Friday, December 23, 2005

Facts and Fact Checking

Madness around this time of year... Haven't had time to post on everything I'd like to... Here're a few random things worth your attention (and you've probably already seen them).

1) Chappelle Theory (as seen at Straight Bangin', Lindsayism, a ton of other places). It seems watertight. Except for the Omni Hotel being in Buckhead (it's actually downtown), the part about how Robert Johnson "reportedly thought to himself 'Bill, Al and Louis may be right — if this really blows up, it sets us up to be minstrels again.'" (I love it when my internal monologue gets reported), and well, everything else in it. I love a good conspiracy theory. Always worth the time.

2) Yahoo's entertainment news has an odd story up about the death of Donnie Carroll. Who is Donnie Carroll? He was a friend of Mark Wahlberg and served as the inspiration for the character "Turtle" on the HBO series. He died in pretty terrible circumstances (asthma attack, died in his fiancee's arms), and seemed to lead a somewhat interesting life - well at least interesting enough to inspire a TV character. He and Wahlberg had a falling out a few years ago, and Carroll appears to also have had some form of a rap career as Murda One. But really, is this news? I mean, it's definitely sad when anyone dies, but this guy really doesn't seem to be headline deserving. "The guy who inspired a supporting actor on a TV show that has a one tenth the audience of a Numb3rs repeat" doesn't seem like a story. Was he a weed guy for some big power players in Hollywood or something? Also, pretty unfortunate picture on that story, since Jerry Ferrara, the actor who plays the character inspired by Carroll, uhhh.. isn't dead. The Lady and I both were thrown off by that.

3) Want to get back at someone who wants to keep you buttoned up? Pose scantily clad in photos, like Jessica Biel did to try to get out of her contract with Seventh Heaven. Will the same work for the niece of Osama Bin Laden? To be seen. Weird.

4) This deserves its own post. Back for the 101st time: THE GENERAL KNOWLEDGE PAPER (warning, PDF) brought to you from the good folks at King William's College on the Isle of Man. Good luck to all, but eyes on your own paper!

5) And finally, the heartfeltiest of hearty congratulations are in order to The Wrangler and his new fiancee. Now we'll have to come up with a psuedonym for the lovely and talented ______. And she gets a bienvenidos to our not-drunk-or-insane-in-any-way family.Happy times all around!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Don't tell! I'm O'Reilly's Secret Portly, Crimson-Clad, Late-December Non-Sectarian Gift-Leaver.

C'mon, Bill. Chill. There's no war on Christmas. This is America. The Melting Pot of the World. Ours is a foundation built on inclusion. We don't leave anyone out. The reason stores and town displays use the phrase "Happy Holidays" isn't anti-Christian, but rather that other truly American concept: laziness. Nobody wants to take the time to put together a greeting that includes everyone. As Stiffler would say, that sounds like a lot of work.

Instead of your defense against the non-existent War on Christmas, I propose you join my War on Laziness. I'm firing the first salvos with the list below in an effort to include all faiths, cultures and other celebrants during this special time of year. Please add anyone I missed in the comments.

Here's wishing you all a...

...Merry Christmas!

...Happy Hanukkah!

...Crunk Kwanzaa!

...Luminous Diwali!

...Lifeless Winter Solstice!

...Hungry Ramadan!

...Enlightening Bodhi Day!

...¡Prospero Año y Felicidad!


...Tip-Top Tet!

...Miraculous Festivus!


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Premiership Picks

I'm uncertain of how much I'll be able to post over the next week (probably a good amount, but I'd rather get this all out of the way). A whole lot of holiday fixtures, so I'm skipping the blurbs and just picking results.

Last week: 5/9 right result, 1 right score (I should dock myself for missing the Bolton game last week so badly)
Season: 72/142 right result (51%), 19 right scores (13%)

Boxing Day:
Charlton Athletic v. Arsenal: 1-1
Middlesbrough v. Blackburn Rovers: 1-2
Chelsea v. Fulham: 3-1
Portsmouth v. West Ham United: 0-1
Tottenham Hotspur v. Birmingham City: 2-0
Sunderland v. Bolton Wanderers: 0-2
Liverpool v. Newcastle United: 2-1
Wigan Athletic v. Manchester City: 1-1
Manchester United v. West Bromwich Albion: 3-0
Aston Villa v. Everton: 1-1

Arsenal v. Portsmouth: 2-0
West Bromwich Albion v. Tottenham Hotspur: 1-2
Birmingham City v. Manchester United: 0-3
West Ham United v. Wigan Athletic: 1-1
Fulham v. Aston Villa:0-0
Blackburn Rovers v. Sunderland: 2-0
Manchester City v. Chelsea: 1-0 (yep, just like last year)
Bolton Wanderers v. Middlesbrough: 2-0
Newcastle United v. Charlton Athletic: 2-1
Everton v. Liverpool: 0-2

Next Saturday:
Aston Villa v. Arsenal: 1-2
Manchester United v. Bolton Wanderers: 2-2 (might be the best match of the holidays)
Charlton Athletic v. West Ham United: 1-1
Middlesbrough v. Manchester City: 1-1
Chelsea v. Birmingham City: 4-0
Portsmouth v. Fulham: 2-1
Tottenham Hotspur v. Newcastle United: 2-0
Sunderland v. Everton: 0-2
Liverpool v. West Bromwich Albion: 2-1
Wigan Athletic v. Blackburn Rovers: 1-1

Jan 2 and beyond:
West Bromwich Albion v. Aston Villa: 0-1
Everton v. Charlton Athletic: 1-1
West Ham United v. Chelsea: 0-3
Fulham v. Sunderland: 2-0
Birmingham City v. Wigan Athletic: 0-2
Newcastle United v. Middlesbrough: 1-0
Bolton Wanderers v. Liverpool: 3-2 (another good one)
Blackburn Rovers v. Portsmouth: 2-1
Arsenal v. Manchester United: 3-4 (dessert)
Manchester City v. Tottenham Hotspur: 2-1


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Random Musings

1. Scroll down to the General's post on the congressional hearings on the BCS. He watches them so you don't have to. It really did sould enthralling.

2. Alex Rodriguez not playing in the World Baseball Classic is pure, unadulterated pussiness. The Yankees don't want him to play? Yes massah. And then to deny that they had anything to do with it, after they'd already ordered Posada not to play... completely not credible. The only alternate reason I can see for him not playing: Nike, Right Guard, Pepsi, whoever else didn't want him to play because it'd hurt his rep in whatever country he didn't play for. If it's the Yankees or the companies he endorses, either way it's just selfish, uncle tommery. Playing for your country should be an honor and a privilege and everyone should be angling to make the team, not minding their own pockets. A Rod is a sad little bitch.

3. Whoever is working the production booth at FOX Sports today and playing that sleigh bell jingle everytime the graphics for the down and distance change is on my list. You can choke on a shaft. The only reason to do it is to draw annoyance away from that directed toward the announcers. Seriously annoying, and probably a sign that we're approaching the tipping point for sound effects and bullshit on sportscasts. Hopefully one day soon a network will decide that less is more and we'll have quieter, natural sound for games. I know I'm not alone on this. In Canada a while ago CFL games went quiet because of a strike or something and they were the highest rated games of the year.

4. Hawks, dude. I'm starting to get a little more interested.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Premiership Picks

Being without a computer for a while missed out on a few things the last couple of weeks. Busy times lay ahead with Boxing Day fixtures and all.

But now is as good a time as any to look at some of the interesting things going on in the world of soccer, now that for most leagues the season is about halfway through.

1) Keane to Celtic. He takes a paycut to do it, and I think it's a great move for all parties. Obviously I don't think Celtic's in much danger of not winning the SPL this year, but Keane on the team next year maight let the Bhoys advance in the Champions' League.

2) Who is the best team in the world? Barcelona surely has an argument. Chelsea as well. Juventus is playing very well, only failing to take full points once. But I'm going to revert to my college football thought processes and take a different tact. How's about Olympique Lyonnais? Only five teams in Europe are currently unbeaten domestically. Wycombe Wanderers in England's League 2, Gretna in Scotland's second division, Mantova in Italy's Serie B, Fenerbahce in Turkey, and Lyon. Lyon also did not suffer a loss in the group stage of the Champions' League, though they were paired with Real Madrid and had tricky road games at Rosenborg and Olympiakos. Sylvain Wiltord is one reason why France is still a threat at 2006 Germany. It'd be hard not to consider Lyon one of the world's best teams. Now they face PSV in the first round of the knockout stages of the Champions' League with revenge on their minds. This is a solid and dangerous team, capable of scoring quickly and frequently.

3) How about some American love for Reading? They're currently atop the Championship tables, four points clear of second place, and a whopping 17 points clear of third (and automatic promotion to the Premiership). They're tied with Sheffield United for the most goals scored and lead the entire league in goals allowed (only Chelsea and Liverpool have conceded fewer goals - and that's in 7 and 8 fewer games, respectively). And who has been minding the nets in Reading for every game this year? None other than Marcus Hahnemann, backup to Kasey Keller on the US MNT. Plus the midfield has featured Bobby Convey in all 23 games as well. The American influence has definitely been felt at Reading, so here's some recognition to them.

4) Champions' League Draw: Bit of a shame that two out of Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Chelsea and Barcelona won't advance, but that's the draw. Rangers/Villareal seems like a clash of less-than-titans, but watch the winner advance to the final. Liverpool looks to have fared the best out of the English clubs, but Benfica just knocked out Man U, so you never know. Chelsea/Barce is clearly the most interesting pairing, but PSV/Lyon and Arsenal/Real should be good too. Juventus/Werder Bremen is probably the biggest mismatch of this round.

