I think we can all agree, the summer of 2012 has been a rough one for Houston sports fans.
The Astros are yet again one of the worst clubs in baseball, continuing a rebuilding process that already seems to be taking forever. The Rockets, though competitive, remained in neutral and missed the playoffs again. And the worst thing of all: Albert Haynesworth is still available to be signed by a team on the Texans schedule. That means the possibility of Matt Schaub suffering a season ending injury at the hands (or ass) of Fat Al is still floating around (ATTENTION RICK SMITH: Sign his fat ass NOW! And do not let him near Schauby!). Nothing has gone right, and there has been nothing positive to take out of this summer, right? Insert Carlos Lee. One of the biggest wastes of money in the history of sports in Houston may have finally came through in an unlikely way, and provided some hope for the city's sports fans.
Lee has vetoed a trade that would send him to the L.A. Dodgers, a winning team with a realistic shot at some postseason success. "How is that a good thing?", you might ask. I know, for a team rebuilding it seems to be a bad deal, not being able to trade an old horse on the decline for some young colts with promise of helping in the future. But you have to dig deeper, think outside of the Juice Box for a second to see where I'm coming from.
One of the things that gets a Houston sports fan more down than a, well, something real low is that athletes, specifically star athletes never want to play in Houston. Dwight Howard says he doesn't want to be here, expressing through various outlets he would not re-sign with the Rockets in 2013 if traded to Houston. Chris Bosh wanted to play in Miami, turning down more money to NOT play in Houston. Nnamdi Asomugha didn't seem too interested in coming to Houston last offseason (though the Texans may be better off with the player who did sign on). Carlos Beltran was in Houston just long enough to have only one of the best postseason runs in MLB history, then chose to leave a World Series caliber team to play in flashier New York City. Get where I'm going with this now?
Yep, by refusing to be traded to a winning team in L.A., Carlos Lee is basically saying he wants to stay in Houston! This should excite Houston sports fans, someone actually "wants" to be here.
....yah, you're right, this summer really sucks.
Well, there we have it: finally there's a playoff in college football's top division! We can all live happily ever after, right? Probably not! Though better than the current way of producing a champion, this will not put an end to the controversy.
The first problem is there will be only four playoff spots available to teams in pretty much six major conferences (assuming the Big East keeps its status, which is in doubt). That means at least two conferences could feel screwed when they're not represented, and possibly repeatedly screwed. Add to it that there will be a selection committee picking the teams --problem two IMO, the 'human element'-- and it makes it "personal" for the "screwed" conferences. Fast-forward to meetings a few years later, and it's possible that the "screwed" conferences refuse to sign up to continue participating in the system or a similar one, pretty much blowing up the playoff because they're pissed off at "someone". Then we're back to 1 vs. 2 in a championship.
As a fan of college football, I am glad to see ANY type of playoff system finally arrive. It's about damn time! I just believe the current computer formula used to determine the national championship match-up has been wrongly prosecuted. IMO, it is in how the formula is being applied that is the problem, not the formula itself.
Before, humans picked the two title game participants (via polls etc..) and that was a problem. Now it's the computers that do the picking, and they're the problem too? No! The constant theme with all of the systems we've deemed unsatisfactory is they leave us with only two teams to compete for the title on the field. I believe using the current formula to pick the playoff participants --whether fully or in a smaller capacity-- would be the better thing to do (and eight participants, mind you)!
I've always been of the opinion that the computer formula does a good job of putting the top six, seven and even eight teams into the top six, seven and eight. The order may not be 100% accurate, but it's always pretty damn close. Rarely are we arguing that the #2 team doesn't deserve to be in the championship game, but that the #3 team, and sometimes even the #4 are just as deserving, which leads us to resent the #2 team and the system that put them there. Sometimes, we even feel #5 and #6 may not be as deserving, but "by golly, they're playing the best football right now. Would sure like to see 'em against #1 and #2." That has always led me to believe the current formula can still be used, just in a different way.
I've always thought the formula should be used to produce the final top eight teams, then have those teams placed in a playoff. Let it be settled on the field! But though that would remove the human element, and increase the chances of each major conference being represented, it still allows for controversy when a conference comes up short of being represented.
That leads to another suggestion that is growing on me, and I will credit Houston sports talk host Nick Wright of Sports Radio 610, whom i heard it from first. The suggestion is defining a solid five major conferences that would compete for the first five playoff spots. The champions of the five conferences would automatically make the playoff, leaving just three spots to fill. Being that the computer formula isn't the devil it has been made it out to be, the final three teams would be determind by computer ranking. That means the top three teams not to win their conference championship make it in. Most importantly, however, is NCLB - No Conference Left Behind, which makes for happy conferences less likely to throw wrenches.
With either my way or the Wright way (no pun), the teams could be placed in bowl games --seven in total to determine a champion-- at the existing BCS bowl locations, and even add a couple of new ones if you'd like. Hell, even keep the name 'BCS'! Do that, and for the first time ever the words behind the abbreviation 'BCS' will make sense: a 'Series' of 'Bowls' that lead to a 'Championship'! Wait, that's SBC...but you get the point.
As for the argument that eight teams making a playoff will somehow "water down" the regular season: Ridiculous! If the top eight teams were put in a playoff, as my original suggested system would do, that bottom half and the four or so teams on the outside would be clawing like crazy to make the playoff. With a system like the one Wright suggested, not only would teams be fighting to win their conferences, they'd be fighting to be as highly ranked as possible. And when a really good team appears to have lost a shot to win their conference, instead of the "poor me, I lost my chance at playing for a title" we see every year, those teams will continue fighting because they would still have a shot. That almost triples the excitement IMO! Then add an eight team playoff at the end of all of that? Man, the last half of the college football season would be as exciting as it can possibly be (not an opinion, that's a fact!... imo)!
So i was hashing out ideas for my first blog entry when this came to mind: Just who in the hell am I writing to? I don't even have an audience, yet! So, am I pretty much writing to myself? Are those crickets I hear?
Of course those were not crickets I heard, because not even the crickets are aware of my blog.
Truth is I just want to write, and to share my thoughts with those unlucky enough to click the link. But what will I write about? What will my blog be about?
Well, to start I am a big sports fan. Most days I sponge up information on sports via Twitter and sports talk radio, arguing with the hosts through the radio as if they were in the room with me (What's that? You think I'm crazy? Corrrrect!). Being from the Coastal Bend of Texas, my main sports interest is the Houston Texans, so that is where I plan to do the most damage, though I'll hit up other sports and national sports topics I'm positive.
Other things to blog about? Well: Fishing; life in general; stupid people and the stupid things they do; your mother; music; beer; food; social issues. Maybe I'll even throw in some big words to trick you into thinking I'm smarts. And hyperbole? I can do that! I do that about a million times a day!
Oh yah, and politics! Everyone loves some social issues and politics discussion. Well, I'm a Libertarian (I think), so maybe you'll see me blog about how it's none of my business (or yours) if Gary marries Bob, Bob + Sally, or even twelve other guys (poor Gary). Or how I'm not bothered if Gary wants to smoke some pot, as long as Gary doesn't care if I get drunk and fall off of a boat six times chasing the sixth cigarette I've immediately dropped upon lighting (that is not hyperbole. As a matter of fact, it may have been seven times). And of course I feel it is important to mention that picking between Obama and Romney is like choosing what caliber deer rifle you'd prefer being shot in the head with at point blank range (30.06 me, please! Let's get this shit over with).
And some day I may even explain why I chose the blog title that I did (You Need to See Things My Way). But for now, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the new blog smell, patiently awaiting the arrival of the first crickets.