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Friday, December 19, 2008

College Football Schedule: Bowls

Rankings reflect my College Football Rankings. This week's rankings only (not past weeks) reflect a correction: Stanford's game against San Jose State was being counted as being against San Diego State. It shouldn't affect anything at the top and certainly not anything in the Golden Bowl, but it does affect three conferences' ratings, and as a direct result the Mountain West has retaken the lead over the MAC, implying they may have been almost always ahead all along. SDSU has been a constant in the Bottom 10, though its ranking in it isn't affected. Lineal titles also updated. All times Eastern.
FedEx BCS National Championship Game#1 FloridaMiamiJan. 8, 2009, 8 p.m.
Princeton-Yale/2004 Auburn-Utah Unif.#2 OklahomaDolphin StadiumFOX
Tostitos Fiesta#9 Ohio StateGlendale, Ariz.Jan. 5, 2009, 8 p.m.
#3 TexasUniversity of Phoenix StadiumFOX
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citi#5 Penn StatePasadena, Calif.Jan. 1, 2009, 4:30 p.m.
#4 USCRose BowlABC
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia#10 TCUSan DiegoDec. 23, 8 p.m.
For Creation of 2008 Boise State Title#6 Boise StateQualcomm StadiumESPN
Allstate Sugar#8 UtahNew OrleansJan. 2, 2009, 8 p.m.
2006-7 Boise State Title#7 AlabamaSuperdomeFOX
AT&T Cotton#11 Texas TechDallasJan. 2, 2009, 2 p.m.
#16 MississippiCotton BowlFOX
GMAC#25 TulsaMobile, Ala.Jan. 6, 2009, 8 p.m.
#12 Ball StateLadd-Peebles StadiumESPN
Valero AlamoNorthwesternSan AntonioDec. 29, 8 p.m.
#13 MissouriAlamodomeESPN
OutbackSouth CarolinaTampa, Fla.Jan. 1, 2009, 11 a.m.
#14 IowaRaymond James StadiumESPN
Capital OneMichigan StateOrlando, Fla.Jan. 1, 2009, 1 p.m.
#15 GeorgiaFlorida Citrus BowlABC
Pacific Life Holiday#17 Oklahoma StateSan DiegoDec. 30, 8 p.m.
#20 OregonQualcomm StadiumESPN
Meineke Car Care#18 North CarolinaCharlotte, N.C.Dec. 27, 1 p.m.
#22 West VirginiaBank of America StadiumESPN
Pioneer Las Vegas#19 BYULas VegasDec. 20, 8 p.m.
ArizonaSam Boyd StadiumESPN
Brut SunOregon StateEl Paso, TexasDec. 31, 2 p.m.
#21 PittsburghSun BowlCBS
FedEx Orange#23 Virginia TechMiamiJan. 1, 2009, 8:30 p.m.
CincinnatiDolphin StadiumFOX
Champs Sports#24 Florida StateOrlando, Fla.Dec. 27, 4:30 p.m.
WisconsinFlorida Citrus BowlESPN
Bell Helicopter Armed ForcesHoustonFort Worth, TexasDec. 31, Noon
Air ForceAmon G. Carter StadiumESPN
EagleBank BowlWake ForestWashington, D.C.Dec. 20, 11 a.m.
NavyRFK StadiumESPN
New MexicoColorado StateAlbuquerqueDec. 20, 2:30 p.m.
Fresno StateUniversity StadiumESPN
St. PetersburgSouth FloridaSt. Petersburg. Fla.Dec. 20, 4:30 p.m.
MemphisTropicana FieldESPN2
R+L Carriers New OrleansSouthern MissNew OrleansDec. 21, 8:15 p.m.
Sheraton HawaiiHawaiiHonoluluDec. 24, 8 p.m.
Notre DameAloha StadiumESPN
Motor CityCentral MichiganDetroitDec. 26, 8 p.m.
Florida AtlanticFord FieldESPN
EmeraldCaliforniaSan FranciscoDec. 27, 8 p.m.
Miami (FL)AT&T ParkESPN
IndependenceLouisiana TechShreveport, La.Dec. 28, 8:15 p.m.
Northern IllinoisIndependence StadiumESPN
Papajohns.comRutgersBirmingham, Ala.Dec. 29, 3 p.m.
NC StateLegion FieldESPN
Roady's HumanitarianNevadaBoise, IdahoDec. 30, 4:30 p.m.
MarylandBronco StadiumESPN
TexasCentral MichiganHoustonDec. 30, 8 p.m.
RiceReliant StadiumNFL Network
Gaylord Hotels Music CityVanderbiltNashville, Tenn.Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m.
Boston CollegeLP FieldESPN
InsightKansasTempe, Ariz.Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m.
MinnesotaSun Devil StadiumNFL Network
Chick-fil-ALSUAtlantaDec. 31, 7:30 p.m.
Georgia TechGeorgia DomeESPN
Konica Minolta GatorNebraskaJacksonville, Fla.Jan. 1, 2009, 1 p.m.
ClemsonJacksonville Municipal StadiumCBS
AutoZone LibertyKentuckyMemphis, Tenn.Jan. 2, 2009, 5 p.m.
East CarolinaLiberty Bowl Memorial StadiumESPN
InternationalConnecticutTorontoJan. 3, 2009, Noon
BuffaloRogers CentreESPN2

