February 28, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

The family of Bob Gabriel thanks your newspaper for your generous coverage of his biography following his passing on December 13, 2007 from cancer.

Our thanks to friends in the community for their thoughts and prayers during Bob’s seven-month illness. Also, for sharing with our family a celebration of Bob’s life at a mass at St. Nicholas Cathedral, and memorial service at St. Monica Church. We will remember how he touched our family members’ lives with constant love, helping friends when called upon, his legacy in co-founding the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum, and his work for over 50 years for the education and health of the youth and elderly and in civic affairs for the betterment of the community.

Bob was known for his friendly smile and warm handshake. His Bob Gabriel Insurance Company will carry on in the same tradition by experienced family members and loyal staff. Bob lived his life following his Eagle Scout Oath to do his best, to do his duty to God and his country, and to help other people at all times.

His grandson, Patrick Potter, ended his eulogy: “Having the Eagle Scout principles and living them in his daily life, my grandfather pursued his dreams with vigor and dedication. It was these principles that motivated him to become Lieutenant Commander in the Navy and proudly serve his country, to be a loving and providing husband, a supportive brother, a firm and dedicated father, a warm and knowledgeable grandfather, a helpful and inspiring friend, a role model, a teacher, a community leader, a man we can all learn from.”

His daughter, Sharyl, summed up her eulogy: “Dad lived his life with kindness – he was tolerant, patient, and most of all, forgiving. He was an eternal optimist always looking for the good in others.”

Thank you again,

Louise Gabriel

Mrs. Bob Gabriel

* * * *

The BCS/Playoff/Plus-1 controversy continues to plague our great football nation. But first, congratulations to the LSU Tigers, a worthy choice for national champion in 2008, but alas, by no means an undisputed one. It is simply not becoming of a true champion, or their opponent, to miraculously receive an invitation to the championship game. Such invitations must be earned in a clear, indisputable fashion. The time has come to end the madness.

Various constituencies tell us that a college football playoff is not a realistic possibility, and that the only realistic change to our current BCS format would be a “plus one” championship game played after completion of the bowl season. Unfortunately, for those of us who actually want a system that works, a “plus one” would not have given us a clear #1 this season, because who, pray tell, gets to play in the Plus One Bowl against LSU? Would that be Georgia or USC? Mizzou, maybe? There is no clear answer here, and thus, we would still have uncertainty and controversy. It is clear that in the year of the Plus One discussion, Plus One is not, in fact, the answer.

You’ve heard it before, so I will say it again – the only way to avoid any question or controversy from season to season is to incorporate a playoff into the current bowl system. I consider myself relatively well informed on the details and business behind college football and have yet to hear a clear and meaningful reason why such a playoff is not possible. I conclude that, like many things, it is possible, it’s simply a matter of human will – the will of the major conferences and university presidents, as I understand it. To these power brokers I say, you knew segregation was wrong and that plaid was wrong, and you now have the same uncomfortable feeling toward the BCS. Ladies and gentlemen of said good conferences and universities, the time has come to end the madness!

Explain to me how an eight-team playoff system is not the answer to our gridiron prayers. After playing 11 conference and non-conference games, the top 8 BCS computer-selected teams play for glory – not four teams, and not 16 teams – eight teams. You have the top tier of the football polls and no riff-raff. I’m sorry nine and 10, we love you, thanks for the memories, but there’s always next season. You get sympathy, but no tears from me. The minor bowls will still happen, they just won’t be part of the “All New and Improved Actual Championship Series” – yes, the ACS – because all students and athletes know that an A is better than a B.

The ACS playoff games can and should be incorporated into weeks 12, 13, and 14 of the college football season, with each game retaining its traditional bowl name, sponsor, pomp and circumstance, with the championship game rotated as it currently is in the BCS. A handful of teams would simply enjoy up to three bowl weeks – how is that a bad thing? The playoff would begin after all Division I teams have played 11 games – which, like now, in most cases includes a full conference schedule and one or two non-conference games. Teams vying for a national championship would need to schedule quality non-conference games to influence the BCS system determining the eight playoff teams. You top conferences, you keep your conference championship games, fine…it’s up to you. But please, I don’t need or want to see UCLA-San Diego State ever again, honestly.

Teams from traditionally weaker conferences would be disadvantaged, true, but I submit that the eighth spot in the playoffs could easily allow for a Cinderella – Hawaii this season or Boise State last year. If you’re as good as you say you are, then prove it in the first ACS game against the #1 seed. And if you pull off a miracle win, then you get all the glory of a winner, but you need to prove it again, twice actually, to really convince us that you deserve the national championship, Boise State.

Yes, there would always be controversy about which eight teams are selected for the playoff. But unlike the fictitious BCS #1 vs. #2 match-up, I am far more comfortable letting the computer tell us which teams get #7 and #8. As we all well know after beating this poor dead pigskin of a horse, controversy is inevitable. Given the inevitability, we are picking the lesser of two evils here, and it’s the one that will not leave us asking the nearly perennial question of “Who’s Really #1,” will still generate tremendous revenue for our great universities, one that remains true to the tradition of our bowl season, and one that requires two teams of student-athletes to miss one additional week of class at the beginning of the spring semester. (I hear student-athletes have a way of catching up on their schoolwork.)

I don’t pretend to know it all, but if I’m mistaken here, can someone please give me a really good reason why? If not, then together let’s end the madness…sports fans, alumni, and TV networks unite!

Christopher H. Knauf, Esq.

Santa Monica

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