Opinion column: Caple can’t explain Dick

By Jim Caple

First off, let me use this guest column to clear up some things.

No, I don’t know what Dick Vitale’s problem is, either.

Also, as friendly as everyone has been here at Illinois (and really, my liver does not need any more free kamikazes), I’m getting fed up with everyone demanding that I justify why my alma mater, Washington, is a No. 1 seed.

Get off my back, will you? One, the Huskies are third in the RPI. Two, they won the Pac 10 tournament. And three, they didn’t get their asses kicked by Ohio State.

My Final Four picks are Washington, Illinois, Syracuse and Kansas. I’m sorry that this information was not more readily available before the deadline for filling out your brackets.

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    And finally, no, I can’t get you a job at ESPN. Direct all resumes to ESPN at ESPN Plaza; Bristol, Conn.

    Anyway, I’m spending the NCAA tournament living my own personal March Madness. My editors at ESPN.com thought it would be a great idea to live on college campuses the entire tournament. Unfortunately, they did not take into account my liver. After a week here at the University of Illinois, my chances of surviving to the Final Four are about as good as Delaware State’s.

    In other words, I’ve had a pretty good time here. It really has been a great week. I slept two nights at the Sigma Psi Epsilon house and a night at the Blaisdell dormitory (well, slept is a relative term). Best of all I’m writing this Thursday afternoon while watching the opening games and drinking with four terrific women who invited me to spend the night in their apartment.

    And the engineering students claim that a liberal arts degree will never lead to a decent job.

    Of course, a few things have changed since I was a student at Washington two decades ago.

    One, the R.A.’s in the dorms hand out condoms now. This not was not done at the UW, and more to the point, it also was personally unnecessary.

    The staples of my student life are also sadly nonexistent. About half the students I ask say they’ve never bought a vinyl record. Many of you have never used a typewriter. I asked one student whether he had ever dialed a rotary phone and he replied, “No, but my grandma had one.” Ouch.

    But I am happy to report that some things have not changed. For instance, REO Speedwagon and Styx were playing on campus Thursday night. Well, I’m not so much happy to report that as I am appalled. REO Speedwagon I can almost understand since they’re from Champaign. But Styx? Good lord, we found them incredibly lame when I was back in school. And remember, we were so hopelessly out of it that Air Supply and Culture Club were big in those days.

    There has been far too little sleep and far too much alcohol but it’s been a wonderful experience – I think I even passed a midterm without ever attending class. It’s sort of been like the movie “Old School,” only I haven’t run through the Quad naked. Yet.

    Sadly though, I must leave scenic Champaign-Urbana this afternoon and head home for a weekend of recovery. I head to Tobacco Road for the second week of the tournament.

    Well, either Tobacco Road or the Betty Ford Clinic.

    Oh, and by the way, Washington will beat Illinois in the semi-finals and Syracuse for the championship. You read it here first.

    Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. You can read his reports from Illinois and throughout March Madness on Page 2 of the website.