“The freezing rain is starting to freeze”.
Overheard this morning on local TV (of course not KWCH) by a young reporter breathlessly covering the approaching winter storm.
What you hope doesn’t happen---
It’s been a little disturbing hearing a growing number of national people talk about the Shockers in terms of them running the table. What it does is underscore the lack of respect for the Missouri Valley Conference and puts that much more pressure on Wichita State to be perfect this season. WSU still has tough games remaining in the non-conference with Tennessee and Alabama next week, but, barring something unforeseen, they will be favored, often significantly, in every other game they play this season. No team has gone unbeaten in Valley play since Bradley in the mid 80’s. Larry Bird’s Indiana State team on 1979 went unbeaten for a season before losing their only game to Magic and Michigan State in the National Final. While it’s fun to think of the possibilities of such a gaudy record, it would be better to be thinking of how conference play will get you ready for the tournament. I don’t think that will be the case this year.
First time for everything---
I’ve been a voter for the Heisman Trophy since 1998, but I’ve never had to wait on a press conference from a District Attorney to cast my ballot. With no charges coming against Florida State’s Jameis Winston—this vote is over. The quarterback will win in a landslide, in a year when no one else really mounted an impressive charge. My final ballot:
1. Winston—second straight year that a freshman has won after no freshman had ever won since the award was started in 1935
2. Jordan Lynch—QB, Northern Illinois—tough to ignore his numbers and wins
3. AJ McCarron—ok, I admit it—a nod to lifetime achievement , but a pretty fine player
Sometimes rumors are nice---
You’ve heard coaches complain about being mentioned so often in the rumor mill, but isn’t it better to be mentioned than not? Take Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, who earlier this week said he wasn’t leaving the University of Missouri where he’s been the head coach since 2001. Pinkel is thought to be a target of the University of Washington which lost Steve Sarkisian to Southern Cal last weekend. When Missouri was going 5-7 last year or 13-12 the last two—I don’t imagine Pinkel’s phone was ringing a lot. Go 11-1 and find a spot in the SEC Championship and suddenly his name his back on speed dial.
Royals hot stove---
The Royals are said to have a three year deal on the table for Carlos Beltron, they’re also said to be shopping Billy Butler. Today they picked up Norachita Aoki, a rightfielder who could play center, a leadoff guy who rarely strikes out. Aoki had 20 steals last season, more than all the Royals leadoff hitters had combined. Aoki allows Alex Gordon to slide down the lineup as a run producer—no, Gordon doesn’t hit a lot of homers, but he’s got great gap power as one of the leading doubles hitter in baseball. I love the romance of Beltron finishing where he started and the move to sign him would be very popular in the fan base, but he is 37 years old and $48M over three years is a lot of mortgaging of the future if his skills diminish, which they will---but how much? Those are the risks you sometimes have to take when you think you’re only a bat away from being a contender.