What to Watch Thurs. 9/18 – Sun. 9/21

All times are PST

Thursday Sept. 18th

Auburn at Kansas State – 4:30pm ESPN: Another week and another SEC vs Big 12 matchup. K State escaped against Iowa State two weeks ago and hopefully those two weeks was enough time to get ready for the high powered Auburn attack.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons – 5:30pm CBS: Tampa is staring 0-3 right in the face. They need a huge effort on the road to prevent that.

Seattle Mariners at LA Angels – 7pm MLB.TV: The Mariners are hanging around and send King Felix to the mound against Jared Weaver.

 

Friday Sept. 19th

Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates – 4pm MLB.TV:Pennet race is coming down to the wire and division rivals square off.  It’s what September is all about.

Detroit Tigers at KC Royals – 5pm MLB.TV: What we said above applies here too.

 

Saturday Sept. 20th

Arsenal at Aston Villa – 7am NBCSN: 2nd place Aston Villa welcomes in the Gunners to kick off your Saturday.

North Carolina at East Carolina – 12:30 ESPNU: UNC had a week off after being in a thriller against San Diego State. ECU is riding high off of their upset of Virginia Tech. Should be a good one.

Indiana at Missouri – 1pm SEC Network: No it’s not a basketball game but the score may reflect one. IU can’t play defense but they can score points and Mizzou picked up right where they left off last season.

Vancouver Whitecaps at Portland Timbers – 2:30pm NBCSN: A lot of things on the line in this game. Cascadia Cup, playoff berths, you name it.

Clemson Tigers at Florida State – 5pm ABC: Game of the day which is why Gameday is there. Clemson has gotta have a better showing than they did last year or else they could be 1-2 come Sunday morning.

Miami at Nebraska – 5pm ESPN2: If the Clemson at FSU game goes south then flip over to this one. Nebraska has one of the best RB’s in the country.

California at Arizona – 7pm PAC-12 Network: If you’re planning on staying up to watch this game to the very end then you might want to pop a Red Bull around 6:45pm. These teams like to score and score fast which could make for a long and entertaining west coast shootout.

San Diego State at Oregon State – 7:30pm FS1: San Diego State game UNC all they wanted two weeks ago and Oregon State had to travel back from Hawaii. Guess here is close game in the 4th quarter.

 

Sunday Sept. 21st

Chelsea at Manchester City – 8am NBCSN: How about this matchup to start off your Sunday!

San Diego Chargers at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: The Chargers are coming off of a huge win last Sunday but now they have to go all the way across the country to play the 2-0 Bills. What?

Calgary Stampeders at Montreal Alouettes – 10am ESPN2: We didn’t forget about you Canada. The Stamps may be the best team in the league but starting QB Bo Levi Mitchell is banged up. Meanwhile the born again Als are back on the right track with former Tennessee Vol Jonathan Crompton at the controls.

Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks – 1:25pm CBS: This has to be better than last years Super Bowl right?

 

College Football Is Losing Its Fans

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

With the 2014 College Football season knocking at the door one sad fact is creeping around the chicken coop, students are not going to the games. Yes, even at Alabama.

Sweep Right

ESPN’s Darren Rovell wrote an excellent piece earlier this year about the decline of the student body at football games. We are not talking about the non power conferences either. He points to places like Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma that have seen a drop off in student attendance.

The concern isn’t just that students are not showing up but that the students are the next generation season ticket holder. It means future declining revenue and sparsely populated stadiums which is a double whammy of bad news for some schools.

The University of Iowa was going to give away free tuition to randomly selected students who purchased season tickets. Some legal hurdles put an end to that idea but it shows the lengths that schools are willing to go to to put butts in the seats.

It makes sense that college football programs have checked out to places like Kansas City to visit Blue Hell (a.k.a. Sporting KC) and other MLS clubs. MLS clubs like Sporting KC, Portland and Seattle sell-out just about every match and a great fan experience to boot. Granted everyone but Seattle is filling a facility around 20,000 people which is far less than places like Alabama, Michigan, and Oklahoma but they are still doing something right to continually bring it sell-out crowds.

College Football has a lot of hurdles facing it from lawsuits to concussions. Support from the students they represent didn’t seem like it would be an issue but somehow those are always the ones that sneak up on you.

Holiday Viewing Guide

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The Holiday season isn’t done just yet which means that there are still sports to view on a random weekday.

Tuesday Dec. 31st

(In Progress) AdvoCare v100 Bowl: Boston College vs Arizona – 9:30am ESPN: The country’s best RB Andre Williams vs a tough and under appreciated Arizona team.

