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December 31, 2007


Vladimir Putin has managed to poison enough political opponents, imprison enough private industrialists, and murder enough journalists to achieve the kind of stability that the editors of Time magazine find laudable.

While acknowledging that "Putin is not a boy scout.", and that "TIME's Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. It is not a popularity contest", the magazine passed over another candidate who just as fully met the Time criterion of "leadership—bold, earth-changing leadership."

But to recognize the leadership of Gen. David Petraeus, the magazine would have implicitly praised the leadership of George W. Bush, and that was unthinkable, at least on their cover and for the historical record. In their granting to Gen. Petraeus their recognition as one of several "runners-up", the magazine can allow only that "Petraeus has not failed, which, given the anarchy and pessimism of February, must be considered something of a triumph."

Despite Time's disclaimers, Putin is granted worldwide prestige and legitimacy by the hype. That's a shame. And it's no surprise that the conservative press is all in the Petraeus camp for POY:

(London) Telegraph

The Weekly Standard

National Review

FrontPage Magazine

December 28, 2007

Confounding Our Narrative

After the job of POTUS, being the leader of Pakistan has to be the toughest job in the world. If you listen to candidates for president from both parties, you'd think it was the responsibility of the United States to maintain order and stability in Pakistan from half a world away.

The administration's critics have been anything but consistent, as VDH notes, faulting our efforts to foster self-government in Pakistan as both naive and insufficient, while also criticizing our engagement with a military dictator in the attempt. But I thought Andy McCarthy had one of most insightful takes on he Pakistan problem that I have seen. This place turns most of our habitual assumptions upside down. He speaks of the two Pakistans..the one we imagine, and the reality. Excerpting liberally...

There is the Pakistan of our fantasy. The burgeoning democracy in whose vanguard are judges and lawyers and human rights activists using the “rule of law” as a cudgel to bring down a military junta. In the fantasy, Bhutto, an attractive, American-educated socialist whose prominent family made common cause with Soviets and whose tenures were rife with corruption, was somehow the second coming of James Madison.

Then there is the real Pakistan: an enemy of the United States and the West.

The real Pakistan is a breeding ground of Islamic holy war where, for about half the population, the only thing more intolerable than Western democracy is the prospect of a faux democracy led by a woman — indeed, a product of feudal Pakistani privilege and secular Western breeding whose father, President Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, had been branded as an enemy of Islam by influential Muslim clerics in the early 1970s.


The real Pakistan is a place where the military, ineffective and half-hearted though it is in combating Islamic terror, is the thin line between today’s boiling pot and what tomorrow is more likely to be a jihadist nuclear power than a Western-style democracy.

In that real Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto’s murder is not shocking. There, it was a matter of when, not if.

It is the new way of warfare to proclaim that our quarrel is never with the heroic, struggling people of fill-in-the-blank country. No, we, of course, fight only the regime that oppresses them and frustrates their unquestionable desire for freedom and equality.

Pakistan just won’t cooperate with this noble narrative.

Whether we get round to admitting it or not, in Pakistan, our quarrel is with the people. Their struggle, literally, is jihad. For them, freedom would mean institutionalizing the tyranny of Islamic fundamentalism. They are the same people who, only a few weeks ago, tried to kill Benazir Bhutto on what was to be her triumphant return to prominence — the symbol, however dubious, of democracy’s promise. They are the same people who managed to kill her today. Today, no surfeit of Western media depicting angry lawyers railing about Musharraf — as if he were the problem — can camouflage that fact.



