The Magic Quilt

Nancy makes quite a few really beautiful quilts but a while back she did a piece with magical properties. It’s a table cloth that decorates our eating area. What’s magical about it is that it makes things disappear. The pattern and color combinations swallow up anything you put on it. It really eats up glasses and keys and wallets. I set those items down on the table and then can never find them again. Especially the glasses. I will tear up the house looking for where I put them and invariably they turn up on that table topper. It’s the first place I look but even then, you can’t just casually look, you have to run your hands over it and stoop down to scan at just the right angle. Magic. I know it’s crazy but I’m starting to think the things do disappear and then reappear. Yeah, cabin fever.

And on quilts, Nancy is on a mission of mercy trying to repair a seriously damaged quilt sent to her by our great nephew, Andrew. One of his other aunts made the quilt for him years ago and it’s a cherished possession but it’s not held up well. Personally, I’d retire it or use it to cover plants during a freeze, but Nancy is fairly sure she can return it to service – it looks way too hammered to me. It’s all hand work with lots and lots of small pieces so it’s not a project that’s going to happen overnight. Andrew is not known for his patience so I intervened before the project started to let him know that this was no simple undertaking and that he should just keep quiet and let it flow – don’t bug your Aunt Nancy. He promised to be patient so I’ll have to trust that it will all end well.

I guess this would count as a quilt story – Nancy belongs to this quilt group which meets weekly. I’ve never been to a meeting but guess that they sit around and sew while chewing the fat on a wide range of subjects. She came home with a beauty this week. If you grow lettuce or spinach you know that it has to be washed really good to get rid of all the sand and soil that accumulate on the leaves as it grows. After washing, you dry it out using a spinner or some other method but you can’t use it sopping wet. One of her quilt companions told her that the best way to dry lettuce is to put it in the clothes dryer. You put the wet lettuce in a pillow case, tie the top, and then put it in the dryer. Sounded bizarre to me but then I can’t imagine hanging the leaves on the clothes line either. A little bit after she came home I heard the dryer going and then a loud yelp about 15 minutes later. Turns out the knot in the pillow case had come out so the dryer was spinning lettuce leaves outside the bag. I’ll have to admit the leaves were dry and the salad tasted good so no harm but I won’t be surprised to find little chunks of lettuce leaf in my undies.

Pending Crisis

I have a pending crisis that has me losing sleep. Simon wants to attend the University of Florida and has sent in his application. He not only wants to attend but play sax in the Gator marching band. His grade point average is over 4.0 which you would think would guarantee his admittance. Just not true. With all the quotas and admission rules, it’s not necessarily for sure that he will be admitted. I know, hard to believe you could have all he has going and a grandfather who is an alumni and still not be accepted but it’s possible. My crisis is that if he’s not admitted, I’ll have to boycott the Gators. No more Gator football on the tube; no more Gator flag on game days; no more Gator shirts. What a bummer. We’ll find out on Feb 12 so until then, I can stay behind the basketball team anyway. For me this will be a great loss but for the Gators, it could be an insurmountable problem. With me hexing them – no more SEC championships, no more national championships, losses to FSU and UGA. It’s going to be an ugly stretch until maybe Olivia takes a shot at Florida and they see the error of their ways. I apologize in advance to all the other Gator fans who are going to be impacted but you gotta do what you gotta do. Personally I don’t worry about Simon’s future, whether he goes to Florida or not. He’s a smart kid with a good looks and a great personality – all ingredients for success. I hate to see him be disappointed in the moment but not concerned for his future.

And while on the subject of Florida – I’m surprised to see the controversy arising over Tim Tebow’s commercial to be aired during the Super Bowl. I can’t imagine that there’s a question over his right to produce the ad and I’m not sure CBS would really be on
solid legal ground if they refused to air it. I don’t think they could refuse to air it because it would be offensive to some people – not after they air commercials for Viagra, female hygienic products, beer, casinos, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, undies, et al. I’m guessing even those Victoria Secret or Hanes ads bother some people Surely all of those are offensive to one group or another. How about those ads by the Animal rights wacky doos. Global Warming ads are offensive to me. The Geico ad’s are offensive to Cave men. What I find most delicious about the whole controversy is that the groups who are offended are the civil liberties, freedom of speech liberal crowd. Freedom of speech is a great freedom unless it is that you are offended by a particular speech. I also love it that the more these groups oppose it, the more pre-event air it gets which will no doubt continue long after the airwaves clear.

