College football conference craziness

Posted by Jacob Floyd On 10:37 AM 0 comments
I'm still betting that things will most likely stay the same. But, all it takes is one shake-up and the doomsday scenario takes place. Ok, maybe not, but everything changes.

Here's what's going on: The Big 10 wants to expand to 12 teams to have a conference championship game so they don't have like two months off between the end of their season and bowl games, and have an extra week of games like everyone else so their teams don't drop in polls for not playing the final weeks. The big 10 would love to get an east coast team (ie a NYC area team) to boost its ratings, but no large fbs school fits their scholastic standards.

The Pac-10, seeing the potential seismic shift, and the power conference with the most insecurities (after being weaker than the MWC last year, or at least close to it), wants to add not 2, but 6 teams. Why? They want to skip over all the schools near the Pacific ocean or the west, and head for the fertile football state of Texas. For the Pac-10 it's about money and ratings as well, but most of all recruiting. Their plan is basically the pac-10 plus the Texas and Oklahoma schools.

The SEC, perennially the strongest conference, sees this as a chance to shore up the ACC and Big East teams that, in some cases (Florida State) should be in the conference, and make an even stronger case for being the strongest of the power conferences. What we may end with is three super conferences of 16 teams: The Pac-16, the Bigger Ten (they'll keep their non-mathematical title; they have currently 11 teams), and the Big SEC.

My gripes? If this happens the NCAA needs to either pay or create a pay upon graduation program for its football players. The big leagues, long trips and travel times, and TV exposure basically cements the NCAA as the minor leagues of the NFL. And if you think Austin to Seattle is a big of a trip for a conference game, think about what loose coalitions will be made by the left-over schools (the MWC, WAC, the weak links of the big 12, the remnants of the ACC and Big East).

And for these left-over's, they essentially are designated FBS division 2 schools, not strong enough to be apart of the big three conferences. Even if the MWC adds Boise State, it's still not a power conference, and the mid-major schools will be increasingly ghetto-ized, playing and beating each other, with less chance of playing the big boys.

Never seen a pitcher do that before

Posted by Jacob Floyd On 10:59 AM 0 comments
BYU/Utah, the ill-named Holy War, is one of the most competitive rivalries, and this decade it may be the closest. But the reaction to Max Halls anti-everything U of U tirade makes me wonder if the rivalry isn't quite to where other rivalries are. Sure, BYU and Utah aren't your average schools, and I hope the religious aspect will be toned down a lot if not go away, as its essentially two majority LDS schools playing each other. Plus anytime you get religion involved in anything someone is bound to take it too far and do something crazy.

Hall,s statements were rough, but he also had some pointed comments at BYU fans. This was a senior who has been criticized his career pulling a Michael Jordan HOF speech and taking out anyone and everyone who'd doubted him while hes on top.

However, his reaction has drawn criticism from everyone, on both sides in the Beehive state. What they need to realize is that Football rivalries aren't civil, by there very nature they cant be, and that's not a bad thing. In fact, its probably therapeutic. In-state or cross state frustrations are manifest for 3-4 hours, played out in a relatively safe arena providing emotional release. The ability to project abstract personal angst, and release it at an annually given time and place to a specific non-personal group (a helmet clad football team), is healthier than leaving it bottled up, and then projecting it onto a person, usually a sexualized or racialized Other.

Take for instance the Border War game: Kansas and Missouri. The name isn't, like most rivalry "wars" hyperbole that was added after the fact. The war came first, then the football game. These are two states that fought each other, killed innocent civilians in each others states, burnt down cities, etc. Basically provided the kindling for the fire that was the Civil War. When football came in at the end of the 19th century, only about 30 years after the real wars, it was seen as a way to provide a sort of reconciliation.

While the political aspects and the war itself were around longer, it wasn't nearly as bloody as the aptly named Bleeding Kansas era, the Ohio St. v Michigan rivalry also finds its roots in pre-civil war fighting; the Toledo War, to be specific.

Another pre-football rivalry resulting from political and economic disputes is the Clemson/S.Carolina game. I mean hate is celebrated in the "Clean, Old-fashioned hate" game between Georgia Tech and Georgia.

As long as the game doesn't erupt into or cause physical violence outside of the controlled environment of the football field, I don't see anything wrong with it. In the end, schools need their rivals. Usually a rivalry is created when two competitive programs perceive what is lacking in their institution or program in another institution or program. By confronting their rival, they confront what is absent in their own psyche. What Max Hall was saying should be considered a compliment. He was saying that without Utah he wouldn't have a person or thing to project his own inadequacies onto, and either he,d never get around to facing them, or do so in an unhealthy manner.

Embrace rivalry football as a carnivalesque occurance that we take for granted. Certainly Bahktin would be fascinated by the pageantry surrounding the Oklahoma v. Texas game, or the Georgia v. Florida game. Rivalries allow for things which may not be normally acceptable, to be done or said, without being considered, in a larger framework outside of the sports arena and its extension into the public sphere of discourse around sports. They provide a bizarre conversation filled with nuance and ritual (in speech and action) that brings people together, and more importantly brings people to confront what they otherwise would not have.
Notre Dame really isn't a great job. And the program is only relevant to people who remember their glory days, or in how it takes up a disproportionate amount of talk show space. A victim of unrealistic expectations, its looking for another new coach. Charlie Weiss will find a nice job in the NFL and have success as an Offensive Coordinator.

The rumors are flying, and Bob Stoops appears to be one of the dream hires for Notre Dame. And, I really think that's a great idea. I was born and raised a Sooner fan. But his leaving for ND may solve both our problems. What sort of problem could OU, a perennial top 10 team have?