Times of London

Ross Douthat

Bernard-Henri Levy

December 24, 2007

Twelve Days

A little seasonal music by Straight No Chaser, with their version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." (Thanks, Carol)

December 23, 2007

Durban II

It looks like the U.S. taxpayers will be funding another U.N. conference convened by tyrants, fueled by Jew-hatred, and dedicated to (exclusive) criticism of Israel and the United States. Claudia Rosett reports:

At the United Nations, ‘tis the season to bankroll hatred of Israel and America — via pricey preparations for a 2009 gathering dubbed the “Durban Review Conference,” or Durban II. Right now, plans have advanced from general talk of funding this jamboree out of the U.N. regular budget, and have homed in on a figure of $6.8 million which the U.N. budget committee is poised to approve. Unless Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes it her business to somehow block the money — and fast — this means that Americans, as top contributors to the U.N. budget, can look forward not only to being vilified at Durban II along with our democratic ally, Israel, but also to picking up the biggest share of the tab for this next landmark U.N. exercise in bigotry.

Durban II is of course being planned as the follow-up to the U.N.’s notorious 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa. Convened under the pretext of fighting racism, that conclave erupted into a frenzy of malice toward America, and even more specifically, Israel.


Today, Condi Rice is confronted with a U.N. heading right down that same road: destination Durban II. This time the pretext is a “review” of the results of Durban I, decked out with the same false label of fighting racism. Fat chance. The U.N. preparatory committee is chaired by Libya, and among the other 19 members are Iran, Pakistan, Cameroon, Russia, and Cuba — none of them run by regimes known for their contributions to tolerance and human dignity.

NH Paper Goes Negative

Let a candidate for president criticize another candidate for a particular position or for his voting record, and the media decries the running of "negative ads", or more generally, just "going negative." We are lectured constantly that the American people reject this sort of campaigning, and insist on limiting the discourse to each candidate's own vision and positive agenda for the country. No actual evidence is put forth to show that this is the way Americans feel , but that's what we hear nonetheless.

But media organizations, exempted from the restrictions on "electioneering communications" placed on the rest of us by McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation, are free to do all the electioneering they like, even the kind of negative stuff they insist the people don't want to hear. To wit...

The Concord Monitor broke with political tradition Sunday, telling readers in the state with the first presidential primary why they should not vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney instead of whom they should support.

In a scathing anti-endorsement that called Romney a "disquieting figure," the New Hampshire newspaper's editorial board said he looks and acts like a presidential contender but "surely must be stopped" because he lacks the core philosophical beliefs to be a trustworthy president.

In particular, the newspaper noted the former Massachusetts governor's change of heart on such issues as abortion rights, stem-cell research and access to emergency contraception, as well as on signing an anti-tax pledge.

"When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it," the newspaper said. "Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no."

They must?

Well, these people are professional journalists, so they must be objective. That's why Congress exempted certain elements of the press from McCain-Feingold restrictions. They know better than regular folks do, and they will always exercise their political power responsibly. And really, now that the Concord Monitor has enlightened New Hampshire voters about this "phony", the voters know now what they must do.

But something tells me there won't be a place on the primary ballot for New Hampshire voters to vote "no" on Romney. I'm not sure if the Monitor has endorsed some other Republican in the primary, or if they feel that this anti-endorsement spares them the embarrassment of taking a position favoring any Republican.

December 19, 2007

Help Wanted: Prefer No Liars Or Old People

Yes, TNR really is advertising for young journalists "with some experience fact-checking and a passion for political journalism."

I think they accidentally left off the 'LOL' at the end.

The last guy had the passion, (boy did he have the passion) but they had his wife do the fact-checking. That ended badly. Now I guess it's all one job. Cutbacks, maybe.

By the way, note the explicit discrimination in what is clearly employment advertising by The New Republic. Use of the word 'young' to describe the preferred candidate(s) is at best problematic, as the lawyers like to say, in employment advertising. In my experience as a recruiting and staffing consultant to business, I have found age discrimination to be a more widespread and damaging practice in American companies than perhaps all the other illegal varieties of employment discrimination (race, sex, national origin, religion, etc.) combined. It's also difficult to prove. Unless of course you advertise the proof.

Has the magazine considered that hiring a forty-something or a fifty-something journalist might bring to the enterprise a better adjusted, and more mature and responsible employee than the one they chose to hire last time around?

I know...it's about money. (Someone in the comments said the job pays about $300/week.) That's why most companies who practice age discrimination do it. Younger people are cheaper. That doesn't make it any less illegal to use age as a hiring criterion.

December 18, 2007

Waving the Wand

For the last few days James Taranto has been looking at the arguments of the "Fair Tax" proponents (like Huckabee), and finding them wanting. In today's BOTW, he links to some of the earlier stuff and makes his case in opposition. Good read, as ever.

December 17, 2007

Home Free

I just learned this morning of the passing of Dan Fogelberg, and I got that little jolt one gets when a contemporary in age, especially an admired one, dies too young. I saw Fogelberg perform live several times in the 70's (once opening for the Eagles at Akron Civic Theater) and his stage show exhibited the same perfectionism of his studio recordings.

Having not been an instrumentalist myself, I have always had a special admiration for the rather rare talent in the rock era who writes his own music and lyrics, and who also both sings lead vocals, and plays lead guitar, as Fogelberg did. (Springsteen, Rundgren and Zappa are some others that come to mind...I'm sure I'm forgetting some obvious ones.)

The first two recordings, Home Free and Souvenirs, are musts for the Fogelberg listener, and although the critics didn't like Captured Angel as much, I had bought into the formula, and it remains a favorite for me.

I'm aware that the tug in my gut at hearing this news is partly nostalgia for the times in my life for which Fogelberg's music was the soundtrack, so the sadness seems a bit selfish, but it's hard at this stage to separate life from its accompaniment. Rest in peace, Dan Fogelberg.

December 16, 2007

Snow Joke


As soon as we stepped out of the parking garage to walk down to the Stadium from 9th and Lakeside this afternoon, I knew I was short an item of clothing or two. I had the hat and gloves and all, but nothing to cover my face. I was soon wishing I had brought my sunglasses along...just to serve as goggles against the sting of snow pellets, being driven horizontally into my eyes by 40 mph winds. I said in an earlier post that we would be at today's Browns game, "unfazed" by the conditions. Check that.

I have been going to Browns games for 45 years, and for the last 20 seasons I can count the home games I've missed on the fingers of one hand. That's just context for my next statement that I have never seen anything like this before. I have been to several games colder than this one, and to others in which more snow fell on us than came down today. But for sheer viciousness on the part of Mother Nature, combining cold temperatures with wet, sticky snow propelled by high winds, today's game, an 8-0 win over Buffalo, takes the prize.

For some reason, my DVR failed to record the game for me so I couldn't watch the broadcast when we got home, but so far none of the photos I have seen do justice to the actual conditions on the lakefront today.

Some of these video highlights of Jamal Lewis' day give a little bit better feel for the visibility and overall conditions, but no highlights that I have seen so far have captured the plight of fans (okay, me) whose jeans, gloves and shoes were soaking wet before the game even started, and before the already sub-freezing temperatures began to drop like a rock down a mine shaft.

Once the game began, the oddest development was the insistence by both teams that they were going to throw the football in this mess, which they did to the tune of 57 passing attempts for the two teams combined. In the end though, it was Lewis and the Browns' offensive line who collectively took over the game with a punishing ground attack, bringing the Browns closer to a playoff spot than they have been in five years. Here's the AP game story, via ESPN.com.

And more commentary from John Clayton:

"Anderson didn't think the Browns would be in this position after their 34-7 opening loss to Pittsburgh. But to think the Browns would bounce back to win nine of the next 13 and be one win from clinching their first playoff appearance since 2002 is a story Hollywood scriptwriters couldn't sell."

Sort of like what they say about "a snowball's chance..."

UPDATE 12/18: The PD's Mary Kay Cabot spells out all of the possible playoff scenarios for the Browns.

December 15, 2007

Al Dura Developments

Nidra Poller has a report of new evidence of the deception of the media in the al Dura affair.

