Catholicism and College Football
No doubt many of you spent the weekend ignoring family and holiday festivities and perhaps even food & drink in order to study up on the all the bowl games so you can make your picks for the TAC Bowl Pick’em contest. But it occurred to me that while we at TAC have talked a lot about who would win the most games, we never discussed who ought to win those games.
A few months ago, we discussed how the New Orleans Saints were the team that all good Catholics ought to cheer for. After that post, I had a lot of feedback thanking me for providing this guidance but also wondering if there could be some guidance on the college level. Take this email for example:
I am a twenty-something in West Virginia whose hobbies include making parody blogs and using political terms I don’t quite understand. I have hated football for some time, believing it to be anathema to my own beliefs. However, after reading your post I realized my hatred of football was a product of my own fascist tendencies.. However, there are no pro teams in West Virginia but there is a college one; I would prefer to cheer for a college team but require your guidance to know who to root for.
Or this one :
I am a Cowboys fan living in Ohio. However, after your post I find my heart step by step being moved by what can only be the Holy Spirit to cheer for the Saints. I could hardly help myself from letting out a hearty “Who Dat!” after Malcolm Jenkins stripped the ball against my former favorite team on Thanksgiving. I pray that God can grant me the faith to bleed black & gold. But this is not enough, as I have started to examine my college allegiances. Is there a college team out there that can inspire my soul the way the Saints do?
There were many many emails like this, almost as many emails as there are people who honestly think the executive order has the legal effect Bart Stupak claims it has. So for these few months, I have been discerning what the standings of many college football teams are in the eyes of God. I won’t do all the college football teams, as a 120 is a lot. Instead, I’ll go through the bowl eligible teams in the BCS conferences (Plus the Indys, WAC, and MWC) conference by conference. I thought there may be some teams that didn’t make that people may root for, so I address them as well.
Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish – It should be clear to all discerning Catholics that Notre Shame is a university unworthy of praise. But if it is unclear, look at the racial stereotyping done by ND. I have met many Irish who do not fight and are not leprechauns; yet Notre Dame presents Irishmen as such. Such stereotyping is unchristian and cannot be tolerated by good Catholics.
Army Black Knights – When one thinks of the Black Knights, one inevitably thinks of the character from Monty Python. Not only was this character evil, he encouraged the mutilation of his body. Catholics preach that the human body ought to be treated with dignity, and so one cannot cheer for Army.
Navy Midshipmen – Midshipmen are officers of the lowest rank. While being of the lowest rank suggests humility, being an officer suggests being above others. Thus the midshipmen are neither high nor low. Instead, they promote lukewarmness. The Bible condemns being lukewarm and thus one cannot root for the lukewarm Navy.
Boise St. Broncos – Their turf is blue. Grass is green. Such a perversion of nature is a direct affront to God’s perfect creation.
Nevada Wolfpack – Note they are the wolfpack. There are no individuals. This kind of collectivism that ignores the dignity of the individual smacks of the dehumanization found in communism or fascism. Catholics believe that we ought to be treated as the individuals God created us and so do not support the Wolfpack.
Hawaii Warriors – They used to be the Rainbow Warriors. Don’t be fooled by Hawaii’s attempt to hide the man behind the curtain; this is still a front for the “Rainbows” i.e. the gay rights movement: a movement that hates Catholicism & the Church.
Fresno St. Bulldogs – There is no state of Fresno. This imaginary state suggests a kind of Gnosticism (i.e. secret knowledge) known only to the bulldogs. Catholics reject Gnosticism in favor of the revelation made known to all.
Idaho Vandals – Vandalizing another’s property is a sinful act, not something to be glorified.
TCU Horned Frogs – Horned frogs? Frogs are a plague sent by God to punish the Egyptians; we ought not to revel in them as if they were a good.
Brigham Young Cougar s- This a Mormon university. Enough said.
Utah Utes – What is a Ute anyway? Maybe when they join a real conference I’ll bother to look it up.
San Jose St. Aztecs – The Aztecs engaged in human sacrifice. Good team for Planned Parenthood but not for Catholics.
Air Force Falcons – The American bird is an eagle, not a falcon. This kind of lameness in an obvious oversight for a mascot cannot be tolerated by Catholics, who seek excellence.
