Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'd buy that

CSI has been around for ten years now, a top 10 ratings juggernaut for CBS (coming in at #10, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 5, 4, and 7 each season), spawning 2 spin-offs in Miami and New York, and the basis of 8 video games across the three shows.

However, I prefer NCIS. The characters are more personable, the show has more humor, Gibbs is sexy; I could go on. I also think Spike TV killed CSI by airing 30 episodes every night for the last 7 years. And no episode will ever be as great as the Quentin Tarantino-directed fifth season finale Grave Danger... I'm getting off-topic again.

Like I was saying, I like NCIS. It's slowly been building up a fan base over the last 7 years, climbing up the ratings (#26, 22, 16, 18, 10, 5, and now #1 through the current '09-'10 season). It has one spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles (also excellent for many of the same reasons). But no video games yet. Kinda disappointing.

You could totally do it. Borrow elements from the CSI games, throw in some Star Trek-like team assembly (Gibbs needs to go interview a witness or suspect; do you grab the charasmatic DiNozzo, the tech-savvy McGee, or the cold-blooded warrior David?). Maybe add some Grand Theft Auto sandbox action (you could follow a storyline, or just going around solving random crimes). Get the folks in L.A. involved as well.

That'd work so well. Someone call EA or RockStar or Ubisoft and have them pickup my cash cow pinata so they can take a few whacks at it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

No... More... Pie...

How many more American Pie movies are they going to make?

The first one was good. It gave us Shannon Elizabeth, but what has it done for us since then? How much more can they milk from that cow?

Seven movies over ten years... Might be time to put down the pie. I hear cake is good...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I've learned something today...

I truly believe that I do learn something everyday.

I should be making a list of those things, for posterity's sake. Maybe start another blog with those things.

Today's learnedness: That's not a guy standing in the background in the individual shot of The Donnas bassist Maya Ford in the CD insert for their "Spend the Night" album. That's a Freddy Krueger cardboard cutout!! Don't believe me? Check out and compare that picture with the back cover insert.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


BCS: Bullshit "Championship" System. Broken Clusterfuck System. Bowl Catastrophe System. Get the picture?

Nearly everyone I know and listen to agrees. The system we use to determine who plays for the national championship of college football is crap.

And yes, I've complained about this before. There was USC getting snuffed in 2003 after going undefeated, but the Sugar Bowl picked one-loss Oklahoma to play LSU for the title. Playing as the Golden Gophers in Super Play Action Football on my SNES. Agreeing with ESPN's Rick Reilly that the true national champion for the 2008 season should be the University of Utah, last year's only undefeated team after it was all said and done.

"OK, Paul, let's see YOU come up with a better system..." I thought you'd never ask!!

Obvious solution: a playoff. Every other sport, at every other level in the NCAA, uses a playoff and bracket system to deliver two teams to a true national championship game. Do you know who awards the championships for Division I-A football? The Associated Press and the American Football Coaches Association. A news agency and a couple handfuls of college coaches. You know who should be deciding it? The kids on the field busting their asses to win! There is no official NCAA Division I-A champion, but there are for Divisions I-AA, II, and III.

And just think, what an honor it would be to be able to claim to be the FIRST NCAA Champion? You don't think a Michigan or Texas or USC or Florida wouldn't want that? I know I would. That'd be huge!! The recruits you would bring in, the annuls of history you'd be included in, the press, the exposure, the stardom. Who wouldn't want that?

We can still keep the BCS Standings, but let's use them in the same way college basketball uses RPI to seed the bracket. March Madness generates buzz after Selection Sunday about teams that maybe don't deserve to be in and those who should be but aren't. You'd get about the same amount of discussion after the NCAA football tourney is filled out.

"But what about the traditional bowl system? Some of those games have been around for decades! You're not going to throw away all that history, are you?" Of course not. Teams that get knocked out the playoffs can still go to bowl games.

I've got two ways the playoff can be done:

Solution A: Ten teams. Automatic bids given to the six BCS conferences. Four at-large bids based on BCS rankings. Teams seeded 1-6 get first round byes. 7 vs. 10 and 8 vs. 9, winners play the 2 and 1 seeds, respectively. Four rounds, with a bye week between the semifinals and championship game. As teams are knocked out, they receive invites to their traditional bowls. In this situation, your bowls are Rose, Fiesta, Cotton (the next most prestigious bowl after the current BCS 4, IMO), Sugar, and Orange. The championship game rotates between those five.

