Still not a lot of substantial Cubs news to report in the New Year. Jed Hoyer said that Matt Garza is feeling good, but that’s not news if you follow Garza on Twitter. And Theo Epstein sat for a radio interview with a station in Boston–you can listen to it here. I didn’t hear the full conversation, but it sounds like they were mostly interested in what he had to say about his former team, with only some sparse information about the Cubs sprinkled in.
In fact, the only MLB news that’s even (barely) worth mentioning is that the season will kick off with an Opening Night showdown between the two Texas teams and new AL West opponents. The Rangers will square off against the new-look Astros in a game that will mean a ton to baseball fans across Texas and virtually nothing to baseball fans anywhere else.
In college football, the Oregon Ducks coasted to a 35-17 win over the Kansas State Wildcats. As a fan of a Big 12 school, I saw my fair share of Kansas State this year, and I think the after-effects of one-time Heisman frontrunner Colin Klein’s injury are still holding him back. Oregon is always an overwhelming opponent, and they had the Wildcats on their heels from the first kickoff. Literally–they ran back to opening kick, and Kansas State never really looked like they could recover. One interesting subplot to the game was that it might be head coach Chip Kelly’s last with Oregon. Kelly is rumored to be a candidate for at least a few of the head coaching jobs. He’s got an interview sometime today with Buffalo, and with many NFL teams adopting versions of the relentless spread attack offense he’s arguably perfected with the Ducks, it’s safe to assume other teams will be interested in his services.
Chefs Chiefs likely won’t be one of those teams, as they appear close to an agreement with former Eagles head coach Andy Reid. I don’t know who loses out worse in that deal–Reid or the Chiefs. I wouldn’t say they’re an obvious fit–he struggles to succeed without legitimate playmakers, and a big name coach doesn’t solve any of the personnel problems in Kansas City. In fact, the only winners might be NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers, who can look forward to mining consistent laughs from how much Reid will look like the Kool-Aid man once he’s draped in Chiefs red.
One college coach who won’t be making the leap to the NFL is Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, who restated that he won’t interview for any jobs, choosing instead to remain with the Nittany Lions and help further revitalize their program. O’Brien was recently named the Big 10′s Coach of the Year.
Add another layer of senseless tragedy to the death of Dallas Cowboys practice squad player Jerry Brown, who died last month in a drunk-driving accident caused by friend and teammate Josh Brent. While Brent’s blood alcohol level was over twice the legal limit, Brown’s was under the limit, meaning that at least according to the law, he was sober enough to drive. Brent faces manslaughter charges.
Finally, scientists in England studying Noroviruses–a particularly explosive kind of flu that usually includes, among other dignity thieves, projectile vomiting–have built an anatomically accurate robot to simulate the spray from that projectile vomiting to help them ascertain how the virus is spread. So far absolutely nothing at all has been accomplished, mainly because they’re just having too much fun playing with their puking robot.