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I almost had the score right on the Georgia-LSU football game last Saturday.
I said 37-17 Georgia. The final? 36-16.
However, I had the wrong team winning.
LSU played its best game in a long, long time, and certainly its best since Ed Orgeron took over from Les Miles two years ago. I didn’t think LSU had it in the bag until it was 29-9 in the fourth quarter. I was just waiting for the Bulldogs to make a big comeback. I thought it would happen in the second half, when they made the adjustments after falling down 16-0 at halftime.
It never came. The Bayou Bengals won, and several thousand idiots stormed the field and cost LSU $100,000 because it violated Southeastern Conference policy, which demands schools keep people who have absolutely no business being on the field (or court) from going onto the playing surface and endangering the safety of the players, coaches, officials, working media and security personnel.
Those idiots who stormed the field should be forced to pay the fine. Every student who was at the game should be forced to contribute part of the fine. LSU scans student identification cards at every game, so there would be a way to find out the students who went to the game and punish them.
Sadly, U.S. Representative Garret Graves, who represents Baton Rouge in the House, started a Go Fund Me page to pay for the fine. IDIOT. Graves is encouraging this lawless behavior by raising money for the fine. Rep. Graves, there’s a lot more pressing issues in Congress than covering the ass of students who don’t know how to behave like civilized humans. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are an embarrassment to your constituents and Congress by doing this.
Alabama comes to Baton Rouge November 3. Oh boy. If the Bayou Bengals pull off the shocker there, fans are certain to storm the field and cost LSU a $250,000 from the SEC. Worse, I fear the safety of Nick Saban would be in peril. LSU fans have shown their ass time and again when Saban’s Crimson Tide have been in Death Valley by shouting “F**K SABAN” so loudly it can be picked up by CBS and beamed from coast to coast.
Bill Self was not hurt when Kansas State students stormed the court in Manhattan the last time the Wildcats beat Kansas, but he had to dodge several angry students who came after him. I would not put it past LSU fans to do the same to Saban, especially since LSU fans feel he betrayed LSU by going to Alabama.
Come on. I don’t like Saban being at Alabama, but LSU fans cannot complain. Saban went to the NFL for two years with the Dolphins before going to Alabama. He did not go straight from Baton Rouge to Tuscaloosa. After all, Saban took LSU into the ionosphere of college football and it stayed there under Miles until the night of January 9, 2012. Even though LSU has yet to make the College Football Playoff, the Bayou Bengals are still winning 8, 9 or 10 games in most seasons and going to a bowl. Do they really want a return to Curley Hallman and Gerry DiNardo (and the last two years of Mike Archer)? I saw bad, bad, BAD LSU football aplenty in the early 1990s, and up close in 1994. This is as far from bad as possible.
If the student shenanigans happen again November 3, LSU students should be banned from the home finale vs. Rice two weeks later. Actually, they not only should be banned from the Rice game, but the first Southeastern Conference game of 2019 vs. Auburn. Maybe that would send a message to the morons to act civilized.
Maybe LSU needs to confine students to the upper decks. Reserve two sections in each upper deck at the far ends for students. Unless someone has a bungee cord, no way they’re getting down there.
I miss the people at LSU and around Baton Rouge, but I am now very glad I wasn’t there. I cannot stand crowds, and it would have driven me absolutely insane to see idiots breaking the law and costing their school $100,000.
I ended up spending part of my birthday in Ottawa with the Cox family watching Caitlyn play volleyball. She’s on the junior varsity right now, but will be on the varsity in 2019. Ottawa has a strong program and she is very fortunate to be playing there, just as older sister Courtney did many years ago. I drove straight home from Ottawa to Russell because of the forecast of snow. Made it home at 2240.
I was dead tired Sunday and Monday. Dead tired. I slept through most of Sunday, staying awake long enough to eat steaks with my parents at lunch, then late to get some work done. Monday was little better; I stayed up through the night Tuesday, with a nap here and there, to make sure I got my work done on time.
