I’m going to get my digression out-of-the-way first this time, we’ll call it an appetizer.
To start, Notre Dame competes as an Independent at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision level, and is a founding member of the Bowl Championship Series coalition. It is an independent team, not affiliated with any conference.
The Bowl Championship Series’ “Notre Dame rule”** gives the university unique privileges in the postseason among independents. If Notre Dame finishes in the top eight of BCS teams, it is automatically selected. The university receives $4.5 million for playing in a BCS game and $1.3 million when it does not.
A set of rules is used to determine which teams compete in the BCS bowl games.
Certain teams are given automatic berths depending on their BCS ranking and conference, as follows:
- The top two teams are given automatic berths in the BCS National Championship Game.
- The champion of a BCS conference (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC) is guaranteed an automatic BCS bowl bid.
- Due to the “Notre Dame rule”, independent Notre Dame receives an automatic berth if it finishes in the top eight.**
- The highest-ranked champion of a non-BCS conference will receive an automatic berth if:
- It is ranked in the top 12, or
- Ranked in the top 16 and higher than at least one BCS conference champion.
- No more than one such team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference shall earn an automatic berth in any year. However, a second team from one of these conferences may qualify as a BCS at-large.
- No more than two teams from any one conference may receive berths in BCS games unless two non-champions from a BCS conference finish as the top two teams in the final BCS standings, in which case they will meet in the National Title Game while their conference champion will play in their conference’s BCS bowl game.
- The third-ranked team will receive an automatic berth if it has not already received one, if it is a member of a BCS conference, and provided that its conference has not already earned two automatic berths, if there is room.
- If the third-ranked team did not require a berth using the previous provision, then the fourth-ranked team will receive an automatic berth if it has not already received one, if it is a member of a BCS conference, and provided that its conference has not already earned two automatic berths, if there is room.
After the automatic berths have been granted, the remaining berths, known as “at-large” berths, are filled from a pool of teams who are ranked in the top 14 and have at least nine wins. The actual teams that are chosen for the at-large berths are determined by the individual bowl committees.
If fewer than 10 teams are eligible for selection, then an at-large team will be any Football Bowl Subdivision team that is bowl-eligible, has won at least nine regular-season games, and is among the top 18 teams in the final BCS Standings, though any at-large team ranked in the top 14 will be guaranteed a bid over at-large teams ranked lower than 14th. If fewer than 10 teams are eligible after expanding the at-large pool to 18 teams, then the at-large pool will continue to be expanded by four additional positions in the BCS Standings until 10 or more teams are eligible. No team ranked lower than 14 has used this rule to earn an at-large bid, although several teams ranked lower than 14 have received a bid for winning their conference, as the rule was not in place in the early years of the BCS.
All BCS conferences except the Big East have contracts for their champions to participate in specific BCS bowl games. Unless their champion is involved in the BCS National Championship game, the conference tie-ins are:
- Rose Bowl – Big Ten champion vs. Pac-12 champion
- Fiesta Bowl – Big 12 champion vs. at large
- Orange Bowl – ACC champion vs. at large
- Sugar Bowl – SEC champion vs. at large
- The Big East champion takes one of the remaining spots.
If the Pac-12 or Big Ten champion is picked for the BCS National Championship Game, then the Rose Bowl must choose the highest-ranked school from a non-AQ conference instead of the respective conference’s #2 team if there is a non-AQ school ranked at least #4 in the final BCS standings. This was the case in 2010, when the Oregon Ducks made it to the national championship, permitting the #3 TCU Horned Frogs to attend, and win, the 2011 Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl is permitted to override this provision if it has been taken within the previous four seasons.
All 11 conferences compete for an opportunity to earn AQ status. As agreed by all 11 conferences, the results of the 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 regular seasons were evaluated to determine which conferences earned automatic qualification. Three criteria were used: Rank of the highest-ranked team, rank of all conference teams, and number of teams in the top 25. The six conferences which met that standard are the current BCS conferences.
The 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons will be used to determine if another conference achieves automatic qualification for the BCS games that will conclude the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
“Ok,” you say, “Well, why is the school that is named after a French Church have a ‘Fighting Irishman’ as their mascot?”
The Leprechaun wasn’t always the official mascot of Notre Dame – for years the team was represented by a series of Irish terrier dogs. The first, named Brick Top Shuan-Rhu, was donated by one Charles Otis of Cleveland and presented to Irish head coach Knute Rockne the weekend of the Notre Dame-Pennsylvania game Nov. 8, 1930.
