Ohio State president Gordon Gee ruffled a few (presumably turkey) feathers recently when he said that TCU (and Boise) don't face a tough enough schedule to earn an invitation to the BCS championship game. We were initially glad that someone with the power of change finally spoke up, but then we read the entire interview and started to rant and bowl.
As a former president at Vanderbilt (and Colorado) Gee noted that schools in the SEC and Big11Ten (Big 12) play a "murderer's row every week" and don't play the "Little Sisters of the Poor" (we're not exactly sure why a group of nuns regularly gets mixed into sports parlance).
We agree with Gee, there is "some reason to believe that they (TCU and the like) may not be the best team to be in the big ballgame" considering the competition in the Mountain West Conference.
Looking down the standings, past likely Rose Bowl participants Wisconsin and TCU, what you see helps clarify Gee's ("ghee" is clarified butter commonly used in Indian cooking) point.
The third-place team in the MWC is Air Force (8-4) while the third place team in the Big Ten is Michigan State (11-1). In our view, a contest matching these two schools wouldn't be much of a contest. A clash between the fifth place teams in each conference, Penn State and BYU, would go to the Nits almost every time. While seventh place Michigan (7-5) may not be good enough for Rich Rodriguez to avoid joining 9.6 percent of Americans, his program would certainly stand a better than 9.6 percent chance of defeating seventh place UNLV (2-10).
Playing in a conference that is watered down gives teams like TCU an unfair advantage in comparison with teams like Ohio State. By blowing out inferior competition on a weekly basis TCU is often able to rest players for a quarter (or more) of the game meaning that the likelihood of injury is reduced accordingly. In the event of a nagging injury the weak schedule allows key, but nicked-up, players to skip games entirely without the team missing a beat. If the opponent was Michigan instead of UNLV we doubt that would be the case.
We take umbrage with Gee for saying, "I'm a fan of the bowl system and I think that by and large it's worked very, very, well", during the same interview.
Gee certainly defines "very, very, well" much differently than most folks.
When the final BCS standings are released next week (December 5 at 8:15pm), and formal bowl invitations are offered, we sincerely doubt that there will be many in East Lansing who would agree with Gee. The nonsensical rule prohibiting more than two schools from one conference from being BCS eligible in the same year is going to cost MSU (current BCS rank 8) a chance to play in one of the top five games (Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, Orange, and title).
While MSU is being slighted, what team will be deemed more worthy than the 11-1 Spartans? Since the system is working "very, very, well" it would make complete sense for the school to be the unranked (though definitely rank) automatic qualifying Big East champion (assuming, you/me, they win this weekend against perennial power South Florida) Connecticut Huskies and their atrocious 7-4 record. This is an example of Gee's system whizzing on MSU.
In Gee's well-working world, the meritocracy has been replaced by automaticracy, idiocracy (yeah, we know), and mediocrity. This is not a new issue. Way back in 2006, the Big Ten had three worthy teams but, with undefeated Ohio State in the national title game, the bowls had to choose one at-large school between Michigan (12-1) and Wisconsin (12-1). Michigan got the BCS ticket (2006 must seem like it was decades ago to UM fans) and Bucky was the 2006 version of Sparty 2010 (Wake Forest got an auto bid that year despite not being in the top ten and promptly lost the Orange Bowl).
Much like the TCU situation outlined above UConn didn't exactly play the toughest competition. In fact, they lost to the seventh place Wolverines on September 4 by the razor thin margin of 30-10. As Tom, the Canadian bartender, noted, "The (presumed) Big East champion lost to a Big Ten punching bag," and yet they are going to a BCS game at the expense of the Big Ten co-champion. This could have been easily rectified (in 2006) by Gee and the powers-that-be, however, the system is rigged, and Gee and the riggers obviously have no incentive to unrig.
How can Gee and his ilk justify having an 11-1 team that is ranked as one of the top eight teams in the country not make a BCS bowl when a four-loss team is automatically heading for a spotlight moment and massive payday?
The previous question actually answered itself because "payday" is the word of the day.
The proponents of the current BCS system care about money and attempt to obfuscate (much like politicians) by saying it is all about the student-athletes. By locking in deals with the automatic conferences and bowls it assures the schools that one of them will be in one of the prize bowls getting one of the prize paydays. This is great for UCONN but the players who have worked all year and "earned" the right to compete on the big stage are being slighted and the fans that have supported (financially) the team are being ignored. Legitimate schools with outstanding credentials are forced to play in inferior bowls against inferior competition. In the greedy quest for the guaranteed payday, the fools running the show forgot that sport is a competitive meritocracy that, in most cases, rewards the winners. Not in this case.
