WATERCOOLER CHAT: NC TEAM TO BEAT, COUGARS NEW LEADER, LOSS IN SPORTS WORLD

BASKETBALL

In college basketball, North Carolina lost their #1 ranking when they lost to UNLV — a team that got hot from 3-point land.  But, last night, they were looking to start their campaign to regain that pole position by taking on a pesky Wisconsin Badger team (#7 in the land)  This year, North Carolina is essentially the team to beat.  They have superstar talent, and Harrison Barnes is one of the best players in the country.  Thanks to Barnes’ 20 points, the Tar Heels were able to keep it close, but the Badgers did take the lead late, forcing the Tar Heels to come from behind.  In the end, the Tar Heels clawed their way back and nabbed the win.  That should help get them back to the top.  North Carolina 60, Wisconsin 57.

FOOTBALL

In college football, Washington State has made a key coaching decision.  In the 90s, Washington State was a very relevant program, primarily for churning out high draft pick quarterbacks.  They gave us Drew Bledsoe and later Ryan Leaf.  But this past decade, the Washington State Cougars have slipped off the map.  They’ve been hanging out at the bottom of the Pac 10, and now Pac 12 conference, and are considered an easy win for most teams.  Most think their drop off is due to the ascension of a neighboring program:  Boise State.  Suddenly, Boise State became a high profile place to play (their blue field quite attractive.  That and BCS appearances).  Most think that Boise was stealing all the great recruits from the Washington area that would have gone to Washington State.  Now the Cougars are bringing in a new leader:  Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach.  Leach took over the Texas Tech program for 5 years and immediately made them relevant.  He was an innovator in the spread offense, and we saw the Red Raiders putting up 50 and 60 points per game.  This offense is now more widely used both in college football and the pros.  You have to expect that Leach will turn the Cougars into an explosive offense.

Finally, we lost a good guy in the sports world.   Yesterday, former Raiders defensive lineman Chester McGlockton died at the age of 42.  McGlockton was a 4 time pro bowler in the NFL.  McGlockton was most famous, most likely, for being huge — just a behemoth of a man.  But after finishing his NFL career, he went back to receive his undergraduate degree from Tennessee-Martin, and then became an assistant coach at Stanford, which was his current job.  The Stanford coaching staff said that McGlockton was a wonderful member of their staff and a great friend to all.  He will be missed by the football community.

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