I happened to be grazing through my cable channels on Monday and happened upon what was a replay of the Calgary Stampeders/BC Lions CFL playoff game from last weekend. Calgary won the game 35-9. Once again I saw Calgary QB, Bo Levi Mitchell throw the ball really well and he demonstrated plenty of mobility. I said this before and I will say it again here:
An NFL team with an owner who is focused on marketing the team in addition to putting a good team on the field ought to give this kid a close look in training camp. If he can play NFL football, he is a marketing gold mine.
One of the revenue streams or NFL teams is jersey sales and logo-festooned tchotchkes. If this kid can become your QB imagine this kind of marketing campaign:
Shirts, coffee cups, hats etc. with the slogan “I Bo-Lieve in Bo Levi”.
A section in the stadium for “The Bo-Lievers”.
A message on the Jumbotron during a 4th quarter drive, “You Gotta Bo-Levi”.
Mitchell has some gaudy stats in the CFL. In 2015, he completed 65.5% of his passes for 4551 yards (8.2 yards per attempt and 12.5 yards per completion). He threw 26 TDs and 13 INTs and had a QB rating of 96.8. He is only 25 years old so if he can actually play at the NFL level he might do so for quite a while. There are plenty of NFL teams that can use an upgrade at QB so I wonder why no one seems to have taken interest in Mitchell.
While on the subject of football, I spent some time last night going through NCAA conference records and keeping tabs on a notepad. If I counted correctly – and I only did this once so there is a real possibility of an error here – I believe that there are only 62 bowl-eligible teams as of today. Did I hear someone ask why that is interesting?
There will be 40 Bowl Games this year. Since it is unlikely that one team will play in more than one bowl game – save the CFP Championship Game – that means the NCAA and ESPN need 80 bowl-eligible teams.
Most college teams have two games left to play. Conferences with playoffs to determine the conference championship have teams with 3 games left, but all of them will already be bowl-eligible. So, to maintain the aura of the “student-athlete” and not the image of a bunch of mercenaries wearing school colored uniforms, the NCAA and ESPN need to have 18 more teams reach the goal of 6 wins for the season. Oh, and most of the schools have already played the cupcakes and the Division 1-AA teams on the schedule.
My count is that there are 17 teams with 5 wins. If – I said IF – every one of those teams won another game to become bowl-eligible, that means there will need to be a 4-win team as of today that wins out to reach bowl-eligibility. I did not count 4 win teams as I went along because it never occurred to me that I would need to and I just do not feel like going back and counting again but if my numbers are correct, the minor bowl games this year are going to match teams that have either 4 or 5 wins as of the week before Thanksgiving. Here are two iron-clad conclusions that I draw from that data:
1. There are too many damned bowl games.
2. The only reason to watch the majority of those bowl games is if you are in a hospital bed with an IV-drip and sensors to monitor your vital signs and you cannot reach the remote to change the channel and the nurses are busy.
If you believe the universe is a malevolent place, you probably also believe in the adage that no good deed goes unpunished. If you would like an example to fit that adage, consider what happened to a soccer referee in Northern Italy at a youth soccer game. With the score standing at 31-0, the referee consulted with the two coaches about 60 minutes into the contest and the three adults involved here decided to end the game there. Remember, this was a youth game and not a professional game; remember, the adults in charge all thought this was a good idea.
After the game, the head of the organization, that monitors officials for that particular region of Italy channeled his inner Lee Corso and said in effect – and of course in Italian –
“Not so fast, my friends!”
Rules are rules and the rules must be followed. He acknowledged that the coaches and the referee meant well, but meaning well can only be viewed in a positive light if one simultaneously does well. And, after all, one cannot do well if one is abandoning the rules… Therefore, the proclamation was this:
The two teams have to replay the game.
Moreover, it is not good enough for them to resume the game at the point where it was “abandoned”. The two teams have to play the game from the start and they have to finish the game.
The referee – age 20 – is suspended.
Here is a link to the Italian newspaper that reported these events because I believe that at least some of you will think I am making this up. You can run it through “Google Translate” to put it in English.
Finally, since I mentioned a Canadian Football League game above, here is an item from Gregg Drinnan’s Keeping Score:
“It was B.C. Lions wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux who told TSN the other day that ‘In order to start winning, we have to stop losing.’ ”
Hard to argue with that! And, the longer it takes, the longer it takes…
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………