I’m thankful for Furman Bisher

I delivered these closing remarks at the end of my CBS College Network Show on Tuesday night and wanted to share them with you on Thanksgiving. I added in the note about the great Furman Bisher because I was happy to see his annual “I’m Thankful” column on the editoral pages of this morning’s AJC.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our Fearless Friday Forecast. I am very thankful for all of you and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families.

Here we go:
Folks I’ve dedicated all of my professional life—and a big chunk of my personal life—to the sport of college football. I’ve loved it since I went to my first game at the University of Georgia when I was 13 years old. I have never, ever wanted to do anything else for a living other than talk about and write about college football.

But when you cover a story like Cam Newton, you wonder if that love has been misplaced. You wonder if the money has gotten so big and the stakes for winning and losing so high, that coaches, players, parents, fans, and, yes,  media have lost sight of what the game is supposed to be.

It’s supposed to be fun, not life and death, and certainly not about shopping players around to the highest bidder. It’s not supposed to be about the back biting that goes on between fans and institutions who are supposed to be adults and are supposed know better.

But every time I cover one of these stories, I try to step back and remember what I’m thankful for in my little world of college football:

**–I’m thankful for Furman Bisher and his “I’m Thankful” column each year. The man can still write circles around all of us.

 

 **–I’m thankful for tailgating. You can’t beat a beautiful Fall afternoon with family and friends on campus. And it’s a lot less stressful than Thanksgiving dinner.

**–I’m thankful for the mascots. From UGA, to Bevo, to Ralphie, to Smokey….to Auburn’s “War Eagle.”

**–I’m thankful when the Ohio State band performs the “Script Ohio.” The first time I saw it in person the hair stood up on my arms. It still does.

**–I’m thankful that I met and got to know Michigan’s Bo Schembechler. He taught me how to sing “The Victors.” Man, I miss that guy.

**–I’m thankful for LSU’s Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night. When LSU is good, like they are now, that place just rocks.

**–I’m thankful for Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, Vince Dooley and all the other coaching icons I have had the privilege to know.

**–And finally I am just thankful for the game. While the people who surround it can be flawed, the game itself endures. The game is bigger than us. It is stronger than us.

That is why college football is the greatest game in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

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104 comments Add your comment

Ed

November 25th, 2010
9:14 am

Ed

November 25th, 2010
9:18 am

There will never be another Furman Bisher!

November 25th, 2010
9:21 am

I think it’s funny that you bring up the Cam Newton story at this time. What about the arrests in Athens or Tenn? or past problems at Alabama or North Carolina. Why bring up any team unless you have an agenda.

Shawn

November 25th, 2010
9:22 am

College Football truly is the best of all the sports.

Mike

November 25th, 2010
9:25 am

Whoever Ed is, he’s an IDIOT!

Furman Bisher R.I.P.

November 25th, 2010
9:26 am

Tony, will you ever get off of Furman Bisher’s nuts? The world wants to know.

jc_atl

November 25th, 2010
9:26 am

Tony, I appreciate all that you do to cover and report on the SEC and college football in general. It’s unfortunate that you, like many, assume the worst of the situation with Auburn and Cam Newton despite a continuing lack of evidence that Auburn did anything wrong or that Cam Newton has been implicated in his father’s misdeeds. It is also impossible to believe that Auburn and likely a large team of lawyers are not carefully considering all information the NCAA has on the situation to decide whether they can continue to play Newton. It is also hard to believe that so many people from Jay Jacobs to Gene Chizik and on down the line would commit career suicide over one kid. Until Auburn receives a letter of inquiry or Cam Newton is forced to sit it out, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Now, BEAT BAMA!

CT_Jacket

November 25th, 2010
9:29 am

Mike, I think that comment, is exactly the backbiting that Barnhart is talking about. Why can’t so many people appreciate their own team without trying to tear down the players, schools and fans of other teams.

Happy Thanksgiving!

samsem

November 25th, 2010
9:42 am

GO ‘NOLES!!!

TrueCrimson

November 25th, 2010
9:43 am

Happy Thanksgiving CFB fans. I’m looking forward to tomorrow afternoon and the biggest game of this college football season.

RTR!!!

Bull Meacham

November 25th, 2010
9:46 am

And you just pirated Bisher’s column idea. Wow.

Herschel Talker

November 25th, 2010
9:50 am

TONY BARNHART IS A HACK AND SHOULD BE FIRED FROM THE AJC AND 790 AND HIS TV SHOW SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM SYNDICATION. WHAT A MORON. GOOD RIDDANCE, YOU STUPID TOOL.

jimmymack

November 25th, 2010
9:58 am

tb your right on the money about mr.bisher he was the best and i think he retired to early. as for herschel talker i hope when nhe get’s home his mother run’s from under the porch and bites him on the leg

Big Dave

November 25th, 2010
10:03 am

Amen to this and Happy Thanksgiving!

Spike

November 25th, 2010
10:08 am

Nice thoughts, Tony. And NOTHING is better than college football, brother.

jumbeauxtiger

November 25th, 2010
10:10 am

Good job Tony and although we don’t always agree, I am thankful for what you do.

You are right that there is nothing like the tradition of college football.

Happy Thanksgiving and a special thanks to those who are serving for us around the world.

hop

November 25th, 2010
10:14 am

Tony,I could not agree with you any more! your article is right on target and yes, college football is the best of all the sports.

Furman Bisher is in a class by himself and truly one of the greats in southern writers, if not the country!

For all the auburn fans who continue to support MR. NEWTON, sooner than later the truth will come out and I hope he is innocent,but his track record at florida says otherrwise. let’s all hope he has changed,and only his father is at fault.

it has been a long year for the dawgs and jackets,but the winner saturday will cover many disappointments.

How_to_stop_$cam_Newton

November 25th, 2010
10:14 am

Hang gold chains on the line of scrimage marker

StraightJacket

November 25th, 2010
10:26 am

“Football is one of our great American games. It is the duty and responsibility of each of us to see that it is kept in its proper perspective, and that it is protected. We should see that it is used to attain the objectives that mean so much to our way of life.

We feel that the spectator can be most influential and instrumental in helping to achieve these objectives, if he will develop the right attitudes. May we suggest a few?

First, and foremost among these attitudes that must be developed, is the realization that in football there must be a winner and a loser (excepting the occasional tie). The fan who recognizes this principle gets a great deal more enjoyment from the game than one who becomes irritated, aggravated, and rambunctious when “his” team loses. We would never minimize the importance of winning, but it is very unfair to the coach, the player, and the school when the fan forgets it is impossible to “repudiate the law of mathematics”–i.e., there must be a winner and a loser.

It is important that each of us develop the art of appreciating great plays made by the opposition. We should always give our opponents credit, rather than criticize our team when the opposition makes a great play. We believe perfection in the execution of a great play in football is to be admired and appreciated, just as we appreciate and admire the work of a great artist in any field.

The spectator should remember the football players are just human beings. They perform at times under great pressure, and they, as all other earthly inhabitants, are likely to make mistakes. It behooves all of us to remember, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.”

Finally, we should always keep uppermost in mind that football, with all its glamour, glitter, thrills and chills, plus everything that makes it great, has one thing more important than all of these combined–that is, the boy who plays it.”

Robert L. “Bobby” Dodd
Head Coach and Athletic Director
Georgia Institute of Technology
1954

70 Dawg

November 25th, 2010
10:39 am

Thanks Straightjacket. Bobby Dodd was a very insightful man and a great coach. Many rabid college fans fail to recognize that both teams are striving to succeed and that the other team gives scholarships and has a lot of talent too.

DJ

November 25th, 2010
10:39 am

Because football season is the only part of the year when I will take a break to relax, no matter how much work I have to complete. Football is a major stress reliever…

Paula

November 25th, 2010
10:41 am

Tony, “War Eagle” is not a mascot…Aubie is….

Sheesh, man.

Tom DeLay

November 25th, 2010
10:43 am

I don’t think Auburn has done anything so bad, actually.

