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Today's word on journalism

February 17, 2009

Why I miss my hate mail:

"It's an odd thing to admit, but in a perverse sort of way, I actually miss the wretched river, the rancid flow of puerile, nasty, sickeningly homophobic email I used to receive on a regular basis from the ultra-right and the Christian right and the Mormon right and the Bush-impaired whenever I would post a friendly, pointed column full of tangy liberal attitude. . . . . Oh, I miss all the lovely and positive email too, which outpaced the nasty stuff by a huge margin. But the hate mail was very special indeed, great fodder for live readings, for the reaction of horrified disbelief of anyone who saw it, for the charming reminder of just how ugly and violent and grammatically challenged the human animal can be."

--Mark Morford, columnist, (2/13/09)

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Top 25 rankings continue to snub Ags

By Tim Olsen

January 28, 2009 | For the past few weeks the USU men's basketball team has been receiving votes to be in the Top 25. However, despite doing nothing but winning the Aggies are being snubbed.

There is no other explanation for the total lack of recognition that USU is receiving. At 19-1, the Aggies are one win away from matching the best start in school history, and matching a USU team that entered the rankings when it was 17-1.

Pessimists will point to the Aggies' weak strength of schedule as the reason for their exemption from the national rankings, but a closer look at the rankings will show that even that argument doesn't hold water.

Current mid-major darling St. Mary's has been in the Top 25 for a couple of weeks, and currently sits at No. 18 in the Coaches poll, and No. 22 in the AP poll. The Gaels boast a record of 18-1 (the RPI rankings only recognize the Gaels' record as 16-1) and hold the nation's longest winning streak at 15 games.

As of today these West Coast Conference dolls have an RPI ranking of 53 and strength of schedule (SOS) of 284.

Both numbers fall short when matched up with the Aggies.

Tied for the best record in the country and carrying the nation's second-longest winning streak (14 games) the Ags have an RPI ranking of 45 and an SOS of 236 well ahead of St. Mary's.

Other notable teams that find themselves in the rankings despite numbers that fall short of the Aggies include St. Mary's conference foe Gonzaga, and powerhouse Notre Dame.

The 'Zags and Fighting Irish both have the Aggies beat when it comes to strength of schedule, but with four losses and seven losses, respectively, these teams find themselves behind USU in the RPI rankings.

Gonzaga, which is ranked No. 20 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the Coaches poll, has an RPI of 50, while Notre Dame, ranked No. 22 in the Coaches poll, has an RPI of 72, which is sandwiched between such juggernauts as Stephen F. Austin and Northern Iowa.

The only explanation for this kind of snubbing is a blatant disrespect for the Aggies, and the talent level of head coach Stew Morrill and his team. With a home game Thursday against former mid-major darling Nevada, the Aggies have a good chance to match the school record and extend their win streak.

If that keeps happening, eventually, someone will notice.


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