I think most Louisville fans are whistling in the dark about UK basketball next year.
You keep hear them talking about "they're too young" and "they don't have leadership" and "too many egos." And I think it's wishful thinking.
I think most Louisville fans are whistling in the dark about UK basketball next year.
A short, declarative sentence. A sentence said, in other contexts, many times a day. A sentence that most of us are no longer shocked by.
And yet, with that sentence, the sports world finally entered the 21st century.
If you know me, you already know what this is about. It's about being a college basketball fan in March. It's about March Madness.
It's about filling out brackets. Not "a bracket" -- BRACKETS. One for your favorite team to win it all (no matter how improbable). One for what you think is going to happen. And one filled with upsets, just for fun. Who knows? Maybe you win the Bracket Challenge on ESPN ($10,000!) or the office pool. Or you just get to rub it in with your friends and even a few so-called friends.
Most of us have watched enough law-and-order television that we understand the concept of "tainted evidence." If the blood stains were accidentally (or intentionally) mixed with someone else's blood, they are tainted and must be thrown out as evidence. If a confession was obtained through coercion, it is tainted and must be thrown out.
Is it possible for a prosecution team to screw up so often and so badly that instead of throwing out just the tainted evidence, the judge throws out the entire case? IANAL, but I assume that can happen.
It's not criminal law, and it's not your standard judge and jury, but the NCAA case against Miami is so badly tainted at this point, it should be thrown out -- by the NCAA itself.
Getting your main evidence from a convicted criminal with a grudge against the institution certainly shows a lack of judgment on the part of the NCAA. Using that criminal's lawyer to ask the questions shows an amazing lack of judgment. Firing the head of the enforcement unit, but proceeding headlong with the case regardless, shows an even more amazing level of hubris.
The NCAA has kept the University of Miami twisting in the wind for years, while it tries to piece together a case. Meanwhile, the University has self-imposed a number of penalities, and most of the coaches involved in whatever took place have moved to other schools. There is nothing to be gained by raising the curtain on the amateurish production that is the NCAA's case.
It is time for the NCAA to show the same level of humility that it expects athletes and coaches to show. It is time for the NCAA to admit it completely botched this investigation, accept Miami's self-imposed sanctions, and close the book on this chapter.
OK, so the title is a stretch. Trying to come up with a decent alternative acronym on the fly that also relates to the point of your post requires more thought and coffee than I've got right now.
But, the basic point is still valid: As far as I'm concerned, National Signing Day has become a giant hypefest with very little real meaning.
For years, we have heard how so-and-so is a four-star recruit, or even - OMG!! a FIVE-STAR coming to OUR TEAM! We have heard how this team's recruiting class is ranked first, or fifth, or 37th, or 85th. (Actually, if the class is rated 85th, we don't hear anything, because the athletic department unplugs the phones, turns off the lights, and pulls the blinds.)
And you know what? In the long run, it doesn't matter. Not all five-star recruits become five-star players. Not all two-star recruits become also-rans. The schools with the top recruiting classes don't automatically get handed the championship trophy a year later. As the PTI guys say, that's why you play the games.
I'm also frankly offended by the hype. We put some 17-year-old on national television just so he can announce which football team he's going to play for -- not the college, necessarily, just the team, because that's all that matters -- and then we wonder why he gets the big head and becomes a "problem." I suppose you could see it as a reverse character test: if we give you everything in the world, can you still remain humble and grounded and teachable?
Don't get me wrong -- I understand the importance of recruiting. I just think we have blown it way, way out of proportion, to the point that 40-year-old men are groveling before 17-year-olds who haven't voted, paid taxes, or worked a full-time job. And then we put the whole thing on television, and moan or celebrate because that kid chose our school (really, just our team) or not.
So, I'll read the National Signing Day stories, and scan the ratings. Then, I'll make the same final comment I make every year when this happens: "Get back to me when they play an actual down."
I'm currently on a two-day writing vacation, doing some organizing and outlining and such. Two quick notes about this site:
(1) I have created an overall blogging schedule, and this site will get two regular features:
- Monday Morning Quarterback, posted on (what else?) Mondays
- Weekend Techie, posted on Saturdays
There will be other blog posts as well, of course, but I aim to do those on a regular basis.
