Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Story of the Season: Tribes and Tebows

Once upon a time, there lived a league of legends, a collection of 32 tribes that constantly battled one another in the fall and winter and replenished their troops in the spring and summer. These tribes were of the warring kind, however, their wars were fought in an organized manner. In fact, they showed their superiority by playing an odd game known as "football."

This is the story of the 2011 tribal war season.

During the summer of 2011, the Eagle tribe looked like the favorite to win the tribal war contest, parting ways with young Corn-on-the-Kolb (who left and joined the Cardinal tribe in the desert) and going out and convincing many famous warriors from across the land to join their cause.  Other popular tribes during that summer included the Steeler clan and the Packer tribe, both of whom were able to retain many key warriors from the previous year, where both had met up in the tribal war finale. However, the field looked wide open for a new upstart tribe to take control.

Friday, November 18, 2011

NHL Realignment

There's a lot more to sports than simply the games being played. Sports encapsulates so much more than that. There are conflicting personalities, intriguing storylines, differing opinions, and lots of drama. There is also a business side of sports. Each sports league is a huge business, generating tons of revenue. As a person interested in business, this aspect of sports has always fascinated me.

Although we do not always realize it, the business side of sports shows up on the news a lot. Realignment is one big issue currently, in college football, baseball and hockey. You can see my ideas on MLB Realignment here and my NCAA opinions here. I had some fun with those realignments. Here, in this post, I will be discussing hockey realignment.

There are essentially two ways to align a league. Geographically, like the NHL and NBA currently do, or by using two leagues/conferences spread across the country, like the NFL and MLB. For the NHL, I think a geographic alignment is better for the NHL, partly because it is the system already in use and partly to maintain geographic rivalries that are so important to the game. However, unlike the common east-west conference system, I think a north-south split would be better for the NHL. There are simply too little teams in the west to make an appropriately named "Western Conference" without actually including teams from the Eastern Time Zone. Furthermore, the large amount of Canadian teams makes it easier to divide the league in this manner.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NBA's loss is the NHL's gain

The best thing that could have happened to the NHL this season? The NBA lockout. I swear, without basketball, I have seen so many more hockey highlights on ESPN and other networks. Last year, they barely covered hockey at all, even during the Stanley Cup. Compare that to the NBA Finals, when entire 30 minute segments were dedicated to basketball analysis. Hockey just doesn't seem to carry that same weight in the media. Except this year.

With no basketball to attract TV audiences and sports fans, hockey has received much more exposure. On Sundays and Mondays, the NFL reigns supreme, and on Saturdays, NCAA football is what everyone talks about, but Tuesday through Friday, the NHL gets tons of publicity. Never before has ESPN talked so much about a player who isn't even on the ice (Sidney Crosby) or a team that is in its first season in its new city (Winnipeg Jets). Hell, even the Florida Panthers are getting air time. If basketball was going on right now, we would be hearing all about Kobe, LeBron, Dwight, Chris Paul, Amare, and all the other polarizing NBA stars. But they're not here to steal the spotlight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finally, being a Bay Area sports fan is something to be proud of...

I would like to say I started following sports sometime around 2002. I still have vague memories of Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants losing to the LA Angels in a 7-game World Series that year. And since I remember as far back as 2002, that means I have been a sports fan for 9 years. In my 9 years of following sports in the Bay Area, it has largely been disappointing. Yes, the Giants made the World Series in 2002, but I only barely remember that. Yes, the Raiders made the Super Bowl in 2003, but they lost to the Buccaneers in the famous "Gruden Bowl." The A's used to be good with their Moneyball strategy, but now they struggle with their tiny budget. During the past decade, sports just hasn't been the Bay Area's thing.

The last few years have changed that.

Let's start with the 49ers. They have had quite the tumultuous decade, going through 6 head coaches (1 interim), 8 losing seasons, and a 1st overall pick that had underperformed until this year. Ever since I started following sports, the Niners have been less than mediocre; that is, until Jim Harbaugh took over this year. This season has been a treat. The 49ers are playing awesome football. And I am loving it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crazy NCAA Weekend

The Oklahoma St-Kansas St game just finished, and this basically wraps up the college football weekend. It was the most exciting weekend of college football that I've seen in a long while. First, in the afternoon, my Stanford Cardinal defeated the Beavers of Oregon St, ensuring that Stanford remains undefeated going into their high-profile matchup against Oregon next Saturday. The Oregon game will truly tell us if Stanford is a BCS contender or pretender this year and I can't wait for Saturday to come.

Second, that was a hell of a game between LSU and Alabama. Not a lot of offense, but it really gave me a feeling about what SEC football is like. Even my dad was glued to the game. The hits were vicious, the play was aggressive, the game was close. Everything about that game was amazing. The Alabama kicker is probably kicking himself right now (no pun intended) for missing the 4 field goals. That really sucks for him and Alabama, but if you can't make a field goal, you don';t deserve to go undefeated. That's the harsh reality.