No wonder I slept 11 1/2 hours last night and this morning. I woke up 80 minutes later than I had planned. Lucky for me, I could get the work done in plenty of time. So that worked out.
The Brewers are now down 3-2 in the National League Championship Series to the Dodgers. The only good news is (a) the series now goes back to Milwaukee and (b) Clayton Kershaw is done for the series. However, I’ve seen enough Brewer failure through the years that I know the end is near.
I am sorry about all the cursing. I wish I didn’t have to. But it’s been that bad.
Today has been hell. As bad as it was discovering the hotel in Lenexa was an island in the middle of a sea of construction, it would get worse. Much worse.
First, I should never, ever have assumed Peggy Cox told me not to come to Ottawa Saturday to watch Caitlyn play. I am very sorry I said that. I should not have.
When I left the hotel around 3:00 to go back to Johnson County, I backed out and happened to bump another car. I was scared shitless. I looked at the lady like I didn’t know what to do and I was so scared I almost took a dump in my pants. I screamed out loud and she got scared, but her husband told her I was screaming at myself, not her. He said everything was okay. I am very grateful. If they think I’m a total fool, then that’s fine. I don’t blame them.
The only good thing about today was getting my car cleaned.
Then came two incidents at two places along State Line Road that boiled my blood.
The first was at the QuikTrip just off I-435. I stop there quite often for gas and a drink, and sometimes to use the restroom. That QuikTrip is one of only a few which has no-ethanol gasoline.
I HATE ETHANOL. I HATE IT. It is dirty, it causes farmers to farm too much corn and not enough other crops, and it significantly reduces gas mileage. I was royally pissed later this evening when I found out Trump wants to allow the use of E-15 gas year-round. Asshole. Fuck you Trump. .It has been proven E-15 is 6 to 8 percent less fuel efficient than non-ethanol gas.
At the QuikTrip at State Line and 435, there are four pumps with non-ethanol fuel. Yet when I arrived at 4:15, all four pumps were occupied by customers buying non-ethanol fuel.
There are 16 pumps at this QuikTrip which do not have non-ethanol or diesel fuel at the pump. Diesel customers are not common in a big city, although I’m sure that QuikTrip gets some. Why the HELL do customers who want to buy the cheap shit have to block those who want to buy non-ethanol fuel? I complained to the ladies working the registers, but nobody seemed to care.
When I exited the store seven minutes later, three of the same vehicles which were blocking the non-ethanol pumps were still there!!!!! I saw one woman who was driving one of the blocking vehicles in the store.
That is pure rudeness right there. When you are finished pumping gas and you want to go into the store, please pull up to the front of the store and let someone else pump gas, especially when it’s blocking a non-ethanol pump and there are only four on site. At least she returned to a car after two minutes waiting and I was able to get my ethanol fuel.
What really pissed me off to no end was the other two vehicles sitting there in front of the non-ethanol pumps. A guy in a van with a Kansas plate (Franklin County; lordy, lordy he’s from Ottawa) was eating. EATING! Give me a break.
There was a woman in a black Toyota sitting there talking on her phone. She had the phone in her ear when I arrived at the store, and when I finally finished fueling, 12 minutes after arriving, SHE WAS STILL ON HER FUCKING CELL PHONE.
Okay, talking and driving is dangerous. But sitting in front of a gas pump at QuikTrip is not a place to conduct business or gab. If the woman’s conversation was THAT IMPORTANT, she should have parked somewhere else at the station. In her case, it would have been just as rude to take up a parking space for someone who wanted to go into the store, but there was plenty of parking at the back of the site (closest to 435).
Even worse, the woman was blocking a non-ethanol pump. What a rude bitch.
I was so pissed off about this I sent an angry message to QuikTrip through its Facebook page explaining this. I believe the stations which have non-ethanol fuel should post signs for customers who are not purchasing non-ethanol to avoid using those pumps if at all possible, and if not possible, to move immediately following fueling.
I only park my car in front of a pump when I am paying inside the store, and I only do it if there are more than half the pumps open. If it isn’t, I will fuel first, pull up to the front, then go in, or vice versa. Two credit card transactions is not the end of the world.
