Friday, February 20, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Commish fans D.C. with BCS message
By Graham Watson
Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson on Friday concludes a two-day trip to Washington hoping to raise awareness of what he considers inadequacies in the Bowl Championship Series system.
Thompson, who held a brief teleconference with reporters, said he met with seven members of the House of Representatives' senior staff on Thursday and has several other meetings planned Friday. Because Congress is in recess, Thompson said he's speaking with staffers who will relay his message.
"We're simply here to educate, inform, make awareness about the BCS and we're trying to help our cause -- the Mountain West's cause and other conferences -- with the entire BCS system," Thompson said. "We are planning to submit within the next two weeks a proposal for changes in the BCS system. ... Our proposal will basically be for a more equitable system and we will have some suggested changes in the determination and a little more performance-based results and determination."
Thompson would not elaborate on specifics in his proposal, saying he needed to present it to his conference's board of directors before speaking publicly about his suggestions. He said the entire proposal would be released to his nine-member institutions and the media in the next couple of weeks.
Initially, it was believed that the Mountain West's case for BCS inclusion was prompted by Utah finishing its season undefeated, but Thompson said the foundation to change the BCS system was laid in the fall. The BCS, formerly broadcast on Fox, formed a new partnership with ESPN that runs from 2011-14 for the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar Bowls from 2011-2014 and 2011-2013 for the BCS National Championship Game. The deal certifies that each of the 11 conferences in the FBS and independents abide by the current rules of the BCS -- rules that still consider the Mountain West a non-automatic qualifying conference.
The Mountain West has hired Washington-based lobbying firm Arent Fox to aid its cause. Thompson said the firm helped him move from office to office Thursday to get out his message and educate senior staffers.
"I'm not certain that we're ultimately looking for government intervention, we're trying to raise public awareness," he said. "We're going to try and work within the system. Our proposal is going to go to the BCS commissioner."
Thompson and three Mountain West presidents met with ACC commissioner and current BCS coordinator John Swofford and administrator Bill Hancock in North Carolina last week and will meet again when the proposal is complete. Thompson would not say whether he was proposing a playoff to replace the current BCS system. He did say this proposal is solely being brought by the Mountain West and not the other four conferences without automatic qualifying bids.
Thompson acknowledged that his decision to lobby the federal government for BCS change is not a popular one with the current automatic qualifying conferences, but said such change needed to occur for the betterment of college football.
"You can't change something if there's nothing to look at and compare it to and suggest changes to," Thompson said. "Certainly, we're not the most popular kid in the room. I understand that. But we feel that we are trying to help college football, fans and basically institute a more equitable system for the entire populace of college football."
This was on the front page of ESPN.com
- Season opener. The Virginia match is the first chance to check out the new Frogs, thus reducing the additional withdrawals of waiting until the official home opener the following weekend. Considering I am officially going to have to miss the spring game unless the timing changes, it will have been a LONG layoff for my attendance at a frog football function. Having to wait even one more week will surely be far too trying on my soul. Also, we rarely lose season openers, so you can probably mark it a W.
- Al Groh. Despite pulling one of the greatest switcheroo, ass-saving coaching performances in the second half of this past season, this guy is a zombie coach. He's terrible. When the University of Virginia, a school that is far more interested in their academic reputation than their athletic conquests, wants to run you off, you might be a red.. er, failure. Expect him to not have the Hoos ready to roll, especially against such a fierce team like the Frogs.
- Great Destination. Charlottesville is just a few hours down the road from Washington D.C. so it is foreseeable that you could turn this into a long weekend and throw some DC into the mix. As I interned up there a few summers ago, this would definitely be a selling point for me and I know there are some other interested parties as well. Also, and as strange as it sounds for me to say this, I will be married then, and the future wife is dying to make it to DC. This would be a perfect two birds, one stone opportunity for said trip.
- HUGE swing factor: There's a dirty rumor of the game being moved to DC. Does this have a real chance of happening? Probably not, but if it did, there's very little Clemson could do to swing the vote to their side. RFK stadium is a miserable venue, but the draw of DC cannot be denied.
