There is only ONE Oklahoma

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Need a clear understanding why....

LSU got to the national title game over Oklahoma, USC, VT, Kansas, Hawaii and even Georgia.

My Thoughts:

LSU was exposed as the #1 team two different times this season, so why give them a 3rd shot at being #1, this time for good?

Common SEC Response: "The rankings do not matter in the SEC because we are the strongest conference in the nation and losses to Arkansas and Kentucky are very good losses; 2 teams that would annihilate any team from any other conference."

I seriously wonder how much of a factor the "undefeated in regulation" played a role in making LSU #2 in the BCS?

Apparently my position that losing away and not at home was a "shouldn't count". LSU losing at home to Arkansas is a lot better than OU losing at TTU and Colorado. I figured winning at home would be a very vital part in this BCS mess debate.

USC was being hyped up as being the best at the end and playing the best ball out of everyone. Heck, they are nowhere as good as they were last year and this year they are just average and came along just at the right time; plus the loss at home to Stanford should just end all possibilities of them getting a shot at the title.

VT was blown out by LSU but did beat some teams at their end that gave them a worthy shot at being discussed for the title. (USC beat Alabama in 1978 in Birmingham and USC lost later in the season; ending result: Bammer and USC share the title with each other). So, despite the VT blowout loss to LSU, VT redeemed themselves and by the end of the regular season, both ended up with 2 losses and VT is just as much of a title worthy contender as LSU and Oklahoma.

2 loss Georgia was being considered for the national title and was just about to get in when the sudden talk of "not winning conference or division" came into play. There is no rule in the BCS for that but hey, let it be known anyways and keep Georgia out. But why rule out KANSAS?? Yes, Kansas did lose their last game to Missouri which decided who was going to be the North Champion but Kansas is still only a 1 loss team.

The best logical choice, despite average SOS numbers, would to have Kansas and Ohio State for the national title.

But why leave out Hawaii? It does seem to be true that Michigan and Michigan State did back out on playing Hawaii so UH was desperate to schedule someone in their place (two 1AA teams). Why fault Hawaii for 2 Big Ten schools backing out? Give Hawaii a shot at the title. They didn't have the greatest schedule in the country but they did win all their games. This can to back to 1984 when BYU won the national title with a weak schedule but they won the title because they were the only undefeated team in the country. Florida's SEC title was vacated and their title shot was dashed; Oklahoma lost to Washington so why not give Washington the title? They had 1 loss. BYU was the only "logical" choice it seemed.

Who did the most to make a statement in the last week of the regular season? OKLAHOMA

What teams are the "most legit" (not LSU based on being #1 twice and losing) to play Ohio State? KANSAS, OKLAHOMA, HAWAII, VA TECH, USC, GEORGIA.

Lets take a closer look:

LSU for:
1. Beat Florida at home...barely. Florida lost to Ole Miss.
2. Beat VT at home...soundly.
3. Beat Tennessee on neutral ground. Tennessee was creamed by 6-6 Cal.

LSU against:
1. Lost at HOME to Arkie. Arkie has 4 losses. (See Ark. out of conference schedule)
2. Lost on road to Kentucky. Kentucky has 5 losses. (See Kentucky out of conference schedule)
3. Nearly lost 3 additional games, each only won by a single play at the end.

OU for:
1. Beat MU twice. Once at home, once on neutral ground.
2. Beat Texas on neutral ground.
3. No other game was technically close. ISU was closer than we wanted, but after the half, OU dominated physically. Texas game wasn't that close.

OU against:
1. Lost on road to Colorado. Colorado has 6 losses, but had a tough OOC schedule.
2. Lost on road to Texas Tech. Tech has 4 losses. OU starting QB out for most of game.
3. Close game at IU at half. But OU dominated physically in 2nd half.

KU for:
1. Only one loss, to a good MU team.
2. Decent road win at A&M.
3. Decent road win at OSU.

KU against:
1. Bad OOC schedule.
2. Lost to only top 25 team played.
3. Did not play OU, Texas, or Texas Tech in the South.

UH for:
1. Undefeated

UH against:
1. Bad schedule, period.

VT for:
late season rally

VT against:
Lost to LSU
lost to BC

USC for:
1. Beat ASU.
2. Beat Oregon State.

USC against:
1. Lost at home to Stanford. Stanford has 8 losses.
2. Lost on road to Oregon.

