Three good changes that should happen in the New Year

Published 11:41 am Thursday, December 29, 2011

It’s time for a new year. At least that’s what the calendar said.

New Year’s has always been a drag after Christmas. It’s like having the Pro Bowl after the Super Bowl. Who cares?

Who cares about the dropping apple (New York), moon pie (Mobile, Ala.) or peach (Atlanta)? Who needs fireworks, noisemakers and goofy party hats?

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None of those traditions are great, but they are often precursors for change in the new year. Speaking of changes, here’s what we need in 2012:

• Playoffs — With the exception of perennial playoff participant Porters Chapel, the helmets and pads have already been put up by playoff time for St. Aloysius, Vicksburg and Warren Central for the past two years. The last playoff berth for any of the three Mississippi High School Activities Association schools was in 2009, when WC lost to Olive Branch in the first round. The last playoff win was in 2008, when Vicksburg earned a 30-21 victory over Pontotoc in the Class 4A first round.

Next year could bring a change. St. Al will lose some valuable players like Carlton Campbell and Robert Arledge, but will bring back a team that is young, yet experienced. Vicksburg will have a new coach, Tavares Johnson. Warren Central’s talented class of youngsters will be expected to take another step next season.

• A venue change for the MHSAA state championship games — This is something that was done in neighboring Alabama with great success. Like Mississippi, the Alabama High School Athletic Association once held its championship games in a decaying relic of a stadium, Legion Field, in Birmingham. They moved the games to Alabama and Auburn’s on-campus stadiums and got better attendance. Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium has the size (60,492 seats) and the convenient location in the middle of the state, but it hasn’t had a major renovation since 1980. Move the games to Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss in a rotating format and interest will increase. Kids who dream of playing at Davis-Wade Stadium (State), Vaught-Hemingway (Ole Miss) and M.M. Roberts (USM) will get a chance to run through the tunnel there. All three have facilities that Veterans Memorial can’t match, like state-of-the-art sound systems, video boards and other amenities.

• Give us a true playoff — The Bowl Championship Series is garbage, no doubt about it. The idea of deciding the national champion of college football with a complicated formula involving the innards of a machine is even more ridiculous than the way the national champion was decided before. For those born before the 1980s, the national championship was decided in the final polls after the bowl games, leading to split championships and teeth-gnashing. Give us four teams in a semifinal round and have the winners play in one winner-take-all game. How hard is this is?

As for the other bowl games, some serious reform at the NCAA level needs to happen. When bowl commissioners are taking athletics directors out on golf junkets while claiming tax-exempt status and pulling down $600,000 paychecks to put on one game, that’s a sign that something needs to be done.

Here’s hoping that 2012 is filled with the success and happiness we all deserve.

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. You can follow him on Twitter at vpsportseditor. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, ext. 142 or at