All That and a Bag of Mail: Charlie Strong at Lil' Wayne Edition

Published on: February 01, 2013 | Written by: Clay Travis

At 1:30 in the morning last night just as Lil' Wayne finished his set at the Bud Light Hotel -- he followed up Outkast's Big Boi and put on an absolutely unbelievable show -- a short, stout black man with a massive chest nearly overran me as everyone headed for the exits.

It took me a moment to process exactly who it was was -- Louisville head coach Charlie Strong.

As other coaches worry about how their signing classes will finish, the nation's seventh highest paid head coach was watching the Madden Bowl and the concerts at the Bud Light Hotel.

Can you imagine Nick Saban watching Drew Brees play Arian Foster in Madden five days before signing day? Can you imagine any SEC coach doing this? Even Les Miles, who just lives an hour and change away in Baton Rouge? (Okay, maybe Les Miles). Hell, if Tennessee had hired Charlie Strong and word had filtered out that Strong was at the EA Sports party, hundreds of recruiting-obsessed message board posters would have had to be resuscitated. 

Were Louisville fans even aware Strong was at the event? In fact, are we certain that Strong has even returned to Louisville after the Sugar Bowl? Has he just been down here for the past three weeks? 

Not that I would judge Strong, I've spent the past three days living at the Bud Light Hotel in New Orleans and I don't want to leave.

The hotel is flat-out amazing.

Tonight's concerts are Pitbull and Flo Rida and tomorrow is Stevie Wonder.

Talk about range.

Seriously, it has been a wild, amazing scene here in New Orleans. (I'm going to have an epic Super Bowl write-up that will go live on Monday). In the meantime, just know that he entire Wyndham Hotel has been turned into a Bud Light branded hotel. From the Bud Light branded soap to the notecards asking whether you want your bed covers changed. There's even a miniature Lombardi Trophy made out of Bud Light.

Really.

I'm going to write more about my Super Bowl weekend when I've actually got time to write about my Super Bowl weekend -- doing 18 hours of live radio, plus countless additional taped interviews makes writing time slight-- and y'all will love it.

But, for now a mini-preview, Charlie Strong, Louisville head coach and recent Florida destroyer, was at Lil' Wayne last night.

Now on to to the mailbag, live from the Super Bowl media center.

Zach P. writes:

"We're less than a week from national signing day for college football. Now's the time where the top rated prospects are taking visits and each get five official visits to choose from. If you were a "Clowney-type" prospect, where would you take your 5 visits and why?"

I've spent an inordinate amount of time pretending that I was a five-star recruit and could attend any school in the country. I started doing this when I was about fifteen years old and have continued to do it for the ensuing 18 years. I suspect most guys reading this have done the same.

Surprisingly, my criteria doesn't really change that much even as I age. This is either because I have always been incredibly mature or because I have never been mature. The basic parameter remains the same, I am an 18 year old graduating senior from Nashville and I can take a football scholarship to anywhere in the country.

Here are my four primary criteria:

1. I want great academics.

Because I want to ensure in the (likely) event that my football career crumbles thanks to women, alcohol, and being overhyped, I want to at least have a solid degree to fall back upon.

2. I want there to be abundant hot girls. 

Meaning: I am NOT going to school in Boston. (FYI, Boston girl are the ugliest in the country in case you didn't know).

3. I will not go to college anywhere that's cold. 

Weather matters a great deal in college because you're probably going to be somewhere else during large parts of the summer when the weather is amazing. If I picked Michigan, for instance, it would get cold in November and December (really even mid-October), and would remain cold in January, February, March, and April. So this means that you would have the following entire school months that would be awesome.

September.

That's it.

It's astounding how many colleges are like this.

Why would you ever make this decision?

I can't tell you how stupid it would be to go a school where the weather is cold.

Unless you're a skier, it makes no sense to go to school anywhere it ever snows.

Period.

4. I won't go somewhere with such a bad team that I might get killed.

So, for instance, Rice and Duke are great schools in the South that would be highly tempting to me, but I wouldn't be confident that I'd survive all those pummelings on the football field. (I wouldn't go to Vanderbilt for the same reason I didn't apply to Vanderbilt after I finished undergrad, because the camps was one mile from my high school. I wanted to see a new part of the country.)   

