Thursday, 12/28/06

Sir Knight

In all likelihood, Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight will pass the legendary Dean Smith for the all-time wins record tonight, when his team takes on UNLV. For such a distinguished record, there should be more fanfare than there is. But there's not, beacuse of who is breaking it. As you know, Coach Knight and the media have not always seen eye-to-eye, despite the fact the coach gives some of the best quotes annually. You see, many in the media don't like Knight bullying them or disapprove of the way he talks to people. And what does that have to do with the record? Bobby Knight is what he is and frankly, doesn't seem to be the type I would be friends with. That being said, since when does a coach's personality impact his career achievements? You don't think some of the top coaches in the history of the games--all sports--were buttheads and treated people with scorn? Go behind the soundbites and press conferences into a practice and you'll see the true colors of a coach. They are all not as great as they seem. Bobby Knight has won almost 1,000 games, without cheating and without having kids make up a 20% graduation rate. I don't care if he is a ----- Players know what they are going to get from him when they sign their letter of intent, so they are to blame when they complain. We in the media should be celebrating Knight's historic achievement but we can't--because we are too caught up in how he makes his players feel--and us.

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 02:50 PM | Comment

Friday, 12/22/06

The Holiday Edition

Christmas is upon us and Hanukah is coming to an end, not to mention the celebrations of all religions around the world. But I am going to resist the temptation to use this week as a time to reflect and look back on 2006. Rather, I am going to honor the week by treating it as just any other week. So a few random thoughts...

Yes, the Florida-Ohio State basketball game on Saturday will be big, but it won't mean much. The Gators' Al Horford apparently won't play so it will be hard to tell just which team is better, when one of them is without a big piece of the puzzle. Regular season games are for hype, not for much else, and this game has the hype because of the January 8th football date....

....Sticking with hoops, UCLA is a very quiet #1. Why is that? We haven't heard much about them, they haven't been getting glaring reviews and they generally have gone under the radar which is hard to do when you are #1....

...On to football, there were many football coaching moves in recent days. Tom O'Brien going to NC State is a coup for AD Lee Fowler and the Wolfpack. Stanford made a great hire in Jim Harbaugh as did Tulane in getting former UCLA head man Bob Toledo. Who knows what will happen at Alabama?

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 01:08 PM | Comment

Sunday, 12/10/06

Some Sunday Thoughts

Let's start with the Heisman Trophy. To know one's surpise, Ohio State's Troy Smith ran away with the 2006 Trophy. I mean, this thing wasn't even close. That's part of the reason I decided to skip this year's event. I've gone the past few years and at least the star wattage was bright or there was some suspense. This year--not much. The biggest surprise of the night to me was seeing Arkansas' Darren McFadden finish second. Don't get me wrong, that kid is a stud and deserved it, I'm just surprised that enough Heisman voters saw what many of us have seen all year. You feel bad for Brady Quinn, but not too bad. He'll still be at the top of the draft and is a QB. Next year's Heisman race is already well underway. In addition to McFadden, how about the possibility of Steve Slaton or Mike Hart or John David Booty or DeSean Jackson or JaMarcus Russell or Pat White or Colt McCoy or Ray Rice or Ian Johnson or a dozen other guys (assuming all return)?

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 07:34 PM | Comment

Sunday, 12/03/06

I Love This Game!

No Taking Issue episode that we have aired has created more of a stir than last week's show focused on the BCS and a potential playoff. The emails have been pouring in from all over, arguing how wrong college football has it or how critics of the BCS system are missing the point. One of our guests, Scott Ramsey, Chairman of the Football Bowl Association, proclaimed that a playoff would likely be the death bell for most of the bowls. I am sure the local communities might feel a little pinch but how much of a drop off do you really expect? I mean, for most bowl games, the only parties who care are the two schools involved the the bowl community. I don't think a playoff can do much harm. On the flip side, Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo prosposes an eight-team playoff using existing bowls. He might be on the right track, but will that really end the debate? Won't regular season games be made that much less meaningful and what about debates over who's in and who's out and seeding and home games? Yesterday's incredible day in college football has created a buzz for tonight's BCS announcement on Fox. To me, either Michigan or Florida is deserving. In my AP ballot last night, I put Michigan at #2. Here's what is great about the BCS. If we had an 8-team playoff, it is very likely that USC, despite its loss on Saturday to UCLA, would still have a shot at the national title. The BCS title game makes that virtually impossible.

