Bush League edition

Use bush league employees get bush league results. That’s why many of these NFL Replacement referees were working junior college football games instead of the pros.

Ultimately it was up to the owners to settle this thing since a miserly NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell works at their behest. And as much as they may want to hoard their cash they also don’t want their teams to be robbed a playoff berths (and the money you make from them) because of some bush league official and his bad call. Not to mention the fact the games were getting darn near close to the point of violence between players themselves and coaches and officials for their bad calls.

All of this goes to show that expertise does count for something. Not everyone is an interchangeable part for the function of the machine. You wouldn’t put Little League umpires in the middle of calling a World Series, so why anyone would think a small college football ref could seamlessly weave themselves into calling an NFL game, would be beyond comprehension unless one understands modern business practices in this globalized world. Maybe the best thing that can happened from Tate Golden’s illegitimate catch is reaffirming the faith knowing what you are doing still counts for something.

Of course we can’t mention Tate Golden without mentioning the Packers and Green and Gold fans should forget about the referees (especially when the refs essentially bailed them out against the Saints) and think long and hard why their defensive backs couldn’t make a clean, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt interception or prevent two rookie quarterbacks from leading their respective teams to wins against them.  Once again the problems with the defense and the running game (Cedric Benson’s loss doesn’t help) that were problems last season despite a 15-1 record apparently haven’t been fixed and now that everyone is three years older from the last Super Bowl they’re starting to become real problems. Playing the Texans this week in another road game, the Pack picked a bad time to blow a 21-3 lead.

What the Vikings are showing so far is that Christian Ponder didn’t have to be the next Johnny Unitas so long as he got the ball to Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson and let them be the best at their spots on the field in the pros. And when you have Jared Allen doing the same on defense, then you have a team no one thought would be 4-1 right now.

Wisconsin’s game Saturday at Purdue will be a good indicator as to how this team will finish the season. A solid win on the road will certainly show the Badgers have survived their early season stormy weather and are headed to calmer seas (or at least to Indianapolis and the Big Ten Championship Game). A loss pretty much sends UW into a week-to-week struggle for survival which is not going to be very pretty to watch. What’s also at stake is the sense there still is a captain at the helm is still in charge making good decisions instead of throwing darts at the charts hoping one will point out the way. Also, the team’s MVP award needs to be given to Jared Abbrederis, right now. Just think how bad the offense would be without him (Actually we don’t have to think. We already saw it against Oregon State and Utah State).

Minnesota faces a similar situation in Saturday’s Homecoming game vs. Northwestern. As as stated before, Minnesota’s schedule is backloaded with strong opponents and the Gophers missed the golden opportunity to beat a reeling Iowa squad which had just lost to Central Michigan at home. The U needs just two wins to be bowl eligible and beating a defensively challenged Northwestern squad is very doable. They’re not going to get more chances like this the rest of the season. Having MarQueis Gray back this week, assuming he’s at 100 percent, would be a big help.

So in order to shakes things up after another 90-plus loss season, the Twins fire all coaches except for the coach of the lousy pitching staff, which is the main culprit for all those losses, and the guy in charge of the back-to-back 90-plus loss seasons. What was I saying about bush league?

By playing like they still cared throughout August and September the Brewers concluded their season with fans believing wholesale restructing is not needed except for a God-awful bullpen (which, thanks to John Axford’s sudden improvement, helped the Brew Crew win a few games). Let’s hope so because the Brewers can’t do a lot of moving around given Ryan Braun’s big contract, which he deservedly earned this season.

With the NHL on hiatus, the winter sports focus of the Upper Midwest will be on the NBA (and the Lynx championship run in the WNBA) with the Bucks and Timberwolves both looking to be improved teams for the 2012-13 season. Good starts will go a long way to setting both teams on their way to the playoffs. They cannot afford to wait until January and given the experience both teams have, they should be expected to begin things right.

The suspension of University of Wisconsin highly touted freshman forward Nic Kerdelis from the Badger hockey team by the NCAA shows again the Pharisee-like mindset the organization has. A full-year suspension because candid snapshot picture made it look like he was endorsing a sports drink? And the NCAA does nothing when North Carolina football and basketball players are involved in widespread and university complicit academic fraud to keep their eligibility? No wonder this organization can’t gain any credibility with sports fans. They sweat the small stuff while the big fish swim away.

The 2012-13 season will be the last normal one in college hockey. Next season everything changes with new leagues like the Big Ten and NCHC. While the WCHA still will remain (realignment destroyed the CCHA) and the Final Five in St. Paul one supposes, will be played, it will be nothing like what it once was. Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota are the favorites for the McNaughton Cup. Seems right.

As for the NHL, all one can do is play them a song…see if it fits.





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