After the Hokies dominated the hopeful ‘Hoos in Charlottesville over Thanksgiving weekend, only to be totally thrashed a week later by Clemson in the ACC championship game, neither camp was very happy until the BCS again proved that you really can win by losing. Tech’s selection by the Sugar Bowl Committee to face Michigan opened up a spot in the Chick-fil-A Bowl which Virginia most graciously accepted. Tech’s loss to Clemson created the best case scenario for both schools.
The perception of the BCS system is that the top 10 or so teams will square off against one another in the “four majors” and the BCS Championship game. The reality is that after the combatants are decided for the top game, there is little rationale besides money that dictates the match-ups in the other bowls.
The foolishness of all this is what has led to our friends at Boise State announcing their football team’s move to the Big East. Boise is tired of being left out of the discussion and The Big East is desperate to hold on to its automatic BCS berth…ahhhhh, a match made in heaven!
On the Heisman front, the voters got this one right. Seven of the last eight years, the award has gone to a player who has played in the BCS Championship game. Over the last month, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III has won over the voters with his world class speed, arm, and leadership skills. RGIII, or RG3 if you prefer, has lifted Baylor out of the depths. Baylor’s first ever win over Oklahoma and shellacking of Texas convinced the voters that he was worthy. The cool part of his acceptance speech was that he never used the words I or me. It was always we and us.
Navy defeated Army and again had the pleasure of singing last in the greatest tradition in college sports. The Black Knights and Midshipmen are truly America’s Teams and for my money this is the greatest game of the season.
The Flying Squirrels are the best thing to ever happen in Richmond when it comes to professional sports. The community is in love with the Squirrels and they love us. The announcement of a new stadium has to come soon. The loss of the Braves was traumatic for many, but from what I have seen, the Squirrels are irreplaceable. The Squirrels’ ownership has shown a willingness to dig into their pockets. Richmond seems to be on board as well. Chesterfield and Henrico need to stop crying poor mouth and step up to the plate. Just an FYI … the major problems with The Diamond lie in what you don’t see.
VCU and Richmond are off to great starts with almost entirely new casts. Head coaches Chris Mooney and Shaka Smart both turned down millions and the prestige of the ACC to stay in town. Smart said it best, “You don’t run away from happiness.” Though very different, the Siegel and Robins Centers provide for great college basketball experiences.
The Angels signed Albert Pujols to a 10 year, $254 million contract. God bless them. The Cardinals got his best 10 years for about $100 million and the Angels will get his declining years for two and a half times as much. The Marlins made the much better deal in picking up Jose Reyes for less than half the Pujols amount. I’ll take even money right now that the Angels won’t win in 2012.
Things have been going too well for baseball. The new collective bargaining agreement went very smoothly and post-World Series excitement higher than it has been in a long time. Today’s news of Ryan Braun testing positive was very disturbing. Braun was the personification of the good guy-hard work image; another punch in the gut to the sports fan.
Finally, a most sincere Merry Christmas and Happy New Year go out to all the readers of this column. I implore you to remember what is most important during this wonderful season. Don’t forget to support your local high school and middle school teams.