It's a Friday before a holiday weekend, which also happens to be the first one of the college football season. My picks for Thursday were abysmal and I was only saved from going zero for the night by an expected blowout win by Arizona State. So I have to come back from a 1 - 3 start, but it's a long season and hope springs eternal.
College Football Kicks Off: As I watched Texas A&M dismantle South Carolina last night, I couldn't help but wonder whether the Aggies are that good or if the Gamecocks are a bit overrated. If it's the former, then the rest of the SEC West had better be on notice that the post-Manziel offense for Texas A&M will be very formidable. On the other hand, I saw a lot of missed tackles and blown assignments by a South Carolina defense that didn't really look ready to play against a very good freshman quarterback. I had picked the Gamecocks to hold serve at home, but they were never in this one. As the season unfolds, we'll be better able to evaluate the performance of both teams. Could Texas A&M be this year's Auburn? It's just too early to tell.
Josh Gordon Needs to Take His Punishment: The troubled Cleveland Brown wide receiver was handed a season-long suspension for his third violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. This is a very talented young man who has repeatedly been in trouble, going back to his days at Baylor. We can all agree that the public opinion of marijuana use is definitely shifting, but the fact remains that it is illegal in almost every state and clearly against the rules of the NFL. Millions of working Americans are subject to testing for illegal drug use and face harsh disciplinary action for failing those tests. In many cases, three times would result in termination. At least Gordon gets to come back. He needs to shut up and get his act together.
Where's the U.S. in the U.S. Open? The top seeded American men's tennis player in the U.S. Open that is currently in its first week of competition is number 13 John Isner. There are a lot of great and compelling players in the tournament, but with the exception of Serena Williams on the women's side, none of them come from the United States. It's inexplicable to me that the USTA hasn't been able to generate enough interest in its game to develop good, competitive young players. And by the way, Isner is 29, Willams 32. Not exactly a strong youth movement.
NFL Comes to the Table: Domestic violence is a huge problem in this country and has been, for the most part, largely ignored. It doesn't help that the very group that is responsible for protecting the public, law enforcement professionals, are primarily male and live in a violent world. I don't believe there is ever a valid reason for a man to strike a woman, or vice versa. Hopefully the NFL's decision to punish violent offenders will send a message to the macho group that beating up on women is a cowardly and totally unacceptable act.