Talking Points: Cool ... Winterhawks ranked third

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What’s the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

Tired of the heat wave? Here’s some news to cool off by:

The Portland Winterhawks are the top-ranked team in the Western Hockey League.

The Winterhawks are ranked third in the season’s first BMO Canadian Hockey League MasterCard Top 10 Rankings. The rankings are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

The Winterhawks have a league-high 15 players attending NHL training camps. Whether the Winterhawks live up to their preseason ranking will depend upon how many of their NHL-drafted players come back to Portland this season. That won’t be determined for a while.

But hockey fans don’t have long to wait. The Winterhawks open the season in two weeks, and they will raise a couple of championship banners at their home opener.

Pretty cool.

2

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports on Thursday wrote a fine column about college football’s headstrong rush toward mega-conferences. Among the casualties of conference expansion, Wetzel notes, could be traditional rivalries such as Texas A&M vs. Texas, which dates to 1894.

Wrote Wetzel:

College football’s enduring appeal includes history, tradition and regional rivalries, all of which are currently being spit on by the warring conference commissioners and duped university presidents, a group that likes to refer to itself as the “guardians of the game.”

He concludes with this blunt statement: “There’s one chief question on the table. Can anyone still claim the NCAA deserves to maintain its tax-free status because it isn’t a business — a big, cutthroat, shark-eat-shark business?”

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