2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Super Bowl: Saints might cheer up New Orleans, but they won’t rebuild it

    Fri, January 29, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Get ready for a flood of stories about how much the Saints run to the Super Bowl will help New Orleans. I’ve already read a few, and every article leaves me with the same baffled reaction.

    Yes, the residents of New Orleans were lifted for a few hours when the Saints somehow defeated the bumbling Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Title Game.

    But the game – any game – only offers a few hours of escape from reality. A football team isn’t going to save New Orleans, and it’s silly – it’s somewhere far beyond silly – to suggest the Saints have some sort of magical power to truly change a city.

    A few years back, there was all kind of talk about how much Michigan State’s run in the Final Four provided comfort to the unemployed in Michigan.

    And that’s true. The Spartans run did inspire comfort.

    For a couple hours.

    The Spartans didn’t provide any permanent jobs. The Spartans didn’t boost anyone’s unemployment benefits.

    Sport is a diversion. Sport is a great conversation starter for those who can’t something else to talk about. Sports can brighten a gloomy night. Sport is a great escape from what really matters.

    Sport is not what really matters.

    The Saints are plotting for ways to defeat the Colts in the Super Bowl, and that’s great.

    The Saints are not plotting for ways to rescue a tattered, fading city.

    Here’s a story from The New York Times that talks about all the wonderful things the Saints are doing for, yes, the city of New Orleans.


  • AFA sports: Is Falcons new mascot named in honor of Bzdelik?

    Thu, January 28, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    No, it turns out.

    Air Force has a new falcon mascot, and he’s named Buzz.

    I wondered if the bird had been named in honor of beloved former basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik (prounounced Buzz-del-ik), but the bird was named after a character in “Toy Story.”

    Here’s a  story about the new bird:


  • CC hockey: Will the long, long journey to Alaska revive the Tigers?

    Wed, January 27, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    The journey to Anchorage, Alaska, is a rough one. Yes, Alaska is an American state, but it seems as if you’re traveling to a far country.

    Colorado College’s hockey team departed Anchorage at 1:30 Sunday morning, changed flights in Seattle and arrived in Colorado Springs at 1:30 Sunday afternoon.

    It was a brutal, draining trip.

    But here’s the strange thing:

    In the past, the trip has revived the Tigers.

    In recent seasons, the Tigers have rebounded from the Alaska adventure with spectacular performances. In their first game back in the Lower 48 after the trip to Alaska, the Tigers have won five of six.

    And they didn’t barely win. CC outscored opponents, 27-8, in those five wins.

    “I didn’t know that,” CC coach Scott Owens said Tuesday morning. “I didn’t know that at all. It should be the opposite because of how difficult the travel is.

    “It’s tough on you because you don’t get a good night’s sleep on Saturday, and just the travel takes a little out of you. We eased into this week a little and hope to have all our energy back by Thursday and Friday.”

    The Tigers play St. Cloud State at World Arena Friday and Saturday night.

    The first game back from Alaska doesn’t always go CC’s way.

    Last season, Air Force trashed the Tigers, 4-1, after their return from Alaska.

    Check out Joe Paisley’s Colorado College hockey blog:


  • Air Force hockey: Serratore prepares to face tough fans at Army

    Tue, January 26, 2010 by David Ramsey with 5 comments

    AFA hockey coach Frank Serratore looks forward to this weekend’s journey to West Point.

    Well, he kind of looks forward to the trip.

    Tate Rink, the Black Knights’ cozy home arena, will be filled with fans who don’t mind saying  what’s on their minds.

    “They’re not afraid to let you know what they think of you,” Serratore said at his meeting with the media on Monday. “We have a little more politically correct crowd.”

    So, someone asked, what type of things do you hear from the Army crowd?

    “You can’t put it on TV,” Serratore said. “Maybe on HBO, but I don’t think we got that going here.”

    The teams head into the series with different goals.

    Army is 8-12-4 and chasing a winning record.

    Air Force is 12-9-5 and chasing its fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.

    “This is the Super Bowl for Army,” Serratore said. “To us, Army is just another speed bump on the way to trying to win the conference. To Army, this is everything.”

    Here’s a story from Army’s web site about the game:


  • AFA football: Mueh talks about possibility of DeRuyter returning as head coach

    Mon, January 25, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    More from last week’s conversation with AFA athletic director Hans Mueh.

    Here, he talks about the possibility of departed defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter returning to AFA as head coach. (DeRuyter accepted the defensive coordinator position at Texas A&M last week.)

    MUEH: “Tim would be a strong candidate for the head coaching job at the Air Force Academy because I believe so strongly in the energy Tim brings to the table. Tim has great respect from his players, and that’s big for me. He’s a role model.”

    “He could bring the same kind of understanding about cadets to the program that Troy (Calhoun) has, so, yes, absolutely, I think Tim is on my list of future candidates.”

    Check out Jake Schaller’s (and Joe Paisley’s) Air Force blog:


    And here’s a blog from the Houston Chronicle about DeRuyter:


  • NFC title game: The better team will be staying home for Super Bowl

    Sun, January 24, 2010 by David Ramsey with 2 comments

    Remember when the Atlanta Falcons upset the Minnesota Vikings in the 1999 NFC title game?

    The Falcons win robbed Super Bowl viewers of a battle between the best teams in football, The Vikings were the NFC’s best, but they failed to show up for the title game. Instead, the nation had to suffer through the Broncos stomping on the Falcons.

    Welcome to a repeat.

    The Vikings dominated the Saints Sunday at the Superdome, but kicked away a victory.

    The Vikings came achingly close to giving America – and the world – a Brett Favre-Peyton Manning clash at the Super Bowl.

    The Vikings blew it.

    And we’ll all suffer for it.

    The Greatest Show on Earth – better known as the Super Bowl – lost much of its glitter.

    The best team in football, the Colts, will be battling the third-best team in football.

    And it’s a fairly distant third.

  • Nuggets and the NBA: George Karl makes a fashion statement

    Sun, January 24, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Nuggets coach George Karl was talking to the media before Thursday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

    He looked over – we all looked over – to see Clippers point guard Baron Davis walking down the hall.

    “Baron,  what’s up?” Karl said in a happy voice.

    “How are you?” Davis asked as he sauntered to his locker room.

    Davis was wearing brand-new jeans, a button-up sweater straight from 1958, a white dress shirt, a conservative tie and a pair of high-top tennis shoes. He looked extremely, perhaps excessively, preppy.

    “The brothers are dressing weird these days,” Karl said with a laugh.

    Here’s Benjamin Hochman’s story from The Denver Post about Nuggets dramatic win Saturday night over New Orleans:


    And here’s a story from The Gazette about Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s breakup:


    Will be posting again tonight after the NFC and AFC title games.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • NFL picks: A barking BlogDog joins the Gazette’s competitive circle

    Sat, January 23, 2010 by David Ramsey with 4 comments

    BlogDog normally is a peaceful creature.  I’ve always considered him a friend.

    Thursday night, BlogDog was barking at me with hostile intent. I was stunned. I was hurt.

    (For those of you who have been living in a cave somewhere, the Gazette’s Jake Schaller is BlogDog’s sidekick. BlogDog picks Air Force games on Jake’s blog, and BlogDog’s picks have pushed Jake’s blog to astounding numbers with a world-wide audience. Please, don’t laugh. BlogDog is scary good at picking games. Scary good.)

    BlogDog will pick NFL playoff games this week against myself, Broncos beat writer Frank Schwab and Gazette sports editor Jim O’Connell.

    Pretty sure Jake told BlogDog I was friends with Michael Vick, but Jake denied that rumor,  even though it had been reported by Fox News.

    Jake didn’t deny BlogDog was letting me know he took our NFL competition seriously. I had been BlogDog’s friend. Now, I was his enemy. BlogDog considers himself Colorado’s King of Picking  Games.

    Which maybe he is. He’s definitely better at picking games than former Gazette columnist Milo Bryant.

    A few minutes later, BlogDog and I were standing outside Jake’s car, waiting to get in.

    BlogDog and I both stood beside the front passenger door.

    BlogDog stared at me.

    It was an icy stare.

    It was a stare that asked:

    “You really think  you get the front seat?”

    Fortunately, Jake stepped into the disagreement and told BlogDog he had to sit in the back seat. BlogDog declined to obey for a few seconds but finally decided to act as if Jake was boss.

    This is a new experience for  me.

    Never picked NFL games against a dog before.

    BlogDog will  return to pick the Super Bowl winner.

    I’m not a betting man, but if I were,  I’d put down some money on BlogDog’s Super Bowl selection. 

    BlogDog isn’t just any dog.

