My Television Trends and Black Media

I've noticed that a lot of the television shows I like have a very common trend: They all are premised around an "extraordinary" (quotes intentional) male lead character:

Burn Notice, Psych, Curb Your Enthusiasm, House, The Office, Dexter, Californication

But none of the lead actors in those shows are black. Is there really no market for an extraordinary black lead on a quality TV show? And not Meet the Browns... Sadly, I can't even think of an actor to do it, the only recent show of any quality that comes to mind is the Bernie Mac Show, though I may just be misinformed.

And to clarify, there are other shows that have black people, but of shows that have stronger male leads, none (of the ones I watch) are black.

Am I missing something?


The Demand for a Playoff

So Boise State won. They beat the mighty Big 12 Conference Champion in Oklahoma, and now there is anarchy. Right?

Wrong. There will be no playoff, unless something earth shattering happens, like America converting to socialism. There are a bunch of reasons why the NCAA should adopt a playoff system for Division I-A, so I do not need to restate them. However, I do want to present what I feel would be the best format to adopt, if in 2057 the revolution finally occurs.

So there is a 12 team playoff, NFL style. Going undefeated matters, because you get a first round bye and you play at home for the first game, a doubleplus good. In addition, like the NFL, the top seeded team plays the lower of the remaining seeds, an added advantage. Teams earn more money the farther they advance in the playoffs, and the payout could be distributed in tiers. The playoff determines a champion on the field, and the complaining world is at peace, for five minutes.

The next debate would be who gets in. I feel the system could be exactly the same as it is. The BCS conferences can still monopolize the field with their automatic bids, and we use the exact same system used now to determine the at large teams, but we just choose more of them. The potential problem is now more of who gets ranked 12th versus 13th, but this is a much lesser evil than choosing the number 2. The system should probably be the same as the current BCS, as flawed as it may be. It is not the fault of the computers that Michigan became worse than 2 teams without losing. It was the will of those who vote.

The only difference from the BCS system I would call for is that any undefeated team automatically gets in, regardless of conference, so long as it plays 1 team from a BCS conference. So suddenly Duke will be the hottest team in the nation to play. There are ways the BCS conferences could sabotage this by denying to play non-BCS conference teams. In addition they may argue about strength of schedule issues. But in response to both a good amount of BCS teams play division I-AA schools anyway, so they should just replace the I-AA team with a WAC team, for example. A possible issue is the extremely rare chance that there are more non BCS teams that are undefeated than there are at large spots.

For the near 40 teams that would not make the playoffs that would be in a bowl game now, why not keep the random name sponsor bowl system for them? Bowl games between teams with average records, which I consider those bowl games where both teams have less than 10 wins, will not lose any viewers since a majority of those games run during the week anyway, when the playoff games would not be played.

If Ohio State wins on Monday, we will have an undisputed national champion. There will be no teams that have not lost a game that can complain about the system, and all will be well, right?

Except for everyone in Idaho.



Bowl Season

New year, same problems:

It is very difficult to enjoy college sports, as the NCAA has decided that some of the games worth watching should come on at the same time. New year's day featured two games I really wanted to watch, West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech, and Arkansas vs Wisconsin. The games were running at the very same time, making it impossible to enjoy both. Having a television with Picture in Picture is nice, and helped greatly, but when push comes to shove, I end up missing the big plays from both games.

The irony is that the teams who no one really cares about all run solo. So the GMAC bowl and the Poppajohns.com bowl will be the only bowl game on when they air, but when two games both with ranked teams play, they are on at the exact same time. Who schedules this stuff?

What is even worse is how New Jerseyans got screwed royally. The best season Rutgers has had in decades, and we can't see the game, because it is on the NFL Network. This is ridiculous. The NFL Network is trying to get carried by basic cable services, but the price they are asking for is too high. Their solution is to steadily piss off football fans so that we call our local cable operators and demand the network. It is a rather ugly method, and will only lead to later bad relations, but that's not the issue. NCAA, why couldn't you the GMAC Bowl on the NFL Network? Sure, Rutgers should be good again next year, but let's not waste a 10+ win team's bowl game on a network that is run by the league that takes away the NCAA's top talent a year or more too early. (An issue that needs to be address in another entry)

But it could be worse, much worse. March Madness, the time of year where the words pool, bracket, sleeper, and underdog are used most frequently, features by far the worst television package ever. One channel - and in my area the one with by far the worst picture - is selected to carry all the games for the 65 team tournament. Luckily, the NCAA realized that it was a waste to not have some way for all the games to be watched, and now I can watch them streaming online. So I have two choices: watch the feature game in my area on fuzzy CBS, or watch any other game in choppy online video.

NCAA - Amateur athletes, amateur programming scheduling.


Ballin for Pride

(Note: I tried using a Yahoo Widget to submit this post, and when it failed to post, it also deleted what I typed. Lesson learned. So I'll try to summarize what I wrote)

This time of year has me feeling good for the recent successes of two players: Steve McNair and Allen Iverson. The players have similar backgrounds, as they both raised the play of teams that were jokes beforehand and led them to the Super Bowl/NBA Finals. Now, about five years later, both players were treated in a sour fashion.

Iverson led the Sixers to the NBA Finals, despite having no player that anyone will probably remember 5 years from now. The Sixers did nothing to try to improve the team, if anything, the roster only got worse. After the only major attempt to improve the team flopped, it was clear Iverson would not have a chance to win in Philly. The 76ers shopped Iverson around all summer to other teams like as if he was a used car with 120,000 miles on it. Unsuccessful, they finally traded him about a third of the way through the season, despite the team being within 6 games of first place in their division. (They play in what some are calling the worst division in sports history.) Now Iverson is on the Nuggets, a team that can compete and maybe even win the Western Conference, and will be even better next year when Kenyon Martin returns. The Sixers, on the other hand, have the ill fate of considering throwing games so that they have a better shot of the #1 draft pick, as that is the only way they will improve.

Steve McNair led the Titans to the Super Bowl, and were literally one yard short of being the champions. After an injury ridden past few years, McNair was banished from Titan facilities while on the comeback from a recent injury. Basically told he was no longer wanted, and being disrespected publicly by the team, McNair is now on the Ravens. The Ravens are 12-3 and can earn a first round bye in the playoffs. The Titans are now dangling to hopes for a playoff spot after finally finding traction with Vince Young. But this isn't about them.

The similarity of these two athletes, both in their thirties, is rather striking. They both show that players can overcome the unnecessary adversity placed upon them by their former teams, and can lead a new squad to success. I'll root for the Nuggets all the way, and the Ravens too...

... Until they meet the Chargers.


Readership measure: tell me something I don't know

I figure this should not be that hard. For the random blog browser who catches this, leave a comment schooling me on something new/noteworthy. Knowledge is power, right?