College Football’s BCS is Broken

Following the conclusion of the 2023 college football season, there are now 43 college bowl games scheduled to play out. The first game of the post-season was December 16 when Ohio University defeated Georgia Southern in the Myrtle Beach Bowl. The post-season extravaganza will conclude on January 8 with the College Football Playoff National Championship game. And, if 43 bowl games seems like a saturated market, consider that many of these teams are a shadow of what they were during the regular season thanks to the NFL Draft and the transfer portal.

Anyone who has followed BCS college football throughout the year will barely recognize these college football teams playing in the various post-season bowls due to the numerous “opt outs” by many of the better players. Good thing the uniforms haven’t changed because in this bowl line-up, many of these post-season teams come across as imposters of the regular-season teams—something akin to a football version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

With the exception of the two BCS semi-final games of Alabama/Michigan and Washington/Texas, along with the line-up of playoff games at the FCS level, many of these non-important bowl games will be missing several key players that heavily contributed throughout the regular season thanks to them either opting out because they are about to declare themselves as NFL prospects (these players are all starters), or they are transferring to another school for next year via the transfer portal (a combination of starters and non-starters).

Because The Ohio State is only playing in the Cotton Bowl against lowly Missouri, starting quarterback Kyle McCord and Heisman Trophy finalist Marvin Harrison are staying home—McCord transferring via the portal to mighty Syracuse while Harrison is opting out for the NFL draft. You can be sure if the Buckeyes had made the top four and propelled into the official playoffs, those two would still be on the roster. Nevertheless, I was delighted to hear that OSU was held to only one field goal in their demoralizing loss to the Tigers.

Speaking of the Heisman Trophy, this year’s winner, Jayden Daniels of LSU will sit out the ReliaQuest Bowl (to enter the NFL Draft) when the 9-3 Tigers meet 7-4 Wisconsin on January 1. Meanwhile, thirteen players from USC are opting out of their appearance in the Holiday Bowl against Louisville including last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.

As long as players are opting out for the NFL Draft or to transfer before their teams’ seasons are completed, my question is, what’s the point in having all these other bowl games if the starting line-ups are fractured and the games have no consequence other than just another “W” or “L” for their season record?

I see two possible solutions.

First, given that college football players at this level of collegiate play receive lucrative college scholarship, they should be required to sign a yearly contract that stipulates they will play in every game of the season and post-season barring any kind of injury. If they opt out for any games for whatever reason—including the post-season—they have to pay back their scholarships in full for that year. For those that are hedging their bets on an NFL career, given the money they will likely make in the NFL, that reimbursement of funds for the year will be a drop in the bucket. Those wishing to enter the transfer portal, can’t do so until college football’s last game of the year has concluded (i.e., the BCS title game).

The other possible solution is to simply eliminate the quagmire of insignificant bowl games that are essentially consolation prizes for teams that had a better than average year (never mind there are some .500 teams in this year’s bowl games). Instead of having 43 bowl games where only three have any real meaning (the two semi-finals and the title game), whittle it down to 31 bowl games that are all part of a 32-team playoff where any team could claim the national title.

Until one of these things happen, college football’s BCS will continue to be badly broken. So, bring on the FCS championship game in Frisco, Texas between the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State and the Grizzlies of Montana.

Las Vegas: Loving2Hate

Sometimes I simply love to hate. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve caught myself saying this regarding various subjects in my life. The latest resurrection of the phrase likely came about because I traveled to Las Vegas with a couple of friends for the SEMA car show, and Vegas is certainly a place that I love to hate. In fact, I love hating it so much, I couldn’t wait to get there.

There’s much to hate about Vegas if one just thinks about it—especially from my rural setting of Wyoming. So, I always look forward to the newest Las Vegas particulars to hate that I never expected or considered. So, beyond the usual overcrowded and loud casinos, overpriced tickets for washed-up entertainment icons, and the ubiquitous, supersized LED displays, I was pleasantly surprised to add a couple of new things to what I love to hate about Las Vegas—all on the last full day of my stay there.

SEMA Fest
On the second day of SEMA Fest not long after the gates opened, I was turned back at the entrance by security personnel because I had a “professional grade” camera with me—a modest Yashica Electro 35 (mm) film camera. At first, I thought they were just having me on because I had a camera that was built in the early 1970s. But, when I realized the security staffer was not joking, I reached around in my back pocket and pulled out my iPhone X and said, “You should be more worried about this camera.” The staffer didn’t budge only to tell me that the iPhone was permitted, while assuring me that I could not enter with my threatening 50-some-year-old 35mm, f1.7 fixed 45mm lens rangefinder camera.