Is there a rule, written or unwritten, that says a canoe becomes yours after you rescue it a certain number of times. I pulled in a 10′ aluminum canoe for the second time. Not sure who owns it but assume it’s one of the Mexican fern workers on the other side of the lake. I saw it drifting by a few hundred feet off shore and low down in the water. I kayaked out to it half way expecting to find somebody on the floor of the boat but it was 3/4 full of water. I brought it in, dumped out the water and tied it up to the dock in a highly visible fashion so if anybody starts looking for it, they’ll find it easily. It is set up as a fishing boat with a trot line all wrapped around some specialized hay rig attached to the boat. Sure hope some catfisherman didn’t fall out and drown. I don’t think so because there’s an unused life jacket in the boat.

Compost Update

This current batch of compost is going to be the most citrus heavy ever. Between George and us we have juiced loads of grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines with all the rinds making it to the compost pile. Usually it’s more evenly distributed over time but with that cold stretch, we picked all the trees clean. It’s also heavily loaded with wood ash from George’s fireplace. He’s gone through record amounts of firewood so far and the season really isn’t half over yet. Also during this compost construct, I’ve picked loads of cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli which leads to lots of big green leaves and stems – a heavy nitrogen load. It’s all this green, moist material that cooks the brown, carbon loaded material – the branches, leaves, and palmetto fronds. The compost purists try to keep an exact ratio of brown to green. I do too – whatever is available goes in. I need monster piles and just can’t be too choosey.

Right now I have a pile which is still building and a mature, ready for use pile. Within the next couple of weeks I’ll load the mature compost into the garden and use that location for a brand new start – new material goes into that one. At the same time I shut down the pile I’ve been loading and work it to maturity. That pile is maybe 4 cubic yards, partially decomposed. Working it means taking a pitchfork and turning it every few days. There’s one school of thought that is even looser than me – don’t work it at all, just let it sit for 6-8 months. If you wait long enough, it decomposes just as if it had been worked daily. With the cold mornings we’re having it’s quite easy to tell that the pile is cooking. Even with an outside temp in the mid 40’s, the center of the pile is hot to the touch and steam pours off when I turn it over. Some compost purists actually keep a thermometer in the pile and adjust the mix to have just the right cooking temp. If I see steam, I know it’s cooking. It will take, perhaps, 3 months for this to cook to garden ready. If you do the math, I put roughly 4 piles a year back into the garden – maybe 8-10 cubic yards total – and it’s really starting to show in terms of the quality of the garden soil.

One thing I don’t do with the compost is strain it. Most gardeners run the compost through a screen to eliminate the larger pieces. I don’t do that by design. My theory is that the bigger pieces aerate the soil and continue to break down over a long period of time. A month or so back I was watching a garden show on the tube and a master gardener was showing the host how to make a compost pile and then use it. The host is also a gardener and jumped back when the guest started putting the compost into the garden without sifting it. That caught my attention and I was just hoping the guy would defend my approach and not say I was doing it totally wrong. He put the host in place by saying that eliminating the straining was not only ok but actually, in his opinion, preferred.

I crack up when I read about people taking their kitchen waste and keeping it in a little bucket to create compost. Of course all of our vegetable based kitchen waste goes into the compost pile but if you compare that amount to the total material in the pile, it’s miniscule. I would have to guess that a years worth of kitchen waste would generate a couple of shovel loads of finished compost. If you had a nice rose bush, that would probably keep it blooming. I guess if you started with basically good soil, that amount would be useable but for a garden big enough to feed you, it would be totally lost.

