Obama and the BCS

Well, guess what the Obama Administration is up to now. Why, its college football. Specifically it is the Bowl Championship Series that is in place to decide a national champion. We need not be surprised since President-elect Obama made reference to this issue in 2008. The phrase was “throw my weight around a little bit.” Now, we have a letter from Utah senator Orrin Hatch and ominous sounding words from Assistant Attorney General  for the Office of Legislative Affairs, Ronald Weich.

Mr Weich is apparently considering  an investigation into the possible violation of antitrust laws by the BCS.Mnay fans and critics are unhappy with the system now in place, but Senator Hatch may be the most vocal and influential. His ire was raised when the University of Utah was denied a spot in the  championship game last year, after going undefeated. This year, two other teams, Boise State and TCU fell into the same group.

Yes, there is a lot of money involved in the  BCS, primarily from television. Perhaps, the system could use some tweaking to make it more fair. I have often wondered, even before there was  a BCS, why  a playoff was not in place. My alma mater  Appalachian State plays in the  what is now known as the Football Championship Subdivision for schools a bit less high-powered. This division has had a playoff system in place for some time. It would seem that the big boys could make use of a similar system, incorporating a number of the existing bowl games.

What I do not want to see is the feds once again jumping into the middle of an issue and completely mucking things up, no mater their intentions. Shame on you Senator Hatch, a Republican no less, providing the administration an opening, which they seem to relish.

Besides, I think that Eric Holder and the Justice Department have much bigger things on their plate. Maybe a terrorist trial and whether to have it in New York City,hmm?

Sports and politics- not  a good combination.


January 31, 2010 Posted by | Politics, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In A Word Scandalous,But is it?

Richard Lapchick is the director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute  for Diversity and  Ethics in Sport. He is very involved in efforts to increase the number of minority football coaches  in college. (Fyi, the school at which he teaches has one George O’Leary, former Georgia Tech head man, as its head football coach and no Coach O’Leary is not  a minority) Mr Lapchick is working with the BCA, the Black Coaches and Administrators Group, headed by Floyd Keith, to increase the number of minority head coaches at major football playing institutions.

At this moment, there are 120 Football Bowl subdivision schools. Alas, there are only 9 minority head coaches and I agree with Lapchick that the number needs to increase. But he is not just looking at the hiring but where they are hired. Case in point. Three minority head coaches were fired after the 2008 season. They coached at Kansas State, Mississippi State and Washington. Four coaches were hired, a small increase, but an increase nonetheless. The problem as seen by Dr Lapchick is that the schools where these hirings occurred; New Mexico, New Mexico State, Eastern Michigan and Miami(Ohio)  are not powerhouses. Neither is Kansas State, but I digress.

Lapchick calls it “scandalous” that five of the six BCS conferences have no minority head coaches. Is it a problem-yes, does it need correcting-yes. But does it fall in the realm of scandal? I submit that it does not by any definition of the word. He also thinks that there should be a civil rights movement in college sports. Some even think that a lawsuit might be the way to go.

Again, I have problems with that approach, although I am not dogmatic about it. There is a need for more minority head coaches, but at the right schools. How does one define that? By size, by winning percentages, by bowl games, by what and who defines it? Conveniently left out of the discussion is the number of minority basketball head coaches. In my conference of choice, the ACC, the numbers are even, for example. Nationwide, I would guess that the numbers are pretty good. It has taken a while but I don’t think a lawsuit was necessary.

In the interest of full disclosure, my Tarheels have yet to hire  a minority as a head coach for any sport. Although, i don;t wish per se for someone to be fired, I hope that the Heels will rectify that situation in the near future. Listening, Mr Baddour?

November 20, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Shoot Low Boys, They’re Riding Shetland Ponies”

Yes, I was, am, I guess a fan of the late Lewis Grizzard, a southern author and humrist non pareil. I suppose I was introduced  to him when living in Georgia  in the late 70’s and early 80″s. I could always  get  a  laugh by just reading aloud  the names of his  books.  His columns  themselves  were always treasures. I learned that he was actually born in Ft Benning, next door to where we lived in Columbus. I knew from his writings that he suffered  from heart trouble,which was finally the cause of his demise at age 48.

Just recently, I piped up  about  one of his books at work and one of the guys I work with  exlaimed  how happy he was to learn he was not the only Grizzard fan in the world and would so inform his wife.

