A few quick, very hot, sports takes.
As an alum of the University of Kansas, I generally root for chaos when it comes to determining a college football champion. So I was pleased that there was much controversy surrounding college football’s first final four.
What happened, with Ohio State leap-frogging TCU and holding off Baylor after they pounded Wisconsin in the Big 10 title game, is what happens all-too-often when the NCAA basketball bracket is being put together: a game played the last weekend is given entirely too much weight in relation to the rest of the season. TCU and Baylor played more difficult schedules, had better wins, and better losses than Ohio State. But the Buckeyes destroyed a pretty good team on the last weekend of the season while TCU pounded a bottom-feeder and Baylor got a solid win over a pretty good team. And the first three months of work get thrown out the window and the final game takes precedence over all else.
The difference with basketball is picking an Ohio State team that wins the Big 10 tournament over a Kansas team that loses in the Big 12 semifinals for a #1 seed is really just semantics. KU is still getting into the tournament as a #2 seed. In football, TCU gets the shaft and is playing in a New Year’s Eve bowl game because they lost by 3 at Baylor on a controversial call.
Oh well. Not shedding any tears for TCU or Baylor or any other team that just misses in future years. Chaos is good.
New KU Football Coach
I’m down with the David Beaty as the new head coach at KU. Which is a better start than the last two coaches KU has hired. We’ll see if his Texas connections, his relative youth, and his energy can turn the program around. Unless he’s a complete disaster in the vein of Turner Gill and Charlie Weis, he has to be given five years to get things in order, though. If KU is hiring another coach in three years because Beaty is a failure, it might be time just to shut football down.
Now, if they’re hiring a new coach in three years because Beaty has improved the program and he takes a different job, that’s a good problem to have. As I’ve said before, KU should not fear being a stepping stone program for college coaches. Hell, embrace that. Buy into success breeding success.
Big 12 Expansion?
Nothing like over-reacting to the CFP Final Four to get the realignment bus cranked up again. It’s likely a good thing for KU football if the Big 12 can get back to 12 teams again. That extra non-conference game or two and not having to play each of the league’s elite each year would make a huge difference in getting back to a bowl game.
But any new teams are going to dilute a pretty sweet cash payout that KU is getting under the current Big 12 payout. And I can’t see Cincinnati and whoever else might get roped in as doing much to fatten that pot dramatically.
I know there are reasons beyond athletics that prevented it, but the Big 12 really should have tried to snap up Louisville when they had the chance.
Jinxing their chances in a tough road game against Georgetown tonight by writing positive thoughts today, but onward and upward, I guess.
I worked last Friday night, so got home and began the Florida game on the DVR roughly halfway through, in real time, without knowing anything about how the first half went. Which was a good thing, because I might have never turned it on had I checked the score. As it was, I nearly turned it off at halftime, thinking I didn’t want to toss and turn reliving a thrashing at home by a talented but not terribly good Gators team.
Fortunately, I stuck with it and thoroughly enjoyed the big KU comeback. Lots of big performances by players up-and-down the roster. Frank Mason was tremendous. Devonte’ Graham was terrific late. Cliff Alexander showed why he was ranked so high as a high school senior. The entire team remembered how to play defense. And Wayne Selden finally found his mojo in a monster game for him.
One thing I noticed was how watching on a DVR saps some of the drama and excitement from these games. You don’t have two-plus minute commercial breaks to let your anger or energy percolate. It was exciting to watch, but I know had I been watching in real-time, my angst level would have been much higher in the first half, and I would have been running around the basement yelling in the second half.
Hopefully the energy and effort KU showed in the second half Friday are back tonight and then Saturday against a really good Utah team. Get two wins and I think everyone is feeling much better about this team that we thought we would feel after the Kentucky game.