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Sawhney: Get rid of pre-season polls

Even so, I still think it’s time to junk preseason rankings altogether. For starters, they are almost always proved wrong—it is simply impossible to predict the season’s results before it even starts. They warp perceptions among fans and the all-important poll voters, who are reluctant to drop a team that doesn’t lose, even if it is clearly inferior to teams below it. Through this mechanism, the preseason rankings deprive deserving teams with low rankings from getting to big-time bowl games at season’s end.

Sawhney: Ditch the BCS, even if it means going back to the old bowl format

The scare tactic of reverting to the old bowl system wouldn’t be that bad even if it did happen. We might lose the No. 1 vs. No. 2 title game, but that game stopped delivering a controversy-free national champion a long time ago. The bowl season would be just as compelling, and each game would be free to uphold its own tradition—the Rose Bowl could stage its Pac-12 vs. Big 10 matchup every year, without having to host some team from Texas that is going to jump to the Big East. Of course, the BCS will continue to come up with excuses to justify its existence—but now that I refuse to be cowed by the threat of returning to the old bowl system, I’m excited to see what its PR spin doctors cook up next.

Sawhney: Let players tweet — but monitor them

Still, I like having athletes on Twitter, and I think the fans and the athletes themselves like it, too. The best solution, then, is probably one that combines the speed and connectivity of new media with the controls that existed in older media. Teams shouldn’t kick athletes off Twitter altogether, but instead should require that players put all tweets through their media department before sending them out into the web. Athletes will still get to tweet, fans will get to connect with their favorite players and organizations won’t find themselves unexpectedly embarrassed by the players who represent them.

Friedman explains context of Arab spring

In a Wednesday evening discussion at Dinkelspiel Auditorium, New York Times columnist and Middle East expert Thomas Friedman explored the causes and implications of the popular uprisings in the Arab world. The talk, titled “Democracy and Energy: the View from Tahrir Square,” was sponsored by Students for a Sustainable Stanford, the ASSU Speakers’ Bureau, Stanford in Government and Hillel.