A number of terriers later took the role of the school mascot, which usually took the name Clashmore Mike. The Clashmore Mike mascot last made an appearance on the cover of the 1963 Notre Dame Football Dope Book with coach Hugh Devore and captain Bob Lehmann.
Although the leprechaun was not registered as an official University mark until 1965, in 1960, Terry Crawford became the first man to don the uniform and appear with Clashmore Mike at Notre Dame Football games. Crawford served as the leprechaun until 1962.
The Leprechaun was named the official mascot in 1965. It was designed by noted sports artist Theodore W. Drake in 1964 for $50.
From Notre Dame’s own website the history is explained from a 1953 publication in more detail:
“…To us, it doesn’t mean race exclusively; nor is it just another nickname. The fact is, it keeps alive the memory of a long, uphill fight for recognition against a spirit that was not always generous, nor even fair-minded. The Irish, as known at Notre Dame, has an authentic history and a meaning deeper even than race.
Notre Dame began athletic relations chiefly with local colleges founded by various denominations. Press reports would refer to the schools as the “Baptists” or the “Methodists,” and the like. For Notre Dame it was the “Catholics,” or the “Irish.” But the players were never all of Irish ancestry; nor were they all Catholics.
The usage was not original, but a continuing custom from earlier Colonial times. The bulk of the first Catholic immigrants were Irish — so that Catholics and Irish were identical in the public mind. It is sad to recall now, but few of the original states were without laws against them. Advertisements for ‘help wanted’ commonly carried the restriction: “No Catholics. No Irish.” The Puritans were the first to cry: “Stop the Irish!”
When the religious origin of other colleges lost its significance, the emphasis shifted to conventional names, and to their school colors. But history is recorded remembrance in our blessed heritage here at Notre Dame. Fighting Irish! It’s more than a name; more than a people. It is the Faith!
In narrow, little New England, it began as a slur — a term of opprobrium. But we took it up and made of it a badge of honor — a symbol of fidelity and courage to everyone who suffers from discrimination; to everyone who has an uphill fight for the elemental decencies, and the basic Christian principles woven into the texture of our nation. Preserving this tradition, and this meaning of Irish at Notre Dame does honor to every one of us…”
As I mentioned the above was originally published in 1953 and here is a link to The Mascot Gallery which echos the same sentiments, but with revitalized and beautiful designer prints to be purchased. I looked through most of the others that were available and in my opinion the ‘Fighting Irish’ design was the best.
OK, setting college football aside let’s get onto the New Years festivities…
New Years Trivia Quiz over at Squidoo.com
1. Under which calendar is New Year’s Day Jan. 1?
A. Julian Calendar
B. Gregorian Calendar
C. Jewish Calendar
D. Chinese Calendar
2. Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the new year for what religion?
3. Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday that begins Dec. 26 and extends through Jan. 1. What does the word mean in Swahili?
A. First fruits
B. First people
C. First days
D. First dance
4. What calendar determines the date of the Chinese New Year?
5. In the Middle Ages most European countries used the Julian calendar, so they observed New Year’s Day when?
A. Feb. 14
B. March 25
C. April 1
D. May 2
The Main course: Weirdest of the Weird for 2011!
OMG- Google that and you’ll take all of 2012 to sort that out, The Huffington Post had a GINORMOUS selection. But, I couldn’t resist when I saw the following…
Best Mug Shots of 2011[abridged, click here to see the full list]:
This camouflage might work well in nature, but it really stands out in the police station. Oregon investigators believe Gregory Liascos, 36, was wearing this “ghillie” camouflage when he attempted to break into the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. After setting off alarms, the suspect allegedly fled into a wooded area nearby. Officers only found Liascos when a police dog bit what appeared to be a patch of grass — which yelped in pain. On Oct. 12, 2011, authorities said Liascos failed to show up for his trial. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
[FF-LOL Editor’s note: The Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals is right off of Highway 26 a few short miles from where I work. I remember seeing all the police vehicles, including the SWAT van, and the large hub-bub when I drove by to go to my home in Forest Grove, but didn’t bother to look for a news article. Now I know.]
Holy handcuffs! Police in a northwest Michigan town are touting the arrest of Batman. The legendary caped crusader was reportedly nabbed while dangling from a 30-foot-high building. The unmasked superhero wannabe is actually a local resident named Mark Wayne Williams.
Some people have guilt written all over their faces, and others, like assault suspect Robert Norton Kennedy, have apologies tattooed across their foreheads. A booking photo released by the authorities in Horry County, S.C., appears to show the 51-year-old sporting a facial tattoo that reads, “Please forgive me if I say or do anything stupid. Thank You!”