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M vs Duke – 5pm ESPN: It’s probably your last chance to see Johnny Manziel as a collegiate. There is also the possibility of a shootout on New Year’s Eve.

San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks – 5pm REGIONAL COVERAGE: The Sharks ended the Ducks 10 game winning streak on Sunday night. Ducks are probably out for revenge.

Portland Trailblazers @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 5pm NBA TV: Two of the top teams in the Western Conference get down to business. Portland is looking to end a two game losing streak, a first for them this season, and OKC continues to try and get by without starting guard Russell Westbrook.

-Coolest event today is not the games themselves but the adventures of Fox Sports announcers Gus Johnson and Bill Rafferty. Check it out on AwfulAnnouncing.com

Wednesday Jan. 1st

Tottenham @ Manchester United – 9:30am NBCSN: It’s a full slate of games for the Premier League. This is the best match up of the day.

Capital One Bowl: South Carolina vs Wisconsin – 10am ABC: Two teams that could be in the BCS if it wasn’t for a tough loss here and there. Should be the game of the morning.

Winter Classic: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Detroit Red Wings – 10am NBC (may change due to weather): It’s become and annual tradition on New Years day and made even cooler by HBO’s 24/7 show. This year a Canadian team finally gets to show it’s stuff on New Years Day. This time it’s outside in the Big House at the University of Michigan.

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs Stanford – 2pm ESPN: This is going to be a good ole fashion, hard hitting football game. Should be tough, close and fun to watch.

Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs Central Florida – 5:30pm ESPN: Baylor scores a ton of points and Central Florida has been this seasons “cardiac kids”. Also, UCF QB Blake Bortels is a possible first round draft pick and has a smoking hot girlfriend.

 

What to Watch Friday 11/1-Sunday 11/3

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Baseball is done…and back to football.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 1st

Miami Heat @ Brooklyn Nets- 5pm ESPN: The two time defending champs head north to take on the revamped Nets. Could be fun.

USC @ Oregon St. – 6pm ESPN2: Corvallis, OR is always a tough place to play especially with one of the top scoring offenses in the country resides there. USC has one of the best defenses around (minus the Arizona St game of course). It’s a battle of wills on your Friday night.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 2nd

Virginia Tech @ Boston College – 9am ABC: Trap game for Va Tech. They get Miami next week and the Fighting Addazio’s make life tough for everybody. Look for an upset in Chestnut Hill which would be back to back losses for the Hokies.

UNC @ NC STATE – 9:30am ESPN3: Not a sexy game on paper but this one is going to be all about pride. Both schools need a win and both have enough talent to be a lot better than their records indicate.

Minnesota @ Indiana – 12:30pm BTN: Normally a really good basketball game but this one features a high powered offense by IU and a stanch D by Minnesota. Bowl implications on the line in Bloomington.

Oklahoma St @ Texas Tech – 4pm FOX: Gus Johnson will announce this possible shootout in West Texas. You’re welcome.

Miami @ Florida St. – 5pm ABC: It’s awesome to see this game matter again and in primetime no less. Famous Jameis gets another stage to show off for the Heisman voters.

Portland Timbers @ Seattle Sounders- 7pm NBCSN: A Cascadia Playoff game? This is must see TV. Even if you don’t like soccer, you should watch this. It will change your mind.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 3rd

San Diego Chargers @ Washington – 10am CBS: Could be a shootout of epic proportions in DC.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots – 1:25pm CBS: Tom Brady vs Ben Roethlisberger. It’s not what it use to be but it’s still a battle of Super Bowl winning QB’s. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Real Salt Lake @ LA Galaxy – 6pm ESPN: The defending champs have a tough road to another MLS Cup. It starts against the one team you don’t want it to start against, RSL.

What to Watch 10/10-10/13

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Thursday Oct. 10th

4:30pm-ESPN: Rutgers @ Louisville (An important battle in the AAC. Both teams have a  short week but Rutgers went into 3 overtimes against SMU last weekend. That could be difference. It’s also a chance to check out Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater for yourself.)

5:00pm-TBS: Detroit Tigers @ Oakland A’s (Game 5 in the ALDS. Winner gets a date with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. Let’s do this!)

5:25pm-NFL Network: NY Giants @ Chicago Bears (Can the Giants get a win this season or will they go 0-6? It will be funny for everyone outside of New York if they do.)

Friday Oct. 11th

6:00pm-ESPN3: BC Lions @ Calgary (West Coast rivals meet again. Calgary RB John Cornish looks to set another league record for rushing yards in a season.)

