Weekly Ramblings – November 29

We’re still in a bit of a food coma after Thanksgiving, so forgive us if this is brief. Other than setting new records for Apple Watch alerts reminding us to stand up and for caloric intake in a 24-hour period, we also had some exciting moments in the world of sports. 

College basketball tipped off on Wednesday, and sure, a bunch of games were cancelled or postponed, but let’s focus on all the games that were played. And by all the games, we mean a few of the games. This season is going to produce plenty of upsets, and they started on the first weekend.  

To provide a pretty accurate microcosm for college basketball, what makes it great and why fans are morons. To Charlottesville, we go. On Wednesday, the Wahoos destroyed Towson with a shooting display that was previously unheard of around Mr. Jefferson’s University. Jeff Goodman, a college basketball reporter, apparently provides an updated Top 25 every day. On Thursday, he ranked UVA 6th and the “UVA faithful” light him up on Twitter, saying that he was totally underestimating them and that the Wahoos should definitely be ranked at least 4th. On Friday, UVA lost to San Francisco. To sum up: 

On the first day of the season, UVA won a game against one of the worst teams in NCAA Division 1 but looked great, and some of its fans were furious that a single reporter had the audacity to rank them as the 6th best team in the country, as opposed to the 4th best team of the season. We don’t even have to make a joke – this is so obviously stupid if you can’t figure it out, we’ll have Tommy come back there and beat you over the head with a tack hammer. 

Listen, as much as it pains us, UVA likely is one of the six best teams in the country. But here are the three key takeaways from this story: 

  • College basketball is great because teams like San Francisco get to play teams like UVA and beat them. Whether it happens in the first week of the season or the first day of the NCAA tournament, it’s a landmark win for a program. But, when it happens early in the year, it really doesn’t have a major impact on UVA, other than probably help them learn and get better. 
  • Polls are stupid. The only people that get worked up over polls in the first week of the season are moron fans on Twitter. But, to Goodman’s credit, he openly instigated these people by removing UVA from his ranking altogether. 
  • UVA really never had a chance though. First, San Francisco’s nickname is the “Dons” which is criminally underrated as an intimidating nickname (Shoutout to loyal ready Stutts for bringing this to our attention). Second, one of their player’s last name is Bouyea. Boo yah. 

Fortunately, there is a truly dominant team in the state of Virginia, and that team is the Richmond Spiders. The Spiders rolled into Rupp Arena, and dominated the collection of All-Americans behind the leadership of Jacob Gilyard, who stands 5’8” if he has lifts in his shoes. We’ve been witness to some great Richmond wins over the years, but this felt different. As we grew up, the Spiders developed a reputation as a “Giant Killer”, thanks to major NCAA tournament upsets. This game, while an upset based on high school recruiting rankings, might not end up being an upset at the end of the season. Kentucky will always have tons of talent, and whether you care for his tactics or not, Calipari is a great coach. Dirtbag, but great coach. But this game gave some credence to the notion that experience matters and we look forward to celebrating a Spiders Final Four trip with our father in April. Arachnophobia baby!! 

We’ll have plenty more on college hoops over the next 5 months, so let’s move on and check in on the NFC East standings. Oh, and what do you know, your Washington Football Team is sitting on top, just as we all expected. STOP THE COUNT! 

In college football, the Heels took a tough but expected loss to Notre Dame. As much as it pains us to admit it, Notre Dame is legit. We don’t just say that because they beat UNC – FSU and UVA’s wins over the Heels would not lead to the same conclusion for those teams, who both stink. This loss was different. Notre Dame had players who were bigger, stronger and faster and were better coached. Other than that, it was a great game.  

Taken on its own, there are a lot of positives for the Heels coming out of this game. They played with the #2 ranked team in the country for 3.5 quarters and the UNC defense held up stronger than anyone expected. However, in context of an entire season, it makes the UVA and FSU losses even more frustrating. If the Heels played even remotely close to how they played on Friday in those games, they would be 8-1 with a chance to finish 10-1 with an outside shot at a New Year’s Six Bowl. Instead, they’ll be coming to a Belk Bowl near you. From a talent perspective, UNC should probably be ranked somewhere from 15-20, which is light years ahead of where the program was when Mack was hired. But, playing poorly against bad teams and committing mind-numbingly stupid penalties at inopportune times are two of the legacies of the Fedora Era which linger.  

Speaking of bad teams, anyone catch the Michigan-Penn State game? 

This week will provide the most interesting test of COVID-related integrity that any school has faced all year. The Ohio State Buckeyes are in the midst of a COVID outbreak that forced them to cancel their game against Illinois, which marks the second game they have missed so far. One more, and they will not be eligible for the Big Ten Championship. It would be difficult for us to imagine a scenario that would allow them to play next Saturday given that they waited until Friday night to make this decision. It also won’t surprise us if Ryan Day and the rest of the Death Star rolls out on to the field against Michigan State this weekend. We also haven’t heard which players may have tested positive, but the Big Ten’s 21-day rule means that anyone who did is ineligible to play in the remaining games, which include a little something called The Game against Michigan. So, you’re telling me there’s chance?! 

Finally, we’re going to wrap up this week’s Ramblings with a piece of history, as Sarah Fuller became the first female to ever play in a Power 5 conference football game. Now, we could make a joke that it was a Vanderbilt game, so it doesn’t really count, but that would diminish the significance. We also could criticize Vanderbilt for the optics of firing their football coach the day after this happened. But, instead, we’re just to credit Sarah and Derek Mason for making this happen. COVID and contact tracing depleted the roster of all its kickers and in stepped Sarah, the goalkeeper for the Vanderbilt Women’s Soccer team. Unfortunately, Vanderbilt never scored a touchdown or even got in field goal range, but Sarah registered a kickoff to officially make history. It was a cool, historic moment in sports, so we hope you watched it. And you know, COVID has created enormous challenges, adversity and tragedy for many people. But, in the midst of that, there is good that has come from it. On Saturday, a young woman made a bunch of young girls feel like anything is possible, and that’s pretty damn good. 

Now, where is that apple pie we were saving? 

Published by workhangover

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

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