Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bret Bielema’s mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention.

This is so spectacularly loaded with schadenfreude that I am having a full-on Hedley Lamarr moment:


Why do I love this so much? First and foremost, because it exposes an irrevocable flaw in the new clock rules, which were designed to correct something that no one thought was a problem to begin with: Long games. Long games mean more football and thus more reason to drink more beer while watching more football. And as games go longer, particularly in overtime, they become that much more compelling television, which would imply greater value for advertisers.

Conversely, the problem with shorter games should be self evident: They’re shorter. Duh. Less offense. Less excitement. The two-minute drill begins somewhere around the five-minute mark.

But the NCAA rules committee, operating squarely under the thumb of the networks, instituted new rules to make the clock run when the ball is not in play – the latest step in a grand conspiracy to place the outcome of the college football season further in control of advertisers.

So Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema takes a colossal step outside of Barry Alvarez’s shadow with this bit of pre-halftime special teams genius. On first viewing, I was left so speechless I could do little else but wish him the best of luck shopping for trousers massive enough to accommodate his considerable brass. God help anyone behind him in an airport security line.

Also, I’m in a small but growing minority of people who have tired of Joe Paterno’s never-ending farewell tour. He’s been careening towards his Woody Hayes moment for several years now and this was another step in that direction. JoePa could’ve fought smart with smart by taking the five-yard penalty at the end of the run-back, which he had two opportunities to do (granted, doing so would’ve put him as far back as his own 15). Instead JoePa was reduced to the now familiar – yet still futile – tactic of excoriating the refs, cameramen and anyone else within spitting distance.



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