Archive for January, 2008

 “Chris” has left a particularly inflammatory comment on my post “How to Fix College Football” wherein he rants about the wrongs of the bowl system and raves about my psychotic, dumb, “bass ackwardness.” For those of you who are wondering, including you, Chris, this is as close as you can come to getting banned without actually getting banned. I’m all about disagreements, but hold back the reins on the ranting insults, and realize that your opinion makes as much sense to me as mine does to you. But I’m not going to call Chris by the name I think he deserves for this tidbit of drivel he’s shellacked onto my blog, I’m going to respond, and I’m going to give it a full post, because I know there are many, many people out there who have all jumped onto the playoff bandwagon and believe it would do something it’s not capable of doing. First, Chris’s prattle:

Are you psycho? Why does everybody think the bowls are good? Most are about as boring as a knitting competition. If the bowl system was so great and “voting” on a paper “National Champion” was the way to go why aren’t the other NCAA sports doing it as well. Why isn’t the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. clammoring to go that way? Why? Because it is the dumbest most bass ackwards way of determining a champion! Let’s all pull our heads out and get over the super 6 conferences wanting all the money and give the fans what they want!!! A PLAYOFF!!!

Okay, Chris, here’s my answer: you’re wrong. As far as I can tell the only question you raised in your irrational squawk was “why aren’t the other sports clammoring to go that way?” (note that the incorrect spelling of clamoring is Chris’s, not mine). There are dozens of reasons, but historically it’s because, other than the MLB, boxing and horse racing there were no other major sports than college football around when it started up, and guess what? Until 1907 MLB didn’t have a playoff either, and they only did it then because there were two separate professional leagues of teams: the National and the American. Before that those teams had never played one another. And up until 1969 there was no divisional playoff, either. The two teams with the best records played for the championship: that’s it. And neither horse racing nor boxing have playoffs, either. Sure, horse racing has it’s triple crown, boxing has multiple titles, things that make them unique in the world of sports, just like the bowls do for college football. And as for “the super 6 conferences wanting all the money,” well, that again is nothing but drivel. Why do you think MLB instituted the playoffs? Money grubbers, that’s why. And as far as that goes, college football would make more money with a playoff, so that argument is asinine right out of the gate.

And as for the NFL, they, too didn’t begin with a playoff. From Wikipedia:

NFL post-season history can be traced to the first NFL Championship Game in 1933, though in the early years, qualification for the game was based solely on regular season records. The first true NFL playoff began in 1967, when four teams qualified for the tournament. When the league merged with the American Football League in 1970, the playoffs expanded to eight teams. The playoffs were expanded to ten teams in 1978 and twelve teams in 1990.

The NFL chartered its rules in 1876–without a playoff.

So why shouldn’t college football adopt their own playoff system like the other sports have? Because none of the other sports had a system already in place like college football does. They didn’t “playoff” at all, they just named a champ or had one extra game to see who it was. They had to do something to determine the champ, and college football already had the bowls. Where do you think they got the name for the Super Bowl? It was their shot at duplicating what college football had already done with great success.

But even more than this, more than the history and tradition of the game, the greatest reason of all (other than the fact that we don’t need a playoff), is because the regular season still matters in college football. You’ll never see a team in college football with a guaranteed playoff bid running its second stringers out onto the field because the win is meaningless. Every loss has significance. Not so in any other sport.

And besides that, to institute a playoff you’d have to add games to the season. Even if it’s only one or two, you’d still add games, and these are still students who are trying to make the grade. There are enough games.

Look at it this way: The first kickoff of the first game in a college football season is the start of the playoffs. And every team approaches every season with the same attitude: Must Win. NCAA basketball started their own playoff system, and now look at it. It doesn’t become a popular sport until March. Everything leading up to that is filler.

Really, Chris, if you want to make an argument, make one, but throwing insults at the blog host isn’t going to get you anywhere. Give me a good reason for a playoff and I’ll listen, but I’ll tell you right now, because the fans want it isn’t a good reason. Herd mentality does nothing for an argument.

