Author Archives: Phil Getty

More BS From The BCS: The Oregon Ducks Get Shafted Again!

By, P. Getty

Of course my wife would never agree with me—she’s less of a Notre Dame fan than she is an ardent despiser of the Ducks—but as the title of this little rant indicates, the big news this week is that the Oregon Ducks got screwed out of the #1 spot on the BCS rankings again. Three weeks in a row, the #1 team (Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma, respectively) was knocked off the top. After Alabama was defeated and Ohio State took their place, Oregon moved up to #2 spot, where they remain. Since Ohio States’ defeat the following week, a lower-ranked team has passed both Boise State (#3) and Oregon to steal the top spot! One would expect, as I do, that if the top ranked teams is defeated, then the #2 team should take their spot. Am I right?

Well not according to the BCS’ f’ing computer system! How can it be that a damn computer program rank the Ducks #11 when every human poll has them ranked at #1, where, in my not-so-humble opinion, they belong? I don’t understand it—though I do. I don’t want to understand it—though I must. The answer, of course: statistics.

Statistics, however, is not the reason why I’ve been cursing the BCS or #1 team and their fans, hoping that they will crash and burn during the next week’s game. The problem is that ever since I’ve become what I like to call a “pilgrim in an unholy land” (Pennsylvania), I’ve become strongly attached to all that is Oregon, the Ducks being especially salient in that they represent my alma mater (and my wife’s but she hates them). It’s as if they have somehow been incorporated into my social identity—my in-group—and their neglect in the rankings have made me prone to fits of rage! I wonder if this realization explains my hatred for the top team? I wonder if this hatred is unusual?

Well, according to Nicholas Dixon (2001), who has written on the ethics of sports fans, would probably say, yes, it is unusual. Dixon believes that loyalty to one’s team is ultimately a “good,” because fan loyalty does not equate to harshness towards other teams or their fans. I believe I challenge that notion. Still, I don’t think Dixon is familiar with the inter-group literature, because the majority of that literature would predict that a strong-identifier, like me, would do about anything, even derogating the other teams publicly, to insure my in-group’s superior status….

Thankfully, though, while my feelings are strong in the matter, the ethical side of my conscious is clear; I haven’t stooped to outgroup derogation that this literature suggests (see Branscombe & Wann, 1994, for a review) I would. Nope. I haven’t gone out of my way to publicly bash the undeserving numskulls at Auburn (the current #1 ranked team), or their idiot fans who probably bribed the programmers over at the BCS to move them up to the top spot from #4 when they clearly deserve to be rotting at the bottom of the rankings….

Did I just write that?

BCS Computers don’t like Oregon Much, by Larry Brown

Dixon (2001)

Branscombe & Wann (1994)

For thousands of years now, people from different religious persuasions have been at each other’s metaphorical and literal throats. With the 9th anniversary of the 911 tragedy, religious nut-jobs have taken the opportunity to take up their old habits. The latest manifestation of this age-old tradition seems to be playing out . Apparently, “God” told some crazy reverend, Terry Jones, to burn the Qur’an and then, at the last minute, not to. I don’t get. I also don’t understand it. Nor do I understand the Muslim backlash: burning American flags, threatening Jihad, etc. I do believe, however that anyone has the right to commit these acts in addition to burning or pissing on any religious or science book that they please, which is in contrast to what Sadaf Syed wrote (see link below), who suggest that such acts are against American Values. I disagree. I believe being American gives us the license to be as offensive as we can get away with, as long we are willing to accept the consequences.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I don’t care if religious people piss each other off, I just don’t want them burdening the rest of us with their bullshit. Whose of us who have reached the age of reason should not have to  suffer from their need to adhere to centuries old mythology. And lets be frank, the only difference between Greek, Christian and Muslim mythology is that Christian and Muslim mythology hasn’t been snuffed out by the next big mythological belief system. Personally, I’m hoping rationalism will take their place, but it probably won’t happen in my lifetime. But I digress….

I wonder, Should I really be all that surprised that religious people are pissing each other off? According to Preston, Ritter and Hernandez (2010) probably not.  It seems that religion, while having the potential for leading some people towards prosocial behavior; it also leads others to more antisocial ends.  It seem that the antisocial behavior stems from a need to protect their group. In other words, if they perceive threats to their beliefs they lash out. So maybe that means rationalism is on the rise…I can only hope….

Preston, Ritter and Hernandez (2010)

“Qur’an Burning Goes Against American Values” by Sadaf Syed