Just like that, college football’s Rivalry Week is behind us. And unless you count the Army-Navy game (which I obviously do — to any NSA operatives reading this, God bless America, huge patriot over here) the regular season is effectively over.

At this point, you may be feeling joy. Your team beat its rival, outperformed expectations, maybe even won its division.

However, you’re just as likely feeling the bitter, jaded indignation that college football all too often pours out in pristine, white blizzards: salt. Gritty, pungent, stinging salt.

Whether your team just capped off a 1-11 season or finished with 11 wins and one brutally painful loss — Buckeyes, we’ll get to you later — almost all of us are feeling a little spurned right now. Today, let’s figure out who’s the saltiest.

Coaches that bemoan the transfer portal

When your coach talks about the transfer portal, does he sound like an uncle trying not to offend anyone at Thanksgiving? Does he start every other sentence with, “Look, I’m just calling it like it is” or “I just feel like with the way things are headed…?”

If so, he probably hasn’t loved watching USC cruise to 11 wins and a Pac-12 Championship Game berth with transfers at every notable offensive position. The good thing is, if your coach ever lands a transformational transfer, he definitely won’t backpedal on his position. After all, he would have done it the right way.

The SEC West

Are you a fan of … pretty much any SEC West team? If so, geez. How’d you screw this one up?

First of all, Alabama failing to win its division is just another sign that society is indeed crumbling. Then there’s Arkansas’ big step backward, Ole Miss’ collapse down the stretch, and Mississippi State being just good enough for people to still chuckle at Mike Leach being a weirdo, but not good enough for Leach to go a full month without throwing his players under the bus.

Sure, LSU is probably pretty stoked to be back in the conference championship game, but losing to Texas A&M by double digits in 2022 is less “SEC champs” and a little more “UMass.”

Speaking of the Aggies, this was probably the best year to turn all that hype, talent, and money into a conference championship. Obviously, the season was a near-complete failure, but there are 86 million reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Well, optimistic, OR utterly horrified.

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips

Are you the commissioner of one of the four Power 5 Conferences whose championship games next week will feature prospective Playoff entrants?

If not, you may be ACC commissioner Jim Phillips. If there’s pity to be had for a multimillionaire, Phillips deserves the lion’s share. With divisional champs Clemson and North Carolina both coming off tough losses to their rivals, there could not be less steam on the conference.

That said, I personally can’t wait to watch UNC quarterback Drake Maye throw for 400 yards and rush for 90, somehow barely losing to Clemson behind a blistering 7-22, 56-yard, two interception tour de force from quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.

Ohio State fans

Do you bleed scarlet and gray? Do you think you’re a lovable underdog because you’re not in the SEC, even though nearly everyone else finds you obnoxious? Do you refuse to use the letter M in casual conversation?

If so, you Xay be feeling an unprecedented aXount of saltiness. Sure, your teaX is historically doXinant, especially against its rival, but losing to Xichigan two years in a row can’t be easy. Sure, there’s about a 50/50 chance you didn’t even go to Ohio State and instead attended a nearby XAC school or coXXuter college, but that doesn’t Xean you aren’t tasting the sodiuX. Please know that feeling Xiserable about football is totally norXal. Just calX down and enjoy the Rose Bowl. The Xanic-depressive Xeltdown will be over before you know it.

Ohio State haters if the Buckeyes still make the Playoff

Did you pump your fist in the air when the Buckeyes lost? Did you feel a twinge of fear when you realized both TCU and USC likely need to win their conference championships to keep Ohio State out? Would that make you incredibly salty?

If so, congratulations on being a true fan. Salt is what this sport is all about.

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