Behind the Mic: Four Is Not Enough

If any college football fan doubts the wisdom of a four-team College Football Playoff system, this past weekend should eliminate those doubts.  The Selection Committee has no choice under the current system.  They can choose four and ONLY four.  The idea in the beginning was that conference champions would fill the four slots.  The only problem there is that there are five power conferences, but I’m sure the founders felt they could surely eliminate one of the champions.  But this year, the committee eliminated two – the Big 12 champions and the Big 10 champion.  The ACC will send Clemson; the Pac 12 will send Washington; and the SEC will send Alabama.  It is hard to argue with any of those choices.

Now we come to Ohio State.  Should they go or should the committee have chosen Penn State – the Big 10 champion?  I have no argument with Ohio State’s pedigree.  They lost only one game; they beat Michigan; they were ranked in the top three all year; and they beat Michigan.  That’s good enough for me.  EXCEPT….

Penn State won the Big 10 championship, while Ohio State did not play at all last week.  Penn State gave Ohio State their only loss of the year 24-21.  Penn State’s losses were to Pitt, which, by the way, beat Clemson and they lost to Michigan.  Both of those losses were on the road.  And if “playing well at the end of the year” means anything, Penn State has not lost since September.  They have won nine games in a row.  Ohio State lost to Penn State in October and Michigan lost two of their last three.

Winning a conference title is supposed to give the winning team a 13th data point.  Penn State earned that point; Ohio State did not.  Conference championships should matter.  For two teams, it did not.

As I said earlier, Ohio State, with only one loss should be in the mix for a national championship.  My fault with the system is four teams.  If you make it eight you add only one more week to the schedule and that should be palatable.  I know if you add eight, then nine and ten will feel shunned.  But eight gives you the five conference champions,   (the Big 12 will start playing one next year) and three “wild cards”.  A similar system works quite well for the NFL and six of those teams have gone on to win the Super Bowl.

So Penn State will play in the Rose Bowl against USC and that certainly is a justified reward for their season, but should they have been playing for a national championship?  What if you were on the committee – how would you have voted?

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. I really started to watch Penn State because of Saquon Barkley, the former Whitehall Zephyr. Now I watch them because they are one of the most exciting and dramatic teams in college football.  Their win over Wisconsin, after being down by 21 points and being totally dominated early in the game, was nothing short of miraculous!
  2. The Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks played almost as well on Friday night against undefeated Imhotep Charter out of Philadelphia. Imhotep is the defending state champion and has won 28 games in a row.  No team stayed within 30 points of them this season.  Until they met the Hawks!  The Hawks lost 24-13 when Imhotep scored a TD late in the game. Beca was in it right up until the very end of the game and actually led at one point.  It was a great year for Coach Kyle Haas and the Beca football team.
  3. Notre Dame High School did not win a game two years ago. On Friday night, they played in the PIAA state semifinal game against undefeated Middletown.  The Crusaders lost that game, but their resurgence in the past two years has been amazing.
  4. The Eagles looked like a team that cannot make the playoffs this past Sunday. The Bengals just crushed them.  Maybe it’s not a good thing for the coach to say they are looking towards the future before the present is completed.  The Eagles took major steps in the wrong direction this past Sunday.
  5. High school basketball begins next week with Freedom-Allen and Liberty-Easton on Tuesday, December 13. We will have Liberty-Central and Saucon Valley-Wilson on Friday, December 16.  The wrestling season begins on Wednesday, December 14, with Liberty taking on Nazareth.

 

 Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 12-3; Overall – 119-72-2 – 62%)
Week Fourteen

OAKLAND
PHILADELPHIA
MINNESOTA
DETROIT
CINCINNATI
ARIZONA
INDIANAPOLIS
DENVER
CAROLINA
PITTSBURGH
JETS
TAMPA BAY
ATLANTA
SEATTLE
DALLAS
NEW ENGLAND

The Real March Madness – Behind the Mic – March 18th

The brackets are out!! Everyone starts the week with high expectations to be the best in their various investments into the various pools (for amusement only, of course). I have been invited to participate in nine and the list could still grow. After all, it’s only Monday. So I have started my research and I have come to the conclusion that research will most likely do me absolutely no good.

This was probably the most unpredictable college basketball season in recent history. First of all, a tell-tale sign that this is the “Year of the Whaaatt?” is that the defending national champions, the Kentucky Wildcats, are not even invited. Add to that, there were six teams that were #1 at some point during the season. So if you think you are knowledgeable about college hoops this year, you are probably going to be a loser. This will be the year of the upsets. If there was ever a time to actually get your wife, girlfriend, nerdy husband, or boyfriend involved in your selections, this is the year. If you happen to go that route, prepare yourself for the “I like their colors”, “Their nickname is cute”, “What state are they from?”, “I like teams that begin with B”, etc. I know for those of us who are purists, this kind of babble can make one wretch. But, mark my words; this year might be that year! You can wretch now while making your picks or wretch later when you are tearing up the sheets with your picks on them.

