Friday, December 31, 2010

Final thoughts for 2010

On the way out the door for the year....

The Panthers made it official on Friday, announcing in a release that John Fox and his staff won't be back next season. There. they finally said it. We knew it was coming, but now it's official. Interesting they did it:
1-on a holiday Friday,
2-immediately following the Meineke Car Care Bowl,
3-while the Bobcats were playing Golden State (with Charlotte native Steph Curry on the floor).

Couple ways to look at this. One way is, maybe they were trying to grab a headline or two in the midst of a busy sports day in Charlotte, or they were hoping it would be a minor footnote of the day, and get lost in the shuffle.

Well, it won't be lost in the shuffle, and as a result, the Panthers are on the clock for the first pick, but now to also hire a new head coach. Then there is the other clock. The labor deal clock, which Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is also on. Once the season ends, Richardson will be on of the key figures in trying to broker a deal between the NFL and the NFLPA on a new collective bargaining agreement. The off-season will be interesting to watch on a number of levels.

Bobcats brief win streak ended Friday in a 96-95 loss to the Warriors, Stephen Jackson missing a game winning 3 at the buzzer. I think he could have driven to the cup to try and draw a foul, but given the lack of calls Jackson has gotten this season, maybe he was a little gun shy about trying that. Regardless, the Bobcats get the Three Amigos from Miami on Monday (Lebron, D-Wade, and Bosh), which will be a good measuring stick as to where the Bobcats are. The Heat have figured things out, and had a monster December. Should be fun.

Sat through the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Friday afternoon. Sparse crowd on a great day, but hats off to the Raycom folks for putting on a decent game. Clemson lived up to their end in spurts, but overall, the show was what we've come to expect from the Charlotte bowl game.

Lastly, expect some changes in college football following the UNC finish in Nashville on Thursday. The Heels, out of timeouts, spiked the ball with :01 left in the game, and got flagged for too many men on the field. As a result, they had plenty of time to kick a tying field goal, force overtime, and then beat Tennessee by 3.

The change will likely come with that sort of penalty resulting in a clock run off. I don't think the Heels did this intentionally--they truly looked lost, and confused. Still, now that teams know this can happen to their advantage, I think the NCAA will bring in a rule change. Props to UNC for hanging tough, but I think they got lucky due to the rulebook.

Enough from me, here's to a great 2011 for all sports teams in our state, and even the ones you may root for elsewhere!

Mike Solarte

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