Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Weekend Sports Roundup

BCS, NFL, NHL thoughts below...

BCS "Mess"
I'm convinced that the BCS exists to give sports columnists an easy target to fill column inches. Here's my local example -- I'm sure your local newspaper has a column about what a travesty it is that the national football championship is being decided based on style points and computer algorithms rather than the novel ideal of being settled on the field.

Baloney.

First of all -- it will be settled on the field -- Ohio St. will play Florida, and the winner will be the national champion. Michigan had their opportunity to make it to this game, and the lost it on the field!!!! I'll agree that it is hard to say that Michigan is not the No. 2 team in the country after they lost on the road to the No. 1 team by only 3 points, but they were aware of the stakes, and didn't get the job done.

Second, it's not like the BCS is spitting out a completely nonsencial championship match-up. Really, there were two reasonable outcomes -- Ohio St. - Michigan or Ohio St.- Florida (I suppose someone could make a case for Ohio St. - Boise St.), They're not deciding that, say, Louisville should be in the champioship game in spite of their loss to Rutgers because their average margin of victory was so large.

Finally, I don't know when we decided that the object of the college football season is to determine a national champion. College football used to be about rivalries and tradition, and now it's about positioning yourself for the national championship game. Michigan gets to go to the Rose Bowl and take on USC -- that used to be a dream, but not anymore. I think it says something about our society that we've made this shift -- maybe it's not anything bad, maybe just the nationalization of the media with ESPN. Before ESPN, a Big Ten fan wouldn't know much about the SEC or Big 8 (now 12), and probably wouldn't care to. But now we do.

Anyway, it's always good for a cheap column -- the BCS tries to fit a round peg in a square hole -- to determine the two teams that will play for the championship, when there aren't always 2 clear contenders. It makes for easy pickings.

UCLA defeats USC
If you're a senior at UCLA, you must have been getting damn tired of hearing about the Torjans across town, so that victory must indeed have been sweet.

And that tip and interception in the 4th quarter was one of the best plays I've seen.

Rutgers loses in triple OT
And so instead of the Orange Bowl, the Scarlet Knights head to the Texas Bowl. Can't like that.

I do hope this was not a fluke. It would be a great thing for the Northeast to have a college team to get behind, and going into Morgantown and taking the Mountaineers to 3 OT's proved they were not a fluke.

No. 16 to be retired
The Blues will retire Brett Hull's No. 16 tonight, it what may be their only sell-out of the season.

I went to what I think turned out to be Hull's final home game in the playoffs against the Red Wings. He left the ice to a chorus of boos, and that always bothered me. So he didn't get along with Mike Keenan -- who did? This guy was The Franchise, and he gets booed out of town.

In any instance, I hope the Golden Brett gets a warm reception tonight, and that this is the beginning of a renewed partnership between the Blues and their greatest player.

Cowboys defeat Giants
So, I guess putting Tony Romo in was the right move, huh?

Say what you want about Jeremy Shockey, the guy goes out there to play, and gets the crowd going. That's more than you can say for then hangdog Eli Manning.

Cards defeat Rams; Bulger rips team
It seems that since Orlando Pace went down, the Rams' offensive line has pretty much packed it in. And Marc Bulger is getting killed back there. I'm surprised he's made it this long. When he trotted out there with 2 minutes left and the Rams down by 21 and took a sack, I was screaming at the TV for Linehan to take Bulger out of the game before a stretcher does it for him. I don't see how he'll last through next Monday night's game against the Bears.

So, I can completely see where he's coming from.

I think the team misses Marshall Faulk in a lot of ways, which is why I was excited to hear that he wants to come back, and wants to come back as a Ram.

I'm not expecting him to put up 2500 all-purpose yards again, but I think he would help the culture of the offense. His rant on Sunday aside, Bulger isn't really a rah-rah guy. Torry Holt and Stephen Jackson don't strike me as leaders, either. But if a rookie offensive lineman sees a guy like Marshall Faulk, with his place in the Hall of Fame already secure, going out there every day and working his tail off, I think it would make a big difference.

Eagles defeat Panthers
Didn't see this one coming -- the Panthers are the hardest team in the league to predict, and have been for some time. And now the Eagles have playoff life.

Coming attractions
Brace yourselves for my upcoming series on Mark McGwire's Hall of Fame candidacy.
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