Bracket Busted, IndyCar returns...Sunday Gumbo
So I'm officially out of the running for BS' Bracketalysis...so I guess I won't get the chance to be on a Handsome Hour...dammit. The good news is, I edged out my wife in this year's guessing competition. The ironic twist to this year's extravaganza is that I will tie my favorite entry nickname: Better Than Boilerdowd. I don't know who entered this one, by the way...but in my book, he's a winner, even if he/she is not really better than me. The good news is, as the NCAA tournament winds down to the final four, the salve in wound for me as I mourn the loss of college basketball is the commencement of the IndyCar season.
Sadly, today's race was nothing to write home about...with one exception. At the tail end of the second-to-last restart of the race, Will Power led the field toward the green...but throttled the field by completely letting off of the gas, ironically...This caused an accordion effect behind him, as Andretti and Hawksworth tangled toward the back of the field and were knocked out.
The really lousy thing about this tactic by Power is that he simply doesn't need to do it...maybe worse still is that IndyCar didn't hand down any stop-and-go punishment to Power. As I'm watching the race follow-up, Johnny Rutherford, who drove the pace car, seems to be talking to Power about that restart. I'm not sure what's being said, but I doubt he said, "Great job, champ." Power is probably the best road course driver on the circuit; he doesn't every need to resort to bush-league tactics like this.
Mostly due to Power's dominance late in the race, for one of the few times that I can remember since IndyCar changed to the DW12 chassis, the race really wasn't too exciting...and St. Pete usually is a more tightly-contested race. Hopefully, this isn't a sign of things to come and once again, races in this series are extremely exciting. All of that said, I've never been a big fan of the street circuit races...I love ovals and still like the dedicated road courses.
Are you ready for some football?
Recently on Twitter, I've been told that I'm extremely negative. I respond by saying, in my most mature voice, "AM NOT!"
I will admit though, the last few years have made me, a gold-colored glasses wearing Boilermaker sober, to say the least. Watching a Purdue-less NCAA tournament for the second-straight season isn't as fun as it is when my squad is in it...and sadly, getting to the tourney next season looks to be a longshot from where we stand right now.
In past years after Purdue was knocked out, hope sprung eternal in the form of football practice beginning...but on the heels of a season in which our alma mater couldn't muster up a victory versus a D-IA opponent, I'm less-than-stoked right now.
I've still been reading practice reports from GBI, Scout, J&C and other sources...but not with much vim or vigor. When the good guys lose in scrimmages, they also lose...and without many players that have captured the imagination of the Boiler faithful, let along the sports media, it's tough to get too excited. That said, I unequivocally expect improvement. Sadly, that might be the easiest expectation to reach in the long history of Purdue's football program.
A few kernels of note to me both involve WR turned TE/H-back, Dolapo McCarthy. First, he told the media that Appleby and Etling are in a bit of a dogfight for the starting QB job...and he continued that it's not like any of the other battles that he's seen before at Purdue (and he's seen a lot of them). He said that while the two Sophomore QBs like each other off the field, they absolutely fighting and at war while on it. I like this a lot...and even though Etling was given the job last season, nothing we saw on the field leads me to believe that he deserves it, hands down, coming into this one. Sure, I really like Appleby and am a bit biased...but may the best man win the job...and then go out and win 5 or 6 games.
That would be notable improvement.
The second noteworthy story involving McCarthy of course is that of his eligibility. Everyone, both inside and outside of the program thought that McCarthy would have two seasons to play his new position. Sadly, the NCAA has informed Purdue that as he went from military academy to a JuCo program, McCarthy used up a season of eligibility.
This story makes me a bit concerned for the case of OLman from Sweden, David Hedelin. The NCAA has issued a multi-game suspension (I believe 5 games) for Hedelin playing for an American football club in Sweden. Hazell and others close to him all but assure media and fans alike that his suspension won't be an issue.
NCAA eligibility issues hardly ever fall Purdue's way, it seems...and now, the program might not understand their rules or rulings, sadly.
Also kinda noteworthy, according to a Twitter ad, Purdue, at least one of the squads, will be wearing black helmets for the black/gold game. Methinks that this might become a regular thing...Hopefully, history doesn't repeat itself with the re-introduction of the black lids as it didn't end well for the last guy who did it.
Good Coaching or Awful Coaching?
As I type, I'm watching UK take it to UM on the basketball court.
As one of our Twitter pals said last week, this plucky, underdog Kentucky team is quite a story...right!?!
So, was this regular season one of the worst coaching jobs by Calipari, is this tournament one of his best...OR is this really a case of a bunch of super-talented athletes not being coached at all...as they have simply finally gelled?
Regardless, a final four staring Wisconsin, Florida, UConn and Kentucky forces me to root against all of them as I really can't stand any of those teams. Twitterlogic tells me that a Wisconsin national title would help Purdue's recruiting and make the planet a better place for Purdue fans. I tend to think the exact opposite. Oh well. If you really enjoy cheering for Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan and the like, knock yourselves out.
I am pulling for UM to beat UK, by the way...but it has nothing to do with conference loyalty.