Florida will be in Columbia tonight to take on South Carolina, which might be sending shivers up Gator fans spines considering that means seeing Devan Downey again. The Gamecocks star injured himself during practice though, and was wearing a walking boot Tuesday to protect his sprained ankle. If he can't go or isn't close to his usual level of play, this could be very ugly. For Florida it's a chance to get to 7-3 in conference and keep positive momentum going for the big Xavier game this weekend. If the Gators get to ten conference wins and beat Xavier, I don't see any way they miss the tourney. Lose this and getting the ten before SEC tournament play starts becomes a lot trickier, although it can be done.
One thing I've been interested in following this season was the impact of Jai Lucas on Texas. One particularly ridiculous column in Austin after his transfer claimed that Billy Donovan asking Lucas to play shooting guard was "not worthy of his artistry" and compared him to a five star chef. So far this year, Lucas has been more of a sandwich artist than a chef. Andy Katz notes in his Tuesday ESPN daily word that...
"When a player transfers there is a good reason. Jai Lucas was not a major hit at Florida and clearly hasn't found a way to be successful yet at Texas."
Lucas is averaging 3.6 points per game, but that's actually an artificially inflated total by his fifteen against Gardner Webb and nine against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In Big 12 play he's 3 for 16 from the field with a 12-7 assists to turnover margin. So much for the "explosive scorer" who's the "best third string point guard in America". The Texas media sure likes to hype their kids up. Lucas isn't a horrible player, but he never had any business transferring to Austin. If he wasn't willing to stick it out in Gainesville, he should have gone down to a lower level program in Texas like a UT-Pan American. In their conference, he'd actually be the player the hype claimed he was going to be.
The Pac-10's commissioner now acknowledges the conference is considering expanding to twelve teams, something which should scare the Big 12 in a big way. The most obvious team for the Pac-10 to add is Colorado, with Utah the other one. It would give them major new interest in the Denver and Salt Lake City markets, and unlike BYU there are no scheduling issues with either program. CU has always felt more like a fit with the Pac-10 than the Texas and Oklahoma schools anyway, and Utah has earned enough credibility with the past half dozen years of work. The Big 12 now has to worry about the Big Ten taking Missouri or Nebraska as well as this scenario. Suddenly they could be the ones put in a jam the way the Big East was the last time this happened. Things are about to get very interesting.
The Washington Redskins are interviewing Bill Romanowski for a role as their strength and conditioning coach. No confirmation as of yet that they're looking at Bernie Madoff for Chief Financial Officer. Seriously, how is this possible? Romanowski is an admitted cheater with ties to the BALCO scandal, and unlike Mark McGwire he turned his confession into an attempted cash grab in a book. "Romo" is a thug who attacked a teammate in practice and did enough damage to end his career. The litany of his misdeeds - which include spitting in another player's face, dirty hits galore, allowing his wife to face prosecution on a drug rap, etc - are far too numerous to detail fully here. It's inexplicable that Mike Shanahan could feel Romanowski's an appropriate person to interview, and Roger Goodell should make it clear to everyone in the league that under no circumstances will he be allowed back in the NFL without substantial punishment for his previous actions.
Wayne Gretzky's old mansion that Lenny Dykstra purchased from him is now on the market. When Dykstra bought it the price was 17.5 million, but now it can be yours for the low low price of 14.9 million. Why the drop in value? Well, after Dykstra realized his financial trainwreck was going to cost him the house, he trashed it. Raw sewage from a torn out drain line, dog waste, beer bottles everywhere and "other unmentionables" have a way of reducing a property's value. Don't forget that Jim Cramer, supposed stock picking expert, insisted Dykstra was a financial genius. Just something to keep in mind when you're watching Cramer break it down on CNBC.