College Basketball in 2013

I am a huge sports fan. I particularly love college sports. We don't have any pro sports teams in Alabama. So, we take our college sports very seriously. Like many sports fans I have watched the NCAA tournament this year. I have to say, if the current trend continues, I don't think I will in the future. I don't like the product.

In particular, I pretty much hate the way Louisville plays basketball. Yes, the won. Kudos to them. I don't blame them really. No, the real problem is the lack of offensive foul calls. Players push and shove each other. Guys going up for a lay up from under the back board are free to bully their way up to the rim including jumping backwards into a well placed defender. The only thing that matters to the NCAA is scoring, at any cost.

Luke Hancock stealing the game from Witchita State by fouling although it was called a jump ball. / Jaime Green/MCT via
So, getting back to Louisville, Rick Petino and his players have figured out just how far they can push these limits. They are almost playing hockey. But, in basketball, there is no penalty box. You get 5 fouls. If you have a deep bench like Petino, you just plug in another guy and they keep fouling. On the other side you have Luke Hancock, named MVP of the Final Four (geez, talk about bad role models) throwing a pump fake and then leaning into a player in a direction that is not toward the basket or any kind of natural shooting motion, just to draw the foul. Those should be no calls or offensive fouls, IMO.

I coach youth basketball. I teach my kids to not foul. I teach my kids to not touch each other when at all possible. On defense, they need to be in position and ready to move their feet. On offense, don't try and run over people. If you have to foul to stop someone, then we need a better game plan. Or maybe they are just better than we are. I have on occasion praised a kid for being aggressive which led to a foul. These are eight year olds. And some of them are still in a shell about being athletic. But, I never say "foul him". And I never have my kid try and draw a foul the way Luke Hancock does. That is just dirty basketball. I will tell my kids to drive the lane and go for the goal. And "if" you get fouled it's OK. But, never go looking for the foul.

Contrastingly, I watched some of the New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game Sunday. These guys hardly ever touch each other. They play within, what I believe, are the real rules of basketball. The game is a little fast and there is a lot of one on one play that can be tedious. But, it was more fun to watch than NCAA basketball. Maybe all the good basketball players go to the NBA and we are left with scrubs in the NCAA. They are too small (size wise) or to slow to play corner back in football so they end up playing basketball as an "athlete". I hope something is done about this. The game is just getting trashy.

Bad Bowl Game Coverage

I am a big college football fan. And I love watching all the bowl games. But, why oh why do they let networks that don't cover college football during the regular season cover bowl games? I was trying to watch the Cotton Bowl on Fox. But, it was so badly covered and commentated I just could not do it. I had to just find something else. Yuck.

The national championship game is on Fox I think.  I hope they don't butcher it like they did the Cotton Bowl.

DirecTV not ready for college football season

I thought my PHP/MySQL friends would get a kick out of another story of a company not being ready for technical demand.  I live in Alabama (southeastern USA).  For those that do not realize, we like our college football a lot (American football that is).  University of Alabama football has a particularly large buzz this year due to the hiring of our new coach, Nick Saban.  The first game of the year was this past Saturday.  It was not on network or cable television since it was against a no name team.  It was however available on Pay-Per-View for $29 or something (I don't even know, I just ordered it blind).  Since getting tickets for me and my family was not really an option, I decided to just order the game and watch from the comfort of my home.  Directv tells you (a lot) that the easiest way to order sports events is their web site.  So, I tried logging in to my account at their web site.  I tried for an hour.  The authentication servers were down or something (it was like playing WoW).  So, I ended up calling.  Their automated systems tell me that the best way to order an event is online.  Uh, tried that.  So, I go through their automated system.  After many odd beeps, it says to hold for a real live person!  After holding for 20 minutes (I knew better than to hang up) I was greeted very nicely by a woman.  She asked what she could do for me and I told her I wanted to order the Alabama game.  Her reply?  "I should have known!"  Apparently, they had a whole bank of 100 people answering calls from our region of the country and still had their queue of 50 lines full since 6AM EDT.  My call was at 6:30 PM EDT.  Not only was not working, but their automated phone system could not deal with the volume.  Hello?!?  Its BAMA and its SABAN.  You should have been ready.  The lady on the phone was very nice and took care of me quickly.  I feel for those folks in that call center.  Their tech people, or more likely the people that should have informed the tech people and given them a budget, should have known this was coming for months.


Southern Football vs. Northern football

I got this via email.  I am not one to forward email to everyone I know so I figured I would post it here.  I love college football.  Its only 5 days away!

Stadium Size:

NORTH:  College football stadiums hold 20,000 people.

SOUTH:  High school football stadiums hold 20,000 people.

Campus Decor:

NORTH:  Statues of founding fathers.

SOUTH:  Statues of Heisman trophy winners.

Homecoming Queen:

NORTH:  Also a physics major.

SOUTH:  Also Miss America..


NORTH:  If you are slightly coordinated, you make the varsity squad.

SOUTH:  You begin cheer camp at age two, complete with ballet, dance, & gymnastic training.

Getting Tickets:

NORTH:  5 days before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus and purchase tickets.

SOUTH:  5 months before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus & put name on the waiting list.

Women's Accessories:

NORTH:  ChapStick in back pocket and a $20 bill in the front pocket.

SOUTH:  Louis Vuitton duffel with two lipsticks, waterproof mascara, and a fifth of Jack Daniels/Crown. Money is not necessary -- That's what dates are for.

Friday Classes After a Thursday Night Game:

NORTH:  Students and teachers not sure they're going to the game, Because they have classes on Friday.

SOUTH:  Teachers cancel Friday classes because they don't want to see The few hung-over students that might actually make it to class and throw up on their floor.


NORTH:  An hour before game time, the University opens the campus for game parking.

SOUTH:  RVs sporting their school flags begin arriving on Wednesday for The weekend festivities. The really faithful arrive on Tuesday.

Game Day:

NORTH:  A few students party in the dorm and watch ESPN on TV.

SOUTH:  Every student wakes up, has a beer for breakfast, and rushes over to where ESPN is broadcasting "Game Day Live" to get on camera  and wave to the folks up north.


NORTH:  Raw meat on a grill, beer with lime in it, listening to local radio station with truck tailgate down.

SOUTH:  30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. Cooking accompanied by live performance by "Dave Matthews' Band," who come over during breaks and ask for a hit off bottle of bourbon.

Getting to the Stadium:

NORTH:  You ask "Where's the stadium?" When you find it, you walk right in.

SOUTH:  When you're near it, you'll hear it. On game day it becomes the state's third largest city.


NORTH:  Drinks served in a paper cup, filled to the top with soda.

SOUTH:  Drinks served in a plastic cup with the home team's mascot on it, filled less than halfway with soda, to ensure enough room for Jack Daniels/Crown.

When National Anthem is Played:

NORTH:  Stands are still less than half full.

SOUTH:  100,000 fans, all standing, sing along in perfect four-part harmony.

Smell in the Air After the First Score:

NORTH:  Nothing changes.

SOUTH:  Fireworks, with a touch of Jack Daniels/Crown.

Commentary (Male):

NORTH:  "Nice play."

SOUTH:  "*#@&@, you slow *&%$@#! - tackle him and break his legs."

Commentary (Female):

NORTH:  "My, this certainly is a violent sport."

SOUTH:  "*#@&@, you slow *&%$@#! - tackle him and break his legs."


NORTH:  Neutral and paid.

SOUTH:  Announcer harmonizes with the crowd in the fight song, with a tear in his eye because he is so proud of his team.

After the Game:

NORTH:  The stadium is emptying out.

SOUTH:  Another rack of ribs goes on the smoker while somebody goes to The nearest package store for more bourbon. Planning begins for next week's game.