Never Give Up.

If you’re a college football fan, by now, you either saw or heard about TCU’s dramatic come from behind victory over the Oregon Ducks in this year’s Valero Alamo Bowl. Most have considered the Alamo Bowl to be the highlight of an otherwise disappointing bowl season. TCU’s victory over Oregon finished with a crescendo, ultimately providing encouragement for anyone that has ever wanted to overcome the odds to finish strong in football or in life.

This season began on a high note for a TCU team that fell just short of lofty expectations and a Big 12 title due to multiple key injuries. Many of us fans would say this season did not go as planned. But the victory for the Frogs is a storybook finish for a resilient team who put the weight of their season on the shoulders of a backup QB in his first start. A QB who was thrust into the spotlight two days before his final game in a Horned Frog uniform due to one bad choice made worse by a star QB. The outcome of the game is not a surprise to those of those of us who love and follow TCU. This season ends as one of the finest of Head Coach Gary Patterson’s coaching career so far.

Despite the injuries and disappointments in Stillwater and Norman in November and on the River Walk a few nights before the Alamo Bowl, this season ends as one none of the players, coaches or fans will soon forget. The storyline of TCU’s 2015 season and come back finish in the final game of the year is ripe with depth and pregnant with encouragement for anyone who has ever had a season that didn’t go exactly as planned. The storyline of TCU’s final game and come-from-behind victory provides many points of encouragement to anyone that has had disappointments and setbacks in their life.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the odds; overcome them. Down 31-0 at half TCU’s win-probability bottomed out at 0.9% (courtesy ESPN Stats & Info). Adjusting their plan, and committing to the cause, TCU overcame the odds rather than be overwhelmed by them.

ProbabilityWho has faced overwhelming odds? Who has ever been overcome with depression, sadness, and disappointment? Who has ever felt at the end of his or her rope? Who has been counted out by everyone only to ultimately overcome the odds to victory?

Our thinking can change our outcome. What went on in the locker room at halftime of the Alamo Bowl in the purple locker room? The coaches made adjustments (to the game and the clothing), and coached up the players. Things don’t always go as we plan. Sometimes adjustments are required. That begins with our thinking. The coaches and players prepared their minds to take it one play at a time, one series at a time. They could’ve focused on the score at half; rather they focused on the goal. Eventually, they achieved what they believed: we can win this game. Who needs a coach to help you through? Who needs to make adjustments at the intermission of their life in order to finish strong and change your outcome? It begins with our thinking.

Never give up. Down by 31 points and all but considered out, the Horned Frogs could have quit. When TCU lost over 20 starters throughout the course of the season, TCU could have quit. When TCU’s All-American receiver was ruled out for the game against Oregon, TCU could have quit. When TCU’s Heisman candidate QB snuck out past curfew resulting in his eventual arrest and suspension from the game, TCU could have quit. Down 31-0 at the half, TCU could have quit. But the Frogs were not finished yet. As most now know, TCU would eventually come back to match the largest comeback in bowl history. Outscoring the Ducks 47-10 in the second half and OTs, TCU went on to defeat the Oregon Ducks 47-41 in 3 OTs behind the arm and legs of a 5th year backup QB and a team that committed to overcome the odds, change their outcome through their thinking, and never quit. Will you?

alamo-bowl-champs

-MCW

 The views presented above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.

© Copyright 2016 MCWingate. All Rights Reserved.

 

Advertisements

Are you a church consumer or contributor?

Let me begin by saying, I had no idea who Thom Schultz was until today. An article I saw on my friends facebook wall from Schultz’s blog, “Holy Soup” was disappointing.  Ultimately, Schultz’s mentality creates division in the church and pulls people away from God rather than pointing them to the Cross. His article Why they don’t sing in church anymore makes overarching criticism of the church as a whole. Judge not my friend lest…you know the rest.

