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Thursday Night Dawg Bites

The intercollegiate athletics blogosphere is a busy place and, sometimes, it's all you can do to keep up . . . but don't worry, 'cause I've got you covered, so just give me a few minutes and I'll get you pretty much completely up to date, more or less.

Dawg Sports brings you the very latest in current events, hampered only by cultural references permanently stuck in the '80s!

Here's what you need to know before your weekend gets underway:

If it's December, it must be time to be talking about the college football postseason and how to improve it. I remain a traditionalist, as do the gentlemen from the heartland at Corn Nation, where Carolina March's playoff proposal has been faulted for its lack of home field advantage and the very notion of a postseason tournament has been found wanting for the following reason:

Fans need to decide whether or not the purpose of a playoff system is to decide who has the best team OR just crown a champion. If you want to crown a champion, have a playoff but don't kid yourself that the best team may emerge.

Exactly. Playoffs regularly sacrifice accuracy for the sake of certainty, producing such aberrational results as the 1997 world champion Florida Marlins. While offseason debate is one of college football's great strengths, March madness gives way to April apathy after the N.C.A.A. tournament produces results we quickly cease to care about and simply cannot trust.

Nothing in the history of playoff systems suggests that a Division I-A college football tournament would produce a "true" national champion any more regularly or reliably than the poll system . . . but Doug Gillett disagrees, as he asserts:

Even last year, which was perfect given that we had 12-0 Texas taking on 12-0 USC, we could've pit Texas against Penn State and USC against West Virginia and then seated the winners from those two games in the Rose Bowl. Sure, that sounds like we'd be mucking with a perfect situation, but if Texas and USC are really the best two teams in the country, they should win their games and they'd have nothing to worry about.

How do we reconcile that claim with the reality that top-seeded teams regularly fall in the N.C.A.A. men's basketball tournament . . . or the fact that the main reason folks watch the first day of that tournament is to see which favorites get upset? In his zeal to improve an admittedly flawed B.C.S. system, Doug urges us to "let the chips fall where they may" and "do something." Come on, now, Doug . . . you don't really want to make me quote Lord Falkland at you, do you?

At the end of the day, I consider college football bowl games and poll rankings to be as fundamentally American as . . . well, as fundamentally American as, say, Kristin Davis walking dogs on the steps of the U.S. Capitol!

Kristin Davis wonders why proponents of a college football playoff hate America. (Photograph from Virgin.net.)

Speaking of bowl games, since the fine fellows over at Roll Bama Roll have been saying some kind things about me, it's only right that I should return the favor by pointing you in the direction of R.B.R.'s Poinsettia Bowl preview, which is the first of several in a series.

Meanwhile, over at Focus on Sports, Fotodog has rearranged the bowl schedule, whereas both the Rakes of Mallow and The Cover Two have made the case for Florida over Michigan.

As I mentioned recently, Rocky Top Talk's Joel is setting up the first annual BlogPoll awards. Unfortunately, Joel also is recovering from an illness, so be patient.

Joel's publicist explained that his recent collapse at the awards show dress rehearsal was the result of "exhaustion" following "a severe head cold," although it is rumored in some circles that Joel surreptitiously checked himself into the Betty Ford Center and was quietly replaced by Jon Stewart as the host of the gala event. (Photograph from Virgin.net.)

The wonderfully well-named Georgia/U.C.L.A. weblog What's Bruin, Dawg? features the musings of a man whose East Coast bias and West Coast bias "fight all the time." Among his finest work is this hilarious piece on Reggie Ball, who is the subject of our current poll question.

Since the author of What's Bruin, Dawg? now calls the City of Angels home, I suppose that paves the way for a segue to this follow-up on the aftermath of the Battle of Los Angeles: Conquest Chronicles has entered the fray and sparked some discussion. If you are among those who believe that Pac-10 fans lack passion for their teams, you need to be reading Conquest Chronicles and Bruins Nation, who demonstrate that West Coast fans are as intense as any in the country.

This is only marginally related to college football, but a recent posting about charitable giving among different groups by Jason Pye, the chairman of the Georgia Libertarian Party, reminded me of an experience I had a couple or three years ago.

At Christmas, the Kiwanis Club to which I then belonged provided volunteer bell-ringers for the Salvation Army. In one- or two-hour shifts, we would stand outside local shopping establishments ringing the bell and taking donations from folks heading into and out of the stores. I spent part of one Saturday afternoon doing this.

Due to the time of year, many shoppers were wearing sports apparel to show their support for their favorite teams, so I was able to take an unscientific survey of the giving patterns of particular fan bases. While the Georgia fans were pretty good givers, the Alabama fans clearly were the most generous . . . and the Georgia Tech faithful were the stingiest of all.

They all claimed not to have any change left over after purchasing the "Revenge of the Nerds" soundtrack.

While Paul Westerdawg didn't break the story for everyone, he was the one who broke it for me, because I read at his site that Boston College's Tom O'Brien will be taking over the program at N.C. State.

Am I the only one who totally doesn't get that move? Short of a preference for warmer weather, what would cause a man to prefer the Wolfpack over the Eagles? B.C. and N.C. State are in the same conference; they may even play in the same division, although, honestly, I'm not willing to take the time to look it up to find out for sure. It seems to me that this is a lateral move at best . . . and I would consider it a step down for Coach O'Brien. Am I missing something?

I do my best to give LD a little credit, so it's nice to see him giving himself a little credit, too.

In the process of so doing, LD performed the valuable social service of calling our attention to Michael's entertaining exercise in shooting fish in a barrel. Apparently, there are those who believe that S.E.C. fans aren't critical of Les Miles, but, fortunately, And the Valley Shook knows better, as the guys at A.T.V.S. have taken note of my "near-weekly slam of Les Miles."

Hey, it's not my fault the dude's a goober!

Finally, this really isn't pertinent for present purposes, but I have old friends and extended family members who keep up with me by reading Dawg Sports, so I suppose I should mention that, last weekend, I officially was selected to serve as the president of the Henry County Bar Association for 2007.

That ought to be plenty of data to get you through the next few days. I hope all of you have a good weekend . . . or, at least, as good a weekend as you can have without college football.

The bowls can't get here soon enough.

Go 'Dawgs!