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Gridiron: College football’s biggest myths

first_imgUnfortunately, the time has come in the college football season where the only thing to write about is the Bowl Championship Series and its many problems. I already have a headache.The BCS suffers from many ailments, and I can only hope Texas Tech loses to Oklahoma, sending the entire process crashing down. Until that happens, however, I must be content with refuting the major myths that surround the mysterious BCS machine. Here is a look at the three biggest myths perpetuated by the very few BCS supporters.Myth No. 1: Attention is attention, no matter how negativeWe can call this the Paris Hilton Effect. Seriously, some people have used her as evidence of how negative attention can boost popularity. The difference between college football and that Hilton chick, however, is college football was already established before the negative attention was brought on. Sadly, Ms. Hilton was not.It is true that the BCS receives an inordinate amount of attention from the media, but the negative attention has not increased the popularity of the game. According to Fox Sports, the TV ratings for the BCS championship have been in the 17’s every year, except for the USC vs. Texas game in 2006 which garnered a 21.7 rating. Shockingly enough, 2006 was the only year where the BCS paired what were unquestionably the best two teams in college football. I know this is surprising, but it appears when the top two teams in the game face each other, the popularity for the game increases.Furthermore, the average margin of victory for the past two BCS championships has been over 20 points a game. Nothing kills a sport’s popularity quicker than a boring championship game. The reason these games were blowouts? Ohio State — which appeared in both games as a “top two team” — wasn’t close to the level of competition they were facing. The BCS is definitely the most talked about part of college football. But instead of praise, it is used as a punch line.Myth No. 2: The regular season is a de facto playoffWorst. Playoff. Ever. The regular season should be just that: regular. The purpose of the regular season is to build up to the postseason. Unless you go undefeated, however, the first loss of the year nearly destroys any national coverage a school might otherwise receive. USC serves as the perfect example. Pete Carroll’s crews are perennial national title contenders, but an early season loss to Oregon State has completely knocked them out of the national picture. This is a shame because the Trojans boast the best defense in the nation and are only allowing 6.7 points per game.Supporters of this myth claim that each week presents big games because one loss can potentially knock you out of it. Well this is nice in late October and November, but we are robbed of potential out-of-conference classics in September. When one loss might knock you out of the National Championship race, most coaches (note: I said most, not all) are unwilling to risk a slip up so early in the season.Further busting this myth is the undefined rules of this “playoff.” In most playoffs, once you lose a certain number of games, you are out. In college football, when you lose one game you are … well, no one knows what your status is. This hanging-in-limbo thing produces anxiety, nervousness and uncertainty, but it does not produce drama or excitement.Finally, the biggest reason the regular season is not a playoff is the final outcome. In all other playoffs, only one factor decides who advances to the championship game: the scoreboard. In college football, a bizarre combination of voters and computers determine who will advance to the championship. When humans are involved, there will always be error, and the college football “playoff” is full of them. Myth No. 3: A playoff is impossible because of academic prioritiesThe fans are constantly told the “student” in “student-athlete” comes first.“We do not believe a playoff would be in the best interest of the sport, the student-athletes or our many other constituencies,” David Frohnmayer, chair of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, said.How could we forget? The NCAA and the universities are always more concerned with the student part of “student-athlete.”Except when the athletes are paid during the recruitment process. And except for the ones who don’t graduate. And don’t forget the ones who don’t attend class.Using the “student-athlete” as a defense is incredibly transparent. If the “student” part were so important, they wouldn’t have added an extra game to the regular season in 2005. If the “student-athlete” is so important, why does college basketball host a tournament that lasts almost a month?The BCS uses the “student-athlete” defense to hide behind because it is convenient, not because they believe in the good of the “student-athlete.”The BCS and its supporters stubbornly repeat these myths to defend a broken system. The status of these myths: busted.last_img read more

Volleyball: Wisconsin heads to Indiana, Purdue to kick off Big Ten road schedule

first_imgThe Badgers asserted their dominance over Ohio State University and the University of Maryland in the comforts of the University of Wisconsin Field House last weekend, but defeating Big Ten talent on the road is an entirely different challenge.Volleyball: No. 3 Badgers kick off conference play against Ohio Sate, MarylandThe University of Wisconsin volleyball team opens up Big Ten play this weekend with a two-game stint against No. 19 Read…PurdueThe Badgers open this weekend’s Indiana road trip in West Lafayette against No. 14 Purdue University Friday night, where they take on a Boilermakers team that has won nine of its last 10 games.Purdue University and Indiana University combine for a staggering 23-5 a record overall, but a much less-daunting 2-2 in conference play after both teams split their first two Big Ten matchups to start the season.With key wins over teams such as No.8 Stanford University and No. 9 Kansas University, the No. 14 Boilermakers (11-2, 1-1 Big Ten) might be even better than their rank suggests. In Purdue’s win over the Cardinal earlier this year, the Boilermakers went on the road to Palo Alto as part of the Stanford Invitational and sent the host team packing in the first round.Coincidentally, Purdue’s most recent victory came against Indiana last weekend, meaning that Friday’s night battle should be a good measuring stick for how the Badgers should look against Indiana the following day.IndianaIf facing a team as talented as Indiana in front of its home crowd wasn’t a tall enough order to begin with for UW, the Badgers’ scheduling for this weekend should certainly do the trick.Even excluding the time it will take to cover more than 100 miles of ground, Wisconsin will have to rally this weekend to overcome a less-than-24-hour turnaround time between Friday night’s battle with Purdue and Saturday’s matchup against Indiana.The Hoosiers (12-3, 1-1 Big Ten) kicked off the season with a hot start, rushing ahead to a 9-0 start, but have since fell into somewhat of a rough patch after losing three of their last six games.Look for Wisconsin veteran players such as senior setter Lauren Carlini and junior outside hitter Kelli Bates to be more aggressive out of the gate and take an early command to crush the will of a Indiana team looking for its first marquee win of the season. With the No. 3 Badgers rolling into town on such short rest,  Saturday could be a golden opportunity for the Hoosiers to do so.last_img read more

Sharks’ Evander Kane asks top athletes to speak out following George Floyd’s death

first_imgKane posted on Twitter on Wednesday that he had signed a petition for the four police officers involved to be arrested.”These officers need to be in jail,” he said. “The fact that you have CNN reporters getting arrested for doing their job in an extremely peaceful way and being cooperative with police, and yet you have four officers, one in particular, who murdered a man, and they’re out free. It makes absolutely no sense. It’s a complete joke, and that’s where the system that we live in . . . is in complete collapse.” The CNN reporter Kane was referencing was Omar Jimenez, who was arrested live on camera during a broadcast before later being released. As of Friday afternoon, the only officer who had been taken into custody was Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder. The death of George Floyd in Minnesota has sent shockwaves around the world, and figures from the sports world have begun to weigh in.LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick are among those who have spoken out on the incident, in which a now-former Minneapolis police officer was recorded digging his knee into the neck of Floyd, who was unarmed and being held down on the street. San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane was one of the first members of the hockey community to speak out publicly. In an appearance Friday on ESPN’s “First Take”, Kane spoke about what affected him the most from the incident.”Well, first and foremost, an innocent man dying for no good reason,” he said. “It’s really disappointing to see this continuing in the world we live in today in 2020. Just the fashion that he was murdered; people watching, people shouting to help that man out, him telling the officer, ‘I can’t breathe,’ the cop in front of that incident pushing people back and not doing anything about it, it’s infuriating.”Was on with @FirstTake this morning https://t.co/g58zmNd5kI— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) May 29, 2020Kane, who is one of several dozen black players currently in the NHL, was adamant that the world’s most recognizable athletes, regardless of race, should be using their platforms to denounce the incident.”We need so many more athletes that don’t look like me speaking out about this, having the same amount of outrage that I have inside, and using that to voice their opinion and their frustration,” he said. “That’s the only way it’s going to change. We’ve been outraged for hundreds of years and nothing has changed.”It’s time for guys like Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby and those types of figures to speak up about what is right and, clearly in this case, what is unbelievably wrong,” he said. “That’s the only way we’re going to actually create that unified anger to create that necessary change, especially when you talk about systematic racism.” MORE: NBA champion Stephen Jackson discusses friendship with George FloydHe also said he wasn’t sure if there were enough hockey players making their voices heard on racial issues.”I don’t know. I haven’t seen too much,” he said. “What I do know is that, in terms of my teammates, they’re unbelievably supportive of me and what I stand for. I think hockey, unfortunately, has a different culture than some of the other sports in terms of speaking out, using your voice and speaking your mind.”I’m one of the anomalies when it comes to NHL players in doing that. That’s another part of our problem, is guys being scared to really speak their mind and stand up for what’s right. This example is one of many, unfortunately, of what has continued for a number of years and ever since I’ve been alive.”last_img read more