Listen, I love sports as much — and probably even more — as the next guy. Heck, I'll watch a closely contested Rutgers-St. John's matchup over "American Idol."
But I refuse to watch or pay much attention to this media-created phenomenon called "National Signing Day."
And that's coming from a Michigan guy.
No, I don't have my fingers crossed that Terrelle Pryor — who's apparently in Rich Rodriguez's "Fave Five" — will sign with the Wolverines. And, no, I won't jump off my third-story apartment building's balcony if he becomes a Buckeye.
Sorry, but I'm reserving those emotions/bad decisions for the actual college football season, when Pryor might actually play in a college game. Until then, he's just another high school kid who gets way too much attention and probably has a blown-up head because of it.
Letting 17- and 18-year-olds declare their college choices on national TV is one of society's many problems (alongside, you know, poverty, the economy, pollution, etc.). Put yourself in the kid's shoes for a second.
There you are, surrounded by a throng of people sticking out microphones and recording devices in your face. To your right are all your supporters — or people who want some of your money once, as you all believe, you go pro. To your left is your coach, who hopes to get a higher-paying job or at least a raise out of this.
And I didn't even mention the cheerleaders.
I'm not in denial. I know this is the way our over-hyped society works now. I'm just throwing out a caution flag.
Perhaps, in two years, a Florida or Notre Dame will be able to look back at this day and say, "That day is when we built this national title. When 'Joe Schmo' and 'Bill Dill' put on our hat, we instantly became national title contenders."
But no matter who signs where today or in the days to come, the worth of the Class of 2008 won't be determined until at the very earliest September and possibly not until the fall of '09 or 2010. I've never played tackle football — except during recess back in eighth grade — but I've heard whispers that the college game is a bit faster and a bit more complicated than the competition at the high school level.
By all means, correct me if I'm wrong.
So as good as Pryor is, as mesmerizing as his YouTube video is, hold the phone on calling him a future All-American. Michigan fans, you're not competing for the national title next season regardless of which state Pryor plays football in. Ohio State fans, you'd be best suited to stay far away from the national title game — just throwing that out there.
National Signing Day is the second-most over-hyped day in American sports behind — you guessed it — the NFL Draft. Buildup to the draft is absolutely ridiculous. It's a bunch of former NFL players guessing who will be good in the NFL and for what teams college studs will play for. Stay tuned for my "No, I'm not watching 10 straight hours of NFL draft coverage" column coming in April.
For now, however, I think I'll enjoy a beautiful day here in Chapel Hill and leave the TV off until Duke-UNC tonight. Yep, that's right — actual college athletes competing against each other on national TV.
That's something I don't have a problem with.