Then came the second incident I am pissed about.
I went shopping at the beautiful Super Target at 135th and State Line. Nice, big store, wide aisles, good selection. I will shop at Target any day of the week. NEVER WALMART. Lousy motherfuckers.
The shopping part was good. I went to the restroom, since I didn’t go at QuikTrip.
There was a man in the higher urinal, so I had to use the kiddie-sized one. Not a big deal.
But once the man in the other urinal finished, he just walked out WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS. I’m lucky I didn’t pee all over myself. I was that angry.
I have a hard and fast rule: any time I use a public restroom, I must wash my hands. I NEVER go without washing my hands in a public restroom. NEVER. That is absolutely disgusting to walk out without washing your hands. I’m wondering if he went home and touched his wife and kids with those nasty hands. Hopefully he isn’t married and doesn’t have kids.
I refuse to use a rest stop restroom on I-70 because they often lack soap to wash hands. I’ve encountered that many times at the one near Ellsworth, and also at the one near Solomon. I don’t use Solomon anymore, because Salina (westbound) and Abilene (eastbound) are close enough. The Ellsworth one is only westbound, and that’s why I try to stop before.
I wish there were a way the restroom door would lock if someone didn’t wash their hands. I would be willing to wait that disgusting piece of shit out until he washed his hands.
After what happened in Target, I was actually happy to sit in traffic on Missouri Highway 150 for a few minutes. I went all the way out to Independence to pick up Outback tonight. Then I had a 40-minute drive back west and north.
I’m going to try to forget about the rude people sitting in front of gas pumps and the disgusting man at Target. But I’m sure I will encounter many more of both types…probably before I leave Kansas City.
I slept until 1020 this morning. Best thing I could have done. I made sure I was nowhere near an establishment which shows college football on television today. And I’m darn sure I won’t be near one tomorrow. No desire to see the NFL, either.
In fact, I am so ready to give up Buffalo Wild Wings, at least in Kansas City. I haven’t been since August 17, and I don’t think that will change any time soon. I’m not too keen on going in Salina, either.
I’m so glad another Saturday is almost over. College football is too much to take. European universities do just fine without athletics. American universities are spending too much money on sports.
The Brewers are now tied with the Cubs for the National League Central lead, and tomorrow is the last day of the regular season. Milwaukee could have ended this had it not been swept in a five-game series in Pittsburgh in July. Had the Brewers won twice, the division would be theirs. Had they one just once, at least the worst they could do would be a one-game playoff, albeit in Chicago. Now Milwaukee has to win and hope the Cardinals, who were eliminated from playoff contention today, beat the Cubs to avoid the trip down Interstate 94. And the Brewers could still be forced into the wild card game, where they would likely face Clayton Kershaw.
That’s all. I need to sleep and get the heck out of Kansas City tomorrow.
It looks like 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) temperatures might be on hiatus for a few months. It is nice out there today. It feels better. Not quite as cool as I would like, but anything is better than the brutal heat which persisted two weeks ago.
No football last weekend, not the kind played with the round ball or the oblong ball. I did check the Premier League scores on my app, and found Burnley blasted Bournemouth 4-0 at Turf Moor. The Clarets needed that one, and what does that do to the Cherries? Elsewhere, Manchester City went to Wales and crushed Cardiff 5-0, Leicester got back in the win column at the King Power vs. Huddersfield, and Arsenal made me feel a little better by ousting Everton at the Emirates.
My parents said LSU is 4-0 but didn’t look good beating Louisiana Tech. I found out the score was 38-21. I learned the Bayou Bengals led 24-0 late in the second quarter, only to allow the Bulldogs to narrow the gap to three before LSU pulled away.
Not that it will matter. LSU will be beaten at home by Georgia and Alabama, and both will beat LSU by double digits. It’s just a game.
The Brewers are three up for the first wild card with five to play. Looks like they’ll play either the Cardinals or Rockies, with the winner getting the Cubs in the division series.
Work sucks sometimes. People in Smith Center are bitching and moaning about how their team’s volleyball stats are not in the Pioneer, yet opponents’ stats often are.
