Take \’tak\ (noun): a strong opinion, frequently wrong to a hilarious degree, designed primary to elicit a visceral response in the listener and to boost social media traffic.
Happy Takes-giving, everybody.
Footbaw tawkin’, like the Catholic Church and the Hallmark card schedule, is a
cynical cyclical business. December is bowl season. February used to be all about National Signing Day, but that highest of high holy days has now been split, with the juiciest cuts right around Christmas.
We are now in the midst of #takeseason. The week or two or three leading up to the college football regular season is rife with takedom, with national/regional/local/mom’s basement pundits (heeeeeeeey moooooooom, can you bring down some Pop Tarts? Moooooom? Pop Tarts!) falling over each other to land the loudest, boldest, most batso commentary that will break through our 24/7/365 news-caphony.
Normally safe on the periphery of all this sound and fury, the 2018 iteration of Wisconsin football finds itself smack dab in the middle of the take storm for #reasons. The Badgers return most of the offense that snatched Miami’s turnover chain in the Orange Bowl. The linebacking corps looks fierce. Paul Chryst is a gosh-darned genius.
All of these wonderful toys would normally have Badgers fans sharing a quiet, slightly smug sense of optimism, far from the scorching madness of the national media. Not this year. This year, our beloved University of Wisconsin football team has found itself in the wholly unenviable position of national media darling.
Let’s take a quick tour of the hottest UW takes out there.
- Heat Index: Lukewarm bath
blowhardradioman Colin Cowherd has not always spoken well of Wisconsin, but recently he doled out some pretty accurate praise of the Badgers’ coaching staff, calling it the most underrated in sports. This take is spot-on. Chryst is unassuming excellence personified, avoiding the self-promotion of some of his peers (and ... ahem ... predecessors) while churning out NFL-caliber talent from three-stars (and walk-ons).
- Heat Index: A beach down south in July
- Assessment: Stephen A. is the patron saint of take, but this one is a bit tame for him. Running backs always have an uphill battle for the Heisman (see, e.g., Gordon, M.) but given Wisconsin’s visibility this season, Taylor could be in the conversation if everything breaks right. This one is hot, since the trophy almost always goes to a quarterback, but it ain’t fire.
- Heat Index: The inside of the grill pit at your local Sizzler.
- Assessment: I love the fact that the o-line got the cover treatment. It’s long overdue. Tragically, the Sports Illustrated cover is approximately 0.031 degrees from being a gypsy curse. Does the Big Ten still go to the Alamo Bowl??
And now, the hottest take of all:
- Heat Index: The nuclear center of a collapsing star.
- Assessment: Ooooooooh yeah, that’s the stuff. This is the wild-eyed, cardboard-sign-announcing-the-apocalypse insanity I would have expected from Stephen A. (or perhaps his take-soulmate, Skip Bayless). America’s favorite mascot-decapitating uncle went full bonkers and picked the Badgers to win it all. This is the platonic ideal of hot take. It isn’t fire; it is red-hot molten magma spilling over the volcano’s edge, laying waste to the villages below.
Given that sports blogging has only slightly more accountability than The Ohio State University football, I think it only fair that I, too, get to share my hottest of hotties. Here are mine:
- Paul Chryst wins National Coach of the Year.
- Alex Hornibrook replaces Joe Flacco as the most frequent (and most vehemently argued) member of the “is he elite” club.
- Jonathan Taylor tops 300 rushes and gets a Heisman finalist nod. He finishes with fewer yards but more touchdowns than last season (299 carries for 1,977/13 in 2016).
- Kendric Pryor leads the team in receptions.
- Jim Leonhard takes an NFL coordinator gig after the season.
- At least three Big Ten coaches get fired before the end of the calendar year. (Hint: one rhymes with “gherkin” but one does not rhyme with “liar”.)
OK, commentariat. It’s your turn. Fire off your best takes in the comment section or hit me up on the Twitterverse @jbei013.