Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Today in U.S. History

1942: USS Essex (CV-9) launched

1944: Operation Cobra ends, when U.S. forces under General Omar Bradley launch offensive following Invasion of Normandy

1965: USS Tripoli (LHP-10) launched

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arena Football League: First Round Playoffs

By Keith Antigiovanni

Just one week after the Arena Football League (AFL) wrapped up its' 25th regular season the first of three rounds of the post-season was played this weekend.

Utah (12-6) defeated the San Antonio Talons (14-4) 35-34 in the Alamodome Friday evening and advanced to the franchises' first conference championship game or semi-final game.

Their opponent will be the Arizona Rattlers (13-5) who triumphed overthe arch-rival San Jose Sabercats (12-6) by a score of 51-48 at home. Arizona was swept by San Jose during the regular season but managed to finish on top of the Western Division over Utah and San Jose by one game.

The win helped the Rattlers advance to their 12th conference championship game or semi-final game in the past 20 years (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2011). Arizona is also the defending National Conference champion.

Meanwhile in the American Conference the defending Arena Bowl champion Jacksonville (10-8) won by a slim 58-56 margin over the Southern Division rival Georgia Force (9-9) and will hit the road to face the Eastern Division champion Philadelphia Soul (15-3) who dispatched New Orleans (8-10) 66-53.

The channels and times for the conference championship games will be announced during the week.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The new playoff system in College Football

By Keith Antigiovanni

A few weeks ago the University Presidents finally agreed on a new playoff system in college football, well actually the first playoff system in college football that begins in 2014.

For the first time in its long history amateur football's highest level football teams will have to win postseason games in order to qualify for the National Championship game. You can make the argument that the conference title games were the first playoffs which they are but only at the conference level.

The new system includes two semifinals and a title game which will be football's "Final Four". This is where the similarities to college basketball end however because there will be no football tournament with the continuation of the bowl system.

The championship game and semifinals will rotate with the current BCS locations (New Orleans, Tempe, Miami and Los Angeles). There will also be two additional top tier bowls most likely Arlington (Jerry's World) and another city that has not been named yet.

The history of college football championship has been confusing at best. Until the bowl games there was no system (1869-1935). In 1936 the Associated Press (AP) began voting for the best team but many times regional bias and the lack of out of area coverage caused the voters to go with the programs they had actually seen. In 1950 the United Press International (UPI) became the second major poll to vote for a national champion.

Many other polls were added over the years but no significant changes were made until 1998 when the creation of the Bowl Championship System (BCS). The BCS pitted conference champions and at-large teams in the major bowls with the top two teams in a national title game which was one of the current BCS bowls. In 2006 another BCS bowl was added but it had the feel of cheating an actual playoff.

In 2011 two teams from the same conference (SEC) ended up in the title game even though neither was forced to win a playoff game in order to qualify. The new system changes that but rather than arguing over whether the #3 team was left out it will be now the # 5 team.

No system is perfect but this a good first step towards a true national champion in college football.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dog Days Are Here

By Keith Antigiovanni

It looks like the "dog days of summer" are upon us now with the NBA Finals over and the NFL/College Football still over two months away. For sports fans this is can be boring time of the year or if you are a baseball fan it can be the best time of year as MLB enters the main stage of the sports world with no competition.

The problem with baseball for many years is the fact there is no salary cap as most of the teams begin to play out the string for the remainder of the year. For the fans of smaller or medium market teams July and August can seem like a very long time.

College Football is only 8 weeks away and the NFL opening weekend is 9 weeks but for now enjoy the summer (if it isnt 100+ degrees where you are).