O'Donnell: November start to ACC basketball leaves Jim Boeheim seeing mean TV green
WAS IT THE O'JAYS OR JERRY REINSDORF who first sang "For the Love of Money?"
Buzz in whenever, but the theme certifiably belonged to college basketball this week.
Most prominently, it belonged to the once august Atlantic Coast Conference.
With some autumn leaves still hangin' down, the ACC opened its 2019-20 men's conference schedule.
On Nov. 5 and 6.
Fourteen of the conference's 15 teams began their seasons with league games. Only Duke -- natch -- did not.
Biggest travesty was at the Carrier Dome, where Jim Boeheim and Syracuse got out-iglooed by defending national champion Virginia, 48-34.
That was the lowest point total by the Orange in Boeheim's 44 years and since World War II.
Two reasons for the rusty tipoffs:
• The ACC Network -- owned by ESPN Inc. -- is in its first season; and,
• Following the lead of The Big Ten, the ACC has expanded its men's basketball schedules to 20 games.
Boeheim, quite naturally, was not a happy coacher afterward, telling media:
"I wish we'd have won so what I'm gonna say wouldn't matter, (but) you never want to play these league games early.
"It's stupid. It's just a money grab.
"They scheduled games for TV, for the TV money, so you gotta play 'em.
"Do they think it makes the conference look good?"
The ACC's mean green makes Jim Delany and his Big 10-4 look positively restrained.
They'll wait all the way until Dec. 6 to start their golden conference grind.
IF NOTHING ELSE, MITCH TRUBISKY now joins Edward R. Murrow and Newton Minnow as very public figures who have voiced acute concern about television.
Maybe harried No. 10 didn't match Murrow's intellectual alarmism ("only wires and lights in a box") or Minnow's stark wordsmanship ("a vast wasteland"), but he got his point across.
And truth be known, if Trubisky were serving as a committed media critic and said much of current TV sports available in Chicago is lacking in both originality and distinctiveness, who's to disagree?
He should also take his anti-electronica even farther:
Trubisky should demand that any versions of Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" and "Every Breath You Take" by The Police are permanently banned from audio systems at Halas Hall.
THE SUDDEN RETIREMENT of Li'l Tommy Edwards as Bulls public-address announcer didn't catch everyone off guard.
The all-time good guy and wife Mary Lou Grimes have long been splitting time between their stately North Shore estate and three adult children plus grandchildren in southern California.
The Bulls-Rockets game Saturday night was marked as LTE's finale.
He began in 1976-77 when the only musical bed beneath introductions of Artis Gilmore, Mickey Johnson and all at Chicago Stadium was keyboard accents by Nancy Faust.
When Michael Jordan landed on West Madison Street in 1984, the full evolution of the team's startup tune went from Jan Hammer's "Theme From Miami Vice" to a recurring loop of a segment of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to the now-iconic "Sirius" by The Alan Parson Project.
The inspiration for "Sirius" came one evening after Edwards and Mary Lou had watched a promotional screening at the Biograph Theater and the song came on as the credits rolled.
STREET-BEATIN': Chalk up another World Series ring for Buffalo Grove High: Nationals first base coach Tim Bogar (Class of '84) joins 1988 L.A. Dodger Mike Marshall (who had been dating prime-time Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go's at the time). Bogar, incidentally, made it through two rounds of interviews to become manager of the Mets last week before Carlos Beltran got the job. ... Why is there no local sports bar advertising a weekly "Jimmy G Watch Party" to keep happy tabs on Jimmy Garoppolo and the unbeaten 49ers? Gene and Jack McLaughlin and Jeff Brown at the original Sports Page in Arlington Heights would have had it done in a micro-nano back during their fun run. JG and SF go marquee again Monday night vs. visiting Seattle (ESPN, 7:15 p.m., Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland). ... Oh yeah: The Bears host Detroit Sunday (CBS, noon, Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, thank The Big Intelligence Above no Dick Stockton). ... Tim Byrne reports that a crafty way to beat the postgame traffic around Soldier Field is to snag a pedicab (or, as Daryl Morey might tweet, "rickshaw") to some ambient River North hangout: "With tip, $40, 30 minutes max and nothing but phenomenal scenery." (Of course you also have to figure a way to get into the game.). ... Increasingly budget-conscious Entercom is using staff from WSCR-AM (670) to program its beachhead sports signal in Milwaukee, branded as "105.7, The Fan." (That bottom-line cleaver is hovering over the corporation's Chicago cluster.) ... Championship thoroughbred owner Frank Calabrese celebrated a birthday this week. Along with the late Phil Georgeff, Dick Duchossois and fabled bugler Joe Kelly, Calabrese remains one of the most enhancing gentlemen of the game in the past half century of Chicago racing. ... Closer to the current abyss, a once-major trainer is selling his Northwest suburban farm and relocating to Kentucky. According to he: "Arlington ain't gonna have 'nuff hosses to run next year." ... Josh Appelbaum of Vegas Stats and Info (vsin.com) reminds that a blind chase move in early season college basketball is to bet unders on neutral courts. That squirrel nutter was working this week. ... And a great George McCaskey quote -- from December 1998: "The sense I get is people desperately want to see the Bears succeed and it's just ripping their guts out that right now we're not. We need to get it turned around."
• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.