NASCAR's "new" system, Iowa football has some explaining to do, and Jimmer continues to go off
This week's Back Porch podcast has been moved to Friday due to an overwhelming amount of awful Thursday part-time jobs duties I am embarking on. But, here are a few thoughts to tide you over.

Thought #1
Last night NASCAR had its own State of the Union address in which it anounced a new points system to be during the season of events. The new system will give drivers anywhere from 1 to 43 points depending on where they finish, starting with the winner getting 43 and decreasing by one for each spot. Drivers will also be able to earn bonus points for winning, leading a lap, and leading the most laps, making the maximum possible points for a single race 48.

Another change will be the way drivers qualify for NASCAR's end of the season chase. The current system just take the top 12 drivers according to their points. The new system will take the top 10 and award the final two sports to the drivers with the most wins who did not manage to break into the top 10 of the points standings.

Overall NASCAR is selling this to fans as a system more geared to emphasizing winnings, but realistically, it's not that much different that what was already in place. NASCAR simply shined it up a little and used small numbers. Sure they can say, "It's completely different! We used the cute little numbers!" But that's kind of like your parents adding streamers to your old bike and regifting to you at Christmas. "It has streamers, of course its new!"

The bottom line is that NASCAR is not a sport that caters itself to a season-long chase. It is a sport of events. Weekly, competitive races is where the sport lives and thrives, so trying to fit the mold of other sports, who excel at post-season or playoff set ups is never going to work.

Ignoring what works for you and trying to be like others is the same tragic flaw which doomed Baywatch Nights. They saw the X-Files and decided to try and tap in to that market. Suddenly all the slow motion running was gone and they expected us to watch Michael Knight chase werewolves. Well, we see how great that panned out.

Be yourself NASCAR.

Thought #2
The Iowa Hawkeye football program is having a really rough month. 13 players have now been hospitalized for some sort of stress induced muscle disorder. Many folks are making the obvious connect between their symptoms and the winter workout program the players were participating in.

My question is this; Being this close to National Signing Day, how on Earth does Iowa got about convincing high school athletes to join their program? It's like when you're sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office and you hear all kinds of moans and groans coming out of one of the back rooms. You may not know exactly what is going on, but you darn sure now you don't want to be next. Nope, you'll find a find a much more comfortable place to get your annual dose of Highlights magazine.

Even with no idea exactly what the causes are, 13 players don't get the same muscle disorder by accident. So if a few of their committed recruits up and decide the grass is a little greener elsewhere, I cant say I blame them.

Thought #3
It's only January, but Jimmer Fredette is already getting a healthy dose of that J.J. Redick "not at the next level" criticism.

Jimmer, the naiton's leading scorer, went off for 43 points last night to help No. 9 BYU defeat No. 4 and previously undefeated San Diego St. It was his second straight 40-plus game and third in the past four outings.

While I have no idea what kind of player Jimmer will be at the next level I do know that he looks huge on every team's radar and continues to produce. That has to be good for something. The guy can shoot from anywhere in the gym and when he's not on, has the ability, along with the common sense, to attack the rim until he finds his stroke.

Maybe he'll just be the system player many analysts are predicting in the NBA, but for now he is the star of this year's college landscape.

It does sound kind of like something you would lure a bass in with.
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