USA Makes The Knockout Round – World Cup 2022

Congratulations to the US Men’s National Team for advancing from Group Play and into the Knockout Round of the FIFA World Cup tournament.  They needed a win over Iran to earn that placing in the Knockout Round and they got it by winning yesterday by a score of 1-0.  The next game for the US team is on Saturday December 3rd against the Netherlands.

About a week ago, I commented on 4 free agent shortstops who should be positive additions for whatever team signs them.  Over the weekend, I was glancing at a list of some of the “top free agents” for this MLB offseason and two names jumped out at me as high risk/high return names:

  1. Andrew Benintendi:  He is only 28 years old and has been in the major leagues for a total of 7 seasons – – but the first one was sufficiently brief that he qualified for the Rookie of the Year Award the next season.  He has been an All-Star once and also received a Golden Glove award.  His career batting average is .279 and he routinely gets more base hits than strikeouts.  However, he has had difficulty staying healthy.  Only twice has he been able to play in more than 138 games in a season.
  2. Joey Gallo:  He is only 29 years old and has been in the major leagues for 8 seasons.  He has been an All-Star twice and has received a Golden Glove Award twice in his career.  However, his career batting average is only .199 and he has been on three different teams in the past two seasons.

Switching gears …  Let me use the latest CFP rankings to demonstrate why I have no real problem with expanding the CFP beyond 4 teams but why I also have problems with expanding it all the way to 12 teams.  Here are the Top-4 as of this morning:

  • Georgia           12-0
  • Michigan         12-0
  • TCU                 12-0
  • USC                 11-1

I have no problem with the first three teams; I could entertain a reasoned debate about the 4th team on the list because here are the next 4 teams:

  • Ohio St.           11-1
  • Alabama          10-2
  • Tennessee       10-2
  • Penn St.           10-2

            Is USC’s one loss – – one point to 11th ranked Utah – – less of a stain on the record than Ohio St.’s blowout loss to #2 ranked Michigan?  Let the rhetoric flow…  And then look at the next four CFP ranked teams as of this morning:

  • Clemson          10-2
  • K-State             9-3
  • Utah                  9-3
  • Washington     10-2

If these were the 2022 final rankings there would be 3 teams in the expanded CFP field with 3 losses already on the books. Is that really desirable.  And by the way please take careful note of this next point:

  • A key point made by advocates for an expanded playoff to 12 teams is that such an expansion would open the door for more teams from outside the “Power 5” conferences to take part in the CFP.

Go back and review the list of 12 teams presented above and find me a team from outside a “Power 5” conference.  There are no such teams and if you continue down the listing for today, you will only find 2 such “Outsiders” in the Top-25:

  1. Tulane            10-2      Ranked 18th
  2. UCF                 9-3       Ranked 22nd

            I am all for expansion of the CFP from 4 teams to 8 teams; I think expanding to 12 teams is overdoing it by a lot.  And Heaven forbid someone thinks expansion to 16 teams would make sense because then no teams would ever get a first-round bye. If that expansion were in place this morning, one of the first wound games would be:

  • #1 Georgia vs. #16 Oregon

We already saw that game this season and Georgia “eked out” a 49-3 win in that “contest”.

Finally, apropos of nothing, let me close with this observation by actor John Barrymore:

“The good die young – – because they see it’s no use living if you’ve got to be good.”

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



4 thoughts on “USA Makes The Knockout Round – World Cup 2022”

  1. If Ohio State were playing USC in LA they would be 15 point favorites. If these four slots remain in this order, I may not watch the UGA manslapping of USC. It could get really ugly. But, there is some logic to the process that moved USC to the top four.

  2. I don’t understand why people don’t want to give a pity-vote for the PAC-12 in the College Football Playoffs. Are the SEC-lovers afraid of the word “defense?”

    1. TenaciousP:

      There were times when PAC-12 teams were indeed among the best in the country – – but those days have been on the wane for at least the last 10 years and probably the last 20 years.

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