Saturday, October 01, 2011
Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Get ready for a great weekend of sports TV
- Turns out Danica really is a driver
- Bowling trouble just the first sign
- NASCAR hopes to recapture its pre-recession popularity
- Super Bowl matchup providing all the hype
This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by Your Remote Control: It's going to get a workout this weekend.
Q: No doubt. Could this be the best two-day sports stretch of the year?
A :Yes. There will be bigger games and better events. But at no time on the sports calendar do you have so much variety and high quality wedged into such a small window. All of it's terrific theater: baseball, college football, NFL games, a Sprint Cup race. ... Tough to choose. Just enjoy as much as you can.
Q: Sort of like trying to pick which Clemson skill player you want to try to shut down?
A:Exactly. Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster has quite a challenge tonight. Consider Dwayne Allen. He's the Tigers' 6-foot-4, 255-pound tight end. The guy is impressive -- he went up and made some great catches in traffic in the wins over Auburn and Florida State -- but if you were making a list of the top-three Tigers you need to neutralize, he wouldn't be on it.
Q: How would you rank the weapons?
A: Freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins (six TD -catches in four games) has got to be No. 1. Tech can't afford one of those Calvin Johnson-type explosions. I'd put wideout DeAndre Hopkins (12 catches against Auburn and Florida State) second and running back Andre Ellington (92.8 rushing yards per game) third. Someone also might want to keep an eye on quarterback Tajh Boyd. Whew.
Q: So you don't like the Hokies' chances?
A: Actually, I do. I wouldn't give the seven points, but I think Tech wins something like 34-31 -- a thriller.
Q: You think the Hokies can score that many?
A: Well, FSU put up 30 on the Tigers last week with its backup quarterback. They can be dented. Look for a monster game from Tech running back David Wilson. He's been quietly putting up solid numbers, but he's yet to have that huge performance everyone's been waiting for. The national TV cameras seem to find this guy -- and will again.
Q: UVa drew a crowd of 43,220 at Scott Stadium for last week's game against Southern Miss. Over or under 40,000 today?
A: Under. Idaho's a 15.5-point underdog. That might be all we need to say about that game.
Q: Any chance Charlie Manuel and the Phillies don't wind up in the World Series?
A: No. But a matchup with the Brewers in the NLCS would make for great TV.
Q: Jimmie Johnson is 10th in points -- the lowest he's ever been in the Chase -- and had some uncomfortable back and forth with his crew chief during last week's race. Is the five-time Sprint Cup champion finally toast?
A: Not yet. But if somehow he finishes outside the top 10 on Sunday at Dover -- a track he's owned -- then, yes, he's done.
Q: Former Terps coach Ralph Friedgen told Baltimore radio station WNST this week that "I've burned my [Maryland] diploma," adding, "I'm flying a Georgia Tech flag right now." Thoughts, Terp boy?
A: Last time I'm going to say this, even though nobody agrees with me: Ralph Friedgen is not a victim. He just plays one ... very well. See the blog for more.
Q: Speaking of which, best reader comment this week?
A: Let's go with Lakeshore Johnny, regarding Charlotte Motor Speedway's indefensible decision to use a profane video of NASCAR "fans" to promote its race. His eloquent post ends thusly: "The employees and executives at CMS need to step up and say and do quite a bit at this juncture, and a few people need to seek other employment, perhaps at positions for which they are better qualified for. I'm thinking maybe trash collector; they seem to be good at finding it."
A: 100 percent. Like I said, there are a million great things to watch this weekend; that video is not one of them.