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Hickman: Answer Dude applies logic to confusion

MORGANTOWN — Did you know that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has the longest name in NFL history?

Did you know that odd-numbered interstate highways run north-south and those with even numbers go east-west?

Did you know that only two of the original 1940s-era NBA teams have never moved? They’re the Knicks and Celtics.

I did. That’s because I have the Answer Dude. He knows almost everything. And what he doesn’t, he makes up:

Dear Dude,

I’m hungry.

S. Napier, Storrs, Conn.

Dear S.,

Oh, stop your whining. I checked the NCAA 432-page rule book and it’s right there: “An institution can provide fruit, nuts and bagels to student-athletes at any time.’’

In other words, let them eat fruit, nuts and bagels.

What, you can’t live on fruit, nuts and bagels? Sheesh. Let me get back to you.

(Insert theme music from Jeopardy here)

OK, I just checked with the NCAA and they’ve done away with the fruits, nuts and bagels thing. They struck it from the rule (pending formal approval) and replaced it with the word “snacks.’’ There, are you happy now?

But please, don’t keep asking for more. You’re already permitted a place to sleep and study, free books, a tuition waiver and now enough food to keep you from going hungry at night and energized enough to compete in your sport at the highest level possible.

But this gravy train has to end somewhere.

Football coaches in the big five conferences now average more than $2 million a year in salary and the salary pool for their nine assistants is roughly the same. Basketball coaches average slightly less, although you couldn’t tell that from the $9.7 million Mike Krzyzewski made this year. The NCAA basketball tournament is underwritten by a $10.8 billion television contract, the new college football playoff will nearly quadruple yearly revenues over that of the old BCS and the athletic income generated by big five conference schools now ranges from $50 million to more than $160 million per year.

Shouldn’t you be thrilled just to be a part of all that? Here, take this Granola bar and shut up.

Dear Dude,

This whole Big 12 thing just isn’t working out. Our football team sucks, basketball isn’t much better and tradition and rivalries have been thrown in the toilet. Who do I complain to?

Dom, Morgantown

Dear Dom,

It’s all Oliver Luck’s fault. If it weren’t for him, we’d still be in the Big East playing Pitt and Syracuse and Rutgers and Louisville, all of whom were loyal to the cause. Ditto Virginia Tech and Miami and Boston College. We’d still be playing our conference basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden.

I hate the Big 12, too. It’s as if we were in a conference where we had to travel to Houston and SMU on a regular basis and one that brought back Temple and recruited East Carolina and Memphis. What’s next, adding trips to Tulane and Tulsa?

If only we could have landed in a league with stability and a huge television contract that wouldn’t have left us adrift in a rapidly-changing landscape. Then we could have tried to change and adapt and ride out the rough spots until then.

Oh well.

Dear Dude,

What chance do I have of playing this year?

William C., Baltimore

Dear William,

Well, now that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it?

Dana Holgorsen, the coach you’re coming to play for here, has a pretty good reputation for developing quarterbacks, last season notwithstanding. The thing is, though, he’s always done his best work with guys who have been around a little while.

Graham Harrell was in his third year at Texas Tech when he became the starter, he inherited Case Keenum after he’d redshirted a year and started one season, Brandon Weeden was roughly 40 years old and had played pro baseball when Holgorsen got him, and Geno Smith had a year as a starter under his belt and still needed time to adapt to Holgorsen’s system.

Then last year he tried a little of everything with a two-year backup (Paul Millard), a redshirt freshman (Ford Childress) and a fresh transfer (Clint Trickett). He seemed to like Trickett the most, but he was never healthy and hadn’t been around very long.

The gut feeling here is that Holgorsen goes with a healthy Trickett, who combines an ability to make plays and knowledge of the system better than anyone else available. But if Trickett again has trouble staying healthy, all bets are off.

Reach the Answer Dude, or Dave Hickman, at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.


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