Thursday, February 4, 2010
Behind The Scoreboard
Collegiate football wrapped another chapter on Saturday with its annual North vs. South game and the NFL had its “feel good” game, better known as the Pro-Bowl, on Sunday.
The latter was a break from the usual routine, you know the trip to Hawaii, etc. This time it was played in the continental United States and a week before the Super Bowl. Reports are that it was a sellout (I mean the gate!).
But, really, this time of year the reigning football phobia gives ground to another mania – March Madness! With the advent of February looming large, the fancy of fans and collegiate players alike turn to the conference games and the national championships in the NCAA. So, this is as good a time as any to point out a few things. No, there will be no attempt to “set” the field of 65 which will participate in March Madness.
First, let’s pick on C-USA. And the Memphis Tigers. The Tigers had appealed the decision which was handed down by the NCAA sometime ago, wrecking their almost perfect season and in essence, wiping out a goodly portion of valuable records. The appeal was to be heard on Saturday; when the results are to be made known is not very clear. Was the ruling fair? From what this writer knows, it would have to be termed shaky. The prevalent question which keeps surfacing in my estimation is – if the player in question had been cleared to play by the NCAA, how could it be the school’s fault?
Has this cloud of taint hurt the Tiger program? If one has been following the Tiger tracks this season, one knows that their long standing C-USA record fell by the wayside and they are struggling. They lost to a team which had not beaten them since the 1953-54 season. Verily, they are clearly in transition. New coach, new players, new philosophies, old problems. Can they be expected to work through all of these in a single season?
And what of their former mentor? How is he faring in his SEC “dream job?” The Wildcats were scratching everyone’s eyes out until they met the Gamecocks last week. Kentucky was ranked number one until then. Now that mark will probably be taken away for awhile and given to Kansas. The Wildcats’ bounce-back victory over Vanderbilt will not be enough to salvage the rating. Don’t get me wrong so fast. John Calipari and Kentucky are not done yet.
Don’t be surprised if both Tigers and Wildcats make the field of 65.
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