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Unsolved Mysteries (12/12/03) --
Believe me, this is not something new. Ever since the launch of the system, there’s always been the standard cry: “I don’t understand the BCS! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” This then progresses to the point where everyone and their grandmother’s knitting needles are denouncing the system. Then columnists and talking heads across the country spring into action to either A) Help denounce the BCS or B) Try and explain it. Don’t believe me? Pick up any sports magazine dated in November going back to the inception of the BCS. It’s the same recycled stuff over and over (and over some more.)

Just stop it.

The reason that everyone is so quick to jump on this topic and offer their very much unneeded advice is because it’s so easy to knock. Saying that you are against the Bowl Championship Series is like saying you are for babies or that you are against the acting of Keanu Reeves. There’s not a single person in the world who is going to disagree with you.

Anyway, it turns out there are some devoted readers of Leonardite.com out there (I’m as baffled as you are) that asked me if and when I was going to deliver a BCS column of my own. “Not to worry”, I boasted like a typical drone, “It’ll be out later this week!” But sitting here, I realize that that’s too easy. As much as I love my readers, you can get the same information at virtually any sports outlet and probably from somebody who has more experience with the actual workings of college football than just playing NCAA Football 2004.

When I sat down and thought about it, I tried to think of what I would want in MY magazines rather than the usual, “NEWSFLASH! THE BCS SUCKS!” that continues to pile up year after year. Therefore, below are some things more mysterious than the BCS formula and I will give my educated guess as to the answer of each. Without further adieu:

1. The career of Jared Lorenzen

I can remember when the football season started and somebody was talking about

Some say this burger shows its future but I don't believe it
Lorenzen quarterbacking the Wildcats. I instantly said there was no way he was still in school. Everyone in the discussion was quick to say, “Oh, I don’t know, he hasn’t been around that long.” I began to think I was actually mistaken, but as so often is the case, I wasn’t at all. It was those around me. This guy has been taking regular snaps since he was a freshman. And by regular snaps, I mean starting. He has seen Hal Mumme, Tim Couch, Dusty Bonner, Billy Jack Haskins (Insert possible nickname), all come and go.

This guy has been starting since the ancient year of 2000, and was actually benched for a significant amount of time within that span. Forget the BCS for a second, how in the world is this guy still in college? I have sat here and pondered this situation and at first thought he might have gotten lost in the shuffle of the new administration, but 280 pound quarterbacks don’t just fade into the woodwork. Therefore, I think that he was supposed to graduate a long time ago, but nobody dares tell him to leave for fear that he might sit on them.

2. The befuddling moniker mess at North Texas

I swear I’m not making this up. The school mascot of the University of North Texas

It's usually a bad idea to name teams after lyrics from a crappy musician
is the Eagle. That’s right, the North Texas Eagles. But if you are to turn on the New Orleans Bowl next week or read any news story about their team, you’ll hear them referred to as the “Mean Green.”

Extra-Special Leonardite opinion: That name is ridiculous.

Most Gus Macker teams that have better names than that, and even most of those are stupid like “Extreme Bobcats” or “Old Guys in Shorts Too Small.” Now, my question isn’t why they call themselves the Mean Green. It is related to famous alum “Mean” Joe Greene. Respect is one thing, but defame both him and you by stooping to such a ridiculous level?

I can only think it’s for shock value. In a state that has just over half of Division I-A’s football teams, I guess they were looking to stick out in any way they can. But while cool teams like the Longhorns or memorable ones like the Horned Frogs recruiting your athletes, you are too busy trying to explain that you want them to play football, not in the men’s 21-29 division at the mall parking lot. Nice going, UNT. You’re not the class of the Sun Belt for nothing.

3. The mythical location of Penn State

Now this one really confuses me. If this is some game that Penn State is playing on us, count me out. What am I talking about? Let me ask you this: Where is Penn State located?

“Oh that’s easy: State College. No, wait, University Park. HUH?”

