The Sweep: Political Action

A newly-formed anti-BCS political action committee got the Sweep thinking (and that's rarely a good thing.) After running through our Top 25, we present for your reading pleasure what the college football world would look like were political figures to take it over, or what politics would look like were college football figures to take over. Here's how we would cast it…

As always, we begin the Sweep with a Top 25. These are our best guess as to where all the teams will end up ranked, not power rankings that attempt to actually rank said teams on strength, as there are plenty of other sources for that.

This week, we drew up the poll from scratch, instead of just adjusting off last week's. Consider it a midseason spring cleaning, a purge of all the preexisting notions we had about teams (carried forward from their preseason rankings) and replacing them solely with what we've seen on the field. Thus some of the teams coming and going don't make much sense at the bottom of the poll, which, as always, is a colossal mess once you get past No. 18 or so. Texas stays at the top – I know they're winning ugly, but they're winning, period. I don't see anyone left on the schedule who can beat them.

2009 Week 8 Top 25
1. Texas (0)
2. Florida (0)
3. Alabama (0)
4. USC (0)
5. Boise State (0)
6. TCU (0)
7. Miami (+3)
8. Penn State (+2)
9. LSU (0)
10. Cincinnati (+2)
11. Iowa (+2)
12. Ohio State (-5)
13. Oregon (+3)
14. Utah (+1)
15. West Virginia (+11)
16. Georgia Tech (+6)
17. Virginia Tech (-9)
18. Notre Dame (+7)
19. Oklahoma State (0)
20. BYU (-2)
21. South Carolina (+5)
22. Kansas (+4)
23. Oklahoma (-9)
24. Pittsburgh (+2)
25. South Florida (-8)

Just missed: Arizona, Michigan, Central Michigan, Wisconsin
Dropped: Arkansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Auburn
Added: Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Kansas, South Carolina

Questions, comments, concerns? Dannovi on this site or

Political action

A headline in college football this past week simply made my head turn. An anti-BCS political action committee has been formed to attempt to institute a college football playoff, in implicit recognition that political pressure is the only possible trump card to greed when it comes to BCS reform. In turn, this proposed PAC got me thinking about the crossovers between football and politics, two of my favorite passions. Gerald Ford played football, Ronald Reagan was the Gipper, George W Bush owned a team, albeit a baseball franchise. JC Watts, Tom Osborne and Heath Shuler are all Congressmen, Lynn Swann considered running for governor of Pennsylvania, and the list goes on and on. So, in the spirit of the highly politicized times in which we live and in recognition that the one thing us Stanford fans may be as passionate about as sports is politics, I present for your reading pleasure what the college football world would look like were political figures to take it over, or what politics would look like were college football figures to take over. Here's how I would cast it…

Disclaimer: This is intended as satire. That it may not be particularly funny reflects more on the author's lack of funniness than any political agenda. Indeed, there is no political agenda here, as rule one of writing for a mass audience probably is don't needlessly piss off half your subscribers. So if you find it funny, good, and if you don't find it funny, I'll work on my comedic timing, but if you take it seriously and thus get offended, you're probably one of those people who is no fun whatsoever and trying to ban dodgeball in schools. If that's you, stop reading now for both our sakes, and don't say I didn't warn you.

Barack Obama – Pete Carroll

Not too long ago, both were anointed as the savior of a historic power who'd fallen on some hard times. Young and charismatic, both enjoyed unbelievable success at first, with Obama rising from losing a Congressional race to winning the Presidency in a matter of years, and Carroll taking USC from the Hackett era to a national championship in mere years, which might be a larger climb yet. More recently, however, while neither star has fallen on his face, per se, many say that both men haven't produced anything tangible in a long while, and are thus starting to question whether all of the hype is warranted. Still, both guys do oversee one of the most powerful forces in their respective universes and are generally well-liked.

Plus, of course, both men claim to be noted humanitarians. Pete Carroll's website once said as much explicitly, but has now taken down the "noted humanitarian" language, presumably after enduring much ridicule. Obama, meanwhile, wishes he could do the same after all this talk stemming from him winning the Nobel. (Bonus similarity: Carroll's troubles in hanging onto his assistants mirror Obama's difficulty in finding a Commerce Secretary.)

Joe Biden-- Mike Leach

Both are older guys who've never quite reached the pinnacle of their profession. Instead, they've always outshined by brighter stars in their field, such as the men above. Still, both are a wealth of knowledge – Biden possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of US foreign policy since 1973, Leach starting an offense that the best minds in football still haven't found a way to stop. Yet insiders (okay, okay, me) can't help but love the men, most of all, for their quirks and their candor.

As for quirks, where to begin? Biden loves riding Amtrak on a regular basis. Leach loves lecturing on pirates similarly regularly. And as for candor, Biden puts his foot in his mouth and tells Ukraine's president his women are hot, Leach sees that and raises, telling the Cleveland Browns' head coach that he stinks at his job. Biden starts an international incident by seemingly contradicting Obama when talking about policy toward Russia, Leach starts a league-wide brouhaha by going after the refs. For your viewing pleasure, two of the most colorful, uninhibited personalities in the game today.

Al Davis—Kim Jung-Il

I know Davis is an NFLer and not a college guy, but this one is too good to pass up. Best as we can tell, both men are old, crazy and reviled. Both organizations are run under a shroud of secrecy, which only contributes to the ever-present questions of who's even running the show. Yet, as much as it pains the rest of the world to admit it, both men are powerful, at least at times. A former President has to go crawling to North Korea to get our journalist-hostages back, while the NFL Commissioner has to meet Davis' demands whenever he wants to get something done too.

Boise State/Cincinnati/TCU/the BCS buster du jour -- Olympia Snowe and the rest of Max Baucus' special six Senators

Enjoy your moment in the spotlight, folks, cuz it ain't going to last for long. (Bonus similarity: both tend to come from rural parts of the Mountain West, as Boise State, Utah, North Dakota's Kent Conrad, Montana's Baucus and New Mexico's Bingaman can attest.)

Notre Dame -- Afghanistan

Both receive an inordinate amount of attention and resources, way too many resources, critics would argue, when the real nexuses of power are right next door. For Notre Dame, you don't have to go too far – Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan have all won shares of national titles since the Irish last came close, in 1993. Across the world, I read that Pakistan is now as central, if not more so, than Afghanistan in the US' war on terror. Both powers also celebrate a long history of winning, with Notre Dame the nation's No. 2 winningest program of all-time, and Afghanistan successfully repelling the Soviets, the British and just about anyone else who has tried to invade since time immemorial. And, of course, both regions are geographically barren. If you've ever driven across 80/90, you'll agree.

Chime in on the boards with some of own of recommendations, but do try to keep it neutral (i.e. not blatantly ripping on one party any more than the other. The goal here is humor, not political missionary work.) Plus, of course, stay tuned for next week. If we haven't been fired yet, we'll throw in some more of the same...

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