The BCS is dead they say: Long live the BCS

cfp

When the BCS died a year ago, I wrote an introduction to the College Football Playoff that, in essence, contended that we were going to miss the BCS:

With the College Football Playoff ©, we will have one thing we asked for and one thing we did not. A semifinal playoff round will precede, and determine the participants in, the national championship game. That is good, and it was a structural shortcoming of the BCS. For some reason, though, the College Football Playoff © scrapped the BCS’s rankings system in favor of a Byzantine (Soviet? Orwellian?) black box: the PolitburoSelection Committee.

Participating in the BCS is like paying your income taxes: there’s a lot of math and fine print involved, you probably can’t quite find all of the information you need to calculate the precisely correct result, and there’s that guy down the block who hollers that the thing’s unconstitutional, but you generally have a pretty good idea of your expected outcome.

On the other hand, the new playoff’s Selection Committee recalls the Supreme Court: members deliberate behind closed doors, apply any criteria of their choosing in reaching decisions, and announce those decisions under their own terms.

On Sunday, the Selection Committee spoke for the last time in its inaugural season to announce the four playoff participants: Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State. Two days later, everyone outside of Texas generally seems to agree that this is the right result.

The only reason the results were or remain controversial has to do with what the Selection Committee did prior to Sunday. Their flipping and flopping of TCU, with seemingly connected treatments of Baylor and Minnesota, was the genesis of the confusion, surprise, and, in Fort Worth and Waco, disappointment, that arrived with the final playoff announcement. On one hand, those confused, surprised, and disappointed feelings were unwarranted: the Committee reached the correct result. On the other hand, however, they were unnecessary and likely would not have arisen absent the lack of transparency that now characterizes the college football ranking process.

If the BCS could speak from the grave, what would it say about the CFP Selection Committee’s final result? The answer, Continue reading

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Let’s see action! Tennis > Baseball > Football?

Entering that time of year when baseball and football overlap, I was reminded of the mostly uninteresting sports superiority debate, one football usually wins because of its media popularity and perception that it offers a lot more action than the other sports. It’s pointless to swim against the tide of football supremacy, but is it really true that a football game offers more action than a baseball game?

I found myself reevaluating this question while flipping between baseball and football games on college football’s opening weekend, simultaneously enticed by shiny football and entranced by the playoff potential of my favorite and local baseball teams. Baseball seems slow, of course, and there’s no clock. Most of the time, though, a televised baseball game takes as much time to complete as a televised football game. As a comparison of these two random articles indicates, MLB games actually tend to consume less time than NFL games. The nature of the gameplay is what it is, but a fan is going to spend the same amount of time– roughly three hours– watching a game of one or the other.

We can go deeper and wider, though. Fewer Americans watch tennis than either the official or unofficial national pastimes, but even men’s tennis matches (played as the best of five sets, rather than the women’s best of three) tend to take less time than baseball or football. Moreover, as a set of recent Wall Street Journal studies conclude, it’s tennis– not baseball or football– that packs the most action per match or game.

Read the full article here.

The Many (okay, two) faces of Ryan Braun

Yesterday, Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewer who won the 2011 NL MVP and 2007 NL Rookie of the Year awards, agreed to a sixty-five game suspension from Major League Baseball for his violation of MLB’s drug policy and released the following statement:

As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed — all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.

Braun failed a drug test back in October 2011, but he was successful in overturning a fifty-game suspension on appeal by identifying a procedural deficiency in the testing process. During the pendency of that appeal, Braun stated:

This is all B.S. I am completely innocent.

Following its resolution in his favor in February 2012, Braun held a press conference where he issued a long statement, excerpted here:


[T]this is without a doubt the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced in my life, and it’s made it that much more challenging that I’ve had to deal with it publicly. But I truly view this challenge as an opportunity, just as I’ve viewed every other challenge in my life – as an opportunity. I’ve tried to respect this process, even though the confidentiality of the process was breached early on. I’ve tried to handle the entire situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that’s who I am and that’s how I’ve always lived my life.

