Negative campaigning: Should football coaches pick up where politicians left off?

What if Bob Stoops, Mack Brown and their college football coaching brethren took a page from the politicos' playbook and started negative campaigning: Boise State's soft schedule and blue field, Nebraska's fandom headgear, Oregon's uniforms. It would all be fair game.
by Berry Tramel Modified: November 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm •  Published: November 3, 2010

The polls have closed, the votes are in, the offices filled. Election Night 2010 is over.

No more mud-slinging. No more name-calling. No more demonizing.

Now we can go back to being civil. Now we can go back to our pastoral, serene lives. Now we can go back to football.

Funny, how an enterprise that's all blood and guts, a sport demanding a constitutional convention to keep heads attached to shoulders, a game in which coaches routinely go Marine drill sergeant on players, is downright genteel when it comes to seeking votes.

And an enterprise that's supposed to be about ideas and dialogue and compromise turns nasty at election time.

American Politics 101: tell the voters your opponent's mother wears combat boots.

College Football 101: Honor thy opponent, even if it keeps you out of the Big Bowl.

Oklahoma political analyst Mike Turpen told our Michael McNutt, "I've always said there's only three times you run a negative campaign, and that's if you're behind, even or ahead."

That's how we get maddening jingles that mock candidates. How we get a daughter taking out an ad against her father, a judicial hopeful. How if you pay attention to some races, it seems to be Lucifer vs. Beelzebub.

"I can't listen to it," Bob Stoops said. "I can't stand it. That's just me."

Maybe so. But maybe it's time Stoops joined the party. Wouldn't it be precious if college football coaches resorted to such tactics?

TCU coach Gary Patterson could call Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe a pinko Commie for not issuing the Frogs an invitation to join the league.

Stoops could call Ohio State's post-season record a joke, and Jim Tressel could counter with Oklahoma's recent BCS bowl history.

Oregon's Chip Kelly could say that any team with a blue turf like Boise State doesn't deserve a spot in the national title game, and Boise State's Chris Petersen could attack Oregon's yellow jerseys.

Wisconsin's Bret Bielema could run a clip of Les Miles talking nonsense and ask how anyone could vote for LSU and such an addled mind.

Football action committees could form and run ads with pictures of Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Alabama's Nick Saban, asking what is making these coaches so sour.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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