I was sure there was some mistake, but once I realized they weren’t going to relent, I gave up and walked back to a friend’s car to squirrel away my humble Yashica. During that long walk back to the car, all I could think about was how ignorant the organizers of SEMA Fest must be when it comes to cameras and photography. I felt like I had been transported back to the entrance gates of Northeast Ohio’s Blossom Music Center in the 1970s. And so, it was during that walk back to the car and once more to the SEMA Fest entrance that my love to hate Vegas came screaming back like a Tom Brady, game-winning offensive drive in the final seconds.

With my film camera receiving a red-card by the SEMA Fest photography police, I realized that whatever photography I would attempt that day would be limited to my iPhone. Now I had a new mission thanks to SEMA Fest’s draconian photography policy—I would shoot to my heart’s content with my iPhone and eventually submit images from the day to whatever paying, professional publications I could find while making sure that the SEMA Fest photo nazis get notified of my supplemental income from that day—with my iPhone!

I’m never very confident when it comes to my own photography, but spite can be a powerful thing, changing a person’s outlook in any given situation. 

Circus Circus
It’s not a stretch to predict that the next major casino to be razed on the Las Vegas Strip will be Circus Circus. It was a dump 20 years ago. Today, it is nothing more than an ugly and smelly eyesore on the life support of desperate, low-stake gamblers.

Because SEMA Fest was in the shadows of the crumbling 35-story Circus Circus, we walked over to the 50-some-year-old rundown infestation in search of a modest lunch. What a mistake that was as I was reminded of shopping at a crowded Walmart on Black Friday—not to mention the healthy menagerie of trashy and gloomy patrons filling up its corridors, restaurants, and gambling locations.

Further, while walking around in Circus Circus, I was certain that its dystopian interior and unhealthy-looking patrons was surely the place I would contract a bad case of COVID-19.

Lastly, like most of the other casinos in Vegas, Circus Circus is no different in its tolerance and accommodating environment for smokers. Say what you want about the casino high-tech ventilation systems, when I returned to my room that evening, I felt as if I had been walking through the smoke-filled 1970s all over again. It’s been a long time since my clothes smelled like a crowded bar full of smokers.

A Quick Note to Nancy Mace

Sadly, Nancy Mace is the
best South Carolina can do.

The following was sent to U.S. Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina:

I just listened to your interview on NPR, and I was struck by how rude you were to the journalist interviewing you—noting how many times you interrupted her before she could even complete her question to you. I just sat there shaking my head in disbelief. Your interview seems especially cringe-worthy knowing you have a master’s degree in journalism and mass media. Obviously it must have been a “participation degree” instead of anything associated with earning the degree.

Further, you indicated how almost every problem in this country is on the current President’s lap. It was ridiculous and all I could think was, “Yeah, she must represent all those dumbed-down, knuckle-dragging racist of South Carolina. All you accomplished in the interview was throwing out the usual red meat like Donald Trump and the nightly Fox News line-up.

In short, you are what’s wrong with this country… full of yourself arrogance, disrespectful toward other professionals, self-centeredness, and unquestionable stupidity.

Joe Cowboy & His Gun

It was a typical coffee gathering for us “old/retired guys.” A nice Wyoming spring day outside with another semester and another school year coming to an end. It’s difficult not to feel optimistic about the world when the stars align like this every year in early May.

Yet, in this moment of everyday euphoria, it all came crashing down when a 30-some stranger (I’d never seen before) walked into the coffee shop with a gun strapped to his hip like he was walking out of a 1950s Hollywood Western movie set—I don’t doubt that’s how he saw himself too.

This has happened to me before when I was in a Rock Springs Loaf & Jug store; another time at a Walmart in Riverton. Each time, my reaction is the same—just leave. Whatever I’m doing at that moment, I’m not doing any longer, I am simply getting out of that setting as quickly as I can without causing others to panic.

It’s one thing if a police officer is in the same space as me knowing they are armed. Although there are no guarantees even with armed police officers, at least I know they are thoroughly vetted when it comes to their line of work and carrying a weapon. With “Joe Cowboy” walking into a public space with a gun, I have zero knowledge of the rationale behind his self-appointed armed status.

In such instances I’m not going to stick around to find out whether he’s simply some paranoid, insecure White dude who needs to announce to the world that he is carrying a gun and is here to save us all, or he is some insecure White dude with a chip on his shoulder and has intentions of using the gun indiscriminately in the form of a mass shooting. If all I have is one’s appearance to go on, I’ll always error to the latter.

