SPORTS w/The Jock 3-23-11

by Tom Weppel
COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Okay…I’ll admit I was completely sold!
All season long, I watched ESPN on Monday nights, as the network had their contract with the Big East to air the conference games. Over half the conference teams had been ranked in the Top 25 at some point in the season. The bottom line is we all thought the Big East was the dominant conference!
The selection committee was convinced as well, as they allowed ELEVEN teams to participate in this years’ tournament.
And now, after one weekend, we see that Big East schools were 9-9 overall in their play. Only TWO teams are still in the running…Connecticut, and Marquette!
And if I remember, people were wondering if Marquette even BELONGED in this thing!
In the Round of 64, we saw Louisville upset by Morehead St., Georgetown beat by VCU, Villanova lose to George Mason, and St. John’s overcome by Gonzaga! FOUR TEAMS go down, all in their first game. Three of those teams, by the way, were beaten by lower seeds!
In the Round of 32, two games featured Big East teams going against each other. UConn defeated Cincinnati, while Marquette upset Syracuse. Combine that with losses by West Virginia, Notre Dame, and #1 Pittsburgh, and it makes one wonder exactly how good the Big East actually was!
So, we’ll see what the Huskies and Golden Eagles do in the Sweet Sixteen! Marquette plays North Carolina, while UConn will play San Diego State. Both could make the Final Four. Should be interesting…
While everyone will be yapping and talking-up the upstarts, like VCU and Richmond, the real deal here is that Ohio State and Kansas both looked very impressive in their play over the weekend. The two #1’s dominated in their two respective games. I would be quite surprised if either school does NOT get into the Final Four…
For most of this season, we didn’t hear much talk or coverage of either Florida State OR the Florida Gators! They both simply went along through their schedule and played fairly blue-collar. And now it seems all of the sudden we see these guys emerging out of nowhere to get into the Sweet Sixteen. The Gators played a solid game on Saturday to beat UCLA, while the Seminoles handled a Notre Dame team many thought would go deep into the tournament. But FSU did a great job defensively, and they are moving on, while the Irish go home.
Maybe now sports fans at both schools will realize their basketball teams are still playing!
FYI…
ESPN had a little contest for fans to determine the outcome of this tournament. They let fans choose winners from the 68-team bracket. There were over 5.9 MILLION entries! The winner (if you got them all right) would receive a nice stash of cash.
And now, after the first weekend of games, NOT ONE entry correctly picked the Sweet Sixteen!
Amazing.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
This past week the NFL Owners held their meetings in New Orleans. Most NFL Head Coaches were also in attendance. We heard some discussion about a couple of QB’s, a number of Draft prospects, and of course the rules changes.
I guess my question is….does anyone care?
My personal feeling is that most of the NFL fans around the USA don’t give a rat’s ass about any of that stuff! I believe most everybody is completely aware that the whole situation between the Owners and the NFL Players is a total stalemate that has essentially shut things down with the League. They are also aware that no deals can be made. They know no players can be signed…even the ones that will get drafted next month!
So why even listen to any discussion concerning a team when there is no definite timeframe as to when things will get back into working order?
What is even tougher is that a lot of season ticket-holders are currently being billed by your favorite teams to pay for your seats for the 2011 season, when we don’t even KNOW if there is GOING to be a season? Its ridiculous!
The fact is, we all knew this was going to happen! We all knew things would not be agreed-upon by both sides, even with a respected federal mediator doing his best to keep both sides involved in working to cut a deal everyone would be happy with.
And obviously, that was not the final result.
So now we will wait and see how the landscape changes as we approach arpil 6th, when a federal judge will start to look at things and come down with decisions, one side or the other will not be happy with.
In the meantime, the Owners and players will both try their best to let us know that THEIR situation is the one we should all feel for…trying to take sides…
And we all should know it’s a complete joke, all for $9 billion a year and some football games.

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