Weekly Ramblings – November 22

After our exhaustive, or perhaps exhausting, coverage of The Masters, we gave our staff most of the week off in order to recover. That was a lot of pimiento cheese, after all. Regardless, we’ve located all of our pants with elastic waistbands and we’re back with our usual Sunday stroll through the world of sport. 

College Football 

COVID continues to dominate, but college football is pressing on, and we’d expect nothing less. This week provided us with our first cancellation on the morning of the game, as FSU’s medical team was not comfortable with the fact someone in Clemson’s travel party had a positive test result, and therefore decided to postpone the game.  

Now, to be clear, by medical team, we mean the head coach, the entire coaching staff and all of the players because we all know how bad of a beating they were about to take from Clemson. That said, given that the guy with the positive test practiced Friday with the team, flew on an airplane with the team, was at the team hotel and did his traditional pre-game sneeze in the face of each of his teammates, we can’t blame FSU for not wanting to play.  

In the games that did take place, there were some interesting results. In the biggest game of the day, Indiana hung with Ohio State, which is perhaps their most impressive performance of the season. Their wins over Penn State and Michigan don’t look particularly noteworthy at this point. Down 35-7, the Hoosiers rallied and had the ball down by 7 with a chance to go tie the game. They didn’t complete the comeback, but it certainly seems that the Hoosiers are for real. 

Want to know why the Hoosiers are for real? They have a star quarterback. Want to know why Michigan and Penn State are struggling? They do not have a star quarterback. 

Michigan survived its trip to Rutgers with a triple-overtime win. Let us repeat: a triple-overtime win. Last year, Michigan won this game 52-0. In the second quarter, Michigan benched Joe Milton and replaced him with Cade McNamara, the latest in the long line of “Harbaugh finally has his guy” quarterbacks. Of course, it was only a month ago that Joe Milton was that guy after shredding the vaunted Minnesota defense. Now, McNamara was very solid, but, you know, Rutgers. Despite clearly being much improved from a year ago, the ‘Gers is still just 1-4. 

We hope McNamara is the guy who can get the Michigan offense going, but we’re still concerned about their defense, which gave up 42 points to a Rutgers offense that was averaging 27. When Michigan concludes this season in the 3-5/4-4 range, you can bet that Don Brown won’t be back next year. Either Harbaugh will leave, or he’ll make Brown the scape goat. If only McNamara could also be the savior of the defense… 

Penn State…well, we’re just not going to talk about it. But fortunately, just as soon as you are waking from your Thanksgiving food coma, the Nittany Lions and Wolverines will be kicking off on Saturday. Our recommendation? Drink heavily. You should listen to us, we were pre-med. 

In our picks for Saturday, we mentioned Jeremy Pruitt and the Tennessee Vols. Given our Headquarters proximity to Knoxville (far enough away to not be contagious, close enough to still smell the stink), we see and hear a lot of talk about the Vols. With their 30-17 loss at Auburn, after leading 10-0, the Vols have now lost 5 games by double-digits in a row for the first time in school history. Know their problem? No quarterback. Know their other problem? A head coach that’s totally overmatched. COVID might be the only thing that keeps Pruitt in Knoxville another year – thankfully, he graciously agreed to not receive the $400,000 raise that he signed this year – a lovely gift from his athletic director, who just got himself a nice contract extension too. Impressive work, all around.  

In other games around the country, Oklahoma continued its dominance in the most lopsided rivalry in college football since Charlie Weis against lap band surgery, Coastal Carolina survived a scare from notorious giant killer App State (sorry, Michigan), Liberty’s flame was extinguished by NC State but at least they still have Trump’s imminent victory in the election to fall back on and it’s not often you pick a team to win a game and they lose 45-0 unless you’re a complete moron.  

College Basketball 

While college football limps to its finishing line – it’ll get there, but it won’t be pretty – college basketball is set to tip-off on Wednesday. According to CBS Sports College Basketball reporter Matt Norlander, there are approximately 40 men’s basketball programs currently shut down due to COVID. Several early-season tournaments that they scrambled to put together are now shut down. College basketball is going to start, and teams are going to play games, but it’s going to be a complete train wreck of a season with games cancelled, postponed, moved, etc. The most important thing that absolutely must happen is the NCAA Tournament. Not just because without the NCAA Tournament there is no happiness in the world, but also because it is vital to the financial solvency of 75% of the athletic departments in this country.  

While the NCAA gets hammered for a just about everything, regardless of whether it’s their fault, they should be praised for their approach to the making sure that tournament happens this year. They recently announced that the entire tournament will take place in one city, most likely Indianapolis. We love this idea and given that most universities have predominantly online classes due to COVID, people can’t complain as much that this is making a mockery of higher education.  

Now, we don’t know how they’ll execute this, and we’re confident an NCAA tournament game will be cancelled due to COVID (unless, of course, we prioritize college basketball players to receive the vaccine as we should). But it has to be a way better method to make sure the tournament is played. And if they can’t have fans, then just put four courts down across the field at Lucas Oil Stadium and play games back to back and wrap this bad boy up in a week. Will save me two weeks of pretending to do actual work.  

We’ll have more about the start of basketball season over the next couple weeks, but in the meantime, get jacked for San Francisco (Francisco?! That’s fun to say!) and Towson to tip-off your 2020-21 men’s college hoops season Wednesday! 

NBA 

To the surprise of everyone involved, the NBA Draft actually took place this past week. Now, here at Hangover, we care about as much about a professional draft as we do college recruiting rankings. Which is to say, we realized the draft was happening when we happened to be scrolling through the channels and noticed it was on TV. That said, here are our three takeaways from the 2020 NBA Draft: 

  • The two preeminent 1 and Done schools, Kentucky and Duke, had 0 lottery picks and only two draft picks in the first round, both from Kentucky. Which, if our math is correct, means that zero Duke players were drafted in the first round. 
  • Add to the pile of evidence that Beyonce is the Queen the fact that two players were drafted with the last name Bey. According to our records, that’s the first time that has ever happened. 
  • The last of the Ball kids was drafted by Michael Jordan and Hornets. Meanwhile, the Hornets also signed Gordon Hayward in free agency. We’d like to see the Hayward and Ball families go out to dinner. Maybe a reality show? NEVAH LOST! 

NFL 

Your Football Team defeated the mighty Bengals today, to move into a veritable tie for first place in the NFC East, with a gaudy 3-7 record. Technically, they are some fraction of a game behind the Eagles, who sport a 3-6-1 record. While many of your local broadcasts may not have featured the Football Team due to journalistic policies that prohibit showing things proven to be harmful to children, rest assured that they will be on display for the entire country to see on Thanksgiving Day. In one of our countries time-honored traditions, the Cowboys and Redskins Indians Football Team will come together under one roof and provide us all a feast for the senses. It will look ugly, smell worse, taste like cardboard, sound like nails on a chalkboard and you won’t want to touch it without dousing yourself in hand sanitizer when you’re done. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Published by workhangover

I'm a blog, mostly about sports. Come for the gripping analysis, stay for the witty jokes.

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