Greetings and salutations readers! Welcome to the final Life, Love? Sport (Conspiracy Edition) before the winter break is upon us. This week was memorable for two reasons: the bowl games in college football were announced and the NBA Players Union sued the NBA over unfair practices over the new game ball. But first a little clarification before we move on. Last week’s “obscure sports” piece garnered some press of the negative kind. So for now, the obscure sports series is put on ice. Glad we got that out of the way, let’s rock this joint.

Were you one of the millions that tuned in to hear the bowl games announced last week? In case you weren’t, the LLS was and we have several observations. First, I’d like to thank the computers for not burdening us with a rematch of Ohio State-Michigan. They played a game, Michigan lost, move on. Why was there even a controversy about this? The second-place team in the Pac-10 gets shafted to the Holiday Bowl, but you want the second placed Big 10 team in the championship? That’s the biggest load of crap I’ve heard since “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” The rankings need to be changed next year to only allow conference champions to be eligible to play for the title. With this in mind, Ohio State is going to destroy Florida. Chris Leak is a decent quarterback, but let’s be honest, Troy Smith is a beast. Also, since when is a BCS game allowed to be a home game? LSU playing in the Superdome is like letting Duke play a Final Four game be played at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Plus, Norte Dame shouldn’t even be in a BCS bowl. Losing two games by at least 20 points should qualify you for the Texas Bowl.

More importantly, this year really showed the deep flaws in the BCS system. Rutgers loses two games and gets sent to the inaugural Texas Bowl. Wisconsin loses one game and slides to the Capital One Bowl. Louisville doesn’t even control its own fate and still made it to a BCS bowl game. The solution is simple: either institute a playoff (something university presidents don’t want to do to save the “scholar-athlete”) or somehow make every major conference play a championship game. The winners of each game would go to a BCS game, while everyone else watches. Sure some conferences could be weaker (stand up ACC), but it would remove some of the controversy from the process. Meanwhile, our beloved Missouri Tigers got the Sun Bowl! Against Oregon State! I hate predictions as much as the next guy, but I predict a Tigers victory. I’ll be watching that game for sure. I will also watch every other bowl game and report to you the best five games in the next issue. It should be a great vacation.

The NBA Players Union sued over the game ball. Finally, I mean how much longer were we supposed to listen to these players whine? Every day someone new adds their two cents to the pile. Eventually David Stern was bound to listen. The LLS is all for getting innovation into the workplace, but if something has been used for a half-century and it hasn’t bothered anyone, why mess with it? Money surely cannot be involved. Sales of the new ball are not significantly more than the old one. The only possible explanation is that David Stern is a publicity hog. Good for him.

It’s official; the Red Sox have lost their minds, and Red Sox Nation will need a collective intervention in June. J.D Drew for $70 million? Apparently Theo Epstien still works in a gorilla suit. Julio Lugo for $36 million? This is a guy who hit .219 for the Dodgers after the break. This might be the most exciting summer of talk radio in recent Boston memory. Needless to say, I am very excited.

This week’s list is all about getting the shaft. Specifically, what teams got the shaft during this year’s bowl games. In no particular order:

1) Rutgers – Here is a team that won 10 games for the second time EVER. And how do they get rewarded? Texas Bowl? The first one? In the season of giving, the BCS gave the Scarlet Knights the shaft.

2) BYU – A team from the WAC clearly will not go to a major bowl. But come on, they’re ranked and all they get is Las Vegas Bowl. Maybe they can gamble their way to better bowl next year.

3) BC – This team almost won their conference, and yet every year they seem to get shafted every year.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Final Fact:

The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continually held sports event in the United States (1875); the second oldest is the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show (1876).

Maystrovsky’s article appears weekly. Maystrovsky is a member of the class of 2009.

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