Oklahoma State is the less than unanimous pick to win the conference, probably because they return two experienced quarterbacks and has all but one of the contenders at home this year. Oklahoma, TCU and Texas follow close behind in the Big 12 penthouse, Baylor and K-State constitute the conference’s middle class, while Texas Tech, West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas are left fighting for the scraps---at least in minds of the media, which are often called mind-less. Interestingly, Kansas State, which losses nine defensive starters and a Heisman Trophy finalist at quarterback, lead the loop in pre-season all-conference picks.
Keep in mind that the media has correctly picked the Big 12 winner about two thirds of the time dating back to its first year in 1996; however, between them the last two champions received just one first place vote.
Painted in hues of brown and yellow, the British Open has an unfamiliar look to most American golf fans. The hard ground of Scotland makes the bump and run far more useful than the rain making approaches we’re used to on the lush, soft greens of the United States. The game may not be as pleasing to the eye, but it’s pretty cool to watch golf being played the way that it was originally intended.
The Wingnuts made it thirteen in a row last night as they continue their march through the American Association. Manager Kevin Hooper continues to prove what a great coach he is and it’s my guess that this will be his last year in Wichita. It’s not that he doesn’t have a wonderful relationship with the Wingnuts; it’s just that ship has sailed at Wichita State and that’s where he wanted to end up. Hooper has to be disappointed that he wasn’t more of a player in the decision to replace Gene Stephenson and while he clearly loves working at home it looks like the perfect time for him to move into affiliated baseball. As humble as Kevin is he’s also a fierce competitor, without the carrot of his ‘dream job’ to sustain him it’s my guess that he’ll look elsewhere for his next challenge.
It would be nice to talk about this seven game stretch the Royals are about to embark on as a key crossroads in their divisional or wildcard chances---instead it will likely rate their relevance for the rest of the season. Kansas City, which skidded into the All-Star break on a five game downer, has Detroit and Baltimore at home for seven straight games. Already eight games back, how much further back can this team afford to slip before fans throw up their hands muttering ‘more of the same’.
Hitting, or the lack thereof, gets most of the blame in KC but the bullpen carries some of the blame for their recent problems. Gregg Holland continues to be a star at the back of the pen, but the rest of the staff has offered no relief at all during their first half swoon.