December 28, 2006

She's Baaaaaaaack!

As promised, I have more to say about ESPN's new wonder-hack, Jemele Hill.

I was prepared to be done with her, figuring there's only so many times you can whack a dead horse before the ASPCA comes looking for you. But then I received a positive comment on the series from loyal reader Papa Shaft. Since my "work" so rarely receives positive review, I decided not to give up on Hill just yet.

I did decide, however, that I would only take her to task if her columns were particularly egregious. And thus, I left her next two columns alone, since they weren't terrible, just unimaginative and pointless. But then I saw her her latest column, and I knew it was time to start sharpening my knives again.

This column takes the form of (presumably humorous) advice for Certified World Phenomenon Michelle Wie as she (Wie) prepares to enter college. The column kicks off in the now-standard Hill style of poorly-written non-sequitur:

OK, Michelle, the hard part is over. You got into college. Now loosen that grip on the acceptance letter you got from Stanford for a minute, and pay close attention.

Yes, because surely we never believed Michelle Wie was going to get into college. That's the "hard part"? Also, why would need to "loosen [her] grip on the acceptance letter" to read this column? Last I checked, you can read without using your hands (unless you're reading Braille). And who maintains an iron grip on their acceptance letter anyhow?

She then proceeds to recite a few tired observational humor jokes about college, which I suppose are funny if you're the kind of person who finds Dane Cook amusing:

College will be your chance to find out who you really are. College is a different world, but a good world. It's a place where Captain Crunch is considered a food group, and it's where you learn to separate your clothes into two categories -- dirty and pass-out funky.

Although somehow, I doubt that Michelle Wie, teenage millionaire, will be subsisting for weeks at a time on cereal, or going months without having her laundry done. A fact that Hill notes in her very next paragraph. (Incidentally, Jemele's habit of contradicting herself from one paragraph to the next is downright strange, and getting old fast. Does she realize she's no longer employing the two-voices gimmick from her debut column? Or are her columns really transcripts of the conversation conducted by the voices living in her head? Come to think of it, that would explain a lot.)

Hill posits, perhaps hopefully, that Wie will be able to be just one of the gals in college: "College will give you the opportunity to escape the pressure you've dealt with since you were 13." Because I'm sure none of her Stanford classmates or professors will recognize her, because they've all been living in the Unabomber's cabin in Montana for the last five years. And, of course, the media will leave her completely alone during this time, particularly since (as far as I know) she plans to continue playing in pro golf tournaments during her college years.

From this dubious launching point, Hill takes off into her set of "tips" for Wie, which are a mixture of lame gags deftly interwoven with nonsensical what-the-hell? comments, as only Hill can manage. Some highlights:

Don't be the stereotypical rich kid at college. Don't buy pizza for the whole dorm. Don't buy out the bar. Don't buy everyone's textbooks. Trust me, you'll be much more entertained by seeing how creative college students can be when they have 75 cents to last them the entire month of October.

Yes, because your classmates will like it much better if you use their financial struggles as a source of personal amusement. Feel free to refer to them as "peons" and grind your cigars out on their foreheads while you're at it.

Do become a stereotypical college student. Live in a dorm. See how many consecutive days you can eat Wisconsin cheesy chicken. Learn how to avoid meningitis. Plot a fake suicide with your roommate so you can see if it's really true you get an automatic 4.0 if your roommate kills herself. Make aardvark noises if your suite mate is keeping you awake with really loud sex. Take a philosophy class and ponder the being of being. Use a dryer sheet as deodorant. Stay up for 36 straight hours and then try to take a final. Fail a class. Learn a foreign language -- but not a useful one like Spanish or French. Learn Finnish.

More Dane-Cook-level "humor" (even Jemele seems to realize this; note her use of the word "sterotypical"). I would also point out that, except for living in a dorm, I didn't do any of these things in college. But then, I didn't go to Jemele's Cardboard Stereotype U.

If you're going to use your celebrity status, use it for cool stuff. Use it to jump the line at clubs. Use it to punk your professors into giving you a 4.0, even though you never showed up for the midterm or final and missed their class 22 straight times. Use it to steal the boyfriend of the sorority chick that's been hating on you. You know, the important things.

That's right, kids! Aunt Jemele wants you to know that college shouldn't be about learning. Heck no! That's for nerds. Much cooler to spend all your time jumping the line at clubs (that you're probably too young to go to legally, as if that matters) and stealing other women's boyfriends. Your classmates will surely love you!