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some quick notes

This post was originally planned for tomorrow, which is when the College Football Rankings will likely be delayed until. The main reason is because someone gave me another reason to post today.

Robert A. Howard somewhat belatedly commented on my post on Tangents, and mentioned that he "definitely [would] mention [Da B]log over at Tangents." Once that comes down the pike it should result in some sort of traffic bump, although between the hiatus and then the move to the new site I suspect Tangents has bled some readers recently.

After reading that comment, I think John Solomon may have been on to something in his characterization of Howard as a suck-up. I hope he doesn't make too many changes just because I say so, and I hope he doesn't define his writing style entirely on what other people say it should be, but I hope he knows what's the blog he wants to write. Not that he should entirely shut himself off from the criticism of others - then he's basically Tim Buckley, and no one wants to be that - but I think most people want to read "Tangents by Robert A. Howard," not "Tangents by Eric Burns(-White), John Solomon, Morgan Wick, and a gazillion others".

I'm trying to take it easy with this post. I slated quite a few things to put on Da Blog during the break, not least of them being a resumption of my platform reviews and another political feature to run during the summer, which I would work on now so they wouldn't become a repeat of the platform reviews later, and so that I could work on several posts at once. But with my limited Internet access time, most of my time has been dominated by what I'm doing for Da Blog now. I haven't even been able to look for any jobs, even for just during the break.

It doesn't help that I don't have the services of the local public library available during the winter break (don't ask why), unlike in summer, and Seattle just got hit with the Cold Snap of the Century right AFTER it wouldn't have mattered so much to me, so sitting outside and using the Internet, either stealing it from someplace else or using the city of Seattle's on-again-off-again public connection, is a good way to get frostbite. I also don't have the services of running just outside the house briefly anyway; the only connection left that's a block or so from my house is far more inconsistent than what I've used before. (A nearby business has repeatedly offered to allow me to sit inside, but for at least two reasons I doubt I would like its atmosphere.) I burned my one real shot at using the Internet at a place I would have to pay for in a context where it netted me about an hour and a half, most of it not used on anything productive. I'm using the Internet four nights a week at a place where the only reason I don't pay for it is because my dad works here, and it's still technically mooching off another place's connection.

And Da Blog and Sandsday are the closest things I have to any sort of income... I had been hoping to use the winter break as a time to wind down and relax before redoubling my efforts to get schoolwork done in the new quarter, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

Random, angry comment, after looking at some of the searches that have brought people here and comments at Pro Football Talk:

If the NFL decides not to schedule another tentative game for Week 17 primetime again, they should list "Game TBD" on their schedule page.

