Category Archives: Forum

Debating college football’s post season bowl games

By Ty Elliot

Co sports editor

“Playoffs?!”

The month of December is arguably the best month of the year. There is Christmas break, Christmas day, and college football bowl games. Yes, there is nothing better then watching bowl games. Well, except for the NFL playoffs, and the NBA playoffs and the college basketball tournament. There are better sports’ post seasons better than the college football bowl system. But, if the NCAA were to adopt a college football playoff it would be much more intriguing.

College football’s post season is much different than other sports. In 2010, 35 bowl games will be played represented by 70 teams, the most important game being the Bowl Championship Series National Championship. The championship game features the number one and number two ranked teams in the nation. Despite the simplicity of the BCS system, every season seems to bring drama as to which two teams deserve to play in the title game where there are usually more than two teams that are worthy of those two positions. There is also criticism of how the teams are chosen due to the “BCS formula.” All of the six BCS conferences (Big East, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, PAC 10, and the Big 12) are allowed to have one team represent them in the BCS bowl games, which is awarded to the conference champions. The formula is made of three components, 1/3 is the Harris Poll which is compiled by Harris Interactive, which is a market research company in which specializes in internet research; 1/3 is the Coaches Poll which is voted on by the coaches; and the other 1/3 is the computer rankings. The computer rankings have brought the most criticism. Allowing computers to choose a team to play in a game is ridiculous. A computer for one can not physically watch or see a team play football. A computer has no knowledge of football.

This formula has brought many unfair situations to teams that are not in those BCS conferences. In past years, teams like Utah, Boise State, and TCU have been given harsh criticism from the BCS formula. All of those teams are not in the “BCS qualifyingconferences.” They are looked down upon because they do not play a tougher schedule of games as those in the BCS conferences. But, in fact, in recent years those teams have proven they can hold their own while playing tough teams.

In 2004, an undefeated (11-0) Utah team played Pittsburgh (8-3) in the Fiesta Bowl. Utah was lead by the eventual number one pick in the NFL draft in 2005: Alex Smith. Utah showed to be the better team as they won in dominating fashion 35-7. Utah also played in the Sugar Bowl in 2008 against Alabama. Utah defeated Alabama 31-17 which opened the door for question. Should Utah have played in the title game?

In 2006, undefeated Boise State (12-0) played Oklahoma (11-2) in the Fiesta Bowl. In one of the most exciting games of all time, Boise State won in overtime 43-42, but earned little respect from the rest of the nation.

 What is a better solution for the NCAA? The NCAA should adopt a 16 team single elimination playoff. There are a total of 11 college football conferences. All 11 conference champions should receive an automatic berth into the playoff. Then, the top five ranked teams who did not win their conference will receive a wild card berth. The NCAA can seed the teams based on their BCS rankings with the number one team playing the number sixteen team. With this playoff system, the teams that are in small conferences can have a chance at winning the prestigious national title. Teams like Boise State and Utah will get that chance that they have never gotten in the past, which is to win the title.

 Come on NCAA, change this system to a playoff before the guys on capitol hill do. Do you really want Barack Obama to determine the fate of the college football post season?