Join a student organization that matches none of your interests whatsoever. In college, you're supposed to get to know different kinds of people and learn useless skills. Student organizations help you with both. I did some preliminary checking on Stanford's Web site and I found an organization that would be perfect for you -- the Mariachi Cardenal de Stanford. It's an organization for student mariachis, and the best part is you have to take Music 157: Introduction to Mariachi Ensemble. That's the kind of class that, when your parents see it on your transcript, they will bludgeon you with a heavy object.

Does anyone actually join college organizations that match none of their interests? Unless it's a transparent attempt to meet/impress members of the opposite sex? That should be no problem for Wie; as you may have noticed, she's very attractive, and also she's a teenage millionaire.

Oh, and that last sentence? Clink, clank, clunk. Simply atrocious. It never would have seen the light of day in my high-school paper. (Seriously, don't they have editors at Page 2?)

And finally, today's Jemelism:

I once funded a spring break trip to Florida and sponsored a child in Uruguay with plasma money, but that's a story for another day.

Wait... what?! I just... but... I don't... I give up.

Maybe Jemele's next column will be about the plasma-money story. It would surely be a more enjoyable read than anything she's written for Page 2 so far.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 01:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 26, 2006

Post-Christmas Recommendations

Not that it will do anyone any good now, but:

If you are in Dot-Com Canyon and you find yourself in a household where no one is inclined to prepare a Christmas feast (as I did this year), I strongly recommend Amphora's Diner Deluxe. Personally, I think the Amphora is great any time, but I make this recommendation because it's one of the few decent restaurants that's open on Christmas, and they serve a turkey dinner with all the trimmings which is fit for a king.

Also, I join Slate in endorsing The Shop Around the Corner, a far better Christmas movie than It's a Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart gives one of his finer performances, the underrated Margaret Sullavan is a fine foil for Stewart, and the supporting players (including Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden and Felix Bressart) are note-perfect. I watch the movie every time I come across it on TV. This year, I didn't happen to see it, but I saw the decent but inexplicable remake, In the Good Old Summertime. Though Summertime is not bad, the original is superior in every way, save the presence of Judy Garland (one of my crushes) in the remake. (The remake was made only nine years after the original, which strikes me as odd. Also, like the original, the majority of the movie does not take place during the summer, making the title all the stranger.)

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 10:56 AM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!


Posted by Frinklin at 10:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2006

Happy Winter Solstice, Everybody!

And Merry Christmas to those who observe! In keeping with Mediocre Fred tradition, I will once again reprint the lyrics to the song that symbolizes what Christmas means to me. That's right, it's "Percy the Puny Poinsettia!"

Percy the puny poinsettia
Hanging his bloom in dismay
If they had just kept him wetta
Heíd be a houseplant today
Folks liked the other plants betta
Now heís alone on the shelf
Even a plant with no uncle or aunt
Shouldnít spend Christmas Day by himself

Holiday shoppers would stop by the counter
And pick up a plant to take home
One at a time, all his friends were adopted
'Til Percy was left all alone

Percy the puny poinsettia
Hanging his bloom in dismay
If they had just kept him wetta
Heíd be a houseplant today
Folks liked the other plants betta
Now heís alone on the shelf
Even a plant with no uncle or aunt
Shouldnít spend Christmas Day by himself

Then into the store on the day before Christmas
Came a poor little girl who was cryiní
When she saw Percy, her eyes opened wide
And she said ďCan I please make him mine?Ē

Now Percy the puny poinsettia
Is standing beside Mr. Tree
His leaves have never been redda,
Heís as proud as a flower can be

Somebody made him feel betta,
Rescued him off of the shelf
Even a plant with no uncle or aunt
Shouldnít spend Christmas Day by himself

Happy holidays, everybody! (Even Jemele Hill, about whom I have more to say. But not until next week.)

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2006

I only watch SNL under extreme duress

We had just had our cable TV turned back on (the Missus and I felt horrible bitching about having no cable or internet when some had no power or heat but...) and we ended up watching SNL for the first time in years. It was overwhelmingly mediocre except for this. Everything, and I mean everything works about this bit.

I can't decide when is funnier: the "instructions" or the Hanukkah and Kwanzaa variants.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iím a rational man, MacArthur; tell me that isnít snow.

Christ, Iím tired.

Okay, my last seven days in a nutshell: illness, boss in from out of town, tech rehearsal, dress rehearsal, opening night, major windstorm, power outages, more shows, Christmas party with the director, dinner with parents, review in the paper, closing night, set breakdown.

