Cowherd ushers the fall of Rome

When Jim Rome signed a new contract nearly three years ago to continue his entertaining national sports talk radio show, it was great news for avid listeners.

But the show, which always focused too heavily on callers who were not funny and added nothing interesting, soon began a steady decline. Rome went from amusing and insightful to plain juvenile.

His show no longer is the morning must-listen for sports fans. ESPN’s Colin Cowherd has taken over that role, offering a mixture of sharp, bruising opinions with different perspectives.

Cowherd, carried locally from 7 to 11 a.m. weekdays on KWWN-AM (1100), talked Wednesday about how cities define teams. Dallas, for instance, is about being big, and star players routinely make up the Cowboys’ roster. Detroit is a tough town, and the Pistons play in-your-face defense.

Agree or not, it’s difficult to stop listening to Cowherd. Rome, no doubt, was playing “Yakety Sax” for the 879th time on the other station (KBAD-AM, 920, 9 a.m. to noon weekdays).

No wonder ESPN added a fourth hour to Cowherd’s show. And it’s no wonder Cowherd beats Rome nationally in the ratings, including in Las Vegas.

Many tune in even though they don’t like Cowherd. But they still tune in.

AGAINST THE TIDE — Hey, Alabama fans, did you know the Sugar Bowl loss to Utah was your fault?

“I want our fans to understand that when they don’t have positive passion and energy for what we’re trying to accomplish, then it affects everyone,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “Last year’s team was a great example of that.”

Saban obviously never coached at Sam Boyd Stadium. He also probably doesn’t understand “patience” and “Alabama football fans” don’t go together.

NAME GAME — Beach volleyball will become an official NCAA sport beginning in the 2010-11 academic year, but it will be called sand volleyball. That’s because the NCAA doesn’t want to create an uneven playing field that benefits coastal schools.

Apparently, the NCAA doesn’t think athletes know about Google Earth.

Imagine the painful decision a beach volleyball player must make: Play at Hawaii or UCLA or go to Iowa, where it’s 12 degrees in January? Sounds like a pretty level playing field.

If the NCAA is so concerned about fairness, why does the Bowl Championship Series exist?

MESSING WITH TEXAS — Texas won’t leave the union, of course, even after its governor broached the subject last week.

But if the Lone Star State formed its own country, its schools would have to leave the NCAA because they no longer would be American universities. The Big 12 Conference would become a shell of itself.

National outrage also would cause professional leagues to dump their Texas franchises, including the alleged America’s Team.

OK, so Texas leaving the union wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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