Thursday, November 07, 2013

Sports: 11/7/13

College football

The past few years, I've longed for the "glory days" of Florida State football, where they contend for national championships, and blow out most everyone in the ACC by final scores of 51-14 and the like. Well, for this year anyway, the glory days are back! In fact, I'm now in a unique position that I haven't been in for a few years, where I'm actively rooting for other undefeated teams to lose - Alabama and Oregon, specifically - so that Florida State can play for the BCS Championship. Oregon plays at Stanford tonight, which is the biggest test Oregon has left, so I'm told. Oregon at Stanford - Thu 9:00p, ESPN

Actually, though, if FSU goes undefeated and doesn't get to play for the BCS championship, would that be so bad? Sure, national championships are nice, but I think I'd rather go 14-0 with an Orange Bowl win, than 13-1 with a loss to Alabama. Besides, these "national championships" are all kind of fake anyway. If it happens, great; if not, oh well. I'll be thrilled if they go undefeated, BCS championship or not. Besides, there is still no guarantee Florida State even finishes the regular season undefeated, even though they will be big favorites the rest of the way, including at Florida. What if Jameis Winston gets injured? Then what? Florida State at Wake Forest - Sat 12:00p, ABC

A quick word about Penn State: I missed the Penn State v. Michigan four overtime game, because it was during our Luray trip. Now that they've played (and lost to) Ohio State, the Michigan game will certainly go down as the highlight of the year, right? What's left on the schedule that could top that? It'd be nice if they beat Minnesota this week, I suppose, but...meh. That's one problem with a bowl ban: it's hard to stay interested once the team's most intriguing games are already behind them. Penn State at Minnesota - 12:00p, ESPN2

NFL

Do I have anything to say about the Jaguars? Nope. Jacksonville at Tennessee - Sun 1:00p, NFL Sunday Ticket

NHL

When the NHL did the whole realignment thing, and stuck the Carolina Hurricanes with the Penguins, Flyers, Capitals, Rangers, and Devils, I thought, "Well, crap. We've been having enough trouble making the playoffs as it is!"

Well, so far at least, this "Metropolitan Division" - and I kind of like the name, by the way - is actually the weakest division in the NHL. Carolina has only won 5 of 15 games, and yet is only two points behind the Islanders for 3rd place in the division. (Top three in each division make the playoffs, plus two more "wild cards" from the conference.) So, the start to the season hasn't been all that inspiring, and their top two goalies are hurt, but thank goodness for the realigned divisions*! NY Islanders at Carolina - Thu 7:00p, SportSouth

* - Actually, upon further inspection, Carolina would only currently be ONE point out of a playoff spot under pre-realignment (alignment?), not two, since Detroit would be back in the West instead of the East. Actually, who knows what things would look like pre-realignment, since the schedules would all be different. Well, whatever.

Soccer

Things aren't going well for my soccer rooting interests. Fulham is flirting with relegation in the Premier League (currently two points clear), and they've been noticeably outplayed and outclassed in many of their games this season. They fail the "eye test", for sure, to the point where I'm not overly optimistic about their chances.

Although, it's not like I've been watching much of the other bad teams: Norwich City, Sunderland, and Crystal Palace (the current bottom three). All three of those teams have pretty rancid goal differentials, much worse than Fulham has. Maybe those teams fail the "eye test" even more so than Fulham does? Maybe I'll watch Norwich City this weekend and see. Norwich plays West Ham this weekend, who's currently just ahead of Fulham in the "table" (a.k.a. the standings), and as such will provide a good test. It's one thing to lose 7-0 to Manchester City, but if Norwich flames out spectacularly against West Ham as well, then I'll feel better about Fulham's chances. Norwich City v. West Ham United - Sat 12:30p, NBC

In France, things might be going even worse, though. Marseille has lost all four games in the Champions League, so, there's that. But beyond the league's on-field performance, all of the professional players and teams in France are protesting Fran├žois Hollande's new high income tax bracket (75% on income over 1 million euros, or something like that) at the end of the month, and will refuse to play over the last weekend of November. Without commenting on the politics of taxing the wealthy at 75%, it does put French soccer at a pretty big disadvantage compared to the rest of Europe, I suppose, since it's pretty much all about money. (Isn't everything?) Cancelling an entire weekend of games due to player/team strife doesn't look good, and apparently French people don't really care all that much about soccer to begin with these days, so they say. And it's not like French soccer is all that interesting anyway; Premier League games are far more exciting to watch, no matter how much money the owners of PSG and Monaco spend on their teams. (And they've spent a lot.) So, after 14 months of following Marseille and the French league in general, I'm jumping ship on Ligue 1. Bye! (But, I'm still rooting for France in their World Cup playoff v. Ukraine later this month.)

NBA

Last year, I started watching the Charlotte Bobcats, because their games were finally available to DirecTV subscribers in Raleigh. I started watching again this season, to some extent...except that last night's game (unlike the first four games) was blacked out, again. What gives?

So, even though the Bobcats - soon to be renamed the Hornets, which will be awesome - are off to an okay start at 3-2, I don't know why last night's game was blacked out, while the previous four were not. But college basketball season starts tomorrow regardless, so who cares?

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