Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 11:54 a.m.
As I am not noted for moderation, please forgive me this one indiscretion. I am aware that Barry Goldwater said, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”
I happen to agree with the 1964 Republican nominee for president. I disagree with a lot of the late senator’s sayings and policies, but I expect his words will reverberate for at least the next four years and that Goldwater would despise Donald Trump just as he did Richard Nixon.
I can’t speak for him, though. I just read a book about him. And he’s dead.
Far be it from me to write a blog that does not include three paragraphs that will provide great Facebook titillation and more interest than the remainder.
Back to the original premise. Where this morning’s primary topic is concerned, I favor moderation.
That topic, of course, is college football. College football is dear to the hearts of South Carolinians, never more so than at present because the Clemson Tigers are about to face the Alabama Crimson Tide for the national championship, and it’s the second time in a row, consecutively straight.
Sometimes redundancy is intentional, though it may never be intelligent.
Even this year, when, unquestionably, the teams playing for the national championship are the ones who belong there, in Tampa, at an NFL stadium that has a gigantic, simulated galleon aground in one end zone and looks mildly like it is otherwise surrounded by condos. I expect the Tide and the Tigers could beat any other team, similarly staffed by scholars, in America. Pitt cashed in its lottery against Clemson in the regular season, but that has been thoroughly dispelled as an anomaly by empirical evidence since.
In spite of this, a somewhat more tepid cry has arisen for the advent of a larger playoff, often proposed as consisting of eight. It’s unlikely to happen right way, as there are documents crafted by lawyers, funded by large corporate entities, and signed by everyone from the presidents of multiple universities to the student volunteers who tighten the facemasks.
My background is in the idealistic realm of the smaller schools that have contested championships on the field for many decades.
Until Monday, the bowls, those aging outposts of the college football kingdom, were rather moribund. The Big Four – I’d name them if there weren’t too many corporate sponsors to look up – were not what what they once were, but they were as good once as they ever were. (Toby Keith wrote it with Scotty Emerick.)
But my God. North Texas played in a bowl after finishing the “regular” season at 5-7. North Texas! I’ve driven by that school’s stadium many times, even wanted to see a game there, but that school is mainly noted for its adroitness in graduating many of the country’s great beauty queens.
Ah. North Texas will play in a bowl if there are TV dollars to send them there.
As far as determining, each year, the one true national champion, I would: (a.) eliminate conference championship games, (b.) play all the bowls, from Heart of Dallas through Music City and the Belk at the mall, to Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton and Peach, and, then, (c.) determine a final four in much the way it is done now.
When two of the nation’s finer student-athletes decide that playing with their buds, compadres and brothers with different mothers is less important than staying healthy for the National Football League, something is definitely wrong.
Supposedly, the idea behind conference championship games, besides facilitating some order in conferences that probably deserve their own congressional seats, is to winnow down the contenders for the BCSHLDB – that’s Bowl Championship Series that Has Little to Do with Bowls – and Ohio State’s inclusion this year in spite of failing to meet such a standard renders such games at least silly if not completely obsolete.
Get rid of them. The money will still be there, probably in even more decadent profusion.
Then pick four, just like at the lottery counter.
Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs. They’re all signed and reasonably priced.
If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.
Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Note that my fourth, and best selling, novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is on Kindle sale at $.99 through December 31. Links to print copies are below.
Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses is a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.
Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.
The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.
The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.
Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.
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