Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: I am Groot

I AM Groot!


Quickly, before I get to the bag, it looks like the men's basketball non-conference schedule for 2014-15 was leaked on

The key additions from the last time I saw an update are:
  • Drexel on opening night, 11/14
  • Lipscomb on 11/30
  • San Francisco on 12/3
  • Northern Colorado on 12/13
Not a lot of red meat there, as, beyond the Drexel game, the adds are all potential RPI 250+ squads.  The Northern Colorado game will make for a cool story, as Coach Boyle has them on the schedule for the first time since leaving Greeley for Boulder, but the rest are *shrug* worthy.  I'll have more schedule analysis up later this week, when I imagine things will be finalized and made official from CU, but, for now, my take is that this is underwhelming, at best.

One final scheduling note, it looks like the Auburn game has been set for an 11PM tip-off time, as part of ESPN's tip-off marathon.  You may want to get a jump on reserving Tuesday, November 18th off from work, as the Buffs will be playing into the early morning for that one.


Today in the bag, I'm talking college football, pro football, and one of the worst bullpens in the majors (nope, not the Rox).

Click below for the bag...

Football camp opens - 

In a sign that fall is just around the corner (along with a break from this cursed heat), the Colorado Buffaloes are back on the football practice fields along Boulder Creek, spinning up the gears in pursuit of improvement. While practices in full pads won't start until later this week, some first impressions are starting to leak through, and the mood is, as always in August, positive.

The biggest item of note is that this is Sefo Liufau's team, at least offensively.  According to Buffstampede ($), there's hasn't even been a hint of QB controversy through the first few days of camp, which comes as a welcome relief after the last few years of under-center confusion.  That's not to say that I believe Liufau is a perfect choice, or even 'the guy' to rebuild the program around, just that it's better to have a single voice running the ship as the offense gets installed.  That Sefo is also the kind of kid who earns universal praise for his work ethic and leadership as a sophomore is only a bonus.
It's now Sefo's team: From the BDC
Going forward, really the only thing BuffNation need concern ourselves with is the injury report.  Last season, the Buffs were fortunate to only lose about 23 games from players in the top-two spots on the depth chart.  That comes on the heels of the previous three seasons, where the team suffered from a rolling average of about 91 lost games per year.  CU isn't saddled with nearly as fragile a depth chart as they were last year, when only a few injuries separated them from complete disaster, but keeping the best talent on the field is the only way the team is going to have a chance at achieving any of its goals in 2014.

'Actual' football was actually played last night - 

It's not just the Buffs who are back in action, the pros have returned to the gridiron, as well.  Yes, 'actual' football was played last night, as the Giants 'beat' the Bills 17-13 in the annual Hall of Fame 'Game'. Lots of sarcastic quotes there, because, of course, preseason football is pointless, but at least it was something?
It sort of looks like football...
I guess I shouldn't crack on preseason games too much, as I've spent the past few weeks watching (and enjoying) the Guinness International Champions Cup, which, despite the trophy, is just a glorified set of soccer scrimmages.  Still, preseason football is the tofu of the sports world.  Sure, it may taste good given the correct preparation, and I certainly could've used it a few weeks ago when there was nothing else on, but it's a poor substitute for the real meat of the sports schedule.

As for the 'game,' those who were interested enough to watch were treated to the typical half-hearted effort from the starters before a mass of subs came in to notch some reps.  Young quarterbacks like Ryan Nassib and (the legendary) Tim Tuel claimed most of the action, starters like Eli Manning and EJ Manuel barely broke a sweat, and the game turned on a 73 aerial strike to New York rookie Corey Washington.  I guess it's cool enough to see those young guns get a faint chance to claim the national spotlight, but I'd really rather take my football at 100% potency, if at all.

*sigh*, at least Hard Knocks starts this week.

My White Sox set a modern club record yesterday - 

Quietly, my beloved White Sox have been playing decent baseball of late.  Powered by the other-worldly slugging skill of Cuban import Jose Abreu (*squeeeee*), they had crawled themselves to withing shouting distance of .500 headed into the weekend.  While that might seem like much of an accomplishment, it does put them nearly a month ahead of their pace from a year ago.  Huzzah!

Unfortunately, such heights were too much for My Sox.  They dropped an 8-6 heartbreaker to the Twins on Saturday, before turning to watch the bullpen mark a historical implosion on Sunday afternoon.  Trailing 4-3 headed into the 8th inning, the pen, who had already blown a lead earlier in the contest, allowed 12 runs over the final two frames, including back-to-back-to-back home runs to the Twinkie no-names.  The 16-3 final wasn't indicative of the run of play, but it was plenty odorous.  In total, the pen allowed 15 runs Sunday - the worst performance by any Sox pen since the Great Depression.  Woof.
Please, God, let someone else pitch!
The bullpen has long been an issue for this team.  They may not be the 'worst' pen in the bigs - that honor probably goes to the Astros - but MAH GAWD they can throw gasoline on the fire.  In total, they're only worth .3 of a win over a replacement-level bullpen, and have earned 21 of the team's losses, good for 3rd worst in the game.  They certainly contribute to the Sox having the 4th worst ERA from the 7th inning on, and have me considering preseason football as a reasonable viewing alternative.

I just have to keep reminding myself that this season was not supposed to be anything special.  .500 would be a gift after last year, and gaping chasms like a bullpen with a pumice foundation are to be expected.  Still, #IsItNovemberYet?

Happy Monday!

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