Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

We had grand plans for this weekend, but they were frustrated by sickness and bad weather. So we stayed in town and had an even better time than we bargained for. We got Friday off from work and school, as the NYCC campus was closed due to a big snow storm. Saturday was my birthday so we ventured out for breakfast and a Christmas tree. We went to a local Christmas tree farm and cut one down. We were in snow up to our knees, but had such a good time!

video

And as a present to me, the Duke basketball team decimated Xavier. Thanks guys :)

We had another snow day on Sunday - church was canceled due to the wind blowing around the freshly fallen snow - and making it impossible to see the roads. We stayed home, decorated and made sugar cookies.

All in all, a wonderful 3-day weekend! Finals are over for Cory and it was wonderful to have the entire weekend to spend time with him, without studying and papers looming over us. We're all ready for Christmas and can't wait to see my family!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My musings on the BCS ... Take 2

My comments to your comments:

My friend Andrea came up with a very good comment, saying: "In order to make it so all 150 Division I teams have a shot at the national title you set up a 16 game playoff system that either a) takes the top 16 teams in the country or b) takes the top team from each conference with a few outliers. That way in years like this, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma would all be satisfied."

Props to you, Andrea. A playoff system certainly would take care of much of the BCS controversy. I whole-heartedly agree. For example, pit unbeaten Utah against 1-loss Texas, and see who wins. Winner gets to move on - loser gets to go home.

The problem I have with a playoff system is that it would make college football less exciting during the regular season. It would become a lot like college basketball. Now don't get me wrong - I love college hoops. But March Madness is undeniably the best part of the season. Set up all 64 teams to play each other, single-elimination style (though how much does it suck to be that #16 seed who gets to play the #1 seed?). Keep winning and you keep playing.

Yes a similar system would undoubtedly work for college football ... but ... it wouldn't be nearly as thrilling to watch the regular season. With the current system, every week you play means a shot at that elusive championship is on the line. I know, it sounds melodramatic, but it's really not. Every game you play has a huge impact. Not as much so in college hoops ... not to say that it's not important to win, since obviously, it is. But you lose 1 or 2 games - so what? You'll still get a good seed and get to play in the Big Dance.

You lose one game in college football ... and either you are out contention for the national championship game (Texas) or you have to claw your way back into contention by pulverizing everyone you play (Florida). Every game matters so much! That's the beauty of watching college football. It's breath-taking, heart pounding, with big implications. I would miss that element if college football went to a playoff system.

Can't something just be done to eliminate the "elite" teams in the BCS? Who cares if you come from the Mountain West, or the SEC? That seems to me to be the best way to fix the BCS. No more rules that say the SEC automatically sends 2 teams, while the MWC sends 0 (unless they have a stellar season, like the U, then we call them 'BCS Busters'). If you're in the top 10, you get a BCS bowl game - regardless of what conference you come from. Doesn't this make more sense?

Of course, we'd still have to deal with ranking teams, and deciding who gets what bowl game. #1 can play #2, #3 play #4, etc, etc. Rankings are determined by your record ... and maybe your strength of schedule? Perhaps if there's a tie, then a playoff system could be introduced, preparatory to the BCS bowl games.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My musings on the BCS ...

If you're not a fan of college football, you aren't going to find this post very interesting. However, if you are a fan, read on ...

I'll be the first one to admit that I don't know the inner-workings of the BCS. I have an understanding of how it works, but I don't comprehend all the finer details (nor do I care to learn). However, in light of the recent announcement of who gets to play where, I have been musing on the BCS. That it needs some tweaking is true. Would a college play-off system do a better job? I have no idea ... but something needs to be done.

Here's why ... Texas Tech had a really good season, they've got a good team, but they were blown out by Oklahoma, and ended up being ranked #7 in the BCS polls. I don't think #7 is anything to snub your nose at ... but they totally got the shaft. It's not a very fair system. Of course, I think the Big 12 has some problems independent of the BCS (like the way they choose the team that gets to play for the Conference championship). Texas got screwed too, particularly since they beat Oklahoma. Now, I'm not partial to any team down there (Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma) - I love college football in general - but I do think some of them got hosed, and that's not really fair. Of course, life isn't fair, but I think a better system could be dreamed up.

