Pigskin Politics

It's been a fearsome and wearisome campaign, and it's supposed to be over. But yet in Florida, blood boils.

Boils because it's been overcooked.

Unfortunately, Floridians are botching the recipe, and thus Floridians are creating doubt in the whole process.

And really irking to some Americans is that Floridians are hogging all the attention. So, much of the rest of the country is growing tired of paying any.

But that - apathy - is downright unpatriotic.

Maybe you don't enjoy either side. Fine. Maybe you're fed up with all the words, the finger pointing, the animosity. Understandable. Or just maybe, you're a little frustrated by the whole system. Seems too complex, too cumbersome, doesn't it?

Ah, it is. But before you curse it and cry for change, remember that the system has worked. Throughout its history this system has given us a single champion.

So do not turn your back, do not cast it to the wind. This, this system that permits free and open declarations of righteousness and rightness by both sides of the battle - this is what makes our nation different and great. This is wherein lies our character. True, we are sailing on uncharted waters this time around; we are pushing the system to the limit. But do not play Benedict Arnold.

Our land needs us now more than ever - our passion, pride, and most of all, our persistence. For the end of the struggle is almost upon us. The tunnel's light is growing brighter. And very soon we will know without a doubt the answer to the all-important question of who will be...

...the next national champion in NCAA football.

Bush and Gore can have their little election. Give the rest of us the BCS: the Bowl Championship Series, the nonpartisan, nonpolitical means by which global superpowers pick their college football champions.

The BCS, basically, is a statistical scheme, actually quite scientific (Gore claims he invented it). The four components of this formula are (1) two separate, subjective polls of college football coaches and media; (2) eight "objective" computer rankings; (3) schedule strength; and (4) number of losses. The two schools that have the lowest average point total across these four segments play for all the bones in the national championship game, which this year is the FedEx Orange Bowl on Jan. 3 in Miami, (boo!) Florida.

If you haven't heard all this before, you're probably watching the wrong acronyms on cable. Switch over from CNN and MSNBC sometime to ESPN... and then pay close attention for a loooong time. Because like dangling, dimpled, and impregnated chads, the BCS is complicated.

And this year, also like the aforementioned chads, the BCS is also quite controversial.

It never used to be like this. Back in a simpler day and time, the BCS produced an undisputed national champion (Tennessee in '98 and Florida State in '99). Yes, dating all the way back through its illustrious 36-month history, the BCS has been an American institution of stalwartness, conclusiveness, impartiality, and accuracy.

Until now.

Oh, how far we've fallen - thanks to indecision, intimidation, and corruption... and to one loss apiece.

It's all because of those me-first Floridians. It's bad enough that they went and fouled up the election. But why did they have to go out and make a mockery of something as sacred as the BCS?

Here's how. (Most of the story centers on the city of Tallahassee and Miami-Dade county, two places you're probably sick of hearing about.)

In Tallahassee, the Florida State Seminoles (BCS rank 5.37), ACC conference champs, reside with record of 11-1. In Miami-Dade county, the Miami Hurricanes (BCS 5.69), Big East conference champs, reside with an identical record of 11-1.

Similar records aren't the issue. Florida State, not Miami, playing Oklahoma (BCS 3.30) in the national championship game is the issue, especially since the Canes defeated FSU on Oct. 7. That's like winning the popular vote but losing the presidency.

What an atrocity. If the University of Miami had any sense, it would demand a machine recount and at least two hand recounts. It would get David Boies and Jesse Jackson, start calling Catherine Harris names and making fun of her eyelashes.

Because the BCS, it appears, has stolen the right to play for the national title from Miami and given it to FSU. Miami has a lower poll average than FSU, it has a similar schedule rank (.12 to FSU's .08), and it only, like FSU, lost one game (to BCS #4, Washington).

But although two-out-of-three ain't bad for Meatloaf, it sure is for Miami. Because despite equaling or besting FSU in poll average and in schedule rank, the eight computer rankings are to Miami (2.57 to FSU's 1.29) what absentee ballots are to Gore - dooming.

And so we're left more frustrated than a cross-eyed chap voting on Palm Beach county's butterfly ballot, thinking FSU got the gold mine and Miami got the shaft.

Still, Miami does have a way out - a courtroom appeal of sorts. The Associated Press (one of the two BCS polls) has said it may consider breaking rank and name Miami the national champ should Oklahoma lose to FSU and Miami thump the (boo!) Florida Gators.

And that makes one think the BCS is partisan after all. Makes one think that the BCS is nothing more than politics stuffed into a pigskin.


The Band with the Plan

The latest issue of CMJ magazine lists Lexington band Pontius CoPilot as the second most added band to college radio stations in the nation. What happens is that bands will give a date when they are "going for ads." Pontius CoPilot's date was Dec. 5. This is when they get their album added to radio stations' rotation. Shortly after CoPilot did this, reports came back showing that their album Madagascar is the second most added record at college radio stations in America. Rage Against the Machine was the only band that fared better.

The trio made up of Ben Phelan, Robby Cosenza, and Ed Brown released Madagascar last summer and enjoyed heavy airplay on WRFL as well as an article by ACE's own Rob Bricken. They play Dec. 14 at Dante's.