Thursday, September 23, 2004

Random Sports Post

I watched a few minutes of the Reds game last night. I'm so far out of baseball mode right now that I couldn't even take much of that. My interest in baseball always dims once football starts up, as long as the Reds are out of the pennant race. Generally it comes back once the playoffs start, at least to the point where I can watch the games. I don't know if that will be the case this year. It looks like most of the teams that will be in the postseason are teams that I actively dislike. If that's the case, I may skip the whole thing.

On a baseball note, though, they were talking this morning on Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio about Sammy Sosa doing his little home run hop and then getting thrown out at second base when the ball actually stayed in the park. The hosts were pretty irate about this. I think they're off base. I saw the highlight, and it had nothing to do with the hop; the issue is that he didn't really start running until he rounded first base. At any rate, the argument is irrelevant. Like it or not, this type of showboating and lack of hustle is a part of the game now for most players. It makes a difference in a crucial play only rarely, and then there's an overreaction. Just let it go.

From overreaction to the complete lack of a reaction: does anyone care that the NHL may not play this year and into next? Has anyone even noticed? I didn't think so. I do like hockey, although not nearly to the extent I like football, basketball, and baseball, but I'll be glad not to come across it on ESPN. Aside from maybe the Stanley Cup Finals, hockey should be experienced only in person. I'll be catching some college games at the BGSU Ice Arena this upcoming season.

Speaking of the Falcons, the football team plays their MAC opener tomorrow night at Northern Illinois. Yes, it's a Friday night game, which makes me almost physically ill. I think Friday nights should be exclusively for high school football. I'll be at a high school game on Friday night, so I won't be able to watch BG's game as it happens. I do have a DVR now, so I'll be recording the game and watching it later that night. It's on ESPN2 starting at 7:00 p.m. if anyone is interested.

This game is building into a pretty good rivalry. Bowling Green and Northern Illinois are both programs on the rise from low spots a few short years ago. Two years ago BG went to NIU undefeated and nationally ranked, only to experience what I and my friends still refer to as a "pass-dropping extravaganza" and a loss. Last year the situation was reversed, as NIU was undefeated and came to BG. Both teams were ranked, and ESPN College Gameday was there, and it was absolutely the most incredible football atmosphere and experience I've ever had. The Falcons came out and drilled the Huskies early, then coasted to a win.

This is the first conference game for both teams this year, and it's a big one. I have a good feeling about it, though. I think BG will win fairly easily--I'm not predicting a blowout necessarily, because Northern is a good team, but I don't think it'll go down to the wire. I just hope I'm right. The winner of the game is in good position to win the MAC West Division.

I'll probably get to see a lot of football this weekend. I don't even know right now which games are being televised. I do know that Ohio State doesn't have a game this weekend, which saves me from having them shoved down my throat. Hopefully I'll be able to check out a bunch of different teams. I'd really like it if I could catch a MAC game or two, but I don't know offhand if any are being televised on Saturday.

I'm looking forward to Week 3 of NFL action. Most notable is that rookie Ben Roethlisberger will be starting at quarterback for the Steelers. I have a sneaking suspicion that he'll stay in the starting role even when Tommy Maddox is healed from his injury. I saw Big Ben play in person a couple of times in college, and let me tell you, he's the real deal. I liked him as a player even though he beat my Falcons each time I saw them play because he's that good. Of all the rookie quarterbacks, I think he's the best.

I'm hoping I'll get to see the Philadelphia-Detroit game this weekend, and since Toledo is so close to Detroit, there's a pretty good chance I will. Philadelphia, with Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens, is a hell of a lot of fun to watch. So is Detroit, actually. I don't know how good they're going to be this year, but their offense is going to be fun. Roy Williams looks like a heck of a receiver already, after only two games, and I think Kevin Jones is going to be a great tailback for them as well.

Of course, if I'm going to talk about sports, I have to at least mention the Troy Trojans. They play Greenville at home tomorrow night. That's where I'll be, instead of on my couch watching BG play NIU. It's an interesting matchup, as Greenville is an improved team this year. If Troy plays the way they did last week, I think they'll roll; if not, I wouldn't be too surprised if Greenville pulls it off.

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