Never assume anyone has a positive IQ.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch and Playoff Watch: Week 15

NBC's Sunday Night Football package gives it flexible scheduling. For the last seven weeks of the season, the games are determined on 12-day notice, 6-day notice for Week 17.

The first year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. Now, NBC lists the game it "tentatively" schedules for each night. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site (note that this was written with last season in mind):
  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • Only Sunday afternoon games are subject to being moved into the Sunday night window.
  • The game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night during flex weeks will be listed at 8:15 p.m. ET. (Note: Last year, NBC listed a tentative game for Week 17; they are not doing so this year.)
  • The majority of games on Sundays will be listed at 1:00 p.m. ET during flex weeks except for games played in Pacific or Mountain Time zones which will be listed at 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • No impact on Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.
  • The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce as early as possible the game being played at 8:15 p.m. ET. The announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game. The NFL may also announce games moving to 4:05 p.m. ET and 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • Week 17 start time changes could be decided on 6 days notice to ensure a game with playoff implications.
  • The NBC Sunday night time slot in "flex" weeks will list the game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night. (Note: Again, excluding Week 17.)
  • Fans and ticket holders must be aware that NFL games in flex weeks are subject to change 12 days in advance (6 days in Week 17) and should plan accordingly.
  • NFL schedules all games.
  • Teams will be informed as soon as they are no longer under consideration or eligible for a move to Sunday night.
  • Rules NOT listed on NFL web site but pertinent to flex schedule selection: CBS and Fox each protect games in five out of six weeks, and could not protect any games Week 17 last year. Unless I find out otherwise, I'm assuming that's still the case this year, especially with no tentative game listed Week 17, and that protections were scheduled after Week 4.
  • Three teams can appear a maximum of six games in primetime on NBC, ESPN or NFL Network (everyone else gets five) and no team may appear more than four times on NBC. A list of all teams' number of appearances is in my Week 4 post.
Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games and my predictions:

Week 17 (December 28 Playoff Positioning Watch):
  • Note that not only is there no longer an NBC tentative game, there's no NFL Network game. Apparently the league learned their lesson from last year's Patriots-Giants debacle.
  • AFC East: Jets (v. Miami)-Patriots (@Bills)-Dolphins three-way tie, Bills out.
  • AFC North: The Steelers and Ravens are the only two teams still in it, and the Ravens are out on a tiebreaker (lost to the Steelers both times).
  • AFC South: The Titans are running away with it, with the Colts the only other team with a shot, and they lose the common games tiebreaker.
  • AFC West: Chargers (v. Denver) hanging by the division tiebreaker, and the team they play is the division leader. Hmm. But again, the Chargers would need to win out and the Broncos lose out - but for that to matter, it only needs to happen this week.
  • AFC Wild Card: The Colts (v. Titans) and either the Ravens (v. Jacksonville) or one of the AFC East losers would get the nod if the season ended today. The AFC East losers are a game back. Texans hanging by a tiebreak, and would need the Ravens, Patriots, and eventual Dolphins-Jets loser to all lose two games. Jets would beat the Patriots in the divisional record tiebreaker, Dolphins-Patriots would come down to strength of victory or beyond. Texans can't have Dolphins winning strength of victory because that would give Ravens head-to-head sweep; otherwise, Ravens conference record would eliminate the Texans anyway.
  • AFC Playoff Positioning Among Division Winners: Titans have the lead over the Steelers (v. Cleveland) for the #1, but only one game, and they play each other this week in a game that pretty much is for the #1 unless the Steelers win that game, then lose the next week and the Titans win it. Steelers have a two-game lead for the #2 over the eventual AFC East winner, and beat the Pats outright, and the other two have at least four conference losses each to Pittsburgh's one.
  • NFC East: The Giants have a three-game lead over the Cowboys, with the Eagles out by half a game, and the Cowboys lose the common games tiebreaker.
  • NFC North: Vikings (v. NY Giants) lead, Bears (@Texans) a game back. If Bears lose to Packers on MNF it cinches the North for the Vikings by giving them the division tiebreaker, but they still need to tread lightly because their record against the NFC South loses them the common games tiebreaker.
  • NFC South: Panthers (@New Orleans) have a two-game lead over the Bucs (v. Oakland) and Falcons (v. St. Louis). All three season series split, all three division records would be 3-3, all three would have 7-1 records against other common opponents, Bucs and Falcons would both eliminate Panthers with better conference records.
  • NFC West: Cardinals clinched.
  • NFC Wild Card: Any two of the Bucs, Cowboys (@Philadelphia), or Falcons would get the nod if the season ended today. Eagles a half-game back, Bears a full game back, Redskins (@San Francisco) and Saints both hang on tiebreakers. If Bucs and Falcons both lose out, that would come down to strength of victory or beyond; Saints lost more than one game to the common opponents so they're out. A Redskins-Cowboys tiebreaker scenario would involve the Cowboys losing to the Eagles and the Redskins beating them, putting the Eagles at 9-6-1 compared to the Cowboys' and Redskins' 9-7 records and forcing the Bucs and Falcons to both lose out for the Redskins to have a remote shot, although they would win the conference tiebreaker over Dallas and whoever won the strength of victory tiebreaker between the Bucs and Falcons. I don't have time to consider how the Bears would factor into the tiebreakers.
  • NFC Playoff Positioning Among Division Winners: Giants and Panthers tied, so this weekend's Sunday night game is for the #1 seed. The loser of that game currently holds a two-game edge over the Vikings, who beat Carolina and would have to beat New York.
  • Analysis: Through next week, there have been 22 games that would have been on Fox aired instead on one of the three primetime partners, compared to 19 for CBS. A recent dispute between Newsday columnist Neil Best and Dallas Morning News columnist Barry Horn may have brought to light yet another rule I haven't accounted for: the idea that the NFL must take a game from CBS this week. It makes no sense that this would only come to light now, as it necessitates only two or three balances: 21-21, or 22-20 one way or the other. For a game that matters in terms of putting both teams in the playoffs, Dolphins-Jets, Cowboys-Eagles, and depending on what happens this weekend, Chargers-Broncos would seem to be the smart plays, and Cowboys-Eagles would be a shoo-in if this alleged rule were in place. If NBC just wants good teams, Giants-Vikings and a replay of Colts-Titans are also in play; if things break down right next week, Giants-Vikings may be a more impressive NFC game. Based on behavior last year, if NBC has to select an AFC game Colts-Titans is very promising, assuming the Colts don't find themselves in the playoffs already, and if the Pats win this week NBC may run scared from them potentially winning again next week (even though a tiebreak might still be in play) and run to the potentially more attractive Colts-Titans game. I'll live-blog on Sunday again this year, but I probably won't be able to catch another announcement on "FNIA".

Double dose of the Random Internet Discovery of the Week! Yay!

If you're interested in fancying yourself a Jackson Pollock and creating your own work of "art", have at it. There's something more profound I need to get to.

This post (link courtesy Awful Announcing) takes a look at how the blog market could be affected by the present recession. It's mostly written from a sports blog perspective, especially paid sports blogs, but it has implications for everyone else who blogs, paid or not, employed by a third party or merely doing it themselves, whether for fun or profit.

It takes an interesting perspective: Although some, like the blog collective Gawker, think ad revenue is likely to decline in the current recession, the post itself talks to several bloggers and draws its own conclusion based on a study, and they seem to all agree that the recession could help blogs. Some people might decide that, needing to cut costs, the Internet might be one of the first things to go, but AA's own proprietor suggests the Internet might be one of the last things to go, because it has become so important to job searches - and thus could increase in importance to many people. Some of the bloggers talked to suggested that the blog population could rise as newspapers cut traditional journalists, making room for cheaper bloggers, and as laid-off workers of all stripes look for new lines of work.

Regardless of whether it becomes Great Depression II, this could be one of, if not the, most important recession in our history.

If some of these reactions are true, this recession could greatly accelerate the rate at which the Internet becomes the chief way people get their news, information, and entertainment. At the moment, the Internet is big enough that "old media" - newspapers and TV - are concerned about the impact of losing their audience to it, but not big enough that they're comfortable with making money off it. If it ever can get that big - and this recession could greatly hasten the day that it happens - newspapers and television as we know them could become as antiquated as the telegraph.

And as the Internet and blogging grows, it has the potential to change the very way we live. We may well look back on the first decade of the new millenium as a time of great flux and transition, when the Internet was still in its relative infancy, or at least childhood and was still taking shape, still taking the form that would shape the twenty-first century. One thing I neglected to mention when I listed a number of ideas I have and might like to work on was a book coming out of my continual wonder at how dramatically the Internet has already changed our lives, and how it holds the potential to change our lives even more, affecting everything from the  news to entertainment to politics to even the very underpinning of our economic system. I had been thinking about holding off on writing it until I had enough of a name that I would have any credibility whatsoever, but recent events - not least of which being the coming recession - have convinced me that right now is a unique moment in history in the evolution of the Internet, and "the fierce urgency of now" - to borrow a phrase from our president-elect - would seem to dictate that I get such a book written in the next couple of years, and preferably starting as soon as possible.

There's supposed to be a second part coming out today, "focus[ing] on reactions from bloggers who blog as a hobby (i.e. for free) and from readers whose blog-reading habits may be affected by the economy," and the post elicits reactions from anyone that would fall in either or both of those categories. I've sent this post to the blogger in question, but I want to hear from anyone that would have a voice in all of this, anyone who might use the Internet on a regular basis as an outlet, from YouTubers to webcomickers - not to mention, if possible, any advertisers who I imagine count for a significant amount of revenue. Send an e-mail to mwmailsea at yahoo dot com, or if you want to take it directly to him (and his second post encourages it), use the address on the sidebar of that page.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What is it with me and forgetting to put titles on webcomic posts?

I should probably stop talking so much about YWIB&YSFB. It was popular for maybe five months last year, made a brief (and far less productive) comeback early this year, and hasn't updated since. But when it was at the height of its (reluctant) popularity, one of its favorite targets, when it took aim at something other than the subject of a post, was Robert A. Howard, proprietor of Tangents.

Referred to simply as "Bobby Tangents", Howard was regularly painted as a "c**ksucker" with a gender-switching fetish, apparently because he reads a disturbingly significant amount of gender-switching comics, which might have something to do with the fact that there are a disturbingly significant amount of gender-switching comics. When he did a review of Tangents itself, John Solomon compared him to the kid in the playground who desperately wanted to be anyone's - anyone's - friend, no matter the cost, because if you asked him to eat a bug, by golly, he'd practically cook up a bug sandwich if he felt it would make him your friend. (What's everybody looking at me for all of a sudden?) So with Howard, as Solomon saw it, he would tell a webcomic author how great they are supposedly just so they would give him the attention, or at least credibility.

Well, ol' Bobby Howard took that to heart, and he started shifting, becoming less of a suck-up and throwing in more actual criticism in his reviews, thanks in part to the influence of other webcomic reviewers who could call out a webcomic's flaws without being, well, John Solomon. (I know Howard has talked about this somewhere, but I'm not sure if it's in the part of the archive that's been reposted to the new site, or if it was even on Tangents at all.) He's even gone so far as written what amounts to a "you had me and you lost me" for College Roomies From Hell!! What I'm here for is to determine how well he did that, and take a general look at Tangents, because I wasn't able to find an actual webcomic I could review for today (though I think I'm good for two weeks after this, by which point it'll probably be time to revisit the world of OOTS), and as Websnark and Tangents are really the only two webcomic review blogs that have ever mattered, an examination of the latter is long overdue, especially when a review of Websnark might have been the very first post to win the "webcomics" tag and I've already reviewed YWIB already. (I haven't reviewed Tangents already because of the lengthy hiatus while the site was down, which I complained about several times at the time.)

