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Badgers should not play Cal Poly

First impressions, second thoughts and the third degree:

Nothing against Cal Poly or its many fine alums -- John Madden, "Weird Al" Yankovic and Ozzie Smith to name three -- but it's time to make it a matter of policy the University of Wisconsin not schedule opponents unless they're an NCAA Division I-A program.

UW athletics has a policy against scheduling schools with Native American nicknames deemed offensive by the NCAA. By the sounds of things, Badgers football fans are significantly more put off being asked to pay good money to see the likes of Cal Poly, The Citadel (2007) and Western Illinois (2006) parading through Camp Randall Stadium.

UW football coach Bret Bielema said there were talks with 20 big-boy schools about filling the Nov. 22 slot. If even one was agreeable, a deal should have been made because Badgers fans deserve the biggest possible bang for their season ticket buck.

As for complaints from UW athletic director Barry Alvarez about mid-major opponents holding schools like his hostage for one-time, big-money guarantees, what's the difference between that and UW demanding the game be played in Madison in the first place?

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• It's not at all surprising that St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa wanted to sign Barry Bonds. After all, LaRussa's already had valuable experience turning a blind eye to a steroid user with social issues and a penchant for setting home run records.

• A popular topic of discussion in the NFL is reseeding teams for the playoffs, but if there's a league that needs it more -- immediately, if not sooner -- it's the NBA where 10 clubs in the Western Conference are above .500 and only five are playing that well in the Eastern Conference.

• Leader in the clubhouse for best quote from spring training is courtesy of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who told pitcher Livan Hernandez to lose the diamond earrings when he pitches: "We don't wear bling blings on the field."

• Give former Badgers cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu credit for coming clean on the extent of his knee injury, but since the mess was made with malice by his agent Drew Rosenhaus, it makes you wonder how smart Ikegwuonu is to retain such a deceitful adviser.

• What has the better chance of happening in 2008: 1. Packers general manager Ted Thompson trading up in the NFL draft; 2. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin signing first baseman Prince Fielder to a multi-year contract given Fielder is represented by hard-line agent Scott Boras; 3. Bucks general manager Larry Harris getting one more year to unravel the mystery?

• As soon as Kelvin Sampson agreed to step down as Indiana men's basketball coach -- he got a $750,000 buyout even though he's on the hook for a another round of major NCAA rules violations -- his players should have been free to transfer to another school without penalty.

-- Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune

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