We don’t talk about swimming here much for obvious reasons, but a story today caught my attention. Michael Phelps is currently swimming at a World Cup meet in Stockholm. He’s not at his peak fitness by his own admission, and he’s sporting a beard, so he clearly isn’t looking to set world records. He’s still Michael Phelps, though, so it is very significant that he failed to qualify for two of his first three finals at the meet. The most glaring explanation for this is the swim suit. Swimming is doing the right thing next year by banning the ridiculous high tech swimsuits that have so changed the sport over the last couple of years. In anticipation of that, Phelps is using a regular suit at this meet while his competition uses high tech ones. This is a clear example of just how much of an impact the suits have. It seems ridiculous that a sport would allow something that would change the sport so fundamentally. It would be like MLB suddenly deciding to allow aluminum bats, or using softballs instead of baseballs. Those changes would make a mockery of hitting records just like the new suits have destroyed the meaning of world records.
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So much for that Heisman trophy clarity I was hoping for from last night’s game. Tony Pike reinjured the arm he broke last week just before the half. That means that he missed all but a couple of plays of the second half, and will very likely miss at least one more game – Louisville next week. Pike hadn’t played great before the injury, either – he had thrown for two touchdowns, but but had completed less than half of his passes. That’s the end of another Heisman campaign.
I’m very intrigued by tonight’s Big East showdown. Cincinnati has a pretty clear road to the BCS if they beat South Florida, and the Bulls have the same if they win. For South Florida that’s especially surprising because stud QB Matt Grothe is on the sideline for the year. There is all sorts of intrigue in this one – is Cincinnati for real? How about South Florida’s surprisingly stout defense? Can Cincy QB Tony Pike put himself into the heart of the Heisman race with a big performance here? How about Cincy receiver Mardy Gilyard? Do the Bearcats deserve national championship consideration? How much of a joke is the Big East? This is probably the highest profile Thursday night game we have seen yet this year. Last week we saw Nebraska, and Ndamukong Suh made a big leap into the Heisman race thanks to that game, so anything can happen here. I really respect Cincy coach Brian Kelly and tend to think that he has things going in the right direction with this program, so I am hoping for them. It’s a tough team in tough location, though, so it certainly won’t be easy.