If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and say, “I did it.” By no means am I perfect, but if I’ve ever made any mistakes in my life I’ve taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart, and I would bet my life, that this substance never entered my body at any point.

I’ve always stood up for what is right. Today is about everybody who’s been wrongly accused, and everybody who’s ever had to stand up for what is actually right. Today isn’t about me, it isn’t just about one player – it’s about all players. It’s about all current players, all future players and everybody who plays the game of baseball.

Ultimately, as I sit here today, the system worked because I am innocent, and I was able to prove my innocence. After today I look forward to returning my focus to the game of baseball, being able to get back with my teammates, allowing my life to return to some sense of normalcy and focusing on helping our team get back to the post-season.

Braun closed the brief question-and-answer period with this statement:

I guess the simple truth is I’m innocent. I’ve maintained my innocence from Day 1, and ultimately I was proven to be innocent.

Super Bowl Jam

The leadup to Super Bowl XVII has gotten a little raucous around here, and I promise it wasn’t planned that way. First, make sure you sign the petition, and then check out all of our Super Bowl coverage. You won’t regret it.

One item buried in all of that is a breakdown of a fantastic GIF of 49ers fans. While preparing my analysis, I came across a number of videos of musical performances that were new to me, even though the songs are well known. One of those was by a relatively recent Super Bowl halftime performer, so I decided to feature it in this spot this week:

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Related Super Bowl Coverage
The Truth: What really happened in the murder trial of Ray Lewis, Reginald Oakley, and Joseph Sweeting (via Atlanta Magazine)
Ravens vs. 49ers: A losers’ guide to Super Bowl cheering

A question about Super Bowl Media Day
Beyond the Archives: How Big Government Cost Southern Conservatives a Super Bowl Win

Super Bowl Politicking

ALDLAND Archives: Breaking Up is Hard to Do
ALDLAND Archives: Why I Hate Harbaugh
Super Bowl XLVII, brought to you by the AARP?

London Olympics organisers hit dead note with opening ceremony plans

The cheeky Guardian reports:

The London 2012 opening ceremony is going to be called Isles of Wonder, but there can be no wonderment more wonderful than the fact that Olympics organisers wanted Keith Moon to perform.

Moon has been dead for 34 years.

The drummer for the Who died in 1978 after ingesting 32 tablets of clomethiazole, a sedative he had taken for alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

The band’s manager, Bill Curbishley, told the Sunday Times he had been approached to see if Moon “would be available” to play with the surviving members this summer.

“I emailed back saying Keith now resides in Golders Green crematorium, having lived up to the Who’s anthemic line ‘I hope I die before I get old’,” came the excellent reply.

“If they have a round table, some glasses and candles, we might contact him.”

For its part, the staff of the Guardian is just really looking forward to seeing Jesse Owens compete.

They also could’ve gone with a “Pictures of Lily” reference (“[]he’s been dead since 19[78]”), but it wouldn’t have rhymed and seriously, how did the London Olympic Committee miss this one? Moon isn’t just the one-time drummer of a classic rock band. One could be forgiven for not knowing the life status of the drummer from Mot the Hoople. I’d even give you Faces or the one-armed guy from Def Leppard. But Moon is the famously dead drummer of one of the biggest British rock bands ever. I mean, there he is atop British Drummergod Mount Olympus alongside John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones), and Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith, Ginger Baker’s Air Force). This would be like the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Committee inviting Duane Allman to perform or the 2096 Alanta Olympic Committee inviting Jerry Garcia.

Speaking of Atlanta and dead musicians, though, now that someone finally put CNN’s hologram technology to value-adding entertainment use, maybe Moon can make it after all.

Who are we?

After more than two months and aboutover 2,000 hits, it seemed like time to introduce ourselves. Navigate over to the Contributors page to find out who’s been writing this muckety muck. (Clicking on the pictures will take you to all of that person’s posts.)

If you’re interested in writing here, send us an email: aldland[dot]com[at]gmail[dot]com.