Thursdays With Raider: Episode Eleven- Mac and Raider Fix The World


First From Raider

Most of the cool kids seem to be blithely discussing this, so I suppose now is as good of a time as any to mention the BCS.  To start, I’d like to address the knuckleheads (and you know who you are) that seem to believe that going to a playoff will “ruin” college football.  I must respond by saying “no, it won’t”.  Going to a playoff won’t “ruin” college football anymore than flight ruined transportation or that email ruined writing letters.  If you think this way, you have a problem and I would suggest that you fix it.  Go do yoga, pilates, join Toastmasters, something to make yourself better on the inside.

If I may entertain you with zany analysis, the problem with the BCS is that it was done half-assed.  Too much money was tied up in the bowl system and too many palms needed to be greased, and in order to maintain a poll system that is held onto in an Abe Simpson “I get 30 hogsheads to the rod and that’s the way I likes it” kind of way, the BCS was formed.  Or at least that’s how I remembered it anyway.

And the whole split national champion thing of yore always got on my nerves as a kid.  Let’s say for example that someone pulls up to the driveway next door to your new home in a horse drawn carriage.  Okay fine, your neighbor likes to maintain tradition.  A few weeks pass by and you have a friendly conversation with your neighbor.  He says to you “man, I’ve had a devil of a time trying to get the smell of horse manure out of my yard”.  Knowing you as well as I do, the terminology would be vastly different, but you would probably tell him as only someone from southwestern Wyoming can that maybe there’s a better way to get from Point A to Point B.

You also might remember the 1991 season when Miami and Washington split the national title that year.  ESPN even had some of their luminaries (among them being the curmudgeonly Beano Cook) about which team would win.  Call me wet behind the ears, but there’s a simpler way to get to your destination and I don’t think that dueling Top 25 polls to decide a national champion, an idea that should have been put to pasture sometime after the Teapot Dome scandal, is the best way to get to that desired destination.

Drifting further aside, it has been my dream for a long time to see polls in college football rendered as irrelevant in that sport as they are in college football.  If this valiant attempt at a playoff is the next step in throwing this in the ash heap of history, I say bring it on and anyone that disagrees can pick up all the road apples your moving vehicle left behind in my yard.

As I’m sure you are aware, Lebron finally got his first NBA title this past week, but during the spraying of confetti and God knows what else that went on at all the clubs in South Beach, I couldn’t help but notice this tweet by one Tim Brando:

"Rollout at conclusion all about LeBron! Not the team. I deplore that as much as anything. How about Miller, Chalmers? All by design. NBAWay."

In a shade under 140 characters, Brando may have summed up everything that’s wrong with the NBA.  Agree?

I’ve wanted to ask you this for a long time, but did you ever watch the old ABC show “Boston Legal”?  You see, I had this burning white hot hatred for David E. Kelley for a lot of years, but that series nearly redeemed him from “Ally McBeal”.  I say “nearly” because I have a tendency to hold grudges and that isn’t one I am willing to let go of just yet.  But I always compared our unusual symbiosis to that of Alan Shore (played by James Spader) and Denny Crane (played by the one and only William Shatner).  It did give me pause a lot of the time to say “man, I could have gotten some serious tail if only I had tried just a little bit harder in school”.  I don’t know if I would have been Gonzaga Law material, but oh, what might have been.

This also gives me a chance to mix in my theory that the biggest casualty of the writer’s strike of a few years ago was “Boston Legal”.  Well on its way to becoming one of, if not the, biggest hit for ABC and then the Writer’s Guild decides to throw down.  “Boston Legal” just wasn’t quite the same after that strike at least from my opinion.

Lastly, Shore’s and Crane’s all can agree wholeheartedly about Jerry Sandusky’s conviction and if piling on is your thing, you may appreciate this particular story.

(Your sense of justice may vary however.)

Then From MAC

Well I didn’t know this week was going to be the week that we fixed college football, but I’m very excited for the opportunity.  So here are my suggestions…

Make the College Football Playoff Six Teams.  Give two teams first round byes, 3 hosts six and 4 hosts 5.  Highest remaining seed plays the number one seed.  Six does a few things, it gives any deserving team a shot.  I mean if you’re seven you can bitch a little but come on.  It gives us an extra round of games which is always good and the best teams get a reward for being very good.  Now I know it isn’t perfect but I think it would be the best.

Eliminate most of the Bowls.  If you’re not a top six team but you had a very good season, you’ll get a bowl.  But now so many are meaningless.  Hell even our own fans have trouble giving a crap if it isn’t either A) A Big Bowl or B) Vegas because it’s close.  So keep the major bowls, Rose, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar plus the remaining ones with real history, Sun, Liberty, Cotton, Holiday and whichever of those SEC Florida Bowls is most important, I don’t care.  That gives 18 other teams post season play.  If you’re not in the Top 24 teams, well you shouldn’t be in a bowl anyway.  Also while there can be one conference affiliate with the bowl the other slot is open and the selection committee selects those matchups.

Polls.  I’m amused by the polls on occasion so I’d hate to see them go, but we should do this.  No polls before Week 5.  Lets see a month of football before we decide who is #1 or #16.  I think this is where smaller schools would be helped as one of them at 4-0 would be more likely to be fairly ranked than having to climb from unranked to get noticed.

Require Nine Conference Games- This is mostly because I hate the SEC, and think they get a pass.

As for Denny Crane, I knew a lawyer who was very much like him, a criminal defense attorney named Mark Vovos.  I had friends who worked for him and I took a class from him and it was crazy.  He would ramble on about the most random thing and then brilliance would come out of his mouth.  He once told us a story about some criminal who he’d gotten off called him and said his brother was charged with rape in the Tri-Cities.  Vovos says it will be $25,000 up front non-refundable.  The guy says I have $5,000.  Vovos tells him that he wouldn’t drive to the Tri-Cities (about 100 miles) for the act of picking up a $5,000 check.  He then tells us that if you give him $25,000 and the prosecutor drops the charges based upon his reputation alone, wasn’t that money well spent.  I have amazing stories about this guy.

But as for the show itself, it lost me early for reasons I can’t explain and I regret it, something I should watch on DVD.  The writers strike combined with the economic downturn screwed up a lot of things.  Its why we haven’t had a new James Bond or a Star Trek sequel.  Stupid idea stupid timing.

But to answer your two questions, Tim Brando has it right.  And it’s why the NBA lost me after Jordan.

As for Sandusky, there can never be justice for that evil bastard.  And oddly it’s why I’m against the death penalty.  Isn’t it better he spend the last of his days alone and afraid every second.  Death is the easy way out for him.

And More From Raider

I’m glad you mention putting to pasture the 30 or so bowl games that really shouldn’t exist to begin with.  While I understand that we as Americans are fully ensconced in OMGFootball!!111!!! mode, I can’t muster up the interest to watch the Beef O’ Brady’s St Petersburg Bowl or the former Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl.  Go back to the 2006 season, a monumental disappointment by recent Ute standards.  Did the extra practices we were bequeathed for the Armed Forces Bowl really matter down the road (say, for the 2008 season)?  I can hear a lot of arguments from people who will say that game and those extra practices were beneficial down the road, but I’m just not that convinced of it.

However, I would be in favor of keeping these “minor” bowl games:

–The CapitalOne Bowl, which you may know better as the former Florida Citrus Bowl.  I suggest this for married guys especially fans of any good but not that good SEC school that would like to go to a bowl game, but will get grief from their spouses about how they spend too much time watching football instead of listening to their latest yarn about how their hair needs more volume or, my personal favorite, discussing “what went on at this house today”.  This may also give fans of the John Cooper-era Ohio State teams some nightmares and if that sentence applies to you, you have my pity.

–The Independence Bowl, because I think all of us need a reminder that if you think your life is in dire straits, you can console yourself with the knowledge that you don’t live in Shreveport, Louisiana.

–One of the more recently birthed bowl games in Texas, possibly the Texas Bowl, and it’s purely for the selfish reason of seeing if my brother would get into another fight with some Baylor grad who spit some not-so-fresh chewing tobacco into his seat at Reliant Stadium.

As for the playoff format itself, this is going to end up at 8 teams because it would mean two more games with more potential TV revenue and all that other buttery goodness.  And besides that, you just know that someone ranked 5th will scream about not getting in (imagine something similar to the whole Texas-Oklahoma debacle of 2008), one of those schools will scream bloody murder, likely before they clandestinely threaten said crime to get what they want.  And my sole caveat for the new playoff is the fact that will the same apparatchik that ran the show in the non-playoff world would gum up the works in this brave new world?

Example: take a look at the BCS standings from Week 13 of last year which came out on November 20.  The top 4 went like this: 1-LSU 2-Alabama 3-Arkansas 4-Oklahoma State.  Yes, you read that correctly, three SEC schools very well could have made it to a college football Final Four (reply yea or nay if you like that kind of branding for this four team playoff).  A “Final Four” where 3/4ths of the schools would be from the SEC sounds like my idea of a personal hell, but I suppose we mustn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Turning this back to the how this relates to the PAC, which member school will make the non-mythical national title game?  USC?  Oregon?  Also the sheer comedy of any of the PAC-12 schools winning a title and the bellyaching from SEC fans is just going to be too much.

I believe I could be wrong here, but I think the recent resurgence of one Betty White in popular culture came about because of her appearances on “Boston Legal”.  Further, what are your thoughts on other legal drama shows of yore?  Susan Dey in “L.A. Law” would certainly have done it for me, but maybe I’m old fashioned?

Back to MAC

Yeah I just don’t care about most bowl games.  I mean the sixth place ACC team vs the fifth place Big XII team in a half empty stadium.  I don’t think anyone cares about these games.  And really, we’re playing these games for the right to practice more?  Practice, we’re talking about practice.  Coaches would practice every day for six hours if they could.  I mean we could just let every team keep practicing until the bowl games are over and then ESPN wouldn’t feel the need to force these crap bowls on us.

I still think six is a good number.  I’ve been reviewing the seasons where BCS busters have gotten in, as I’m sure everyone has been reading, and six most season allows everyone who deserves a chance a chance without having to watch 8-4 Clemson get curb stomped.  But you’re right, it will go to eight because the SEC and all the honks who continue to support SEC mythology will be pissed that the SEC #3 didn’t get a chance at the title.

As for legal shows, I was a big fan of The Practice.  I’ve also enjoyed Law and Orders from time to time.  One show that I did enjoy last year was The Defenders with Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell.  Not that I’m proud of it, but the show was fun and light hearted.  As a rule however, going to law school has ruined legal drama’s for me.  Being a lawyer is so much more boring than being a TV lawyer.  Plus when they don’t get the legal stuff right it just bugs me.  The wife hates watching them with me because its a lot of, “you can’t object to that.”  There was also a short lived Fox drama about a high powered defense team led by the guy who played Jennifer Garner’s dad on Alias.  That show was cool and had, Lawyers, Guns and Money as it’s theme song.

I wonder at what point I’ll stop being cynical about Utah Hoops.  I mean I spent seven years telling people to support the team and was told I was an idiot.  Now because I didn’t find joy in a six win season I’m an idiot.  Every time I see someone say, “I really think this Ute team will improve,” I kind of want to punch them in the head.  We won six effing games how could we not get better.  I find no joy in Utah Hoops right now and that bothers me.  What say ye?

