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Our sports guy answers the questions you didn't even know you wanted to ask

I don't get much reader mail. I didn't realize this until the other day, when I actually did get an email from someone who cited something I've written about, so I guess that counts.

It got me thinking: If I did get mail—for instance, if I wrote about things our readers cared about enough to respond to—what would it be like?

(Cue Wayne and Garth wiggling their hands in front of themselves, repeating "doodle-oo, doodle-oo, doodle-oo ...)

Dear Mr. Peterson: Why does Arizona basketball keep insisting on doing "White Out" themes for basketball games? Doesn't that sound racist?

Let's face it, kids. Everything related to college athletics is done based on TV. The tipoff and kickoff times that have irked and infuriated Arizona hoops and football fans (far more the latter than the former) the last few years are here to stay, especially if the UA wants to keep its athletic department self-sufficient.

But TV dictates more than just the start times and whatnot. ESPN likes to make its games and matchups as appealing as possible to the viewers beyond just having good teams involved. It's why the Dec. 7 game against UNLV was chosen for this year's "White Out" contest.

Looking at the Wildcats' home schedule this year, not only was UNLV by far the best nonconference opponent, it was also the only Saturday home game that ESPN picked up for Arizona this year. Most of Arizona's ESPN games are either on the road or on a Thursday night, and doing a gimmick like having the crowd wear the same color—on that note, I think red or blue would look much better than white—isn't something you strive for on a 10 p.m. EST telecast.

ESPN manipulates things because it can, and because schools are at the mercy of that almighty dollar. It's why, for instance, several bowl games that ESPN actually owns had their pre-determined league-vs.-league matchups moved around last weekend in order to get better matchups. It's why Oregon State, which lost its final five regular season games, gets to be on TV on Christmas Eve—in Hawaii—playing Boise State instead of the expected matchup of teams like North Texas and San Diego State.

Beavers vs. Broncos makes for much better TV.

Hey Mr. Pedderson: What do you think of this Jim Monaco guy who's gonna coach Pima football? Is he any good? And will he make a difference?

I don't know if Jim Monaco will be able to get Pima Community College back to the level it was during its years under Jeff Scurran, but at least the ride is going to be fun.

In my 19 years covering football at all levels in Tucson, Monaco has been one of the most enjoyable coaches to be around. Dating back to when his son, Chris, was a pretty good quarterback at Sahuaro High School (and Monaco was an assistant), he's been nothing short of open, available and helpful.

And one of the greatest quotes ever. He's still a Boston guy despite having lived out here more than 25 years, and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. I've heard him tell a player (in a completely nonthreatening way) to please act like he's somewhat athletic, as well as describe another's player's lackluster tackling effort as trying to cop a feel off the prom queen.

For a coach who is taking over a program that looked at this season's 5-5 record as a huge success, you can't ask for a better guy. I just hope I'm within earshot when he drops some of his gems.

Yo, Pendersen: Whatever happened to that Grant Jerrett guy? He should've never left after one year. He's probably asking people if they want to jumbo-size their meal, right?

Count me among the thousands of people (not just locally, but throughout college basketball) who thought Jerrett's decision to bolt to the pros following his freshman season was ... not a good one, to put it in clean language.

NBA teams didn't think so, though, because Portland took him in the second round in the June draft. Then Oklahoma City traded for him that same night.

Jerrett never signed with the Thunder, but that was apparently a strategic move. Had he signed, then been cut (which is common for second-round picks), he could have been in the pro limbo that many left-too-early players end up.

Instead, he ended up as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA's Developmental League (known as the NBDL), and is still the property of OKC. And playing for the Tulsa 66ers, Jerrett is looking mighty impressive: Despite the team being a miserable 1-9 as of last weekend, Jerrett is averaging 17 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

On Dec. 11, he had 27 points and eight rebounds.

Whether we'll ever see him in the NBA, who knows. For now, though, Jerrett is at least avoiding looking like a flaming idiot for leaving Arizona so early.

Hi Mr. Perdserson! I have a question: Has the Arizona Interscholastic Association budgeted any of the money it made from exorbitant state playoff admission prices to commission long-range weather forecasts so it can start pre-postponing postseason soccer games in February?

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm beating a dead horse. But I still can't believe the AIA decided that rain, of all things, warranted pushing back high school football state semifinal games three days. As a result, schools that won on a Monday night were playing on Friday, which could have led to serious injuries for players who might have been forced onto the field despite not being healed from dings suffered the game before.

Thankfully, none of that happened in the two games that I saw at Arizona Stadium (including Salpointe Catholic's championship victory). But I still blame the AIA for the fact that 10 of the 21 extra points attempted in those two games were either missed, blocked or completely botched.

Kickers, holders and long-snappers need practice, too!

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