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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday links (10/7)

We're at the midway point of the week. These links will surely get you over the hump that is Wednesday. Read away ...
  • We'll begin with a mea culpa on the part of ESPN's Pat Forde in his weekly Forde Yard Dash. The columnist wrote a few fake apologies on behalf of several folks in college football for various things before offering up one of his own:
  • And finally, we have a Dash apology to Auburn coach Gene Chizik (15): "Gene, The Dash suspected you might have been the shakiest head-coaching hire since Greg Robinson (16) when you were named last year to replace Tommy Tuberville. Now that you're 5-0, it's time to say The Dash was wrong. There are plenty of losable games left for the Tigers, but you're one win from bowl eligibility and looking good. Meanwhile, the man many people wanted to get the job, Buffalo's Turner Gill (17), is 1-4 -- though it should be noted that the Bulls lost all-time leading rusher James Starks to a shoulder injury before the season started. Gill is still a good coach. But so are you, Gene. War Eagle, and so forth."
  • Auburn probably deserved to be ranked earlier, but it's still so hard to wrap the brain around the Tigers' metamorphosis with basically the same players who went 5-7 last year. Auburn will have to play some defense this week, because Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino's offense can score almost as quickly as Auburn coordinator Gus Malzahn's.
  • Kodi Burns is an Arkansas native, so other teams' beat writers have an interest in him. Here's a story about him by Alex Abrams of the Morning News.
  • Georgia's still trying to put that tough loss to LSU out of its mind, but it hasn't been easy, writes David Hale of the Macon Telegraph.
  • Maybe this is why Chizik was so eager to leave Iowa State. There is a MAJOR financial disparity between a few teams from the Big 12 North and the Big 12 South, writes Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. I suppose you could say the same thing about the SEC, but look at these numbers for 2007-08 fiscal year revenue:
  • Texas: $120.3 million overall, $72.9 million football.
  • Nebraska: $75.5 million overall, $49.1 million football.
  • Kansas State: $48.2 million overall, $21.9 million football.
  • Iowa State: $38.6 million overall, $17.4 million football
  • These last two links are not football-related, but I figure I'd put them out there. As a Minnesota native, I'm a Twins fan. Naturally, last night's thrilling win against the Tigers in a one-game playoff was incredible to watch. And best of all, it kept the Metrodome's baseball clock ticking at least a little longer. It's a terrible stadium, but Minnesotans for some reason stand behind it. And I could never explain clearly why that is the case. That is until I read this article by Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated, who is one of the best in the business and shows why with this apt description of the Dome and why the dreadful building holds a special place in the hearts of most Minnesotans:

"It had to go, of course. But while everyone wanted it to go year after year -- everybody from players to writers to announcers to fans -- the Metrodome endured. There was history there -- Kirby and Hrbek and Jack Morris in Game 7. There was shelter from the cold in those April games. There was the certainty of baseball, come rain, snow, hail, locusts, whatever. There was the impossible cost of building a new stadium. There was all that it brought to Minnesota -- the Dome was always a good pro football stadium, it brought in Final Fours and various huge events. It made the Twin Cities matter, in some ways.

Finally, there was inertia. Are you going to fix your drive or drive around the pothole? Truth is, after a while, you might even kind of learn to love that pothole. After all, it's yours. And the Dome belonged to the Twins, belonged to Minnesota baseball fans. It was theirs: The worst stadium in baseball. Sure, that means something. It was something to COMPLAIN about. And stuff to complain about brings people together. In the South, it's the humidity. Hot enough for you? In Buffalo, it's the snow. In St. Louis, it's the construction. In New York, maybe it's the tourists, in Los Angeles the traffic, in Cleveland the Browns. In Miami, it's the drivers. In Chicago, it's the Bears' quarterback. In Kansas City, it was for many years Carl Peterson ... and I think people around Kansas City can't help but miss him because it's just not as much fun to complain about Scott Pioli.

The Metrodome would bring everyone together during baseball season. It was so dreadful, so indefensible, so anti-baseball that in a weird way it became the opposite of those things. My suspicion was always that Twins fans could take some pride in it.

How many games did you sit through at the Dome?

Oh man. Probably. Fifty?

Wow. You're a stronger man than I am."

  • And lastly, some sad news. John McPoland of the Janesville (Wis.) Gazette recently lost his 21-month battle with cancer. John helped give me my professional start in this business back when I was a wide-eyed youngster at the University of Wisconsin in 2000. I was the newspaper's Diamond Chatter intern, doing a weekly tabloid section on local baseball. It was a tremendous help to my nascent writing career. As always seems to be the case in life, I lost touch after I moved out of the area, so it was shocking and sad to read about his recent passing. But he did put one final blog post up on the Internet that is a touching read. It always amazes me how a person can know he is dying and still write something as poignant as this.


Anonymous said...

Pugh doesn't have a history of chop blocks. Ramzey was the one who performed an illegal chop block on Dorsey from LSU a couple of years ago.

Andy Bitter said...


Anonymous said...

I totally forgot about the Clemson chop block. I stand corrected.