5) UEFA Cup Draw: Now that this is in the knockout stages, I'll start following and picking the games. The English teams didn't get great first round matchups, with Middlesbrough facing Stuttgart and Bolton against Marseille. Early predictions on teams to advance a long way: Hamburg, Roma, Schalke, Monaco and Shakhtar. I'd also choose AZ Alkmaar and Real Betis, but they're against each other in probably the best matchup of the first round. Also, as in just about every year, watch out for some Eastern European teams to pull some big wins early on (possibly in bad weather), especially the Bucharest teams, Levski, Slavia, Shakhtar, Zenit and Lokomotiv.

Now back to the Premiership picks:

Last time around: 6/10 right result, 1 right scoreline
Season: 67/133 right result, 18 right scorelines

This weekend (and note how United vs. United, City vs. City, Athletic vs. Athletic: Braggin' Rights!):
Aston Villa v. Manchester United: 0-1. I have a feeling Man U will play well the second half, what with all the fixtures in the Champions' League the other big clubs have to worry about.
Portsmouth v. West Bromwich Albion: 1-1. I wouldn't watch this if the players were all replaced by models and the match were played naked. Well, actually, I would... but only then.
West Ham United v. Newcastle United: 1-2. Don't have a good read on this one at all.
Everton v. Bolton Wanderers: 1-0. Everton have shown marked improvement of late.
Wigan Athletic v. Charlton Athletic: 1-0. Charlton have shown marked decrease in ability of late.
Fulham v. Blackburn Rovers: 2-1. I'm not liking these picks this week at all. Guessing a bit more than normal.
Manchester City v. Birmingham City: 2-0. Strongest feeling of the day.
Arsenal v. Chelsea: 2-2. I think Chelsea are significantly better right now, but I think Arsenal will show pride at home.
Middlesbrough v. Tottenham Hotspur: 1-2. Another match I'm not sure about.

This is the worst I've felt about picks this year, so take that as you will.


A few Atlanta Winter Sports Notes

The last two nights I have been fortuitous in my sports viewing. I'd call myself a fan of the Hawks and Thrashers, but I make no effort to watch any of their games or even follow what's going on aside from the information I can get via osmosis and without looking for anything. But if the Lady has fallen asleep and I'm channel surfing (or really guide searching on TiVo), I'll usually drop by a live Hawks or Thrashers game to see if there's any reason to watch (and then leave the channel on so I can hear the announcers while I continue to look through the guide).

Two nights ago I turned on the Hawks game to see the score and I knew the game would be about over. In fact, the Hawks had the ball and the chance to take the lead with around a minute to go. After a Tyronn Lue miss, Kyle Korver absolutely shoved the shit out of Josh Smith (who had boxed him out perfectly) to get into better position for a board. No call. Childress gets the ball, and takes it to the rack for a basic layup but Korver again smacks the shit out of Childress' arm, completely redirecting the ball. No call. Sixers get the ball and someone gets fouled (I think it was Webber). Two hilariously clear and obvious fouls which directly affected both plays go uncalled with the game on the line. I was just blown away at how terrible the calls were. The Smith gets a T for taking off his headband, Webber makes 4 FTs and it's a two possession game. Then before the Hawks inbound the ball, Woodson gets tossed and the Sixers go up by 5 on another made FT (the first one was missed because the PA announcer announced the ejection of Woodson at the exact moment the shooter took aim and the crowd reacted naturally). I was stunned to see the way the refs took the game out of the hands of the teams. Just pathetic officiating. But what really surprised me was the reaction of the pro-Hawks announcers. They weren't even all that mad. I was outraged, and I'm not even that big a fan. But the announcers were extremely nonchalant and basically said, well that's how it's gone this year. Then they rattled off 3 or 4 games with calls worse than this one (which I find hard to belive, since this was so bad). Have the Hawks been jobbed on 4 games this year already? If so, there's a huge difference in the perception of this team in the city. Most sports fans around Atlanta I think are like me, in that they'll root for the Hawks, but the last 5 or 6 years has given them no incentive to make an effort to follow the Hawks. And once the team looks like it's on the way to a similar season, they tune the Hawks out. I know that's how most of the guys I know think about them. I know you might think there's no real difference between 4-17 and 8-13, but look in the standings. The Eastern Conference is sucking ass. 8-13 puts you 1 1/2 games out of the playoffs. At least it'd give the city a reason to pay a little more attention. Plus, a win against the Sixers would have given them a 3 game streak, which might create a little buzz, considering how flatlined the public sentiment on this team has been for years. Basically, those awful awful no-calls on Korver had far-reaching repercussions. And it's a little unfortunate, because this city will get behind the Hawks if they made a little noise themselves. In any event, I was glad I saw that little bit, even if it wasn't good for the city.

Then last night I happened to flip on the Thrashers game (something I've done, like 4 times in the history of the franchise). Perfect timing for me, since I flipped it on right as the game was going into overtime. About 10-15 years ago, I actually followed hockey relatively closely, even though Atlanta didn't have an NHL franchise (which is probably why I followed it, to be contrarian). When the lockout ended, and the NHL announced the new rules changes, I didn't really like it. Mainly because I don't have a problem with ties in regular season games. I think sometimes teams don't deserve to lose or win, and a draw is a proper result. So I have to say I was skeptical about the new OT rules and the shootout. Having watched last night's OT, however, I'm a little convinced. 4 on 4 in OT is a great idea to go along with the expanded passing rules. The couple of 4/4 minutes last night were exciting, up and down hockey. It reminded me of the wider rinks and open passing in Olympic hockey (which I think is a superior product). Then after a properly called high stick on the Thrashers, the game went 4 on 3 for a while, which led to a few good shots and a couple of shorthanded breakaways. I really like the risk/reward of the OT power play. If you can hold the puck in the zone, you'll get off good, open shots, but if you give up the puck, you'll give up open lanes the other way. And that's what happened last night. Hossa has a breakaway and has a clear lane to the goal, but then he gets pulled down right on top of Brodeur. Incredibly exciting moment, followed by a tense moment when Brodeur looked like he was out cold. So Hossa was awarded a penalty shot, the guy who pulled him down is sent to the box, and Brodeur had to come out of his fog and try to stop the penalty, which he does. All in all a pretty intense moment. The there's 10 seconds or so of 3 on 3 hockey, and then the rest of the OT period is a power play for the Thrashers. Same scenario with risks and rewards. The Devils have one breakaway, and then the Thrashers set up several good shots. Finally, Kovalchuk draws two defenders, dishes to Savard, who fits the puck in through a tiny crease to score the game winner with 5 seconds to go.

So basically just by luck, I flip on the game (which I never do) and I see 5 minutes of incredibly exciting hockey, topped off by a last second goal for my home team to win. Doesn't get much better than that. Also, watch out for the Thrashers. I think Hartley's a good coach and the major offseason changes are just starting to gell. This team could make a run for the playoffs. And having something to follow in the wintertime around here will make the wait for baseball season go by a bit faster.


Bowl Honkey!

To paraphrase Blaine Historian Phil Burgess, a lot of what I've read lately is just a bunch of bowl roar. Including from our host and, on a bigger stage, from my Dawg at the WSJ (link only temporary; must subscribe for permanent). I've commented on how the bowl system is set up so that the rich stay rich. If you think Auburn or Cal got screwed last year, think of them as a tiger/bear-skinned rug that the Bowl Gods walked all over. Then the undefeated Utahs and Boise States of the world are the dirt that gets swept under that tiger/bear-skinned rug. These teams will never, ever have a chance at the big prize unless there is a playoff.

Foolishly, I actually recorded the congressional hearing on the BCS last week, and I finally got through all of it (I had to go back several times cuz Rep. Snoozenstein and Commissioner Comatose kept putting me to sleep). I still don't see why they are so dead-set against a playoff. The Big Ten guy who testified was pretty believable when he said that an "NFL-style" playoff would bring a lot more money to the schools. (Why do they always say "NFL-style" with such disdain? At the hearing they said it at least 35 times, and it's all over the BCS website. Wouldn't it really be "Div. I-AA-style"?) So they try to say it's not about money, but I think that is just deflection. It is about money, but under a playoff system, the conferences would take money away from the bowls themselves and the sponsors, because many of the playoff games would have to be on campus. How the bowl brass brainwashed the conference officers and college presidents into parroting the "Bowls-are-Best" mantra is beyond me. We may be dealing with a more powerful force than we could possibly understand, as evidenced by the fact that the guy who was the biggest dick to the BCS and bowl reps nearly died less than a week after badmouthing the Almighty Bowl System. Coincidence?

When most of the congressmen were agreeing (as, indeed, I do) that a plus-one game is probably the best fix, the entire witness panel broke into a chorus of the "slippery slope" argument, saying that March Madness started out with just 8 teams, now they are at 65, and they're talking about going to a full 128 (which would be awesome!). They never directly answered the question of what is so bad about a playoff. The Alamo Bowl President kept talking about a playoff reducing the amount of postseason opportunities for players, and how right now we end the season with 28 different teams going out on a win. Yippee! Just like how our Little Leaguers all get "participation trophies." Do we really need to stroke the egos of college athletes? I'd say they get enough stroking from cleat-chasing coeds.

The only real benefit from watching the hearing was the Alamo Bowl president's mustache and that sexy, sassy hellcat, the Gentlelady from Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn.

Classic San Antone 'Stache: Derrick Fox


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Flick the Button

Playing catchup here, so a few of these reviews might've gotten stale.

Flight of the Phoenix: Just didn't work for me like I hoped it would. Felt like the middle hour was just a bunch of montages set to semi-cheesey classic rock. It's also about 35 minutes too long. Some of the desert scapes were nice, but not enough for me. Otto was wasted, Quaid was on cruise control. In fact, the only actor in it whose performance I kind of liked was Tyrese (or maybe Sticky Fingaz). About 90 minutes in I was actively rooting against it being able to fly. You're fired.

