Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Yet another return

I've come and gone so much I might as well be referred to as Michael Jordan. And if you aren't comfortable with calling a 5-foot-6 chubby white kid "Air Chuck," just call me Tremain Straughter - because he's in and out or prison so much he's making Pac Man look like an amateur.

My first gripe in what is sure to be a series of endless and less than poignant rants begins with all the ballyhoo circling the University of Southern California football team, who is coming off an impressive season in 2004 and a National Championship. Why do I have a gripe? Am I bitter about their success? Do I not like Pete Carroll? Do I think their colors are gay? Perhaps...but mostly it has to do with each and every preview magazine, web site and talking head discussing whether USC can three-peat as the National Champion.

*We pause while Chuck throws things and breaks a bat on his thigh*

I'm going to say this one time, and one time only. If USC is lucky enough to survive this season unscathed, or they can guide their team of 5-star skill players to the BCS title game again and escape with a victory, they will be two-time BCS National Champions. That's it.

Let me explain to you how this works, professionals. Two years ago, Nick Saban's LSU Tigers defeated Bob Stoops' Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS National Championship Game. As a reward for playing in the National Championship Game, the winner of the National Championship Game is declared - say it with me now - THE NATIONAL CHAMPION! It's truly an amazing concept, but in what is now beyond me, it seems too complex for anyone to grasp.

You may say, "Well, Air Chuck, didn't USC win the AP National Title that year?"

*We pause while his Airness throws his cat across the room and bangs his head on his desk*

Yes, it is true that LSU's reward as the BCS National Championship and an automatic spot atop the Coaches Poll. And yes, its true that the always-knowledgable sportswriters decided to protest the system and place USC No. 1. Hell, USC may have even deserved to be considered the best team in the land, but that's not the point. Even if the know-it-alls were referring to a three-peat of the AP, its impossible, because the AP has pulled out of the BCS equation and will not be a recognized poll this year, so its impossible for USC to win three straight there, as well.

USC wasn't a co-champion two years ago. The system set up by the NCAA did not place them in the title game, therefore they didn't have a chance at the title. If they had beat Cal, they would have been unbeaten and in the title game. They did not, and the system determined they were No. 3.

Even USA Today had a front page story giving pub to USC and the potential three-peat, and they sponsor the Coaches Poll and BCS Champion - which means they handed LSU the trophy two years ago, when USC won this phantom title.

Good luck to USC in 2005. I think they have an oustanding chance to go back-to-back-to...

Well, just back-to-back.

*In baseball news, I watched Felix Hernandez's first home start in its entirity on Tuesday night. I've watched a fair share of baseball in my day, and his stuff is on par with anyone. He tossed eight scoreless innings, and went 1-2-3 in six of the eight innings. He gave up five hits, all singles. He didn't walk a batter. Oh, and he's 19. Enjoy the ride, folks.

*The Devil Rays seem content to let their best hitter - Delmon Young - toil at AAA for the remainder of the season and for a good portion of next season. They have a glut of outfield talent in Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Joey Gathright, Aubrey Huff and Jonny Gomes, with Young and Elijah Dukes in the minors. Methinks a trade in the offseason is the most likely, as Huff will be in his walk-year and Gathright doesn't fit in with the teams needs, as Crawford, Baldelli, Upton and Lugo can all run.

*By the way, Crawford has the sixth most hits all-time for anyone at age 24. I think he made the right choice passing up a football scholarship to Nebraska and a basketball scholarship to UCLA.

*WVU has a kicker. A really, really, really good kicker. Welcome, Mr. McAfee.

*I received my student teaching assignment. I will make my debut under the bright lights of Washington Irving Middle School in Clarksburg. Get out your radar guns.

*And finally, Moneyball has been topped. I never thought it would happen, but Jerry Crasnick's "License to Deal" is far and away the best baseball book I've ever come across. It chronicles the life and times of the underdog sports agents who try to compete with Scott Boras and Co. Crasnick is a solid writer, but the main character in the book - Matt Sosnick - carries it from cover to cover. Highly recommended for the baseball fanatics out there.

*Thanks for reading. The two-week layoff came as I attended my little sister's wedding and took a week-long vacation to Myrtle. Feel free to leave comments.



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