BCS Mess Gets Silly As Michigan Senate Leaders Call For Playoff System

I’ve had several posts protesting the selection of Florida over Michigan to play Ohio State in the BCS Championship game, but this is taking things a little too far in getting the state legislature involved:

Still angry over Michigan’s exclusion from the BCS national title football game, a pair of state lawmakers are calling for a playoff system.

Sens. Mark Schauer and Mike Bishop, the incoming Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate, say subjectivity should be removed from a process that has financial and emotional repercussions. The pro-playoff resolution they introduced Thursday is purely symbolic.

“The BCS system is clearly not working and consumers in Michigan and around the country are paying a very real price,” said Schauer, D-Battle Creek.

He said the University of Michigan will lose out on at least $10 million for going to the Rose Bowl instead of the BCS championship game, along with a possible rise in enrollment and merchandise sales that come with a national title. One-loss Florida edged out one-loss Michigan for the No. 2 ranking and the chance to face undefeated Ohio State Jan. 8.

Bishop, a Rochester Republican and Michigan graduate, said the BCS “failed miserably” and a playoff is needed to prevent future “injustices.”

“The whole purpose of the BCS was to ensure a championship game between the best two teams in college football,” he said.

The resolution says that because Division I football programs are a significant public investment, schools and the public have the right to a sound system. It notes that other NCAA divisions have football playoffs.

Christine Brennan of USA Today writes that This BCS mess is downright silly. She could write a column on that even without the benefit of this latest silliness:

The reality is that this year, even the bowls with the real names: Rose, Sugar, Orange and Cotton, are meaningless. They’ll be fun, for sure, and they’ll make somebody a lot of money, but they won’t count for anything. Same with the BCS Championship Game Jan. 8. Yes, even that one is meaningless for anyone who values the grueling, and revealing, 2006 regular season in college football.

These bowl games are insignificant, all of them, because this college football season was so significant. And because it’s now over. It ended Nov. 18 in Columbus, Ohio, when the two best teams in the nation played, and Ohio State beat Michigan by three. The only thing that was missing in that game was a neutral field, but that’s an imperfection that we’ll all have to accept.

The Florida Gators, deemed the best of the teams who have not yet played Ohio State, certainly might defeat the vaunted Buckeyes Jan. 8, and what would we have then?

Not a new definitive national champion, despite what pollsters would say. No, only proof that the layoff imposed by the people who run the “Silly Season” — a layoff so long that freshmen practically become sophomores — had made a mockery of a reasonable, telling and finite regular season, that’s what.

At the end of the game, Bowl Championship Series officials will tell us they’ve crowned a new national champion and will crow that their system has worked again. But we’ll know differently. We’ll know that this system is as flawed as any — as flawed as even the system of our childhood, which was, of course, no system at all, just a piecemeal screamfest in which sometimes three or four schools claimed to be No. 1.

What’s the difference now? If Florida wins, potentially three or four schools will shout that they are No. 1. But the difference is that the BCS men will then inform us that they have a national champion all picked out for us.

I like the old way better. It was flawed, we knew it was flawed, and no one tried to tell us it worked.

The new system is worse because it’s just as flawed, but the BCS wants us to believe it’s working. Its arrogance is especially laughable now that USA TODAY has printed the final regular-season ballots for the coaches’ poll, one of the main ingredients in the BCS selections. In this treasure trove of information, we found that coaches basically vote not their conscience, but their conference (except for Tressel, who took the incredibly decisive action of not voting at all).

Quote of the Day: “Thank God For Victoria’s Secrets’ New Underwear Line”

Anyway, thank God for Victoria’s Secrets’ new underwear line!”

Britney Spears, who has been photographed several times recently revealing that she was not wearing any underwear. Britney Spears topped Yahoo’s list for most searched person for the fifth time in the last six years.

Kos v. Kos on Kerry

Kos has a post where he looks back at his first cattle call ever from November 8, 2002. Here’s his entry on John Kerry:

John Kerry

Pros: Distinguished war hero. Distinguished peace movement hero. Wife is worth a fortune. New England liberal.

Cons: Stiff. Crazy hair. Senator. New England liberal.

Kerry has become a media darling, kind of the Bradley of 2004. He’s extremely intelligent and pursues the sort of liberal policies certain to excite the party faithful. He’s also untouchable on foreign policy matters (though I said the same about Max Cleland), and has been one of the few voices from the Democratic side of the aisle criticizing Bush’s war efforts directly. The fact that he’s a New England liberal should prove helpful during the primaries, but it remains to be seen if it will prove a negative amongst moderates. (Republicans are so enamored with Bush that it’s irrelevant what they think. They won’t abandon the president.)

He misses another aspect about Kerry where he was wrong. In his initial assessment he got it right in saying Kerry “has been one of the few voices from the Democratic side of the aisle criticizing Bush’s war efforts directly.” As the year wore on, Kos, whlle on Dean’s payroll, helped spread false claims that Kerry supported going to war as they distorted the meaning of the Iraq War Resolution to attempt to portray Dean as anti-war and Kerry as pro-war when they actually had very similar views on the war, and Kerry had far better credentials as an opponent of Bush’s policies from the start.

Next time Kos tries to drag up the false claims that Kerry supported the war, we can quote Kos’s own assessment of Kerry’s position on Bush’s war efforts.

