Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Rant of the week: February 2nd - February 9th

Before I depress myself and try to put my feelings about the latest Super Bowl into words, let's get to a subject that has been near and dear to my heart for as long as I've watched college hockey: the Beanpot. Many in the boston are think that the college hockey world lives and dies in regards to this annual tournament. Here's the problem:

It doesn't.

I do like the Beanpot. Its televised college hockey and it does produce at least one great game every year (this year's opening rounder between BC and BU was fantastic). It also skeezes out WEEI every year when someone tries to interrupt the station's Red Sox whoring and/or lame right wing diatribes by discussing the tournament. Still, I do like the Hockey East tournament better. The reason for this is simple: 10 teams have the potential to win the Hockey East tournament. Four teams have a chance at the Beanpot. If you live outside the city of Boston, its hard to figure out what the excitement is all about. Especially if you aren't a BU fan. I understand that BC has dominated the Hockey East tournament for the past 10 years, but that is nothing compared to what BU has done to the Beanpot. 28 titles in 55 years. By comparison, Northeastern has 4. I don't know if Vegas allows you to bet on this tournament, but I doubt you can make much money by betting on BU every year. Except for this year, it is the Jack Parker Invitational.

But is that a problem? If BU wants to win this tournament every year, good for them. It speaks well of their program, even if it does tend to diminish the drama of an event if you know who is going to win every time. It is why ESPN classic is so useless (well, that and showing Notre Dame/Michigan football games from 1971). So how do you stop BU from running away with the Beanpot every year without destroying the event? I don't think you can. Assuming that you hate BU, how do you solve that problem?

The only solution I've ever seen is that Harvard and Northeastern be replaced by UNH and Maine. Its a horrible idea: these four teams meet up 3-6 times a year anyways. What could possibly be gained by having them play 2 additional non-conference games against teams they already play anyways? Its horrifically unfair to Harvard and Northeastern. The Crimson have more conference titles recently than BU has. There's nothing to be gained by defiling history. But as much as it would hurt the tournament to get rid of one or two of the teams, it could be argued that having a "floating" fourth member would help.

This is a topic I've done to death for many years. The reason I'm bringing it back is because I finally have something to compare the Beanpot. As you should already know, Providence College participated in the Great Lakes Invitational this year and I immediately liked the tournament better than the Beanpot. It isn't just because the Friars were there. If you break down the titles won by each of the three "host teams" (yeah, I know, MSU isn't a host team and Michigan is "sharing" the host duties with MTU, but rather than get into the history of who is hosting what, I'm just going to label the Spartans a "home" team and be done with it), its much more even than the Beanpot. You would think that Michigan would have the most titles and they do. But they have one more than MSU and three more than MTU. So why are things so even - relatively speaking? Because of the fourth spot changes from year to year. Its a tougher tournament when you have a North Dakota or a BC showing up every once in a while.

While I think the GLI is better tournament than the Beanpot (hey if PC is there, I at least have a rooting interest!) , I think that has more to do with me than the tournament itself. As I said earlier, there is usually at least one great game to watch. And of course, I'm naturally biased against anything that is that heavily biased towards the Terriers. I had to mention that at least once.

Next week, I'll let you know that I kind of like the GLI teams better than the Beanpot teams. And I go into details. Get ready to drop a "f bomb" or two!

Random rants:
-Note for the Bruins and Celtics: stop mourning the Super Bowl and start winning some games. I really don't want to have to wait until Spring Training to get interested in professional sports again.

-I'm not a big fan of the current state of Friar hoops, but can the fanbase focus on the crappiness of the team and NOT succumb to arguing with one another over whether or not fans should boo their team? How patient can you be when the team goes on a four game losing streak? Again. This is a yearly tradition. That's the problem, NOT whether or not our fans are "classy" enough. What's next, an earnest discussion of the fan wardrobe?

-My cat is insane. I just wanted to let someone know.

-Vote for Roboshark!

-Now that I live in the area, I'm mentally debating whether or not to check out a Catholic Memorial hockey game. For those of you not living in Massachusetts, CM is the Yankees of high school hockey. I probably won't be rooting for them, but it would be nice to see a future Hockey East All Star line on the ice.

-Hi Mark!

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