Category Archives: Sports Watcher

Predictions for SportsCenter’s "Top 10 Games" of 2008

In case you haven’t heard, this was a particularly exciting year in sports. When ESPN’s “SportsCenter” does its annual “Top 10 Games” countdown, they could easily extend it to a Top 20. With so many great games, I’ve taken it upon myself to take my own stab at mimicking the ESPN list and what it might look like.

Between some college football playoff-related features and Da Blog’s regular features, I think it’s reasonable to schedule the College Football Rankings’ release, as well as the bowl schedule, for Thursday.

#10: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, men’s basketball gold medal match, USA v. Spain. The “Redeem Team” lives up to their name in a game Bill Simmons called “one of the 10 most dramatic basketball games of my lifetime. And nobody gave a crap or even knew. The game started at 2:30 in the morning ET and vanished into thin air. Only West Coasters and super-diehards stayed up to see it.”

#9: NHL Hockey, Winter Classic, Pittsburgh Penguins @ Buffalo Sabres. Could the NHL have asked for anything less than a shootout from the first (true) Winter Classic?

#8: College football, SEC Championship Game, Florida v. Alabama. If the regular season is a playoff, this was its semifinal – and it certainly played like one.

#7: MLB Baseball, ALCS Game 5, Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston Red Sox. For the moment, just forget about the fact the Sox couldn’t come all the way back to win the series.

#6: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, swimming, 4x100m freestyle relay OR 100m butterfly OR 4x100m medley relay. The first two were dramatic finishes on Michael Phelps’ road to Mark Spitz’s record. The last was the one that broke it and had an exciting finish of its own. And I only have it at #6.

#5: College football, Texas @ Texas Tech. The Red Raiders came out to an early lead, only to see Texas come storming back to take a lead of its own. In the end, Texas Tech had the play of the year, and as it turned out, the one that kept Texas out of the National Championship Game.

#4: Wimbledon, men’s final, Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal. This and the next two I could have put in any order. A five-set, record-length classic that ended with Nadal finally getting the best of Federer away from clay.

#3: Men’s college basketball, NCAA Tournament Final, Kansas v. Memphis. Finally, a National Championship game that lives up to being the culmination of March Madness instead of being a complete anticlimax!

#2: US Open Golf, playoff, Tiger Woods v. Rocco Mediate. 19 holes of pure tension, as basically an unknown gives Tiger every inch of challenge he has, and brings out Tiger’s best to put him on top. And Tiger was injured to the extent it’s still the last event he’s played!

#1: NFL Football, Super Bowl XLII, New England Patriots v. New York Giants. Perhaps the greatest iteration ever of the biggest sporting event of every year? How can it not be #1?

Honorable Mentions: IRL racing, Indy Japan 300 (Danica wins!); Euro 2008 quarterfinal, Croatia v. Turkey (or was it the semis, where Germany beat Turkey? Basically a sop to my soccer-crazed dad anyway); MLB Home Run Derby; ArenaBowl XXII, Soul v. SaberCats (about the only thing that could make it better is if it were the last one); some NBA game I’m forgetting; some obscure game I never heard of or just didn’t watch (possibly from MMA, boxing, the LLWS, Fresno State’s run, the WNBA, MLS, or the like)

I think I’m done with Sports Watcher for the foreseeable future…

According to Wikipedia, MegaVideo wants to replace YouTube as THE place to get video online. However, it restricts how much video you can view before having to wait an hour if you’re not a paying member. And it does this based on people’s IP addresses, not by putting a cookie on your computer or even by tracking non-paying members separately.

If you’re creating a situation where people on a shared network using one IP address – say, at a school, or at a WiFi cafe – can be cut out through no fault of their own, and end up competing to get the most video out of the IP address’s 72 minutes, you’re going to have a hard time going after YouTube.

Thanksgiving Day Sports Watcher

Watch Titans-Lions, Seahawks-Cowboys, and Cardinals-Eagles.

Hey, it’s what you’re doing anyway.

Providence @ Baylor is on ESPN2 at 8:30 PM PT for those of you who have been waiting for the debut of college basketball on the Watcher.

Not sure if I’ll have a watcher for the rest of the weekend.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 11/22-23

All times PST.

Saturday
9-12:30 PM: College football, Yale @ Harvard (VS). You know how, when a week of college football is crap all around, “College Gameday” will sometimes go to a I-AA or lower matchup? In the early time slot, this is one of those weeks.

12:30-4 PM: College football, Michigan State @ #6 Penn State (ABC/ESPN). Oh wait, everyone hates the Big Ten.

5-8:30 PM: College football, defending Princeton-Yale titleholder #5 Texas Tech @ #4 Oklahoma (ABC). The latest Game of the Century just to come out of the Big 12. And the Title Game – which could have more impact on the BCS than any of the other Games – is still a couple weeks off.

Sunday
9:30-12 PM: NBA Basketball, Celtics @ Raptors (CBC). This will probably fill our NBA quota on weekends until college football season ends, and maybe after.

