The KinderGarden: Public Disclosure

I had to laugh when I read an article indicating that the majority of college football coaches would be against having their Top 25 votes revealed for fear of "the potential for offending opponents".

The article, which appeared in USA Today, quotes American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant Teaff as saying that he would be "shocked" if the coaches allowed their votes to be made public.

Of course, that reason is full of the stuff which makes plants grow. In reality, coaches would not want to publicize their votes because it would a) open them up to every criticism that has been levelled at computer ranking systems and sportwriters' polls, or b) expose the fact that the coaches either aren't doing the voting at all or are spending about as much time voting for a top 25 as you do in picking lottery numbers.

Either way, this is something of an important issue in light of the fact that the coaches poll may be worth as much as one-third of the new BCS formula, which is expected to announced sometime in June. Under the old formula, fans who disagreed with a ranking at least had a target for this displeasure - often the authors of one of the computer rankings. Would it be right if coaches aren't forced to reveal who they vote for, especially when AP voters' ballots are made available upon request?

All this reminds me of an announcement made by the Soviet news agency TASS following World War II, which proclaimed that Josef Stalin had been unanimously reelected as the leader of the USSR. I bet not many of those ballots were made public either.

* * *

I'm a big follower of rules changes, and usually spend some time trying to figure out how they wil affect college sports in general and WVU in particular.

New rules scheduled for testing in the 2004-05 college basketball season will widen the lane, push the three-point line back nine inches, and test a "no-charging" zone in the lane similar to that employed by the NBA. All of these court modifications will be used in exempt games (think early season tournaments) this year.

Of these rules, I think one will help West Virginia, while one will hurt them. The third? Not sure.

First, I think the wider lane will allow more room in the interior for the WVU offense, which employs a great deal of driving and cutting to the basket. With a post player setting up a bit further from the hoop, defenders may be forced away from the basket a bit more, which could create more gaps for driving Mountaineers to penetrate. It also should help the size challenged West Virginia defense by forcing opposing behemoth post players to set up further from the basket. That's assuming, of course, that a three-second violation will be whistled at some point during the remaining years of my life.

On the negative side, the "no-charging zone" is a chink in West Virginia's defensive arsenal. WVU has several players, including Jarmon Durisseau-Collins, Patrick Beilein and Joe Herber, that excel at taking late charges in the area right under the hoop. Eliminate that area, and opponents probably get a few more scores than they did last year.

Finally, the extended three-point line. WVU hoisted 656 three-point attempts last season (shattering the old record of 593, set in John Beilein's first season), so it's obvious that the trey is an integral part of the Mountaineer offense. Would moving the three-point line back hurt WVU because they would have to take many of those shots from longer range? Or would it help, because WVU is used to shooting from downtown? Tough call.

While these rules won't be employed in any contests other than exempt games this year, they will likely be adopted in future seasons. WVU will get at least a partial testing of these changes during their summer tour of Germany, when they will play with the international three-point distance (also 20' 6") and the trapezoid lane configuration.

* * *

Finally, there's been a lot of bleating recently over the fact that Virginia Tech has scheduled a football game in Huntington, W. Va. I'd like to give that announcement the sort of comment that it deserves.

" ."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories