Keeping Score: No foolin’ football

Published: 4/9/2021 5:46:20 PM

Good morning!
Ten days ago Sunderland’s John Zewski sent me a link to a site called A10Talk.com, which as the name implies is geared for fans who follow the Atlantic 10 Conference.

“Have you seen this?” he texted.

I looked at the lead story and replied, “Well, whattya know!”

“A-10 To Bring Back Football” it proclaimed, but the real shock was that UMass was joining the resurrection. “Massachusetts will be dropping down from the FBS to join the A-10, with the administration citing the fact that UMass has fully accepted its new identity as a hockey school.”

It all made perfect sense, and it was a relief that the powers that be in the administration — President Marty Meehan, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Athletic Director Ryan Bamford — had seen the light.

And then Zewski dropped the other shoe. “It’s an April Fool’s joke,” he said. “I fell for it, too.”

The spoof was penned by Jack Godar, a Holy Cross grad who covers the St. Louis Billikens basketball team. He correctly observed that the A-10 sponsored I-AA football from 1997-2006, according to americafootballdatabase.fandom.com. Perhaps unwittingly, he had tipped his hand how other schools think of UMass as an easy win on the basketball court but an unstoppable force on the ice.

Everyone I sent the link to fell for it except Marty Marroon. Marty’s bitter that Tre Mitchell is transferring, but remains confident that UMass will qualify for March Madness one of these centuries.

“Wow that is very interesting,” Dave Lorenz responded.

“About time,” texted my son Mat.

“Are you kidding me?” exclaimed Jim Reid, the former UMass football coach. Informed it was an April Fool’s joke, Reid paused for a long moment and said, “I want to reach through this phone and strangle you.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Then again, I guess you can.

■■■■

SQUIBBERS: Mike McMahon of College Hockey News compares UMass goalie Filip Lindberg to former UMass-Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who’s now with the Winnipeg Jets. … Taylor Hall, the NHL’s top overall pick in the 2010 draft and the 2017-18 MVP, has two goals in 37 games for the Sabres, who signed him to a one year deal for $8 million in the offseason. … The Minnesota Twins are playing strictly afternoon games at Target Field until the conclusion of the Derek Chauvin murder trial. … Shortly after Floyd’s death, Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins tweeted he wears No. 10 in honor of his cousin who was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he was busted for $600 worth of drugs. … Hockey is provincial in Beantown, which might explain why BC’s radio analyst compared the Eagles losing to St. Cloud State with a high school game: “I saw Woburn come back from 3-1 today against St. John’s, but this is different.” … A caller to Sirius-XM’s baseball channel blamed the Cubs’ decline on a former front office boss: “Theo (Epstein) left the house on fire like he did in Boston.” … WEEI’s Will Flemming on last weekend’s three-game sweep by the O’s: “It’s disheartening. Baltimore is trying to lose and they’re beating us.” … Relief pitcher Jordan Romano is the only Canadian on the Blue Jays roster. … Props to Marcus Camby for tweeting his congrats to the UMass hockey team. No complaints, but beating Bemidji State and Lake Superior State in the NCAA Regionals was like the Patriots cakewalking through the AFC East during the Brady years. … Enduring in the age of Covid, the champion Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team spent 86 days in hotels this season. … Todd Pletcher’s 3-year-old colt Bourbonic won last week’s Wood Memorial at 72-1 odds and front-ended a 10-cent superfecta that paid $2,072. … Baseball wags are comparing Rays southpaw Tyler Glasnow with Randy Johnson. He has the same hair and the same delivery, but Glasnow has 15 career wins and the Big Unit finished with 303. … Red Sox fans took some satisfaction watching Mookie Betts line out softly with the bases loaded for the final out in the Dodgers’ opening day loss to the Rockies. … Ron Roenicke must be laughing in his homebrew watching Chaim Bloom struggle to put a winning Red Sox team on the field. … The odds were 22-1 that Baylor would beat Gonzaga by between 16-20 points on Monday. They won 86-70. … A John Sterling anecdote about John Cameron Swayze reminded me of a slipup the famous newscaster made in the 1950s that was included on a blooper album: “President Eisenhower today visited the Chocolate City, Hershey, Pennsylvania, to visit all the people who make Hershey’s chocolate, with and without nuts.” Swayze realized his gaffe and laughed his way through a car commercial that promised low down payments. “And I’ll need $200 after this,” he gasped.

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for four decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached at chipjet95@yahoo.com


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