Kyle checked in
on this week's SEC Media Days, and I thought I'd toss in a couple of words about this week's ACC meetings in Pinehurst, North Carolina, along with a couple other sports thoughts. I'm getting more excited every day the season gets nearer, and I'll start posting regularly when news starts happening more regularly.
1. The media voted
Florida State and Virginia Tech as the winners of their divisions, with Tech being named as the overall winner. Tech has a ton of talent, and a (mostly) favorable schedule. They get Boston College, FSU, and Miami at home. The big on-field hurdle is a humdinger of a match September 8 at LSU. Of course, the bigger hurdles may be dealing with off-field distractions like dealing with the continuing aftermath of the April massacre on the Tech campus, and whatever happens in the Michael Vick dogfighting case.
(I'm not saying that should be pinned on VT, unless evidence comes out that Vick was involved with dogfighting while he was in school. But I said last September that Tech has some dirty players
, and they need to avoid developing a reputation for condoning thuggery. My point here is the first time a Hokie commits a personal foul, it will give the announcers an excuse to bring up the Vick deal, if they even need an excuse at all.)
2. Anyway, the big stories in the Atlantic Coast this season will be the Tech narratives and the coaching carousel. Four new coaches
take over (at UNC, BC, Miami, and NC State), and at least a couple others (Al Groh at UVA and, I think, Tommy Bowden at Clemson) are on the hot seat.
3. Should Duke's Ted Roof be on the hot seat as well? The Devils have lost twenty
dadgum games in a row, and as SMQ says
in one of his excellent ACC preview posts, "A more competitive team [than last season's] could still be 0-12." They return a lot of players -- they started a bunch of freshman and very few seniors last year -- but the schedule takes a step up. I would be willing to sell my soul to the devil and/or convert to Catholicism if Duke could win at Notre Dame on November 17th, but it ain't gonna happen when wins over UNC, Navy, and UConn might be too much to ask for. Still, Duke appears to be hanging in there with Roof. The Blue Devils were competitive in a few games last year, and I think as long as they win a game and look decent in a few others, Roof will get at least one more try. So there's an iota of optimism, but it'll be a long fall in Durham.
4. One fun note about the Duke team -- they have some great names! Check it out:
- Vince Oghobaase, DL
- Ayanga Okpokowuruk, DE
- Greg Akinbiyi, DE
- Michael Tauiliili, LB
- Adrian Aye-Darko, S
- Chris Rwabukamba, CB
- Ifreke Okpokowuruk, DL
- Zack Asack, QB
- Pontus Bondeson, DL (from Sweden)
- John Gutekunst, DB Coach
I'll take that lineup up against anybody's. I'll be eager to hear some opponents' radio announcers tackle a couple of those. Sadly-appropriately named Asack, of course, won't need any help getting tackled.
5. In other conferences, Missouri was picked to win the Big XII North, and I was pleased to see this quote from QB Chase Daniel
: "We're honored to be picked to win it, and we'll definitely use that as motivation. We've worked really hard over the last few years to earn some respect, and now that it's coming we need to work even harder to keep it." (link via Bruce Feldman
) Finally! An athlete isn't complaining about "being disrespected" or asserting that polls don't matter. Daniel's quote is still mighty bland, but he still becomes one of my favorite players for not automatically resorting to "you don't respect us!" faux-motivation (fauxivation?) or Holtzish
6. Don't look now, but we might be getting a four-team college football playoff
once the current BCS contract is up. I think the law of unintended consequences will foul that scheme up, too. But I still remain opposed to a playoff system. Yes, I'm a bowl man. And I am convinced that we can have either
a playoff, and any rigged-up hybrid will be a disappoint to fans of both. I guess we'll find out if I'm right in 2011. Maybe.
7. Finally, in other sports, this gambling NBA referee
story is fascinating in a train-wreck way. Here's my guess on the contrarian theme that will crop up soon: Some people will say that if referee Tim Donaghy was betting or manipulating the over/under in games, but not necessarily the outcome, well, maybe that isn't so bad. I mean, who doesn't like high-scoring NBA games, right? If he didn't care who won, and if he called a lot of fouls on both teams to drive up scores, where's the harm? After all, a legitimate referee could call a game tightly and run up the score without cheating, so is what Donaghy (allegedly) did so bad? Note that I don't agree with this line of reasoning, but I'll bet (!) we hear someone take this stand soon.