Here's the hidden, humorous truth about the SEC. They play pancakes out of conference and only more importantly, play OOC games at home to pad the perception that they are the best conference out there. Here's a look at the SEC schedules:

Home v. VT (exception to the rule)
Home v. Middle Tennessee
Road at Tulane (same as us playing on road at Tulsa)
Home v. La. Tech

Home v. Oklahoma St.
Home v. Western Carolina
Home v. Troy
Road at Ga. Tech (decent match-up)

Home v. Western Kentucky
Home v. Troy
Home v. Florida Atlantic
Home v. Florida State

Road at Cal (smashed by 6-6 Cal)
Home v. Southern Miss
Home v. Arkansas State
Home v. La.-Lafayette

Home v. Western Carolina
Road at Florida State (a loss)
Home v. Houston
Home v. La.-Monroe (a loss!)

Home v. Troy
Home v. North Texas
Home v. Chattanooga
Home v. Florida International

Home v. Kansas State
Home v. South Florida (loss)
Home v. New Mexico State
Home v. Tennessee Tech

Home v. Eastern Kentucky
Home v. Kent State
Home v. Louisville
Home v. Florida Atlantic

Ole Miss:
Road at Memphis
Home v. Missouri (loss)
Home v. La. Tech
Home v. Northwestern State

Mississippi State:
Road at Tulane
Home v. Gardner-Webb
Home v. UAB
Road at West Virginia (killed)

South Carolina:
Home v. La-Lafayette
Home v. South Carolina State
Road at North Carolina
Home v. Clemson (lost)

Home v. Richmond
Home v. Eastern Michigan
Home v. Miami (OH)
Home v. Wake Forest

So, the SEC's ONLY marquee wins out of conference was LSU v. VT at home and Ga. v. Ga. Tech (road, kind of). Any other time the SEC plays away from home or against decent competition, they lose. Key losses - Tenn. at Cal, Alabama at Florida State, Alabama at home v. La.-Monroe, Auburn at home v. South Florida, Ole Miss at home v. Missouri, Miss. State at WV, and South Carolina at home v. Clemson. They sport a 3-7 record against decent competition out of conference, on the road and at home.

Most dominating conference my rear. The SEC is much hype. Thanks, ESPN.

But the bottom line is that they (LSU and tOSU) are in the BCS Championship game because they were ranked in the top 2 of the final BCS poll. I think that's how the rules work.

In the end, it doesn't really matter just enjoy the games for what they are. I will.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Like it or not, Roger Penske is a Smart Businessman

Most of us knew this was coming, and with NASCAR’s official okie dokie, the 77 team (driven by Sam Hornish) will be given the #2 (driven by Kurt Busch) team’s owner points thus insuring the 77 a spot in the first 5 races in 2008. The #2 team will be guaranteed a spot as well by using the driver’s “past champion’s provisional’. Simply put, this a smart move and fully within the rules for Penske Racing to do. I have never liked the ‘Past Champion Provisional’ since the days of Darrel Waltrip’s abuse of the PCP in the late 90s, but that is not the point.

It has been interesting to read some of the reactions to this ruling and the common theme seems to be that ‘once again, NASCAR is changing their rules as they see fit’. That simply is not true as NASCAR in this instance is being very consistent and has changed nothing. That’s right, teams have had the right and ability to switch owner points for decades and has even been done recently. (See the GINN/DEI merger and the transferring of owner points from the #14 to the #15 team, thus giving the 15 team ‘top 35’ status.)

Even the 19 Spotter felt the need to give his two cents with his most recent post on the Sadler Fan Club Forum. Here is a portion of what ‘Spotterman’ had to say concerning Penske’s move:

“This opens the door for other teams with less than four teams to do the same thing next season. What does that mean? It means a guy like Bobby Labonte who has expressed an interest in leaving The Petty's doesn't have the value and opportunity to succeed (should he go to a new team such as RCR) as he would have prior to this ruling. Should JGR opt to pull this same strategy Tony Stewart would relinquish his points so that JGR could add a 4th team in 2009, which would devalue Bobby's position. See Dale Jarrett!”

I won’t even touch the ‘Labonte going to another team’ dealio as Griffin probably has a bit more inside info than most, but I do take issue with the ‘devaluation’ of other past champions.

1) Michael Waltrip hired DJ with the express intent on using that Champions Provisional. He was trying to manipulate the system, too. NASCAR changed it so that he could not use it all year long...and hindsight shows that DJ's car was not fast enough to make it in....many, many times.
2) Bobby Labonte was hired for the 'franchise' of an ex-champs provisional. They were happy and prepared to use it.
3) Terry Labonte has been hired by numerous teams over the past couple of years simply because of the use of the PCP. (See Hall of Fame Racing) Heck, even in the press conferences, this concept was mentioned.
4) Darrel Waltrip used the CPC for almost every race entry in a couple of seasons in the late ‘90s.
5) Why did the Wood Bothers hire Bill Elliott midway through last season again?