...And Justice For All: I saw a long clip of this in a CLE session which interested me enough to want to see it. Mistake. I guess it might've been better before Law & Order, Homicide and a million other TV dramas that cover the same territory, but now it just feels dated and lame. And on a personal level, I can't stand the way legal-themed films or TV make me correct very basic 1L statements, even in my head. Any time something I watch reminds me that I have a legal education, it's going to get knocked down a peg or two. George Bluth Sr. was great, but this movie made want to listen to Metallica to get the right taste in my mouth when thinking of the title. You're Fired.

Slap Shot: Fuck Yeah. I'm kind of pissed at myself for not seeing this before now. I'll definitely see it multiple times. Comedy gold all over the place, boozing, fighting and womanizing. Something for everyone, especially if everyone is me. I especially liked how the lunatic supporting characters didn't feel forced, like they always do in today's sports movies. Makes me wonder about George Roy Hill and how he could've hit three high notes like Butch Cassidy, The Sting and this, but then... Anyway, there's absolutely nothing I didn't like about this movie. I can't wait to piss all over the Jimmy Fallon, Rob Schneider and Horatio Sanz remake in five years. Also, a strange side note: this movie uses Maxine Nightingale's "Right Back Where We Started From" a whole bunch of times and when I saw this I thought how great a song it is. Now, I can't avoid it. It's in commercials for The Family Stone, Emily's Reasons Why Not, and some other retail store (Kohls or something). Did a bunch of ad execs watch Slap Shot recently or something? Cadillac.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Torn on this. I liked that it followed the book a little more closely, and the Great Glass Elevator was about what my mind had predicted (and the single biggest flaw/omission in WWatCF). Also, when there were new jokes, they were usually pretty funny. However, the Oompa Loompa songs were just about terrible, and the Daddy storyline was unnecessary. It should've listened to its own lines about how candy doesn't need to have a point. When it was inane, it was good, when it had meaning, not so much. I liked it a little more than I'll rate it, but still, You're Fired.

The Interpreter: Know this first: I'm a sucker for Kidman, and also for international intrigue. However, this wasn't all that great. It's paced too slow for the first 75 minutes. Keener has nothing to do. Penn is doing the same inner turmoil seether he's done 10 times already. The climax, however, is pretty intense (or at least it was to me). Kind of a surprise considering how bored I was for most of what led up to it. A better movie could've been made out of this. I wanted to like it, but You're Fired.

I've got some things that should be good lined up though, so here's hoping that this recent run of mediocrity stops.


A Modest Proposal on Bowl Selections

While my own personal preference for the ideal college football postseason would probably be to have the teams settle it on the field in a playoff (and I'm still not 100% on that, just inching that way), I recognize that for the foreseeable future, it jsut isn't happening. The BCS and bowls are here for a while now, and I'm on record as saying it's not a good system, and the methods of selecting teams for the bowls are backwards and ill-advised.

We have to determine what the most important factor is in terms of selecting teams for bowls. If you ask the majority of the bowls, it's selling tickets and getting high TV ratings, to be followed (I'd guess distantly) by tradition. That's why I think the automatic bowl tie-ins with conferences should be done away with in favor of a centralized selection process. The conference tie-ins serve to provide the bowls with certainty. But too often certainty ends up leading to mediocre or boring bowls. Or the same teams ending up in the same bowls year after year, leading to dwindling ticket sales. Simply stated, conference tie-ins do not result in better bowls, in my opinion.

So what to do instead? My suggestion is a purely American system. Meritocracy and free market economics.

Here's the system: You use a system of ranking teams (rank them all, or at least 60+ in order to fill every available bowl slot). Create a ladder. Then pair up opponents based on that ladder, starting at the top. 1 vs. 2. 3 vs. 4. If a team would be scheduled to play another team it had played in the regular season or is in the same conference, skip down the ladder, then with the next bowl game, go back up. Then you've got your bowl matchups.

The next step: slotting the matchups into actual bowls. This is simple. Just rank the bowls based on monetary payout guaranteed. If the Music City Bowl wants to step up its game and get a better matchup, promise more money. Better for the teams, more control for the bowls.

Here are the pros on this system:

  • 1 vs. 2 guaranteed.
  • If a #3 team is locked out, they're still playing a top opponent, which the BCS cannot guarantee now.
  • Nobody gets "screwed" by dudes in bad sportcoats. Simple and clear system.
  • Opportunity for fans to travel new places, for bowls to get different teams.
  • Dual edged sword on payouts: Chances are some bowls will increase payouts to move up and get better matchups. Other bowls will either remain at the bottom or fold due to the inability to keep up with the Joneses. More $$$ to teams or conferences, possibly cuts down on unneccessary bowls.
  • Matchups are similarly situated teams, unlike the current system which matches up teams of sometimes grossly disproportionate talent.

Here are the cons:

  • The selection system (polls, BCS, etc.) has to be foolproof, or it throws off the entire thing. Coming to a decision on what system to use to determine the ladder would be near impossible.
  • Loss of traditional bowl tie-ins (though most of those traditions have gone the way of the dodo).
  • Geographical considerations not taken into account.
  • To some idealist holdouts, more money isn't a good thing for college football.
  • Gets us no closer to a playoff.

As to whether this system would work, we'll have to try some hypotheticals and compare it to the current system. The problem here is that there are few widely accepted ranking systems that rank 56 teams (enough to fill every slot in the 28 bowls). Using the BCS would only fill 12 bowls, while the AP and Coaches polls would fill 19 bowls. We could use computer rankings (some folks don't care much for computers telling them things they can see with their own eyes) or the CFN or CBS 117 rankings (which suffer from human error and possibly bias - would you trust Dennis Dodd?). If the BCS were extended to rank all teams, I could see that system as acceptable, though flawed. For purposes of this meaningless exercise, I'll just use the Lebowski Rankings, since they are based solely on on-field results and no bias or any other kind of undue influence or overcomplicated formulae are injected.

So here's what the Bowl Matchups would look like. The Bowls are ranked by payouts, and in the event of a tie, I've given the later (by date) bowl priority. I'll discuss the matchup and compare it to the existing matchup. Then I'll rate it as a better matchup, worse matchup, or about the same, based on competitiveness, the potential for ticket sales and TV ratings. Finally, I'll see whether a system based solely on merit and payouts would result in a better or worse system than the current flawed one.

1. Rose Bowl ($15M payouts):

  • Texas vs. Southern Cal.
  • Original matchup: Texas vs. USC.
  • Same matchup, same quality of bowl.
  • Rating: Same

2. Orange Bowl ($15M):

  • Penn State vs. Oregon
  • Original Matchup: Penn State vs. FSU
  • More competitive on paper, TV ratings might increase because a better matchup. Ticket sales likely lower since no local draw. Better reward for Penn State, much better for Oregon.
  • Rating: Better for teams, slightly better for bowl.

3. Sugar Bowl ($15M):

  • West Virginia vs. TCU
  • Original Matchup: WVU vs. UGA
  • Much worse matchup of teams. TV ratings would decrease. Ticket sales much lower. WVA doesn't get as tough an opponent, on paper. TCU, however, deserves a better bowl than the Houston Bowl. That much money for a mid-major team that isn't undefeated is too much.
  • Rating: Worse.

4. Fiesta ($15M)

  • Virginia Tech vs. Georgia
  • Original Matchup: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame
  • Good matchup, but probably not near as good. TV decreases, Ticket sales lower. A better matchup for both VT and UGA than who they are playing.
  • Rating: Worse.

5. Capital One ($5.125M)

  • LSU vs. Ohio State
  • Original Matchup: Wisconsin vs. Auburn
  • Considering that LSU and Ohio State finished ahead of UW and AU in their respective conferences, it's arguably a better matchup. TV probably increases very slightly. Ticket sales about the same. This matchup is about the same or maybe slightly worse for LSU and OSU as compared to their actual opponent.
  • Rating: slightly better

6. Cotton ($3M)

  • Texas Tech vs. Auburn
  • Original Matchup: Texas Tech vs. Alabama
  • Auburn blew out Alabama, so this is a slightly better matchup for Texas Tech. For Auburn, it's about a wash, but a more interesting matchup. Ticket sales about the same, TV about the same.
  • Rating: very very slightly better.

7. Outback ($2M)

  • Miami (FL) vs Notre Dame
  • Original Matchup: Iowa vs. Florida
  • Payday for Tampa. Local draw, national interest, traditional rivalry. Better TV ratings, guaranteed sellout. Also, both ND and the U are playing teams not much better or worse then their actual apponents.
  • Rating: Much better

8. Holiday ($2M)

  • UCLA vs. Alabama
  • Original Matchup: Oregon vs. Oklahoma
  • Alabama is a better choice than Oklahoma, UCLA is slightly worse than Oregon on the field, but probably as good a draw for the bowl because of local interest. Probably a more competitive matchup and good contrast of styles.
  • Rating: Better

9. Gator ($1.6M)

  • Louisville vs. Wisconsin
  • Original Matchup: Louisville vs. Va. Tech
  • No change for the Cardinals. Wisconsin isn't as good a team as VT, but probably would bring more fans, considering how VT played in J'ville just this month. Similarly competitive to the actual matchups.
  • Rating: Same

10. Peach ($1.6M)

  • Boise State vs. Florida
  • Original Matchup: LSU vs. Miami
  • The Peach struck gold with their existing matchup, so this is significantly worse. Boise State's already travelled to Georgia once this year, and Florida has played in the Peach recently. Perhaps an interesting matchup because of offenses, but not near as good as LSU/Miami. Florida wouldn't be playing as good an opponent, while Boise State would be playing a team about as good.
  • Rating: Worse

11. Sun ($1.35M)

  • Boston College vs. Toledo
  • Original Matchup: UCLA vs. Northwestern
  • A much more deserving bowl for the Eagles, but the opponent isn't quite as good as Boise State. Toledo faces a better team, but might not deserve it. Not as competitive, worse TV ratings, fewer tickets sold.
  • Rating: Worse

12. Alamo ($1.35M)

  • Nevada vs. UTEP
  • Original Matchup: Michigan vs. Nebraska
  • For the teams, they'd be playing an opponent about as good as they are anyway. The bowl would take a big hit in TV ratings, though it's probably a more competitive game and UTEP would sell a good amount of tickets because of the local interest. Not quite as bad as it might seem, but still not 2 of the best traditional programs.
  • Rating: worse

13. Liberty ($1.3M)

  • Florida State vs. Fresno State
  • Original Matchup: Tulsa vs. Fresno State
  • Just having the Noles there makes it a more interesting game, more competitive, better ticket sales, and better TV ratings. Florida State doesn't play as good an opponent, Fresno State does.
  • Rating: Better

14. Independence ($1.2M - I'm kind of surprised that it was this much... why does the SEC give a preference to Music City every other year?)

