In today’s Fact or Fiction national columnist Mike Farrell looks at three big recent topics in college football and decides whether each statement is indeed FACT or if it’s FICTION.

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1. ‘Horns Down’ should be a personal foul.  

Former OU center Creed Humphrey give the 'horns down' signal.
Former OU center Creed Humphrey give the ‘horns down’ signal. (USA Today)

Farrell’s take: FICTION. What a joke this is. Big 12 officials reiterated that taunting will be called in college football and that the infamous “horns down” hand gesture used against Texas time and time again will result in a personal foul. What are we, babies? As we begin to treat student-athletes as adults and allow them to get paid for their name, image and likeness, we still have this garbage?

Big 12 coordinator of officials Greg Burks backed off a little bit when pressed, and said “probably” when asked about the assurance a penalty will be called, but this is ridiculous. Taunting is one thing, but what’s next? What’s the difference between a “horns down” and a celebratory dance after a big tackle? The answer: Nothing. Let the players play.

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2. Barbecue deals for offensive linemen is the most fun we’ve had with NIL so far.  

Farrell’s take: FACT. I love it, I absolutely love it. Offensive linemen are arguably the most faceless and anonymous players on a football team, and I had some concern that NIL would pass them by. But recent deals at Wisconsin and Notre Dame (Mission BBQ) and Arkansas (Wright’s BBQ) make me happy and give me hope. Let’s have some fun with this and keep the big boys who do the grunt work happy as well. And let’s get the defensive line in on it, too. It’s great.

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3. Brent Venables should be a head coach by now.   

Brent Venables
Brent Venables (USA Today)

Farrell’s take: FACT. Are we seeing Bud Foster, Part II here? Venables, the defensive coordinator at Clemson, is the highest-paid assistant coach in college football with his new $2.5 million salary, but why isn’t he a head coach by now? First off, he’s turned down some jobs according to sources and wants a perfect fit rather than just a money grab at a place he can’t succeed. And he has two sons at Clemson, so it would take a pretty attractive offer to get him to leave right now.

Auburn pursued him but failed, and others have tried. I’m not sure which job is going to sway him, but right now he’s the most qualified non-head coach in college football, and it’s a bit puzzling.

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