Dec 15, 2009

The BCS Is The Best Thing To Happen To College Football. Ever.

To mark my return (or whatever) to this webspace, I'll be doing what bloggers do best: complain about things that bug them to whoever will listen. I've already tackled Brett Favre's return to the NFL, and my disgust over how it is viewed by many, and now, I take a look at the BCS.

National consensus is that the BCS is dumb, it gives us an unworthy champion, and that a playoff is the only logical way to decide a champion. Hell, even Congress has been throwing in their two cents. The argument against a playoff usually boils down to a tradition based argument, that the bowl system is too ingrained in the culture to be challenged or changed.

Both positions are, to be put lightly, bullshit.

The BCS is the natural evolution of the long-held bowl system, a marriage of human opinions (some of which suck badly) and computers (which do pretty good, despite my inherent distrust) (seriously, watch that video, and try to sleep tonight. Slap some basic targeting systems and a minigun on that thing, and good luck kids. Wait, where was I?). What more can you really ask for out of a system? It takes what worked in the past (polling) and utilizes available technology (moreso than baseball) to give the best match up. The best evidence?

Of the 12 games that have crowned a national champ in the BCS era, 6 have involved SEC teams.

Personal bias aside, 5 of those SEC teams won the game (and Alabama is favored by 4.5), and I think the results speak for themselves. People point to years like this, and say this is definitive need for a playoff. Why? How would you decide who gets in and who gets Boise Stated? You're left in the same place, but at the cost of other bowls.

But Daniel, the other bowls don't matter anyway!

Tell that to the UConn team that overcame the heartbreaking death of a teammate to get to play on January 2nd or to Joey Harrington who parlayed one good bowl game into a career that went way too long. These bowls matter to most teams, as the opportunity to be nationally televised is a recruiting boost, allowing a program to be seen by potential recruits all over the country. Sure, there is the occasional team that couldn't care about the game, and mails it in (see Alabama, 2009 Sugar Bowl), but for the majority of teams, these games are paid advertisements, and a good performance matters. Plus, for certain other players who just won't go away, this is a great chance to make an impression on NFL front office people who will decide your fate come Draft Day.

But you know what the best thing about the BCS and the bowl system is? Better than the opportunity to end your season with a win? Better than showing the country (or other countries) your school exists? Better than getting a large contract? It creates more discourse, more arguments, and more passion than anything else in sports. The controversy alone has propelled NCAA Football into that rarefied air, usually reserved for the Shield and nothing else. Even the National Football League (what up Gruden!) has to marvel at college football's ability to capture hearts and minds year round (and if you think the NFL doesn't benefit, you're NUTS). I was debating this point with someone this past summer, and they argued what the whole benefit of the BCS is to the fan, what makes it attractive to those of us who want a definitive answer, what does it offer us?

We were arguing about college football at a wedding in June. What more do you want?

I'm returning to the blog by discussing the weird happenings over the 3 months I've been away. NFL and NCAA Football are done, NBA, you're next.

Dec 8, 2009

Q: How do you bring a reluctant blogger back?

A: The wildest freaking 3 month stretch of sports I have ever seen.

A lot has happened since I claimed I was back with that stupid video (a mistake on multiple levels), both in the world of sport and in my own personal life. I've been branching out, learning new skills, being exposed to new cultures wildly different from my own, and basically attempting to grow as a person. I've rediscovered that inner light that allows me to see the goodness in people around me, and learned to appreciate everyone as a special and unique individual.


I'm still me, and life just got too hectic to type out my awful football picks and spread my own personal beliefs and bias'. Until now. Let's see what we've seen so far:

TheRoommate is originally from Wisconsin. Like any good Wisconsinian (?), he is a die hard Green Bay Packers fan, and his soul was rightfully torn asunder watching BrettFavre beat down his former team on two separate occasions this year (he reconciles this by cheering for Favre to do well, but for the Vikings to lose). Undaunted, and still bleeding Green and Gold, he decided to drive the 10 hours to Tampa Bay to watch his team (presumably) beat up on the then winless Buccaneers. Things did not go as planned. A few terse texts later, TheRoommate was home in time to watch Monday Night Football, and discuss what had happened. During our conversation, I made what I thought was an innocuous observation:

Me: What really sucks, is he came back to the NFL, particularly the Vikings, who are in your division, and who you've been bred to hate JUST to stick it to your team.

TheRoommate: No, no, no. He just joined them because he wants to win. He loves the game, and saw this as the best chance to win another Super Bowl.

Me: (Incredulous) You sound like Chris Berman; he came back to stick it to Ted Thompson and it just so happened that the Vikings are a decent team...he's human and wanted vengeance. Nothing wrong about that.

TheRoommate: Take that back, Brett would never do that to his fans. (Picks up battle axe) TAKE IT BACK!!!

(Heavily edited for length, language, and to add a battle axe)

No matter how badly I screw up around the house, or beat his head in playing Madden, this was far and away the closest we've come to actual physical violence. I thought his Midwestern head was going to explode, so naturally, I belabored the point further. My evidence:

1. On July 16, 2008 (mid-retirement 1), the Packers filed tampering charges against the Vikings, alleging improper communication between BrettFavre and Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel. In 'retaliation', the Packers refused to release him, and allow him to sign with a team of his choosing, instead trading him to the third circle of hell, I mean the New York Jets, with penalties in place to punish all parties if Favre was then shipped to Minnesota.

2. BrettFavre retired again on February 15th, 2009, and requested to be released from the Reserve/Retired list less than 3 months later. Allowing him to sign with any other team. Including the one that the Packers did everything to stop him from signing with.

3. Number4 signs with the Vikings on August 18, and starts an NFL game less than a week later. Pretty tough to assimilate a new playbook in less than a week, no matter how familiar you are with the language (Bevel had been his OC in the past). Pretty tough, that is, unless you've been studying the aforementioned playbook for, oh I don't know, A YEAR.

Pretty damning, no?

Well, not to TheRoommate. He deemed me insane, unworthy to continue speaking to, and to sate him, I conceded that I may be wrong. Well, I was lying. There is no freaking way that I was wrong, and the fact that this man went out of his way, so far as to suffer a year as a Jet, just to stick it to someone who had tried to retire him. His competitive nature that people gush over every Sunday? Wouldn't it also drive him not just to prove that he still has 'it', but also to go out of his way to drive a dagger into the bloodless corpse of Ted Thompson?

I think it would.

The rest of the week will be me detailing different crazy things that have happened over the last three months, and my takes on them. NFL, done. NCAA, you're next.

Wait, what...

Rick Reilly has gone stark raving mad...

No, really. He's freaking lost it.