So with these four broad criteria in play here are the five schools I would visit in no particular order:

1. Stanford

2. UCLA (I would also sneak in a visit to USC, but I wouldn't want to waste two visits to Los Angeles).

3. University of Virginia

4. Miami

5. North Carolina

Of these five schools I only applied to one of them for undergrad, the University of Virginia. In fact, if George Washington hadn't given me a scholarship, I would have gone to Virginia. So if you're telling me that I can go to UVa for free, I'm definitely visiting. I didn't apply to Stanford, USC or UCLA because I'd never been to California and had no idea how heavenly these places are. (Particularly UCLA and Stanford). I didn't apply to Georgia because if I was going to go to a big SEC state school I would have just stayed in state at Tennessee and saved the out-of-state tuition money. 

Okay, so if these were my five visits, I'm pretty confident that I would have picked Stanford. The only wild card here is if I'd been applying at a time when Stanford was awful, I might well have picked another school. But Stanford might have been so amazing that I was willing to risk bad football just to get the degree. If I didn't pick Stanford, I would have probably picked the University of Virginia.

If I was from anywhere but Nashville, Vandy would have definitely been on my five official visits, but Vandy loses out based on proximity.

So there's my list.

I'm going to Stanford because I wouldn't have been able to turn down the education, the location, and the future I would have had even if I bombed on the football field.

(FYI, I wouldn't have gone to Tennessee, but I wouldn't have wanted to go to another SEC school either. So I would have knocked out the whole conference. No way I'm playing for Florida or Alabama after growing up a UT fan.)

Brett writes:

"Clay, we need you to settle a bar debate: Last year, I was pledging a fraternity and was regularly low on sleep. We were allowed to go to our rooms for the game, and I fell asleep without watching a single play. I felt like less of a man, and an overall bad American citizen for not watching the Super Bowl.

While I was questioning my identity as a beer-drinking, football-watching American, my friend admitted that he didn't vote in the past election. This shouldn't be surprising as it has been mentioned many times during Super Bowl week that more people watch the Super Bowl than voted in the past election.

So here's the question: In this day in age, who is the less "American," the guy who slept through the Super Bowl or the one who didn't vote?"

Well, I think it's probably easier for a man to admit in a group of men that he didn't vote than it is that he didn't watch the Super Bowl. Certainly, actual sports fans are much more likely to have watched the Super Bowl than to have voted. Put it in my context. If I opened up 3HL or my NBC radio show by confessing that I didn't watch the Super Bowl, people would be aghast. If I opened up either of these radio shows by confessing that I didn't vote in the Presidential election, no one would even blink.

Now, I'm not a perfect approximation of the American sporting populace since people would assume that it's my "job" to watch the game, but I don't think the relative responses would be that much different for other guys. Not voting would barely receive a reaction, not watching the Super Bowl would lead to castigation.

I'm not running for political office here so I can say this, but if we had 100% voter participation can you imagine how stupid our political campaigns would become? By and large the voters who vote for President are the smarter members of our electorate. And our political campaigns still occur at a 4th grade education level. Would candidates stop talking completely and just draw pictures if everyone had to vote? How much more dumbed down could our elections get?

Eventually one candidate would be a happy face and the other candidate would be a frowny face. Only both candidates would argue over which was which. One candidate would be sunshine and the other would be rainstorm.

Anyway, cycling back around, if you are reasonably intelligent and you don't vote for President I personally think you're less "American" than the guy who watched the Super Bowl, but I suspect that most Americans would probably disagree.

Lots of y'all via email and Twitter:

"How can you explain Ole Miss's recruiting success without cheating being involved?"

I have no idea.

Truly, none.

When was the last time minorities living outside the Magnolia State voluntarily went to live in Mississippi when they could have gone to live in every other state in the nation instead? I mean, it doesn't surprise me that Ole Miss would do well with recruiting players from Mississippi -- or a city like Memphis that is just an hour or so away from campus -- but five stars from Indiana and Illinois?

Seriously? I love Oxford, but it's not Atlanta.

Ole Miss could end up with the number one recruiting class in the nation and the top three players in the entire class.

Ole Miss!

No school has ever gotten the top three players in a recruiting class before.

Here are the SEC schools that have never been to the title game: Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt. (Also, A&M and Mizzou, but they've been in the conference for a year, stop with the stupid emails).

Either Hugh Freeze is the greatest recruiting head coach in the history of the universe or something fishy is going on in Oxford.

I eagerly await ESPN's 60 for 60 on the Ole Miss class of 2013.