GOOD MORNING FRANKLIN COUNTY
Today is Friday, December 10, 2004, and there are only 15 days left until Christmas.
Expect a slight chance of showers today and windy conditions with a high of 54 degrees.
On this day in history:
1817 – Mississippi is admitted as the 20th state in the Union.
1898 – The Spanish-American War ends.
1906 – President Theodore Roosevelt is the first American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
1927 – "The Grand Ole Opry" broadcasts for the first time on radio.
1950 – Ralph J. Bunche is the first black American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1963 – Six-year-old Donny Osmond makes his singing debut on The Andy Williams Show.
1971 – William Rehnquist in confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
The Russellville Golden Tigers will play the Homewood Patriots for the state Class 5A football championship on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. at the Hoover Met. I hope you are planning to attend the game but if not you can watch all the action on the Valley's WB which is channel 8 on most Charter Communications cable systems.
I read an interesting statistic the other day. If a high school football team played in the championship game that team would play 15 games in a season and 75 games over five years. Since the 2000 season, Russellville has played 73 games. The only team in Class 5A to play more than that is, you guessed it, Homewood. Good luck Golden Tigers!
Then there is college football, the only sport that does not have a playoff system to crown a champion and refuses to institute one. Back in the good old days a few schools had all the money and could recruit the best players and the most players. Those teams were at the top of the polls each year and the bowl system was adequate. Then with reforms which evened out the number of scholarships a school could offer, some degree of parity entered the world of college football. That's when the debate over who was number one got louder and more complicated.
When talk of a playoff system heated up we were told the student-athletes could not afford to miss class and play more than 10 or 11 games a year. Now that some teams play 14 games a year we know that argument was a lie. Enter the BCS.
The BCS entered the scene in 1998 and we were told they were interested in helping determine a true college football champion and match the best eight teams in the country in four BCS bowls. The champion idea didn't work last year and, with Auburn out of the mix, I won't consider this year's winner in the Orange Bowl a true champion either. As for the best eight teams notion, the four BCS bowls this year feature a team rated #13 and one rated #21.
What about the Cal Bears? This team was rated fourth in the BCS before traveling across the country to play and beat Southern Mississippi. Their reward was losing ground in the poll to a Texas team that didn't even play that weekend!
I love movies about cons and con artists. I think we have all been had by the perfect sting. The BCS was never about determining a champion or about the best teams playing each other. The BCS is about money, power, and putting people in seats and hotel rooms. It's the perfect con because to protest the system a fan would have to abandon their team by not going to a game or not watching a game on television. Boycotting the BCS means being a disloyal fan.
So the BCS charade continues. You've just discovered that the powerful wizard is a frumpy old man behind a curtain. But in the world of the BCS, Dorothy will never find her way back to Kansas.
Richard Parker is Minister of Students and Education at First Baptist Church in Russellville. You can e-mail him your comments at RParker@russellvilleFBC.org.