Today's Names to Know: Jon Gruden, The U, Illinois, Northwestern, Duke-Michigan State, Mike Conley and the Grizzlies, Troy Tulowitzki, Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada, Tiger, LeBron, Marko Jaric and More.
Jon Gruden to coach The U? Really? Um...why?
Start with this: I don't think Gruden will be a very effective college football coach. Elite college football coaches are college football "types" or lifers (with the rare exception of a savant like Saban), who are recruiting machines.
Gruden is an NFL coaching lifer; does he know that you spend, like, 10 months of the year in heavy recruiting mode? And won't he have an eye on the NFL job openings every fall? (Or won't opposing coaches use that against him when recruiting?) I think his inexperience in college football -- particularly recruiting -- is an NCAA violation waiting to happen.
Then there's this: Miami? Let's say Gruden really did have the college football itch. Why would he go to Miami, a second-tier program (if not lower) in a 3rd-tier conference. Great history, great recruiting base...but hardly lustrous anymore. If he wants to coach college football, isn't he better off at, say, Michigan? (Maybe not. And maybe that's not an option.)
Here's a better idea for Gruden, if he wants to give it the ol' college try -- but still leave a glidepath to the NFL job of his choice in, say, 2012: Join good friend Urban Meyer in Florida as Meyer's new offensive coordinator. (Gruden already had reportedly expressed interest in being OC for a year at Oregon; his wife reminded him of the insane time commitment.)
Gruden can experiment with college tactics and gain experience in recruiting from the master, all while leaving the door open for the NFL offer you know he really wants. Florida gets a clean break from the lamentable Steve Addazio Era.
But the point is this: Gruden as a college football head coach? At a program like Miami's? It just doesn't make any sense.
CBB: Yes, we could talk about Illinois beating UNC or we could talk about the Big Ten's overall dominance of the ACC last night. But how about we talk about mighty Northwestern?
NU put up its biggest non-conference win in years: A throttling of a "name" opponent that the 'Cats normally lose (and certainly needed, given their iffy non-conf schedule and their tenuous path to their first-ever NCAA invite: Run the non-conf table, then find .500 in the B10.)
Tonight: Michigan State at Duke, arguably the best non-conference game of the year. (Given that the game is at Cameron, I expect a Duke blow-out W.)
More: Big, March-quality win for Georgetown over Mizzou. (One of those you file away, use to help you pick your brackets...and ultimately end up regretting relying on, of course.)
NFL: Is it really news that the league will refund your ticket money if it turns out games are cancelled because of a lockout or strike? Were they considering NOT making refunds?
MLB: Tulowitzki gets his mega-deal. I don't think it's unreasonable to give a star SS about to enter his prime $134M; I do think it's unreasonable to give $20M a year to a 37-year-old.
(I wonder what the Yankees talked about when they reportedly met with Jeter's agent? How about this: "He was already paid a hefty 'icon' bonus in the last contract, and let's not overstate his impact on the Yankees' 'brand.' So we'll give you an extra million or so a year, but that's it.")
Hey, a Miguel Tejada sighting!
Tiger on Twitter: Did you catch Tiger's flurry of Tweets yesterday afternoon? They weren't particularly interesting, but they were humanizing -- which was the entire point.
NBA: The Lakers lose their 3rd straight. And yet unlike the Heat, I don't expect panicky coverage about the coach's tenuous hold on his job, the grumbling of the stars, etc.
(Why is former NBA journeyman Marko Jaric a hot topic on the Web this morning? Because he is more famous for having a wife who is a Victoria's Secret model than being an NBA player.)
One more day until LeBron returns to Cleveland: It is the most must-see game of the NBA regular season. Much, much more on this tomorrow.
Happy Hanukkah (which starts tonight). Mmm...frozen latkes.