Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: The worst sporting week of the year

What is the best week of the sporting year?  Some would say Super Bowl week, others late October and the World Series.  There are numerous acceptable answers; personally, I'm all over the Tournament's first week in March.

Regardless of your personal sporting preference, however, there can be no debate over what is the worst week on the sporting calendar.  This very week, centered around Baseball's All-Star break, leaves American sport fans without any contests of consequence at the height of summer.  The paucity of competition is so heinous that it drives many to trick themselves into caring about meaningless media side-shows like the God-forsaken Home Run Derby.  Let me say that again, people willingly tune into a schlock-fest featuring Chris Berman.  That borders on a war crime!

Not satisfied with the misery already laid upon the American public, MLB has outdone themselves by allowing the typically 3-day break to balloon into a fourth evening.  You'd think that, by now, I'd learn to anticipate this garbage, and schedule a much deserved vacation...

At least there's the latest edition of Thorburn's freshman interview series to occupy my attention for a while.

Today in the bag I'll be talking about the brewing QB battle set for CU's fall camp, baseball's first half, and almost-history from the world of tennis.

Click below for the bag...

Picking a QB - 

Football season is slowly starting to peek over the horizon, which means it's time to heat up the race for the top spot on the QB depth chart.  QB controversies seemingly never work out, often leading on-field performance off a very steep cliff, but the Buffs are blessed (cursed?) with three legitimate options under center.

Newly confirmed transfer Jordan Webb (the worst-kept secret in the history of CU football), has a decided on-field experience edge, having attempted nearly 500 passes for Kansas over the past two seasons (albeit with typically middling Jayhawk results).  In-house veteran Nick Hirschman has bled black and gold on the bench for the bast two seasons, finding limited action (35 attempts) last year as Tyler Hansen's backup.  Connor Wood has the sterling pedigree of a 4-star recruit, but the transfer from UT has yet to see any action at the D-1 level.
With Webb in the fold, the competition can begin in earnest.
For his money, Ringo is prepared to anoint whoever shows the best "leadership" in camp.  Nebulous media terms aside, that's probably a fair test.  I can't imagine there being all that much physical separation evident between the neophyte Buffs over the course of a few weeks of camp.  Whoever runs the huddle the best is probably a solid bet to start at Sports Authority Field.
Wood is still my guess on who will end up getting the nod.
As for my guess as to who will end up winning the job, I'm still sticking with Wood.  He has a head start on Webb, having jumped into the program last fall, and has better baseline skill than Hirschman.  What's more, I am very skeptical on what the spread-skilled Webb can actually provide, as he was made redundant at KU because of a shift to a pro-style offense  If Wood can rouse the troops properly, I'd plan on him easily landing the #1 slot for week one.  Holding onto it, however, is a completely different matter...

Sox, Rox going in completely different directions - 

While the All-Star Break is an insufferable bore, it does provide a convenient time to check in with the fortunes of my favorite hardball heroes.

My Sox have continued to play above their heads, utilizing a shocking total of eight rookie pitchers en route to a 3-game divisional lead at the break.  The team I once thought capable of 95-losses is now a front-runner for the playoffs. The timely addition of Kevin Youkilis has been key, as the veteran has spurred the Sox to a 9-4 record since joining the club.  While the youth on the pitching staff is worrying, Sox baseball is, for the time being, about as appetizing as possible.
It's been all smiles for Youk on the SouthSide, and the wins have followed.
The Rockies?  Well, they're  a different matter entirely.  Tied with the lowly Cubs for the second-worst record in all of baseball, the Rox have been flat-lining since May.  The main problem has been the old bugaboo of pitching.  While pitching at Coors Field has never been a showcase of All-Star talent, this year has been particularly bad.  So bad in fact that the Rox 5.26 team ERA is 40 points ahead of the Minnesota Twins for worst in baseball status.
It's been awfully lonely out on the mound for Rox pitchers this season.
The Hammel-for-Guthrie trade blew up in GM Dan O'Dowd's face, leaving the Rox with few options in the starting rotation.  Having wrung as much water out of the 95-year old stone that is Jamie Moyer as was possible, the Rockies have turned desperate.  The resulting 4-man rotation, with accompanying 75-pitch limit, is a laughable way to run a ballclub, but is all that the Rox have left to turn to.  2012 can't end soon enough for the Blake Street warriors.

At least Car-Go is still on the roster...

Close, but not quite at Wimbledon - 

From the horseshoes and hand grenades file, Andy Murray just didn't have enough Sunday morning, allowing Roger Federer to re-claim his long-lost Wimbledon crown.  The story being told around the world right now is a celebration of Federer's incomprehensible accomplishment, having won his 7th Wimbledon and reclaiming the #1 world ranking at the age of 30.  In my eyes, however, the story is the oh-so-close nature of Murray's run.   It's now been 76 years since the last English winner of the definitive English tournament.
Not the ending I would've preferred.
I felt terribly for Murray, who has carried the hopes of a nation for far too long.  The English drought at Wimbledon dates back to 1936, and the tennis loving gentry are so desperate for a native-born winner, that the Scottish Murray is saddled with all sorts of expectant baggage.  Hopefully, it won't be much longer before the Scot can lift that monkey off of Wimbledon's collective back.

Happy Monday!

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