Q: Is this worth your time?
A: No. I just want to get out ahead of that before we begin. Stop reading now. Find something better to do. Don't leave a comment at the bottom of the story saying this was a waste of time. I warned you!
Q: What’s all this fuss about Dabo Swinney, Kelly Bryant and Clemson’s national championship ring?
A: It’s really, really dumb. But if you need to know more, here goes. The Internet went full Internet over Clemson coach Dabo Swinney saying former Clemson quarterback and new graduate transfer starter at Mizzou, Kelly Bryant, would not be receiving a national championship ring because he transferred out of the program in the midst of Clemson's championship season.
"He wasn't on the team," Swinney told Chris Low of ESPN. "You've gotta be on the team to get a ring. I love Kelly and appreciate what he did for us, but he decided to move on."
Q: Does Bryant even care if he gets a ring?
A: The Internet doesn’t care.
Q: Are people really fired up over this?
A: Apparently, yes. SEC Network kingpin Paul Finebaum said on Twitter that Swinney's ring stiff-arm would "haunt" him in recruiting. Mark Edwards of the Anniston Star defended Swinney's decision against those who are, "calling for Swinney's head over the matter."
Some truly have lost their heads, or at least their minds. Are we this bored? Are we this desperate for college football to start so we can actually have something meaningful – at least meaningful when compared to this – to talk about online? Apparently so.
Yes, Swinney could have set aside a ring for Bryant. It would have been a nice gesture, especially considering Bryant went 16-2 as a starter at Clemson, including a stretch of 4-0 for the Clemson team that went on to win last season's national championship. Bryant came up huge in a win against Texas A&M that kept Clemson on a championship path. There are absolutely Clemson players who will get rings who had less to do with Clemson's championship than Bryant. And?
Doesn't mean Bryant deserved a ring. Doesn't mean he earned a ring.
Bryant stopped playing after four games last season and removed himself from the team so he could transfer and maintain his final year of eligibility at his new school, which turned out to be Mizzou. He did this because Clemson decided to make star freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence the starter. There are not many quarterbacks who can beat Bryant out of a college job, but Lawrence is one.
Some say this makes Bryant a quitter. Whatever. More than anything, it makes him a college football player who was looking out for his best interest. He waited for his shot, then found out he was recruited over. So, Bryant made a change. That change came with certain consequences, like some calling him a quitter, like removing himself from the celebration of the accomplishments Clemson secured without his help. A ring is a reminder of a championship season, not four games of a championship season. This isn't hard. And hard feelings should not apply here.
Swinney didn’t wrong Bryant by starting Lawrence over Bryant. In fact, Swinney did right by Bryant by making the QB change while there was still enough time for Bryant to use college football's new redshirt rule and transfer with 2019 eligibility remaining. You better believe some coaches would have made the QB switch only after Bryant was locked in as the backup. Swinney would have loved to have Bryant as Lawrence’s backup, as an injury scare to Lawrence in Clemson’s first game without Bryant reminded Clemson. But things worked out OK for Clemson, didn’t they? Things worked out OK for Bryant, too.
Q: At the pro level, doesn't anyone who has anything to do with a championship season tend to get a ring, even if they moved on during that season?
A: Pretty much. But college isn't the pros. Check the bank accounts of the athletes.
Q: Should Swinney do himself a favor and stop talking about Bryant?
Q: If Swinney is going to keep talking about Bryant, who is no longer his player, should he drop the tone of a not-mad-just-disappointed dad?
Q: Are there better things for us to get fired up about in college sports, like the fact that these coaches make millions and jump jobs like crazy yet continue to be walking, talking hypocrites of the transferring players they complain about?
Q: Is everyone following this championship ring debate now dumber for having listened to it?
A: Yes. May God have mercy on our souls.