In between all of the actual awesome college football that has been played in this season’s bowl games, you may have heard a story about how ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum had really upset one specific Auburn fan. Back in October, an Auburn fan named Josh Smitherman called into Finebaum’s radio show to talk National Championship game semantics, and namely what it would take for Auburn to have a shot at the Big Game. Finebaum sort of laid out the particulars but ultimately said there wasn’t much of a chance that the Tigers would make it, and therefore guaranteed Smitherman that if his team made the BCS Championship Game, he would personally take him to the game.
Bing bang boom, it’s January and we’re three days away from watching the No. 2 Tigers play the No. 1 FSU Seminoles for the championship, and Smitherman is barely closer to heading to Pasadena than he was three months ago. Naturally, he wants to know why the pompous talking head who has built a career on hyperbole and rhetoric hasn’t made good on his bet.
As you can read in the comments on that Facebook post, a lot of people are all, “RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE FINEBAUM OWES YOU!” and they’re technically right, if you’re the kind of person who takes spur of the moment “bets” seriously. But FanSided dipped a little further into this situation and discovered that Finebaum sort-of-kind-of fulfilled his side of the bet in the most Finebaum-esque way possible.
The tickets arrived, as promised, later that afternoon.
Only the tickets didn’t come from Finebaum. Inside the envelope with the tickets was a letter from a former Auburn coach, who asked Smitherman who then asked us, to keep his identity anonymous. The coach originally got the tickets with the intention of giving them to a former player and current military service member, however, the serviceman couldn’t make it to the game. The coach then gave the tickets to Finebaum and instructed him to give the tickets to an Auburn fan.
Arguably, Finebaum ignored the spirit of the coaches request and simply used the tickets to cover his wager with Smitherman. Not out of his pocket or “at his expense,” at least financially, as Finebaum seemed to let Smitherman and his listeners believe while on air.
While that technically partially fulfills his bet with Smitherman and the request of the anonymous former coach, Finebaum doubled down on dick moves by reportedly telling Smitherman that he couldn’t find any flights to Pasadena or hotel accommodations, and he suggested that he just sell the tickets to make a little money for himself. Make money. On the tickets that were originally being used by a serviceman. Yeesh.
Now, if you feel bad for Smitherman, you can go to the Fundly account that he set up and help him raise the $3,500 he needs to travel to Pasadena so he can use the tickets and watch his Tigers play on the big stage. Or, if you’d rather save your money, you can just go on thinking that Paul Finebaum is a dick.