Talking Points: Not like the old days

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

1

Remember when college basketball was a big deal? When a visit by Stanford would have been a can’t-miss event in Pullman? When a win over UCLA would have had Oregon State’s Gill Coliseum rocking? When a narrow win over USC would have had Oregon’s Mac Court quaking?

Such times are gone. Long gone. On Thursday, the three events listed above attracted fewer than 20,000 fans — combined.

True, the Huskies had an announced audience of close to 10,000 for their game against Cal. But that was for a game between two of the better teams in the Pac-12 in a metropolitan arena.

There are many reasons college basketball has lost its buzz: Too many teams make the NCAA tournament. Too many games on TV. League play means too little — thanks to conference tournaments. Too many of the better players flee early to the NBA.

It’s all too bad.

2

These must be unsettling times for St. Louis Rams season-ticket holders.

The NFL has announced that the Rams will play one of their home games in London for each of the next three seasons. That means only seven home games in St. Louis, and next season the Rams will play perhaps their most attractive home game, against the Patriots, at Wembley Stadium.

The announcement certainly seems to indicate that owner Stan Kroenke is not committed to St. Louis. Nothing original about that. Team owners can do what they want — and Kroenke wants improvements to the St. Louis stadium and his lease, which expires after the 2014 season. We doubt that it’s a coincidence he agreed to play one home game in England until then.

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