I had six cubic yards of black dirt dropped off in my driveway last Thursday so I’ve been quite busy. I spent Wednesday night prepping the yard and then Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday moving the dirt into the backyard. There were a couple of areas I wanted to level out including the entire Western edge under the fence. I laid fresh grass seed on all the leveled out spots Sunday morning and also started revamping the corner garden. It’s rained now since Monday but I’ll post pictures of the before and after once the after is complete. The rain has been annoying but it has provided an opportunity for more Fun with Maps!
Map 95 is CNN’s current Electoral College Map. The field of Presidential Candidates is thinning once again. The field is now down to three; Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump. Hillary and Donald are likely to be their party’s respective nominees (sorry Bernie) but much has yet to be decided in this race (this longer than hell race). The map shows the political status of each state in the Union. This is some CNN analyst’s opinion, of course, but it is still telling.
I know what you’re thinking! How does CNN’s map compare to that of the last two elections? Calm down, I’ll show you!
Only three states switched from Democrat to Republican between 2008 and 2012; Missouri, North Carolina, and Indiana (boo, hiss). Of those three, only North Carolina is considered a battleground state in the upcoming 2016 election by CNN. Indiana (boo, hiss) and Missouri are marked as “Solid Republican” despite voting for Barack Obama in 2008. Of the eight other battleground states, along with North Carolina, all eight went blue the past two elections. I’d be perfectly fine if it happened again but I don’t think anybody can predict something like that happening again. Based on popular internet opinion, Hillary and Trump are fairly divisive candidates. Millions of people seem to hate each candidate (or both) and for drastically different reasons. I, personally, have a certain disgust of Donald Trump (and Ted Cruz, for the record). I think he’s selfish and a jerk but there’s one thing I know for sure, he doesn’t believe half the crap he says. He’s a huge (pronounced: yuge) liar and is spewing a ton of verbal garbage in order to appeal to the worst percentage of the population. He’s more liberal than he’d like the Republican Party to believe and he’s more greedy and narcissistic than he’d like everyone to know. He’s a walking, shouting turd. I hope he loses the race by six hundred miles. He’ll probably win Indiana, though (boo, hiss). #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain
Map 96 is a little less important than the electoral college, unless you live for College Football. Okay, Map 96 is way more important than Map 95 for a lot of people! I’m not big on College Football but this country is really wild on the sport. I much prefer Professional Football, myself. There’s 32 teams perfectly divided into eight divisions of four (not to mention an easily discernable playoff structure). Regardless of my beliefs, College Football is one of this country’s favorite past times. Unlike the pro game, there are a number of football conferences in the NCAA, each with a different amount of schools. More importantly, they vary drastically in level of prestige.
This map was created for an article written by Ryan McGee of ESPN and came to my attention on Facebook (my favorite map delivery system). Mr. McGee decided to create his ideal College Football Conference Layout. His Utopia consists of five conferences of 16 teams each. There are a lot more than 80 teams but his setup takes the best of them and consolidates them into these five mega-conferences; the Pac-16, the Big 16, the SEC, the ACC, and the B1G (Big 10).
McGee has many reasons for wanting these mega-conferences over the current system. First, after recent realignments in the conferences, McGee feels as though the largest five conferences should expand to 16 teams each and fully pull ahead of the rest of the NCAA. They already stand above lesser conferences and their teams in many ways like prestige (as previously mentioned), popularity/viewership, media coverage, booster support, profitability, and recruiting presence. These five conferences could expand their ranks and pull away for good. Much like professional soccer leagues, there are levels of relatively equal competition. The mega-conferences would be the Premier League of college football.
Second, each is located in a reasonable, geographically-centered area. The Big 10 Conference, home conference of my beleaguered Minnesota Golden Gophers, currently contains teams mostly in the Midwest with the exceptions of Penn State, Rutgers, and Maryland (two of which were just added in 2014). McGee’s ideal Big 10 adds Cincinnati (currently AAC) and Notre Dame (currently unaffiliated with a conference/at-large). He argues that adding those two particular teams will increase in-state rivalries with existing members and maintain regional unity (and get the conference to 16 teams). He provides similar explanations for Connecticut joining the ACC and Boise State joining the Pac-16. There are more reasons of value to his College Football utopia. It’s an interesting read so I suggest you check it out.
The weather is supposed to dry out the next couple days so I’m back to yardwork. I did receive some awesome ideas for new maps recently so I will try to make time to research those as well. If you have ideas for maps you want to see, reach out to me in the comments or on social media.
Until next time,