Friday, June 4, 2010

No matter what crazy stuff happens, no one wants Iowa State

The Pac-10 may be about to make a play to really shake up the college athletics world by swallowing half of the Big 12. For the first time there appears to be some legitimacy to this report, as Colorado's AD confirmed it before backing away later yesterday. Chip Brown, the guy who wrote the original story, worked for the Dallas Morning News covering Texas before heading to the internet and radio. He's known as a solid reporter. The story indicates that six Big 12 schools would be invited to join the Pac-10, not that they will necessarily take it. Considering the Big 12 is still meeting in Kansas City (that commissioner speech today should be interesting) and the Pac-10 isn't yet, I suspect this was leaked by someone in Austin looking to prove a point in the boardroom. That doesn't mean it's what they want to happen. Texas and Colorado are pretty good cultural fits for the Pac-10. Texas A&M and Boone Pickens Tech (Ok State) on the other hand seem like a bad idea for them. Meanwhile, regardless of what anyone else is doing, Missouri continues to stalk the Big Ten like it's a tween girl who knows where Justin Beiber's staying.

It's not often that I praise Bud Selig, but he got things right yesterday. The unfortunate end to the perfect game that wasn't Wednesday night led to an outcry for it to be reversed, but he said no. It would have been a popular sentiment and the wrong thing to do unless they were planning on going back and reexamining tape of every questionable one hitter in baseball history. Now the call for expanded instant replay is in full swing, another idea I'm not crazy about. There's no way you can review balls and strikes, which is a huge part of the game. Replay can't deal with a ball hit to the outfield with runners on base that's a close call on whether it was caught. If it was inaccurately ruled a catch, how can we know whether a runner would have scored or not? If it was inaccurately ruled a hit, how can we know whether the guy on base could have tagged up and advanced? I'm all for correcting mistakes during the game where possible, but even with a challenge system I don't see that many places it's going to be possible.

One of the true icons of sports may be gone soon. Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden is reportedly in "grave condition" as of the time I'm writing this. At one point last night, the Washington Post had actually reported Wooden's death on its webpage. While there are factors that helped him to all those championship wins (including the structure of the tournament at the time and booster Sam Gilbert) no one questions that Wooden was a hugely important figure. He's been out of basketball as a coach for more than three decades, but has stayed active in the sport. This was my first year as a Wooden Award voter, and it means something to me to be involved in choosing an award named after a guy who has been as classy a figure as we have in sports throughout his life. Hopefully Wooden can recover fully.

One of the single worst guys I've covered in my career was R. Jay Soward. Jacksonville drafted him out of USC with their 2000 first round pick and he proceeded to not only be a failure on the field but also just in life in general. Soward spent the summer before his senior year working on a rap album rather than practice and then had huge issues with discipline and substance abuse as a Jaguar. At one point the team hired a driver to bring Soward to work because he was repeatedly oversleeping. Maybe he's changed, but the Twitter feed advocating his return to the league doesn't sell me on that. It's amusing reading a guy who's trying to use Twitter to campaign for a spot in the league like he's Betty White with Saturday Night Live.

Speaking of Twitter, you can follow me there @heathradio - after a recovery day from being on the road I'll be back into my usual routine this weekend. If there's anything worth passing along, it'll be there. Otherwise I'll see you back here Monday.

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