For 2009, your ten teams in the playoffs would be the top 10 from the BCS standings, seeded as follows (highest to lowest): Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, TCU, Florida, Boise State, Oregon, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, and Iowa. First round is Oregon against Iowa and Ohio State versus Georgia Tech. Winners of those games face Texas and Alabama, respectively. The other two quarterfinals have Cincinnati/Boise St. and TCU/Florida.

Side note: if the BCS conferences wanted to cheat and only give the first through sixth seeds to their conference champions, Nos. 3-9 would be Oregon, Ohio St., Georgia Tech, TCU, Florida, Boise State. It'd be dirty, but I might be able to live with that.

Solution B: Sixteen teams. Automatic bids are given to ALL 11 Division I-A conference champions. Five at-large bids and overall seeding are again determined by BCS standings. The national champion game is a separate game from the rest of the bowls, but rotates between multiple locations (as is the current practice).

This year, in addition to the top ten teams in the BCS standings making the playoffs (as described above), the 16-team field would include the next top three, Virginia Tech, LSU, and Penn State, in addition to conference champions East Carolina (Conference USA), Central Michigan (MAC), and Troy (Sun Belt). Those three teams would be ranked 14-16, in some order (none were included in the top 25 in the BCS). Again, traditional bowl invites are handed out as teams are eliminated.

In both scenarios, traditional bowls are played during the bye week between the final two rounds. You also give teams from the non-BCS conferences a shot at the championship, which has been a real issue over the last 5 years with the success of teams like Boise State, Utah, TCU, and Hawai'i.

I'd also like to propose the additional changes to college football in general:

1. The Big Ten either plays a full conference schedule or split into two divisions. Just like every other BCS conference. Currently, Big Ten teams only play eight intra-conference games a year. Either way, this would eliminate the possibility of a shared conference championship between two teams who'd go undefeated.

Yes, I am aware that the Big Ten has 11 teams, and would therefore have unbalanced divisions (6 and 5). However, the Mid-American Conference has 7 and 6 for their divisions, so it wouldn't be unprecedented. I propose a Big Ten East with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue, and Penn State and a Big Ten West with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Northwestern. If you absolutely need a 12th team, try to get Norte Dame and put them out West.

This would also remove another pet peeve of mine caused by Big Ten football. Their football season pretty much ends the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Mostly everyone else is still playing into the first week of December (mostly just conference championship games).

2. Regular season runs from the first Saturday in September until the first Saturday in December. That last week is reserved for conference championships, or for those conferences without divisions, finishing a full conference schedule. That's 14 weeks of games, with 1-2 off weeks for each team. Playoffs start the following weekend and run through the rest of the year. Bowl games for teams that did not make the playoffs begin the same week the second round is played. Bowl games for eliminated teams do not begin until January 1st. The National Championship game is the last game of the season.

3. No bowl games for any team that does not win at least 8 games or is not a conference champion. Sorry Wyoming, Southern Miss., SMU, Marshall, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Georgia, Army/UCLA (one of them would otherwise be in the EagleBank Bowl), Bowling Green, Idaho, Air Force, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa St., Tennessee, Auburn, Florida St., South Florida, Northern Illinois, UConn, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Michigan St. You'd be staying home this year. Since it'd be an uneven 23 teams, an eight-win team would also lose a bowl bid.

That would leave you with 44 eligible teams and 22 bowls. I'd still say that's too many. Cut it down even further. If you get rid off all the eight-win teams this year, you're left with 28 teams for 14 games. I'd be fine with 15-20 bowls. But no more than 20. Ever. Get rid of the newer ones and just keep those that have been around longer.

4. No more cupcakes!! Limit each team to one (1) Division I-AA opponent per season. Sure, App. State's upset of Michigan in the Big House in 2007 was awesome, but that's not happening ever again. This would also help whittle down the number of bowl-eligible teams by making them schedule tougher opponents.

5. I strongly suggest that Notre Dame joins a conference. Sure they can stay independent, but it may help them rebuild their program to be able to win a conference championship and make the playoffs. In my opinion, the Irish have fallen from the top ranks of college football since that 1993 loss to Boston College, one week after beating Florida State in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. They've only won two of the eleven bowl games they appeared in since then (1994 Cotton and 2008 Hawai'i). They don't have to join a conference, but I'd recommend the Big Ten or Big East.

That pretty much covers everything that I think is wrong with college football. Love it? Hate it? I'd like to hear what you think.

Until then, just turn those bowl games off and watch something else. That'll teach 'em to fix it. Maybe if we act like we don't care, they will fix it...
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