Counting Down To The First Kickoff
Friday - April 22, 2009
The NFL schedule is going to provide some early storylines. Who says the league lacks a sense of drama? The first Monday night game has Buffalo at New England, which should mean the return of Tom Brady (you can only guess at the level of fan discontent if he’s not ready to go) and the arrival of Terrell Owens for the Bills.
Week two has the New York Giants at Dallas for the grand opening of Jerry Jones’$1 billion-plus stadium. The Sunday night game is the first of a league-leading six nationally televised games for the ‘Boys.
And for international flavor, the Patriots will play Tampa Bay in London Oct. 25.
The idea that the league wants to expand to 18 games is welcome to most fans, many of whom are not sure they’ll make it till Tennessee visits Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, a Thursday game.
The announcement by the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl that it will take the Conference USA runner-up (or another team of interest: Read SMU) rather than the seventh-place PAC-10 team is a necessary evil. Sure Hawaii fans would rather watch a PAC-10 opponent, but there is a strong possibility, maybe even a probability, that the seventh-place team doesn’t qualify for a bowl.
The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl got lucky enticing Notre Dame last year, but you could see the bowl shut out. The runner-up CUSAteam will be fine, if not familiar, and if June Jones gets it turned around at SMU that would be a sellout game. One fact has not and will not change: If Hawaii is in the game, it’ll be a success; if Hawaii fails to qualify, selling tickets will be somewhere between a struggle and a nightmare.
The UH baseball team is in the midst of a very good year, but it has some challenges ahead. This week they play a four-game series in Las Cruces, N.M., against New Mexico State. The Aggies’ ballpark is a windswept prairie where balls fly out. The sight of tumbleweed blowing out to the outfield, cloudless skies and endless desert couldn’t be more different than the Rainbows’home in Manoa Valley.
But this year UH has more power than usual and should better be able to handle the Aggies’ launching pad. The Rainbows did not pitch well on their last road trip to Nevada and will have to show more mound presence this time around. Not to put undue pressure on this team, but many fans won’t consider the current season a success unless they get to the post-season, particularly with the Rainbows hosting the WAC tournament in May. One big question mark is when Jarred Alexander will come around.
I suppose it was inevitable that the explosion of cable availability would lead to some strange programming, and sports have not been an exception to the phenomenon. Have you seen the college bass fishing tournaments? You haven’t lived till you’ve seen Texas A&M outfish the University of Alabama. Must be nice to be able to compete in a sport that used to require cutting school.
Areminder to UH football fans that this Saturday features the Warrior Bowl at Aloha Stadium with a controlled scrimmage. It is also Junior Day, where prospective student athletes and their parents can get acquainted with the UH program. The autograph session begins at 1:30 p.m. with the scrimmage to follow.
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