Matt Zemek Resigns as Gator Country Columnist

The SEC Championship Game is all but decided. Better yet, there’s no need to take sides in a Florida-Arkansas debate because–unlike the national champion–the SEC’s best team will be determined on the field.

So with nothing better to write about in the SEC this week–and Western Carolina giving everyone (including some banged-up Gators) a chance to rest–this columnist figured he might as well get your undivided attention. This midweek column will be a short one.

But no, I’m not really resigning. All I want to do is ask some questions instead of pulling out the typically flowery, ornate and often professorial language. It’s your job to think about these questions. Think about them long and hard… while I write short, minimalist sentences. I know about the merits of brevity; I also happen to know that sound bytes or strong emotions do not a good discussion make.

Question: What makes criticism of one’s own football team legitimate?

Question: What makes criticisms of the Ole Alma Mater illegitimate?

When does a disagreeable piece of analysis represent poor research?

When does a disagreeable piece of analysis represent the use of a different school of thought?

When is criticizing a coach or player an act of giving comfort to the enemy?

When is criticizing a coach or player a welcome act of pointing out a problem in the attempt to find a solution or educate an audience?

Is it ever justifiable to view football discussions as “giving comfort to the enemy” in the first place?

Is an enemy a conference opponent?

Is Western Carolina an enemy or not?

What about North Carolina?

Was Steve Spurrier the enemy when he coached for Georgia Tech against the Gators as an assistant in 1979? A traitor?

Did Steve Spurrier intend to destroy the Duke football program by leaving the Blue Devils high and dry in 1989?

What’s a good-enough reason for abruptly leaving a program? What isn’t? And when does a person deserve the benefit of the doubt (or not)?

Where would it be officially ethical for Spurrier to coach? Officially moral? Officially non-traitorous? Where would one draw the line?

What credentials give a person the right to criticize a team, its coach, or any player? Being alive? Attending the school? Being a graduate? Being civil?

What would revoke someone’s credentials for being able to weigh in with criticisms, beyond poor behavior?

When should poor behavior be called out and not tolerated? When should it be viewed within the heat of the moment or a similarly sympathetic way?

When do past sins get to be forgiven?

Do past sins get to be forgiven at all?

How bad does a past sin have to be to not be forgiven?

What is a sin, anyway?

What defines good journalism in general? Good editorial journalism in particular? What should be the goal of journalism and its practitioners?

What’s a real championship, and what’s a hollow championship?

Is there such a thing as a bad play call that still works? Is there such a thing as a good play call that doesn’t work?

Is there such a thing as a good executive decision that doesn’t produce the intended result?

Is there such a thing as a bad executive decision that produces the intended result?

Is there such a thing as a bad pass that still goes for a touchdown?

When do the opinions of other people matter, and when do they not? When should outside voices be listened to, and when should they be shut down? Should they ever be listened to? Should they ever be shut down at all?

Is the role of luck in college football underappreciated or overrated? What about when one’s own team plays close games?

Is Florida living on the edge, or are the Gators consistently tough enough to win? Both? Neither? Somewhere in between?

When is a team well coached but simply limited? When is a team well coached but just not executing? When is a team poorly coached but trying hard? When is a team poorly coached but talented? Can a team be well-coached and limited while still being talented and yet not executing?

All these questions to think about… and not one of them about the BCS. (THEN this column would be long.)