Michael Denton

Enjoys living below sea water, eating road kill, and complaining about how bad astro turf is in comparison to what LSU plays at home.

Cotton Bowl Discussion

Since this site has so many fans of the Texas A&M Aggies and the LSU Tigers on it, I figued it’d be fun to have a chat about their upcoming game. To get stuff started, MJ (Aggie fan & alum) and I (LSU fan & alum-not sure if anyone noticed I’m an LSU fan) exchanged 5 questions about the upcoming game. Go beyond the jump to see the discussion and be sure to comment & trash talk (in a Christian charitable way, of course) in the combox!

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Bowl Pick’Em Update

As we head into the New Year’s Bowls, I thought you’d like an update on how our pick’em contest is progressing.

Green is for a correct guess, red for a wrong one. Bold is for games in which there was disagreement.

You’ll notice a most amusing trend: on the ones in which our contestants were unanimous, we’ve been mostly unanimously wrong! Only our picks of Boise St. & Oklahoma St. have survived! I am most glad that Jay saved LSU from that category by picking the Aggies!

Everyone is very much still alive, as Jay & I are tied with 9 point, Jagneaux has 8, and dave and opinionated Catholic are  not too far behind at 7.

As for the bowls themselves, they’ve been quite entertaining. Unless of course, you’re a Tennessee fan in which case you probably ought to accept that in the year 2010 our Lord decided that he hated Tennessee Volunteer football. You may have similar feelings if you hate the “No-Fun-League” penalty on Kansas State that cost them the game.

So while you reflect on 2010, continue to enjoy the bowls & the contest! And go Carolina Panthers!

Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

I am a big supporter of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Unfortunately, the policy the Senate repealed on Saturday wasn’t the policy I wanted to see repealed.

To be sure, DADT as applied to gays in the military was eventually going to be repealed, even if it was a prudent attempt to prevent relationships within a unit that could endanger lives. I’ll let the military people decide about that. But we should understand what DADT really banned: it banned gays from openly discussing their homosexuality in the military.

So now that homosexuals have won the right to discuss their homosexuality, I wonder if they will be willing to repeal the social policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that is currently applied to Christians who want to discuss their Christianity.

How many times have Christians been told that their religion needs to be kept to themselves? I’m not merely talking about the political sphere here, though to be sure that applies. I’m also talking about every other area: social media, work, art, etc. Even in sermons, priests and preachers are criticized if the homily is too controversial or too Christians. Faith can only be discussed among small groups of like-minded believers in whispers as if the Church was an underground resistance movement. If the faith is to be brought to a broader audience, Christians have been reduced to trying to sneak their faith “through the gate” as CS Lewis described.

If religion is going to cease to be something people just do in the privacy of their homes & churches on Sunday and become a real and revitalizing part of American life, then the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy as applied to Christians has to be done away. After all, if homosexuals (as they argued) cannot truly be themselves unless they can openly discuss their sexuality, why do we have the idea that Christians can be (and indeed must be) Christians while not openly discussing their faith?

Sadly, I imagine the forces behind Saturday’s repeal are among the most avid advocates of the DADT policy as applied to Christians.

TAC Bowl Pick’em

There’s still time to get in your picks for the Bowl Pick’Em game here at TAC. To encourage you, Jay Anderson & I have provided you with our picks & our comments about each bowl. Dave Hartline as well as commenter Nicholas Jagneux have also sent in picks, which I’ll show at the end. Again, your picks are definitely appreciated and we’ll take them until 1 o’clock CST tomorrow (when the New Mexico Bowl starts).

But first, another reminder to repeat “Leaders” and “Legends” to the nearest Big 10 fan you know.  Whatever dignity the Big 10 had is gone…ouch.

So let’s talk about the bowls! Continue reading

Catholicism and College Football

No doubt many of you spent the weekend ignoring family and holiday festivities and perhaps even food & drink in order to study up on the all the bowl games so you can make your picks for the TAC Bowl Pick’em contest. But it occurred to me that while we at TAC have talked a lot about who would win the most games, we never discussed who ought to win those games.