Three years ago our soil was purely sand but now it’s taking on a rich, organic texture so if I ever get the critters under control, we should really get some great veggie production. At least I will have lost soil quality as an excuse for failure. I can already see it with the current carrot crop. Year one was a total loss; year two was a bit better – maybe half the carrots made it but were grotesquely shaped; this year, classic, picture taking carrots. Exact same seed pack, just new soil. The other fact is that garden level is raising so it drains better and presents much deeper soil for root growth. That should help it survive the rainy season. So all in all, the compost is making a big difference and I know I’m on the right track.

Tomato Trivia

A bit of tomato trivia. When you buy tomato seeds from a catalog there are a series of letters associated with a particular variety. The letters denote specific characteristics that have been bred into the variety to fight diseases, fungus, virus and other crop killers. I’ve honestly never paid too much attention to that and selected based on the descriptive material describing taste, size and maybe nutrient information. I just recently noticed a big N buried in the string of letters and checked the legend to see exactly what the N stood for. Turns out it’s Nematode resistance – one of my big problems. I noticed when I pulled out the dead tomato plants earlier this week that among the three varieties I had planted side by side, one had roots that were totally eaten up by nematodes. It’s very distinctive because nematodes create large, white nodules all over the roots. I had labeled the varieties so went back to the catalog and sure enough, the varieties with the N were clean whereas the variety without the N were eaten up. Next year’s seeds will all have the big N.

Have you ever tried pelleted seed? The seeds from some veggies are really tiny and difficult to see and handle; carrots, lettuce, parsley and mustard come to mind. When you sow these seeds you tend to do it thickly and then have lots of thinning to do when they pop out of the ground. Some seed companies provide these seeds in a coating so the resulting pellet is maybe double the size of a BB. I’ve always had some doubts about using them, especially lettuce where the seed envelope usually says that it takes light to germinate the seeds. How does the seed get light if it’s incased in a thick coating? This season I started using pelleted seed for carrots and have had great success. You can plant them evenly spaced and the germination rates have been just fine so the thinning task is virtually eliminated. I decided to try it with lettuce using my new indoor, planting system from Park Seeds. I placed the pelleted seeds on top of individual peat impregnated sponges set into the sponge holder. The sponge holder is in a tray with a clear plastic cover so the moisture is contained and the temp remains nearly constant. I keep a grow light going overtop the seeds 24 hours a day. Three days later, no signs of anything happening but on the next day, one of them had sent out a root and another was turning greenish. Over the next two days there was similar action in several of the sponges so it seems to be working as advertised.

One of the crops I’ve had great difficulty with in Florida is Spinach. That’s a bummer because it grew so well in Utah and we love it. I’ve tried several different varieties, different planting techniques, different timing but nothing has worked. The seeds seem to have trouble germinating and when they do, the plants are spindly and not very healthy. According to the seed companies, spinach seed is one of those that is best planted fresh – in other words, buy new seed each season. With my soil looking so good now I decided to give it one last try. I took a couple of packets of older seed – purchased 2 years ago, combined and soaked them in a cup of water overnight. I then prepared a bed and basically broadcast the soaked seed throughout the bed rather than trying to equally space the seed in nice rows. Normally it takes 7-10 days before you start seeing any germination at all from spinach seed but I noticed a few poking out 3 days after planting. I’m sure that comes as a result of the pre-plant soaking.

Lake Rescue

Had to do a lake rescue Monday. I went out to the dock to feed the fish and noticed that our Adirondack chair was gone. It had been sitting on the outter portion of the dock and must have been blown off by the high winds we experienced on Sunday. Tommy and Tina had bought that chair for me way back in Utah for my birthday or father’s day or some event and it was one of my few treasures. It was still blowing fairly hard and it was nowhere to be seen in the immediate vicinity of the dock. I didn’t think it would sink since I coat it with sealer every year or so but was concerned that flying off the dock and bouncing around in the lake would tear it apart. I put the kayak in the water and cruised along the shore where I expected to find it. Nope. I came back to the dock and probed the water in case it had sunk after hitting the water. Nope. Looked carefully in a weed bed adjacent to the dock. Nope. So I hit the lake again in the kayak and extended my search far beyond where I thought it could have gone. Sure enough, I spotted it way back under an overhanging tree a few hundred yards farther down the lake. I came back and exchanged the kayak for my jon boat and brought along a large pair of lobbers to cut my way through the trees. Success. I managed to get back in and retrieve it just fine. It did suffer some minor damage but nothing I can’t easily repair.

A great loss

Last month just before Christmas, I lost someone very dear to me. I haven’t been able to sit down and write something about it until now. Aunt Betty was my last hard hook to the generation that raised me and things just aren’t going to be the same anymore.

As a young kid I lived in the inner city of Philadelphia and led an inner city kind of life. My Aunt Betty and Uncle Bill and my cousins lived in the country in New Jersey. I spent quite a bit of time every summer with them playing in the woods and learning things about country living. Things like raising chicken and turkeys; having a garden; making whole dill pickles from the cucumbers we picked. Picking and eating wild black berries; swimming in lakes. I know that’s the reason I live out in the woods today and love it so.

Our family and theirs moved to Florida at about the same time; us to central Florida, them to South Florida. There was no interstates but we still managed to visit frequently and for me the lakes and woods changed to the Coastal Waterway. Learned to ski, fish for snook, troll for bluefish and nightfish for King Mackerel in the ocean. Aunt Betty had a way of cooking Kingfish steaks that I’ve never been able to replicate – she told me but I think she must have held back some key ingredient because mine never tasted as good as hers. If we weren’t fishing out of Uncle Bill’s boat we were out on a head boat called the Helen S. I remember it all so vividly. One thing I don’t remember is how we all managed to sleep in so small a house. We just did.

When we started off to college, my cousin Joan and I hit the University of Florida. Lots of stories about that but none we could tell Aunt Betty. Those were the days when Spring Break meant heading for Ft Lauderdale. I would load up a car of buddies and we would head down to Pompano. I don’t think I ever called Aunt Betty or Uncle Bill to ask permission – just showed up with my crowd knowing for sure that we had a place to sleep – for free. To this day when I meet up with some of those guys and we start reminiscing, one of them will inevitably bring up staying with my Aunt and Uncle and how great that was. That’s pushing 50 years. I really feel proud of my family when that happens.

For the past few years I started sending her a cake for special occasions. Specifically Mother’s day and Christmas. I don’t know if my cousins were bothered by my stealing a piece of Mother’s day but my cards always said happy Aunt’s day. She would call and tell me I shouldn’t have done it; should never spend so much money on her. I just told her that it was only another second mortgage on the house and she said that then it was ok. A beautiful sense of humor. I probably should have gone down to see her more often but I knew that she really wanted more privacy and I wanted to keep her in my mind just the way she was the last time, perfect.

Nice and warm

No more guessing, the covers are off the garden. I fared a little better than I had hoped. The tomatoes were totally hammered but I knew that from the get go. The peppers were hurt badly but not necessarily killed. We picked about 20 nice peppers and then I cut off all the obviously dead branches and pulled out the plants that were clearly dead to the base. I’ll know in a couple of weeks whether or not there’s anything left in them. At one point during the cold stretch the cover blew off the Swiss Chard so it was hit directly. Still, it looks like it might have made it. Plenty of dead leaves but some smaller, inner leaves look good. I’ll know in a couple of weeks on that too. Everything else seems to have survived. I wasn’t too worried about the cool weather crops that were nearly mature but the most recent transplants were still in a delicate stage. It seems that they all made it. I have a few items ready to transplant into the garden so I’ll be up to a fully planted plot by the end of the week.

So right now the biggest fallout from the freeze are the normal tender bushes that will recover when cut back in March and the lake which was pumped down nearly 2′ by the fern growers. At this point it’s so low that I can’t very easily get in and out of the boat from the dock and have moved it up on my neighbor’s beach. And the fish have quit biting or moved far from their normal haunts – whichever it is, I’m not catching them. But I’m warm while not catching them; that’s something.