Why is anyone looking around and observing at church anyway? If it’s the first time, I get it. You’re soaking it in and experience something different, maybe for the first time.  But that isn’t the tone or lens his article is written through. This author, his perception, and those paying more attention to their surroundings than focusing on the reason we can fill our lungs with air to worship the Creator in the first place is part of the problem. Worship isn’t a spectator sport.

The perception Schultz echoes in his blog is the result of a lack of focus on worshipping the Creator relentlessly whether the conditions are perfect or not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing there might not be some aspect of this in some churches. But that isn’t my concern or focus. I can’t control that. If you don’t like the house of worship you go to, leave. It’s as simple as that. Go somewhere you like the volume of the music and the song choice. Go somewhere that doesn’t have a spectator feel to it. But isn’t Schultz’s view on “spectator set-up” less a reflection on the church and more a reflection on the condition of the spectator’s heart? If you don’t like where you go to church, go somewhere you feel called to be. Somewhere that feeds you, that grows you, that challenges you, and creates God-centered community and worship.

When my wife and I moved to Texas, we prayed and searched for a church home for this season of our life. We visited over 12 churches in the Central Texas area from November 2014 to February 2015. We did not feel called to any of them. Finally, one of my Soldiers told me about a church in Georgetown in February 2015. After one service, we knew that church was where we were supposed to be for a wide variety of reasons. Not because of the building, the church isn’t the building. In our church, Celebration Church, we saw Godly community. We saw pastors that care and love everyone in their church body. We didn’t see perfect people. We saw grace in action. We saw professionalism and excellence in the way the worship team lead into the church body into the throne-room of God. Not because every note played was perfect, but because their heart and their effort was centered on the Creator. Those devoting their time to the ministry, most of which are volunteers, cannot control what others are doing in their church body. However, they can control their own attitude, actions, and community they create to reach the lost and brokenhearted.

I applaud any church that is committed to excellence and professionalism in praise and worship and every aspect of the ministry God has entrusted them. God always deserves professionalism and our best, especially when reaching the lost and leading the church body into worship. Worship is about more than just singing and raising hands. It is an attitude of the heart whether at a physical building on Saturday, Sunday or Wednesday or walking down the street. Worshipping God is about worshipping like King David: undignified, unaware and uncaring of what anyone else around him thinks. We don’t worship when the conditions are perfect, when we feel like it, or when everything is just the way we expect it to be, that mentality is entirely too fickle and emotionally driven.

Schultz’s article is disappointing because it echoes a problem that begins and ends with the condition of the heart. No church is perfect just as no pastor is perfect. It is okay to examine and see if the pastor and church’s teaching lines up with the Word of God as stated in Acts 17:10-11. But it is not our job to criticize. 1 Samuel 26:9 says, “Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed on and be guiltless?”

Leaders at any level of ministry need our support and prayer. If you are called to a specific church, be part of the solution, not the problem. Volunteer to serve and make it better. Support and encourage the pastor, pastoral staff, and ministry team. Don’t just point out what’s wrong with the church. Pray for your church. Do your part. 1 Peter 5:2 says, “Be shepherds of the flock…eager to serve.” If you don’t like the worship team because they “perform,” go to a church that doesn’t have a performance-based worship team on stage. Or better yet, if you have a gift or a musical talent, do your part to serve, help change the culture, and lead people into the presence of God the way He intended. But if you don’t believe me, check out what Billy Graham has to say on the subject. At the end of the day, we worship because God is worthy of our praise and it’s the least we can do. It’s not our job to criticize what isn’t exactly the way we want it to be in our local church. If we do, we risk offending the very One who is worthy of our praise.

-MCW

The views presented above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.

© Copyright 2016 MCWingate. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Leading with discernment

King Solomon’s greatest strength as a leader was wisdom and knowledge. When given the opportunity to ask for anything from God, King Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge (verse 9). God was so pleased with his request (verse 10), God granted him much more, including discernment.

In 1 Kings 3: 16 – 28, we see King Solomon’s wisdom in action. Verse 28 shows us, “And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice (1 Kings 3:28, ESV).” Through this passage we also see King Solomon leading with discernment.

Google defines discernment as “perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.” Discernment is a quality that sets some leaders apart from others. Discernment provides leaders with insight to see beyond the visible to the invisible. Discernment provides leaders with the ability to see beyond the natural to the supernatural.

No matter what field you serve in, who wouldn’t want to lead with discernment? So how do we continually improve our discernment as leaders?

In his “Equip” daily devotional, John Maxwell recommends:

  • Learn to hear God’s voice – Get quiet and read Scripture. Reflect on the mind of God.
  • Build problem-solving skills – If you can see root issues of problems, you can solve those difficulties.
  • Analyze your successes – What worked? Can you identify the heart of the matter?
  • Evaluate your options – Discernment involves both your gut and your head.
  • Expand your opportunities – Get more experience to help you deepen your wisdom.
  • Explore what others think – Choose leaders you admire and study how they think.
  • Listen to your gut – Most people are afraid to listen to their God-given intuition.

Discernment allows leaders to go deeper than surface knowledge to a profound perception of what is occurring on the outside or inside of a person. It enables us to essentially see around corners, perplexing those who don’t understand and haven’t experienced this gift of the Spirit.

In a world of ambiguity and imperfection, discernment helps Christian leaders bridge the gap between what is seen to what is unseen to make the best decision possible for the good of the organization. One of our roles as Christian leaders is to lead our teams with discernment. Caring for the well-being of others under your leadership begins with discernment. Through discernment, our life, language, and actions help us truly know others while we strive to be a beacon of light forever pointing the lost to the Creator and simultaneously putting our teams in the best possible position to succeed.

-MCW

The views presented above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.

© Copyright 2015 MCWingate. All Rights Reserved.

 

Dear Single Ladies-

As we enter the Christmas season, I look back at my first year of marriage wondering how I ever made it without my wife by my side. This is my second Christmas away from Danielle, yet my first as her husband. This Christmas season will be my second in the past three years deployed away from home and fourth in the past 10 years. I love doing life with my wife, and I never WANT to be away from her. However, I wouldn’t change these two seasons of separation for anything. Without the first, my wife and I may not be married.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was previously married. During my second year long deployment, I began to suspect my ex was cheating. After I received a picture documenting a kiss between her and someone at a bar in Austin, my heart sank and trust was completely lost. As the deployment continued, signs began to point towards an ongoing affair and illicit drug use. During my 30-day post-deployment vacation, she would sneak out in the middle of the night, make cash withdrawals, and not contact me for hours. She denied the affair for months while we went through counseling. After I finally found proof of the ongoing affair through divine providence, I made the difficult decision to file for divorce. The news of her infidelity and addiction to drugs while on the other side of the world devastated me and shattered any trust and belief I once had in love.

Fast-forward four years to January 2014. I was deployed to Afghanistan and Danielle and I began developing a relationship through phone calls, facetime, and letters. As we learned each other, I began to fall for her. I had questions about how she would handle the deployment and the separation. However, I trusted the Lord knew what I needed and knew she was in my life for a reason. That period of separation, that exile, was beneficial for both us in so many ways. The 9-month deployment was essential for me to trust in love again.

This brings me to my first point for the single ladies out there:

 Every exile has purpose.

Merriam-Websters dictionary defines exile as “the state or period of forced or voluntary absence…” In Jeremiah 29: 1-10, the prophet writes a letter to the exiles in Babylon encouraging them to make the best of their situation while in exile and cautions them to not give any credit to false prophets. He then prophesies that the Lord will fulfill His promise and bring them back to Jerusalem. He goes on to say in verse 11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

We know that verse. It’s on coffee cups, signs, posted in offices on pictures and any number of products. If we read a little further in the Scripture, we see even more depth to God’s promise in verses 12-14. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heartI will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”

As I sought the Lord during my 9-months of exile, He answered and used that time to shave off the calluses around my heart. He used that time to help me see who Danielle was on the inside, far beyond her external beauty. The exile was a forcing function that helped us maintain our purity and build a relationship on a foundation of trust, communication and our relationship with God. He used the exile to restore me as someone who could love Danielle fully, not as a wounded victim, but as a restored warrior and victor over destruction and disappointment. Every exile has purpose and at the end of the exile, God gave me His best.