Guess what? Your coach isn’t doing his or her job. Get me the stuff and it will be there. If you don’t like Thunder Ridge gets its stats in the paper, then get the stats on MaxPreps. Not that hard.
Kansas City awaits. Thursday is my third back treatment with Andrea. That will be more fun than I’ve had since, well, the early August visit to Kansas City when I went to a Royals game. Whether I go anywhere near Buffalo Wild Wings and/or Minsky’s is up for debate. I don’t want to watch sports.
Now I’m waiting on the results of my blood cultures I had taken last Friday. Then again, if I somehow have cancer, I’m part of a large group. At least I’m going to the doctor, something that almost killed me 14 years ago.
In case you’ve been visiting the blog and been disappointed there hasn’t been a post in a while, I apologize. But things have spiraled downward, and it was best I keep it to myself than explode.
My blood pressure is through the roof. I hope it is just too much consumption of caffeinated coffee. I got so scared a few hours ago that I pitched all of my open bags and cans of caffeinated coffee and started brewing decaf. Dr. Custer should be able to shed light on it when I see her in nine and a half hours. I pray it isn’t something more serious.
It has been brutally hot. BRUTALLY HOT. I hate having to go to Hays today in that heat, but what choice do I have? I can move the appointment with Dr. Custer, but not the one with Crista at 1600 (4 pm). If I cancel with Crista, I’m on an island until October 5, when my next appointment is scheduled. I will be so happy if and when that cold front comes through. Hopefully Friday.
I watched maybe two minutes of the Premier League last weekend. I slept through the Manchester City-Fulham match Saturday at 0630 (1230 British Summer Time), as well as all the 0900 (1500 BST) matches, including the one I was really looking forward to, Leicester at Bournemouth. Turned out to be exciting, with the Cherries winning 4-2.
I barely watched a few seconds of Everton-West Ham Sunday. Good to see West Ham on the board, especially at Goodison Park. Everton is on top of my Premier League dislike list. I won’t go into detail as to why.
The best thing to happen to me this week was sending Brenda flowers for her birthday, which was Sunday. She got them Monday at St. Joseph’s Academy. I was happily surprised to see a text from her today at noon. I miss her and a lot of other people in Baton Rouge.
When I wake up tomorrow morning, the first thing I’m watching is Leicester City vs. Liverpool at 0630 (1230 British Summer Time).
Matchweek Four in the Premier League. I feel a bit out of place not drinking hot tea and munching on crumpets while watching, but my homemade sausage muffins (for Leicester-Liverpool) and cold cut sandwiches (for Manchester City-Newcastle at 1130 CDT/1730 BST) will do fine.
I’m hoping the Foxes will recapture some of the magic that spurred them to the 2015-16 PL championship, but I’m also a realist. Liverpool is playing out of this world through its first three matches, and I can’t see Jurgen Klopp’s men giving any ground at the KP. Leicester will make it quite entertaining, but the Reds head back to Liverpool with 12 points out of a possible 12.
The featured match at 0900 CST/1500 BST is Chelsea welcoming Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge. The Cherries showed quite a bit of heart after rallying from 2-0 down to Everton last Saturday at Dean Court to pull out a draw, but that will be fatal this time. The Blues have taken well to Mauricio Sarri following last season’s rocky ride under Antonio Conte. Eddie Howe’s men have a fighting shot to leave London with a point, but I can’t see it. Chelsea matches Liverpool at 12 points.
Elsewhere in that 1500 BST window, two matches have rout written all over it: Crystal Palace vs. Southampton at Selhurst and Everton vs. Huddersfield at Goodison. The home teams clearly have the upper hand in these.
Huddersfield can’t score, and the Toffees have to be angry after dropping two points on the south coast last week. Roy Hogsdon’s team has lost two in a row after winning on opening day at Fulham, and the Eagles figure to get well against a Saints team which couldn’t hold a 1-0 lead at home in losing to Leicester last week.