Florida St. Seminoles – If you have ever heard their War Chant, you know that is a noisy and obnoxious noise. Catholics prefer beautiful Gregorian chant rather than the ugliness of the war chant and so do not cheer with the Noles.
Mayland Terps – While the name of Mary is good, Terp sounds like Twerp.
NC State Wolfpack – See Nevada for a discussion of how this dehumanizes the individual.
Boston College Eagles – This is a Jesuit university. Enough said.
Clemson Tigers – They touch a rock as if it were a talisman before each game. Such pagan nature worship cannot be supported by Catholics.
Virginia Tech Hokies – The word Hokie is actually made up from a bunch of gibberish during a cheer. Making up Gnostic nonsense words may be good for non-Catholics, but as Catholics reject Gnosticism they reject the Hokies and bear witness to the fact that the Jesus is what’s it all about, not the Hokie Pokie.
Miami (FL) Hurricanes – The “U” is known for thuggery. Also, Hurricanes are storms, and storms are nature’s rebellion against man’s sin. They ought not be celebrated. No Catholic can be a fan of the U.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets – They’re the ramblin wreck from Georgia Tech, but ought we encourage wrecks? The Church supports safe driving with safe cars.
North Carolina Tar Heels – I didn’t know they played football. Weird. Anyway, Tar Heels bring to mind tarring people, a form of torture the Church finds to be an intrinsic evil.
UVA Cavaliers – Thomas Jefferson founded this university. He also crossed off the parts of the Bible he didn’t like. The university, following in its founders steps, tried to ban all religious groups from writing newspapers (see Rosenberger v. UVA). Also, Cavaliers is a term originated to insult Catholics as men dressed like girls. Hard to find anything Catholic about this football team.
Big 12…or 10
Nebraska Cornhuskers – Their fans wear corn on their heads. This desire to alter God’s design of the human body is not joyful.
Missouri Tigers – This team is engaged in a yearly border war with Kansas. Kansas has not invaded Missouri right now, and therefore this war appears to be an unjust war. Catholics cannot cheer for a team that promotes unjust wars.
Kansas St. Wildcats – The church does not want man to be wild, but wants man to embrace the community. Promoting wildness is contrary to Church teaching.
Oklahoma Sooners – Sooner rather than later? This shows a lack of patients, one of the virtues the Church teaches.
Oklahoma St. Cowboys – Cowboys are individualistic and shun the community. The Church teaches that the individual must function within a community and therefore does not agree with the ideals of the lonesome Cowboy.
Texas A&M Aggies – Their stadium is the home of the “12th man.” It is unclear what this promotes. Perhaps it is advocating cheating by having more men on the field like the Minnesota Vikings did. Perhaps it is reducing all of their fans to just one person, a kind of collectivism that denies the unique dignity of each individual fan. But since “Aggies” is a made up word and so advances Gnosticism, there is no basis for any Catholic to be an Aggie fan.
Baylor Bears – This is a Baptist university. Enough said.
Texas Tech Red Raiders – Raiders steal stuff; stealing is sinful.
Texas Longhorns – Their Hook ’em Horns sign reminds one of the sign of the devil. Plus, UT’s actions this past summer are so manifestly unjust that no one Catholic or otherwise ought to cheer for them.
West Virginia Mountaineers – These people burn couches. Such wanton destruction of property is obviously a sign of a lack of appreciation for the plight of the poor.
Pittsburgh Panthers – They celebrate their football wins by illuminating the Cathedral of Learning gold. A Cathedral of Learning? Such an insult to real cathedrals, which house bishops and the Eucharist, are intolerable to Catholics.
UConn Huskies – Husky is a size for people who are overweight. We ought not celebrate gluttony.
Syracuse Orange – The “Orange?” We’re a color now? People are not colors, and this kind of dehumanization cannot be tolerated. Besides, people are not orange.
USF Bulls – USF claims to issue bulls, but Catholics know that real bulls are papal and have the authority of the successor of Peter.
Louisville Cardinals – By pretending to be the princes of the Church, they are committing a very serious sin, as the Church is clear that laymen cannot pretend to be priests. Catholics ought not support this mockery.