If the rubes in charge would open their eyes a little wider, they would be pleasantly surprised to notice that a playoff would increase revenue for all (rising tide lifts all boats) which is really the overarching, though never acknowledged, goal. The championship game would take on the aura and cachet of a junior Super Bowl. The bowls would remain intact (although 35 bowl games seems excessive, even to the most ardent fan, and 70 out of 120 schools "earning" a postseason game is a tad absurd) and the wealth would flow.
We offer a more simplistic and honest approach, rather than the convoluted and corrupt system favored by Gee, with a basic playoff taking the top eight teams and matching them in the four BCS bowl games. This year (as it stands now) the scintillating first round of games would feature Auburn vs. Michigan State, Oregon vs. Arkansas, TCU vs. Ohio State, and Wisconsin vs. Stanford (seems like a logical Rose Bowl first round game). A playoff where results are rewarded seems logical, which is why it won't happen.
In our scenario, the regular season would become more relevant, not less (more teams alive for a spot in the playoff than currently alive for spot in the champ game), the bowls would continue in current form, the BCS would continue in current form (we can't believe we just wrote that) solely to determine the top eight teams and seeding, the student portion of the athlete would not "suffer" in any way by having to possibly play two additional games (assuming they make it to the final), the athlete portion would actually be rewarded for doing well on the field (a novel concept), and there is little doubt that attendance and ratings would be huge and, therefore, so would the money.
Gee ended the interview by saying that he would rather go back to the old system rather than having a playoff. While Gee is out pricing a new horse and buggy we hope that the folks running the show send him to the unemployment line. The shortsighted corrupt leaders who are running, and ruining, the sport should be relieved of their duties post haste. When student-athletes are learning more about dirty politics (does anyone ever use the term "clean politics?"), corruption, and backroom deal-making, rather than the benefits of competition and the rewards of success, the system is obviously flawed and time has come for simple change.
It's the most wonderful time of the year, for a playoff!
WEAK THIRTEEN NFC NORTH PICKS (15-20-1 record)
Due to recent performance the weekly picks are now "weak".
Minnesota minus 6.5 versus Buffalo ---- The Bills have been playing well. Leslie Frazier needs a big home win to go with his road win to help secure a future as the head coach of the team that could be in L.A. in a couple of years. He gets it.
Green Bay minus 9 versus Frisco ---- After living in San Francisco in the early nineties we know that the fine residents of the city consider the term "Frisco" to be pejorative. Pack melts Frisco in cold Lambeau tableau.
Detroit plus 3 versus Chicago ---- The Bears follow the happy home win with a sad road loss. As the Bears' division lead disappears, the Lions move one step further away from the top pick in the draft as Calvin Johnson has his revenge.
WEAK THIRTEEN PICKS (10-11 record)
Much like seventies television there are many weak moments in our weeks.
Chargers minus 10 versus Oakland ---- As much as we'd like to root Raider the bottom line is that San Diego is movin' on up like the Jefferson's.
Houston plus 8 versus Philly ---- The Houston offense could be Jimmy Walker style "Dy-No-Mite" if Andre Johnson isn't suspended for pummeling Cortland Finnegan.
PEEVE OF THE WEEK
The lack of a playoff, although there is a bit of a Peeve within Musings.
TCU is going to go out and defeat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl just to make us look like fools. Well, more like fools.
Now, with our first big snow, that the pothole driving season has begun, we would advocate for drivers who plan to be on the road at the same time as we are to spend the extra minute or so required to clean off the windows. We'd like to be seen before felt.
Last season the Lions were outscored by an astonishing 232 points. This season, through 11 games, they have only been outscored by 24.
Bill Belichick asked last week, "Do people know how much better that team (Detroit) is than anything they've had there in years?"
We concur and would advise those calling for Jim Schwartz to be canned to recall the "years" that Bill is referring to; the Millen years. As the stench of those seasons finally begins to dissipate, the new regime deserves a bit more time because, even with a 2-9 record, there are many signs of progress.
Next year in the conference, we won't have to wait for the BCS to tell us who the Big12Ten champion is because there will be a championship game.
Insult to injury: Matt Millen announced the Michigan/OSU game.
After the Buckeyes victory over Michigan, OSU quarterback Terrelle Prior peered into a TV camera and said, "We're going to the Rose Bowl!"
We assume Prior believes that Oregon State is going to defeat Oregon, South Carolina is going to take down Auburn, and that the Badgers will be in the national title game. We hope he is correct as we dare to dream.
Wisconsin has scored 201 points in their last 180 minutes of football.
Northwestern set a school record with 325 kickoff return yards on Saturday in Madison.
