Random notes and observations:
*I'm helping out the guys at The Student Section this week with their roundtable discussions, and we touched on Chris Fowler's rant from last Saturday on the accusations of "SEC bias" against ESPN.
To expand a little bit more on what I said there, concerns about bias tend to come from people looking for a bogeyman. It's a lazy argument. I have no doubt that the suggestion that ESPN management is instructing its on-air talent to stump for the SEC is false.
But it's harder to sort out how ESPN influences a sport in which public perception is so important – starting from the ground up in recruiting and ending with selecting a champion.
In the end, ESPN is following the money, which happens to be its reason for existence. If you're expecting some kind of equal time policy, you should move on. Frankly, that's not ESPN's job.
*A better question: If the other conferences don't like it, what are they going to do about it?
*We also covered the situation at Virginia Tech and discussed dead-solid certainties about this season.
*"Boardwalk Empire" really limped to the finish line. All in all, the series was at its best when the focus shifted away from its lead character, which is a fairly big flaw. A season built almost entirely around that character's story is going to fall flat.
(And what was the deal with young Nucky's chompers?)
*George Schroeder of USA Today nails why these weekly rankings from the new playoff selection committee are a bad idea. (For everyone except ESPN, of course.) That describes just about everything related to this selection committee, honestly.
*The New York Times article on the life of James Foley and his fellow ISIS hostages while in captivity is profoundly disturbing. Great reporting work.