So much in deflation these days…gas prices, the European economy, and footballs.
There once was a fellow named Anderson, who became a head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In fact he had a thought it a dream job. Then, after a short while, he changed his mind and decided it wasn’t such a dream job after all. In fact, the job was downright nightmare. So he left Madison rather hurriedly and was never heard from again. The only difference as far as the University of Wisconsin was concerned for Ken Anderson and Gary Andersen is how they spelled their last names. Ken Anderson, the former UW-Eau Claire Hall of Fame basketball coach wanted the UW-Madison men’s hoops job for years, had been passed over for it, but finally got it 1982. And before even had his first press conference (which UW officials had to beg him to do), he wanted out. Anderson’s tenure as UW head coach lasted less than 24 hours because, as one observer put it “he has pathological fear of losing”. Well I guess so considering the UW program he inherited was coming off a 6-21 season and a complete mess at the time. But other coaches, men like Dick Bennett and Bo Ryan who, like Anderson, also coached in the old WSUC, did not let their fear of losing keep them from taking a job they coveted and turned into professional successes. Both went to the Final Four and both became legends and Anderson has largely been forgotten statewide because some men dared and others were afraid. Let this be lesson to Gary Andersen that while you may feel Oregon State is a better “fit” for you for whatever reason, it’s still a program that plays second fiddle in its home state and will never have the resources to have the kind of consistent success Oregon has or have the opportunities for such success Wisconsin does. And if that’s all Andersen wants from coaching, then that’s all he’ll get out of it. He’s small potatoes and UW is far better off without him.
One good example of Anderson’s perfidy is his complaining UW’s tough academic requirements were a barrier to recruiting, especially junior college athletes which Andersen seems to want to recruit a whole batch to Oregon State. It’s these same requirements which kept UW from the national title game in volleyball, two tournament championships in hockey, the Final Four in basketball and three Rose Bowls and five straight New Year’s Day bowls in football. Wait a minute….
What’s more is Andersen was telling recruits he would be able to work the admissions process to get them into school, only to make UW look bad when the admission’s letter came back negative. It’s a wonder UW hasn’t lost even more recruits considering Andersen’s dishonesty. As a head coach he needed to know UW’s parameters for recruiting long before he took the job back 2012 to prevent these kind of recruiting messes from taking place, not whine after the fact. As I said, Wisconsin is better off without him.
In fact, call Andersen a seat-warmer if you like because Paul Chryst was the man UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez wanted to hire two years ago but couldn’t since had just finished his first season at Pittsburgh. While Chryst and assistant coach Joe Rudolph only went 19-19 in three season, the Panther football programs has at least been stabilized, vicitimized as it was by an idiot athletic director and the hiring and firing four coaches in three seasons. Hopefully Chryst learned quite a bit in first few seasons as a head coach. Given the resources he has to work with at UW compared to Pitt and leadership of Barry Alvarez at the helm (as he demonstrated in the Outback Bowl), the Badgers should be in good and finally, stable hands.
Losing in the Capitol One Bowl was a disappointing end to a successful 2014 season for the University of Minnesota football program. The question which now faces the Gophers is can this success be sustained? The schedule next season will be a tough one, highlighted by the season opener against TCU and a match-up against a tough Colorado State squad. The Gophers lose a lot of good players like like Maxx Williams and David Cobb from an offense that struggled often times during the season. It’s in these situations where recruiting shows itself. We’ll see if Jerry Kill’s coaching staff can replenish the Gophers’ ranks quickly to keep them at the level they are at, or perhaps do better.
