Archive for November, 2008

The BCS Stumbles To The Finish

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

So what is the BCS going to do this year? Here are the top 14 teams at this moment: Alabama, Oklahoma,Texas, Florida, USC, Utah, Texas Tech, PSU, Boise State, Ohio State, TCU, Ball State, Cincinnati, Okie State. Of those:

Oklahoma and Texas are guaranteed in unless Mizzou pulls an upset. In that case, Mizzou and Texas go in. (I’m assuming UT gets an at-large bid).

Penn State is in.

Cincinnati is in.

The winner of Virginia Tech/Boston College is in.

Both Alabama and Florida are in (I’m assuming the SEC title game loser gets an at-large bid).

USC is in, unless they choke against UCLA. In that case, they may get in anyway with Oregon State rematching against PSU in the Rose Bowl.

Utah is in as they are the highest-ranked non-BCS champion.

That leaves only one lonesome at-large bid left, which may reduce to zero if UCLA pulls the upset.

Now apart from the very real possibility that Florida wins the SEC, gets ranked in the top two but fails to make the BCS game (the computers forcing a Texas-Oklahoma rematch — does it pay to be in a top-heavy conference or what?), this last bid is a problem.

It should go to Boise State. They are an undefeated conference champion whose ranking below Utah is arbitrary. I expect, however, that it will go to Ohio State. OSU is from a BCS conference and has a large fanbase that will bitch if they don’t get in.

Moreover, I think that the BCS bowl committee still doesn’t consider non-BCS conferences to be “real teams” and their undefeated champions to be an illusion. Granted, Hawaii was awful last year (although they were facing the second-best team in the nation). But Boise State and Utah have shown, in past years, that they can run with the big boys quite well, thank you. They at least deserve a shot.

And what about Ball State? Yeah, they’re Ball State. But they still played well this year. They still won their conference in undefeated fashion (modulo this weekend’s game).

Anyway, barring an upset by Mizzou or UCLA, here is how I see it playing out:

Rose Bowl – PSU vs. USC
Fiesta Bowl – Texas vs. Utah
Orange Bowl – Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Sugar Bowl – Alabama vs. Ohio State
National Championship – Florida vs. Oklahoma

I’ll save my playoff rant — the one about how USC, Penn State, the SEC loser, the Big 12 #2, Boise State and Utah all deserve a shot at the title — for another post.

Query

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Four minutes, 9 seconds left in the game.

You are down by three points.

You have one time out.

Your defense has been completely unable to stop the run.

Why do you not onside kick, Mark Richt?

Richt is a good coach at Georgia, but his late-game clock management is horrid. He’s lost several games by letting the opposition run out the clock and kick game-winning field goals in the closing seconds while he still had time outs on the board. And today, he didn’t even give his team a chance with an onside kick. All Tech needed was a couple of first downs to ice the game. They could have gotten those anywhere on the field. The only way to try to win was to onside kick.

(Note: I typed this in as the kick was made.)

Serious Waste of Time

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

There’s a slightly obsessive part of my nature that sites like Sporcle bring out. After a month of memorization, I finally managed to name all 265 popes. It’s not that difficult if your know your roman numerals, some history and smattering of latin. The alternative quiz, which has them alphabetically and without having to use the numerals, helps a lot. I would take both quizzes simultaneously to jog my memory.

Friday Nights Linksorama

Friday, November 28th, 2008
  • One other thing I’ll miss about Texas. Fiscal sanity.
  • I tend on the liberal side of social questions, even though my own life is pretty socially conservative. But is it really the best idea for Planned Parenthood to be offering gift certificates? Question: who do you buy these for? What does it say when you buy them? “Hey, I know you sleep around. So here’s a gift that can be used for birth control or abortion, whatever it takes.”
  • I’ve said it before. If Obama ends crap like detaining terror suspects for years without evidence and then just tossing them back home without so much as an apology, his presidency will already be a success. The “conservative” response on this issue has been especially distressing. Apparently, even talking about blowback is anti-American. Look. You can say that blowback is worth it. You can say that blowback doesn’t matter. You can’t rationally say that it doesn’t exist.
  • Why government “energy policy” is a disaster. The feds decided to force their agencies to buy flex-fuel vehicles. Problem: without actual, you know, flex fuels, they’re just inefficient, gas-guzzling, greenhouse-gas spewing behemoths.
  • Desperation Strikes Deep

    Friday, November 28th, 2008

    The economy must be really bad. Amazon.com is slashing DVD prices to levels I had not even imagined. Batman Begins for $4, Spiderman 2 for $2. Seasons of the Simpsons for $15. That’s 60% off or more.

    My cursory glance at other categories doesn’t show nearly as incredible deals. Of course, I’m not looking too closely. I’m buying a house and moving, so a $2 DVD is the extent of my splurging ways. But what’s up with the DVD sales?

    Part of this is must be that the sellers have massive inventory. DVD sales have been slumping for reasons having nothing to do with the economy. I think a lot of stores have stacks of unsold DVDs that they ordered in anticipation of the DVD revolution continuing for all eternity. It may finally be dawning on them that no one needs two copies of Happy Gilmore; in fact most people don’t even need one. So they’re desperate to shed them.

    Selling DVDs dirt cheap will obviously solve this. I normally wouldn’t have bought Spiderman 2, which I thought was a mediocre movie. But at $2, slightly more than a 16-oz coke, I’m willing to get it just in case I have a son who gets into Spiderman or my nephew visits or I feel the sudden light night urge to see Kirsten Dunst “act”.

