Ramble on the Roof

Torrin Thatcher

Now that Packer fans are able to dog-ear yet another game in history as something that we’ll think about whenever we see Kurt Warner’s face, Larry Fitzgerald breaking a tackle, or a ref blowing a call or five, it is time to move forward to cleanse the mind and do what we sports fans do best: watch more sports.
We can no longer fret about the referee, Scott Green, who screwed the Pack by missing a facemask call. In fact, we shouldn’t even mention Scott Green’s name … it’s not important. Scott Green is in the past now.
We have to look back to the future. We have to think about conference play in college hoops; NFL draft prospects declaring, playing in bowl games, and training for the combine; and whether or not there is a week that passes when the Cleveland Cava-LeBrons are not on one of the ESPN channels.
Friends, foes and family members have asked me how I have dealt with the Packer loss, and my line of reasoning is simple. As long as I can remember watching games, there has been only one occasion where the season did not end prematurely. The only season which did not end without some frustration and heartache was when we won the Super Bowl in 1997.
And since that’s going on 13 years now — wow, I am getting old — I have become accustomed to adjusting my rooting interests when playoff time shows up. I’ve found myself rooting for Falcons, Eagles and Seahawks, just to name a few birds, and it’s interesting getting to know a team more than I already do. Who knew that Jeff Thomason went to Oregon? Awesome facts like that can be uncovered in January and February.
Now is the time the NBA is trying to pump up our interest in their league by, like I have already so conveniently mentioned, showcasing their talent. I did watch two basketball games on Friday night instead of doing what most college kids do, though I’m definitely in the minority there. With awful rap-like commercials advertising the NBA dunk competition, the NBA mostly just gets an awkward “what the hell was that?” from this Midwestern farm boy. I would much rather have videos and photos from slam dunk lore to pique my interest in watching players dunk than listen to rap.
My mindset going into the rest of the college basketball season in simple: survival is the key. This season, we have seen Kansas fall to a missing-four-players-but-still-somehow-good Tennessee after narrowly escaping Cornell; Purdue lose back-to-back games — albeit against a very strong Wisconsin and Ohio State — and Brigham Young, a Mountain West squad not named UNLV, SDSU, or New Mexico, crack the Top 25.
It should make for an interesting year in the Big Ten now that Jon Leuer is out and Evan Turner is back to his triple-double self. Illinois’s in first, but the Illini have yet to play anyone of significance in the conference.
And just in case you are interested, Kansas and Texas play each other only once this regular season when they face off — no, not that fantastic movie with Travolta and Cage — in Austin Feb. 8. That’s going to be a grand two-day stretch: the Super Bowl is Sunday, and then a possible No. 1- No. 2 matchup the next night. Sounds to me like good way to finish off the few Miller products that survive Sunday.
This past week we have seen Pete Carroll head back to the NFL for some unknown reason, Lane — and Layla — Kiffin leaving Rocky Top to become Trojan leaders, and McGwire saying he took steroids, but they didn’t help him hit home runs. Out of these three stories, I only think one is going to end up well — Kiffin shiftin’ — and that’s only if the NCAA doesn’t interfere and knock back the USC football program.
Carroll will have a hard time transitioning back to coaching grown men and McGwire will never be able to just be the hitting coach for the Cards — stories like these are what make sports even more entertaining than the on-the-field action merits. We shall soon see how each handles their new situation.