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Football games seem so real, and NASCAR races seem so artificial.

This occurred to me as I was watching the college bowl games.

South Carolina was storming back from a 19-3 deficit to defeat Michigan. The Gamecocks did it the old-fashioned way.

In a NASCAR race, Jimmie Johnson storms back from two laps down. He does it the new-fangled way. A wave-around here, a lucky dog there, or as Chuckles the Clown, rest his soul, once sang, “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants.”

It’s as fake as the butter I saw the other day in the refrigerator case at Dollar Tree. It didn’t even have the decency to call itself margarine. The label read: “28% vegetable oil spread.” Yum, yum. It just makes you yearn for toast and jelly, doesn’t it?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, the cars lined up at the end of caution periods with the lead-lap cars in one line and the lapped cars in the other. At the front of the outside line were cars “on the tail end of the lead lap,” and if those cars could hang on, and another yellow flag waved, they could regain a chance at winning. The lapped cars could get ahead of the leader, and the same thing could happen. They had a fighting chance, and it made for some appealing racing.

Now they line up the way they do at the start, with the whole field in order of position. Evel Knievel in a rocket car couldn’t race his way back to the front. The change made it virtually impossible, so NASCAR, in the self-proclaimed brilliance of its judgment, created free passes and wave-arounds and several more tricks so subtle that only discerning observers notice, and most of them won’t say anything.

Meanwhile, the TV guys act like somebody did something. “He raced his way back from two laps down!” By “raced,” they mean “didn’t.”

Each weekday morning, I get started writing with CBS This Morning on TV, and one of my duties is to find something on another channel to set on the timer so that I don’t have to watch one minute of Let’s Make a Deal. Nothing against Let’s Make a Deal. It just reminds me too much of NASCAR.

Nothing against Wayne Brady. He just reminds me too much of Michael Waltrip.