Love invokes curiosity

Regan Bartley

Forum Co-Editor

Love invokes curiosity

Ever since I was a young girl, I always dreamed of growing up and living  my life like a fairy tale. My perfect life would be snuggled up next to my husband in our log cabin, cozied up next to the crackling fire, and sharing our dreams and aspirations.
When I was in fourth grade however, I witnessed my family split apart due to a bitter divorce. My parents told me just because my dad was moving out of our house did not mean he loved me any less, and it was not my fault. They said everything would work out and would be okay, but they did not mention that our loving family was now destroyed.
Since then, I have always been skeptical of the meaning of true love and never understood the purpose of vowing to love and cherish, ’til death do us part if it is possible to break the promise. This is when I began to wonder if it is possible to be completely happy with one person and stay in love together for a lifetime. Does a special person like this really exist? Is there such thing as a soulmate? I have understood a soulmate to be the one and only person in the world to fit perfectly with another individual.
A soulmate is the one person who can help us see our dreams and hope they come true just as much as we do. I see a soulmate as someone to share our passions with and make us happy for the rest of our lives by being our other half. As I got  older and began to dabble in the world of relationships,  I have learned there are several important relationships I share with people that grow every day. These are with my friends, family, God, teachers, co-workers, and the everyday stranger, yet I am staggered by the on going curiosity of the ideal mate. I started to believe a soulmate to be not just our one true love, but a person you can feel a soul connection with. I feel that you can have a connection with anyone, whether it is during a passing conversation with a stranger at your local coffee shop, or the feeling of falling in love.
As I have learned more about other beliefs of a soulmate and experienced many myself, I decided a soulmate can be any of these examples. I think we can have many soul connections with people through out our lives. If we feel loved and comfortable to be our complete selves around another being then we have a soul connection. If we can express ourself and show unconditional love towards them. I feel that is the epitome of a soulmate.
We all have the intrinsic desire to connect to another being in such a way, but the journey is made when searching for who it will be. When you find them, you will know. It is just two halves looking to be made a whole.

Student battles phone fears

By Grace Runkel
Features co-editor

I suffer from telephobia. I was not always like this; I used to love to talk on the phone when I was young. I was excited when my parents finally taught me phone etiquette. I also have many fond memories of myself playing office and constantly answering my imaginary phone.

However, somewhere along the line, probably in those terrible tween years, I developed my debilitating phobia of the phone; as well as mottephobia, but that is another story. So what is it that is so terrifying about the phone for me? It is a pretty long list, but I could probably sum it all up in three words: it is… awkward.

I am okay when I am talking with my mom during one of her many “I’m just checking up on you” calls. I can even handle when a friend calls about a homework assignment, but if the conversation goes over five minutes I start to freak out. What do I do if I run out of things to say?

This is the worst possible thing that could happen because either the callers make very lousy small talk about the weather or some other minute topic, or have a very awkward silence. I am not sure which of these situations are worse since both make it clear that no one has an actual desire to talk.

Even simply dialing the phone gives me goosebumps. I started dreading this part after my friend and I tried to call another friend, only the number we were given was not actually hers.

We dialed the number three times, and each time a man answered and we were too freaked out to say anything. Not long after, we received a very angry phone call.

Now whenever I dial a number I have to check it three to four times before I actually make the call. However, speed dial has become a very close friend to me.

However I am making an effort to overcome my fears. No, I have not taken therapy sessions, but I have started using the phone.

Instead of having a long, drawn-out conversation via texts, I try to call people when I need to tell them something. Rather than e-mailing someone to contact them, I will pick up the phone and leave them a message.

It is a slow healing process, but I believe if I stay on my path to recovery perhaps one day I will be normal. Well, more normal.

Columnist speaks out against abortion

Garret Receveur
Forum Editor

I am pro-life. Always have been, always will be. Abortion is one of the worst crimes any human being can commit, up there with genocide. The victim is defenseless and does not know what is happening. My stance on abortion puts me more on the conservative side of the political scale.

More often than not, I find myself cheering on the Republican in the presidential elections rather than the Democrat. I like to think that I have no affiliation with any political party, but this obvious bias for Republicans says otherwise.

Yet, I do not always agree with everything a Republican president does during his term(s), nor do I always disagree with the Democratic president’s policies.

Take June 20, 2007 for an example. On that day, former President George W. Bush issued a veto, which overruled a measure attempting to remove Bush’s ban on embryonic stem cell research. Until that day, I had supported almost all of Bush’s policies on multiple occasions. But this was not one of those times.

His presidency ended sourly over a year later, due to the worsening economy and his ultra-conservative policies, which even a Republican like me could not stand.

Then Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. Those who know me know that I detest Obama, his policies, and his idea of radical change. The numerous bailouts will not fix the economy; the Obama-care health plan is completely unnecessary and socialistic. But that is another column.

Recently, Obama has started to move onto my good side, despite his ultra-liberalism. Perhaps most important is his removal of the stem cell research ban, a monumental decision, up there with his removal of combat troops from the Middle East.

