A few notes I left out of yesterday's bizarre ramblings ...
-- Some 'Bama bloggers have wasted a good bit of time dissecting Auburn's newest coaching hires, particularly the staff coach New Coke (I stole that from Tide Druid and may be willing to trademark the term) has assembled on the Plains. For whatever reasons, the nature of the rivalry is such that we often feel the need to print our reactions to what the other school does -- I recall in January of '07, when Auburn's media relations department actually released an "official reaction" to Alabama's hire of Nick Saban (the short version: "Damn.").
Anyway, here's my take: Chizik's doing fine. The Malzahn hire generated the buzz within the fan base that Chizik's hire did not, and snagging Ted Roof -- a proven commodity as a DC, if not a head coach -- was the right move as well. So they've been good on that front, even from a racial diversity standpoint (as Scarbo detailed earlier) -- they've even generated enough positive buzz that, in the wake of 'Bama's lousy performance in New Orleans, they've stolen a little of the Tide's buzz from 2009.
All that is fine. Just remember: if we learned nothing else from the Mike DuBose era, we learned that hiring quality assistants won't mean much if you don't have the right guy pulling the strings. Am I saying Chizik is DuBose redone? Of course not -- DuBose was the perfect storm of bad as the head coach at Alabama. But throwing some money at some big-name assistants won't win you back the state.
-- In case you missed it, UGA's Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno declared for the NFL yesterday. In other news, Florida won the SEC East in 2009.
(Know how the networks have election-night coverage and will call various states for one candidate or the other? I think we can safely declare the SEC East for Florida in 2009, as of yesterday. If I lived in Gainesville, I'd be putting a deposit on the Ga. Dome for December today.)
-- The boys in Bristol once again pulled one of those gimmicky announcing ploys last night, sending their NBA crew -- Tirico, van Gundy and Mark Jackson -- to Davidson-Duke, while allowing Dick Vitale to torture NBA fans for a night by calling Miami-Denver.
Not surprisingly, both announcing crews acquitted themselves particularly well: van Gundy's brutal honesty makes him one of the better color guys in any sport, and last night he was in rare form, ripping the refs in Durham repeatedly (in one case he nearly had a stroke over an awful charge called agaisnt Davidson). And Vitale is Vitale: either you like him or you don't (I personally can't stand him -- I watch all of his games on mute and swear I can still hear him).
Here's the problem: can you recall a time in your life when you watched a game because of the announcers? I mean, EVER? Seriously, who says to themselves, "I've got to watch Duke tonight -- van Gundy and Jackson are calling them!" Come on. Give me a break.
I actually asked myself this question and came up with one answer: when Monday Night Football brought in Dennis Miller during my high school days, I turned on one half of one preseason game, just to hear how he sounded (note: he actually did pretty well -- people remember him as being terrible, but they were bringing him back for another season until John Madden suddenly became a free-agent).
Anyway, I can't speak for anybody else, but I watch a good game because I want to watch a good game. If the game's no good, it wouldn't matter if Ben Stein were announcing with Flava Flav -- I'm switching off. I can't be alone here.