CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- TODAY'S TRIVIA question: Who has a better conference record so far, Marshall or Central Florida? No peeking.While you consider that, a few wide-ranging items:Last week, I was delighted to cover a basketball game. Buffalo at Charleston Catholic, to be exact.
A big thanks to both teams, who were allowed to play on a day when, in an overkill of caution, school was closed up and down the valley. Except at Charleston Catholic.You see that school often on the school closings? Shoot, you almost forget that place exists when the snow flies.Buffalo is situated in Putnam County, which has the good sense to base decisions on whether to have extracurricular activities independently from the morning's decision to close schools. As I have stated before, no school/no play policies are asinine to the double-nth degree.In case you need reasoning, it's twofold: First, conditions usually improve as the day wears on with road treatment, warmer weather and traffic. Second, the dozens of rescheduled games will kill us all in February.As public-school students try to catch up on their studies with the all-consuming goal to ace the WESTEST, basketball players are going to face four or five games in certain weeks.Funny, a few other states seem to get along fine without no school/no play, notably the great state of Kentucky. That stands to reason - first, some of those districts close school over a single patch of ice and second, you're not canceling basketball in the Bluegrass State. Christmas is less sacrosanct there.Shoot, when South Charleston played Knott County Central, Ky., in the Hatfield-McCoy Shootout in Williamson, the Patriots entered with 16 games under their belt. That's the way that state rolls.Here's another novel idea: Quit canceling school so much.Yes, we are raising (another) generation that thinks the world shall stop when you get an inch of snow and the temperature falls to zero. Kanawha County, which can't afford snow days after "Watergate," should have had school last Wednesday, as well as Tuesday, the 7th. (I do praise the powers that be for opening schools this past Friday.)
Regardless, the county should let schools play their games no matter what, and ease the burden when the weather gets better.Am I having a bad dream, or did somebody propose a single, one-size-fits-all state-mandated policy on these matters? Good God, my head hurts.Quote of the game from CBS Sports during Marshall's 98-77 loss Saturday at Louisiana Tech: "Marshall has more fight than I'm seeing right now."
A few things have caught my eye about this Marshall football recruiting class: One is the regeneration of the Georgia pipeline (Todd Hartley has led that charge quite nicely). Two is the expected signing of TWO 6-foot-7 defensive ends, Ryan Bee and Rayjon Simes. Oh, and add 6-6 Malik Thompson out of Fork Union Military Academy, given the third star by at least one recruitnik service.
Simes is one of the newest commitments out of Georgia, while Bee cast his lot with the Thundering Herd last summer and Thompson jumped in near Christmas.The first order of business will be seeing just how tall these guys are, and believe me, we do that. Let's put it this way: I had better be looking up at these guys.We've had our share of height exaggerations. For example, was Devon "Moo Moo" Smith really 5-7? Uh, no. Was quarterback Chris Smith, a Mark Snyder recruit, 6-3? Not close. Was QB Brian Sullivan 6-2? Stop it, you're killing me!
Heights and weights aside, the Herd is going to need some defensive ends sooner than later. If two of these three big guys pan out, all the better.Hang on folks, we've got only six days before the whining stops about Peyton Manning winning only one Super Bowl. And never winning in the cold. He'll do both against the Seattle Seahawks, who can't function without their home crowd.
(Manning and his receivers just might shut up that Richard Sherman guy, too.)The thing about Manning's one Super Bowl title is this: He did it with the Indianapolis Colts, a feat deserving of double credit. Just like Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints. Whoever led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their title gets triple credit.Was it Brad Johnson? I forget.And when the Broncos win, another former Marshall player will receive a Super Bowl ring. No joke.
A lot of you have forgotten John Youboty, I figure. Guilty as charged here.The 6-4, 258-pound defensive end out of Temple won't play Sunday, but will be rewarded for his full season on the developmental squad.Youboty remains one of the stranger stories in recent MU history. One of the prized recruits of the Snyder era, he was medically ruled out of football because of a congenital narrowing of the spinal column. He got a second opinion and a second chance to play at Temple, where he was second-team All-Big East as a senior in 2012.You know, the year the Herd gave up a 5,481 total yards and 517 points?The Cleveland Browns exist solely for our amusement.
I wondered for a few days if I shouldn't send in my resume after half the coaching fraternity turned down the team's head coaching job, but the joy of the pay hike would wear off in a minute and a half. Welcome to head coaching, Mike Pettine.Being the 20th candidate on the hiring list is not bad - everybody forgets the hiring process when the wins or losses pile up.Or when the Browns take the bait and draft the NFL's next quarterback bust, Johnny Manziel.nn
ANSWER: Dead tie, at 1-5. Donnie Jones' Knights aren't enjoying the windfall promised by joining the Big E, er, American Athletic Conference.Herd fans, there's your ray of sunshine in a gloomy basketball season. That and home games this week against Florida International and Florida Atlantic.Maybe.Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.