Turns Out Winning Matters

The Browns get some love on Pete Prisco's Pro-Bowl team at CBS Sportsline. Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards and Eric Steinbach make his team as reserves, and special teamer Josh Cribbs and fullback Lawrence Vickers (who knew?) are AFC starters in this guy's mind. I think all of them except Vickers have a realistic shot to end up in Hawaii in February. If Cribbs doesn't make it, there should be a federal investigation.

Forecast for Sunday's game against Buffalo in Cleveland: high-20's, snow, strong winds. It's only once or twice a year that we're subjected to this kind of weather at Browns Stadium, and it can work to the Browns' advantage. Too bad they're playing a team this week that is totally unfazed by snow. We'll be there, unfazed as well.

I'm thinking the Browns need to win two of their last three to make the playoffs, although they would clinch Sunday with a win and a Tennessee loss. And it's fair to call them one of the surprise teams in all of pro sports in the year 2007, even though they may end up as a footnote in New England's perfect season. Trading your starting quarterback after the first game of the year doesn't usually bode well for a strong campaign. The turnaround is remarkable, regardless of the results of the last three games.

December 12, 2007

Rethinking Sharing

I caught a Slashdot post this morning about the deals the record labels have been striking with Imeem.com to allow their songs to be played for free on the site, in order to realize revenues from subsequent downloads, CD sales, and on-site advertising. This change of heart by record companies occurs even as the RIAA continues to sue individuals for peer-to-peer file sharing.

My social networking is mostly confined to the blogosphere, and Imeem.com was new to me, but I like being able to search for and listen to samples from most any artist (full songs are available with free registration) and I'm sure sooner or later it will result in a purchase of some sort. In the meantime, the following songs are posted for your enjoyment (and also so I can fool around with this embedding.)

Dangerfield Economy

More details from Lawrence Kudlow on "the greatest story never told"....the six-year economic expansion under George W. Bush.

NR Endorses Romney

Wow...is it time for this already?

National Review endorses Mitt Romney for President.

I read a summary of a poll today (can't find it now) that found one in six people who said they wouldn't vote for Romney because he's a Mormon. In his column last week, Charles Krauthammer noted that there are currently five Senators who are Mormons, and yet no one protests that their religious beliefs inhibit their proper functioning in the job.

Harry Reid is one of them, by the way. Is anyone making the case that his views are so wacky that he is therefore unfit to lead this...oh, wait...okay, bad example.

December 11, 2007

Spycraft in Russia

Ion Mihai Pacepa, high level defector and formerly the KGB"s top man in Romania, spins the intriguing tale of George Blake and other Russian "illegal officers" undercover in the West. Here's a taste:

The concept of the illegal officer was—and still is—unique to Russian intelligence, and it constituted an extremely closely guarded secret. In 1964 I became a deputy chief of the Romanian espionage service, the DIE[2], but it was not until eight years later, when I became responsible for supervising Romania’s illegal operations, that I understood how little I had known about this super-secret intelligence discipline until then. Brigade U, as the illegal component was called, was so hush-hush that the location of its headquarters was known to only four outsiders (one of whom I had just become). Its officers never set foot inside any other Romanian intelligence organization. When assigned abroad, the illegal officers were not handled by the legal residencies but by other illegal officers run out of Brigade U headquarters. It was a state within a state, entirely self-contained.

President Putin’s new Cold War has moved the illegal officer to the forefront again. The Russian daily Vzglyad (The View) reports that George Blake—an alleged Briton who now lives in Moscow—has published a new book, Transparent Walls. The forward of this book was signed by Russia’s spy chief, Sergey Lebedev, himself. “Despite the book being devoted to the past, it is about the present as well,”[3] Lebedev writes. I am sure he is correct.

