It's March and that can mean only one thing for most sports fans, NCAA men's basketball. So while I realize this is a football blog, and in particular a 49ers blog, I have to make just a couple of observations about the NCAA tournament before getting to the NFL.
The Madness of Being P.C.
Before the start of last years tournament, President Obama filled out a bracket for ESPN. Unfortunately he received some criticism for not filling out a women's bracket as well. So this year he filled out one of each. But why does he have to? Does he really have to pretend to know anything at all about the women's teams, other than to not pick against UConn, just to be politically correct? I suppose next year he'll have to fill out a NCAA hockey bracket so as not to offend any Canadian Americans. Enough already! Obama, like most men in American, doesn't care that much about the women's game. That's not meant as an insult, it's just a simple fact. If you love women's basketball and want see it become more popular, great. I support you in that. But don't act like everyone has to care as much about women's basketball as they do about men's.
The Madness of Extra Tournaments
Right now, 64 teams get to play in the NCAA tournament. An additional 32 teams get to play in the NIT, and for a long time, that was it. But now we also have the CBI and CIT tournaments which have spots for an additional 16 teams each. They say the purpose of their tournaments is to allow an additional 16 worthy teams, who didn't get a bid to one of the other tournaments, a chance to play. But is this really necessary? Are we going to get to the same point in college basketball as we are in college football where any team with a .500 record gets a chance to play in a post season game? They say it gives more players a chance to experience a post season tournament. Well if that's the goal, then why not let every team play in a post season tournament, no matter how bad they are? But I guess we already have something like that. It's called their conference tournament. What do the fans and players even chant after winning the CBI or CIT? Do they chant, "We're number 97! We're number 97!"?
For more madness, continue reading after the jump.
The Madness of East Coast Biased
We hear about East coast biased all the time. But nowhere was it on bigger display than the amazing flop of the Big East teams. The Big East was widely regarded as the best conference in college basketball and 8 teams from the conference made it to the big dance. But after the first weekend of play, only Syracuse and WV are still playing. What makes the 6 losses even more eye opening is that every Big East team that lost, did so even though they had the higher seed. To make matters worse, the Big East is only 2-3 in the NIT, and two of those losses came as the higher seed. That's what makes the big dance so great. It doesn't matter how good people think you are, all that matters is what you do on the court. And every team in it, even teams like Cornell, have a chance to win it all. Could you imagine if only 2 teams were chosen and it was done by a complicated computer formula? Oh yeah. I guess with the BCS you don't have to imagine.
The Madness of the Seahawks
Things have been fairly quite in the starting QB market, but trading's been brisk in the backup QB market. So far, ten QB's have changed teams (AJ Feeley, Jim Sorgi, Rex Grossman, Seneca Wallace, Jake Dellhomme, Brady Quinn, Shaun Hill, David Carr, Derek Anderson, and Charlie Whitehurst) and there's a good chance that none of them will be starting on day 1. But the deal that seems to be raising the most eyebrows is the deal by the Seahawks for Whitehurst. Considering he has yet to throw a pass in a non preseason game, and even his preseason numbers are underwhelming (61.5 QB rating), you have to wonder what the Seahawks saw in him. Don Banks of SI called the Chargers GM, AJ Smith, and asked him about the Whitehurst deal. Banks summed up his impressions on the deal by saying, "Long term, this may wind up being a steal for Seattle. But until Whitehurst proves himself, it'll be scored as a heck of a coup for Smith and the Chargers. Especially if San Diego lands itself a blue-chip player at #40 in April." After hearing the assessment, Smith replied, "Your words, not mine." But he laughed when he said it. Well Seatlle, from one fan of a team coming out of the desert, to fans of a team getting ready for an extended stay there, it helps ease the pain a little if you have old tapes from when your team was actually good to watch.
The Madness of Ben Roethlisberger
When Roethlisberger first took the field as a rookie, people commented on how mature he seemed while playing. To bad that maturity isn't translating to his off field life. In the short span of his 5 year career, Big Ben has been in a horrible motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, he's been accused of sexually assulting a hotel worker, and now he's been accused of sexually assaulting a college student in a nightclub bathroom. I don't know if he's guilty of the last two, but he's definitely guilty of using bad judgment. Didn't he learn anything from watching Michael Vick ruin his career? Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, had this to say about Roethlisberger's recent development, "I'm highly concerned about our franchise and for Ben personally." Good job putting the franchise first Mike.
The Madness of Arguing About the NFL Draft
It's a quite time in football right now, so almost every fans attention is focused on the NFL draft. Who should our team take? Who should the Rams take with the first pick? How good is this player compared to that player? I've even heard people say flat out that player X will be a bust or player Y is a sure thing. But the truth is that there's no way of knowing for sure if a player will be a beast or a bust. Remember Tony Mandarich? Sports Illustrated called Mandarich, "The Best offensive line prospect ever." Well, we all know how that turned out. What hurt the Packers even more was that Barry Sanders was the next player chosen. Every player being considered, and in particular those in the first round, are being considered because they were the most dominant players in college. The trick is trying to determine how their skill will translate to the NFL where the level of play is so much faster, quicker, and stronger. So, argue about the draft all you want. I love to talk about it myself. Just remember, we won't know for several years who's right and who's wrong. And I don't care if the Virgin Mary herself appeared to you in your breakfast burrito, there's just no way of knowing anything for sure.