Hanging around to discern the intentions of an armed stranger is just another version of Russian roulette in my book.

And unless you’re a fool or have had your head in the sand lately, my reaction shouldn’t seem too extreme giving the frequency of mass shootings in the U.S.

And, while I’m here… fuck the N.R.A. and fuck the 2nd Amendment, period.

Just Because

It’s odd, funny, interesting, and even mysterious how certain obscure terms can become household terms overnight thanks to some controversy or news event that never seems to go away—think “viagra,” “ginormous,” or “janky.” And so, for the last couple of weeks, it has been “mifepristone.” Thanks to the Supreme Court, I think it’s here to stay.

More Local Stupidity

“This is a real image.” —Tucker Carlson

Regarding the recent letter to the editor by Tina Purdy in the Powell Tribune on the dangers of wind and solar energy systems (elegantly titled “Solar and wind farms not good for man or beast”), I had to question the shady sources listed at the end of her piece. I think this type of cherry-picking and thus, gullible research illustrates the single-mindedness that appears to be running rampant in our community, our state, and our country. 

Starting with her sources: Michael Shellenberger is at best a controversial figure who has constantly been in opposition to most environmental scientists and academics of environmental studies. His “bad science” positions and writings on climate and the environment have for the most part flown in the face of the true research and data collected by the experts in the environmental sciences for decades. His education/expertise—both undergraduate and graduate—are in the social sciences rather than the physical/environmental sciences. He’s certainly an eloquent writer, but no authority on any of the above.

And, Tucker Carlson… well, I’ll just leave it at Purdy’s simple mentioning. His credentials for anything are only that he is handsomely paid for spewing whatever red-meat material that boost the ratings for Fox News, period.

I would encourage any reader who finds Purdy’s letter convincing to do their own research and avoid the input of scoundrels and posers such as Shellenberger and Carlson for starters.

The Return of Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner is finally free from her Russian captors. Although many Americans are happy about this, there appears to be just as many who are not—including some tool-turned-psuedo-journalist named Benny Johnson.

Benny and his ilk think Griner should still be in Russia instead of former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, who has been painted by Johnson as a patriotic Marine who loves his country. 

If we look deeper into the character of Paul Whelan, we’ll find he’s not all that red-white-and-blue—certainly not a “John Rambo” as they’d like us to believe.

For one, Whelan is a citizen in three other countries—Canada (his birthplace), the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic. Secondly, although he did serve in the U.S. Marine Corp and was part of two tours in Iraq, he was ultimately discharged from the Marines for bad conduct on larceny—writing bad checks and stealing Social Security numbers.

He’s hardly a patriot, certainly not a hero by anyone’s definition. Yet, Benny Johnson and company will always choose a White dude over a Black woman, an obedient member of the military over an outspoken athlete, a straight guy over a lesbian—even if that straight, White, member of the military is a swindler.

Benny Johnson’s bullshit tweet.

Simply put, Whelan is another grifter who once wore a Marine uniform. Further, the other countries where he holds a passport aren’t making much noise over his Russian detention either.  The truth is Griner is a much greater asset, an inspiration to all young women, an activist, and a great athlete.

Lastly, if Whelan is truly the patriot that Benny Johnson says he is, surely Whelan is good to know that Griner went home before him. That’s what military people sign up for—to serve, protect, and sacrifice if needed. Besides, trading Whelan for the Russian gun-runner Viktor Bout would truly have been a bad trade.

More on Whelan HERE.

Low-Rent, Supreme Court Martydom

Young lesbian couple celebrating their marriage in front of their friends. —marieclaire.com.au

Lorie Smith of “303 Creative” somewhere in Colorado is a graphic artist/designer who specializes in websites, graphics, social media, and marketing. No doubt, she is one of several hundred businesses in Colorado who offer such services. So, to get herself more noticed, she has decided to take a different approach to promoting herself rather than the usual, good-old-fashioned hard work method.

Here’s her plan: Smith doesn’t want to do wedding websites for same sex couples because according to her faith, she doesn’t believe in same-sex marriages and is afraid the State of Colorado will force her to do such. “I want to design for weddings that are consistent with my faith,” Smith said. So, before any same-sex couples even ask her to create a website for them, she is going to the Supreme Court and challenging this possible scenario before it ever materializes.

Yeah, right… Smith is just another individual to add to the growing list of pollyanna, look-at-me, attention-needy whores who believes that her hang-ups and her problems should belong to everyone else—think cake decorator, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop (also in Colorado), or the Kentucky County Clerk, Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage license to same-sex couples because of her faith.