New information coming out of Moscow confirms to an informed eye what I have long suspected. Blake, a former senior officer of the British Secret Intelligence Service known to us, at the top of the bloc’s intelligence community, as the “spy of the century,” was in fact a Russian from start to finish. In other words, he was one of the KGB’s own, an illegal intelligence officer dispatched to the U.K. during World War II, who caused more damage to the West than any other spy, ever.

Recommended 12/10

Jamie Glazov's interview with Amil Imani, an Iranian pro-democracy activist.

Stephen Moore on the Democrats' open admission that they'll be taxing you "Through the Roof."

In the Daily Mail, the polar bears are doing fine, thank you.

I don't link the HuffPo much here, but Gerald Posner has a very interesting post on the fate that befell some Saudi princes and others who were exposed through the interrogation by the U.S. military of captured terror suspect Abu Zubaydah.

Go here for a video documenting the positions on Iraq, Saddam and WMD of leading Democrats, from 1998 to 2003. Because memories are short. (via The Corner)

December 8, 2007

Mount Union Rolls into Stagg Bowl

The steamroller that is the Mount Union College Purple Raiders will be playing for the Division III national championship again next Saturday in Salem, VA. They crushed Bethel today 62-14 in the semi-finals, and will be the prohibitive favorite when they face Wisconsin-Whitewater for the third straight year in the Stagg Bowl.

I mention annually when the finals roll around that I'm an an MUC alum, and this year I have a nephew playing for the Purple as a freshman at wide receiver, so I'm more tuned in to the playoffs than in other years... (You know how monotonous it gets when you just have championship after championship...on and on...)

As downright dynastic as Coach Larry Kehres' teams have been for at least the last 15 years, a couple of my friends who are close to the program think this year's version might be the best Mount Union team ever. I went to the quarterfinal game against Ithaca last week, and saw for myself. The game was 59-3 when Ithaca finally scored a TD with less than a minute to play in the game, as a long desperation heave deflected from a Raider defender, and fell into the chest of the receiver as he was lying on his back in the endzone. It was fitting. A lovely parting gift for the Bombers, one of four straight playoff opponents who had to play Mount on their home turf.

The Raiders are a treat to watch on both sides of the ball. ( I see so much bad football being played elsewhere that the good stuff really jumps out at me.) On offense, all you can say is that their plays work. It looks like they're doing pretty much what they want to all the time. And they are relentless. For the season, the Raiders have outscored their opponents 284-6 in the first quarter, a statistic almost as jaw-dropping as Kehres' career record of 260-20 at Mount Union.

With a legitimate NFL prospect at receiver and a punishing running game, QB Greg Micheli executes the Kehres system with the traditional precision. And the defense pitches shutouts...six straight to end the regular season. The defense scored more points than they allowed (24) in the regular season. I have it on no less an authority than my sister, who has attended all 14 games, that the Raiders have thoroughly dominated every opponent.

And as lopsided as the scores have been, the truth is most of them could have been much more so. Coach Kehres has been known to kick field goals on first or second down, or even take a knee four times deep in opponents' territory rather than run up the score with touchdowns in games long decided. (I remain unconvinced that taking a knee four times is any less humiliating to an outclassed opponent than running it in for a touchdown would be.)

With nine national championships in the last 14 years (’93, ’96, ’97, ’98, ’00, ’01, ’02, ’05, ’06) and a tenth one within reach, it's fair to say that no coach at any level of college football has ever dominated the sport over such a long period of time. Among the major college sports, you probably have to go back to John Wooden's UCLA to find a comparable dynasty.

I know I'm a week ahead of myself with this year's version of the dynasty talk. Go Raiders! Bring it home again.

UPDATE 12/15: Terry Pluto writes about Coach Kehres and MUC in today's PD.

Fred's Move in Iowa

Peter Robinson's post at The Corner includes a link to an interview he conducted with Fred Thompson in June. The interview is worth watching if, like me, you haven't heard enough from or about Thompson yet to get a reading on him compared to the other candidates.

