Stan's list of 'changes' needed

Stan has a "list" of things that he thinks would help college athletics. Nothing overly major, but things that stick in his craw a bit.

You know and I know that instant replay is being used this coming season as much for the fans as for the coaches and players.

The officials may miss a call now and then but the guy sitting in his recliner watching the game never does. Ask him. From 1,000 miles away his eyesight is perfect. You think the coach sees it all? The fan watching the game on TV is equally sharp. And when a ruling is reversed he turns to whomever shares the TV set with him and says it all with one word, "See?"

Well, I've got some changes to propose, changes that will make the coverage of games that much better. Not just college football. College basketball and baseball as well. Not just TV either. Newspapers, magazines as well. They miss a few now and then as well.

Ready or not, here we go with Stan's make-a-change-sports-suggestions.

Tell my friends and coworkers in the media to stop writing or uttering trite, well-worn, meaningless phrases. Example number one, the other guy has a well-coached team. Has any coach ever said for publication his coming opponent has a poorly-coached team? Of course not. If he said something like that and then lost the game what would that say about his bunch? The truth is all conference teams aren't well-coached. Some of them get lousy leadership and the writers who cover them know it.

Cut out this nonsense that the SEC is the finest, toughest best top to bottom conference in the country. Yes, the level of play is comparable to the Big 10, the ACC, those guys out on the West Coast, the Big 12 and anyone else you might care to name. But those are not NFL level players we send out every Saturday. They are 18, 19, 20 or 21 year-old kids, just like those who line up against them. And as long as Vanderbilt and Kentucky are in the league we don't have the top to bottom balance the drum beaters are seemingly always bragging about. In 2004 Vandy played nonconference games against Navy, Rutgers and Eastern Kentucky. Their only win was against Eastern Kentucky and their only conference win was over a very poor Mississippi State team.

Kentucky played Louisville, Indiana and Ohio. They knocked off Indiana but lost to Louisville by 28 and Ohio by 12, and that's not Ohio State we're talking about. Their only conference win came over guess who? Vanderbilt, of course. We're good but so is Michigan, Southern California, Oklahoma, Florida State and a bunch of others who can give us a game any Saturday of the week.

Somebody convince Tennessee to put away those white jerseys with the orange numerals which absolutely cannot be read from the upper deck of most large stadiums. If I go blind some day it will be caused by years of trying to read those orange numbers from a block away while calling football games.

Give college baseball a break and increase the number of scholarships. It makes no sense to allocate fewer scholarships for a nine man baseball team than for a five man basketball team.

Let's stop pretending women's basketball is a hot spectator sport. Yes, it is at Tennessee and a few other schools such as Connecticut but read the attendance figures from around the SEC and face the fact that only kids who have nothing better to do, their parents, friends and relatives come to the games, no matter how well the girls play the game.

And speaking of crowds, let's insist schools hand out an honest count of their attendance. I'm tired of going to an SEC basketball game involving two also-ran teams, looking around at 3,400 or so spectators and then picking up the newspaper in the morning and discovering the announced attendance was 5,149.

Ban high school summertime All-Star games where some kid, blinded by the glory of being picked as an All-Star, uses the event to big time his talents in front of recruiters or pro scouts and then blows out a knee. Or worse yet, gets told so many times how good he looked in comparison to his other team members that he declares himself a pro and then sits around watching the draft wondering why his name wasn't called.

You as a fan have got to stop believing that every blue chip player, football or basketball, is bought by the college that signs him. Believe it or not there are some honest athletes and parents out there. You wouldn't know it from the stories Ole Miss fans might tell about some kid they wanted who signed with Mississippi State or Steve Spurrier haters will tell you about how the new Gamecock coach won all those games in Florida.

You'll never convince me any college football coach is worth nearly $2 million per year, so stop trying.

Admit your favorite school has scheduled some Humpty Dumpty opponents just to get a win without working too hard in the process. Otherwise explain to me why Alabama is playing Utah State, Ole Miss is matched against The Citadel, Mississippi State opens with Murray State, Georgia has booked Louisiana-Monroe, and Auburn will host Ball State. Those are just examples. Want more? Arkansas-SW Missouri State, Florida-Louisiana Tech, Kentucky-Idaho State and LSU vs. North Texas. It creates a good freebie for Boy Scout day. Maybe that's the reason.

Is there any school in the SEC, perhaps in the country, that has it easier that Tennessee's end of the season matchups against Vanderbilt and Kentucky? When they get to that point of the schedule they are just going through the motions. Kentucky hasn't beaten the Vols since 1984. Vanderbilt last defeated Tennessee in 1982. Phillip Fulmer sleeps well the night before those games.

And if you want someone to share the couch when watching sports on television buy a dog. They never argue back.

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