Sam

Posts Tagged ‘College Football’

Bowls and salad dressing

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2011 at 6:07 am

Not that I really take an interest in college football anymore, but I took a look at the bowl matchups today and see that the BCS is once again embroiled in controversy – mainly for the Sugar Bowl matchup this year which pits Michigan against Virginia Tech. There are a handful of teams ranked much higher than Michigan and VTU and many people feel these two particular teams have no business in the Sugar Bowl game. I can’t say I agree since I am a Michigan grad.

But I really wish the BCS would just go away. The controversy surrounding the national champion was supposed to end when the BCS came into existence years ago. On the contrary it seems as if there is more controversy now than there ever was with the AP and UPI college football polls.

Life used to be so simple with just five bowl games at the end of the year (all played on Jan 1 I would add ) and two national polls. Most years there was no controversy as the same team usually finished atop both the AP and UPI polls. Occasionally there was a split but the discussion raged for a few days and then died as we headed into winter. Now there are over 30 bowl games and a handful of polls and the controversy starts as soon as the first BCS poll is released mid-season.

The contrast between college football nowadays and when I was growing up kind of reminds me of the salad dressing section at the local supermarket. Where there used to be just Seven Seas and Kraft there are now about 40 competing brands and varieties. You can easily spend 15 minutes at the supermarket nowadays just trying to decide on a salad dressing. Life is just too complicated now.

And so is college football.

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Joe Paterno

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2011 at 1:38 am

I just got back from a short New Year’s trip here in Japan and I wanted to check the NCAA football scores, forgetting as I did that most of the traditional New Years games are now played several days to a full week and a half after January 1st. Alas. All for Television of course. Among the college football headlines today I could not help but see that Joe Paterno is planning on coming back for his 46th season at Penn State. Although I think Paterno has long outlived his effectiveness as a head coach, I think it is wonderful that he still wants to coach and that Penn State continues to support him in this role. To give you an idea of how long Paterno has been at the helm at Penn State consider that when he took over the head coaching job of the Nittany Lions LBJ was president, President Obama was five years old, and the Super Bowl was not even part of the American lexicon.

In these days of a win–at–all costs mentality in college sports, when head football coaches are routinely lured away from very lucrative professional contracts, that a major program like Penn State would choose to employ an 84 year old coach speaks volumes about their loyalty and integrity. Can you see this happening at USC or Ohio State ?

Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing Joe Paterno on the sidelines again next year. If for nothing else Joe Paterno gives us occasion to recall what was once a better time in college football.

Bowls, bowls, bowls and more bowls

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2010 at 11:46 am

I sat down to watch the Michigan – Ohio State game this morning. This used to be a great rivalry and was always one of the highlights of the college football season, often deciding, as it did ,the Big Ten representative in the Rose Bowl. Sadly The Michigan Ohio State game views like just another football game nowadays. There are several reasons for this, one obvious reason being the disarray of the Michigan program these last five years. Upon further reflection, however, I realize that there are just so many bowl games today that the traditional rivalry game is no longer judged on its own merits but rather on the implications the game has for the bowl picture. And that is why much of today’s broadcast was spent untangling all the bowl possibilities for Ohio State instead of focusing on the great rivalry Michigan and Ohio State have had over the years. But there are so many bowl games now that announcers can discuss the possibilities for hours. As they did today.

Where there used to be just five Bowl games, all played on New Year’s Day, there are now 35 Bowl games played over the course of a month – from mid December until mid January. On the broadcast today, the announcers mentioned two bowls, the “Fight Hunger Bowl” and the “Humanitarian Bowl” that I was so incredulous about, I had to look them up on the internet. Sure enough there they were – on the 2010 bowl schedule.

With so many bowl games, all but a few of dubious merit, college football has lost much of its spirit. Back in the day a team could have a good ,or even a great season ,and not get to a bowl but that was life and people lived with it. The regular college football season ended on time, shortly after Thanksgiving, and most people gave the game no more thought until New Year’s Day. On that day the Cotton Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, The Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl were played and that was it. The college football season was over. The next morning people got up, read about the games in the paper as they drank their Folgers, grabbed their brown paper bag lunches and headed out the door to work wistfully beginning to contemplate Spring Training.

Sadly, those days are no more.