▪ Fridays are such a good day. I think it has something to do with my Friday musings, but I could be wrong. Then again, I could be right.
▪ I’ll be at Allen Fieldhouse tonight for the Kansas-Florida game. I treasure every trip to Lawrence and always take a moment to appreciate covering games in one of the most-storied sports facilities in the country. It’ll be loud tonight. It doesn’t appear Florida is quite the team we made the Gators out to be, so I expect KU to prevail.
▪ It was strange watching Wichita State come all the way back from an 11-point deficit late in the game at Utah on Wednesday night, only to lose in overtime. The Shockers are such a mentally tough team that I expected them to take off in OT. But give the Utes credit. That was a fun game, college basketball at its best. Wichita State didn’t play very well, but I’ll give Utah its props for some of that. I’m looking forward to seeing Utah play Kansas a week from Saturday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
▪ As for the Shockers, it might be a while before there’s another loss. I do think Tuesday night’s game against unbeaten Seton Hall at Koch Arena has a chance to be a good one. Saint Louis plays the Shockers at Intrust Bank Arena on Saturday. The Billikens are just so young, having lost nearly every player who made a contribution last season.
▪ I like the Intrust Bank Arena games. It’s a great venue for college basketball. I know people complain about the seats being too small, or that their seats aren’t as good as the ones they have at Koch. But the Intrust games give Wichitans not in the season-ticket mix at WSU an opportunity to see the Shocks play. It’s going to be a great Saturday evening at IBA.
▪ Like so many others in my business, and so many of his readers, viewers and listeners, I was sad to read about the passing of St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist/radio host/television personality Bryan Burwell on Thursday after a short battle with liver cancer. I got to know Burwell a little bit while covering the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in St. Louis for many years and he was always friendly and interactive. He liked to talk and had a lot of respect for Wichita State’s basketball team and Gregg Marshall. I was on Burwell’s radio show in Saint Louis last spring, when so many Shocker fans were concerned that Marshall might leave Wichita State for Missouri. We both thought it was a possibility, but probably unlikely. Burwell will be missed and you should go to the Post-Dispatch website at stltoday.com and read the tributes to him written by fellow columnists Bernie Miklasz and Joe Strauss.
▪ What has happened to the Chicago Bears? Looks like a team that needs to start from scratch, beginning with finally parting ways with quarterback Jay Cutler.
▪ Are the Dallas Cowboys a threat to win the Super Bowl? I don’t know. Maybe? The NFC is stacked; it’s an absolute shame that the winner of the NFC South will be in the playoffs because there are no good teams in that division. But either Atlanta or New Orleans will get in while Detroit or San Francisco might not. I get it that there should be a reward for winning a division, but if you win a division and you’re a below-.500 team, should you really be rewarded?
▪ Lots of good college football games this weekend and I’m pulling mostly for Georgia Tech to knock off Florida State. I’m sick of the Seminoles, sick of Jameis Winston, sick of hearing about him. Sick, sick, sick.
▪ If the new college football playoff system has only one SEC team ranked among the top nine in the country, is it really working?
▪ Mike Riley to Nebraska is a hard sell. He seems like a great guy and I’m sure as Nebraska fans get to know him better, they’ll like him. But he has to win. And he has to win big to win over a fan base that can’t let go of the glory years. Fans are like that. It’s going to be hard for any coach to have the kind of success at Nebraska that Tom Osborne had. Those days are probably over. Too much about the landscape of college football has changed. I think success at Nebraska takes on a different definition now. If Riley can get the Huskers into the Top 10 two or three times every five seasons, wouldn’t that be enough? It’s hard to know what Nebraska fans expect nowadays because they’re all over the map.
▪ I love music and I used to follow it as closely as I did sports or anything else in my life. Obviously, those days are over. Nominations for the Grammy Awards were announced this morning and here are the nominees for Best Rock Song: Ain’t It Fun, Paramore; Blue Moon, Beck; Fever, The Black Keys; Gimme Something Good, Ryan Adams; Lazaretto, Jack White. I’ve listened to exactly one of those songs, Fever. At least I’ve heard of most of the nominees, which gives me some cred, I suppose. I am a big Sam Smith fan and he received a few nominations. The man can sing. And I’m glad to see that Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers got a Best Rock Album nomination for Hypnotic Eye. Us old guys stick together.
▪ I’m looking forward to next week’s Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego. I love baseball year around, 365 days a year, from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. I love trades and free-agent signings and waiver wire pickups and the Rule V draft. I’m Baseball Guy and proud of it.
▪ Five teams in the Western Conference of the NBA are 15-5 or better. Two others are 13-5. That’s pretty good. And only one team in the East, Toronto (15-4) has as good a record.
▪ There should be eight teams in a college football playoff. I’ll be surprised if there’s not within three to five years.
▪ Thanks for checking in today, everyone. Have a great and safe weekend.