Monday, September 15, 2008

MMBSD – Week 2 (Guest Host Edition)

Due to “hurricane-like winds” in the Columbus, OH area, the Back Seat Drivers newsroom was left without power for several hours yesterday and today. As a result, Mighty Mike has deputized me to offer this week’s MMBSD commentary:

NCAA Highlights (Saturday):

Notre Dame beat Michigan in a sloppy game where inclement weather and a UM team lacking impact talent resulted in six Wolverines turnovers. Notre Dame finally scored its first big win for Charlie Weis since his first season on the job and the loss only highlights how much work Michigan has in front of it if they want to restore their program to an elite level. The only other highlight of this game was highlighted by Colonel Sanders, where UM gave life to the old saying of, “If you can’t beat ‘em, injure their morbidly obese coach!”

USC smoked Ohio State and solidified their grip on their #1 national ranking. This game showed two things: first, that QB Todd Boekman’s talent ceiling has been reached and is no longer necessarily the best quarterback on the Buckeye roster, and second, that until Ohio State can stop shooting itself in the foot with dumb penalties, they’ll have a hard time beating the really great college teams from outside their conference. This loss has major negative implications for both the Buckeyes and the Big 10 Conference from a national title perspective so now all OSU can do is play for pride, another Big 10 Conference title, and a Rose Bowl bid.

NFL Highlights (Sunday):

The Big Brother New England Patriots once again beat the Little Brother New York Jets in a tame and quite dull 19-10 game. Much was made of the Jets having a golden opportunity to wrest AFC East supremacy away from the Patriots once Tom Brady went down. When you consider that the Jets brought in Brett Favre to win these types of games, yesterday’s result has to be viewed as a major disappointment for Jets fans. Matt Cassel, starting his first game since high school, was efficient but wasn’t asked to do very much. Based on yesterday’s game, the Patriots should not be overconfident in Cassel’s abilities. After all, the Jets couldn’t capitalize on their opportunties and aren’t an elite opponent.

The San Diego Chargers fell to 0-2, after a controversial loss to the Denver Broncos. With victories against the Raiders and Chargers, and with QB Jay Cutler looking sharp and poised, the Broncos are in good position in the AFC West. The Chargers, on the other hand, have looked terrible in their two defeats. While there is no reason to believe that they can’t recover to make the playoffs, one wonders if two bad losses to start the season doesn’t begin to take its toll on a team with a reputation for being soft.

Baseball Rant (unsolicited, unsanctioned, and unrelated):

Carlos Zambrano threw a 110-pitch, 10 strikeout no-hitter against the Houston Astros last night. As much as any no-hitter is a noteworthy story, the really interesting fact about this game was that it was played in Miller Park (Milwaukee, WI), making it the first no-hitter thrown “in a neutral site.” I put “neutral site” in quotes because I find it laughable that anyone would consider Milwaukee, WI a neutral site when Chicago is 92 miles away.

Houston Astros manager Cecil Cooper also took exception with the choice of venue, and I can’t say that I blame him. If Hurricane Ike forced the relocation of this three-game series from Houston to a safer, dryer location, why not consider alternatives to Milwaukee? How about Tampa (domed stadium, 983 miles), Minneapolis (domed stadium, 1,178 miles), or Toronto (domed stadium, 1,626 miles)? How is Milwaukee (1,220 miles) a more suitable location?

Hurricanes and other natural disasters will happen from time to time. Everyone remembers the beginning of the 2007 season when the Cleveland Indians were snowed out and had to make up those games at Miller Park. That location made sense: Milwaukee’s Miller Park was a domed stadium whose occupant played in the National League and was in close proximity to Cleveland. Such a location afforded both safe haven from the elements and a true “neutral site” locale for both teams. Last night? Not so much. And while I won’t go so far as to accuse Commissioner Selig of blatant favoritism – although the Selig/Milwaukee connection did cross my mind – I will say that, once again, Major League Baseball had the chance to do something right and instead did something expedient.

Finally, I leave you with the Girl of The Week for Week 2, Padma Lakshmi.

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