• More from Joe Scott and A.J. Kuhle

    Wed, February 25, 2009 by David Ramsey with no comments

    A) University of Denver coach Joe Scott (the former coach at Air Force) is pleased with the progress of former Evangelical Christian Academy star Rob Lewis.

    Lewis, like AFA stars Antoine Hood and Tim Keller, gets the full Scott treatment because Scott sees tremendous potential in Lewis, a 6-foot-8 sophomore. That means Scott is constantly prodding Lewis to improve.

    “He’s doing real well,” Scott said of Lewis. “He struggled a little early in the season. Well, not really struggled. He just had some trouble going from his freshman to sophomore year. He’s played real well the the last two weeks. I’m happy for him. I told him yesterday, ‘I want to see this guy all the time.’ He obviously has the physical tools.”

    B) Former Air Force star  A.J. Kuhle, now a DU assistant, says his alma mater has fallen, but it used to be even worse.

    “They’re light years ahead of where they were when we walked in the door,” said Kuhle, referring to 2000, when he and Scott arrived at AFA.

    C) Scott scoffs at talk of a “turnaround” at DU. The Pioneers lost 25 of 29 games two seasons ago. This season, DU is 8-8 in the Sun Belt Conference and 13-14 overall.

    “I don’t know if we can call it a turnaround yet,” he said. “We’re still in the process.”

  • A revival up north

    Mon, February 23, 2009 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Joe Scott is enjoying the biggest comeback this side of Mickey Rourke.

    Scott’s coaching career was teetering after his disastrous return to Princeton, his alma mater. He revived Air Force’s basketball team, turning one of the worst teams in college basketball into the best team in the Mountain West. He looked on his way to a huge career and a huge paycheck, but couldn’t resist the call to come home to Princeton, where the Tigers went on a confusing, devastating slide. Princeton, the traditional kind of the Ivy League, finished 18-24 in conference during Scott’s three seasons.

    But Scott didn’t forget how to coach during his Princeton ordeal. He’s back in Colorado, leading another revival project. The University of Denver Pioneers are 13-14 overall and 8-8 in the Sun Belt conference with big things beckoning in the future. The Pioneers have lost four overtime games this season. There’s not a senior on the squad (and only two juniors) and an NCAA bid is probable next season.

    This is the same DU squad that finished 4-25 in 2006-2007.

  • Floyd Little belongs in Pro Football Hall of Fame

    Sat, February 21, 2009 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Continuing with the hall of fame theme ….

    Floyd Little belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He was the Barry Sanders of his day, a powerful dancer who carried the Denver Broncos through a sorry time in the franchise’s history. If Little hadn’t arrived in Denver, the Broncos might have left town. Yes, the Denver Broncos almost became the Birmingham Broncos.

    Little had the misfortune to be a great player on weak teams. He’s never been given the credit he deserves for his career.

    But the cause isn’t lost. It’s now unlikely Little will gain induction to the hall, but it’s not impossible.

    Here’s a website that promotes Little and his cause:

    http://www.littleinthehalloffame.com/

  • More on Pete Rose

    Fri, February 20, 2009 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    Pete Rose ignites the pilot light in the souls of many baseball fans.

    I think Rose belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He should be banned from baseball’s future because of his lying and gambling, but you can’t erase his past accomplishments, which are immense.

    That’s my view. And it’s shared by several readers.

    Mike called to say he completely agreed with me. Rose belongs in the hall, he said. Mike also took time to express his extreme dislike for Barry Bonds.

    Don said he agreed “100 percent” and said “OK, Rose gambled, but that had nothing to do with his records.”

    Gene went even to greater lengths than Don.

    “I agree with you 500 percent and maybe more,” Don said.

    Of course, there are counter views. I also heard from a host of disgruntled readers.

    Z. wrote that Rose’s greatest sin is his lying, not his gambling. Z. attended a school with an honor code. If you lied, he wrote, you were banished. Rose lied about his gambling, so he should never enter baseball ultimate hall.

    Bill strongly disliked my column. “One of your worst columns. Ever,” he wrote. Rose’s “disgrace outweighs his accomplishments.”

    Bill also brings up allegations that Rose employed amphetamines as fuel for all those hits and all those victories, and Bill suggests this form of cheating is as deplorable as the juicing of Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire.

    An interesting point, and it brings up another discussion.

    Once you talk about excluding players from a hall of fame, it’s hard to stop.

    William Rhoden, a columnist for The New York Times, is a long-time Bonds apologist. Rhoden believes Bonds has been singled out in the steroids hunt, and this upsets him.

    I’ve never seen Rhoden’s point. Yes, Bonds leads the steroids parade, but that’s because he’s the most successful cheater.

    Rhoden recently wondered if all baseball records that were compiled before Jackie Robinson should be banished. If you’re going to exclude Bonds, he suggested, how about also excluding Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth?

    The hall of fame debate will rage on. In the next few years, Baseball Hall of Fame voters will have to decide whether to open the gates to the tainted greats of the steroids era.

    What do you think? Does Rose belong in Cooperstown? Does Bonds? Does McGwire?

  • Goodbye Jamie Winborn

    Tue, February 17, 2009 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Don’t understand why the Broncos waived goodbye to linebacker Jamie Winborn. To my eyes, he was a hustling, battling, hard-hitting – if a bit too theatrical – linebacker who should have remained in Denver as the Broncos rebuild their porous defense. (And, yes, I meant to use waived instead of waved.)

    Sure, the Broncos needed to dump several of the defenders from last year’s team, which allowed 448 points in 2008.

    But Winborn should have retained. He started 11 games last season, collected 99 tackles and served as one of the few lively presences on the field.

    New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has a history with Winborn, and it’s not a good one. Nolan, then coach of the 49ers, traded Winborn in 2005, saying he didn’t fit in his 3-4 defensive scheme.

    Nolan should have found a place for Winborn in his defense in Denver.

    The Broncos will regret dumping Winborn.

  • Buzzy’s bad days in Boulder

    Fri, February 13, 2009 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    When Jeff Bzdelik left the Air Force Academy for the University of Colorado, it was obvious he wanted to take his chances on a larger basketball stage.

    Let’s just say Buzzy’s not exactly flourishing in his new home.

    On Wednesday, Bzdelik’s Buffs turned in one of the worst college basketball performances of this or any other season. CU lost to Iowa State, 70-42. Remember, Iowa State had lost six straight conference games. Iowa State dwells near the bottom of the college basketball world.

    The Buffs scored nine points in the first half. I’ve seen college teams score nine points in a minute. The Buffs are in utter disarray. Their offense is a mess. They don’t compete with much gusto. In other words, the Buffs look a lot like Air Force’s Falcons, the team Bzdelik left behind.

    There’s no doubt Bzdelik is a superb bench coach. He knows the game.

    But can he recruit?

    The answer appears to be no. Bzdelik is responsible for the sophomore and junior classes at Air Force,  which means Bzdelik is a prime villain in AFA’s utter collapse this season. He’s gone, but his lack of recruiting success still haunts and drains the Falcons.

    Bzdelik should thinking about returning to where he belongs:

    The NBA.

  • A solution to steroids mess

    Wed, February 11, 2009 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Goose Gossage offers a simple solution to the plague of steroids.

    If you test positive, you’re done.

    Forever.

    “First time,” Gossage said. “If you test positive, you’re contract is voided and you’re done forever. It’s as bad as betting on the game. That’s the only way to get rid of the problem.”

  • Motivational tool for Jeff Reynolds

    Sun, February 8, 2009 by David Ramsey with 4 comments

    Jeff Reynolds has tried – and failed - to motivate his Air Force Falcons, but he still has one inspirational tool.

    The Falcons are dangling over a possibility that should inspire anyone. If  they don’t start playing with some focus and effort, the Falcons will  become the first team in the program’s history to lose every conference game.

    This leaves Reynolds with a great question to ask his players. He can word the question any way he wants, but here’s a suggestion:

    “Do you guys want to be remembered as the worst men’s basketball team in the academy’s history?”

    Remember, the Falcons don’t exactly boast a great basketball history. Before the revival of the past five seasons, the Falcons were reliably awful. In 1995-96, Air Force stumbled to a 1-17 record in the Western Athletic Conference.

    This season could be even worse. Saturday’s 31-point defeat to San Diego State will shred the team’s confidence, leaving the players on Reynolds’ roster wondering if they can win.

    It won’t be easy, but they can. The Falcons best chances for victories will be against fast-collapsing Texas Christian Feb. 18 followed by home battles against Colorado State and Wyoming.

    Expect the Falcons to be double-digit underdogs for all of their remaining games, which makes sense. They’ve lost nine MWC games by an average of 18 points.

  • Jay Cutler and Jeff George

    Sat, February 7, 2009 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Jake Plummer knows how to pick his words. In a recent interview with Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Plummer compared Cutler to Jeff George, one of the great underachievers in NFL history. George had all the tools to become a great NFL quarterback, but he lacked the mindset – the toughness, the hunger for victory – required.

    “I think he’s a helluva player,” Plummer said of Cutler. “But Jeff George was a helluva player.”

    It needs to be said that Cutler swiped Plummer’s starting job, but that doesn’t drain Jake’s words of all truth.

    Cutler owns a powerful arm. When he’s clicking, he’s as dangerous as anyone in the NFL. But he carries himself with extreme pride. His approach to the game brngs back memories of,  yes, George. Plummer lacked Cutler’s talent, but Jake was beloved by his teammates. He was one of the guys. That’s one reason he led the Broncos to AFC title game.

    Cutler must grow as a leader. He must quit yelling at his teammates, at least in public, and pushing receivers to the sideline and in general acting as if he’s better than any other Bronco.

    He has a long time left to walk away from the Jeff George comparison.

    Now is the perfect time to start walking.

  • David Beckham’s trip to America

    Fri, February 6, 2009 by David Ramsey with no comments

    David Beckham was going to elevate soccer in the United States. He was going to help sports fans in the Land of the Free see – finally see – the wonders of the world’s game.

    One big problem. When Beckham arrived in Los Angeles, he seemed at the end of his days as an elite player. And he’s not. Beckham’s trip to Italy to play for  A.C. Milan has shown he can still play, really play. He’s not a worn-out has been, living in the past. He still belongs alongside the best players in the world. He doesn’t belong in America’s Major League Soccer.

    I saw Beckham play last summer for the Los Angeles Galaxy, and it was a sad sight. Beckham has become an international star by sharing the ball.  It’s not his nature, or his gift, to dominate a game by himself.

    The Colorado Rapids smoked the Galaxy. Beckham stood in the center of the field, staring at the scoreboard. He did not look like a happy man. He did not look like a man who planned to stay in America much longer. He needs great players to bring out his greatness. And he had  no great teammates on the Galaxy.

    Beckham doesn’t want to return to Los Angeles. “I enjoy playing here and at the highest level,” Beckham said this week from Italy. Note his last two words, which surely caused supreme agony in the offices of Major League Soccer. Beckham implied, correctly, that the soccer found in the MLS is nowhere near the “highest level.”

    He was going to elevate soccer. He was going to convert Americans. It was a great idea.

    It didn’t work.