While working out at the gym the other day, I was amazed to overhear a number of people bemoaning the changing fate of the Syracuse basketball team. You would have thought a loss preceded by some offensively challenged wins was the end of the world.
Yes, the Orange men are in a funk lately, especially Wes Johnson, who is battling uncertainty and a thumb injury on his shooting hand since that scary fall a few weeks ago. But slumps and nagging injuries are going to happen during the grind of Big East Conference play, and better that they occur now than in March.
I still believe the 'Cuse has a shot at the Final Four. The Orange men just need to battle through a tough stretch that all teams endure during the course of a long season.
* Jimmy Clausen won't be able to work out at next week's NFL Scouting Combine because he's still recuperating from surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right big toe. No big deal. The Notre Dame quarterback will still be able to work out for the scouts at a Pro Day he'll hold on campus in the spring.
* I'm thinking the best the Bills can do is a third-rounder for Marshawn Lynch, given all the baggage he's carrying. And even that might be optimistic on my part.
* As the parent of a University at Buffalo student, I experienced some anxious moments yesterday after hearing reports that a man with a gun had entered one of the school's libraries. Fortunately, no gunman was discovered and I was able to make contact with my son via cellphone.
* I love watching those Olympic skiers traverse those mogul courses, but I wonder what shape their knees and backs are going to be in when they turn 40. Of course, you could wonder the same about football players.
* It appears this could be the final time active NHL players participate in the Winter Olympics. And you can't blame them. Interrupting your season for three weeks isn't fair to the fans, the majority of whom would rather see a Stanley Cup than a gold medal.
* What are the odds of this? Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time, and Jim Brown, arguably the greatest football and lacrosse player of all-time, were born on February 17. His Airness is 47, while Brown is 74.
* Mark Twain once complained, tongue-in-cheek, that everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. I thought about that sage remark while watching Vancouver Olympic officials busing in snow while dealing with 50-degree temperatures and rain for much of the first week. Blame the International Olympic Committee for the problems because moderate temperatures and rain are the norm not the exception this time of the year in that part of Canada. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature.
* From the don't-let-the-facts-get-in-the-way-of-a-good-story department: NFL officials claim that Super Bowl 44 was the most watched television show in history. Methinks there's more than a billion viewers in China who would beg to differ. The Olympic basketball game between China and the USA in 2008 drew more than a billion viewers worldwide, about 10 times as many people as Super Bowl 44. And the World Cup regularly attracts that many viewers.
* Pitchers and catchers report today, a sign that spring can't be too far away.
* In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't drag Beth to the Carrier Dome on Valentine's Day. There wasn't much romantic about the Cuse's performance in that loss to Louisville.
* This is how ludicrous things have become in the world of sports: 13-year-old David Sills of Wilmington, Del. received a football scholarship from Southern Cal coach Lane Kiffin recently.
* COMING ATTRACTIONS (ALSO KNOWN AS A SHAMELESS PLUG): Looking forward to giving a lecture and doing a book-signing at Syracuse University's Bird Library Thursday afternoon at 5. I'll be talking about the historical, cultural and emotional significance of old Yankee Stadium. It's free and open to the public, so if you happen to be in the area, please stop by.