  • Tulsa vs. Michigan
  • Original Matchup: South Carolina vs. Missouri
  • Michigan is about as good a draw as South Carolina. Tulsa and Missouri are probably comparable. TV and tickets are about the same, probably.
  • Rating: Same

15. Emerald ($800K)

  • Central Florida vs. Oklahoma
  • Original Matchup: Georgia Tech vs. Utah
  • This is getting harder. Guessing Oklahoma might draw slightly better than GT, but Utah would draw better than UCF. No more or less competitive a game. Probably might draw slightly better ratings because of the Sooners (a surprisingly -like near ND sized- big draw nationally).
  • Rating: About the same.

16. Fort Worth ($800K)

  • Northwestern vs. Nebraska
  • Original Matchup: Kansas vs. Houston
  • A much better slate for the bowl, while both teams would be playing slightly worse opponents than they actually are (though it'd probably make for a more entertaining game). Ticket sales and TV ratings would likely be much better.
  • Rating: Better

17. Las Vegas ($800K)

  • Minnesota vs. Iowa State
  • Original Matchup: Cal vs. BYU
  • For both the Gophers and Cyclones, it'd be a different part of the country from where they've played recent bowl games, so it might draw more interest than the bowls where they're currently slated to go. Both would probably be more interested in their opponent (though both probably wouldn't be playing as good an opponent). The bowl would be giving up two regional draws, and BYU travels well (but to Vegas?). TV ratings would probably be about the same, ticket sales might drop.
  • Rating: Very very slightly worse.

18. Motor City ($780K)

  • Iowa vs Georgia Tech
  • Original Matchup: Akron vs. Memphis
  • GT would be playing a better opponent and closer. Iowa wouldn't be playing a better opponent, but it'd be a better matchup. For the bowl, it'd be perfect. Semi-regional draw, two better teams, much higher TV ratings and ticket sales.
  • Rating: Much much better

19. Houston ($750K)

  • Clemson vs. Cal
  • Original Matchup: TCU vs. Iowa State
  • Clemson and Cal are playing better teams, and it would be a pretty competitive matchup. But the bowl would lose a regional draw, hurting ticket sales. TV ratings would probably increase though.
  • Rating: about the same

20. Meineke Car Care ($750K)

  • South Carolina vs. Rutgers
  • Original Matchup: N.C. State vs. South Florida
  • USC is better than either of the actual teams, but Rutgers is worse. USC could sell out the game by themselves, and Rutgers wouldn't be a slouch for ticket sales either. Wouldn't be quite as competitive, and the TV ratings would be about the same
  • Rating: Better

21. Music City ($750K)

  • Miami (OH) vs. Louisiana Tech
  • Original Matchup: Minnesota vs. Virginia
  • Smaller schools with smaller fanbases would mean worse ticket sales and TV ratings. Obviously, this is fantastic for the schools, neither of which were invited to play in a bowl game this year.
  • Rating: Much much worse.

22. MPC Computers ($750K)

  • Western Michigan vs. Navy
  • Original Matchup: Boise State vs Boston College
  • Navy's a good draw most places, but even they can't help this bowl, which needs Boise State or a nearby WAC team to fill the stadium. Western Michigan fans, both, would be excited to travel to any bowl. Navy would be going to a worse location to play a worse opponent. Minimal ticket sales and TV ratings.
  • Rating: Much much worse.

23. Insight ($750K)

  • Colorado vs. Akron
  • Original Matchup: Arizona State vs. Rutgers
  • Colorado can't possibly buy as many tickets as ASU. Akron and Rutgers are probably comparable in the number of fans and the interest they'd bring (as well as how competitive they'd be). Fewer tickets, probably worse TV ratings. About the same in terms of competitiveness.
  • Rating: Worse.

24. Champs Sports ($750K)

  • Northern Illinois vs. Kansas
  • Original Matchup: Colorado vs. Clemson
  • No regional draw. Kansas and Colorado are probably comparable, but Clemson is much better for the bowl than NIU. NIU has to be happy to get invited to any bowl. Kansas would be playing a team about as good as they actually are. Better for the teams, much worse for the bowl.
  • Rating: Worse.

25. Hawaii ($750K)

  • NC State vs. Arizona State
  • Original Matchup: Nevada vs. Central Florida
  • Larger schools might bring more fans, even though Nevada and UCF fans might be hungrier. TV ratings would probably be better. NC State and Arizona State would probably play better opponents than in their actual bowls. Similarly competitive.
  • Rating: Better

26. Poinsettia ($750K)

  • South Florida vs. New Mexico
  • Original Matchup: Colorado State vs. Navy
  • Navy is a huge draw in San Diego, and neither team could match that. USF would bring minimal fans or TV interest. New Mexico and CSU are comparable. No more or less competitive, and the bowl would take a bath.
  • Rating: Worse

27. GMAC ($750K)

  • Missouri vs. Virginia
  • Original Matchup: Toledo vs. UTEP
  • Bigger schools, so somewhat more interest. Better TV ratings, though ticket sales would be relatively low in either event. Teams would be slightly better. Neither UVA nor Mizzou would be playing a better opponent than in their actual games.
  • Rating: Better

28. New Orleans ($750K)

  • BYU vs. Central Michigan
  • Original Matchup: Southern Miss vs. Arkansas State
  • Fewer tickets sold because no regional draws. Probably slightly more TV interest though. CMU would be glad to be there, but BYU would be playing in a farther away bowl against a worse team than they are.
  • Rating: Worse.

These bowl bound teams would be locked out of the proposed system: Southern Miss, Ark. State, Colorado State, Memphis, and Utah.

These teams would be invited in their place: Central Michigan, Miami (OH), Western Michigan, Northern Illinois and New Mexico. So the MAC would gain big time.

Under the proposed system (and in my opinion), 11 bowls would be even slightly better, 12 would be even slightly worse, and 5 would be about the same. No real improvement from the current system in terms of improving all bowls, but it would open the doors to different teams and allow teams to travel to different places. Of course, this exercise would be have completely different results if a different system, like the BCS or a computer rankings list, were used to create the ladder. Perhaps I'll run the same scenario with a different system of rankings another time to see if it would work better.

So perhaps my proposal is indeed modest in the Swiftian sense of the phrase: in practice, it's not exactly a good idea. Now I wish I hadn't made the effort.


Laces OUT, Dan

Let's start the hype. Highly touted Dan Hawkins' spread (spread for me) option is coming to Athens to challenge a rebuilding Dawgs team. The Group of 6 will show the SEC who's boss. Sophisticated passing attacks are just way too complicated for southern African-Americans to understand. The SEC is low-scoring not because of dominant defenses, but because of inept offenses. Blah, blah, fucking blah.

Only this time the "Group of 6" is the "best" team from the group of six teams that battle each year not to have to face Oklahoma or Texas in the Big 12 Championship.

Let's hope the Buffs show up a little more so that UGA isn't discredited for a good non-conference win, again, and again.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A day late World Cup review

Just a warning for those readers here for the college football and nothing else. Come June, this will be World Cup central. Seriously.

The draft was on Friday and with all honesty, when I saw who the US was matched with, I pulled a Krayzee Eyez Killah.

"Muthafucka, what the fuck!"

The optimists (and Eddie Johnson) are talking about how Italy ain't as good as they once were, and how the Czech Republic is overhyped. Screw all that. The first two games the US has to play, in Europe, where we suck, are against the two best keepers in the whole damn world (Buffon and Cech). I'm sitting here thinking scoreless draws are about as good as we can hope. Then we have to have a huge number against Ghana and hope the others screw up somewhere. So, what I'm saying is: this could end up bad. Not France '98 bad, but bad.

The lesson from the draw: the seeding that says Mexico is better than us (which I do not believe) is bullshit and completely screws us.

I'll also go on record here saying that I actually think our group isn't the toughest. I'd give that to C. Argentina are the second best team in the tournament. The Netherlands are one of the 7 teams I think have an actual chance to win the whole thing. Serbia/Montenegro are about as good as the US. And Cote d'Ivoire I think are as dangerous or moreso than Ghana. If the US got screwed by the seeding, the Dutch got tied up with kite-fighting glass string and sodomized with a saguaro cactus.

Other notes:

  • Germany and England may as well be given byes to the knockout stage.
  • I think Ukraine win group H. Spain need a crazy result to advance, but get it. They then lose in the first match of the knockout.
  • Group F will be interesting for two reasons: (a) because Brazil are unbelievably fun to watch; and (b) because the other three teams are about comparable in talent and ability (they're all decent but not good enough to threaten a late run in the tournament). Should be a good battle for second.

