Rock, Chalk, Anger Talk — Does Winning Justify Abuse Like This?

Okay, sports fans, here’s your existential question for today:

How much abuse of players is justified in sports? Some? None? A lot, especially if you win? Where is the line?

And if a coach crosses that line, then what?

ESPN is reporting that former Kansas football players are speaking out about verbal and physical abuse by Mark Mangino, head coach at Kansas since spring of 2002. Here’s some examples:

How ‘Bout Some All-Time Basketball?

Stumbled across the ESPN/ Sagarin All-Time Rankings for college basketball the other day, and just found the whole list fascinating. Sure, it’s just one guy’s rankings, but at least it’s based on a system and not on a bar bet. You can find the rankings here (PDF) — take a look to see where your alma mater ranks all-time.

Here’s the real fun, though: I pulled out our three local teams, plus my home team of Tennessee, and did both a data table and a chart. (Yeah, I know — seriously geeky.) Take a gander …

A Football Omelet

When you follow three teams in two leagues, you normally expect that at least one of them will have a good year. And, on a given weekend, you expect that at least one of them will win.

On this first weekend of October, though, all I can do is make an omelet. Why? Because all three of my teams laid an egg.

It’s Football Time in Tennessee!

Yes!! College football is finally back! It’s a beautiful Saturday, there’s a hint of fall in the air, and college football starts today. All is right with the world.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big college football fan. I love the pageantry, the spectacle, the rivalries, and the game itself. There’s drama, and pathos, and celebration, and redemption, and story after story of triumph over adversity. Yes, there are also stories of decadence and frailties and greed and abuse … but those just add to the sweep of the story and highlight even more the good that sport can bring.

A key part of college football is tradition. I love so many of the traditions before, during, and after games — the Ramblin’ Wreck, the USC trojan on the majestic horse, the Notre Dame kilt guys, Script Ohio. (And if you have no idea what any of these are, here’s a slideshow of the 30 Best College Football Traditions.)

There is one tradition, though, that all Big Orange faithful know and love. It’s not Smoky, or the Block T, or even Rocky Top, even though all of those are very special. No, it’s a sound that many of us grew up listening to, a sound that has become engrained in our consciousness and imprinted on our hearts. And it all began with a radio announcer …

Would Rachel Alexendria Beat Mine That Bird?

I think she would. In fact, I think it would be a runaway, with Rachel winning by 3-5 lengths. Wouldn’t you love to see that race? They could stage it as a mano-e-womano race, and clean up on the simulcast and the rights alone. Never happen, but I wish it would. What do you think?

C-J Blows It on Lady Cards Coverage

I’m not your typical C-J basher. In fact, one of the first things we did when moving to The Ville in ’92 was to subscribe, and I’ve been a loyal, cover-to-cover reader ever since.

So, when I gripe, it’s not the everyday whining you read elsewhere. And I’m griping about this — the C-J blew it on the Lady Cards coverage. In fact, I thought they blew it so thoroughly that I wrote them a letter about it. Make the jump to see some of it —