Leagues Play Musical Chairs

Bobby Curran
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Friday - November 02, 2011
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Most of us can remember a time when conference affiliation told you about geographical location of the membership: If you were in the Pac 10 or Pac 8, your school was on the West Coast. Being a member of the Southeastern Conference meant you were in the Southeast.

What a concept!

As simple as that formula was, it is undergoing radical changes. The Pac 12 includes Utah and Colorado (think skiing instead of surfing), the SEC will soon include Missouri and the Big 12 is adding West Virginia.

Of course, the WAC got a jump on dysfunctional geography when it added Louisiana Tech seemingly eons ago, but now the conferences lack any kind of geographical cohesion.

So it should not be shocking if the Big East adds Air Force or SMU.

And a lot of traditional rivalries are gone by the wayside. Remember when Nebraska-Oklahoma was as good as it got in college football? Or SyracuseGeorgetown in basketball?

It’s hard to get excited about some of the matchups that will be sold to us as “rivalries.” Try to get jacked about the MissouriFlorida football game. Or maybe that Big East college hoops spectacular Seton Hall-Air Force.

I hope somebody benefits from all the changes. Hard to see that it’s ever going to be college sports fans.

* We increasingly live in a sports world of shortterm superlatives. There seems to be an irrepressible urge to label any number of things the best or worst ever.

Game 5 of the World Series was a case in point. After a couple of odd pitching changes and some poor base stealing attempts by Allen Craig, the airwaves sizzled with condemnations of Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa.

Turns out according to LaRussa, the problem was balky bullpen phones in the first case, and a botched hit and run signal put on by Albert Pujols himself from home plate.

I did think LaRussa might have called back, or perhaps even sent a text, and maybe someone should have suggested to Pujols that he not take the bat out of his own hands by risking an open first base by virtue of a man caught stealing.

Mistakes? Surely. But “the worst bit of managing in the history of the World Series” or even “the managerial equivalent of Bill Buckner” were both over the top. And LaRussa’s track record for good decision-making was well established prior to this World Series.

* The sneak preview of the Rainbow Warrior basketball team provided by the Homecoming Ohana Hoopsfest showed a group that is more athletic than last year and should be entertaining to watch. The last go-round for Hawaii in the WAC should be wide open.

Expect Shaquille Stokes to become a favorite with the home fans and Hauns Brereton to be a steadying force, much like Bill Amis was last year.

Returnees Zane Johnson and Vander Joaquin should provide the firepower. Twenty wins is not an unreasonable goal.

Single game tickets for both the men and Wahine are on sale now, either online at Hawaiiathletics.com or at the box office.

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