You wanna know what's something I've noticed about Tangents from reading, really, a smattering of reviews?

The writing style.

Apparently Howard learned in English class that, when writing an essay, you are supposed to "hourglass" your argument: start with a broad topic, narrow the focus down to whatever you're writing about, then bring things back out to a broad level at the end. Howard certainly has the first part of that down. He will start most reviews by talking about some general trend in webcomics, or about writing, or about some other topic that ties into the comic he's reviewing, or occasionally about the comic itself. It'd be easy to consider a parody of Tangents just looking at the beginnings of his posts:
Games have been played since the beginning of time, but it has only been in the last quarter-century or so that people have taken to the idea of playing them on computers. As the video game industry has evolved and taken its place as a medium on par with any other, it has become natural that a medium which involves the one-time release of single, complete stories, like movies, would see the attraction of sequels and trilogies, and so forth. And like movies, it's easy to see how this would lead to an overreliance on said series. Sandsday has brilliantly skewered this trend in its latest comic...
Part of that is that Howard's style is different from that of Eric Burns. In Websnark's heyday, he would review a specific episode of a webcomic, and often the same webcomic at least twice a week, or at least twice a month, with little more than "this is funny," or saying something about the webcomic in general at the same time; Howard started out trying to do long-form reviews about entire comics, not unlike what I try to do in the regular Tuesday space, but for the sake of his own sanity, he has more recently moved on to shorter, more condensed and moment-in-time reviews - though he still tries not to review the same webcomic all too often, and he still tries to pull it back to the comic as a whole.

Still, he reviewed Megatokyo once on September 30 and again on December 13. He's also reviewed Order of the Stick, Gunnerkrigg Court, The Wotch, and xkcd twice in similar timeframes. In fact, he's reviewed xkcd at least four times over the course of this year, including once on October 13 and again on December 5, which begs the question: does he intend to review xkcd as often as I review Order of the Stick? (And that's not even counting the reviews posted on Howard's LiveJournal when Tangents was down, which aren't part of the new archive. Yet. OOTS and the Court haven't been reviewed twice since the new site went up, only once each.)

And the thing about this shift is that Howard has, really, started making Tangents more like Websnark, but he still seems to want to write his reviews like they're essays. Once upon a time, Howard introduced the "secant" as a way of differentiating his moment-in-time posts from his webcomic-in-review "tangents". As Howard started trying to condense all his reviews, by his own admission the definitions flipped, and while he attempted to rectify that situation, the truth is that not only had the secants become the lion's share of the posts by that point, almost all the posts on the new site are tagged "secant". The distinction, truly, means nothing anymore and I'm not sure Howard can get it back.

What's more, the openings of Howard's posts really presage something about the posts themselves. In many ways, Howard's deconstructions of the medium makes Burns look downright normal. Sometimes, as with his recent Something Positive post, all Howard basically has to say is "this is somewhat derivitive, but hey, this part is funny!" But Howard's most recent Megatokyo post is as much about how any webcartoonist can avoid "talking heads" as it is about anything having to do with Megatokyo itself. In fact, he has quite a few "how it's done" posts, targeted not only at webcomickers but, at one point, at podcasters. A trip through the Tangents archives, especially more recent ones, could be considered almost "Webcomics 101". When he reviews a story-based comic, namely The Wotch or Gunnerkrigg Court, he will go into an in-depth examination of his interpretation of the characters and where the story can go from here, which sounds downright normal unless you've actually read those posts. (Granted, it's not that different from what I do with Order of the Stick, which surprisingly, Howard doesn't seem to treat quite as in-depth.)

