Sporting Goods? No, Sporting Greats!
Coming into this weekend I had my usual excitement of the sporting events in which my teams were involved. When I say excitement, I wouldn’t say it was pure elation, it was just sort of a “this could be fun” type of feeling. But little did I know that I would be blindsided on how well it would end up for me come Sunday night. The three teams I looked forward to watching all had bad outings in their previous week and a couple were on a bad losing streak, but all those streaks would end on Saturday or Sunday and just like the best boxes of cereal, the sweetness came with a nice free prize.
San Diego State Aztecs vs. UC Santa Barbara: I’m a big fan of the red and black and of all the teams I’m loyal to (New York Giants, NY Mets, NY Knicks, Syracuse Orange and The Aztecs) the Aztecs are the team with which I’ve been most physically active. Not that I don’t love my other teams equally, but geographically mostly, it was easier to support them live. I’ve been on multiple road trips to see them, I’ve been to Arizona, Oakland, and Vegas in particular quite a few times. San Diego State has had a good season this year, but their last two games were losses to really good teams (Arizona & St. Mary’s), teams that could make or break a NCAA post season bid, so a win was imperative against UCSB and would keep State from losing their 4th game of the season. I didn’t get to see it on TV, but I listened to it on the internet while I chatted w/ other Aztec faithful on the Aztectalk message boards. The game was sloppy, but SDSU had a good run to end the 1st half and when they came back out for the 2nd they held their composure and walked out with a double digit win. It’s a good start to my sports weekend.
#11Syracuse Orange @ #21Memphis Tigers: Syracuse has come out big this season with wins over #18 Florida and #21 Kansas and were perfect for 9 games until they were extremely shocked by taking a loss from relative unknown Cleveland State (I don’t even know their mascot). The two teams were tied and 69, but Cleveland State got the ball back with less than 5 secs in the game, tossed up a 3-quarter court shot and dropped it in the basket to hand my Orange a devastating loss in their home building, the spectacular Carrier Dome. In the next game, the ‘Cuse rebounded against a less than stellar Canisius to go 9-1, but the real matchup wouldn’t be until yesterday when they travelled to Memphis to play against the Tigers who played in last year’s NCAA Championship against Kansas (yep, the Kansas that Syracuse beat earlier this season). The matchup was pretty good and Memphis played well and had the lead for a good portion of the game, but after coming out cold in the second half, The Orange turned it up in the last 6 mins. or so and came out of the building from beating a 3rd ranked team this season. The Big East Division is hands down the best conference in college ball this season, They occupy almost a full 1/3 of the college top 25 (8) and almost half of the top 15, predictions say The Big East will likely send an unprecedented 8 teams or more to the NCAAs, so out-of-conference wins like these are going to be crucial to getting into the Big Dance and getting a really good seed, because once the Big East starts playing in-conference, they’re probably going to eat themselves alive and SU will need these big big wins. This win also has a good chance of bumping The Orange into the top 10, this weekend is getting good.
New York Giants vs Carolina Panthers: My hometown team stunned the Planet Earth earlier this year when they, the 5th seed in the NFC, beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, but when they came out and went 11-1 through through the end of November, people’s jaws hit the floor. The Giants were hailed as the best team in the NFL, with wins over Dallas, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philly, and a sweep of Washington, they looked like they couldn’t be stopped…until they were stopped. The Giants had two big problems, they lost both their #1 receiver Plaxico Burress and #1 running back Brandon Jacobs and without these two, they lost to both Philly and Dallas. So this Sunday Night, The New York Giants would meet up with the other 11-3 team in the NFC, The Carolina Panthers and the winner would be guaranteed the #1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The ramifications were huge, Carolina was not only playing for home field; if they lost, The Atlanta Falcons would have a chance to win in week 17 and take over the top spot in that division. The Giants needed this to prove who they still are, not only to the other teams but to themselves. This matchup was big and the game would not disappoint. The Giants had Jacobs back, but in the first half it didn’t look like it would matter. Carolina came out big, their running back had 3 touchdowns in the first half and the Giants worked extremely hard to earn their 13 points in the half which ended 21-13 Carolina. In the second half early, The Giants managed to get to Carolina 4 where Kevin Boss caught a Touchdown to bring the game to 20-21 as the Giants only went for 1 pt (and beat me in fantasy for 5th place on the season. Can’t win em all). With the Giants in striking distance and hopes high, De’angelo Williams ran for a 4th TD on the night which let the air out on me, but the Giants managed to work it back down, Eli Started moving the ball like he was earlier in the season and they get a TD but have to go for 2 this late in the game and they succeeded and after a few plays a big missed 51yd Field Goal by the Panthers, the game goes into Overtime. At this point I am crazy tense, the same tension I held last playoff season in that great Green Bay game and the Dallas win, a win in this game is as big as you can get in the regular season and to take it to overtime in the fashion they did, makes it even better. The two teams each had a possession in sudden death OT, but neither capitalized, on the third possession of OT, Derrick Ward, another of the 3 headed NY running attack busts two enormous and crucial runs to get the G into the red zone and eventually to the 1 yard line and at that point they gave it to the big fella, Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs goes middle and gains 1 yard, 1 TD, 1 win, 1 home field advantage and the #1 seed for the 2008-09 season. A lot of sports people (even myself a bit) started asking if New York was done, never mind that NY still had the second best record and are the reigning champions and folks started writing off a team that had only 3 losses, but I guess last night was their big statement, telling people to calm the fuck down. Their record last season wasn’t even close to this season and we know how that ended, so now, they’ve shown they can beat the best in the AFC and NFC and I think they’re ready for the playoffs. It was a good day.
But Wait, There’s More!: Every year I do two NFL pools, one is called Survivor, the other is called ’33’ and it is run by my boy Jasen. The point of 33 is to have your randomly assigned team score a total of 33 points in a game, no more, no less. It sounds easy enough, but 33 is actually a fairly rare score in the NFL, you have to go through an odd set of scores to end up with it and it’s seen maybe 2-4 times a season. There is a rolling jackpot until someone hits 33, then you start over again. Last night, after listening to the SDSU game, watching BYU play ASU, then watching the Syracuse game, I decide to geek out and watch some Science channel. In the middle of my show, I get a text from Jasen who tells me to turn on football (I’d actually forgotten the game was on last night) , so I flip over and with about two minutes left in the game, Dallas was playing the Baltimore Ravens, The Ravens have a score of 33 and I have The Ravens as my 33 team. The Ravens close out the game with that number, so lady luck smiles on me w/ a three week rollover Jackpot of $225. This weekend was fantastic sportswise, I didn’t expect much, I wanted my teams to do well and they all prospered, I got everything I could’ve asked for and received even more. Maybe it was karma or an early Xmas/Birthday present, The butterfly effect or chaos theory, maybe it’s just plain statistics and probabilities or synchronicity or whatever, but I like it. As the creator of Planet A, I wanted sports, I got sports and sports were good. Best. Sports! Weekend! Evar!