A few months ago, we discussed how the New Orleans Saints were the team that all good Catholics ought to cheer for. After that post, I had a lot of feedback thanking me for providing this guidance but also wondering if there could be some guidance on the college level. Take this email for example:

Dear Michael,

I am a twenty-something in West Virginia whose hobbies include making parody blogs and using political terms I don’t quite understand. I have hated football for some time, believing it to be anathema to my own beliefs. However, after reading your post I realized my hatred of football was a product of my own fascist tendencies.. However, there are no pro teams in West Virginia but there is a college one; I would prefer to cheer for a college team but require your guidance to know who to root for.

Or this one :

Dear Michael,

I am a Cowboys fan living in Ohio. However, after your post I find my heart step by step being moved by what can only be the Holy Spirit to cheer for the Saints. I could hardly help myself from letting out a hearty “Who Dat!” after Malcolm Jenkins stripped the ball against my former favorite team on Thanksgiving. I pray that God can grant me the faith to bleed black & gold. But this is not enough, as I have started to examine my college allegiances. Is there a college team out there that can inspire my soul the way the Saints do?

There were many many emails like this, almost as many emails as there are people who honestly think the executive order has the legal effect Bart Stupak claims it has. So for these few months, I have been discerning what the standings of many college football teams are in the eyes of God. Continue reading

TAC Bowl Pick’Em Contest

The bowl selections are out, and it will be Auburn v. Oregon in the BCS Title game. This is irrelevant, because the two biggest fan bases on this site will be meeting in Jerryworld on January 7th (that long. Seriously?) in the Cotton Bowl. I would talk trash about the Aggies, but there’s no need. Any school willing to be bought off by their biggest rival really isn’t worth the effort.

Ok, so in order to continue the college discussion at TAC, we’re doing a bowl pick’em game. There would be a prize but we have no money (unless you’d like to chip in…). You will get honor and glory…and perhaps the right to write a guest post on any college football topic of the winner’s choosing (I’ll work out the details and let you know if that’s happening).

The method is simple. We’re picking every bowl. The bowl begin on December 18th and to be consider you must have turned in your entry by the beginning of the New Mexico bowl, which is at 1 pm on the 18th. The list of all the bowls can be found here. Next week (hopefully on Monday), all the rankers here at TAC will put out their picks with their reasons.

So how do you turn in your picks? You can post them here in the comment section or you can post it on the wall of our facebook group (look for The American Catholic if you haven’t liked us yet). I suppose you could theoretically tweet it to TheAmCatholic, but that would probably be annoying. And by probably I mean definitely.

I’ll allow changes up until the the New Mexico Bowl, but if you do it in a different forum make sure I can identify you.

So send in your picks, and we’ll start the discussions and debates right away!

Final TAC College Rankings of 2010

And for most of us, we’re done.

With Boise St. and LSU losing, we’re down to three title contenders. TCU will need either Oregon or Auburn to lose. In my mind, they need either one to lose big in order to justify TCU getting into the title game b/c of how pitiful TCU’s schedule is.

Some random thoughts from the weeked, as it’s exam week for me:

A few commenters on Twitter noted the irony of Notre Dame beating the Trojans in a week when the pope had to battle contraception. Everyone can enjoy the sweet, sweet tears of USC fans.

Do college coaches not know about this new fangled thing called the prevent defense? Nevada & LSU, I’m looking straight at you (or am until i burst out in tears b/c we lost to a clearly inferior Arkansas team b/c we didn’t play freakin prevent defense. Nope, not bitter at all). Speaking of Nevada, I watched that game (one of the perks of having a newborn is getting to watch late night TV!). A lot of fun to watch as a game, but the stands? This was the big road test for Boise, and the stands for the student section were smaller than my high school. Auburn has to go play in front of 90,000+ Bama fans. It’s just not comparable. I just don’t know if I can ever justify putting those kinds of schools over a BCS team for a national title.

Does Rich Rod stay at Michigan or do they give him another chance? I don’t know how much longer Michigan will be content to be so far behind not only Ohio St., but also Iowa and Wisconsin.

Boise went from the Rose Bowl to the Kraft Fight Hunger. They would play a PAC-10 team but since the PAC-10 can’t fill its spots it’ll get an ACC team: either BC or Miami, which just fired its coach.

I hate rankings being used as conference tiebreakers, especially when the teams met in the regular season. Use some metric from the season, like points differential instead.

I’m going to hate writing the next sentence, but LSU losing was great for college football. Cries against the BCS would have increased if LSU, whom the media have decided is only lucky, made it in over TCU. This would have increased if Oregon lost and we had an SEC rematch. The same is true for Boise. TCU has no business in the title game this year (they did last year), so I think the anger against the BCS will abate unless one of the big two lose this weekend.