Again, Christ Iím tired.

The past week has been a blur of shows, sets and catastrophic weather. I look forward to this upcoming week, when all I have to do is work and figure out Christmas.

For those interested, the (highly complimentary) review is here in the Tacoma News Tribune, and the Missus has a photographic look on how our neighborhood lived through the windstorm.

Oh, and tonight the washing machine busted and flooded the laundry room. It never stops, now does it?

Posted by Frinklin at 11:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 13, 2006

Fire Bavasi. Fire him now.

Well, my blogpartner's team just lucked out. Apparently Bill Bavasi's brain exploded and the Mariners sent two premium young talents, outfielder Chris Snelling and relief pitcher Emiliano Fruto. Snelling, while injury-prone, is an on-base machine who can play all three outfield spots. Think JD Drew if he tried too hard on the field. Fruto is a giant, dumpy sort with a killer change-up and could be a dynamic closer if he keeps his walks down. This is two of the Mariners best, young major-league ready players.

And for what? An aging, injury-prone second baseman who didn't have any range to begin with? One that will most likely DH for this team for the tidy sum of $16 million over the next two years. This isn't a trade, this is robbery, and the Mariners will reap little -if anything- in the short term and could be crippled longterm.

Fire Bill Bavasi. Tomorrow.

At least Fred will have some fun with this.

FRED ADDS: Ha! Ha ha ha hahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahaha ha ha ha...

Not to rub it in or anything, and I think Vidro's a great guy and I love what he did for the franchise, but most of the Nats fans I talk to generally figured we'd be lucky if someone would take Vidro and his contract now, at any price. The fact that we got two solid prospects in exchange for a guy we thought might be untradeable... well, see previous paragraph.

Someone needs to explain something to me: An awful lot of people, especially Nats fans, seem to believe that our GM, Jim Bowden, is an idiot. If he's so dumb, then how come he keeps fleecing people? (see also: Majewski, Gary)

Posted by Frinklin at 07:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

I Work With Interesting People

I was walking down the hall at work today, when I heard one of the young women in our marketing department, "Shelly," utter the following statement:

"I'm not a whore, I'm a slut. The difference is that a whore gets paid for it."

I paused for a moment, trying to convince myself that anyone could possibly have said such a thing in public. A little while later, Shelly passed by my desk, and I asked her, as politely and delicately as I could, what she had said.

Not only did she not deny the quote, she cheerfully repeated it, including a clause at the end which I had not heard: "... and I just give it away."

After she walked away, I said to myself, "Surely there must have been a context for that statement that I'm missing." But, after considering matters for a while, I realized that there was no context to justify that statement. It stood on its own merit, as it were.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 01:07 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 12, 2006

Another Visit to Page 2's Twilight Zone

Look out, everyone, Jemele Hill is at it again. (I should probably find a new hobby horse instead of picking on Jemele all the time, but she's such a rich source of material, I can't help myself.) This time, she begins her column thus:

Serious question: If Michael Vick was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, why can't Troy Smith be?

I have no idea why she felt the need to begin with the phrase "serious question." Did she figure we'd think she was joking? One sentence in, and I'm already confused.

Serious or not, though, the question she raises is a reasonable one. Smith won the Heisman Trophy, and has done a fine job quarterbacking Ohio State this year. Why shouldn't he be considered a top-flight pro prospect? (As an aside, I don't follow football closely enough to know whether Smith is actually considered an elite prospect or not. For all I know, Smith will be the #1 pick in the draft, and this idea of him being "overlooked" is only accurate in Jemele World. But I'll do her a favor and assume her premise is correct here.)

She then runs through a long list of reasons you're not allowed to think Smith won't measure up:

"Don't say Vick is superior because of speed...Don't say the freak factor. [Ed. note: What?!] This isn't a PlayStation game...Don't say passing...Don't say decision making...Don't say body of work..."

Incidentally, Jemele's tactic is a neat debating trick, if you can get away with it. "Okay, tell me why Thomas Jefferson was a better president than George W. Bush. Don't say intelligence... don't say decision making... don't say the Founding Father factor... don't say body of work..." Okay, what's left? Jefferson had better hair?

Jemele then proceeds to conclude that Smith is being overlooked, unfairly, because of his height. She compares Smith to Drew Brees, who is the same height as Smith (approximately 6 feet) and slid to the second round of the draft, but seems to be doing pretty well for himself. She wonders why Smith is considered a lesser prospect that Notre Dame's Brady Quinn, who is 6'4", but has a much less impressive body of work.

