MURRELL COLUMN: Regalia, Defee make college football great again

Published 12:22 am Friday, January 13, 2017

At some point, someone from outside of Alabama gets tired of crimson.

Nothing is attractive about a plain red jersey with white numbers, a red helmet with white numbers and a white stripe, and white pants. Be as it may, the Crimson Tide have always lived up to their longstanding brand of plain ol’ success.

If Wheaties flakes had minds of their own, they could relate to the Tide. Nothing is fancy about either, but they’re well known.

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Yet, I’ve been tired of crimson for a while. I blame the day in 1993 when Alabama ended Miami’s rule on college football.

The Hurricanes won with flash and gained a national following. Orange and green was a hip combination. I could relate to the fashion sense of it all.

Then, that dull-uniformed football team had just stolen Miami’s sugar in New Orleans. College football, in my 12-year-old mind, wasn’t the same anymore.

Twenty-four years later, Alabama football is still old hat to me.

I know; I don’t have a reason to hate. I’ve given the Tide props during their championship years. Nick Saban is every bit a master at his job as Bear Bryant was.

One more championship, though, and college football would lose its luster. The sport would turn into Alabama vs. the rest of the NCAA. Not fun.

(That’s how women’s basketball teams must feel about Connecticut.)

Deshaun Watson and Hunter Renfrow made college football great again. The College Football Playoff is no longer the Alabama Invitational.

A simple roll to the right and a calm, sturdy pass from Watson to Renfrow turned the Clemson Tigers into dragon slayers. They and the rest of the sport had been torched enough.

Yet, someone unintentionally overshadowed the glory of the orange and regalia purple. Nederland native named Mike Defee became an overnight Internet sensation, thanks to his role of national championship referee.

Don’t we just love people like Defee? Someone who gives us a reason to stay glued to social media because he’s a model of fitness some of us wish we were. Someone who gives Ed Hochuli competition for the world’s strongest arms.

“I am just amazed that people in the social world make a big deal out of a football official,” Defee told “Good Morning America.”

Good night, Mike, they made a big deal out of guns. Don’t you see?

Looking at your recent accomplishments, I’m not sure why you took so long to take the Internet by storm. But, in a moment of homer-ism, I’m proud you gave Nederland and all of Southeast Texas national attention.

As for you, Clemson, the country shall marvel the excellence of a team dressed in two distinctly unblendable colors led by a man they call Dabo. (If Jimbo can win a championship, so can Dabo.)

You, truly, have left your mark in a world of burnt orange, bright orange, orange and green, blue and maize, maroon and white, black and gold and emerald and yellow.

Finally, regalia purple matters in the consciousness of an entire nation, not just in South Carolina. Regalia is … regal!

College football has found another target for 2017. Watson, a man denied his Heisman Trophy, has his championship.

And college football isn’t the same anymore.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or at On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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