Maybe this is because of the weightiness of the other posts, but reading those posts that don't attempt to explicate Howard's feelings in depth, that spend the lion's share of their time really just explaining the context without saying much about it, I sense a creeping pointlessness, dolled up in enough prose to attempt to hide it. We could continue the parody we started above by having it essentially say, "I laughed at this", only hidden in a lengthy explanation of the entire history and even concept of the strip, or we could take the beginning we used and attempt to use it to write an entire theory of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Howard's biggest problem, I think, is that a significant number of his posts aren't much different from Websnark in substance - but he has nowhere near Eric Burns(-White)'s sense of humor. If he had more of a sense of humor, some of his three-paragraph posts could be written in three or four sentences.

Now, this is probably a conscious decision on Howard's part. Websnark was never originally intended as the Founder of Webcomics Criticism, only a place where Burns could comment on whatever funny things he found on the Internet, which happened to mostly be webcomics. So it's natural that Burns(-White) would create an atmosphere where he was just shooting the breeze about the webcomics he loved, even if he did spend most of his time going through it with an English teacher's fine-toothed comb.

But one thing webcomics have always been paranoid about is respect (any non-mainstream medium is), and while the Webcomics Community(tm) was quick to seize on Websnark as the first place to treat webcomics as worthy of serious discussion, no doubt there were many who were concerned that, in tone, Websnark didn't take anything all that seriously. I think this may have been a more overriding factor in Tangents' creation than Websnark's "ignoring comics that deserved reviews" (although oddly, judging by the April 2005 posts in the new archive, Howard actually started out with a bit more of a sense of humor than he does now). If Websnark was the first place to treat webcomics as worthy of any sort of serious discussion, Tangents would be the first place to treat them as worthy of the discussion you would give 1984 or Wuthering Heights.

So Howard would write what amounted to English papers on the topic of webcomics (although the first time he writes about a strip, he will basically review it to some extent, and give some sort of recommendation on whether you should read it)... and the problem is that it's probably the wrong style for when he wants to just write these short posts that basically say "I enjoyed this". Howard still does posts, labeled "webcomic commentary", that are substantially such deconstructions of the medium in general that they don't even consider one specific webcomic as their example. But when you write superficial posts in an English paper's style, you become a target for parody, even self-parody, and you remind people why people don't talk that way in real life.

Funnily enough, not only does Howard display some humor in the aforementioned CRfH snark, it's not boring and rather appropriately tears into what Maritza Campos did with her comic. In fact, it's almost as funny as YWIB, only actually convincing. When Howard has something negative to say about a webcomic, his "Webcomics 101" style helps him point out exactly what turned him off to that webcomic, while still doing so in an entertaining style. Unlike Websnark, Tangents continues going strong nearly four years in, still doing webcomic reviews on a semi-regular basis, and for potential webcomic writers and artists Howard's opinions can be eye-opening. And as I always say, none of what I have to criticise about Tangents is a complete turn-off. But - unlike Websnark - it's not compelling enough to make my RSS reader.

On the other hand, my own webcomic reviews bear more than a few similarities to Howard's...

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 Golden Bowl Tournament: Minor Bowls as Modified by Golden Bowl Octofinals

