Friday, August 7, 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes

The USA Today coaches preseason poll is out, and Florida is number one as expected. I was surprised they only got 53 first place votes, and someone voted them third. Some people are hard to convince. Meanwhile, the Big East put no teams into the top 25 - the first time that's ever happened. As always, some teams are getting too much credit based on their name alone. How is Notre Dame ranked ahead of Oregon State to start this season?

The gap between what Florida fans seem to expect from their basketball program this season and the national perception of it remains large. The latest example is Dick Vitale's top 40, which has UF at number 22. I don't think the apparent arrival of Nimrod Tishman figures into Vitale's thinking, either. Is he being excessively optimistic going into the year? It appears to me that is the case, but I've read a lot of thoughts from UF fans who seem to think the team will be lucky to make the NIT. Those people are letting the frustration of the Calathes years blind them to the potential future with the addition of athleticism Gator hoops is about to get.

Terrell Owens has a reality show doing so poorly its second episode finished 862nd in the weekly cable ratings, just behind a 3:30 in the morning showing of something called "Brandy and Mr. Whiskers" on the Disney Channel. I'm sure you can imagine the outcome: Owens has accepted full responsibility for the show's lackluster performance, noting he may have alienated the audience and the program is just not very good. You'd be imagining that because it's not true, of course. According to Owens, the ratings company's to blame, for reasons which make zero sense. I'd love to know what it would take for T.O. to acknowledge a personal failure of some kind.

Lou Holtz says he won't run for Congress. I don't know if I should be happy that he won't be involved in politics or sad that he'll still be on ESPN. Holtz's Notre Dame cheerleading has been over the top the last couple of years, to the point it's impossible to take anything he says about the school seriously. Some people think he may be trying to pave the way for his son Skip (currently doing a fine job at East Carolina) to get the job in South Bend. After the Holtz pep talks and "Dr. Lou" nonsense, maybe ESPN's skit this year will play off this and feature him giving "campaign speeches" for teams.

One of the top talents in college football has managed to put himself on the shelf for awhile. Appalachian State's QB Armanti Edwards apparently ran over his foot with a lawnmower. Hopefully he'll be back in time for the season, because Edwards is the kind of story that makes the sport fun to cover. Without him, the Mountaineers have no chance against Holtz's ECU squad. If Edwards plays, that could be a very interesting game.

I was saddened to learn John Hughes had died yesterday. No man made more important movies to my generation than he did. To give you an idea of how prolific and gifted the guy was, a story idea he had given up on two decades ago still got made into Drillbit Taylor last year. That was a bad movie, but the fact a leftover Hughes concept still seemed like a better idea to make than something from what Hollywood churns out for scripts these days speaks volumes. Hughes had left the movie business behind, but his contributions were gigantic. He was already missed, and now he'll be mourned. What a crappy year this has been - see you back here Monday.

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