This Week, The Drome sure is busy.
The NCAA vs. Its Own Feet: This week, Sports returns to the dead-tree Scene as I take a look at the NCAA and its mishandling and subsequent reversal on the case of Marine Steven Rhodes, an MTSU walk-on.
The NCAA is roughly as popular as Congress but, unlike Congress, the NCAA isn't protected from obsolescence by the Constitution. Facing revolt, the NCAA takes a page from Disraeli at the Free Trade Hall and starts to throw bones to its constituents.
Too much continued idiocy will result in, at best, a rump NCAA which does little more than facilitate minor-sports championships for small-conference schools. Technically, the NCAA doesn't even award a championship for the top tier of college football and even that which it does not administer may sever its ties completely — commissioners of big conferences have hinted that total breakaway isn't out of the question.
For decades, fans treated the NCAA as merely a nuisance — the body that put teams on probation once every ten years, a natural reaction to teams winning championships. But the NCAA has evolved from mostly-passive pest to actively terrible and people are noticing how upside-down the organization is.
So it has two choices in light of this revolution: arrogantly order us to eat cake or placate us. Wisely, for now, they seem to be choosing the later tack, because self-preservation is a powerful motivator.
The Week Behind
For Want Of A Run: For the second straight year, a team of 12-year-old baseball players captured our attention, but the kids from South Nashville, falling into the repechage as was their modus operandi, couldn't find a spare run in an elimination game against the team from Sammamish, Washington.
Two years in a row is noteworthy, but three would make a trend — next year we'll know if Nashville is truly a Little League hotbed.
Rushing Down Like Waters: Friday, Vanderbilt wide receiver Chris Boyd was indicted — along with others — on charges of being an accessory after the fact in the on-campus rape of a unconscious woman. He was suspended. The four suspects in the rape entered not guilty pleas Wednesday morning.
Not Your Best Work (Or Was It?): The Titans lost at Cincinnati, not a particularly surprising or alarming outcome on its face (this being the preseason, the best we can hope for is that no one important gets seriously injured), but, as Boclair notes and as some numbers bear out, the performances are starting to become a bit concerning.
Without Delanie Walker, the team's quarterbacks aren't connecting with tight ends. The rushing game looks pretty good and Jake Locker seems to be doing what the coaches want him to do — not throw the ball very far — but the defense can't stop the mail.
'Siri, How Cool Is Seth Jones?': A little Easter egg on Siri made the rounds this week. Ask your enabled device who her (its?) favorite NHL team and the answer: the Predators. No joke. And best we can tell (the PostSports Twitter got a response from across the pond) it's not location-based, it's the same answer everywhere.
Stealer's Wheel: On a radio hit this week, Barry Trotz had this to say vis a vis new rivalries for Nashville:
“We’ve got to start new rivalries, like us and Minnesota,” Trotz said. “They stole Ryan Suter, so I want to kick their butt, plain and simple.”
I know it was a casual remark, but Trotz is an experienced coach, and he knows that people pay attention to his words. This attitude that somehow the Predators were wronged by Suter doesn't reflect well at all on either the team or the fan base, especially when it's voiced by a leading member of the organization.
Meh. It was a goofy way to express the sentiment, but he was being pretty obviously flip.
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo: So you know those buffalo statues on Dickerson Road? In homage to them and to Dickerson Road's history as a buffalo trace, the Dickerson Road Merchants Association will present the Buffalo Trophy to the winner of tonight's Hunter's Lane-Maplewood football game. Goodness, do I love traveling trophies!
His Induction Into The Tennessee Broadcasters Hall Of Fame Is Just Around The Corner: Congratulations to Tennessee Titans official TV broadcaster Ian Eagle for his induction into the Syracuse WAER Hall Of Fame.
Oh By The Way: Have you checked out PostSports?
The Week Ahead
Rebels At The Gate: Ole Miss comes to town Thursday as Vandy and the Rebels kick off the 2013 SEC season. There's been a weird and pernicious thing going on ahead of this game, where people are asking James Franklin about his team's ability to focus on the "most important thing," that important thing being a football game. Over at Anchor of Gold, VandyVendidad squashes that bug and urges the University to do, well, something.
As for the football, Ole Miss returns 19 starters from a seven-win team, including all 11 on defense. Hugh Freeze brought in a boffo recruiting class to fill what few gaps he had and enthusiasm is high in Oxford (and not just because cold beer is available) . This is a solid, solid opening test for Vandy and for its ticket office.
Worthless Prediction: Ole Miss 21, Vandy 17 and short of a sellout.
The Only One That Matters: The third preseason game for an NFL team is typically the one that's the least worthless, so at least this one is at home. The Titans square off with Atlanta tomorrow in what should be a solid test for a team that isn't really offering answers to the questions about it. Thankfully, Delanie Walker is back so we can see how much he can contribute.
First of all, this dispenses with the silly rumor that the mayor was dragging his feet on the stadium because he "knew" that a MLB team was going to come to town. Part of the deal also gives parking to state employees in a $10 million garage, which puts a bow on another pesky parking land-swap deal that ran into some roadblocks.
The document that Joey Garrison and Nate Rau reported off of was surprisingly specific in places — an $80 million project that includes a $40 million stadium (which will get you a pretty good looking ballpark), a $30 million residential development (privately funded), plus the garage. It would be situated on Jackson Street between Third and Fifth Avenues.
What it doesn't lay out is how it would be paid for, though both the reporters have hinted they expect "significant" investment from the Sounds with "some TIF." Now, what does "significant" mean and what is "some TIF"? Four million dollars might seem a significant sum, but that's only 90 percent of the expected cost (which, let's face it, is going to be lower than the actual cost once it's all said and done).
So. Will Metro taxpayers be asked to foot any of this? And isn't it convenient that Metro would like for the stadium to open in April 2015, just a few months before the mayor's term is up? Are we going to be asked to foot the bill for a stadium for a Triple A ballpark on Double A money (not that there's anything wrong with Double A; its a damn site better than being Quad A)?
There's a lot of speculation right now and not much substance. Including the biggest question of all.
Emails to jrlind[at]nashvillescene[dot]com. Radio on (most) Tuesdays on 102.5 The Game at 6 PM. Day-to-day sports at PostSports. Smiles everywhere.