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Monday, November 14, 2011

Top 12, Heisman, and Paterno

The Troglodyte Top 12

It seems odd that the inaugural ranking for the 2011 season is occurring in week 12, but that is a publishing problem, not a ranking problem. The ranking has been around since week 5 (Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma St., Stanford, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Oregon, Clemson, South Carolina, Va. Tech, and South Florida), but I never got around to posting it (something that has plagued this site for months). One thing of note is the stability of those teams listed in the Top 12 since week 5 (only Wisconsin and South Florida out, with Kansas St. and Houston in). For reference, the Top 12's stick rate (10/12) is better than that of the AP and USA Today polls (both 8/12), which is likely a result of the bias created by early season rankings by the major polls, e.g., I never bought into Nebraska, or Florida, or Boise St, being that high. One more reason, I guess, to like the BCS, with its 8-week wait.

Heisman Watch

Andrew Luck should be the only player invited to New York. Period.

Paterno

I heard a guy on the radio Sunday morning saying that if he heard the phrase, "The healing has started at Penn State," or similar poppycock, he thought his head would explode. Quite right. If there is one thing that the priest sexual abuse crisis made clear 10 years ago, it was that for the victims, "healing" is still a struggle, even decades later, and certainly doesn't get rolling over a weekend.

Speaking of the crisis in the Church, there is an angle hear that applies to the question of whether Joe Paterno should have been fired. While there was no shortage of those piling on the Church during the crisis because it was all supposed to be a matter of chickens coming home to roost (yeah, right), there was a little different feeling among Catholics, practicing and non-practicing; a sick feeling of disgust rising in the pit of your stomach from what you were hearing and the slow burn from feeling betrayed as bishop after bishop was discovered to have enabled abusers by reassigning them to new posts and keeping it all quiet. Fr. Stephen Hamilton, then of Edmond, OK, provided much needed clarity to a laity longing to hear some during his Good Friday homily (read the whole thing):
This scandal involves bishops who, though themselves not guilty of abuse, covered up the truth and failed to protect others from abusers, theirs is a sin against the duty to govern the Church. This dereliction of duty in governing the Church does not touch upon Catholic doctrine (the teaching office), nor the validity of Sacraments (the sanctifying office)... It would be irrational to confuse a bishop’s failure to govern well with evidence that Catholic doctrine or the Sacraments are flawed.

... [S]exual abuse by clergy, though forgivable by God’s incomprehensible mercy, is absolutely inexcusable. Likewise, a bishop’s failure to remove such clerics from active ministry is a horrendous display of incompetence. In both cases, such offenders lose our trust and ought to be removed from office. Clerics who are guilty of such criminal acts have committed the spiritual equivalent of murder. The fallout from such abuse is often ruined lives and lost faith.

Joe Paterno is a Catholic. The very spring the priest sex abuse scandal was widely being made known, he learned about Jerry Sandusky and Victim 2.

*** Sidebar
Reason #572 why I could never be a so-called progressive: Creating common cause to aid and abet the spiritual equivalent of murder committed by members of NAMBLA.
*** End sidebar

While a bishop could make a lame argument that in the years previous he was just following the advice of secular experts that pedophilia and pederasty could be addressed by a change of scenery or, if that didn't work, the priest in question could be rehabilitated with therapy, Paterno couldn't use that excuse as it was clear in March and April of 2002 how wrongheaded that reasoning and line of action proved to be. What's worse, Paterno did even less than that.

Yeah, Joe, the all-time wins record is nice. So is that library. They don't really square things, however. Whether by willful ignorance, or gross negligence, you are an accomplice to the equivalent of at least one case of spiritual murder. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

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