I would imagine some of my regular readers will begin disappearing in the next few days for shopping and traveling in preparation for the holidays. Other more occasional visitors may stop in more often thanks to the free time the holidays provide. Happy holidays to all.

The big news in Indy today is the new stadium/convention plan which was officially announced this morning. If approved, a retractable roofed stadium will be built just south of the RCA Dome in time for the 2008 NFL season. The deal will satisfy the NCAA and keep the Final Four coming back every five years, will allegedly get at least one Super Bowl visit (I say one only, if any, as cold weather cities aren’t loved by the NFL), and keep the Colts in town for 30 years. I watched part of the mayor’s news conference today and was most impressed by the fact the agreement with the team has no outs in break the lease. Any sports fan knows teams can easily break leases anytime they want, but it does provide some measure of comfort and security to a city that is tenuously holding onto its franchise. In recent years I’ve become more and more wary of stadium deals that are primarily funded by the public. Several cities have built new stadiums entirely with private dollars, so I get frustrated when people automatically say it can’t be done. It most certainly can be done. The Irsay family is kicking in $100 million of the $500 M estimated cost, but also get back $48M for naming rights and lease elements at the RCA Dome they’ll be giving up. If they keep resigning players to ridiculous contracts, I suppose it will even out. Keeping the Colts here is a good thing, I think, and with the first generation of life-long Colts fans coming into adulthood with the ability to buy season tickets, hopefully a fancy new stadium with 20-25K more seats will be full on a more consistent basis than the current stadium has been in some years.

What’s this I hear about Johnson County making noises about building a new football stadium and luring the Chiefs across the state line? I think that’s delicious, just because it would set off a whole new round of cross-border nonsense. People ask me why Indianapolis has been able to do so many things in the last 15-20 years to improve downtown where KC has failed. The answer is simple: no state line dividing the population (and to a lesser extent, no river diving a municipality’s tax base either).

Like most fans of the mighty University of Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, I’ve begun my annual vigil for Wayne Simien’s health. He needs to be healthy in March, so I’ll gladly exchange a few games now to ensure he heals if that means he’s not dinged up in two months.

I discovered Saturday that M.┬áreally can’t relax when she’s trying to sleep on me during a game. Apparently I get pretty tense, which she senses. Shocking, I know. That was a downright pathetic performance by KU though, so I think it was understandable that I would be worked up. Did they all go out drinking before the game or something?

South Carolina in many ways is a poor man’s Oklahoma State, which caused me much worry. Thankfully the Pokes don’t come to Lawrence for awhile so there’s time to improve.

It is still difficult in some ways getting over the Roy Williams era and coming to terms with the Bill Self era at KU. Under Roy, if we fell behind by ten points, you always knew exactly what the team would do to try to respond, and see quickly whether they were going to be successful in coming back. Since Self does different things each game, I never have any idea if we’re going to be able to right the ship before it’s too late. It’s an unnerving feeling after 15 years of comfort. At the same time, I trust Bill a lot more to examine what’s going on in the course of a game and react with ways of attacking the other team rather than just running the same 12 plays over and over.

Speaking of horrible games, the first 25-30 minutes of the Indiana-Missouri game yesterday should be erased from all tapes and never viewed again. I’m not sure how many top 50 recruits were on the court, but I think the argument can be made that never has so much talent played so poorly. My Mizzou friends will appreciate the fact I kept my wife from calling any of you when IU got a 17 point lead. Her occasional interest in sporting events gets the best of her when her alma mater actually plays well. I reminded her of IU’s 18 point lead against MU a year ago and how that game ended up. Good old IU didn’t disappoint, did they? I was disappointed that Mike Davis showed some restraint and didn’t charge after the officials following the no-call on Bracey Wright’s last drive to the hoop. He did give the refs the Mike Davis Face, though.

Was Spencer Laurie in the game just to injure someone? That was a nasty elbow he threw at Bracey’s nose.

I think the announcer on the IU network had someone from MU/the Laurie family sitting next to him peeling off $50 bills each time he mentioned “beautiful new Mizzou Arena”. He literally called it beautiful each time he mentioned where it was being played. I don’t doubt it’s a good looking facility, but did he have to say that every time? Get a thesaurus and throw some other adjectives at us!

I worked on a number of posts over the weekend. If I survive the mall later today, I’ll try to get some more posted.