LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Instead of dwelling on what sports events we don’t have, this is a perfect time to be thankful for what we do have.
First, we have continued improved health for Louisville sports media personality Jody Demling. His wife, Angela, said Jody continues to improve two days after he was taken off a ventilator while he recovers from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
She said on Saturday that Jody had actually been shown his phone, which registered more than 500 text messages.
Twizzlers and Starburst on me and Eric Crawford, Jody. Maybe even some gourmet licorice. (He'll know what I mean.)
We also have plenty of time to fuss about items in the sports world. If you haven’t made a list, I’ve made one for you.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay home.
*This was the easiest call of the week: The whispers are growing about a push to expand the College Football Playoff. And not from four teams to eight teams. The chatter is from eight to 16.
You don’t have to be a partner at Goldman Sachs to crack the code on this one. The impending money crunch in college athletics is real — and unsettling.
The men's and women's NCAA basketball Tournaments were already scratched, and the football regular season outlook is uncertain.
If a reasonable slice of the football season can be played, why not add at least four or even 12 games to the revenue pie?
Expanding from four teams to eight is something paying customers have wanted from the moment the four-team national playoff replaced with two team Bowl Championship Series in 2014.
Start with the champions of the Southeastern, Atlantic Coast, Pac-12, Big 12 and Big 10 conferences. Save one spot for the top team outside those five leagues, like Central Florida three years ago. Save the final two spots for the most deserving at large teams.
Going to 16 teams would stretch the party for another week.
What about those unyielding arguments about student-athletes missing class, devaluing the regular season and requiring guys to play in extra games?
Serious questions only, please.
If the 2020 season is played and a change can be implemented, I’ll go on record predicting the playoff will expand to at least eight teams.
Who’s in favor?
*I picked up this interesting note during my daily check of the Chicago sports media:
Former Kentucky star Nazr Mohammed is one of several candidates to become the next general manager of the Chicago Bulls.
After playing for Kentucky’s 1998 NCAA title team, Mohammed enjoyed an 18-season career in the NBA, including three seasons with the Bulls.
Chicago reportedly hired Arturas Karnisovas as its new head of basketball operations this week. Mohammed has earned tremendous respect through basketball and works in the front office of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Mohammed was one of the top success stories of the Rick Pitino/Tubby Smith Era, reshaping his body to make himself a splendid player even though he came to Lexington with little recruiting buzz. He’s a smart, disciplined guy who will run an NBA team one day.
*Speaking of serious questions, I’ve read several stories that the price of chicken wings plunged in the aftermath of the cancellation of the basketball tournaments as well as the closing of restaurants and bars.
The price of wings has reportedly dropped from $2 per pound to $1, with the fewest amount sold in one week since 2011.
*What’s been your favorite binge series?
Only two episodes remaining in the latest season of “Better Call Saul.” The floor is officially open for recommendations.
*Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra is not the only Power Five administrator opposed to playing college football games in empty stadiums.
Add Ohio State AD Gene Smith to the list. Smith asked the question reasonable people will ask:
If it isn’t safe for fans, students and others to return to stadiums, how could it possibly be safe for football players to knock each other across a field at socially unsafe distances?
Especially when coaches, administrators, stadium workers, media members and others will be paid?
Administrators will have to find a way to fill in that blank before the games begin at the college level again?
*Whatever happened to Ivan Renko?
*Friend Will Perdue has a home in Louisville but has been in Chicago for most of the coronavirus crisis. On Friday, Perdue told me the shutdown has been equally serious there with rims coming off public basketball goals.
Perdue shared this epic burn from Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, in her latest plea to keep the parks empty:
“Your jump shot is always gonna be weak. Stay out of the parks.”
*If you’re looking for one-stop shopping for the comings and goings of college basketball players, I’m here to help.
Scott Phillips of NBC Sports has compiled a list that you can read by clicking this link.
*I know I’m way, way late to the party of this one but, sorry, ESPN, Michael Jordan wasn’t even the best college player on his team, much less the best college player of all-time.
Give me James Worthy (absolutely) or Sam Perkins (probably) off the 1982 Tar Heels over Jordan. Without those guys, Jordan never got back to the Final Four.
In fact, he couldn’t get past Dan Dakich and Indiana in his final NCAA Tournament game in 1984.
Across college basketball, the winner is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who ruled as Lew Alcindor when he won three straight titles at UCLA. Elvin Hayers and Houston stopped him once, but not when it mattered.
I’d make Bill Walton of UCLA runner-up with an admittedly biased pick for Pete Maravich of Louisiana State third.
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