I snuck a peak

I couldn’t resist so I peeked under the garden cover in a couple of spots. In general it looked pretty good. My big fear were the peppers and they are definitely not looking really good but they aren’t hammered either. So still the only obvious casualty are the tomatoes and that was to be expected. They were tall plants and I could only give them a single layer of frost protection whereas the peppers have 2 -3 layers. We still have a few nights of cold forecast but if the peppers can make it through, I’m thinking I’ll be able to trim off the dead stuff and bring them back to production with some TLC. The cabbage looks fine and so do the peas and cauliflower. What I can’t see because they are located toward the center of the coverage are young plants that I planted in mid December. I can only hope on that. I do have new cool stuff started in the house so I will have replacements waiting in the wings as required.

I’ve learned some lessons for next year – If I plant tomatoes late in the season , say the end of Sept to mid October, plant an early variety. I didn’t pay much attention to that and planted 85 day varieties. There are 58 day varieties which are generally smaller but had I put those in, we would have harvested prior to the freeze. I also learned that the frost covers I bought last year do indeed work. They didn’t get much of a test last year but when this stretch ends, we will have had two solid weeks of serious, record breaking cold and unless the bottom totally drops out, the cloth did the job. My fear was that I bought cloth that was too light. The tradeoff is that the lighter cloth allows better light transmission and can maybe be used all spring for bug protection, With heavier frost cloth, it would cook the plants as soon as it warmed up and couldn’t be used for warding off the flying critters.

Another piece of good news is that the bromiliads in the jungle seem to have made it so far. I had mentally written them off as too sensitive to possibly hold on this long. But they are well protected by the natural trees and palmettos and within 75′ of the lake so I guess the temps there have just not been as severe as up by the house.

I did stumble on a way to feel warmer in this cold snap. I watched a show on the tube that I had never seen before and had no idea about the subject matter but the title lured me in. It was call the Deadliest Catch – I needed something to watch while Nancy was watching her Sunday night chic stuff. Turns out the Deadliest Catch is about crab fishing in the Bering Sea during the winter. These fishermen are tough. They’re out there in freezing cold with waves breaking over there heads climbing all over a stack of icy crab traps. What a wimp I am to give up trolling for specs when the wind picks up to 10mph and the temp drops below 40 degrees. Next time I’m out there I’ll just focus my mind on crabbing in the Bering sea and know just how nice and warm it really is here.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that the fish that usually hang around the dock have headed off for warmer climes. Up until today, when I’d go down to feed them, they would rise up and gobble the food pellets. Today, nada. Not the first rise. With the dramatic drop in water level I guess the cold is getting down closer to the bottom and they’ve headed off to the deep, warmer water. Mid week I caught spec’s in about 6′ deep water. I wonder where I’ll find them when I can get out there again?

I did break out my secret weapon against the cold and it worked perfectly. In Utah some of the best fishing occurred at a large reservoir up in the mountains where temps in the teens started in Sept. Usually by mid Nov it was totally iced over and the best fishing was just before the ice over. It was painful because it was so, so cold but the fishing was so, so good. I bought a snow mobile suit and that helped a ton but the killer was a head covering I bought called a Head Sokz. Somehow the snowmobile suit didn’t make it to Florida but the Head Sokz did. I got it at a Sportsman’s show and the guy who sold it to me said it would absolutely keep me warm in the coldest weather. He was right. No matter how cold it was, I’d put on the Head Sokz and within 15 minutes I’d be unzipping the snow mobile suit to cool me off a bit. I had forgotten about it but this morning decided to give it a try while the local temp was 32 and the lake was calling my name. Oh, yeah – like having a heater on board. I also used a pair of gloves that have open finger tips but include a mitten held on with velcro so that you can use the gloves either open finger or as mittens. Perfect. So it wasn’t too cold for me at all. Too cold for the fish though. Not a bite.

Will it ever warm up?

