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Morning Coffee Is A Cranky Cynic

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Don't go grocery shopping stoned. Or, I learned, write critical blog posts while emotionally crushed by the BCS. MGoBrian was a little taken aback by my verbal thrashing of his draft ballot, but though he's not quite 40, he is a Man and took the fisking in stride. Joining what I wrote myself on Sunday, Brian notes that while he finds arguments for both teams perfectly reasonable, there is no Right Answer to this mess -- except perhaps a playoff, an attractive version of which he outlines. (6 teams, no auto-bids, home games for first two rounds, title game in Pasadena.) Also to his credit, Brian ultimately slides Texas up ahead of Alabama on his final ballot.

Though I'd probably write a follow up note out of fairness to Brian regardless, it's also worth doing to point out that even though, as both he and I mentioned -- "It's a Blog Poll ballot that will make no difference; who cares?" -- this entirely academic exercise is for exactly this reason infinitely better than the current human voting schemes:

  1. Transparency. A Blog Poll voter's name accompanies his vote. Both other voters and the general public can access the ballots and respond to them.
  2. Timing. Balloting is a two-step process, with a first draft due quickly (by Monday), but leaving final balloting open until Wednesday. Real life voters must have their votes in near-immediately after games conclude on Saturday evening. Time for reflection and analysis is scant, despite there existing no real reason to rush out the rankings.
  3. Dialogue. Blog Poll voters are encouraged to solicit feedback from readers and other bloggers. Disagreements are verbalized and worked through conversationally. This is the difference between analysis and opinion.

All told, though I may still disagree with a number of my fellow bloggers' final analyses, this is a demonstrably better voting schema than the ones that determine which two teams will play for the actual MNC. What's most surprising is that the coaches who suffer from its flaws are complicit in the crimes. Pretty. Damn. Pathetic.

UPDATE: If you're curious, bloggers sided with Oklahom

Does everything official have to suck?  I really, really don't want to be one of those super-cynics whose default position is anti-establishment, but as a college football fan in general -- and Big 12 fan in particular -- do I have any choice? On the heels of the nausea we're all feeling from the rancid BCS system came yesterday's announcement of the official All Big 12 Awards, which are absolutely, without a question, the biggest joke I have ever seen.

Voted by the 12 coaches (who can't vote for themselves or their players), the final results are so stupendous that they can only be characterized as either corrupt or meaningless. The awards are littered with ridiculous results, but the most egregious of all has to be Bob Stoops as co-Head Coach of the Year. No, really. Think about how outrageous that is:

Oklahoma: five senior offensive lineman, a preseason #4 ranking, and 95% of the preseason first place votes on Big 12 media day.

Texas: predicted third or fourth in the conference, ranked #11 nationally, with more questions than answers on both sides of the ball.

The Longhorns beat the Sooners in Dallas, finished 11-1 overall, 7-1 in conference, and had the toughest Big 12 schedule among the three South Division co-champs. But Bob Stoops is your coach of the year? Either Mack Brown's colleagues don't like him much, envy Texas, or are just hysterically ill-informed -- the latter a consideration only because Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said in his presser yesterday that he thought Oklahoma was undefeated.

The last week of this season has been hard on the soul. I bleed for this sport, but it's hard to support such blatant buffoonery. I've never been much of a letter writer before, but I seriously might just take the time to pen a rant to our conference commissioner.


Looking forward. Way forward.  I've written a lot lately about Texas' exceptionally bright near- and long-term future, a key ingredient of which is Mack Brown and his staff's proven recruiting ability in this talent-rich state. Though Big Roy is starting to take BON's recruiting and scouting coverage to where it needs to be, this is a fine time to note that Texas' page has been relaunched under a new team of scouts and writers as Bobby Bragg -- a good guy and keen observer -- is heading the effort and emailed me this weekend to note their Top 125 juniors list is up and available for perusal in the free content section.

I actually receive quite a few emails asking for advice as to whether any of the pay sites are worth the standard $100 annual subscription fee, to which I generally reply "Caveat emptor," but I will say that for those who desperately want to know before anyone else what's what about the best high school players in Texas, the one guy I've always thought came close to justifying the expense was Gerry Hamilton, who recently left Orangebloods. Officially, no one knows what he's up to now, but unofficially, the anonymous writer who goes by "Burnt Orange Beat Staff" sure does offer familiar doses of the tastiest stuff. So there ya go.

Getting ready for the Bruins.  Deep into football though we may still be, Thursday night's basketball game against UCLA at the Erwin Center marks the home peak of the non-conference season -- a contest for which Longhorns fans hopefully plan to arrive early, be loud, and stay late.  Across enemy lines, the folks at Bruins Nation are excited for the tough road test and keying in on shutting down Texas' guards as the path to victory. This strikes me as the right point of emphasis -- on both sides of the court. For Texas, my big concern is whether our guards have any hope at all of succeeding against UCLA's outstanding perimeter defense. Neither Abrams nor Mason has the chops with the ball to break down the Bruins on the perimeter and open up the half court "offense", which is why I think Texas' ability to force turnovers (UCLA's coughing it up almost 1 in 4 possessions) and pick up some scoring off of defense will be critical to a victory. If the Bruins' guards take care of the ball, the Bruins' defense will give them an excellent chance to win; if Texas can open things up with pressure defense (both Collison and the Bruins' young guards can be forced into turnovers), I like Texas to pick up a huge home win.

Hoops enthusiasts will be glad to learn that Rick Barnes' weekly hour-long radio show returns to the airwaves tonight (7-8 p.m. on Texas radio affiliates). Austinites can also catch the show live at Pluckers Restaurant, finally moved from North Austin to the West Campus location at 2222 Rio Grande St. If you stop in and have a chance to ask a question, see if you can get Barnes to talk about where he thinks Dogus Balbay can be by March. I think Texas' tournament fortunes depend on him being a productive 25-30 minute a game team leader at point.