Ski's graduation is (obviously) not a surprise, but the twist transfers of Jaron Hopkins and Dustin Thomas loom even larger now that Xavier is hurt. Those are veteran performers that could've been counted on to eat up extra minutes. Now, the roster is left with a number of questions that we were not expecting them to have to answer. I still believe that the program is in store for a bounce-back season, but I'm starting to wonder how high that bounce will be...
Today in the bag, I'm talking the Women's World Cup, the NBA Draft, and Top Gear's melancholic farewell.
Click below for the bag...
US Women battling Germany RIGHT NOW! -
Down a pair of gifted midfielders, and facing a mountain-esque molehill of questions from jerky-jerks like yours truly, the US Women's National Team desperately needed a happy result in their quarterfinal matchup with China. Thankfully, they got just that, as a beautiful header from Carli Lloyd was all that was really needed to earn a solid 1-0 victory last Friday.
What had been a very conservative, basic US attack in this tournament suddenly came alive. Runs were made, possession was cherished, and chances were created throughout the match. The shackles were off, and the ladies were finally playing the kind of soccer we all know them to be capable of. The young and up-and-coming Chinese never stood a chance. With the US pressing, running at defenders, and keeping the temp high, China was never allowed off the back foot. It was as dominating as a 1-0 scoreline can get.
The best teams show you their true mettle when pushed up against a wall. After weeks of underwhelming results, I was really starting to doubt this team. But, with the squad forced to deal with upheaval in the midfield, definitive changes were called for, and the team answered. Doubt and deference were gone, and aggression reigned. Kudos to the coaching staff for changing things up.
|Lloyd's picture perfect re-direct was all that was needed last week.|
You may be asking yourself, 'if these are the two best teams in the world, then why are they meeting in the semifinal?' A very astute question, that. Apparently, unlike the Men's World Cup, where seeded teams earn protection from playing other seeded squads too early, the women's draw is... well, completely invented malarkey, designed more to draw ratings than provide a fair and balanced tournament. Hence, why France and Germany met in a quarter final, with the winner forced to play the US without the trophy ever being taken out of the case. While certainly unsporting, I can't really get too salty over this as FIFA-Related Bullshit Needing to be Fixed is the world's longest book. Still, a title should be on the line with these two teams on the pitch.
The Pac-12 and the NBA Draft -
Last Thursday's NBA Draft was a surprisingly fun event to watch. Even without the Buffs fielding any expected draft prospects, I was glued to the screen from the moment I got home to the end of the first round. What made it even better was the frequency of Pac-12 talent taken off the board. Being rewarded for watching all season long is always a favorable experience.
While the Conference of Champions slipped a bit from their nine-pick, six first-rounder performance from a year ago, the seven total players selected in 2015 signal that the league remained full of talent. Only the ACC and SEC had more names called out last week, which blends with my eye test.
|Stanley finds a good home in Detroit.|
Beyond just Pac-12 picks, I was pleased to hear Wyoming Cowboy Larry Nance selected in the first round by LA. A dominating player in college, I'm a little concerned about his pro prospects, thanks to his injury issues, but I couldn't be happier for a guy who routinely kicked the crap out of CU.
Top Gear Finale -
Dipping back into this blog's roots, I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on the ending of one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Top Gear was once a prominent feature of this space; my list of the best episodes remains the most consumed piece I've ever penned (over 10k hits), and the CU logo's appearance on a 2011 episode caused a major freakout in Rumblin' Land. While not always strictly legal, my viewership of the program highly influenced my humor and writing style over the past decade-plus.
|Not the finale I'd have envisioned.|
From a viewer standpoint, Sunday's finale - a hollowed-out cut-up of the two films originally to be presented over the final weeks of series 22 - was an awkward, melancholic ride towards the finish line. Without Clarkson, the Stig, or an in-studio crowd, the show was devoid of much of the good cheer that used to define it. While a rather large elephant (helpfully named 'Jeremy') loomed in the background of most shots, no other comment was made on the situation, and the credits rolled quickly. It was an apologetic style that was startling not Top Gear.
|The elephant in the room...|
Regardless, farewell, Top Gear, you're gone but not forgotten.