05 December 2012

Tuesday Night Football: Outrages big and small

On the Belcher-Perkins incident:  Unless the Kansas City Star completely made up this account of Saturday's murder-suicide, there's not much to be said.  It affected not only two families, but also the Kansas City Chiefs.  [Jovan Belcher played for them, but had he married Kassandra Perkins, he would have become an in-law to a much better known Chief, running back Jamaal Charles.]

Take the names away, though, and the murder-suicide becomes just another domestic-violence case gone horribly wrong.  Take away the guns and the entitled-jock mentality, both of which factored into the incident, and what's left is this:

Where did Jovan Belcher get the idea that he could "resolve" domestic dispute by shooting his way out of it?

There's another question about the lesser offense that followed Saturday's shootings:  What on Earth made the Chiefs decide to play on Sunday?  Was there a ripped-from-the-headlines script that just had to be sold to Hollywood producers?  Were they just hoping to avoid dealing with the fact that on of their own had become a murder (and a cowardly one, at that)?  Or were they just hoping to avoid having to deal with grief, full stop?  Whatever the excuses, it would have been better to postpone the game for at least a few days.

And now, something even more predictable than The Walking Dead:  Here in my corner of the world, there was also amusement at the possibility that the Northern Illinois gridiron team would actually get invited to one of the five major bowl games this season.  For kicks, I decided to watch ESPN's BCS selection show to see if NIU got in.  The Huskies did, indeed, win an invitation to play Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

The outrage among the ESPN college-football commentariat was incredible, but I still can't decide why.  Was it incredible because the reaction was so (a) intense or (b) asinine?

Naw, check that.  I can decide, and the answer is (b) -- because everyone who's criticizing NIU's selection should have seen it coming.  For its entire existence, the whole BCS selection process has rested on the assumption that there were exactly six conferences that were automatically worthy of consideration for either the national championship or one of the elite bowl games.  That presumption never worked, because the Big East was never elite, but the administrative eliminations of Ohio State and Penn State also made the Big Twelve Fourteen Ten irrelevant this year.  Of course spots would be open for two lesser programs to reach a BCS bowl.  After Wisconsin took one of them, the only outstanding question was whether that lesser program would be Northern Illinois or Nebraska.

By the way, if the Huskies (good luck to them) do somehow win the Orange Bowl, it will be their greatest victory, but not their greatest upset.

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