Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the possible playoff format in NCAA football, the honouring of Russ Jackson, goal line technology in soccer and the year-end NHL awards.
Dave Naylor, TSN: My thumb is up to the NCAA for trying its best to establish a true champion in college football by proposing a four-team playoff format starting in 2014. The only problem is that a previously imperfect system is going to be replaced by one that is, well, imperfect. In college basketball, no one complains when Murray State is granted a 16th seed ahead of College of Charleston, because neither one of them is going to win a title. But what about when Alabama gets the nod for one of four football playoff spots ahead of LSU? It's going to lead to bickering, whining and complaining … ah but in a sport where tradition means so much, what would college football be without that?
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Canada's Walk of Fame for the honouring of Russ Jackson this year, however overdue as this may be. In this, the year of the 100th Grey Cup, it is ever important to look back at our history and there's no better place to start than with the greatest Canadian player in the history of the Canadian league. Russ Jackson played quarterback like few before him and no one since and for four decades we've searched for a Canadian, anyone, to replace him. There has been no replacement. Maybe there never will be. Now Canadians who don't know, never saw him play, maybe never heard of him, will have a chance to understand what once was.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: With some trepidation, my thumb is up to soccer goal line technology. Ukraine's non-goal against England in Euro 2012 this week nudged me over the edge. I fret when technology overwhelms sport like in the NFL, where replay challenges initially designed to overturn serious errors are used to determine the spot of the ball. But goals in soccer are so relatively rare, it is incumbent on FIFA to get it right. The irony, of course, is officials blew an offside call on Ukraine's non-goal. But soccer can live with that. A ball crossing the line and not counting, even this luddite knows it's time for technology.
Dave Hodge, TSN: I could get a lot more interested in the NHL's individual trophies if they were awarded while hockey was still being played, but a couple of results from Las Vegas caught my eye. A while back, I predicted my reaction to a Lady Byng win by Brian Campbell (good for him), but the first defenceman to win the award should have been, some time in his great career, Nick Lidstrom. And I can't say I was surprised when Gabriel Landeskog won the Calder Trophy, because voters saw a lot more of him than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. A bit facetious there, because the Edmonton rookie had the same number of points as Landeskog while playing 20 fewer games. Injuries should not have cost RNH the Calder.