The Daily Dose/January 7, 2017
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
Notes from around the Human Experience…
HUT, HUT HIKE: Monday night in Atlanta Alabama and Georgia will meet in the championship game of the College Football Playoff (CFP), the culmination of a four-team invitational tournament held to crown a major division college football champion. They’re both deserving teams, and while we don’t have Roll Tide tattooed on our forearm, it is difficult not to admire the excellence head coach Nick Saban has managed to sustain at Alabama.
And the CFP is, of course, an improvement over the old BCS system, where two teams, decided by a computer program, were selected. Good riddance to that. And if Ohio State and Central Florida have legitimate beefs about being left out of the College Football Playoff, oh well, they agreed to the system in the first place.
And the CFP is doing its work well. While some of the novelty has worn off and the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl semifinals aren’t the highest rated shows in cable history anymore, the CFP is doing a splendid job of doing what it is designed to do: further consolidate wealth and power in college football’s wealthiest and most successful programs. Anyone who believes it was designed to do anything other than that is deluding themselves.
Fly In The Ointment: However, while it is an improvement, the CFP is not the best we could be doing. For years now it has been utter nonsense the NCAA has not sponsored a major division football tournament and it gets sillier by the year.
Deep down we all know this but no one has been willing to do anything about it because us fans are supporting the College Football Playoff. We’re buying their tickets and watching their games and buying their hoodies and jerseys, not to mention putting up with the wonder of the rest of the bowl season, 6-6 teams playing meaningless exhibitions in half-filled frozen baseball stadiums.
Stop Us If You’ve Heard This Before: A 32-team NCAA Division I Football Championship could have started the first weekend in December and ended with the NCAA Division I National Championship Game on January 1, the last date anyone really cares about college football. If organizers wanted to give the final two teams two weeks off before the title game, not too bad an idea, the whole thing could begin Thanksgiving weekend and wouldn’t that be one heck of a holiday weekend?
No argument against a real playoff holds water. The NCAA’s small school division, Division III, recently concluded a 32-team tournament that saw it’s two finalists – Mount Union and Mary Hardin-Baylor – play five postseason games, exactly half their regular seasons. And these are real students, too, paying their own way and taking real college courses while trying to squeeze in championship football and scamming on coeds.
The Bottom Line: A 32-team NCAA Division I College Football Championship would instantly become a treasured piece of Americana. So much so that after the first one we would all be left scratching our collective heads wondering why in the hell this wasn’t done back in the 1920’s when the NCAA first starting holding national championships.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: Galileo writes about the discovery of what would turn out to be four moons orbiting Jupiter on this date in this date in 1610. Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa – collectively known as the Galilean moons – were first thought to be three stars that were merely in the general area of Jupiter. Galileo kept watching them, however. Io and Europa, initially thought to be one object, separated and their relative positions to Jupiter kept changing and by March Galileo concluded they weren’t stars, but moons orbiting Jupiter.
Dry, Technical Matter: Outside of our own moon, these were the first moons discovered in the Solar System.
Really Dry, Technical Matter: Galileo, who had an awful lot of time on his hands, was also able to discover his moons, because their orbits could be determined in advance, could be used to discover one’s longitude here on Earth. It actually worked, though the implements required to make it work were cumbersome and difficult to use at sea and, of course, one had to have a clear view of Jupiter and her moons in the first place. It never really took hold as a navigational aid on the seas, however, some rather dull blokes used it on land to re-map France.
FunFact: Currently, Juptier has 69 known moons.
Speaking Of American Institutions: The Harlem Globetrotters, formed because blacks weren’t allowed to play professional basketball back then, play their first game on this date in 1927, in Hinckley, Illinois, a bit west of Chicago. They were a serious, traveling professional team at first, the comedy antics not debuting until 1939 and the following year the Globetrotters won the World Professional Basketball Tournament, then regarded as the world championship.
FunFact: The Globetrotters weren’t from Harlem, they were from Chicago. Founder Abe Saperstein, who was white, added the name to give his team some mystique.
A Warm, Personal Remembrance: In the early 1980’s the Globetrotters held their winter training/tryout camp at our alma mater, Los Angeles Lutheran High School. The Trotters were friendly and accessible and always bought an ad in our yearbook. We were also favored with the secret of how Curly Neal made his half court shot seemingly all the time: he did a hundred of them a day. There was no shortcut, a lesson that was lost on me till I was well into adulthood.
Quotebook: Talent is that which is in a man’s power, genius is that in whose power a man is. – James Russell Lowell
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Thomas Edison held 2,332 patents, including 1,093 in the United States.
Today’s Stumper: When, and in what sport, did the NCAA hold its first national championship? – Answer next time!