Can't everyone in football just get along?

Times columnists Gary Shelton and John Romano debate USF-ACC and end up going to the videotape.

By Gary Shelton and John Romano, Times Columnists
Published February 24, 2008

GS: I have a cure for this snit between USF and the ACC. Maybe we could play the ACC title game on Wednesday, and USF could take on the winner on Saturday. What do you think?

JR: Wouldn't work. I believe Wednesday is the night everyone in the ACC takes a music appreciation class.

GS: That's right. For the final, a player has to spell out "YMCA." Seriously, how do you interpret the battle to pay rent money to the Glazers? Did the ACC overplay its hand, or should USF have moved out of the way?

JR: I think they both acted in their own best interests. The ACC feels the championship is a special game and should be treated as such by a city. USF feels it is a long-term tenant at Raymond James and should get priority. I can't disagree with either side. What Solomon-like solution do you have?

GS: If I'm Solomon, I threaten to cut ACC commissioner John Swofford in half. Look, I think the ACC title game is a nice trinket for the city, but I think the league overplayed its hand by suggesting that USF shouldn't be able to play on Thursday. That's just silly.

JR: Perhaps. If the ACC believes Tampa is among the very best cities to host the conference title game, then the league was foolish for letting a relatively minor issue scuttle the deal. If the ACC thinks it can find paradise elsewhere - Party at the Jacksonville Hooters, ya'll! - then the league should go its pompous way.

GS: If the ACC didn't think Tampa was a good site, it wouldn't have come in the first place. I just have a problem with the league acting like an occasional game made it king of the castle. I don't blame USF for getting its dander up.

JR: I didn't even realize USF had a dander.

GS: Neither does Oregon, as it turns out.

JR: Okay, enough about college football spats. How about an NFL spat? I wasn't as outraged as some people by the original Spygate story, but this business of taping an opponent's walk-through before a Super Bowl seems far more devious and wrong. If I'm the commissioner, I hammer the Patriots a lot harder this time.

GS: If you are the commissioner, I want to know why you didn't investigate more deeply the first time. The entire thing felt rushed to me. Maybe there are deeper problems and maybe there aren't, but shouldn't you want to know?

JR: Yup, it's pretty sad when newspapers are breaking stories on something the commissioner was supposed to have investigated in the first place. I'm starting to think Bill Belichick has incriminating videotape of Goodell.

GS: Maybe Goodell cheated in a music class.