(2) I'm thinking about moving this site to a WordPress platform, from its current Squarespace platform. I'm not unhappy with Squarespace -- far from it. I think it's a great platform. It's just that I've got a number of other sites on WordPress, and I'm thinking that it might be easier to keep everything on one platform. But, there's no rush, so at this point I'm just pondering.
Any and all comments welcome, on both items.
Lots of storylines for this year's Super Bowl. Enough to keep the sports punditry industry happy for the next few weeks. I'm sure the incident that prompted this post -- Bill Belichick blowing off the post-game interview -- will soon be forgotten.
I have to note, though, that one of the things sports supposedly teaches is sportsmanship. Last time I checked, sportsmanship includes being gracious in both victory and defeat. And that includes crusty old curmudgeons like Belichick.
Most people will probably give Belichick a pass. Why? Because he's successful. If he was both a bad coach AND a jerk, people would be less likely to forgive. But, since he's obviously a great coach, the public tends to overlook his jerkness.
Not Shannon Sharpe. He called out Belichick after the game, calling his behavior "unacceptable." Guess what? I agree. If you're going to hold a leadership position, you take the good with the bad and you deal with defeat. Even if someone is being rude, you manage yourself appropriately.
Belichick is a great coach. He is probably a warm human being in certain circumstances. He is effective at what he does and does not suffer fools gladly.
But that doesn't give him a pass to be a jerk in defeat.
The past few weeks have been interesting ones for Cards and Vols fans. One school tried desperately to get someone to be its new coach, while the other tried desperately to hold on to its current one.
We've all heard coach-speak: "It's all about the players." "I am only focused on the upcoming bowl game." "This is the only job I'm interested in." And, if you've been a Card fan long enough, you remember the epitome of coach-speak -- Bobby Petrino telling everyone how happy he was here and how he planned on staying in Louisville for a long time, even as he was interviewing with Auburn.
So when Charlie Strong didn't knock down the rumors in his press conference on Monday, only saying that he would address things "at the right time" -- and then proceeded to compare Cards fans to that other school in Lexington -- many people assumed that he was both gone, and bad at PR.
As it turned out, HCCS was doing something new: honest-speak. He hadn't interviewed for the UT job, but he knew it was on the table. He wanted to give himself time to think it through; for someone who had always wanted to coach in the SEC, what bigger decision could there be?
And his comment about UK fans? Honest feelings, honestly expressed. Not the best way or the best timing, a fact that Coach would surely agree with. But, not coach-speak.
Most amazingly of all, when it came time to make the decision and to share it, we discovered a new depth to Charlie Strong. All that coach-speak about values, and family, and being there for the players, and investing in young men? It was actually real-speak -- our coach not only talks about those things, he lives them out.
I have to admit, over the past few years I have gotten somewhat jaded about college athletics. When college presidents and other so-called leaders can lie in order to get their school into a new conference -- a conference that makes no sense in terms of tradition or geography -- for the sole purpose of the Benjamins, it is hard to believe anything else they say. Ohio State, Penn State, Miami -- the list of big-time programs with big-time scandals just keeps growing. It's a big business, and often a shady one, and coach-speak just goes with the territory, like cheating.
So it was refreshing, and even inspiring, to have a coach turn down a big-time job offer for loyalty, and family, and of all things, student-athletes. We are fortunate to have Charlie Strong as our coach, and those young men are fortunate to be able to play for him. Thank you, Coach Strong, for restoring a little bit of the honor to college athletics, an area of endeavor in need to it.
I sat up until 1 AM Saturday night (well, Sunday morning), hoping to see Tennessee pull out the upset. As they chewed up yardage running the ball, showing an offensive line prowess that had been missing in the past, my hopes grew. When they closed to a 3-point deficit, I started thinking "They're going to pull this off!"
Then the Vols gave up a turnover on a punt, Mississippi State put another touchdown on the board against a Vol defense that suddenly seemed to collapse, and it was over. Again. Just like the previous 13 losses to ranked teams.