In closing, I’d like to add that I don’t believe the current system is working. I’ve come up with an alternative plan that I believe would fix the situation nicely. We could keep the bowl structure intact, keep the conferences as they are, and even keep the BCS in place. My plan would fix college football. Tell me what you think, or how you would fix it, if you’d do anything at all.

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(Originally published on Unabashed) This is a great series of games, of which I have owned almost (if not) every version that’s been released. But there always seems to be something getting in the way of my full enjoyment of the games, so I thought I might write a bit about what’s wrong with them in the hopes that the EA folks might happen by here one day and possibly consider making a few modifications to the next release version.

First, the good, and there’s a lot of good. This game is consistently my favorite and most-played game. These are some of the main points, but rest assured gameplay is fantastic:

  1. ‘08’s front room (or main screen, or front screen) is a vast improvement over many of the previous versions. (The Gameday crew of the ’07 version on the game lead-in screen was absolutely laughable and horrendous and I’m glad they dropped it. It wasn’t all that bad an idea, but the application was pitifully atrocious.)
  2. I love being able to set my own schedule. Trading UL Monroe for USC or Michigan or Clemson or West Virginia is a treat and a great feature. 
  3. The stadiums look great. The field looks great. The players look great. Visually this game is awesome. Sometimes the shadows are tough (try playing OSU at home wearing the black uniforms on a day game. You can’t see the players on the shadowy portion of the field) and often the crowds and the sidelines look ridiculous. It would be nice if they gave a bit more effort to the sidelines, made them look more realistic.
  4. Thank God they changed the kickoff difficulty. It was outrageous that a kickoff or punt was so extremely hard in previous versions when the difficulty setting was Heisman. It should be no more difficult to kick a field goal, from a controller perspective, on Heisman as on Freshman. So thanks for changing that.

And now, the bad: 

  1. The playbook design option is great, if only it worked. I spent a lot of time designing my own playbook and then found that, once I’d saved it, I couldn’t access it. I couldn’t choose it to use during a game. This was infuriating.
  2. It takes no less than six option screens to get from the main page to your saved Dynasty screen, and then another three or four to get to play a game. There’s got to be a better way. Why do you have to choose the file, okay the load, then choose the file and okay the load again? The repetition is infuriating every time I load my Dynasty. Put a link to saved files on the main screen so we can click straight in for cripe’s sake.
  3. I’ve never been able to create a recruit and actually recruit him to my team. There should be an option for “Recruit normally” and “Recruit to my team.” Yes, this would be an easy way for someone who has a Dynasty to fill a void, or multiple voids, with great players, but it’s a game and I want to be able to do that. Otherwise the “create a recruit” is a big, fat, stupid waste of time.
  4. Different difficulty levels. I want to be able to score points, but at the same time I want to play in competitive games. This is almost impossible with a single difficulty level. They somewhat managed this by allowing you to change difficulty settings during the game, something you used to be penalized for in the game, but it would be much easier and nicer if I could set my offense to “Varsity” and my defense to “All-American” or something like that. I like that I can change the user and the CPU’s difficulty settings individually, but I would like to be able to do that with the overall difficulty setting as well. a. If my gameplay is advanced enough to compete at the Heisman difficulty setting, I want to be able to do that and still be able to recruit enough quality players to keep my Dynasty going. Give me a different difficulty setting for recruiting that from the game portion, and if I set it to “Freshman” then my team should by God be the number one recruiting class every time.
  5. Recruiting is too difficult and too convoluted, which is fine for some folks. Sometimes I want to spend time looking at recruits and analyzing them, but usually I just want to play the games. Give us an auto-recruit feature so we can pick which one we’ll do, and if my difficulty is set to Freshman my team should by God be the number one recruiting class every time.
  6. Each year there should be an amazing recruit with mad skillz in the recruiting pool, but usually there isn’t. He should be a stand-out super recruit, and if my difficulty is set to freshman my team should by God be able to recruit him. Period.
  7. It’s just irritating to spend recruiting time asking a recruit who wants to go pro to stay another year. Worse, when the answer is, “I don’t know coach. I’m undecided.” And you have to do it over again. And sometimes for a third or fourth time. Sure, it might work that way in real life, but this is a game. Give me an answer one way or the other right off the bat. I’ve got recruiting to get to.
  8. Why should you only be able to change a player’s position on one screen during the pre-season options? And that option comes before the depth chart setting screen. How can I know where I’m deficient for next year like that? I need to be able to look at my depth chart, see where I need help, and then change positions to fill holes.
  9. Also: when you change a players position he immediately sucks at the new position. This is not like real life at all. True, a three year cornerback might not catch as well as a wide receiver, but many of the skills are there. Sometimes running backs are moved to DE in the real world, OL to DL, TE to MLB or OLB, but in the game this is virtually impossible. Real life scenario: This season Alabama moved Jimmy Johns from RB to LB. I tried that on my game and his rating dropped from the 80s to the 50s. That’s bull. JJ is a phenomenal athlete with a broad set of skills, he can play better linebacker than that. Sure, he may not be upper 80s, but he still should be able to play.
  10. Let me delete games from the “Great Game” screen. I lost 17-14 to LSU on the last play of the game on the Heisman difficulty setting and manned up and saved the season. But now that game is recorded infinitely as one of my “Greatest Games.” You know what? Nobody considers a loss, no matter how great the game was, to be one of their greatest games. Penn State probably doesn’t cherish the ’79 Sugar Bowl like Alabama does. Don’t make me stare at my failures like that. 10. As for gameplay, as I’ve already stated it’s remarkable. But it could be better. If a well thrown ball is lobbed up to a receiver who has the lead on a DB to the corner of the end zone, the DB will invariably jump some fifteen feet into the air and swat it away or pick it. To which I say, huh? This is a mainstay play in football, and if a WR has a DB beat, the well thrown ball is caught probably 90% of the time in real life. Fix it.

