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Standing Up For "Tune Up" Teams

Updated on June 7, 2011


First, may I address our highly-sensitive HubMasters on this story which is ficticious and doesn't use anyone's real name--living or dead, promote any form of violence, drugs, guns, of any subject deemed dangerous or inappropriate.

Now. To everyone who is a college football fan, let me ask you, "Are you familiar with the term: tune-up team?" And do you know all there is to know about tune-up teams? I for one, being a former member of the newspaper media, have been exposed to this term over a period of years and until recently, I did not know how to appreciate these underdogs-of-the-college-football world known as 'tune-up teams.'

They exist. Just like Kentucky Fried Chicken, the moon and stars and the mole on your aunt Betsie's lower neck. They are real, friends. And I feel that it is high time for me to step up and give our 'tune-up teams- some needed respect that they all deserve.

Somewhere in the ficticious land of "Grover's Knob, Kentucky," two players from a lower-level college, not from the Southeastern, Big 10, WAC, MAC, ACC, conferences, are walking to the showers discussing how their latest practice.

"Ned": Hey, Jim. I feel so bad about dropping those six passes you threw to me in practice today."

"Jim" (laughs): Awww, now, Ned, that's okay. We are members of a tune-up team.

"Ned": a tune-up team? What's that?

"Jim": (laughs again): Ned, you are not serious! You don't know that a tune-up team is a team that powerful and famous college football programs across the country use as practice in their opening games of their current schedule?"

"Ned," looks concerned and then sees the light. He understands that a tune-up team is important to the programs in college football that spell TRADITION such as: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and many more. Yes, tune-up teams serve a much-deeper purpose than the average fan can understand. The average fan only sees a lowly, outclassed team roll into town and be beaten unmercifully by the more-powerful college football program that will soon be playing for the National Championship.

Former head coach of the powerful Florida Gators, Steve Spurrier said it best: "Awww, we bring in a little team to open the season, whip their butts, and send them home with a check for a million dollars," and Spurrier was right in every point. Thats the purpose of a tune-up team, to be placed on a powerful and seldom-losing college football program and then play their hardest only to be outscored 56 to 3 at game's end. Why feel sorry for tune-up teams?

Friends, I used to feel a twinge of pity when I would watch the Weekend Sports Report from Fox or ESPN and see a small team from somewhere in Kentucky lose to a Florida Gator team who only used their second and third-string players to win by a score of 76-3. This is the truth and you know it. You see this happening every college football season that opens in the fall. Okay. I do sometimes feel sorry for the little team behind by 50 points and in the last 10 seconds of the fourth quarter, call timeout! Why for God's sake? You are beaten. Get your check and go home.

And did you know that there ARE advantages to being on a tune-up team? Here are just a few that I want YOU to dwell on in the 2011 college football season during the opening games of your team's season.

LOSING IS EXPECTED - for tune-up teams everywhere in America. Now a few HAVE scored major upsets such as Applachian State who beat the powerful Michigan Wolverines in the opening game of the 2009 season. That loss, plus a few more, led to the downfall and eventual resignation of Michigan head coach, Loyd Karr. A tune-up team is only told to do your best when facing a Michigan or Alabama. No one really expects a tune-up team to be victorious. Just ask the former coach of The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Alabama), Watson Brown, as he saw his Blazers do down week after week, but he remained optimistic for the next week's game. You see, losses build character. You never see members of a tune-up team being arrested or sent to jail. Ever wonder why? They have NO pressure on them to win. Just do your best is their motto and feel good that your being beaten to a pulp by a Georgia Bulldogs team has helped them to sharpen their football skills in the season ahead.

RECRUITING FOR A TUNE-UP TEAM - is not hard for head coaches or recruiters of tune-up teams. Coach (talking to a new prospect), "Son, I can promise that we will give you all the playing time you want--hey, I can even see you on the first-string if you sign with us." New Prospect: "Gee coach, what about my grades? Coach: "You will have plenty of time for good grades since we never go to the play-offs. New Prospect: "I'm confused, coach. Why should I play for you and we never go to the play-offfs?" Coach: "Look at the bigger picture, son. You see, at our college, we are quiet and very obscure. We never get investigated by the NCAA, thus you and your buddies on the team will suffer no pressure. Ever. You just sign here and become a force of nature that helps a more-powerful team." The the new prospect, after his new educatin about tune-up teams, signs on to help a bigger, more powerful team.

TUNE-UP TEAMS HAVE MORE DIGNITY - than your average high-power college football program. You see, its this way. Success will ultimately breed arrogance even in the best, cleanest powerful football program. Ask SMU, the team that receive the Death Penalty from the NCAA--one of the reasons was self-importance and lack of humbleness. A tune-up teams' members are faithful, loyal, preservering, tenacious and humble. They don't view losing as losing, but another way of winning in the game of life. An employer will hire an humble, truthful applicant everytime over a cocky, sure-of-himself grad that was on a powerful, win-all-the-time college football team. Go look for yourself. And you willl see that I am right. Tune-up teams help to keep our country running clean and good.

TUNE-UP TEAMS - never have to worry about their fans going wild after a big win and overturning cars--setting fire to the park benches and causing the police to swarm them in droves. This is a fact. Seldom does a tune-up team actually win over a huge, powerful Goliath of a college football program. But I do recall that the UAB Blazers DID travel to LSU when Watson Brown was the UAB head coach and UPSET the mighty LSU Tigers in Tiger Stadium. Coach Brown, in the post-game news conference was pale with shock. Tears flowed down his face like Niagara Falls. His voice cracked many times as he expressed his pride in his team. And after his team returned home to Birmingham, Alabama, there were NO reports of fan violence. NONE! What does this day for a tune-up teams' character?

TUNE-UP TEAMS - I believe, in closing, need and should have a confernce all to themselves. And I also believe that the Alabama's, Tennessee's, Virginia Tech's and Clemson's should start their seasons by playing an equally-matched team instead of playing a hard-working, humble tune-up team. In one way this practice is morbid. But it's part of the working football system in college football. Maybe one day, we all can watch the Tune-Up Conference each Saturday and cheer with pride as the "underdogs" show America what true pride and humble spirts can do. One thing I would dread in forming an all-tune-up team conference is that when one team starts to win a lot of games, then they are liable to become what I am opposing . . .

Unless our friends the tune-up teams get so good that they can bring in a Florida State or UCLA as their very-own tune-up team.

I think I would love to see that happen in America. What about you?


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