Chris Graham: Musings on NASCAR, UVa-VMI, Notre Dame, the Cowboys

NASCAR SNOOZEFEST: I’m listening to Denny Hamlin on “The Scott Van Pelt Show” on ESPN Radio driving around in the Valley today, and I hear Hamlin say something that to me explains what is fundamentally wrong with NASCAR right now.

Asked by Van Pelt if at this stage of the NASCAR season he’d rather win races or finish a consistent top-five or top-ten, Hamlin didn’t hesitate.

“Top five, top ten, no question,” Hamlin said. The points system, he went on to explain, rewards drivers for consistent good finishes at the expense of the occasional great day at the track.

There you have it. Competitors are hard-wired to do everything they can to win, and then NASCAR, with a points system that only gives a small bonus to the first-place finisher, says, Ah, hell, win, finish second, finish sixth, whatever.

Another reason for Dale Sr. to turn over in his grave.

UVA-VMI … JMU-TECH? In a word, no. Not a chance.

The big question in Charlottesville this week: Who is Mike London’s #2 quarterback?

When that’s the issue, who gets into the game when it gets to be a blowout, yeah …

No offense to VMI and coach Sparky Woods. it’s just reality.

I’d love to see VMI competitive again. They’d have quite the home-field advantage with the stone buildings standing over the field to the north and the cadet section intimidating opponents.

Military schools have a tough time of it, obviously. They have to make do with kids who slip through the cracks, one, and two have to be willing to endure what other cadets have to endure when they sign up for school.

Duggar Baucom has done a good job turning the basketball program around, but he only needs to make good on three, four, maybe five recruits to put together a good product on the court. Woods needs to be right about 25, 30 times to field even a decent football squad.

AMERICA’S TEAMS: Are struggling on the football field. Notre Dame, under first-year coach Brian Kelly, is 1-2, though to be fair to the Irish, they’re literally two plays away in close losses to Michigan and Michigan State from being 3-0.

The Dallas Cowboys are 0-2 and face a stern test in 2-0 Houston this Sunday.

Give Kelly a year or two. He was the right hire for Notre Dame and will get that program turned around in short order.

Wade Phillips will not lead Dallas to a Super Bowl. A subpar season might be a silver lining for the ‘Boys long term, because it would finally force the hand of owner Jerry Jones to move on from the middling mediocrity that has overtaken that franchise toward some kind of direction for the future.


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