* . . . Say nothing. It’s a simple thing, really, and one I think the Kansas State basketball players and coach need to adopt.
I’m talking specifically about Monday night’s 89-55 demolishing of Alcorn State at Bramlage Coliseum. It was one of those buy-in games that nobody pays attention to except to check the damage the following morning.
Yet, by reading the story about the game in this morning’s Eagle, you’d think the Wildcats were in serious trouble. They’re not.
I don’t think Kansas State has clicked yet as a basketball team. But if the Cats were looking to click against Alcorn State, of all teams, they were looking in the wrong place.
K-State jumped up 10-0 and then went to sleep, like the rest of the crowd.
“Some nights we just lack energy,” Wildcats guard Jacob Pullen said. “We just come out sometimes and go through the motions. Good teams don’t do that.”
Sorry, but good teams do do that. Several times in a season, in fact. Especially against teams like Alcorn State, an 0-7 team incapable of providing any resistance.
In the grand scheme of things, I don’t disagree that Kansas State is not playing with the same kind of urgency that so definited the Wildcats last season. But they’re still ranked fifth in the country and Monday’s game was a throwaway.
It’s macho and tough-minded to talk about how you have to treat every game the same, but it just doesn’t happen. Not even close. It was Alcorn State, for crying out loud.
“We’ve been battling it with this team from day one,” Martin told reporters after the 34-point win. “And we’re going to keep battling. It’s my job to make us grow in that department. Right now I feel like we’re in neutral . . . I just don’t get it.”
Yes he does. He gets that his team wasn’t fired up to play Alcorn State.
The bigger issue is how K-State performed against Washington State in a hostile environment over the weekend. Though winning, the Wildcats looked out of sorts.
They weren’t going to find a remedy by playing Alcorn State.
* I didn’t write about the passing of Don Meredith yesterday, when it was timely. Like all football fans who were in on the Meredith in vintage Cowboys garb ground floor of “Monday Night Football,” I’ll miss Dandy Don. I think he helped create the popularity of the National Football League that exists today, along with his broadcast mates Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford.
Meredith and Cosell had an amazing chemistry in the booth that either exists or doesn’t. And Gifford was the perfect moderator.
Meredith was never shy about speaking up to Cosell, often catching Howard off-guard with some of his comments. I’m guessing Cosell wasn’t used to such bravado and to his credit he seemed to respect Meredith because of his willingness to call him out.
Meredith had a down-home sense of humor and did not take himself or the game too seriously. He had fun calling games and kept the mood light, which was a key to MNF’s success in those early years.
I tuned in as much for the Meredith-Cosell banter as I did the game.
* Speaking of Monday Night Football, how about those New England Patriots last night? Nobody saw a 45-3 drubbing of the New York Jets coming, did they?
After the game had been decided, which is to say about five minutes in, the MNF producers put up an interesting graphic of winningest coach/quarterback combos in history. The Patriots’ Bill Belichick and Tom Brady rank No. 2, behind only Don Shula and Dan Marino with the Miami Dolphins.
There have been some great coach/quarterback partnerships in NFL history, starting first with Otto Graham and Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns, who combined to win seven championships and go 105-17-4.
My top 10:
1) Brady-Belichick. Three Super Bowls. Good every year in this era of parity. Montana and Walsh 2) Joe Montana-Bill Walsh. What can you say? Three Super Bowls and a 75-36 record together.
3) Terry Bradshaw-Chuck Noll. OK, I’ll listen to arguments about Bradshaw’s greatness or lack therof. But the four Super Bowls can’t be debated, nor can their 107 wins together.
5) Bart Starr-Vince Lombardi. Early Packers. Dynasty.
6) Shula-Marino. It says something that Shula never won a Super Bowl with Marino or with Johnny Unitas, but won two with Bob Griese. Still, this combination worked.
7) John Elway-Mike Shanahan. After years of toiling, they finally won a couple of Super Bowls together and had a 43-16 record.
8) Ken Stabler-John Madden. One of my favorite QBs ever and one of my favorite coaches. A 60-19 record together.
9) Peyton Manning-Tony Dungy. They were made for one another.
10) Roger Staubach-Tom Landry. Any argument?
Some just missed the cut, including Jim Kelly and Marv Levy in Buffalo; Fran Tarkenton and Bud Grant in Minnesota; Johnny Unitas and Weeb Ewbank in Baltimore; Griese and Shula in Miami; Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia. I’m sure there are many others.
Who is the Opinion Line contributor?
From the pages of the Wichita Eagle or the screens of Kansas.com:
Regarding the gold coins given to charities: Don’t help those who don’t want to help themselves. If it were up to me, I’d close the Lord’s Diner. My advice: Get a job.
Wow. Where to begin? First of all, you’ll be surprised to learn this OL contributor is a woman. A bitter, crotchety, Bill O’Reilly-loving woman. Charity is for the weak, in her estimation. And she’s been known to say, “If the Lord intended us to have diners where people in need could go for a warm meal, He wouldn’t have opened Denny’s.”
I have this woman living somewhere in the College Hill area. Perhaps Crown Heights. Her house is painted neatly. The interior of her home is meticulously updated, yet nobody has smiled inside that house for weeks. She cooks, but only for people she recognizes. Solicitors are forbidden to step foot onto her property. And if Christmas carolers come without 100 feet of her doorstep, the police are called. Hey, this is OL contributor is Mrs. Scrooge!