Sunday, September 02, 2012

Enough of that Preseason Stuff ...

Back in the prehistoric days when the NFL still called them "exhibition games," Joey Porter's Pit Bulls loved NFL preseason games.  They were fun.  They showcased new and emerging players, highlighted how your team's roster was shaping up, and offered a glimpse of new coaching strategies. They whetted your taste for NFL football.

These days?  Not so much.  Nobody seems to want these games.  Not the (veteran) players, not the (incumbent) coaches and not empty seats in stadiums around the nation (and Dublin).  The veterans hardly play, the coaches don't game-plan, and the fans stay home or give their tickets away to their college-age kids.

A lot of us fans watching (or not watching) the games on TV grit our teeth, cross our fingers and merely hope nobody gets hurt, and maybe, just maybe, some heretofore obscure guy off the street will flash something worth watching.

Inevitably, it seems, somebody valuable does get hurt.  Last year, it was Byron Leftwich in the third exhibition game.  This year, it's prized first-rounder David DeCastro, projected to start at guard; and then, on Thursday, third-rounder Sean Spence, projected to get a lot of playing time at inside linebacker, where the Steelers are thin with the retirement of James Farrior and the injury to Stevenson Sylvester.  DeCastro will miss at least half the season, and Spence, on the injured reserve list, will miss the entire season, as will veteran fullback/tight end David Johnson, who was injured in an earlier pre-season game.

Preseason?  We've had enough of it.  Let the real games begin.  We're ready.

NCAAFootball?  Yeccch.
As for the cesspool that is today's NCAA College Football, it started swirling yesterday.  If there is any lingering sentiment for a renewal of the storied but long-dormant Pitt-Penn State rivalry, well ... after yesterday, fans everywhere are clamoring for a match-up of the new titans of college football, Ohio U. vs. Youngstown State.  The Bobcats vs. the Penguins.  Exciting, eh?

Buccos?  Hanging in there, by a thread.
With a week to go before the NFL season kicks off in earnest, we still have the Pirates in a pennant race, believe it or not.

And they are indeed in a pennant race, despite their bitter, ninth-inning loss in Milwaukee yesterday, and notwithstanding their performance in August:  An 11-17 record, a staff ERA of 4.39, and a team batting average of .253.  For the Pirates, the dog days of August were not so hot.

Let's hope that September doesn't trumpet their swan song, but the month is off to an inauspicious start.