The Apprentice: Haves Versus Have Nots

It must be the year for reality shows to attempt to make social statements. Survivor tried the race wars and wound up with one of the most boring seasons ever. We already knew The Apprentice was moving to Los Angeles and replacing Caroline and George with Ivana and Donald, Jr. along with previous winners. The Apprentice is adding additional twists to attempt to get people interested again, including pitting the haves versus have-nots:

In a compelling social experiment of haves and have nots, contestants this season will have to earn the right to live like Trump. Each week, the contestants on the winning team will get to live in a luxurious mansion. But contestants on the losing team will have to sleep outside in tents in the back yard of the mansion with outdoor showers and port-a-potties, giving contestants more incentive than ever to win their tasks each week.

In another engaging new twist, the winning project manager each week will remain project manager until they lose, plus they will also sit in the boardroom and help advise Trump on who he should fire each week from their opposing team. Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. will return for several episodes, along with previous “Apprentice” winners, as boardroom advisors to their father.

 The Apprentice returns with a ninety minute episode on January 7. If you can’t wait, a tour of the mansion is available on line.

Candidate Comments on Iraq Study Group Report

Political Radar has brief reponses to the report fo the Iraq Study Group (which I discussed last night) from several of the probable 2008 Presidential candidates. Most offer expressions that this will lead to a change in policy, but John McCain sticks to calling for more troops. Political Radar acknowledges Kerry’s previous efforts to map a plan for withdrawal:

Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who has in the past mapped his own plan for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, said the report can provide “core elements” to reaching a solution in Iraq, but added that he wished the commission had pushed for a stronger timeline for withdrawal.

“I wish the report went further by making this a hard deadline for redeploying our combat troops. Iraqi political leaders have proven time and again that they only respond to hard deadlines, and I believe that a deadline is the most effective way to expedite the process and save lives.”

The group’s backing off on this issue is also one of the failings I noted in my previous post on the report.

ESPN’s Bowl Predictions

ESPN has their bowl predictions up. They predict that Michigan will lose by two points to USC, and I fear they could be right for the reason they provide: “Remember how Auburn struggled a few years ago when it was snubbed?” Michigan is the better team, but between USC being much closer to the home team and Michigan possibly suffering a let down for playing in a game which doesn’t really mean anything, an upset is possible.

If they were playing were they should be playing, in the national championship game, it would be a different matter. Michigan lost by only three points at Ohio State, but ESPN doesn’t think Florida could keep it close, even on a neutral field. Their prediction is that Ohio State will win 38-14 with the comment, “Sorry Gators, Michigan would have put up a better fight.”

Other predictions from ESPN include LSU over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma over Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl, Wake Forest over Louisville in the Orange Bowl, and Wisconsin over Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl. Just listing the match ups in the Fiesta and Orange Bowls provides more reason to question the BCS system.

George Bush, The Cartoon

Reuters reports that the Bush administration, perhaps due to being unsuccessful as a governing body, will be recreated as a cartoon series:

Comedy Central has ordered “Lil’ Bush: Resident of the United States,” a cartoon satire that re-imagines President Bush and key executives in his administration as elementary school misfits.

The title character is surrounded by close pals like Lil’ Cheney, who grumbles unintelligibly, and Lil’ Condi, who pines for Lil’ Bush and does his homework for him.

“Bush” is not without its risque moments. When Lil’ Bush’s school serves falafel instead of hot dogs for lunch in one episode, he and his pals torture the cafeteria employees with methods made famous during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

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Iran Study Group Forces Attention on Changes in Policy; Dubya Gets New Book to Read


The report of the Iraq Study Group has been met with varied responses. It might be the victim of unrealistic expectations. There’s certainly grounds for being dissatisfied. The report does not offer any perfect solutions, but who really thought there were any such solutions to offer? Many of the points are things people like John Kerry have already been saying for years (noted here and here). This isn’t going to get us out of Iraq as quickly as we would like, but at least it is turning the discussion in the direction of leaving as opposed to remaining indefinately. The group did back down in avoiding some recommendations George Bush wouldn’t go for with regards to a phased withdrawal. They certainly left a major escape clause with this:

By the first quarter of 2008, subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq.

By this time, anyone who has been paying attention realizes that “unexpected developments” are bound to occur, and Iraq may likely sink further into chaos. We need an exit strategy which assumes the worst.

Perhaps this report is even too late to matter very much. The midterm elections have accomplished much of what the report has in forcing the Bush administration to realize that politically it could not continue its present course. The dumping of Donald Rumsfled demonstrated that even George Bush got the message.

Still, there are potential benefits from the report. James Baker, the man who made Bush king, has returned to warn him that he screwed up and, in combination with the midterm losses, perhaps Bush, who has never been able to admit he made a mistake, will be forced to listen to someone else for a change. With the publication of this report, we are beyond the point where one side can say that continuing our present path is a viable solution and that Democrats who disagree are unpatriotic. The report, along with the will of the majority of voters, now gives ample political cover to all who talk about getting out of Iraq, and those who advise otherwise no longer appear realistic.

Maybe the report will even serve as a starting point for bipartisan discussions. After several years of one-party rule, we have a situation where neither party can govern unilaterally. As the Washington Post observes, “The real value of the bipartisan report may come in pushing Bush and Democratic leaders in Congress toward more cooperative efforts to develop a workable strategy for beginning to disengage from combat in Iraq without leaving that country and the region in chaos.”

Ever since 9/11, the Bush administration has disgracefully been playing politics with foreign policy, regardless of how much this has ultimately compromised our national security and strengthened foes such as Iran and al Qaeda. Maybe this will offer a new starting point for the Bush administration to work with Congress and finally begin to place the interests of the nation and the world over those of the Republican Party. Alternatively, if the Bush administration continues to ignore reality, this gives plenty of political cover for the Democrats to force a change in policy.