Friday, November 11, 2016

Sportsyball! (MLS Playoffs Edition)

MLS Quest
Okay...  I listened to this excellent interview with FC Dallas Manager Oscar Pareja and you should too if you love soccer, because FC Dallas is impressive as hell. But it also forced me to get serious about this whole #MLSQuest thing. So, hang on to your butts- because I've got a Final Four:

FC Dallas: because I really like the whole #BuscaLaForma thing they've got going on. Fostering homegrown talent is going to be especially important not just for the future of MLS, but US Soccer as a whole. I really, really like this.

Sporting KC: Geographic proximity + what I'm told is a vibrant fan culture keeps Sporting in the mix. Goal for next year: maybe go to a game?

Toronto FC: Were flat out fun to watch in the conference semis.

Minnesota United: They're the Loons! Of course they're still in the mix.

Adopt-A-Team
Well, they're slipping. Currently 12th in the Eredivise, they've had a 'meh' month- but I think there's some hope on the horizon- perhaps. They're out of the KNVB Cup, so it's all Eredivise from here on out I think. Since October 7th- the last edition of Sportsyball!, They've had a middling run of games:

L to Feyenoord
D to Vitesse
D to FC Utrecht
D to Groningen

The loss to Feyenoord isn't exactly unexpected- they're setting the pace for the league right now with 29 points- three clear of Ajax and four clear of PSV Eindhoven- but the run of draws to their mid-table competition is sort of worrying. They need to win a few here and there to get back unto the upper half of the table. Coming down the pipe they've got Ajax, Twente and Heracles on deck to get them through the month of November. They need a full three points from at least one (probably Heracles) and should hopefully force a draw at Twente or get very very lucky vs Ajax.

Long season ahead! Hopefully Month #3 is kinder than Month #2 will be!

Go NEC Go!

American Handegg News
Help me, I'm scurrrrrrrred. So scurrrrrred...  yeah, the Penn State game did not go Iowa's way. Not even a little bit. Not even at all. Michigan lurks and I'm frightened. I straight up don't want to watch the game tomorrow because unless Greg Davis somehow turns into an offensive genius overnight, I don't think it'll be pretty.

I'm not sure what the hell went wrong this season, but something did. Three games left for Iowa- vs Michigan, at Illinois and vs Nebraska. If we're very, very, very lucky, we'll win one of those games and make a sub-par bowl game. If we're very, very, very lucky. More likely scenario is that Michigan destroys us, we limp into Champaign and Illinois beats us and an angry, vengeful Nebraska beats us to close out the season. I'm thinking 5-7. 6-6 if we're very very lucky. 8-4 if the Apocalypse is well and truly nigh.

Here's the thing... Kirk Ferentz has produced moments and seasons of sublime glory for the Iowa Hawkeyes, but he's also conservative as hell and tends to only get those moments and seasons of sublime glory when absolutely everything falls his way- which is about once every six years or so it seems (2002, 2009, 2012). The stadium and facility upgrades during his tenure are going to be a key part of his legacy, but you have to wonder: who comes after Ferentz?

In terms of a broad historical sweep of the program- Hayden Fry made it relevant, made it serious and made it a program. Ferentz upgraded all the stuff and had seasons of brilliance that if not matched the heights of Fry, then even surpassed them in many ways. So who comes next? Whenever that moment comes it's going to be the most crucial hire that any AD has made at Iowa in decades. At this point, I'm just going to accept what comes every football season and think about that. Because that's when things will get really really interesting.

But what the hell, let's look ahead to 2017, shall we?

vs Wyoming: W. If we can't beat Wyoming, we got issues.
at Iowa State: W, Iowa State looked woeful this year.
vs North Texas: W, see Wyoming above.
vs Penn State: ?, especially given last night.
at Sparty: ?, because we're at East Lansing and even though they're down this year it won't be for long
vs Illinois: W, because we're at home.
at Northwestern: W. had best be a W. Will probably be an L because Northwestern
vs Minnesota: W, but a challenging one.
vs Ohio State: L
at Wisconsin: L
vs Purdue: W, because Purdue.
at Nebraska: ?

So I can realistically see a road to 7-5 next year, but all that could change if this year marks the end of the Greg Davis Experiment. If we're breaking in a new Offensive Coordinator then who knows where we're going to be.

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