Now, after that overly long intro, I guess I should shed some light on my choice of that phrase for my title. I sort of put my own spin on things sometimes to have a phrase suit a  situation. And so it is this time. I have taken this title and doubtless used it in a way the author never intended. For me, in  a more or less humorous way, it means setting ones expectations low enough so that they are easily attainable.

Now, don’t jump to the conclusion that I have no high expectations, for surely there have been some along the way. But you must admit that low ones are easier to meet than the higher ones, each and every time.

A couple of examples might suffice. UNC  football has never attained the lofty heights of basketball. There have been some very good years,some great players( Julius Peppers, Lawrence Taylor, Don McCauley and of course Choo Choo Justice) but never  a period of excellence that was maintained for long. So we aim lower as fans and hope against hope that now is different and that Butch Davis will be the guy. I would use some work related examples from over the years, Suffice to say, they have existed.

Am I a pessimist, perhaps. Truly a glass that is half full has got to be half empty as well.  But in an  effort to fight that natural born pessimism, remember that the 2010 elections will be here soon enough. You are welcome.

August 27, 2009 Posted by | Literature, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Your Typical Gator QB

Even a nominal sports fan has heard of Florida QB Tim Tebow. The young man has a Heisman Trophy from 2007 and has led Florida to 2 national titles. If you have ever watched him play, he is more like a fullback than a QB. Of course, at  6ft 3in and 240 pounds he is well equipped to be the battering ram type player. Whether or not it translates to  pro football stardom remains to be seen, since he does not play an NFL style game.

But somehow I don’t think he minds  a whole lot. His  story is  rather  well known, son of a missionary to the Philippines, who survived  a  potentially life threatening birth to become a star athlete. But I like his non football side even more. His dad considered him a miracle baby since had prayed diligently for a preacher. Although God gave him a  quarterback, he could very well end up being both a preacher and a  quarterback. He makes mission  trips  to the Philippines and elsewhere and has an active  and somewhat effective prison ministry.  Perfect?  Of course not  and makes no claim to be.   A good representative of his school and college sports in general, to be sure. After all, the cover article  in last week’s Sports Illustrated by Austin Murphy had very little in the way of negatives.

Here  is what I find interesting . One of the blogs that i read regularly is Get Religion. Their focus is on how religion and religious topics are treated in the media, for good or bad. Their post on the SI article wasn’t bad although they noted that more critical questions could have been  asked  and that    it was almost a  fawning piece. Some of the comments I read made a similar point. True, the article was overwhelmingly complimentary, but so what? All too often, both college and pro sports stars make off the field news for other reasons. (Fill in your own choices here. ) And interestingly enough, if the “bad boy” in question produces results on the court or field and draws fans, i.e. makes the team money, this boorish behaviour or worse is often overlooked.

So, here we have an All American QB at a famous party school who writes scripture verses in his eye black- a problem, not for me. Guess I won’t have  a  problem  if  Florida has a successful season, unless they beat the Tar  Heels in the national championship game. I would have to draw the line there.

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Christian living, Sports | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

You Gotta Love The U S Senate

Senator Orrin Hatch

Senator Orrin Hatch

OK folks, time to email  or call or write your U S Senators. There is a major issue before that august body that probably exceeds in importance anything that they have dealt with in quite a while. The economy, AIG, terrorism, Iran, North Korean missiles, Chinese harassment- actually, none  of the above  would be accurate. They might seem vitally necessary of attention but alas, they must wait. For this new  issue we can primarily thank Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R) Utah. So, what is the good senator so vexed about? Surely you jest. Of course it is college football or at the least  how it determines its national champion.

Here is a quote from the senator regarding the BCS system, has proven itself to be inadequate, not only for those of us who are fans of college football, but for anyone who believes that competition and fair play should have a role in college sports.”

Hatch serves on the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights. Now I suppose that Sen. Hatch’s angst has nothing to do with the fact that the University of Utah  went undefeated in football and yet did not play for the national championship. No, they were stuck in the Sugar Bowl which paid them a measly  $17.5 million which was roughly the same $ as the title game. Hatch’s office said he would introduce legislation to rectify this situation but no derails were forthcoming. Not to be outdone, Rep Joe Barton (R) Texas has introduced a bill that would ban the NCAA from calling their title game a  national championship game, unless  there was a  playoff system involved.

