Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Kicks

I wanted to turn off the Rays game after the top of the 7th, but then I figured I might as well stick around to watch Sox fans in agony watching their playoff hopes die at the hands of the kids of Tampa. I am not sure whether I am glad I didn’t or not. It was either that or go to ESPN for wall-to-wall up-to-the-minute coverage of Tony Romo’s pinkie, including interviews with his ring finger and a reading of all 36,000 statements that have been released by Jerry Jones in the last 4 days. Don’t worry everyone, Maryland basketball is right around the corner. Wait, maybe we should worry. Forget it, just line up for the kick…

Was That the Beginning of a Series Comeback?

Okay, so I knew the Rays bullpen wasn’t as good as their starting pitching, but come on now- that comeback by the Red Sox was aided in no small part to relievers that may have been thinking more about the Phillies series than the Red Sox at this point. Going into last night’s game the big controversy was whether to start Scot Kazmir, given his rough previous month of outings and difficulty in the playoffs thus far. However, that gamble more than paid off, with Kazmir scattering only 2 hits over 6 innings of work. At 111 pitches I understand (and agree with) the decision to take Kazmir out. There was no sense in leaving him in there with a 7 run lead.

Is this the beginning of another patented Red Sox comeback? I will never question the Sox’s ability to deliver crushing emotional blows whenever possible to their opponents (even those by proxy in Baltimore and New York). Stop talking about Schilling being gone, or Lowell, or anyone else. They have just gotten it done consistently in the postseason, especially when their backs are against the wall. The numbers still say Rays win at home on Saturday… but with the Red Sox, nothing is out of reach.

Was That Just a Good Management Decision by the Lions?

Roy Williams has just been traded to the Cowboys in exchange for their life savings a 1st, 3rd, and 5th round pick in this year’s draft. On top of that, Dallas signed Williams to a 5 year extension with $20 million in guaranteed money. This was an incredible move… for Detroit. The Lions already have enough wideouts to get by, and in return they have the building blocks for their future. This was a move that was obvious to Lions fans but one that Millen was incapable of making. The idea of trading a star player was just too much for him.

The emergence of Calvin Johnson and consistency of Mike Furrey allowed the Lions to trade a player who was never bad with the fans or the media and was a marquee player who Detroit wasn’t able to utilize up to his value. This allowed them to trade him and leave the Cowboys with 2 receivers of the same style in Owens and Williams and more money sewn up in contracts to leave Dallas handcuffed should they go after many more big names. Jerry Jones should take a lesson from Steinbrenner- all stars don’t win a championship. A team does.

Was That Just a Body Blow to the Mid-Majors?

I have been following BYU closely since their rout of UCLA, hoping against hope that perhaps they could go undefeated and add their names to the list of schools slighted by the mythical national championship known as the BCS. Over time that list would grow until the Presidents of the Universities realized all the money being left on the table and went for a more equitable system.

But I also knew how good TCU was, and I knew that it could be a trap game for BYU. It wasn’t a trap game in the end. It was a huge-chasm-at-the-end-of-a-cliff game, a complete whalloping from the Horned Frogs who are out to remind everyone that they were the first mid-major to take on the big boys of college football consistently- and win. However, the Mid-Majors are not done just yet. Those of us who long for a title game in which more than a chosen dozen teams anointed by tradition are able to play can still pin our hopes to a few remaining contenders. Utah is still roaring through the Mountain West albeit against an incredibly weak schedule, and Boise State as always is thumping every team it faces but likewise does not play anyone (aside from Oregon) that would make them part of the controversy even if they did go undefeated. And if you are really desperate, Ball State is still undefeated. Okay, so maybe things are rough…

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