Jameis Winston Can Single-Handedly Ruin The College Football Playoffs
If fourth quarter comebacks are an art, then Jameis Winston is like Jeff Koons. A modern artist, Koons has created pornographic prints of him having sex with his soon-to-be wife, who just so happens to be a former-porn star. And while the Whitney Museum proclaimed it "art," you can't help but look away, then feel like you're missing something and stare at it for a little while, then an old woman walks through the room, at which point, your conscious kicks in and you feel shitty about it again.
In the fourth quarter, Jameis Winston is an artist. It's just that you can't help but feel dirty after watching the Seminoles score a touchdown, and celebrate together after the game. Their season could have been one of the more memorable and admirable seasons in college football history. But it's been tarnished by the Jameis Winston's rape allegations, and Winston's lack of empathy and maturity in handling the media during the heat of those allegations. All that looms larger than football.
So brace yourself.
During the week leading up to Christmas, Jameis Winston's fate will be determined. If guilty of some or all of the accusations, Winston could be suspended from football or expelled from FSU. And frankly, he's under evaluation of four student code violations, two of which being sexual abuse allegations, so it's hard to believe he'll walk away scot-free.
At which point, the College Football Playoff is ruined. He'd be the Grinch that stole the Playoffs.
The Playoff committee made their decision to put FSU in the Playoffs, in large part predicated upon Winston's excellent quarterback play in 12 of the Seminoles' 13 games. Remove him from the team, and you've got Sean MaGuire, who is a figure-head backup quarterback. His stats from the 23-17 overtime win over Clemson were prettier than his performance. He completed 53.8 percent of his passes for 304 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. That will be the Seminoles' "fearless" leader against the Oregon Ducks. At the very least, they would be at a huge disadvantage without Winston's talent -- not to mention the onslaught of media criticism that might ensue. Meanwhile, MaGuire looked like a kid wetting his pants against Clemson's pass-rushers, and Oregon's defense isn't particularly tame with pass-rusher Christian French and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Some of you are probably thinking: Who cares about the College Playoffs? There's an epidemic of sexual abuse to worry about... football is the least of our worries.
If Winston is guilty, his case once again highlights issues of rape and sexual abuse in athlete culture and in America. The Ray Rice scandal re-opened our eyes to domestic abuse -- the Adrian Peterson scandal re-opened our eyes to child abuse. Winston's star power amplifies and re-highlights the issues of sexual abuse.
In the scenario of Winston's guilt, FSU and Jimbo Fisher will probably get punished (with a loss to Oregon) for taking the moral low ground. College Football gets punished because their brand new product has already been tarnished. Admittedly, it's not a perfect punishment, because everyone still gets paid.
Then the NFL has to handle the hot potato that is Jameis Winston. What the hell would they do with him? His career would be in severe jeopardy -- he'd be un-draftable.
It's worth noting, once more, that there is no assurance that Winston is guilty or innocent. But if he is guilty, a series of punishments await him. And he'll be the black mark on the face of the College Football Playoffs.
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