Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Two Ways Lance Can Win The Tour

The pro cycling season opened last week in the warmth of the Australian summer at the Tour Down Under. Lance Armstrong finished 25th--a good result considering it's not a race that necessarily suits him, and not a race that he was using for anything more than training.

Armstrong's goal this year is simple: win the Tour de France, or, if that can't happen--make sure Alberto Contador doesn't win the Tour de France.

Armstrong doesn't like Contador very much. Let me rephrase that--Armstrong hates Contador with a passion. The two fought via Twitter last year after a very tense three weeks as "teammates" in the Tour. Lance didn't like some of the attack-as-you-please tactics of Contador, saying that Alberto was too often going against team orders. However, if Lance had attacked like Contador attacked, he would have been praised as "ballsy" and "hammering home his authority" on the peloton. In reality, Contador was, by far, the strongest rider in the race. Lance didn't like that, and Contador didn't like it that Lance didn't like that.


Lance is 38 years old. His best days are behind him, but he can still produce some good ones (he finished third last year in the Tour after three years off--I don't have room on this blog to tell you how impressive that is). He might--might--be able to win the Tour this year. But, Contador is 27 years old and in the prime years of a stage racer's career. Contador is the best climber in the sport, and outside of Fabian Cancellara, the best July time trialist in the sport. That's a tough combination to beat. But there are two ways for Lance to take down Contador (not including a Contador crash, injury, or positive dope test).

First, beat him head to head. This, of course, is the way Lance would want to do it. In his perfect scenario, he finds his 28 year old legs. He steals a minute or so during the early cobblestone stage, where the Spanish climbers (like Contador) traditionally get bounced around. He then climbs with the best, always marking Contador. He then is able to ride just as well, if not a little better than Contador in the time trails. In the end, he's able to squeeze out a one minute or so overall advantage and wins his 8th Tour. That is the recipe for Lance to win this summer. He won't drop Contador in the mountains, or beat him by minutes in a time trial. He must take a few seconds here and there and have those seconds add up. In the old days, Lance could win the Tour by 8-10 minutes. Those days are gone.

There is a much higher chance of Contador beating Lance by 8 minutes overall than there is of Lance beating Contador by 8 minutes. Lance knows this.


Lance's new team, Radio Shack, is good. Very good. It's basically last year's Astana team, which dominated the race. Cycling is a team sport, and this year Lance's team could beat Contador, even if Lance can't.

Lance would rather finish first himself, but I believe that he would also really enjoy it if one of his Shack teammates won the Tour just because that would mean that Contador wouldn't win the Tour. I almost think that, at this stage of his career, making sure Contador doesn't win is just as important as Lance winning himself. Two reasons for this: Lance hates Alberto, and he knows that Alberto is the only rider in the sport that could challenge his record 7 Tour wins. It's about revenge, and about preserving his legacy.

I envision a scenario this July where team Radio Shack attacks Contador left and right--on the flats and in the mountains. I can see them sending Leipheimer, then Kloden, then Lance, then whoever else, on repeated attacks--forcing Contador to counter each move or risk losing his chance to win the race overall. Contador may be up to the task, but even the strongest guy is sometimes no match for a really strong team.

It would still kill Lance to see Leipheimer or Kloden on the top step in Paris, but not as much as it would kill him to see Contador there. And, in the end, Lance has won enough. He might actually find a different form of competitive pleasure by orchestrating a team win that ultimately rewards a teammate with cycling's top honor instead of getting all of the glory himself. Especially if it knocks Contador down a peg or two. Now THAT would be something worth tweeting about.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Can An Overweight Head Coach Win The Super Bowl?

Two months ago, a P1 emailed me with a theory. He wondered if Wade Phillips could lead Dallas to a championship. Not because of Wade's abilities as a motivator or strategist, but because of his weight. The listener pointed out that no overweight coach has ever won the Super Bowl.

So far this post season, Wade Phillips and Andy Reid have been eliminated. That leaves Rex Ryan as the heavy torch bearer for overweight coaches. If the Colts and their normal-weight coach Jim Caldwell eliminate the Jets this weekend, it will be another blow to high BMI coaches everywhere.

Why does this theory hold water? Is it because players will never fully buy what you are selling if you don't look the part? The players spend most of their time working out and staying fit, so does it wear on them to have to take orders from someone who looks like the Pillsbury Dough Boy?

