I'm going to try and list 13 things to look out for on the upcoming weekend, doing it on Thursdays because the weekend officially starts on Friday plus it gives people time to comment back . here's attempt #1.
1. The beginning of College Football's "non-hype but quite meaningful future implications weekend" Will Ohio State go from National Champion contenders to Outback Bowl participants in two weeks?
This weekend in college football may be one of the most boring in a long time with basically not a single BIG match up in the slate, however there are tons of trap matches out there so lets start with: The more important question from the early game on Saturday; What will happen with Ohio State? OSU NEEDS to win this game to salvage any shot at well…. basically anything. Michigan wants to win just for the shot at messing up Ohio State and that is usually a decent motivator. About the Lloyd Carr thing I will state this… who cares? If the man retires, so be it, that happens, I think the media is just pushing it so much because they want it to happen that way they can then report during All LSU games that Les Miles is distracted and distracting his players (even though he shows no signs of either).
2. Will someone (Nevada) finally complete a win over Hawai'i?
I really wish someone would because it’s getting annoying. A resilient team wins all its games close and you don’t care because you see the grit and determination and talent coming through, Hawai’i wins all of their games by simply passing the ball 98% of the time and getting success some of those times for touchdowns. They average almost as many interceptions as touchdowns and should have been beaten at least 3 times this season (especially at Louisiana Tech except the coach decided to go for 2 in early overtime and just made the wrong choice of play) The BCS computers see the hole in Hawai’i but I think only a loss will make the humans pollsters see it.
3. Will Tennessee lose and give LSU a (better looking on a BCS resume) SEC Championship opponent in Georgia?
The biggest part of the college weekend actually has to do with setting up of matches that need to happen for some teams. For LSU they would much rather face Georgia than Tennessee in the Championship game, it would look better on the resume for computers and would also do well for human voters since they are inclined to call Tennessee shaky.
4. Will the Big 12 retain its best-case scenario with Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri all winning this week?
Of all the college football implications this weekend this is easily the most important. Kansas Oklahoma and Missouri ALL have a chance to win their way into the Bowl Championship Series Championship Game (I spell it out because its stupid). For any of these teams to do it however they need their opponents to stay as strong as possible which means they ALL need to win this week, and while they are all favored the opponents are not pushovers: Kansas State could really give Missouri a game depending on if they are on the up or down portion of their up and down season, Kansas should have the easiest game in Iowa State, but Is was hardly a pushover for Oklahoma; and then Oklahoma will match up against pass-wacky Texas Tech who should be able to be stopped if Oklahoma just forgets about stopping a non-existent rushing game. If all 3 Big 12 contenders win, then the BCS implications are at their best and we can start with Kansas vs. Missouri and then the winner of that vs. Oklahoma.
5. Will BYU finally get in the darn rankings?
I know they had a week off because of the fires and they lost early to a then ranked now crappy UCLA but BYU’s only other loss is to Conference USA’s champ-to-be Tulsa and BYU is currently on a 6 game win streak that includes wins over 8-3 Air Force and 7-3 New Mexico. I’m not saying they are top 10 material, but it seems a little shaky to have a team undefeated on top of its conference out of the rankings, especially with the convincing way BYU has been beating opponents (especially in comparison to say Hawai’i), not to mention the very unlike BYU running game. I think beating Wyoming this weekend should guarantee them their entrance into the rankings, but who knows?
6. NASCAR's lackluster or not-as-lackluster finish.
A lot of people are griping that this thing is already over. For the most part they are right about a “realistic” shot for Jeff Gordon to win the race and also have Jimmy Johnson finish 22nd or lower. However I think what they are forgetting are the horrible non-chase finishes they’ve had in the past. If there were no Chase then Jeff Gordon would have clinched this thing about 4 races ago. I’m not saying the Chase is great, but it’s realistically the only way for NASCAR to prevent giant leads in a 40 billion races schedule. The thing to watch though is the fact that there is totally a shot that Jeff Gordon could pull it off. Think about it, crashing is fairly common and who is to say that Jimmy Johnson would come out unscathed in the race. Chances are he’ll be playing it safe, but its not a total long shot to think Jeff Gordon could win the race and Johnson could be involved in a crash.
7. College Basketball's first real weekend.
Although littered with a lot of warm-up games its time for the first real weekend of meaningful competition…which means we’ll soon figure out quite a few pretender and contenders. I think Davidson made a big point in a 4-point loss to say that they deserve top 25. While I can’t really single out any particular games at this point, I'm sure Mr. Furious can.
8. How has Isaiah Thomas not been fired?
Seriously!? This guy so far has been caught A) trying to setup other teams with hookers and parties to tire them out before matches. B) Made himself the coach of the team rather than hiring someone qualified C) been found guilty in a sexual harassment lawsuit involving an employee at his current job, D) and now this Stephon Marbury nonsense??? First of all I think Marbury is an idiot for handling this thing like a five year old and think he is more in the wrong here, however; how did Thomas let it get to a point where a player is trying to blackmail him into playing. It’s actually rumored that the two got into a fistfight on a team flight, whether that is true or not, the fact that it is believable tells as much. Its VERY obvious Thomas has not only no business being a head coach but also no business being an employee of any kind to well… really any kind of business. So I guess the thing to watch is to continue to watch how poorly this situation gets before someone finally does something about it.
9. Will someone be slamming Sean Avery on the ice this weekend?
If you don’t know, the NHL is once again catching headlines for the only reason it seems to… a fighting incident. Basically this is even further proof that the NHL seriously needs to outlaw fighting and make it a suspend-able offense with an automatic ejection. There is entirely too much posturing, shoving, and bullying and it’s getting in the way of a good sport. The best form of hockey is at the Olympic level where there is NO fighting and it moved the blue line to make it more offensive. The NHL finally got the point about making the game more offensive, yet refuses to realize that the only people who like fighting in hockey are hockey nuts. Baseball surely doesn’t advertise itself to new fans by showing them pitchers throwing at batters heads or reports of players cheating so why would hockey allow something as bad as Sean Avery’s actions (reportedly spent the whole game trying to get into a fight with Darcy Tucker from small insults to shoving and then apparently making jokes about Tuker’s teammates cancer!? The latter why people are expecting someone to take Avery out soon in a game) to continue as a regular part of the sport?
10. The beginnings of serious NFL playoff implications.
We’re 1 game past the halfway point and everyone is done taking breaks, and its now down to every game matters for most teams. With a win or loss most teams can get into a race, take hold of a race or get put in a big hole or get knocked out. Pretty much every division has teams within 1 or 2 games of the leader, and the wild-card picture includes almost everyone but the Jets, Vikings, 49ers, Rams, Raiders & Dolphins. I’ll pick out a few to really pay attention to this weekend: Saints vs. Texans loser of this game is pretty much done although not mathematically, but realistically. Seattle and Chicago have a similar situation except Seattle has a bigger cushion to fall back on, and probably the biggest implicator of the postseason is Denver-Tennessee where both teams really can’t afford to lose and be put in that hole.
11. The fate of the bullies - Giants vs. Lions.and Patriots vs. Bills
While the Bills aren’t bullies, more the bullied underdog that has managed a pretty good win streak, I’m just hoping they beat New England simply so people will shut up about the totally meaningless undefeated nonsense. The Giants v. Lions got its own item because it’s a pretty big crapshoot. Both teams have proven they can beat the snot out of the crappy teams in the NFL, yet neither has yet to prove they can beat a real opponent. I’m not sure if that means you can consider them playing each-other a real opponent, but they both need a win to stay ahead in the wild card race as its pretty obvious neither has what it takes to win their division.
12. How extensive are the Dolphins' problems?
We find out Sunday when they start not only their final option for this season, but the guy who is slated to be their future: John Beck. I have no idea if he will be good or not, I saw him play for BYU and he looked good but the NFL is a different animal. I’m not going to be wondering if he makes the team win this weekend, but instead looking at how competent and composed he looks behind the center because that’s the important thing. How does he do with a depleted team will tell you a lot about how much better he will be once the team gets Ronnie Brown back.
13. The more important New England game this weekend.
Oddly enough even though ESPN is the sole coverage station for Major League Soccer and even though the championship game is on their sister-station ABC; ESPN for whatever reason doesn’t feel the need to tell you the MLS Cup is this Sunday at noon in Washington D.C. (RFK Stadium) and will have the New England Revolution vs. the Houston Dynamo. All these media people are busy telling you how great it is to be in Boston right now with the Red Sox winning, Patriots winning, Boston College and the Celtics, and yet they are skipping over the fact that the Revolution are going for their first MLS Cup this weekend, not to mention RFK Stadium will be used for the sport it was built for. And a story on top of this, the Revolution owners are paying for buses from N.E. to D.C. for any fan that wishes to go to the game; now that’s a team I could be a fan of, if you can get away from football for a second or can flip channels, I recommend switching to this game at least to see the difference in a football and soccer crowd.
I give this weekend an 8 out of 10 for sports fans.