Monday, February 28, 2011

Let March Madness Begin

If Saturday’s college basketball games told us anything, March Madness will offer more madness than in recent seasons.

Duke and Texas, two elite teams were defeated. San Diego State, this year’s darling, fell to BYU. BYU appears ready to make major noise in March.

As an old friend used to say, “This is going to be good.”

No team is a clear-cut favorite to cut down the nets come April on CBS. Have you noticed lately the continued trouble No. 1 ranked teams have hanging on to that spot?
It’s like fruit salad. You never know if you will get a peach, pear or a banana.

Conference tournaments begin this week. I sense there are more schools fighting for berths than in a long, long time. Generally, I am not a fan of conference tournaments, but this year they might offer some clarity to the whole situation.

Get ready folks for some serious basketball. The thrills and sorrows will be on high alert. One bounce, one mistake could doom or make your favorite team’s season.

Bring on the hoops!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Red Storm Brewing in Madison Square Garden

There is a feel good basketball story coming out of New York City and Madison Square Garden. The St. John’s University Johnnies are seeking to return to the national picture.

St. John’s is rated No. 25 and have posted a 17-9 overall (9-5 in the Big East Conference) record. So far so good for former UCLA coach Steve Lavin in his first season with the Johnnies.

Lavin inherited some veteran talent so he is playing the role of a good keeper. Interestingly, Lavin best year at UCLA was also his first year. He led the Bruins to the NCAA Elite 8.

St. John’s would love to have Lavin return the Johnnies to eastern supremacy. This is a school rich in basketball tradition. The coaching names of Frank McGuire and Lou Carnesecca head the list. St. John’s basketball, New York City and Madison Square Garden seem to fit together.

Lavin is making a fashion statement in the Big Apple. He features a coat with no tie and an open top-buttoned shirt. Not quite the same as Carnesecca’s wild sweaters, but what can you expect from a guy who coached on the West Coast?

Friday, February 25, 2011

UTEP's Tim Floyd Puts on a Show

Tim Floyd is one passionate basketball coach. I observed that when he was directing the Iowa State program. Floyd is also an outstanding coach.

But the emotions hindered Floyd the other night when his University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) club played at East Carolina.

Floyd was tossed out of the game and police had to step in to control the situation. Floyd was out of control.

Pink Floyd, as I like to call him after the musical group, enjoys removing his jacket during the games. Well, he made sure the officials saw him do the gesture in the East Carolina game. I’m guessing the officials weren’t pleased. As they say, it was only a matter of time before Floyd was removed.

Pink Floyd forgot the rule of officiating. When in doubt, favor the home team. When in doubt again, remember the home team. Remember that there are more home fans at the game than visiting fans. Chances of home fans physically hurting you are greater than visiting fans.

I predict Floyd will become a model coaching citizen the rest of the year. Conference USA told him (in stronger language) to be nice. Maybe he should start by keeping his jacket on during the games.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Talking Bobby Knight

You can say a lot about former Indiana and Texas Tech Coach Bobby Knight, but don’t question the guy’s knowledge about college basketball.

I was reminded of that again last night when I saw Knight and Duke Coach Mike Kryzewski interviewed on ESPN. Kryzewski, a former Knight pupil, is closing in on Knight’s record for all-time victories.

Knight praised “Coach K” for coaching basketball the right way—keeping his program honest and free of NCAA infractions. Knight, never one to back down from his views, said there is lots of cheating going on in college basketball.

The sad part about Knight’s cheating comment is the truth of it. But that’s a blog for another day.

I’ve enjoyed Knight’s work on ESPN. He’s more of a coach/teacher than a color commentator. He explains what a player has done and what he has done well or not so well. He doesn’t use many words, but “The General” (his nickname) is insightful Viewers can learn from Knight.

ESPN must enjoy his work too. The network allows him to wear a sweater instead of the standard tie and coat. That tells you, the General is still calling the plays even as a former coach.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vanderbilt's Basketball Court

I love Vanderbilt University’s basketball court.

The court is unique in that the player benches are located on the ends rather than the usual sides.

I caught a glimpse of the court again last night when Vandy was hosting Tennessee. Boise State has its blue turf in college football and Vandy features a far away view for coaches and players in basketball.

Officials must enjoy working at Vanderbilt. Coaches cannot walk up and down the sidelines and yell at you. As long as officials stay in the middle of the court or on the opposite end of the offended coach, you are fine. Officials can perform a better job because they have fewer distractions such as a coach hollering in their ear the entire night. Really folks, I’m not bias toward officials, ha. I have worked games in my previous life, however

Most coaches have difficulty getting the official’s attention at Vanderbilt—all except Tennessee’s Bruce Pearl. Pearl with that bright orange blazer should work road construction for the state of Tennessee instead of wearing it at basketball games.

But if you have never watched a Vandy home game on TV, go ahead and treat yourself. It’s pretty cool.

Is Vandy totally unique in Division I basketball or are there other schools with benches on the ends?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Talking John Wooden

There are several John Wooden books out there these days and I am reading one of them: “Coach Wooden by Pat Williams.”

Wooden, the famed UCLA basketball coach, died last summer. He put together coaching numbers unlike anyone in the collegiate game. Wooden’s teams grabbed 10 national titles (seven straight) and won 88 consecutive games. It is safe to say that nobody ever will touch that basketball resume.

I was just a kid when UCLA kept winning and winning and winning. I found myself cheering against UCLA (for the underdog) during its magical ride. My feelings were similar to fans that root against the New York Yankees or Duke Blue Devils today.

Comparisons are but useless and unavoidable, but I wonder how Wooden-coach teams would fair in the present college basketball climate. Wooden preached team, excellence and bank shots (there was no dunking during his era). The current basketball culture begs individuality and the head-shaking dunk shot.

As I became older, I began to appreciate Coach Wooden for his abilities and talents outside the basketball area. As the book I am reading states, Wooden’ father made a huge impact on his life.

By the way, I think Wooden would do just fine in today’s college basketball. He would find his type of player no matter what and mold the group into a T-E-A-M.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nobody Wants No. 1

It was a wild weekend in college basketball. Is the pressure getting to the top ranked teams or are they just tired due a long season?

If the top teams are in vacation mode, they better return to the hard hats and hammers and get back to work.

I predicted that Texas would become No. 1 after Kansas’ loss last week. Nebraska beating Texas? No way. And before you know it, you see pictures of Nebraska fans storming the court in celebration.

Well, then you figured Ohio State was recovered from its first loss and ready to return to No. 1. However, the Buckeyes proceeded to loss to Purdue which wasn’t surprising. Purdue is a solid team.

So since Duke survived last week, the Blue Devils will become No. 1. Duke has holes in its club too, but somebody must take No. 1.

As I said in an earlier blog, polls don’t mean much. They do help a bit in the NCAA seeding, but there are other formulas the selection committee examines.

I’m sure there are some nervous coaches and fans crying over the weekend losses. Teams want to play well at this time of the season. They want to build momentum for the postseason run. Coaches and fans also reason one loss may build into two or three more and turn into negative momentum.

All schools hope the last game of the season will be a victory and they will be crown champion. But only one school does that. That’s what makes NCAA college basketball frustrating and beautiful within the same sentence.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Going Down Memory Lane

It’s basketball season and it’s still winter here in Iowa. It makes me ponder the old days when I was in athletic media relations in the great warm state of Louisiana.

This Iowa boy traveled to northern Louisiana to serve as a graduate assistant at Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe. NLU is now ULM (University of Louisiana-Monroe). The name change was tough on people. One guy I knew in media relations said he (a graduate) would no longer financially support the school because of the name change. Ouch.

Being a Midwesterner, I had no clue what the South was like. The people talked funny and the food was strange, but I grew to love the South, Monroe and the state of Louisiana.

My responsibilities were to promote the women’s athletic program. Athletic media relations people provide information on the teams and players to various media outlets. If some radio or TV guy/gal seems to know much information about a particular team, chances are the stuff came from the media relations person.

I only traveled with the women’s basketball team. We finished a terrible 7-23 that year. But other memories also linger.

We journey to the state tournament in southern Louisiana. It’s a long haul from northern Louisiana to the south. We traveled via bus. Robert Muarry, one of the assistant coaches, was always giving me a hard time about being from Iowa. On that particular bus trip he badgered a player from Louisiana to tell me all about southern cooking. She hesitated but probably knew it couldn’t hurt her playing time.