Fair point. But you know who else is only 6 feet tall? Michael Vick. The same Michael Vick who went #1 in the same draft where Brees slid because of his height. What's more, Jemele mentions this in her column. So, your point was...?

Of course, I'm not sure her real point is about height. Take this passage:

It never fails. Every year one player's flaw takes on a whole new level of ridiculous importance. Last year, Vince Young annihilated virtually every defense in college football, but his Wonderlic test all of a sudden became stupidly significant.

Yes, Young's astoundingly low Wonderlic score made big pre-draft headlines. And, of course, both Young and Smith are black, and each had a big-name white rival to contend with (Matt Leinart and Quinn, respectively). So maybe that's her point, that NFL front offices look for any excuse to downgrade a black QB prospect.

Except, of course, that Vince Young was the 3rd pick in the draft last year, while Leinart slid to 10th.

And, of course, Michael Vick is also black, while Drew Brees is white.

So I still have no idea what her point is. I'm not sure that she knows, either. All I know is that if Troy Smith is one of the top 5 picks in the draft, this column is going to look even sillier than it already does.

P.S. Today's Jemelism:

Most human beings concede Vick could probably outrun a Concorde jet.

(1) This sentence is very poorly written. My high-school journalism teacher would have red-penned it.
(2) A Concorde jet? That's the most up-to-date reference she could make? I thought she was supposed to be the young and hip one.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 08:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 11, 2006

Fun With the Sickness

Iíve been largely absent from the blog recently. My show opens on Thursday, we have dress rehearsal on Wednesday and most of my time and energy has been concentrated there. That and trying -and failing- to stay healthy.

I had quite the reputation for getting sick during shows, you know, back when I did this more than once a decade. Now, I never missed a single show, never disrupted any schedules. I just had an annoying tendency to get nagging illnesses and give my directors just one more damned thing to worry about. The worst was my freshman year in college. I was Doc in a production of Tennessee Williamsí Small Craft Warnings. I actually lost my voice completely about four days before our open, which nearly gave the director, an entertainingly queeny gay man named Mark an aneurysm. I was fine though, and the show was brilliant, the best production Iíve ever been a part of.

So now Iíve done it again. Iíve been battling a cold for about two weeks now, and like many an asthmatic I can get a pretty nasty wheezing cough. Iíve controlled it well enough, but coughing just enough to make my director wonder if Iím going to be okay. It got worse this morning though, and my poor boss -in town from the hinterlands of the Midwest- was almost certain I was going to fall down and die at my desk. She sent me home, and Ensie forced me to go the doctor. Good thing she did, as it turns out I have a very nasty case of bronchitis.

Not what I need three days before I open. My doctor did give me some killer cough medicine, but itís laced with codeine and Iím just loopy enough not to be trusted with heavy machinery. No matter. Iíll get it together as I always do.

Oh, and the show is going to kill. The cast is good enough to make me feel out of depth, which I think says something. My acting is just about the only thing I have an ego about.

If youíre in Tacoma, come and see it. Get your tickets here, and try to figure out just which cast member I am.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 10, 2006

Welcome Back Denny

After a year in the exile of Idaho, and a spectacularly ill-conceived stint as the coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Dennis Erickson was named the coach at Arizona State. Erickson won at Idaho the first time around, won at Wyoming and Washington State, then went 63-9 with two national championships at Miami. In between two lackluster tries at the NFL he took Oregon State (Oregon State!) to an 11-1 season that culminated in absolute obliteration of Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl.

Bottom line: Denny Erickson is one of the best college coaches around, and he'll have ASU contending for the BCS within a year or two. Life for the Pac-10 just got a lot harder.

Posted by Frinklin at 12:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 05, 2006

Meanwhile, Back To the Dark Side...

While LZ Granderson is doing his best to raise the writing level at Page 2, along comes Jemele Hill with another jumbled, incoherent mess. Her point, I think, is that Chiefs running back Larry Johnson is hiding his selfishness and laziness behind race when he claims that black coaches understand him better than white coaches. A reasonable argument, I believe.

Unfortunately, Hill can't present even this relatively simple argument without meandering into bizarre digressions about Vanilla Ice, whether Johnson "has a 'hood pass" (her term), and whether Brett Favre wants to be cryogenically frozen so that he can play football in his 70s (no, I'm not kidding).