Fulham is feeling good after a 4-2 victory over Burnley at Craven Cottage, but it now goes to the south coast to face Brighton & Hove Albion, which defeated Manchester United 3-2 the last time it took the pitch at AMEX Stadium. This one ends in a 2-2 draw.
West Ham is at the foot of the table, and Wolverhampton comes to London following a thrilling draw vs. Manchester City at Molineux. The Hammers will still be stuck on zero when full time arrives. Wolves win their first Premier League match since 2012.
Manchester City vs. Newcastle? Pep Guardiola’s side will run riot over the Magpies at the Etihad. Considering City was hosed on two calls last week at Molineux, it will leave no doubt. I would not be shocked if City scores seven or eight.
Sunday’s early match (0730 CDT/1330 BST) is Cardiff hosting Arsenal. The 1000 CDT/1600 BST fixtures are Manchester United at Burnley and Tottenham at Watford. More on those next time.
I need to get to bed! I won’t have this problem next weekend, because there are no PL matches.
Tonight is the first night of high school football in Kansas. I’m at home in my basement watching a Lifetime movie.
And I feel pretty freaking great. I don’t miss high school football. I don’t. There are many better ways to spend a Friday night in my opinion.
I followed through on my pledge not to watch college football last night. I’m doing it again tonight. And I’m sure as hell not going to watch tomorrow, Sunday or Monday.
College football is corrupt as hell. Whenever an asshole like Urban Meyer (URBAN LIAR) can get away with only a three-game suspension after covering up an assistant coach’s dastardly deeds at TWO major universities, you know the game is full of shit and should not be supported by any sane human being.
Ohio State fired Woody Hayes, who won 205 games in 28 seasons in Columbus for punching an opposing player (Clemson’s Charlie Bauman) in a fit of rage, yet it can’t fire Urban LIAR for covering up a man who threw his pregnant wife against a wall and continued to abuse her after moving from Gainesville to Columbus? WHAT THE FUCK?
You know college football is corrupt when two power five conferences are allowed to play by a different set of rules.
The ACC and SEC fucking refuse to go to nine conference games like the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 have. They lay out a bullshit argument that it’s too tough to force them to beat up on one another.
There’s only one voice of reason, and as much as it pains me to say it, it’s Nick Saban.
Saban wants nine conference games, but everyone else in the SEC are big pussies and don’t want it. Same with everyone in the ACC, including Dabo Swinney. What’s wrong, Dabo? That scared of Duke, Virginia or Pitt? If you are, then get out of the business, pal.
Same to all the SEC coaches who oppose Saban’s idea. Yes, you’re tired of him kicking your asses all the time. I understand. My alma mater has been the most abused by Saban’s Alabama teams. But LSU has no business playing Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana Tech and Rice in the same season.
How would it hurt if LSU traded one of those teams for Vanderbilt, Kentucky or Missouri? IT WOULDN’T. It might help the bottom line because LSU wouldn’t be on the hook for a ridiculous guarantee and pocket $3 million in revenue from tickets and concessions, and even if that game were on the road, they’d come out ahead over having to pay some shit team $900,000.
If the College Football Playoff committee had any balls (they don’t), they would demand the SEC and ACC play nine conference games, or else be held to a much stricter set of standards when determining the playoff berths. Playing five road games in the SEC shouldn’t mean a damn thing if you’re that good. Saban isn’t afraid of it. Too bad there are too many emasculated pussies in the ACC (John Swofford, Swinney, Mark Richt, Jimbo Fisher before he left Tallahassee for College Station) and SEC (Greg Sankey and Mike Slive and Roy Kramer before him, Ed Orgeron and Les Miles before him, Fisher, Gus Malzahn, Will Muschamp, Kirby Smart and Richt before him, Dan Mullen) for Saban to prevail.
Saban also wishes his school would stop scheduling cupcakes and play only fellow power five teams. Alabama’s administration won’t listen to him, but maybe it should. I don’t care if Saban scheduled Kansas, Rutgers and Oregon State, arguably the worst three schools in power five leagues. It would be a major improvement over the shit SEC and ACC schools play in non-conference for the most part, save South Carolina playing Clemson and Florida playing Florida State every year, plus the occasional neutral-site game.