Still seriously cold – and it looks like it’s not over yet. The forecast now is for this week to be just as cold until Friday. I did manage to get out fishing Wednesday when the wind gave me a couple hours of slack. The spec’s are still out there and I managed to get an even dozen in two hours. That’s respectable. One thing very noticeable is that the lake level has been pulled down over a foot in the past few days. We’re surrounded by ferneries and they pump and spray lake water over the ferns to provide hard freeze protection. The pumps have been running for the better part of a week and it’s showing. The lake is 60 acres so you can get a feel for just how much water that is. I’m guessing this will continue for a few more days so no telling where we’ll end up. Also, I’m not really sure how much of that water works it’s way back into the lake via drainage. All the marginally sensitive plants are gone, not dead, but for sure down to the bases. I lifted the cover over the lettuce to pick some and it seemed just fine, a little nipped on the edges but in good shape. I haven’t worked up the courage to peek under the area where the green peppers are planted. If any pepper plants make it, I’ll be surprised. And yes, we did get something very snow like on Saturday morning. It was more tiny ice crystals than snow flakes but it did accumulate enough on some surfaces, like the hood of my truck, to be visible.

One day last week a 130 year old low temp record was broken in Key West. It hit 47 degrees. Also saw that we’re rescuing frozen sea turtles and endangered manatee. Where the hell is Al Gore when we need him. What we need is an Al Gore equivalent who is concerned about us all freezing to death. I haven’t heard any of the newsheads mention global warming in months. I guess we’ll have to wait until August for those reports. I do think that when it snows in Florida, we might want to think about which would we rather have, global warming or a return to a new ice age. Personally I’m a fan of a warm globe. This might not be the coldest ever in Florida but it’s the longest stretch of cold, dismal weather I ever recall here. I’ll admit it pales in comparison to what we experienced in New Jersey last month but then that was what I expected. This is not. I’m catching a serious case of cabin fever and having flashbacks to winter in Utah. Here’s how bad it is – I’m watching a high school football game on TV and baking a loaf of the no-knead bread we were introduced to over Thanksgiving.

One good thing about the weather is that my neighbor George has got his fireplace in full crank mode. It’s not a very good fireplace in terms of generating useful heat so he has to keep a major inferno going to get any good out of it at all. What’s good about that for me is that he creates lots of potash which I use to enrich the compost pile.

Gads, no more college football.

Had an interesting experience this morning. We’re midway through a spell of frigid weather. I woke up about 4:30AM, checked the outside temp and was pleased to note it was 34 or so – not yet freezing. At 8AM it was just about the same and a pan of water outside was predictably not frozen. I assumed we had dodged a bullet since the sun was out bright and you would naturally assume the coldest part of the day was past. I went back out at 10AM and the water was covered with a thin sheet of ice. What’s that all about. Might be a good time for Obama to unhook from Big Al Gore and admit that it’s actually getting colder before it becomes too late. Too late is when even the most casual observer realizes it’s not getting warmer. He could claim he saved the planet from global warming and was moving on to the next big problem. There was a picture on the tube of a Nuke power plant in Jersey closing because of ice in the Delaware River. I looked really closely at that picture and think I spotted a polar bear way off in the corner, clinging to an iceberg.

Although we are still not through the cold spell, I can do an initial assessment on the garden. Tomatoes are history. The peppers were double covered so I can’t see what’s going on under the canopy but I’ll be surprised if they make it. I peaked under one spot where snow peas are planted and they looked ok and I’m hopeful that the cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce will make it. The forecast is for another 4 or 5 days of this frigid weather so anything that survives will be a bonus. I’m not liking the way the leaves on the citrus trees are looking. Way too soon to make a prediction but they definitely were hit. Ditto the elephant ears which I am not sorry to see get hammered.

I hate it that college football is over.