There was a time when Tennessee would be the team on the top end of the streaks. There was a time when Tennessee would have won this game by halftime. There was a time, believe it or not, when Tennessee was seemingly a permanent member of the Top 10, and losing to anyone outside Florida or Bama, much less the Mississippi schools, was just not even discussed.
Those times are gone, at least for now, and a new "time" question is on everyone's lips: Is it time for Dooley to go?
New post on ThreePols about Vision Louisville: http://www.threepols.com/louisville/a-vision-for-a-vision/
Give it a read and a Like if you like!
If you ask most aspiring writers why they want to be a full-time writer, they will tell you "the freedom." I suspect that many of them have an image of Hemingway in Havana, hanging out in a smoke-filled bar, drinking and telling stories. The idea of the writing life as "care-free" is widely held, filling the daydreams of every would-be writer while they toil away at some 9-to-5 job. "If only I could write full-time," they say to themselves, "I'd be free of the bounds of this overly-scheduled existence."
News flash: if your daydreams sound like that, you haven't gotten serious -- or serious enough -- about writing. Serious writing requires serious commitment, and THAT requires serious time management.
(Read the rest at brucewriter.com.)
If you grew up going to some sort of church Bible class, you probably remember getting old enough to ask those questions that drive the teacher crazy: Could God make something so big he couldn't pick it up? If God can do anything, could he destroy himself? Nothing blows up a class faster than a good paradox, and we certainly enjoyed our paradoxes (paradi?).
This week, though, we come to one of the more puzzling, and ultimately one of the saddest, questions like this in the New Testament: If God is the All-Powerful, can a group of humans tie God's hands? And the answer, surprisingly, is Yes.
There are times when you like to see a good company bought by a bigger one ... and there are times when you dread what's coming. This, my friends, is the latter situation, at least for me.
For some time, I've been a big fan and user of the Weather Underground. I liked their maps, their web site, and especially their mobile site. In fact, I bookmarked the MOBILE site on my work and home PCs, because it loaded fast and gave me all the info I needed in just a few seconds.
But now, as report in Daily Kos: Weather geeks: Wunderground bought by TWC [update], Wund has been bought by the Weather Channel. I stopped using the Weather Channel some years ago, as their site was almost unuseable due to the popups, ads, flyouts, Flash inserts, and general mush and slush. And, you had to dig and dig and dig to find what you were looking for.
Of course, everyone at TWC is saying that "things won't change" and "we'll keep the brands separate" and "it just means more resources for Wund." Bullshit. Either this is a hostile buyout, to put a competitor out of business, or it's a friendly buyout to bring "our superior corporate leadership to the startup, while integrating their entrepenurial spirit into our site." Either way, I give it a year, tops, before Wund either disappears or becomes overrun with marketing "goodness."
Bleah. For once, I wish the big kid on the block didn't just HAVE to own all the toys.
OK, short post here, but a good reminder nevertheless.
From a Denise Harper-Angel email:
More than half of the 356 fatalities were cases where those killed were not wearing their seat belts. Twenty four percent of the fatalities involved distracted driving. And 16% of the fatalities involved an impaired (drugs or alcohol) driver. Finally, more than half of those who were killed in motorcycle crashes were not wearing helmets. Current Kentucky law does not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets.This isn't new science, folks. Seatbelts save lives -- it's that simple. If you wear your seatbelt all the time, there's never a question about it. You're always safer than if you go without.
And if you ride a bike? Guess what -- pavement is harder than your head. Always. So wear your helmet -- hot or no.
Let's face it -- you can't prepare for every bad thing that can happen in your life. But you sure as hell can keep from making them worse by your own stupidity. Wear your seatbelt, wear your helmet, show common sense.
Who said this?
Nothing left over to the one with the most,
Nothing lacking to the one with the least.
Are you sitting there, saying to yourself "wow, that sure sounds like Marx. Didn't I read that in college?"
Well, sort of, but not exactly. Here is the Karl Marx quote:
From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
So, if Marx didn't say our opening quote, who did?