FOOTBALL BACK! Wudder Sports Week One Fall Fun Preview: NCAA, NFL, US Open
I can’t quit you, football.
As summer has given way, post-Labor Day, to Fall...
I’m back ready to watch the bodies fly around the field, and witness the sailing aerial trajectory of that oblong ball.
I’ve quit playing fantasy, the juice no longer felt worth the squeeze there.
I’m too busy counting pennies, while chasing down outlets for free-lance checks owed and new assignments to book, to make significant football bets.
I become more and more morally conflicted, with the concussions, the horrible commissioner, the intentional facelessness and false piety of the NFL, Kap's blackballing, as well as the free-labor for a multi-billionaire farm system in the NCAA.
My sports diet this summer, only scrolled thru the inconsequential preseason, and didn’t dwell too deeply on any of the lead-up fluff.
Baseball in Philly was over before it’s began, and if we’re being honest, the game that I grew up on first and foremost, is now a local rather than national sport, while feeling increasingly out-of-step with the pace of our current times.
Since the NBA Finals concluded in June, my sports viewing has pretty much consisted of watching Venus Williams, and catching Mayweather/McGregor, at the same spot I spent watching February’s Super Bowl party.
But today, Saturday, the first FULL slate of football games on Saturday and Sunday?!?
I feel football calling me like that pipe did Pookie in New Jack City.
What do you want from me?
I quit smoking in June.
I’ll quit watching football, especially in a year that looks promising for my Trojans and my beloved Birds, probably in Nevuary.
Or at least later down the road, once football becomes our decaying society’s version of The Hunger Games, with no kids whose parents love them allowing them to play anymore.
I’ve spent the summer chasing stories, covering shows, getting my physical frame whipped back into high school shape and following political news the way I normally would sports.
It’s time to decompress, and while I’m busy praying to the Basketball Gods to protect the feet and knees of Joel Hans Embiid, I’m back to being all in on pigskin.
With a schedule that now gives me free Saturday, Sunday and Monday, in lieu of pressing paid-writing deadline, this Fall back east, starting this week, I’m reclaiming my football time.
So, let that be the last time you read me qualifying my habit here for a while.
#WudderSports is back, #QuickHits are getting licked, #Nostrabombus is making his weekly picks, and most importantly #FlockOfEagles is ready to take flight.
And after all that, you can expect us to Respond/React, as I send out APB for my two partners of our Bombcast, which took a summer hiatus for lack of scheduling coordination, but mostly due to a dearth of football and basketball.
WE READY, like Bubba Sparxxx and Archie Evermore in 2002.
We’re gonna look in on both the men’s and women’s US Open Finals too.
But we know you don’t care about that, so we’ll stick to football for you.
Let’s start with Thursday night’s sporting appetizer, the best night in sports there’s been since the Dawg Days of Sporting Summer began.
Pats vs. Chiefs
Congrats to Andy “Big Red” Reid, hopefully he’s being treated to the best barbecue in Kansas City after that brilliant college-offense-like game plan he drew up to draw blood on Bill Belasterisk’s defense last night.
And what better way to start a season than with an Angry Tom Brady meme?!? Here's five of our favorite from Twitter last night:
This will undoubtedly backfire sometime soon, or even worse, likely much later into this 2017-2018 NFL season. But for now? Let’s live in the moment, and party like we had a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.
Venus Williams played valiantly, as she has all year despite age and Sjogern’s syndrome. We were hoping that she pulled out this semifinal and capped off her best calendar year of tennis in half a decade, with another US Open title on Saturday, 20 years after we witnessed her first match at Arthur Ashe in person.
But alas, it was not meant to be. What did happen tho, was a third set so strong that we didn’t even flip back to the second quarter of the football game, instead using the commercials to rewind back some of the prior game’s best rallies. Some of these were ten plus shot exchanges filled with power, placement, great chase-down saves and crazy angles. In the end, Sloane Stephens, playing the best tennis, we’ve ever seen her play, after returning from injury just a month ago.
The Madison Keys dismemberment of Kiki Vanderwhege’s niece CoCo, was so non-competitive that we almost switched to the NFL half-time show waiting for the Brady/Smith battle to resume. Oh, did we mention Smith crushed it? Yeah, we did. Did we promise we weren’t gonna talk tennis? Okay, we lied a little.
And we’d be lying more if we told you we caught much of the men’s semis once Rafael Nadal started rolling. Instead we’re still trying to figure out how Rafa and Fed have never played in a US Open match, and moreso how we were one miraculous upset by Del Porto from getting it and got Rafa outclassing the Argentine instead.
We’ll check in on both Finals matches as we can.
Of particular note is that the US Open Women’s Semis, featured four American players, with Serena on maternity leave. In addition to that, there is somehow going to be a Women’s US Open Final today, featuring two black girls, and no Williams Sisters. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that’s a first.
Congrats to both, we can’t find any tennis odds for the weekend, because bookies are filled with two days of football, so the Nostrabombus picks for the respective champions in Flushing Meadows are Sloane in an upset, Rafa in an expect.
Back to football, the college side.
Today is essentially a three-game docket of consequence, and annoyingly they’re all on late, mostly concurrently, with kickoffs between 7 PM to 8:30.
#5 Oklahoma vs. #2 Ohio State
The Horseshoe, 7 PM
Line: OSU by 7.5
Outlook: Look, I hate the Buckeyes, mostly because of their fans, similar to Boston on a pro-sports level. Ohio State fans are the absolute worst in frothy, perspective-less, sports-fan troglodytes. I wish them nothing but misery. And I don’t like Urban Myer either. I’m also not even sure who’s coaching Oklahoma now that Bob Stoops, aka Jim Tressel 2.0, “coach who couldn’t win a big bowl game to save his life, after winning his very first by a minor miracle.”
