Bears

Frankie O's Blog: Bowled Over?

Frankie O's Blog: Bowled Over?

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
2:23 p.m.

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

Unfortunately in college football were finding out. Thats because thanks to our friends at the Bowl Subdivision, there are now 35 of them. Remember when it was easy to figure out the levels of college football? Division I, Division IA, Division II and Division III? Well the powers to be couldnt leave that alone. So we still have Divisions II and III, but as we move up the food chain, there is the Championship Subdivision and the Bowl Subdivision. And just so we dont get confused, they're making sure there are enough bowls.

In fact, if I was marketing them, I have the perfect slogan: The NCAA: We put the bowls in the Bowl Subdivision! I guess they figure with so many bowls well remember the name. NOT! Everyone still calls it Division I, but I digress. The point is that there are so many that theyve killed the buzz. Way back when, while the thought of inebriating adults for a living was only a gleam in the eye, I remember the 4 bowls that we all watched and the ability to get to one of these games really meant something: The Rose, Sugar, Orange and Cotton. These games were special and had historical significance if not National Title implications and any fan knew the teams playing in each game. Now? Now we have teams competing for the right to throw down in the Beef O Bradys Bowl. What?

My question is, when you have 120 teams, do 70 deserve to go to a bowl? (And we think too many teams get in to the NHL playoffs?) Again, we have the B.C.S. to thank for this. Since creating their 5 bowl country club for the good old boys, they decided to spin it to the rest of their membership by letting the little sisters of the poor have their moment of glory in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Keep your hands out of my pie!

As long as everyone can wet their beak, there wont be any support for that darn playoff that every fan in the country is crying for, because, as you know, a national title playoff would erode the sanctity of the bowl system. I want my Chick-fil-A Bowl! So as I spent another bowl season in a bar where at least a third of the games did not even get watched, and another third were only watched by alumni and gamblers, Im thinking: This is good for business? Not theirs, mine! As someone that can watch almost any football game, it even gets to be too much for me. And as someone who wants to entice customers to stay by putting something on the TV that is compelling and fun to watch, I end up putting on NBA games instead. Regular season NBA games! Games that dont include the Bulls!

So the system has to change, right? Wrong! As long as the big conferences are making their money, and GUARANTEEING that one of THEM will win the title by excluding, at all costs, (is that ironic?) smaller schools from having a chance (T.C.U.Boise State) the system will not change. As their proof that the system works, they will point out that the 1 team beat the 2 team in a National Title Game that was the most watched cable program EVER. As someone whos been numbed by the glut of bowls, I say that only proves that we love college football and want to find out who the champ will be. It would be nice though, if we could equally enjoy the path to get there. Think about that while enjoying your BBVA Compass Bowl!

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Allen Robinson was signed in free agency to become the alpha dog of the Chicago Bears' wide receiver corps. The three-year, $42 million contract that general manager Ryan Pace signed him to is proof of how high expectations are for the fifth-year pro.

Robinson isn't coming to Chicago with a flawless resume, however. His massive breakout year in 2015 (1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns) was followed by a pedestrian 883 yards in 2016 and a torn ACL in Week 1 last year. That begs the question: Is the forecast for Robinson's impact in 2018 too high right now?

According to Bleacher Report's Doug Farrar, the answer is yes. Robinson was named as the Bear most likely to disappoint this season.

Robinson practiced for the first time since the injury during the Bears' May minicamp, but it's safe to say Chicago isn't sure what it has in Robinson. If he gets back to his 2015 numbers, that would be huge for the Bears' passing offense, but given his 2016 regression and the specter of the 2017 injury, that's a tough bet.

Robinson will have an impact that goes beyond the traditional box score, and it will happen this season. Is he a lock to reach 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns? No, but his presence on the field will be enough to see a return on investment. The Bears haven't had the kind of threat he poses to defenses in several seasons, and his ability to pull a defensive coordinator's attention away from the running game will do wonders for Chicago's offensive output.

Determining whether Robinson is a disappointment in 2018 will depend on who's evaluating his season. Sure, he may disappoint in fantasy football circles if he doesn't re-emerge as a game-changing stat monster. But if he makes the Bears offense a more well-rounded and productive group, he'll live up to the expectations set by Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

As long as Robinson is pleasing Pace and Nagy, nothing else really matters.

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

As encouraging as the reports are on many of the White Sox’s minor-league pitching prospects, Carlos Rodon’s effort against the Athletics on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field could prove just as significant to the rebuild on the South Side.

Looking much like the ace the Sox envisioned prior to Rodon’s rough 2017 season that ended with shoulder surgery, the left-hander put together his most successful effort of ’18 during a 10-3 drubbing of the Athletics before a sun-drenched crowd of 21,908.

Making his fourth start of the season, Rodon matched a career-high by going eight innings. He yielded two runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Rodon earned his first win of the season to help the Sox salvage a split of the four-game series.

“I felt good today—a lot of strikes,” Rodon said. “It was good to go eight and just be ahead of guys.”

Helping matters for Rodon was an offensive explosion by the Sox, led by Yoan Moncada’s career-high six RBIs. After falling behind 2-0, the Sox plated five runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings as Moncada cleared the bases with a double off the base of the wall in the fifth and launched his 10th home run of the season to drive in three more an inning later.

“Today was a great day,” Moncada said via a team interpreter. “I just went out to play the game the way that I play. Just to have fun. It was a very good game for me.”

Daniel Palka and Yolmer Sanchez also homered as the Sox won for just the second time in their last 11 games.

Rodon was the happy recipient of the run support to win his first game since Aug. 21, 2017, against the Twins. On Sunday, he threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes and was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball.

“I’m looking to do that every time out,” Rodon said. “Just show up and establish the strike zone with the fastball and be aggressive.”

The 25-year-old’s second-inning strikeout of Khris Davis was the 400th of Rodon’s career. It is a career that is continuing after a surgery that was a setback, but one that did not derail Rodon’s confidence that he would again pitch effectively.

“There are up-and-down days when you go through shoulder surgery or any surgery for any player,” Rodon said. “You've just got to work through it and try to make your way back. I'm here now and it’s looking up and I’m trying to get better.”

So is it reasonable to view Rodon as the future ace after all?

“You certainly can’t discount that,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He has to go out there and continue to get his feet underneath him and get through the rest of the season healthy and climbing.”

In other Sox pitching news, Renteria said starter Dylan Covey, who was removed in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game due to a hip flexor injury, “felt better” Sunday and the team will continue to monitor the right-hander’s progress.

Meanwhile, veteran Miguel Gonzalez made a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte as he continues to recover from inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Gonzalez went three innings and allowed one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez belted his first homer for the Knights in the game.