It helped that Bucky kicked off 11 times.
Thank you, Nevada.
Shame on you, Alabama.
If the NCAA investigation into the dad who wanted to sell his son comes to a conclusion this week (a very, very, long shot), then the whole college football landscape, from Heisman to title game, could change in an instant. Considering the FBI is also investigating, the very, very, long shot is now just a long shot. Newton (and Auburn) could soon be falling like an apple under the influence of gravity.
Favre got Chilly the contract extension and then he got him canned. The funny thing is that many people saw that coming as soon as Brad became chauffeur to the star.
An easy BCS modification would require any automatic qualifier to at least be ranked in the top 12. We also suggest changing the two-team maximum to a two-drink minimum, with no limit on the number of schools that can appear from one conference (as long as they are in the top 12). That would mean that 12 teams would be eligible for ten total vacancies at the big table.
Better yet, just match the top eight in a playoff.
Jerry Jones inquired with the league about whether he could make Jason Garrett the permanent coach without adhering to the Rooney Rule.
For those who aren't familiar with the rule, it requires that at least one minority candidate be interviewed for each head coaching position.
For those who aren't familiar with our view on the rule, we consider it to be the sporting world's version of liberalism run amok, freedom lost, and equality denied.
If an owner of a business is too bigoted to hire the best candidate for a job then we believe the market is the proper corrective mechanism. If the cretin continues to hire buffoons, while passing over qualified minorities, then failure will be the eventual and just outcome.
The league told Jones, even if he decides that Garrett is his man, that he must waste his time doing a performance of interview theater.
We don't envy the demeaned minority brought in for the starring role in the farce.
The leader of the sanctimonious crowd, Tony Dungy, loves the rule and considers the interview process to be an invaluable lesson for potential minority coaches.
Then why doesn't the league make Jones interview five minority candidates? Ten? One hundred?
Basing anything on race is never a good idea in the land where all men are created equal.
Now consider the case of Leslie Frazier and the Vikings. If Zygi Wilf wants to keep Frazier has his head coach then he simply offers him a job and interviews nobody.
The perverted quest for fairness and equality is unfair and inequitable.
Barring a change at the top, is the Wolverine football program headed for a similar demise as that of the UM hoops team? Just asking.
In the latest chapter of the debuilding efforts going on in Denver, the league has fined coach Josh McDaniels and owner Pat Bowlen $50k each for not promptly reporting the cheating efforts of team videographer Steve Scarnecchia.
Interestingly, McDaniels and Scarnecchia were coworkers in New England during the 2001 season.
Before the Super Bowl that season (played on February 3, 2002 in the Superdome, before it became the nation's largest storm shelter), in which the Rams and Pats collided, the Boston Herald reported that NE had collected video of the Rams pre-SB walkthrough.
Unrelated, though somewhat related, Peeve within Musings: Should blame for the 2005 disaster go to the evil lady known as Katrina (if hurricanes weren't named it wouldn't be as easy to blame them) as is conveniently and continuously reported, or should blame go to the government since the levees failed when an entirely predictable event predictably happened?
Government needs villains because government is often the true villain. They just don't want the masses to find out. The levees are a typical obfuscated failure of government. Assigning blame to "Katrina," and having the public unquestioningly swallow the propaganda, is a typical government marketing success.
It is much easier to assign culpability to a randomly named storm than to take responsibility for the failures of a specific government agency, such as the Army Corps of Engineers, or government (on all levels) in general. If somebody had bothered to pay attention to the not-so-fine print in multiple reports and studies leading up to the manmade disaster perhaps the despair and death would have been replaced by preparedness and life.
In 2004 (the year before the levees failed), representative Billy Tauzin (R-LA) said, while actually paying attention to the reports, "We'll be faced one day with thousands of our citizens drowned and killed, people drowned like rats in the city of New Orleans."
Just two months before the Cat 4 (coincidentally, we have four cats) storm hit land (it was a Category 5 prior to landfall) near Buras, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) showed his colleagues a simulation of a Cat 4, possibly named Noah, deluging the city with 18 feet of water.
The agency named NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) should have known.
Local, state, and federal faux leaders should have known and done something.
The reality is that they did know, but chose to do nothing. Those who claim they "didn't see it coming," actually saw it coming, years before it came.
In the aftermath they chose to focus the collective public anger on the abstract villain known as Mother Nature, when in reality, the blame should have been placed directly at the feet of our deeply indebted Uncle Sam.
Until people recognize government as more of a problem than a solution things will continue to be problematic. D.C. reeks and we need to wake up and smell the widespread odor of incompetence.
