Tag Archives: BCS

Roll Tide, Crimson Pride

Well, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide took home its third national championship in four years by beating the snot out of Notre Dame. That gives head coach Nick Saban four national championships, those three plus one with LSU, and ties him with Wallace Wade for the number of Alabama championships won. He’ll need three more to get up to Paul “Bear” Bryant’s level, who won six championships despite losing two bowl games. Declaring winners back in those days was far less clear, to be certain. (Interesting note, Saban will need 11 more SEC championships to tie Bryant, but with two SEC championship wins, he’s only behind three other coaches in Alabama history.)

The game was won 42-14, the same score/drubbing given to Auburn in 2011 that convinced BCS rankings voters to grant Alabama the number 2 spot and a chance at the national championship despite a late season loss to LSU. Despite the absolute ease with which Alabama rolled over Notre Dame, there are still some conspiracy theorists that think the referees handed UA the game. Which seems pretty ridiculous, especially if you’re someone that actually watched the game. It was brutal. Notre Dame had the ball for 15 minutes in the entire game. Different calls would not have changed the outcome much, if at all.

Anyway, I could do like the announcers were doing by the middle of the second quarter and start talking about Alabama’s chances next year, or I could analyze and hypothesize about what the potential losses of several key Crimson Tide players will do to the team, or blah blah blah. I’m not a sports writer. Never was, never will be. I never even liked football when I first came to UA. Hated it. People down here treat it almost religiously. I thought (and still think) that soccer is a way better sport.

But going to UA… it grows on you a bit. I’ve still never been to a game, never set foot inside the stadium. Only stadium I’ve been in is Legion Field in Birmingham. But, still, it grows. Though many of my friends, as in all of the ones currently going to UA, don’t have to remember being at school during the years of Mike Schula, the years when Leigh Tiffin was an absolutely horrendous kicker and not our top scorer… though they get to remember the glory days of Saban winning three national championships, I grew up with some of the tough patches. And, really, I grew up with them. Even though I was 18, 19, 20 years old, I grew into football with the rough spots. Before, I couldn’t have named a single player. Now? …well, I know a handful.

I’m not going to get religious about football. And I’m still not crazy about my school or state, as both have some MAJOR problems that need fixing… But every once in a while, it feels nice to be part of a community that takes pride in some extraordinary accomplishments. And I’m okay with that.

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Too Much Focus On Football?

So, okay. In case you were completely unaware (a.k.a. probably don’t give a flying flip), this season of college football has been… dramatic. It’s something I’ve touched on before when last I talked about the BCS and how it’s kind of a dumb system.

Well, today, it got crazier, with No. 1 LSU getting to play a rematch with No. 2 Alabama for the BCS National Championship, Alabama just squeezing past Oklahoma State.

You know, since the BCS’s creation in 1998, and including this year, the SEC has been the conference with the National Champions 8 times? Tennessee in 1998/99, LSU in 2003/04, and LSU, Auburn, Alabama and Florida have all grabbed it at least once in the past 6 years (this year included). And the SEC is the conference that was suggesting a sort of playoff system?

Ah, well. Interesting stuff.

But, as interesting as all that is, that’s not really my point. (Though I’m contractually obligated to say Roll Tide and trash talk LSU now. Um, our state’s tiger could beat up your state’s tiger. Yeah. Betcha feel that burn.)

With all this football hubbub, and with Alabama having a mighty strong beginning in basketball this year (a 7-1 record and a standing at No. 12), I’ve been hearing a whole heck of a lot of sports talk. Heck, as my previously linked post and at least one other (which apparently made a rather erroneous presumption) have maybe keyed you in on, I’ve even joined in on the sports talk. I usually reserve it for my chats about my predictions for the World Cup, but hey. Going to UA can kind of get to you.

In fact, I was attempting earlier tonight to explain to my mother exactly why the BCS is a faulty, rather moronic system, designed to create pools of money out of smaller pools of money and not really bothering to represent any sort of accuracy of competition. At which point my mother got kind of annoyed, said she really didn’t care about football in the slightest, and then proceeded to mumble in a loud, not really mumbling voice about how schools focus way too much on football and other sports.

But, we’re in the South, so, football.

Now, back when I worked for The Crimson White, I remember the discussion of money made off of sports programs coming up. Apparently, as I recall, the University of Alabama is one of the few schools that actually earns money from its athletic department. The money UA makes off of football pays off the huge amount of money UA spends on football, covers all the other money pit sports like women’s basketball, and then has some left over, likely for Nick Saban to swim in.

Or something.

But when I say a few… I think the number was something like 14 or 16. 14 or 16 schools in the nation that are members of the NCAA do not lost money from their athletics departments and actually gain some money.

If that’s accurate, that’s a little shocking.

And so, as always, I wonder if the anti-sports lobby (my mother) has a point. Do schools pour too much money into athletics and sacrifice too much from other areas the school needs to focus on? Like… education?