And who are they kidding? I think the Texas/Ohio State game is going to be a joke! Personal opinion, though - I may be wrong. If Texas brings it (which I think they will), then they're going to blow out Ohio State (who isn't really that good this year - again, personal opinion). Poor Ohio State - they got beat the last 2 years in the championship game, and now they get to play Texas in the Tostitos Bowl. Losing 3 BCS bowl games in a row can't look good ... then again, maybe that will provide them the necessary motivation ...

And 'Bama/Utah? Hmmm ... the Utes are really going to have to bring it! 'Bama is good. I think the Ute defense (and the offense) is going to have to step it up, and if they do, it could be a mighty good game. The Utes are one of the few undefeated teams left ... but since they play in the Mountain West conference, they get to play in the Sugar Bowl instead of the national championship. Fair? Not really. Same thing with Boise State ... they're undefated, but play in the WAC, so they get the Poinsettia Bowl ... though I will say, Boise State and TCU is at least intriguing.

If I was in charge and I got to pick, out of the top 10 teams, I would pick: 'Bama/Texas, Ohio State/Utah, USC/Texas Tech, and Penn State/Boise State. USC/Penn State doesn't seem that exciting to me, and I would love to see USC's defense take on Texas Tech . I think Oklahoma and Florida is a good match up - I really think they are the best 2 teams out there (sorry Ute fans).

Somebody tell the commissioner of the BCS that I should be in charge ... I've got great ideas. And a statistics degree that I would love to put to use in the college football arena!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Go Gators

Go Gators! They earned a date with Oklahoma on January 8th. In Miami. In the championship. YEAH baby!! They beat the previously undefeated, used-to-be ranked #1 team, 31-20. And now, ironically enough, that team (Alabama Crimson Tide) gets to play the University of Utah in the Sugar Bowl. Good luck Utes ... 'Bama is one good team. Go Utes, Go Gators!

Last night, I attended the Fayette Ward, 2nd Annual Interfaith Fireside. This was the missionaries' brainchild last year, and I'm so happy they organized it again for this year. They invited choirs from all the faiths in the area, along with the local high school's chamber choir (similar to Viewmont's madrigals) to our chapel in the Fayette Ward, for a fireside of Christmas music. Last night turned out better than anyone dared hope. Lots of non-LDS people came to the fireside. The songs that were performed were just lovely. The Spirit that was present was fabulous. So many non-LDS people filled out referral cards, while everyone chit-chatted over cookies and punch (we're Mormons - gotta have refreshments! :) Many even stayed to hear the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional. Such a great night!

For all you fellow Twilight fans: watch this link. It's too awesome! http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/IcW1Ar9rUTyuBZpp

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend

Our Thanksgiving was lovely. For the first time in years we didn't travel very far. This was our 3rd Thanksgiving living on the east coast, and it was our first one staying in town. It was quite nice not to travel long distances or fight with traffic and weather. We had a very low-key weekend. We had traditional turkey dinner with friends on Thursday, which was quite pleasant. We slept in a lot - trying to make up for weeks of missing sleep. We shopped, and went to dinner and a movie. Since Cory was such a good sport about seeing Twilight with me last week, he got to pick the movie for this weekend ... and so we went to see James Bond: Quantum of Solace. I really liked it - definitely action-packed. I want to watch it again, only with closed captioning this time, so I can catch everything that everyone says.

I was reflecting on how much I have to be thankful for, and it's quite a lot. I won't list everything ... but I do have plenty to be thankful for. I'm grateful for Cory, the best husband in the entire world. I'm grateful for my family, both immediate and extended. They're the very best! I'm grateful for awesome friends who are wonderful examples and always uplifting. I'm grateful for my good health - and the health of people that I love. I'm grateful for education - my own, and Cory's ever-increasing knowledge in the health care field. I'm grateful for parents (and teachers) who taught me to love books, at a very young age. I'm grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the truth I have, and the values and principles it teaches.

On a less serious note ... I'm grateful for TV, which brings me awesome college football games. I'm grateful for Target, which makes me happy for no reason at all. I'm grateful for Stephenie Meyer. I'm grateful for ColdStone ice cream (now with a store only 45 minutes away)! I'm grateful for musicals, hot chocolate, Christmas music & lights, homemade jam, opportunities for travel, great memories, Bath & Body Works, missionaries, and donuts.

Happy December! Christmas countdown officially begins today!