College football craziness. World Cup whackiness. Bizarro baseball. This weekend held all it for sports viewers, but there could have been so much more.
On campus, seven of the nation’s top 13 teams lost, including four of the top seven and five of the top 10. The result: a revamped top 25 and a top 10 that now houses South Florida, Boston College and Kentucky.
At the top, LSU pushed past USC in the Associated Press poll, as the Trojans only managed a desultory 27-24 win over Washington. If Pete Carroll’s squad had went down, the intrigue and implications would have been even greater.
Although one can argue about the growing parity in the sport, the “on any given Saturday (or Friday or Thursday night for that matter) upsets" wiped the luster off several upcoming TV matchups. For instance, CBS could have showcased No. 1 versus No. 3 this Saturday night, with the Tigers butting helmets with defending national champion Florida, if the Gators hadn’t stumbled to Auburn, 20-17. (Perhaps that would have caused Black Rock to change its graphics, touting the Oct. 6 game between the then No. 2 and No. 4 teams, throughout its NFL games yesterday.)
The last-second loss by No. 3 Oklahoma and the throttling of No. 7 Texas certainly takes the undefeated edge off ABC’s presentation of the “Red River Rivalry” this Saturday as well.
And ESPN’s Big East schedule, already hurt by Louisville losses, absorbed more major blows as No 5 West Virginia lost QB Pat White to injury and its No. 5 ranking to South Florida’s Bulls last Friday night. Last year’s feel-good story, No. 10 Rutgers, crashed to the 21st spot in the wake of its 34-24 defeat to Maryland. Upcoming Rutgers games on the total sports network — Oct. 6 against No. 20 Cincinnati and Thursday Oct. 18 against South Florida — don’t look nearly as bright as when the schedule was crafted.
In China, the 2007 Women’s World Cup featured a German repeat Sunday, as Birgid Prinz and her futbol frauleins, beat Brazil’s samba queens, the vanquishers of U.S. hopes in the semifinals, 2-0.
With Prinz scoring a soft early goal in the second half, Germany’s keeper Nadine Angerer withstood plenty of Brazilian salvos. After Christiane, the best player on the field yesterday, drew a penalty kick on a breakaway, the anointed one, Marta, stepped to the spot. The best player in the women’s game, one who has been billed as the female counterpart to Ronaldinho, pulled a Beckham, or Baggio, if you prefer, muffing the chance to tie the score by kicking a low ball almost straight at Angerer.
The German keeper, who had dodged first-half bullets in the form a deflected ball off a corner that skittered through the box and a volley by Daniela that hit the inside of the right post, then came up with the save of the tournament turning aside a free kick headed for the upper right-hand corner in the 69th minute.
With that, Angerer and her crew clean-sheeted the entire tournament — an unprecedented feat in the annals of men’s and women’s World Cup play. Germany also became the first women’s team to defend a title, joining Brazilian and Italian men’s sides in that achievement.
Germany could go for the hat trick in 2011 on its home soil: the nation could be named to host the sixth Women’s World Cup this fall.
As for baseball, a New York Mets’ victory on Sunday versus Florida, coupled with the same results by the Philadelphia Phillies (win), Colorado Rockies (win) and San Diego Padres (loss), would have resulted in a four-way tie in the battle for the last two playoff spots in the National League.
Although tonight’s play-in game for the Wild Card between the Pods and the Rox should prove compelling, sports fans, not to mention TBS, missed out on the drama of seeing the Mets/Phils loser — the winner would have claimed the NL East – join San Diego and Colorado in a three-day quest for the WC entry. It would have been historic.
Instead, that characterization is left to the Mets blowing a seven-game lead with 17 games to go. The images of prayerful fans on Friday night and the despondency at Shea Stadium yesterday, presented by SportsNet New York on the regional sports service and WPIX channel 11 over the weekend, will last in this viewer’s mind throughout the winter.