Play it Again, Bud

Play it Again, Bud

Thursday, November 12th

As Ive been laid up at the house for the last week, dont ask, Ive been able to watch even more sports on TV than usual. (I know what youre thinking, and yes, I have been contacted by the Guinness folks.(not the beer!)) One of the things that struck me, yes I said one of, is the incredible amount of instant replay use and its consequences.

Whether it be in hockey, basketball or football, its hard to watch a game without a controversial play being re-played over and over. And that is the point to fans. If we can see it, why cant everyone? Almost everyone Ive talked to at the bar wants instant replay to be used, in every sport.

As the powers to be of Major League Baseball met at an OHare hotel this week, fans, including yours truly, were hopeful that the expanded use of replay in baseball would be discussed. This past years post-season was exhibit one, and should have been fresh on everyones mind. There were almost as many frustrating calls as what I experience with my AT&T cell phone service. Thats right, almost! Those of you talk to me on the phone know how annoying it can be for a call to be dropped and its the same when youre watching a baseball game. Especially, a playoff game!

Im always amused by the archaic view that the replay process will take away from the flow and integrity of the game and most of all, take away the human element. What?! How does getting a call right take away from the game? The A-Rod home run call took about 2 minutes and it reversed ANOTHER wrong call by the umpires on the field.

There are several things that need to be considered here. First of all, the game is being played at a speed that seems to be too fast for the naked eye. Baseball is full of calls that are assumptions, most notably, when a ball beats a runner to a base, hes almost always automatically called out, whether the tag was applied, or not. Theres a reason for the expression. phantom tag.

As far as the integrity argument, are you kidding me? What can be more honest than what is? Getting the call right should be first and foremost. Mistakes will be made, but if its easily correctable, why not fix it? Just like say, finally admitting that drugs were an issue, and then banning them. Better late than never, right?

The main thing though is to understand the age in which we live. These are your fathers games but theyre being taken to a whole new level. So is the way in that they are watched. Hi-def TV with TiVo enables the home viewer an incredible experience, and soon enough it will be the norm. Folks at home dont have to wait for a replay from the network to see what they just saw. I know its hard to believe, but the technology is moving at light-speed. My 3 year old wakes up every morning and turns on our computer. (NO! She is not typing this for me!) In fact, she has a computer lab in her pre-school! The next wave of fans are going to find Don Dekingers blown call in the 85 World Series as a reminder of how antiquated things were in those times of Huey Lewis and in-dash cassette players.

In a game that has souped-up the ball, shrunk the dimensions of the field of play and made the strike zone the size of a grapefruit in an effort to increase scoring and increase its fan base, why does it not recognize that this fan base is more tech-savvy? The NFL has, and although still not as fast as all would like, understands that this is a new age and you have to think with it to keep up.

As a parent that watches kids who are borderline addicted to all of their electronic accompaniments, I understand that its a brave new world, whether I like it or not. I just wish that one of the games that I love would get its collective head out of the sand and realize that keeping up with the times is not necessarily a bad thing. It just might be the thing that allows the game to prosper in the century ahead.

Prairie Ridge OL Jeff Jenkins commits to Iowa

Prairie Ridge OL Jeff Jenkins commits to Iowa

Prairie Ridge junior offensive linemen recruit Jeff Jenkins (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) made an unofficial Sunday Junior Day visit to the University of Iowa and came away verbally committed to the Hawkeyes.

"I didn't want to wait," Jenkins said. "I knew I wanted to be a Hawkeye when I met the coaches at Iowa and got on campus."

Jenkins, an All-State linemen for the 2016 Class 6A state champion Wolves, received a scholarship offer from Iowa back on Jan. 13. He pointed towards the Hawkeyes history of developing NFL caliber offensive linemen as one of several keys in his early decision.

"Iowa has a great tradition of offensive linemen," Jenkins said. "I was also just really impressed with the coaches at Iowa along with the facilities and everything that they have to offer. I just knew that I couldn't pass up the opportunity at Iowa. I knew it was home."

Northwestern holds off Ohio State for fifth Big Ten win, first win in Columbus in 40 years

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USA TODAY

Northwestern holds off Ohio State for fifth Big Ten win, first win in Columbus in 40 years

It's not something that's been said often over the decades, but Northwestern is one of the best teams in the Big Ten.

That's the story the standings tell, and with another week of the 2016-17 season in the books, the Wildcats sit at 5-2 in conference play, good for the second-best mark in the league.

That fifth conference win came Sunday afternoon with a 74-72 defeat of Ohio State. It was the first time Northwestern won in Columbus since 1977.

This is the first 5-2 start to Big Ten play for the Cats since 1968. So is this the first time ever the Cats get an invite to the NCAA tournament?

Of course that remains to be seen, but Chris Collins' squad sure seems to be setting itself up for inclusion in the field of 68. Sunday's win was just the latest to come away from Evanston, and in seven conference games, four of the team's five wins have come in road games, including three straight at Nebraska, Rutgers and Ohio State.

Northwestern had to find a way to win Sunday. A couple surges in the first half took the Cats from modest deficits to a lead that grew as big as eight. The halftime advantage was five, but that slipped away quickly as Northwestern shot poorly after halftime. Ice cold is a better descriptor, the Cats struggling to get their field-goal percentage above 30 percent over the final 20 minutes. It got there eventually, the team finishing shooting 32.3 percent in the second half, but it was the work from the free-throw line that made the win possible. Over the final 20 minutes, Northwestern was 14-for-16 from the charity stripe, including going 11-for-12 over the final minute and a half.

The key stretch came when a Scottie Lindsey 3-ball broke a 56-all tie with four and a half minutes to play. Ohio State countered with a bucket, but freshman point guard Isiah Brown turned in back-to-back scores of his own, the second a breakaway layup off a steal. That made it a five-point lead, and though the gap shrunk over the game's final three minutes, Northwestern's free-throw shooting allowed the Cats to hold that lead the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes shot themselves in the foot at the free-throw line. They were 12-for-23 on the game, and all but one of the attempts came in the second half, making for 10 missed free throws over the game's final 20 minutes. Northwestern committed a lot of fouls, but Ohio State couldn't capitalize, something that has to be quite painful for the Buckeyes, considering they had edges in other statistical categories. They shot 45.6 percent from the field compared to the Cats shooting 37.5 percent. Ohio State also had 16 second-chance points and 28 points in the paint. But Northwestern had 17 points off 13 Ohio State turnovers.

Lindsey finished with a game-high 21 points and has scored in double figures in every game this season. Bryant McIntosh had 17 points, and Vic Law had 10. Jae'Sean Tate scored 14 points for Ohio State, with JaQuan Lyle adding 13, Trevor Thompson scoring 11 and Cam Williams putting in 10.

The win was Northwestern's fourth straight and boosted its overall record to 16-4 to go along with the 5-2 mark in the conference. The Cats next play Nebraska on Thursday.

The loss snapped a modest two-game win streak for Ohio State and dropped the Buckeyes' record to 12-8 overall and 2-5 in the Big Ten. They next play Minnesota on Wednesday.