Just to catch up, I thought I'd throw a bunch of different subjects into one post. I gotta admit, the fact that I'm on some blogrolls kind of increases the pressure to catch up once in a while, and I've been slacking, so I'll do this in the order of importance.
Honestly, it's gotten so bad lately that I've started to head toward the worst possible dimension of fandom: Apathy. Any other season and I would have been at a bar watching Saturday's game. But this week I had a played in a golf tournament on Saturday morning, checked the score on the way home, commiserated with my dad, and really had no interest in keeping track of the finish.
This is a team with 20 returning starters, all recruited by Dorrell, and they are going to fail to get to a bowl game. Think about that for a minute. A team that started the year ranked 11th, with 20 starters back, and they aren't even going to get to a bowl game. And they haven't even played the tough part of their schedule yet. They've played one good team (and beat them). They've lost to Utah, Arizona, Washington State, and the coup de grace, arguably the worst Notre Dame team in history. I'm not quite sure what it takes for the Athletic Department to realize that a new direction is needed, but it seems like Dorrell's record should speak for itself.
I really can't see them winning any of their last three games. Maybe ASU if they get lucky, but that's a stretch. The only real drama remaining is when Dan Guerrero is going to announce Dorrell's dismissal, and who will be tabbed to replace him. Brace yourself for disappointment on that second front. The financial realities at a public university in California dictate that UCLA won't be able to spend top dollar. I'm not quite sure what that leaves. Perhaps an up and comer with whom they can catch lightning in a bottle. But personally, I wouldn't mind seeing Norm Chow take over.
It's early, and some guys are nursing injuries, but hey, they look like they're going to be pretty good, huh? Honestly, I don't have much to say on them at this point, since every bit of information I get is second hand. I'll have more to say once they start to show up on my TEEVEE.
That said, I'm not particularly concerned about the early injuries, especially the injury to Collison. UCLA is back to a position where March is what matters, and while I don't want anyone to get hurt, the worst part about a Collison injury is less wear and tear on Darren, and more experience for Russell Westbrook. That seems to me like a pretty good silver lining. They're as deep this year as they've ever been. Mike Roll's injury will provide more experience for Nikola Dragovic, and that depth is going to be paramount throughout a tough conference season. Any team that can only roll six or seven guys during conference season this year is going to be in big trouble in the Tournament. There will be very little left in their tank.
I have even less to say about the Illini hoops team than I did about UCLA. We're going to be OK, not great, and probably a bubble team at best. But Bruce Weber always gets everything out of his talent, and because of that, I'd say they're also a bubble team at worst. They'll be competitive every night. A lot of new faces will be getting minutes. How many of those minutes I'll see is open question, since Comcast and the Big Ten Network are still duking it out.
These guys are fun to watch. They're young, skilled, and over the last few weeks, they've really been competitive. Hopefully they're getting a little confidence that can carry them through to at least a position to contend for a playoff spot. The new faces, save for Brad Stuart (who has kind of sucked so far) seem to be melding nicely, and Mike Cammalleri has been awesome so far. But no one comes here to read about the Kings.
To A-Rod, or not to A-Rod? I guess it all depends on what he's asking for and if there's any team out there who is likely to give it to him. There's not much question that he would fill a need which may or not be filled by a healthy Dallas McPherson. Obviously the levels of production are hugely disparate, but so are the salaries involved. It's not my money, so I guess Arte can spend it or not spend it however he wants. I'm not going to be heartbroken if the Angels don't reel him in.