And then, there was Larry the bus driver. Larry and I shared a room and a bed on the trip. Now Larry was a big fellow. When I say big, I mean big. The double bed was a little small for a tall, skinny, 6-7 guy and a big bear-type. I didn’t bother Larry even though he snored like a bear. He was my ticket back to northern Louisiana. Larry and I got along just fine, ha.

I will never forget that season in Louisiana. There were great folks, great weather and interesting athletic teams to promote.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Albert Pujols Played College Baseball

I have been thinking lots about my favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, and Albert Pujols lately.

Pujols and the Cardinals failed to reach an extension on his contract this week, so apparently he will test the free agent market at the end of the 2011 season.

Some might not realize Albert played college baseball. He performed at a Kansas City-based community college for one season. He put up well, Pujols-type numbers.

Still, few major league teams were interested in Pujols. The Cardinals drafted him and found a diamond.

But this tells me that college baseball is still important even junior college baseball. You never know when another Albert Pujols-type could be crushing balls in some obscure place on his way to major league stardom.

Memo to the Cardinals and Pujols: get the contact settled. I would like to see Albert stay in the same state where he played junior college baseball.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tough Times for Iowa State Basketball

Iowa State basketball coach Fred Hoiberg will receive no sympathy cards from other Big 12 Conference brethren. He may have received a “hang in there” call or two, however.

The Cyclones lost their eight straight last night and fell to 1-10 in the league.

Hoiberg knew year one of this project would be difficult, but even he is probably puzzled. Iowa State started like a race horse (non-conference games) only to fall into the back of the pack as the race continued.

Iowa State had only a few players to start the year. Every body was important. Injuries and suspensions have hit the Cyclones hard.

Still they have been close in a number of games just to fall short. The breaks are not falling Iowa State’s way. Losing is hard. Sometimes players learn to accept it (not a good thing), but I sense Iowa State players are still battling.

Hoiberg was a successful high school, college and NBA player. He also handled the NBA front office job well. He has the track record.

However, Hoiberg is not in a horse race, but a marathon. He’s just getting started. Unfortunately, there have been few offers of water along the route.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tony Bennett the Basketball Coach

There are two famous Tony Bennetts in the United States, but this is a piece about the less famous Bennett.

Most people have heard about the singer Tony Bennett. But there is also another Bennett laboring as head coach at the University of Virginia.

The basketball Bennett is having a tough season. In year two of his tenure at Virginia, Bennett’s team is just 12-12 and 3-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In all fairness, Virginia lacks bodies (injuries) and talent. In the ACC, you need talent or you go to the bottom of the league. It’s basically Duke and North Carolina on a yearly basis. Oh sure, there are exceptions with the likes of Georgia Tech, Maryland etc. occasionally, but this is generally a two-team league.

Bennett is a good coach. He did it at Washington State. He is building a basketball family at Virginia. Bennett needs time and better players. He needs patience from the administration and fans. This obviously will not be a quick fix. Will he be able to compete in a Duke-North Carolina dominated league? We wait for that answer.

I am a huge Tony Bennett supporter. I met the guy when he was playing professional basketball in New Zealand. I was impressed with his genuineness and humility. Word has it he is the same guy today.

Bennett will not failure due to lack of effort or love and care for his players. The guy is a winner no matter what happens.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

College Basketball's Hot Potato

Suddenly, life as the No. 1 ranked team in college basketball is deadly.

Kansas, the latest No. 1, fell hard to Kansas State last night. Texas is now the next team in barring defeat this week.

Ohio State had made a stronghold on the ranking before losing last Saturday. But freefall is suddenly the norm.

Of course, the rankings are just to create interest for media, fans, coaches etc. The only poll a team follower really cares about is the one the moment after the national championship game. You can dance every dance at the school dance but the most important one is the last dance.

This time of the season is for positioning. Everybody’s goal is the NCAA tournament nothing less. Kansas is positioning for a No. 1 tournament seed, but last night’s loss didn’t hurt the Jayhawks that much. Kansas State needs signature victories to gain the tournament. Last night’s win was a big one for a struggling Wildcat team. That should seal the deal for an NCAA invitation.

