Friday, January 16, 2009

BCS Must Crown Champion of Champions

College football has ended with another BCS controversy: Florida defeated Oklahoma, but of course Texas, Utah, and USC's bloodied, victorious charioteer all have vaguely legitimate claims to the title as well. The repeated claims on the title have become as tiresome as the endless nineteenth century rancor about the Schleswig-Holstein question, although I don't believe any coaches can use it as leverage to upset the balance of power in Europe in as dastardly and monacical way as Otto von Bismarck, with the possible exception of Nick Saban. Incidentally, I'm coining the word monacical, which means committing a dastardly deed while likely wearing or in possession of a monacle.

Saban comforts a humiliated and defeated Phil Fulmer, who was deposed by a
Knoxville mob days later.

Palmerston once quipped that "Only three people understood the Schleswig-Holstein Question. The first was Albert, the Prince consort and he is dead; the second is a German professor, and he is in an asylum: and the third was myself - and I have forgotten it." There are probably three similarly qualified people who came up with a reason for the BCS formula as a way to crown a football national champion, and hopefully one of them is rakish enough to be called "Lord Cupid" well into his 70s by society gadflies, the horse-racing set, and uppity footmen. I'm sick of the inevitable bleating about the BCS and the discord will end, as it did in Schleswig-Holstein, with a series of Prussian military victories and the eventual rise of the hated Kaiser with Bismarck.

On an unrelated note, one of my favorite Bismarckian intrigues involved seizing the kingdom of Hanover and using its assets to create the so-called "Reptile Fund" which he used to smear his enemies.

Bismarck's outrages included his Reptile Fund and his


The Football Bowl Subdivision clearly needs a playoff system in order to come up with an undisputed champion. At the same time, playoffs could potentially be bad for Northwestern if they mean the end to other bowl games. Right now, the college football bowl system is corrupt, money-hungry, and venal enough to rival the IOC, Serie A, and the court of Cardinal Riechlieu, but at least we know how it works. Because of Fitzgerald's commitment, recruiting, and the scheduling of Chicago Dental College on its out of conference schedule, Northwestern will get to its fair share of bowl games of varying caliber in the forseeable future. I want more crappy bowl games to increase the odds that Northwestern can play in them even if they eventually take place cold areas without a strong football tradition, such as the former Soviet Union, and I will not support any change to the BCS that jeopardizes NU's shot to play in any and all crappy bowl games.

Northwestern fans in the Belarus Industrial Borscht and Tank
Processing Plant Bowl accidentally spark a purple revolution.

The FBS needs a playoff, but let's not forget that it also needs its NIT of Humanitarian Bowls, Motor City Bowls, and defunct bowls to reward good but not great seasons and continue to give us the opportunity to watch middling teams teams play games that end with basically no consequence.


College football may be the only major competition that struggles so mightily declare a champion. For example, when British sausage makers want to find the best sausage, they do so in a proper manner, as this helpful link from explains:

"Butchers from across the UK travelled to London’s famous Butchers Hall near Smithfield Market to take part in the ultimate sausage competition – Champion of Champions."

And the butchers do not use a byzantine number of polls, computer averages, and coaches' harried assistants to come up with a winner:

"Organised by Meat Trades Journal, Champion of Champions takes award-winning sausages from around the UK and pitches them against each other in a bid to discover the ultimate champion sausage."

If you have a problem with the Champion of Champions, you can take it up with English Cricket Legend and Apparent Meat Enthusiast Phil Tufnell, who was on hand to present the trophy and, presumably, scatter any dissenting rabble with his cricket bat.

Phil Tufnell, the "Bad Boy of English

For those of you who do not passionately follow cricket, I've gleaned important information about Tufnell from Cricinfo, which I've copied here in order to give you the benefit of the writers' masterful prose.

The Bad Boy of English cricket in the 1990s, but the best spinner - left-arm or otherwise - as well. With a kick of the back leg, a skip and a jump, he had an approach to the wicket that is all his own, but Tufnell had great control of flight - he talked of his "ball on a string" - and tended to beat batsmen in the air rather than off the pitch. And the arm ball was hard to spot. His batting was more straightforward, and consisted of the shuffle to square leg when facing the fast bowlers or the optimistic waft outside off stump. Known as The Cat because of his love of dressing-room naps, he purred into action in his fifth Test against West Indies at The Oval in 1991, and produced another matchwinning performance in Christchurch that winter. But a troubled private life, a strained relationship with the establishment, and some uninspired captaincy meant he has been in and out of the team since then. Only occasionally has he returned to his mischievous, attacking best, although his Middlesex career, kickstarted by an irresistible partnership with John Emburey, never stalled. In April 2003, however, he abruptly retired from first-class cricket, to become the unlikely star of a reality TV show. Rarely seen without a beer and a fag, Tufnell has always been something of a folk hero, and he milked that to the full to carve out a successful career on TV and radio.
Don't let the cricket jargon confuse you; when you break it down and watch a game, you realize that it's basically baseball with white uniforms, square bats, and the global subjugation of various peoples.

Vital cricket equipment includes the annexation bat, the subjugation wicket, and the
treaty muttonchops

Incidentally, Tufnell is not the only major athlete with an apparent feline nickname:

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