Why did Conference USA invite that bunch?
n Marshall fans can watch the Herd's best player in person on Monday, Feb. 10 at WVU Coliseum. The problem is he is leading Iowa State to the promised land. (See story, Page 1B.)
(All ye who said Kane was out of position at point guard last season, raise your hand. No fibbing.)
That leads me to wonder: If Marshall suffers a 20-loss season and Herd fans have to watch Kane in the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, then what?
n I played Muirfield Village in May. If you know me and my lack of golf aptitude, you know that's a recipe for ugliness.
On the 15th hole, I didn't even count the strokes. After yanking the tee shot about 400 yards left and dunking three in the creek, I pretty much croqueted the ball down the fairway. On the 16th hole, I paid proper homage to Tiger Woods' 2012 chip-in by chunking one from the same spot.
I expected Jack Nicklaus himself to come out of nowhere in a golf cart and haul me off the grounds. He didn't, and I had a great time in spite of my ineptitude.
n The Greenbrier Classic has a lot of luck, much of it bad.
Pick your poisonous event. Phil Mickelson, later citing his inability to adjust to the 1,800-1,900-foot altitude. It didn't help that he hooked his tee shot into the creek on the 17th the first day, taking a triple bogey.
After missing his second straight cut, don't expect him back. The 43-year-old says he's planning to pare back his schedule in 2014, limiting his run-up to the British Open to the Scottish Open (week after the Classic).
The 40-something stars are cutting back their play. Steve Stricker, who played here in 2011, played only 13 times in 2013 and won more than $4.4 million.
Even more unlucky: Golf's next big thing, Jordan Speith, won his first tournament in the event after the Greenbrier, the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities. He almost certainly plays there in 2014, so he would have to play three weeks in a row to come here.
Don't fret too much, though — that tournament will still attract a decent field. Writer Jason Sobel, who conned his employers at Golf Channel into putting him up in The Big House, witnessed perhaps the most relaxed atmosphere players can find on the grinding PGA Tour.
n And finally, with the death of the BCS, I am wondering how Conference USA will break those ties that can't be broken by head-to-head competition. As you may remember, the league used a modified version of the BCS formula, to which senior associate commissioner denied was a modification.
So the Herd was sent to Rice for the C-USA championship game, where the controversy over the game site was quickly redirected to angst over the Herd's performance. As it should have been.
My suggestion: Since there is no way on Earth C-USA should consider a neutral site, why not simply alternate between East and West champions for the host teams? Would be a lot simpler.
n And finally, a shout-out to the folks at Channel 13 for their continued airing of the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Cincinnati Bengals, when the situation arises. One of my finest weekly rituals of the fall is listening to Huntington radio personality Paul Swann wail about that on Monday.
With that, crawl into your bunker tonight to watch the ball drop, and have a happy 2014.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him