    I also think the sellers are, mistakenly, thinking that Blu-Ray is going to be their next big thing. So if they can clear inventory to set up Blu-Ray sales, that’s a win. However, I agree with Beradinelli’s that the sellers are overestimating the potential of Blu_Ray. I’m a semi-technophile and have yet to buy a Blu-Ray player. I probably will, but even then, the only movies I’ll buy in Blu-Ray will be new ones. I might replace some visually spectacular titles in my library (LOTR, The Godfather, etc.) but I see absolutely no reason to plonk down $20 to get a slightly nicer version of This Is Spinal Tap.

    The next big collapse is going to be video stores and big box stores like Best Buy. It’s already started, with Circuit City and Hollywood Video scaling back. But Best Buy, in particular, is overbuilding. They just opened a store here in New Braunfels despite having stores in San Marcos and Schertz (15 miles either way). That’s a company long overdue for a market correction.

    Gulag? What Gulag?

    Thursday, November 27th, 2008

    The Russians are apparently white-washing their history. Of course, I’m saying this in a nation where the #1 radio talk show host had a hissy fit because someone suggested that the European settlers brought diseases that inadvertently wiped out the Native Americans. But the Gulag is something in modern memory with living survivors. Putin and his cronies are trying to erase a holocaust.

    If you haven’t read Anne Applebaum’s Gulag or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, do so. While the memory is still here. And remember that little blonde girl who died of loneliness in a Gulag nursery. Remember all of them.

    Sneezola

    Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

    There are a number of things I will miss about Texas: the cheap real estate; the warm spring; the way random strangers will, on little urging, tell you their life story.

    One of the things I will not miss is cedar pollen. Good Lord. I feel like I’ve been over by a truck full of Obama supporters. My face feels like I was punched in the nose by the blob. I’m lying on the floor of my daughter’s room next to air purifier, hoping I can breath in a few hours. I don’t dare drive to Austin today — I might run off the road just to end the suffering.

    Every place has its pollen. I used to spend every fall in Minnesota sneezing my brains out. But this is the worst I’ve encountered.

    I Just Read Playboy For the Articles, Too

    Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

    Um, OK:

    Lap dancing “is not sexually stimulating”, the chairman of the Lap Dancing Association told a parliamentary committee today.

    Simon Warr made the claim, which was greeted with scepticism by MPs, while he was giving evidence to the Commons culture committee as part of an inquiry into the operation of the Licensing Act.

    The government is under pressure to change the act so that lap dancing clubs have to be licensed as sex encounter establishments.

    At the moment, they are licensed in the same way as pubs and clubs, which has led to complaints from councils who believe that they do not have the power to stop clubs being opened in their areas.

    See, this is why the British Parliament is so much more entertaining than our Congress. Even if our Congress did hear testimony from the President of the Lap Dancing Association (really?), it wouldn’t be nearly as funny:

    [Tory MP] Davies responded with even more astonishment.

    “So if I did a straw poll of all the customers who came out a lap dancing club and said ‘Did you find that in any way sexually stimulating?’ I would find a big resounding fat zero? On that basis you would have a lot of dissatisfied customers.”

    Title Bout

    Monday, November 24th, 2008

    Here’s something I’ve grown awfully sick of: endless book titles. It seems that no book these days can be published without a paragraph length subtitle. For example, Leviathan on the Right wasn’t long enough, so it got the subtitle How Big Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution. The Dark Side wasn’t enough, so we got The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals. Ron Paul is seemingly the only man who can avoid this. His book has the comparatively simple and concise title of the The Revolution: A Manifesto.

    But Dick Morris’ latest ignorant screed has to take the cake. Here’s the title: Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, the Do-Nothing Congress, Companies That Help Iran, and Washington Lobbyists for Foreign Governments Are Scamming Us … and What to Do About It. I’m tired just reading that epistemological and grammatical nightmare.

    Streets

    Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

    I love maps. I can spend hours pouring over them. I could spend days taking sporcle’s geography quizzes. Here is a map of all American streets. Identify the cities.

    45

    Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

    My favoritest sci-fi show turns 45 today. Wow.

    Still, it’s disappointing that the 50th anniversary won’t see David Tennant in the title role. I’m hoping that David Thewlis is his successor.

    Sweet Sweet Justice

    Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

    Texas Tech, who have been merciless in running up the score against weak opponents, got run out of the building by Oklahoma.

    Incoming Links

    Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

    It’s always flattering/scary when other people link to me. Today, I got a nice link from my friend Amanda, who runs a cool astronomy blog and is a skilled volleyball player. Another inbound link comes from Nicole, a graduate student from my old UVa stomping grounds who recently counter-protested the Westboro Church. Counting myself, that’s at least three readers.

    Why I Rock

    Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

    Keep in mind. I’m not saying that my very presence creates an aura that causes sports teams to triumph. I will simply put out the facts and let you be the judge.

  • In 1990, I moved to Minnesota for college. In 1991, the Twins went worst to first and won the World Series. That same year, the Minnesota North Stars made the Stanley Cup final.
  • In 1994, I moved back to Atlanta. In 1995, the Atlanta Braves won the World Series.
  • In 1995, I moved to Charlottesville for grad school. That year, only a few hundred yards from my apartment, UVa beat Florida State for the first time and took the ACC title. They would be a second-tier power for the entire time I was there.
  • In 2001, I moved to Baltimore. As I accepted the job, the Baltimore Ravens won the superbowl. The next year, the University of Maryland won the NCAA Basketball Championship.
  • In 2004, I moved to Austin. That year, the Longhorns won the Rose Bowl. The next year, they won the BCS championship.
  • In 2005, I moved to New Braunfels, not far outside of San Antonio. The Spurs would win two of the next three NBA Championships.
  • Earlier this year, I accepted a job in Penn State. Already, the Phillies have won the World Series for the first time in 28 years. And Penn State today just clinched the Big Ten title and will go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1994.
  • So is it all just a coincidence? Or do I rock? You be the judge.