Snake-Oil Salesman, Kenneth Copeland

You know, I don’t want to do graphic design for asshole politicians like Donald Trump or any of his cronies because I want to do graphic design for projects that are consistent with my ethics, my morals, or my faith. Yet, I’m not going to the Supreme Court and asking them to excuse me from working for such people should they ever come calling. I don’t want to do family portraits for brainwashed, evangelical families who attend churches run by snake-oil salesmen like Joel Osteen or Kenneth Copeland because I want to do graphic design for projects that are consistent with my ethics, my morals, or my faith. Yet, I’m not going to the Supreme Court and asking them to excuse me from working for such people should they ever come calling.

Good God, Lorie Smith must think she’s the only web designer in all of Colorado—possibly the entire country or world. Talk about a needy and over-inflated ego.

There’s a simple solution to Smith’s problem that graphic designers, artists, printers and other businesses have been practicing for years when it comes to not taking on jobs that are of no interest to an “artist” like herself—and surely she knows it too (unless she really is that stupid).

You don’t want to do a job for a same-sex couple? OK, just tell them you’re really slammed with other work and you can’t take on any other jobs at this time. You don’t want to do work for a known White supremacy group, tell them you’re working on a huge project for the Southern Poverty Law Center (if you want to add a little spice to the conversation) and you’re not sure when you could get to their project.

Whether right or wrong, ethical or unethical, businesses have been turning down work for years—and for all kinds of reasons. Yet, Smith seems to insist that her business “ethics” be put out there for the entire country to know about. Lorie Smith is the epitome of a drama-queen, dime-store martyr.

Most business operations avoid being too political, too religious, too anything because they typically want as much business as they can get. But, there are those customers who are undesirable for whatever reason—some reasons more legit than others. Maybe they don’t pay their bills on time, maybe they aren’t pleasant to work with, maybe they own a bar or a strip joint, maybe they are a lawyer, or maybe there is simply something about them that you don’t like as soon as they walk into the room. The great thing about being in business, you don’t have to be bluntly truthful in turning down any client that seeks you out. You can simply decline a job because you’re busy, and (in making them feel good as they walk out the door) suggest someone else who might be a good alternative for their project.

Of course, those like Lorie Smith like to wear their values, their ethics, their religion, and whatever else you can think of on their sleeve for the whole world to see. Lorie Smith’s faith and morals are as sickening sweet as Masterpiece Cakeshop’s wedding cakes.

If only someone would set up another marketing/graphic design operation next door or across the street from Smith with a banner that says, “We Welcome Same-Sex Wedding Clients.”

Send Before Midnight… Tonight

Not too long ago, I made the mistake of sending money to a political campaign, and then sometime after that, a little dough here and there to other campaigns, but nothing extensive in terms of frequency or amount.

As a result of my political generosity, I now get email every day from someone who is running for a government office, or someone who is representing them—mostly Democrats, because I lean that way, but not always (see image).

At one time I thought that votes won elections, not money. Yet, given the amount of email I receive everyday asking for funding, I guess this isn’t true—at least not to the people running those campaigns.

Here’s a small sample of the many pitches I receive everyday:

You haven’t made a donation yet this year. Ahead of Friday’s deadline, can I count on you to split a $25 donation between my campaign…

So please, can you chip in a donation of $5 or more to help me…

Make no mistake, by donating to support my campaign, you played such an instrumental role in building our movement—and I couldn’t be more grateful.

There’s so much riding on this close race, and I can’t win without your help, so I’m asking: Will you donate $5 now to help me…

Whatever happened to “I can’t win without your vote.” And, what’s with these random deadlines?

Recently I started getting emails from the campaign of Val Demings who is running for the Florida Senate seat now held by Marco Rubio. I’ve never sent her campaign a dime, but I know how these things work. Once you give to one, they all find out about you. And, I get it—I’m sure she’s a much better person than Rubio, but her campaign is downright relentless in petitioning the world for money via email. At least four emails today and four yesterday (a Sunday) alone, and 23 emails for all of last week.

Back when I first heard about her in one of those earlier emails, I remember thinking to myself, “Well, that seems like a reasonable campaign that I could support.” But now, I can’t get past the blitzkrieg of emails to find my checkbook.

It’s all a bit of a turn-off.

And then I think about that self-proclaimed billionaire and former President who is standing up in front of his supporters asking them to send him money for his political wars. At least I’m not receiving that kind of bullshit.

I’m finished with sending money to political campaigns. I’ve never really believed in it anyway. From now on, it’s only my vote they will be competing for. Something tells me I won’t be getting many emails asking for only that.