If Texas moves to No. 1, this will give other clubs opportunity for NCAA positioning. The sudden No. 1 ranking hot potato can only give these teams greater hope.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Congratulations Wisconsin Badgers

I wasn’t surprised that Wisconsin upset Ohio State Saturday. The then No. 1 Buckeyes were ripe for picking and the Badgers are an outstanding basketball team.

If I was Ohio State, I wouldn’t want to come to Madison, Wisconsin. Last fall the No. 1 ranked football team came west and the Badgers knocked that team off too. So, Wisconsin is an impressive 2-0 over the Buckeyes during this school year.

But back to the Wisconsin hoops team. Coach Bo Ryan runs a great program. In his 10th season in Madison, Ryan is 236-87 and has taken the Badgers to nine straight NCAA tournaments.

Ryan’s teams play tough defense, have good scorers and recruit players that buy into the team concept. Wisconsin is a difficult team to play because it doesn’t make many mistakes. Plus, the Badgers go at their opponents for the entire game. Wisconsin usually has one or two top players and some solid role players. All these ingredients spell success with a capital S.

Look for the Badgers to make noise in the remainder of the regular season and into the NCAA tournament. That seems the Wisconsin way.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Selling Out to ESPN

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) was a darling of last season’s NCAA basketball tournament. The Panther defeated No. 1 Kansas in the second round and went to the Sweet Sixteen before bowing to Michigan State in that round.

Tonight, UNI hosts Wichita State in a Missouri Valley Conference game on ESPN. But here’s the kicker: the game starts at 9 p.m. central time. My question is this: who gave into ESPN to allow them to pick the 9 p.m. tipoff time? Was it the conference? Was it UNI? Was it UNI and Wichita State?

Didn’t UNI score enough points with the national basketball scene last year to deserve a better Saturday night start time? Is UNI desperate to be on ESPN?

I thought those 9 p.m. starts should go to the Mountain and Pacific Time Zone teams not some decent Midwest mid-major school.

Granted UNI isn’t having the amazing season the Panthers recorded last year. But when the games tips tonight, many people are usually thinking about getting their pjs on and relaxing before bed not attending a basketball game.

I feel for the fans. The locals are one case but think about the season ticket holders or general fans outside the Cedar Falls area. Many of those folks won’t get back to their residents before midnight or 1 a.m.

The fans could just not show up in protest of the start time. That would send a message to UNI and ESPN. UNI would get the message, but ESPN would probably just go down their list of schools dying for exposure at any time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Roy Williams and Harrison Barnes

After watching some of the North Carolina-Duke game last night, I began to reflect on the relationship between Roy Williams and Harrison Barnes.

Coach Williams landed the celebrated recruit from Ames, Iowa high school last year. Ames is only about 70 miles from my home.

Color broadcaster Dick Vitale was talking about Barnes and his hometown last night.

Barnes could have gone anywhere in the basketball universe but apparently developed a deep relationship with Williams. Williams knows the state of Iowa well. He grabbed two stellar athletes from our state when he was coaching Kansas. One guy jokingly said that ‘ole Roy’ should pay Iowa state income tax.

Barnes has had mega pressure on him this season. He was the first freshman ever to be named a preseason All-American. So when Superman came in and didn’t dominant, the questions were flying. But Barnes is picking his game up and playing like the preseason hype.

I wonder what impact Williams has had on Barnes’ improved play. Did the coach give him the tough love speech or did he use the positive reinforcement approach?

Maybe some of both.

You can bet Williams didn’t gush over Barnes like he did during the recruiting process. But it looks like Barnes, Williams and North Carolina will be just fine.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mel Tjeerdsma Tribute

Mel Tjeerdsma is one of the good guys I have met in college athletics.

Tjeerdsma retired from coaching Division II Northwest Missouri State last December after 17 years. He is a small-college football coaching legend.

And I was blessed to know the guy when we both were hanging around Northwestern College of Iowa in the 70s. Mel enjoyed teasing my football picks in the local paper when I served as sports editor.

Tjeerdsma had been a successful Iowa high school coach and then became an assistant at Northwestern. Little did I know then, Mel would rock the small college coaching world.

After a stint at Austin (TX) College, Mel moved to Northwest Missouri in 1994. He team was a perfect 0-11. But Mel was building and the Bearcats would later name their field after the coach.