And, in what are quickly becoming tiresome habits with her, she takes a completely irrelevant potshot at someone she dislikes (Larry Brown), and goes on the defensive against her critics (none of whom are ever identified by name):

I routinely get e-mails from readers who are disgusted because they feel the race card is played too much and inappropriately. (By the way, can someone put the phrase "race card" in a cryogenic chamber and never thaw it? It demeans what is still a real struggle.)

I referred to this obliquely yesterday, and I agree that the term "race card" is overused, but in Hill's case, it would be a lot easier not to think of "playing the race card" if she could construct an argument about race (or anything else, really) in a coherent fashion.

No column by Hill would be complete without a "Jemelism," a passage so bizarrely written that it defies all attempts at understanding or explanation. In this column, we have the following gem:

To loosely borrow from Michael Strahan, 10 years ago I didn't know the difference between truth and bull- Ö er, non-truth. Today I do, but mostly because I'm no longer trying to figure out how to stretch three packs of Ramen noodles into two weeks' worth of meals.

Is there any logical way that the second sentence follows from the first? Any way at all? I've been staring at this passage for 15 minutes, and it remains as nonsensical as it did on first reading.

And somehow, despite rambling across any number of tangentially-related topics, Hill somehow manages not to mention two facts that actually seem relevant to the issue of Johnson and his desire to play for black coaches vs. white coaches:

- The white coach that Johnson apparently didn't care to play for was Dick Vermeil. In fairness to Johnson, Vermeil had a number of uncomplimentary things to say about Johnson during his tenure with the Chiefs, most notably the time in 2004 that Vermeil said Johnson needed to "take the diapers off" and play. If my boss said things like that about me, I doubt I'd want to play for him, no matter what color his skin was.

- Johnson played quite successfully at Penn State for Joe Paterno, who is, at least the last time I checked, a white guy.

Somehow, Hill didn't find space to mention either of these facts, but did manage to work in a reference to Will Smith. Interesting.

What Hill really needs is a good editor. Unfortunately, she works for Page 2, where the slogan appears to be "Millions for hack sportswriting, but not one cent for editing."

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 08:49 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 04, 2006

The Bright Side of Page 2

In light of my recent rips on ESPN's sportainment complex and its newest hire, Jemele Hill, I feel that it's only fair to present the other side of the story. If I'm going to rip Page 2 for its numerous flaws, I should offer my compliments when it gets something right. (The same will apply to Ms. Hill, assuming she ever produces a column worthy of praise.)

In this case, I come to praise the work of occasional Page 2 contributor LZ Granderson. Granderson's Friday column, in which he urges black athletes to call for an end to use of the "N-word," stopped me in my tracks. "Wow," I thought to myself, "this is damn good. This is what Page 2 could be, if most of its writers gave a crap."

Back when Page 2 was the province of great writers like David Halberstam, Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Wiley, it was a great read. But now that Thompson and Wiley have moved on to the next realm and Halberstam has stopped slumming, Page 2 is a bizarre hodgepodge of writers who were once funny/thoughtful/interesting, but have used the same material so often that it's lost whatever zing it once had (Bill Simmons, Gregg Easterbrook, Tim Keown, DJ Gallo, David Fleming) and marginally talented hacks who survive by spotlighting deservedly marginal sports or by spouting nonsense (Mary Buckheit, Scoop Jackson, the aforementioned Ms. Hill). Combine the weak roster of writers with Page 2's lack of a clear mission (is it supposed to be "the lighter side" of sports? A sports-entertainment hybrid? Racial Soapbox Hour?), and it's a wonder that it's survived this long, or that I still bother to check it out.

Then along comes someone like Granderson, and I remember what Page 2 was supposed to be. Granderson is an excellent writer who can comfortably discuss racial issues in sports, and do so thoughtfully.

Friday's column is a case in point. Granderson points out his discomfort with the fact that the N-word is considered verboten for whites, while black culture uses the word freely and sees no hypocrisy in doing so. In Granderson's words:

Between bites of bean pies and Ramen noodles, I and other fake kente cloth-wearing Generation Xers foolishly believed that if we took the word from whites that somehow it would diminish its power. Instead we've made the nation numb through our hypocrisy.

(If you liked that passage, go read the whole thing. You won't regret it.)