The #1’s are Louisville, Kansas, Indiana, and Gonzaga. My basketball brain tells me to go with Louisville. They are the hottest team right now, just won the Big East tournament, and seem to be in a very favorable bracket. So, should you pick them to win it all? Don’t do it!! Too obvious. This should not be the year to pick the favorite.

Of the #1’s, I kind of like Gonzaga. Their schedule made them a mystery team, but I find it fun to root for them in the post-season. The #2’s look strong – Duke, Miami, Ohio State, and Georgetown. But, can one of them go all the way? Flip a coin, throw a dart!

So, who do I like?

Midwest – Memphis as a sleeper, but I pick Louisville.

West – Still like Gonzaga; don’t like Ohio State; New Mexico has a shot.

South – Michigan led by Trey Burke; Georgetown, maybe.

East – Bucknell!! (Just seeing if you are still with me). It should be Indiana, but don’t count out Miami.

Do I have to pick a national champion? Wait until I call my wife.


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. I am beginning to get the sense that teams that know they are in the tournament don’t care much anymore about their conference championships. Plenty of #1 seeds did not make the tournament finals.
  2. I mentioned Bucknell, the Patriot League champion, up top, but how do I think they will really do? Mike Muscala is the best offensive and defensive player in the League. If he gets backcourt help, they can shock Butler. However, Butler already has beaten Indiana and Gonzaga. This is a very tough draw for the Bison.
  3. 40 years ago, Allentown Central Catholic became the first parochial state champions in the PIAA. They beat four undefeated teams in their last five games. It is really strange this year not seeing them in the state playoffs.
  4. As I write this, the Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks are the last Lehigh Valley team alive in the state playoffs. To me, they look like a state champion. They have size, speed, intensity, and, most importantly, talent. Go Hawks!!

PS – Don’t bother me until after April 6. I will be checking my NCAA pool! I want to see how my wife did.

Behind the Mic – December 12th

I know this blog is called “Behind the Mike”, but this week it would be better titled, “Behind The Computer”.  I thought you might be interested in how news and sports people find some of the stories that they report.  You probably often wonder how a reporter went out and found some of the unique stories and people that make up their columns, their TV reports, their radio interviews.  Well, many times, those stories just come to them.

Each week, I am offered some “wonderful opportunity” (their words, not mine) to interview a person on a variety of subjects.  Since I am basically a play-by-play broadcaster and our local programming is limited in scope, those anonymous press agents are seeking out the wrong person.  However, I always find their proposals quite interesting.  Let me share the last ten I have gotten and, by the way, these have come in just this past week.  The comments in parentheses are mine:

  1. Undercover Agent’s Life Made into a Movie  (I have seen this movie many times)
  2. College Basketball Returns  (I never thought it wouldn’t)
  3. Freshman Wins Heisman  (This would be the same person who wanted to discuss the return of college basketball – see #2.  Like me, he, also, reads the paper and watches TV)
  4. A Legend’s Journey – The Life of Jake “The Snake” Roberts – Former Professional Wrestler   (Is “The Snake” really a legend?)
  5. Top 12 Amusement Parks for the Holidays   (I would rather know how to afford them)
  6. Life Threatening Results of Concussions   (I already knew head injuries could be dangerous).
  7. Thuzio – The Ultimate Fan Experience – With Tiki Barber   (Play flag football with a football player; have dinner with an NFL player, etc. – Doesn’t this sound like it would be very, very expensive?)
  8. Sports From a Woman’s Perspective   (I get this message from my wife EVERY weekend!)
  9. New Year’s Revolution – What You Were Born To Do   (So this person was born to tell others what they were born for?  Huh?)
  10. Non-surgical Facelift Uses Sound, Not Scalpel, To Help Smooth Away the Years… in Minutes   (My personal favorite)

So, in conclusion, #10 is my favorite.  I think, before I entertain the idea of having this person on my show, I will hold an iPod up to my face for a week.  I wish I knew what sound works the best.

Let me get back to you on this one!!


 

 ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Our local football teams were all eliminated from the state playoffs by the Philadelphia Catholic schools.  This has been happening with very few exceptions every year since the Catholic schools became part of the PIAA.  The big difference seems to be the linemen.  We need to get bigger and stronger to compete.
  2. Would it be wrong if Penn State played Ohio State in a Bowl game and the money would go to charity?
  3. It sure looks like there will be a Manny Pacquiao-Juan Marquez #5 after Pacquiao was knocked out cold this past weekend.  Just let these two fight every six months.  By the way, the replay is on HBO this Saturday.
  4. The Phillies, with this week’s trades, seem quite serious about contending again.  The deals look very good right now (but it is December).
  5. Got this offer this week -Jan. 7–BCS National Championship Bowl (Notre Dame-Alabama). Tickets start at $1,450.00. I also have a 20 Person Suite!  Interested??

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week- 9-7)  (73-43 for the season – 63%)

  • CINCINNATI
  • GREEN BAY
  • GIANTS
  • NEW ORLEANS
  • ST. LOUIS
  • WASHINGTON
  • MIAMI
  • DENVER
  • HOUSTON
  • SAN DIEGO
  • SEATTLE
  • DETROIT
  • DALLAS
  • OAKLAND
  • NEW ENGLAND
  • JETS