Obviously, this piece is in response to a, "Dear Gary" email or letter written to CBS Sportsline contributor Gary Parrish, a guy I generally respect, which was identified earlier in this fanshot. In his response, Parrish lists the top basketball programs in this order:
1. North Carolina
5. Ohio State
Obviously, many Kentucky (and as it turns out, non-Kentucky) fans blanched at this list, and in the opinion of this writer, rightly so. Ohio State and Texas both are fine programs, to be sure, but better than Kentucky?
Before I go off with a tirade, let's see if Gary can defend himself:
Ohio State and Texas have endless resources and great recruiting bases.
Trust me, in basketball circles, those are now considered "great" jobs.
(Why do you think Rick Barnes didn't leave Texas for Kentucky?)
All that is true, but let's face it -- does "endless resources and great recruiting bases" really trump seven national championships and the winningest college basketball program in America? I wonder if he really means to make that argument, or if he is just trying to convince himself that the ease of staying at schools with obviously inferior basketball traditions, results, and, well, programs is really why Rick Barnes announced his intention to stay in Austin? It is also a fact that Barnes was never offered the Kentucky job, and likely would not have been, at least until after Gillispie turned it down (which as we all know, didn't happen).
Scrolling further down, we find this attempt to revise and extend his argument:
I actually think the tempered passion for basketball at a place like Texas or Ohio State makes the job more attractive.
At OSU, you can lose to Gardner-Webb in November and nobody really cares because Beanie Wells is still playing.
Try that at Kentucky, and the fans want to kill you.
On another note, the natural recruiting bases for Texas and OSU are better than the natural recruiting base for Kentucky. So all things considered, I think I'd rather have the Texas job or the OSU job more than the Kentucky job because even though they are less prestigious they would probably give me the best chance to succeed at a high level (and without the day-to-day pressures I might deal with at Kentucky).
Again, this is all subjective, I know.
But that's how I would state my case for Texas and Ohio State over Kentucky.
So here, Parrish uses the contradictory to prove his point, i.e. that because Texas and Ohio State care less about basketball (and they do) than football, their basketball jobs are better. But the weird thing is, he ranks North Carolina and UCLA above Ohio State and Texas as if their fans wouldn't care about a Gardener-Webb loss, and as if their fans were as forgiving of the failures of Matt Dougherty and Steve Lavin, respectively, as the UT and OU fans would be of such a debacle.
Not only that, but Parrish's argument would seem to just as strongly support a claim that Florida is a better job than Kentucky for precisely the same reasons. Florida's argument using Parrish's reasoning should be resoundingly stronger in that they not only have all the advantages Parrish advances as justification for Texas and Ohio State, but they have won more championships in the modern era and arguably have a better basketball tradition over the last decade than either Texas or Ohio State, yet they are unranked and unmentioned by Gary.
Parrish is right that listing teams like this is subjective, but it's not that subjective. His subsequent claim isn't just baseless, it's unworthy of any thinking person and can't be rationally defended. For a fact, he doesn't even try to approach the problem rationally, but with some weird claim that easier local recruiting bases and dispassionate fans make for a better job than wildly passionate fans, a peerless tradition and a national recruiting reach. Absurd, I know, but what if we just throw reason aside for some kind of wacky "feel-goodism," this is the sort of result you can expect.
Love ya, Gary, but sorry. This one is as much of a blowout as UK vs. UMSL, and you are way, way down on the short end.