This brings me to my second point:

God doesn’t need your help, He needs your heart.

 In Song of Solomon 8:4, Solomon writes, “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.” Earlier I wrote the deployment was beneficial for both Danielle and I. We both believe one of the things we learned was patience. After awhile, Danielle was looking for an assurance from me that we were headed somewhere. It took patience to fall in love with someone 7000+ miles away with no formal commitment. She would hint around about engagement and I could not even talk about it for the longest time. I could not give her the assurance she needed in the flesh. I needed to see how the deployment went and how we interacted in person when I returned. I didn’t feel a release to even discuss engagement or marriage until I returned. I needed to see that she was going to trust her heart with Him before He would entrust her heart to me. She would later admit she reluctantly bit her lip, went back to her prayer closet and said, “Lord you deal with him, because I can’t handle this anymore! I know what I want!” If I weren’t walking with the Lord, I would have missed what God was doing.
20-BLOG-Pigs-with-Nose-Rings

In Proverbs 11:22, Solomon writes, “A beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.”

10945642_10207963077180606_7102016984463569548_n

 

My wife is beautiful. There are times I look at her pictures and am stunned and speechless I get to be married to such a beautiful woman. But her outward beauty isn’t what made me fall in love with her while I was deployed. I learned what she was made of and who she really was through our conversations and through observing her use of social media. Who she was on the inside was evident in the way she dressed, the pictures she posted, and the words she said. Her heart for the Lord was clearly evident and as someone who was married previously to a couple of gold rings, there was nothing more sexy to me than Danielle’s discretion and heart for the Lord. Danielle’s pursuit of Christ through our exile drew me to her, not tight dresses and push-up bras.

This leads me to my final point:

The right man will be drawn to your heart, not your selfie.

Rachel Simmons at the Slate writes:

“The selfie is a tiny pulse of girl pride—a shout-out to the self. Earlier this week, the first three women to complete Marine infantry combat training, along with a fourth who completed most of the hurdles but was injured before her final physical fitness test, posted a jubilant selfie.* (Nancy Pelosi tweeted it as “selfie of the year.”) If you write off the endless stream of posts as image-conscious narcissism, you’ll miss the chance to watch girls practice promoting themselves—a skill that boys are otherwise given more permission to develop, and which serves them later on when they negotiate for raises and promotions.”

Erin Ryan counters Simmons’ assertion with a different perspective reflecting how disturbing our incessant self-promotion truly is when she writes:

Selfies aren’t empowering little sources of pride, nor are they narcissistic exercises…. They’re a logical technically enabled response to being brought up to think that what really matters is if other people think you’re pretty.

Gold-Ring-PigNarcissistic-gram and other social media sites have infused our culture with a “me, me, me, look at me!” mentality. Meanwhile, we keep our head down looking for validation through likes and favorites on a screen rather than looking up to the one that made the fingers typing on the screen.

Danielle’s heart for the Lord supplemented her outward beauty and shined through her eyes drawing me to her like a moth to a flame. In fact, selfies, duck-face, and incessant self-promotion made me run the other way on many occasions in other potential relationships. When we were dating, Danielle’s use of social media promoting and celebrating others and her love for Christ furthered the assertion that I was courting someone worth pursuing.

So ladies, I encourage you to trust Him. If you’re searching for your spouse, call to the Lord. He made you. He loves you. He knows you inside and out and knows exactly what you need. He is currently preparing His best for you and your perfect complement even during a time that may feel like the longest exile ever. The right guy will be drawn to your heart and who you are on the inside if you just work on developing it. He has plans for you and will give you so much more than you can even imagine if you just wait. He will chase you down with His blessings. Seek Him and He will be found, and in the process, Mr. Perfect-for-you will appear when you least expect it.

