Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Okay, I know the college season ended last night, and the pros just started their playoffs this weekend. But now, I'm ready to record some comments.

College: I don't care much for either of the teams that played last night, and I don't think that either one is qualified to be national champion this year. They both came in with 2 losses. A champion with 2 losses? I know it happens in the pros, but the pros have playoffs. I'll say more about playoffs in college ball later.

In my book, West Virginia and USC should have played for the championship. Between those 2, I believe WVU would have won, and they deserve the title. I say that because of the way they were not intimidated by OU, and the way they dominated the Fiesta Bowl. The Mountaineers would not have been intimidated by the Trojans, and they would have found a way to upend them.

I am still a fan of OU, and not just a fan of the football team. I am a fan of the school, especially their school of meteorology.

Now about those playoffs for NCAA Division I football: I believe the case has been made for having them. But 2 questions remain.

The first question is how to conduct the playoffs. Forcing freshmen and sophmores to play too many extra games would overload them, so I would say that no more than 2 rounds should be held. I suggest dividing the country into half and taking only conference champions, one from the East and one from the West. The East representative would be determined by a game between contenders chosen from the Big 10, the SEC, the ACC and the Big East, whichever 2 conference champions have the best records. The West representative would be chosen from in a similar manner from the Big 12, the Pac 10, and the WAC. (I know that the WAC champ wouldn't often qualify, but BYU and Boise State sometimes produce very good teams that could be considered contenders) To make this system meaningful, the conference champions would have to be determined by a title game. If this rule had been in effect this season, Ohio State might not have been in consideration for the national title.

The second question is how to make it happen. No matter how much fans might want it, and no matter how badly the Botched Championship Series chooses the wrong teams to play in the title game, a playoff will not happen for one reason - money. Too much money has been invested in the current bowl system for the bowls to go away. The bowls don't have to go away completely for a playoff system to bve implemented.
The bowl games started as a "reward" for teams that had a good season. For teams from other conferences, this can remain the same. A few of the smaller bowls might have to be converted to playoff games, but the playoffs can be added. But the question is still where the money will come from.
Fans could boycott the bowls,and that could cause the money to be redirected towards a playoff system, but I don't see that happening. The most likely way I can see a playoff being instituted at the college level is for one sponsor, or a group of sponsors, to approach the NCAA and offer to back the playoff games. But it would have to be someone with enough bucks to make the NCAA say yes.

On to the pros: My team, the Washington Redskins, has been eliminated, so of course I am sad about that. I am also saddened to see that Joe Gibbs has resigned as their coach and team president. He will stay on as a special adviser to the owner, and that will be a good thing as long as the owner actually listens to Coach Gibbs.
I am not surprised or shocked to see this happen. Coach Gibbs was out of the game for quite a while, and the game changed while he was away. I'm not sure he kept up with all the changes. But what he did with the team is a testimony to how great a coach he is. Despite the loss of their best player to murder, the team went to the playoffs. As I see it, Coach Gibbs has earned his retirement.

I am by no means an expert on football, but I will say that the winner of the Seattle / Green Bay game will probably go to the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Public Prayer

The Tulsa City Council recently decided to no longer open their meetings with prayers offered in the name of Jesus. Some in this area have expressed the opinion that this amounts to discrimination against Christianity and Christians. I would agree that is the motivation for many of the lawsuits, petitions, etc. for curtailing or eliminating expressions of Christianity from government activity, in this case, I don't care if any government meeting opens with a prayer in the name of Jesus.

Of course, Jesus instructed His followers to pray in His name. He also said that if you believe in your heart, you shall have what you say. Just simply appending the phrase, "in the Name of Jesus" to a prayer is no guarantee that your prayer will be answered. You must also have faith in your heart. Too many times "in the name of Jesus" becomes just a meainigless formality.

This brings up two things that I often hear about religion or faith that I do not agree with.

"You should respect other people's beliefs." Really? Have you compared the teachings of Christianity with Buddhism, or Hinduism, or any other religion? Quite a bit of conflict there in some cases. Satanism is a legally recognized religion, and is the polar opposite of Christianity. How can Christians and Satanists respect each others' beliefs?
I'm not saying that any religion should be outlawed, or anyone should be forced to accept any particular belief system. I might not agree with or respect what you belive, but I respect your right to believe what you believe.

"Religion is a private affair and does not belong in public." Boy, Jesus should would have a problem with that one. He said He would deny before His Father any one who denied Him before men. Christianity is meant to be publicly expressed, not hid away in houses and churches. This saying that religion should be private goes against the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

I don't believe in them.

Why wait for January 1 to try to solve a problem or change your behavior? If you have a problem, start working on it as soon as you become aware of it, or as soon as you are able. If you need help, get help. Otherwise, do the best you can. If you fail or have a relapse, don't give up. If what you are doing doesn't work, try something else. Keep looking for solutions.

I once read an article about the US Army Ranger School. Most of the soldiers that drop out do so within 2 weeks of finishing. That is a shame, because all they have to do is hold on for 2 weeks.
Maybe some soldiers weren't fully prepared for the load. I don't remember if the article said anything about if anyone was allowed to take the course again, but if they aren't, they should be allowed to after a while. Sometimes, you need two attempts to complete a difficult task.

I have succeeded at things that I have failed at before. I once failed a one-semester speech course in high school, but retook the course the next year and passed, and then went on to the two-semester speech course my senior year.