Posted by: mutantpoodle | January 8, 2013

Settling scores

It’s an all-sports (sort-of) post, since Congress has done what every hard working American does after returning to work in the new year, which is, of course, give itself another 10 days off.

Score number 1: whatever ranking Notre Dame is given by the humans behind the AP writers and USA Today Coaches Polls must now be adjusted by five spots.

I’m pretty sure Alabama would have beaten anyone lined up against them last night who can’t pay players in the daylight, but Notre Dame is a lot more like Boise State or Northern Illinois in terms of the value of its wins than, say, an Oregon or a Stanford.

And the notion that Notre Dame, in the final polls of the season, ranks ahead of Georgia, which damn near beat ‘Bama in the SEC title game, and Texas A&M, which beat them in Tuscaloosa, strikes me as beyond absurd.

Also, too: no moral high ground for Notre Dame, which apparently thinks rape is OK in the service of a return to football glory.

Score number 2: Pro hockey will return to an arena which may or may not be near you.

I’m not a big pro hockey fan. College and Olympic hockey are more fluid and far less marred by fights. But the NHL has managed to toss an entire season (2004-05) into the dumpster, and was perilously close to doing so again.

Here is my favorite snippet from the story summarizing the deal, about the value of some of the captains of industry who own NHL franchises:

More progress was made in early December when some less militant owners joined the talks and Bettman and Fehr temporarily excluded themselves. But the hardest of the hardliners, Boston’s Jeremy Jacobs and Calgary’s Murray Edwards, remained involved and those sessions couldn’t finish off the agreement. Talks came crashing to a halt when the players said they wanted Fehr back in the process, that they were not trained in the art of closing the deal, and having their leader present was something they were certainly entitled to do. Edwards reportedly told them that Fehr’s return would be a deal-killer and things ground to a halt. Following that episode, the league wisely decided against active ownership participation.

I am just guessing here, but there must be something about being able to buy and sell human beings that warps some people sense of place. Every damned professional league has a Jeremy Jacobs or Murray Edwards (and they are lucky if they only have one or two), and they are always the guys who end up making everything worse.

Score number 3: It may be small of me to take some small amount of comfort, or even pleasure, in USC’s fall from a #1 pre-season football ranking to a 7-6 record, an ugly loss in the Sun Bowl, and a level of backstabbing that clouds their immediate future, but I am, at times, a small man.

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