Griffin goes on to say:
“Dale Jarrett begins 2008 opting for a partial schedule and retirement. His plan was to run the first five races and then only come back to run the all star race. He didn't want to be the one to come back and bump guys out by utilizing his championship provisional. That's why he's running a few consecutive races then coming back for a non points race. This Hornish deal not only puts a thorn in his side, it also puts one in MWR's strategy to move Reuttiman over to the 44. Should Reuttiman make all of the races and be positioned higher in owner points I doubt you'll see him make the swap. What does that mean? It means UPS is struggling to develop and execute a marketing strategy (I would imagine) when their drivers and car owners could change... all because an open wheel guy with a big name came in with no points and the sanctioning body decided to make a ruling to lock him in and give him a chance to compete in races he may not otherwise have qualified.”

It is common knowledge that Elliott Sadler and Brett Griffin are friends and business partners with DJ, but it is just too dammed bad that DJ's and Mikey's (aka ‘Jet Fuel’) plans are all ruined. It is also just too bad that UPS may have to change their marketing strategy, as it was their choice to go with DJ. To top it all off, MWR was hoping to transfer DJ's points to Reutimann and this is somehow different than the Hornish/Busch swap? Simply put, it is not.

In defense of Griffin’s statement, he does quantify a bit with this:
“My feeling on this... on this particular set of circumstances I only hate it for Dale Jarrett! I'd rather see him go out like Brett Favre. Last year he played terrible and this year is MONEY!….. As far as Hornish is concerned... I think he's a wheel man and he'll race a lot better than he would have qualified.”

It’s all fine and dandy to be sentimental, but the problem lies when one lets those feeling sway your judgment for the over-all rules. In this case, NASCAR has not done that. Again, I think the Past Champion’s Provision rule stinks, and should be done away with. I have felt that way for over ten years. It is a rule that has been abused and taken advantage of.

In a last bit of irony, flash back to the 2003 All-Star race where you will see a driver racing only because of ‘transferring’ of an owner’s ‘win’. Sadler did not meet the entry criteria for the All-Star Race but was allowed because of the owner’s win the previous season. That win belonged to Ricky Rudd driving the Robert Yates #28 (who Sadler took over at the beginning of the 2003 season) in Infinion.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Div II Championship Game Observations

Watching Valdosta St & NW Mo. there are a couple of painful observations:

1) Div 2 and 3 kids are smarter than Div. 1. They must be because all we hear from Div 1 administrators is that a playoff would hurt the players academically. Looks like these Div 2 and 3 kids are playing through finals week.

2) Human polls are worthless. Big news, huh? The No. 5 and No. 8 teams are playing for the championship. Moreover, No. 5 beat three of the four season end top ranked teams all of which were undefeated.

3) It's a misnomer that the playoff games have to be at a neutral site. Maybe the championship game, but in preceding games home field could be decided in the same manner as the lower divisions.

more NASCAR related news later this week. Should be interesting

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Mitchell Report

So I spent 3 or so hours that I will never get back late last night reading the 400 plus page 'Mitchell Report' (written by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell) that exposes what will most likely in the future be called the 'steroid era' of Major League Baseball.

In short, the report implicates seven MVPs, 31 All-Stars (one for every position), players from every team and a total of 85 players who were knowingly cheating by taking anabolic steroids or Human Growth Hormone. Worst of all maybe the 'greatest' pitcher of the era (and maybe all-time) and the biggest name, Roger Clemens was hit harder than most, as he was singled out in nearly nine pages and82 references by name.

Mitchel faults not just the implicated players but "Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades -- commissioners, club officials, the players' association and players -- shares to some extent the responsibility for the Steroids Era. There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on."

This quote got me thinking of what actions NASCAR has taken to curb a growing problem. The first instance that came to mind that would be similar to the steroid/HGH issue would be the use of 'traction control'. Flashback to the early 2000s when rumors were floating around that teams maybe using this technology to gain an advantage.

What set NASCAR apart from Major League Baseball was them taken action very quickly and coming up with measures and rules to curb (or at the very least, make it harder for teams to use) traction control by making a mandatory placement rule for the ignition box.

Since this rule has been implemented, the rumors of teams using this technology has dramatically decreased to almost the point of never being mentioned at all. NASCAR was as pro-active as they could have been, unlike Major League Baseball who throw their hands up in the air, and ignored the problem. Now MLB must face the scrutiny from their fans, and for years will have their credibility questioned.

Say want you want about Hendricks Motorsports or any other team penalized by NASCAR for a rule infraction, it no where comes close to the stigma and damage done by this report. Baseball has dropped the ball.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The 800 Pound Gorilla

Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage voiced his concern about the future of the ‘Busch/Nationwide Series’ and the use of Cup regulars.

Gossage states: "If the (Busch) Series wants to run in front of big crowds, on national television and for big purses, you have to have names people recognize and want to see.” In the words of Oklahoma State Head Football coach Mike Gundy, “THAT AIN’T TRUE!!!!”
The reason why that statement is not true is because one only has to look at the Truck Series to see that without the ‘big names’ the crowds are very respectable, even without Network TeVee the purses are still competitive. Yes, the Truck Series is broadcast on the Speed Channel, but for many, Speed is not offered at the Basic price of a cable or satellite package.

Gossage goes on to say: "If they want it to be major league, they have to have names that will cause people to buy tickets and television networks to televise the races……Or they can go back to being a minor-league series and run at 6,000 to 8,000 seat speedways for $100,000."

The problem with his statements is that with declining TeVee ratings and attendance at the Cup level, why would Nascar even want to have another competing ‘major league’ race series? Nascar is having enough trouble spreading out the fan’s weekend race dollar without adding to the expense of another ‘major league’ event.

The Busch Series survived ‘on its own’ for decades before the Busch Wackers made their mark and Gossage can look at his own track to see that not having a majority of the field filled with Cup regulars effected the Saturday’s race attendance. When Jeff Green won the Busch Title in 2000 was Gossage seriously saying that the Busch races were held in venues over 70% empty and only 8000 or so race fans? Back to Gundy, “THAT’S FICTION!!!”
I have been a season ticket holder at TMS since the ’98 season, but I cannot tell you the last time I attended a Busch race there (or any other venue for that matter) and the reason for not going is clear. If I want to see the ‘big boys’ race, I want to see them do it in a CUP car. The same theory applies to going to a Texas Rangers game, or driving an extra couple of miles and going to a AA Minor League game in Frisco, TX. They each have their place but I would have no desire to a mostly filled ‘Ranger line-up’ playing Round Rock in Frisco and watch them dominate the Minor Leaguers.

Gossage has been known to say that his beloved Texas Motor Speedway does not want to be a 800 pound gorilla and for the most part he has done what ever it takes to prevent that. However, it maybe a complete race series that is the 800 pound gorilla, not the venue itself.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Happy Festivus!

Its the most wonderful time of the year, and the Festivus Pole is up, and I have the Festivus Dinner ready, so now it is time for the time honored tradition of the 'Airing of the Grievances'.

* People who feel that Nascar is all about greed and that is the reason for the declining ratings and popularity. Why does the same theory not apply to the NFL, MLB and other sports? My local Major League Baseball team has lost their Ballpark Sponsorship, raised ticket prices, put a less exciting product on the field, lowered their payroll yet expected fans to still fill the stadium all in the last couple of years, and that has little to do with greed.

* Fans of 'retiring' drivers who say they are 'giving up the sport', yet hang around and complain that the 'good ole days were better'. If you are going to give up the sport, give it up already!

* The BCS and making strength of schedule a non factor.

* Drivers who complain that the season is too long and grueling and that they only have 2 months of 'off season'. note to Drivers, it is a job and not many other jobs allows one over 60 days straight of 'down time'. Maybe these whiners should try teaching!

* The TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Sure you lowered your 2008 season ticket prices by a whopping $10.00 per season, but raised RV Camping prices by $25 per event. In 10 short years my camping area has gone from $40.00 a weekend to $175.00 a weekend. That is over a 400% increase in less than ten years.

* Those who complain about the CHASE and crowing a Champion using the Chase format. I guess it would be better to use something like the BCS!

* Drivers who complain that they just "can't get a handle" on this C.O.T. yet forgo a testing opportunity so they can go chase deer in the woods.

I feel much better now, on the the time honored tradition of 'feats of Strength'!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Did I mention the BCS is a strange way to crown a Champion?

But thats for another day.

No, below is not the reaction of his team just moments after Les Miles told his team that he would accept Michigan's offer to coach the Wolverines.
So the Sooners will play West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl, and a two loss LSU team joins tOSU to back into the BCS Champ game in LSU's backyard. Frankly, my first thought is to not give tOSU much a chance, but thats why they play the game. All and all though, Even a 'plus one' bowl game would not settle this crazy year of college football.