Perhaps because you only get to wear a wedding dress on your wedding day, Michigan’s Tammy Lee Hinton elected not to change out of her gown and veil when police took her mug shot just a few moments after she said, “I do.”
Oneal Morris is accused of posing as a doctor in Florida and filling a woman’s buttocks with cement, mineral oil and flat-tire sealant [apparently he/she also applied the same ‘surgical’ method to them self]. The woman wanted to work at a nightclub and searched for someone who could perform plastic surgery to give her a curvier body at a cheap price. Police say Morris was born a man but identifies as a woman.
In addition to repeatedly rubbing elbows with the law, Colorado native Michael Campbell has earned a reputation for his transformation from mildly tattooed mug-shot subject to incredibly tattooed mug-shot subject, making this perhaps the scariest mug shot of all time.
Another Huffington Post article highlights some other fantistical tidbits [abridged, click here to see the full story]…
Among many other amazing things, 2011 gave us the birth of conjoined twins who share one two-headed body, and at last report, the extremely close brothers were happy and healthy.
Over the year, we were introduced to a man with a 100-pound scrotum, a woman who crawled inside a dead horse [seriously go read that one, it’s another crazy Oregonian!], another woman who taught new mothers how to turn their afterbirth into vitamin-packed nutritional supplements, and a diaper-wearing, pacifier-sucking man who calls himself an “adult baby.”
Yet another article, Don’t get sick in India…
Arun Sandhukha, 53, had been a pneumonia patient at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) since December 11. According to the newspaper, his family members arrived at the hospital for a visit and found him in a pool of blood, with no medical staff in sight.
Later in the day, Sandhukha was pronounced dead. (Asian Age published its story on December 24, but it is not clear on what day the incident occurred.)
… a drunk medical worker “was reported to have pulled off the oxygen mask of a three-week old baby that led to her death,” reports the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama.
And in a tragedy that made international headlines, 89 people were killed when a fire swept through a Kolkata hospital on December 9. Medical staff abandoned patients as the blaze spread, and six administrators were charged with culpable homicide.
If you want something more Politically based you can find the Top 10 Weirdest Stories of 2011 here.
10. Alabama politician and government official by day, secret sperm donor by night…
Bill Johnson is a former top economic development official in Alabama who mounted a long-shot gubernatorial campaign last year, touting his stance as a conservative Christian opposed to gay marriage. But that doesn’t mean he’s against same-sex couples having kids. In fact, he wants to help. A newspaper in New Zealand revealed that Johnson had been covertly donating sperm to lesbian couples there so he could bring children into the world.
Johnson, known online in sperm donation circles as “chchbill,” forgot one important detail in his quest to become a father: He didn’t tell his wife about his secret life. Bad move. She thought he was just working in New Zealand as a contractor.
9. Sibling Rivals…
The year’s best example of sibling rivalry took place in Elmore, Ohio (pop. 1,500), where brothers Lowell and James Krumnow faced off in a mayoral race that swiftly turned negative. When James, a first-term councilman, decided to challenge the incumbent mayor (his younger brother), he didn’t even bother to call up Lowell — the mayor found out about his surprise rival from an employee.
Soon, Lowell went on the attack, calling his big brother unqualified for the post. James fought back, saying the town’s residents had urged him to run against the 20-year political veteran.
It was the seasoned politician, Lowell, who in November emerged victorious, by a 384-245 vote margin, to hold on to the mayor’s office. But Lowell said he didn’t plan to rub his victory in his brother’s face, telling POLITICO, “At this point, I would not be surprised if he ran again. That kind of thing’s always going to come back to haunt you — better to be diplomatic.”
The story: A photo of a self-described “very fit fun classy guy” — otherwise known as Rep. Chris Lee — leaked online, featuring the congressman standing in front of a mirror shirtless. The New York Republican had been trolling Craigslist and sent the picture to a single Maryland woman.
Lee described himself as a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist — he’s actually 46 and married with a child — and the woman quickly figured out he wasn’t telling the truth. For some reason, Lee had used his own name and gmail account for his Craigslist prowling.
Just a few hours after the picture became public, the congressman resigned and the scandal seemed over before it began.
7. Weiner’s Wiener…
It all started with a tweeted photo from Rep. Anthony Weiner’s account of a man’s bulging briefs. Weiner denied the crotch shot was his and claimed he was hacked, telling POLITICO, “The wiener gags never get old, I guess.”
