There's a lot of ground to cover this morning, so apologies in advance for the length of the notes. . .
We really need to start with The Great Debate. Billyzane's "introduction" to the topic has provoked some truly outstanding dialogue among the BON community, and left me wondering: just how many lawyers are on this site, anyway? Various obligations have kept me more or less on the sidelines, save a few interjections here and there when time permitted, but what's wonderful, of course, is that AW and I aren't needed for there to exist a robust dialogue on any given topic at BON.
I think what's been most pleasing of all is the willingness and ability of so many readers to dive into such a complicated and nuanced topic. BON really has become the home for the thinking Longhorn fan, and that's something I'm damn proud of.
If you're wondering where I stand on all this, I fall somewhere in the middle (helpful, I know). Despite my usual predilection for forward-thinking, progressive ideas, I find myself increasingly doubtful that a playoff is the solution so many hope it would be. Before the army of rational playoff proponents who've so ably made their case get upset, let me clarify my skepticism: I'd more or less throw myself behind a playoff rationally constructed by all of you who stepped up to bat in the comments of this debate. What I increasingly worry about, though, is a playoff that's put together by a cabal of hacks who are too weak to do anything other than market to the lowest common denominator.
My big fear, then, is that we wind up with a playoff and yet have the same disgruntled base of fans singing the same sad song: namely, "The best team isn't the national champion."
If, then, a playoff - imperfectedly thought through - doesn't succeed in satiating a large swath of the public, aren't we just back at square one? What, in that context, is the difference between the two team BCS playoff and a hypothetical eight team playoff? As Billyzane skeptically mused in one of his comments, it's frustrating as hell that so many people have such an aversion for nuance in their thought processes. . . Is it really reasonable to believe that university presidents are going to come up with a well-thought through playoff system? Should we really place our hopes in them creating a thoughtful, well-constructed playoff?
And more to the point - if they're not, aren't we just reframing the same problem in a different context?
The more that we talk through this issue, the more I believe that there's a giant gulf between "ideal championship system" and "system designed for public consumption." I seriously wonder whether the folks who would be in charge of creating this playoff could bridge that gulf satisfactorily. Assuming they can't, aren't we just treading water?
That's not to say I don't still want a playoff - I just worry that too many intelligent fans think that a playoff will alter the way our product is consumed on a mass scale.
Talk about nuance. . . that's a subtle, subtle point, but I remain convinced it's a critical one: It may not matter that you're right about playoffs. We may just wind up with the same set of complaints cast in a new language.
Let that sink in.
Changing gears here - MMHorns and I went to Pluckers tonight to take in Longhorn Sportsline with Rick Barnes and Craig Way. Truth be told, it exceeded my expectations. Once we got a table - about 10 minutes into the show - we were plopped down about eight feet in front of Barnes and had a great time listening to him comment on the team. I got the wireless mic dude's attention and asked Rick a question about whether this team was finally ready to avoid following up a good stretch of games with a letdown. I don't think Rick quite appreciated the spirit of my question, and answered rather defensively, saying that if it were that easy to get teams to play consistently, coaches wouldn't be as stressed as they were. He was a little bit on his heels, but needlessly so - all I really wanted him to comment on was whether he thought this young team was ready to take the next step in their development. In hindsight, I didn't ask the question the right way, so I'll shoulder the blame in this case.
It looks like I'm going to be headed to Waco on Saturday, along with MMHorns, another friend of ours and (hopefully) 54b. Our pageant master says George's or Rudy's is our likely pregame spot, but if you're thinking about going, make sure to email me before you leave so we can exchange cell phone numbers. I'd love to run into some of y'all at the Ferrell Center.
That's enough for now, as this is long enough already. I'll save some notes for later this morning or early afternoon.