  • AFA sports: Hans talks about DeRuyter, Calhoun and Reynolds

    Fri, January 22, 2010 by David Ramsey with 3 comments

    Talked for nearly30 minutes with AFA athletic director Hans Mueh on Thursday morning.

    Here are some highlights:

    TIM DERUYTER’S DEPARTURE TO TEXAS A&M: “This was an opportunity for Tim, and it took him a long time – a long time – to do this, but even then, when he came back he was still uncertain, but the offer just kept getting better.”

    “Texas A&M is a great school. I probably would have been disappointed if he had gone to some other schools that I don’t have as much respect for. Remember, they have a corp of cadets down there. They have some of the same values that we have.”

    “They were in the toilet defensively. They needed an infusion, and it’s a tribute to Air Force that they came after our defensive coordinator.”

    ON BEING ABLE TO FINANCIALLY COMPETE TO KEEP COACHES: “Right now, I can’t compete. If Tennessee comes and offers my coach $3 million, I can’t compete. Fortunately, it hasn’t been about the money. It’s been about changing the lives of cadets.”

    (Mueh then made it clear he wasn’t talking about any specific offers from any specific schools. In other words, he was not implying Tennessee offered Troy Calhoun $3 million.)

    AIR FORCE’S DEFENSE WITHOUT DERUYTER: “I’m very, very optimistic, particuarly because I think the world of Matt and the world of Charlton.” (Matt Wallerstedt is AFA’s assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator. Charlton Warren is recruiting coordinator and co-defensive coordinator.)

     “I’m isolating those guys, but the coaches are as much a team as the cadets are a team. They benefited from Tim’s leadership. They picked up on his style. I don’t anticipate a whole lot of changes defensively.”

    ON TROY CALHOUN: (Mueh laughed.) “I’ve made a lot of decisions in my life. I don’t know that I’ve made one that is better - well, in business, let’s say, not in my personal life – than the one I made when I hired Troy Calhoun.”

    (An aside: Hans showed great wisdom in separating personal and business choices. Any married man should always – always – proclaim the best choice he ever made was the choice he made in his wife. Now, let’s get back to football.)

    “We got lucky. I knew when we hired him that we had someone special. I didn’t know how special. Troy loves the cadets and he has his priorities in place. It’s not about Troy. It’s about these men he’s preparing for leadership.”

    ON BASKETBALL COACH JEFF REYNOLDS: “He’s a great coach and a great teacher.”

    (I’ll have more from Mueh on Reynolds and the basketball team in a column next week.)

    Getting back to choices, it’s always a good choice to turn to Jake Schaller and his AFA blog. Jake recently showed his observational skills by dubbing me, “Mr. Positive.” That’s the absolute truth, Jake.



    I’m preparing to do something I’ve never done in my life:

    Pick NFL games against a dog.

    But not just any dog.

    I’ll be picking against Jake’s BlogDog. (Some background, just in case you’ve been living in a cave: BlogDog has been picking Air Force games the past several seasons. Don’t laugh. BlogDog is good. He’s very good.)

    The BlogDog is taking this NFL challenge seriously.

    BlogDog, for the first time ever, barked at me Thursday night.

    Later, BlogDog engaged me in an icy staredown.

    More on this confrontation tomorrow.

  • AFA basketball: Signs of hope in loss to New Mexico

    Thu, January 21, 2010 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    A few impressions from Air Force’s 73-50 loss to New Mexico.

    1) Junior guard Evan Washington was aggressive and generous and impressive. Best I’ve seen him play. He even made a couple 3-pointers, which shows how diligently he’s worked on his outside shot. Washington never will be described as a natural shooter. The 3s were ugly. Washington kind of hovers in the air and releases the ball as he’s returning to the floor, but, hey, the shots dropped. Washington also showed strong court vision, throwing a couple superb bounce passes.

    2) Freshman point guard Todd Fletcher can play. He can pass with both hands. He’s tough. He hustles. He should be running the AFA offense for the rest of his career.

    3) The crowd, though sparse, was loud. Thousands of fans have abandoned the Falcons, which makes sense. AFA has lost 20 straight conference games and will struggle to end that long, long losing streak this season. (Yes, the Falcons look on their way to  another zero and 16 Mountain West record.) But the fans who remain are dedicated die-hards. It’s not easy supporting and cheering for a team that loses night after night after night after …  

    Coming tomorow: An interview with Hans Mueh about Tim DeRuyter, Troy Calhoun and the future of the AFA football program.

    Be sure to check out Jake Schaller’s Air Force blog.