Back in the day, the first thing the Cowboys had to do when they reported for training camp was run "The Landry Mile". Coach Tom Landry, who was eternally fit, required the players to run a mile in 6 minutes or less. Landry could do it, and he expected his athletes to at least be in as good of shape as he was. Do you think those players respected their coach--especially the ones that Landry beat in the mile?

Not every Super Bowl winning coach has looked like Usain Bolt. But, none have looked like Wade or Rex, either. The evidence follows.

Weeb Ewbank won a title with the Jets, but was just old and stocky:

Hank Stram, champion in 1970, was also stocky, but not fat:

The first coach that everyone brings up when discussing overweight Super Bowl winners is John Madden. However, photographic evidence shows that Madden was big and had a strange body, but in his first few years with the Raiders was not overweight:

Even when Madden won the Super Bowl in 1977, he was not Phillips/Ryan-like. He looked more like an offensive lineman:

When Bill Parcells was in Dallas, he was definitely overweight. But not when he was winning Super Bowls with the Giants:

One other coach that some bring up is Mike Holmgren. Today? Overweight. Back in 1997 when he lead Favre and the Packers to the title? Not overweight:

As you can see, the odds are stacked against those who stack their pancakes too high.

Coming soon: Can a really tall coach win soccer's World Cup?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dirk vs Bird Part 2

Since there was a lot of good feedback on the first Dirk-Bird blog, and since I have even more thoughts about this topic, I thought I would present the sequel and explore some of what has come up since the blockbuster original posting.


I think some players have it in their DNA to be great, to be leaders, to be killers, to be champions. Bird had it. Dirk? Not so sure. Duncan has it. Robinson? Don't think so. Magic had it. Gervin? No. This is the backbone of my argument.

The Sturminator thinks that if Dirk had played on the '86 Celtics in place of Bird that they would have won the title. Well, on paper that looks great. You replace one HOF'er with another. You replace one great forward with another. One great shooter with another. Why wouldn't it work? Because of the DNA factor.

On the '86 Celtics, Bird led the team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, 3 pt shooting, Basketball IQ, leadership, drive, kicking ass, and everything else. Dirk would have led the team in scoring and 3 pt shooting, but what else? It was in Bird's DNA to drive a team, to get after teammates, to make those around him better. Would Dirk have been the straw that stirred that drink? I don't think so. Would Dirk have led that team in assists or steals? No way. Take the greatest passing forward ever off of that team and they are still champs? I don't see that.

I see Dirk and David Robinson as comparable in many ways. Both HOF'ers. Both were unguardable in their primes (Robinson won a scoring title and scored 71 points in a game). Both physical freaks--Robinson the best running 7 footer ever, Dirk the best shooting 7 footer ever). But I don't think that if you replaced Bird with Robinson that Boston wins the '86 title. They would have a better chance, maybe, because Robinson was such a great defender, but it wasn't in Robinson's DNA to be the difference maker. Duncan filled that roll for Robinson.

Bird = Duncan. Dirk = Robinson. It's about having it in your DNA to make others around you better. Bird took Indiana State (who??) to the NCAA title game. Bird, in his rookie year in Boston, without McHale or Parrish or Johnson or Ainge, made a 29 win Boston team a 61 win Boston team and took them to the Conference Finals. That's special. That's something you have in your DNA. Duncan has it. Magic had it. Players like Gervin or Robinson or Dirk don't have that. It's the difference between being a top 15 player and a top 50 player.


In the last 50 NBA seasons, 41 championship teams had one at least one of the top 15 all-time players on the roster. Basically, you have to have one of those once-or-twice-a-generation-players on your team to win the title. There are exceptions, or course, but it's easier to win it all with one of the true greats as opposed to having your best player being one who ranks 16th - 50th.

The consensus top 15 players in history would be (in no particular order)
Havlicek (I would also be OK with either Elgin Baylor or Dr. J at number 15--doesn't really alter the numbers or theory, so it doesn't really matter. I guess it's the top 14 that really matter, but since that's not a nice, round number, let's just roll with Hondo)

At least one of these guys were members of 41 of the last 50 champions. Recently, at least one of these names appeared on 17 of the last 19 title team rosters. In other words: you better have a transcendent player on your team or your title odds get a lot longer.