Saturday Oct. 12th

9:00am-ESPN: Missouri @ Georgia (Georgia’s D is not very good and they are missing just about everyone on offense due to injury. Missouri is a surprising 5-0. Upset alert!)

12:30pm-CBS: Florida @ LSU (How Florida lucked out and got at daytime kick off we’ll never know. Either way it’s a must win for both teams if they want to keep their SEC & National Title hopes alive.)

1:00pm-FS1: Oregon @ Washington (The Quack Attack gets its first true test against an old rival. Can UW bounce back and contain the Ducks high-powered O? Needless to say, it’s going to be very, very loud in Husky Stadium.)

5:30pm-ESPN: Texas A&M @ Ole Miss (It will be points galore in Oxford. Big point swings are liable to occur.)

7:00pm-Regional: Montreal Canadiens @ Vancouver Canucks (East meets West for the first time this season.)

Sunday Oct. 13th

1:25pm-FOX: New Orleans Saints @ NE Patriots (5-0 Saints head to Foxboro. Can Tom Brady find some WR’s in time?)

6:00pm-ESPN: Seattle Sounders @ Portland Timbers (Cascadia Cup match between two playoff teams. Only time Seattle visits the Rose City during the regular season. This is always something awesome to see.)

Fatigue Makes Cowards of us All.

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

3 Eastern time zoned based MLS teams started out with back-to-back West Coast games to start the 2013 MLS Season. 2 of the teams stayed on the West Coast after their first game while 1 team made the trek back and forth. In total the teams went 3-2-1.

Impact Score

The Montreal Impact are in their second MLS season and on their second head coach, Marco Schällibaum. They were able to equal their road win total from last season by gaining victories at Seattle and at Portland. Arguably 2 of the toughest places to play at for a road team. The Columbus Crew were able to capture 1 win on their West Coast excursion and nearly drew with the Vancouver Whitecaps in their second match. Only the New York Red Bulls did worse, they let 2 victories slip away in matches at Portland and at San Jose.

Can you guess which team made the cross-country trip twice?

While Montreal and Columbus stayed out west New York chose to fly back to New York in between matches. In both cases the flights out west experienced delays (their first flight to San Jose was cancelled) and arrived later than expected for each match. In both matches they failed to close out the game by allowing both Portland and San Jose to score 2 goals each in the second half. The collapse in San Jose was almost unprecedented.

Did the travel have something to do with it? Probably. While everyone agrees that New York has one of the better clubs on paper in all of MLS they were unable to gain 3 points in either match. Montreal, complete with a new coach and the oldest average staring lineup in all of MLS (30 years old) were somehow able to gain a total of 6 points on their road trip. Was Montreal better rested and hence better prepared than New York? Probably. New York spent roughly 12 extra hours in the air traveling as opposed to Montreal and Columbus who only made the trip out west once.

Staying in the same time zone has proved beneficial in other sports as well. Over the last 2 seasons the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers have twice played back-to-back East Coast road games. Both times, after the first game they stayed in Youngstown, Ohio for the week before traveling to their next game. The result, 3 wins and 1 loss.

Cross-country travel takes a toll. It’s not just the 5 to 6 hour flight in coach but also the waiting at the airport. The getting to and from the airport and the stress of making sure that you brought the essentials. Combine these with a time change and it can wear you down. 2-time Super Bowl winning Head Coach Jimmy Johnson once said that ‘fatigue makes cowards of us all’. He’s right. Fatigue leads to cutting corners and mistakes. When you start doing that bad things start to happen that can, in the world of sports, lead to losses. Unnecessary travel can lead to fatigue and hence to losses.

24/7 Soccer World

Most people have come to terms with the reality that the world is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week place. There are some remnants of the old school way of thinking such as evening newscasts, office hours and last call. The world of sports, especially soccer, has thrown out the idea of office hours.

During the fall or spring you can almost watch soccer for 24 hours a day. From Australia’s A-League to the German Bundesliga to the Barclay’s Premier League in England to MLS in North America. Soccer can be found either on TV or online. All live and in HD. Just follow the sun and you’ll find soccer.

TFC v SKC

You can do it from anywhere but it’s probably best to attempt this is from the West Coast of North America. If you start by watching an A-League game on a Friday night then snooze for a few hours. Get up before the sun for matches in the Netherlands, Germany and England and that should to take you until noon Pacific Coast time. At that point the MLS will take over for the rest of the day and end you’ll the day with a west coast game either in Seattle, Portland, San Jose or Los Angeles.

It’s a commitment but so is 90 minutes on the pitch.