Ranking top 10 sports events Dec. 29-Jan. 4 you won’t want to miss
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NATIONAL SEMIFINALS:
ROSE BOWL: OREGON vs. FLORIDA STATE
Details/TV: At Pasadena, Thursday at 2 p.m., ESPN
SUGAR BOWL: ALABAMA vs. OHIO STATE
Details/TV: At New Orleans, Thursday at 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Maybe the organizers of this first College Football Playoff Final Four should have consulted with the software company that manipulates the inner workings of Match.com, to at least examine the human harmonic condition that should go into creating more fan-sensitive semifinal matchmaking. Start with eliminating the somewhat random ranking designations, which were really just a way to filter out the top four teams from the other 128 that had some kind of shot in the first place (*even Alabama-Birmingham, which now won’t be siphoning all the talent in the state away from the Crimson Tide). So now that you’ve given Alabama a regional advantage by going to New Orleans because of its top seeding, why not also cut Florida State fans a break? This is the same group of supporters who had to scrape together their casino earnings and pull their covered wagons all the way to Pasadena a year ago in order to witness the Seminoles’ stake in last year’s final BCS championship. What more could FSU do this season but win every game on its schedule? Again? And then get a No. 3 seeding behind two one-loss programs? Why not drop ‘em to No. 4 if there’s so much backlash to this wins-over-character Jameis Winston issues that keep factoring into every discussion? Whatever the reasoning, the residue of that illogical-based decision would finally create what we wanted all along — a Pac-12/Big Ten semi-traditional Rose Bowl match up with Oregon and Ohio State, where we could at least pretend that Woody Hayes had something to do with making it happen from up in his own iCloud perch. Those left creating obvious storylines for these particular human-biased matchups will lean heavily on the Urban Meyer-Nick Saban mastermind angle on one side of the bracket, while the last two Heisman winners fight it out in a gentlemanly manner on the other side. Great. The bottom line is you like to think fans of the victorious semifinal games have enough disposable income so they can circle back to Dallas for the Jan. 12 championship matchup. We suspect most tapped out die-hards will be traveling alone by this point in the fleecing, hoping to hook up with similar-minded fans at a pregame tailgate. Maybe that’s when Match.com’s services finally come into play before everyone just punts.
ALSO THIS WEEK:
ALAMO BOWL: UCLA vs. KANSAS STATE
Details/TV: At San Antonio, Friday at 3:45 p.m., ESPN:
Remember the Alamo Bowl, when it meant something? Neither do we, except for the chance to see what San Antonio looks like from inside a biodome. What it appears to mean to Bruins fans is a send-off game for non-Heisman winner Brett Hundley, and more rumors that Jim Mora might find more incentive to take an NFL opening should one come up soon (think San Francisco). Given enough time to strategize for one exhibition game like this, the edge should go to Kansas State’s 75-year-old Bill Snyder, who this year guided a team that, other than losing by 21 at TCU and by 9 at Baylor, was the best in the Big 12 at 9-3 (including a non-conference loss to Auburn). As for common opponents this year, K-State shutout visiting Texas, 23-0, in late October, five weeks after the Bruins pulled off that wild 20-17 win over the Longhorns in Dallas.
THE REST OF THE WEEK:
The NFL wildcard round starts Saturday with Arizona (the host city for the upcoming Super Bowl) going to Carolina … There’s an Orange, Fiesta and Peach Bowl set for New Year’s Eve, with the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day …UCLA and USC start Pac-12 basketball’s regular season with games in Utah and Colorado on Friday-Sunday … the Clippers play host to the Knicks on New Year’s Eve … for more, go to this link.