Nick Bosa is the new norm in college football. You shouldn't just get used to that -- you should be OK with it.
This week, Bosa announced he's done playing football at Ohio State. How much more football he would have to play is a matter of contention. He has been hurt since mid-September, exiting the Buckeyes' game against TCU with a "core muscle injury." As of last week, it was believed his healing process still had about a month to go. However with the Buckeyes in the middle of chasing a national championship, most fans and a lot of people inside the Buckeyes' football program thought Bosa would be available, at least, for the college playoffs.
Not now. His junior -- and final -- year in Columbus is over.
Bosa said Tuesday that he's leaving Ohio State immediately to concentrate on the 2019 NFL combine and the NFL draft, where under optimum conditions he was predicted to go early.
His early exit isn't blazing a trail. Two years ago, LSU's Leonard Fournette, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Christian McCaffrey, who just tore up the Bengals' defense, both skipped out on their college bowl games a couple of years ago. Last winter, Texas Longhorns tackle Connor Williams and Florida State safety Derwin James watched their teams play bowl games while sitting on their couches.
However, even given that precedent, Bosa is a bit different.
James' FSU team was playing in the less-than-top-tier Independence Bowl, and Williams' Longhorns played in something called the Academy Sports+Outdoor Texas Bowl. For two players who went in rounds one and two respectively, playing in lower-level bowl games would do nothing to enhance their standing for the NFL draft. Bosa, on the other hand, may be passing up a chance to play for the national championship.
If he's OK with that, I am, too.
The majority of bowl games exist for one reason: To generate programming and, in turn, revenue for ESPN. In a number of cases, bowl games are "loss leaders" for both the schools involved and the televising company.
Teams take bowl trips as "rewards" for their upperclassmen and to showcase their teams to prospective recruits. A worthy school (six-win minimum) is smart to take the opportunity, but for a player who has the ability to make millions of dollars in the NFL, it isn't worth it. Why risk getting hurt while playing in a meaningless game?
It has happened before.
In January 2015, while playing in the largely decorative Liberty Bowl against West Virginia, Cedric Ogbuehi tore the mother of all ligaments -- his ACL. Before that, he was projected to be a top five pick in the 2015 draft.
The Bengals took Ogbuehi in the first round anyway, but his rookie season was confined to just a handful of late-season games, and frankly, he has been a bust since. Has the torn ACL dogged Ogbuehi in his time with the Bengals? Tough to say. Other offensive linemen have had that injury and the subsequent surgery, and they have flourished. He has not.
With his brother, Joey, in the NFL making millions of dollars, Nick Bosa has gone to school on that.
Long ago, the notion of "student-athlete" became arcane. Players -- not all, but most -- go to class to remain eligible to play their sports. Almost all hold dreams of playing, someday, in the NFL.
Not all will, and along the way, that dream gives way to reality. The smart ones begin concentrating on what kind of education they will need to earn a living outside of sports. Some fall by the wayside, unable to handle the rigors of college.
Others stick with it and continue to play; the highlight of their careers is winning more games than losing and playing in a run-of-the-mill bowl game. To scrap the current system would merely punish all of them, and it wouldn't change the course of where college football is heading.
I've said for many years now the answer to almost all of your questions in life is money. Nick Bosa reminded us of that again this week, and I'm OK with it.
We all live on the same Earth, and money makes it turn.
Now, on to a few things that have been bouncing around in my head like a pingpong ball that has left the table:
- I laugh when I hear what I'm hearing from some of the Pittsburgh Steelers' players this week about Vontaze Burfict. For example, Ben Roethlisberger . Or this from one of his linemen . Fact is, the Steelers would take Burfict in a heartbeat -- at least this season. Fact also is, Burfict is a talent with diminishing returns, given his behavior on the field.
- I want to buy into the Los Angeles Chargers, but then I look at who they have beaten. Still, their only losses so far are to the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams. I'll hold onto my opinion.
- If you're an objective Bengals fan, do you think the Bengals were simply better than the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2 or just simply better that night? The Ravens' defense is pretty danged good .
- New Orleans, anywhere, will be tough for the Bengals. ...
- The Reds need to spend less time contemplating whom their next manager will be and more time contemplating how they're going to upgrade their starting pitching for next season. They need two top-of-the-rotation starters and at least a couple more AAA-AA starting pitchers who can be an emergency call-up.
- I think if the Cincinnati Bearcats run the table and finish unbeaten, they'll be in line for a New Year's Six bowl game. But if you think an unbeaten Group of 5 team is going to land in the CFB Playoff, I'd refer you to Central Florida a year ago.
- I think they beat South Florida. But UCF, in Orlando? Not likely.
The great Chuck Berry would've been celebrating his 92nd birthday today.
This song is autobiographical. Berry grew up in a St. Louis suburb in a middle-class family. Berry wrote and recorded it at Chicago's Chess Records. Amazingly cutting edge for its time (it was 1958, after all) the song only hit No. 8 on the charts.
Berry paid his way from St. Louis, where he was playing "hillbilly music," as he called it, and stunning predominantly white audiences. He plopped down 50 cents on his first night in Chicago and took in a Muddy Waters concert.
After the show, he tracked down Waters and asked where he could cut a record in the Windy City. It was Waters who told him to go see Leonard Chess, who owned and operated Chess Records. Berry took the advice.
Chess gave him a shot, after listening to Berry describe the music he wanted to record. In his audition, Berry played an old Texas swing song called "Ida Red." Chess liked it, but he wanted the lyrics updated for the young crowd that was gravitating to rock 'n' roll.
On the spot, Berry took the melody and married it to an outrageous story about an unfaithful woman, a Coupe de Ville and a love gone wrong.
"Maybelline" was the song, named after a popular cosmetic with teenage girls. It was an improbable beginning to a path to fame that began 92 years ago today. That full life ended, at age 90, in March 2017 for one Charles Edward Anderson Berry.