Friday, December 17, 2004

NCAA Division 1A Football - No More BCS!

I grew up in Ohio. I have always been a die-hard Buckeye fan--the fan that gets physically sick when they play poorly. I was on cloud nine when they went 14-0 and won the "national championship" for the 2002 season (actually won it against Miami in Jan 2003 in Tempe, AZ.) I am also a Univ of Utah fan, as I went to school there. I would like to see how the Utes would do against Oklahoma, USC, Auburn and Boise State--all five of which went through the regular 2004 season unbeaten.

For me, before the BCS and 28 bowl games, there were just a handful of post-season match-ups. As a Buckeye fan, all we really cared about was winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl to play the winner of the PacTen. That's been the goal of all Big 10 and PacTen schools for as long as I can remember. To a certain extent, it is still the goal. Everyone realizes that a national champ is sort of a scam and all the dice need to fall your way. And we all know the BCS is a joke.

The BCS was a program set up by the greedy ADs of each of the 6 conference schools that make up the BCS. Their goal is to maximize the profits to each of the schools in their respective conferences. Even the schools that have crappy programs; e.g., Vanderbilt, get a share of the spoils.

We also know that today's bowl scene is a joke. There are just under 120 Division 1A teams. With 28 sponsored bowls, 56 teams get a birth in postseason--almost half. With a mandatory 6-win requirement, they have a tough time finding enough teams to meet the quota. Add any more bowls and the regular season will need to be extended in order to garner enough teams with the necessary 6 wins. If it weren't for the 3 pre-conference games in which most schedule patsies, those 6 wins would be almost impossible for 56 teams.

Why not a Division 1A playoff? The lower division schools pull it off and do a good job of it. The problems are financial, due to the current bowl and city/town/regional commitments. I talk with lots of fans. We would all like to see a 1A playoff. We all have our opinions on how it could work. Here's mine...

- Create a 16 team playoff, single elimination, winner take all.

- 16 teams comprised of the winners of all the 11 conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Big East, CUSA, Sun Belt, MAC, Mountain West, WAC, PacTen) plus five at large bids. (It is possible to do a 32 team tourney but it would add an extra week on the front or rear. 32 teams would lessen the blow by taking the number of post-season games from 28 to 15 that a 16-team tourney would offer. A 32-team tourney would offer 31 games...) Let go with the 16-team tourney though.

- Each conference would decide if the representing is from the regular season or a conference championship winner. This would encourage stronger pre-conference match-ups.

- The 5 at-large teams would come from the pools--coaches, press and computers. The top 5 teams not winning their conferences would get the invitations. (Norte Dame and Navy, join a conference!)

- The games would in fact be bowl games in today's vernacular. The first 8 games would be placed the first weekend in Dec--Friday and Saturday. The winners would play in 4 quarter-final games the second Friday and Saturday of December.

- The two semi-final games will be played the 3rd Saturday in December

- An all-star game will be played on the 4th Saturday in December. The teams playing in the final will have no representatives.

- The championship game will be played on New Years Day.

- The rounds of 16 and 8 will take place at rotating locations. Cities/regions bid and they get awarded based on merit, region, past experience, facilities, etc. Two games should be played at each location--one on Friday and one on Saturday. (This limits the number of cities but it helps encourage travel--two games for the price of one airplane ticket.)

- The semi-finals and final will take place in rotated regions--3 games in the south, or southwest. Preference should be given to warm-weather locations--FL, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, TX, AZ, CA, NV. (In December, we all want an excuse to go to warm weather.) The games do not need to be played a traditional bowls sites like Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Rose, but could be (they have the bigger stadiums).

- All games would be played on live TV; no games overlapping with their others (we want to want them all. I can envision that first Friday and Saturday in December wanting 8 games in two days.)

The biggest problem, assuming the financials can be worked out (and they can), are the travel logistics for the fans. The winning fans will have to travel to multiple locations over multiple weeks. Regional scheduling would be the goal, not unlike the basketball tourney. Yea we won't have 28 games played in a matter of two weeks in late-December that no one really cares about, but I can guarantee that the TV audience would be much bigger per contest than today's bowl games.

This would be a tremendous experience for all fans, coaches and participants. Too bad it never will happen.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The New School Prayer...Church vs State

Oh, how far we have fallen. Political correctness gone astray. Politeness and common sense replaced by liberal lunatics demanding a change to our God-based culture established by the Founding Fathers in order to promote their agenda.

The new school prayer shown below, recently read by a school Principle to motivate open discussion on the topics, has resulted in some harsh condemnation from parents, administrators, social elites and the main-stream media. Failing to understand the points made, they are quick to attack with the church vs state dogma.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Concluding from the First Amendment that someone cannot say the Pledge of Allegiance nor display the Ten Commandments in a public setting or on some government property is rubbish. Remember, the U.S.A. is a republic and the government is "instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" (Declaration of Independence).