Perhaps, college football needs a playoff system, somewhat similar to that which basketball employs. But, come on, Senators and Congressman; give me a break. If Senators Hagan and Burr from North Carolina get involved, I feel an email campaign in the works.

March 26, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Carolina Blues

I knew I should have done it sooner . i should have written this on November 8, no matter how late  I got home . Then the sense of euphoria would have still been present . But now, a scant 15 days later , the euphoria has departed, has been probably ran under the bed and hidden , afraid to emerge lest it be bashed once again into submission.

On November 8 , my wife and I met my youngest sister and her husband in Chapel Hill for our first Tar Heel football game in more than a decade . The day began early  and ominously with rain and clouds for much of our westward trek . But miraculously , blue skies appeared near Orange County ( if God’s not a Tarheel, why is the sky Carolina Blue ?  Sorry, couldnt resist ? ) and the weather cooperated the rest of the day .

Thanks to my brother-in-law , A UNC grad , the logistics to the stadium as well as our seats were flawless .Both my wife and I love the atmosphere of college football in Chapel Hill . The band , the cheerleaders, the message boards ( really cool ) the Famous Rameses XXII ( not sure about the number ) mascot with his tasteful blue horns , the food, the pregame , halftime etc . Oh yes the game was excellent, a 28-7 Carolina win over Georgia Tech .

One thing surprised me a bit , I found myself a bit overcome with emotion during the pregame buildup  but finally decided that was ok . Ah, postgame , the alma mater and the cup collecting were highlights. Cannot wait till next year .

Being an unfortunate pessimist particularly when it come to Carolina football, we arrive at part deux . The very next gane , the Heels were poised for a big road win that would have put them into position for a shot at the ACC championship which they have havent won since 1980 . Alas and alack ,  a late field doomed that and brought back my sense of limited predicting . I think that in the course of a Carolina game i can often tell the outcome, usually a loss. My wife thinks this is bunch of hooey but I doubt it.

Anyway, yesterday , another golden  opportunity , Senior Day against an archrival from Wake County . we were favored and so what happens, an early Thanksgiving, the Heels turned the game into a turkey shoot for the opposition and lost big . Oh well, one more game and then a low level bowl game when it could have been so much more . Hang in there fellows , next year will be better . Besides the women’s soccer team  is still on the march !!

November 23, 2008 Posted by | Family, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night , Wasn’t It ?

My thanks to Charles Schulz and the famous Snoopy for the above title idea . As those who follow college football and Carolina in particular , there was yet another excruciating loss in Charlottesville yesterday . I have read that maybe this one was the worst, being in overtime after the Heels led for 58 of 60 minutes . Perhaps it was but that’s sorta like saying one migraine or one root canal is worse than another . Being a bit of a pessimist when Tar Heel football is concerned ( I know , stoopid ) I cannot say I was surprised but disappointed nonetheless . I can only imagine how the players, especially the seniors must have felt . Linebacker Mark Paschal is one of the team’s defensive leaders . Irony of ironies , his father Doug played in the 1981 game, the last win at Virginia . Cheer up, Heels fans, still only one win away from being bowl eligible- dont worry- it will come , I think, no it will wont it ? – against Boston College or Georgia Tech, right ?

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How bout them Heels

Believe it or not , the football Heels are now an amazing 2 and 0 for the first time in the new millenium .I am afraid to write that almost much less say it . Suffice to say that this post is a bit dated . As is so typical of Tar Heel football, there have been moments of euphoria and times of crushing disappointment . Suprisingly, the former outweigh the latter by a large margin . So, our beloved Heels now stand 4 up and 1 down with 2 road wins and a top 25 ranking ( first time since 2001 ) of a lofty #22 . And, doing it with a young man, Cam Sexton, who started out third string . What is so coool is the ways in w hich they have succeeded. All three quarterbacks have played and contributed , 3 blocked punts in one game, a very opportunistic defense and  great team speed. The last factor may be the key since in the college game, speed can cover mistakes, make bad plays good and good plays great . So, Tar Heel fans, let us enjoy and hope the ride continues. Meanwhile, hats off to Marvin Austin, Brandon Tate, Hakeem Nicks, Shawn Draugn and Bruce Carter and Coach Davis and the staff . GO HEELS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not to be forgotten, hurry back T J Yates .

October 5, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment