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This is a busy time of year, personally and professionally as well as athletically, and that set of circumstances lends itself to random half-formed thoughts. Sometimes, this causes me to make dated references and mathematical errors in the midst of instantaneous reactions; other times, it leads me to share a collection of nuggets such as these:
- It is no secret that I am no fan of the Heisman Trophy, but college football’s most overrated award occasionally lurches uncontrollably into the correct result by anointing the student-athlete who actually has a credible claim to being the most outstanding player in the sport that year. It appears this will be one of the years in which the Heisman Trophy actually goes to the person whose performance on the field merits the accolade. That being the case, why are we engaging in the pretense that there are four “finalists” for this award? LaMichael James, Andrew Luck, and Kellen Moore have front-row seats to see Cameron Newton win the award he deserves to win. The only drama will be whether he breaks O.J. Simpson’s record for biggest landslide victory in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Cam Newton is the most outstanding player in college football this year; his receipt, vel non, of this award will not make the foregoing statement any more or less true, but ESPN’s silly hyping of this sillier award is unseemly. Recognize the guy for his achievements, but cool it with the dog and pony show, all right, Worldwide Leader?
- An inconsequential math error in the final BCS standings has caused a bit of an uproar, resulting in descriptions of the situation as “dumbfounding,” questions whether the computer polls could “be intentionally manipulated,” and this claim by the fellow who caught the mistake: “The BCS owes us an entire system that is open, accountable and verifiable.” Why is this so? The deliberations of the NCAA Tournament selection committee are not open, accountable, and verifiable; neither are the deliberations of trial juries, grand juries, or the U.S. Supreme Court. Plenty of widely accepted and implicitly trusted results come to us from systems that lack openness, accountability, and verifiability from start to finish; in fact, rare is the system that provides those features throughout the process. Many perfectly reasonable college football fans dislike the BCS; I am one of them, in fact. The notion that we are “owe[d]” a wholly open system, though, is ludicrous, and the claim that we are entitled to any such thing is utterly hypocritical coming from anyone who does not make similar claims about much more important matters, or even about other NCAA-sanctioned sports. It was a minor math error that affected absolutely nothing. Fix it, forget it, and focus on the actual matter at issue.
- In games decided by seven or fewer points, Central Florida went 1-2 in 2010, whereas Georgia went 0-3. In games decided by ten or fewer points, Central Florida went 2-3, while Georgia went 1-3. In the last four Liberty Bowls, the SEC representative has beaten the Conference USA champion by eight or fewer points, as the margins have gotten closer year after year. Something’s got to give.
- Finally, friend of the blog Josh D. Weiss sent me some of his photographs from Tuesday night’s Georgia-Georgia Tech basketball game, three of which are visible below and the rest of which may be seen here: