Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Top 10 Sports Moments from 2009

These are the 10 sports moments, good or bad, that I remember best from 2009:

(Note: These are the events that affected ME as a sports fan. Most are related to the specific teams that I follow. I do not mean to present these as the Top 10 sports moments of the year or anything like that. This is just from my self-centered point-of-view.)

10. No Limits!

This has not happened yet (tune in tonight!) but it has to be awesome, right?? Last year we saw that dude backflip that car. This year we'll see Pastrana try some amazing jump and possibly die. That would be a limit I guess. Death. But other than that... No Limits!

Also making it better this year is that Wedge and I can watch it together. (He's currently sleeping on my sofa bed and I've already put Cubs bumper stickers all over his car.)

9. Hurricane Season (movie)

Forget the rappers that are in this movie; Forest Whitaker delivers a great performance as Coach Al Collins. You should see it because it is an excellent portrayal of what we (high school teachers and students) were going through in New Orleans after Katrina. This is obviously a movie, but it does a really good job of following the story of the 2006 Louisiana State Champions as closely as it can, adding only a few dramatic elements. The real hurricane/aftermath footage is a must-see for all US citizens. (Look for my new list of top sports movies coming soon!)

8. Vermont Catamounts say goodbye to baseball and softball

We had a blast covering this team, as much as I could before my daughter was born, at least. It's a shame when colleges cut athletics because of money, but it looks like it will be happening to other schools in the near future. We may get to pick a new team this year!

7. LSU football loses three games

This team played sub-par football this year. That is clear. Even in the wins, they often deserved to lose.
But that being said, amazingly they still had a chance to compete for a title. The three losses were all competitive contests. First I watched the Florida WR throw the LSU defender to the ground on a key TD. Then against Alabama we saw the replay CLEARLY show an interception that would've turned that game around. But of course neither of those compare to the debacle against Ole Miss when Les Miles forgot how to count and tell time! Bizarre year.

6. Cubs sign Milton Bradley, suffer a full season, trade him

We were elated when we signed him. We were miserable all
summer. (Remember when he threw the ball in the stands after the second out??) And now we're overjoyed that he is gone. Carlos Silva = Milton Bradley 2010.

5. Netherlands shock the Dominican Republic

We had a great World Baseball Classic this year. Hopefully they keep it up. I'm just worried MLB will try to make it "count" for something!

4. Blog-a-thon!

24 of the best hours of 2009. Among other things, I got to witness the brilliance of Djokovic. Can't wait for next year's, which is coming soon.

3. LSU wins the College World Series

We had to watch Game 2 of the championship series at a bar across the street from where our band was playing, then had to play the show knowing we lost. The next night we watched the Tigers take Game 3 and the title, knowing we were leaving at 3:00am for a show in Baltimore. It was a pretty exciting, if sleepless, week for me.

2. Saints start 13-0

Unlike the other professional team I follow (the Cubs), the Saints' postseason existence didn't even start until I was 10 years old. I slept outside of the Superdome in December to get the playoff tickets that year. I've been through the ups and downs. This has been a fun season and, hopefully, they'll keep it going. Remember: What Would Breesus Do?

1. Man allows his friends to shoot his TV

So the Saints are doing great and all, but I don't think I'd ever allow my friends to shoot my television because of it! This is the best story of the year. If you missed this, you have to watch it:

This was a crazy year. I think Wedge did great things with this blog and I hope to help him carry that momentum into the new year and build upon it. My daughter (our 3rd child) was born in March and spent a month in the hospital. After that, she required great care at home. (I also accomplished some amazing things with music in 2009.) Needless to say, sports took a backseat this year.

I am happy to report that things are perfect here at home and the baby is healthy. I have quit my second job, giving me more time for my writing, which of course includes this blog. I am really looking forward to contributing more consistently.

Thanks to all the friends we've made and to everyone who reads our nonsense. See you next year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Only Acceptable Championship for Division I NCAA Football

So a month ago I proposed the idea for the IZOD IndyCar Series to go after the tech team who ran the online streaming and telemetry for the A1GP Series. The idea was so good we got a few commenters who said so, and then quite a many more on twitter saying how good they thought it was. So good, I apparently felt the need to take a month off...

In honest truth, I’ve spent a good deal of that time working on what you are about to see below… something that’s so good, I might have to take the next 3 months off… I present to you something everyone in the sports yak world has done; but then where this should excel beyond ALL others is that I took the time to use research and facts, not cloud this with opinions, thoughts of tradition, and most importantly, to not ignore any arguments one way or the other.

My friends, with much analysis below, I present to you the only acceptable post-season solution for Division I NCAA Football Championship:

Firstly, wow, I'm pumped for some of these matchups, namely LSU's defense vs. Boise St.'s offense, this would be one hell of a post-season. Secondly, before we get into arguments, let’s just start by explaining what you are seeing above. It is a postseason based ENTIRELY off of how the NCAA conducts its post-season in every other team sport.

Many may not understand, or care to, but the actual purpose of the NCAA is clear. To provide organization, management and ruling for fair and balanced competition for amateur student-athletes.

You don’t have to think hard to realize the BCS is far from anything fair or balanced, which is why the NCAA does not recognize its champion… at least for record-keepings sake. Why doesn’t the NCAA officially recognize NCAA Football champions as such? Because then it opens itself to massive lawsuits; but that’s only on an official written context, because to say the NCAA doesn’t recognize the BCS or bowl games is a total farce. They make rules that govern for it (bowl eligibility rules) and directly benefit monetarily from it; truly if the NCAA wanted to claim it didn’t recognize the BCS, the old bowl game system, and rankings; they would simply outlaw their teams from them. But let’s not waste time badmouthing the BCS or the NCAA and what they do; instead let’s tackle it with solutions, not complaints.

So if there is going to be any kind of post-season, the #1 absolute reason the BCS or old bowl system should go is its continuance of discrimination. A proper post season to any competition gives ALL participants a chance to compete and win, just like all other NCAA sports, so all we are doing is taking an NCAA approach to this by giving all 120 Division I schools a shot that they control (note how important that second part is). For our National Championship:

-Each Conference Champion Gets Auto-Bid (11 teams)

-5 At-Large teams are determined by their final BCS ranking

-Seeding is determined by BCS ranking

-Just as all other NCAA post-seasons, inner-conference matchups are avoided as possible in first round (which is why Florida and Boise St. swapped seedings so Florida didn't have to play LSU)

-First round games are played at the higher seeds home stadium, or a neutral site of it’s own choosing (this has been done in baseball before to find stadiums/facilities to better accommodate larger crowds). Later rounds are played at pre-determined neutral sites with the championship & semi-final games rotating amongst the current 4 championship stadiums (more options on this later)

More went into it than just these few things, and I’m sure you may already be foaming at the mouth to tell me you found a problem, so lets just dive into each of the many issues and non-issues:


What about Notre Dame, Army & Navy?
This is an issue that is left up to the schools themselves. If they truly want to stay independent, we can simply go by the rule the BCS currently has that the highest independent school that ranks in the BCS Top 16 would qualify to take an At-Large bid.

In reality, under a system like this they will more than likely need to just join a stinking conference like the other 117 schools; or better yet, like they themselves have done in every other sport. Notre Dame almost plays a Big 10 schedule as it is, may as well go in fully AND it would give the Big 10 enough teams for a conference championship game. Personally I think Army and Navy would look great in the Big East.

It’s too many teams; (insert lower number here) is much better!
Many people out there support a “Plus 1” system, essentially a 4 team playoff. The problem there is already evident in 2009; which of the 5 undefeated teams do you leave out? If you answer anything other than: “we have no way of knowing who to pick”; you are an idiot, because there is no way to evaluate teams that have not played each other, or similar opponents, especially ones that are all undefeated. All of that aside, lets just talk facts; in order to logically give 120 schools a fair shot you need to give all conferences an auto-bid to their champions and that means 11 teams minimum. Since we all know those 11 teams won’t always (ever?) be the best 11 teams for the season, opening it up to an even 16-team tournament allows us to bring in 5 at-large teams.

Ok so how about just having 11 teams with top teams getting byes?
Some people seem to think we need byes, and I truly believe the only reason they do is because of the influence of the NFL which has byes for its top seeds. Keep in mind this not the NFL, #1 and 2 could simply have cupcake schedules, plus if those teams are truly a top seed, beating a 15 or 16 seed should be no problem right? There is no realistic way to do 1st round byes that does not discriminate by way of opinion-based rankings. Even with a 12 team bracket (with only 1 at large team) 4 teams would get a bye, again for this season which 4 get it?

Remember, the NCAA's job here is fair competition, not to emulate the NFL; just as the College World Series and March Madness accomplish fair/non-controversial-ness instead of pro-sport emulation. Any work for the sake to simply accomplish byes just seems wasteful in intent.

This will solve nothing, people still complain about being left out!
And the medicines and procedures we’ve developed in the past decade still haven’t cured cancer; but I sure as heck hope that you don’t think that means we should stop trying to cure cancer.

Sure people will complain, but if you think it will be anything close to the complaining and griping we have now, you’re crazy. If we went by this system in 2009; the first team out would be Bringham Young University; a team with two blow-out losses at home. And while BYU could certainly make a claim that they are better than Penn State (a claim I completely agree with) and a claim that they’d have a shot in a playoff (a claim I could certainly see happening) you would still have the same definitive retort you have in ALL other NCAA sports: why didn’t you win your conference?

In reality would a 2 loss BYU continue to complain after the selection process? Definitely, but only the same amount that teams who miss out on March Madness do, and teams who miss out on baseball Regionals do; and when is the last time you remember a massive conspiracy or story about one of those misses? The benefit to a playoff like this is that in the end (by the 13th and 14th ranked teams) it will all go back to them not winning games or not scheduling enough strong opponents, just like baseball, hockey, basketball, etc. (Plus on a side note: I think if our system was being used pollsters would have paid more attention and put BYU ahead of Penn State.)

I like to call this next part, the Addendum for morons like Bill Hancock who have the stupidity to say “Playoffs will ruin the regular season”:
It’s simple Bill, you and every other person who has the ultimate ignorance or stupidity (or both) to say that, need to back it up. You want to know how I know all you “regular season ruiner ” people don’t believe a word of that, because you aren’t writing a single article/comment/rant proclaiming that March Madness, College World Series, NFL, MLB, MLS, NHL, NBA, WNBA etc. playoffs should be banned and taken away. You’re surely not writing articles about why you only watch the NFL playoffs because the regular season games don’t matter. What these people are always failing to mention is that they watch every week of the NFL, or that frankly they just feel that baseball’s regular season has too many games to keep their attention for 162, 82, 50 games. When looking at facts and not stupidity, lets take the only real argument the ‘ruined regular season’ has:

What about teams sitting down starters to rest for the playoffs?
Under the playoff scenario there are only a select minority of teams who even have a remote shot of doing this each year, and that chance hardly ever appears before the last game; or in the case of many, their Conference Championship! Could teams sit starters for rest? Sure. But think about this year, only 5 teams had the option to sit starters: Texas, TCU, Boise St., Alabama & Florida; and none would have had the benefit of doing it for more than their final game.

But because the playoff pool is so short and rankings determine seeding, every game still means so much, just as it does now. Under our above scenario it’s the difference between playing at home in front of your loyal fans or away in front of a hostile crowd for TCU and Boise. For Alabama/Florida/Texas it’s the difference between opening the playoffs with Troy/East Carolina or LSU/Virginia Tech/Iowa. Then there is the fact that rankings could shoot down if you blow off and lose a final game. If Texas got blown out entirely by Nebraska, who is to say that pollsters wouldn't drop them out of the Top 10? Not a very big chance? Would a team actually take that risk? Maybe it would, but when you consider money for the school, wanting to play at home, and wanting a better matchup; you can’t reason that it’s very likely… especially when the opportunity to do it is already rare.

With the BCS, every game is like a playoff game!
First - See Above, not only are all the games important, but even more games are important because 1 and 2 loss no longer eliminate teams from the #1-#2 contention, they can still fight for at-larges or conferences.

Second – tell that to undefeated Auburn 2003, undefeated Boise 2009, 2008, 2006, undefeated Utah 2008 & 2005 undefeated Cincinnati 2009, Undefeated Hawai'i 2007 or undefeated Tulane 1998.

But (non-BCS Conference team) would NEVER beat (insert team from BCS Conference) anyway, so who cares?
This is my favorite argument of them all for 2 reasons: 1) it ignores the fact that the BCS has screwed at least 3 different BCS Conference teams who deserved a title shot. 2) its where people suddenly become fortune tellers or time travelers; and not just time travelers, but ones who traveled to every possible dimension to make sure that in every possible scenario that the lower ranked team never could win. All you need to do is look at what Utah and Boise State have done in this time, clearly when any team gets motivated, they can play with and beat the big teams, and Hawai'i proved that they weren't up to the task. So what do we know? We know for absolutely sure is that we will NEVER EVER know who can beat another team unless we allow them to play each other!


This may actually be one of the least debatable parts of a playoff, because it has the most adjustable parts. Initially here’s what I would propose.

Fri/Sat, Dec 18/19 - Opening weekend
Sat Dec 26 - Quarterfinals
Sat, Jan 2 - Semi-finals (big games still on new years)
Mon, Jan 11 - Championship Game

Note: NFL Playoffs start Jan 9-10 this year, so that’s why Champ game moved to Monday.

Starting on a Friday?
Good gosh yes! Think about how awesome that opening Thursday is for March Madness and multiply it by a billion with people taking off work or lunches to see how the Boise St.-LSU game is going. Do you really have a problem with having another excuse to take early December vacation days?

Short rest time on bad Holiday years?
Honestly it depends on how holidays fall, for example if Christmas and New Years were on a Saturday you could shift all rounds up a day to Friday, or more likely just that 1 round and make it work. There no reason you couldn’t play on a Friday Christmas Eve that year. Even with the setup we have this year, you could even move the semifinals to New Years Day, talk about finally bringing back prestige to the New Years Bowl games. There is also the matter of whether or not they want to do this Championship thing on Thursday (like it is this year) because it can be moved to the following Monday, like above, originally was done.

Also, this schedule gives teams an off week after their conference championship games. That consolation can be removed in way of a schedule as follows:

Fri/Sat, Dec 11/12 - Opening Weekend
Sat, Dec 19 - Quarterfinals
Sat Dec 26 - Semi-Finals
*Fri, Jan 1 - Champ Game

That’s too many games, increases the chance of injury, and takes students away from class…
This isn’t a debatable issue once you realize that the FCS division already does a 16-team playoff (and is thinking of going to 20) and their student-athletes are just fine. Sorry, there’s no debate here. Also fine are the students who travel for basketball, hockey, soccer and baseball playoffs for 3+ weeks in a row, not to mention in-week travel games during their regular season. Then you can remember a very good chunk of this proposed playoff actually happens when schools are out of session. Most of all, give these guys credit, we’re talking about grown adults age 18-25, and we’re not talking about young teenagers.

PLUS the teams are ALREADY practicing for 3-4 weeks in December as it is and playing mid-week or weekend bowl games. The only difference here is 16 of those teams have the option to fly off for multiple weekends.

As for the increased chance of injury; I have no argument there, sure playing more games does increase options for injury, but so did adding a 12th game to the season and I didn’t hear a single player complain.

It’s still just too many games!
While this can cut into profits for the big football factories, we only recently added the 12th regular season game, which is a little unnecessary, and also allows .500 teams to be bowl eligible. I’m not totally for it but, if it truly was TOO many games, there’s no reason we can't just go right back to 11 regular season games. It would improve bowl games (as there will still be bowl games outside of the playoff) in that only teams with winning records would be in them. This would also make the season end on thanksgiving weekend and then do that in conjunction with the schedule above and bowl season ends on Jan 1st, with the week off after the season still existing.

In all, the “Time-extension” haters just can’t hold up when you realize other divisions already do it just fine as do all the other sports in the NCAA.

A non-realized side-effect:
We know the TV ratings for the playoff games would be ridiculously through the roof compared to the Jimbo’s Discount Copper Bowl; but don’t forget how big and better ratings would be if Conference-USA, SEC, ACC, Big-12, MAC (and possible Big 10 if ND joins) all crowned their champions on thanksgiving weekend!


Won’t this hurt all of the bowl games/Why home games in 1st round? Etc.
Ok obviously what we have in our original proposal above isn’t concrete. There is, in fact, a 2nd pretty easy option to implement: 15 games/15 locations Champ game rotates between current big 4 locations; see below:What you are seeing here is an artist’s rendering of what the tournament looks like if we take away home games in the first round and replace them with more neutral site where bowl games already exist. I personally like this option more than the home game option, but I do see little… a little merit in having home games in the first round to take down a little bit of travel and to also reward higher ranked teams. That said..

Neutral Site Playoffs each week is way too much travel!
Of many issues, this is one that needs the least text because we have ginormous amount of evidence to the contrary, most namely the FCS playoffs, March Madness, NCAA baseball playoffs, NCAA Hockey playoffs… all of which require NCAA student athletes to travel each week for 3 or more consecutive weeks.

It’s too much travel for the fans! The games won’t sell tickets!
This is one of the BCS and its backer’s favorite arguments against a playoff; of which all any realist has to say: See the other NCAA Playoffs; let me know how well those are working out. You know how well they are working out? So well that each year the NCAA has to have a bidding process because of the high demand of different locations who want to host parts of the playoffs. LSU fans sent a capacity level of visiting fans to Washington this year for a regular season away game… you don’t think they’ll travel for national championship playoff games? And their repeated attempts of trying to use a measurement of how many fans travel to a meaningless bowl game to say how many would travel to witness their teams’ shot at the national championship is void because that's comparing apples to a stick of butter; they might both be football games but comparing meaningless exhibitions to playoff competition can't be done.

What about the TV coverage?
Well this one almost already sorts itself out. ABC/ESPN currently owns the right to ALL but 2 Bowl games CBS has Sun Bowl & Gator Bowl; FOX has BCS but ABC/ESPN is taking it over already. Since the BCS would suddenly be void, the playoff games go right into a bidding process, which I’m sure we all expect ESPN would win.

What about all the other teams and all the traditional Bowl Games?
Two things we can all agree on: A) bowl games already don’t mean anything. B) There are too many bowl games.

So please tell me how a playoff will hurt an abundance of meaningless exhibition? Bowl games can still be played, they, in fact, already are played as consolations in the lower divisions which have playoffs. This alone already proves we can do consolation bowl games for non-playoff teams, but I’d even submit we could afford to do a consolation playoff, just like the NIT in basketball. The consolation tournament or consolation bowl games can be played any day of the week on Sunday-Thursday to not conflict with the main tournament, mostly so they don’t get horrible ratings when the playoff would dominate them.

The other hopeful added side-effect, is that we reduce the number of teams who have a post-season. I love the school because they are in conference with my alma mater, but Marshall has no business playing a post-season game at 6-6. There are too many bowl games, but do you know why there are too many bowl games? Money.

Those smaller schools should just play better schedules!
Really, anyone who says this is truly a moron. We all know this isn’t viable with 120 schools nor is it viable when the big schools refuse to play the smaller contenders. Just ask Boise State who is currently trying to fill a 1 game void on next year’s schedule and is willing to visit ANY school without that school coming back to Boise, and they can’t get the deal done.

When I was at Southern Mississippi (I also went to LSU so you know I'm not just an angry non-BCS person) as a student I watched endless amounts of school refuse to play them. It became such a public issue at the time and got so bad someone even made a website to list all the schools that refused to play the Golden Eagles. This list is slightly out of date by 1 or 2 teams since it was compiled in 2001 (namely Virginia Tech finally gave USM a game and MSU has finally decided to restore the in-state rivaly). But the fact is, ALL of the potential contender non-BCS teams have lists like this because once they get halfway decent no BCS contender wants to schedule a possible upset loss. Hell Boise state can't even get a BCS school agree to let Boise visit them next year without asking for a visit back.

The only way this argument could ever be valid is if 2 rules got added by the NCAA. A) All agreements for football regular season matchups must include a fair share of home games meaning Florida would have to agree to go to Louisiana Monroe in addition to having them come to The Swamp. B) Division I schools would no longer be allowed to play schools in other divisions, meaning all you BCS powers need to stay within the division for your warm up games. We both know these 2 things aren’t happening as long as money is involved, so give up on telling small schools to get better schedules when they have little to no control over it.

Those players/fans should just pick bigger schools!
Yes let’s destroy the athletic programs of 54 schools in place of fixing a simple problem. This is not to mention that we’re talking about a sport, which is supposed to be secondary to the schooling. Let me know what school a kid growing up in Salt Lake City should do? He has many great universities around him, but he doesn’t have a BCS school, so my good student, you need to abandon your family and scholarships to the smaller school and head to a “real school”; and that’s assuming you can get into their program since the 4,000+ other non BCS athletes will also now be trying to get into the 6 BCS conferences. Let’s not destroy the athletic programs of 54 schools and 4,000+ athletes, ok.

Bowl games are tradition! We can’t break tradition! TRADITION!!!!
This “argument” majorly comes from Pac-10 and Big-10 enthusiasts who seem to be under some ridiculous hypnotic spell that makes them think other people aside from them give a crap about the Rose Bowl. You know how many times I’ve watched the Rose Bowl parade: 0. Yes I realize there are people out there who do watch it, and people who love the Rose Bowl... and good for them, really I mean that. But I’m not saying you have to throw the Rose Bowl away, it can still exist in many ways; you can call whatever playoff game done at the Rose Bowl the Rose Bowl, and give it the parade. You can have a Rose Bowl game and parade outside of the playoff and still invite a Pac-10 and Big-10 team to play in it. But don’t ruin things for other people so you can have “tradition.”

You know what happens when you mess with traditions that need re-working. Nothing in general but positive reactions. The College World Series/playoffs have changed/tweaked its format almost 5 times in the past 2 decades, and all it’s produced is happier fans, players and one of the fairest and most riveting competitions in college sports, with ratings still on the rise.

No one sure is complaining about the merging of the AFL and NFL, or when it added games, or added more wild cards, no one is complaining that the NHL drastically changed its overtime regular season rules or the off-sides and obstruction rules. Mixed Martial Arts changed themselves from their tradition of no rules brutal-ness to tons of rules and are now one of the most popular sports on the planet. You know which sport is keeping all its traditions? Boxing… let me know how that’s going for them… if you can find it these days.

You know what else was tradition? Slavery, women not having rights, land-line telephones, the telegraph; 4-track recording studios and candles as a source of light. So lets cut the crap about “tradition” because using “that’s the way we always did it” is NEVER justification for reasonable decision making; when you have better options.

I can assume by your reading this that you are using modern-ish day technology, at least in the form of a computer or a printer that printed this out; and not having gotten a copy of this transcribed by a calligrapher onto papyrus, so why in the heck are you willing to subject yourself to a half century old post-season for football (opinion based rankings)? We use computers, women can vote, we attempt to give all people equal rights, why on earth would we choose to publicly discriminate against 54! Division I schools by giving them less than equal treatment and less than their equal share?

But the BCS already divides its money up, whats the issue?
Lets go back to why Marshall is taking its 6-6 team to the Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit, Michigan.

Let me repeat that, Marshall is taking a 6-6 football team 400 miles to Detroit, Michigan to play an exhibition against a 9-4 Ohio Bobcats team (a team that is located a mere 60 miles away) … IN DETROIT!

Its money people, if Marshall doesn’t play that bowl game they don’t get money for their athletics. Why don’t they get money? Because the BCS is hoarding the money by discrimination against the smaller 54 non-BCS schools. Last year the 0-12 Washington Huskies made just as much, and some have reported more, than the undefeated Utah Utes. Think about that for a second, and then tell me why you think Marshall is going to frozen Detroit in the dead of winter to play an exhibition against Ohio. Prestige? Tradition? High Level of Fan Request? It’s because the BCS isn’t giving the smaller conferences an even share of the money created by the BCS.

This system will still be unfair because of polls!
I agree. I simply say this is the fairest start because just as in all other NCAA sports, the big conferences will dominate the At-Large bids, and that makes sense on the schedule strength issue, at least until you can mandate home-and-home agreements, but as I said, what would you rather have? A completely broken system, or a system that needs a few tweaks? Again we’re talking about debating Penn State vs. BYU instead of debating leaving out Cincinnati, TCU & Boise State entirely from a chance.

Playoff or not, one thing is for sure, the USA Today Coaches Poll NEEDS to go.
Not only is it a ridiculous conflict of interest to allow participants to openly rig the outcome (just check the final poll for 2009, where you can easily see some coaches had some clear agenda to advance their team or inner conference teams) , but no coach EVER has business putting together a ranking of teams that he in no humanly way possibly had a chance to witness and judge. In fact no human has business ranking teams if it affects the post-season. The BCS computers are the ONLY ones that ever seem to be doing what rankings are supposed to be: ranking teams based on how they have performed; instead of guessing who you think could beat another team in a hypothetical matchup.

People will just want to add more teams!
To people who say this I ask… what’s your point? Right now we have a ridiculous amount of bowl games and no one seems to be complaining? And while I wouldn’t support more than a 16-team playoff, it’s a tweaking debate, not an end-all debate. I agree I don’t want a whole ton of teams getting into the playoff, because playoffs are supposed to reward only those who had good seasons, but the debate between 16 or 32 teams is one I could much better live with either result than discrimination vs. fairness.

Why does it matter if the NCAA doesn't officially recognize the BCS's winner as National Champion?
Because as we've stated many times, this isn't about records at all its about money and opportunity being shielded from 54 schools' players, athletic departments & fans. (More on this Below)

It’s just football!/who cares!/The government has no business in this!
I agree that the government should not be regulating football, but unlike everyone who shouts the above, I realize that the government is granting my wishes, they are not touching the game or its setup. Despite popular opinion, College Football is not only a business, but it severely impacts lives. Football makes money for the NCAA and for schools which they can use to support other sports, to build stadiums, to support local economies. Why do you think all the bowl games have sponsors? Why do you think they sell shirts and apparel of the bowl games? In short: the BCS is a system set up so publicly funded institutions can block the progress and recognition of other publicly funded institutions.

It’s simple here; there are 120 Division I football teams. All 120 of the schools and players should be given an equal shot to reap the monetary and lifelong recognition of a national championship. You think it’s just football? Look up the money that gets dispersed to the conferences/schools that made it into the BCS last year. Then think about how many schools such as Tulane have considered getting rid of football all-together (pre-Katrina).

You think it’s just sports? How many of you knew who Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison was before March Madness? How many of us know friends or at least stories of people who got jobs by way of having college sports on their resume? Personally I know a guy who is now pretty high up at a national banking firm, that’s not the rare part. The part that is in this issue is that we became quite friendly over the years, and he once told me how his entire original interview 10+ years ago to get into the company never involved a single word about his qualifications, but instead involved the interviewer asking about his playing center for a big SEC school during a very significant bowl game. (For obvious reasons I’m not naming him or the company, sorry).

The simple fact of the matter is that he doesn’t get that ease of opportunity had he gone to a random Sun-Belt school. Sure people get added recognition in many ways, but the amount of recognition the BCS games get is beyond a small measurement. Imagine how much you know about Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy right now because they are constantly in the national scene. Now think about this, who is the top running back in college football over the past 4 seasons? Anyone? Bueller? Why it’s none other than University of Southern Mississippi’s Damien Fletcher. Why don’t you know that? Because the main media covering college football doesn’t care to give much time to things that don’t impact the national scene.

Now imagine if smaller schools got their shot, imagine if they made a run; all of a sudden they’ve gone from the Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Bowl to national recognition of their name, not only by NFL scouts (who would much love the benefit of seeing how players fare in a pressure playoff scenario) but for a nation full of potential employers for the student-athletes who don’t go on to the NFL. Just football this is not.

Also what people who shout about the government need to do is read the bill being proposed. It doesn’t in a single way tell the NCAA/BCS what to do for a post season, it’s not “Big Brother.” It simply tells the NCAA/BCS that they cannot call a discriminatory driven system equal and call it a national championship.

It’s the same thing the government does to monopolies, it says "figure something else out", because what you are currently doing is illegal. It’s the same as breaking up a monopoly, you don’t tell the monopoly how to runs its business, you just tell them to do something else and let them figure out how to split up tasks. In this case they’re saying to the NCAA, you can’t do the BCS AND call it a National Championship, and then they’re letting the NCAA/BCS figure out the solution, they can do a playoff and call it a national championship or they can do bowl games and call them bowl games, pretty simple…

The results?

I’m pretty sure the Sun/Holiday/Independence/Cotton/Etc. Bowl and everyone else including the cities and their economies that could benefit from this would much rather the almost certain to sellout games rather than the Bily Joe's Car Repair Bowl. The athletes would certainly like a proper chance to prove they are the best by beating the other good teams rather than using polls, in reality the only people who stand to lose in this switch are the specific administrators and schools who get rich by keeping the money in their own pockets by keeping it unfairly away from the other schools.

My friends, this is not Just Football. This is about letting students, fans, and impressionable children know/learn that everyone should get the fairest treatment when possible.

We don’t tell people they aren’t allowed to try for any goal they have in life, so why are we ok with telling 4,000+ student-athletes and their millions of fans: “We’re sorry you chose the wrong school, you aren’t allowed to compete for the national championship.”?

Firstly Note: Do you have a question or issue we haven’t addressed? And Secondly: is that issue actually realistic and relevant? Then Thirldly: post it here and we’ll ammend it to this list of things.

Most Importantly: Pass this article to anyone who cares about this issue. Poke holes in what we say. If anyone is ever going to truly conclude anything about NCAA football, we need to address any and all issues, and we need those issues to comment in. It should also be passed to anyone who believes any of the "roadblocks" we addressed are in fact roadblocks so we can hopefully make them think more about it. We're not pretending we're the smartest people in the world, but that's why we're passionate about this... Because we're not the smartest people in the world and even we can see that this is the only reasonable solution for a National Championship.

Friday, November 6, 2009

News, Logos, Paint and Telemetry Abound in Racing

My gosh, where have we been? In all honesty there's a ton of blog outlets there now to hit up the initial news and details that we've gotten lazy on you as that's not what we're about here; we're about the small things an analysis and aesthetics.

Speaking of aesthetics, this is one sweet looking logo!

And while many can go on about the detaily details of IZOD as a title sponsor; I'll try it in very short terms, It's f'n good.

More detaily than that you ask? Its a company with a very broad marketing reach already in place, they already throw money around to promote themselves, they already have a relationship and knowledge of the product they are sponsoring, and their product fits perfectly with race car drivers... they have tons of capital, and tons of influence on younger people, which is the one thing this series desperately needs and one thing NASCAR doesn't have... which is why they are desperately grasping for Danica.

I'd love to see driver model some of their clothes at shows, in ads and more; here is a perfect venue: one of the Top 5 most popular (and not because of a bad reason) reality shows; Project Runway. It fits perfectly, have an IZOD rep be a guest judge, and then the task for the designers is to design some pre-race or post-race party clothes for drivers, then have the actual drivers as their models... instant recognition of driver to a new market... and none of it is contrived or pushed. And if you haven't seen the show, disregard this entire paragraph.

Then we have talk about Ryan Hunter-Reay going to the newly named Andretti team and Mutoh along with Alex Lloyd joining Graham Rahal at Newman-Haas-Lanigan... holy f'n crap are you kidding!? Not only does Ryan Hunter-Reay instantly make Andretti's team more stable and more of a contender and much less of a soap opera, but Lloyd-Rahal-Mutoh is one of the best up and coming based on talent teams I've ever heard. All 3 of those guys exude talent on the track and all 3 are young and have many years to come, that team (if it happens) will be magnificent on the track; not to mention Lloyd's car will likely look amazing.

So then lets talk about one last opportunity before we dive back into the work for our next BIG post...

It is extremely unfortunate, but looking 99% possible that A1GP has finally, for the final time, ended... for real this time. They have canceled their first 3 races and reports are that the staff is all gone and the equipment is up for liquidity now.

Now I say this next part with the realization that I'm talking about human beings who are trying very hard and doing hard work... but that said... while it is sad to see A1GP go, if they are done, I am dead serious and enthusiastic when I say the IRL should waste not a second of time and hire whoever was in charge of A1GP's online streaming and telemetry.

A1GP's stuff was not only flawless, it was amazing and excelled past every other sport and racing series in quality; and it was coming from a series who traveled around the globe for each race. Their video had absolutely no buffering and the telemetry was perfect; it included a live track map/grid, live steering input even down to showing us when the drivers were hitting their boost buttons to G-forces in the car, and I ran all of these things in separate windows for 2 seasons of the series and never had issues with it.

If the IRL could swoop in and purchase the assets and tech team that made A1GP's online product happen and use that for IICS and FILS exactly as it was for A1GP; you would NEVER hear a complaint again about quality, audio, buffering, crashing, non-existing pause/stop buttons, and everything else that continues to plague the IRL website and live options regularly. It is beyond me how the audio was messed up for the Izod announcement yesterday. If this was the first time they were ever doing streaming, sure, but its not and its just not good business to promote the hell out of an announcement to people only to not deliver on it, and its too much of a routine for the IRL right now.

That said, its not a deal-breaking issue for fans, but bringing in the A1GP features to the IRL would go right along with IZOD's commitment to do the title sponsorship the "right way." and putting forth the 'best possible product', not the 'ok we kind of got it done' product.

And with all those thoughts out; I hope to be bringing out the Furious Wedge 2nd Annual, who had the best paint of the season poll this coming week. There were OVER 40 different paint schemes in the 2009 IndyCar Series so that means there's a lot of photos to gather, but it shall be done, and we shall be voting on what looked the best... because really, who cares that Dario won the whole series... but we'll all remember the first time our retinas burned away as Ed Carpenter rolled by.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Furious/Wedge text conversation...

As long as we're releasing transcripts of text conversations, here's one that Wedge and I had just today! Enjoy...


Furious: u love me

Wedge: um, ok. can you set-up our fantasy basketball league? the season starts next week.

Furious: Im gonna have all of u soon

Wedge: yeah right. i'm winning it all this year.

Wedge: are you setting it up?

Furious: hi baby

Wedge: huh? where are you?

Furious: home

Wedge: are you setting up the league?

Furious: Im at the store tryin to fix it

Wedge: you're setting up the league at a store? can't you do it at home??

Furious: yes but I have people comin to look at the furniture 2day

Furious: Baby I might have a break down im so stressed

Wedge: are you talking to me?

Furious: baby I need to pay the cell phone bills n the hospital.can u transfer 2000 to my acc

Furious: baby I might need to go to the whats wrong w me i can hardly breath

Wedge: i don't know what the hell is wrong with you, but i'm not giving you $2,000!

Furious: just got home

Wedge: good. can you set up the basketball league now?

Furious: im tryin I just want this pain in my chest to go away

Wedge: dude, just go to yahoo and set it up.

Furious: im gonna try to sleep. If it dnt go away im goin to the hospital.

Wedge: uh, ok.

Furious: baby I wanna pay some of my bills b4 I go to wrk. All this bills n everythin else is stressin me out

Furious: baby what are u doing

Wedge: waiting for you to stop calling me baby and start setting up our damn fantasy basketball league.

Furious: do u have my acc number

Wedge: you just need your yahoo password.

Furious: Baby I have to be w u 2nite. I dnt care where

Furious: Tell me u gonna be w me

Furious: baby where u gonna be at when I get off

Wedge: um, we live like 10 hours apart. when do you think i should draft dirk?

Furious: round 11

Wedge: there's no way i'm waiting until round 11!

Furious: where u gonna be at baby

Wedge: on my computer, pre-ranking for our draft as soon as you set this thing up!

Furious: k ill call when I get off

Furious: do u wanna get out n drink

Wedge: dude, can you just set the league up?

Furious: k im going to the condo in a min

Wedge: good. i'll let everyone know we'll draft this weekend.

Furious: they asleep babe

Wedge: it's like noon. i'm pretty sure everyone's at work.

Furious: k

Furious: u want me to open the gate

Wedge: i don't even know what that means.

Furious: its open

Furious: im going to the store

Wedge: dude, i'm just gonna set the league up myself.

A Response to Rece Davis & Every Other Idiot Who Thinks the NCAA Football Regular Season is a Playoff

It never fails, here we are once again looking at College Football's season as a real tossup as to who the best teams are out there; Texas, Alabama and Florida the current top 3 don't look strong at all; Cincinatti, TCU, Boise State, Alabama/Florida and Texas can all finish undefeated, yet we'd only give 2 of them a shot at being called National Champion. Why? and Why do we allow that decision to be made by politics and opinions; why are the BCS schools so greedy and money hungry that they won't allow non-BCS schools a chance?

Well according to ESPN's Rece Davis, we should stop complaining because a true bracketed playoff will not solve anything and the current NCAA season IS a playoff, you know because you can't lose or you are out... just don't tell that to undefeated Auburn, Utah, Boise State who never got a shot to claim the title in the past 5 years and 3 loss Oklahoma and "it doesn;t matter how many times we lose" USC of the present who are still getting poll votes.

As for Rece and every other moron who wants to call the NCAA regular season a playoff, or tell us that a playoff will solve nothing because we'd still have people feeling left out... just shut up because you ARE AN IDIOT!

No one really gripes (long term) about being left out of March Madness as you pretend to believe, because none of those teams are long term contenders, they're fighting for the shot to lose to the #1 seed which is why their griping is so short-lived.

Please get over this crap about how NCAA football's regular season is a playoff because its nothing remotely close... Seriously what other playoff system do you know of that eliminates over half its contestants before they even start playing because they chose to attend the wrong school?

And Cincinnati wouldn't be left out, as Rece proclaims, of a proper well thought out playoff, instead of planning incorrectly like done in this article to make a empty point. Here's an easy way to start:

-16 teams
-4 weeks (shorter in length than the current bowl season)
-all 11 conference get an auto-bid for their winner
-the final 5 spots are at-larges (and can be decided by BCS votes and computers)
-15 sold out games given to current bowl sites instead of 1/8th full stadiums for the Boudreaux's Butt Paste Bowl
-teams who don't make the playoff can still play the many meaningless bowl games just as they do now (and just as they do now in lower division that have playoffs)

MOST IMPORTANTLY no one is discriminated against!

Big conferences keep their shot to get multiple strong teams in without the expense of discriminating against non-AQ's who largely don't control their own schedule; and most importantly ALL 120 Division I teams start the season with a shot and control their own destiny just by winning, not by politics, opinions and voting.

There is no more discussion, anyone who thinks the BCS system is ok or thinks we have any kind of playoff is a moron... or is receiving the large sums of money from this current idiotic setup.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cole Hamels makes the right decision

So, before his team's playoff game, Cole Hamels told his team, the Philadelphia Phillies, that his wife was likely going into labor that day. He told them that he would leave as soon as he got the call, no matter what inning it was or how he was pitching at the time.

And what do you know... a lot of fans are whining.

First of all, if you are 100% sure that you would've chosen the baseball game over the hospital, then I'm positive at least one of the following statements is true about you:

1. You do not have kids.
2. You do not like kids (including your own, if you have any).
3. You are taking sports too seriously.

See, Hamels is smart enough to realize what many of you do not: it was just a game. In the overall picture, it wasn't even a very important game, especially for Hamels. Hamels could've pitched a no-hitter in that game, and it still wouldn't guarantee his team would move on to the next round, let alone win any type of championship.

Also, this is only his job. I know he makes crazy amounts of money, but it's only his job. You might hate your job and think that a player like Hamels is so fortunate and should love every moment that he gets to stand on that pile of dirt, but you're getting a little too "Field of Dreams" there. This is his job. Like all of us, he has things that he loves about it and things that he hates about it and likely sees it more as a job than as a game. And seriously, if you wouldn't take a day off from your JOB to witness the birth of your child, then you have bigger issues than what I pointed out in my list up there.

I am a huge baseball fan. But I can't remember right this second who won all the first-round series the past few years. Who cares about wild card rounds? And if you couldn't get past the first round without Hamels, how much confidence do you have in your team? In sports, everyone is (or should be) replaceable. We're not talking about replacing Cy Young here. It was Cole Hamels.

Oh and don't forget... he did actually pitch. And lost. So there you go.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bad eye costs millions

So the St. Louis Cardinals signed this 16-year-old named Wagner Mateo from Santo Domingo. His physical showed possible problems with his right eye, and further examinations were inconclusive. You can read a Yahoo Sports article here.

It does look kind of silly. If he was good enough to sign, how could this be such a problem?

Well, I'm telling you. I have a bad right eye. I played little league and junior high baseball and it was never much of an issue. But later, when the pitching got better, and especially now, even playing softball or pick-up baseball with friends, I really cannot bat right-handed (my natural side). For whatever reason, when batting that way, I just can't pick up the ball.

Three million is a lot of money and, as unsympathetic as it sounds, I can completely understand the team voiding this contract. Like that article says, that money could be the difference in luring a free agent to the team.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

College Football Already Showing its Prejudice

This stinks for me, because I really want to enjoy college football and usually it takes a good few weeks before college football screws up their own sport/season. As we all know I, along with everyone else, can name 5,000 ways that a non-playoff poll based system is ridiculous and retarded; and the 2009 season was quick to give us more proof.

The Houston Cougars are currently 2-0, meaning they are undefeated. No big deal sure... except one of those wins this past Saturday was against #5 Oklahoma State, AT Oklahoma State, by a 10 point margin, in a game they lead almost the whole way through.

Yet we get today's rankings and in BOTH the AP and Coaches polls the Houston Cougars are ranked below Oklahoma State. What a bunch of crap, what are these people possibly smoking? Hell... in the Coaches poll Houston isn't even ranked at all!!! Are you serious? They just beat the #5 team in the country and have an unblemished record but somehow they aren't worth being ranked?

Yeah Oklahoma State beat Georgia, that's cool, seriously, no sarcasm from me on that. And yeah Houston may in fact lose a game or more by the end of the season, but we don't know that. We can't be ranking teams based on what we think might happen. The only thing we know is OSU beat Georgia and lost to Houston; and Houston won both its games so far. It doesn't matter what may happen, until Houston gets the loss; because if someones only loss is to 1 other team; and that team is undefeated, the undefeated team by any natural logic should be higher.

It'll never happen because people care too much about bribes, politics and money, but I seriously wish all the non-automatic-qualifier teams would just disband from the BCS and start their own playoff and let the 6 BCS conferences have their stupid bowl system. Clearly humans are too stupid to run anything like this; we know the computer rankings would have this correct, but because the computers don't give false credit to USC, Florida and the rest for beating up on Idaho Institutional Facility and Florida Directional School by 50 points we gave the computers even less say in the matter.

And why do the coaches get a vote in the first place? They clearly have a conflict of interest, and that's not even counting the fact that they don't watch ANY of the games... so lets base a championship off what they think?!

Yeesh, thanks again college football for proving that you can in fact produce worse and worse results year-in-year-out.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Milwaukee Mile - Act IV: Scene 2

ok.... a room full of official like people sitting around at a table, having an official discussion/meeting:

aaand... Scene!

Head Officially Official Person "Ok people, what did we all get together to talk about?"

Secondary Official "I think we needed to discuss changing the butter we use on the popcorn at our annual pig race"

Thirdly Official "What!? no no no silly; we're here to discuss what to do about our go-cart track."

SO "We have a go-cart track!? That's awesome! Can I go drive my gold rimmed golf cart on it tomorrow?"

HOOP "You two are confused, that thing is just some artistically designed parking lot. It was done by some guy who was trying to pay homage to the fact that we had just entered the 20th century with a giant 0"

SO "Wow that is kind of cool, do you think we could build a mini-golf course around it?"

TO "Ooohh that'd be great, we should make sure it has big waterfalls, and one of those awesome holes where you hit the ball in a tube and don't know where it will come out on the other end"

HOOP "No no guys, thats not in the plans, I think the idea we were here to discuss was how to go about turning that parking lot into looking like a giant piece of cheese, in homage to the great cheese rush of 1972."

SO "But I thought you said it wasn't a parking lot? What next, its going to be a drive-in movie theater too?"

Citizen in Attendance "Are you people insane!? That is a racetrack! Its been here for over 100 years; we've been holding automobile races there annually, its been quite a popular place and a part of the states tradition, but its in trouble right now because the people who hold the races don't want to come back."

HOOP "Wait, it is, well that sounds kind of neat"

TO "Why don't these people want to come back to our track, are they too good for our track; well I don't want them if they are some elitist group who thinks they are too good for our cheese."

CA "They don't want to come back because you guys appointed someone who didn't have the finances to actually run the track and pay everyone the money they owe"

SO "Well what a stupid guy, he'll ruin us all by not paying these bills. However else are we coing to get these speedboats into our new lake?"

CA "There is no lake, are you people even listening? We need to come up with something to do about this whole debt issue. We can't possibly bring in the events we want if we still owe these organizations 2 million dollars; they want to come back but need to be paid for this past year first."

HOOP "My gosh, how could we let a situation like this happen, who appointed this financeless bum to run our beloved car racy thingy?"

SO "Wasn't me, was probably Brett Farve or something."

TO "It couldn't have been Brett Favre, he does no wrong, silly. I think it was you HOOP"

HOOP "Well it doesn't matter, the more important matter here is how we will get this money that needs to be paid to the horse wrangler so he can get these chariot races back where they belong."

SO "Well I think I know a guy who might have a couple bucks, I think he even once bought a used car, so he can probably even negotiate this so called debt down a little bit."

TO "I just don't know if that will be enough, we need someone who has money and can competently run this track. We don't want to lose something with.... what was it?"

CA "Over 100 years of racing!"

TO "yeah yeah, we can't lose a track with over 100 years of something-or-other. If only we knew who would be a good person to put in charge of this matter."

(Man enters room)

Mr. D. "Hi everyone, I heard there was a meeting to discuss the problems at our racetrack. My partners and I wanted to offer up our services. We are all very successful and rich guys with a bankroll of over 1 billion dollars and we all have had a very large number of success running many different businesses and ventures including ones associated with racing. I brought along here even certified letters from banks asserting that we have the financial capability to get the debt taken care of and to get the track back up and operating in a profitable manner."

HOOP "Holy wow mister! I don't believe I see a name tag, did you sign in at the door?"

Mr. D. "Ummm... No. I didn't see anywhere to sign up out there"

TO "Well you have to sign in at the front desk, its official policy."

HOOP "Yes I believe we're going to have to ask you to wait outside until we conclude our official business here sir, no meeting crashers allowed"


And if the play is a little too confusing for you, try reading the novel the play is based on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Quick Notes from the IRL's trip to the Land of Chicago

-Congrats to Daniel Herrington notching up his and his owner’s (Bryan Herta) first victory; the start of a bright future for both I think.

-Not saying Herrington owes him a portion of the winnings, but it might be nice of Daniel to buy James Davison a nice steak dinner for the block party Davison threw behind Herrington once he got the lead.

-He also might want to go have a chat with Mike Potehken who he bumped with no less than 72 times before something on Potekhen’s car finally broke.

-Congrats to J.R. “Captain America” Hildebrand for winning the Lights title and putting on almost a Alex Lloyd-ish type of season in Lights this year!

-Here’s hoping Hildebrand doesn’t repeat a Lloyd-ish type of post-Lights couple of years of IndyCar limbo.

- Every ting goona be alright!

-The competitive American in me really wishes Team USA (run by AGR) will forego Marco and put “Captain America” in our A1GP car full time this year; I really think he’d give USA a shot at the title.

-Dear media and Versus announcers; we watched live, on-screen, two cars side-by-side, while 1 of the 2 cars was pushing THE BUTTON, and the cars stayed side-by-side with absolutely no visible difference in speed. What more do we need to stop pretending the button produces power of any kind of significance.

- Eeeery ting gonnna be all right!

-Super props to Jon Beekhius and the Versus crew for their piece on the black boxes, and the Power/Philippe crash, and also the piece showing behind the scenes team radio etc from the previous race.

-I have the next great piece for Versus; Not all people have read Dr. Stephen Olvey’s great book, so do a piece showing us what its like to be the Delphi Safety Crew for a race, what they do during a race, what they talk on their radio channel about, how they have to double as clean up crew, and how they sit at ready while we enjoy the action.

-If I told you after Indianapolis, that I just came back from the future and had a picture from later in the season of Mario Moraes, Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti 3-wide on an oval, during a green flag, and they all came out of it in one piece, you would have told me I was full of crap.

-For the second oval in a row, Ryan Briscoe edged out a car that had THE BUTTON’s remaining while he didn’t.

-Hey Versus announcers, don’t worry if you stop talking about THE BUTTON so much, Every Ting Gonna Be All Right!

- Great job again to the broadcast crew for giving us all the action all over the track, instead of following leaders in line, something that has pained viewers by ESPN/ABC for many years.

-That said, stop showing us spouses at the end of races. If you’re going to show us anything at all, go split screen and instead of spouses give us shots of teams/owners, I want to see what Chip and Roger are doing while their cars are neck and neck.

-Justin Wilson was running as high as 5th, and finished in the Top 10. Dale Coyne wants to know what you think about his “road course specialized” team now.

-The only thing that guts me more than cutting away from a pass is following a guy coasting around on a victory lap only to cut away right before he celebrates with donuts or jumping out the car. Briscoe and especially James Davison pulled some very impressive victory donuts the past few races, and not a single one made the TV screen.

-Dear IZOD, don’t be afraid to plug some of the other apparel you make; I’m interested in non-Indycar clothing too; heck just do a commercial with Hunter-Reay wearing any of your clothing so long as it means a new commercial. Seriously, you can make a new commercial, no worries, Every ting gonna be alright!

-In what is no doubt the BEST EVER one-off paint scheme, Sarah Fisher and her crew are going pink in Homestead, raising money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer! And if you don’t want the Sarah Fisher specific gear, there is plenty other great awareness apparel with proceeds going to the same fight.

-The ICS owners want to move the start time of the Indy 500 back to where it used to be, which would allow some drivers to do “the double” with NASCAR’s Charlotte race.

-While many whine about how Tony Stewart, John Andretti, Robby Gordon & Sam Hornish Jr would be the only possible gains from “the double” they are all missing the one guy who has been doing a ridiculous amount of doubles in every series he can for the last 2 years, and one who has said he wants a shot at Indy… Kyle Busch.

Pictures via

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quick Notes from the IndyCar weekend at Sonoma/Infenion/Sears Point

I've been a little busy these days developing a new site for launch but really wanted to get some notes out since I've been neglecting the day-to-day racing news. So I present to you, random thoughts about racing, each in 50 words or less:

-Firstly, get well wishes for both Will Power and Nelson Philippe. Good to see Philippe is already well enough to be posting Internet videos & going on Curt Cavin & Kevin Lee’s Trackside radio show tonight.

-Huge props to APEX Brasil for bustin out their third different commercial on us for the ICS race. You hear that IZOD! You can make more than a single commercial, and it’ll likely make people not hate you for said constant repetitiveness.

-Nice run by J.R. “Captain America” Hildebrand, winning the Indy Lights race by what felt like a 2-hour margin. Hildebrand should have had enough time on the white flag lap to stop on the front straight, bust out a phone, register himself on twitter, & tweet “crossing finish line @InfineonRaceway”

-No offense to anyone at the great organization of Panther Racing, but Vision/BHA Racing clearly seems to have taken their place as the newest member of the Indy Lights Big Three alongside Sam Schmidt Motorsports and AFS/AGR.

-Props to VS/Lindy Thackston and the rest for the good pre-race pieces about the wineries and the snakes. Continue to make the people of the series more personable.

-To your right is a picture of Hideki Mutoh giving the Firestone Firehawk a hand-bump. No further comment necessary.

-I spent the ICS race joining a group of IndyCar newbies from “across the pond,” here’s what I learned. IRL fans don’t have it so bad. Most of the time was spent raving about all the features and extras they got from IRL for free when F1 gives nothing.

-Can someone go more unnoticed during a broadcast than Mike Conway? Punctured tire on lap 1, then on-track passing almost the entire field to finish 3rd!Even booth/owner Robbie Buhl had a “oh wow Conway is in 3rd” on-screen moment. He’s clearly got the speed, just needs consistency.

-Here’s about all the new info we could learn about Franck Montagny from his IndyCar Series tryout: Does not have super powers that allow him to take his car over a giant pileup.

-Exactly how many different pieces/parts is a car allowed to litter on the track before they get black-flagged? I only ask because I saw Helio dropped roughly 72 different things before the car finally tapped out.

-If a pit reporter says "the car is in for the stop, getting 4 new tires, and fuel... and he/she's away" should incur an automatic penalty of some sort...

-Speaking of commentary; if Paul Tracy isn't going to be in a car for a race, he should be part of the commentation in some form; his tweets are some of the best color-commentating since Bobby Unser.

-Major un-props to the VERSUS crew. I know its not easy, and there were a lot of things out there, but never pull away from on-track action for a pitstop. Hell at least start using a plit screen for pit stops.

-I will pay good money to anyone who can provide proof that Scott Dixon exhibits the ability to get angry at anyone in his life, especially people who take him out of races.

-The Torch and The Dancer are angry at each other again (if that even accurately describes it). This is good, we need some kind of rivalry, and whether real or staged, those 2 would be perfect for some banter through public media.

-What if the race didn’t subtract 5 laps from the previous years totals? Conway made 2 passes in the final laps and was fastest on track, would 5 more laps have been enough to get around Briscoe & Dario (as Versus TV would say) Fran-shitty?

Pictures via

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sometimes I'm going to say something stupid.

So I haven't been around lately, once again. Mainly this is due to being busy at work. But I think that I must also feel the shame of posting something so stupid!

Look, I just need to accept it. Sometimes I'm going to say things that are absolutely valid and I may predict things that may actually turn out to be true! But I'm also going to say things like this, things that turn out to be so untrue that readers must question my sanity.

However, I decided a while back that if I'm going to commit my time to actually (partially) maintaining a sports blog, then I'm going to take a stand. I'm going to pick issues that interest me, and I'm going to have opinions about them.

Let's face it: most of you are here for the racing stuff and most readers probably skip my posts anyway. But for those that do read my stuff, to me, it HAS to be more than "I heard Jack James is going to be traded to the Shoehorns and I think this fills their need for special teams help..." I don't read many sports blogs, and when I do, I want to hear someone's opinion. I love when the writer states an opinion, biased or otherwise, and then readers (also biased or otherwise) comment.

That Brewers preview was so much fun when the fans started attacking me. It made the internet a happy place for a few days. Being wrong, or having readers think I'm an idiot, is fine with me!

So I messed up. I said the Holliday deal was not as big as getting Aramis Ramirez back from the DL. WRONG. The standings alone show that. If the Cardinals don't at least make it to the World Series, then I still don't agree with their trading those prospects. (It's looking like they could've had the Central with NO moves! What a waste.)

But as the Cubs enter a series with the Nationals, and a last-ditch effort to save the season and attempt a 3rd-straight playoffs sweep, I wanted to make sure I admitted that I made a mistake. There's still another month though... who knows??

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Post Weekend Mid-Ohio Notes

Notes from a weekend in Mid-Ohio:

-Firstly, what a great weekend put on by the track!
You can truly appreciate just how much you get to see in a place like Mid-Ohio (6 different series/races: IndyCar, Indy Lights, Atlantics, Speed World GT, SpeedWorld Touring & American LeMans). The many options between camping, sightline areas, places to sit, things to see and do are so many; I would definitely recommend visiting the track for the IRL/ALMS doubleheader weekend for anyone, regardless of your track shape preference; especially if you can get out there with a group of people.

-That said, the talk is that it may have been Mid-Ohio’s largest crowd yet, and I’d believe it.
We had to get in VERY early just to get a spot on the middle of the big hill in The Esses on day 2. Packed would be an understatement, it felt like college football tailgating in more than one respect… as it also took fans, officials, and teams all about 3 hours to leave the track; mainly caused by the fact that there is only one 1-lane road leading in and out of the track.

-There are 2 things you get a better appreciation for in person than on TV.
The first is just how many more passes there can be than what coverage shows. I watched Paul Tracy make at least 2 brilliant passes on EJ Viso & Graham Rahal that didn’t make TV; some great jostling from TK & Bobby D, and much more that I never saw on the TV replay. That’s not to say all races will definitely have more action in person because the Atlantics race was terribly sleep inducing, just too spread out for good action.

-The best action, as has been the case most weekends in 2009, goes to the Indy Lights Series.
No one mails it in for this series, because it’s all young up-and-comers trying to make their presence known. We saw a position get contested in the Esses almost every other lap, and that’s not including what was happening around the track (seen on the video board). Davison may have led every lap but Hinch was giving him good runs the first half of the race until James put the smack down on the field to finish it up. And on top of the great racing, Davison gave fans something no one else did, a celebration, putting a few brilliant donuts on the inclined/turn of the Esses!

-I’ve noticed a lot of people want to blab about how boring they think it was, and its all in the eye of the beholder, but for me, they are simply not paying attention. Scott Dixon put on an f’n clinic this weekend; and on-track dominance is not a boring thing for a short term. If you can’t appreciate exactly what Scott was doing this weekend, let me put it into perspective. It was 115 degrees on the track, upwards of 97 in the air, which means it was likely 215 degrees in the cars. Most drivers were out of breath, drained & exhausted after the race. Still, Dixon wasn’t playing follow the leader with lapped traffic; he was tearing up the field (just like Justin Wilson did in the first half, only lose it on black tires). We really hadn’t seen a truly dominant performance like that in a good while.

-12 of the 13 races have produced a new points championship leader. Don’t tell me this crap is boring when to date 13 of 13 races have had BIG implications on the points championship. Dixon, Briscoe & Franchitti aren’t just coasting to collect points, (though they have been guilty of lining up in the beginning of some races), they certainly bust out the aggression in the 2nd half.

-It is surely looking like this will be the 4th consecutive year (and 7th time in the decade) that the ICS points championship will come down to the final race. Is there any other series that can claim this? That’s not hyperbole; I’m seriously asking if anyone knows any other big league series that consistently has as many tight championships as the ICS.

And my apologies but I’m going to end on 2 rants here:

-The one thing I wasn’t expecting to, but did learn by attending the race at Mid-Ohio, was just how absolutely dangerous it is to have Milka Duno on the track. Normally I’m of the, “its their money, so long as they don’t screw with anyone else” camp; but after seeing her drive this weekend, its pretty clear she is not of the “not screwing with anyone” variety.

Yes Justin Wilson even said he thought Dixon likely would have gotten by him later with a faster car, but the pick Milka set itself is not the issue. Slower traffic sets picks all the time for passing; Milka however set the pick on Justin on the outside line going into the Esses, yet ended up on the inside of the track? Dixon being heads up squeezed his car in front of Justin to cement the position but also to avoid Milka.

If Dixon weren’t as heads up as he is, he’d have plowed right into the back of Milka from her erratic lane switching, and that is where her being on the track is total BS. I watched her with my own eyes cut off other drivers upwards of 20+ times; which you never really get to see on TV. And worse, you listen to her via a scanner and it sounds like the coaching of someone’s first ever race. If she were a rookie, or she were new at the track, or even if she was just slightly off pace, I’d have no issue, but at this point in her ICS career, she has absolutely no excuse for her poor driving.

Truly, I have to give the drivers of the series huge props, because if I were out there, I’d have punted her off the course just to get rid of her, and truly I don’t know how they haven’t yet. Reportedly after practice and qualifying Brian Barnhart sent Al Unser Jr. to talk to her… oooh, big f’n whoop. Likely he said stuff to her, she said “uh-huh” and then proceeded to go right back to what she was doing before; which from watching consists of over-braking and coasting through turns instead of powering through, and constantly choosing different lines, confusing drivers behind her.

Announcers like to say “oh she moved out of the way to let them through” but I’m sorry, if you are out there only to let people pass you, what the heck are you doing out there? Tomas Scheckter would like the car back now.

-The biggest current issue the ICS has that it needs to quell before it turns into something more is the diarrhea of the mouth in the misreporting of the power boost button.
I’m going to say it now, and this goes for Robbie Buhl, Jon Beekius, Bob Jenkins, Lauren Bohlander, Mike King and every other league official & media member covering the IndyCar Series. STOP GIVING THE POWER BOOST CREDIT FOR EVERYTHING!

In the pre-race we heard Bohlander say Briscoe used push-to-pass to beat Ed Carpenter to the line in Kentucky; which he didn’t. We’ve read and heard numerous stories from the media saying the button produced action; one paper in Alabama even claimed the buttn did it all, even though their article contained clear quote from Ryan Briscoe saying he thought the vertical wicker removal gave the better action. After seeing the replay of Mid-Ohio yesterday, it was a push-button festival. At this point I think removing the button (or at least telling everyone you’ve removed the button) would be the solution, cause it seems clear the media and analysts have attached themselves to very incorrect information.

To date Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Carpenter, Justin Wilson, and most recently Paul Tracy have ALL said they don’t feel the power boost is significant at all. In fact they have all confirmed that the button is exactly what it was designed to be, a slight bit of power assist when needing a little help. The button essentially has equated to a slight boost, at maximum 1mph. I’m a very non-gimmicky guy, and I have no issues with that; I think that slight bit of help is exactly what the drivers needed to help in make some passes, or catching up from a mistake.

The problem is that the coverage and media have run with “The Button” as if it gives people an additional 40 mph. All the media including Sports Center reported Briscoe used the button to beat Ed to the line in Kentucky (even its been clearly reported Briscoe was out of boosts by the final lap), the VERSUS booth is constantly telling us how many push-to-whatever-they-want-to-call-its guys have left. It’s a good thing to know, but stop pretending it has any big significance, when clearly the drivers have said it doesn’t.

To date only 2 drivers have said it was a big help: Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal. In both cases, the drivers said they used it to recover from mistakes or to help in aiding a pass; neither gave credit to “the button” for the pass itself; they still had to draft, run a good line, and get started; this isn’t like A1GP or Champ Car where you hit the button and are suddenly significantly faster than the next guy, this is just that extra little bit you might need to help get the job done. Its like using a weight on a baseball bat to warm up, or getting an extra blocker on a play in football.

Why is this an issue? Because the league took the time to implement the boost specifically so it would not be gimmicky, because they didn’t want a gimmick. They seemed to have still wanted the drivers and set-ups to be the deciding factors of a race. Simply put, it seems clearly to have been designed to only be an assist mechanism. You’ve not heard a single driver even talk about the f’n button on their own, which means it’s mostly a non-factor, which is perfect. Why then pretend the boost is a super-powered gimmicky thing?

Every driver I have seen interviewed to this point has clearly stated that they think the removal of the vertical wickers and other downforce options are what gave them the better race at Kentucky, not the button.

I don’t know why people are latching themselves onto this notion that The Button is significant in any way, especially when the league tech people have been clear that it was not designed to be significant. Please stop before it starts convincing lesser-informed fans that the drivers aren’t as much of a factor as button strategy.

-And lastly; head on over here and check out many pictures I took over the weekend, see gallery at bottom.