Following Michael Sam's courageous lead, Arizona State's Chip Sarafin becomes the first active FBS player to come out of publically but how will this impact the Sun Devil's and their chances to cash in your NCAA college football picks?
Locker Room Talk
During the first few weeks of my freshman year in college I was not studying the curriculum and getting to know my professors but scouring the campus looking for keggers and frat parties. It was liberating, intoxicating (literally) and empowering. Now it may not be politically correct to state that as an 18-year-old kid alcohol and partying somehow made me feel all grown-up but you know what? It did. I saw classmates spark up a joint as casually as you would see an old man at a horse track strike a match to his Lucky Strike. It was this education, my introduction to living on my own and interacting with people on an adult level, that opened my eyes more than any business class I ever took. Oh, and by the way the crazy party fraternity I ultimately joined that year had a brotherhood consisting of about five gay members...only nobody knew it at the time.
And so it goes that this epiphany I experienced, morphing from a high school kid under the watchful eyes of my parents to a college freshman suddenly allowed the unbridled freedom of making my own choices and living with the consequences, is the same for every kid who moves out for the first time. And the Arizona State football players just got another dose of adult reality when an avalanche of a man named Chip Sarafin announced he was gay. For those of you who believe everyone should be evolved enough to make this no big deal, I can assure you that 18-22 year-old kids are not all that worldly nor mature. It will indeed be a huge hurdle for this team to clear and it will be the coaches who set the bar as to how this groundbreaking announcement will affect team chemistry.
How Will This Affect ASU's College Football Odds?
The Sun Devil's should be watched carefully early on by anyone who has an interest in PAC-12 football or any bettor with an eye towards exploiting every advantage when it comes to placing their NCAA football picks. If the ASU coaches look the other way when an off color remark or even a "harmless" joke is directed at Chip Sarafin regarding his sexual identity then this situation will be toxic in no time. Sarafin's homosexuality will become an issue and the seemingly benign remarks will slowly morph into something more sinister as the Neanderthals of the group become emboldened.
Team chemistry is real just as the environment in your own job is relevant to your happiness. You may like the field you're in but detest your boss or coworkers. Will that affect your productivity, quality of work and attention to detail? You bet it will and the same holds true for a locker room full of football players who need to be focused on their playbook and not distracted by bullies looking to make a name for themselves.
Arizona State was a very good football team last year winning the PAC-12 South Division with an 8-1 conference mark and a 10-4 record overall. However, they did lose the conference championship game to Stanford and then dropped the Holiday Bowl to Texas Tech so their season did not end on a winning note. Nevertheless, they are currently being offered by Bet365.com at +450 in college football betting odds to win the PAC-12 Championship.
If they use Sarafin's courageous announcement as a rallying cry this team could be awfully dangerous. But if the coaches allow the inmates to run the asylum then you will read about suspensions, firings and a season of turmoil that will make ASU the perfect team to fade in your NCAA football picks this season.