After watching the semifinal games, plus the Peach, Orange and Cotton bowls, one thing is clear. A four-team playoff is not enough. No one can argue any longer that Ohio State didn't belong in the final four, but Texas Christian, Baylor and Michigan State also should have been allowed to make their case on the field. The playoff should be eight teams.
Pac-12 vs Big Ten. I don't know if the new system is perfect, but under the BCS this would have been the Rose Bowl game while Florida State and Alabama played for the national championship. Seems the SEC really was overrated.
More than half the Florida State team fled to the locker room at the end of the game, instead of congratulating the opponent. This lack of class and sportsmanship reflects directly upon the coach and university. This is newsworthy and should have been mentioned. Strictly Bush League.
Not counting "ducks" before they are hatched is wise practice, but the Oregon football team is at least treading a historic path. In 1939, Oregon won the first NCAA basketball tournament. Now another Ducks team has the opportunity to score a similar victory, the first NCAA football tournament championship ... and it gets better. The Oregon victory in that first basketball championship game was over, that's right, Ohio State.
Having feasted on Rose Bowl hospitality this week, I feel compelled to join a fine Southern California tradition — taking issue with Times columnist Bill Plaschke and his New Year's Eve column bashing Florida State.
In criticizing what he called the "baggage" of Florida State's football program, he impugned the university's academic credentials.
In truth, FSU is an elite public research university with highly ranked academic programs, a very distinguished faculty that has included six Nobel laureates, and extremely talented students who graduate eager to change the world.
More than 19,000 students from throughout the country applied for early decision to Florida State and those admitted were a sterling group with a GPA average of over 4.0 and test score averages of 1900 on the SAT and 29 on the ACT. The highest quality applicants know an excellent institution when they see one.
Mr. Plaschke did not mention that during our Rose Bowl visit our football players physically lifted a devoted fan from his wheelchair and walked him on the practice field as the whole team clapped and cheered him on for more than 40 yards. Their action spoke volumes about the true Seminoles spirit.
President, Florida State University
It seems unreasonable to hold a coach responsible for the independent and sometimes foolish acts of his players during their hours away from campus and the fields of play.
But surely it is entirely reasonable to expect that a coach can successfully prohibit his players from absurd celebrations and taunting and responding to their opponents' taunting with penalties that alter the complexion and outcome of a game.
If not for the embarrassing suspension of one team captain, the unwatchable fourth-quarter collapses, a rout at the hands of the crosstown rival and lack of conference title (not even the South Division championship), USC's season might be considered "a total success," but certainly the same can't be said for the hiring of the head coach who made such an outrageous and absurd proclamation, nor an athletic director who apparently doesn't aspire to higher standards set by the Trojans' once-proud football program.
This is a love letter. To Pat Haden, who has quietly cajoled and pushed USC athletics back to positive headlines. To Coach Sarkisian, who has steadily striven to pull USC football back to respectability despite the draconian NCAA sentence of four years ago. To the USC seniors, who played their hearts out holding this team to accountability while exhausting themselves on the field due to lack of scholarship backups. To Cody Kessler, who showed dignity and patience last year, played brilliantly this year and is giving the fans the thrill of seeing him polish his skills even more next year. To the magnificent Leonard Williams, who deserves his chance to shine on Sundays.
On the court
Broderick Turner, writing in Sunday's sports section, asked; "Is Father Time finally catching up to Kobe Bryant?" Really, he's just seeing that?
How about this question: Is it now time for you all to be honest instead of trying so hard to be kind? This goes for being honest about Lakers management as well. One of the most important attributes of management is to be a good judge of talent and potential. And because the Lakers recently gave Kobe such a huge contract, it's obvious they will not be a contender for years to come.
Gary M. Barnbaum
I knew the Lakers' victory over the Golden State Warriors would bring the idiots out of the woodwork. I was so right, the idiots claiming Kobe was unneeded. What a bunch of jerks. Kobe is still one of if not the best closers in the league.
The best way to rest him in the future is during the game. Teach the other players not to stand around and watch him. And don't give him the ball with 10 seconds, or less, on the shot clock.
There are some good players on the team. Let them learn how to be good.
I love the Clippers, but not only are they underachieving, they're becoming the stumbling, bumbling cure for insomnia. Doc Rivers is an amazing coach, but what about President of Basketball Operations Doc? Without Jamal Crawford, the second unit is a joke. And Blake Griffin thinks he's a jump shooter (he's not), while the transition defense is giving matadors a bad name. Come on, Clippers, rise up!
Jack Von Bulow
Once again the NFL fails to make the right call. Ndamukong Suh should not be playing Sunday. What he did was not an accident and not the first time he has done an unsportsmanlike act. A $70,000 fine for Suh is like a flea on an elephant, a mild irritation. Suh should be suspended so his teammates feel the sting and can hopefully make him get his act together.
Forget about him
New Year's resolution: No more headlines, "Tiger falters in third round, nine strokes back." Put today's winners in the headlines. All in favor, say aye.
Wrapping it up
Looking back at 2014, here are 10 things we learned:
1. Jim Harbaugh is no wizard. His 49ers didn't make the playoffs.
2. Bill Belichick will never be hired as a TV analyst.
3. Phil Jackson is no wizard. His Knicks are flirting with last place.
4. Tiger Woods will never win another major.
5. On his worst day, Vin Scully is still the best announcer in baseball.
6. Clayton Kershaw will never beat St. Louis.
7. Marshawn Lynch will pay $500,000 in fines before he's finished.
8. Yasiel Puig will never stop swinging at bad pitches.
9. Pete Carroll is the best college-to-pro coach in history.
10. Whether it's next season or the season after, Kobe's "farewell tour" will be epic.
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.
Mail: Sports Viewpoint
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Fax: (213) 237-4322