Case in point? Lunch the other day.
My dad has a large brain. A brain with repositories for interesting bits of information. He's able to align facts and figures into nice, neat groupings so as to form conclusions that most of us would look right through, or past. He reminds me of the Freakonomics people.
I'm going to call this dad o' mine Mikey ('cause "Mikey Likes It!") Mikey goes to the same little hashery for lunch every day. Each day he saddles up to the bar while the girlies come to his doting assistance. They hug him, dole-out compliments, and deliver a frothy serving of Cutthroat. After they've finished the opening ceremonies of his lunchtime ritual, they kiss his ring, bow, and ask what he'd like to eat. Mikey's like Norm on Cheers, only funner, and more handsome, and more athletic, and more smart, and definitely more loved.
After the girls spread their well-wishes, the dudes come out -- from nowhere, it seems. They talk this, and they talk that. They talk about sports and current happenings. On the day I was there, one of the guys came over to exclaim, "Can you believe they did it Mikey? You said they were going to do it, but I didn't believe you. But they really did it!"
This guy was talking about the melodrama of Utah's college football.
Me, being everything BUT a football fan, had heard the water cooler talk on this subject, but didn't understand it. I'd heard the agreers and the naysayers spew their 85 cents back and forth. (This is football, you know. Everything in football is BIG, so 2 cents is hardly sufficient for each to postulate.) I didn't know enough on the subject to care either way.
"So what's the deal with this football conference fiasco anyways?" I said in my most fervid of fervent tones. He was buying me lunch, you know. I had to play along.
"Well." Mikey says. "It all began in the early 70s."
Oh good hell, here we go. I put my head in my hands so as to house the shaking to 'n fro.
Mikey then proceeds to explain, ablaze with animated detail, how The BYU has been the collective outcast of other teams in the Mountain West Conference. People love to hate The BYU. After he covers the conference partisan situation, he moved on to the topic of the University of Nebraska. Evidently the Cornholio Huskers had the opportunity to switch conferences -- to a bigger and better conference. That fell through somehow. Mikey told me all about that, but my nogin couldn't hold it. I believe it had something to do with some Texas schools and some Big Conferences named with a "10" and a "12."
"Now. This left the PAC-10 with room for another football team." He says. "Since the PAC-10 had an opening, that conference offered the open spot to the University of Utah. The U took the spot without hesitation"
"What the...? What does that have to with The BYU going independent?" I said.
"I'm getting to that, hang on."
Well hurry. 'Cause, like, I got kids to pick up at 3:30.
Mikey then finishes the tale by explaining that since the U of Utah was now PAC-10, The BYU couldn't compete when recruiting. If a new budding football player wants to go to school in Utah, and is offered positions at both the U and The BYU, then obviously this new football bud will take the U now.
"I don't get it." This is something I say a lot while conversing with the father. "It's just a dumb conference. What difference does it make which conference the school is in?"
This is where he shakes his finger, side-to-side, with a twinkle in his love-fer-football eye, "The Conference determines the TV contract. The TV contract determines how much money the team gets. The PAC-10 offered the University of Utah a $10 million contract. BYU had no choice but to go independent so as to compete. As an independent team, ESPN offered BYU a million a game. The only caveat is that BYU will now have to contract their games individually, as opposed to having the conference control when they play and where."
So you mean to tell me that this whole schmaltzy faltzy is about TV time?! And that the football team has the power to yank an entire school out of a conference, just for TV time and cash?!
Football is so dumb.
(But this below is funny. Irreverent, of course. But funny.)
P.S. Don't hold me to all the facts. I'm sure its was explained to me correctly. Whether it made it from my poor little brain to this post accurately is another matter. Also tune in next time where I tell you all about how Mikey explained the politics of religion and Utah's college football teams. He used Oregon's Civil War (the University of Oregon and Oregon State game each year), and personal penalty stats to explain.