everyone knew about Zeke missing the game.  Not too many people knew about Tyron Smith missing time except Adrian Clayborn, aka Mr. 6 Sacks.  It just goes to show you how important individual line play can determine the game.  The most success the Cowboys had was running to the right and throwing short passes.   Unfortunately the Falcons couldn’t escape pain free as Devonte Freeman left in the 1st quarter with a concussion that was instantly noticeable on the field and spotted by the head ref as he stopped play and made him seek help on the sideline.
Which knowing what we know now about concussions, It’s a good thing he wasn’t allowed to reenter the ballgame.
Speaking of Concussions
My final thought today has serious connotation with it.  I spent the previous 2 sections going over football.  As a Football fanatic, I can’t help but think about the decisions the players are making.  Yes, there is still a lot of information that is unknown right now as CTE studies are relatively young comparatively.  I played football from 6 years old to 18 years old.  I was a crazy, blood thirsty middle linebacker and fullback who loved to hit people.  I like to think I played those positions the right way.  Many times in games as the Mike I would run forward and ram the lead blocker, stopping him in the A or B gaps and assist in making the running back stop and start again, mostly ending in a TFL by a teammate.  That part of my game was one of my favorites.
Unfortunately having read multiple reports and articles about head trauma, I’m certain had I kept playing, as an undersized MLB, I would’ve inflicted long term trauma in my brain that honestly, scares me.  Having read the information about Aaron Hernandez‘s brain by medical researchers, even more uncertainty clouds the game I love so dearly.  The article reads that “Aaron Hernandez had stage 3 CTE, which had never been diagnosed in anyone younger than 46”  until now, by a football player.  Aaron Hernandez last played football in 2012.  Medical examiners looked at his brain in 2017.  So in 5 years the brain either rapidly developed a stage 3 CTE diagnosis or it’s possible he was playing with it.
Now one of the questions is that when did he have Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3?  What is the duration of time between the stages and does simply not playing football keep the stages from progressing?  The main question I have when it comes to these levels is At what stage of CTE is one person susceptible to an increase in violent or criminal behavior.  A lot of people will write off that Aaron Hernandez was a psycho and a murderer so they won’t even look twice at this case, but a huge question that could destroy the NFL, much in the way linking cancer to cigarettes, does playing football directly impact a person’s exposure to developing CTE and can different levels of CTE link itself directly on the impact of one’s ability to decipher right from wrong and their ability to act accordingly.
It’s possible Aaron Hernandez was a criminal already and his stage 3 diagnosis of CTE was just a mere coincidence.  It’s also possible he had early stages of CTE in college, possibly high school, and the residual effects compounded on themselves to create the murderer that we tossed to side.  As more information comes to light in the next few years we’ll all be better prepared to share with people who want to play football the associated risks that go along with playing.  Of course, there will always be the ones who still play the game, but what will the future of the NFL look like?
The Other Side of Sports (Just a Little Outside)
I love sports.  Almost like I’m married to them.  Even though I have my fanatical moments and my joy from getting caught up in the moment, I like to still be able to remove my feelings from everything and look at things from The Other Side.  I don’t want to see Football ruin itself, but that’s why we at The Other Side try to talk about the things no one wants to.  I hope you’ve enjoyed entry 2 for this new cycle and I hope you come back for more.  Until next week, make the most out of your time and enjoy every second you can.

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