Gordon Gee has something to say about football. Gordon Gee always has something to say about football, which is a curious thing, because as the president of a major university like Ohio State one would think he would have plenty to talk about on the academic side without having to dip into the seedy, icky, money-printing underbelly that is college football. Many college presidents prefer the ivory tower, thumbing their noses at the bored polemical fanbase below. Gee seems to relish the fray, and unfortunately there is no one to tell him "no."
This week, he inserted himself directly into the Bret Bielema V. Urban Meyer kerfluffle with a comment that, if you looked hard enough, you could probably find written word-for-word on a comment section or message board somewhere. His response to Bielema's accusations of behavior unbecoming of today's Big Ten gentleman:
"We hired the best coach and we went out and got the best kids, so get a life."
What makes Gee obnoxious is not that he's wrong, at least in this case. Bielema stood in front of a microphone and claimed that Meyer did something he didn't like, a few things "I didn't want to see in this league that I had seen take place in other leagues." Without specific details, nor any indication of an NCAA violation, the statement came off as sour grapes that Wisconsin missed out on Kyle Dodson, a kid that seemed to be looking for the first excuse he could to jump ship to the Buckeyes anyway.
No, Gee's obnoxiousness is more visceral if anything. The hot-air balloon suspenders and bow ties and science-geek demeanor would make him an easy figure to laugh at and ignore, except that he is a powerful man with a pulpit. And that would be fine too, except that instead of using said pulpit to extoll the virtues of an Ohio State education he has used it to, knowingly or not, defend a liar with nothing but condescension in his voice.
Wisconsin-Ohio State has picked up steam over the past two years, the Bielema-Meyer tiff being the latest log to stoke the flames. I won't pretend that this isn't fun. Gee's comments gave any outside observers of the situation a good reason to swing back around to the Wisconsin side of things after Bielema rubbed many the wrong way. And as someone who enjoys the drama surrounding sports as much as the strictly competitive portions, I have to thank Gee for giving us something to talk as the college football doldrums approach.
But as someone who tends to cringe when people make a fool of themselves, I would like to suggest to Gee that he stop making a fool of himself. Or not, I guess.
Tom Oates writes that the difference between 2011 and 2012 Jordan Taylor is all in the supporting cast.
Dave Heller rounds up bracketology projections for the Badgers. The spread goes from 4 to 6, with one 8-seed outlier.
Another reminder that Russell Wilson is just the greatest.
More proof that Bielema and Alvarez were very conscious of recruiting when making their coaching hires. Andy Buh and Mike Markuson are natural choices to handle the west and south, respectively.
Except for the whole "Leaders and Legends" thing. Here's SI's Holly Anderson on Delany's attempt to frost our dear conference's weird choices for division names.