October can be the most exciting and frustrating time of the year. Both college and professional football are in full swing, the hockey and basketball seasons are just getting underway (were it not for the Miami Heat we would be in hibernation until February on the latter), and the World Series is about to make it’s now-annual trek into November. Luckily for ESPN, they have no trouble sorting through the plethora of stories- LeBron, Favre, Dallas Cowboys, repeat as necessary. We are still waiting for Buck Showalter to make his coaching decisions, and are waiting for the other shoe to drop (on top of Maryland’s football season), but we at BSR will still take our weekly look around the nation’s sports. Line up, kicks, and all that fun stuff…
Rangers Go Down 2-0 in World Series
There aren’t many certainties in sports. However, there are certain things a fan can feel secure in knowing year in and year out, whenever he or she turns on the TV. The Red Wings will make the playoffs. The Clippers will be terrible. The Ravens will have a good defense. The Rangers will score runs. Okay, so maybe not that last one. Texas was awful last night, and it wasn’t just because of Matt Cain. These last two games have been examples of a team that appears to be crumbling under the pressure, from 4 errors two nights ago to a stretch of 0-8 with RISP last night, to 4 straight walks by Texas relievers. That was the epitome of a meltdown, and it is not at all what I expected coming into this series. The Rangers have transformed overnight into a team that is pressing, desperate, and wound so tight I expected them to crush the bat just gripping it. And frankly, I can’t explain it. Perhaps it was them being the favorite, perhaps it is just a bad couple games- but you can have a bad couple games in June; you can’t in the World Series.
If the Rangers don’t relax they won’t hit, and if they don’t hit they have no chance of getting back in this series. What could have been a great matchup will have been ruined because of the mental breakdown of the AL Champion.
Miami Still Heat-ing Up?
I thought it was laughable the way analysts have insisted on breaking down the Heat’s first two games as though they were indicative of the entire season. Yes, they will need time to gel and figure out how exactly they are going to play, but it’s more than that. Judging a basketball team the way they did after the Celtics game is as ridiculous as judging a football team after one quarter of their first game of the season, or a baseball team after two games. I think you get the picture. Look, I wonder myself how three players used to taking a team on their back will adjust to sharing the ball, but it could just be they will take turns being “the guy” depending on the night and the opponent. Chris Bosh is the one who concerns me the most. He seems almost too ready to take a backseat to Wade and James, and he needs to be a presence inside to balance out what is a pretty small lineup. I know he isn’t a center, but he needs to be more aggressive- if this team is a duo they don’t win a title. Bosh is the x-factor here, but it will take time for this team to find its identity.
NC State is for Real
Watching the Florida State- NC State game last night, I do not think that NC State was gifted that fumble with 50 seconds left to seal the game any more than Florida State was gifted the interception Russell Wilson threw in the red zone. Both were the result of miscommunication between two offensive players and poor execution. Moreover, the Wolfpack played the far better game yesterday, with Wilson and Mustafa Greene providing a balanced attack that may not have shredded the Seminoles but continued to churn out first downs. NC State could have easily folded at halftime when Florida State went up on a 21-7 lead and was thoroughly in control of the game. But NC State’s defense didn’t waver, and something interesting came into my head. Florida State was clearly more talented, but NC State was the better team, understanding their roles and keeping to their individual assignments. This was not a game that was determined on fluky turnovers or trick plays; both teams played pretty straight-forward games. In a watered down ACC, NC State showed it could beat anyone in the conference. Are they dominant? Hardly, but I would not be surprised to see them in the title game this year.