Robinson says he has been disappointed in the 'Fred' campaign so far, ("Torpor. Lassitude. Indifference.") but notes that Thompson is planning a late push in Iowa:

...Thompson now intends to climb aboard a great big bus, then spend every day but Christmas itself criss-crossing the great state of Iowa until the caucuses on January 3. With Romney stalled out and Huckabee under fire (a great deal of said fire originating right here on NRO), Fred has an opening—and, evidently, has chosen to seize it.

This is a big deal—or could be. Maybe—just maybe—Fred Thompson has finally realized that Ronald Reagan only made it look easy.

UPDATE 12/10: Here's Stephen Hayes' Standard story.

December 5, 2007

Stubborn Facts

The U.S. economy just isn't cooperating with the relentless effort by the media and the Democrats to portray it as sliding into recession in time for election season.

Larry Kudlow:

There ain’t no recession.

Today’s ADP private jobs survey of 189,000 could produce a 200,000 non-farm payroll job gain for November. I don’t know — these wacky BLS numbers are subject to huge revisions. But the ADP was a huge number. In fact, jobs seem to be picking up major steam from their August low, rising in September and October. And now I’m expecting a good increase in November to be reported by the BLS this Friday.

Plus, profits are stronger than people seem to understand. The ISMs are fine. Productivity, reported out today, soared to over 6 percent annually in the third quarter. That’s the best number in four months for output per person.

On top of that, business inflation is zero. Flat. Nada.

The recession debate is over. It’s not gonna happen. Time to move on.

At a bare minimum, we are looking at Goldilocks 2.0. (And that’s a minimum). The Bush boom is alive and well. It’s finishing up its sixth splendid year with many more years to come.

More from Tom Blumer at Bizzy Blog

December 4, 2007

Moonbattery 2007

Selected by Right Wing News' John Hawkins, the second annual Worst Quotes from The Daily Kos. These are selected strictly from the writings of Kos diarists, not from reader comments. As Hawkins points out, this is the most popular and influential blog in existence, and the authors of these words are right at home in today's mainstream American Left.

Enjoy... (quickly now, before the 4th Reich reigns and these brave voices are silenced by Bush's declaration of martial law.)

Slow News Day?

The headline was everywhere today: Divorce Found to Harm the Environment. Okay, I'll bite.

So first you check for the Onion logo on the web site, because it's just got to be a gag. And then when you find out what the 'science' is behind the claim, you wonder who pays people good money to do research like this.

Turns out that when a couple gets divorced and they go from living together to living in two different residences, they use more space and energy and water per person than they did when living together. Who'd a thunk it?

Except when they don't, I guess. If she moves back in with Mom, they don't. If he moves into his buddy's basement, they don't. If either one moves in immediately with another mate, they don't. Maybe the impact of all divorces is negligible when considered in light of society's overall trend of more people living alone in young adulthood and waiting till later to get married. More fodder for Michigan State researchers.

And it's just a bit too silly to suggest that these findings provide a reason for couples to stay together who otherwise wouldn't. In fact, making a big deal out of this supposed environmental impact trivializes the real and serious social costs and consequences of divorce.

I know it figures that when one person moves out of a household, and the remaining family members don't turn down the heat, the energy use per person is greater than before. I just question the utility of a study to validate the obvious for us.

The headline might just as well have read: "Kids Going Away to College Harm the Environment"

And like the news in the original headline, deep down inside we already knew that.


Steyn is amused.

December 2, 2007

Blind Date in New Orleans

The Buckeyes are going to play for the national championship in New Orleans on January 7, because neither of the two teams ahead of them in the BCS rankings could win yesterday. And once again the BCS will come in for withering criticism because there are five or six teams with a legitimate argument that they should be Ohio State's opponent. This guarantees that the elusive consensus that is the goal of the BCS will be impossible to attain...again. This Fox article sums up the arguments for the contenders.