Bird, without question, is a top 15 guy. Dirk is a top 50 guy, but not a top 15 guy. Put Dirk alongside a top 15 guy, and he would be golden. Like putting Robinson (top 50) alongside Duncan (top 15) made him golden.

The theory is that you just can't take someone from outside the top 15, swap them with someone inside the top 15, and get the same result. Swap Dirk for Bird, and suddenly the '86 Celtics don't have a top 15 guy on their team, making their championship odds much longer. But, swap Bird for Dirk on the '06 Mavs, and suddenly they have a much greater chance of winning it all.

Top 15 guys are almost always glue guys. Guys who have winning and leading and delivering in their DNA. Wilt may be the one exception, but he was so supremely talented and physically dominant that by osmosis he got a couple of titles along the way.

In the end you can play all of the "what if" games you want, but that doesn't obscure that the greatest of the great in NBA history were blessed with "it"--that elusive quality that is sometimes hard to understand or quantify. And if your favorite player wasn't born with "it", that's OK, and that's the point of the Dirk vs Bird blog post. My favorite player was Gervin, but he didn't have "it". He was a guard, like Magic. He was tall, like Magic. He was black, like Magic. But I don't pretend that you could swap Gervin for Magic and still win 5 titles--or even one title--with those 80's Lakers. Gervin and Magic were both HOF'ers, but their games were different--their hoops DNA was different. Bird and Dirk are both HOF'ers, but their games are different--their hoops DNA is different. It just doesn't make sense to think you could swap those players and get the same results.


Since Bird, we have had to endure hearing about "the next Bird" every few years. Tom Gugliotta, Keith Van Horn, Adam Morrison, Danny Ferry, Detlef Schrempf--and Dirk. In fairness, Dirk is WAY better than all of those guys put together. But he's not Bird. Dirk's game and Bird's game don't even resemble each other, so why the comparisons? As P1 Tom put it: "If there were a black guy with Dirk's game, would they compare that black guy to Bird?" The answer, of course, is no. But since Bird, everyone has been falling all over themselves to find the next Bird. And the two prerequisites seem to be that the player must be white, and must be a shooter. No need to look beyond that!


So Bird had a great supporting cast in Boston and Dirk had nothing to work with in Dallas? How do we know? It's my theory that supporting casts, in many cases, are only as good as the star player makes them.

For example: How was Bird's supporting cast his rookie season? It was the same roster that went 29-53 the year before. Bird won 61 with them--as a rookie! How was Bird's supporting cast at Indiana State? It's pretty clear that Bird had that rare ability to make something out of nothing.

Robert Parrish was good at Golden State. Then he started playing with Bird, and became an HOF'er. Kevin McHale probably would have been great anywhere, but he was drafted by Boston and had his game lifted by Bird from the start. Would he have been an HOF'er if he had been drafted by Cleveland? Don't know. But if you flip it, you can certainly see that if Bird had been drafted by Cleveland, somehow he would have won titles there because he would have lifted them like he did Indiana State and the '80 Celtics. Or put Bird on the '06 Mavs--does he make Harris and Howard and Stack and Terry and Damp better? I would say yes, because that's what Bird was all about. I can't see Bird letting Howard get away with his crap, especially in '08. Can you imagine Bird's reaction if Howard had handed him an invitation to his birthday party during the New Orleans series?

Dirk makes those around him better, for sure. But he doesn't raise his teammates level the way a Bird or Magic did. That's just not his game. His game is: Being an unstoppable offensive force, a nightmare offensive matchup for other teams, a 7 footer that does things we've never seen 7 footers do, a good rebounder, and an overcusser (especially early when he learned English cuss words). It took me a while, but I've finally come to terms with who he is, and that's more than enough for me. I don't need to try to make him Larry Bird, and neither should you.

And yes, Bob, I would be happy to discuss this on your show one day. However, since we were both born with Got-To-Be-Rightus in our DNA, I'm pretty sure we will either end in a stalemate or come to blows. Or both.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dirk vs Bird: Enough Already

Sparky Anderson was once asked to compare Thurman Munson to Johnny Bench. Sparky replied "Don't embarrass any catcher by asking me to compare him to Bench." This wasn't a slap at Munson, it was just the truth. Bench was the best, and no catcher was going to compare.

I feel the same way when I hear the constant comparisons of Dirk Nowitzki to Larry Bird. In fact, it may be the sports topic that most makes me want to end my 25 year non-vomit streak (and I grew up hating the Celtics!).