Michigan St. Spartans – Even putting aside the horrible military state that was Sparta, the Spartans lost their battle. In 300, they lost. Catholics seek ultimate victory and do not celebrate losers.
Wisconsin Badgers – Catholics ought not to badger each other but communicate in a healthy way.
Ohio St. Buckeyes – A buckeye is a nut. It’s a little odd for a bunch of men to be proclaiming the virtues of their nuts as Buckeye fans presumably do when they brag about their team. That’s probably enough for Catholics to stay away. Anyway, Ohio St. is known for choking at the critical moments while Catholics recognize the importance of victory at critical times.
Iowa Hawkeyes – There is no such thing as a hawkeye. This is Gnosticism.
Illinois Illini – The Illini were a pagan people; ought Catholics pretend to be pagans?
Penn St. Nittany Lions – They have a Lion Shrine. Shrines to the Blessed Mothers? Cool. Shrines to stone lions? Paganism.
Michigan Wolverines – Their helmet design has nothing to do with the school or the mascot but was designed for the sole purpose of helping the team‘s passing attack. This cold utilitarian calculus should bother most Catholics.
Northwestern Wildcats – As said earlier. the Church supports community not wildness.
Oregon Ducks – Have you seen their uniforms? They have many of them, and they are all ugly. Hideously ugly. Catholics promote the transcendental of beauty, not the ugliness of the Ducks.
Stanford Cardinal – Pretending to be a prince of the church, making people a color, and having a single name rather than a name that recognizes the individuals? Not to mention a random tree, and it is clear Stanford is not a Catholic team.
Washington Huskies – As said with UConn, one ought not to promote gluttony by celebrating a “Husky”
USC Trojans – The Trojans lost the war due to their drunkeness following an ill-advised party. Hardly a team for Catholics to celebrate. Also, trojans remind us of contraception, an intrinsic evil. Not to mention Lane Kiffin is the devil.
To be truthful, I knew that if there was a team that Catholics could root for, it would be in the conference created by the hand of God, the SEC. The SEC is the true home of college football; indeed the SEC champion ought to get an automatic bid in the national title game. The rest of the country is like a AAA version of the major league football played in the SEC.
Florida Gators – Their midfield symbol is a Big F. Fs are handed out for failures while Catholics look for victory and success.
Georgia Bulldogs – UGA is in Athens. Athens is supposed to be in Greece, not in America. Stealing the name of another country’s city in order to make yourself sound smart and classical is not only sinful as to the stealing, it is also sinful as to the lameness.
South Carolina Gamecocks – This is a family blog; this should be obvious.
Kentucky Wildcats – Wilderness < Community
Tennessee Volunteers – Volunteering is good, but UT warps the idea of community service for serving in war. Also, Rocky Top is an annoying song.
Auburn Tigers – They call themselves the War Eagles (not clear if it’s an just war or not), the Tigers, and the Plainsmen. Catholics promote a decisiveness, not this namby-pampy wishy-washiness. Plus, Catholics don’t promote paying your players $180,000.
Alabama Crimson Tide – An Algae bloom? God created the waters to be healthy, not filled with fish-killing algae. Plus, promoting algae is lame.
Mississippi St. Bulldogs – They ring cowbells incessantly. Cows ring bells, not people, but Miss. St. promotes this dehumanization. Men are not mere cattle to be herded but individuals meant to follow Christ.
Arkansas Razorbacks – Pigs. Gluttony is bad, even if bacon is very tasty.
Ole Miss Rebels – Rebellion is a mortal sin, and picking a mascot that’s eerily reminiscent of the “pedobear” means that all fans ought to root for Ole Miss to geaux to hell.
Louisiana State University Tigers – Their coach is Les Miles. This is a man who is not bound by the constraints of time. A man who’s first name evokes “less” which suggests gospel poverty and humility. Less miles suggests not being as attached to miles, and miles are earthly measurements. Not being attached to this earth? Quite virtuous. The university itself derived its colors of gold & purple from colors used in Mardi Gras, a Catholic celebration. The stadium is known as “Death Valley,” a stadium in which the Tigers tread without fear just as is celebrated in the Bible. Considering that LSU has the largest population of Catholic students, it should be clear: LSU is a team that Catholics can and ought to cheer for. GEAUX TIGERS!