Hoops, TV Ratings, Les Miles and more: Notes From The Corner Office

Georgia Tech guard Jose Alvarado drives against Wake Forest guard Carter Whitt in a NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech beat Wake Forest 70-54. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

March 12, 2021
BY MATT EDGAR
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Let’s open with a couple of bold statements about two of our hoop teams. The Yellow Jackets will make it all the way to the Elite 8 while the Hawks will go 22-14 in the second half of the season and secure the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. I’m an admitted fan of both but I can assure you these predictions are based in knowledge and much research and fueled by a few beers while doing that research. Mark them down!

The one hoop team I didn’t mention above is Georgia. Tom Crean is a nice guy and a decent coach, he’s just not the right guy for this UGA job, as far as I’m concerned. At $3.2 million per season, we’re three years in to his six-year deal, and not only is the lack of success disconcerting, but so is the lack of identity or playing personality. What is Georgia basketball under Tom Crean? Are they physical and defensive minded? Do they shoot the lights out and live or die by the three? Do they run you out of the gym with a breakneck pace? No one seems to know. That is just as much of a problem as his 14-40 SEC record….that is not a misprint by the way. The buyout is $7.2 million and that might be enough to give Crean one more season. I’ll leave that to Josh Brooks.

I’ve spoken about it before but it is going to be a couple or few years before television sports ratings return to normal. Sunday’s lowest rated NBA All Star Game ever is just another sign of what I’m talking about. Americans found other things to consume while sports were away during the first several months of the pandemic. I contend the streaming services have stolen the average sports fan’s attention. Streaming content is strong, affordably accessible, and not going anywhere! Could sports viewing be in trouble long term? Perhaps.

les miles, ncaa football, kansas jayhawks
Kansas head coach Les Miles watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. (AP hoto/Matthew Putney)

Les Miles is yet another example of a college football coach letting us down with his off the field actions. We all knew Miles was a strange bird. Whether it was his nibbling of grass or his impromptu “have a great day” pre–SEC Championship press conference back in ’07, Les has always been entertaining and an odd ball. Now we know he’s a bona fide creep as well. What a shame! Who’s next to let us down?

If there’s ever a win-win it really is the new ESPN deal with the NHL. The NHL certainly needs ESPN more than the four-letter network needs them, but it’s a great fit for both! I’m far from a puck head but I’ve missed hockey on the sports leader and look forward to it’s return. The more Barry Melrose the better! Makes me miss the Thrashers.

Speaking of ESPN, I was reading about Trey Wingo’s new gig with Pro Football Network and was reminded that Mike Greenberg is taking over for Wingo as ESPN’s host of the NFL Draft. I’m almost speechless. Almost. That is such an awful idea and the NFL Network must be thrilled, if you know what I mean!

Finally, Major League Baseball and our Atlanta Braves open their regular season in three weeks and I’m stoked for sure! But as a lot of us have been discussing around the halls of the station there just hasn’t been much coverage of spring training coming out of Florida or Arizona this year. The pandemic has taken its toll and I don’t feel like I know nearly as much about the rest of the league as I normally do, and that goes especially for the NL East. One thing I do know….the Braves are winning it all in 2021! Mark that down too!

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