NCAAFB opening weekend overshadowing MLB races

 

By Ryan Decker

This time of year is my second-favorite time of the year when it comes to sports.

My favorite time is late March, early April. You’ve got Major League Baseball starting, conference tournaments and the NCAA tournament in college basketball, (my birthday), and did I mention the start of the MLB season?

September is sort of the opposite. Good, but the opposite.

Major League Baseball’s regular is winding down, with playoff races heating up and the playoffs about to begin. At the same time, College Football begins and a week later – this week to be exact – the National Football League begins its regular season.

It’s a perfect storm of sports euphoria.

This year, more so than I can ever remember, baseball is taking the back seat of the sports bus.

UT,CHC_NCAAFB,MLB
Two historic franchises/programs. One – the Cubs – have been the most dominant team in baseball all season long. The other – the Texas Longhorns – upended a ranked Notre Dame team Sunday night. The latter, College Football, is already pushing baseball postseason races into the background, and it’s only Week 1.   Graphic created by Ryan Decker 

College Football truly did create the best opening weekend in the history of the sport.

Four ranked-vs.-ranked match ups on Saturday and Monday; other marque match ups including No. 10 Notre Dame being upset by an impressive unranked Texas Longhorn squad in a thrilling overtime game Sunday night.

That wasn’t the only upset, or game that went down to the wire.

College Football Playoff-minded Oklahoma was shell shocked by 15th-ranked Houston. Les Miles and No. 5 LSU also got off to a bad start, losing to unranked Wisconsin at Lambeau Field.

No. 9 Tennessee had to fend off Appalachian St. (18) Georgia and (22) North Carolina, (2) Clemson and Auburn, and (11) Ole Miss vs. (4) Florida State all went down to the wire.

I didn’t even mention No. 1 Alabama‘s beat down of No. 20 USC.

Week1 matchups.jpg
Some of the logos of the schools involved in the incredible match ups of the “greatest opening weekend in College Football history.”   Graphic created by Ryan Decker

With all this exciting College Football, baseball is certainly in the background.

Maybe it’s because most of the division races are over and decided.

The Chicago Cubs have been in control of the NL Central all season long; Washington and Texas continue to gradually stretch their leads over their divisions; Cleveland has held its lead to around five games consistently for most of the second half of the season.

The only races not settled are in the AL East and NL West.

The East has housed three of the best teams in at least the American League, if not all of baseball, in Toronto, Boston and Baltimore, which have been battling back and forth all season long.

In the West, the Los Angeles Dodgers have the favorite for NL Rookie of the year in Corey Seager, and the San Francisco Giants are trying to stay in the playoff picture as they try to continue their recent success during even years.

Even the teams that are in complete control of their divisions have storylines that could and should dominate national headlines.

The Cubs are trying to end the Curse of the Billy Goat, which has kept them without a World Series trophy since 1907. They also have Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, two of the best young players in the game.

Cleveland is attempting to win its first championship since 1948, as well as hoping to be the second major sports franchise from Cleveland to win a championship this year.

Speaking of championship droughts, the Texas Rangers are still chasing their first Commissioner’s Trophy.

Washington is also hoping of capturing its first championship since moving to the Nation’s Capital, and is trying to finally capitalize on one of the multiple playoff opportunities they’ve had over the past few years.

Despite those story lines, and others, it seems that Major League Baseball will have to be content with taking the back seat.

As asinine and sad as it is, Rob Manfred may have to slightly thank Tim Tebow for keeping the MLB in the limelight.

Even though it is ridiculous that Tebow thinks he can play baseball at the major league level, his tryout last week at least made everyone realize that baseball is still going on.

Baseball will continue to go on for the rest September and October. But sadly, no matter how exciting or important the games get, they won’t get the national attention that Stanford/Washington, Tennessee/Georgia, Oklahoma/TCU, or Texas/Oklahoma State will receive during Week 5 of the College Football season.

Maybe the only way it could is if the Cubs and Indians play each other in the ultimate underdog, drought-ending Wold Series in baseball history.

But at the end of the day, as much as I’m looking forward to the last two months of baseball – playoff baseball at that – I’m equally as excited that College Football is back.

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