By the way, I’m rooting for South Carolina next weekend. Pay for play is a bad deal, and while logically Auburn ought to go over TCU, emotionally I want those cheaters to watch TCU go over them. Furthermore, that would knock Arkansas out of the BCS bid, sending them to the Cap One bowl instead of us. Yes, I am rooting for LSU to get knocked out of the “better” bowl and go to the Cotton, perhaps to play the Aggies. Sorry, but after last year I never want to go to the Cap One bowl again (ps-dear SEC-when LSU fans are openly hoping to not go to your premiere non-BCS bowl, it’s time to change the premiere non-BCS bowl). And yes, I know that they put in a new field but I’d rather Jerryworld than Disney world (the fact that I could maybe convince my wife to take a texas trip but not a Orlando trip has nothing to do with it)

TCU just joined the Big East. While the Big East could use a football school, 17 teams in basketball? Sure, they get exposure but how many teams until you have to contract? If you don’t think Mike Slive will be traveling with LSU to Morgantown this fall, you’re dead wrong.

Now, for next week I figure there won’t be enough to do another set of rankings (not to mention I’ll have three exams that week), so the rankings are done for the year. However, our college football stuff will not. I’ll ask all the rankers to submit their picks for the bowls with their reasoning behind the picks. I’m not sure if we’ll do all the bowls of just the ones after Christmas. When the bowl lineups come out, I’ll make a call. However, I also want our readers to participate. So you can send in your picks via comment here or via our facebook page. We can bash each other picks, trash talk etc.

(Speaking of trash talk, is it acceptable to post your team’s victory cheer on the facebook page of the opposing team after a win? Ex: an Ole Miss fan posting “Hotty Totty!” on the wall of an LSU fan. I think so, b/c it’s not really trash talk, it’s just “yay! my team won!” and is fairly harmless, especially if there’s a history of playful trash-talk between the two. However, someone recently disagreed with me and told me I was a jerk. I was curious if in fact I am a jerk).

Allright, so to the final rankings!

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TAC College Rankings

After a lackluster week in college football (unless you’re Bo Pelini), the Friday after Thanksgiving gives us an excellent slate of college football. Arizona v. Oregon, Auburn v. Alabama, and Boise v. Nevada. The day after, TCU, Stanford, Wisconsin, LSU, and Ohio St. will all be looking to get wins & style points to position themselves for a BCS bid, possibly a title game if a scenario that involves the Second Coming occurs.

We know that Oregon is dreadful in the computers. We know the SEC schools do really well. Can everyone stay undefeated? Can one of the non-AQs impress enough to get in? And throw in the fact that this is rivalry week, which always adds for an extra bit of chaos and unpredictability. The worst teams can and will challenge teams that normally would be far superior to them (like for example when Ole Miss debuts a quasi triple option offense in a failed attempt to beat LSU. Enjoy Hell, you racist rednecks). Weeks like this make college football a lot of fun.

To the rankings! Continue reading

Fighting Global Warming

The NCR notes a Rutgers professor went on the Joy Behar show and compared having kids to littering. I found this shocking. People watch the Joy Behar show?

Sadly, the idea that kids are an evil and that the virtuous green movement should rid them (presumably through contraception and abortion, though they rarely state the latter explicitly) seems to be growing in momentum on the left. In a humorous coincidence, this comic appeared in today’s newspaper (from Yahoo!).

People really will believe anything these days…

Brave New World for TAC

TAC is undergoing an upgrade, and I’m proud to announce this upgrade also includes an expansion. TAC has launched a facebook page and a twitter page! Look up “The American Catholic” on facebook and @TheAmCatholic (full name “TheAmericanCatholic” on twitter to follow us!

Now, why are we doing this? It occurred to us that people desperately want to know what our contributors have for breakfast. This allows me to tell you that I had Pop-Tarts, and that Tito made hash browns out of Idaho potatoes.

Of course I’m joking. The goal is two-fold. First, we’ll do what everyone else does with these platforms, which is link back to the posts, allowing people a different way to get our posts than just an RSS feed. More importantly however, we’d like to see this really supplement the TAC community and discussions.

