In the middle west of our fair country, we hold many things sacred. A short list would have to include potluck dinners, the right to call soda by its Michigan name, pop, and knowing the correct form for tipping over a sleeping cow. We also used to hold college football sacred but now I’m beginning to wonder.
Sure, we’re in the middle of baseball season right now and there’s plenty to enjoy. The Tigers aren’t too far behind, Strasburg finally made his move and there’s even a chance I might get to see him pitch against the White Sox next week. Forgive me if I’m not just a little bit distracted, though, by the news coming out of Big Ten land.
Personally, I still think it’s a little bit of a travesty that the conference added Penn State but decided to keep calling itself “The Big Ten,” only paying lip service to the true arithmetic by getting all cutesy with the logo. But now they’re going to add Nebraska, too? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the pressure that exists in big time college sports and adding a team like Nebraska is definitely going to help the revenue stream. That doesn’t mean I have to like it, though.
On the bright side, at least when they picked a team that starts with “N” they avoided the confusingly named Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. I mean, they do realize that the name of the school is French but the mascot is a tiny Irishman, right?
I guess it’s inevitable and I should probably get over it. It just seems strange that as a Big Ten team you definitely won’t play all the other Big Ten teams. It’s like being in the National League but never playing the Dodgers. Where’s the sense in that?
Now that I’ve said my piece, it’s time to get back to another couple things we hold dear in the Midwest: Beer and stoicism. I think I’ll hold off on the meth, though.
“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.”
-Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America
Whenever I listen to Sam Cooke sing “A Change is Gonna Come,” I get a little shiver up and down my spine. The same thing happened Tuesday night as President Elect Obama channelled the soul of this fellow Chicagoan in his already famous speech to supporters in Grant Park.
Without a doubt, Election Day 2008 heralded a sea change in American politics. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a realist. I don’t think that President Obama will be able to accomplish in four years all that he promised over the course of a 21 month campaign. But, hope still springs eternal. And if nothing else, he has redefined the rules of the game.
However, moving beyond the rhetoric and the fascination with this singular event in our nation’s history, what would I like to see happen?
Well, to begin with, I hope Obama was more than talk when he said during Monday Night Football that he thinks there should be a College Football Playoff. You’re 75 days away from being the most powerful man in the world. Make it happen, sir.
Yes, there are more important challenges at hand (the economy, our incoherent foreign policy, Indian pitchers) but forcing the hand of holdouts like Big Ten commissioner, James Delany, would endear Obama to even the most stubborn Republican voter. How could a Georgian not vote for a president who accomplished a playoff system after the travesty they believe befell their Bulldogs last season? And what SEC or Big 12 fan wouldn’t admit they had just a little more respect for a man who made sure their teams at least got a shot at the title every year.
However, I am a little worried. What if President Obama issues an Executive Order declaring that his hometown White Sox are to be champions of the AL Central every year that he’s in office, regardless of their record? Granted, I don’t expect the Tigers to put up much of a fight next year but what about 2 or 3 years from now, when they’ve had a chance to retool? Do I have to remind you that Ozzie Guillen is Venezuelan, just like Hugo Chavez. Coincidence? I think not.
But, for now, while the world still seems like a land of wonder and opportunity, I think I’ll just focus on what has happened and what it means.