LTC Phil

November 25th, 2010
10:43 am

I suppose that I have been reading Furman Bisher’s Thanksgiving column for almost 50 years. He is a great writer who happened to write sports. I commend his grandson for his future military service. Perceptions have changed since I returned from Vietnam in 1972, and I am glad to see that. I just got 40% off of tickets and lodging at Disney World for a Christmas visit for my children and grandchildren with my retired Army ID Card. I wish a happy Thanksgiving for those men and women presently serving in combat zones and elsewhere. Tony, I may not agree with everything in your column, but I read it and enjoy it regularly. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Cam Newton

November 25th, 2010
10:46 am

I’m thankful for my (1) my agent aka “my dad” (2) the AU boosters who outbid Miss State (3) Coach Chizk for going along with me (4) AD Jay Jacobs for keeping quiet….errr , “I mean no comment”

Alabama | MrSEC.com

November 25th, 2010
10:49 am

[...] last night’s win with what might be a scratched left eye.19.  The AJC’s Tony Barnhart has penned a pretty darn good “I’m thankful” column today.20.  And Mike Strange of The Knoxville News Sentinel has inked a Thanksgiving column that [...]

Sensei John Kreese

November 25th, 2010
10:53 am

Auburn’s offense shall henceforth be know as the “Cash ‘n Carry”.

PTC DAWG

November 25th, 2010
10:55 am

Nice words by Dodd….thanks for posting StraightJacket..

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL.

Buckhead Bulldog

November 25th, 2010
10:55 am

Amen, Tony! Sic”em Dogs, but good luck to GT! I LOVE this time of the year. Can’t wait to see the AU/UA game tomorrow, the U. of Mich/OSU gamn, and some of the FSU/UF before I walk into Sanford and freeze my azz off Saturday night.

Alabam Usually Beats Us Round November

November 25th, 2010
11:09 am

To you Auburn idiots…..Tony is bringing Cam up becasue it is big but sickening story that emphasizes ALL THAT IS WRONG with college football—in contrast to Tony’s column about ALL THAT IS RIGHT….you don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to figure that out….but I guess you do have to have a brain, which is why this explanation was necessary. You Auburn posters are as stupid as your student body. 2.2 will get you in, by the way. SAT score? Who needs a stinking SAT score?

buckeye tony

November 25th, 2010
11:12 am

well said TONY, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all

GoJackets1

November 25th, 2010
11:14 am

Since 1856, Auburn Univ. has been every Atlanta parent’s back up plan!

HOUDAWG

November 25th, 2010
11:17 am

Thanks Tony ……. wonderful stuff ! And let’s get ready for the feast of games over the next few days.

Happy Thanksgiving from Houston , TX.

GO DAWGS !

Tony Barnhart

November 25th, 2010
11:20 am

One point needs to be made here. When I write about the difficulty of the Cam Newton story, it has NOTHING to do with Cam Newton or Auburn or anybody’s guilt or who broke what rule. I have said a million times and written a million times that there is no evidence that the kid or Auburn did anything wrong. And until there is the kid should play and Auburn should proceed with its season. My position is clear. It is what I have said from the day this story broke.

The tragedy of the Cam Newton story is the reaction of people to it. People on one side want to convict the kid and convict the school without any evidence. Other people believe there is some vast conspiracy against their school. Still other people believe there is a vast conspiracy in FAVOR of an opponent. This kind of story brings out the worst possible behavior from a lot of different people.

THAT’s the tragedy of the Cam Newton story.

Happy Thanksgiving.

TB

26.2

November 25th, 2010
11:20 am

I’m thankful to hear from Furman Bisher and hope he is well. Class.

Ed

November 25th, 2010
11:26 am

Whoever Mike is, he’s an IDIOT!!!!!!

26.2

November 25th, 2010
11:30 am

Tony – concerning your 11:20 post – - – where there is smoke there is fire.

Paddy

November 25th, 2010
11:43 am

H.Talker…you are one hateful person! I bet you get slapped around alot!

