Richard Wiens, The Triplicate

It may still be a full week until the election, but I'm counting down the days until Saturday, when I can take off my referee's shirt. That's the final day we'll be running letters to the editor related to the Nov. 2 voting.

We've been deluged, and despite opening up extra room on the opinion page, there are going to be more letters than space to print them. Just ask the candidates, who somehow always seem to know if letters supporting their campaigns haven't appeared in print.

If you still plan to submit an election-related letter, please do it soon. Here are a few tips:

andbull; Email it if possible to tripnews@ This expedites the procedure, since it won't have to

be retyped. You still need to include your name, hometown and telephone


andbull; Did I mention that some letters are repetitive? Yours will have a

better chance of getting published if you espouse a fresh viewpoint.

andbull; Letters to the editor are all about local commentary - tell us how

you feel and why. Local views on national issues are welcome, as are

out-of-town views on local issues. Letters should not make claims or

accusations that require substantial efforts at verification - those are

called news tips and can be emailed to the same location.

andbull; They also should not regurgitate information from the Internet,

although an occasional tip to check out a website is fine. We all know,

for instance, that there are a zillion places to go on-line to read

about how great or terrible fluoride is - that's why our news article

Saturday asked a primary supporter and opponent of the city

defluoridation measure to cite the websites they most recommended to


While there is no way that all of the election-related letters will

be published, I will continue to strive to present them fairly. And come

Saturday, that referee's shirt comes off and the Oregon Ducks shirt

goes back on, just in time for the USC game.

Looking for true injustice?

Ahh, the Ducks. If you've followed University of Oregon football as

long as I have, you know how special it was a week ago last Sunday to

finally have the Ducks voted No. 1 in the national polls for the first

time in school history.

The sublime sensation lasted about six hours, until the curse on

college football known as the BCS released its first rankings - a

mishmash of human pollsters and computer calculations. Turns out the

computers don't like the Ducks, who were relegated to No. 2 behind


The timing provided a wicked reminder that Division I football is the

one college sport that has no true champion. Instead, greedy

universities, bowl game organizers and TV networks conspire to preserve a

profitable system that crowns a "champion" based on the whims of

so-called experts and computer geeks instead of deciding matters on the

field of play.

Last Saturday Oklahoma lost while the Ducks crushed UCLA, 60-13. It

wasn't as close as the score indicated. The human pollsters were

impressed and voted Oregon an even more solid No. 1. But the BCS

announced a new top team - Auburn. Its computers actually ranked

unbeaten Oregon eighth - behind two teams that have already lost games.

Perhaps the Ducks this season have a mission even greater than

proving they're the best team in college football. If they continue to

steamroll opponents and be ranked No. 1 by humans, yet somehow get

denied a spot in the so-called BCS national championship game by

friggin' computers, the system's inadequacy will be laid bare like never


What's sad is that these BCS morons could do the right thing and make

even more money. They could preserve all of their precious bowl games,

including the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta. Those four could be the

quarter-finals of an eight-team national tournament. After that, you

play two semi-finals and then a true championship game.