The NBA draft is this Thursday and the Hornets have so many needs it is hard to imagine them not finding productive players. Of course, Anthony Davis is the easy choice since he is a rare talent. The 10th pick in the first round and the second round pick are the ones that will decide how good the Hornets will be in the future.
The word coming out of New Orleans is that the Hornets feel like they need a center with the 10th pick. The Hornets were in position to improve with two high picks in 2006 and they drafted two big men, Cedric Simmons and Hilton Armstrong, out of need. Both players did not pan out. Personally, I think the centers that will be available with the 10th pick are very risky. The NBA has turned into such a perimeter oriented game that most centers are role players anyway. I believe the most important objective with the 10th pick and the second round pick is to get players that will be productive. If the Hornets are weak at the center position next year it will be okay since they probably won’t be a playoff team anyway.
In other news, college football will have a playoff. We will have two years to discuss this change, but I want people reading this article to understand what we are getting into before it happens. No crying, “I didn’t realize…”
First, a playoff does not crown the best team the champion. It awards the championship to the team playing the best at that time. So for all those thinking, “We will finally have a way of deciding the best team,” wake up. Was Arizona really the best college baseball team this year or the team that played the best in June? For the record, I like the playoff system; I just want everyone to be clear about the goal that will be accomplished.
Second, the selection committee is a bad idea without clear criteria. Playoff systems are great as long as everyone knows the rules entering the season. That is why the pro playoffs are the best. The NCAA basketball and baseball selection committees send coded messages each year (rpi is important…no wait conference tournament…blah blah blah). No coded messages please football committee! Let’s be transparent before we start.
Third, conference championship games are going to more often than not be annoyances. But they make money so they will remain. For example, LSU would have been one of the top 4 teams no matter the result of the Georgia game, so the game is irrelevant. In 2008, Florida and Alabama were #2 and #1 going into the game and would have been better off playing their second strings. They both would have finished in the top 4 and most likely would play each other in the playoff less than a month later (which everyone cursed nationally this year). Also in 2008, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma were tied in the Big 12 South standings at 11-1. Oklahoma played in the Big 12 championship game while Texas did not. In the new playoff format, Texas would be in better position than Oklahoma by not making the conference championship game.
Fourth, Coach Miles better start finding his inner Steve Spurrier and run up the score when possible. When there are 2 undefeated teams and 4 one loss teams, how do you think the selection committee is going to decide the 3rd and 4th seeded teams?
Again, I like the new format, but please don’t listen to all the media members praising this move on the grounds that this past year and the history of the BCS was so awful. I will tell you the best news. The dumb polls that come out before or mid way through the season and are biased against teams that weren’t highly thought of entering the season don’t matter anymore. For that, we can all smile.
STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ ABOUT THE SAINTS...
Last week Joe Vitt started standing up to the NFL and standing up for his players. I applaud him. It is not about public relations at this point. The coaches were quiet and took their medicine when they were punished whether they believe d it was fair or not.
If you admitted to speeding and were sentenced to jail for DUI, you would be upset too. Given the analogy, Joe Vitt deserves credit since he isn’t even complaining about his punishment. He is defending his players who did not admit to the crimes.
I’ll give another analogy that people in Baton Rouge might understand better. The NCAA found LSU guilty of major violations a few years ago when D.J. McCarthy made impermissible phone calls to Akiem Hicks. LSU admitted to the violations. LSU lost a couple scholarships and were on probation for a year. What if the NCAA had given LSU a 3 year postseason ban and lost 15 scholarships for this relatively small violation? Would the same people be telling LSU fans to just be quiet because the program had committed a violation?
Finally, this story will be brought up every time the Saints play this season and in between. You are kidding yourself if you think the story will go away if the people involved stop talking about it. When you hear SMU football, you think death penalty. Almost 30 years later, they are still fighting that image. The Saint players and coaches are going to be forever linked with bounties. I think the truth and their legacies are worth fighting defending in this flawed process.