Friday, November 10, 2017

5 Things on a Friday: Veteran's Day

Happy Friday, folks.
I miss Looney Tunes.
It's a lot of football today, everyone.  I hope that meets with your approval.

1. The Monday After: The Big Ten may want to rethink its divisional structure (CBS Sports)
We're only in the fourth year of the College Football Playoff, but the Big Ten's divisional structure is causing problems for the second time. Last year, Ohio State was chosen for the playoff despite not winning its division. Penn State, which beat Ohio State, won it and the Big Ten title only to be rewarded with the Rose Bowl. This season, four of the five best teams in the conference all play in the East, and they're all knocking each other out of contention. Meanwhile, Wisconsin sits in the West where it's a win over Iowa away from clinching the division in mid-November.
I don't know where the CFP Selection Committee will have Wisconsin when the new rankings come out on Tuesday night, but considering the Badgers were No. 9 last week, I don't know how far Wisconsin's latest win over Indiana will propel it up the ranks. It's bound to go up a few spots due to teams losing, but that's it. The reason for this is because the Badgers have a weak schedule with a flimsiness is only enhanced by the fact the Big Ten's biggest powers reside in the other division. Of those four teams, the Badgers only drew Michigan -- arguably the weakest of the bunch this season -- on their schedule.
See?  This is what comes of putting more emphasis on a season-long strength of schedule argument rather than on picking conference champions to play for a national championship.  It’s a serious problem.  
I mean, I get the argument, but to me, you ought to have to win your conference to have a chance to play for the title.  It’s good that Georgia and Alabama both have good teams.  It’s great, really.  But only one of them should be eligible to play in the actual championship.
Meanwhile, Ohio State has no one to blame but themselves.  It was a trap.  So what?  You have to be the best every week of the year; that’s how you get invited to the Big Game.  This is not a secret.
He turns 37 on January 3, and he carries a cap number of $22.2 million next year. By cutting him in March with a post-June 1 designation, the cap charge for moving on would be only $6.2 million in 2018 and $6.2 million in 2019. (A trade before June 1 would result in the full $12.4 million charge hitting the cap in 2018.)
Accounting aside, the Giants may simply be ready for a fresh start. Chris Simms has mentioned a time or two on PFT Live that the Giants had interest in drafting Patrick Mahomes, who landed with the Chiefs at pick No. 10. With the Giants in a full-blown free fall, they could have their pick of most quarterback prospects in 2018.
I can’t believe it’s come to this already, but here we are.  I still think that Manning is not the problem, that the real problem is that the Giants had shit at O-Line last season and basically did nothing to fix their problem, but what can you do?  It’s easy to blame the quarterback, and so that’s what always happens.
Is Manning as good as he was?  Probably not.  But he’s never been a guy who can succeed without either basic protection up front or a good running game.  He’s had neither for nearly two full years, and here we are.  

Sure, put in the new guy.  Just don’t bet on that making a lot of difference.
The Democratic Party’s crowning success of the night came in Virginia, where Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, an understated physician and Army veteran, won a commanding victory for governor, overcoming a racially charged campaign by his Republican opponent and cementing Virginia’s transformation into a reliably Democratic state largely immune to Trump-style appeals.
Mr. Northam was propelled to victory over Ed Gillespie, the Republican nominee, by liberal and moderate voters who were eager to send a message to Mr. Trump in a state that rejected him in 2016. Mr. Northam led Mr. Gillespie by nearly nine percentage points with 99 percent of precincts reporting, the widest victory in decades for a Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia.
My issue with this isn’t that it’s not true, per se, it’s that all politics is local.  The Democrats won in states that never favored Trump because their demographics didn’t favor Trump--or his arguments.  Though there are parts of Virginia that have embraced a lot of the cultural bullshit that has overtaken our collective thought-processes, these places were never going to be affluent Virginia and/or New Jersey.  Both those places have done very well through globalization, thank you very much.
To wit:
In both Virginia and New Jersey, voters rebuffed a wave of provocative ads linking immigration and crime, hinting at the limitations of hard-edge tactics in the sort of affluent and heavily suburban states that are pivotal in next year’s midterm elections.
As I’ve said before, the NY Times and other media companies have been a little too quick to embrace the demise of Trump and his particular politics a little too often.  Reality has been going a different way in his core districts, and the Republican Party has followed close on its heels.  
None of this will be resolved before the midterms next year, and really, it may very well take even longer than that.  As long as what we’re currently terming “conservative” Republicans continue to support the politics of this particular president, the current cultural moment will stay alive and well in the national zeitgeist.  
Most people haven’t bought in, and those who haven’t tend to be more economically and culturally affluent.  However, those people are largely clustered in cities, and the electoral college gives primacy to states.  So we’re still more-or-less where we’ve always been, big local races in big blue states notwithstanding.
4. Veteran’s Day is Saturday
Veteran’s Day marks the end of the First World War, then called the Great War.  Lest we forget, the U.S. was slow to enter this war, but European casualties were absolutely horrific.  Peace was brokered because both sides were exhausted and because the infusion of so many fresh American troops threatened legitimate catastrophe for the Germans and their allies.  But though President Wilson promised “a peace without victors,” that’s not exactly what came about.  The causes of the Second World War are many, but it’s fair to say that the peace of interwar years was yet another instance where Americans and their allies won the fight but then lost or failed afterwards through ill-considered negotiations and a failure to correctly prioritize long-term objectives.
If that sounds wonky, consider what it must have felt like for the soldiers who were there.  Men gave their lives, limbs, and health in service to a cause that was ultimately ill-defined and poorly negotiated at the point of success.
And yet, the First World War was a valiant fight in service of a worthy cause.  Among other things, we fought for Freedom of the Seas and freedom from tyranny in Europe, and both of these things were ultimately preserved.  They were then and remain today important components of global geopolitical stability.  The modern world may not be perfect, but the alternative is truly horrific.  Regardless, the soldiers of the moment did not have access to the long view of history.  Still, their fight was critical to the Republic’s success and endurance; their struggles laid the cornerstone upon which the American Century was founded.
Veteran’s Day is about celebrating the lives of those who came back.  Like those of yesteryear, today’s wars often seem quixotic and ill-defined, and today’s veterans have no more access to the long view of history than did the men of 1918.  They can only trust that the government that sends them off to fight knows what the Hell it is doing.  They choose that life, as I did in another time and place, but we can all afford to raise a glass this morning and thank both a divine providence and the men and women in uniform for the basic peace and stability that this world currently enjoys.
The Army West Point sprint football team is seeking its 35th Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL) title Friday evening when the Black Knights host the inaugural championship game at Shea Stadium at 7 p.m.
Army (7-0, 3-0 CSFL North) will square off against Penn (6-1, 4-0 CSFL South) in search of its 18th perfect season.  Considering how badly they’ve crushed the rest of the field, they have to be considered the favorites.
The game is gonna be on KnightVision, alas (subscription required).  I’ve no idea how long it’ll be before this thing winds up on ESPN3 or CBS Sports.
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That’s all I’ve got, folks.  
Happy Friday!  Enjoy the weekend!
Go Army!  Beat Duke!!!

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