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Is nothing sacred?

The Big 12 is planning to make the “Horns Down” a penalty this season, has gone Charmin soft

July 15, 2021

Icon Sportswire

College football. A sport predicated on rivalry, atmosphere, and, above all else, youthful stupidity. A culture that celebrates mutual respect, lighthearted antagonization, and outright hatred in equal measure. That is the college football we know and love … and it is dying.

Not because players can make money for themselves now, as Dabo would have you believe. Not because of competitive imbalance or Power Five bias. College football is dying because it, like so many other sports, is going soft, and nothing sums up that transformation quite like Big 12’s new axe to grind ahead of the 2021 season:

The “Horns Down” gesture.

Long used by opponents to give Texas players and fans a taste of their own medicine, the Big 12 is now urging their officiating crews to treat the gesture in much the same way they would treat a free safety flexing over the limp body of the receiver they just ran their helmet through.

“If you do a ‘Horns Down’ to a Texas player as an opponent, that’s going to be a foul,” Big 12 coordinator of officials Greg Burks said of the new rules emphasis. And while he didn’t specify, we can safely assume it will be of the 15-yard variety like all other taunting penalties.

Now we here at Loop HQ don’t have time for macho bullying crap. We despise trolls. We believe in implements to make the game safer (even if college football’s targeting rule is a mess) and are acutely aware that A. 1972 isn’t coming back and B. 1972 sucked anyway. But this sh*t is the kind of sh*t that gives the actual good sh*t happening in college football—and society in general—a bad name. It’s unnecessary, leaves the door open to too much inconsistency, and is a potential gateway snip to the complete and total neutering of the game.

I mean, what’s next? Saying Ohio State can only beat Michigan by two touchdowns or less every year? As tough as it may to hear, some traditions are more important than your feelings.