Caps say a lot about college football.
Caps rarely change for fans. Some wear the same colored caps from their first game to their last.
Coaches change caps whenever necessary to benefit their careers. They remove one and don another with the ease of a car salesman changing dealerships.
It's just a game for the most acclaimed recruits. They put on one cap, then another, while fans twist, squirm and hope.
The changing of caps has become a sports cliché. It's almost as common as players dumping Gatorade on their winning coach.
But the recruits are colder than the Gatorade. And there's no quick drying off for the fans.
Last Saturday, much sought-after running back Derrick Green from Richmond, Va., committed to the University of Michigan. He did so before about 100 onlookers — consisting of family, fans and media — at the Cultural Arts Center, an appropriate venue for theatrics.
Green began his performance by reaching for a Michigan cap. And hesitated.
He picked up a Tennessee cap. And set it back down.
He then stepped off center stage and flipped a switch on the wall. A projection screen showed a Michigan jersey. It had Green's No. 27.
I assume Green will major in drama. If he can run as well as he orchestrates a commitment, the Wolverines might have a Heisman Trophy candidate on their hands.
Tennessee and Auburn could only move on to the next recruiting possibility, hopeful that it will end with an appropriate cap.
We often hear how tough coaches and players have it. What about the fans, though?
Coaches lament the growing pressure to win. Players complain about providing the muscle behind a multi-billion-dollar business while receiving nothing more than a scholarship in return.
However, win or lose, the coaches often are rewarded outrageously for success or failure. At worst, players have the chance for a free college education; at best, a straight shot to the NFL and all the riches that come with it.
The fans are left to deal with whatever the coaches and players leave behind. The fans don't change caps.
President Barack Obama said last week that if he had a son, he would think "long and hard" about letting him play football, because of injury concerns.
Since he's so safety conscious, I wonder if he has ever considered the health risk of being a fan.
Fans might not require surgery or lose consciousness while following their teams for better or worst, but they don't get through unscathed.
I have known more than one who became physically ill over the loss of a game or a prominent recruit. I think about that when I see a recruit playing with caps and emotions.
Rejections resonate more if a program is losing. When the Vols were rolling in the mid-1990s, losses of heralded recruits were minimized by the likelihood that a commitment from another promising prospect would follow.
There are recruiting advantages to be had at a losing program. Every good player you sign means more now. If a top recruit performs up to his billing, he won't be buried below the talent stockpiled ahead of him. He will play or even start right away.
Tennessee is still in the running for two of the highest ranked defensive recruits, safety Vonn Bell and end Carl Lawson. If it could sign both, a running back's choice of caps wouldn't seem nearly as significant.
But if either one chooses to go elsewhere, he could still do Tennessee a favor — by adhering to a one-cap minimum.