Thursday, August 31, 2023

College Football Starts this Weekend!

College football starts this weekend!* And despite there being a few things I don't like about college football, I'm really looking forward to this year and the University of Washington Huskies' prospects.

The Huskies were 7-0 at home last year. They currently have a seven-game winning streak. Let's hope they keep both streaks alive. Quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. and other key players decided to return this year instead of entering the NFL draft. That's very good news!

Last year was amazing for the Huskies. Their first season under new coach Kalen Deboer, I was expecting a rebuilding year. But they went 11-2, having their first 11-win season since 2016. If they hadn't lost to Arizona State, they might have gone to the CFP. As it was, the Huskies ended up being the number two team in the Pac-12, behind USC.

It's going to be hard for the Huskies to top that this year. But I'm hoping they do. They have some tough games ahead: Oregon at home, USC in Los Angeles, and Utah at home.

Last year we didn't play USC or Utah, two tough teams. Playing them this year will make it even harder to be successful. 

The Huskies are #10 in the AP preseason poll. They finished last year at #8. They are the second highest ranked Pac-12 team in the preseason poll (USC is #6).

The first game we play is in Husky Stadium against Boise State. They were 10-4 last year, so they won't be a pushover. 

That game will be Saturday at 12:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time on ABC. I'm going to be there near the 50-yard line, two rows up from the field.

Interestingly, the three non-conference games the Huskies play are all against FBS teams (Boise State, Tulsa Golden Hurricanes, and at Michigan State). This is unusual because most teams play an FCS team as sort of a "warm up" game. This makes the Huskies' season more difficult than normal. 

Are you looking forward to college football? Do you have a favorite team. Let me know in the comments below.

*There were a few games last weekend but most college football starts this weekend.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

What I Don't Like about College Football

College football starts next weekend. If you read this blog you know I love college football, especially the University of Washington Huskies. I love watching kids develop and get better. I enjoy the game and the competition. I like that the players aren't making millions of dollars but are playing mostly for scholarships and for love of the game (although a bit of that has changed recently).

But there are things I don't like about college football.

I talked about the downside of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) before.

Another thing I don't like is that college football players can enter the NFL draft three years out of high school. That means they might only be 20 years old and only sophomores if they were red-shirted during their freshman year. Yes, I understand wanting to get into the NFL to get that sweet, sweet money and not risk a career-ending injury in college. But I wish the NFL would make it at least four years out of high school.

Also in an effort not to get injured before their NFL career, some players will "opt-out" of bowl games. Again, I understand not wanting to give up the big NFL money. But to me, this reeks of selfishness and no team spirit. If you helped your team get to a bowl, wouldn't you want to play in it? 

Another thing I don't like is the recent development of the transfer portal. It used to be that once you committed to a team, you were there until you were out of NCAA eligibility or went into the draft. Now players can change teams in the middle of there eligibility. This did work out great when Michael Penix transferred to Washington. But I still don't like the transfer portal.

There's not really a playoff. Yes, there's the CFP (College Football Playoff) which chooses four teams to play against each other in a sort of mini, three game playoff. And, yes, there is talk about expanding it to more teams (which I like). But the NCAA Division I FCS teams get a playoff, why can't the FBS teams. Turn all those bowls into playoff games. Yes, the CFP is much better than what we had before (the BCS or just the AP and coaches poll). But I think we need more teams to compete. College basketball has a 64 team playoff. Why can't football?

(Yes, I know that the plan is to expand to 12 teams in 2026 or sooner. I think this is a good thing.)

Are there things you don't like about college football that I haven't mentioned? Let me know in the comments below. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

College Football and the NFL

The college football season is quickly approaching (most of the first games will be the weekend of September 2nd). And I was thinking about the connection between college football and the National Football League (NFL). The NFL is, of course, professional football.

I read a statistic once that only 5% of high school football players play in college, and only 5% of college players make it to the NFL. That means one out of ever 2,500 high school football players ends up in the NFL. Not good odds.

Then there's the NFL draft. The teams with the worst record the previous season get to pick first (unless there's a trade or other complication). So the best college players go to the worst teams.

But even then, sometimes it doesn't work out. Wide receiver John Ross played for the University of Washington Huskies (Go Dawgs!) and help them reach the College Football Playoffs in 2016. He entered the next NFL draft and was picked number 9 overall (out of probably 200-some odd players in the draft). But he had a disappointing career in the NFL and wasn't the star he was a UW. He's suffered injuries and hasn't had a lot of good plays. He signed with the Kansas City Chief on January 9th of this year. But he never played in the Chief's run to the Super Bowl.

I loved John Ross when he was at UW. But for some reason his talent didn't extend to the NFL.

On the other hand, Trevor Lawrence, a quarterback from Clemson, was drafted first overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He managed to take the team that had the worst record in 2021-2022 to the playoffs in the 2022-2023 season. And that had never happened before in the NFL. So that worked out.

And that is not very uncommon for a great college player not to do well in the NFL. (The same happens in college, great high school players don't do well in college football, too.) 

What do you think of the NFL draft and college football? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Is the Pac-12 Dead?

The news broke last Friday: the University of Oregon and the University of Washington are moving to the Big Ten conference next year. This follows Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado going to the Big 12. And is all started last year with USC and UCLA announcing they were going to the Big Ten. That leaves four schools in the Pac-12: California, Oregon State, Stanford, and Washington State.

Frankly, I blame USC and UCLA. When they announced that they were leaving the Pac-12, that took the Los Angeles television market away from the Pac-12. So when the Pac-12 went to negotiate media rights, they no longer had the LA market to offer. Fox and ESPN both declined to make offers. The Pac-12 ended up going with Apple TV streaming service which wouldn't pay as much as a Fox or ESPN media deal would. It was shortly after that that Oregon and Washington announced they were leaving.

People are saying it's about the all mighty dollar. And it is. The schools need money and lots of it. They have to pay coaches (who are paid a lot), pay for uniforms, travel, and in the University of Washington's case, keep paying for that beautiful, new stadium they built in 2012 and 2013.

How do I feel about this? It makes me sad. If the Pac-12 even survives, it'll likely no longer be a Power 5 conference. There are rumors it might merge with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Or it might merge with the Mountain West Conference. Who knows?

But also, that my beloved University of Washington Huskies will go from being a big fish is a medium-sized pond to being a smaller fish is a larger pond. There will be 18 teams in the Big Ten spread out all over the country. And what will happen to the Apple Cup cross-state rivalry game between UW and WSU? Will that become a late-season non-conference game? And what of the Border War game against hated Oregon? These are all questions that need to be answered.

Washington was a founding member of the conference that became the Pac-12. It was part of that conference for 109 years. I don't think this decision was made lightly.

Someone proposed a Big Ten West and Big Ten East. That might work to get Oregon and Washington to play more often. 

Washington has a good chance of being the Pac-12 champion this year. But it'll be very hard to top 17 other schools, including Ohio, to be the Big Ten champion. 

No matter what happens, it'll be interesting to watch. It might not be as fun, but it'll be interesting.

What do you think will happen to the Pac-12? Will it merge with another conference or just go away? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Final Jeopardy Final Tally

The last regular season episode of Jeopardy was Friday, the 28th of July. I watch the quiz show religiously, sort of like I watch almost anything Star Trek related (except Prodigy and Lower Decks).

For this season, the 39th, a friend and I have been keeping track of how many Final Jeopardy questions we get correct. She lives in Canada and has made it to the tryout stage of being on the show. But she's never been called to participate.

Of all the Final Jeopardy clues in this season, I got 111 out of 230 correct. That 48.3%. Not horrible but not as good as I'd like.

My friend got 200 out 230 Final Jeopardy clues correct. That's 86.9% and pretty dang good. This is why I think if she got on the show, she'd do very well and probably win the game at least once.

Rarely, I'd get an answer correct she didn't (arcane American history, mostly). But most of the time she'd get answers right that I didn't.

I find Jeopardy to be fun and challenging. Keeps my brain in tune.

Do you like Jeopardy? Do you watch it religiously? How do you do on Final? Let me know in the comments below.

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.