Friday, October 12, 2012

Sports Friday: 10/12/12

We interrupt the Vermont trip recaps for...snarky sports discussion! The trip recaps will return on Monday.

MLB - I've noticed something lately. The amount of interest I have in a sport at any given time is often related to how well my favorite teams are doing. Case in point: I've been watching more playoff baseball this year than in years past. Obviously, I'm watching the Washington Nationals' games, but I'm also paying more attention to the other playoff games than I otherwise would. Why? Because the Nationals' success gets me excited about the sport in general. Yeah!

It's too bad that if the Nationals don't win tonight - or, actually, if they do anything except win the World Series - that the National Sports Media will say, "This is all because they shut down Stephen Strasburg!" As if the team would have automatically won every game that Strasburg would have started. Sure, a healthy and effective Strasburg helps a lot, but this is just the National Sports Media looking for narratives, and I'm tired of this storyline, honestly. Let's just play the games. (By the way, here's a pretty good analysis of the Strasburg thing based on math and logic. I'll just leave it at that.)

So...Game 5, tonight. Go Nationals! St. Louis at Washington - Fri 8:30p, TBS

NFL - On the other hand...the Jacksonville Jaguars stink. This has to be one of the worst teams in franchise history, even worse than last year. Last week's loss to Chicago was the worst home loss in franchise history. Unless they turn it around, and fast, you can count me among the "Fire (GM) Gene Smith!" crowd. As it stands now, his tenure has been a failure.

And it's funny, because on draft day in 2011, the Minnesota Vikings' selection of Christian Ponder - which came two picks after the Jaguars took Blaine Gabbert - was widely ridiculed and universally panned. A season and a third into each player's career, which pick looks better? The Vikings are 4-1 so far this year, and Ponder has the 10th best QB rating, and 2nd best completion percentage, in the league. As for Gabbert...well, suffice to say he's near the bottom. And yes, I know the Jaguars' offensive line hasn't been great.

For Jaguars fans, there's more at stake here than just their place in the standings. If they have five or six bad seasons in a row, what's going to happen to the team? All I know is that when an NHL team in an untraditional market strings together a bunch of crappy years, they lose the fan base (if there ever was one to begin with), and then the team moves to Winnipeg. (The Winnipeg Jaguars? Could be worse.)

Anyway, getting back to what I said under the MLB section...not only do the Jaguars stink, but so do most all of the other teams I have a minor interest in. Like the Jaguars, the Panthers, Bills, Browns, and Buccanneers are all under .500, and only the Bills have one more than once. So, it's hard for me to really get into the NFL right now. I need some other rooting interest to keep my attention. ... Hey, how about Christian Ponder and the Vikings? That works. Skol Vikings (or something)! Minnesota at Washington - Sun 4:25p, NFL Sunday Ticket

College football - I have a bone to pick with the National Sports Media, and also the Local (ACC) Sports Media. Every year, they say something to the effect of "Florida State is BACK!", put a shiny low number next to their name in the rankings, declare the team ACC champions (or at least ACC Atlantic Division champions - that is the division they're in, right?) before the season begins, and then what happens? They lose to an unranked ACC team like NC State or Wake Forest. And because of that shiny low number Florida State had next to their name, the other team's fan base goes nuts! "Yeah, we just beat the #3 team in the country!!!" (At least in the case of NC State. Wake doesn't really have much of a "fan base".) And then next year, the exact same thing happens.

This needs to stop. STOP OVERRATING THE SEMINOLES EVERY FREAKING YEAR. Not only do you impose unrealistic expectations on the team and give FSU fans everywhere false hopes, but you also empower the rest of the ACC when they inevitably beat the Seminoles every year. (Actually, maybe that's the idea? It's a conspiracy to make NC State look good! The ACC does revolve around the state of North Carolina, after all.)

Sometimes, I wish I could trade Florida State's reputation with, say, that of Northwestern. Like FSU, Northwestern came into last weekend's games undefeated, and lost to an unranked team on the road. While the FSU fan base is acting like this is a massive failure of epic proportions, the Northwestern fan base (I can only assume) is disappointed, sure, but they've moved on, and they're certainly not calling for the head coach's, well, head. What's the difference? Northwestern was only ranked 24th or something.

Well, anyway, this goes out to everyone who gave Florida State a top 5 ranking at any time this season: go @#$% yourselves. Boston College at Florida State - Sat 5:30p, ESPN2

Soccer - Big weekend-plus for the United States national team. Two 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers coming up - one tonight, and one on Tuesday. And if they don't play well, then you can kiss the 2014 World Cup goodbye. (They're currently tied with Guatemala and Jamaica for the group lead, and only the top two teams after Tuesday advance to the next round of qualifying.) They're likely to advance here, never know.
United States at Antigua and Barbuda - Fri 7:00p, beIN sport
Guatemala at United States - Tue 7:00p, ESPN2

Auto racing - Didn't have time to write something good here, so in short:
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. concussions or not, I think Talladega racing has gotten too crazy and too random. It's now crossed that line.
- Formula One is going to be televised by NBC Sports Network next year, it was announced today. (Well, "according to sources". You know how it goes.)
NASCAR Sprint Cup at Charlotte - Sat 7:30p, ABC
Formula One Korean Grand Prix - Sun 2:00a, SPEED


bubba0077 said...

First, at least FSU beat a good team this year to earn that high ranking. Second, I visited the NU messageboard Saturday night, and it *was* melting down.

Chris Allen said...

Clearly I am out of touch with the Northwestern fan base. I didn't see the game, but I guess they did have kind of a big collapse at the end of the game last week. (Hey, just like the Nationals last night! I love sports.)