Notes from the road: Reality TV, sports salaries and ‘cross-nats picks

I don’t know why there’s all this furor over the BCS. I’m confident the college football will come down to a satisfactory conclusion. After all, the BCS, co-created by ABC Sports, is really nothing more than reality-TV programming, and as we’ve seen in the past few years, there’s nothing reality TV likes better than changing the rules of the game as it goes along. Latest case in point — “Average Joe,” where model-good-looking “ringers” were introduced mid-show to go head-to-head with the average Joes wooing the show’s blonde beauty. Big surprise, one of the pretty boys won out over the No. 1

By Bryan Jew, VeloNews managing editor

I don’t know why there’s all this furor over the BCS. I’m confident the college football will come down to a satisfactory conclusion. After all, the BCS, co-created by ABC Sports, is really nothing more than reality-TV programming, and as we’ve seen in the past few years, there’s nothing reality TV likes better than changing the rules of the game as it goes along.

Latest case in point — “Average Joe,” where model-good-looking “ringers” were introduced mid-show to go head-to-head with the average Joes wooing the show’s blonde beauty. Big surprise, one of the pretty boys won out over the No. 1 Joe.

So, barring the creation of a one-game match-up of the Rose and Sugar Bowl winners, here’s what you can look for in January on ABC:

Bob Stoops and Pete Carroll go head-to-head to decide the national championship on a special edition of “Are You Hot?”

Following the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl, the BCS announces a four-team playoff that will include two new teams: the 2001 Miami Hurricanes and the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Matt Mauck, Matt Leinert, Jason White and John Navarre spend four weeks living together in a Hollywood Hills home, with no contact with the outside world. Each week, viewers will vote someone out of the house, until a national champion is decided.

In a surprise twist, Mike Tranghese announces the winner of the Sugar Bowl doesn’t really win the national championship. Instead, it earns a date with a 25-year-old construction worker who makes $24,000 a year.

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There is no truth to the rumor that Jean-Marie Leblanc runs one of the computers used in the BCS selection. He may, however, be interested in employing some of those services for the Tour wild-card selections.

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I have to admit, my TV viewing has been a little limited in the past few weeks, but … I can’t look away from the genius that is “The Simple Life” whenever it pops up on the screen. It’s “reality” TV, but I haven’t seen brilliant storylines like this since “Beavis and Butthead.”

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In addition to college football, the big sports-page focus right now is off-season baseball dealings, where the Yankees and Red Sox are intent on spending the gross national products of several mid-sized countries. The biggest figure being tossed around is the remaining $180 million of A-Rod’s contract, which could be headed to Boston. The thing that gets me fired up, though, is Mr. Sunshine, Kevin Brown, wanting to be traded from the Dodgers (and getting his wish) so he can be closer to his family. Um, excuse me, did someone point a gun to your head when you signed a $105 million contract five years ago?

Hey, anyone have 1 percent of his salary that they can contribute to fund an entire U.S. pro cycling team?

Around here, the “big” baseball news is that the Rockies have re-signed Vinny Castilla, one of the players from the team’s “heyday” in the mid-90s. In completely unrelated cycling stories, U.S. Postal announced it has re-signed Eddy Gragus, Navigators has added Matt Koschara, and Len Pettyjohn is starting up a new team with Alexi Grewal as designated leader.

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In the last issue of the magazine, we ran a letter accusing VeloNews of an “East Coast bias,” which makes a lot of sense, considering we’re based in Boulder, Colorado. Here’s hoping I add some fuel to that fire with my prediction for this weekend’s cyclo-cross nationals: In a storybook ending to both his long career with Saturn and his USPRO title-winning season, Mark McCormack scores an upset to take the elite men’s championship. It’s just been that kind of year for the New Englander.

On the women’s side, will anyone in their right mind pick against Alison Dunlap?

Here’s my picks for Portland:

Men
1. Mark McCormack
2. Todd Wells
3. Jonathan Page
4. Ryan Trebon
5. Andy Jacques-Maynes

Women
1. Alison Dunlap
2. Carmen D’Aluisio
3. Gina Hall
4. Rachel Lloyd
5. Ann Grande

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Lance Armstrong said earlier this week that he and his team are working on possible plans to compete in the Tour of the Gila. I can’t wait. Just seeing the faces of the journalists from L’Equipe when they arrive at the start line in Silver City, New Mexico, will be worth the drive down there.


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