If “hope” and “change” were the themes of President Obama’s campaign, those words soon could apply to everyone — including the big man in the White House — who so badly wants a college football playoff.
Women’s Tennis Association CEO Larry Scott, who becomes commissioner of the Pacific-10 Conference on July 1, provided a sliver of hope for those who favor the crowning of a legitimate national champion during an interview with CBSSports.com.
The Pac-10 — along with the Big Ten and Rose Bowl — has been one of the biggest obstacles to a playoff. Scott didn’t say he necessarily favored altering the current system, but unlike those staunch Bowl Championship Series defenders, he didn’t shoot down the idea.
“The reason I was (hired) as opposed to an insider was to bring a fresh perspective,” Scott said.
If Scott and the Pac-10 decide they want a playoff, the chances of one go from hopeless to quite possible. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, deeply entrenched in his fierce anti-playoff mindset, could be told to join the 21st century or watch his teams get left out of the national championship picture.
What a glorious day that would be.
The interview also raised a topic that could cause upheaval closer to home. Scott did not rule out Pac-10 expansion, and Brigham Young and Utah would figure to be prime candidates.
Losing those schools would drop the Mountain West Conference to the level of the Western Athletic Conference. That’s a troubling thought.
• ABSENT FRIENDS — Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun is constantly on edge anyway, but he might be especially skittish this weekend.
The two Catholic nuns who watched in person when the Huskies won the 1999 and 2004 national titles won’t be at the Final Four when UConn plays Michigan State in Saturday’s semifinals.
Michigan State will have a large enough home-state advantage at Detroit’s Ford Field, where an economically depressed state is solidly behind the Spartans, so divine intervention would have come in handy for UConn.
At least Mother Shaun Vergauwan and Sister Mary Richards have a good reason for turning down Calhoun’s invitation. They’re staying back for Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran’s visit from the Vatican. The nuns will make sure they’re near a TV.
“I hope the Cardinal likes basketball,” Richards told the (Meriden, Conn.) Record-Journal.
• NOW THAT’S A CELEBRATION — Jenson Button was so excited about his Formula 1 victory Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, that he delayed the postrace news conference by 10 minutes to, ahem, share the moment with his girlfriend, lingerie model Jessica Michibata.
When he finally met with reporters, Button admitted, “It got a bit steamy in there.”
Google the model’s name, and you’ll understand why.
• A BIT NEEDY — If the Chicago Cubs were so attached to Kerry Wood, they should’ve re-signed him this offseason instead of letting him run off to Cleveland.
The Cubs showed their undying commitment to Wood by deciding to leave his old locker vacant this season.
Move on, Cubs, move on.
COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL