Friday - December 23, 2009
Listening to Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell being interviewed last week, you couldn’t help but think some of the sports media were engaged in a game of “trap the coach.” Asked about the importance of going undefeated in the regular season, Caldwell gave the stock answer: He tries to win every game, prepares the same way for each game, expects the same standards each time out.
But would he rest his starters to prepare for the playoffs? It seems the media and fans are obsessed with the regular season. Does anybody look back with reverence at the 2007 Patriots who won everything but the Super Bowl when they were upset by the Giants? So why all the concern about whether or not Caldwell might rest some of his starters?
Outside of the always- disgruntled gamblers, who else cares?
If Caldwell played anyone who would be better off rested, he needs to have his head examined. When all is said and done, the only team that will be remembered from this season will be the one holding the Lombardi trophy, and it won’t matter if they went undefeated or snuck in via the wild card.
This week’s Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will feature St. Mary’s as one of its eight participants. Head coach Randy Bennett has made a habit of going Down Under for talent. He starts three Aussies and has two more coming off the bench. UNLV is another excellent team with three transfers in the starting lineup. One contributor for the Running Rebels is Kendall Wallace, great nephew of former UH head coach Riley Wallace. There will be four games each day - Dec. 22, 23 and 25 - and there are plenty of good tickets available.
Why is it that almost 75 percent of bowl underdogs cover the spread? The best theory I’ve heard is that the month between the end of the regular season and bowl game is a great equalizer. And that bodes well for those who are hoping for a competitive Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Nevada is a 15-point favorite, but the extra prep time should help June Jones’ SMU team prepare for the option. I have a feeling these teams could account for 80-plus points.
Is it time to start looking for something to name after Dave Shoji at UH? We may never again see any UH coach come even close to the success Shoji has enjoyed with women’s volleyball. If he stays two more years, he’ll have coached for five decades. He has finished in the Top 10 in the AVCA poll 22 out of 27 years, and led the country in attendance every year since the Stan Sheriff Center was built. How does Shoji Court sound?
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