Looking back at 2002, that was a really messed up tournament. Then Euro 2004 was screwy too. I get the feeling it's time for a straight, uninteresting, no upsets kind of tournament. In fact, I don't see many of the favorites flaming out early. My early predictions: Germany, Poland, England, Sweden, Argentina, Netherlands, Portugal, Iran, Italy, Czech Republic, Brazil, Croatia, France, South Korea, Ukraine, and Spain. Final 4: England, Argentina, Brazil and the Czech Republic (fear the hot keeper). England upsets Argentina in the semi, with karma from the hand of God and that pussy ass dive that got Beckham sent off helping. Brazil wins an incredibly entertaining match over the Czechs. And in the final, Brazil utterly annihilates England. Yes, I know South American teams don't win when the Cup is in Europe. But this is no South American team. Brazil is head and shoulders better than the rest of the world. And it'll be the English who will have to suffer the pain this time. Ronaldinho and Cech are the stars of the tournament. Wayne Rooney would have won the Golden Boot after a hat trick in the Trinidad and Tobago match, but he accumulates cards, is forced to sit out the final, where Ronaldo scores twice to take it away from him. Yes, that Ronaldo. And at the end of the tournament, writers aren't sure if he's legion with Pele and Maradona.

In any event, I can't wait. And don't let my dire predictions fool you. I'm 100% for Sam's Army. Just wish we were playing some other teams.


First, an attempt to remain relevant

Before I dive headfirst into trying to catch up with all the stuff I've been meaning to post on for the last week or so, I'll tackle something that came up just today.

Michael at Braves and Birds directs us to an ESPN Sportscenter/SportsNation event where the hopeless bastards in Bristol are asking us to help them determine the best college football team over the last 50 years, and then match them up head to head with this year's USC team.

First, a digression... Whenever ESPN starts one of these "____of all time" online discussions, it just reminds me of this argument I used to have in high school about (of all things) student government. See, we had this girl in our class who was pretty much Tracy Flick. She carried a walkie talkie at school functions so she'd be closer to the administration, and she was kind of a suckup to power at the school (and from what I hear she's an RNC lobbyist now...). Anyway, she used to get all fired up about committees and organizing school events, while (though yes, I was an officer in the SGA) I would kind of question the reasons behind doing all these things. One time she was all concerned (to the point of really freaking out) about making sure we had enough freshman representation on a committee that was scheduling the various spirit days - these were the individual days of the week of the Homecoming Game and each day would have a "theme", like Disco Day or hat day or whatever bullshit day, all leading up to School Spirit Day on the day of the game. I just remember thinking, "Seriously, who gives a good fuck whether there are 4 or 5 freshmen on the committee to decide what gay theme we're going to have on the Tuesday of spirit week." And so, I voiced said opinion to our Tracy Flick. She just couldn't understand what I was talking about, so I tried to explain in greater detail. My point was that all the effort the SGA was putting into these events was self-created. If the SGA didn't put any effort into planning these stupid spirit days, nobody would be clamoring for them. Nobody would care at all, would miss them. So the point I was trying to make was that we didn't need to stress ourselves out about something like this. The stress she was feeling was self created.

And that's sort of how I feel about efforts like ESPN's. Nobody is gathering around the water cooler wondering about this. The debate, if any, is the result of ESPN themselves. So basically, I'm not going to get all that fired up about this kind of self-created controversy.

But in any event, the way they're doing it is screwy anyway.

First, the online poll only deals with USC. This assumes USC is better than unbeaten Texas this year. Why only USC is getting this hype is a bit odd to me. Texas has the same record, playing a more difficult (under SOS ratings) schedule, has a better ranked defense and has a better signature victory than USC. I'm not sure who I would pick to win between the two, but I know that at least both are worth mentioning. But of course, that wouldn't fit with the overhyping of the Trojans. (and FTR, I'm not saying USC doesn't deserve hype. They do. The way everything has to be the "greatest ever" on ESPN is the annoyance. USC is merely the vehicle through which the hype travels in this instance.)

Second, the way that this all seems to be working. The poll determines who the fans think are the best 11 teams of all time (from the selected pool, and more on that in a second), and then Sportscenter will match up each one against USC. Just in my own mind, I have to guess that this will pan out with the Trojans winning most, if not all of the games up until the very end. If USC were to start losing to teams ranked around 9th all time, that wouldn't make for continuous hyping of the greatness of the #1 team. Also, why would folks keep turning in? To see how much worse USC would lose the next night? Nope, it's a sham already.

Third, the pool of possible teams. It appears ESPN has selected our options to be limited to teams that were undefeated and untied and won a national title. Flaw #1: Sometimes great teams don't go undefeated. What if there are two transcendent teams playing in the same year, and they tie, like Michigan State and Notre Dame in 1966? Don't count. Both those teams could be better than an undefeated team in, say 1984. Florida in 1996 is another team I'd say could be at least as good as several teams that actually went undefeated, simply because of who they played. Flaw #2: the "National Title" rule. Back in the day the "National Title" was awarded before the bowls were played. Using just that same year as above, 1966, Alabama went undefeated but wasn't awarded a national title, because it ranked behind MSU and ND. Or how about undefeated 13-0, 4 first round NFL draft picks, SEC champions Auburn Tigers from 2004?

Fourth, the teams they selected in the top 10, as opposed to the other teams battling it out for #11. Michael hinted at a Big 10 bias. Perhaps there's something to it. I think it has more to do with just picking the best teams out of the traditional college football programs. But even still, there is a surprising lack of respect given to the SEC.

And looking at each team, I'm not sure there's a clear separation between the top 10 and any of the other teams (let alone teams not considered). Let's look at a few questionable choices (which just so happen to be the Big 10 teams):

1994 Penn State: This team did not win the national title. AP picked Nebraska. UPI picked Nebraska. USA Today/CNN: Nebraska. Football Writers Association of America: Nebraska. The Sporting News: Nebraska. Alderson: Nebraska. Kirlin: Nebraska. Football News: Nebraska. Harry Frye: Nebraska. James Whalen: Nebraska. NY Post: Nebraska. Sparks: Nebraska. Washington TD Club: Nebraska. Billingsley: Nebraska. Clyde Berryman: Nebraska. David Wilson: Nebraska. DKC: Nebraska. James Howell: Nebraska. Jeff Self: Nebraska. And a bunch more that don't really matter, because the two accepted polls both picked Nebraska. Look, if you've read this site at all, you know that I'm no fan of polls, and I think that Penn State should claim a title for this year, since nobody bested them on the field. However, that doesn't mean ESPN should set up rules and then abandon them. They said the team had to win a national title. If this Penn State team is on the list, where's Auburn 2004? Also, since ESPN was only choosing one team per school, and Nebraska 1995 is on the list, doesn't that presume that Nebraska 1995 is better than Nebraska 1994? And, ergo, that Nebraska 1995 has to be better than the Penn State team that was ranked behind the weaker 1994 team in all the polls that matter? So if the results of the poll show Penn State ahead of Nebraska, just know that it isn't logically sound.

1997 Michigan: OK, I do think this was a really good team. The defense was incredible. I can see this team on the list. However, I do have one small qualm with them. Michigan that year did not play a single team from the Southeast. No FSU. No Tennessee. No Georgia. No Florida. Nobody. While I admit that speed=south is not always entirely accurate, if one looks at the Wolverines' schedule, one has to wonder how dominant the defense would've been against Peyton Manning and Jamal Lewis. Or Hines Ward and Robert Edwards. I think there's an excellent chance that UM would still have won and in that case their claim to one of the best all time teams would've been that much stronger. But without beating a team from that part of the country, I pause slightly. And I'd probably do the same going the other way, too. The 1999 FSU team didn't play anyone with an enormous offensive and defensive line and a punishing defense like the stereotypical midwestern teams. Gives me a slight pause as well.

2002 Ohio State: This is the one that Michael took the most issue with, and I echo his sentiments, especially on how this isn't even Ohio State's best team. It is indeed strange how Ohio State's escapes are treated as proof that they were a team of destiny, while 1998 Tennessee's close wins (and while significantly fewer) are a sign of weakness (and they use the same language with 1980 Georgia and the ridiculous BYU team).

Fifth, and finally: the qualities by which we are to rank the teams. The blurbs on the side make little suggestions on the standards. Key players, key wins, scoring offense and defense, scoring margins, Heisman trophy winners, repeat champions. Should we consider how good particular players turned out to be in the NFL, since it mentions draft picks? Are we looking at individual accomplishments or just the team? Should we consider the relative schedules played, and is there a way to know this? Should we compare eras? The 1955 Oklahoma team wasn't integrated. The 1969 Texas team had no black players (though there were some on the team who didn't earn letters). And not to get DeBerry on y'all, but if the pool of available players is smaller, isn't it likely that the teams might not be quite as good? In any event, should we count that against those teams or cut them slack because of the era? No guidance is given.

Thankfully, this poll and subsequent matchups with USC are meaningless. But it's yet another example of how ESPN creates controversies to hype its own products. Like last week's kiddie-pool-deep study on cheating in sports by Jeremy Schaap, just perfectly timed to coincide with the premier of Codebreakers. Just another reason to pay less attention to the worldwide leader. Someday Fox will actually put some effort into FSN or CBS will start a cable sports network (maybe CSTV) and ESPN will actually have some competition.

UPDATE: Burnt Orange Nation, to whom I should direct you much much much more frequently, has the Texas angle on this and more. And that Fox Sports link on how USC might beat the Houston Texans... I mocked Scoop Jackson when he suggested the same. Let me put this in very clear terms: anyone who suggests that ANY college team can beat ANY professional team in a real game should never be paid one red cent for his or her writing. Any editor who doesn't spike that column should be removed from his or her position. This idea for a column is utterly utterly utterly moronic and insults the intelligence of readers. Period.


