Stories indexed with the term ‘college sports’

Column: Fixing College Football

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Last week, I explained why Michigan students are dropping football tickets in record numbers – about 40% in the last two years. It touched a nerve – actually a few hundred thousand nerves. And not just among Michigan fans, but college football fans nationwide, who recognized many of the same flaws at their favorite university that were turning them off, too.

It’s all well and good to criticize Michigan’s athletic administration – and apparently very cathartic for many fans, too. But it doesn’t solve the central problem: How can college programs protect an experience millions of fans and students have loved for decades, before it’s too late?

Yes, winning helps. But when Michigan went 3-9, 5-7, 7-6 a few years ago, they still had a robust wait list. And when USC was winning national titles about the same time, they rarely sold out their Coliseum. Fans obviously love winning, but what they want – what they need – runs deeper than that.

Allow me to offer a few suggestions. [Full Story]

Column: A Few Wild Guesses for 2014

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Because my last 700-word commentary completely covered every subject in the sports world that occurred in 2013, my editor thought, “Hey, why not preview the year in sports in January?!”

Why not? Because I have no idea what’s going to happen, that’s why. Nobody does. That’s why we watch sports: We don’t know how it’s going to end. It’s also why we shouldn’t watch pregame shows: everybody is just guessing.

Nonetheless, if The Chronicle wants to pay me to make wild, unsupported guesses – then doggonnit, that’s what I’ll do. Just one of the many duties that come with being a hard-hitting investigative journalist.

Let’s start at the bottom. That means, of course, the Detroit Lions. [Full Story]

Column: Looking Back at 2013

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

The year in sports, 2013, started out with the Detroit Lions missing the playoffs, and hockey fans missing the entire National Hockey League season.

The NHL hadn’t played a game since the Stanley Cup Finals that spring. The lockout started the way these things usually do: The players thought the owners made too much money, and the owners thought the players made too much money. And, of course, both sides were dead right.

On one side, you had NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, widely considered the worst commissioner in sports today – and maybe ever – who gets booed by the fans whenever he shows up. On the players’ side, you had union chief Donald Fehr, who led the baseball players union to cancel the 1994 World Series.

Well, you can guess what happened: a game of chicken between two stubborn leaders bent on self-destruction.

Fortunately, a government mediator – yes, you heard that correctly – saved the day, and hockey resumed. All of it only goes to prove my theory: hockey is the greatest sport, run by the dumbest people.

Things picked up after that. [Full Story]

Column: Michigan’s Biggest Problem

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

I’ve often joked that some Michigan football fans aren’t happy unless they’re not happy. But after eleven games this season, even they could be excused for having plenty to be unhappy about. A week ago, the Wolverines were 3-and-4 in the Big Ten, with undefeated Ohio State coming up next.

The Wolverines had been surprisingly bad all season – until the Ohio State game, when they were suddenly, surprisingly good, falling short by just one point in the final minute. It was the first time I have ever seen Michigan fans feeling better about their team after a loss than before it.

Still, the heroic performance was bittersweet. The most common reaction I’ve heard this week: Where was that team all year? And which team will return next year – the one that got crushed by Michigan State, or the one that almost beat the Buckeyes?

But Michigan’s bigger problems are off the field, not on it. In just four years, the athletic department’s budget has expanded from $100 million to $137 million – and that does not include the $340 million earmarked for a new building master plan.  This rapidly growing empire could be threatened by a perfect storm of a bad record, skyrocketing ticket prices, and next season’s horrible home schedule.

This brings up two questions: How do they increase the budget by 37%? And where do they spend it? [Full Story]

Column: Athletes and The Power of Boycott

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

The Grambling State University football team plays in the unheralded Southwestern Athletic Conference, in the division beneath the big boys. They had an 11-game losing streak, stretching back into the 2012 season.

In short, this was not a team that warranted national attention.

But the Grambling Tigers finally got some last month. No, they didn’t notch their first win that day – or even another loss. They didn’t play – and it wasn’t due to bad weather or a bye week. The players simply refused to take the field.

Grambling is a historically black college with a rich tradition. Their legendary coach, Eddie Robinson, won 408 games, which set the record Joe Paterno would break, then relinquish, due to NCAA sanctions.

One of Robinson’s biggest stars was Doug Williams, the first African-American quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl title.

But, as a coach, Williams was more beloved than successful. His Grambling teams couldn’t get it done, while the school itself suffered draconian budget cuts. The players had to travel by bus and work out in a weight room so decrepit, several suffered staph infections.

This fall, it all came to a head. [Full Story]

Column: In Praise of The Mud Bowl

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Tomorrow morning, one of Michigan’s oldest traditions will be on display. No, not at the Big House, but at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house.

That’s where they’ve played something they call The Mud Bowl every year since 1933, the same season Jerry Ford played center for the national champion Wolverines, and Columbia University won the Rose Bowl.

Back then, the leap from the Mud Bowl to the Rose Bowl was a lot smaller than it is today. Oh, and a new venture called the National Football League was little more than a decade old, but few cared. Today college football is a lot closer to the NFL than it is to the Mud Bowl – which still doesn’t charge its spectators a dime.

Last fall, I woke up on a cold, rainy Saturday morning to see the tradition for myself. [Full Story]

Column: Saving College Sports

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, who might be the smartest man in college sports, stood outside the Big Ten’s brand new offices last week, telling a group of reporters, “Maybe in football and basketball, it would work better if more kids had a chance to go directly into the professional ranks. If they’re not comfortable and want to monetize, let the minor leagues flourish.”

It isn’t clear if Delany’s comments reflected his deeply held beliefs, an offhand comment, or just a daring bluff – but if it’s the latter, it isn’t as daring as it seems.

By challenging the NFL and NBA to start their own minor leagues, Delany doesn’t have much to lose. He knows they won’t, because they have every reason not to. They’ve used the college leagues to develop their players from the day the pro leagues started. Why would they derail the gravy train now?

And even if they did, it wouldn’t cost the Big Ten much, if anything.

But if we call Delany’s bluff and play it out, we’ll see it leads to one idea that could actually save what we love most about college football: the passion no other sport can match.  [Full Story]

Column: Lessons the NCAA Needs to Learn

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

On November 5, 2011, Penn State’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on forty criminal counts, including the sexual assault of eight boys over a fifteen-year period, one of them in the showers of Penn State’s football building.

That put in motion a series of events that few could have imagined: it exposed the worst scandal in the history of modern sports; it led to the midseason firing of the iconic Joe Paterno; it prompted the hiring of little-known New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien; it resulted in Penn State’s commissioning the Freeh Report, which concluded university leaders knew enough about what Sandusky had done, but cared more about protecting the university’s image than his young victims; and it surely accelerated Paterno’s decline and death – all within three months of Sandusky’s arrest.

But Penn State’s troubles were far from over. [Full Story]

Column: Ghosts at the Big House

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Michigan football fans often wear funny pants and funny hats. They sing funny songs and tell funny stories.

But to Michigan fans, some things are not funny – and Appalachian State is about five of them.

You might recall those guys, who opened the 2007 season against the fifth-ranked Wolverines. Everybody made fun of Appalachian State, because nobody knew where it was. It turns out it isn’t even a state. I looked it up.

Their fight song didn’t make a very strong argument, either: “Hi-Hi-yike-us. No-body like us. We are the Mountaineers! Always a-winning. Always a-grinning. Always a-feeling fine. You bet, hey. Go Apps!”

“The Victors,” it was not.

No ranked team in the game’s top division, like Michigan, had ever lost to a team from Appalachian State’s division. The point spread was 27. Not since 1891, when the Wolverines opened the season against Ann Arbor High School, did Michigan’s home opener seem like such a mismatch.

Until the game started, that is. [Full Story]

EMU: Latipha Cross

An ESPN report profiles Latipha Cross, a student at Eastern Michigan University who struggled with family and health issues in middle school and high school while becoming a track-and-field standout. The video includes an interview with Zach Glavash, EMU’s assistant coach for women’s track and field. [Source]

Column: Taylor Lewan Leads the Band

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

With the college football season finally behind us, I wanted to write a sweet little story about a very good guy who plays football for Michigan. But every time I tried, some bad news got in the way.

The first obstacle was Lance Armstrong. In case you missed it – perhaps you live on Mars – it turns out the man who came back from cancer to win a record seven Tours de France and write two bestselling books about his inspirational story is a complete fraud. He was taking performance-enhancing drugs during his entire reign, and whenever someone tried to tell the truth about his drug use – even if they had been forced to – he went out of his way to ruin their careers, their finances, and occasionally their lives.

It appears Lance Armstrong is a genuinely bad person. So, that’s all the time I want to give him.

Now, back to college football. On Monday, January 7th – six days after New Year’s, when the college football season always ended in the old days – I stayed up until midnight to watch the national championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame. I don’t know why I stayed up that late. It was over after Alabama ran up an insurmountable 28-0 lead in the first half. But I did learn Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who already makes more than $5 million a year, earned an additional $400,000 that night. His players – who, as you might recall, actually played the game – received $500 of souvenirs. Think anything’s wrong with this?

I was heartened, at least, to see the head coaches at Penn State, Notre Dame and Oregon all turn down bigger salaries from the NFL to stay with their schools. Until, that is, Chip Kelly, the head coach at Nike University – er, the University of Oregon – changed his mind, took the money, and ran. But that’s barely news.

Okay, now can I get to my favorite story, about Michigan’s Taylor Lewan? No? There’s some bizarre story coming out of Notre Dame I’ve got to talk about first? [Full Story]

Column: 2012 in Sports – Good, Bad & Silly

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

2012 was a remarkable year in many ways, and the sports world was no exception. Here’s a look back on the sport year’s best and worst – and just plain silly.

Just a few hours into the New Year, Michigan State and Michigan both won January bowl games over ranked teams in overtime, and both finished with 11 wins – Michigan’s best record since 2006. A good start to the new year.

Not all the news was happy, of course. We said goodbye to some legends. Budd Lynch, who lost his right arm in World War II, announced Red Wing games for six decades, right up to his death this fall, at 95.

Another Bud, VanDeWege, ran Moe’s Sports Shops in downtown Ann Arbor for 46 years, turning thousands of Michigan fans into friends. He passed away at 83.

We also lost the great Bob Chappuis, another World War II hero whose plane was shot down over Italy, behind enemy lines. He hid for weeks, then returned to lead Michigan to a national title. Along the way, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine, and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting. Try to sing his praises, however, and he’d wave you off. “Everybody says we’re heroes,” he told me, with a twinkle in his eye. “But what kind of idiot wouldn’t jump from a burning plane?”

The most watched funeral was Joe Paterno’s, the longtime football coach at Penn State. His life ended on Jan. 22, but the debate over his legacy is very much alive. [Full Story]

Column: Let’s End the Football Bowl Charade

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

College football’s regular season ended Saturday, with the various conference championship games closing out a 14-week season. The next day, Sunday, the 35 bowl games sent out their invitations to 70 lucky teams. But when you look a little closer at their bowl offers, you have to wonder if those 70 teams were really that lucky at all.

The people who sell bowl games need us to believe a few things: (1) Their games are rewards for teams that had a great season; (2) They offer players and fans a much-wanted vacation; and (3) The bowls are nonprofits, while the schools make a killing.

These claims are nice – and would be even nicer if any of them they were actually true.

Forty years ago, college football got by with just 11 bowl games. The 22 teams the bowls invited were truly elite, and so were the bowls themselves – like the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and The Granddaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl. Back then, when your team got into a bowl game, you knew they’d done something special.

But in the past four decades, the number of bowls has more than tripled, to a staggering 35. The “bowl season” now stretches almost a full month, which is how many days you need to fit in such timeless classics as The Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, and the legendary Bowl. How many Taxslayer.coms fit into a bowl? It’s a question only theologians can answer. [Full Story]

Column: Enjoy Denard Robinson’s Time at UM

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Last week, the University of Michigan football team beat up University of Massachusetts, 63-13. Okay, U-Mass was pretty bad. Even the lowly Indiana Hoosiers crushed them the week before. But the Wolverines did exactly what they were supposed to do, and they did it very well.

Many Michigan fans complained anyway. This is not uncommon, or even unexpected. A few years ago, Michigan blew out 15th-ranked Notre Dame team 38-0, the first time Michigan shut out over the Irish in over a century. The next day, I challenged listeners on a sports talk show to find something to complain about. I thought I was joking. They did not, and had no trouble filling two hours with a steady stream of original complaints.

Michigan backers are intensely loyal, and they do not believe in winning at all costs, but some act more like opera critics than fans, less interested in cheering the team on than pointing out where the coaches and players could have done better. They are not happy unless they are not happy.

So, the day after Michigan slaughtered U-Mass, I was not surprised to hear fans complain about quarterback Denard Robinson’s performance. Mind you, Denard ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown, and passed for almost 300 yards, and three touchdowns.

And that, to one caller, was the problem: “I’m tired of living and dying with Denard.” In other words, Robinson was too good for that fan’s taste. [Full Story]

Column: UM’s Softball Winning Machine

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

This spring, the University of Michigan women’s softball team won its 15th Big Ten title, and fifth in a row. It went to the NCAA tournament – for the 18th straight season – and won its 14th NCAA regional crown, before losing on Friday in the super-regional to third-ranked Alabama.

In other words, just another typical season for Michigan softball – a team led by Carol Hutchins, one of Michigan’s best coaches, of any sport, in any era. Winning titles is what they do.

And this was not even one of Hutchins’ best teams.

That’s how well this machine runs – and make no mistake, it is a machine. Hutchins’ teams have won more Big Ten titles than the rest of the conference – combined. But it’s a machine she put together, part by part, one that took years of tinkering just to win her first race.

That Hutchins even got the chance was a bit of a miracle in itself. She grew up in Lansing, the fifth of six kids. Her own mom didn’t see the point in her playing sports, let alone competing. But Hutchins refused to quit. [Full Story]

Column: Finally, a Real Rivalry

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

The rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State in football is one of the best in the country. But it obscures the fact that, in just about every other sport, Michigan’s main rival is Michigan State.

In men’s basketball, there’s no team either school would rather beat than the other. The problem is, for a rivalry to really catch on, both sides need to be at the top of their game. Think of Bo versus Woody, Borg-McEnroe and, of course, Ali-Frazier, which required three death-defying fights just to determine that one of them might have been slightly better than the other.

The Michigan-Michigan State basketball rivalry, in contrast, usually consists of at least one lightweight. When Michigan got to the NCAA final in 1976, Michigan State had not been to the tournament in 17 years.

When Michigan State won the NCAA title in 1979, Michigan finished in the bottom half of the Big Ten.

When Michigan won back-to-back Big Ten titles in 1985 and ‘86, State wasn’t close. And when State rolled up four straight Big Ten titles under Tom Izzo, Michigan was headed for probation, and yet another coach.

Around that time, Izzo told me there was no reason, given the basketball talent in this state, that this rivalry could not be every bit as good as Duke and North Carolina. But for more than a decade, it was anything but. Izzo owned Michigan, winning 18 of 21 games through 2010.

But Michigan managed to sweep State last year for the first time in 13 years. And on Tuesday night, for only the fifth time in the rivalry’s long history, Michigan and Michigan State both entered their contest ranked in the top 20.

This was it. The rivalry finally looked like a rivalry. [Full Story]

Column: How Big Is Big (10) Enough?

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

College conferences are going through a major upheaval – perhaps the biggest in the history of college sports.

In the past year, we’ve seen Nebraska join the Big Ten, Colorado and Utah join the Pac-10, and, this week, Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the Atlantic Coast Conference – geography be damned. In fact, DePaul, Marquette and Texas Christian University just joined the Big East. Which raises the question: Just how big is the East, anyway? Big enough to swallow half the Midwest and a chunk of Texas?

I’ve noticed a lot of people who don’t care that much about sports seem to care a lot about this. For non-sports fans, college conferences are kind of like your parents as you get older. You might not check in with them every day, but it’s good to know they’re there, safe and sound.

Our conferences have been there much longer, of course. Way back in 1895, seven university presidents – not athletic directors or coaches – created what we now call the Big Ten. Those seven presidents didn’t do it to make money. They thought it unseemly for a university to charge anybody anything to watch their students play football. The presidents didn’t discuss marketing or “branding,” either. They simply wanted to ensure everybody representing their university was a bona fide student, an amateur athlete, and safe. A good start. The Big Ten served as the model for just about every conference that followed, coast to coast.

Like so much that is great about college athletics, those conferences formed organically and authentically, bringing together schools of similar size, quality and character. They also defined our regions better than any labels. [Full Story]

Column: Michigan Delivers Big in Big House

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Last weekend, for the first time in the history of Michigan football, they scheduled a night game, and invited Notre Dame to join the party.

But what if you had a night game, and nobody came? Well, that wasn’t the problem. The game attracted more than 114,000 people, another NCAA record.

To commemorate the event, Michigan wore “throwback jerseys” – which went back all the way to September 10, 2011. (Ask your grandparents.) Michigan’s jerseys have never had stripes – and when you saw them Saturday night, you appreciated just how wise Michigan’s founders had been. It was less about tradition than it was about trade.

But what if you invited the entire nation to watch your big game, and you laid an egg? In the first half, Michigan couldn’t have looked worse, trailing Notre Dame in first downs, 15-3. The only stat that was even close was the only one that mattered: the score. Notre Dame had completely dominated the Wolverines, but led only 17-7.

If lightning had been sighted near the end of the third quarter, with Notre Dame ahead 24-7, you could make a case for calling this game early, too. [Full Story]

Column: Remembering Jim Mandich

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

On Tuesday, the Michigan football family lost another beloved son, Jim Mandich, who died of cancer at age 62.

Regular readers of this space know I’ve had to write a few elegies already this year, and I’m not sure if we can bear another one right now.

I’m not sure Mandich would want any more, either, beyond his funeral. As he told Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News last fall, after he was diagnosed with cancer, “I said to myself, ‘No whining, no complaining, no bitching. You’ve lived a damned good life. You’ve got a lot to be thankful for.’”

And he did, including a great NFL career and three grown sons – good guys, good friends. But I’m sure he’d like to be remembered – don’t we all? – and I thought you might enjoy a story or two about an unusually talented and charismatic man. [Full Story]

Column: Michigan Hockey’s Cinderella

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Last year, Michigan’s men’s hockey team was in danger of breaking its record 19-straight appearances in the NCAA tournament – a streak that started before many of the current players were even born. They were picked to finish first in the league – but they finished a disastrous seventh, unheard of in Ann Arbor.

The only way they could keep their streak alive was to win six league playoff games to get an automatic bid. Oh, and they’d have to do it with a back-up goalie named Shawn Hunwick, a 5-foot-6 walk-on who had never started a college game. Things looked bleak, to say the least.

But the kid caught fire. The Wolverines actually won all six games, they stretched their streak to 20 straight NCAA tournaments, and Hunwick won the league tournament MVP award. He was like Rudy – with talent.

But there are no sequels for Cinderella. One run is all you get. [Full Story]

Column: A Corn-Fed Rube’s Rant

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

This spring the Big Ten Conference added Nebraska, giving the league 12 teams.

So, what do you do – change the name to the Big 12? No, because that name’s already taken by another conference – which, naturally, now has 10 teams. So the Big Ten decided to keep its name – and change everything else, starting with the logo.

Now, to handle all this, they could ask some corn-fed rubes like you and your cronies, but you would probably do something silly like draw on the Big Ten’s unparalleled 115-year history and come up with something simple, honest, and authentic. Or you might just pay some art student a hundred bucks to make a new logo, like Nike did years ago, to create some swoosh-looking thing. It was so embarrassingly bad they got rid of it as soon as they could, which is why you’ve probably never seen it.

And that just won’t do, you mouth-breathing Midwesterner. Why, you probably don’t even use “networking” as a verb. You disgust me.

No, what you’ve got to do is lay yourself at the mercy of high-priced international image consultants – the kind of “branding experts” who cover the euro currency with geometrically perfect structures that never existed and name the streets of our finer subdivisions after purely abstract concepts, which are as suitable for your municipality as they are for Mars – and let them tell you what you’re supposed to like.

And, thank God, that is exactly what the Big Ten did! [Full Story]

Column: The Rivalry

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Ten years ago, ESPN viewers voted the Michigan-Ohio State football game the best rivalry in the nation. Not just in college football, or football in general, but in all sports. Since 1935, it’s held a privileged spot as the last game of the Big Ten season. More college football fans have seen this rivalry, in person and on TV, than any other.

HBO has produced dozens of sports documentaries, but only one on college football: the Michigan-Ohio State game. They titled it simply, “The Rivalry.” They did not feel they had to explain it.

But when the Big Ten added Nebraska, everything seemed up in the air, including the Michigan-Ohio State game. Next fall the Big Ten will have 12 teams, playing in two divisions, culminating in a title game – all new.

So that raised a few possibilities – not to mention plenty of rumors and fears. [Full Story]

Column: The Crazy Days of June

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

For college coaches and athletes, June is supposed to be reserved for easy chores like conducting camps, fixing tackling dummies and replacing nets.

Well, so much for the lazy, hazy days of summer. This has been one of the craziest Junes of all time.

The NCAA finally completed its four-year investigation of the cesspool that is the University of Southern California’s athletic department. The NCAA was shocked – shocked! – to discover USC’s boosters were giving tens of thousands of dollars to their star players. (The NCAA officials must have been the last folks to know.)

But, to its credit, the NCAA actually came down with some consequences: a two-year ban on bowl games, and the loss of 10 scholarships for the next three years. The school cheated for wins and for money, and their punishment will cost them wins and money – though probably not as many wins and as much money as they gained by cheating.

That would have been pretty big news by itself. But then the Big Ten started talking about expanding, which sent every major conference into a paranoid frenzy, trying to keep their leagues intact. Rumors started flying about this school and that conference. Some said the Big Ten might expand to as many as 16 teams, including Notre Dame, and the Big Eight, the Big East and maybe even the venerable ACC would collapse. [Full Story]

Column: Against All Odds

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Michigan first baseman Mike Dufek stepped up to the plate in the tenth inning. The bases were empty, which in this game was rare.

Northwestern had shot out to an early 14-0 lead. We’re not talking football here, folks, but baseball. Then, incredibly, the Wolverines clawed back, run by run, until they tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. That brought Dufek up in the tenth inning, with the game in his hands.

That Dufek had even gotten that far was a story in itself. [Full Story]

Column: Only in America

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

The wonderfully named Zoltan Mesko was born and raised in Timisoara, Romania, right on the Hungarian border. Like his parents, Mihai and Elizabeta, Zoltan speaks both languages fluently.

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, life improved dramatically for most people living behind the Iron Curtain – but not much for Romanians. His parents, both engineers, could not leave the country until they won Romania’s Green Card lottery – yes, they had one – in 1997, when Zoltan was ten.

They quickly discovered Hollywood’s depiction of America didn’t quite match their apartment in Queens. It was dirty and cramped – even for just three people – and too expensive, so they moved to Twinsburg, Ohio, right outside Cleveland.

Zoltan learned English in about two months. His parents took two years, but understanding American culture took a little longer. [Full Story]

Column: Don’t Mess with March Madness

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

March Madness is one of the best sporting events of the year, every year, on a very short list with the Super Bowl, the World Series and the Olympics. But March Madness is the most inclusive – and, in some ways, the purest.

The tournament’s 65 teams came from 31 states this year. Schools like Gonzaga and Winthrop, Lehigh and New Mexico State all got to play.

What separates March Madness from the other events is that we get to play, too. Every office runs a hoop pool, and the winner is never the ESPN-addicted sharpie in sales, but the receptionist who picks her teams based on her favorite colors. It’s a beautiful thing. [Full Story]