The subject is, in fact, the reason that I started this blog. I was listening to BAD Radio one day, and heard the King of Blogging, Bob Sturm, utter the phrase "Put Dirk on those Celtics teams with Parrish and McHale and he would probably have a couple of rings." After calling a wrecker service to come and tow my car out of the ditch that I had driven into upon hearing that, I emailed Bob. I love Bob. Bob's sports brain is huge (quickly). But I told him that I thought his comment gave too much credit to Dirk, and not nearly enough to Bird. I told him I had many thoughts on this topic, and that I should probably start a blog so that I could get all of my thoughts on this subject out in a way that I can't do on our radio show. A few weeks later, voila--I'm blogging! Oh crap! What have I done?

Disclaimers before launching into this comparison (or non-comparison): Dirk is greatness. Dirk is the best Euro ever. Dirk is the best shooting 7-footer ever. Dirk is one of the most unique NBA'ers ever. Dirk is approaching Roger Staubach in the "Most Beloved Metroplex Athlete Ever" category. Dirk is a nice guy. Dirk is THE reason that the Mavs have been a 50+ win team for a decade (even though he does have a fatal flaw that I will detail in a later blog posting). I love watching Dirk play. But he is not Larry Bird. Not even close. Just like Josh Howard is not Michael Jordan (OK, I admit that there is a much bigger gap between Josh and MJ than between Dirk and Bird. I just wanted to write that line to solicit some groans from basketball fans). The purpose of this post is not to take shots at Dirk, but to remind everyone of Bird's greatness, which time has caused many to diminish.

So, let's get into it.


They are both tall. They are both white. They are both blonde. They are both great outside shooters. They both have funny accents.

(Insert unfair photographic evidence to help my argument)


When Larry Bird was 20 years old, he was leaving the University of Indiana because he felt out of place. He started working on a road crew for the state, working in ditches and bad weather, repairing potholes and such. He already had a huge chip on his shoulder, and this time period between IU and eventually enrolling at Indiana State just made him hate us all a bit more.

Also during this time, his alcoholic father committed suicide. His family was dirt-poor. Bird has said that his rough upbringing motivated him throughout his career.

Conversely, when Dirk was 20, he was drafted and signed a multi-million dollar deal in the NBA. He was a golden child, and now a wealthy NBA prospect--a German who was learning how to enjoy our Western ways and our American women. No chip. No ditch digging. No poor, broken family. He didn't hate anyone. The world was his oyster (I've never really known what that saying means, but that hasn't stopped me from using it).

This difference can't be underestimated. Bird always felt like he had something to prove. Bird was driven by that chip on his shoulder. Bird was bitter. Not that Dirk didn't work at his game early on (although not nearly as much as he has worked on it the last few years), but traveling and drinking with Steve Nash occupied a lot of his time.

Hungry athletes are usually better competitors. Especially those that don't get full after one great meal.


In "The Book of Basketball" (a must read for any NBA fan), author Bill Simmons points out that Dirk's 2006-07 MVP season was statistically not as good as Bird's NINE best seasons. Think about that.

During each player's prime years, Bird was better in just about every individual category. Points per game (Bird averaged more than 28 per game three different times, Dirk never has averaged more than 26.5 per game), field goal percentage (Bird was over 50% five times, Dirk once), rebounds (Bird averaged 10+ per game six times, Dirk zero), and assists and steals (not even close--advantage Bird). Their career 3pt shooting, free throw shooting, and blocked shot numbers are a draw. Dirk has no advantage in any category.


Bird was superior to Dirk in every area of the game, except for pure shooting, where I would call it even. Bird was three inches shorter than Dirk, but a better rebounder--he knew where to be and how to box out. Bird was 100 times the passer than Dirk is--he saw lanes and angles that few ever did. How often did you hear someone say "Bird must have eyes in the back of his head!". Do they ever say that about Dirk?

Defensively, Bird wins again. This area is Dirk's biggest downfall. Bird was not a superior defender, but he wasn't a liability. He out-thought the opponent. He outworked the opponent. Defense is not always about athletic ability, but about smarts and hustle. Bird had smarts and he hustled. You could never go to sleep on Bird when he was defending you. He wasn't a shut-down guy, but he would make you pay if you gave him a chance. He played the passing lanes well.

If you want to see what kind of a defender Dirk isn't, just watch any of last year's playoff series with Denver. You'll understand.


