Sunday, December 1, 2013

Coaches, memories and a November to remember

Where were you:  I can remember where I was when Doug Flutie worked his magic against Miami in 1984, when Charles White ran amok for four second half TDs versus Notre Dame, and when Vince Young seemed to single-handedly beat USC for a national championship.  Last night will be another to add to that list.

Where were you when Auburn's Chris Davis pulled off a "War Damn Miracle" by returning a failed field goal the distance against hated rival Alabama, catapulting the Tigers into next Saturday's SEC Championship?

Yes, the wonderful world of college football has given us yet another "where were you" moment and this one is, arguably, the greatest ever given the oddity of the play, the stakes, and the rivalry.

The November to remember:  Has there ever been a better November in college basketball than the past month?  It's been less than three weeks since we saw Julius Randle and Kentucky lose to Michigan State's veterans, the scintillating overall game of Duke's Jabari Parker and the late-game heroics of Kansas' Andrew Wiggins.  Since then, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State positioned himself as the clubhouse leader for Player of the Year honors, Arizona showcased what perhaps is the best overall team in the land, and Villanova beat Kansas and Iowa to likely jump into the top ten.  If November is any indication, this year's college basketball season will rival the drama we've witnessed over the past few weekends in college football.

Feel good:  It's incredibly fitting that Missouri's Henry Josey scored the winning touchdown in last night's Tiger win over Texas A&M.  Josey is the feel-good story of this college football season given his return from what seemingly was a catastrophic knee injury.

Coaches, coaches, coaches:  Votes of confidence were issued yesterday to notable coaches Bo Pellini of Nebraska and Will Muschamp of Florida.  Elsewhere, Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger did the same for his coaching hire, Charlie Weis.  While I agree with Zenger's sentiment that turning around a program takes time, it's obvious that Weis' short-term fix approach of transfers and junior college players was an abysmal failure.  Weis first over-sold Dayne Crist and, this year, did the same with Jake Heaps and Justin McCay.  Only one juco transfer, Cassius Sendish, panned out to the level expected of those that joined the KU program.  Next year, Kansas will have a senior-laden lineup and, if rumors are true, a new offensive coordinator and O-line coach in John Reagan from Rice.  The seat is very, very hot for Weis given the growing apathy surrounding the Jayhawk program.

Rules:  I remain skeptical about the positive impact of the rules changes/emphasis in college hoops.  The charge call is a distant memory in the college game and players, coaches and officials all seem to be struggling with how this change has affected the sport.

And, finally:  There's something fitting about Auburn beating Alabama in the year that the historic trees at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, AL had to be chopped down due to the poison that a misguided Bama fan used on the oaks.  The lack of trees didn't stop Tiger fans from littering that historic intersection with toilet paper last night.