The Richardson File

This week's installment includes a rant against the worldwide leader, a quick observation from the hardwood, and a word of thanks.

With most of our content over the next several days concentrating on the upcoming Sugar Bowl (with a splash of the Canisius Golden Griffins near the end of this week) I thought it'd be nice to go in a little bit of a different direction for this week's installment of "The Richardson File."

Let's talk a little bit about USC, and the drool stains of the national media all over the Trojans' football team.

I'm really annoyed with all of this "three-peat" and "chasing history" stuff. Love it or hate it, the BCS was set up to determine college football's official national champion. During the 2003-2004 college football season, the LSU Tigers won the BCS and thus were the national champions. USC won the AP National Title that year, but I didn't see them hoisting that gorgeous crystal football that adorns the top of the national championship trophy. They may have been the best team in college football two seasons ago, but the fact remains they did not win the BCS title. In my book they are the defending champions once, but not twice.

That hasn't stopped ESPN and the other "experts" from over-hyping the quest for a "three-peat." Have you seen this nightly spot they've been running on SportsCenter? They're lining up the greatest teams in college football history against the 2005 USC squad and having their analysts pick who would win. USC has been picked every night thus far, and the excuses are getting lamer and lamer. Some of the reasoning includes the fact that USC's athlete's are bigger and stronger than the players on teams like the 1955 Oklahoma Sooners. What's the point in this stupid promotion if you're going to use weak excuses like that?

When it comes to sports and these never-ending who's better debates, you simply can't compare generations. Could Barry Bonds have homered off of Smokey Joe Wood? Maybe he could, maybe he couldn't. How the heck are we supposed to know? Wood pitched for the Red Sox from 1908-1915. His best season came in 1912 when he finished 34-5 with 258 strikeouts in 344 innings with a 1.91 ERA. For this debate with Bonds, it should also be noted that Wood only gave up two home runs in that 1912 season. Then look at Bonds' record 73 home run season in 2001. How can you possibly compare that season with Wood's 1912 season for the Red Sox and come up with a conclusion as to whether Bonds would take Smokey Joe yard? You can't because there are too many variables.

The same thing goes for USC. Are they the best team this year? We'll find out in a couple of weeks. Are they the best team of all-time? No one will ever know, nor should they ever care.

USC has had a great run, and even though he sabotaged my beloved Patriots, Pete Carroll has done a remarkable job rebuilding the proud program. But let's leave it at that. Let's see if the Trojans can even beat Texas before they're crowned the most scrumtrulescent team in the history of college football.

Oh, and you can bet the farm that the Longhorns are using all of this hype around the Trojans as motivation. After all, they have a pretty solid win streak themselves.

I feel a lot better now.

And now for something completely different.

* * *

As good as they were individually in the second half of last season, Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle have been even better this year for the Mountaineer men's basketball team. At the beginning of the season it seemed like only one of them would be hitting in each game, with the other having trouble finding the hoop. In the past five games though, they've gotten on the same page. It's nice to know that you can have two guys at the end of the game with the ability to make a big shot.

The thing I love the most about this team, just as last year's team, is the unselfishness. I get downright giddy watching Pittsnogle fake a three and hitting Gansey on a cut to the basket, or watching Frank Young make the extra pass to an open teammate. These guys really don't care who scores, so long as they're wearing a jersey that says "West Virginia." It's a pleasure to watch, and a joy to cover as my job.

West Virginia's performance against Oklahoma on Thursday night was without a doubt the best I have seen a Mountaineer basketball team play in my lifetime. Anything the Mountaineers wanted to do, they did without even batting an eyelash. As much love as he gets around these parts, John Beilein truly is one of the nation's most underappreciated coaches.

I'd hate to be an opposing coach having to prepare my team for Beilein on anything less than a three day prep, because you simply can't cover everything that the Mountaineers do. Well, you can, but by the end of it all your players would be sucking wind and looking for the nearest Gatorade cooler. Whether it's the 1-3-1 zone, backdoor cuts against a man to man, or the magnificent spacing on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court, Beilein's bag of tricks is deep and effective.

* * *

Finally, I'm coming up on two years of being a staff writer here at It can sometimes be a bit of a jumble to balance my writing with being a full-time student at WVU, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

My favorite part of this job is getting to meet and communicate with Mountaineer fans young and not so young literally all over the country who share a common passion for Mountaineer sports, and West Virginia University as a whole. Whether it's tailgating before football games with folks from the message boards, or random encounters at a picnic like I had this summer with readers Bill and Mitzy Wilhelm of Wheeling, it's always a pleasure to meet a new Mountaineer fan and make new friends.

On behalf of the rest of the staff, thanks for your continued support and continued interest in our site and in all things WVU.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories