NFL Week 1 and More

September 15, 2009

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Week #1 of the NFL is in the books.  I am writing this prior to the Monday night match-ups, so I will not comment on either of those games here.  Some real interesting items of note in the first week of action:

  • New Orleans offense – Who needs defense when you can score at will each and every week.  I realize they were playing the Lions but still a very impressive show by Brees and Company
  • Injuries – The Steelers Lose Troy Polamalu for extended time.  The Colts lose their answer to Marvin Harrison, Anthony Gonzalez, for up to six weeks.  Donovan McNabb cracks some ribs and might miss time.  The Bears Lose Brian Urlacher for possibly the remainder of the season.  What do all of these have in common … they are all on my fantasy football teams.
  • Adrian Peterson – A monster opener for AP.  Of course the Browns were porous against the run, but nothing makes a good friend to an over the hill, third comeback QB like having the best back in the game behind you to hand it off to 25 times a game.
  • Jay Cutler – He is missing having a receiver right now that knows how to run an accurate pass pattern.  The Bears faithful will be hard on him early and often.  Let’s see if he can be a team leader…which is already being questioned a lot by the talking heads on the radio.
  • “I Want Winners!” – Mike Singletary and the Niners win the opener against the defending NFC Champion Cardinals on the road.  A nice win for San Francisco.

Tiger Woods vaulted back to the top of the Fed Ex Points race with a runaway win at Cog Hill.  This gives Eldrick five wins on that course in his career as well as a couple of 2nd place finished.  He obviously likes the golf course, but in the same vein it is obvious that win he brings his “A” game, the rest of the field is playing for second place.

Ichiro captured his 9th straight 200 + hit season.  He is the first Major League baseball player to do so.  How tough is this record…..the last person to smack 200 or more base hits for 8 straight seasons was Willie Keeler….from 1894-1901!

Tennis missed a chance at another battle of the titans with Federer and Nadal.  Nadal was promptly retired by Juan Martin del Potro in the Semi’s on Sunday at Flushing Meadows 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.  Del Patro is playing well, but this match up in the final won’t have the same feel as another battle of the current heavyweights of men’s tennis.

Women’s volleyball gets a mention this week as the Huskers fell for the first time in a home match in 90 contests.  The attendance of 13,870 set a new NCAA record for single game attendance for a volleyball match.  The UCLA Bruins won under the great play of tournament MVP Lauren Cook … who just happens to be the daughter of Nebraska Head Coach John Cook.

College football had some exciting games this past weekend as well.  The two biggest games on the national radar were of course the USC vs. Ohio State contest.  Ohio State seems to play very conservative and Pryor looked rattled often during the game.  USC starts an unproven quarterback as well, but being on the road, with a host of young players proved to be the better team on Saturday night.  Ohio State needs to beat a non Big Ten School….and soon.

I am still waiting for Lou Holtz to apologize for his outrageous comment about the Golden Domers making the BCS title game – undefeated.  I mean you have to get by Michigan first … and that shouldn’t be THAT difficult at this point.

Football Season Kicks Off

September 8, 2009

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Ahhhhh Yes …. College Football Season has FINALLY arrived. A great opening week of College football, which as usual, created a lot of excitement, water cooler talk, and for some…a lot of disappointment.

I was totally wrong my apologies go out to Columbia:

Missouri was a little bit impressive to me this past week. The Tigers “system” offense looked sharp while carving up the Illini. Early games are a bit tough to tell, is Mizzou that good, or is Illinois that bad … Still an impressive win for the Tigers who made a statement.

Statement game:

Oklahoma State has been riding the hype wagon and there has been a lot of debate on how coach Gundy has handled the pressure of his team being a novel pick in the Big XII South. They played well in beating a solid opponent in Georgia. A nice early win for the Cowboys.

I told you all so ….

Baylor wins at Wake Forest. The main thing in this game was not just the play of Robert Griffith, but the Bears looked faster than the Deamon Deacons in all aspects of the game. Conference foes better watch out.

Uh Oh … it is worse than we thought!:

Oklahoma showed how much they rely on Heisman trophy winner Sam Bradford, but more discouraging for Sooner fans is the inability to move the football on the ground, even with Bradford out. This looks like a talented team that needs an offensive line to come together, and quickly, or it could be big trouble in Norman this year.

We were looking ahead award:

Dual winners this week are Ohio State who eeked out a win against the Midshipmen of the Naval academy. They need to be a lot better next week against the Trojans in a top 10 match up.

The Iowa Hawkeyes have used up two of their nine lives this year. Looking ahead to Iowa State? I say yes as the Clones have had the better of the match up recently considering that annually the Hawks bring in a much better quality of football team.

Pardon me Seymour …

Richard Seymor, a fixture of the defense that helped the New England Patriots win multiple Super Bowl titles has been traded to the Oakland Raiders. “Sources” indicate that he might not show up in Oakland and is less than amused about being traded. Typically the only ones who want to get traded to the Raiders these days are veterans who are looking for a big payday, folks past their prime, or someone looking for a second chance in a new environment. I don’t think Richard fits any of these descriptions.

Lastly …

This week, the US Open Tennis Tournament continues, with a lot of exciting action. The biggest story without a doubt is the pilgrimage of 17 year old Melanie Oudin’s trip through her side of the draw. The high schooler is the 70th-ranked player which is impressive in its own right. This tournament she has had a slew of wins, all comebacks, against a variety of big names of the sport. No. 4 Elena Dementieva and No. 29 Maria Sharapova as well as No. 13 Nadia Petrova. Can the miracle run continue?

Raising the roof

May 19, 2009

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Retractable roofs have been all the rage in “American Sports”. We have seen a number of baseball stadiums incorporate this type of feature to prevent the rain outs that so many fans as well as vendors hate. Heck even the Arizona Cardinals in the National Football League one upped the retractable roof with the retractable field …. one that slides in and out of the stadium to allow for better growing of turf conditions in the hot and dry desert climate.

Now retractable roofs have hit the big time. That is right; tennis has recently seen this rage as well. It caused quite a stir earlier this year when a match in the Australian Open was put on hold. Earlier this January a mid match decision to close the roof in a match between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Serena Williams may have cost Kuznetsova a spot in the Semi’s.

The decision was made to close the roof as temperatures had the mercury popping in the mid day sun. In the past temperatures have been reported as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit during matches in Melbourne.

Now Wimbledon has recently installed a similar roof contraption over the Centre Court, allowing for the normal gray and gloomy British conditions to be held at bay, and allow uninterrupted play at least on the feature court, during the tournament.

Fifteen Thousand Spectators turned out to watch exhibition matches involving Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Kim Clijsters and Tim Henman. This allowed Wimbledon to try out the new digs at the All England Tennis Club. Reportedly, when the structure came together, a round of applause broke out. Closing the new roof was timed in a smooth 7 minute and 4 seconds. Not exactly fast as the traffic on the M40, but at the same time a very acceptable time frame that does not amount to a whole lot more than an extended break between service sets.

One of the biggest worries was the new air control system. Not that the folks here in Jolly ol England will have to worry about the heat like they do down under in January, but lets face it, 15,000 rabid tennis fans in an enclosed building is about as steamy of an atmosphere as you can get. No sense having all those folks uncomfortable in the “closed roof” temperature would hit say 75 degrees or so.

So that gets us halfway home for the Grand Slam venues … but wait! The French Tennis Federation has started making plans for a new retractable roof to cover the Phillippe Chatrier Court at the Roland Garros tennis complex. It is slated for completion in time for the 2011 French Open championships.

And, here at home, USTA officials have also drawn up plans for a roof to cover the US Open’s Arthur Ashe stadium at Flushing Meadows, N.Y., after last year’s Men’s Final had to be moved to the third Monday of the tournament after weekend rain delays.

Thank goodness they can’t build domed golf courses for the PGA Tour!