Tjeerdsma guided Northwest to three national titles and four runner-ups. When the Bearcats weren’t in the national title chase and appearing on television (a rare thing in the lower divisions), they were still in the playoffs. His overall Northwest record was 183-43 and 131-21 in conference play.

Reports says that Mel and wife, Carol, have moved to Texas. I cannot see him retiring in the full sense of the word at age 64.

Mel is a faith, family and sport guy. He did his school proud. Yet, I imagine Mel is the same humble guy he was back when I knew him.

Congratulations coach!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pounding the Chest in College Sports

I have something literally to get off my chest today.

It seems more and more college athletes are beating their chest after they make an outstanding play.

In basketball, you will see normally a tall guy dunk the basketball, get fouled and begin his act. In football, you normally experience a defensive lineman or linebacker sack the quarterback, begin pounding and even dance a bit.

I know we are into this self-expression world now, but whatever happened to the word “class.”

The old saying that nothing is originally probably means these college athletes have been watching too many professional athletes. What’s permissible for the pro guys must be okay for the college boys, right?

Not so much. Can you imagine Bobby Knight or John Wooden allowing their players to act like they are the greatest in the world? Hey guys, let the play stand on its own merit. Go ahead and high-five your teammate and move on. Remember the old sports talk: “there is no I in the word team.”

Former Oklahoma State and Detroit Lions’ running back Barry Sanders displayed class…and he was a superstar. Sanders entered the end zone often. He would simply hand the ball to the official and return to the sideline. No self-expression and no I’m the greatest routine.

Maybe more college players need to view some Sander’s videos and learn from Mr. Class.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Will Ohio State Ever Lose?

It’s been since the mid-70s that college basketball has had an undefeated college men’s Division I team. Bobby Knight directed Indiana to a 32-0 mark in the 1975-76 season.

That’s about 35 years folks. That shows you how difficult perfection in basketball is.

Well, don’t look now, but the Ohio State Buckeyes could be knocking on that undefeated door.

The Buckeyes are 24-0 heading into next Saturday’s game at Wisconsin.

Ohio State has a combination of veteran players and young ones. My favorite is freshman Jared Sullinger. This youth in a man’s body (6-9, 280) is a beast. As they say, “he got game.”

Coach Thad Matta had fielded some outstanding teams in the past, but this could be his best one. In an era of parity in college hoops, the Buckeyes stand above this season.

There are dangers ahead in protecting the blemish-free season. Wisconsin and Purdue are tied for second in the Big Ten behind Ohio State. Besides the Badger road game, the Buckeyes must oppose Purdue in Indiana, Feb. 20. With the home crowd against them and the target on their back, the Buckeyes could go down once and maybe twice.

But if Ohio State can win at those places, the momentum for undefeated talk will grow.

At least, they aren’t talking spring football so much in Columbus, Ohio these days. The hoop guys are stealing the headlines for a change.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

North Carolina State's Sidney Lowe in Trouble

Sidney Lowe will probably not return as North Carolina State’s coach next season unless his team performs a miracle.

The Wolfpack could start tonight with a road win over Duke. That would shock the basketball world and the NC State faithful. I would say the chances are between zero and none

Frankly, there are little signs of life in this basketball team and the program under Lowe.

Lowe helped the Wolfpack to a national championship as a player, but as a coach he has never led a championship effort. Lowe’s team is a flat 12-10 this season and only 2-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Lowe’s overall mark is only 83-72 and a very poor 22-50 ACC mark. NC State has never gone to the NCAA tournament under Lowe. The Wolfpack has settled for two National Invitational Tournament (NIT) appearances.

Some experts said NC had a top-10 recruiting class last season. But the results on the floor are about the same. The players seem listless and the coach must take responsibility for it.

NC State was hoping for a Cinderella story, but unfortunately this isn’t working out. Lowe knows it. The fans know it. The administration must know it.

Wolfpack fans want to play for championships. They don’t want to play in the NIT.

Friday, February 4, 2011

What's Wrong with Michigan State?

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo called his team’s 72-52 defeat at Iowa Wednesday night the worst performance of any Izzo-coached Spartan clubs.

That is saying something.

He may be right. Iowa is the worst team in the Big Ten Conference. I know. I live in Iowa.