12:30-2:30 PM: MLS Soccer, MLS Cup (ABC). Sadly, the main reason I’ve been ignoring the MLS is because their weekend games have been on eminently-ignorable Fox Soccer Channel. My soccer-crazed dad has asked me to include this paragraph: “To borrow a theme from John McCain, David Beckham is one of the biggest celebrities in the world. He is not, however the best player in MLS. That honor will go to either the Columbus Crew’s brilliant Argentinian Guillermo Schelotto – who led Boca Jumiors to several Argentine Championships between 1997 and 2007 – and The New York Red Bulls Juan Pablo Angel – who comes to MLS from Columbia. So this might not be ABC’s “Marquee matchup,” of say, Beckham’s Galaxy against Cuahtemoc Blanco’s Chicago Fire. It is, though, an intriguing matchup of two hot teams with brilliant star players. I will be watching.”

5:15-8:30 PM: NFL Football, Colts @ Chargers (NBC). Because the MLS Cup knocks out both of the regular doubleheader spots. At least it’s a lineal title defense.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 11/15-16

All times PST.

Saturday
9-12:30 PM: College football, Notre Dame v. Navy from Baltimore (CBS). The only positive B Point games going on are Big 10 games against scrubs. You can partly blame the Positive B Point Contraction, but this is really a boring weekend.

1-4:30 PM: NASCAR Nationwide Series Racing, Ford 300 (ESPN2). Final race of the Nationwide Series season preempts all three games between teams in positve B Points.

6:30-8:30 PM: MLS Soccer, Red Bulls @ Real Salt Lake (Fox Soccer Channel). I think you need Stephen Hawking to decode the MLS playoff system. So in the conference semifinals, you have a home-and-home with higher aggregate score moving on, then the conference championship is a single game with home field advantage, then the MLS Cup moves to a theoretically neutral site? And WHAT the HELL is NEW YORK doing in the WESTERN Conference Playoffs?

Sunday
12-5 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Ford 400 (ABC). Finally, the slow, unrelenting slog known as the Chase for the Championship is over.

5-8:30 PM: NFL Football, Cowboys @ Redskins (NBC). Obviously a game of tremendous importance. Gah, I’m so worn out by this feature.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 11/8-9

I think I need to take another break from the Watcher in a few weeks. All times PST.

Saturday
9-12:30 PM: College football, #20 Georgia Tech @ #16 North Carolina (Raycom Sports). Wait, why didn’t ABC pick this up for their ACC package? Clemson-Florida State? The Bowden Bowl is less than pointless this year!

12:30-4 PM: College football, #2 Penn State @ #19 Iowa (ABC/ESPN). There are no fewer than six games between two teams ranked in my Top 25 this week!

4-7:30 PM: College football, Kansas State @ #7 Missouri (FSN). The item below bumps out the latest Big 12 Battle of the Century.

7:30-9:30 PM: MLS Soccer, Real Salt Lake @ Chivas USA (Fox Soccer Channel). Didn’t we just do this last week? Who cares about a team with a name like Real Salt Lake?

Sunday
10-12:30 PM: NBA Basketball, Raptors @ Bobcats (CBC). Wait, the Raptors are on a national network that penetrates into parts of the United States???

12-4 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil (ABC). Judging by the ads, the Chase is actually getting interesting???

Honorable Mention: 1-3 PM: PBR Rodeo, Built Ford Tough World Finals (NBC). Thank God for NASCAR bumping this bleep off the Watcher.

5-8:30 PM: NFL Football, Giants @ Eagles (NBC). Flex Scheduling Watch is probably coming later tonight, folks.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 11/1-2 (with a Halloween bonus!)

All times PDT, or PST, as applicable. I briefly forgot I had set this for the morning…

Friday
5-7:30 PM: NBA Basketball, Bulls @ Celtics (ESPN). Whatever.

7:30-10 PM: NBA Basketball, Spurs @ Trail Blazers (ESPN). Without Oden it’s just “Spurs @ a non-playoff team that doesn’t have its much-hyped superstar that’s proving to be Sam Bowie 2.0”.

Saturday
9-12:30 PM: College football, Miami (FL) @ Virginia (Raycom). Probably the only ACC game I’m going to spotlight all year.

12:30-4 PM: College football, defending 2008 BCS titleholder #2 Florida v. #11 Georgia (CBS). I’m going to be watching this but mostly writing my platform examinations. Speaking of which, due to rain any examinations I complete today won’t be posted until after 9 PM PT.

3-5 PM: MLS Soccer, Chivas USA @ Real Salt Lake (Fox Soccer Channel). The other two MLS playoff games today would have fit in perfectly well on one tripleheader, but only this game is on TV.

5-8:30 PM: College football, defending Princeton-Yale titleholder #1 Texas @ #6 Texas Tech (ABC). Watching this while writing examinations as well.

Sunday
12-4:30 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Dickies 500 (ABC). You can tell we’re in the home stretch of the Chase when the start times start moving to noon PT.

5-8:30 PM: NFL Football, Patriots @ Colts (NBC). Without Tom Brady and the Colts being any good it’s just “a possible wild card contender with a nobody QB @ a total scrub team”.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 10/25-26

All times PDT.

Saturday
9:30-1 PM: College Football, #24 Kentucky @ defending 2008 BCS titleholder #5 Florida (Raycom Sports). Raycom always seems to get unusually good games from the SEC… too bad that’s about to end.

12:30-4 PM: College Football, defending Princton-Yale titleholder #6 Oklahoma State @ #1 Texas (ABC). The Northeast is getting this game. The Rockies are getting this game. Parts of the South are getting this game. But seriously, you couldn’t have found some way to get this better national distribution? The Pac-10 and Big 12 really need better contracts; the SEC and Big 10 are almost guaranteed to have their top game going out nationally every week. Surprised the Big 12 resigned almost an identical deal last year after the Big 10 got a reverse-mirror deal.

Alternately: 12:30-4 PM: College Football, #12 Georgia @ LSU (CBS) or Virginia Tech @ Florida State (ABC/ESPN2). You have to live on the West Cosat (like me) to be completely reduced to Georgia-LSU.

3:30-7 PM: College Football, Colorado @ #11 Missouri (FSN). Really just a gapfiller.

7-9:30 PM: Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 90 (PPV). Isn’t this an awfully quick turnaround from UFC 89?

Sunday
10-3 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Pep Boys Auto 500 (ABC). Does NASCAR need to move the Chase away from NFL season?

5-8:30 PM: MLB Baseball, Rays @ Phillies (FOX). Sorry, no NFL this week.

8-10 PM: IndyCar Racing, Gold Coast IndyCar 300 (ESPN2). Does this really count? I mean, it’s so far after the end of the season…

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 10/18-19

All times PDT.

Saturday
9:30-1 PM: College football, #23 Vanderbilt @ #13 Georgia (Raycom Sports, available free online from Yahoo Sports). When you think about it, the SEC’s new deal isn’t much different from their old one. They even have Arkansas-Kentucky on ESPNU this week. Except their syndicator is ESPN Plus now, so it’s not even available to everyone online. So they’re still screwing themselves out of a good third place game getting national exposure. Maybe ESPNU will become less of the ACC Network, I don’t know.

12:30-3 PM: College football, #17 Kansas @ #4 Oklahoma (ABC, not available in most markets). I’d say the Big 12 gets screwed by never getting reverse mirrored on ESPN with the Big 10 game when the craptastic ACC does, but it does have Texas-Missou in primetime going to the whole country.

Alternately: 12:30-3 PM: College Football, #28 Ohio State @ #11 Michigan State (ABC or ESPN). I just realized that somehow, the Week 7 rankings aren’t on the web site as I thought. Either they got dropped from the backups in Freehostia’s ongoing transfer, or I just forgot them. Sure enough, Sandsday is missing a strip now so it’s the former. You might have wanted to make your last backup after shutting off the file manager, guys – unless you still have backups and you’re sadistically torturing me with the old copy because it’s fresh or something. (Man, how ill-timed is this whole voting sequence, with the cold last weekend and the backing-up this weekend?)

5-8:30 PM: MLB Baseball, Red Sox @ Rays (TBS). Well after that comeback I might actually watch and pay attention to this game. A damn shame it’s not on broadcast.

9-12 AM: Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 89 (SpikeTV). Same on both coasts. I don’t think anyone other than diehards cares about the main event match.

Sunday
10-3 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, TUMS QuikPak 500 (ABC). I’ve dropped a lot of NASCAR Chase for the Cup races, haven’t I?

5:15-8:30 PM: NFL Football, Broncos @ Patriots (NBC). Hey, remember when the Patriots had a half-decent quarterback for a couple of years?

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 10/11-12

All times PDT.

Saturday
9-12:30 PM: College Football, #3 Texas v. #1 Oklahoma (ABC). The loser will not play for a national championship. The winner will look good to do so but needs to not screw it up.

12-3:30 PM: College Football, #19 Nebraska @ #7 Texas Tech (FSN). Alternately, Michigan State-Northwestern on the Deuce.
4-8:30 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Bank of America 500 (ABC). It’s the midpoint of the Chase, and I gain the ability to slot in an NFL daytime game! Without help from another sport and with the ability to pick the late (or middle, depending on your point of view) game!

Sunday
10-1 PM: NFL Football, probably Rams @ Redskins (FOX). Just my luck that I finally get a chance at the usually more national late game (or middle game, depending on your point of view), and Fox throws this at me in the early game.

1-3 PM: Champions Tour Golf, Senior Players Championship (NBC). How did I not know of this until just now?!?

5-8:30 PM: MLB Baseball, Phillies @ Dodgers (FOX). NASCAR forces the NLCS to be the LCS of the weekend.