Back for good

Computer back up and running.

Will have posts up soon:

  • World Cup Draw
  • Midseason European soccer leagues updates
  • Season-long review of College Gameday
  • A Modest Proposal on Bowl Selections
  • Movie Reviews
  • Detailed description of drag race I witnessed between a '98 Civic with enormous spoiler and a '97 Buick Century on the streets of downtown Phoenix (nope, not kidding).
  • And a few other surprises.

Can't do a recap of the last week of Gameday, since I accidentally deleted it from TiVo (thought I was selecting "keep until I delete").

So sit tight for the rest of the day and all.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Lebowski Rankings - Final Regular Season

I warned you that I'd do this. Here's all 119 ranked at the end of the regular season. All teams above 65 will not change. All teams below 65 will after the bowl season (I'll do an update with the top 65 then). All that is assured is that Texas and USC will be #1 and #2, regardless of the results of the bowls.

As always, this is not a ranking based on who I think would beat whom. All it does is rate teams on the simplest formula based solely on performance. Asterisk indicates head to head victory, # indicates multiple teams beating one another, so the head to head tiebreaker not used.

Here it is:

119. New Mexico State 0-12 (80)
118. Temple 0-11 (28)
117. Kent State 1-10 (95)
116. Buffalo 1-10 (103*)
115. Rice 1-10 (66)
114. Syracuse 1-10 (50)
113. Duke 1-10 (12)
112. Idaho 2-9 (112)
111. North Texas 2-9 (101)
110. Florida Atlantic 2-9 (98)
109. Tulane 2-9 (93)
108. UNLV 2-9 (86)
107. Washington 2-9 (34)
106. Illinois 2-9 (13)
105. San Jose State 3-8 (107)
104. Utah State 3-8 (100)
103. Mississippi 3-8 (62#)
102. Mississippi State 3-8 (48#)
101. Kentucky 3-8 (36#)
100. Arizona 3-8 (7)
99. Troy 4-7 (114)
98. Middle Tennessee State 4-7 (109)
97. Eastern Michigan 4-7 (94)
96. Air Force 4-7 (81)
95. Marshall 4-7 (76)
94. Wyoming 4-7 (74)
93. Army 4-7 (61)
92. Ball State 4-7 (57)
91. Ohio 4-7 (75*)
90. Cincinnati 4-7 (49)
89. Wake Forest 4-7 (31)
88. Oklahoma State 4-7 (25)
87. Washington State 4-7 (24)
86. Indiana 4-7 (18)
85. Arkansas 4-7 (9)
84. San Diego State 5-7 (70)
83. Hawaii 5-7 (77*)
82. Louisiana-Monroe 5-6 (116)
81. Florida International 5-6 (113)
80. UAB 5-6 (97)
79. SMU 5-6 (92)
78. East Carolina 5-6 (90)
77. Connecticut 5-6 (72)
76. Kansas State 5-6 (60)
75. Pittsburgh 5-6 (52)
74. Tennessee 5-6 (30)
73. Vanderbilt 5-6 (59*)
72. Oregon State 5-6 (29)
71. Michigan State 5-6 (22)
70. Baylor 5-6 (19)
69. Purdue 5-6 (15)
68. Texas A&M 5-6 (8)
67. North Carolina 5-6 (5)
66. Maryland 5-6 (21*)
65. Stanford 5-6 (4)
64. Louisiana-Lafayette 6-5 (111)
63. Arkansas State 6-5 (119*)
62. Bowling Green 6-5 (99)
61. Utah 6-5 (88#)
60. Southern Mississippi 6-5 (78)
59. Houston 6-5 (85*)
58. Memphis 6-5 (84*)
57. Central Michigan 6-5 (71)
56. Colorado State 6-5 (69#)
55. BYU 6-5 (65#)
54. Virginia 6-5 (56)
53. Missouri 6-5 (53)
52. New Mexico 6-5 (89#*)
51. South Florida 6-5 (32)
50. Arizona State 6-5 (26)
49. NC State 6-5 (23)
48. Kansas 6-5 (14)
47. Northern Illinois 7-5 (73)
46. Akron 7-5 (105*)
45. Colorado 7-5 (20)
44. Navy 7-4 (115)
43. Western Michigan 7-4 (110)
42. Louisiana Tech 7-4 (108)
41. Miami (OH) 7-4 (106)
40. Rutgers 7-4 (83)
39. California 7-4 (64)
38. South Carolina 7-4 (38)
37. Clemson 7-4 (46*)
36. Georgia Tech 7-4 (17)
35. Iowa 7-4 (11#)
34. Iowa State 7-4 (51*)
33. Nebraska 7-4 (27*)
32. Minnesota 7-4 (10#)
31. Northwestern 7-4 (6#)
30. Oklahoma 7-4 (2)
29. Michigan 7-4 (1#)
28. Central Florida 8-4 (96)
27. Tulsa 8-4 (91)
26. Fresno State 8-4 (79)
25. Florida State 8-4 (33)
24. UTEP 8-3 (118)
23. Nevada 8-3 (117)
22. Toledo 8-3 (104)
21. Boston College 8-3 (41)
20. Florida 8-3 (40)
19. Boise State 9-3 (102)
18. Wisconsin 9-3 (43)
17. Louisville 9-2 (82)
16. Alabama 9-2 (68)
15. UCLA 9-2 (63)
14. Notre Dame 9-2 (54)
13. Miami (FL) 9-2 (47)
12. Auburn 9-2 (45)
11. Texas Tech 9-2 (39)
10. Ohio State 9-2 (3)
9. Louisiana State 10-2 (58)
8. Georgia 10-2 (44)
7. Virginia Tech 10-2 (35)
6. Texas Christian 10-1 (87)
5. West Virginia 10-1 (67)
4. Oregon 10-1 (55)
3. Penn State 10-1 (16)
2. Southern California 12-0 (42)
1. Texas 12-0 (37)


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Defined by lawlessness?

Look, I stand in absolute awe of Reggie Bush. He deserves the Heisman, and I probably will take him in the first round of my NFL fantasy draft next fall (if he's available). But his hype machine may want to do some editing.

USC has put together a very entertaining highlight reel in support of #5's Heisman campaign, asking which of Reggie's plays this year was his "defining moment." Yes, El Guapo, you could say he has a plethora of plays from which to choose, but they include in the choices the "Bush Push," as if they are proud of Bush for cheating to beat Notre Dame.

Jefe: Could it be that you are mad at something else, and taking it out on Reggie? Perhaps that Auburn beat UGA on an eerily similar 4th-and-long pass from deep in their own territory, followed by a fumble that actually helped them?
The General: You might be on to something, hombre...

The rule (on page FR-116 a.k.a. 117 of 233) reads:

Interfering for or Helping the Runner or Passer
a. The runner or passer may use his hand or arm to ward off or push opponents.
b. The runner shall not grasp a teammate; and no other player of his team shall grasp, push, lift or charge into him to assist him in forward progress.
c. Teammates of the runner or passer may interfere for him by blocking but shall not use interlocked interference by grasping or encircling one another in any manner while contacting an opponent.
PENALTY—Five yards from the basic spot [S44].
[emphasis added]

I guess Bush fans are used to winning things by any means necessary, without regard to ethics or rules.

Will it ever leak out which long-time Bush advisor was the mastermind behind the Shove That Killed Touchdown Jesus?

While we are on the subject of Reggie Bush highlight reels, his high school one is pretty sick, too. Go here, click on "Sports" on the right side, and it should be one of the choices.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mike Price is the only coach who should go near a poll.

Unsure which way to spell the title for the joke to work...

In any event, as seen at Georgia Sports Blog, the USA Today Coaches Poll has a very interesting flash tool to see all the coaches' ballots. And as should be expected, there are countless errors and illogical rankings. I posted a comment to Paul Westerdawg's post which gets at some of the issues:

Take a look at this, just looking at Georgia and LSU (since I can't see any argument whatsoever that LSU should be ranked ahead of UGA).

Tommy Bowden: LSU 10, UGA 12
Bobby Bowden: LSU 8, UGA 12
Mack Brown: LSU 6, UGA 12
Larry Coker: LSU 9, UGA 11
Darryl Dickey: LSU 7, UGA 13
Joe Glenn: LSU 9, UGA 10
Mike Gundy: LSU 9, UGA 11
Ken Hatfield: LSU 8, UGA 12
Howard Schnellenburger: LSU 8, UGA 12
Frank Solich: LSU 5, UGA 15

So about 1/6th of the coaches voted LSU ahead of UGA, despite the same record and a resounding head to head victory on a neutral field where one team thoroughly dominated the other in all aspects of the game, offense, defense and special teams. These are indefensible votes. 1 out of 6 ballots can completely skew the result. Luckily this year didn't have that kind of controversy like last year. If I were an Auburn fan, just looking at these ignorant ballots would piss me off from last year. I've said it before: This is no way to decide a champion.

Solich's ballot is a total mess. He ranks Alabama ahead of Auburn, LSU ten spots ahead of UGA, Miami at #6, as if they hadn't lost to GT. It almost seems like he just didn't change his ballot after the week of Nov. 12th, but then he gives Nevada a vote, and they had nothing to crow about until their win over Fresno State two weeks later.

Houston Nutt didn't rank 10-1, conference champion, BCS bound West Virginia.

And while I hint at the problem in my comment, the UGA-LSU thing didn't have all that much of an effect on the bowl selections (well, it did, but indirectly, and I'll get to that in a second). The main debate was Oregon, Ohio State and Notre Dame. If Oregon is ahead of Ohio State (4 and 5 respectively in the BCS), Oregon has an automatic BCS bid. If Notre Dame doesn't get to #6, it's bid isn't necessarily automatic (though for all intents and purposes, ND was getting a bid no matter what - less of an issue here than the Oregon-OSU question).

