Tuesday Notes

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.

Steve Nash erupted for 21 points and 20 assists last night as the Suns beat Philadelphia and moved to 7-1 on the season. It’s obviously early, but Nash has far exceeded the expectations I had for him this season. He’s playing at his MVP caliber, and it’s directly fueling the impressive play of the team so far. As a Canadian I couldn’t be happier to see that. The other thing that stands out with the Suns right now is the play of new center Channing Frye. I don’t think that a whole lot was probably expected of him, but he’s playing some very good ball, and making it very easy for the team not to miss Shaq. It has also made it easy to deal with the absence of Robin Lopez so far. A good acquisition for the team.

Very interesting situation in Cincinnati – not the kind of thing that normally goes on when a team is at 9-0 and on the verge of a BCS berth. QB Tony Pike was looking like a legitimate Heisman contender until he was hurt a couple of weeks ago. In his absence, sophomore Zach Collaros started three games and was truly brilliant. In those three starts he threw for eight TDs without an interception. Against UConn last weekend he passed for 480 yards, and set a Big East record with 555 total yards. There is an unwritten rule that a player doesn’t lose a job to injury – especially when he has been as good as Pike was. Coach Brian Kelly is taking a huge risk this week in a very big game against West Virginia that Cincinnati needs to win by breaking that rule and makingCollaros the starter even though Pike is returning to the lineup. It’s a hard decision to argue with too strenuously, but it is still a huge risk, and it could really backfire if they don’t win the game. Kelly says that there is no QB controversy right now, and that Pike is set to start against Illinois. There is no reason not to take him at his word, but there is never a controversy until there is one, and then it’s too late. Definitely a situation worth watching.

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