Marcus Spears, Booger McFarland among local stars of SEC Network _lowres

Booger McFarland is on a quick rise in the TV world.

SEC Network analyst Anthony "Booger" McFarland is not concerned in the least about LSU running back Leonard Fournette and other college football players skipping bowl games -- with one caveat.

McFarland, a former LSU defensive tackle, said missing a college playoff game would be a different matter. "Any time you compete for a championship, I think that's the ultimate goal," he said.

At least three running backs have decided to forego bowl games this year as they prepare to enter the NFL draft. McFarland talked about the trend on the Culotta & The Fan show on 104.5/104.9 ESPN-FM in Baton Rouge


Q: Fournette, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Baylor’s Shock Linwood are all sitting out bowl games. Are their situations the same?

A: I don't think they're all the same, but I do think there are some similarities when you look at they're all three running backs. I think the fact that running backs have an ability to get hit on every single play ... 11 guys looking to hit them every single play, really lends a little credence to why three running backs are doing this. I think Fournette, obviously, has been injured all year.

More important than anything, if you can keep some wear and tear off your body as a running back, and you're not playing in a game that's really going to matter or mean anything ... and as a running back who's trying to go to the NFL, and make a lot of money, why would you go out and put yourself in that situation?

Q: Is this going to be the new norm?

A: As for as the running back position, and the quarterback position, I think this is going to be the new norm, if guys aren't playing for a championship. I don't think you're going to see it on defense.

I just think way too much of a deal has been made of it. Think about this: There's a bunch of guys that have their six-figure salary, they've got their houses, they've got their lives. And they're criticizing these young kids ... 19, 20 years old, who are trying to set up their future. I just think it's most hypercritical thing I've seen in a long time in sports.

Q: Would a player in a playoff doing the same thing be looked at a little differently?

A: Yes, I do think that would be looked at a little bit differently because they were in the playoff. Any time you compete for a championship, I think that's the ultimate goal.

If you're not in a ... playoff bowl, then ... you're going to see seniors go, "Wait a minute, if I have a shot at the NFL, what matters more to me? Winning the Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl?"

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Q: What about the way the Leonard Fournette story is playing out? He signed with an agent and now can't travel with LSU to the Citrus Bowl.

A: If Leonard Fournette were there, he would be the center of conversation, meaning the camera would be on him on the sidelines, everyone would be watching his every move. I think if he's not going to play, it's best for him not to be around. The focus needs to be where it's supposed to be, on the guys that are there.

No hard feelings, in my opinion.