Thursday, January 10, 2013

Obscure 1 Point Safeties And Other Sports Ramblings

Well the college football season has now come to a close.  I was one of those who said that Notre Dame would not be able to hold their own against Alabama, and it turns out I was right.  I say that note to gloat but to bemoan yet another terrible BCS championship game. People are now saying "oh it will be better when the playoff starts" and perhaps it will because then we would have seen Oregon and Alabama meet, but it will still be only four teams and won't really solve anything.

One of the biggest problems with the current format, and the proposed format, is that the teams have way too much time off before what is supposed to be the biggest game of the year.  Notre Dame had more than 40 days off between games. Teams are bound to get rusty.  Would Notre Dame have stood a chance if they have met Alabama just a few weeks after their last game?  I think Alabama would have still won, but I think it would have been at least a close game.

But, my question continues to be if we can have a full playoff system in every other sport and every other division, including football for 1-aa, div. 2 and div. 3, why can't we have a full playoff system for div. 1 football?  I know the easy answer is money, but look at how much the NCAA makes off the basketball tournament.  It is what funds the NCAA for the year.  There is lots of money to be made, so what is the real reason?

One of the reasons that I think baseball is a superior sport is because you can attend any game at any level and there is a chance that you might see something you have never ever seen before.  That is normally not the case in football, but there was one this year.  In the bowl game between Oregon and Kansas State, KS blocked a point after attempt and recovered the ball, but then they took it back into their own end zone where they were tackled.  The result of this play was a one point safety.  That is something that not only had I never seen I had never even heard of it. But not only me, lots of sports columnists were talking about the fact they had never seen it before.  I was very impressed that the referees even knew the rule it was so obscure.

The Milwaukee Bucks fired their head coach this week. I didn't even know there was still an NBA team in Milwaukee, and he should have been heralded as a saint and savior just for the fact that he had them at .500.  I mean honestly, when was the last time you heard anyone talk about the Bucks or if they did that anyone actually cared (outside of Wisconsin, and even that might be a stretch)?

People are shocked that so many college coaches are turning down the opportunity to go to the NFL this year.  I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the decisions, like Chip Kelly at Oregon, and baffled by others who did leave, like Doug Marrone who was 25-25 in his career at Syracuse, not exactly a football powerhouse.  But the good news for Marrone is that he is going to the Buffalo Bills who no one expects to win, or really even compete, including ownership, as can best be seen by the past decade worth of stupid decision after stupid decision.

I think some of the reason why college coaches are staying is because the teams they are being offered are so terrible that there is no chance to be successful.  It's okay to leave a terrible college football team to take over a terrible NFL team, but why would you leave Oregon to go to Kansas City or Cleveland?  But I think an even bigger reason now is that the money between college and the pros is almost the same now, and you have a lot greater control in college than you ever do in the pros, so staying is beginning to make a lot more sense.

Nick Saban continues to say that he is not leaving Alabama, so if you are an administrator at Alabama, based on his track record, I would put the process to start looking for a new coach into place.

It was announced yesterday that no one was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, which is just a joke.  What sportswriters are going to have to understand is that it was the "steroid era" and it wasn't just a couple of years.  Best estimates are that it began as early as 1984 and lasted well into this century (and still lasts as test results have shown).  The Hall is supposed to represent the best players of their generation based on what was going on then, and so players should be inducted into the hall with the understanding that steroids were a part of that era and noted as such.

Jose Canseco has been shown to be right on just about everything he claimed so far, and he claimed that maybe up to 90% of players were using, so are we just not going to except anyone from 20 years worth of playing?  Or are we going to begin picking and choosing about who was clean and who was not? There have been no rumors about Ken Griffey, Jr., but he was hitting home runs at the same rate, and was also very prone to injury, as players who are assumed or have admitted to using PEDs, so what do we do?  Put him in and keep the others out?  And on what basis could we possibly do that?

What I really don't understand is the anger that sports writers seem to have about this issue.  They were just as guilty of ignoring it as everyone else, so where is their anger coming from?  That they feel like they were cheated?  How?  The simple fact is the vast majority of fans simply didn't and don't care, so it's time for them to get over it and start putting in the best players of this era, because they were the best in their circumstances, the same as Ty Cobb never had to face black pitchers but we don't count that against his hitting titles and remove him.  Let's just simply be honest about what happened and move on.

The other great problem is who is voting for these players and how it's done.  To become a voter you must have been a member of the baseball writers association for 10 years, but after that you're in.  I remember a couple of years ago someone who was a voter wrote in the newsletter for his retirement community that on his ballot he would never vote for someone who used PEDs but then said who he voted for which included two people who were in the Mitchell Report.  Reporters also use their vote as their own personal vendetta machine.  Maury Allen recounts the glee he got every year in not voting for Thurman Munson because he didn't like him.  These are the people we allow to vote?

The entire structure needs to be completely reworked.  It should be narrowed at the very least to people who are actually still covering the sport, so if you retire of move onto football, you lose your vote.  Some have argued that it should be more like the football hall of fame with a rotating panel, or more like the veterans committee who look at older players.  The problem with the veterans committee is that they have completely ignored people who should be in, like Marvin Miller, because of their own personal biases, and the same thing happens for the NFL.  There are players that should be in but are not.

I don't know what the solution is, but as someone said yesterday on Around the Horn, we have to decide if the hall is a museum or a shrine.  If it's a museum of baseball then the best players should get in with information about the era included.  But if it's a shrine then we need to go in and remove all the other scum who shouldn't be idolized or worshiped who are in there already.

Finally, since I was too busy to address this in December, can we now drop the pretension that the Heisman Trophy is set aside for the best football player in the country?  What this year showed us is what we have already known for a long time, to win the award you have to play on the offensive side, and even more you must be a quarterback, running back or occasionally a receiver.  No one else is eligible.  So let's start calling it what it is, which is the award for the best offensive player.  Let's elevate the status of the Bednarick Award or the Nagurski Award, which are for the best defensive player (although it goes almost exclusively to linebackers), and which Manti Te'o won this year, and make them equal, and then put the charade that it's for the best player aside.  And while we're at it let's just admit to linemen on offense and defense that they simply don't matter, because they have to share their award.

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