Benchpress (Week of January 2, 2008)

I can hardly wait for the second half of the college basketball season to get into full swing. As much fun as the marquee non-conference matchups between highly touted players and teams are, the real test of a basketball team is always in its conference games.

What I?m not looking forward to are the unending streams of pseudo-polls that every major sports news Web site puts out.

I had to stop checking up on these things, because inevitably, some random expert?s pithy remarks in defense of an indefensible selection would get me a little riled up about an ultimately pointless exercise in free speech.

Take Luke Winn?s rankings on Sports Illustrated?s NCAA basketball page. Not only does he overrate Memphis by five or six spots, he explains the choice by pointing to the win over George?town.

I?m not convinced George?town is a top-25 team right now, but setting my personal doubts aside, how does one win over one top-25 team make Memphis any better than Pittsburg or Wash?ing?ton State, let alone KU?

Personally, I?d put Duke and Texas ahead of any of those teams, as both Duke and Texas have two wins over top-25 schools (as of Friday, when I?m writing this).

Granted, Duke and Texas both have a loss to a top-25 school under their respective belts, but I fail to understand why losing to one of the toughest teams in the country counts heavily against one school when it is compared to a school that hasn?t even played against the nation?s best.

If the Tarheels stay healthy, North Carolina would probably beat anybody in the nation?but they haven?t beaten a top-25 yet. So what does their 12-0 record actually prove when compared to Duke?s 9-1, Texas?s 11-1 or KU?s 11-0?

The point isn?t to complain about Carolina?s high ranking. The point is to complain about the fact that so many people put so much stock in rankings that don?t actually mean very much.

* * *

Before I move on to something else, if you haven?t watched the Tabor men?s team play yet this season, do. They?re an exciting bunch of players, especially when they get into a good groove at home.

* * *

Thanks to an improbable confluence of lackluster outings by my opponent?s top four scorers and another solid game by Randy Moss, my motley crew of fantasy football castoffs somehow knocked out the league?s No. 1 seed to qualify for the title game.

Because Moss needs one more touchdown catch to tie Jerry Rice, there?s a good chance the same thing will happen this week. If it does, I?ll probably have to buy myself a trophy to commemorate my second fantasy football championship.

Winning wouldn?t be all good news, though. I might break my unbeaten streak of consecutive years without accomplishing a single New Year?s resolution.

I haven?t had a single resolution turn out well in the last eight years. The single biggest reason for the streak is that I have a concurrent streak of giving up on all hastily made, ill-conceived plans to change my life for the better by Jan. 5.

It?s hard to believe that 2007 is already over. I?m working on a list of resolutions to dispassionately ignore starting Jan. 5, 2008.

* * *

Assuming that my personal record longest-running streak of failed New Year?s resolutions is over, I?m resolving to set a new personal record streak around this time in 2016.

My new goal is to completely ignore all BCS games, controversies and useless adjustments to its obviously flawed rankings system.

All of the thousands of silly problems caused by the BCS have already been spelled out in minute detail by other sports writers. As far as I can tell, all that?s left is for people who don?t like the system to start ignoring the games.

I?m pretty confident I can go at least eight years without watching even one ?championship series? game and I?m going to try for a full decade without the BCS.

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