In the final Forward Progress podcast of the season, Steve and I break down the national championship match-up of Oregon and Ohio State, but mostly talk about all the annoying commercials that have been playing during bowl season. The pod checks in at 36 tight minutes. Enjoy!
When you drive past a marquee advertising a NBDL game the following night and you’ve got no plans, you can’t not go. My friend Lee agreed, so we went to last night’s game between the Westchester Knicks and Erie BayHawks.
Many others apparently felt the same way, as the Westchester County Center—better known for hosting sports memorabilia shows and reptile exhibits—was packed. We got in line for tickets and were immediately told they were running out and that there were no longer two seats together.* This seemed absurd to us, even in an arena that only seats 2,500 people. It turns out both the employee and we were right: While it was true that we had to buy tickets in different rows, once inside it was clear we’d have scores of seating options. Were the open seats no-show season ticket holders? I have no good answer.
My great Aunt Naj used to tell a story about buying a Yankees yearbook. She liked that it would serve her not just for the year printed on the cover, but likely for a few seasons. “Nowadays,” she would say, “it’s outdated in five minutes.” She was born in 1928, more than 40 years before Curt Flood got the ball rolling on free agency, and didn’t like all the roster turnover of modern baseball.
When the 2015 yearbooks are released, Jimmy Rollins will not appear in the Phillies’ book for the first time in his 15-year career. He was traded to the Dodgers a few days ago. It was yet another reminder that the “lifer,” defined here as someone who played his entire career of at least 10 seasons for just one franchise, may soon be obsolete.
After weeks of meaningless (and misleading) rankings, the playoff field is official: Alabama vs. Ohio State in one semifinal and Oregon vs. Florida State in the other. As you may have heard, there was a bit of controversy surrounding Ohio State’s inclusion, and Steve and I spend time discussing that in the latest Forward Progress podcast. Under “audio info,” you’ll find a timestamped guide to the podcast. For example, you can find our Heisman discussion at the 42:45 mark. I hope you’ll listen, and I hope you’ll take the time to vote in the poll below (email subscribers: you may need to view this post on the blog in order to vote):
Given the college football playoff committee’s rankings—undefeated Florida State is not first, or even second or third—many fans are confused. They may know which match-ups they’d like to see in the playoff but unsure what to root for this weekend to make their wishes come true. That’s where I come in, to save you from accidentally rooting for the wrong team. Because you screaming at your TV does make a difference.
Arizona vs. Oregon
Friday, 9 p.m. ET, FOX
The Ducks have been among college football’s best in recent years—the last season they lost more than two games was 2009—but they’ve only been to one national championship. In a time when other schools are claiming national titles like they’re candy on Halloween, Oregon, which started football in 1894, claims none. My point is, they’ve worked hard their whole life, paid their dues, and now, maybe, it’s Oregon’s turn. Win, and the Ducks are in the playoff, with a 1 or 2 seed and a semifinal game at the Rose Bowl.
The latest Forward Progress college football podcast is available for your listening pleasure. Steve and I talk about the final “meaningless” rankings: How in the heck is Florida State No. 4? Which teams are still alive for a playoff spot? How will championship week play out? The podcast is packed with everything you’ll want to know before this weekend’s games. If you mention the show on Twitter or Facebook, or send me a question or comment via email, you’ll get a special shoutout on the next podcast.
I also want to share a couple of college basketball stories I’ve written. One is a feature on Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, which was published in the latest issue of Basketball Times. You probably remember his name from the résumé scandal last spring. I spoke to Masiello, his current and former players, several of the school’s administrators, and others outside of the program who are familiar with the situation to get an idea of how Manhattan went about taking him back and what it means for the school. The other story is much shorter, though it deals with tall players: Kentucky’s basketball team, which may be the tallest in college hoops history and can match up with any NBA team. It appeared in The Wall Street Journal last week.
You can find most all of my freelance work on my website. As always, thanks so much for reading. Without you, I’d simply be a diarist.
In case you missed it, I published a college basketball podcast yesterday. My guests, Brian Kahn and Lee Joffe, and I preview the season with a discussion of what makes college hoops great, how it could be improved, and which teams to look out for in 2014-15. As we’ve done for many years, we share our Final Four predictions. Check it out!