Well, Bob Stoops is great at dominating the oft-overrated Big-12. But his Nickname of Big Game Bob is now said rather ironically, if not with a bit of anger. He's lost 5 of his last 6 bowl games, including 2 National title games. Currently he has a 3-game BCS losing streak.He's turned the Sooners into the Buffalo Bills of the NCAA. Dominant in the regular season, able to get to the title game, and then blowing it. And who can forget that loss to K-state in the Big 12 title game a few years back. These have not all been loses in great efforts. Most of the time it looks like Stoops didn't prepare his team, and he's made his share of bad calls. He's also lost players to rules violations.

Now, those may not be fire able offenses and he's done a great job, but I think its time for a change. Am I crazy? Possibly. But we need a coach who can win the big games, not blow them.

College football review

Posted by Jacob Floyd On 8:28 AM 0 comments
My top 15
1 Texas: winning that big on the road after a tough rivalry win and before a big game is pretty impressive.
2 Florida: The defense is carrying this team. Unimpressive win, but withstood a challenge on the road.
3 TCU: Destroyed BYU on the road. And that win at Clemson looks really good now. They barely beat Air Force, but then again Air Force took Utah to OT.
4 Alabama: Did they deserve to win? I'm not so sure. But they did.
5 Iowa: They keep winning close, hard fought games.
6 Cincinatti: They won big with their backup QB. But it was against a lousy Lousiville team.
7 Boise St: Only here because they beat Oregon.
8 Oregon
9 LSU
10 Georgia Tech
11 USC: They barely beat Oregon St. at home. They lose next week against Oregon on the road.
12 Oklahoma St. Could they be the best team in the Big 12 south? At times they look like it. But that Houston loss suggests some consistency problems.
13 Penn State
14 West Virginia
15 Pitt

Games of next week: A slew of top 25 teams have some cake games next week, here are some exceptions:

USC @ Oregon: Upset alert: I go Oregon.
Texas @ OSU: Texas can tentatively cement a championship game appearance with this win.
Kansas @ Texas Tech: Two prolific passers will battle it out.

My predicts last week: 6-4

Playoffs

Posted by Jacob Floyd On 12:06 PM 0 comments
Since 2003 there really hasn't been an exciting post-season in MLB. Sure the Red Sox and White Sox provided added interest by breaking generations long droughts but those weren't very close series either. I was hoping that this would be the year that baseball would be exciting again in the post season. But some quick exits, awful base running, blown saves, bad calls, and four ultra-budget teams left, makes things a bit hard to watch. The only hope that remains is that Phillies-Yankees has potential to be a great world series.

Replay:
Baseball shouldn't replay every play from a booth like they do in college football. They should be more like the NFL and have coaches challenges, and only on certain plays (ie. No balls and strikes). Give Managers 2 challenges and like the NFL if they're right they don't lose them. Managers can still run out and argue, but this time they can actually do something about it with a red bag to toss down, or maybe at the ump (that would be something). It seems that of all the sports baseball replay would take the shortest amount of time, except for the home run/fair-foul calls and seeing if a batter actually got hit by a pitch. Every other call is a bang-bang play in a specific location (a bag) and unlike football you don't have to take into consideration the yard marker or the clock. Also, the umps are relatively close to each other and a potential dugout monitor, as opposed to NBA or NFL refs which are usually several yards apart. The one call that could potentially take a while to decide is if an outfielder catches a low flying line-drive off the turf.

Why is A-rod doing so well? Is it that he's off the 'roids? That he was due? Maybe. Or perhaps its that he's seeing better pitches because of Mark Tiexiera.

BCS Breakdown

Posted by Jacob Floyd On 8:33 PM 1 comments
This shows the problems in a computer doing the tabulating. Anyone who watched the games on Saturday saw a Florida team which should have lost, if it had not been for two awful calls which should have been no-calls, and two missed field goals.

Alabama, dismantled S. Carolina. Texas did its best to lose against Oklahoma, but managed a win, and seemingly locked a spot in the Texas vs. Alabama/Florida title game. I really don't see any change in that unless the unthinkable happens and they all lose 2 games. USC really doesn't look good enough to deserve a shot. Iowa, I think does.

This is my main argument here: a one loss MWC team should be higher than an undefeated Boise St. Team. Yep. I said that. Why? Boise State has played 2 teams with winning records: Oregon, and Tulsa. They won those games by a combined 18 points. Not bad, but not impressive. They don't play anyone else of note, including 2 of the worst teams in the nation (Utah State and San Jose st a combined 2-10). Now, TCU could well go undefeated. But even a loss to Utah or BYU, they'd still have beat Clemson and Virginia on the road, and another top 25 team (either Utah of BYU). If BYU wins out, they will have beaten 3 top 25 teams (two of them top 10). Utah has a tougher road if they were to lose, simply because their sole loss was on the road to Oregon, who of course Boise St. beat, and share Utah State and San Jose State on the schedule. But if they win out, they will have beaten BYU and TCU at home.

Now, to more circular logic, the kind that makes us pull our hair out when the BCS comes into play: Georgia Tech's only loss came to Miami. Miami's only loss came to Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech lost to Alabama and...Georgia Tech.

Usually the call for a play-off comes with a load of one loss or unbeaten teams. This year may be the year when its because none of these teams really seem that dominant and all seem untested so far. It may become more clear over the rest of the season. But as history has shown, it will become even more muddled.

Games of next week ( a bit of a down week after this last week with the exception of the top 2):
TCU @ BYU
Oregon @ Washington
South Florida @ Pittsburgh
Penn St. @ Michigan
Uconn @ West Va.

Upset alert:
Texas @ Missouri: Has trap written all over it. Missouri suffered its first two loses of the season back to back in the last two weeks, and Texas is coming off of a win against Oklahoma and may be looking ahead at $15 Oklahoma State.