Wow, did I really promise to write seven original posts over the next seven days? I think that was partly the soju kettle talking - it was at 6 a.m. or so that I wrote that, after all - and I probably would have been better off passing out at Polly’s than to issue such a ridiculous proclamation. I suppose the gauntlet has been thrown down, and I’m gonna have to follow through on this. Today, I’ll return this blog to its original roots - sports. Fear not, as I will not mention a certain golfer at any point. I’m angry that I even have to know about this whole thing, and wouldn’t if the Daily Show and Colbert hadn’t mentioned it.
College football remains its usual messy self, though I’ve given college football less thought this year than really any other I can think of. The wheels fell off for KU and Notre Dame two months ago. Firing Weis was the right move for the Irish, though I can’t say canning Mangino was necessarily the same no-brainer for KU. I haven’t read enough about it to give an informed opinion, but I definitely think that these accusations coming out this year had a lot more to do with finishing the season in a free fall than the actual allegations themselves. In Ressing, Meir, and Briscoe’s final year, missing bowl eligibility is pretty pathetic. Now rumors have attached both teams to Jim Harbaugh, the current Stanford coach. This gives me great joy, as I love Harbaugh, KU, and ND (football only) and hate Stanford and everything they stand for. The potential bowl match-ups look a little lame too. Cincinnati plays football? Who knew?
I have so little invested in college football this year that I’m actually much more excited about the soccer World Cup draw being announced than the pending college football bowl selection. While I am not a soccer fan by any means, I love the World Cup, and I woke up at/went to sleep at ridiculous hours in 2002 and 2006 to watch as many games as possible. As a sports tournament, the World Cup is second only to March Madness. Watching some kid from some random impoverished backwater country score a penalty to take out, say, Germany can’t be beat. The crowds and cheers elevate the whole operation, especially now in HD. Plus, the U.S. gets to start against England. Is there a country you would rather cheer against than England? Me neither, except maybe Switzerland. I’ve never trusted the Swiss. That said, US-England pregame hype will be much funnier than pregame hype against Switzerland would be, as the Swiss outlawed comedy in 1341. Moreover, I’m excited as hell to be in Korea (well, any foreign country with a dog in the fight) during the World Cup this year. I’ll catch at least one game in downtown Seoul on the giant video boards with two million other people.
On to the NFL. For a Chiefs/Bears fan such as myself, this is a pretty piss poor season. The Chiefs have shown some signs of life as of late (until getting lambasted last week) but the Bears look worse and worse each week. The Cowboys may be the worst 9-3 team of all time, and I look forward to them getting a 3 seed and then getting crushed at home in week one of the playoffs. Tennessee’s quest to win 10 in a row after starting 0-6 is another pleasant diversion that allows me to avoid watching the Chiefs or Bears.
Like a lot of people, I look forward to a few possible games that, knowing how these things work out, will never happen. Saints-Vikings in the NFC Championship would be brilliant, like a real-life version of the game that Homer Simpson watched the day he quit going to church (Oh doctor, that triple reverse ties the game at 63!). Saints-Colts, or even Vikings-Colts would be a helluva Superbowl, although I wouldn’t look forward to all the Favre hype that would be attached to it. Saints-Colts would be especially interesting if both are still undefeated, even if it is far-fetched. Unfortunately, more often than not, these types of games never happen. The Titans and Giants were the best teams in the league last year, so clearly both had to lose in the divisional round. The Bears and the Colts should have met after the 2005 season, as both incarnations were better than the 2006 versions that actually did meet, but the Colts missed a chip shot field goal and the Bears fell to a so-so Carolina team at home. 2006 should have been the Saints and the Chargers in the Brees Bowl, but both choked along the way. 1993’s semi-finalists included the Chiefs, Bills, 49ers, and Cowboys. Instead of the Montana-Young match-up everybody wanted to see, we got a rerun of the previous year’s game, one of the worst in Superbowl history. Most famously, Gary Anderson missed his first field goal of the year in the 1998 NFC Championship game and cost the football world a Broncos-Vikings Superbowl between two of the highest-powered offenses ever assembled.
I won’t bore you too much with my fantasy football teams (although I don’t know how that could be boring, as I find my leagues infinitely fascinating and worthy of focusing several hours a week on). I’ll just give my starting lineups for this week. In one league, I have Brees, Chris Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Cedric Benson, Donald Driver, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, and Cinci defense, and in the other I have Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, Benson, Wayne, Sidney Rice, Roddy White, Tony Gonzales, and Cinci. Both teams are playing for a 1 seed in the playoffs this week. Both teams have kickers too, but I can’t be expected to remember which ones.
Lots of rooting interest today. I am, of course, most concerned with the Kansas Basketball Jayhawks (at the end of the day, the only team that matters) beating UCLA on the road, followed by my fantasy teams winning. Next, I want the Chiefs to win, only because it’s against the Broncos, and as little as I care about the 2009 Chiefs, I always want to beat Denver. Of lesser importance, I want the Titans to keep winning, plus knocking off the Colts would bode well for me fantasy-wise, and for the Saints to stay perfect. Finally, I’d like to see the Bears at least be able to contain the mighty Rams. I think this sums up pretty well what it is to be a Bears fan in 2009. The result of their game is the seventh-highest sports concern of mine on this given Sunday.