Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Never let facts ruin a good rant

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by the Associated Press college football poll: Proudly delivered by carrier pigeon since 1934.

Q: Oh, did that come out Saturday?

A: It did, tardy as ever (Hokies were 16th). The coaches poll was released two weeks ago. Preseason magazines hit the shelves in early summer. Dozens of other polls have popped up online in June and July. College football fans have discussed many of these for some time now.

And then in saunters the AP poll, all smug-like, saying, "Hey, guys, remember us? Buckle up, because here's the poll that REALLY matters." Nope. By this point, most of us are polled out.

Q: First of all, polls don't "saunter in all smug-like." Ever. And secondly, why's the timing a big deal?

A: It's not a big deal, I guess. Few things in sports really are, if you think about it. I just think the AP's missing a good opportunity to get a jump on the coaches poll. If anybody delivers news quickly, it's the AP. Spit that baby out in late July and enjoy the week of relevance!

Q: (From Mark Berman, after reading a draft of this column): Actually, the AP poll is much more telling than the other ones because it waited till now - because not only did it come out after USC added Penn State star running back Silas Redd, but they even let voters redo their ballots after the Honey Badger left LSU. That's why USC is No. 1 instead of LSU.

A: ...

Q: Hello?

A: Take your facts and scram.

Q: OK, so if you're done with polls, let's talk Heisman. Who's your pick?

A: USC quarterback Matt Barkley is the Vegas favorite, and for good reason. But I'm going to go with Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.

I know he's going to throw picks, but he's going to make those Heisman plays with his feet that fill up the highlight reel and make us forget about the mistakes. Plus, he's been a part of the discussion for a while. It's like Frank Beamer always says: Keep putting yourself in a good position and eventually you'll get one.

Q: Are there any darkhorse Heisman candidates nicknamed after historic dirigible disasters?

A: Yes. Listed at 50-to-1 is James Vandenberg, whose nickname is "The Mandenberg."

Q: Well, it does incorporate "The Man" into things. Besides, a lot of younger folks probably don't even know what the Hindenburg was. What would you nickname him, wise guy?

A: James "The Iowa Quarterback" Vandenberg. That way, people would know where he plays football. This also would provide a handy indication of his position on the field of play.

Q: Makes sense. Did you get a chance to see Felix Hernandez throw the 23rd perfect game in major league history this week?

A: Couldn't watch it, but did listen to the end on the radio. The best part was the sideline reporter's question to King Felix in the aftermath: "Was this the best game you ever pitched?"

Q: Seriously? So how did Hernandez respond?

A: He was polite. Said yes, it was.

Q: And you would have said ?

A: "No, ma'am. Clearly you must be forgetting the 14-inning perfecto I twirled against the Yankees in 2009."

Q: A 300-pound youngster in suburban Dallas made the news this week when he was barred from playing Pee Wee football. Thoughts?

A: Sounds like Albert Haynesworth's even more desperate for a job than we thought.

Q: What do you make of all the turmoil in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse?

A: I agree with popular sentiment that Bobby Valentine has handled all this terribly, but I lay the lion's share of the blame on the players. You had a players' manager in Terry Francona. You abused his generosity with the whole chicken-and-beer thing.

You guys got him fired. Don't whine because you don't like the replacement.

Q: Comment of the week on the blog?

A: So many good ones. Let's go with Rick H., on polls: "They're ALL WORTHLESS. It doesn't matter who is doing it, when they start, nothing - they all gravitate toward a common order. Just how many 'differences' do you see in them? Be it AP, Coaches, Harris, Dumb and Dumber? Hardly any, just a flip-flop of a couple teams is all that you see."

Q: Agree?

A: Agree. Except for the "when they start" part. If the polls are going to be homogeneous, you want yours to set the national agenda.

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