Maybe that oddly bodes well for the Sooners. But as Ms. Melodie (RIP) once said, “Nah man, I ain’t buyin’ it”. The only conference more consistently overrated than the Big-10 is the Big-12, and OSU under Myer gets blue-chips on par with anybody besides BAMA.
Nostrabombus Picks: The Buckeyes, begrudgingly. Head wins out over hate.
#13 Auburn at #3 Clemson
Death Valley, 7:30 PM
Clemson, South Carolina
Line: Clemson by 4.5
Outlook: Clemson is LOADED. I know they lost the best player they ever had, plus two wideouts, to the NFL. But their D is actually improved. And Clemson churns out more top-notch NFL wide-receiver talent to fill the void than any team in college football in this current decade, while trending up in recruiting annually. I’m not sure how Auburn scores enough, on the road, to match even a Watson-less Tigers offense. This game started at Clemson by 6, now it’s down to 4.5. I can’t really explain why, outside of people from SEC country just can’t accept that Clemson is better than all their programs outside of BAMA now, while getting the chance to play an ACC schedule. Another odd thing to note is that OSU-Oklahoma went up 1.5 since the beginning of the week. One of those shifts is gonna be right, one is gonna be wrong. We know which side we’re taking on that coin-flip.
Nostrabombus Picks: Clemson, would have taken this at 6, but love it at 4.5.
#6 USC vs. #14 Stanford
LA Memorial Coliseum, 8: 30 PM
Los Angeles, CA
Line: USC by 5.5
Outlook: Man, it’d be great to wake up in LA today, then head over to the Coliseum for the tailgate. The thought makes my heart flutter. This Stanford game at home, during a decade-and-a-half in LA, has often made my heart ache. I also catch a bit of a slightly-overrated-because-they-came-on-late-in-the-prior-season vibe about this Trojan team, maybe more so than any since the Matt Barkley-led/Lane Kiffin-coached preseason #1 team. But hoping I’m wrong. Maybe that dud our boy Sam “Baby Face” Darnold dropped against Western Michigan was preseason Heisman pressure, coupled with looking ahead. We’ll find out a lot more tonight in the Coliseum, about what this year’s USC team is gonna be.
Nostrabombus Pick: The Trojans, part with the head, part with the heart.
Your Flock of Eagles Opening salvo:
We love how little love the Philadelphia Eagles are getting. It’s phenomenal how they don’t realize what Wentz’ splits were with/without Spiked-Vein-Lane last year, as a rookie with no receivers above a third-receiver in a good corps. We love that national folks are acting like the Eagles signing free-agents was somehow some Dream Team or Chip’s Folly risky redux, when really all they did was address needs with solid players at reasonable contracts. We love that people outside the city, don’t really realize that we already have the best QB in the division.
#WudderSports has also deliberately avoided consuming the poison, positive and negative, of whatever the local media is overreacting about. Though we must admit, we did laugh seeing that Sal Pal and Mikey Miss were slated to discuss whether the home opener, on the road in Landover, Maryland, was a “Must Win”. Now that we’re back in Philly, rather than LA, we realize it’s best to avoid the idiocy and just go off our own vibe while being local, but not drowning in the madness.
It’s also been nice to see that the Redskins had a terrible offseason, while the Cowboys stayed on the police-blotter, but are being handed the division and Super Bowl contender status, for reasons we’ll all laugh about later, while Skeletor’s mask wells up with tears, as Johnny Walker Blue nips at his liver.
Fuck Chris Christie, Ted Cruz and their Dallas Cowboys.
These two head-to-head NFC East matchups are too easy to call.
Thank God Desean is out of the division, while Kirk Cousins remains in it.
Philadelphia at Washington
Snyder’s Folly Stadium, 1 PM
Line: Eagles by 1
Outlook: This line started at Skins by 3. I’ve talked to my DC Football Team friends, they don’t even feel good about this team. Apparently, nobody else does either. Philly Fans will be in that cavernous building. The Wentz Wagon will be rolling shortly thereafter.
Nostrabombus Picks: The Birds. Both intellectually, and emotionally.
Nostrabombus Season Birds Record Prediction: 11-5, NFC East Champions. And if you think I’m strictly a homer, this is the first winning season I’ve predicted for the Eagles since before Chip Kelly’s first season. Last year I believe we had them at 5-11, they ended 7-9 with a meaningless win late. The major difference being that going into the season, we didn’t truly know what Wentz was yet.
New York at Dallas
The Jerruh Dome, 8:30 PM
Line: Cowboys by 4.5
Outlook: We know this Dome isn’t a real home field advantage. We don’t know that Dak is that dude yet, when he’s not playing the pleasant surprise role. We know the Cowboys have crumbled heading into any season where they have expectations, while their line isn’t as good as it once was and their D still sucks. We also know the Giants due their best work under the radar, and play better in big spots away from their weak-ass fans in their shared North Jersey stadium. This is a Giant W. Write it down, take a picture, grab a .GIF from the Jones box and crank call Governor Christie’s office on Monday morning.
Nostrabombus Picks: The G-Men, take it with the money line for a double-shot.
And without further or do, like Mills Lane’s says, and Marvin sings, Let’s Get It On.
Football is Back, Baby.
Despite our reservations, sit out Week One?
We ain’t that crazy.
Enjoy your Saturday and Sunday slate, #WudderSports will soon be back, with a Respond/React, plus a weekly update on Nostrabombus’ 2017 season record.