These are how the minor bowls would be played as modified by Round 1 of the Golden Bowl Playoffs. These bowls may select from all teams that have at least six wins, a winning record, and either did not make or lost in Round 1 of the Golden Bowl Playoffs. Bowl names with modified matchups are in bold. I'll be playing those games out after the real versions are played. The Cotton Bowl has been selected as the fifth BCS bowl, so the SEC's third choice goes to the Outback Bowl no questions asked.
BOWL Team Selection OrderTeamsDATE/ TIME/ CHANNEL
EagleBank BowlACC #9 Miami (FL)Dec. 20, 11 a.m. 
Navy Navy ESPN 
New MexicoMountain West #4BYUDec. 20, 2:30 p.m. 
WAC #3 Fresno StateESPN 
St. PetersburgBig East (#6?) South FloridaDec. 20, 4:30 p.m. 
Conference USA #5 MemphisESPN2 
Pioneer Las VegasMountain West #1 UtahDec. 20, 8 p.m. 
Pac-10 #4(/5) ArizonaESPN
R+L Carriers New OrleansConference USA #4Southern MissDec. 21, 8:15 p.m. 
Sun Belt #1 TroyESPN 
San Diego County Credit Union PoinsettiaMountain West #2 TCUDec. 23, 8 p.m. 
Pac-10 #7 (WAC #4 if none)Boise StateESPN 
Sheraton HawaiiWAC #2 (gen. Hawaii)HawaiiDec. 24, 8 p.m. 
Pac-10 #6 (C-USA #7 if none)Notre DameESPN 
Motor CityMAC #1/2 Central MichiganDec. 26, 8 p.m. 
Big Ten #7 WisconsinESPN 
Meineke Car CareACC #5/6/7 (gen. 6) North CarolinaDec. 27, 1 p.m. 
Big East #3 West VirginiaESPN 
Champs SportsACC #4 Florida StateDec. 27, 4:30 p.m. 
Big Ten #(4/)5IowaESPN 
EmeraldPac-10 #(4/)5 CaliforniaDec. 27, 8 p.m. 
ACC #5/6/7 (gen. 7) ClemsonESPN 
IndependenceSEC #8KentuckyDec. 28, 8:15 p.m. 
Big 12 #7 Wake ForestESPN 
Papajohns.comBig East (#5?) RutgersDec. 29, 3 p.m. 
SEC #9 (Sun Belt if none)Florida AtlanticESPN 
Valero AlamoBig Ten #4(/5)NorthwesternDec. 29, 8 p.m. 
Big 12 #4/5 MissouriESPN 
Roady's HumanitarianWAC #1 (gen. BSU) NevadaDec. 30, 4:30 p.m. 
ACC #8 MarylandESPN 
TexasBig 12 #8 NC StateDec. 30, 8 p.m. 
Conference USA #6 RiceNFL Network 
Pacific Life HolidayBig 12 #3 Oklahoma StateDec. 30, 8 p.m. 
Pac-10 #2OregonESPN 
Bell Helicopter Armed ForcesConference USA #3? HoustonDec. 31, Noon 
Mountain West #3 Air ForceESPN 
Brut SunPac-10 #3 Oregon StateDec. 31, 2 p.m. 
Big 12 #5/Big East #2 PittsburghCBS 
Gaylord Hotels Music CitySEC #6/7 (Team's Pref.)VanderbiltDec. 31, 3:30 p.m. 
ACC #5/6/7 (gen. 5; must pick Chmp. Gm. Loser if >8 wins)Boston CollegeESPN 
InsightBig 12 #6 KansasDec. 31, 5:30 p.m. 
Big Ten #6 MinnesotaNFL Network 
Chick-fil-ASEC #5 South CarolinaDec. 31, 7:30 p.m. 
ACC #2 Virginia TechESPN 
OutbackSEC #3/4 (East) MississippiJan. 1, 2009, 11 a.m. 
Big Ten #3 Michigan StateESPN 
Capital OneBig Ten #2 Ohio StateJan. 1, 2009, 1 p.m. 
SEC #2 GeorgiaABC 
Konica Minolta GatorBig 12 #4/Big East #2 NebraskaJan. 1, 2009, 1 p.m. 
ACC #3 Georgia TechCBS 
AutoZone LibertySEC #6/7 (Team's Pref.) LSUJan. 2, 2009, 5 p.m. 
Conference USA #1 East CarolinaESPN 
InternationalBig East (#4?) ConnecticutJan. 3, 2009, Noon 
MAC #3 BuffaloESPN2 
GMACConference USA #2 TulsaJan. 6, 2009, 8 p.m. 
MAC #1/2 Ball StateESPN