As if Bird didn't have a large enough lead in the comparison, this is where it turns into a rout. The two players who demanded the most out of their teammates in the history of the league were Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. We have never seen competitors like those two.

To Bob's original point: If you replaced Larry Bird with Dirk Nowitzki on those 80's Celtics teams, they would not have one a single title. I really believe that. Bird was the ultimate glue player. Dirk is not a glue player. Bird was the ultimate hard-ass on his teammates. Dirk is not a hard-ass. Bird's game was tailor-made to bring out the best in McHale and Parrish and the rest of those Celtics. Dirk's is not. Not to mention how awkward it would be to play Dirk at small forward on that Boston team (you weren't really thinking about benching McHale, were you?).

I'm the all-time George Gervin homer, but I wouldn't make the argument that if you replaced Kobe with Ice that the Lakers would have won four titles in the last decade. In fact, I don't think they would have won any, even with Shaq. Gervin was great, just not in a Kobe way. The same way Dirk is great, just not in a Bird way.

Flip it around: Put Bird on the 2005-06 Mavs, and there is no way in hell they lose that series to Miami. There is a zero percent chance that up 2-0 and up 16 points in the 3rd quarter of game three that Bird would have let that team lose that series. Never, ever, ever. Dirk was taken out of his game by the Heat in that series. Nobody on that Miami team would have taken Bird out of his game, especially when spotting him a nearly insurmountable lead. I'm sorry, I just can't see Udonis Haslem or James Posey getting to Larry Legend.

Three rings for Bird, none for Dirk. And if you take a trip to Bizarro World, where their career paths would be flipped, I would imagine that the title count would be the same. Dirk still has a chance to win one--but that window is closing fast. Had it happened in '06, the comparison would be somewhat valid. Somewhat. It didn't, though--and that falls directly on Dirk's shoulders. Just like the 80's Celtics successes are a credit first and foremost to Bird.


The reason Bird was such a great leader (and as a result, a great champion) was his personality. He was always the first to gym. In fact, he would routinely get to the Garden so early that the floor wasn't down yet for that night's game--so instead of shooting he would run laps around the concourse. Once the floor was down, he would shoot for hours. Dirk is a gym rat, too, but not to the degree that Bird was.

Bird would not accept anything less than 100% effort from his teammates. Dirk is a quiet, peace-loving guy. Bird would yell at a teammate. Bird would shove a teammate. Bird would make his teammates better. Dirk, in turn, only yells at his teammates indirectly, and usually when a game or series is already lost.

Bird was a trash talker, an intimidator. Dirk is neither. I've always loved the story of Bird telling Chuck Person before a Christmas Eve game that he had a present for him. Then, during the game, Bird launched a three pointer from right in front of the Pacers bench. Before the ball went through the net, he turned to Person (who was sitting on the bench) and said "Merry Fucking Christmas" as the ball then swished behind him. DAMN! I wouldn't want to play that guy! There are no stories like that about Dirk. Not that you have to be a prick to lead a team to a title--it's just another example of how Dirk is not Bird.

(There is another item worth discussing, but I don't have the issue completely fleshed out. It's the idea that a white Euro or Eurasian dude playing a North American sport just doesn't have the same killer instinct that a North American--i.e. American or Canadian--does. I hear this all the time about the Euro hockey players. The theory centers around Euros seeing Olympic Gold as their ultimate sports dream, where North Americans see winning a Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, World Series or NBA title as their ultimate sports dream. I've heard it before about Dirk, but I'm not sure it applies. I think Dirk may have that killer instinct even though he's very white and very Euro. But I'm not sure. It's certainly not the psycho-killer instinct that Bird had, so again, advantage Bird. Still--an interesting topic that will be explored in a future blog posting on this very site.)


Stop doing this to Dirk. Stop comparing him to Bird. I even heard Rick Carlisle tip-toe into the subject not too long ago--and he played with Bird! I understand it's a coach's job to pump up his players to hyperbolic proportions. But come on. I feel bad for Dirk every time someone tries to compare the two, because I know that there is no way Dirk will ever live up to being Bird. Can't we all just be happy with the incredible career that Dirk has put together? Let's just compare him to other Mavericks. He wins there. Let's compare him to other Euros. He wins there. Let's compare him to his peers in today's game. He wins a lot of those battles. But let's stop comparing him to Larry Bird. There is no comparison.

