We let you down last week, and we know that we may never recover from violating the trust that both of you have put in us. You likely wandered aimlessly through the last week, unable to participate in virtual water cooler talk because you didn’t have our exclusive insights to share. We apologize. And we can promise that we will definitely let you down again. In the meantime, though, here are this week’s Ramblings.
Well, after one Sunday in the NFL, one thing is clear. The road to the Super Bowl goes through Washington. Your Football Team got off to a bit of slow start but came storming back behind two touchdowns from something called Peyton Barber who shredded the Eagles defense for 29 yards on 17 carries. We don’t want to get caught up in the instant hot take world of sports media, but Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record may be in jeopardy and the 72 Dolphins may have some company as undefeated Super Bowl Champions.
In other news, the Jaguars won their one game of the season, NFL MVP frontrunner Mitch Trubisky lead the Bears to a comeback win against the Lions and the Bill Belichick appears to have a better looking rebound than Tom Brady does after their breakup. Jury still out on which one is the crazy one though and which one might actually turn into a meaningful relationship.
The biggest news of the weekend in college football took place with a collection of nerds somewhere in the Midwest, which we’ll get to, but there were some actual football games played among the Power 5 conferences that are participating in football this fall, like the ACC and the Sun Belt.
The Big 12 has been relegated after member institution suffered losses to Louisiana, Arkansas State and Coastal Carolina. In fairness, Coastal Carolina beat Kansas, so that doesn’t really count, but throw in Texas Tech’s narrow win over Houston Baptist, and it seems like Big 12 may have wanted to take a couple extra weeks before playing. Special Hangover shoutout to Blake Anderson, the head coach at Arkansas State who lost his wife to cancer last fall. Winning one football game won’t change the pain that he’s endured, but we always appreciate when the good things happen to good people. Anderson deserves a moment, however fleeting it may be.
Back in the ACC, the old alma mater showed some signs of real progress with a 31-6 win over Syracuse. It was an ugly affair for most of the day, and Syracuse probably deserved to be up 21-7 at halftime, but we’d like to thank the receivers who can’t catch and the guy who threw an illegal block on the UNC punter during a kick return, negating a touchdown. There’s an old saying among degenerate gamblers that good teams win, but great teams cover. Thanks to a 4th quarter when the offense finally showed some of its tremendous potential, the Heels are apparently a great team.
Want to know who isn’t a great team? Florida State. Yikes. The Seminoles lost to Georgia Tech 16-13, despite blocking two field goals and an extra point. To sum up the beginning of the Norvell Era in Tallahassee, he was called out publicly by one of his best players for lying about his communication with the team, another player later questioned whether he was being honest about the health risks of COVID and worst of all, the team sucks. Fortunately, college football twitter won’t let a pandemic shut them down, and Fire Mike Norvell was trending after the game.
Meanwhile, in Big 10 Country, the league’s Presidents were presented with updated medical information over the weekend which is leading anonymous sources to tell reporters that there is optimism that they will play this fall. The current idea we’ve seen floated out there would be an 8-game schedule starting October 17 with the Big Ten Championship game on December 19, one day prior to the announcement of the College Football Playoff. That schedule allows one “bye week,” which also means that there is essentially zero room for any postponements of games, which seems totally feasible given that none of the scheduled games so far have been postponed. Well, other than the 9 that have been postponed already, including the UVA-Virginia Tech game. Let’s just say that it won’t surprise us if Harbaugh announces an outbreak on the team the day before the Ohio State game. Especially if Michigan’s record happens to be a little better than the Buckeyes at the time…
While there are a bunch of details to be ironed out, and you know, the Presidents who voted 11-3 against playing a month ago have to flip to at least a 9-5 vote this time, it would be fascinating to see how this plays out. Our guess is that they vote to play, they have no fans at the games except in Nebraska where the coronavirus doesn’t exist, and tens of thousands of rapid tests will be used by football players instead of the elderly, teachers, frontline workers and well, you know, the people that need them.
One thing that the first couple weeks of the season have proven is that this will be the least predictable season we’ve ever seen. So, we look forward to having a 6-0 UNC team play an 8-1 Arkansas State for the national championship.
A great myth of college football that has been demolished this year is the notion you must schedule games 10-14 years ahead of time. Sorry, 15 years. If you’re looking to schedule Alabama in 2035, you’re too late. Earlier this weekend, Memphis had to postpone their scheduled game against Houston due to a COVID outbreak on the team that was traced back to a party bus. That sentence might qualify as our favorite sentence we’ve ever written. 24 hours later, Houston scheduled a game to play Baylor in its place. Did we mention that Houston-Baylor game is Saturday? As in 6 days away? So, a Power 5 team scheduled a game vs a Group of 5 team one week in advance of the game. Maybe, just maybe, college football could have more interesting schedules with better matchups if it just waited to schedule games for the upcoming year until the end of the current season. You know, basketball does this and it seems to actually work pretty well. Sure, you’d have some return games from home and home series, but it would make things way more interesting. All part of our overall plan to revamp all sports when we’re named Emperor of Sports.
Just a reminder though, Memphis had to cancel a game because half its team went on a party bus.
If Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem play a classic 5-set championship match in front of no fans, did it really happen?
The US Open was played in New York over the last couple weeks, and chances are, the only shot you saw was when Novak Djokovic drilled a tennis ball into the throat of a lineswoman. That’s our second favorite sentence, assuming she is ok.
While Djokovic’s disqualification is a case of massive bad luck, it is possible that this US Open is the signal of a new era in men’s tennis. It would seem impossible that Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic will continue to dominate men’s tennis for the next decade, and while we’ve loved watching them compete, we’re excited to see who is next in the world of Men’s Tennis. So, congrats to Dominic Thiem on your first Grand Slam title. And you, dear readers, should be ashamed of yourself for watching the Bengals and Chargers instead of this incredible match.
On the women’s side, the future of tennis is Naomi Osaka who won her 3rd Grand Slam title as Serena lost in the semis in her quest for her 24th. Coincidentally, Osaka’s first grand slam title was at the US Open and that match was marred by Serena Williams berating an umpire and receiving a game penalty during the match.
All that said, the US Open is one of the sporting events that we really missed the fans. They add to the TV experience, and a night session at the US Open remains on our sports bucket list.
We hope everyone enjoyed the long 72-hour offseason Monday through Wednesday and were refreshed and ready for the Safeway Open. For your benefit, we’re going to take the week off from golf reporting, but fear not, the US Open takes place at Winged Foot, and we’re definitely pulling driver on 18 regardless of how big our lead is when it comes to coverage. And yes, we love making references to the outcome of a golf tournament from 14 years ago that only 4 of our 9 readers understand.
Duncan Robinson – still alive in the playoffs. James Harden…not alive in the playoffs. Who is the best scored in the NBA now?!?
When Brad Stevens took the Celtics job in 2013, the general consensus was he’ll be fired in 5 years and the bluebloods of college basketball will be lining up to hire him. Well, 7 years in, his teams have made the playoffs six times, and just reached their third conference finals. This might be his best shot at making the Finals yet, as they start their series with the Heat Tuesday. If he can figure out a way to stop Duncan Robinson, stopping Lebron and Anthony Davis in the Finals will be a breeze.
Surprise! They are still playing! We’re on the brink of a Tampa Bay vs. Dallas Stanley Cup Finals, and nothing screams classic hockey like Dallas and Tampa Bay playing while its 95 degrees and humid outside.
We’re about 45-50 games into the MLB season, we don’t know if it was the 5-game losing streak or losing 12 of their last 17 games, but it appears this may not be the Orioles year. Oh well, maybe next year.
That’s enough for this week. We have to rest up to boycott the Big Ten’s decision to play because if all those Big Ten teams play, it will knock the Heels out of their Top 12 ranking due to severe bias toward teams that “have more talent” and “win more games.” Plus, when Penn State plays, Mrs. Hangover takes over the TV and we’re forced to watch the Heels on our phones in the neighbor’s yard. As long as we’re quiet.