The same group of people who speak-up against any references to God, based on our long-standing culture, are the same ones who want to give the Muslims an open forum. If it is rooted in Judeo-Christian culture, they are opposed. "By their fruits ye shall know them." This great country was made great by God-fearing men and women. It's not the Muslims that produce good fruit. In fact, they only create misery. When we attempt to place undue caps on our established culture, we take one more step toward total secularism. We become no better than the communists.

The American I live in gives everyone its voice. However, when it comes to government and the law, they must stand up against the Constitution. I for one will never back down from the liberal elite. They can't see the forest because of the trees. Freedom is not doing whatever you want whenever, because of the principal of consequences. Their idea of progress is actually servitude.
The new school prayer is an accurate portrayal of how far we have fallen. It demonstrates that those things that were once concerned good are now considered bad; and those things once considered bad are now considered good. And yes, there's a scripture that says this will come to pass...

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THE NEW SCHOOL PRAYER

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's "inappropriate" to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such "judgments" do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot;
My soul please take!

Amen

Source: a teen in Bagdad, Arizona
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Monday, December 06, 2004

Iraq

I remember the first major confrontation the U.S. had with Iraq after the Iran-Iraq conflict. It was in Kuwait. In 1991, Sadaam felt he needed control of the southern ports and better security in the region. He failed to realize that invading a sovereign nation like Kuwait would not be tolerated. The U.S. quickly eliminated Sadaam's claims on Kuwait. Unfortunately, because it was a "UN-sanctioned" operation, it was decided that it would be unwise to pursue the culprits back to Baghdad. Someone must have forgotten their WWII history. We have all regretted that decision.

Move the clock ahead ten years, and we found ourselves not too far from where we started. Sadaam, a securlarist in a region of fanaticals, was a concern. He repeatedly thumpted his nose at the western world. UN resolution after resolution did little to sway his determination to stand up to the big boys. Years and years of UN inspections did not provide the proof we needed--undeniable proof that Iraq was actively engaged in developing weapons of mass destruction--biological, chemical and nuclear. We knew he used chemical weapons on his Kurdish citizens. We knew his intentions. We acted based on knowledge of the man.

What was is about Iraq that caused such emotion by many of our elected leaders. Regardless of ideology, just about all of them said, "war against Iraq, yes." But what if we did nothing? I for one, never felt the threat to our national interests justified the cost.

There are lots of countries out there with questionable, despotic, certainly anti-American leadership: Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, India, Pakistan, France, Germany... What about them? Was going to Iraq in our national best interest? I don't think so.

We send our troops on long, extended tours, to fight battles that are extremely costly. We fight closer to their terms than our terms--conventional tactics and weaponry in a nuclear age. Why?

Did we really think we could establish a democratic form of government in the Arab world? In a culture of clanism, outsiders cannot make any lasting change. They have been fighting amongst themselves for centuries. They will continue to fight when we are gone.

To me, the only real value to our national interest in the Middle East is energy. Our economy, as are most modern economies, is directly tied to a steady supply of affordable energy.

We care for the Iraqi people as much as we care for any of the African nations' peoples, the Indonesian people, etc. We are not helping establish democracy and prosperity in any of those nations. Yet, we felt the Iraqi people needed our help.

I do think George W. Bush wanted to address the unfinished business of his father. I think he and his advisers were mis-informed as to the difficulty in fighting this war, especially with the handcuffs he has placed upon our soldiers. They thought a quick battle would root out the evil ones and a democracy would be welcomed with open arms. We are in this so deep now that pulling out will be even more costly--not in the terms of finances but in reputation. However, I wonder who cares. Everyone is jealous of America. Sure, many disapprove of the moral decay they see on the liberal newscasts and in Hollywood, but many also see the freedom and opportunity America affords. Problem is, America's ideals cannot exist in these nations. Our form of government is too foreign to them. It takes an immigrant to come here and experience it for him/herself. It is almost impossible to teach and implement.

I think the Iraq war was and is a mistake. I would have voted against going to battle, if I had a vote. The light at the end of the tunnel was never clear. The cost was and is too great. I am not too concerned over the debt we are raking up, just yet, but it is in the back of my mind. Billions of dollars spent in Iraq are billions in taxes I wish we did not have to pay. (the liberals position is they want to spend the money elsewhere; I don't; I want the government to take less and less of what I earn.)

Iraq has been a tax burden I did not want to bare. We need to clean up the mess as best we can; allow them to self-determine their pseudo-democracy; establish permanent military bases; and ensure a free-flow of oil out of that country with a goal to stabilize the price of oil, comforting the financial markets.