Since You've Been Gone...
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College football has been gone for six months. But now, it is just a few days from being back. Here is a look at all of the things the sports world has given us to pass the time. And while it has been fun to keep up with all of the other great things in the world of friendly competition, as soon as this article is complete, we are back to college football and nothing else!
The Winter Olympics from Vancouver, BC got us through the colder months. The United States finished first in the medal count, with 37 medals. But Germany (30 medals, second place) had more golds, with ten to our nine. Along with the X Games just before, there is now not a household in America who is not familiar with Shaun "The Flying Tomato" White. He won gold in both the Olympics and X Games - and came back in the summer to compete in the Summer X Games on a skateboard!
In the spring, the NCAA tournament was won by Duke in an absolute thriller over Butler. On the last play of the championship game, Gordon Hayward's shot hit the rim from mid-court, causing multiple heart attacks in the Durham area and in Duke's section of Lucas Stadium. But the shot clunked away, and Duke had it earned its fourth title under Coach K. Defending champion UNC failed to even make the Dance.
The NFL draft landed somewhere around this time, and my favorite player, CJ Spiller, landed in Buffalo as a first-round pick. He has already done well in the NFL preseason, scoring a 36-yard touchdown in his second game.
Also somewhere around this time, the Masters got underway - including a new Tiger Woods, a Tiger Woods who had just been busted for sleeping with throngs of women while married. He would not win a Major in 2010 - a rarity for Woods for a full year.
Late spring saw the NCAA baseball regionals get heated up. The South Carolina Gamecocks would go on to win the College World Series over UCLA. It was a well deserved trophy for South Carolina as I feel Ray Tanner is perhaps the best coach in the college game, and they have been to Omaha many times under his guidance. For the second time in the decade, USC beat arch-rival Clemson twice to reach the final series of the CWS. Sadly, this was the final season the event would be held at Rosenblatt Stadium, with a new swanky downtown stadium to be shown off in 2011's version.
The World Cup took center stage in the heat of the summer from South Africa. It was an extremely entertaining tournament once I got used to those crazy vuvuzela horns (mute button on remote). The horns will long mark this event, and like them or not, they are now a part of soccer history (I hope). Spain brought home soccer's ultimate trophy, defeating Holland in a thriller. The United States advanced out of pool play, but showed once again that they are still just a player or two away from being amongst the world's elite. They played tough, though, and I thought our squad truly belonged in the company of the top 16 teams in the world.
After the World Cup, it was time to concentrate on the MLB for a while. For the last several weeks, I have been all over some pro baseball! The Braves have maintained their small lead in the NL East, but have lost their most experienced player for the year, Chipper Jones. With Jones injured, Martin Prado and Omar Infante are having unreal years for Atlanta as they battle Philadelphia for the division. In the AL, the Yankees are once again looking like the team to beat - if they can just get out of their own division! The Rays are giving them all they want, and that will be a battle to the end. Playoff baseball is just around the corner, and this year looks to be extra special!
And that leads us to now - the final days until kickoff. Practice is great and all, but I'm sorry, it's like Allen Iverson once famously said: "Practice?!?!" Gameday is what we all live for, and we are all getting ready in our own ways. It's time to hammer down those plans for next weekend. Who will feed the dog? What time will friends show up? What time will we leave for the stadium? Is the tailgate gear clean, organized and ready?
Yes folks, we made it. This Thursday - less than a week away - we will be treated to four games. Among them is a doozy in Pittsburgh at Utah.
Fans, I want to thank you for keeping the site active during the offseason. I will put up my weekly predictions next Thursday bright and early. Until then, get your picks in, post some trash talk one last time while your team is still undefeated, and get those tailgating plans finalized - college football is back!
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