Yeah, that’s how I feel. I have done a little digging into this and I still don’t know the answer. For example, the EA Sports college football games have always referred to the Nittany Lions hometown as University Park. But ESPN/ABC has always reported that they are “Live from State College!”

It's in here somewhere
So I did a little digging on the net and came to Penn State’s library homepage. This is the description taken directly from that site:

Comprises a central collection and seven branches at the University Park campus, and libraries at...

Alright, so University Park it is. But wait! Let’s type “State College, Pennsylvania” into Google and see what comes up. Again, directly from the results:

Here you will find information about all of Central Pennsylvania including downtown State College, Centre county, and PSU.

So now it appears that State College is actually the home of Penn State. I then began to think that maybe “University Park” was just a place within State College. Entering “University Park, Pennsylvania” into Google reveals otherwise, however, as that too, claims to be the home of Penn State. And it also denotes itself as a separate municipality. I tried asking Joe Paterno, but his answer was "Florence Henderson" and I don't think that's it.

I give up. You win, Penn State. But because of the baffling location game you are playing with us, I'm pretty sure we all lose.

4. The homeless Temple Owls

I feel ya brotha
I want you all to take a trip down memory lane to the distant year of 2001. Back in these times, the Big East was the pimply-faced bully who was trying to throw its weight around on the playground. Trying to prove its toughness, the conference claimed that Temple wasn’t up to its “high” football standards and was booting it out of the conference (Mind you, only Virginia Tech and Miami were worth anything in football at this time).

Now we fast forward to the year of 2003, when the pimply faced bully got his glasses broken and his underwear pulled over his head by the ACC. Not only did the ACC publicly prove what we have known all along, that the Big East is an inferior conference, but it also robbed the league of its most quality teams.

Time to rethink Temple’s status, right?

Back comes the bully, this time with his glasses taped up and going commando. He still decides to kick out Temple because they aren’t up to the high standards of Rutgers football. But then again, who is? Oh yes, that’s right, my junior football team is.

So in 2004, it’s so long to the Temple Owls. But never fear, Big East fans, they’ve been replaced with George Mason, the Downtown Manhattan Harlequin Institute, and Bovine University. Big East Football….can’t beat it!

5. Air Force Football

With a friend of mine and a contributor to Leonardite.com currently becoming learned at the United States Military Academy, I am quick to point out the obvious woes of that institution’s football team to him. After setting a new record by going 0-13, the Black Knights finally put themselves on the map this season.

Navy, on the other hand, put up a respectable record of 8-4. This is good, until you consider that some of those wins came against Army, VMI, and Delaware. It should be pointed out that the latter two are Division I-AA teams and the former doesn’t have a real football team. And on any given year, Navy usually rolls into the Army/Navy showdown with the requisite one or two wins on the season.

The Army/Navy/Air Force traveling trophy:
It travels to the games and then it travels back to Air Force
But Air Force? Not only are they in the best conference of the three (Navy doesn’t even have a conference and Army won’t starting next year), but they are by far the most competitive. This team has been good enough to repeatedly go to bowl games, make rivals besides the other academies or Notre Dame, and to produce the occasional household name (Beau and Blaine Morgan, anyone?) So my question is, how do they do it?

I sat down to do some research and picked a website that had a photoshopped picture of George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler shaking hands on the front page. Obviously this was a foolproof source of information for virtually anything I would want to look up. During my quest for information, I learned that George Bush Sr. actually shot JFK and came up with the idea for “New Coke” along with the fact that our government burns homeless bag ladies to power turbines in an energy facility outside of Tucson that provides current to Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado. And it was on this site that I also learned the truth about Air Force football.

It all happened during a secret meeting of Congress to decide how to cover up the year-long war we waged in Luxembourg in 1986. An ingenious Air Force-retired senator slipped in a rider to the bill that required Air Force football to be good every year at the expense of the other two academies.

So now you know both the truth about Falcon football and about the war you were never supposed to hear about. Uncle Sam’s goons are coming to beat both out of your memory as we speak, as long as the UFO’s don’t get you first.

The Leonardite
Leonardite.com © 2003
Dedicated to The Stick