Some Of This; Some Of That…

The LA Clippers fired Coach “Doc” Rivers.  As I have said here before, the Clippers were huge disappointments in the NBA playoffs losing out to the Nuggets after leading 3 games to 1 in the quarterfinals.  However, unless there is a large “palace revolt” ongoing inside the team that we do not know about, it is surely not clear to me that Rivers was primarily responsible for that collapse.  [Aside:  And IF there is a “palace revolt ongoing”, I would need to know a lot of the details before picking sides between Rivers and the “Revolutionaries”.]

“Doc” Rivers has been an NBA coach for 21 years and has won 58% of the games he coached. His teams have been in the playoffs 16 of those 21 seasons and he won an NBA Championship with the Celtics.  I am not sure there is a “free-agent coach” out there looking for work with a stronger résumé.  One of the nominally insightful phrases in modern parlance is:

“Haters gonna hate.”

My parallel to that deep and insightful observation is:

  • The Clippers gonna clip.

Moving on to the world of college football, there has been scrutiny to a microscopic level applied to the decision makers at schools in the BIG-10 and the PAC-12 as those conferences worked to reinstate football this Fall.  Lost in all of the scrutiny and analysis is a decision by the Mid-American Conference – – the MAC – –  to return to the gridiron this fall.  The MAC is one of the so-called “Group of Five” conferences in football which is a polite way of saying that they are a minor league of college football who often serve as punching bags for the top-shelf programs who pay them to come and take a beating at the big-boys’ stadium for the entertainment of the big-boys’ fans/alums.  The MAC was the first Division 1-A Conference to cancel football back in the late Spring/early Summer, but now we can say accurately and in rhyme:

  • The Mac Is Back.

The truncated season for MAC teams will be 6 games long and all games will be against conference opponents.  The season will start on a Wednesday night – – 4 November – – and most of the MAC games will be on weeknights until after Thanksgiving when games will move mainly to Saturdays in December.  According to reports, the players, coaches and staff for the MAC teams will be tested for COVID-19 four times a week using tests that produce rapid results.  Moreover, there will be no attendance or tailgating at the venue site for any of the MAC games this Fall.  The schools have restrictions in place aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus as a result of the “return to football”; diligence will be necessary in order that those restrictions will be effective.

I would imagine that there were smiles in and around EPSN HQs in Bristol, CT when this decision was made.  Now ESPN will have live MAC games to put on the air on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for a short period meaning fewer replays of various “30 for 30” productions and/or reruns of Texas/Oklahoma games from 1991.

Granted all the conferences that are now back in the business of college football are playing shortened schedules and mainly in-conference schedules, but of the 130 schools in Division 1-A, only three schools will not participate at all in this 2020 football season:

  1. New Mexico State
  2. Old Dominion
  3. UConn

Based solely on last year’s performance, none of those three teams will be sorely missed.  Here are their records from 2019 and a couple of “trends”:

  • New Mexico State – – 2-10.  The Aggies have had 2 winning seasons since 2000.
  • Old Dominion – – 1-11.
  • UConn – – 2-10.  The Huskies have won 3 or fewer games in 7 of the last 8 seasons.

Since I mentioned ESPN in passing above, let me segue here to another recent announcement involving the Worldwide Leader in Sports.  I ran across a report that contained this language:

“ESPN has announced two multi-year agreements with both Caesars Entertainment Inc. and DraftKings Inc. The partnerships will include co-exclusive link integrations through ESPN digital platforms connecting fans to sportsbooks.”

At the most basic level of understanding here is my interpretation of those two sentences:

  • “ESPN and two companies that make money via sports wagering are going to work together in a way that will let ESPN earn some of that money because the other two companies figure that having ESPN on board will increase the amount of money they will make even after sharing some of it with ESPN.”

Other than that basic level of understanding, I have no idea what will happen that I will notice as a result of these multi-year agreements.  Additionally, the idea of something being “co-exclusive” is not immediately obvious to me nor do I understand the concept of “link integrations” other than to say they are probably much more appropriate than “link segregations”.

I need a nap…

Finally, Dwight Perry had this commentary related to sports and COVID-19 and live attendance in his Sideline Chatter column in the Seattle Times recently:

“Because of coronavirus restrictions, only 1,000 fans per day will be allowed into this year’s French Open at 35,000-seat Roland Garros Stadium.

“In other words, plenty of good seats not available.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………