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Friday, November 04, 2005

First... "McNair's sack pain lingers." Dude.

As Controversial Racial Politics Week winds to a close, we would all do well to remember that politics sucks and never do this again.

Also sucky: human nature. There are two ways to get known:

  • Use your natural talent and bust your ass. (Door Number 1)
  • Say really dumb, anger-inducing stuff. (Door Number B)
This is the way of things. Obviously the former is much harder than the latter. Unfortunately, sports fans are reminded of Door Number B's existence on a near-daily basis. It seems that there's a Drew Sharp in every major city across the country. Atlanta's version is Terence Moore, who just put out a "SEC SUX" article. This article garnered two types of reactions: intelligent commentary from Door Number 1 selectors EDSBS and credulous acceptance from the DNB crowd. Which is the appropriate reaction? Well, the only part of the article I really care about is this quote from "expert" Bill Curry ...
The SEC is going to win a bunch, but it’s not going to dominate Michigan and Texas and Notre Dame, not like it used to.
For your information, Michigan has won four of its last five games against the SEC. You can Southern Speed my erect middle finger, Bill Curry; QEDMF. Kyle King has a more thorough takedown if you're interested.

The larger point is this: every year conferences are "up" or "down" or "overrated" according to people in the media because it's a really good way to get people riled up and have pointless circular arguments. These arguments are pointless because the major conferences are all approximately equal. They're circular because there's nowhere near enough data to make a determination. As Gunslingers put it:
First, the sample size is too small. The largest conferences are 12 teams, who each play 3 OOC games, so you'd think 36 OOC games might be enough. ... Second, there is a flaw in simply looking at raw numbers because those numbers represent actual matchups which might not prove a thing. ...

So it is of paramount importance that I state clearly and unambiguously that I believe nobody can say, with anything even remotely approaching factual certainty, that one conference is definitely better than another. There just isn't enough factual evidence to support any argument. And the factual evidence we have is flawed and unreliable.
LD then goes on to tilt at conference-superiority windmills anyway with a fantastic, balanced post that really shows the difference between the Doors. And I'm not just saying that because the Big Ten totally crushified all comers. (Must have gotten faster since Woodson's Heisman, eh, LD?) I invite you to compare and contrast it with Moore's piece. If you will permit me a brief digression into annoying blogosphere superiority talk, it clearly shows that the blogosphere is totally superior in this instance and many others. It's the difference between seeking answers and seeking attention.

As long as college football's nonconference portion is largely filled with nummy snacks for the teams that are actually good, the only proper response to "conference X is much worse than conference Y" arguments is to sadly shake your head at whatever Door Number B troll is wasting your time. These people are like your annoying little brother poking you: they do what they do because they need attention and have no legitimate way of getting it.

Relating to earlier themes... the demand for narrative and its pernicious effects on sports coverage has been a topic of discussion here and elsewhere (hey, there's Gunslingers again), so this TIC Slate article about how Star Wars is an art film has a relevant passage:
As literary critics have long pointed out, the arbitrary yoking together of events in the service of storytelling is one of the fundamental characteristics of all narrative. R2-D2 needs to hook up with Luke on Tatooine, just as Prospero's enemies need to wash up on the shores of his island, and Elizabeth Bennett needs to marry Mr. Darcy, for the narrative requirements of those stories to be fulfilled. The audience's willing surrender to narrative coincidence is demanded by the story's need to conclude itself.
The problem arises when the square pegs of narrative are crammed into the varying-shaped holes of sporting events whether or not they fit. Often the answer to the Question of Sports, The Universe, And Everything is no more meaningful than "42," but that don't fly on the television.

Penn State Paranoia Pool Day 3: (Found yesterday, posting delayed) Jim Harbaugh's DUI draws this from noted lunatic MarshCreek:
M may stand for Michigan in some places, but now it also stands for Menace to Society with regards to former Michigan QB Jim Harbaugh.
Remember not to drink your juice in the hood of South Central, Marsh.

PPP D4: Bullseye at 8:16. NYNY checks in:
With Big Ten Refs, if this game is close Saturday we LOSE, AfterReply

last year's illegal hits on Mills and MRob which the refs ignored anything goes for Barry's boys tomorrow.

I sure hope the coaches and team realize it can NOT be close.

This is my learned opinion from watching us play.
Since Big Ten Wonk is back and kicking I also feel a need to fire off salutes. A salute to you, NYNY, for epitomizing the PPP!