There are many topics or news items that interest us, but aren’t blogged about because there’s not enough material to write a blog post or enough time to write the post. Micro-blogging allows us an opportunity to share these stories with you and discuss them. We’re hoping these discussions are as fruitful as our comment boxes and will really add to what we’re doing. This isn’t just a one-way street. We’ve noticed that a lot of big name bloggers in the Catholic blogosphere get a lot of help from their readers in that readers will email them with news or post ideas. We think our readership can do the same thing, and as a group blog these platforms are great for allowing you, the reader, to post on our wall or tweet us with things you’d like to see discussed at TAC. This way, TAC can become a more interactive blog and become an even better forum for the discussion of issues in light of Catholic teaching.

So please, if you’re on facebook or twitter, follow us! We’re still figuring things out with, so forgive us if we have some snafus, but we think this will really help improve TAC so thanks in advance for putting up with us.

TAC College Rankings: Week 12

Let’s a take moment of silence to remember Tito’s Idaho Vandals. *Pause*

A week of so much potential for wonderful chaos left us with a more set picture. Although TCU is largely assuredly to be undefeated, the suddenly don’t have any great wins. Oregon St. & Baylor both lost, and Utah got embarrassed by a Notre Dame team that got whalloped by Navy. It appears that Boise, strengthened by Virginia Tech’s dominance in the ACC, will likely jump TCU if the Broncos beat #18 Nevada in two weeks. Oregon appears in good shape, as Arizona and Oregon St. don’t look as troublesome as they did a week ago, though they did have to survive a scare at Cal. Auburn gets a week off to pray that Cam Newton isn’t declared ineligible while trying to prepare themselves for a trip to Bama.

It is hard to imagine a one-loss team like LSU getting into the title unless Boise, Auburn, and Oregon all lose. Possible, but for LSU it would require Auburn to probably lose twice (or get declared ineligible) so it appears LSU’s chances are equivalent to the chances of Christ coming back in the next few weeks. LSU appears to be the only one with a chance, as the computers don’t give anyone else much love, though I suspect Ohio St. could muscle their way into the picture with a big win over Iowa.

So yes, put me on record as publicly declaring that LSU’s chances of making it to the title game are equivalent to those of the Second Coming in the next few weeks. I doubt I will have to eat crow for that statement. Now to the rankings! Continue reading

TAC College Rankings: Week 10

This post is dedicated to my beautiful wife Shannon. On Tuesday, she gave birth to our son, Benedict Michael. Do you know where she wanted me on Saturday? In Death Valley, watching LSU end Alabama’s dreams of a national title. It need not be said that I love my wife, very, very, very, very much.

With LSU’s glorious victory and TCU’s pasting of Utah in Salt Lake, the national title race has narrowed down considerably. The Big 12, with Oklahoma’s loss to the Aggies and the near loss by the Cornhuskers to freaking Iowa St., will almost certainly not send a team to the BCS title game. I imagine the same will also be true for the Big 10, though I suspect Ohio St. has the best chance of proving me wrong there. Still, the Big 10 will likely get 2 BCS bids, which is not too shabby.

To me, there are 5 teams in contention: Oregon, Auburn, TCU and Boise being the obvious, with LSU still an outside shots. For LSU, they’d need 2 out of the 3 of the Ducks, WarPlainsTigersEagleMen, or Horned Frogs to lose. I don’t think LSU needs Boise to lose. Before you call me a homer, look at the computer rankings. LSU is already above Boise in the computers and we have an opportunity to improve that ranking when we play Arkansas. The human polls may revolt against LSU if it gets close (b/c they really don’t like the idea of LSU playing for the title) but there are plausible scenarios where LSU makes it in-even if LSU doesn’t win the SEC. Of course, if LSU jumps Boise without winning the SEC, there will be a riot. While I expect Oregon to remain undefeated, the other three undefeated have at least one more test left. Auburn, a team weak against the pass, has to face AJ Green and Julio Jones (as well as possible Florida). Boise still has Nevada, and TCU has to avoid the let-down game against a San Diego St. that’s 7-2 and getting some votes in the polls. It ain’t over yet, and it’s so much fun!

This would all be simpler if the NCAA did its job and declared Cam Newton ineligible. Seriously, do you think he decided to not play for Dan Mullen b/c he was impressed with Gene Chizik’s record at Iowa St.? The whole thing stinks, and someone is going to get busted for it. It would be a tragedy if the NCAA waited to finish this investigation until it’s too late (i.e. after the SEC title game).

When on earth did the Big 10 decide to play like the PAC-10? I’m looking at you, Michigan & Illinois. At least the Big 10 has a bunch of bowl eligible teams. Speaking of teams that may not get into bowls, what happened to Texas? We knew it’d be a down year, but losses to Baylor, Iowa St. & Kansas St? At least Texas fans can watch their beloved Cow… oh. Same goes to Notre Dame. They have to win 2 out of 3 against the Utes, USC, and Army. While I’ll be rooting for them against the Utes and USC (yeah, this is the time of year where I root solely to hurt other teams in front of LSU. You do it too), if they don’t get in one perhaps may start considering an Obama curse. Since Notre Dame invited Obama, they haven’t been to a bowl.

Important games of the week:

San Diego St. v. TCU, Georgia v. Auburn, VT v. UNC, South Carolina v. Florida,

I may want to explain the VT v. UNC game. Boise’s big win is against VT; LSU has a win over UNC. If UNC beats VT, VT might fall from the rankings and UNC get in. While the humans may not care, the computers will, and LSU will get even stronger in the computers. Furthermore, a VT team with 3 losses, including the one to James Madison, isn’t going to motivate voters to support Boise. On the other hand, a VT team that goes through the ACC undefeated with only another loss that’s almost excusable (you’re an idiot scheduling a Sat. game after a Mon night game, even if it is James Madison) is a very strong win. Combined with wins against Nevada, Boise would have a very strong case to make it in if people start losing ahead of them.

Alright, let’s get to the rankings!

Continue reading

Rep. Cao's Defeat

If I said anything about the election in general, I’d probably be wrong. At about 9:17 pm, while everyone else was watching election returns, I was at the hospital, meeting 7 lb. 14.9 oz. little Benedict Denton (Luckily for you, I’m not one of those dads who posts absurd quantities of pictures of his irresistibly adorably cute son). So  I didn’t really give a damn about the election (though I did vote in it), nor did I glean much other than the GOP performed in the mid-range of everyone’s expectations, and that the coming of the Tea Party was overrated. The latter is all that really matters to me, as I expect it will have consequences for the GOP candidate in 2012 (sorry Palin). I’ll leave it to others to craft the results to fit nicely in their gradiose theories about the inevitable victory of their political persuasion.

The only race I did care about was Louisiana’s 2nd district in which La. Rep. Joseph Cao lost to Democrat Cedric Richmond. It was one of the bright spots of the Democrat’s night, but it was entirely expected as Cao only won two years ago b/c most of the Bill Jefferson’s voters didn’t know he hadn’t already won the election. Cao always was an odd-ball, with his significant votes coming in the healthcare debate. A Catholic who cared deeply about the opinion of the bishops, he voted for the healthcare bill with the Stupak language and then, recognizing that without abortion would be funded, changed his vote.

His votes made everyone uncomfortable. The Republicans didn’t like their unanimous front being broken. The Democrats didn’t like the stinging rebuke on their lies about abortion funding in the bill. In heavily Democratic 2nd district, Cao was almost certainly giving up any chance of re-election in order to vote for life.

It was no surprise that Cao received almost no national support, even from some “Catholic” organizations. What may be surprising is who came down hard opposing Cao: Pres. Barack Obama. Two years after promising to change the tone in Washington, Obama campaigned hard for a indisputably corrupt Democrat against the only bi-partisan Republican in Congress. Hope & Change? hardly.

This makes me question whether Americans are telling the truth when they claim they want a less partisan Congress. We say we’re tired of the stupid games, but we don’t support the candidates who fight to change that. I’m not talking here about RINOs or other candidates who lie through their teeth about their true positions. I have no problem giving them the boot. I’m talking about candidates who don’t like up perfectly with their parties but are honest about the differences. Candidates who are willing to work with those outside the party for the good of their constituencies, not those working to get a plug for the New York Times.

So if don’t want Cao, and we claim to not like the status quo, then what do we want?

TAC College Football Rankings

This week is Bama week for the rest of LSU, but it’s also Baby Denton week for me. TCU & Boise have their toughest conference tests so far this week.

In an interesting stat note, the SEC West has as many bowl-eligible teams as any other conference. If any SEC West team gets through with just one loss, they have to get in (though I expect LSU will have a harder time b/c of reputation than Bama or Auburn). All in all, the tests for the top teams are dwindling; most have only one or two tough games between them.  Continue reading

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