About the Gators. After the Sugar Bowl you have to come to one of three conclusions: (1) Cincinnati was way, way over rated. You got that hint when the odds makers had Florida a 13 point favorite even though the Bearcats were ranked 3rd in the nation and the Gators, 5th; (2) Alabama is really, really good to have beaten the Gators so soundly; or (3) Florida had a seriously off day and is really #1 in the nation. If by some stroke of magic Alabama loses to Texas, we’ll know for sure that (3) is the right answer. The thing that I enjoyed most about the Cincinnati game was the number of pass receivers that Tebow used. Where were these guys all season long? Ditto a couple of the runners especially that sophomore who broke a couple of long runs in the 4th quarter. I had never heard his name once during the season so I’m starting to feel better about prospects next year. I guess the Urban Meyers thing will straighten itself out between now and then. Nancy thinks the heart problem story is bogus and the real problem is that his wife gave him an ultimatum – her or the Gators. If that’s true – chomp chomp Ms Meyers.

And while on the subject of football, I hate the idea of a national playoff system. It will do to college football, what’s happened in the NFL, the NBA and college basketball. That is, reduce the significance of regular season games and go to a strategy of just making the playoffs. In college football, every game is important. In the NFL, for example, once a team has secured a playoff position, they dog it. Keep out good guys to rest and recuperate them for the playoffs. The tail end of the NBA season is exactly the same – for most teams the last month of play is just for exercise and used to rest the starters. The ones that have to play there hearts out to eke out playoff spot are almost always destroyed in their first playoff appearance. There is no incentive at all for teams to win more games after they’ve secured their position – in fact it’s dumb to risk injuries just to win a meaningless game.

College football is full of rivalries that go back, in some cases a hundred years. If those games happen to fall late in the season, as they often do, the intensity of the game can’t help but be reduced if one of the teams is already playoff secure and more worried about keeping healthy for the playoffs than winning a meaningless game. Why would a team ever put together a tough schedule? Why not get out of the conference and become an independent? Does anybody watches college basketball regular season games? It’s all about the playoffs, March Madness – which will soon be expanded from the top 64 teams to the top 100 or more. Most sports fans could list the top basketball schools but couldn’t tell you what conference they were in – especially the small school power houses. Anybody know what conference St. Johns is in; Gonzaga; Temple; UConn; George Washington??? I’d hate that to happen with college football where the conference strength is an important factor and every conference game is important.

It also means that sometimes a Cinderella team will win whether or not they’re the best team in the country by virtue of their full season record and the teams they’ve played. They may be the healthiest team at the end of the season because they haven’t sustained injuries associated with playing the big, physical teams in the SEC, Big 10 etc. Honestly, is there anyone who thinks TCU or Cincinnati, or Boise State is really the best team in the nation?? Best in conference, sure; Best in class, sure; exciting to watch, no doubt; best band; but #1 in the country? I don’t think so. Personally, I’d can the BCS championship and let the fans just argue it out over a couple of brewski’s about which team is the best in the nation. Even with the championship game, nobody ever believes the end result is correct unless you happen to be a fan of the winning team. Take the Texas – Alabama game this year. Every Texas fans knows they would have won if Colt McCoy hadn’t been injured after just a few plays. And every Alabama fan knows that even after spotting Texas two big time scoring opportunities in the first couple of minutes of the game, they still won. Does anybody think that the results of this game really tell us the #1 team in the nation? Hell, everybody knows Florida is better than Alabama, don’t they? And once I saw Boise State’s Orange and Blue colors, I knew TCU was toast. I think Boise State and Florida should now play to determine which team should really be wearing Orange and Blue.

What really gets me is that there are actually bills pending in congress to force a college football playoff series. Orrin Hatch and several others are sponsors – probably Ivy leaguers . Orrin, come on, man up. You’re a Republican. You sound like an ACLU, “that isn’t fair” kind of lib. Please, stay in Utah and write cute songs. Make yourself useful by trying to keep Gitmo operating and keep out of the really big stuff like college football.

I’ve got an idea. How about dividing the country into two groups and have two football seasons. I don’t care how the split is made except it can’t be all the large schools in one and the small schools in another. I suggest dividing the country into four quadrants. Each season you’d rotate among the regions so that in one season the SE plays the SW; In a following season the SE plays the NW and eventually, against the NE. One group plays from Sept to January, the other from January to May. That way we’d have college football all year and they’d be good games. We could designate summer as the bowl or playoff season and sprinkle those games based on regular season results.