What a time to be a sports fan. The Olympics are in full swing, the NBA and NHL are in the home stretch, March Madness is only a month away and pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday.

With all that’s going on, I thought I’d use this space to try and touch briefly on as many things as possible.

? It’s been said before and it’ll be said again, but I’m going to say it now anyway ? the Slam Dunk contest has got to go. This year’s was the worst ever as only one dunk ? Jason Richardson’s reverse jam to win the contest ? was impressive.

? After last weekend, do you think Steve Francis would take a mulligan on this season? As if a leg injury, migraine problems and an awful Slam Dunk contest weren’t enough, he was also the last player to score in the All-Star game.

? Did you notice that the NFL played the Pro Bowl last weekend? I didn’t think so. It’s as if ABC realized it would be competing against the Olympics and just gave up on advertising.

? Now that Georgia has given Mike Tyson a boxing license, the question must be asked. What happens to the sport of boxing if the heavyweight title fight between Tyson and Lennox Lewis actually takes place, and Tyson somehow wins?

? In contrast to the pros making extra money to provide bad entertainment, the Olympics has shown us athletes who pour their entire beings into their sport for that one chance to win gold every four years. I can’t help but smile every time I see a joyous medal winner celebrating, no matter what country he or she is from.

? My only problem with the Olympics is this ? NBC has three stations showing the Olympics, yet for some reason they never show the finals of the events live. Do they think that if the events are on live in the afternoon, then nobody will watch them on tape during prime time?

? Has there ever been a more botched coaching transition than the one in Tampa Bay this winter? First, the Buccaneers fire the most successful head coach in franchise history, only to have the replacement they had lined up change his mind. Then they go after the top defensive coordinator in the league, only to change their minds. Now that college coach of the year Ralph Friedgen has said no, Tampa Bay’s best option is 76-year-old Marv Levy.

? Arturs Irbe sat on the bench while his Carolina teammates were shutout by San Jose 4-0 Sunday instead of playing in net for Latvia’s Olympic hockey game against Slovakia. The reason? Anonymous general managers objected to players being allowed to skip games. Meanwhile, less important players were allowed to represent their countries instead of their NHL teams. The real question is, why didn’t the NHL just take the extra five days off?

? The men’s college basketball Top 25 polls may be the most unstable things in the universe. More than half of the ranked teams have lost in each of the last six weeks and teams are moving up and down more than a yo-yo.

? On the other hand, the Top 25 polls may not end up mattering. If Duke wins the rest of its games this season by at least 10 points each, every Division I basketball team can direct its complaints to Florida State. Since losing to the Seminoles, the Blue Devils have won 10 games in a row by an average of 21.3 points.

? The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team makes even the Blue Devils look average. The Huskies are 26-0, have won by an average of 36.3 points per game and have been ranked No. 1 the entire season.

? I’m not a fan of auto racing, but a NASCAR season starting without Dale Earnhardt, Sr. is like a Lakers game being broadcast without Chick Hearn. It just seems like it shouldn’t be able to happen.

? In case you missed it ? and you probably did ? the U.S. men’s soccer team won the CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship on Saturday, Feb. 2. It won’t happen, but if the United States somehow managed to reach the semifinals in the World Cup this year, would we have to start paying attention to soccer?

? In his final act as vice president in the commissioner’s office in charge of discipline for on-field misconduct, will Frank Robinson be allowed to suspend the best players in the National League East in order to help the Montreal Expos?

Seriously, I interviewed Robinson last summer and, while he was a lot nicer than I hear he was as a player, he did not look ready to jump back into the dugout. He looked older than his 66 years and did not seem to have a great deal of patience.

? The phrase, “pitchers and catchers report” just got a lot more exciting for me. I’ll be in Florida to watch the Red Sox, Braves and Twins train during spring break and Boston just signed Rickey Henderson.

I can’t wait.

Until then, here’s hoping that the Olympics go back to focusing on the sports that are going on now, rather than the ones that already ended ? even if there was a controversy.

Jacobs can be reached at bjacobs@campustimes.org.



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