Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cinderella Cheapens Champion

Yes my bracket is busted. No I’m not harping on about handing over a HAMILTON to someone else in a pool. (Winning gets boring.) I love Selection Sunday and filling out a sheet. I take pride in prognosticating that Xavier and Butler were going to make it to the Sweet 16. (And on 1 of my many sheets in the Tournament Challenge, I had Ohio St meeting Kentucky and Kentucky winning)

Don’t get me wrong, even though I had, like most, Kansas as my pick TWIA, I found myself rooting for Ali Farkhmanesh (Man, he is got some Onions as Bill Raftery would exclaim. Maybe he has a pair of Onions) and going both bonkers and admiring Omar Samhan (‘Nova had NO answer for the high pick ‘n roll initiated by him. BTW ‘Nova was my other team in the finals.) That was great theater and tv. It was great to bring along the causal fan or the guy who’s just only interested in winning a pool.

But by definition, a Cinderella team caused an upset, a better team lost. That’s the rub. The best teams won’t be playing to bring out the highest level from an opponent, creating the best performance. Cinderella cheapens the Champion’s worthiness.

The fan in me wants a Final Four of Xavier, Northern Iowa, Cornell and St. Mary’s. The competitor in me wants Ohio State, Syracuse, Kentucky and Duke to meet in Indianapolis. Don’t know what will happen tonight and going forward through the weekend, but I do know that college football is better.

Why is CFB better than Hoops Hysteria?
  • 5) 92,500 is better than 20,000 (max – Have you seen those fans disguised as empty seats in the 1st Round)
  • 4) Marching band over Pep Band. The Peon band counts time, passes the sound and seasons along for the Spring Game.
  • 2) For all the intensity, I never heard about a loud arena causing seismograph needles to move. I have for stadiums
  • 1) You just can’t beat a good tailgate.

On the Seventh Day, G-d created a day meant for rest, leisure AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL! He showed IT favor calling it GAWD’S SPORT!.....
In Basketball, Noaln Richardson’s called his style of play 40 minutes of hell for the opponent.

Myer's Meltdown

March 13th Quote Headline in the Orlando Sentinel “Urban Meyer at Orlando Function: ‘I feel good and I’m ready to go.’” What a difference nearly 2 weeks make.

This starts Tuesday of this week and continues thru Wednesday practice. The full context is that Deonte Thompson makes a quote to a reporter after practice, Jeremy Flower, of the OS, writes it up, the story appears in print Wednesday. Coach Myer confronts the reporter later that same day at practice and now another OS reporter Mike Bianchi makes his assessment coming in the Thursday’s edition of that fish wrap.

And here’s the original quote from Thompson in which he compared new Florida quarterback John Brantley with the iconic Tim Tebow. You be the judge.

“Things are going to get better here in the future,” Thompson said. “Any receiver would be happy. You have a guy like (John) Brantley throwing the ball, spreading it around to everybody. … You never know with Tim. You can bolt, you think he’s running but he’ll come up and pass it to you. You just have to be ready at all times. With Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time. You know what I mean, a real quarterback.”

A real quarterback. That was the part of the quote a lot of bloggers, including myself, picked up on. But if Meyer bothered to read (sic.. the story) – which obviously he didn’t — he would realize that both of us pointed out that Thompson might have just worded his quote wrong. Instead of implying that Brantley is a “real quarterback” and Tebow isn’t, Thompson probably meant to say Brantley is a more conventional dropback passer and Tebow isn’t.

At any rate, Thompson was quoted correctly and reasonable people can interpret the quote however they want.

And that’s why Meyer, drama queen that he is, was totally unreasonable and wrong to threaten Fowler and the Orlando Sentinel with banishment from UF —or even perhaps a physical beatdown. Watch it here

Remember, Urban, WWTD — What Would Timmy Do?

Certainly not this …

“You’re a bad guy, man. You’re a bad guy,” Meyer said, pointing a finger at Fowler’s face. “If that (Thompson) was my son, we’d be going at it right now. … You’ll be out of practice — you understand that? — if you do that again. I told you five years ago: Don’t mess with our players. Don’t do it. You did it. You do it one more time and the Orlando Sentinel’s not welcome here ever again. Is that clear?”

This is almost like when Meyer said former UF quarterbacking great Shane Matthews (although he never mentioned him by name) was not welcome at UF.

Gee, Urban, I thought you were just the coach of the Gators. Who knew you were the king of the Gators – able to banish alumni and media from the program by power of royal decree?