LSU seems like the odds on favorite to get the nod, although the BCS will have to explain why they have the Tigers leap-frogging 4th-ranked Georgia to play for the title. Oklahoma has a good case too, but I'm hoping for a matchup with LSU. The taint on the Buckeyes of last year's championship game will not be removed until they play a good SEC team and win, in a high profile game. This would be their chance for redemption. Sure, it's virtually a home game for LSU in the Superdome. But that will make a win all the sweeter. Bring on the Tigers.

UPDATE 12/2: It's official. From the ESPN report:

"The brass ring was there for a lot of different teams to grab it," SEC commissioner and BCS coordinator Mike Slive said during a conference call Sunday night. "Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't, and when they didn't it allowed two teams that were seen as two of the better teams in the country early in the year to find their way back."

Sort of. The Buckeyes were ranked from No. 11-15 in preseason, and only began to get attention when they went on the road in two nationally televised night games and handled Purdue and Penn State convincingly to go 9-0, while everyone else ahead of them was losing. Here's where the AP report begins to go all anti-Buckeye...

Ohio State has been roundly criticized since the beginning of the season, after losing players from a team that was heavily favored in last year's title game but flopped mightily in a 41-14 loss to Florida.

The Buckeyes were ranked first in November, but surrendered that with a 28-21 loss to Illinois that only added fuel to those who said they weren't deserving. But they backed into the BCS game without even playing, beneficiaries of the fact the Big Ten doesn't play a title game while many other conferences do.

They backed in? (without even playing?)

Let me get this right...They were criticized early this year because they had (gasp!) lost players from the previous year's team, and even that team got drilled by Florida in January....you know, last season?

How exactly can the team ranked No. 1 by a wide margin over No.2 in the final BCS poll, be said to have backed in? Because OSU's schedule ended before some other teams schedules? Or maybe that thing about W.Va. and Missouri losing the last games on their schedules. Hey, they all count. The Buckeyes last game was up in Ann Arbor, in front of 110,000 people. Things are tough all over. As for West Virginia - the team many experts would have been perfectly happy to have representing college football in the BCS game, had they managed to sneak by Pitt - I have just one word....Pitt!

Most of the anti-Buckeye sentiment is about that 2007 schedule, and it really wasn't quite up to the level that Tressel has established here. The 2007 OSU schedule is atypical really, falling as it does, coincidentally, in the odd year between the end of a two game series with Texas (2005,2006), and the upcoming set with USC (2008,2009), followed by two game series over the following six years with Miami, Virginia Tech and Cal.

Tressel has scheduled top 20 programs for non-conference, early season games. When you schedule six years out, you can't know if a team will be highly ranked, but those are some consistent top 20 teams (Miami excepted for the moment.) Tressel doesn't need to take flak from anybody about strength of schedule. I wish more coaches would challenge their kids like this early in the season. Pete Carroll and some others do much the same thing. USC traveled to Nebraska this September.

And as lots of upset victims can attest, playing MAC teams is not something any team can mail in. Akron trailed the Buckeyes 3-2 at halftime this year, and held them to 20 points. In another non-conference game, Ohio State went to U of Washington and won by 19 points, 33-14. USC beat Washinton 27-24, if you're keeping score at home. The Bucks first impressed the nation with those dominating wins at Purdue and Penn State, and later beat two more teams that were ranked (by these same experts) in the top 5-7 in the preseason; in Wisconsin and Michigan. They lost one game, by a touchdown, to a team that just got invited to the Rose Bowl.

The Buckeyes had their Youngstown State, Kent State and Akron, and LSU had their Louisiana Tech, Tulane and Middle Tennessee. I don't want to hear it about the OSU schedule anymore.

Does it mean a lot that the Ohio State Buckeyes have been the No. 1 ranked team in the final BCS Poll for the last two seasons, and that they have won 23 of their last 24 regular season games?

Probably not. But it doesn't mean nothing either.

'Backed in' my ass.