No catchy title this week, but we do have some fantastic sports on tap. Football, World Series baseball, and the F1 Circus all right here in the USA. So let’s get to it.
Football: In the college ranks, the most significant game is arguably Texas A&M at Ole Miss. If the Aggies can get by the Rebels, there is a very good chance they will roll into the regular season final game on November 28th against LSU with a 10-1 record and a chance at real glory. And there is a similar chance LSU will be waiting for them in Baton Rouge undefeated. Ole Miss is no pushover though, especially at home. I’ll take the Aggies here.
Emptywheel asked me to address just exactly what the hell is going on in the PAC-12 this year. I have no real idea, what do you all think? Utah is the darling of the dance so far, but can it last? Well, the Utes have two potential roadblocks, a road game November 14 in Tucson against Rich Rod and the Cats. And then there is tonight’s game at USC. I smell a trap tonight in the Coliseum. Other than those two road traps, the Utes have UCLA and Colorado at home in the surprisingly comfy confines of Rice-Eccles Stadium, where they will be clear favorites. But, the real power in the PAC, if you ask me, is the Trees of Stanford. They should take care of the Washington Huskies today, and get both Oregon and Notre Dame at home in Palo Alto. That is a big time schedule, and on very favorable terms.
One final note before we hit the pros, heed should be paid to two small names that are kicking ass and taking names so far this year: First, the Temple Owls, who are at 7-0 for the first time in forever. Now they may not belong in the final four playoff picture, but you have to be happy for what they are doing. The second is the Memphis Tigers, who rolled up 66 points on a decent Tulsa team in Tulsa last night. They are well coached by Justin Fuente (watch out, this guy is going to get a much bigger job soon) and have an outstanding QB in Paxton Lynch. Memphis manhandled Ole Miss already this year, and if they get through the regular season undefeated, which is quite possible, they deserve to at least be considered for the playoff. Yes, so far, they really are that good.
In the pros, there are only a couple of games that matter. The Jets at the Patriots is one of them. Lot of noise both from and about the Jets. Please, just get out of here with that noise. Brady and Pats in Foxborough, buff said. The Cowboys will now be starting Matt Cassel in their big division game at the Giants. The Boys are starting to get healthier, and are coming off a bye week, but I will take Eli and the Gents here. Lastly, the Ravens are at the Cardinals for MNF. Baltimore is starting to get their legs back, but the Big Toaster in Phoenix is a very tough place to play, and the Cardinals need to make a statement after a disappointing road loss to the Steelers. Problem is, the Cardinals are absolutely horrible historically in big prime time games. I think it is a tossup, with, maybe, the slightest edge to the Cards. Could really be a good game to watch though.
Baseball: Welp, it is the Royals and the Mets in the World Series, which will inexplicably not start until Tuesday October 27. That is nuts, they need to get on with it. Who will be the Boys of November?
Formula One: The F1 circus is has set up shop in Austin for the week. I really need to get to the Circuit of the Americas one of these years, I have heard nothing but good things about the show there, even from my European friends. But this weekend, the weather predictions are rain, rain and more rain. That makes for great spectacle for TV viewers, less fun for actual race attendees. While Nico Rosberg was fast in the first practice, the second session of practice had to be cancelled because of rain. That is the first time an entire practice session was completely lost since 2004 when a typhoon interrupted the Japanese Grand Prix weekend. Frankly, with the remnants of Hurricane Patricia still afflicting the area, qualifying, currently set to go off at 12:30 pm EST today may be in jeopardy too. We shall see! Update: Practice three is actually underway, and the boys are really pushing it, potentially out of fear that qualifying gets scrubbed.
Music this weekend courtesy of the great Mose Allison. If you don’t know Mose, you should. Hoist a tall one and have some fun!
It has been a very long week. Time to let loose. For a change, we open up with with the Formula One circus. For the first time since the not much loved race in Indianapolis gave up the Brickyard ghosts in 2007, Grand Prix returns to the United States. The setting is the newly constructed Circuit Of The Americas in Austin Texas.
This is pretty exciting stuff. Grand Prix needs to be in the US, but has not had a venue that felt right since leaving Long Beach due to a tizzie between Bernie Ecclestone and the local promoters over the licensing fee. The US venues since then, including Detroit, Las Vegas, Indianapolis and, yes, even a forgettable three year stint here in Phoenix, just never felt right. But there is a ten year agreement to stage the race at Circuit of the Americas, and the hope is for stability.
The promoters and F1 have trotted out Mario Andretti to rave about the new facility but, from what I saw of it during practice yesterday, it looks butt ugly to me. Coming two weeks after a stop at the opulent and gorgeous Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit, the dustbowl cheap blight of COTA is embarrassing. Austin is a great city, maybe COTA will grow into something worth while with a little age, let’s hope so.
As for the race, so far – as expected – the Red Bulls are fast. Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso, in that order, seem to be ahead of the pack early. The final practice is live on Speed starting at 10 am EST and qualifying starting at 1 pm EST, also on Speed. Coverage of the actual race starts at 1:30 pm Sunday, again on Speed. I will say this much, while the facilities and surrounding land look a little Continue reading