The Visiting Writers series, a.k.a. “People More Amusing Than I”, continues today with a post from Gene, Gene the Blogging Machine. But he’d prefer it if we refer to his post as “Okerland’s Opinions.” Done. I’ll return tomorrow. To whom I’ll return it, I don’t know. But I will return tomorrow. –J.W.
1. Shakedown/Surprise/Surreal Saturday
Beginning on Thursday night in Eugene, Top 10 teams began to fall at an alarming rate. First, it was the Ducks versus the undefeated and now 10th-ranked Arizona Wildcats, then Saturday we saw MH’s #1 team , TAMU, fall to Mississippi State (Dan Mullen is back!!), then ‘bama lost to Katy Perry’s Rebels (plenty of boys that night yelled “I kissed a girl”), then Oklahoma to the Horned Frogs of TCU (#GaryPattersontoMichigan) and before the clock struck midnight the upsets came full circle as Utah beat UCLA in the Pac-12. There was almost a 6th upset in a snowy south bend, but Ben Koyack strolled past the Stanford defenders like an unpromoted Facebook post and caught the go head score with one minute to go.
And now everyone’s scrambling to fill their top 4 with teams from the SEC West and what happens when they all beat each other over the next two months? Will the committee ignore an undefeated team because Alabama lost to Ole Miss but beat MSU and TAMU, while Ole Miss will have beat TAMU and BAMA but lost to MSU in the last week of the season?
And of course the old school people, like the Editor-in-Chief (note: I prefer “Imperial Poobah” –JW) of this site, will say this is why we don’t need a playoff, these things tend to sort each other out.
BTW, The Smartest Team in the Land had a four-point lead with three minutes to go and here are the mistakes they made:
– Kickoff out of bounds (yes it was close to a touch back, but you cost your team 15 yards)
– Playing not to give up a TD rather than to win game. The safety was so deep on every play, Golson had wide open receivers on nearly every pass
– Miscommunication on the Koyack TD that left him uncovered.
– Fighting for extra yards instead of getting down after a 1st down.
– Intentional grounding with 11 seconds left.
2. ORoyals Madness
Crab cakes vs. BBQ for the right to host Game 1 of the World Series (Did the AL win? I forget but I’m sure the Mess impacted that in some way). Right now, Bud Selig is trying to figure out how to make sure it’s LA vs SF in the NLCS so someone watches the WS.
It’s quite the intriguing match-up, the team that barely hits home runs against the team that can’t stop hitting them. Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz had 40 HRs this year, while the Royals barely had a 100 as a team.
Ned “The bumbling idiot” Yost vs Buck “The genius” Showalter. Yost has looked like a genius thus far and he’s four wins from heading to the World Series.
As a baseball fan, I love when new teams make the playoffs because it shows the game is more about heart than money. But the PTB care about making money and I fear the ratings won’t be that hot.
Has anyone mentioned that the winner of the WC game gets an advantage heading into the LCS? Yes, you lose your ace for Game 1, but if you happen to take either Game 1 or 2 or both, your ace is going in Game 3 while the favorite is stuck with their #3 starter.
3. Hasta Luego, Harbaugh
I don’t need Jay Glazer to tell me that Jim Harbaugh won’t be back with the 49ers next year. But maybe it’s because I live in the Bay Area and have to hear about the 9ers daily. Harbaugh wants to get paid like all Michigan Men. He’s the hottest coaching candidate in America. Since 2010, he’s coached in essentially 4 major postseason games (Orange Bowl, NFC Champ, Super Bowl, NFC Champ) so he knows what he’s doing.
The problem with guys like Harbaugh is that eventually his personality becomes too much to take. Owners get mad because he’s not respecting them anymore and Jim feels disrespected because he wasn’t give an extension.
How else do I know Harbaugh is gone? His agent convinced someone at ESPN or SI to write a long-form about hanging out with Jim and what makes him tick. This is a standard get-my-client-money move. Jim’s been known to dislike the media and publicity but he agreed to this?
And when guys such as Deion and Dilfer are quoting sources from inside 9er land, it’s either players or management who are tired of the Jim act.
My fear is now that the Cowboys are playing well, Jim’s only option will be Michigan but I can’t see them giving him a blank check to fix the program. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Raiders made a move, though.
Harbaugh could join Art Howe, Jon Gruden, Don Nelson, Hue Jackson and Mark Jackson as Bay Area coaches run out of town because of conflicts with management despite posting positive seasons.
4. Fan Complaints
The newest trend among ADs and team owners is complaining about the fans. “Why aren’t they coming to games?” “Why aren’t they loud?”
The answer to the first question is price. Back when I was at Notre Dame, it cost maybe $200 to go to all the games. For the entire season. You’d wake up, start drinking, go inside, sober up and celebrate a victory (not so much in 1999). Now the price to attend games is much higher, plus schools decided to crack down on making the games fun (Thanks, Bin Laden) and as a result, kids decided they could use the money they could have spent on tickets for beer and post-game fun.
In addition, you can watch the game from your room and spend all game trying to win your school’s in-game Twitter contest while your friends suffer without WiFi. Lower the prices and cut down on the excise crap and the students will return.
The answer to the second question is “Because you priced them out.” The biggest complaint about Levi’s Stadium thus far is that it isn’t as loud as Candlestick. Not really a shock considering they moved the stadium an hour away from the loyal fan base and raised ticket prices and added PSLs. I know plenty of 9er fans who said this is the first time ever that they haven’t had season tickets because it was too rich for their blood.
Rich people are great, they fuel the economy and help charities, but many treat sporting events as a social outing to be seen but not to be heard. Your middle class and lower income fans are the ones who get loud and create that hostile environment. Take them away and you might as well play games in a smaller stadium.
But the NFL doesn’t care because they make money whether you watch at home (higher ratings = higher rights fees) or at the stadium. As long as you are a dedicated fan of a team, the owner gets your money. And once ticket prices go up they rarely go back down unless your team really sucks and then you aren’t going to the game anyways.
5. Olympic-Sized Headache
It’s taken awhile, but countries have finally realized that hosting the Olympics are more a pain in the ass (people still keep wallets in their back pockets?) than the increase in tourism. Sure it’s great to show off your city for two weeks but then you have constant reminders about how much it cost. It’s like that Notre Dame BCS Championship Game t-shirt from 2013.
Basically no one wants the Winter Olympics in 2022, and poor NBC is on the hook to air the games. But there is a way to fix this…
Designate one place as the permanent host for the Winter and Summer games going forward. Countries can chip in to help fix up arenas and there is a set plan every four years. It’s a win win for everyone.
Or make it a global event where a different country hosts a different event or events (think Wrestlemania 2).
Use the resources that you already have and get rid of the negative press that comes due to worker wages, deaths and countries overlooking their poor areas to build a new stadium.
Think of what the bids would be for a permanent host….