What a weekend in sports. In honor of this big weekend, I believe I will do a news and notes column this week, otherwise known as hodge podge and/or grab bag. In other words, let’s hunt.
Major League Baseball
This just in, the Astros and Braves game 4 has just ended. What a game. I had no idea that I had the stamina to make it through an 18 inning game. Is it wrong that I was disappointed we didn’t hit 20?
How big was Roger Clemens in this game? He was the last man standing and kept the Braves at bay long enough for Kentucky boy Chris Burke to hit the biggest home run of his career. It was a great game and had a great finish. Instant classic.
The other Sunday game was a good pitcher’s duel between the Yankees and the Angels with the Yankees winning the chance to fly across the country to get beat and fly back home to watch the rest of the playoffs on TV. Good series with a somewhat surprising outcome.
This next set of games should be better than the first round. I really believe that the Astros will give the Cardinals a scare. Their pitching is top notch and they have just enough offense to keep things close. Not to mention they have the best closer left in the game in Brad Lidge. Don’t be surprised if the Astros get past the Cards, but I am sticking with my initial pick of the Cardinals to win it all.
The American League Championship Series is a TV ratings nightmare. I bet Fox was praying for Red Sox vs. Yankees, but they would have settled for either the Red Sox or the Yankees vs. whomever.
Now they have to deal with two teams that I’m guessing advertisers will not believe can pull in huge ratings in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Orange County in the state of California on planet Earth and the Chicago White Sox. They may not put up big ratings, but it will be a good series and any time you have a World Series without the Yankees or Red Sox that is a good thing.
If all things were equal, I would say that the Angels would be the favorites, but they have lost their 20 game winner, Bartolo Colon, and were involved in 5000 miles of air travel and three time zone changes in 51 hours. I believe this will take a toll and a Chicago team will finally make it to the World Series. Unfortunately for Cubs fans, it will be the White Sox.
As for my initial picks, I apparently do not know the American league that well. I don’t know what got into me. I also had gotten the first round of the NBA playoffs mixed up with the first round of the baseball playoffs.
No, no, you are right; there are only 5 games in the opening round of the baseball playoffs. You got one over on me so savor the flavor, it won’t happen again. Well, at least until next week or the end of this column.
NFL and College Football
What is going on in the NFL? You have teams that can’t win games one week that kill teams the next and you have teams that look like Super Bowl contenders one week get blown out by also rans the next week. The NFL is so schizoid I am not sure they even know what to expect from week to week.
The announcement of the death of Brett Favre was premature. I realize he is not the best quarterback in the league, but I can tell you he is in the top 10 easily. He has nothing to work with on his team and he leads them on an unbelievable comeback run against the Carolina Panthers and he leads his team to a total humiliation of the New Orleans Saints. He is not as good as he used to be, but he is still very, very good and very fun to watch.
After losing to the San Diego Chargers in an embarrassing game at home, it looks like the New England Patriots have somewhat got things back together. It is hard to believe a team could lose so many players to injury and just replace them and move on and keep winning big games.
The Patriots may not be the favorite to win the Super Bowl right now, but they are definitely in the mix of favorites. If we haven’t learned it yet, you can’t count them out no matter what happens.
We go now to the college ranks and USC is just rolling over people, at least in the second half of games. USC may get into trouble if they run into a good ball control team and they let that team get ahead of them in the first half as USC is wont to do.
If USC has to battle back in the second half of a game in which their opponent is methodical and holds on to the ball for extended periods of time during their offense, then USC will have some trouble winning. USC’s defense is good, it’s not great, but it could struggle against a good offense that knows how to kill the clock. Perhaps a Notre Dame type team? We will have to watch and see.
I am just glad that we have so many undefeated teams left. The more undefeated teams left, the better chance for a cluster mess when it comes time to pick the teams for the BCS championship game. I want a tournament and the best way to get that is for the BCS to have to leave deserving teams out of the championship mix, unfortunately for those teams.
In other college football news, the University of Kentucky football team is not good. In fact they are horrible and I hate to say that because I know they are trying, but they just do not have the horses to run in the SEC.
They have surpassed Vanderbilt as the worst team in the league and like an esteemed colleague of mine at a rival newspaper, I will make a prediction. UK will not win another football game all year and I expect some heads to roll in the off-season. If heads do not roll, then I have to wonder why fans should even watch or support the Cats if no effort is being made to get better.
You don’t know how good it makes me feel to type those words. It actually warms the cockles of my heart, whatever cockles are. This weekend marks the beginning of the college basketball season with the first practices in Division 1.
UK will of course be having their annual Big Blue Madness, as I am sure many other schools will be having their own celebrations, and it will give us a first look at what to expect this season. It will also give UK fans the only reason to be optimistic and hopeful when it comes to sports in October.
I have nothing else about college basketball, I just wanted to type the words and just sit in the warmth of the monitor and daydream about upcoming games.
This is the end of the road; I have to get prepared to go on a road trip this weekend that will hopefully lead to a good idea for a column next week. If it does, it would be a first. Until next week, you stay classy, Ohio County.