Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sunday Night Dessert: LSU Already Clinches?

Yes, I know that the "BCS National Championship" game is still scheduled for tomorrow night, but frankly, I'm not sure I can take it seriously. After all, the BCS defines itself like this:
The BCS allows for preserving the significance of the regular season, which is the most meaningful in sports.
 If the purpose of the BCS is to "preserve the significance of the regular season", then I have no choice but to reflect back on the regular season.

LSU 9, Alabama 6.  Ugly, yes.  But most importantly, played on Alabama's home field, in front of their fans.

So while the winner of tomorrow night's game will hoist the crystal football, from my perspective, it's barely an exhibition game by the BCS standards.  So when I cast my BlogPoll ballot, I think I'll have no choice but to vote LSU #1 no matter what happens tomorrow night.

ESPN is talking that the BCS could transform into a four-team playoff system in the next contract.  It's a start, but I think we'll quickly find that there won't be interest in traveling to those semifinal bowl games.  Unless it's a 6-9 hour drive, most fans simply don't have the time or money to travel to one distant bowl game, let alone two.  You saw empty seats at most bowl games this season, and that's a trend that's likely to continue.  And in a "plus-one" system where two teams will have to play in two bowl games, even fewer fans will be able to do that.  Unless, of course, one of the games is a short, convenient drive.

After reading the uproar from Penn State alums over the hiring of New England offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to replace JoePa, the more it looks like a bad idea getting worse.  Not having the support of the former players is strike one; Nebraska learned the hard way what happens when you turn your back on history and tradition from 2004 to 2007.  That makes the job even harder for O'Brien, who's the latest member of the Bill Belichick coaching tree to leave the nest.  For all the success Belichick has had in New England, it's never worked anywhere else.  There's the double failure of Charlie Weis (Notre Dame and Florida), plus Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels, and Todd Haley.  That's two strikes in Happy Valley.

I admit it... I muffed the NFL's new overtime rule.  My first thought after CBS and Jim Nantz announced that Denver defeated Pittsburgh tonight, I disagreed and expected the Steelers to get a chance.  Then my wife clarified it that if the first team kicks a field goal, the game continues.  Oh well - the rule makes sense though you really have to stop and think about it.

For those of you looking to turn the page past football, it's time to start thinking hockey.  Defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth is coming to town this weekend.  NBC is televising Friday night's game, and UNO is trying another sellout promotion.  As of tonight, they show only 3,358 tickets left.  Not sure what that means, but I'd guess that means a crowd of 12k at this point.  It'll be tough to top last year's Wisconsin game for atmosphere and crowd size, but you never know.

As for what to expect on the ice, hard to say again.  The Mavs have been off the three of the last four weekends due to finals, Christmas, and an oddly timed bye week.  Will they be rusty or fresh?  I didn't get a good feel for how they've responded to the suspension of center Alex Hudson in the Quinnipiac series. 

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