And Meyer had the audacity to call a reporter “a bad guy?” Really? Seriously?

I always thought a bad guy was someone who breaks the law or commits crimes. You know, like many of the recruits Meyer has brought onto UF’s campus – recruits who been arrested nearly 30 times since the coach arrived five years ago.

And if Meyer was so upset about Thompson’s quote being blown out of proportion, why did Meyer bring even more national attention to it by unprofessionally accosting a reporter? What Meyer should have done Wednesday after practice is call all of UF’s beat reporters together and explain how Deonte Thompson is a young player who perhaps misspoke and maybe sometimes the media should remember that and give a player the benefit of the doubt.

Of course for Meyer to take that approach would require him to build a relationship with the state media – something he hasn’t bothered to do since he took over five years ago.

At the very least, Deonte Thompson’s message was this: He believes Brantley will be a better quarterback for UF wide receivers than Tebow was.

And you know what? He’s probably right.

But just like everything else involving Tebow – from his throwing mechanics to his TV commercials to his autograph signing sessions to his post-game pledges – Thompson’s quote took on a life of its own and was blown way out of proportion.

Apparently Urban needs more time away. What happens when Corch Meyer looses 3 games this year?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I am just saying

I hate to play the SEC got dissed card, but I will. Of the Big 6 conferences ONLY 1 Conference didn’t get BOTH teams that played in the hoops tourney finals into the Men’s NCAA field – THE SEC.

On the eye test---- did Miss St play as well or better than GA Tech or The Golden Arches (Have you ever noticed the “M’s painted on their staircases in their coliseum?), umm Gophers down the stretch? Of course taking the # 2 team to double overtime was a statement that they belonged in the field.

So why is MSU left with a consolation prize? I know RPI was weak, but they SCHEDULED UCLA; they can’t help that the Bruins were lousy & played in a horrific PAC-10 this year. It is important to note that Miss St trounced ‘em by nearly 20 points, in THE John Wooden Classic, at Pauley Pavilion back in December.

As I lay the scenario out remember two tidbits: 1) Dan Guerrero was the NCAA Selection Chairman AND the Athletic Director of ….drum roll….UCLA. 2) Recall the name of Renardo Sidney.

Renardo Sidney, Jr is a PF (6-10 250) that is originally from MS, left to go play AAU BB w Reebok in LA, went to Fairfax High School basketball factory. Coming out it is down to UCLA or USC. He commits to play at SoCal. There was a teensey weensy little problem @ USC, regarding Men’s Hoops – AJ Mayo and Tim Floyd scandal is breaking out; and BY APPEARENCES it seems more stuffed shoe boxes were being delivered to Renardo Sidney, Sr. who was living in a $1.6M home off a AAU BB HC salary (b4 mentioned team that Jr was playing on- Sound vaguely familiar, cough, Reggie Bush???). The NCAA had cleared Sidney to play for SoCal. Pops and son reconsider and decide to move back home. Rick Stansbury and MSU step in and show the love, by all accounts without the extra beenies and boxes. He signs a LOI w MSU; however the NCAA doesn’t clear him academically this time. The final ruling is that Renardo Sidney is forced to sit out this year while – AFTER ALREADY BEEN CLEARD ONE TIME THRU THE NCAA’S OWN CLEARINGHOUSE!

Fast Forward to this past Sunday, Minn and Miss St are left on the Bubble. Now by all accounts you have 2 under performing teams both reached the conference finals, both had to have long runs in the tournament, both did. One lost by 20; the other took a #1 seed team to double overtime. The team that looked WORSE, by a wide range, got IN- huh???!!??

I am just saying that Dan Guerrero had a couple of LARGE motivations to look for the negative reasons as to why to exclude MSU (vs include ‘em in the dance). One, he gets a measure of payback on a public, professional level from MSU for showing the Bruins up pre-Christmas at Coach Wooden’s Holiday party (UCLA played 3 other non conference teams that got in – lost to all also, but by MUCH smaller margins; Butler by 2; Kansas by 12 and ND by 11) and on a private, personal, professional (pardon the pun) level of payback at Renardo Sidney for originally choosing SoCal and NOT CHOOSING UCLA –TWICE, with one anonymous vote in favor of Minn. Second, surely no other team under consideration has fought the NCAA harder than MSU this year, to get Renardo Sidney cleared. Some of the back and forth has been “chippy”. There was no way on Gawds Green Earth that MSU was going to get rewarded by that same body. There are no emails of course to prove the allegation, but YOU KNOW that was whispered in Dan Guerrero’s ear somewhere in a hallway, and the message was clearly received, as evidenced by the results.

That scenario is all speculation and conjecture without any solid evidence that Renardo Jr or Sr received any payment from USC or Reebok or booster, that Dan Guerrero acted in any other way but with the highest degree of ethics as Chairman, or that any NCAA official(s) pressured, coerced the committee in any way to vote in favor or against any team. Nor did the NCAA provide the committee with any non biased statistic that would naturally lead to a conclusion ---- Just don’t leave common sense at home on the way out the door.

It is not like MSU was a #7 seed or #4 in the other division, no they were the # 1 seed in the West. What happened to all the pinhead's palaver that once Kentucky is relevant again that will make the entire SEC significant? What is concrete, what is real, is that once again the SEC, the South gets the snubbed again! Minn.--Cheese ‘n Rice. Utah St---Jeez.

As Dickie V would say, I’m going Bananas, Baby with a capital B!! And I don’t even like the other DAWG!


Sidebar topics: It is a National Championship Tournament and neither should be in the field. Trim not expand ----AAU BB and recruiting the most disturbing influence, facet, relationship that the NCAA has. ---The NCAA has an incestuous fascination, this bro-mance, this love fest with USC and Alabama. Really, I don’t get it. ……….OBTW Fairfax High appears to be more opulent than the Fairfax Inn in Leesburg, GA. The Inn however, according to new signage has just added internet service. I can’t imagine the hotel David Hale stayed at without service while covering the tournament.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

HD-TV seems petty

Well alright SEC along with other conferences are going get HD-TV in the replay booth. Maybe that helps out the ‘09 LSU/ Ole Miss game, toe in or out call (That is over shadowed by Les Miles Lunacy at the end of the game). But honestly the $50k spent on the upgrade emerges as petty to me in light of a news event I first missed.

Dateline, Oxford, MS; February 19th: Ole Miss walk-on Bennie Abram collapses during workouts, and 6 hours later is pronounced dead at Baptist Memorial Hospital. Chilling, cold as the table he laid on awaiting an autopsy. Being a 5’9”/ 186 Safety, Bennie is not a bloated behemoth that gives rise to immediate suspicion. No his Achilles heel is a recessive gene, which is more stealth, more sinister, much more a silent killer.

Factoid: Since the 21st Century began THE LEADING KILLER of College Football players is …..drum roll please….. Sickle Cell Anemia. Not violence, not drugs, not on field vicious collisions like Bacarri Rambo did during the Auburn game that caused ear padding to be dislodged as well as the football from the WR. If Abrams death is ruled as being attributed to Sickle Cell, there will have been NINE deaths this century, for the non-math mentalist that averages out to almost 1 per year. For those more technically inclined, approximately 75k players in college football, approximately 60% are African American, of those the disease is in roughly 8%, so 1 out of 3,600 players will die. You have a slightly better (worse) chance of cashing out on a Mid-Day Pick 3. However, if your three picks are training, for college football and African American, you may not get another chance to roll.

The fact that the NCAA will begin to test all participants in August of this year, a FULL 35 YEARS after they were first acknowledged the problem, comes a bit late and disingenuous. (To be completely fair to Ole Miss there are reports that Bennie Abrams was tested for the disease and history of the illness disclosed to the medical staff, and furthermore the autopsy report is still pending.)

Yes serious physical injuries as a whole need further examination – Head Injuries, Concussions, Heat Stroke, and Cervical Spinal Injury. Prevention and detection of any precursors (like cardiac and sickle cell testing) of those issues should be at the forefront - not bickering over a bad insurance policy and the outcome.

Why football? Why so frequently? Notwithstanding Hank Gather’s death, which was a Cardiac Arrhythmia and not due to Sickle Cell trait, I can’t recall of another player dying from training or participating in basketball. Many of you may recall running Suicides in High School – until your coach got tried of resetting the clock or blowing the whistle. Wrestling, track and field are sports that also require training with exertion – no deaths. Why is TRAINING for college football MORE deadly THAN PLAYING?

As internet furry and criticism continues about UGA S&C program being soft/ sub-standard, as The State gravels with an estimated $1B budget short fall, and looks towards higher education to make up over a 1/3 ($350M) of that projection, as the beginning of Spring football starts, I pray that priorities and promises are kept.