The Republican Presidential Race 2016

Political Post: This is just an observation, and not a pro or against anybody I mention. (This is my now standard political disclaimer attempting to head off predictable comments hijacking this thread, heh. Wish me luck with that.)

Everybody has been obsessed with Trump and people are convinced he’s going to win the nomination. I’ve tended to disagree. I’ve maintained for a while that as soon as enough “mainstream” candidates drop off, their votes are going to coalesce around the remaining mainstream guy and eventually overtake Trump. Christie is out, Bush dropped out last night, and Kasich needs to drop out now, too. You add up the latter two’s votes from last night to Rubio’s, and that number beats Trump.

It’s obviously a three man race between Trump, Cruz, and Rubio; enough voters have spoken that the others need to stop wasting their time and energy (as well as ours).

RE: The Democrats. I still think Hillary is going to pull it out against Sanders, but it’s a lot more competitive so far than I expected.

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Super Bowl Recap, and Beyonce…

My Two Day Late Super Bowl Recap, which segues into a now-rare BPR Political Post:

Great defensive effort, especially by Denver, though that tends to make for a bland football game overall. Cam Newton did become a sulky, pouty player when faced with adversity, and not even diving for the football on that one play after he fumbled was a bad, bad look for him. I empathize with his abruptly leaving the post-game press conference, though. I might have been the same way if I were in his shoes, especially with the Denver player nearby trash talking during his own interview.

RE: The Super Bowl Halftime Show: I’ve always been lukewarm regarding this. It’s really just a spectacle and it’s overly pre-packaged and stage-managed. Which I guess is necessary for what it is. (Although U2’s 2002 performance was phenomenal and remains my personal favorite.) But…why Coldplay? LOL. I have no opinion of that band, good or bad, and from some of the social media responses, they evidently are the Nickleback of the aughts, heh. Chris Martin was totally out of his element and outclassed by Beyonce and Bruno Mars. He should’ve just have hung back at the end and let the other two close the performance instead of looking like he was photobombing them.

RE: Beyonce’s protest song. I’m seeing a lot of huffing and offense over her alleged “racist” “anti-police” song, etc, especially among followers of a certain toupee’d presidential candidate and tea drinking segment from the right side of the political spectrum. People always seem to have to find a way to be offended by just about anything, I guess. I’ve always felt that, regarding race and racial issues, black people and white people are talking on two totally different wavelengths and neither side is really “hearing” what the other is saying. So White People Outrage over Beyonce, brought to you by Fox News, is just another example of people not getting getting the point.

(Photo credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Big 12 Expansion Thoughts

SPORTS-RELATED POST: I’ve been following so-called rumors on Big 12 expansion ever since the conference settled at the current 10. I wouldn’t mind seeing it get back to 12, but the best overall candidate (BYU) is too far west; the best up and comer (Houston) is on the wrong side of the Louisiana state line and nobody seems to want a fifth Texas school; the most obvious choice (Cincinnati) is a lukewarm candidate depending on who it’s paired with; and my Wild Card choice (Tulane) is probably a non-starter (it’s location in New Orleans and academic prestige are why I like it). I still think the Big 12 blew a great opportunity by not taking Louisville with West Virginia and just sat at 11 for a while; the Big 10 managed just fine with 11 members for two decades before adding Nebraska. But the conference at that point was just reacting and trying to survive, and not in a position to act with a vision.

However, at this point, I’m leaning toward staying at ten and seeing how things play out in the next decade. All this hype about TV deals I think is overblown, and the trend is pointing towards more and more people abandoning the traditional cable bundle model for a la carte subscriptions (see HBO Now and CBS). Conference TV networks may not be the cash cow people think they will continue to be in the future; at least not with new TV deals going forward.

I also wonder just how happy the teams will be in the larger conferences where they rarely get to play older rivals (the article link above states that in the Big 10, Wisconsin hasn’t even played Michigan in six years). The article goes on at length about this point of view and it’s compelling. Everybody just assumes the Big 12 is weak—and yes, I know everyone hates Texas and fans of former member schools like Nebraska and ESPECIALLY Missouri seem to salivate at the thought of the Big 12 collapsing (and in Missouri’s case, because it’d mean KU therefore gets hung out to dry, although they’d be likely to end up in the Big 10 if they were available—ironic since Mizzou initially wanted to be in the Big 10). Yawn. I personally don’t think the Big 10 or SEC are going to expand beyond where they’re at now, and that will be borne out as we get into the next decade. At 16 you’re no longer really a conference; just two divisions within which you play most of your games against (which is pretty much already the case with 14).

This article, which claims sources at Arkansas have been engaging in “cocktail party” talk with Big 12 officials, is compelling if farfetched. But it illustrates my thinking on the subject that being in a super conference may not be all it’s cracked up to be. (After watching Arkansas easily dominate K-State in the Liberty Bowl, it’s easy to imagine they’d be a regular contender for the Big 12 title as opposed to being the fourth or fifth team best in the SEC West.) Although, that article argues for the veracity of conference networks, which as I opined above, is an open question in the cable cutting era.

As for a conference championship game in football at ten teams…I think it’s redundant when everybody already plays everyone else. As for teams that finish in first with the same record, use tiebreakers like the head on match up or other factors if three times tie to determine the “true” champion and give the other(s) a “co-champion” banner. No championship game without expansion. And no expansion until the current Grant of Rights deals in the other conferences begin to expire (the ACC’s expire two years before the Big 12). I think moving from a 14 or 15 member P5 conference to a tighter and more consolidated one like the Big 12 might be compelling for the Louisvilles, Florida States, Clemsons (and even the Arkansas’?) of the world.

Well, as long as they can be convinced Texas will play nice 😉