Here are some of the voters whose polls look a little strange comparing Oregon and Ohio State:

Phil Bennett: OSU 5, Oregon 15
Dick Tomey: OSU 4, Oregon 10
Jim Tressell: OSU 4, Oregon 9 (raise any flags?)
Randy Walker: OSU 4, Oregon 9
Barry Alvarez: OSU 4, Oregon 8

It's possible that these voters seriously didn't think Oregon was that good. But it's also possible that biases and personal connections might've had something to do with it. Tressell obviously has a reason to vote himself high and Oregon low. Alvarez and Walker have personal reasons to do the same (Big 10 having an at-large team means a few hundred grand added to your athletic department budget and all the bowl eligible teams in the conference slot up one bowl, sending the Badgers and Wildcats to a better location). Lloyd Carr had the Bucks and Ducks right next to each other, and Terry Hoeppner and John L. Smith had them two slots away from each other. Every Big 10 coach in the poll had Ohio State ranked above Oregon.

At the same time, there were several voters whose ballots looked odd and it affected OSU negatively:

Larry Blakeney: Oregon 6, OSU 9
Dennis Franchione: Oregon 6, OSU 9
Ken Hatfield: Oregon 4, OSU 10
Skip Holtz: Oregon 5, OSU 10
Tom O'Brien: Oregon 4, OSU 8
Steve Spurrier: Oregon 5, OSU 8
Bobby Wallace: Oregon 4, OSU 8.

As for Pac-10 coaches, there appears to be less home-cooking. Bellotti had Oregon and OSU side-by-side, with Oregon at 4, OSU at 5. Doba had OSU at 4, Oregon at 5. Harris had OSU at 4, Oregon at 6. Tedford and Willingham had Oregon at 4, OSU at 5. None of the Pac-10 ballots are too crazy as to this.

But the thing is that the votes above would give me pause had Oregon jumped OSU. For purposes of this analysis, I take no position as to who deserved the bid. My position is solely that the system is flawed. Had Ohio State missed out on the Fiesta to Oregon's benefit, and there had been fishy ballots, I'd be just as suspect.

And to go back to my point about LSU's inflated ranking on several ballots. When a voter enters a strange ballot, which has some random team elevated too high, or some deserving team too low, it throws off the entire ballot. And like the Harris Poll, every vote counts in the coaches poll in terms of BCS rankings. When one random voter forgets to rank a very good team (like Houston Nutt), it might not affect that team's position in this poll, but the fact that that team is missing 15-20 points from the total votes might affect the team's standing in the BCS. The poll components do not derive from the ranking alone, but rather from the percentage as against the total number of vote numbers possible. Only 15 points separated Oregon from Notre Dame.

Every vote counts under this system. And the public votes of the various coaches should be enough for people to see how flawed the system is. If coaches can't be bothered to wait until the games are played (Bowdens, I'm looking at you) to send in their votes, if coaches can't double check their poll to realize they left off a one-loss team that won its conference, if coaches don't want to trouble themselves to check the box scores and change their ballots according to on-field results, what credibility does the poll system have.

And also, I think the coaches' poll has more credibility than the utterly ridiculous Harris Poll, whose voters have more conflicts of interest and concealed biases.


Dan Shanoff Idiotic Comment of the Day

Here we go again:

Brady is "Sportsman"Tom Brady: Most Clutch QB Ever? Possibly. NFL's Poster Guy? Definitely. Just-Like-You Internet User? Uh, depends on your habits. But "SI Sportsman of the Year?" Maybe I'm a little thrown because Brady earned it last winter, and more than 10 months have gone by since. He's the QB of the NFL's greatest dynasty and worthy-ish, but shouldn't the award have gone to the real mastermind: Charlie Weis?After all, Weis didn't just coach and scheme Brady into "Sportsman"-level status; he then did the same thing with Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn, while turning Notre Dame into a national power. In one year. (Okay, if not Weis, then how about Bill Belichick? Maybe SI didn't find him enough of a hottie. We all can't date Bridget Moynihan.) [emphasis mine]

OK. Let me spell it out for you, Danny. The reason why is that awards for "Sportsmen" should go to guys who actually PLAY THE FREAKING SPORT, not "masterminds." Charlie Weis doesn't have guys like Julius Peppers or Dwight Freeney chasing him. Charlie Weis doesn't have to fit an eight-inch wide ball through a 12 inch seam in the coverage to prevent Champ Bailey from taking it the other way. Charlie Weis doesn't have to read coverage and call blocking schemes so Patrick Pass picks up Ray Lewis shooting a hole. At some point being on the field and actually performing matters. Sport is not a scripted drama. Coaching and schemes matter some, but not more than athletes actually doing what the coaches say. We don't want to watch video games or robots. We watch athletes.

Dan Shanoff writes over and over again about how important the men behind the men on the field are. He wrote yesterday about the excitement he had about the Florida State-Penn State game. He loves coaches, masterminds, OMG SKEEMZ!!! It's time to face facts. Sport is great because the athletes we watch do things we can't do. And no matter how broad one's sports intellect is, it doesn't mean a damn thing if you cannot perform like a world-class athlete. In so many fanboy writers' minds, they miss this distinction. Do brains matter? Yes. But professional sports leagues are not filled to the brim with Rhodes Scholars. They are filled with world class athletes (and yes, some of them may be brilliant).

Look, Weis has been great this year as a coach. But he's a coach. He's not facing live ammo. He's directing. A sportsman award should go to someone playing the game (and yes, I know that SI doesn't always award an actual athlete, but that's an entirely different post).


Sunday, December 04, 2005

General Football Thoughts

1. Happy Dawgmas to all, and to all a good bite. HUGE congratulations to our beloved Georgia Bulldogs! In all my years of watching college football, I've never seen any team (and much less UGA) play a more perfect game. Total domination of a very good team for four full quarters. This game was a symphony. Heroes at every position producing a team harmony more spectacular than the sum of the outstanding individual efforts. Sean Bailey's drop problems were forgotten in the smoke rising from LSU defensive backs, while Minter and Jennings put on a clinic for that position. The punt-block was otherworldly, and the Swiss have contacted Bryan McClendon and Ramarcus Howard for a lesson on precision timing. Jeff Owens will haunt the nightmares of SEC QBs for years to come. Tony Taylor and the rest of the LB corps were ripping snotknockers all night. Coutu was automatic, even from 50+ (again!). Ely-Kelso looked like Nicklaus, making it bite at the one-inch line. With all these superb performances, D.J.'s numbers didn't seem quite MVP worthy, but there was no doubt he deserved it. It felt more like a token of the Dawg Nation's collective gratitude for his entire career than a single-game award. There has never been a Georgia player more selfless and loyal, and this championship really belongs to him.

2. Does that Big East stank wash off? I know you are going to say that I'm just trying to make my team's matchup look better, but why does West Virginia get no love? They put together a pretty impressive campaign, their only loss to VT (er, well, that sounded better Saturday morning that it does now, but still). Just because the rest of the Big East are better suited for selling thin mints than playing football doesn't mean the Mountaineers won't bring the pain. They're fast and tough, and Pat White is a vicious competitor. They're coming to our state with a chip on their shoulder, feeling like they have something to prove. Sure I'd love to see what the Dawgs could do against ND, OSU, PSU, etc., but outside of the National Championship Game, the Sugar Bowl is the only game matching two teams each with at least 10 wins. People say the Dawgs will look bad if they don't stomp 'em, but I'm looking forward to a hardfought battle, and I got nothing but respect for them hillbilly cousinfuckers.

3. Way to go BCS. You got it right...for once. All the BCS (and the Bowl Coalition and Bowl Alliance before it) have ever professed to do was to loosen the conference bowl ties to pit the consensus top two against each other for the title. All the griping in past years has been regarding that sneaky word "consensus" in there. I think the BCS needs an optional plus-one if there is no real consensus #1 at the end of the bowl season (see 2003, 2004). Obviously that option would not be invoked this year. Not only did the system meet its only professed objective, but also I really can't argue at all with the final Top 25. Plus, as I said, I have to respect Notre Dame for getting there the honest way. While they needed our help in undressing LSU, the Irish are in a BCS game not because of their TV draw or ticket sales or some ND-specific clause in the BCS rules, but by being a team outside a BCS conference and ranked #6. The Buckeyes also are in automatically with the top 4 finish. Reluctantly, I have to admit Ohio State v. Notre Dame is compelling. Tough luck Oregon, but rules are rules. Finally, even though it sucks to have the #22 team in the big money bowls, the payout would have gone to the ACC anyway, and the Geriatric Bowl (fittingly in South Florida) does have a certain appeal to it. Let's hope both coaches survive until January 3.


Friday, December 02, 2005

"311, I am ready to fight"

The following scenario is the worst nightmare the execs at ESPN have had since they heard Scott Stapp had gone on the road and was ready to fight.

While none of this is likely to happen, it’s still interesting to bring up the scenarios that national numbnutz feel are too taboo to discuss. So, here’s the shakeup (and be sure, this is not a prediction, except for the 4th game):

USC loses to UCLA
Texas loses to Colorado
VT loses to FSU
LSU loses to Georgia.

First of all, feel free to point out major flaws in my assumptions, reasoning, or interpretations of BCS rules.

Assumed relevant final BCS rankings
1. Penn State
2. USC
3. Texas
4. Ohio State
5. Oregon
6. Notre Dame

Automatic Bids:
#1: Penn State
#2: USC
SEC: Georgia
Big 12: Colorado
Big East: West Virginia
At Large: Notre Dame
At Large: Texas

Rose: Penn State vs. USC.
Orange: FSU vs. ND

Seems to me the Fiesta and Sugar would be left to do some dealing given the fact that while the Fiesta has the next pick, it would be Texas, and the moving of host team provisions may kick in. Without moving the host teams, seems to me this is how it would have to look:

Fiesta: Colorado vs. WVU
Sugar: Georgia vs. Texas

Okay, I guess that's enough mental masturbation for now...


