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Letters for Dec. 21

College playoff system not fair to all conferences

In response to last week’s letter about the college football playoff:

I don’t care if it’s 32 teams, or even 64. You can never have a legitimate playoff format unless all 10 FBS conferences and their member schools are treated equally by their win/loss record or conference championship, not by their reputation or the size of their athletic budget. Otherwise it’s just glorified high school popularity contest.

A bunch of crazy, rich, old businessmen once got the idea that if you spread the money and talent around, and had a playoff formula that applied equally to everyone, all games would be relevant and marketable. And the NFL has been printing its own money every since. They moved on from high school. They learned.

You’d think all the college scholars that oversee the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision would have learned and mothballed their caste system by now. Evidently not.

Christopher Burns, Sr.

North Boston

Imbalance a problem for this year’s Bills

Is it just me or has Kyle Orton gradually morphed into EJ Manuel?

He can’t complete a pass more than five yards. Sadly, Sammy Watkins is a wasted pick since we don’t have a capable quarterback on this roster. This Bills team would no doubt be a playoff team if the offense was competent at all.

They are brutal week after week (unless playing the Jets). Marrone continues to make excuse for his incompetent offensive coordinator since he is a friend and colleague from his Syracuse days.

The offense is a three-and-out broken record. It’s unwatchable and has not improved much at all, especially in the red zone. Hackett and Orton can be sent packing at season’s end. Neither earns their salary.

The defense keeps playing well and keeps us in games. In consecutive weeks they have shut down Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. This is a Super Bowl caliber defense with a “high school” level offense.

Mike Biondo

Amherst

Fans should not bother thinking about conspiracy

With a recent cartoon of NFL officials fist-bumping, The News perpetuates the old Buffalo song: “Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me, Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms.”

Do you really think a group of guys in their New York offices get together every day to figure out how to cheat Buffalo? And why do they pick Buffalo? Did they get bad sauce on their Anchor Bar wings or was their Ted’s hot dog cold once ? How do they get all the officiating crews to buy into it ? Wouldn’t it leak that a ref would tell his BFF that he was working in Buffalo this week and the league won’t let his crew wave pom-poms but that they can fist bump when the opponents make a good play ?

As a 39 year high school/college basketball official let me tell you how officials think.

First, we don’t care who wins. We want both teams to have a fair chance. Second, we don’t want your child or player to get hurt any more than you do. Third, it would be really hard to favor one team. We’d have to decide beforehand who and why to favor. Because they have nice colored shirts? They pay fast? They have cute Moms? They have great beverages in the postgame buffet?

When a call occurs we just react. It’s too difficult to think which team you are favoring, you just make the call. Why would anyone want to be the person who works a game and every fan there thinks you are going to cheat for a team and it isn’t going to be their team? Officials have to have a thick skin.

The Buffalo Bills are 8-6 because their players and coaches are not as good as some of the other teams. Their players make mistakes, take bad penalties and lose their self control. When they lose, don’t blame it on the guys in the stripes.

Whitey Nichols

Williamsville

Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or email to sports@buffnews.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.