LSU could play Texas, TCU or Texas Tech home-and-home. Revive the series with Georgia Tech and discuss playing the Atlanta game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium instead of Grant Field. Nebraska? Hell yes. Wisconsin? Why not, home-and-home would be just as fabulous as Houston and Green Bay were. North Carolina State? I like. Stanford? Yep.
Get the TV networks involved. Maybe Saban and James Franklin would consider reviving the Alabama-Penn State series, which was a fixture throughout the 1980s. Demand Texas and Texas A&M play a minimum of four years, possibly playing once in Arlington and once in Houston. Same with Missouri and Kansas, with all games in Kansas City. Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado should all play at least one Big 12 team per year. Texas A&M should also play Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech regularly.
Enough college football. At least the real football starts in under 10 hours.
Did Brooks Koepka win the PGA Championship? I couldn’t tell. By the homepage of ESPN.com, CBSSports.com, and many newspapers, Tiger Woods won, even though the scoreboard I checked showed Woods two shots behind Koepka.
The drooling love affair with Eldrick Woods has gone on since the weekend of April 10-13, 1997, when he won The Masters, the first of his 14 major championships. When Tiger was forced off the course by injury following the 2008 U.S. Open, and again by various injuries earlier this decade, fans on message boards bitched and moaned and said they would not watch golf until Tiger was playing again.
It’s not as if golf is going to die without Eldrick Woods. Koepka has won three of the last six majors. Jordan Spieth is only a PGA away from the career grand slam, and Rory McIlroy will wrap it up if he wins The Masters. Dustin Johnson is the top ranked player in the world, with Justin Thomas a close second. Phil Mickelson is still chasing the career slam, needing the U.S. Open.
There are a lot more marketable players out there today than there were 50 years ago, when it was Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and a whole lot of good but not great players who really didn’t move the needle. Lee Trevino took Palmer’s place among the big names in the late 1960s, and once Player and Nicklaus passed their prime, it was wide open, even though nobody had the star power that the Golden Bear and Arnie had.
People were scalping tickets for as much as $2,000 in St. Louis for Sunday’s final round at the PGA. That’s enough to buy season tickets for the Cardinals or Blues. Kopeka and Adam Scott were the final pairing, and both played with far smaller galleries than what Woods and Gary Woodland did.
Eldrick is part of a cadre of athletes American media drools over. The others are Serena Williams, LeBron and Tom Brady. Baseball doesn’t have a specific athlete, but the Red Sox and Yankees get all the headlines, with the Cubs getting them to a lesser extent. The NHL has not had that problem as much, although the national media couldn’t stop peeing in their pants about the Vega$ Golden Knight$.
I don’t watch very much golf, simply because I’ve had enough of Mr. Woods. I don’t watch any tennis. Haven’t since the late 1980s. I’m sick of the Williams sisters on the women’s side, and the men’s side is the same people over and over and over: Federer, Nadal, Djokovic. The NFL holds little appeal these days, at least the AFC does. And don’t get me started on the NBA.
In sports I actually watch, Liverpool flexed its muscles Sunday by thrashing West Ham 4-0 at Anfield. The Reds appear to be well-positioned to be Manchester City’s chief challenger for the Premier League championship. City opened with a 2-0 victory at Arsenal, ruining Unai Emery’s first match as manager of the Gunners. I didn’t watch the Liverpool match, simply because I knew West Ham had zero chance. I instead streamed Southampton-Burnley, which ended 0-0 at St. Mary’s.
Now there are no Premier League matches until Saturday morning. I’m stuck between bad MLB and NFL exhibitions until then if I want to watch live sports. Of course, there’s the Little League World Series, which I absolutely refuse to watch because of the “mandatory play” rule.
