InterMat senior writer T.R. Foley answers reader questions about NCAA wrestling, international wrestling, recruiting, or anything loosely related to wrestling. You have until Thursday night every week to send questions to Foley's Twitter or email account.
Do you want to read a past mailbag? View archives.
I've been in the process of moving for about ten days, which feels like three times that. I have effectively been moving for a month. The stress is overwhelming, but eventually your bed gets made, your ties get hung and the desk is restored to its proper order. But in the days before the satisfaction hits you, there are moments of pure insanity. What got me through?
There is no way to know for me to know what it felt like to only have I Love Lucy and Green Acres to watch every week, but it sounds ... limiting. Every night there is an hour-long program (45 minutes with DVR) that I must watch. HAVE TO WATCH. I don't like television all that much, and I despise video games, but I love a good story, and right now television is telling the best stories.
Here are the five shows you must be watching if you are to be of any interest at a cocktail party:
1. Homeland: The best show on television. Read Andy Greenwald's stuff at Grantland, and he'll bring you through some of Season 1.
2. Dexter: Michael C. Hall kinda walks like a wrestler. Yes, he's a serial killer, but he's got a heart. Somewhere. Maybe.
3. Jeff Lewis' Flipping Out: Pure entertainment. He's a brilliant interior decorator who loves to goof off. It's not the manliest show to announce to readers that you enjoy, but I can't get enough. (This could be a result of the recent move and hoping to find "inspiration" for decorating my new place.)
4. Mad Men: The long-running "Best Show on TV," which has been dethroned by Homeland, or ...
5. Breaking Bad: If you like Meth, I guess it's cool.
Nobody asked but I know you'll want to hear this. Remember that insufferable cement-head Trev Alberts,? He's the former Nebraska football player and ESPN College Gameday announcer, who miraculously became AD at the University of Nebraska-Omaha having never coached a team, or run a business, and who eliminated the school's storied wrestling program the night they won the DII national championship. WELL. Karma's a bitch, Trev. The little brat had made public his desire to vault himself from Omaha into the AD position at Nebraska once Tom Osborne left. Well Osborne is leaving January 1, but instead of hiring Alberts the school chose University of Miami AD Shawn Eichorst.
Gloating won't bring the team back, but it brings immense gratification to know that Albert's BIG PLAN to revive the UNO athletics program by cutting the wrestling program got the wimp a whole lotta NOTHING.
Now the quitter is left to live with his mistakes. I for one hope he's miserable and is left to reflect every night on his monumental irrelevancy.
To your questions!
Q: You mentioned before that you used to work in politics. Did you see the debates last night? What'd you think? Romney by tech fall?
-- Chris L.
Foley: I was once a young, idealistic politico. In college I was able to gain an internship with then-Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (IL-14), who is famously also a former wrestling coach. My experience on the Hill was as much about gawking at the political celebrities as it was learning the inner workings of politics. I got to work on some cool assignments, but ultimately I spent my summer watching the Chandra Levy drama play out and hoping I wasn't dumb enough to take an interview with CBS News about "How are interns on the Hill really treated?"
After college I worked on a campaign, had a massive falling out with the political process, and returned to the safety and warmth of the wrestling community.
Through these experiences I learned one lesson about politics and elections that will always be true: No matter what you think of these guy's policies the majority of politicians I've met really do love their country and are good people.
Who wins next month? Dunno. But I'm confident that both men will execute the duties of the office with integrity.
Q: Any idea when we find out the site? Des Moines in 2013, Oklahoma City in 2014, what's after? I read St. Louis, Philly, and Atlanta all plan to bid on it. Atlanta would be interesting, thoughts?
-- Frank C.
Foley: I'd move to Atlanta and was disappointed to hear that they wouldn't be hosting the event. If we are going to move the event around, which I've written before is counter-productive, then we do need to get the event out of the Midwest and into the American South. Another excellent host city could have been Charlotte. Big, clean, and a major hub airport the costs of travel would be low and the crowds would really enjoy the city.
I liked Oklahoma City in 2006, but would just as soon prefer to not return. Restaurants closed at 8 p.m.! And when fans and coaches can't eat, you get a lot of cranky people drinking too much booze on too empty of a stomach.
Q: What was the best weight class in an NCAA tournament in terms of MMA success? I suggest 1992, 190 pounds. Randy Couture, Mark Kerr, Jeff Monson. Crazy how I stumbled into that, watching the most recent UFC fight night saw Gunnar Nelson fight, Googled him and saw he beat Jeff Monson in grappling, read that Monson was a Pac-10 champ in 1992 and then Googled the 1992 NCAA tournament. Crazy.
-- Scott G.
Foley: First, I love that you and I email. Maybe the mailbag isn't he place to draw out an old relationship, but it says something about our sport that we can be in constant communication.
Here's the back story. Scott was the starting 157-pounder wrestler for N.C. State my junior season when I wrestled at the same weight class. We had hoped to see each other in the dual meet, but Scott was injured and at ACCs I was upset by the wrestler from UNC and didn't meet him in the finals. We've recounted over several emails how we would have liked to wrestle each other -- that our styles were so similar that the total points scored in the match was certain to have crested 30+. I should have won.
Oddly, I also seem to remember a boozy night after NCAAs in Kansas City in 2002 where broken by a 1-2 performance and later the blackjack table, you gave me cab money for a ride back to the hotel. I ended up getting taken for a ride by my cab driver (I saw Kansas), but I got home safely. I think I owe you $60.
Your question is interesting because of the old-ass names your research pulled. I've seen Jeff Monson grapple and fight but had NO IDEA he wrestled in college, much less became a Pac-10 champion. For Mark Kerr to be in the same bracket is impressive, mostly because MMA wasn't a career option in 1992.
I started to research which bracket was THE most ridiculous in terms of NCAA to MMA, but quickly recognized the task as a massive time suck. Here are two that I found quickly and thought were interesting.
2002, 174 pounds: Jacob Volkmann, Gerald Harris, Nate Coy, and Josh Koscheck
2001, 197 pounds: Mark Munoz and Chael Sonnen
There are plenty of others. Gray Maynard and Shane Roller were often in the same weights in college, and other guys like Urijah Faber slid into the lower weights. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say that you'd find the highest concentration of MMA talent from the past ten years at 184 pounds and 157 pounds. Lightweights, too, but the upperweights seem to be making the biggest impact.
Thanks again for the question. Check is in the mail ...
Q: Has there been any Division I team to have 10 All Americans at one time? What is the most any Division I team has ever had had at one time?
Foley:Ten. 2001 NCAA champion Minnesota Gophers placed 'em all and won the team title with no national finalists. Wild stuff.
Q: What ever happened to Frank Cagnina? He wrestled for Lehigh as a frosh then left and went to Iowa Central CC where he wrestled unattached. He then signed with Nebraska but he isn't on their 2012-2013 roster.
-- Tom G
Foley: Maybe Facebook isn't the most dependable research tool, but it looks like he's back in school, possibly in New Jersey. He had been trying to get into Nebraska but I think things fell through. However, he doesn't seem to be on the roster. He's a promising talent and I hope we can see him on the mats this season or next.
Q: Who are your write-in champs for the season? Any dark horses?
Alan Waters earned a No. 3 seed at the 2012 NCAAs at 125 (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)Foley: I don't want to shine too bright a light on my dark horses this early in the season, but there are always a handful of guys that could make a run at the NCAA title that are sometimes left unmentioned. First on my list is Alan "Running" Waters who has Sammie Henson devoting 12 hours a day seven days a week to making him an NCAA champion. Yes, Mighty McD is an almost lock to repeat, but if someone can creep in there and make this a finals to watch, I think it's the Bull's Waters.
My upperweight pick will be Matt Brown. It's not as sexy, because by now we all kind of expect that he'll be in the hunt, but I have a sneaking suspicion we are looking at an undefeated season heading into Big Tens and likely the NCAA tournament. To win the title after only being back on the mats for one-plus seasons would, in my opinion, put him in the hunt for postseason awards.
I don't often get too homerish about my beloved Cavaliers of Virginia, but I think you'll see as many as four All-Americans from them in 2013. It's a lofty expectation, but they've improved almost every year as a team and are loaded with talent, much of which might be labeled dark horse.
Look out for heavyweight Derek Papagianopoulos.
Q: Round-Robin Open Weight Battle of the Children's Television All-Stars
-Bill Nye the Science Guy
-Barney the Purple Dinosaur
-Mr. Rogers the Human
-Pee Wee Herman
-Steve from Blues Clues
-Levar Burton the Readin' Rascal
-Big Bird the Big Bird
-Wishbone the Jack Russell
-- Willy D.
Foley: After last night's debates I can only tell you that nobody has the popularity of the big yellow bird. Yowza. That upright bird has been entertaining kids for 30+ years and has a good enough reputation to not only be tossed about in a presidential debate, but to then trend and tweet on Twitter.
Second place goes to Bill Nye the Science Guy for his incredible rants. Note: I love the bow tie.
Dora the Explorer took third. She knows 27 dialects of Mandarin and once crafted a canoe from old backpacks and shoelaces.
You really entered Pee Wee Herman? Sick bastard!