Monday, January 9, 2012

Around the Horn...

After the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs, I'll try not to get all ga-ga over Tim Tebow, but there are some things to talk about here in the blog on a Monday.

The New Orleans Saints played a ridiculous 2nd half against Detroit, and with the win, earned a trip to San Francisco to meet the 49ers. The Saints are a great team when indoors, on artificial turf. Can they amp that up outside, on natural grass in Frisco? One wonders. The 49ers had the week off, and should be ready. This is Jim Harbaugh's first playoff test, and he certainly didn't draw an easy assignment.

This just in: Tim Tebow isn't bad. He's not at the QB Assassin level (see Brees, Brady, Rodgers for examples of that), but the kid isn't bad. Denver Head Coach John Fox doesn't dislike Tebow. Fox dislikes the notion of playing inexperienced guys. That's what we saw in his time in Carolina. Tebow was inexperienced, and hence, that's why there was the Kyle Orton show to start the year. Switching to Tebow obviously salvaged their season, and has now given the Broncos another playoff game, after topping Pittsburgh in OT on Sunday. Denver gets New England next, and if they win THAT one...well, I don't want to think about it.

The ACC went through a miserable bowl season, going 2-6 in their 8 games. Congrats to NC State and Florida State for picking up those victories. Virginia Tech also won their game, even though the score doesn't reflect it. You have to have conclusive evidence to overturn calls on instant replay, and I still haven't seen that conclusive evidence to take away that diving TD catch.

Regardless of that, there has been a load of outcry following Clemson's horrifying defeat to West Virginia, that the ACC should lose its automatic spot in the BCS, after getting run over 70-33 by the Mountaineers. Really? The ACC is singled out in this? To me, that's not fair. What happens to the SEC if Alabama runs it up on LSU in the national championship game? It's not likely to happen, but still, what if? You don't have to throw one league out of the automatic BCS spots at all.

You throw them ALL out.

The BCS is a bonafide joke in the fact that this money grab doesn't give fans what they want. Fans want a playoff. You can not tell me a playoff wouldn't work, because I will not listen. When I hear it won't wortk, I point to the playoffs that go on right now in the FCS. Works for them. It can work for the top level of college football. And you can still have your bowl season as well. Bowls get played Monday thru Friday during their normal dates. The playoff games happen on the Saturdays. Take 16 teams, seed them, and let them play it off for 3 weeks. You get down to 2 teams, and they play the National Championship sponsored by (insert the highest bidder here), and they play the Saturday before the Super Bowl. That would give the final two teams about a month off (the same as they have for the bowl season basically).

My plan, based on this season's calendar:
Conference title games were played Dec. 3. Start the playoffs on Dec 17. Give the teams a week to heal, and plan their schedule based on the brackets placed in front of them. They play 3 weeks (and I know that they would have been up against the NFL on Dec.24, but this is hypothetical), and on New Year's Eve, we have 2 teams left standing. They are off until Feb. 4th when they play for all the marbles.

What about the rest of the teams that don't make the playoffs? Hello bowls (as mentioned above). I am not suggesting doing away with the bowl games at all. Not every team is a title contender. There are teams, however, that do deserve a bowl game based on an 8 or 9 win season. So break out the suitcase, and hit the road. Bowl games serve a purpose in each community they are played, and they help the football programs build for the future with additional practices, and the like.

The plan can work, and don't tell me there is no money in a playoff. The day the NCAA announces they are moving to a playoff system in the FBS (which would go through another name change), all of the networks would come running to them with signed blank checks. The bowl system brings in big dollars for the schools, but imagine the revenue stream from a playoff AND the bowls.

That's my rant for the day. I am not implying that Alabama or LSU is not worthy of the title game, but there are folks out there that have a problem with Bama being in the game based on the fact they didn't even win their own DIVISION in their league. Then again, the year Secretariat won the Triple Crown, a horse named Sham was runner up to him twice. In any other year, Sham might have been the best horse, but that year, he was running 2nd to Secretariat. Bama running 2nd to LSU (for the season) isn't exactly a bad thing.

ACC basketball season is underway, the Bobcats continue their elevator play, and the pucks are skimming around the rinks. It's fun right now.

And the Daytona 500 is just 48 days away.

Mike Solarte

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