I’M BACK FROM A SHORT 2017 SUMMER HIATUS
Hello everyone! My annual summer break has ended and I’m excited to be back at the controls of my blog with fresh articles for your reading pleasure rolling out by the end of the week.
As usual, if you have any suggestions for future features, forgotten players to put in the spotlight, sports films to review, or items you think I should discuss on my NEW future autumn podcast series (TBA), please email me: [email protected].
August is one of my favorite times of the year in the sporting world.
For one, College Football (CFB) and the NFL are starting to ramp up as the new seasons’ training camps get underway. I’m already starting to wonder who will float to the top of their respective conferences and head into the playoffs.
Some of the biggest questions in CFB this year for me include: Can Clemson resume its excellence without its best players leaving for the NFL? Will Michigan take the lead in the Big 10 over Ohio State? Or, will it be Michigan State despite a down year in 2016? And, which conference will take home the ultimate bragging rights? The SEC, ACC or Big 10?
In the NFL, some experts are already predicting the Patriots will go undefeated in 2017. But, I’m not so sure New England can pull this off even with what appears to be a somewhat easy schedule. Will they really get past the Chiefs, Falcons, Broncos, Raiders and the Steelers?
Also, I’m fascinated with the NFC East. Will it be the Cowboys, Giants or Eagles to reign supreme over this division? And, what’s going on with Kirk Cousins? In the NFC South, can Tampa Bay improve enough to surprise the Falcons, Saints and Panthers? Will Colin Kaepernick finally get signed with a team?
The final major of the 2017 PGA Tour is the US PGA Championship coming up August 10-13 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. With Jordan Spieth’s recent British Open win, this is the only major missing from his resume. So, will he complete the Career Grand Slam this year? Or, will Rory McIlroy break out of his slump? He has had much success at Quail Hollow in the past.
As for tennis, the US Open is set to take place August 28 – Sept 10. With Novak Djokovic rumored to be nursing an elbow injury that could take him out of the running for this tournament and world #1 Andy Murray rehabbing from his hip issue, we may see a collision of Federer vs Nadal in the championship match again. Also at stake will be the #1 ranking. Nadal is behind Murray by only 285 points, followed by Federer in 3rd.
On the women’s side, question marks surround Maria Sharapova’s return to the US Open. Since she removed herself from the grass court season due to a “muscle tear”, it leaves the 30-year-old former US Open champion ranked 173rd in the world. She likely now hopes for a wildcard entry to the upcoming final major of the year. (See my May 1, 2017 article on the subject.)
Then there’s MLB and the trade deadline looming on July 31 at 4pm. Rumors swirl that several teams have interest in Rangers RHP Yu Darvish, Athletics’ RHP Sonny Gray, Tigers RHP Justin Verlander, Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton, Orioles LHP Zach Britton.
Personally, I’d like to see Verlander make it onto the Yankees starting pitching staff. Even if he doesn’t make them a legit World Series team, I think NY should try to get reinforcements through key trades and make a push to win the division. It may be ripe for the taking as the recent David Price/Eckersley altercation smells like trouble is brewing for the Red Sox internally in the form of clubhouse unrest. (More on that later.)
Well, that’s just a sampling of what is going on in the sporting world coming up for August. I haven’t even mentioned Premier League Football restarting again mid-month. Right off the bat, I’m worried about the futures of my beloved Arsenal & Manchester United teams. Arsenal has a complicated looking schedule early and Man U has just lost Wayne Rooney back to Everton. Fascinating scenarios to think about.
Happy to be back writing about sports again. Thanks for reading.
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