CRAWFORD | Five scattered thoughts, on Florida State, throttles, - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Five scattered thoughts, on Florida State, throttles, Cats and Cards

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 LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — These 9:30 p.m. tipoff are tough on a guy's train of thought. Having finished Wednesday's Sports Page Live webcast, here are five scattered thoughts on some recent headlines.

1). FLORIDA STATE: I made a bad prediction on the webcast today. We turn our picks in on Monday night or Tuesday morning, and I picked Georgia Tech in an upset of Florida State. That's not going to happen. Once Florida State was ranked fourth by the College Football Playoff selection committee, that nixed much chance of Georgia Tech catching the Seminoles flat. What Florida State should be is ticked off. They've done something no one else in the nation has done. You have a playoff without them, it's bogus. They are the reigning national champion with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and they had an unbeaten regular season. This isn't rocket science. Or maybe it is. They aren't the dominant team they were a year ago. But if they win the remainder of their games by one point apiece, will they not still be national champion, and a historic one at that?

2). UAB FOOTBALL: It's a terribly sad thing when a school has to shutter a sports program as UAB did with football and a couple of others this week. It pulls the rug out from a number of athletes who had made plans, who are working on degrees, and who have lives built around that college experience. But is it a tragedy? I've been disappointed reading the reaction of some national commentators. If a school cannot afford a football program, it shouldn't be shamed into keeping one. How dare any school try to focus on education instead of major college football! This is part of life. And as the big boys escalate their spending, we're going to see it more often. It's sad. But it's not a tragedy. Schools electing to devote more of their resources to education shouldn't be seen as some kind of oppression.

3). THE MEANING OF "THROTTLE:" Several people (most of them fans of a particular rival school of Louisville) took issue with my use of the word “throttle” in my headline for the column on Louisville's win over Ohio State. The word “throttle,” as a verb, means this (Merriam-Webster dictionary): “to compress the throat of, choke” or “to prevent or check expression or activity of.” I used the word in this second sense, referring to the Louisville basketball team's defensive effort against Ohio State. The Buckeyes came into the game averaging 89.5 points a game, they scored 55. They were shooting better than 56 percent, against Louisville they shot 30. Their point guard was second in the nation with 10.4 assists per game; he wound up with 0 assists and 5 turnovers against Louisville. The headline itself referenced Louisville's defense, “New season, same defense.” The story itself talked about Louisville's offensive problems, but also about its defensive performance. The context of the story was the team's defense. There are some who said that throttle means blowout. There is a sense in which that is how the word is used by some today. But that is a general, and in my opinion, incorrect usage. Louisville's defense throttled Ohio State's offense. It reduced its output a great deal. It slowed it down. It “checked the activity of” Ohio State's offense. I could've used another word, sure. But the word I used was not incorrect. Someone suggested that in “sports jargon” throttle means blowout. I don't use sports jargon, or at least endeavor not to use it. Words mean things. This word has a very definite meaning. In fact, “throttle” comes from the same Middle English root from which we get our word “throat.” If a pilot throttles down a plane, he's backing down fuel to the engine. So while some use the word to convey the sense of “domination,” I don't think that's consistent with the word's actual meaning, or its origins. And it wasn't my intent in any event, which was clear from both the context of the headline, and of the column. Though I must confess, most people complaining probably only read my Tweet — which is just sad. Today's vocabulary rant over.

4). MORE KENTUCKY-LOUISVILLE:
ESPN 680 host Bob Valvano had an interesting discussion on Tuesday, branching out from a column Courier-Journal columnist Tim Sullivan wrote about Rick Pitino and his comments about the University of Kentucky and its fans. I'm familiar with such columns. Pitino's been here a long time, and he's handled the issue of Kentucky a lot of ways. When he says complimentary things about Kentucky, it makes both sides angry. There's no way to win — with either fan base. There's no quicker way to get reaction from Kentucky fans than to say something nice about Louisville. You can write all the glowing praise you can muster about UK's team, but say a nice thing about any other program or coach in the nation and there's a segment of them that will descend on you. (Luckily, it's only a segment, it's not the whole crowd!) It's not that way for other schools. As I've said, there is a segment of UK fans that wants every knee to bow and tongue to confess where their basketball program is concerned. But that only happens for one person that I know of, and He isn't a college basketball coach. Having said that, I haven't yet seen the team in college basketball that I think has a good chance to beat Kentucky. Even Louisville at home has a multitude of issues to address to be able to play 40 minutes with this UK team. Depth and foul trouble will be a problem. Scoring against UK's length will be a problem. The good news for U of L is that I haven't seen another team in the nation, including Duke and North Carolina, that Louisville shouldn't be able to play with. I'm not saying they can't beat Kentucky. But they haven't yet played a game I thought would come close to them. But neither has anyone else. Ken Pomeroy, for what it is worth, still picks a 64-63 Louisville win. (I'll be on Bob Valvano's ESPN Radio show later today. Maybe it will come up.)

5). COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF, PART II.
I may not agree with the committee's ranking of Florida State, but this much has improved in the deciding of college football's national champion — we're arguing over four teams, not two. And those four will get to decide the championship on the field. I expect it will go to eight soon, and that, too, is a good thing, and something most of us expected when this whole deal was announced. In the meantime, I have no problem with teams being penalized for a soft non-conference schedule. Teams knew this was coming. It's time schedule up.

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