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I’ve been watching commentators of college football jumping on the OSU bandwagon for weeks. Virtually everyone was predicting OSU to win, often for no better reason than that LSU was favored. Yes, they were picking OSU because LSU was favored. But by predicting OSU to win, in one way, they made OSU the favorite, thereby shifting the balance of fate back to LSU. Additionally, they failed to acknowledge the simple fact that, though LSU was favored, OSU was ranked #1. In my mind, that was the biggest consideration (as far as intangibles can be considered :-). LSU might have been favored in the point spread, but I never wavered from my prediction that LSU would win, and my primary reasoning for being so confident, in the end, was that all the analysts were picking OSU, and because LSU was ranked #2, and in my mind, #2 beating #1 is still an upset.

It was, after all, the season of upsets.

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Talk radio is rife with talk of unfairness and the want of a playoff. As for the unfairness, I say bull. No other team deserved to be in the championship game than the two that were there. There might have been equals, but none more deserving. And as for the playoff: It ain’t gonna happen, get over it.

There is a sure-fire way to fix college football without a playoff though, and that is through the Super Conference concept, in which the top 25 teams each season must play a specified number of games against one another, and in which the only teams eligible for to win the national championship are those 25 teams.

Each season the bottom 5 teams in the super conference drop out to be replaced by the next top 5 ranked teams. This season Notre Dame would have dropped out. To be eligible for championship contention again they would have to play their way first back into the super conference. The super conference concept would ensure a level playing field for all teams vying for the championship, and give us the best option under the rules we have now for deciding the champion of college football.

The conferences wouldn’t have to change. The bowls wouldn’t have to change. Everything could remain the same; all you would do would rearrange the schedules so that teams would play different, better, competition.

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Lee Corso

The old man, who laughably refers to himself as “coach,” is has more personality than, say, Jim Donnan, which I guess is why he’s kept his job on Gameday as long as he has. But as for predictions, there’s one thing you can count on when it comes to Sunshine Scooter: If he give you a guarantee, such as he did last night for Ohio State and earlier in the season with Georgia vs. South Carolina, go against him and you’ll come much closer to a guaranteed win.

He’s good for comic relief, but as an analyst he’s a loser.

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Roger Clemens

In a seventeen minute phone conversation, Brian MacNamee asks Clemens 21 times “What do you want me to do?” Clemens never answered the question. Why didn’t he say, “I want you to tell the truth!” Scream it out, for cripe’s sake. Which just opens speculation as to why he didn’t–or wouldn’t.

Because the answer might have been, “I did tell the truth!”

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