But, as we often do, we digress, so now back to the cheating (related: we hope the Cablinasian had a nice Thanksgiving, after all, it couldn't have been much worse than last year).
Even though the newspaper report regarding the 2002 Super Bowl cheating was summarily, and conveniently, retracted by the Herald, in our view it should have gained traction with other news organizations.
Considering the typical media frenzy surrounding the SB did anyone else ask questions?
How did a completely erroneous, though very detailed, report make it into such a fine bastion of journalism in the first place?
Did the Herald retract the report due to arm-twisting from someone very influential within the Patriot organization and the community?
All the news that Bob Kraft sees fit to print.
The Pats won the Super Bowl by a score of 20-17.
Did the video, that didn't exist, provide enough of an advantage to turn a possible defeat into a 3-point victory?
If the same guys who were involved in the reported, then unreported, video scandal in 2001 had a similar rule-bending episode in 2010, does it constitute a pattern?
Is anyone asking questions yet (other than us)?
What if we told you that similar shenanigans happened in 2007?
They did. The infamous "Spygate" (the version without Valerie Plame) NFL video cheating scandal occurred that year involving, yep, you guessed it, the NE organization featuring model employee, and master debuilder, Josh McDaniels.
With the recent news out of Old England, suspiciously delayed (laundered?) for a couple of weeks in Denver, that New England clam-chowder-style cheating occurred at Wembley, we suspect that a distinct pattern has now been confirmed.
Jack the Ripper was an infamous London serial killer who was never caught. Scarnecchia is an infamous serial cheater who was caught (again) in London.
Although, from the dubious reporting that makes the Warren Commission look thorough, Scarnecchia, like Lee Harvey (not the guy from Stripes), apparently acted alone.
We don't believe in the single cameraman theory and encourage some Sherlock Holmes media-types, not with the Herald, to do some actual investigating.
McDaniels knew Scarnecchia was a videocheater and he hired him as a videographer.
There were reports out of the Denver organization last week that said Scarnecchia was going to take a "personal leave of absence."
Later in the week, "personal" became "permanent" as the Donkeys, and more specifically McDaniels, needed a scapegoat and Scarnecchia became the rogue fall guy (and we don't mean the early eighties television series starring Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors).
Even though McDaniels was now linked, allegedly, to three cheating episodes (that we know of) all he had to do was say that he declined to watch the latest cheat flick, plead ignorance (we believe he is ignorant), and he gets the NFL equivalent to a wrist slap.
We believe he is providing shelter for himself and the organization.
And by "providing shelter" we mean "cover-up".
If Scarnecchia is sufficiently jilted and decides to speak the truth (a big "if"), the cover-up, as it often is, could turn out to be worse than the crime. Since we know that the serial cheater didn't tell on himself, and that McDaniels didn't willingly blow his whistle, if the unnamed honest person within the organization meets with league investigators then the fan could soon be covered in excrement.
McDaniels would then be asking, "What do I smell?"
While the logical conclusion would be the odor wafting from the aforementioned fan, it would more likely be a rat (though not the drowned Big Easy variety), and Josh doesn't like rats as evidenced by the Jay Glazer report that McDaniels warned his staff, "If this gets out, there are jobs on the line."
Well, it got out, and in our view this is just the tip of the large floating mass that detached from a glacier and somebody needs to get out their deer-stalker hat and pipe (even though Doyle never clad Holmes with either) and do some muckraking.
By the way, Josh and the Broncos continued debuilding by losing 36-33 to the Rams.
With the college postseason just around the corner we now take a look at some of our favorite bowl offerings from the gaudy field of 35 games.
The fauxseason kicks off on December 18 with the wildly popular New Mexico Bowl (book your tickets now!). Then there are such fascinatingly named, though lamely viewed, attended, and stocked (with teams), games such as the Beef O' Brady's Bowl (make ours rare), the Little Caesar's Bowl (congrats to the Big Ten team that earns a trip to lovely downtown Detroit on December 26), the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl (we declare that we have no idea what this is), the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (tax dollars done good), the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (no wonder we have a deficit), the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (are the Yankees playing?), the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (honestly, hasn't the entire country been on an education holiday?), the TicketCity Bowl (scalping encouraged), the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (who better to fight hunger than 300 pound men who destroy all-you-can-eat buffets on a regular basis and the company that makes Velveeta), and finally the BBVA Compass Bowl (which we assume stands for Better Bowls Validate Actuality). Enjoy.
Now we again have to wonder if Bill Belichick is really a genius or if he actually has his own personal surveillance satellite.
Does Rich Rod keep his job?
NFC North fans are aware of the advantage that comes from having a lesser man run a rival program. Are Big Ten fans beginning to feel the same way?
