Monday, April 29, 2013

weekend review

This weekend found me out of town, so I've got very little to offer in terms of cutting-edge insight.  I even forgot to record the lacrosse games, which I guarantee you is why they blew out Maryland in the first round of the ACC tournament.  If the Tivo had been fired up for that one they'd have lost for sure.

The second game, obviously, was rather less recordable, although the offensive effort of 13 goals each game was encouraging.  I promise tomorrow will tease out the full story of the lacrosse season, but I'll leave it at this for today: there's no reason to think we're doomed next year.  2004 was a flaming wreck of a season and the following year saw the Hoos in the final four, with a championship the year after that.  UVA was frustratingly off their game most weekends, but not outclassed most weekends either.

Speaking of frustrating, I said don't let Virginia Tech's top six hitters string hits together and everything would be fine, and they strung hits together and everything was not fine.  So much for crushing the Hokies' Durham dreams.  I remain unperturbed, however.  The Hoos' realistic goal should be third place in the ACC so that they can be in the opposite bracket from UNC, and third is exactly where they sit.  Lest you need reminding that baseball can be a fickle sport with no guarantees in any given weekend, the utterly pathetic BC Eagles (9-35 record, coming into the weekend with 20 straight ACC losses) won their series against Miami.  BC as a team is batting .206(!!) with a .574(!!) OPS, just sayin'.


-- Congratulations are in order for the men's tennis team, ACC champs for the seventh time in the last ten years.  That gives UVA four ACC championships (both swimming teams and women's soccer are the others), which ties us with Florida State for the most.  UVA is the prohibitive favorite to take the rowing title and FSU nearly as favored for softball, which means the race will end tied between the Hoos and Noles unless one of the two wins the baseball championship as well - not out of the question.

-- UVA had just one player taken in the NFL draft: Oday Aboushi, in the fifth round to the most dysfunctional team in the league, or the Jets for short.  Nice for Oday, a Brooklyn native, but hopefully the crap culture around that team doesn't poison his career.  A few seniors also signed post-draft contracts, but most aren't likely to stick.  The guy with the best chance is probably Laroy Reynolds, picked up by the Jags.

-- ESPN has decided to take on the challenge of covering every game in the NCAA baseball tournament.  This is not that easy.  At first blush it might look like fantastic news - no more hoping ours is one of the four regionals that gets a set of cameras - and for the most part it is.  This isn't like covering all 67 games of the hoops tourney, though.

For one thing, basketball never has more than 16 games on in one day, thanks to staggering the games on Thursday/Saturday and Friday/Sunday.  Baseball can't do this; all 16 regionals play Friday through Sunday, or Monday if necessary.  UVA's regional started Saturday last year thanks to Friday rain, which meant a really squashed schedule because they won't play on Tuesday if they can help it.  This means 32 games on Friday and 32 games on Saturday as well, because of the double-elimination format.  They could move half the regionals to a Thursday start, but it still means 32 games on Friday.

ESPN isn't going to turn ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, and ESPN Classic all over to nonstop baseball programming, nor are games going to begin at 9 AM, so what this really means is a heavy reliance on ESPN3 and the implementation of an NFL Red Zone-like channel that flips around to find the most interesting games.  It'll be really nice to have live video, but it doesn't necessarily mean it'll be on your 48" screen.

Here's the other benefit of this, though: it means ESPN is taking college baseball very seriously, which happens to be a sport that the ACC does better than most other conferences they cover.  It could mean a little more cash flow into the conference's very willing coffers.

-- An interesting article out of Tallahassee detailing John Swofford's work in keeping the decision-makers at Florida State happy.  It's fun reading about the machinations behind the scenes, but it's also interesting to note that Swoff made a similar road trip to Charlottesville.  And it's also interesting to see the Tallahassee people let slip the "pending" ACC Network.  This should be something to look forward to.

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