Further down in the column:

At first I thought about talking to AI, LeBron and other black athletes as well as notable figures such as Cornell West and Corey Booker to get their take, but that just felt done to me. So I flipped it. Over the past few days I spoke with a number of white athletes, agents and team personnel to get their take. Under conditions of anonymity, nearly all of them said that when they hear the word it makes them uncomfortable because they have been taught it is the worst word in the English language.

And it is.

This passage made me want to stand up and applaud, for a couple reasons. First, the phrase "that just felt done to me." When so many of his Page 2 compatriots shamelessly and happily mine the same hackneyed material and cash their fat paychecks without even blushing, major kudos to Granderson for knowing a cliche when he saw one and doing something different. Also, Granderson deserves credit for recognizing that this discussion can't just take place within the black community. Too much of America's discussion of racial matters doesn't occur between races, and all that's gotten us is a lot of mistrust between blacks and whites. An alarming number of whites who believe that America's racial problems are "over," and that any black person who points them out is "playing the race card." An alarming number of blacks believe that all whites are racist, and that Michael Richards was just saying what whites really think, rather than just pulling back the curtain on his own disturbed mind. When these worldviews collide, the results are often ugly (the OJ trial, for instance).

There's a lot of other great material in this column, but the last paragraph is pure gold:

So this holiday season I've decided to give myself the gift of dignity by cutting the n-word out of my vocab. I'm not on some PC crusade, and I'm not trying to be sanctimonious. But to paraphrase Luke 6:45, a man speaks what is in his heart. In a moment of anger, Michael Richards did. When my feet are held to the fire, I don't want the n-word to come out. More importantly, I don't want an environment where hearing it no longer bothers people. White people should be uncomfortable when they hear that word. But black people should be, too.

Somewhere up there, Ralph Wiley is reading this paragraph, nodding and smiling. We may have finally found the true successor to Wiley, in both intellectual and literary terms.

Inspired by this column, I perused Granderson's Page 2 archive to see if his other columns measured up to the standard set here. And, amazingly, they do. I'd point out my favorites, but they all deserve a look, so read them all.

I see that Granderson is working on a book. I can't wait to read it. And I hope that, in the future, Page 2 will seek out more writers like him. I couldn't be happier to discover that someone's keeping the standards up around here.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 12:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 03, 2006

Where I become a very cranky old football fan

Is it okay to come out now? We have Ohio State and Florida in the championship game. Or, excuse me the ďTostitos BCS Championship GameĒ. That surely rolls off the tongue.

Anyway, are we done caterwauling over the BCS and lack of a playoff or and ďAnd OneĒ game? I really hate this time of year, starting about three weeks before the end of the season and ending about a week before the bowls actually start. We get endless whining about how college football is the only sport in the known universe that doesnít decide itís champion on the field and how the computers make all the decisions andÖ

Just shut up.

I hate the BCS.

I would hate a playoff even more.

I donít particularly care about the national championship. I know this makes me part of a very small minority of football fans. I really miss the old days, before the BCS bastardization of the bowl games. I may sound like a cranky old man (I did turn 33 this weekend), but the bowls were so much more simple and elegant then. The Big 10 and Pac-10 champs played in the Rose Bowl. The SEC champ went to the Sugar, the Big 8 champ the Orange, and the SWC champion the Cotton Bowl. The Cotton Bowl started New Yearís Day, and the Orange and Sugar ended it. Only the Big Kids were allowed on the first, and nothing came after.

This was too damned easy apparently. Now we have this bizarre situation that finds the last bowl game a week after New Years and such measly bowls as the International and GMAC played the first week in January. And nobodyís happy. The playoff cretins are screaming about how we absolutely must-must-must have a clear-cut champion, and poor lonely souls like me are wondering just what the hell the Capital One Bowl used to be.

My hatred of any possible playoff system is personal. I went to Washington State. In 1997, Ryan Leaf and Mike Price miraculously pushed the Cougs into the Rose Bowl for the first time in 67 years. I watched the Apple Cup with my father. He, the longtime Husky rooting for the UW and me for WSU. When the Cougars finally closed out the Huskies after a 41-35 thriller, there were tears in my eyes. We were going to the promised land, the Granddaddy of them all, the only bowl that ever really matters. There was an explosion of joy amongst Cougar fans that I had never seen before and almost certainly will never see again. After two generations of futility, after watching the hated Huskies head to Pasadena 11 times since WSU did, we had finally won.

Had there been a playoff, the Cougars would have been the 8 seed in an eight team playoff. And who gives a shit about that?

Kill the BCS. Forget the playoff. Bring back the old days.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack