Thursday, September 24, 2009
On Things That Should Banned in September
1. Any substantial discussion of a college prospect's NFL draft position. In fact, I do believe that every year, on September 1, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay should be kidnapped, blindolded, and forced aboard an Oceanic Airways jet with a tuba and an unopened letter from a dead man in their hands. Those who obsess about the NFL draft in September--and I forgive the Kiper/McShay cabal, as well as assorted NFL player personnel directors, because it is an essential part of their job requirement, though this is one area of sports that seems to have become disproportionately important in the modern age--are either A.) Detroit Lions fans, or B.) People who enjoy fantasy football more than actual football.
(Also, on a similar note: If you put any critical thought into opening-weekend box office results, you do not actually like movies. In fact, you are the reason Beverly Hills Chihuahua exists. Congratulations. We will now return you to a very special episode of Two and a Half Men.)
2. Any hyperbolic assertion that, because of a single loss, a dynastic program/franchise has now reached an inextricable end. This seems to be the trend among hyperopinionated bloggers and mainstream sports columnists--by attempting to position themselves ahead of the curve, they have, in fact, brought the curve to them, so that the consenus now seems to be that both USC and the New England Patriots are on the verge of imploding into a pile of metrosexual body parts. When, in fact, USC does this every year, and somehow winds up back in the BCS picture by December--and could easily do so again. When, in fact, the Patriots have a single win, and a single loss, and could easily reel off eight victories in a row in midseason, all of which will have those same hyperopinionated bloggers scrambling to assure us that they saw this coming as soon as all those hyperbolic sports columnists proclaimed the dynasty dead.
This is the beauty of the Internet: Overreaction is now the expectation. To which I say, apropos of nothing: Socialism!
3. College football polls, of any kind. This week, Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer submitted an AP poll ballot based entirely on "results." This seems to have upset some people, including one commenter who called Lesmerises an "idiot," a "moron," and a word that urban dictionary defines as...well, something I wish I hadn't bothered to look up. Lesmerises has Alabama No. 1, and Miami No. 2, and Houston No. 3, and Cincinnati No. 4...he has Florida No. 5, and Michigan No. 10, and Penn State No. 15, which is probably right around where Penn State belongs, until they prove they can beat a school with a varsity football program. Lesmerises did what he had to do, though the ideal thing to do would be for every AP voter to submit a blank ballot until the first week of October, perhaps with a crude sketch of Tim Tebow on the cross or Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer in an octagon-shaped wrestling ring, and then pick it up from there. This would have two excellent effects: It would cause every college sports message board to implode in a fit of indignant rage and insults culled from urban dictionary; and it would remind the nation that polls themselves are an unnecessary exercise in objectivity that should have nothing to do with the actual game of football, and that there is no perfect or proper way for a poll to depict the entirety of the landscape--especially when nothing has really happened yet.
Now, if you feel the entire purpose of an early-season poll is to stimulate discussion, maybe it would be best if those AP voters chose to rank alphabetically for the first month. In which case, Lesmireses would still have Alabama at No. 1. Which proves what we already knew: That all sportswriters are actually geniuses.