Random News of the Day: Let's Go Bowling!

Random News of the Day: Let's Go Bowling!

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
9:45 AM

By Joe Collins

There's a scene in "The Blues Brothers" where a few of the former bandmates end up playing in a sleazy hotel lounge to make ends meet. The spinoff group now calls themselves "Murph and the Magic Tones" and belt out songs like "Cuando Cuando Cuando" to a sparse, apathetic crowd. Their outfits--raspberry-red tuxedos--look like something out of a prom at Hand Me Down High School. It's a sad getup and it serves as the benchmark for how far the band had fallen from the glory days.

Boise State? Let me introduce you to Murph and the Magic Tones.

The battling Broncos, media darlings since the hook and ladder play against Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, were always the David to certain college football Goliaths: the BCS and muscle conferences like the SEC to name a few. They won 24 straight games over the last two years, prompting the obvious question: "Should Boise State, a team from the scrappy WAC, be allowed to eat at the adults table and play for a national championship, even though their conference schedule might not be as daunting as some of the other big boys like Auburn, Oregon, Ohio State...etc?

We found out over the weekend as Nevada shocked Boise State 34-31 in overtime, sending the Broncos into the "Cuando Cuando Cuando" tier of bowl hierarchy. Get this: not only will Boise State not play for the BCS championship, but here are two possible bowl games where the Broncos might land: the Humanitarian Bowl-- their home field (nothing says postseason fun like a 22 degree day in Boise) and the...wait for it...Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Who needs the BCS Championship when there's the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl? Here's hoping that Boise State can put the band back together for a stellar run in 2011.

I feel for Boise State. I really do. I think we should do something to make the Broncos feel better. How about we just let every team bust a move in the postseason dance? Heck, by comparison, it'd make Boise State look bigger. Seriously, college football is already playing the "everybody gets a trophy day" card with endless, meaningless bowl games as it is. Let's liven it up even more! Your team went 2-10 this year? You're in. Winless in conference? Step right up. Program on probation? Bowl game elation! Set your DVRs for the following:


Duke (3-9) vs. Kansas (3-9)

Basketball megaphone Dick Vitale finds another way to plug Duke and Kansas basketball by having their football teams play each other at Tropicana Field. Game is shown with a continuous picture-in-picture of the Cameron Crazies jumping up and down.

CRAIG T. NELSON BOWL (Minneapolis, MN)

Minnesota State (12-0) vs. Minnesota (3-9)

Minnesota State head coach Hayden Fox finally got a winning squad! Fox, with his outstanding coaching staff comprised of Luther Van Dam and Michael "Dauber" Dybinski, will play a pesky Golden Gopher team fresh off an upset of Iowa. Brett Favre, who is scheduled for the coin toss, will also make an announcement of his playing status in 2011.

MO MONEY MO PROBLEMS BOWL (Minute Maid Park--formerly Enron Field, Houston TX)

Southern California (7-5) vs. Any SMU team from the early 1980s

USC and SMU exchange pleasantries on a field that is trimmed to look like a 100 bill. The winner of the game gets to pick one of 26 gray suitcases a'la "Deal or No Deal." One suitcase has "NCAA death penalty" on the inside. All the others have various amounts of prizes, including cash and the phone numbers for blue chip prospects. Howie Mandel is the special guest referee.


Maine South (12-2) vs. Akron (1-11)

Welcome to Hollywood! Matt Alviti, the sophomore quarterback of the IHSA 8A state champs, gets his first crack at becoming a rags-to-riches celebrity story. He has to face competition that is a bit older, though. If he is victorious, he gets a full-ride scholarship to the school he just beat in this very bowl game: Akron-- a program that actually lost to Gardner-Webb in 2010. Early line: Maine South (-7)


South Central Louisiana State University (6-6) vs. Louisiana Cougars (12-0)

It's a breakout year for the 6-6 Mud Dogs, who are paced by a water boy-turned-linebacker named Bobby Boucher and----- err..... wait...this has already been done. Next.

AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL BOWL (Anywhere in New England)

Colgate (7-4) vs. San Jose State (1-11)

I love this game for a lot of reasons. First, it gets a brain school into a bowl game. Good luck finding a Patriot League or an Ivy League team in this year's bowl lineup. I dare you. And it also matches the school with the best graduation rate among athletes --Colgate is 100-- with the worst in college football's bowl subdivision: San Jose State chimes in at only 53 (Source: NCAA and USA Today-- Average four-year graduation rates for players entering school from 2000-03). The halftime show: the last 20 minutes of "Stand And Deliver."

Maybe we don't need a playoff system at all. Maybe all we need is a couple of NCAA suits and television executives who are willing to listen for 20 minutes.

Or something like that.

Why Cubs might not lose again and other musings in strange, short season

Why Cubs might not lose again and other musings in strange, short season

As if things weren’t already going well enough for the Cubs during this strange, short season of baseball in a pandemic, now the baseball gods are dropping gifts into their laps.

The Cardinals’ lengthy shutdown because of a coronavirus outbreak has the Cubs’ arch rivals restarting their season Saturday in Chicago with a patched-up roster and eight games over the next five days, including five games against the Cubs.

And although that means the relative hardship of two doubleheaders for the Cubs in three days, all five of those games Monday through Wednesday are against a decimated Cards roster that won’t have the front end of its rotation for any of the games.

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They catch the Cardinals at their weakest point of the early season a week after catching an otherwise formidable Cleveland team at a moment of clubhouse crisis involving protocol perps Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger.

That one resulted in a two-game sweep by a combined score of 14-3.

This one already has resulted in all 10 games against the Cardinals now being scheduled for Wrigley Field.

Combine that with the three road games against the White Sox next month, and it means that the team with baseball’s best record on the field, the perfect record in player COVID-19 testing and no significant injuries to key players so far will play 60 percent of its games within its Chicago bubble if the Cubs and MLB pull off the full 60-game season.

If the Cubs were positioned any better to make the playoffs, they’d already be there.

“You can look at it that way if you want,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We’re just doing our thing.”

No other way to look at it from here. Have you seen the rest of the schedule?

The Cubs have 43 games left, including 29 within a National League Central Division that doesn’t include another .500 team three weeks into a nine-week season. Nine more games are against the Tigers and White Sox.

The best team on the schedule is the Twins, and all three of those games are at home and not until the second-to-last weekend of the season.

With all due respect to Ross and his fear of “bad juju,” the Cubs can’t lose.

“It’s still early on,” the manager said.

Nothing’s early in a 60-game season. And the Cubs already have matched the hot starts of their 2016 and 1908 World Series champions.

“We’ve still got a long ways to go in the season,” Ross said.

The Cubs did have to scratch Tyler Chatwood from his scheduled start Friday night because of back tightness. And Kris Bryant has missed the last two games because of a sore finger after rolling his wrist trying to make a diving catch in left field in Cleveland Wednesday.

But Alec Mills looked good in short-notice replacement duty Friday until a rough four-pitch (and three-run) sequence in the sixth. And Chatwood might be ready for one of Monday’s games — or possibly one of Wednesday’s.

“Things falling in our favor?” Ross said. “We’re playing good baseball, and that should be the focus for me and not the other stuff.”

Granted, they still have to play the games. Granted, Bryant wasn’t available off the bench with the bases loaded in the eighth Friday, and Josh Phegley struck out instead.

And, yes, they actually lost a game to the Brewers Friday night.

But if you still don’t believe the baseball gods are stirring the Cubs’ pot so far this season, you weren’t paying attention in the ninth inning when Craig Kimbrel struck out Avisail Garcia swinging at a 98-mph fastball to start the scoreless inning and Manny Piña swinging at a 96-mph fastball to end it.

What closer problem? Bring on the Cardinals, right?

These guys might not lose another game.


Cubs' Colin Rea to start on Saturday, Tyler Chatwood possibly Monday

Cubs' Colin Rea to start on Saturday, Tyler Chatwood possibly Monday

The Cubs plan to start swingman Colin Rea on Saturday against the Brewers, manager David Ross said after Friday's game.

Alec Mills was originally slated to pitch Saturday but was bumped up to Friday because Tyler Chatwood was scratched with mid-back tightness. The Cubs will evaluate Chatwood to see if he's an option to pitch on Monday, when they're scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Cardinals.

Rea, 30, has made two appearances this season, allowing no runs and one hit while striking out three in three innings. He was named the 2019 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, sporting a 3.95 ERA in 26 starts.

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Rea's last big league start was July 30, 2016 with the Marlins. He allowed one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four with no walks.