Thursday, March 5, 2009

Next MWC proposal: we get to play with twelve guys on the field

Florida isn't an NCAA tournament level team this year, which they showed again last night. I should have known it after seeing them find a way to lose in Athens, but I really thought they would play enough in a game or two to get the job done. It didn't happen. Having said that, I still think they have a shot at a bid to the NCAAs based on the way their SEC bracket sets up as long as they beat a Kentucky team that's also staggering to the finish. That would get them to 9-7 in conference and as the number three seed in the East they'd face Arkansas. Assuming they can handle a Razorback team they beat already this season, they would see an Auburn team the next night which they've also beaten. With the games in Tampa, both of those should have pro-UF crowds. Assume UF loses in the SEC semis after winning those two - that streak of three victories might be enough to get them in depending on what else happens.

One happy note coming out last night's game was this: I will never have to see an SEC game of any kind broadcast by Raycom again. The conference's ESPN megadeal delivers us from them next season. No more announcers laughing uproariously at comments which aren't even remotely funny. No more incompetent graphics people who can't keep the score of the game they're broadcasting straight. No more score updates for other games lagging an hour or more behind. No more in game promos for David Cook albums, because that's exactly what SEC basketball fans are listening to when they aren't watching. You might watch Raycom show the SEC Tournament, but I'll be there covering it in person so I won't have to. Goodbye, and good riddance.

Speaking of good riddance, Terrell Owens is reportedly out in Dallas. The Cowboys haven't disclosed what led to the move, but the fact they traded their first rounder to Detroit for Roy Williams and got almost nothing out of him last year with T.O. around could be part of it. The fact Owens has been a problem from the second he got there could be as well. Now the only question is which team will be next to welcome this circus into their locker room. The Raiders are too easy to suggest, and with Gruden not around anymore it won't be the Bucs. Washington, I'm looking in your direction.

The Mountain West Conference has proposed an eight team playoff to the BCS. Maybe the idea here is to ask for so much that a guarunteed BCS bowl slot every year will sound like a reasonable negotiated compromise once they give up on this one. If the SEC's commissioner couldn't get a plus one model approved a year ago, the idea a conference with no automatic bid will prompt a total restructuring of the sport is laughable.

When you don't typically report and then you try to break a story, it can blow up in your face. Steve Duemig of WDAE in Tampa found that out the hard way this week. Monday he went on air with a text message from "a really good source" that another of the players lost at sea in this weekend's boating tragedy had been found. Oops. Duemig has since apologized, but his explanation of his thinking that "This is optimistic, so I'm going to run with it" is cringe inducing. If you've got a story confirmed by multiple sources and are sure it's accurate, report it. You can't "run with" something just because you wish it was true, especially when lives are involved. Duemig has whiffed on his attempts at breaking big stories like the Bucs supposedly being sold before, but this was really bad. At least he wasn't cracking jokes like Mike Valenti at WXYT in Detroit, who had to apologize as well. How dense do you have to be to make a "water weight" or "traded to the Dolphins" comment on air about a guy who's from the city and played for the hometown team in 2008 WHILE THEY'RE STILL TRYING TO SAVE HIS LIFE? I get irritated when other media types act like all sports radio people are cretins, but episodes like this are why they do.

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