A note on updates

My laptop is in the shop for a few days, maybe a week. So updates by me may be few and far between. Gameday will have to wait until next week sometime.

In the meantime, there may be a post or two by the General or the Wrangler. But for now, radio silence.

Apologies. Blame Toshiba.

If something odd happens here in the comments, rest assured that I'll be here soon to point out such douchebaggery in the least defensible language possible.

Beat Carolina.
Beat LSU.

Go Dawgs!


Reasons to Worry

I take an opposite approach to college football expert predictions normally. Mostly because I don't think these people know any more than some drunken moron at the end of the bar (namely, me).

So as I've been reading about the SEC Championship Game this week, I've grown slightly unnerved at the support for the Dawgs. Let's remember that LSU is still a hurricane-affected overtime game against a team at the time ranked in the top 10 away from causing every BCS apologist's head to explode. They still have a rock solid defense and the best playmakers (and these four guys) in the SEC after Prothro's injury. If anything, on paper LSU should be a heavy favorite. And picking against them might lead to some of that "disrespect" bulletin boart stuff.

In any event, I don't like all the support Georgia's been getting. I'd rather be picked to lose.

Here are the fools predicting the Dawgs (and remember, these are only "national" writers; I'm not talking about the Athens Banner-Herald here):

Tom Dienhart (Sporting News)
Matt Hayes (Sporting News)
Bruce Feldman (ESPN Insider - subscription)
Rich Podolsky (ESPN Insider - subscription)
John Walters (CNNsi)
BJ Schecter (CNNsi)
CFN Fearless Prediction
Pete Fiutak (CFN)
Mark Risley (CFN
Eric Edholm (Pro Football Weekly)
John Tamanaha (MSNBC)
Erick Smith (USA Today)
Terry Freaking Bowden (Yahoo! and ABC)

Thank the lord for imbeciles like the entire CBS Sportsline staff and Stewart Mandel.

And for clarity, I think almost all writers deserve no more respect for their opinions about games than I'd give to myself. And I'm an idiot. So when it seems like all these numbnuts are going my way, I worry. Obviously, I don't want them to be wrong. I want Lil' Stewie to be wrong. But I worry that it's the "conventional wisdom" that's wrong.


Premiership Picks

First, a point mentioned by Drew from Scamboogah! in comments last time. In my Roy keane post I talked about how I'm not very fond of Man U. Then I've looked at my picks, and he's raised kind of an interesting point. I've probably not given the Red Devils the benefit of the doubt over the course of my picks, even though I'd surely admit that Manchester United is the kind of team you don't pick against regularly. It's probably just a human flaw. Like how Bill Simmons always seems to give the Patriots the benefit of the doubt in his columns. But anyway, I'll definitely try to separate my own biases from my picks (after all, I'd rather be right than schadenfreud-ish). And I'll say some good things about Manchester United too. Wayne Rooney is fun to watch on the pitch, and clearly the kind of character I support whole-heartedly. He's a yellow card for a dive where he was actually taken down away from going Ron Artest. And that will be fun to watch. Alan Smith was pretty fun to watch when he was at Leeds, and it'd be nice for him to play more. However, I will say nothing good about Rio Ferdinand. That guy can piss up a rope.

Meanwhile, in Italy, an Italian Cup tie between Juventus and Fiorentina yesterday had to be delayed at the start of the second half when tear gas aimed at spectators outside the stadium drifted into the stadium and onto the pitch. With Fiorentina up 1-0 at the half, the players returned to a lovely atmosphere and began wretching. The referee blew the whistle, and both teams retreated to the locker room where some players received treatment for vomiting. From what I can tell from reports, the tear gas was fired outside the stadium, not at fans in the crowd (though I wouldn't be surprised). Fiorentina increased their lead shortly after returning to the pitch, but it wouldn't last, as Juventus scored twice to force a draw. The question must be asked: why does anyone go to Italian soccer matches in person (and my favorite)?

I missed Liverpool-Sunderland (probably one of the easiest picks of the year, damnit) mid-week.

Last time around: 3/10, 2 right scores
Season: 61/123 (below 50% for the first time pretty much all season), 17 right scores

This weekend:

Liverpool v. Wigan Athletic: 1-1. Two of the more difficult teams to read. By all accounts, Liverpool should be playing better in EPL games. Wigan, on the other hand, shouldn't. May as well go with a draw.
Blackburn Rovers v. Everton: 2-1. Everton haven't been playing well on the road lately. Blackburn isn't an easy place to win.
Bolton Wanderers v. Arsenal: 1-0. Yes, Arsenal are the better team, and well rested. But I don't like picking against Bolton at home, no matter who it is.
Chelsea v. Middlesbrough: 2-0. Juggernaut rolls on.
Tottenham Hotspur v. Sunderland: 2-0. Sunderland are really bad; Spurs will hover around a UEFA place.
West Bromwich Albion v. Fulham: 1-2. Fulham have been competitive the last month, and they've been scoring at home and on the road. West Brom, though they've play a bit better lately, I am not so high on.
Newcastle United v. Aston Villa: 2-1. Newcastle haven't played at home in nearly a month, and I see them playing well in front of a big crowd. Also, Villa... not so high on. Doncaster? Really?
Manchester United v. Portsmouth: 3-0. And not just because of the comment above.
Charlton Athletic v. Manchester City: 0-1. Wow, Charlton's fall the last month has been hard, hasn't it? Man City haven't fared much better, but I think they're talent is a little better overall.
Birmingham City v. West Ham United: 0-1. I just don't think this is Birmingham City's year. They'll be in the hunt for the drop. West Ham look good to stay up though.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

One makes no sense because of what he says, one because of how he says it

At Falcons Daily Double, Erik Love asks "Who smiles in a mugshot?" and posts this picture:

And I could only think of one guy who would smile in a mugshot:

Maybe it's a problem with Texas...


Football Wonk: State U

Been a while since I did one of these. And in fact, this one probably doesn't count, because it doesn't prove a damn thing. Seriously, any attempt to infer anything like "this proves we're better than you" should be mocked quickly and strictly. I did it just for fun and to see what it'd look like.

Here's what I did: I divided all 119 D-1A programs up by the state in which they are located. Then I totalled up their wins and losses for this season, removing all games played against other divisions and all games played against other teams within the state (since those games would just inch the resulting w/l percentage toward .500). Then I ranked them. Yes, I know that the several single school states skew the list. And yes, I realize that California and Texas have multiple elite teams and would be tops if you only considered the best 2 or 3 schools from a particular state. But I didn't do that. Everybody counts. You don't get to disregard Rice because Texas has been so good, or San Jose State because of USC. Finally, I ranked the states by winning percentage of teams located therein. Here's the result, with Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Alaska not ranked since there is no D-1A program located in any of them. Ties are ranked the same, listed alphabetically.

1. Georgia 15-5 (.7500)
1. Virginia 15-5 (.7500)
1. Wisconsin 9-3 (.7500)
4. Massachusetts 8-3 (.7272)
5. California 36-18 (.6667)
5. Oregon 12-6 (.6667)
7. South Carolina 13-7 (.6500)
8. Minnesota 7-4 (.6364)
9. Iowa 11-7 (.6111)
10. Nebraska 6-4 (.6000)
10. New Jersey 6-4 (.6000)
12. Alabama 22-15 (.5946)
13. Florida 36-26 (.5806)
14. West Virginia 11-8 (.5789)
15. Texas 40-32 (.5556)
16. Missouri 6-5 (.5455)
17. Oklahoma 15-13 (.5357)
18. Maryland 10-9 (.5263)
19. Michigan 23-21 (.5227)
20. Louisiana 25-23 (.5208)
21. Colorado 15-14 (.5172)
22. Kentucky 9-9 (.5000)
23. Ohio 28-29 (.4912)
24. Indiana 19-20 (.4872)
25. Kansas 9-10 (.4737)
26. Illinois 13-15 (.4643)
27. Idaho 9-11 (.4500)
27. Nevada 9-11 (.4500)
29. Connecticut 4-5 (.4444)
30. Pennsylvania 14-18 (.4375)
31. Tennessee 15-20 (.4286)
31. Utah 12-16 (.4286)
33. Arizona 8-11 (.4201)
34. Arkansas 8-12 (.4000)
35. Hawaii 4-7 (.3636)
35. Wyoming 4-7 (.3636)
37. North Carolina 13-28 (.3171)
38. Mississippi 8-20 (.2857)
39. New Mexico 5-16 (.2381)
40. Washington 4-15 (.2105)
41. New York 5-26 (.1613)

Some other interesting state facts:

  • Texas, Florida and Ohio have the most bowl-eligible teams, with 5 each (Florida was 5/7, Ohio 5/8, Texas only 5/10).
  • Georgia, Iowa, South Carolina and Virginia were the only states with more than one team and with 100% bowl eligibility.
  • New York and Washington are the only states with more than one team and 0% bowl eligibility.
  • Arkansas, Tennessee, Maryland, Mississippi: states where the BCS conference teams aren't going bowling, but the redheaded stepchildren not in major conferences are.
  • Either 36 or 37 out of 41 states have a bowl eligible team. Only Hawaii, New York, Washington, Wyoming do not. Connecticut still might since UConn can get eligible with a win over Louisville this weekend.

Again, this proves absolutely nothing. Except how awesome the state of Georgia is. And how weak New York is. THE FACTS DON'T LIE, SUCKAS!