The views presented above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.

Illustration © Copyright Linda Neptune. http://www.lindaneptune.com/

© Copyright 2015 MCWingate. All Rights Reserved.

My vows for life.

One year ago today, we stood before our family and read our commitment to each for life; below are my vows for life. I thank the Lord daily for you and our life together. I love you beautiful! Happy anniversary!

The Book of Proverbs ends with a tribute to a wise choice in a wife from the wisest man who ever lived. Solomon writes,

10 Who can find a truly excellent woman? One who is superior in all that she is and all that she does? Her worth far exceeds that of rubies and expensive jewelry.11 She inspires trust, and her husband’s heart is safe with her, and because of her, he has every good thing. 12 Every day of her life she does what is best for him, never anything harmful or hurtful. 13…16 She has a plan. She considers some land and buys it; then with her earnings, she plants a vineyard.17 She wraps herself in strength, carries herself with confidence, and works hard, strengthening her arms for the task at hand. 18 She tastes success and knows it is good, and under lamplight she works deep into the night. 19…20 She reaches out to the poor and extends mercy to those in need.…22 She makes her own bed linens and clothes herself in purple and fine cloth...23…24…25 Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear, she smiles when she thinks about the future. 26 She conducts her conversations with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is ever her concern. 27 She directs the activities of her household, and never does she indulge in laziness. 28 Her children rise up and bless her. Her husband, too, joins in the praise, saying: 29 “There are someindeed many—women who do well in every way, but of all of them only you are truly excellent.” 30 Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. 31 Celebrate all she has achieved. Let all her accomplishments publicly praise her.

Solomon knew what a Godly woman looked like…and I see that in YOU. His journey to this epiphany was one not everyone understood. His journey was not always ideal. Yet, in the end God’s abundant grace was present when he didn’t deserve it.

In Romans 8: 29 Paul writes, “He repurposes bad decisions and squalid choices. Little by little a new image emerges. “He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.” Grace is God loving, God stooping, God coming to the rescue, God giving himself generously and through Jesus Christ.

In the New Testament grace means God’s love in action towards men who merited the exact opposite. Grace means God moving heaven and earth enough to reach down and save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means sending his only Son to bend a knee and die on the cross so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and spend eternity with him. Grace is God providing a bride when I didn’t deserve it and didn’t expect it who is perfect for me. Sustaining grace promises not the absence of struggle but the presence of God. I vow to choose you through any struggle. His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. I vow to choose you in my strength and in my weakness. Grace is not blind. But grace chooses to see God’s forgiveness even more. It refuses to let hurt poison the heart. Where grace is lacking, bitterness abounds. Where grace abounds, forgiveness grows. I vow to choose forgiveness. Second only to my own salvation, you are the greatest display of God’s grace in my life. In you, I have learned to trust God’s hold on me more than my hold on God. His faithfulness does not depend on mine. I vow to choose faithfulness to God and faithfulness to you and to lead our home in a Godly manner and love and nurture you. To accept grace is to accept the vow to give it.

From this day forward I vow to extend grace and accept grace for the rest of our lives. I vow to choose your eyes, your kiss, your smile, your lips…I want it all. I vow to choose your strength, your weakness, your health, your sickness…I want it all. I vow to choose your heart, your soul, when you’re young, when you’re old…I want it all. The journey that we’re on will never end. No matter where it leads, I see you here with me. I see our future in your eyes. I see God’s grace in you: my teammate for life. You are the fulfillment of God’s promise to me for a partner and teammate for life. Before you, I don’t believe I truly understood the weight of this commitment and all I have found in you without walking the long, difficult road leading me to this point. I am no longer defined by my failures but refined by them. I’m renewed. I’m restored and I vow to choose you and choose us…Forever.

The views presented above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.

© Copyright 2015 MCWingate. All Rights Reserved.

Thanks. It’s hard to believe.

