My oh my, it has been so long since I put fingers to keys! I just finished up an exhausting run at my job, which ended with the election and has now left me with the kind of free time that is required to write this blog. It’s wonderful to have some time to get back to doing things that make me happy, but I am sad to leave a job that was both fulfilling and rewarding. It ended with wins and losses, with the main race that my organization was working on between Bruce Lunsford and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell not coming out the way we wanted, but the historic presidential race coming out exactly as it should (dood will have to change that number to 08!) . I could write page after page of text about how amazing I felt watching the election coverage on Tuesday night, but it could not do the feeling inside my heart justice. That man almost brought me to tears too many times during his victory address to the teeming masses in Grant Park, and his historic win in this election will have ramifications that none of us can possibly understand. With that out of the way, let’s talk sports for chrissakes!

I haven’t posted in so long that the World Series has wrapped up, the NBA season has begun, the college football season is almost over and the NFL season has reached its halfway mark. My lack of posts over the past months have left me in a situation where I’ll spend a bit of time on each of those topics, with more to come over the coming weeks and days (hopefully) about the seasons that continue to dominate my TV viewing and online sports news consumption.


Starting with the World Series, I couldn’t be happier that the Red Sox and Yankees were kept out of the fall classic and two teams that had their own unique story lines got to lock horns in October. The Devil Rays reminded me in many ways of the Detroit Tigers of 2006, who rose from not just mediocrity but total ineptitude to get to the World Series after years of basement dwelling. The Rays’ turn around was truly incredible and I think the same thing that cost the Tigers in their series against the Cardinals ended up costing the Rays against the champion Phillies. The Phillies pitching showed up, while the Rays’ young arms just didn’t have enough to get the job done. You can say what you want about the Rays’ lack of offensive potency in the Series, but the fact is that playoff series are won on the mound for the most part, and their young arms, like the Tigers’ in ’06, came up a little short under the pressure and spotlight of the World Series. Cole Hamels was particularly brilliant for the Phillies, and it was great to see a city so starved for a championship finally bring one home. Congrats to the Phils and don’t worry Rays fans, your future is brighter than nearly any other team in baseball.


The college football season is nearing its end, with only a few weeks to go of complete BCS freakouts and unending argument about who the two best teams are. My predictions in the post preceding this one didn’t hold up at all, as I thought either the Ohio State Buckeyes or the USC Trojans would run the table and end up in the National Title game. The Trojans put a hurting on my Bucks that I am still recovering from and the Trojans suffered yet another unexpected (can we even say that any more?) defeat to Oregon State. The two teams left the door wide open for SEC, Big 12 and Big 10 teams to step into the National Title race, with the BCS currently sending Texas Tech and Alabama to the big game if the season ended tomorrow. There is so much football left to be played and so much great competition has already occurred that I’m almost willing to say that this November might trump last November’s insanity as far as ranking shake-ups go. Texas Tech and Alabama have some tough games ahead, with Florida, Oklahoma and USC among others licking their chops to move back up to the coveted top two spots in the BCS. The teams at the top of the rankings are going to continue to knock each other up and down the polls, but at this point I believe that Texas Tech and Florida are the two best teams I’ve watched play football this season. Take a look at the BCS rankings and tell me that anyone has a snowball’s chance in hell of predicting how this whole mess is going to pan out:





Texas Tech


















Penn State



Boise State





Somehow, Texas is looking alright at No. 3, even after that amazing game they lost to Texas Tech. Texas Tech has to play No. 5 Oklahoma in two weeks, and even if they win that game will have to most likely face-off against Missouri in the Big 12 title game. Alabama will probably win out until their SEC Championship game, which will be played against No. 4 Florida. This means that 4 out of the current top 5 teams are facing a game they could lose in the coming weeks. I don't know how you even begin to reshuffle the rankings after those games are played. Do you give Texas another shot, considering they lost to Texas Tech but beat Oklahoma? Is USC's fate already sealed, even though they only lost one game and have proven as dominate as any other team since their stumble against Oregon State? And what about the unbeaten Utah Utes or the Mac-Daddy's of the MAC, Ball State? Don't get me started...

The BCS is one of the most fascinating messes in all of sports and while a playoff system has been requested by coaches and players both former and current (along with our President Elect), the NCAA seems completely content to go through this bullshit every year. They make so much money from the Bowl system and the level of controversy only heightens the attention the sport receives this time of the year season in and season out. The only series of events that would clearly decide an obvious No. 1 and No. 2 would be if Texas Tech and Alabama win out. That doesn't seem likely according to most prognosticators, but the way the college football season is going, like last year, I wouldn't be surprised by anything. I do think Texas Tech can go in to Norman and beat Oklahoma and then handle Missouri in the Big 12 title game, while I'm less inclined to believe that Alabama can deal with the Gators in the SEC championship. So, if you want a prediction, I'll say Florida v. Texas Tech for the title. A shot in the dark, but predictions in college football are never anything more.


As for the NFL, jeez-o-petes! Nobody's pre-season predictions about how this year would pan out have proven close to correct, from the implosion of the Cowboys to Tom Brady’s knee to the rise of the Vince Young-less Tennessee Titans. While I've previously pontificated on the inanity of ESPN's constant updates and unending bickering on its programs, the NFL coverage is truly impossible to tolerate at this point. If I hear one more knucklehead on that network retract a prediction or contradict himself about how the season will ultimately pan out I'm going to go all Mike Singletary and do something dangerous in Bristol. They went on for weeks about how the NFC East would produce three playoff teams, when in the end it could only be one. Everyone on that network kept proclaiming the Eagles the second best team in the division, even while they can't seem to beat any other team in the division. Not to mention how they count out the Colts and Pats, and then a week later proclaim that the two former powerhouses of the AFC are back and ready to pounce on this season's proven winners like the Steelers and Titans.

For weeks they disregarded the surprising play of teams in the NFC South, which like the NFC East, has the potential to send only one team to the playoffs or an amazing three. I don't see any difference between the two divisional races quite frankly. You've got your dominate team in each, (the Panthers and Giants respectively) then the rest of the conference, which will clamor for positioning and probably come down to tie-breaker rules that will make your head spin off your shoulders. I don't see why the Cowboys, Redskins and Eagles are so much better than the Falcons, Buccaneers and Saints. If you take a look at the teams' overall and divisional records, you'll see that they enjoy the same level of parity as playoff races throughout football.

The truth is that parity has left the NFL a virtual crap-shoot with each new season and sitting at a fancy desk on a set in Bristol doesn't mean you have any idea of how things are going to turn out. Just shut-up, analyze some film and give me more highlights ESPN, because the NFL is probably the toughest nut to crack in all of sports when it comes to predictions. Even tougher than college football, which as I have just explained is a complete mess every year.

Oy. This thing is getting long enough as is, so I’ll save the NBA chat for another post. It’s lovely to be back at the keyboard and posting to the Hip, and I hope my inactive streak doesn’t last another two months like the last one did. Cheers.

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