No sign of Egon this week (again) so we hand you straight over to several a/k/a Random.
Ah, yes, American Sports--or at least sports that get major coverage in American media--were fairly calm last week, but the greed factor will be rampant this week with Major League Baseball's general managers' meetings in Arizona coinciding with the bidding wars for free agent players, able to sign with whichever club they choose--usually for the best guaranteed contract the player's lawyer/representative can get.
Curious - 'free agent' is what they call the player, but he doesn't come free and is represented by an 'agent' who takes 10-15% of the player's money off the top. Technically the player is free, but the agent part of it is where the money goes.
Anyway, the major news is in college football is the final three Saturdays of the regular season to close out the month. For decades, there was no real college Amfoot champion, so of course, the TV networks forged an alliance with the major college conferences (waving million$ of dollar$, of cour$e) and instituted a human/computer formula to determine the 'national champion.' The problem arises from each school's backers feeling that their alma mater is so outstandingly the 'best' and whining when the 'ratings' don't back up their individual opinions.
Thus, the opinions of the nation's sportswriters (the Associated Press poll) and the opinions of college coaches (the ESPN/USA Today poll) are factored in with the average of seven different computer programs, in addition to rating each school's 'strength of schedule,' and the number of losses, plus additional points for a victory over another top ten school in this gobbledygook of bits and bytes and compu-voodoo that ends up this week with one school advancing from seventh-ranked to the number three position BY NOT PLAYING A GAME!!
For the record, Oklahoma, the only unbeaten school, is #1 followed by the University of Southern California (USC), Louisiana State (LSU), the beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and the hated Michigan Wolverines.
Ah, college athletics, how wonderful, love of the game, school pride---the players don't get 'paid' but they get a free education and sophisticated coaching, training and living arrangements while the colleges rake in that old TV money (some of which, admittedly, is spent in actually educating a good portion of the students.)
In the professional version of Amfoot, it was a week of upsets and home teams and the Kansas City Chiefs continuing their unbeaten streak to nine in the 16-game season. Of the 13 games played Sunday, eleven were won by the home team, most notably Tennesee's 31-7 rout of Miami. Coupled with Indianapolis' upset loss in Jacksonville, we have the Tennesee Titans and the Indy Colts tied at 7-2 in the American South division, the league's closest race.
This Sunday, the 2-7 Jacksonville Jaguars travel to Tennesee while the 3-6 Noo Yawk Jets face the Colts. Also at 7-2 are the Carolina Panthers in the National South, who host the Washington politically-incorrect Redskins (4-5). The 'Skins upset Seattle last week, while the Panthers beat the defending champion Tampa Bay Bucs, effectively ending their hopes to even make the playoffs. The 9-0 Chiefs play the 4-5 Bengals in Cincinnati in the other notable game.
On the Olympic baseball front, I was surprised to learn on three separate searches for news on qualifying tournaments internationally, the top sites were for stamp-collecting. Apparently philately has become a decent revenue stream for the funding of the Olympic national teams. All I know for sure is that America is out of the qualifying tournament (so coverage has seemingly stopped) and that Japan and Taiwan are the two Asian representatives for Athens next summer.
And finally, as our nations pause this week to give remembrance to all armed service veterans, there are fond memories in the motor sports world as Shirley Mulowney raced her last Top Fuel dragster and announced her retirement from the sport at age 63. Muldowney was a three-time national champion in 1977, '80 and '82 and was the first woman to hold a Top Fuel license. Her final run was a second-round loss in which she was timed at 4.70 seconds for the quarter-mile, hitting the speed of 317.12 miles per hour before popping her two pink drougue 'chutes for the final time.
Whatta weekend it was---full moon eclipse and all---in the wide world of American Sports.