- Better flight options. You can fly directly into Charlottesville, but the only way is on a commuter flight (read: expensive, full of hassle and a deathtrap). This also means you would have to make a connection, but it still gets you directly to Charlottesville. For most of us, the best option would be to save some money and fly into a bigger hub nearby. Fortunately Charlottesville is within range of DC, Richmond and Bodymore, Murdland, and all of those airports are easily accessible from DFW and Houston. By contrast, you cannot fly directly into Clemson, SC but it looks like Charlotte is a good option as well as Greenville and maybe Atlanta. However, the first and last options are almost 3 hours away, although Greenville is only a 45 minutes trip. This is a hard category to call because they both have drawbacks, but I give UVA a slight nod because there is the option to fly directly into the town.
- Nerds. UVA is a generally accepted "smart" school. I'm not sure what this means for the party situation because in a lot of instances nerds party just as hard if not harder than their frat doppelgangers, but is this something you want left to chance? Also, have you ever met girls from the northeast or girls that go to school in Virginia? It's like a fucking bingo parlor, man.
- Dave Matthews Band. Yes, we all once loved the Dave Matthews Band, and if you say you didn't, you're a dirty liar. However, I like to think we've all grown out of this phase (we're all looking at you, counselor). Why is this relevant, you ask? Because Dave Matthews got their start in Charlottesville so it can be assumed that most everyone there probably LOVES DMB for this reason. There's a sign at Uptown Pub in Dallas behind the bar that reads "NO DAVE MATTHEWS EVER!" in regards to the jukebox. I choose to live my life by this credo.
- Flip Floppers. Virginia had been a Republican stronghold pretty much ever since the United States was invented. This year though? They became Obamacentric and were a major reason he took the White House. Well, Sarah Palin didn't hurt his case either, but that's neither here nor there - I'd still bang her and even let her talk about her Russian neighbors and whisper dirty things in my ear with that accent of hers. What point am I trying to make? Just saying that do we really want to support a bunch of demmycrats? NO!
- Dog Fighting. I'm not an advocate. I once flew into Newport News, Virginia which is where Michael Vick played HS ball and the streets are literally knee deep in dog carcasses. Well, that may not be entirely true, but people in Virginia REALLY like dog fighting. PETA does not approve of your travel destination.
- Closer Destination. I have no idea how long it takes to drive to either place, but I'm just going with my gut on this one and saying that Clemson is surely a closer and easier drive. Also, I don't know if anyone has ever driven from Texas to the east coast, but it's one of the more beautiful drives to make in the country. Just make sure you keep your windows up and the cruise control cranked when you're driving through the backwoods of Arkansas and Tennessee as I'd imagine a bathroom stop could make the movie Deliverance look like a fairy tale.
- Football Atmosphere. There's really no contest here - Clemson is a MAJOR bastion of college football passion. They have a stadium that seats close to 90,000. They have a delightfully delusional fanbase who expects their team to win the big one every single year despite not being able to win their conference. They also play under the shadow of Steve Spurrier at USC, so there's just that much more rage/chips on their shoulders fueling them. Honestly, I can't think of any way UVA beats them in this category. However, this is a double edged sword as you will see later.
- Frog Rage. Lest we all forget, just a few months back these guys tried to poach our coach (yes, had to rhyme). Fortunately GP did not even return their calls nor give them the time of day, but, similar to KSU, these guys had facets of their fanbase saying that GP to Clemson was a done deal. We do not forget such transgressions.
- Ladies. As mentioned above, and I'll admit I have never been to Charlottesville but I think I have an idea, the ladies who attend school in the state of Virginia typically leave a lot to be desired. When you combine the academic requirements for said institution, this situation becomes increasingly more dire. However, in the case of Clemson, the situation is completely the opposite as they are simply a big, dumb state school with few standards. Have you guys ever seen girls who attend SEC schools? Because, Clemson is surely more of the same despite their conference affiliation. Having grown up an SECophile, I can tell you that even the ugliest girls who attend schools like Ole Miss and Georgia would make us all want to be better men. As a bonus, I personally love those accents. I am constantly in communication with Carolina folk due to work and cannot get enough of talking to the girls there and, after a recent trip over there, can assure you that all the rumors about their looks are true. Also, considering the educational system in the southern states, you can rest assured that these girls are young, dumb, and, well, any of us eligible gentleman can help fill them with the final part of that observation. After their travails at the Outdoor Cocktail party a few years ago, I personally recommend employing I Hate H and WWHD to aid you on this journey.
