Notes From Wonderland: A little bit of everything

With so much happening I couldn't limit myself to just one topic for this column. Things are busy all over the world of sports, both in college and pro, so I thought I'd touch on a little bit of everything. This is the best time of year when you have baseball, football, basketball and hockey all overlapping.

The Wildcats' loss to Stanford was terrible. Frankly, Stanford is not very good. The problem is the Cats are a bad team. The Cats had better players, especially at the skill positions, but the lack of depth and injuries are taking their toll.

The Wildcats only have 74 scholarship players right now and almost a dozen of those are injured. The Cats are essentially playing with barely 50 scholarship players and of course they are redshirting a number of those. While injuries aren't solely to blame, they sure are a huge factor.

Things were so bad that the Cats travel roster was full of "who's he?" kind of guys. They traveled with four defensive ends (not including Joe Siofele). Fata Avegalio (undersized), Javier Martinez (converted tight end), Copeland Bryan (VERY undersized walk-on) and Mike Schwertley (undersized, inexperienced walk-on basketball player) were the Cats who traveled. Not exactly the most formable group.

The running back situation was even worse. They traveled with two true freshmen (Beau Carr and Gilbert Harris), and injured redshirt freshman (Mike Bell), injured walk-on (Joey Wilrodt), never used sophomore (Chris Harris) and a converted freshman linebacker (Pedro Limon).

The only good news is that this team is reminiscent of the team in 2001. That year the Cats pulled a ton of players out of redshirts and the next few years were among the best in school history. Guys like a Jason Martin, Spencer Larsen, Beau Carr, Lamon Means and Tanner Bell are going to be cornerstones.

The fact that the Cats played very well against Washington State gives me a lot of hope. The Cats have hung tough with both Washington schools and were in it for a half against a good Oregon team. There is still a lot of work to do, but there should be a lot of hope for 2003 and beyond.

As much as I'd like to be optimistic, I see no way the Cats can win out and contend for a bowl game. Although all four games are winnable (and loseable) I think 2-2 would be an accomplishment. A win over Oregon State is pivotal. A loss here and 0-4 is very possible.

As much as I like the NHL I find it a little difficult to get into hockey in October when the Stanley Cup Finals are finished up in the heart of summer.

I am a long time Chiefs sufferer, and this season is the most maddening. How many last second and overtime games can one team lose? This is worse than the 13-3 team that lost in the playoffs to a 9-7 Colts team because the kicker slipped on the final field goal. I feel like I should apologize to Priest Holmes for squandering his efforts.

Not that you care, but my fantasy football team leads my league in scoring, by 80 points, but is just one game out of the cellar. It seems that whoever plays my team has a record setting week. I finally managed to win a game last week, but I beat the last place team who doubled his previously high scoring output. Maybe the Wildcats should schedule my fantasy team to get things turned around.

The Icecats have announced that Don Rickles is their honorary team captain. You can insert your own joke there.

When Chris Rodgers is your 11th man on the roster, you know things are good. There are over 200 teams that would love that guy running the show.

If Isaiah Fox has made the improvements that have been reported, then the Cats have everything they need to make a run.

I keep hoping that ESPN covering the NBA will improve my interest, but somehow I doubt it. I just can't get into the style of play, clear outs and jumps shots by guys who can't shoot. I'd rather watch a bad college game than a premier NBA game. I'll start tuning in for the playoffs and follow it in the box scores.

Gilbert Arenas and Richard Jefferson look poised for breakout seasons. The Nets are still the team to beat in the East and the Warriors could be a sleeper in the West. Eric Musselman has the Warriors playing hard and respecting themselves.

Everyone is comparing Yao Ming to Shawn Bradley. That is not that bad of a thing. All Bradley has done is been a serviceable big man in the NBA for almost a decade. He wasn't a star and wasn't worth a high first round pick, but he's better than some of the other guys taken in the No. 2 slot (Danny Ferry anyone?). My guess is that Ming will be more like Rick Smits anyways.

Quick, name more that two players on the Denver Nuggets.

Why are all of those relief pitchers wearing goggles? It looks like they are playing racquetball or shooting skeet. Why don't starting pitchers wear them? Do they hand them out in the bull pen with gum and sunflower seeds?

Picking the Pac-10 for basketball is next to impossible. There are only three easy votes, Arizona number one, Oregon number two and Washington State in last. 3-9 you could throw in a hat and be more accurate. I picked Stanford ninth for the latest issue of Cat Tracks, but somehow I can't see a Mike Montgomery team finishing ninth.

As much as I hate to say it, ASU's Andrew Walters could be something special. Even worse, I think ASU will be pretty good in basketball. Not great, but they could very well be a tournament team.


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