Plus, I want to try to run my non-vomit streak to 50 years. I have a better chance if I never hear "Dirk" and "Bird" in the same sentence again (after, of course, this sentence).


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How To Fix The Bowls

30 years ago, when I was a small human, college bowl season was the most wonderful time of the year. I would get a large poster board, list all 15 bowl games (complete with team logos and stadium information), and hang it on my bedroom wall. I would then watch each and every game, filling in the final scores on my big board. New Year's Day was the crescendo. Four big games--Rose, Cotton, Orange and Sugar. Afterwards, I would be spent, but happy.

Today? Like most sports fans, I couldn't care any less about the bowls, save for the BCS National Championship game. Today we have 34 bowl games. One matters. 33 games that nobody cares about. And, beginning on December 19th, the bowls come at us thick and fast in no particular order of importance. The GMAC Bowl sandwiched between the Orange and BCS Title game? The Alamo Bowl AFTER New Year's Day? The Gator Bowl ON New Year's Day? Are they just TRYING to piss us off at this point?

Bonus points if you know where the Emerald Bowl, EagleBank Bowl or International Bowl are played. Bigger bonus points if you can name the teams that played in them. 34 bowl games means we have 68 of the 119 division one football teams being rewarded with postseason play. 60 percent of the teams go to a bowl game. If we were to invite the same percentage of teams to the NCAA postseason basketball tournament, it would go from a field of 64 to a field of 200! We are to the point where some teams exit their bowl game with a losing record. Why would a .500 team be invited to a bowl game? Why would a team that lost as many as it won deserve a reward?

The single worst term in sports today is "bowl eligible". What does that mean? That you went .500? It means even less now that teams don't have to have at least 6 wins over division one teams. That's right, you can schedule as many games as you can against The School For The Blind and those wins (if you can beat TSFTB) count toward being 'bowl eligible'. Simply ridiculous. If I were a coach or athletic director of a team that was 6-6, I would never, ever accept a bowl bid. It's humiliating.


I present to you my five step program to fix the bowl games--to restore interest and credibility to college football's postseason:

Step One: No Bowls. 16 team college playoff. It will never happen.

Step Two: Since Step One will never happened, we cut the number of bowls from 34 to 15. In 1979, we had 15 bowls. Perfect. Not too many, but enough to make the schedule seem full. No trash teams. No .500 teams.

Step Three: Return to playing the games in order of importance. Bring back meaning and prestige to playing on New Year's Day. Don't play the Bowl after the Rose Bowl! Spare bowls early, big bowls late. Simple.

Step Four: Since the NCAA will ignore Steps One, Two and Three, let's at least eliminate all 6-6 teams. If you are 6-6, you are the epitome of mediocre. You have no business in the postseason. Go back to practice and work harder on becoming a winner who deserves something.

Step Five: Since the NCAA will ignore Steps One, Two, Three and Four, I introduce my most radical thought. If you are a 6-6 team and you are invited to a bowl game, you may accept the bid. However, if you lose your bowl game, you will not be eligible for a bowl game the following season, no matter what your record. It will make coaches and athletic directors think twice about rewarding mediocrity. Can you imagine the embarrassment of accepting a bowl bid at 6-6, losing that bowl, then going 12-0 the next season and not being able to play in a big BCS bowl?


I realize my plan has zero chance. It makes too much sense. I love college football, but my love is fading more and more each season. The NCAA is the single most screwed up entity in sports. The messy bowl system is just a small part of their problems.

The NCAA is actually considering adding a few more bowls. Ludicrous. How far are we from seeing 118 division one teams (not all 119--that would be silly) invited to a bowl? You laugh, but if the NCAA approves 5 more bowl games, we will be near 80 teams going to bowls. 80. Out of 119. Unreal. The NCAA has effectively taken all of the meaning and prestige out of playing in a bowl game. It means nothing.

It all falls in line with the trend in America these days. Reward the winners AND the losers. Everyone in the race gets a ribbon--the top three, the middle three, and the bottom three. It teaches nothing. No reason to try harder, little Jimmy who finished in 9th place--here's a ribbon! No reason to try harder, Texas A&M--you went .500, so here is a bowl bid!

Bear Bryant is rolling over in his grave. And my eyes are rolling into the back of my head as I try to stomach Idaho vs Bowling Green in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.