Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Seahawks loss Stings but it's Life

This is a great time of year to be a sports fan. Outside of baseball, every sport is under way which is  awesome!

Yet, I'm stuck at work most days or out of the house so much I haven't been able to watch much lately. In fact, before I left for Bolivia, I had only watched 2.1 sports games per day which is down from my hypothesized usual of three sporting games per day.

I commute over an hour to work for a three hour shift. Not ideal but it's what god has handed me in 2017. Honestly, I wish I could write more. Everyday would be awesome but sometimes it's hard to get back in the swing of things after a few days off.

Today I came home from work and had to watch the Monday Night Football game on the PVR. Yes, the game was exciting but I was hoping for a Seahawks win. I think we have to accept that the Seahawks from 2012-2015 are done and they are trying to form a new indemnity.

That's ok, its part of a cycle a franchise has to go through. At 6-4, the Seahawks are still in control of their own destiny to win the NFC West. There's still winnable games on there schedule. 4-2 will likely be the minimum that will be needed to get into the Playoffs. I bet they will at least go 3-3. Therefore, they will likely have beat Jacksonville, Philadelphia or Dallas. All of which I could see them losing to. Not to mention they would have to win their remaining three divisional games.

This is life however, we need to enjoy it. This is the best week of the year to be a sport fan. Yet, this year it will be ruined for me because I'm a employed Canadian.

The UEFA Champions League goes Tuesday and Wednesday followed by Europa League and NFL on Thanksgiving Thursday.

There's lots of ways we can enjoy life, have fun and make a difference in the community. Tough losses will happen and it's ok to get pissed off. It stings that the Seahawks awesomeness on MNF is over. That's why I'm on here to try and make it feel better. Blogs and Social media are great places to vent. If people disagree than their not true friends.

Whatever the result is, life is still a million times better than what it seems like in the moment. The goal should always be to simile and love life. Totally beats the alternative.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sweden on Brink of Huge Moment

Sweden has taken a 1-0 lead back to Italy for tomorrow nights crucial second leg of the UEFA playoff. 

Sweden is unfamiliar with these playoff type formats. They were able to survive the Denmark attack up 2-1 in the 2016 Euro Qualifying playoff but Italy might be a step up from Denmark. 

Sweden has done their job. A 1-0 win at home which produced a win and a clean sheet that they can take back to Italy Monday. 

To me, the question becomes will Italy rise to the occasion or will they fold under pressure. In the history of these two legged ties, 1-0 is easily reversible especially for a team like Italy. 

It should be a historic night in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza also known aa the San Siro.  If Sweden survive the barrage that Italy has in store for Sweden then Sweden will deserve it. However, if Italy finds a way to break Sweden down than it will be a historic night for Italy. 

Italy have never lost in 31 games at the San Siro but a win might not be good enough. If Sweden score once than Italy need three and that will be tough against a Sweden team playing well without pressure. 

Sweden folded under pressure in 2010 qualifying and now it's Italy's turn to take an aging roster into a pressure pack situation. Someone needs to step or Italy is going to be out. 

I can't wait for the game tomorrow, I think their will be a magical moment at some point of the game. 

It seems too close to call but I can't imagine Italy finding a way not scoring for two games in a row. 

Italy will score two in the 41st and 73rd minute to send Italy to World Cup 2018 in Russia. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Bracketology - November 9th

   East                                                                        Midwest
 1 Duke 
 1 Michigan State 
 16 Texas Southern  / Col Charlestn
 16 UNC Central / Mt St Marys 
Charlotte 
  Detroit 
 8 Wisconsin 
 8 Oregon 
 9 Virginia 
 4  West Virginia 
 4 Cincinnati 
 13 Stephen F Austin 
 13 Northern Iowa 
San Diego 
Pitt 
 5 Gonzaga 
 5 Notre Dame 
 12 Vermont 
 12 San Diego State 
 3  Louisville 
 3 USC 
 14 Iona 
 14 UC Irvine
 Nashville 
 San Diego 
 6 Northwestern 
 6 Purdue 
 11 Vanderbilt / Utah 
 11 Boise State /  Texas A&M 
 7 Seton Hall 
 7 Alabama 
 10 Oakland 
 10 Stanford 
 Boise 
Wichita 
 2  Arizona 
 2 Kansas 
 15 Weber State 
15 LA Tech 
   West 
South 
 1 Wichita State 
 1 Kentucky 
 16 East Tennessee State 
 16 UNC Asheville 
Dallas 
 Wichita 
 8 Oklahoma 
8 SMU 
 9 Providence 
9 Iowa 
 4  Miami 
 4 Minnesota 
 13 FGCU 
13 Ohio 
 Nashville 
 Boise 
 5 Xavier 
 5 UCLA 
 12 Maryland 
 12 South Dakota State 
 3 Texas 
 3 Florida 
 14 New Mexico State 
 14 LA Lafayette 
Dallas 
Detroit 
 6 St. Mary's 
 6 Baylor 
 11 Indiana 
 11 Maryland 
 7 Mizzouri 
 7 TCU 
 10 Michigan  
 10 Arkansas 
Charlotte 
Pitt 
 2  UNC
 2 Villanova 
 15 Bucknell 
 15 Belmont 






































On the Bubble 
Vanderbilt 
Boise State
Texas A&M
Utah 

First four Out 
Clemson 
Iowa State 
BYU

Next 4 Out 
Virginia Tech 
Ole Miss 
VCU 
Houston 

Sweden Set for Showdown with Italy

Sweden enters the World Cup Qualifying playoffs with upset aspirations against Italy but it will be easier said then done.

Sweden's downfall came during the 2010 World Cup Qualifying when they only ousted up five wins. Since then, they have been fighting for respectability in a decade that has had Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the spotlight way too often.

Since his retirement, the Scandinavia nation has been able to hold serve. They didn't look out of place in a tricky Group A that produced a tie and win one the Netherlands and later a win over France. Sweden placed second in the group and advanced the playoff where they got paired with Italy.

Despite Italy's well known success, Sweden shouldn't be massive underdogs. They will likely need at least a win at home Friday that would set up a intense 90 minutes Monday night in Italy.

Away goals will also be crucial as that is the tie-breaker if the teams are tied after 180 minutes.

The scary thing is, Sweden hasn't fared well in their new home against good teams. They have allowed three against Portugal, five against Germany and four more against Austria two years ago. They also allowed an away goal against Denmark in their playoff for the Euro's.

I will be surprised if Sweden can hold a clean sheet Friday. They have played 15 competitive games at Friends Arena and only have 6 clean sheet wins but all of them have been against inferior teams with the strongest team being Bulgaria.

This team has already reached expectations, the rest is gravy. That being said it would be fun to knock off Italy. If Sweden fail, they will be in there longest World Cup drought in their history. However, UEFA has had a couple berths taken away the last few quadrennial while the depth of the confederation has gotten stronger.

Italy hasn't lost more than one Qualifying game in a World Cup cycle 1984. The two legged series is there's to lose.

I predict 1-1 in the first leg and 2-0 Italy in the reverse fixture on Monday sending Italy through to Russia 2018.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Washington Basketball Trying to put Conundrum Situation Behind Them

I never thought this day would come for the Washington Huskies Men's basketball program. I was doubtful there would be a time where someone not named Lorenzo Romar would be the Head Coach of the basketball program.


The team hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2011 and the problems that the team endured were evident by around 2010 that Lorenzo Romar was not the coach to take this team to new heights.


By 2011, Romar was getting praised for his coaching ability and none of the media was holding him accountable for never getting past the Sweet 16. In fact, they only had one Sweet 16 appearance since 2006 and that appearance came because of a Conference Tournament win that would have seen them bound for the NIT otherwise.


I called for Romar to be fired in 2011 and all I got was Huskies fans making fun of me and saying I had a mental illness among other things. I ended up being the Mayor of Rightville as the win against Georgia in the Round of 64 has gone on to be Washington's last win in the Tourney. The coach that I always had my eyes on was Ben Jacobson at Northern Iowa who


The next year, they went on to win the Conference Regular Season Title but didn't get into the Tournament because of their weak conference. Romar's seat was a long ways from getting hot. Players wwere leaving the program as freshman and that was leaving a major hole in Washington's depth from 2013-2016. Players transferring or getting dismissed from the team was also leaving a huge leadership problem.  


Top recruited players were coming in, but that was only doing so much. Every year since 2012, Washington has dropped a game to a team at home in non conference that they were superior too.


Last year, they hit rock bottom despite having the best freshman in America in Markelle Fultz. Washington only managed to go 9-22 last year.


At this point, there were still people that thought Romar should keep his job. New AD Jen Cohen thought differently however and in a brisk decision fired Lorenzo Romar shortly after Selection Sunday.


Now, on a gloomy fall day in Seattle, Washington is not only fighting for wins on the court but they are also fighting for relevancy off the court. The Washington Football team is surging right now trying to grasp second straight Pac 12 Title. The Seahawks are in the middle of trying to claim another NFC West Title and NBA Expansion talk is on the brink of starting again with an arena being built hopefully just around the corner.


Washington basketball talk is rare these days. UW's new coach is Mike Hopkins who was the "coach in waiting" at Syracuse. He wasn't who I would have hired but I'm not the AD there so I guess I had no say. The dilemma of firing Romar was losing top recruits such as Michael Porter Jr and his brother who recommitted to Missouri. I'll be curious to see how Missouri does this year as well as Mike Hopkins at Washington.


The reasoning that Romar was fired is believed to be because the cycle of one and dones wasn't going to end as long as Romar was the head coach. The coach that I always had my eyes on was Ben Jacobson at Northern Iowa who produces quality results in the Missouri Valley Conference. He only has a 4-4 record in the Tournament but his losses are to Purdue, Michigan State, Louisville and West Virginia.


Nevertheless, the Washington basketball saga will be fun one to follow.  Mike Hopkins has his hands full this year but it will be interesting to see if he can steer this ship clear of the mess that Lorenzo Romar dug himself into.


Monday, November 6, 2017

It Might be A Fluke, But its Better Than The Alternative

I sit here at my computer desk thinking about the Canucks game tonight as the Detroit Red Wings come into town tonight for the final game of the home-stand. The Red Wings used to be a hot ticket in town but the decline of their roster is completely evident by the number of household names in their lineup.

The Canucks season is in the rhythm right now. The team is 7-4-2 but non of the fans are believing in playoffs yet. Is it cliche that it's 'early' or is it important to get a good start in the marathon 82 game season.

Most people point towards American Thanksgiving as measuring stick point in the standings. That comes in the coming weeks. Canucks have nine games before Thanksgiving and that will tell us a lot as well.

I honestly don't buy in to the Early thing. For one, I think it's a get out of jail free card for teams that get off to a bad start and a jealousy statement for fans when a below average team when their rival gets off to a good start. . For instance, if the Canucks were 4-7-2 at this point, the mood of this hockey team would be quite different. It would be hard to imagine that the Canucks could get back in the playoff race.

That's because the Canucks send out a average roster compared to the other 30 teams. Edmonton has one of the better rosters and can afford a shaky start.

Therefore, it really depends on where a teams organization is at that determines if it is important to get off to a good start.

It never hurts and I'm glad that the Canucks have for the time being at least avoided any tanking talk. The more we avoid that talk the better it will be this season on and off the ice.

This is an important game for Vancouver as they keep  trying to prove themselves before a rough road begins in Calgary tomorrow night.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Magic Fast Start Shouldn't be a Surprise

Four games into the season, the Orlando Magic have been the surprise of the NBA this year. At 3-1, the Magic have stormed out too first place in the Eastern Conference. Some fans will shrug it off as a fluke but this team is quietly building a solid team.

The team will get a tough test tonight when they host the San Antonio Spurs. Like the majority of the fans, I would admit that a 3-1 start is nothing to get excited about however the Eastern Conference is so weak that the Magic would just have to go 500. the rest of the way to in theory make the playoffs.

This is a franchise that hasn't seen playoffs since the lockout shortened year in 2011-12. Since then, this team has added strong draft picks such as Aaron Gordon and most recently Jonathan Isaac as well as adding Nikola Vučević through trade in late 2010. 

We all know about how good the 76ers might be but are the Magic the team that is on the rise that no one is talking about? In ESPN's first power rankings, they were slated at #24 before taking a modest leap to 19 this week. They can take a bigger leap next week with a win over the Spurs in a game that has to be considered atleast winnable considering that the Spurs might be due for a loss and the fact they aren't the same Spurs team in the Tim Duncan era. 

The NBA is a waiting game. Think about it, Golden State was trash before Stephan Curry was drafted. They built around him by adding Klay Thompson and Draymond Green before adding their final piece of the puzzle with Kevin Durant during free agency the summer after losing to Cleveland in the finals in 2016. 

Therefore, its never easy to predict when the next monster team will come around. Orlando has two finals appearances and both were with amazing players. In 19955 it was the team with Shaquille O'Neal and in 2009 Dwight Howard doubled the Magic's total with another appearance.


Jonathan Isaac was named one of the steals of the draft last year thanks to the elite players that went before him in last years loaded draft. If the Magic can build on what there putting together, a playoff appearance might be just around the corner.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The EPL on NBCSN

The animosity of the Premier League is comparable to nothing in sports. In the English Pyramid of soccer, 96 teams fight for positioning trying to beat their previous years result. Some succeed but some fail. Being relegated is painful.

In the whole pyramid, there is only six teams that really have a chance unfortunately. Leicester defined history and won during a year that the powerhouse teams were down. There is usually six more teams that find a way to stay in the PL every year. That leads to eight teams in the PL playing with house money every year. Lately, teams like Aston Villa, Sunderland and Fulham have been stuck in the second tier that have provided chances for small clubs to stay up longer than expected.

We are at the time of the year where the 3pm BST kickoffs are almost evening games. The race to boxing day is closer and closer each week as history is not on your side if your in the relegation zone at Christmas.

Crystal Palace has captivated the neutral fan the last few years and are starting to be desperate for points. A win against West Ham on Saturday looking for a win. Beating Chelsea was good but they need more.

Palace is in survival mode now which is a complete 360 from playing in a FA Cup Final about two years ago. They likely will go down within the next five years but that's the best part about the PL. Everything is chaotic at the bottom of the table. Which makes for compelling soccer.

The Palace and Arsenal games look like the best two games in the middle window. Let me know which game you are most looking forward too.


Saturday, October 28
 
7:30a ETNBCS, NBCU
 
England
 
10:00a ETPLP
 
England
 
10:00a ETNBCU, PLP
 
England
 
10:00a ETPLP
 
England
 
10:00a ETNBCS
 
England
 
10:00a ETCNBC
 
Liverpool, England
 
12:30p ETNBC, NBCU
 
England
Sunday, October 29
 
9:30a ETNBCS
 
England
 
12:00p ETNBCS, TELE
 
England
Monday, October 30
 
4:00p ETNBCS
 
England