Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Electoral College Football

Yes, I know, it's not actually sports. But still...

There was an interesting article in today's New York Times about how states that experienced rapid population growth during the real estate boom are suddenly not as popular destinations. Sun Belt states like Florida, Arizona and Nevada, which had each spent time ranked first in domestic migration over the last decade, find their rankings plummeting. But that's not really what caught my attention.

Since this was a Census survey, and the Census is used to determine representation in the House, it was the following paragraphs that struck me:

Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington would gain one seat each, according to an analysis of the figures by Andrew A. Beveridge, a Queens College demographer.

States that would lose a seat include Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Ohio would lose two, leaving it with 16.

A quick check of my trusty Electoral Map shows that of the seven "gainers", four are solid "red" states. On the flip side, and far more distressing, of the nine states that will lose a seat (or two), eight of them are (mostly) solid "blue". That could easily change the makeup of the House without so much as losing an election. More math, but that equates to a net gain of roughly three new Red-state seats, while the Blue-staters are down six!

On the bright side, anyone from New York looking to move to Arizona, I hear they have some really great deals...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And that accident was just a minor blip on his driving record

There is no shortage of people weighing in on the Tiger Woods' saga. The latest to add his two cents is Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Speaking with the Sports Business Journal, Knight didn't think this whole Tiger mess was a big deal for one of his leading pitchmen. In fact, Knight thinks,

When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now.

Right, Phil. Like that whole Monica Lewinsky thing is just a blip when you look back at Bill Clinton's presidency. In as much as the American media loves a good scandal to toss around for a week or two, this is no blip. This story, ultimately, becomes part of the Tiger Woods permanent narrative. Fairly or unfairly, the second paragraph of his biography has now been written.

Woods, golf great, blah, blah, blah, paragraph one.

However, his carefully-crafted image took a hit in 2009 when details of his extra-marital affairs, blah, blah, blah, paragraph two.

Will Tiger play great golf again? Beyond his recent physical failings, there's no reason to believe otherwise. But the days of Tiger Woods being America's #1 pitchman are probably over. (Ask Michael Jordan how all that cheatin' and gamblin' cut into his endorsements.) Although Accenture has been the only one of Tiger's sponsors to actually announce they were dropping him, many of the others will bide their time and simply "not renew" their sponsorship agreements. It's just not worth the risk, at least not now.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

No, it's not perfect, but don't blame Texas

In a column on, Dennis Dodd is irked that Texas was invited to play Alabama for the National Title. Perhaps that's the safe pick -- not the "BCS chaos" as Brent Musberger so desired -- but hardly an outrage. Yet Dodd goes on to imply that somehow the outcome of the Big12 Championship wasn't on the up-and-up.

It just doesn't feel right, not when the two happiest men in college football Sunday were Dan Beebe and Walt Anderson.

It doesn't feel right because the Big 12 commissioner (Beebe) and his supervisor of officials (Anderson) were just as much a part of Saturday's furious finish to the season as was the football.

It doesn't feel right because half of the BCS title-game matchup was decided from the video replay booth. The commish and his supervisor had to put the final stamp of approval on Texas' 13-12 non-loss over Nebraska. Yeah, they got it right even after Texas almost got it unforgivably wrong.

Slow down, Dennis. The Big 12 commissioner did not decide that game. Nor did the officials.
Unless you want to say that the officials made the correct call and allowed the game to finish as it should have. No one outside of Lincoln, Boise, or Fort Worth wanted to see that game end on an incomplete pass that sailed out of bounds. (Okay, so maybe it would have been a little funny.) Either way, Texas had one second left, and a chance to win. If you want to point the finger, what about Nebraska? Thanks to two stupid plays at the end of the game -- kick out of bounds and horse-collar tackle -- the Longhorns ended up in field goal range without much trying. Welcome to the title game.

While I don't see Texas putting up much of a fight against Alabama, again I can't fault Texas. Dodd goes on to argue that the Longhorns' season was uninspired -- maybe -- and that they're only in the title game because Texas began the season with a higher ranking. Again, that's not entirely ridiculous, but does anyone really think that either TCU or Boise State is a better team than Texas? Or would put up a better fight against 'Bama?

If nothing else, this situation calls for -- no screams for -- a playoff. Imagine if Texas played TCU while Boise State faced off against Alabama? Four unbeatens! That next game could truly be called the National Championship. But as the next best option, an Alabama - Texas showdown in Pasadena will have to suffice.
(But that TCU - Boise State matchup might end up being the better game.)