Welcome to TV Party, a weekly segment where we preview ten of the week’s most exciting match-ups in college football so you know when to grab some beer and ignore the outside world.
On Saturday night, the St. Louis Rams lost their starting quarterback and implicit hero of the future, Sam Bradford, to a season-ending injury in a preseason game against, of all teams, the Cleveland Browns. Because of a 2012 trade involving draft picks which allowed Washington to select Robert Griffin III (himself no stranger to the infirmary), the Rams are essentially left without a Plan B outside of 34-year-old former Amsterdam Admiral Shaun Hill. For what it’s worth, St. Louis has expressed interest in acquiring Mark Sanchez from the Philadelphia Eagles, but you won’t see any positive letters of recommendation from this writer.
I don’t remember the first time. I remember things surrounding the first time but not the thing itself. I remember welcoming the torrential rain left over from Hurricane Ike on my sunburned arms. I remember a crowd full of people enthusiastically booing Dani Pedrosa on the grid and cheering Nicky Hayden’s crutches on the podium. I remember Valentino Rossi. I remember Nico Terol.
I don’t remember much of the second time, either. A brief mental snippet from Saturday morning as bikes stream past – two seconds, maybe three. Enough to know that it was real and that I did not just imagine it or Nicky Hayden’s flat-track demo laps or Jay Leno chilling trackside in denim or a crowd full of people politely clapping Dani Pedrosa on the grid and cheering Ben Spies on the podium. I remember Toni Elias. I remember Nico Terol.
The third time I saw Marc Marquez race in person was different. He was riding a MotoGP bike for one. He was on pole gunning to remain undefeated through the first ten races of 2014 for another. He was in his moment as the best motorcycle road racer on the planet.
Spoiler alert: This is another sermon on greatness. Greatness is a quality reliant on perception, I know, and everyone’s got a different view from where they sit. For last Sunday’s seventh annual Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, mine happened to be trackside. This is what I think about on vacation.
It has now been almost two weeks since Paul George fell awkwardly on a (non-regulation, apparently) basket stanchion after fouling James Harden during a Team USA scrimmage, breaking his leg in spectacularly horrific fashion. Forget the Indiana Pacers’ championship hopes; they will be lucky to make the playoffs fielding a starting five which will probably consist of George Hill, Rodney Stuckey (!), C.J. Miles, a soon-to-be 34-years-old David West and Roy Hibbert, who at times seems as close to being out of the league as he is to being Defensive Player of the Year.
But what of George, once pegged as the perfect foil to LeBron James? And what of their formerly top-heavy Eastern Conference, in light of the Pacers’ fall? Are rivals fans selfish to see this for what it is, a boon for their own teams?
To say Richard Linklater’s latest film Boyhood was highly anticipated is a gross understatement. Whispers of a movie that featured a main character aging in real time – a 24 for the Roger Ebert wannabes – had been swirling for years, earning the film an almost urban legend status. Would we ever see this cinematic Bigfoot?
Yes, we would, and yes, I did. Full disclosure: I am a big fan of Linklater’s work. I saved my pennies to buy the special edition Criterion Release of Dazed and Confused, and I’m always quick to point out that he directed School of Rock (I know, right?), so I was ready to blindly adore his latest. However, I left the theater feeling hesitant, wondering if all the film really had going for it was the gimmick of time lapse. I mean, the film currently carries a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I had to be wrong, right? What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I connect with Boyhood?
The jumbotron at Bank of America Stadium flashed to a crowd scene in the middle of the match. Once people realized they were on the massive, newly built video screen, they flashed their Liverpool and AC Milan paraphernalia. One man, wearing a black polo and white pants, decided to take the opportunity to take his hat off to show the insignia that was on it’s side. It was an image associated with the other kind of football.
“Steelers?!” A child behind me screamed in disgust. “Doesn’t he know this is a football game?”
Where the hell am I?
It’s August, and there are only 27 more days until the first college football kickoff between Abilene Christian and Georgia State. With the 2014-2015 season upon us, many of those warm, fuzzy sentiments about the sport will descend upon our emotions and remind us that yes, Saturdays in the fall are the best. Yet, tradition in college football is not without its strange bedfellow of chaos. There are certain notable tweaks to the structure of naming a champion, as well as who is coaching where. In an effort to get you, dear reader, ready for the season, I have rounded up all the nuggets that I have deemed important. If you’re into preseason statistical analysis about your rooting interests’ chances at glory, please read SBNation’s Bill Connelly. Otherwise, welcome to my roundup of necessary college football information.