It’s been said victory has a thousand fathers and defeat a single orphan. But it’s usually not true and certainly not true in the case of the Packers’ NFC Championship game loss to the Seahawks. It would be easy to put all the blame on Brandon Bostik fumbling the onside kick but it would be grossly unfair. The conservative play calling (no doubt done to protect an injured Aaron Rodgers) on offense, Morgan Burnett’s playground slide on an interception return, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix misplay of the Seahawks’ two-point conversion, the Pack’s inability to score two short-yardage plays, not having Clay Matthews in the ballgame on the Seahawks game-tying scoring drive, the defense giving up 14 points in :44 seconds, shall we go on? What ‘s disheartening for Packers fans is this was a Super Bowl team and winning one at that. You can’t just say “we’ll pick up this fellow in the draft and we’ll get there next year.” Next year is about holding the team together as much as possible, having to start over and hoping to get back with players like Julius Peppers (and everyone else) a year older.
The Minnesota Vikings need to resist the temptation of think the 2014 Vikings were just a few plays away from the playoffs even without Adrian Peterson. Yes there were a lot of close losses but also a lot of close wins, which tend to cancel each other out. The Vikings are exactly what their record says they are and they can only get better through continued building through the draft, especially around Teddy Bridgewater, not around AP. They need to avoid the free agent market unless it’s a can’t miss/no harm situation. No more quick-fixes.
The fact the Bucks are 21-20 even without Jabari Parker says that head coach Jason Kidd is a strong candidate for NBA Coach of the Year. However, more injuries and Larry Sanders marijuana suspension are threats to send the Bucks into losing stretch before the All-Star Break. Luckily for them, being a part of the Eastern Conference with all the awful teams in it does has some advantages. A playoff berth is more than feasible and as a No. 5 seed to boot.
As terrible as the Minnesota Timberwolves have been this season, it appears that rookie Andrew Wiggins is starting to play at the level he was expected to be at coming out of college and if nothing else provides some hope that given enough time and actual health the T-Wolves will be a decent franchise once again. Without that, there’s really no reason even to pay attention to them. The NBA is one of the few sports where one player can at least make a difference in terms of interest if nothing else if they’re playing at an all-star level.
For once I actually agree with Jim Souhan, the Minnesota Wild should write off the season and hope that its a one-year aberration. Because if, as Wild GM Chuck Fletcher believes, this is the most talent the club Minnesota has ever had in its history, then would be the point of blowing it up during the offeseason? Everyone knew goaltending could be a potential problem for this club going into the 2014-15 campaign and a problem its has been. But getting better goaltending is an offseason process, not one one can just take care of during the regular season (and the Wild got lucky with Ilya Bryzgalov last season). And if coaching was a problem, would we not have hints from the players that change at the top would make things better? We really haven’t. The schedule reportedly gets easier starting next month and maybe the Wild could get hot and sneak into at wild card spot. But given how tough the Western Conference is, it’s doubtful. And maybe they would better off from a draft perspective not making the playoffs instead of being first-round fodder.
I predicted a year ago Bronson Koenig would eventually become the starting point guard for the University of Wisconsin basketball team. Well he is now, but not the way I had envisioned, off an injury to starter Trae Jackson. Jackson’s play has been very good this season and his injury against Rutgers is really the only reason why the Badgers lost 67-62 (they led by 12 before he went down and that’s without Frank Kaminsky in the line-up either.) So far the Koenig-led Badgers are 2-0, including an 80-52 whipping of Iowa which had won five-straight on the road before Tuesday’s game. And as Koenig’s experience and confidence grows while Jackson is out until late February, the Badgers’ depth will become even stronger than it already is.
Having a hunch, I looked at the box score of the Minnesota-Nebraska men’s college basketball game from Tuesday and sure enough, whenever the Golden Gophers lose it’s usually because Mo Walker doesn’t score a lot of points and this case he was held to just four. Andre Hollins has gotten a lot of heat for the Gophers disappointing season so far, but why? The key to the team performance is Walker. If he’s involved in the game they balance their squad on offense and play tough defense. If he’s not, the opposite happens. Granted depth is an issue with this team and judging from the substitution patterns the past two ballgames, Coach Rick Pitino Jr. understands getting Walker a breather now and then increases his team’s odds of winning. For Minnesota’s sake, Walker better be able to last a whole season or they won’t be able to make the postseason, let alone the NIT.