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CURIOUS INDEX, 10/26/09

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Boredom, the new black. Hooper has a long but at least interesting piece defending the boring Tennessee/Alabama game and the accusation that the influence of pro football coaching has turned the league into a place where settling for 44 yard field goals all day is considered good form.

No matter the systems run on offense and defense, if both teams play excellent games, the result will be dull. If both the offense and defense make correct reads of each other, they will game-theory themselves into a pseudo-stalemate where the offenses make only average gains throughout the day and the defenses make only average stops. With eleven on each side, there is always a counterpunch available to the other team's punch.

Not necessarily: nullity isn't the point. It's not like Alabama and Tennessee's coaching staffs and teams are exactly and perfectly matched. The wrinkles come in making adjustments, adjustments Alabama's offensive personnel couldn't pull off and that Tennessee's seemed to know were there, but hesitated to call. (Slants and seam routes were open, but in the final forty seconds Kiffin seemed happy to settle for kicking from Eastern Mississippi with 40 seconds on the clock.) It's not good football, because good football at least involves some element of a chess match, not just two poker players checking endlessly against each other.

Example? Why, last year's SEC championship game, for example.

Adjustments galore by both teams instead of the two rams butting heads for sixty minutes and relying on the consolation prize of scores, the field goal, to level the field. (Thus our current frustration with Florida's offense, because FIELD GOALS ARE UNMANLY.) Even Saban, a defensive coach sometimes less-than-concerned with things offensive, knows this:

"We can't be so risk-aversive," Saban said. "We've got be more aggressive in what we're doing on offense right now."

The thing knocking game-theory equilibrium out of stasis: taking unforeseen strategies, combining them with risk, and letting them fly at the right moment. When is the right moment? When it works. When is it wrong? When it doesn't. Thus the name: risk.

Unsurprising headline reflects obvious story. Tim Tebow is frustrated with his play, did not talk to media following Miss State game, all is well etc. At this point we're beginning to wonder if he isn't having some kind of senior year career crisis, much like the one where you said, "Hey, am I going to be a spy, a porn star, or be both before going to law school and getting my PhD?" You ended up waiting tables all the same, but the question nags, especially since the pro-style coaching from Scott Loeffler seems to have elongated his throwing motion, not shortened it.

In the shop. Sam Bradford, cashed in (for now.) A return is not out of the question, but it would be as much of a wager as any he can make given the chance for recurring injury and another off year by Oklahoma. Watch punditry second guess him and make absurd quantifications nonetheless! Guy from New York, what do you think? OH MY GADD HE LOST FIFTY FUCKING MILLION BAZILLION DOLLARS WHAT A LOSER. Thanks, insightful Mel Kiperite; we knew we could count on you.

PANIC OMG HOT BCS DEATH. If you like anxiety for no particular reason, go ahead and glom onto the BCS standings. TCU hops Boise, and probably should since they took tire irons to Max Hall for three hours Saturday night. We'd go into further description, but animal cruelty is not something we are fond of in general.

Big 12 North: Po-pimpin'. K-State could win the Big 12 North and not even be bowl eligible. It could happen. That is all.