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Saturday Morning Quarterback
Jan 03, 2007 12:00 am
Two-thousand six, or twenty-sixteen if you prefer, was a year of one championship and several near misses in Wilson County.
Wilson Central kept the gold basketball in West Wilson by winning the girls Class AAA state championship in March, a year after Mt. Juliet took the title. A prediction for 2007, and I'm not going out on a limb here, the Lady Wildcats should be right back in the thick of the hunt for a repeat for the school and a threepeat for the county.
But I'm really impressed with the job Chris Fryer has done at Mt. Juliet. Without the typical 6-footer anchoring the post and guards Jessy Christopher and Chelsea Burroughs now playing for Central, I wasn't sure how strong the Lady Bears would be. I figured they would still be good, but I wasn't sure about great.
It may still be too early in the season to use Tony the Tiger's favorite word, but at 14-1 going into last night's Nashville Civitan Christmas Tournament final at McGavock, Mt. Juliet has been its usual imposing self with undersized posts Jordan Nixon and Heather Miller doing just fine inside. But the torn ACL suffered by guard Taylor Hall will be another obstacle to overcome.
As for the near misses, Cumberland's baseball team lost the NAIA World Series championship game in the 11th inning and, as far as our normal newspaper deadline, past the 12th hour.
A week earlier, Mt. Juliet's softball team was one win from the team's first state title in 20 years before Soddy-Daisy came from the losers bracket to take the AAA crown. Friendship Christian finished third in the A tournament a couple of days earlier.
And still fresh in everyone's minds is the run made by Friendship Christian in football as the Commanders ran the table for 14 games before being upset by Jackson Christian in the BlueCross Bowl.
Speaking of FCS and JCS, I received a call earlier this week from Lee Marsh, whose grandson is Commander All-State cornerback John Doak. He told me O.E. Philpot, who once lived in Lebanon while serving as a vice president for Cracker Barrel, is the grandfather of Jackson Christian kicker Chase Philpot.
It's a small world after all.
Too much of a good thing
College football needs a playoff. But that being said, bowl season is a wonderful time of year. Thirty-two games of football heaven. Many say it's too many games.
What bothers me isn't the sheer number of games, but the glut of 6-6 teams filling them. Bowl games should be rewards for winning seasons, not mediocre ones. Alabama went to the Independence Bowl and finished with a losing record after falling to Oklahoma State, which assured itself of an above .500 mark with the win. Bobby Bowden extended his run of winning seasons at Florida State to 30 by beating UCLA in the Emerald Bowl the other night. A loss would have saddled him with a 6-7 record and turned up the volume of critics who would like to see the state of Florida impose a mandatory retirement rule on him.
By rule, teams must have six wins to be bowl eligible. There was little room for error in an 11-game season when teams could go 6-5 and finish .500 with a bowl loss. Now at 6-6, they can end up 6-7. The NCAA should implement a rule where teams must be at least two games over .500 to go to a bowl, thereby guaranteeing both a winning season.
It might make a few bowls wither on the vine. But the games I've seen on TV thus far, not counting the sold-out Music City Bowl, have been played in front of a lot of empty seats. Makes me wonder how they can survive.
One other thing: I'd hate to meet the person who sits in front of his TV and watches all 32 games.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at email@example.com.