sports: November 2006 Archives

I find myself supremely uninterested in the various debates over the BCS Championship game, and whether or not Michigan should be allowed to rematch. There's a little bit of me that's rooting for Arkansas, but the rest of me is bored by most of the rest of it all.

In the absence of a playoff system, the problem with college football is that there aren't enough matchups among the best teams of each conference. Put in network terms, the college football schedule is marked by a high degree of clustering (densely interlinked opponents in-conference) with minimal connections across clusters, and often those are too indirect to be used as evidence. Without a higher degree of connections among (rather than within) conferences, claims regarding the best or 2nd best teams in the country are nothing more than educated guesses.

And so, I don't know if Michigan, Florida, USC, Notre Dame, or Arkansas is genuinely the 2nd best team, or even really if Ohio State is the best. What allows us to genuinely compare the quality of these various clusters are the bowl games themselves, and the BCS in particular. When West Virginia clubbed Georgia last year, it injected some doubt into the "SEC rules, Big East drools" narrative that we suffered through all last year when VaTech, Miami, and BC bolted.

And so, I'm actively uninterested in watching a replay of a game that I'd just as soon see both teams lose (too many years of watching them clobber my Hawks--sorry). I'm more interested in seeing these two teams meet the best teams from the SEC and the Pac-10, so that we can see who the best conferences are, and who the best teams are.

Mostly, I'm interested in seeing it decided on the field (as OSU-Michigan already has been, in my mind), rather than in the hearts and minds of a whole bunch of sports information directors whose inertia keeps the same old teams at the top year after year, and makes it unnecessarily difficult for teams like Auburn, Utah, Arkansas, and others to break through when they deserve it.

That's all I got today. Happy thanksgiving, all.

all praise to the flex schedule

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Maybe the single best thing about Sunday night football is that NBC's contract allowed them to choose their 2nd half games based on play during the 1st half of the season. Which makes for far less stinkers (I'm looking at you, Seattle and Oakland). A few thoughts from tonight's NFC proto-championship game:

1. I thought the Bears were nuts to draft Hester as highly as they did in the spring. I'll be the first to admit I was wrong. How many other teams have 3 return TDs so far this season?

2. I like Heroes all right, but "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World" has got to be the dumbest tagline in the world. It's a good thing that they didn't trot that out before the show began, because I wouldn't have watched.

3. When your team hits a snag, you hope that they get over it during the week. Clearly, the Bears didn't--the first half tonight was as ugly as any game they've played. But beginning from the final 2 minutes of the first half, they did as much as they could to regain their swagger, and it was a joy to watch (as a Bears fan).

4. The problem with "trademark" celebrations is that, unless you're planning on winning and all but shutting teams out, you're going to get to watch other teams mock your trademark, ad nauseam. No more with the jump shots, please.

5. Speaking of ad nauseam, my channel changer of the year has to be that series of commercials from Coors Light, where they show clips from Bill Walsh's and Dick Vermeil's press conferences, spliced with fake footage of frattish fans asking stupid questions. (Ex: Fan: "Did your placekicker make this onion dip?" Dick Vermeil: "He didn't appear to make it from where we were standing.") The worst part of these commercials is two-fold: first, it's an incredibly tired idea, and has been done 100s of times, and second, they don't even do it well. The clips are generic enough that lots of questions could be asked, but the questions themselves are written to the answers in an unnatural way. They're not stupid-funny, which I could live with. They're stupid-stupid. Someone made the decision to pay someone else thousands upon thousands of dollars to cut commercials that, given some footage, I could do in an afternoon in iMovie. And guess what? Mine would be written better.

And yes, I'll be closing the comments here soon, so that I don't have to wade through dozens of astroturf comments. The thought that some of that wasted money goes to drones who cut and paste dumbass comments on all the blogs that mention their commercials makes it even worse.

That's all.

Nary a hair

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I was turning back and forth last night between various shows and the opening night NBA matchups. In addition to watching the first installment in Chicago's sweep of Miami (Bulls d. Heat last night, Bears d. Dolphins this weekend), I noticed a little something as I was catching half-time and post-game on TNT. They're all bald.

Doubtless this has something to do with EJ's health problems, but all the same, Magic, EJ, Kenny, and Charles are all sporting domes. I realize that there's a lot less stigma attached to a lack of hair than there used to be, but even so, it was kind of surprising to see them all side-by-side in a studio show like that.

I don't really have more beyond that observation. TNT's studio show is one of the best things about watching the Association and that, combined with the fact that the Bulls seem to have finally turned the corner on their rebuilding, means that I may be watching a little more ball this year. We'll see.

That's all. 2 down, 28 to go.



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This page is a archive of entries in the sports category from November 2006.

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