Thanks. What does it really mean to me this year? Walking in the Christmas Market in Ansbach, Germany, I reflected on my day. My gratitude became ever more evident. One of my friends invited me over to Thanksgiving dinner today with his family. This would seem like a rather enjoyable event, which it was, but leading up to it did not come without a little trepidation. The last time I saw this couple was in 2012 during one of the lowest points of my life.

Wrapped up in an unhealthy relationship, I began a slow fade from my walk with the Lord, drifting ever so far away from my destiny and who I really was as a believer and a man of God. The drain of that relationship affected me physically, spiritually, and emotionally. As I circled the drain, I reached a point where I had a choice to make: Stay in the valley and die, or climb my way out and live. Even so, that dark season led me to appreciate who I would soon be with forever that much more.

Two days away from celebrating my one-year anniversary with my best friend, it’s hard to believe I ever lived a life without her. It’s hard to believe I was given this precious gift to nurture, lead, and love. It’s hard to believe that God blessed me with someone so perfectly complementary to me. It’s hard to believe that she’s the first thing I think about in the morning and the last when I sleep. It’s hard to believe God’s grace was so sufficient for me, He would hold her in the palm of his hand for years while I stubbornly, impatiently went down my own path doing everything I could to try things my own way. It’s hard to believe that it took me two failed marriages to finally stop trying to do it my way and follow His way. It’s hard to believe I don’t regret any part of it because it ultimately led me to one of my reasons for being thankful this year. It’s hard to believe when I finished clawing, scratching, striving, and climbing my way out of that valley over two years ago, at the top of that mountain would be my teammate, my best friend, my partner, my bride. It’s hard to believe that one year after we committed our lives to each other before our God and our families, we would be six weeks away from welcoming our first child, Emma Grace, into our family, our world. It’s hard to believe I’m writing this entry almost one month into my fourth deployment. It’s hard to believe despite that, we are overjoyed because we know we are precisely where God wants us to be. It’s hard to believe this woman would simultaneously stand by me, support me, love me, encourage me, push me, lovingly admonish me, and relentlessly pursue me. It’s hard to believe she is carrying Emma while working a full time job, loving me while I’m deployed, and still seemingly-effortlessly balancing supporting the families of those left behind. It’s hard to believe.

But isn’t that just how great God’s grace is? He gives us so much more than we can even ask or think. He blows our minds and exceeds our expectations if we just get out of the way and let Him. Isn’t it amazing how His love was so great that he gave Paul an epic definition in 1 Corinthians 13 to reflect on and see if we are indeed truly loving someone the way God intended?

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year. This is just one time I’ve appreciated stepping out of the way to see God’s grace run me down and overflow my cup with blessings far greater than I ever imagined. It’s hard to believe.

The views presented above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.

© Copyright 2015 MCWingate. All Rights Reserved.

ESPN, SEC, and the Propaganda machine

In the military, Army leaders plan, prepare, execute, and assess operations by analyzing the operational environment in terms of mission variables. There are many variables we analyze but no two operational environments are identical and every environment changes over time. Variables evolve frequently and affect many things that contribute to the overall strategic purpose of our Army and our nation. Translation? We do whatever it takes to drive policy and protect our nation’s interests. ESPN is not too different. ESPN consistently uses strategic marketing to protect its financial investment, support its agenda for the Heisman trophy, the NCAA College Football Playoff, and ultimately the National Championship.

Anyone that understands marketing with product placement in television and film production understands if you place the product in front of the audience long enough, eventually the consumer will buy whatever it is you’re selling. This method serves as the most successful means of marketing in the industry. This is exactly what catapulted the SEC conference to the forefront of the national championship towards the end of the BCS era.

ESPN, its producers, and the CFB Playoff committee leadership have made a substantial investment and will do and say whatever it takes during its programming to protect that investment. ESPN has a $6 Billion investment through its media rights deal with the SEC over the next 20 years, which amounts to $300 million per year for the conference, more than any other conference. The Big 12 receives approximately $1.6 billion over 13 years which amounts to $100 million per year with its media rights deal with ESPN.