Thanks to his last name alone, there wasn’t much question this scandal would be one for the ages. But Weiner’s downfall was filled with spectacularly bizarre moments, such as his strange denials — the now classic response that he couldn’t “say with certitude” whether the image was of him, for example…
…Weiner swore he wouldn’t resign — even as more images and sexts flooded the media, and the news broke that his wife, Huma Abedin, was pregnant with their first child — but he eventually succumbed to the inevitable.
6. Hasta lasagana, don’t get any on ya’…
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise was the stuff of Hollywood legend — from bodybuilder to action star to “governator” — but the revelation he had fathered a love child turned his story into an over-the-top soap opera.
He and wife Maria Shriver had recently announced their separation when it got out that Schwarzenegger had managed to keep a huge secret — he was the father of a 13-year-old son by another woman.
The Hollywood twist: The boy’s mother, Mildred Baena, was the family’s longtime housekeeper, who had worked in the couple’s home for 20 years. And the kicker: Schwarzenegger and Baena’s child was born in October 1997, and his son with Shriver arrived only a month later.
5. Donald Trump trumpets his stupidity…
Long story short this ass-hat who can’t stop styling his hair like a comb-over helmet won’t shut his pie-hole that Obama isn’t really an US citizen aka the “Birther” conspiracy. [FF-LOL editor’s ‘summary’]
David Wu had some weirdness going on back in 2010, thanks to his bizarre tiger costume photo and erratic behavior that prompted some members of his team to suggest he seek psychiatric help. But in 2011, in the midst of the debt ceiling debate, Wu was hit with the scandal that would lead to his resignation.
The teenage daughter of a campaign contributor accused him of an “unwanted sexual encounter,” and Wu — who had previously faced an allegation of sexual assault from a former girlfriend in 1976 — said he would not seek reelection in 2012. Shortly after that announcement, however, the beleaguered congressman finally took his tiger suit and left Congress.
3. Don’t mess with her man…
Across the pond this summer, News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch had been testifying at a phone hacking parliamentary hearing in London for two hours when suddenly a man who had been sitting in the room approached the media titan and tried to shove a shaving-cream pie in his face.
Enter Wendi Murdoch. The 80-year-old Murdoch’s much younger wife, who had been sitting nearby, quickly leaped to her husband’s defense, fearlessly smacked the assailant and picked up the plate to try to clobber the protester with his own pie, according to eyewitnesses. [click here to watch the video, Wendi is wearing ‘pink’ I believe]
2. How much is that muffin in the window?
This one goes in the too strange to be true pile — the tale of the Justice Department’s $16 muffin. A September inspector general report claimed that taxpayers had shelled out $16 per muffin at a recent department conference, and the outrageously expensive breakfast item broke onto the scene as this year’s prime symbol of government waste.
But the legendary muffins really were too good to be true: In an unusual move, the inspector general later apologized and admitted that it had received additional information revealing the DoJ did not, in fact, pay $16 per muffin. Alas, the true cost of the muffins remains unclear. It is Washington, after all.
1. ‘The Muppets’ are Pinko-Commie-Bed-Wetters aka FOX News just needs to shut the hell up…
“The Muppets” may have been one of the year’s best-reviewed movies, but that didn’t stop Eric Bolling of Fox Business’s “Follow the Money” from leading a strange debate about whether the Muppets are communists by asking, “Is liberal Hollywood using class warfare to kind of brainwash our kids?”
He and his guests than discussed, in-depth, how the portrayal of the movie’s villain — Tex Richman, a tycoon who wants to destroy the Muppets theater to drill oil — is blatantly promoting a left-wing political agenda to young children.
“We’re teaching our kids class warfare. Where are we, Communist China?” Bolling said.
The debate quickly went viral. Director James Bobin shot down the rumors, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “No, the Muppets are not communist. And the character of Tex Richman is not an allegory for capitalism in any way. The character is called Tex Richman. It’s a joke. Clearly he is a classic, old school bad guy. He’s bad not because he works for an oil company but because he’s evil.”
Well, folks, I think that about does it. I hope you enjoyed the quick review, don’t forget you can always sort through more weird news at Chuck Shepherd’s site here.
Have a Safe and Happy New Year– Don’t Drink and Drive, always have a DD, call a cab, or just fall asleep on someone’s couch.
New Years Trivia Answers!
1. B) Gregorian
2. D) Jewish
3. A) First Fruits
4. A) Lunar
5. B) March 25