Our guess, and honestly that is all we ever do, is that there are ten (soon to be eleven) teams that want Rich Rod to stay and get an extension like Chilly did in Minny.
Did anyone notice the "new" theme to the Thanksgiving football offerings? Victories by NEW England (Detroit should investigate unusual spy satellite activity), NEW York, and NEW Orleans, make us wonder what motivated the NFL schedule-makers.
Perhaps it was a subliminal message, like popcorn images cut into film (and we don't mean the films made by Scarnecchia), to the union regarding a NEW labor agreement.
In other Belichick news; McDaniels was also quoted as saying, "That (video cheating) was practiced, that was coached, that was worked on," in New England. Translation: Old boss, meet bus.
TE-BOW! TE-BOW! TE-BOW! Get ready Josh, your all-in bet is about to be called.
Some of the government obfuscators focused the hurricane blame on George Bush (who also ordered Rita to chase the displaced folks in Houston later that season) for the, albeit pathetic, response to the crisis.
Why did anyone expect the government response, to the government created crisis, to be anything other than pathetic? We'll say it again; government does not solve problems.
Occasionally they will improve an issue that they had a hand in creating.
We're still accepting examples to the contrary.
All four Packer losses have been by three points.
For all of the bluster about his "success," Childress won a single playoff game in Minnesota. Ironically, it was over Wade Phillips and the Cowboys less than a year before both men were axed.
Wisconsin just ran the ball again.
And Mike and Mike complained.
We were watching the most recent Wisky game with a few members of the crack staff and many were not aware of the fact that the three-headed monster backfield in Wisconsin is made up entirely of underclassmen. For the record, John Clay is a junior, Montee Ball a sophomore, and James White is a freshman. Big Ten foes will be seeing the trio for another year and the duo, that scorched Indiana and Michigan, for two more years.
You might want to get that UM defense fixed.
If our leaders don't fix the fiscal mess then "too big to fail" will become "too big to bail" because there aren't enough people in the world to soak up the toxicity of the deficit and debt of the largest economy on earth. It will make the recent financial crisis seem like a party.
The government-created spillways, levees, and reservoirs, keep much of the flooding off of the floodplains all along the Mississippi. Predictably, unless you work for the government of, seemingly intended, unintended consequences, the water management success upriver has created a lack of silt flowing into the delta and wetlands that protect New Orleans and has caused the protection to rapidly disappear.
Headline: Government "solution" creates problem.
Last Tuesday the two Koreas had a military exchange. As we looked for coverage of the rather important event at around 6:45am we were shut out by CNN, HLN, MSNBC, and Fox News. Only CNBC, a channel devoted to business, was interviewing military strategists etc. and covering the developments in depth.
At 7:00am we continued our search for coverage and since it was a major story we expected it to be the lead. The Today Show optimistically led with "breaking news" however, when the dolt host announced the breaking news by saying, "Mark your calendar!", we knew that in the world of the lame morning shows "breaking news" is more inclined to be royal wedding than actual news.
CNN also used the top of the hour to "break" the wedding "news".
The Big Ten has sent two teams to BCS bowls in each of the past five seasons and will, in all likelihood, be doing so again. Entering this season the Big Ten had more BCS bowl appearances (21) than any other conference.
The Hurricanes fired Randy Shannon minutes after his team's embarrassing loss to South Florida dropped their record to 7-5. This is the same Shannon who received a four-year contract extension after the team lost their bowl game to Wisconsin (Go Badgers!) on December 29, 2009.
Is Zygi Wilf on the Miami board of trustees?
Interestingly, days after his team's embarrassing loss to OSU, Rich Rod still had a job despite his 7-5 record.
Speaking of hurricanes, in the aftermath our faux leaders, in their obvious efforts to further obfuscate, found the traditional corporate villain in the form of the evil insurance companies.
They were then routinely vilified for their "role" but the National Flood Insurance Program (government) was curiously never mentioned.
Yet another example of a government marketing success and leadership/policy failure.
Government is an impediment to greatness.
How big do we want the impediment to be?
And finally, we end with the transcript of a recent conversation with the five-year-old:
Five: "Dad, what is Boeing?"
Dad: "A company that makes airplanes, rockets, and other things."
F: "When can I go on a rocket?"
D: "Probably never, unless you become an astronaut."
F: "I want to meet aliens."
Don't we all?
If there is anyone out there who is opposed to a college football playoff, please send your reason(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving (and birthday). Thanks to the gang at The Doug, and The Todd, we sure did.
Gotta go it's time for the four-cat playoff to begin. May the best cat win.