You can feel how you want about the recent trend of turnover trinkets across the college football landscape, be they knapsacks, thrones, chains, chainsaws, or whatever. Maybe you hate them all. Perhaps you prefer some to others. But this much seems clear, given the blowback on social media: you despise the Seminoles’ turnover backpack.
Here’s the thing. I don’t like Florida State’s turnover backpack. But, spoiler alert, as it turns out, this isn’t about what a sports writer well past his college years thinks (that said, I’m about to tell you exactly what I think about the reaction, or overreaction, of FSU fans). And it certainly isn’t about what a bunch of fans, the vast majority of whom likely find themselves in a similar demographic as myself, think either.
For the time being, turnover prizes are a thing. Accept it. Deal with it. Also breaking: 18-22 year-old college athletes like different stuff than you. It may drive you crazy, but it also probably drove your parents nuts when you were that age.
The incontrovertible fact is that backpacks are a big deal among today’s youth. And you have no idea how old I feel typing something like “today’s youth.” But for FSU fans, it’s time to take a nice row out onto Golden Pond and come to terms with the fact that things change. So a return to the pack: what kids wear on their backs is a big deal. They’re into this. And if it charges them up, and they dig it, then doesn’t being a real fan mean getting behind what motivates the team, and maybe dispensing with your own preconceived notions?
I mean, come on. Are you truly fashionable enough to be weighing in on this anyway? Do you own a braided belt? Pleated khakis? Cargo shorts? If you answered yes to any of those questions, are you really hip enough to comment upon what does or doesn’t look good? I’m not trying to call out your taste (I am). Instead, this is more a demonstration of the reality that what you think looks good, and what motivates you, probably differs wildly from what these kids prefer. But this isn’t about throwing anyone under the bus, be it an FSU fan or a player on the team s/he supports. At the end of the day, maybe Robin Williams said it best in Good Will Hunting: “I don’t blame you! It’s not about you . . . It’s about the boy!”
And that’s really the crux of the issue. You wouldn’t want to wear a turnover backpack? Fair enough, because it’s not going to come up anytime soon. But these kids do. And through five games, they’ve forced more fumbles than all but four FBS teams. Yes, they’ve had unconscionably bad luck at recovering those fumbles, and I’ll have more on that later. But they’re certainly causing prospective turnovers at a high rate. So with regard to FSU’s turnover backpack: maybe it’s time to back off.