Blackberry Pie

November 25th, 2010
11:47 am

ATL is TigerTown

November 25th, 2010
11:49 am

You nailed it, Tony. The downright evil that emmanates from some of the alleged fans of college football is indeed disgusting. Several comments on this Thanksgiving Day blog make me sick to my stomach. I’ve loved Auburn for over 50 years, yet last year I made a point to congratulate Mark Ingram and his fans on his Heisman win. Do I expect anything like that from them this year if Cam wins? Hell no! The vast majority of those people are the lowest of the low and their only connection to the team is the state they all live in. Unfortunately many UGA fans are currently following in those same ugly footsteps. It’s a sad state of affairs.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody and War Eagle!

producewiz

November 25th, 2010
11:56 am

be honest folks.How many of us have helped our kids get jobs.Most kids I know want to know everything about the job we’re trying to help them get,hours,pay,benefits,hours, future.It would be naive to think Cam Newton did not know what his Father was trying to do.,especially in the society we exist in now (not live-exist)Cecil was the Shoppor and Cam the Shoppee. Big but though.I don’t think you can hide 180,000 in cash, so I hope they never went through with it.

crabapplejoe

November 25th, 2010
11:59 am

Thanks for the Thanksgiving column Tony….and thanks for mentioning Furman Bisher…..Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without his column. I woke up this morning and didn’t see Furman’s column and announced to all my family that “for the first time in my lifetime there’s no Furman Bisher Thanksgiving column”…..thankfully that was not the case. Nice Bobby Dodd post “StraightJacket”. To all you negative nellies trying to ruin my Thanksgiving morning……go back to your momma’s basement….she’s cooking your Thanksgiving dinner and doesn’t need you in the way.

al.com

November 25th, 2010
11:59 am

Thanks Tony for your comments about Cam. I see your point is be make by all the clueless fan who don’t know the facts and don’t want to.Some people thing their light is brighter when others light is not as bright.

Shakespeare S. Shakespeare

November 25th, 2010
12:04 pm

Football is as American as apple pie and more so than baseball. I can’t imagine life without the game. It is around Thanksgiving that I begin to get sad. I become sad because I know that the end of the season in nearing and there is not much joy for me after that. But, a strange thing happened on the way to the 2010 season. Chris Bosh and LeBron James came to Miami to join Dywane Wade. Now there is excitement in Nuttsville. Never you mind the current record. I am glad that they are having difficulty at present. That will only make them work harder and have more appreciation for what they are able to accomplish when they get on a roll. It is a joy to watch them. They have a lot of potential that will be fulfilled. Let the Jackson’s and all of the other naysayer’s have their laugh, now. I am convinced that we’ll have the last laugh. Remember this: ( and it’s something any one who has been on a farm knows) Cream always rises to the top! Meanwhile, I’ll continue to watch Michael Vick do his thing until the season is over and then I’ll watch my Heat. You know: Some things are just meant to be; some things you can’t stop! Let’s Go Heat! Oh, Bosie State and TCU are frauds. And, I don’t watch Boise State because I can’t stand watching football on a blue turf. There ought to be a law against that dumbness. Can you imagine that? It is stupid!

Shakespeare S. Shakespeare

Wreck

November 25th, 2010
12:14 pm

Good column Tony. I am very thankful for Furman Bisher and CFB too.

From Eugene to Morgantown, from Provo to Tuscaloosa, from Austin to Atlanta, and all points in between, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Go Jackets!

Dixie Redcoat Band

November 25th, 2010
12:17 pm

Enter your comments here

Dixie Redcoat Band

November 25th, 2010
12:19 pm

Yes, we agree…college football and the tailgate scene is the best sport of all. And, yes OSU has a good military band. We’d love to see them do script Mississippi…

Saint Simons

November 25th, 2010
12:30 pm

(((( 49 – 31 ))))

HAHAHAHAHA

Iron Bowl Ike

November 25th, 2010
12:37 pm

Can Georgia Tech upset 5-6 UGA?

November 25th, 2010
12:37 pm

.
…… Go Jackets !
…………………………..