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An Embarrassing Day for Some of College Football’s National Media

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Michael Wilbon, Desmond Howard and Pat Forde have had better days.

Nebraska v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

I checked twitter last night after picking my kids up from daycare. Usually I leave my phone in my car when I’m with my kids but I noticed there seemed to be some members of the local sports media who were particularly critical of something Pat Forde or Sports Illustrated did or wrote.

Though we will get to him later.

The reaction from some members of the media to Nebraska attempting to buck the Big Ten’s decision to postpone football to the spring was somewhat illuminating. It started off with Michael Wilbon’s comments on Pardon the Interruption the day before.

I actually love Michael Wilbon and Pardon the Interruption is likely my favorite show on television. The great camaraderie between Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser is evident and great. I love that show.

That doesn’t mean I have to agree with Wilbon.

Wilbon uses the characterization “inflated sense of self” to attack Nebraska. This was the theme used by various members of the college football media yesterday.

This is known as the “Ad Hominem” logical fallacy. People use it when they don’t have an argument. They use personal attacks so they don’t actually address the other side’s argument. They use emotion as a weapon. It is extremely effective. Television loves it.

Then Wilbon cites the “health experts consulting with the Big Ten.” As if that is the only source of information that should be considered.

This also completely ignores the fact that the conferences still looking to play football have their own “health experts” which appear to have a differing opinions. Wilbon isn’t providing any evidence. In fact, it sounds like the Big Ten hasn’t provided any evidence either. Both are simply citing “health experts.” If they do in fact have evidence that was so impactful to canceling the season then they should disclose that information for the sake of public health.

Even the SEC is wanting to know what the Big Ten supposedly knows.

The Big Ten, unless I’m wrong, is intending to keep that information internal. At least the Pac-12 actually set forth some parameters that they considered when making their decision. At least give us something. Instead, people like Michael Wilbon (a trustee at Northwestern) simply wants us to accept the wisdom set forth by self-interested University Presidents.

Then there’s Desmond Howard who thinks Nebraska owes the Big Ten an apology and should be gone after questioning a Big Ten leadership decision. Oh, the horror.

The best part of the day was when Ohio State came out and essentially made the same comment as Nebraska. They were trying to find a way to play football as well. This showed how Desmond Howard isn’t willing to stand behind his own comments. As many said, Howard should have said the same thing about Ohio State. He didn’t.

The media by and large treated the comment by Ohio State head coach Ryan Day completely different than the statement by Nebraska. In their defense they said that Ohio State had national title aspirations and Nebraska did not.

So there is the standard I guess.

If as school wants to be able to stand up for itself and question authority then it better be great at football. That is a sad state of affairs.

Lastly, I want to bring some attention to this Pat Forde column for Sports Illustrated.

He starts off being relatively cordial and then unloads on Nebraska. Forde sets forth straight facts about the quality of Nebraska football over the past decade. I cannot argue with him there. Though this is the snippet that caught my eye:

Nebraska’s carping falls in the category of Unwarranted Entitlement. Like, who cares what Nebraska thinks? You’re unhappy making $54 million in media rights as the ninth-best football program in a 14-team conference? Please, go. Pack up your John Deere and hit the farm roads out of here.

At best he wrote that from an extreme level of ignorance about the people of Nebraska. At worst he wrote that as a professional writer with the emotional maturity of a teenager.

Nebraska fans, this is one of those times you don’t get upset or offended. In this case, an adult male who has been writing about college football for almost four decades is throwing a temper tantrum. When people like him act like children we need to simply walk away. You know there is no use trying to reason with a child that obviously needs to take a nap.