I hope those watching charged the meal to the Underhills. After a day to travel and another to sleep I re-emerged (human again) to find Texas and Georgia fans immersed in a massive open thread for the NCAA Tennis Championship, all of which I missed; as a fan and player of the sport, I would have loved to catch some of the action. Unfortunately, the 'Horns were bested in the national finals despite picking up the early doubles point. Congratulations to the 'Dawgs for the NCAA championship, and to our 'Horns, for the fantastic run in Tulsa.
EDSBS LIVE hitting its offseason stride. With the tennis open thread in full force, I didn't dare bump the main event down, not even for a late EDSBS LIVE promo post. Nonetheless, Orson and I did indeed have our weekly show last night, a 90-minute chat about the early Top 25 polls and where they seem on/off the mark. Podcast of the show is available both via the radio player in the left sidebar of this page and on the EDSBS Live show page itself.
On a related note, tentatively mark your calendars for the 10th of June, boys and girls, when the inimitable Phillip Steele is scheduled to join EDSBS Live for the summer preview spectacular. Last year's chat with college football's walking encyclopedia was probably the show's most thoroughly entertaining; there's something truly joyous about listening to a man so wholly devoted to the great game of college football.
Lacke... Leeche... Leike.... Just watch. The Temple tailback with the funny name made his way to the FanShots, courtesy of WorstFan. But Lache Seastrunk, a prospect in the 2010 class, is front page material. (Use a bib.)
Speaking of front page material... Fourteen members of the football team walked the stage this spring, including seniors Chris Ogbonnaya and Rashad Bobino, both of whom will contribute on the field this fall. Though so much of the material that fills up MB-TF.com is über-fluff, this is one article I happily urge everyone to read. Especially in the case of Bobino, who catches a lot of heat for his on-field performance, his story is one that's especially nice to root for. Congratulations to OG, Bobino, and all the spring graduates from the team.
Big 12 Baseball Tournament starts today. Texas enters the postseason tournament the hottest team in the conference, winners of 9 of the last 10, including a three-game sweep on the road of Big 12 regular season champion A&M. Along with joining us here at BON for open threads during each of Texas' games, you may want to check out the following sites for tournament updates:
* Corn Nation: Much more than 'Huskers coverage, CN has been the most consistent Big 12 baseball blogger around. Lots of useful info, including game times, radio, links, and more.
* Kansas blogger "JQ": Though mostly Kansas-centric baseball coverage, JQ is Big 12 baseball obsessed. Always worth catching the perspective of a fan who follows the conference as closely as does JQ.
* Big 12 Sports: The conference's official site looks like it's going to be buzzing with tourney activity. Notably, live audio for each game will be streaming at the conference headquarters, along with real-time gamecasts you can follow from work.
* Big 12 OKC Fan Guide: C&CM has a nice guide for anyone planning to attend this year's tourney.
Hit me with the good stuff. Those of you who frequent some of the other fine blogs of college football know that the playoff debate is once again raging along. I'm on the record countless times in favor of a playoff and would gladly support BZ's Flex proposal, Brian's eminently reasonable six-team system, or any number of similarly concocted schemes. So I won't rehash why I think a playoff system would so clearly be superior.
But I do have a word of advice for the anti-playoff crowd. The value-laden arguments animating resistance to playoffs, however floridly written, have and will continue to fall short in any discussion that's properly focused on champion-crowning. After however many years of reading and writing about the merits and demerits of a playoff, it seems to me that opposition to a reasonable playoff system is only available insofar as one's fandom is overwhelmingly animated by values more unrelated than not to crowning a champion; absent a deep attachment to such a value set, a college football playoff is far and away preferable.
At its essence, the playoff proponent's argument is simple: "Given how few college football teams play one another head to head, a reasonably constructed playoff would be superior to the current system." The anti-playoff proponent can attack that assertion at two points: (1) that a playoff would not be 'superior' to the system we have now, or (2) that a playoff system assembled by the powers that be would not be done 'reasonably'.
In terms of persuading a college football fan which postseason system he should embrace, attacks on (1) have proven ineffective. Why? In my view, because such anti-playoff arguments require a fan to share in a value set that is often tangential to the problem of 'how to crown a champion'. In contrast, all the playoff proponent must believe is that absent total agreement on the espoused value set, a playoff appears an objectively better way to crown a champion.
The point, then: If I were against a playoff for college football, my argument instead would hammer on point (2), a weakness that most playoff proponents acknowledge. Given the vast majority of fans who look at the champion-crowning issue and choose 'playoffs' as the best solution, why focus on a line of argument that succeeds only if a fan shares the entire set of values required to override the simple, predominant 'playoffs would be better' belief? Why not instead center the anti-playoff crusade on the argument that the men in charge are unlikely to put together a 'reasonable' playoff, then using that conceded problem to persuade the pro-playoff to consider the other values the anti-playoff proponent thinks important (but which are unessential to champion crowning)?
For most of us, arguments about the value of tradition, or long-standing debates about champions, or the sanctity of the regular season (to name but a few of the common value-arguments) are either outright rejected as irrelevant or dealt with, we contend, by the adoption of the right kind of playoff model. And though an anti-playoff advocate will never get me to reject the superiority of a playoff because the tradition of the bowl system needs to be protected, there's not much I can say to the criticism that the powers in charge are more likely than not to create a fatally flawed system.
I mention all this simply because every argument against playoffs I encounter does it the other way around - burying "They won't get it right" among the list of values that - if wholly embraced - are supposed to override the fundamental belief of 85% of college football fans that a playoff would better crown our national champion. For me and many like me, the big question is not whether a playoff will eventually come to being, but whether the playoff that's created is a myopic money grab or something reasonably well thought out.