With the invention of the digital video recorder (DVR), advertising and marketing saw consumers skipping through commercials like never before. Viewers were no longer seeing advertisements that were once a bedrock of the marketing business. As a result, product placement in television shows went up. In large, sports are the only DVR-proof event on television today. This is partially why advertising rates during live sporting events are at an all time high. The viewer is physically in front of their TV, which increases the odds the product will be viewed by the consumer rather than skipped over.

ESPN’s use of product placement as well as marionette-style puppetry through its most effective mouthpieces on its most popular college football program, College Gameday, helped vault the SEC to the forefront as “the strongest conference.” This method also vaulted Ohio State past TCU at the end of last season. Yet in most cases, when those SEC teams are put on the field with major contenders from the Big 12, Big 10, ACC, or Pac 12, the SEC has crumbled, (see Ohio State vs. Alabama and Ole Miss vs. TCU, and nearly every other post-season SEC game last season).

ESPN’s propaganda-machine and strategic marketing is attempting to vault an SEC player to the forefront of the Heisman race and has all year. Don’t get me wrong, Leonard Fournette is a talented running back as are Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliot. But they are not the best college football players in America. When Fournette was stunted during the past two games against better opponents, ESPN started pushing Derek Henry, another SEC running back. Now, it appears they favor Ezekiel Elliot, another good running back, but not the best college football player in America.

What about the Heisman frontrunner going into the season? Through ten games, Trevone Boykin has his team sitting at 9-1, while throwing for 3,427 passing yards, 29 pass TDs, 596 yards rushing and 8 rushing TDs, (4,023 yards and 37 TDs). Despite an injury versus Kansas last week and missing the entire second half, Boykin is second in the nation in QBR and 5th in total passing yards. He leads the nation in total yards through 10 games. The Heisman Trophy used to be an award to recognize the best college football player in America. With the injuries this TCU team has faced this year, no player has meant more to his team than Trevone Boykin. Despite the injury, no player has taken control of and dominated the game like Trevone Boykin. How about what Luke Falk is doing at Washington State? Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech? Paxton Lynch at Memphis? Yet ESPN rarely highlights these athletes because it does not fit its agenda.

With a $7.3 billion dollar investment in the CFB playoff, ESPN will do whatever it takes to protect its interests and garner the largest advertising revenue possible during the season and the playoff. As I wrote above, live sports are the last DVR-proof television event. This is why College Gameday and the other shows on ESPN consistently pimp the SEC, B1G, and ACC conferences.

We were sold that the CFB playoff would find the best college football team. We were lied to. If ESPN truly cared about finding the best team in college football, and truly cared about giving the Heisman to the best college football player in America, the CFB playoff would be an 8-team playoff with automatic bids for the Power 5 conference championship teams and 3 at-large bids. But this would not guarantee ESPN’s desired outcome.

ESPN is the CNN of college football. They provide biased reporting and pander to the teams with the largest fan base. Its propaganda-driven broadcasting is damaging the sport of college football and once again successfully turning this amazing sport into a greater gap of the haves and have-nots. The haves are any team with a national presence and fan base large enough to pay for the sizeable investment ESPN has made in the CFP playoff. The have-nots are any team or player that does not fit that description (see OSU, TCU, Baylor, Memphis, Houston)

ESPN consistently devalues the strength of the Big 12 and anyone that opposes the SEC, Big 10, or occasionally the ACC and Pac12. Their treatment of TCU this season is a perfect example. Last year, Ohio State’s resiliency was celebrated after their key injuries despite a weak schedule. This year, with 23+ injuries to this talented squad, ESPN and the CFB playoff committee vilifies Trevone Boykin and throws them to the side of the curb like a mid-major program. Every conference has a few really good teams. Unfortunately, we only get to see these teams prove ESPN’s propaganda-based, agenda-biased theories wrong during bowl season. Hey, maybe one year we will finally find out who the best team truly is in college football.

The views presented above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.

© Copyright 2015 MCWingate. All Rights Reserved.