I’m now on to season three of The O.C. UGH. I hated season three, simply because there were so many characters whom I despised: Dean Hess, Charlotte Morgan, Taylor Townsend (the evil version; she makes a 180 in season four), Veronica Townsend (god I love Paula Trickey, but Veronica was downright mean, which shows Trickey is a tremendous actress), the scuzzy loan sharks who beat up Jimmy Cooper, Johnny Harper, Casey, Seung-Ho (the sexually obsessive boyfriend of the equally sexually obsessive Taylor) , the “Harbor Heckler” (an unnamed character who is so cruel to Seth and Taylor that I want to climb through the screen and squeeze his testicles until they pop, then go Lorena Bobbitt on his penis) and of course, Kevin Volchok and all of the lowlife scum associated with him, particularly Heather, the evil bitch who does all she can to make Marissa’s life a living hell at Newport Union.
Then again, I wish Volchok would have found the heckler and beat the living crap out of him. If it were possible to hate a character more than Volchok and Oliver Trask, the heckler was that character. He and Felix Tagarro from One Tree Hill always make me extremely nauseous.
The only bright spot I could think of that season was Dawn Atwood (Daphne Ashbrook) putting her life back together. Josh Schwartz and the rest of The O.C.‘s production staff should have brought Dawn back in season four so she could rescue Ryan from his deep depression caused by Marissa’s murder.
Not to say season three was 100 percent bad. Just saw the scene where Seth scratches his face with his middle finger, flipping off Taylor. Priceless.
For 24 English football teams, the road to the golden ticket begins today.
The Championship. the second tier of English football, starts at 2000 British Summer Time (1400 Central Daylight Time), with Reading hosting Derby County in a battle of teams which were once in the Premier League, the richest football league on the planet.
The teams which finish first and second in the Championship over a grueling season of 46 fixtures earn automatic promotion to the Premier League, which means a windfall of anywhere from 150 to 200 million pounds, thanks to the rich television contract the Prem enjoys with broadcasters around the world, including NBC in the United States and Canada (TSN simulcasts the NBC feed in Canada).
The desperation will be especially intense for the five teams which have been relegated from the Premier League to the Championship over the last two seasons: Hull City and Middlesbrough, who were relegated in May 2017 after earning promotion from the Championship the previous season; and Stoke City, Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion, all of whom were relegated three months ago.
When a team is relegated from the Premier League, it receives two years’ worth of parachute payments, anywhere from 70 to 80 million pounds, to help ease the financial drain of relegation.
The bottom three teams in the Premier League are relegated to the Championship each season. The system of promotion and relegation is used in every major football league around the world EXCEPT Major League Soccer, which uses the traditional North American model of fixed franchises. This is a main reason why I do not like MLS.
Notice I listed only five teams in the Championship receiving parachute payments.
The sixth member of that group, Sunderland, was relegated again after finishing dead last in the Championship in 2017-18. The Black Cats are now in League One, the third tier of English football. Sunderland’s Stadium of Light seats almost 49,000, while six stadia seat less than 10,000, and four others have less capacity than Bournemouth’s Dean Court, the smallest Premier League venue.
This has to be embarrassing in the north east of England, especially after Tyneside Derby rival Newcastle finished strong last year in the Premier League under Rafa Benitez and is pegged as a dark horse to grab a spot in European football for 2019-210.
Wolverhampton and Cardiff City earned the golden tickets from last year’s Championship thanks to finishing in the top two. The next four teams were in a playoff for the final spot in this year’s Premier League. Fulham, which plays in London and is owned by Shahid Khan, the same man who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, defeated former Premier League side Aston Villa in the final.
Villa has more resources than almost all other Championship sides. I’ll pick the Birmingham club to move back to the Premier League for 2019-20 by winning the league. Stoke City will also be back in the Prem come next August, with the Potters taking second. Middlesbrough, which made the Championship playoff but lost in the semis to Villa, will join Newcastle United to give fans in north east England two Premier League sides, further adding to Sunderland’s woe.
Bolton, which barely survived relegation to League One in 2017-18, won’t be so fortunate this time. Goodbye. Joining them on the down escalator will be Hull City and newly promoted Rotterham.
Next week, I will reveal my Premier League predicted table. Right now, I’m not seeing the Prem in Wales come next August…