BTW have you ever seen Shatner do Rocket Man from back in the 1970’s.  I’ll include it here because if you haven’t it’s a real miracle.  Now don’t forget, Shatner back then took himself quite seriously, and he thought he was doing real art here.  Most of his cast mates on Star Trek hated the guy.  If you haven’t seen, enjoy.

Finally, what would it take for Utah to win a national title in baseball.  Being here in Tucson, for the first time in my life I have baseball envy.  I watched the Super-Regional games and most of the CWS games.  Is there any kind of commitment that Utah could make to baseball to get that good?  Oregon has gone from no program to there in a short time.

Raider’s Finale

My interpretation of that video must be that this is the most William Shatner video on YouTube.  But still I wonder, what narcotic was he on when he “performed” this?  I’m guessing some kind of acid, but of he had done this in 2008 instead of 1978 I would have guessed he was on ecstasy.

Here is where I disagree with other Ute fans and in a way I disagree with you on basketball.  I believe the “joy” some in our fan base derive from last season is the mindset that things will get better and Larry will be the man that we thank for it.  Well, I’m not convinced of that.  The natural follow up question has to be what it will take for us Larry detractors to change our tune on him.  I don’t know about you, but would it be too difficult to make the NCAAs more often than not?  A program that at minimum makes the tourney field often–say, seven seasons out of every ten–can’t be this hard to achieve.  And until Larry gets there, I will remain cynical as well.

I feel compelled to mention this, but the Giants stand 1 game out of the division as of this writing.  Not only that, but the 2012 Giants managed to do something that the 2011 version did not: beat Clayton Kershaw.  So you’re welcome for that Cy Young award, Clayton.

If Oregon is any indication, throwing lots and lots of money at a problem works most of the time.  I do remember the Oregon State roadie to start the 2007 season where the Beaver faithful couldn’t help but gloat about the fact that since Oregon State had became a baseball power that all of the sudden UO wanted to be one too.  So I’m all for throwing money at this problem and I’ll meet you in Omaha in a few years.

Since we’re talking about practice like Allen Iverson, if we’re going to keep a bowl system largely in tact, why not add a few more practices to the spring?  One of them being another public scrimmage would be perfectly fine by me.  But presenting an idea to get rid of these worthless bowl games in certain locales around here would bring up a very interesting question: if you jettison the Armed Forces Bowl, would BYU just create their own bowl game?

“Come see Riley Nelson in the 2013 NuSkin RC Willey Bowl, coming to Lavell Edwards Stadium!  Get your tickets now!”

And Mac’s Finale 

Honestly I wonder why the hell BYU hasn’t just created their own Tahitian Noni Bowl.  Invite some crap 6-6 team, beat them by 40 and them proclaim victory over all the land.  I mean that would be so them wouldn’t it.  And then they could run, we have a bowl game smack.

See the money problem is that Utah just can’t handle doing that.  We have fans who take pride in paying our coaches less and how many wins we get per dollar spent.  Somehow we’re proud that our Athletic Dept. doesn’t take on much debt.  Well that happens when you’re willing not to win at nearly every program you have then pretend its all covered up because of football success.  I guess its just me being in a Pac-12 town that just won a national title but I’ve got A LOT of athletic department envy.

And while I guess you’re right about our fans and Larry, that is where I just don’t get it.  What about winning six games gives me hope?  What about anything that he did gives me hope?  And what irritates me most is the space their willing to give Larry that they weren’t even close to willing to give either of our last two coaches.  I assume by now you’ve seen that abortion of a schedule.  Giac and Boylen were under specific orders from Hill not to schedule like that.  Hell if either of them could do that, they’d still be our coach.  Then a Ute fan says to me today, that we should give Larry not one but two years of a schedule like this.  Really?  Two Years of battles with mighty Evergreen St.?  Come on.

I suppose that schedule has brought out all of the cynical in me so perhaps I should just end this and look forward to a brighter week next week.

I wonder if the movie Ted will be funny?