NCAA, BCS, Please Give Us Back New Year’s Day

Dear NCAA, BCS Directors, TV execs and President Obama:

Like many Americans, I love January 1 bowl games (and sometimes, like this year, January 2). Sure, I’ll tune in to parts of Dec. 22-Dec. 31 games, but nothing rings in the New Year like gobs of college football.

From the moment my eyes open, adjust to the impending hangover from celebrating the arbitrary stroke of midnight, I look forward to a relationship with my couch and my remote. I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

Yes, a lot of people are upset at the BCS. Parts of me are too, but this letter is not about the computer system or the select conferences entitled to big money. It’s about how you have ruined New Year’s Day. All of you.

New Year’s Day was a combination of Christmas morning and the first weekend of the men’s basketball tournament. It was football on all day, on numerous channels, and with compelling storylines. It was about pageantry, bands at halftime, players overcoming challenges, teams overcoming conference foes, standings and geography being thrown out, colors in the stands and the joy of deciding where to spend my channel-surfing energy.

From top: The drama of the Rose, Fiesta and Sugar Bowls should have all been seen on one afternoon.

Because of television revenue and the NCAA cowering to television’s power, bowl games have been split into a ridiculous amount of teams (72 total this year) and the bowl season – especially this week – has been inexplicably drawn out.

The idea of New Year’s Day is to relax and flip between nearly a dozen bowl games, each (hopefully) with high drama that makes you choose a side and root like a loyal alum.

BCS Directors, you guys are leaving us with unfulfilling match-ups (really? no Boise State?! no Houston?! despite both being top-10 teams?!) and then unfairly treating us to these games eons after New Year’s Day.

What about playing every bowl game worthy of mention (Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Gator, Capital One, etc.) on New Year’s Day, like you used to? Then, a day later – maybe even two – play the national championship game. Use the momentum of that flurry of bowl games to build up to the finale like a fireworks show. And, Mr. President, didn’t you say during your campaign you’d like to create a playoff? Well, under your watch that hasn’t happened and the bowl system has gotten worse. I guess, based on everything else that has happened in your term we shouldn’t be surprised.

Look, don’t have five or six bowl games, then space them out, one at a time, until we forget why the hell we were even interested in the first place. We want multiple games on at once. Let us decide what to watch. Or, heck, even make it like the first round of the hoops tourney – stagger game starts on separate channels so we can see everything happen at its own pace, so long as every game is played on one day.

One of the greatest national title games of the BCS era – Texas and Vince Young vs. USC and Reggie Bush – was played on January 4. Not January 9 like it will be when Alabama and LSU square off this year.

By the time we realize there is a bowl game still being played on January 6, we have forgotten and focused on the NHL or college hoops or the NBA or the NFL playoffs. We have stopped caring. New Year’s Day is to college football what alcohol is to removing a coed’s inhibitions.

Please return it to that.


Joe Paterno Leaves Penn State in a Messy Situation

While we have been celebrating Magic all week – and rightfully so – there have been some other issues that are going on over in Pennsylvania that must be addressed.

The issues surrounding Penn State’s football team are absolutely horrendous. What’s even more sickening is that people are blindly supporting Joe Paterno and the program that turned a blind eye to Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of young kids.

It’s difficult for us to understand how people can submit death threats to the assistant coach who alerted higher-ups about what he saw. It’s ludicrous for people to riot and want JoePa around because, ultimately, he oversaw what happened, knew enough about it to tell others, but didn’t stop it. After all, Sandusky still was allowed to work at Penn State and be around kids and use the football program as a powerful object.

While it’s awful about what happened, Paterno has needed to go for some time. He hasn’t been relevant as a head coach for at least a decade. Maybe more. He was a figurehead at best. A caricature at worst.

Yes, he is one of the greatest college football coaches in the history of the game, but we have one lasting image of JoePa.

In a game five seasons ago, Paterno lost control of his bowels and crapped his pants. Sure, it was a “flu bug.” That “flu bug” is also known as “old age” and “incontinence.”

Yet, somehow this lasting image we have of Paterno pooping his pants is oddly significant in a strange, roundabout way.

To use a sports phrase, Paterno “shit the bed” when it came to his program and his handling of Sandusky. He didn’t take the necessary measures and allowed his program to become stained – like a pair of underwear with skid marks on them.

So, it’s with his shit-stained hands that he leaves a program he built up in shambles – emotionally and physically. Rather than riding into the sunset, as he should have been allowed after such a great career, Paterno jogs into the sunset with a dirty set of drawers.