My friend, Jimmy, is a huge Spartan fan. He thinks they will qualify for the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). Good news, Jimmy. There are more losers’ tournaments besides the NIT these days. So your team has plenty of chances for postseason basketball. Just post a .500 record or better.

But how can Michigan State go from playing in the national finals last season to 13-9overall and 5-5 in conference? That’s puzzling. Another bad thing for the Spartans no signature wins. The only beaten Wisconsin and Minnesota on the road.

Izzo prides himself at getting his team ready for tournament time. And he is good at it. But if the Spartans don’t soon wake-up, they will be getting ready for one of those loser tournaments. For my foreign readers, I call anything other than playing in the NCAA National Tournament as a loser tournament.

The problem must be chemistry. Year-after-year, Michigan State lands the top players. Normally, you don’t want to play Izzo’s team in March or early April. But this year, Michigan State may play the role of North Carolina last season.

Paybacks can be enjoyable.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What College Coaches Will Never Say

College football coaches have survived another National Signing Day. They have given it their best and can take off their sales hat for at least a few days. Coaches can also downsized the cups of strong coffee and actually hop in their own beds. They can kiss their wives and hug their children.

But yesterday as the coaches were reeling in their prizes like fish, they were doing other selling. Coaches were selling the media and consequently the fan base.

You had your usual big winning schools on signing day. These are the schools that end up in the top five or 10 in the BCS (Bowl Championship) almost every season. Lately, if you are a SEC school, you are almost guaranteed one of those spots. These coach’s speeches are easy. It’s like a winning politician on election night.

But what about the other coaches that doesn’t make the top 25 in the recruiting polls? What’s their spin? Obviously, it’s much more difficult than the top schools.

You will never hear one of these coaches say his school had a bad returning class. You will never hear them say, “We tried to recruit Johnny Red and we are terribly disappointed that he went to x-school. We blew it.”

These coaches always talk about landing the unheralded player that will fit their system. They proudly declare although they didn’t get the big cookie, they like the crumbs.

Folks, it’s all about marketing. But I imagine these coaches would love to tried places with the fat cats on signing day. They would enjoy having that marketing challenge.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Missouri State's Cuonzo Martin is a Winner on and off the Court

I enjoy heartwarming stories. I enjoy heartwarming sports stories in particularly. Such is the case with Missouri State basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.

A reporter wrote the other day about Martin’s rise in the coaching ranks. How some bigger school might want Martin to coach its team next season.

Martin was a solid college player under Gene Keady at Purdue. He later became a serviceable NBA (National Basketball Association) player. He spent some time as an assistant coach with Purdue. He is now in his third season at Missouri State with a 52-36 overall record and a 17-4 start this season. You can understand why the guy has suitors.

What caught my attention in this reporter’s story however was Martin talking about faith and how he and his wife pray over every decision. What a testimony.

So I had to do some investigating reporting.

Although Martin has had a good basketball life, off the court he has had its struggles. At age 26, Martin found out he developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In another story I read, he asked God for more time (life) so he could see his children grow.

Martin is now 39. You understand the reason why he frets little about his next possible coaching move. Martin has God and he has life.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ground Hog Day and National Signing Day

Tomorrow is the day high school football players can officially declare in writing the college they will attend. Tomorrow is also the day the little creature in Pennsylvania will decide whether we will have six more weeks of winter weather.

I would say both happenings will become a crap shoot.

Regarding the ground hog, weather people cannot even predict the weather. So how can a four-legged fuzzy ball tell us about the weather future?

This high school recruiting is big business. Magazines and other media tell us the can’t-miss-prospects. We wait for our school to make the top 20, top 10, No. 1 etc. We lament that the rich football schools sign all the best prospects year-after-year. We hope our team can find some hidden talent.

Today is a feast or famine for some college coaches. They are desperately trying to hang on to the prospects that agreed to come to their school. But the wolves are out there trying to convince a player to turn on the school and join their school. But on the other side, a coach might land a player they thought they had no change getting.

Some say, national signing day is the most important day in college football. I say it’s a whole lot like ground hog day. These kids are only prospects and who can really predict their success or failure.

Enjoy February 2 whether you are cheering for the ground hog or your favorite school.