"The Nighthawk Watch" (authored by me)...
It's almost time for the start of many things. School, summer football camps, the turning of a new chapter in the lives of people of all ages nationwide. It's days like today - when it feels like the Sun just exploded - that I am grateful that I am NOT an athlete and that I have some skills that can be put to use indoors instead.
Before we continue, I would just like to give a giant shout-out to the US Women's National Soccer Team for actually being relevant on the world stage in a sport that the USA generally sucks at. Congrats, women. I enjoyed watching you play the past month. That was some good stuff. I will make sure to tune in to any match of yours that is on TV for the forseeable future. Yes, you could most certainly beat the men's national team. Hope Solo - you are an amazing goalkeeper and I hope you stay in the net for the next five years (health permitting). My daughters would very much like to meet you at some point. Not that there is ever a chance of that happening.
Down in the deep south, the SEC football teams are doin' their thang - getting disqualified for academics, criminal acts, and being just a generally thuggish group of people at some schools. Tennessee - you get a pass here because I believe you're trying to do things the right way with Dooley as HC. Vanderbilt, you get a pass, too because...well, you're Vanderbilt. When it comes to football, you suck. Over at Georgia, Coach Richt is, by most accounts, a classy person - but it makes you wonder where the disconnect is when his players leave the program in droves. Recruiting: You're doing it wrong. At some point, a coach's personal moral alarm needs to go off - regardless of how good the recruit is. I guess in the SEC, that got broken a LONG time ago.
In the northeast, most people are going "Football? What football? I thought the NFL was locked out! College football? What's that, some kind of joke?"
Meanwhile, in the midwest, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany is still in the ICU after Ohio State's compliance department and football program gave him a severe heart attack. So far, he's making a slow but steady recovery, but the doctors say the long term chances of preventing a more severe recurrence are slim to none, as the NCAA still has to have THEIR say on the matter. Methinks they aren't going to let Ohio State get off with simply vacating last year's wins and firing their coach. And the rest of the Big Ten rejoices...until they look to their west and realize that the Nebraska Cornhuskers are primed to take Ohio State's long-held spot as the top team in the Big Ten.
Texas is, well, Texas. If it's football of any sort or any level there, it's a big deal. 10,000 show up to pee-wee games down there, for cryin' out loud! For some reason as yet undiscovered, arena football seems to be the only kind of football that Texas can't get excited about - I suspect they don't view it as "real" football.
Finally, to my favorite. The west. Home of (bad) rogue progams like USC and Oregon. Home of (good) rogue programs like Boise State. There is one thing that both groups have in common: The NCAA hates them. Oregon is still too "new-money" for the old guard back in Alabammy and Jawja and Texas. USC ruined the biggest moneymaker in the west for the NCAA. Boise State causes heartburn and headaches for the NCAA for having the sheer audacity to defy all forms of logic and win - A LOT. I suspect this is more an issue for the BCS cartel than the NCAA, but since the cartel is more or less puppetmaster of the NCAA, it's the same thing for all practical purposes.
Boise State is cleaning the clocks of a few Pac-12 schools in recruiting. UCLA seems to be the unfortunate victim of this in many cases. Colorado is trying to poach Boise State's entire recruiting class, but outside of causing endless amounts of frustration for Boise State, they aren't really succeeding. I think most high schoolers realize that there are so many universities to choose from nowadays that a bachelor's degree is worth the same regardless of institution.
The Elite 11 QB camp is in progress. Some guy with the name "Tanner Mangum" (Names only found in the west for $1,000, please) is supposedly the most accurate. There are lots of tall high schoolers out there in California who can throw a ball...with one exception. Boise State QB commit Nick Patti, from Orlando, FL. 5'10". And he's lighting up most of his (significantly taller) competition. Is it just me, or does Boise State specialize in giving the figurative middle finger to the old guard schools who say you have to be a certain size to play that position? Watch this guy go to Boise, start for 3 or 4 years, break some of the records that all-universe QB Kellen Moore either has set or is in the process OF setting, and win three BCS games. A good number of "big boy" schools will regret passing on Nick Patti. Why? Because that's how they do things there. My take: Don't fix what isn't broke. Whatever the coaches and players in Boise are doing is working.
It's kind of like in Star Wars when old Ben Kenobi chops off the arm of that one dude in the cantina. Everyone is shocked and surprised that an old man could move and fight like that...and then everyone goes back to their drinks when they finally realize that, hey, the old guy got the trick done faster and cleaner than they would have.
Meanwhile, #1 QB recruit Gunner Kiel will likely decide between two bad options in Ohio State and Indiana (probation and a likely bowl ban for his career or perennial bottom-feeder...what a choice)...and never really develop into a star, while Patti and his undersized self torches the MWC with the help of an amazingly speedy receiving corps. Assuming, of course, that Patti is able to jump the three QBs on the Bronco roster between him and Kellen Moore.
I would use this last paragraph to cover baseball...lessee here...the Rangers haven't lost in two weeks, the Cubs still suck, the Red Sox and Yanks are still trying to kill each other...and the Pirates are in 1st place. So...nothing really to be surprised about...except the Pirates, which have had two straight DECADES of losing seasons, are in FIRST PLACE in their division.
And there you have it. Tune in next week for a new entry.
Oh, yes. Almost forgot...US Congress - YOU SUCK!