But, really, we can ignore the schools that lose money for this argument. It’s actually better to point at the schools that make the money. If it is in fact true that the University of Alabama earns more money from the athletics department than it spends… where exactly is that extra money going?

It’s something I’ve wanted to know for years but never heard an answer for. Meanwhile, the price of going to school climbed higher and higher each year, the school got more and more crowded, the food options became more and more limited (and ridiculous), and many educational departments (such as the ever disdained liberal arts) simply twisted in the economic wind.

Of course, the greek system got more land and houses and the athletic department never wanted for anything. Likely, all of this is still quite true.

…anyway.

Alabama continues to grow as a school. And there are some amazing educational opportunities to be found there. Our MBA program, our law school, our astrophysics program… really, a large chunk of our graduate programs host a bevy of praise. The school has many high-ranking, highly awarded scholars and scholarship recipients. It also hosts a program with Cuba that created the first major arts endeavor by a group of Cubans since, like, 2001 or something (back in 2009, I believe, with the production of “Un sueƱo de una noche de verano”).

Lots of opportunities. The fact that it was in state wasn’t the ONLY reason I went there.

But, still… it has its problems, too. Openness from the administration is certainly one of them. A greek-run political machine that has waaaay too much real world power is another. But a nearly fanatical focus on the Crimson Tide athletics (especially football) that may come at the sacrifice of a more well-rounded education in every department? That may be the biggest problem of all.

And it isn’t just UA with this problem, I’m certain. Maybe schools are focused far too much on trying to garner money and fame through athletics and are not focusing enough attention on what they should be doing: educating students.

The fact that a college student who is good at football can make it through to his junior year and be illiterate (which a professor friend of mine told me happened to her when she was teaching in Louisiana) is a sign of misplaced priorities.

Maybe a playoff system isn’t the only thing we should lobby when it comes to sports. Maybe we should also lobby for a more balanced application of funds to favor all students int their educational endeavors.

Or maybe I’m just a crazy lib arts double major that hated being stuck in buildings constantly on the verge of collapse. You pick.

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The BCS: My Take

Okay. So, first thing to mention… I’m not really a sports commentator. Especially when it comes to American football. I really didn’t give the sport two seconds of my time until I started attending the University of Alabama, and even then it took me until my sophomore year and a 56″ projection TV before I even watched the Crimson Tide play a game.

But I’ve been learning the rules and stuff. Been paying attention to games, to players, to the course of the game on a collegiate level. And this year… well, this year has been rather entertaining. With only one team being undefeated and a serious contender for the BCS national championship, LSU, this season has seen many several ups and downs when it comes to the potential competitor for LSU (assuming they beat Georgia and win the SEC).

Alabama, after winning the Iron Bowl in a rather harsh trounce, sits as the top contender for that honor, thanks to a weekend that saw the fall of several of the other possible contenders. However, Alabama has already played LSU, and some people aren’t massively excited about seeing an in-conference rematch. See, with the way BCS works, there are people that would vehemently disagree with seeing the top two teams in the nation play against each other because, hey. They’ve seen that before.

Which is weird. That doesn’t seem to happen in other sports. In the NFL, teams can play each other more than once through their playoff system, and no one seems to complain that much. In baseball, teams replay each other all the freakin’ time. Soccer? The World Cup allows for a round robin competitor to eventually become a cup contender if they play well enough.

In those events, those sports, people don’t seem to mind seeing the two best teams play against one another. And why is that? Because those two teams have proven they are the two best teams by fighting for it.

But the way the BCS “works,” people talk like one match-up is all you need to see what every match-up will be like. Seriously. All the sports commentators before the weekend that Oregon, OK State and other BCS contenders fell completely on their collective butts were saying things along the lines of “LSU already played Alabama. We know how that will end. Who cares about seeing it again?”

There is absolutely no guarantee of outcome in sports. None. If matches could be determined by numbers and formulae, the actual matches wouldn’t be played. It’d be boring, knowing the outcome.

Wasn’t it the Patriots that, a few years back, had a completely undefeated regular season only to lose the Super Bowl to a team they had already beaten?

And Spain won the World Cup in 2010 despite losing its first match to Switzerland. A World Cup winning soccer team usually, if I recall the stats properly, goes completely undefeated.

Crappy teams can beat giants. For goodness sake, Georgia State put up more points against Alabama than the #1 team did.

My biggest problem with the BCS system is all the assumption. Placement is determined by random people and formulae. Not by skill tempered by record. Granted, record factors in, but the teams that play in the BCS championships are not always the best two teams in the nation.

And, frankly, a championship should be between the best two teams.

There are some people that still think OK State has a chance to play LSU in the national championships if they trounce OU. But, frankly, if they played in the national championship, it would be because some people decided that would be better TV. Not because the championship is a meeting, or re-meeting in this case, of two titans.

