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NCAA Football

The Eight Worst College Football Cliches

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The Eight Worst College Football Cliches

College Football
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Sports bring out the best and worst of people. It starts from the very first time you play an organized game of anything.

From the very first time you laced up those cleats and threw on the shoulder pads and helmet in “pee-wee” football as a little kid, you’ve heard those certain phrases that were supposed to preach sportsmanship and fun.

You know the phrases I’m talking about. I’m talking about the clichés your coach would utter to his team of middle-schoolers to keep them from crying after they got their butts whooped in a game.

I’m talking about the “it’s not whether you win or lose” and the “we gave it our best”. I’m talking about pretty much any of the phrases that stopped mattering once you played an official varsity sport.

Yet somehow, some of these phrases made their way all the way to professional sports. These clichés are not only painfully elementary by nature, but they’re just plain annoying as well. When I’m watching a college football team, full of student-athletes who are all on full ride scholarships to play football at their school lose a game they should’ve won, I don’t want to hear one of these clichés that you would read off to a team of middle schoolers.

By the time you are a Division I football player, you should understand that the sport is no longer about having fun and not hurting feelings. You should know that the most important things is to score more than the other team and win championships. Let’s face it. That’s the way the sport has become. Could you imagine if a team lost a championship game and came out in the press conference only to say they had more fun than the other guys?

Earlier this week, I conducted a poll on Twitter asking for my followers’ best clichés. As promised, I’ve added a few of theirs with mine to create the eight worst college football clichés.

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It's Only a Game

College Football
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

This is a cliché that has always bothered me. It should be “It’s only a game…when you lose.” Have you ever heard a winning team say this? This was invented by some team who got its butt handed to it and in order to get people off of its case said “hey, it’s only a game.”

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We Played Our Game

College Football
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Listen to almost any post game or halftime interview with a player or coach and you’re almost guaranteed to hear this phrase.

What exactly does “played our game” mean? Is it possible to play someone else’s game? Sure, you could argue it means you stayed within your game plan, but if your gameplan is to “play your game” then it’s just coach-speak.

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Practice Makes Perfect

College Football
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, practice is necessary to develop players and get them into shape, but there are a number of sports where teams don’t even practice during the year. For example, in the MLB, teams play so many games that they don’t have time to hold formal, official practices. When they do, they usually take the time to rest.

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Leave It All on the Field

College Football
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Is it really necessary to leave everything you have on the field? What does that mean? If you left everything you had on the field, you wouldn’t have anything left for the rest of the season. It’s the right concept, but the phrase itself makes about as much sense as the NCAA basketball tournament right now.

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Take It One Game At a Time

College Football
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Credit goes to Kris Hughes, who responded to a Twitter poll for this one. As promised, I’m featuring his tweet.

As he points out, no team, player or coach can take a season one game at a time. There is no way to only think about one game. In fact, that is a terrible strategy, as you have to be careful not to overwork or overuse players. Not every game is worth losing the rest of the season for.

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Give It 110 Percent

College Football
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Another response to the Twitter poll comes from Trevor King, who pointed out how ridiculous the 110 percent phrase is.

It is impossible to give more than 100 percent. Enough said. Also, is any player really giving less than his all during a game?

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Defense Wins Championships

College Football
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

False. A great offense, defense and special teams unit wins championships. It takes all three sides of the ball working effectively together for a team to win a championship.

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There's No "I" in "TEAM"

College Football
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

There may not be an “I” in “team”, but there’s an “I” in Nick Saban, who assembled his team to back-to-back championships. The point is that without certain individuals, teams would not be nearly effective as they are.