- Scenery. In this case I mean the actual scenery. South Carolina is a beautiful state, which isn't to say that Virginia isn't, because it is, but SC is a veeeery pretty state. I sat on a airplane once next to a guy who went to USC and while he was very confident about all things Gamecock, he did not even try and defend the campus setting vs. that of Clemson. Apparently it is situated by a lake right at the base of the Appalacians and is just something to see. Also, while attending the Masters last year we stayed in South Carolina because Augusta borders the two states, and, yes, it was nice. Now, campus aestheics are a distant, distant third to watching Frog Football and ruthlessly creeping on naive southern babes in the realm of this trip, but it's definitely worth a mention.
- White Castle. Pretty sure it started in the Carolinas. No explanation needed.
- Turrible Fanbase. Whenever you think of a misguided fanbase with hilariously unrealistic expectations, most people will think of schools such as Auburn, Texas A&M, Clemson and, more regionally, Texas Tech. These are schools with a modicum of football history with some, through some cruel twist of fate for everyone else, even having an NCAA championship under their belts. Therefore, they think they are owed national respect and should be worth mentioning in any big time program discussion. Unfortunately for these guys, this just isn't the truth and never will be. No matter, this will always be the truth to them because most of them have stadiums that seat 85,000 people who need some sort of justification of why they fight their lost cause year after year. When people wonder why GP told Auburn and Clemson thanks but no thanks, this is exactly the reason.
- Bigotry. Now, I know with the election of Obama there is supposed to be this big, warm, fuzzy feeling in our society, and I'm all for that... but the people who made these observations obviously didn't ask South Carolinians their opinions. I mean, they still have the confederate flag on their state flag! It may be heritage and not hate, and the bigotry itself isn't what necessarily bothers me, but it's just the fact that people who promote such things are typically astronomically ignorant individuals. So, by that measure, I guess I'm bigoted towards dumb people, and South Carolina is likely full of them.
- Competition. Now, as anyone who followed college football this past season knows, the ACC was a WILY beast when it came to conference play. The safest bet to make was to take the points in any ACC conference matchup, because in most cases the underdog would cover if not win outright. Clemson came into the year a top 10 team and a legitimate threat to win the BCS. In their first game of the year they were absolutely destroyed by Alabama and were never the same afterwards. Heck, they went on a three game losing streak where they lost to Maryland. MARYLAND!! That's worse than Tracy Jordan voting for Nader. However, Clemson does return a handful of playmakers and has a new coach in place who really got the team rolling in the latter part of the season. Do we have the team to beat them? Absolutely. Will it be harder than it looks on paper? For sure. Even without mentioning the 90,000 drunked up rednecks getting into Ginger's head (and, oh yes, Carolinians surely scorn gingers as much as they do most other races), they're like any other south eastern school who fill their team rosters with backwoods roided up mutants ready to eat someone's soul. This will easily be our toughest non conference game and potentially our toughest match up all season.
- Bottom. I don't know about you guys, but while it's sometimes fun to be on bottom, South Carolina is ALWAYS on the bottom when it comes to Carolina lovin'. This makes me think that Carolina is a very passive state and is filled with people who aren't very interested in taking control of their lives. By this measure I just imagine a bunch of pork rind eating, hairy backed fatties populate a good majority of the state (except for the above mentioned hoes). Do I have any real foundation for this other than my loosely veiled and non-relevant sexual metaphor? Absolutely not, but I needed another con.
So, that's the matchup. I know there are others worth mentioning and I hope that all of you will do so in the comments. At this point, I still think it's too close to call. If the UVA game moves to DC, it's a no brainer for me. If not though, I'm just going to follow the pack. Let me know what you all think.
South Carolina papers on the potential game The State Charleston Post & Courier
Omaha is TCU baseball team's idea of a trip Star-Telegram
Baseball season gets underway Friday GoFrogs.com
Rest of the news Cowtown Clips