I may not know much on the intricacies and nuances of the BCS system. But I do know making money is one of the biggest factors for its presence. But a playoff system could be developed, like, say, the World Cup’s system or something, that allows for a more obvious trail to the top between the best.

Also, something that’s both kind of interesting and kind of annoying… the Iron Bowl has been, as a single game, important in determining the teams that go to the National Championships for the past four years. Now, Auburn and Alabama have the most bitter rivalry in all of American football, professional or otherwise, one perhaps more bitter than England and Argentina in soccer after Maradona’s 1986 “Hand Of God.” But, really, a single game should not be able to hold so much power four years in a row. Unless it’s the championship game. A single regular season game should not be such a major factor every year.

But, hey. That’s just my opinion. And I’m a stupid bumpkin when it comes to this football stuff.

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Football: Crazy, Amirite?

Today, I had originally planned to write a little piece on how sexual harassment is a serious thing, comparing the rather disturbing trend of reactions to allegations of Herman Cain’s sexual harassment to the allegations of Jerry Sandusky’s illicit sexual activities with children.

Y’know, something light and fluffy.

But I’m not really sure too many people, myself included, are paying much attention to the world outside the gridiron today. I don’t know how many of you pay attention to football, but chaos is reigning supreme in the NCAA. And I may not be the biggest football fan on the planet (ask my college friends how much I knew about the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team my freshman year), but I am definitely fond of chaos and sportscasters being as wrong as your average weatherman.

After No. 1 LSU beat No. 2 Alabama, people stopped caring about what the season was doing for the most part. Except for UA fans, who demanded a rematch between LSU and Alabama at the BCS National Championships. But the likelihood of that was slim to none.

Until this weekend.

Earlier, Stanford lost to Oregon, a one loss team only losing to LSU, Boise State lost to TCU and Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech. This weekend, No. 2 Oklahoma State lost to unranked Iowa State, No. 5 Oklahoma lost again to No. 25 Baylor, No. 7 Clemson lost to unranked N.C. State, and No. 4 Oregon lost to No. 18 USC. Tomorrow, the top three ranked teams will be undefeated LSU at No. 1, one-loss to LSU Alabama at No. 2, and one-loss to Alabama Arkansas at No. 3.

Which is fun, because that means the SEC West owns the top three spots.

And Arkansas and LSU will be playing one another this next weekend. Joy.

If Alabama can beat Auburn as soundly as they should be able to, unless LSU falls to both Arkansas and Georgia at the SEC championship, we will very likely be seeing a rematch between Alabama and LSU.

That, my friends, is the very definition of ridiculousness. (Not that rematches with the underdog winning are unheard of anywhere else. Didn’t the undefeated during the regular season New England Patriots lose the Super Bowl to a team they already beat? And I think Spain won the World Cup after beating the team they lost to in the round robins… The chaos of sports is just so fun.)

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Crimson Tide Football, WordPress, And Other Losses

I think I know the problem: My Firefox is old. I’ve finally got WordPress working properly on Google Chrome… Nerts. I’ll try tomorrow to go back and fix previous posts. Sorry for the low quality yesterday and today.

Okay. So, the post box is looking at least close to normal (though links still don’t seem to work… ugh), but for right now, WordPress does not seem to be cooperating much with me. I’m really not exactly sure why. I’ve already deleted cookies and other junk, tried it on other browsers… I’m going to switch to other computers next, when I have time, and see if it’s just my PC…

This, of course, means that my posting will likely be a lot less awesome than it has been in the past. I’m still going to fight my way through a post a day, because that’s how I roll. But the content might be of an even lower quality than some of the stuff I’ve offered before.

Scary, right?

Still, for things like yesterday’s post, I plan to go back and clean it up, type more out. Hopefully, WordPress will stop being such a poophead to me.

But, to substantive content. Today, an intelligent, entertaining commentator on life died. Andy Rooney, that wonderful old man on “60 Minutes” who had something to say about pretty much everything, died today at age 92.

In my mind, while I didn’t watch his segments as often as I’d’ve liked to, this is a big loss. Andy Rooney did pretty much the same sort of thing I’m doing here, only FAR better. Like, man, there’s not much of a comparison. He’ll be missed.

Also killed today was the University of Alabama’s drive toward the second BCS championship in 3 years, in all likelihood. While it’s possible for UA to pop back up and have a shot, that chance is extremely low. It’s to the point of not even bothering to consider it. But it has been, and will continue to be, a great season. And does anyone notice how the SEC is cleaning up these past several years? I swear, it’s like other conferences don’t even play sports.

For now, that’s about all I have. Hopefully, I’ll be able to figure out this WordPress snafu thing, and we’ll be able to go back to me saying inflammatory, idiotic, in depth things about topics most people don’t actually give a care about.

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