Saturday, January 24, 2009

RIP, Kay Yow

Kay Yow won over 700 games (she is fifth all time in major women's college basketball). She had a plethora of 20-win seasons and sweet sixteen appearances while the head coach at NC State. She led the Wolfpack to the final four once and led the US Women's Olympic team to a gold medal in 1988 in Seoul.
However, her greatest impact was as an ambassador for the fight against cancer, and a board member of the V Foundation -- named for fellow former NC State coach Jim Valvano. Jimmy V lost his battle with cancer fifteen years ago. Today Kay Yow, who was fighting breast cancer for the third time, passed away at the age of 66.
R.I.P., Kay Yow. No one did a better job of carrying Coach Valvano's message to my generation.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

BCMess Redux

The amazing thing about the BCS is that it really doesn't seem like anyone is happy with it.
Honestly, who hasn't been screwed over by it? Last year, there were a number of good two loss teams heading into bowl season, vying for the second spot in the title game against Ohio State: LSU, Georgia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, USC, Missouri and Oklahoma. Kansas actually had only one loss, but it was in their only notable game, and as a result they were relegated to the Orange Bowl. Missouri and Georgia failed to win their conferences, so they enjoyed trips to the Cotton and Sugar Bowls, respectively. Virginia Tech and West Virginia were out of the ACC and Big East, so they went to Orange and Fiesta. USC and OU were the two with the biggest gripes, and USC thrashed Illinois by 32 points in the Rose Bowl (OU lost to WVU in the Fiesta Bowl), leaving people to wonder who the real national champ should be after LSU finished off Ohio State in New Orleans.
Then there was Hawai'i. I wrote about the Warriors last year before the Sugar Bowl, accurately predicting that the Warriors would be trampled by Georgia. This coming one year after I strongly rooted for Boise State's upset of Oklahoma. The reason Hawai'i didn't belong in that game was simple: They were a gimicky team (see: 2008 Texas Tech Red Raiders) that won games over bad opponents and beat their only true test (Boise State) on their little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which is one hell of a home field advantage. Not surprisingly, Georgia rolled.
This year, I figured Utah would fare better in the same game, but didn't anticipate them winning. But guess what? One quarter into the Sugar Bowl, Utah led the mighty Tide 21-0 on their way to a 31-17 triumph. Utah's win gives them wins over four legitimate opponents this year: Oregon State, 9-4 with a win over USC and a Sun Bowl victory; TCU, 11-2, with wins over BYU and Boise State and their only other loss coming at Oklahoma; BYU, who finished 10-3 and in the top 20; and Alabama, 12-2 after spending five weeks as the #1 team in the country.
I don't like Utah. Their fans are generally backward, homophobic Mormons, their coach is from the tree of Urban Meyer, and their marching band is downright dreadful. However, I've seen enough of this game to know that, had Michigan played the exact same schedule -- put TCU in Ohio State jerseys, there isn't much of a difference -- and gone 13-0, they would be the undisputed national champions of college football.
That being said, arguments can certainly be made for Southern Cal and Texas as well. So, I'm going to refer back to the tried-and-true method I've used each of the past several years. Who did you beat and who did they beat and who did they beat, etc.
UMass beat Holy Cross
Holy Cross beat Lafayette
Lafayette beat Liberty
Liberty beat Elon
Elon beat Georgia Southern
Georgia Southern beat Austin Peay
Austin Peay beat Eastern Illinois
Eastern Illinois beat Illinois State
Illinois State beat Youngstown State
Youngstown State beat North Dakota State
North Dakota State beat Southern Illinois
Southern Illinois beat Northern Iowa
Northern Iowa beat UNH
UNH beat Army
Army beat Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech beat Mississippi State
Mississippi State beat Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt beat Ole Miss
Ole Miss beat Florida
Ole Miss beat Texas Tech
Texas Tech beat Texas
Texas beat Oklahoma
Oklahoma beat TCU
TCU beat Stanford
Stanford beat Oregon State
Oregon State beat USC
See? UMass wins again. This year's was a little tougher. Because... you know... we didn't win any games against good teams. Plus you have to throw out Utah. Because... you know... they didn't lose...
Okay, I'm done.