I hope you’ve all returned to the office rested and ready to face a new year. Doesn’t January completely suck? Shitty weather, none of the warmth and happiness of December, and all the stuff you avoided in December is now waiting for you with a big grin. The only bonuses are college hoops getting into full gear and Super Bowl parties. Anyway, some thoughts while watching LSU manhandle Oklahoma.

“How was French Lick?” you might ask. Very well, I would answer. We enjoyed our time there. Only downsides were extremely hard mattresses, which even after drinking until 2:00 AM, made it very difficult to sleep comfortably, and the lack of cable TV. We could get all the networks from Louisville, but we weren’t able to watch Sportscenter or any of the bowl games that were on ESPN. It was woodsy and rustic. I kept waiting for the Looney Tunes hillbillies to come running down the drive in their floppy hats, bib overalls, and bushy beards. There were some classic signs on how to operate the various heating/cooling and kitchen devices posted throughout the cabin. I tried to take a picture of one I need to check for focus, but suffice it to say in addition to speaking Kentuckian, the old lady that runs the place is quite fond of using the apostrophe to pluralize words. And yes, this is one of my biggest pet peeves so it drove me nuts. My favorite misspelling was rather than don’t, she used the interesting construction don’not. We had a lot of fun with that one. We also learned that if we were cleaning fish, we needed to put fish parts in the white buckets at the cleaning station. On our way down, I met a very nice Indiana State Trooper who gave me a warning for “excessive speed”. I was doing about 59 in a 55 coming down a hill. He was hiding in the darkness (this was around 8:30 Wednesday night) and got me at the bottom of the hill. We decided he was pulling over pretty much everyone to take a sniff for alcohol or drugs. He was quite pleasant, though.

Apparently if you lose the Big 12 championship game and still get invited to the BCS championship game, your role is to roll over and get worked. Nebraska did it two years ago, Oklahoma this year. This one is shocking, though. You figure with a loss and a month, Stoops would have the Sooners raring to go. I’m amazed at how good LSU is. That said, I’m all for USC winning the AP national championship. Let’s split the title this year, and every year there’s that option, until we get a playoff. Every argument against the playoff is stupid. The “sanctity of the bowl system” is already completely screwed, so that one is idiotic. You can easily play even a three week, extended playoff during the period when almost all BCS schools are in winter break, avoiding academic conflicts. I would prefer a three game playoff. Take #1 vs. #4, and #2 vs. #3, and then have winners play winners. I know, then maybe #5 or #6 really deserve to be involved. But teams at that level generally have multiple losses, or a significant difference in strength of schedule, so the controversy is less resonant as the ruckus this year or in 2002.

Loser of the week: Ell Roberson. Dude, what are you thinking putting yourself in that position two nights before the biggest game in the history of your program? I didn’t watch all of the Fiesta Bowl, but when I did switch over for good, it was obvious the entire K-State team started the game in a daze. They were making Ohio State look like an offensive juggernaut. Even when they righted the ship and charged back into the game, Roberson was never himself. He may very well be cleared of any wrongdoing. But he proved that he’s not a leader. And I was shocked, shocked I say, that the K-State administration were able to determine so quickly that no crime took place. I don’t know what the right answer in that situation is. But flatly stating that no crime took place before the local law enforcement has made a determination seems a bit hasty.

Runners up: ESPN and Pete Rose.

ESPN: Thanks for allowing a three hour TV block for a bowl game and scheduling a basketball game immediately afterwards. Between extended commercial breaks and long halftime, bowl games run closer to four hours. I was lucky enough to see the final 5:25 of the first half of the KU-Villanova game following the Peach Bowl. Put the game on the Deuce, for crying out loud.

Pete Rose. My opinion on his whole mess has always been: there was overwhelming evidence that he bet on baseball, and probably on games involving the team he managed. Enough evidence that he accepted a life time ban rather than have the details drug out in public. When Bart Giamatti dies, suddenly poor old Pete was tricked into an agreement he didn’t understand. He never bet on baseball! There was no evidence! Horseshit. I think Pete belongs in the Hall of Fame, but his plaque should say along with collecting the most hits ever, that he bet on baseball and was banned from the game. He should never be allowed to take a formal role in any baseball game. He can go to all the games he wants. He can throw out first pitches, wave to the crowd, and accept awards. But he should never, ever be allowed to coach, manage, or assist in running an organization.
Now suddenly he’s prepared to admit he bet on baseball so he can get his sorry ass back in the good graces of the game. I think he’s more hungry for the continued attention. He wants his book to sell. He wants to gain sympathy. He needs the validation of being a Hall of Famer, along with the no doubt tearful induction speech. Fine, put the sorry, bitter old man in the Hall. But don’t ever let him back in the game completely.

Crap, OU has cut it to seven, meaning I may have to rewrite some of this tomorrow.