Tuesday, May 11, 2010

some minor annoyances

A few quick things today that fall into the "argh" category:

The USC game this fall will happen at ten flipping thirty in the evening. At least it's a Saturday night, but seriously - we'll be watching football at one o'clock in the morning, assuming we haven't given up on what looks like another 40-point blowout by that time. One in the morning, every football fan is either asleep or drunk and getting drunker, so this is not a recipe for awesomeness. It is a recipe for jetlagged Cavaliers.


Half the ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchups are out - not officially, but through a leaky hole somewhere - and here's what we know:

Michigan State at Duke
Purdue at Virginia Tech
Ohio State at Florida State
North Carolina at Illinois
NC State at Wisconsin
Indiana at Boston College

That leaves six possibilities for our opponent: Iowa, Penn State, Northwestern, Michigan, Minnesota, or none at all. Now here's the annoying part, following a little deduction:

- I don't see us playing Minnesota. They're a tournament team and we're not close, and that makes for lousy TV. So eliminate the Gophers.
- I don't see us playing Iowa. Iowa is a beatable team, but they've been told they're going on the road. We hosted a game last year, and while it's not out of the question for teams to play two home games in a row, the Challenge incorporates Rule 2(b). (Remember being dealt Northwestern on ESPNUVA - and beating them by 40 in a game nobody cared about - the year after being the regular season ACC champs?) So eliminate the Hawkeyes.
- I don't see us playing Penn State. We played them last year and while rematches aren't out of the question either, they're rare. So eliminate the Nittany Lions.

That leaves three possibilities: Northwestern again, probably on ESPNUVA again; Michigan; or no game at all. No game at all would suck, but typically the last-place ACC team (Miami) gets dealt that card. Still: Rule 2(b).

Or we could play Michigan, and I don't know how I feel about that with my split loyalties, but I do know how the run-up to the game will go: it'll piss me off. I occasionally end up defending the ACC to some of the snobbier Big Ten fans and the Big Ten to some of the snobbier ACC fans because there are elements of both that think the other is the shittiest sack of shit conference outside of the MAC. Both Michigan and UVA are facing heavy rebuilding years (which would make for intriguing TV and a good reason why I think this is the most likely matchup) and therefore I'll have the pleasure of watching both sets of fans badmouth the other team as an easily winnable game. This annoys me.

If it is Michigan, it'll mark the first time in my split fandom that the two schools have played each other in something I care about enough to drop what I'm doing and watch (there were a pair of softball games earlier this year and I think there was a women's basketball tournament game a few years back) and I still have no idea how I'd approach this. I've long suspected my rooting interest would simply lie with whoever needs the win more, but there's always the chance I go with whichever team's fans spent less effort proclaiming the winnability of the game. Take that, fellow brothers in arms!

You see now why I didn't attend a Big Ten school.


Lastly, there are two articles; one is this article from Ratcliffe at the CDP on - well, the story of the week. It's worth a read, because it revolves mostly around the words of Pete Gillen, whose frankness in interviews is always refreshing. There's a lot to be learned, though there's a real sense of irony here since Gillen's firing was brought about in some part because he no longer had control of his team.

I don't have a link for the second article, as it's behind a paywall. furrer4heisman, better known as the mastermind behind the excellent Gobbler Country, passed it along. It's based on some of the same Gillen quotes, though it picks and chooses rather selectively in order to make a point. Since it's a paywall article, I won't reproduce the whole thing here, but the point can be summed up in these two paragraphs:

Pete Gillen's explanation - very likely shared by many coaches and administrators - that "young kids at that age think they're invincible" and that "when you're a star athlete ... you think you're king," is more than a little unsatisfying. Why do colleges put up with this behavior? Why are these kids still on campus? ....

.... It's been quite a while since American colleges and universities decided that they were no longer going to be acting in loco parentis. But most administrators still have trouble determining what their role is supposed to be. I remember as a freshman being told by a residential adviser that as long as your drink was in a closed cup, no one in a position of authority would demand to know the contents. But if, God forbid, someone found a hot plate or other "unauthorized appliance" in your dorm room, there would be serious trouble.
In other words, the approach to discipline at colleges is patchwork at best: heavy-handed in some instances and willfully ignorant in others, and often in the wrong instances in both cases. That's the article in a nutshell, and the point is well worth noting, not least because it's directed at academia in general and not UVA specifically. (Though I could have done without the snide suggestions about the type of discipline - or lack thereof - that Dom Starsia laid on George Huguely for his previous misdeeds.)

Therein lies the annoyance. The point could certainly have been made without that suggestion and without selectively quoting Gillen, whose words, as you can tell in the Ratcliffe article, were not meant to convey a purposeful lack of complete oversight of college athletes; rather, its impossibility.

I'd like to think I'm not so naive that I'm just now learning how the vultures in the media have a thousand different ways of circling a story. I've seen it before; still, it never ceases to amaze. Pete Gillen, as far as I can tell, is about as honest a man as they come, but the openness of his words doesn't prevent their being used to make two almost completely opposite points.

I leave you with this as a parting thought for today:

Four St. Bonaventure basketball players were fined $250 each on Monday after they pleaded guilty to one charge of disorderly conduct in connection to an on-campus fight in which two men were stabbed.
A decision on the amount of irony in this simple paragraph when juxtaposed with the nature of the coverage of the Love murder is an exercise I leave to the reader. In the words of our own intrepid James Michael Scott: smh.

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