The two most recent presidents passed groundbreaking laws about stem cell research, both of their positions loosely defining their presidency. So what is it about embryonic stem cell research that makes, or breaks, a presidency?

Stem cells are unique cells that we are all born with. They have the ability to transform into any kind of cell the body needs, whether it be a heart cell, a brain cell, or even a simple skin cell.

This is big news for the medical community. Is grandpa dying from Alzheimer’s? Transform a couple stem cells into brain cells. Is he struggling with diabetes? Generate some pancreas cells. The possibilities are literally endless.

However, the best kind of stem cells to harvest can only be harvested from embryos. And this is where the controversy starts.

More often than not, the embryos are killed when scientists harvest the stem cells. At first glance, this is a premature form of abortion and my pro-life self should not support it in the least. Why then do I support it?

Abortion is the killing of a living being before it is born. But I do not consider an embryo a living being. A living being must have the ability to perform complex actions, including but not limited to motion, production of energy, and transport of that energy throughout the organism.

This criteria means that embryos are not alive until about the fifth week of pregnancy, which is the time their brain and heart start to function. Until then, I do not consider them alive. Therefore, feel free to harvest stem cells from them until we find a better way.

There is a group of scientists out there who are working on a way to convert adult skin cells into stem cells, but it has not produced the same versatility. That is the magic of embryonic stem cells. It can be easily transformed into any kind of cell in the human body. Once an organism is born, the cells pretty much stay the same type of cells throughout the organism’s lifespan.

The best time to harvest stem cells is before the fifth week of pregnancy. Think of all we as a species could accomplish with access to a ready supply of stem cells. Debilitating diseases like stroke or Alzheimer’s would be a distant memory. Paraplegics or victims of muscular dystrophy would gain full use of their limbs again.

With all the promise of this field of research, it makes little sense for one to restrict it. I am pro-life and have never been in support of killing an unborn child, but the promise of major medical advancements and ability for numerous people to pursue a life of happiness is too great. Sometimes, you have to be willing to sacrifice one life to save millions.

Violence and the good guys

By Danielle Rehor

We are all taught as small children that fighting is bad and not to punch your little sister in the nose. But what about the guys on TV? What about Sergeant Martin Riggs and Sergeant Roger Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon? It is acceptable for them to be violent because their victims are the bad guys?

As children, we are always told do not fight or argue with our siblings, parents, or friends. We must get along with others or else we are told we will have no friends. We are warned time and time again to follow the golden rule.

If we are not to fight, why can the guys on TV and in the movies do it? They scorn the bad guys, they fight, often kill them, but they do not get in trouble. In fact, they get rewarded: they get the fast cars, the hot chicks, and have the loyal best friends.

Just like the violent good guys get rewarded, shows such as “Bad Girls Club” pay people to badmouth others and fight with each other. People actually watch shows that are about people who cannot control their emotions, so they cuss them out.

If we are always watching movies where some guy is just pulverizing anther person, does that influence our actions at all when we are angry or upset?

If we do not learn how to control ourselves at a young age, we will grow up and will not know how to handle ourselves in a professional environment. We get some bad news or someone else gets the promotion we wanted, what do we do? We cannot punch our boss in the nose or key our coworker’s car as they would in a reality TV show. We do not have the same heroic freedoms as the people in those shows.

We have to learn, before getting out in the real world, that violence rarely ever solves problems.

It agitates problems, causes people to stop talking, and severs relationships. But it does not solve problems.

While on vacation once, we rented a condo and apparently parked our boat in the wrong spot. When we woke up to drive to the lake, we could not. Some one had gotten so mad they took the air out of two tires of every single car in the parking lot, keyed our boat, and poured beer on someone’s dashboard.

 

How does that help a situation? If anything it took us longer to leave their parking spot because we had to fix the tires. The people automatically assume that we parked there just for convience, when in reality we didn’t know better.

So the next time we see something wrong being done, do not just assume it was purely malice and not a mistake. The next time we feel like popping an annoying kid in the mouth, take a step back, compose yourself and walk away. Do not be a Dr. Hannibal Lecter, because we all know that is not going to end well.