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 09:35 AM | Comments (1)

Friday, 11/17/06

Stop Bashing the BCS

I admit, I am in the minority when it comes to defending the BCS system. Most college football fans and most media experts decry the system and insist that a playoff is the ONLY way to determine a true national champion. But I disagree on so many levels. Here's why...

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)

Saturday, 11/11/06

Coaching Moves

Keep an eye on Bill Haywood at Notre Dame to interview at North Texas...LSU coordinator Bo Pellini in the mix strongly at Michigan State and Iowa State...Walt Harris on his way out at Stanford...

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 11:03 PM | Comment

Saturday, 11/11/06

A Crazy Saturday

What an amazing day in college football. Auburn goes down, Cal goes down, Texas may go down (as of this writing), not to mention Louisville biting the dust on Thursday. I don't want to hear that parity is good for college football. No it is not. What's better is a dominant team in every conference wearing a target on their back every week as teams look to prove a point. To some, it might be great that the SEC has parity--to me, it hurts the conference and takes a common enemy out of the equation. How in the world did Cal lose to Arizona? Mike Stoops has had a so-so stint in Tucson and this upset came out of nowhere. Arkansas crushes Tennessee at home and I am done being an Arkansas hater. I give them my props. They just might be SEC-champ worthy. Florida certainly doesn't look that good. This weekend just proves to me that I am right in believing in the BCS. People just need to relax. When all is said and done, there will be a clear two teams left standing. And one of them won't be Rutgers, who will lose on the road to West Virginia. My bet? Ohio State and Michigan rematch for the title.

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 10:54 PM | Comment

Friday, 11/03/06

So What Does It Mean?

I watched the Louisville-West Virginia game last night and I'm still not quite sure what I saw. I saw some impressive displays on offense, defenses who looked very JV, and a few special teams blunders. I probably saw the Big East champion, but a BCS national title contender? I have watched a lot of college football this season and hundreds of games, and I can honestly tell you that Louisville should not play for the national title if they win out. I could name four, maybe five teams, who are better all around programs this year, including some with one loss. I think it is great for L'ville and the Big East and it would be nice if they run the table, but there is no way they are desreving of a BCS title game berth. Certainly Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Texas and gasp, even Auburn, should get the go ahead in front of Louisville. I'm not hating on the Cardinals, just telling you like it is. Two teams combining for over 1,000 yards of offense may be pretty for some, but to me, it tells me those teams' defenses are not ready for prime time, no matter what their previous stats say. I would not be surprised if none of the Big Three in the Big East end up unbeaten. Louisville could lose to Rutgers next week. And Rutgers could lose to West Virginia. Bottom line??? The best outcome for the Big East last night didn't happen. Which would have been WVU blowing out Louisville.

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 09:29 AM | Comment

Saturday, 10/28/06

How about the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party"? It's more of a party for Florida at this point, huh? Georgia QB Matthew Stafford is taking his lumps, as would be expected of a freshmen. But Mitch Mustain and Tim Tebow are looking pretty good as freshmen....And how about good ol' Michigan State. I mean, where is the heart on that team? If you needed any more proof that coach John L Smith has lost his team, look no further than Saturday's game....Absolutely no excuse for Auburn struggling with with Ole Miss. The Tigers will lose votes in the polls on Sunday despite getting a win...So much for Missouri's miracle season, but give Gary Pinkel credit for an impressive turnaround in 06....One of the better finishes on the day happened in Philly, as Brown beat Penn in OT...I hope you are all staying dry on the East Coast...

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 04:55 PM | Comment

Thursday, 10/26/06

OK, so I might have been a little too tough on the coaches in regards to the Miami-FiU brawl. I said on TI last week that the coaches should be fired. Well, maybe that's a little harsh. I think they should be held accountable for their players' actions, but the brawl itself shouldn't get them fired. However, the brawl in conjunction with their records and (for Larry Coker, not reaching expectations) should lead to their ouster, as FIU has yet to win a game.....

....How about the Tennessee mascot biting an Alabama player? That is simply classic....

Next week on Taking Issue we are going to look at college coaches and their relationship with the media. Should coaches open up their practices to reporters? You might be surprised at where I come down in this debate. We'll have on a coach and a longtime newspaper columnist to debate the issue. And, of course, I'll add my two cents.

Some tough games to pick this weekend in college football...I went with Virginia Tech upsetting Clemson at home, Miami upsetting Georgia Tech and Oklahoma beating Missouri on the road. I'll either look real smart or real dumb. And the Tennessee--South Carolina game will be closer than most people think.

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Posted by Brian Curtis at 12:43 PM | Comment

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