Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Catching up before the holiday

- It was good to see the Associated Press name Jimmie Johnson the male athlete of the year. This is a boost for NASCAR as Johnson's four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, in a row, was an extraordinary sports achievement. And, if you think these drivers aren't athletes, you strap yourself behind the wheel of one of these machines (try it at the Richard Petty Driving Experince), then check back with me. Johnson's achievement of four in a row set him truly apart from other race car drivers.

- I predict the shift of Diane Sawyer to the ABC Evening News slot will maintain or improve the networks' ratings for its evening newscast. Conversely, I think the move of George Stephanopolous to Good Morning America to take Sawyer's spot, coupled with the loss of Chris Cuomo, will be a ratings boost for NBC's Today Show.

- Texas is a much better basketball this season because of their defense. The Longhorns have been consistently good under Rick Barnes but, this year, they are placing a lot of ball pressure on the perimeter, coupled with the inside athleticism of Dexter Pittman, Gary Johnson and Damion James. Dogus Balbey and Avery Bradley are two very good defensive guards, and the addition of Jai Lucas makes their backcourt even better and deeper. It's too bad that Kansas and Texas will only play once in the Big 12 conference season. I'd like to see the discussions between these two schools, to add another game between the two to the schedule, come to fruition in the years to come.

- A lot was made of new Kansas head football coach Turner Gill's hires of Carl Torbush as defensive coordinator and Chuck Long as offensive coordinator. But, equally important may be the new hire of Reggie Mitchell. Mitchell comes to KU from Illinois and will be running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Mitchell has a reputation for being one of the best recruiters in college football.

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