• A bonus?

    Mon, March 31, 2008 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Colorado College powered to one of the best regular seasons in its hockey history.

    Colorado College then wilted, stumbling to one of the most disappointing playoff performances.

    Last week, coach Scott Owens referred to the NCAA Tournament as a “bonus.”

    That’s wrong.

    The NCAA Tournament isn’t a bonus. It’s the point of the entire season. It is – or at least should be – the focus of everything about a college hockey team.

    Winning the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title is grueling task, and the Tigers should be proud of the feat. It’s a long, long ride.

    But a journey to the Frozen Four has more weight, much more weight.

  • Air Force football

    Sun, March 30, 2008 by David Ramsey with no comments

    A mystery.

    It’s the best word to describe the Air Force football team. The Falcons lost 16 starters and any view of the 2008 season is hazy.

    One thing hasn’t changed. The Falcons are again expected to finish near the bottom of the Mountain West. Last season’s senior-led team surprised everyone, perhaps even including themselves, by rolling to a 9-4 record.

    “I like the under-dog approach,” said offensive lineman Nick Charles after a recent spring practice session. “It gives us motivation. It gives us something to work on.”

    The biggest question is who will replace Shaun Carney at quarterback. Shea Smith leads a cast of thousands – OK, a cast of half a dozen – candidates, but there’s no clear favorite.

    “I couldn’t tell you right now who I like the best,” said defensive back Hunter Altman. “It’s tough to tell.”

    Head coach Troy Calhoun knows this season will be a test. He talks calmly about rebuilding. He knows this could be a long, trying season.

    “And yet at the same time,” Calhoun said, “I like our attitude, our spirit. I like the way we work. But we got a long ways to go to be a decent football team.”

  • Mountain West ineptitude

    Sun, March 23, 2008 by David Ramsey with no comments

    The Mountain West has taken, once again, an early exit from the NCAA Tournament. UNLV’s loss Saturday dropped the MWC’s record in the tourney since 2000 to 20 losses and eight wins.

    Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds often describes the MWC as a “great” conference. That’s a massive exaggeration. The MWC is struggling to reach mediocrity and needs – badly – for its teams to make noise in the NCAA Tournament. When the elite teams in the MWC can only claim a No. 8 seed, there’s little chance for the conference to end its losing ways. Both Brigham Young and UNLV quickly stumbled after receiving No. 8 seeds this season.

    The conference has a few strong points. There’s not a massive gulf between the best and the worst teams, which was easy to see when lowly Texas Christian nearly beat Vegas on the Rebels homecourt in the first round of the MWC Tournament.

    But a mighty team needs to emerge from the mediocrity and lift the rest of the conference.

    The answer to simple. MWC coaches need to go out and find gifted high school players.
    As it is, future talk of greatness is likely to inspire laughter.

  • Vegas and the Mountain West

    Mon, March 17, 2008 by David Ramsey with no comments

    The South Point Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas offers – and this comes as no huge surprise – a sports book. Last week, point spreads were displayed at the South Point for Mountain West Conference Tournament games.

    Here’s the catch:

    All of the MWC teams, except Brigham Young, were staying at the South Point, which means all players 21-and-over could have strolled into the sports book and bet for or against their own teams.

    College basketball history is packed with betting scandals – Kentucky, Boston College and Arizona State. Placing the players right in the middle of the sports betting capital of the known world is a reckless move.

    At least that’s how I see it. MWC commissioner Craig Thompson has no problem with players staying at the South Point and he has no problem with the tournament being conducted in Vegas every year.

    “It was a unanimous decision,” Thompson said, seeming a little bored by the subject. He explained that every athletic director in the conference voted in favor of the tournament being held in Vegas.

    Still, you can bet on this:

    The MWC is taking a big risk by traveling to Vegas each March to determine its conference champ. A gamble, you might even say.

  • Homer deluxe

    Mon, March 10, 2008 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Scott Hastings is a hopeless homer. To his eyes, virtually every foul call, traveling call and 3-second call is an act of injustice against the Denver Nuggets. Altitude Sports televises Nuggets games, and the broadcasts often turn into unintentional comedies.

    Hastings, who serves as color man, is so blatantly biased toward the Nuggets that his commentary is an insult to viewers.

    Here’s the problem: Altitude is owned by Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Nuggets. Altitude has instituted a see-no-evil approach to the Nuggets.

    Come on. Viewers aren’t blind. Even Nuggets fans don’t want to listen to a skewed view of reality.

    On Monday night’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Hastings was moaning in the fourth quarter about a basket interference call on Carmelo Anthony, who grabbed the rim and left the backboard shaking as one of the Spurs drove to a layup.

    It was an obvious call. It was the absolutely correct call.

    But Hastings kept griping, kept moaning and kept, as usual, ignoring the truth about the game he was watching.

  • Goodbye to Brett Favre

    Tue, March 4, 2008 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Wisconsin native Scott Owens has been a Green Bay Packers fans since birth. Well, almost since birth. So, of course, Owens is struggling – along with millions of other Packers fans – to believe Brett Favre is retiring.

    “You know what, as a Packers fan and somebody who admires Brett, I thought he had one more year in him, but that 13-3 finish last season is about as good as you can do and the expectations would have been ridiculous for him next season,” Owens said Tuesday, a few hours before leading his Colorado College hockey team in practice.

    Owens knows it was time, but he still wishes it wasn’t.

    “Just because he’s such a throwback – so competitive, so team oriented, so tough mentally and physically – there’s a part of me that wishes he could play forever,” Owens said.

    Favre ranks among the top half-dozen quarterbacks in NFL history. He brought jazzy excitement to a game that is often too violent and too homogenized. He played with the nerve and ease of a kid playing touch football with his friends in the backyard.

    He will be missed.

  • Broncos folly

    Mon, March 3, 2008 by David Ramsey with no comments

    The departure of Javon Walker again highlights the Denver Broncos recent struggles in the free-agent market. They keep taking risky players, and they keep getting burned. Free agency can offer a get-better-quickly route, but for the Broncos it’s been the other way around.

    Free agents pushed the Broncos from the top of the AFC West to near the bottom.