It is as regular as the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano: Every year, it seems, someone throws out the idea that (insert name of No. 1 team in college football here) could beat the worst team or teams in the National Football League.
This year, the purveyor of said notion is none other than South Carolina head ball coach Steve Spurrier. He told “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday that he believes the Alabama Crimson Tide is good enough to compete with some teams at the next level.
“Alabama, gosh, they look like they could beat a couple of those NFL teams that I’ve watched on Sundays,” Spurrier said. “I think a lot of the oddsmakers out there, that usually know what’s going on, I’d guess Alabama would be favored by a little bit.”
Are you kidding?
Of all people, Spurrier should know better. Besides collegiate coaching stints at Duke, Florida and South Carolina and an alternative professional job with the old Tampa Bay Bandits in the long-defunct USFL, Spurrier coached the Washington Redskins for a couple of years back in the early 21st century.
And how did that work out? Well, he won a national championship with the Gators with former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel at quarterback.
So he took that offense and that quarterback into the NFL. Wuerffel was awful. Spurrier’s offense was awful. The Redskins were awful. Owner Dan Snyder pulled the plug on the Spurrier experience after two dismal years, 2002-03, during which Washington was just 12-20.
It’s not uncommon for fans to misunderstand the depth and breadth of the gulf between the National Football League and even the top level of college football. But for a coach who has experience at both levels to do so is simply ludicrous.
Let’s get this straight. Spurrier may have wanted to pay Alabama a compliment, but there are ways to do it without sounding like a complete moron.
Whichever team might be the NFL’s worst—and there is plenty of competition for that dubious distinction this season between the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, et al—is immaterial. Any of those teams just mentioned would absolutely hammer the Crimson Tide.
It wouldn’t even be close.
Yes, Alabama is loaded with talent. But the college football definition of “loaded with talent” means the Tide might have 20 or so players who might someday be good enough to play in the league.
The Chiefs, the Jaguars, the Browns, and every other NFL team have 53 players who are good enough to play in the league right now.
Every single player on an NFL roster was a player who was considered a standout in college, a player good enough to be scouted by the NFL; most good enough to be invited to the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. There are award winners, All-Americans and all-conference performers warming various benches around the NFL.
It would literally be a matchup of men against boys. There are ways to shower praise upon the best college football teams without drifting across the proverbial yellow line into madness.
Make no mistake: Pretending any college team would have a chance to beat a team full of professionals is absolutely ridiculous.
It was ridiculous 10 years ago. It was five years ago. It was last year. It is this year. And it will be, in perpetuity.