Who Will?

As this modern version of Hawaii 5-0 comes to a close, there is another reboot series that is centered in Hawaii. Magnum P.I. is a successor to the original, much like 5-0. The two series have even had at least four (2 for each series) full episode crossovers. As well as characters appearing in individual episodes. But I wonder, will any of the 5-0 characters continue to appear or join the cast of Magnum?

Kamekona and his shrimp truck will undoubtedly make appearances. He adds a lot in the way of intelligence. Plus he is very authentic Hawaiian culture that the show will need going forward.

The most obvious regular would be Katrina Law’s Sergeant Quinn Liu. This is because Magnum’s buddy Rick (played by Zachary Knighton) has romantic interest in her. She could be doing cases that mix into Magnum’s work. Be on dates with Rick. Be part of the group at the bar. It would be good to have another strong female character on the show.

Another strong link would be Ian Anthony Dale’s Adam Noshimuri. His links to the Yakuzi and other underworld groups would be useful from time to time. Makes him a valuable character to continue as well.

If you bring in either Beulah Koale’s Junior or Meaghan Rath’s Tani; you have to bring in both. Such a long and ongoing storyline as their relationship would need to continue. So they would have to come in together.

I think McGarrett and Dano are almost definitely out of the Hawaiian cop/P.I. show business. Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan will likely have other opportunities to harvest after their 10 year run. I assume they will not be regulars but don’t rule out a special guest star for a big event. Maybe a 2 to 3 episode arc?

Chi McBride, I am on the fence about. He could make appearances. But I would think he would get a permanent gig elsewhere.

Those are the main characters. I am sure some crossover will occur like Dennis Chun’s Sgt. Duke Lukela. But most of the other characters from the show will not likely be on Magnum. It will be fun to see who pops in.

Posted in TV | Tagged | Leave a comment

The XFL almost got this part right

Vince McMahon is good at promoting wrestling. He has built an empire while defeating and/or swallowing up his competitors. In a failed attempt to do the same, McMahon tried to take over football too in 2001. Now, in 2020, McMahon is trying a new system to expand the game, not take it over. But he has underlying issues that could get in the way of this attempt.

Spring football is a solid alternative for Americans to spend their sports dollars. One thing the XFL is doing is reducing the ticket prices. This is on purpose; to draw in crowds sick of the higher prices of the big four plus MLS. Still with all the planning, the execution has to be done in a prudent manner. We have seen it done poorly already.

The USFL was doing fantastic for 3 seasons before an overzealous and greedy team owner tried to take on the NFL and lost, big. There have been many leagues that are more semi than professional, some still on-going. Between its closing in 1986 and this year, only one other league beat the XFL into the spring market place big. The AAF had a uniform deal with Starter and a TV deal with CBS and NFL Network. Unfortunately the AAF fell victim to money troubles and another overzealous and greedy league owner in the form Thomas Dundon.

Still the XFL took a long time to work on their locations, teams, and strategy. Most of the teams are in NFL markets, smaller stadiums and one former NFL city in St. Louis. The XFL changed some rules in 2001 and are trying new things this time around as well. Last time the game started with a sprint for the ball, kind of like water polo. This time, kickoffs have a new line up with the kicking team only 5 yards from the receiving team. Both with the intent of decreasing injuries. A crucial aspect of the game since teams are decreased from the NFL’s 53 down to only 40, though some teams are bumping that up to 45. And into the halfway point, with injuries mounting, teams are adding a few more people as well.

Who those personnel are and what they represent makes a difference to McMahon as well. I would be remise not to mention, McMahon is the mastermind behind “heels”, aka bad guys, in the wrestling world like the Iron Sheik and Kamala ‘The Ugandan Giant’. Playing on American patriotism and resentment of foreigners (like most Americans are). Not to mention the rash of untimely deaths of superstars like Owen Hart in the ring or Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit out of the ring. All things that WWF&WWE acknowledges but doesn’t really assume any responsibility for. Plenty of people can question McMahon about his personnel (and sometimes personal) decisions running WWF&WWE. I will leave that analysis to others while acknowledging McMahon’s past.

With the restart of the XFL, McMahon made a few personnel choices clear. He would not stand for social and political protests. Considering the damage it did to the NFL and the already negative track record of the XFL, this seems like a very good idea. He also did not want players with a criminal record. But I guess that one was a little more flexible.

The “allergy” to criminal behavior amongst players is a valid concern. Sports are rife with athletes who are running afoul of the law. There are many examples of criminal behavior in the big four. But the bad behavior can happen to other athletes as well. Even with female athletes as shown in this article and this one as well. The problem is too prevalent throughout sports.

Back to the XFL, despite saying one thing, another is evident in the execution. One of the league’s premier teams is the Dallas Renegades. One reason is Bob Stoops is the coach. His college resume of wins and a National Championship gives him immediate credibility.

Another reason was that Landry Jones is the Renegades quarterback. Landry has the most NFL experience in the group of quarterbacks in the league. Five seasons with the Steelers, 5 five starts and 18 appearances. This league needs stars. With the access on the field in all aspects, Landry Jones was definitely going to be a player the mics & cameras would focus on.

But during training camp, Landry got hurt. So Stoops turned to his backup Philip Nelson. I had never heard of him so, I had to look him up. And curiouser and curiouser what I found at the bottom of this wiki.

Now this was not an unsolicited fight. Isaac Kolstad started the fight. You can see how it went down in this video. But still, Nelson went back and stomped on Kolstad. That is a pretty profound social statement in my book.

Nelson lost the Renegades first game. Making their march to a championship more difficult. Nelson was on the bench with Landry Jones healthy for weeks 2 & 3. But with an aggravated knee injury, Nelson closed out the 4th game (another loss though not Nelson’s fault) and played all of the 5th (their third loss). But if McMahon had the fortitude to stick by his original statement, Nelson would have never made the field at all.

The Renegades have not even benefited from Nelson’s play. Other teams have been more competitive with their 2nd or sometimes third string. Luis Perez, AAF veteran, took over in New York. Tyler Cornelius has been more productive than Aaron Murray. Same with Seattle’s B.J. Daniels, more productive if not more successful. But in D.C. Tyree Jackson’s tall frame got the Defenders over the hump. Might be time for the Renegades to go to third string or look at the “overflow” team of reserves.

I applaud the effort to clean up sports in this way. Athletes have to be held to account more. But if the policy is ignored when no one’s the wiser; what was the point of having a policy at all? I want to see this problem of abusive athletes dissipate. Any strides that can be made in a positive direction, need to be made.

Posted in Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hula Bowl Stand Outs

The Hula Bowl was on at a very inconvenient time. I didn’t have much time to evaluate everything that was happening. I didn’t really do so in the interim either. Still the following players deserve acknowledgement for their efforts.

Name Position School/Hula Bowl Team
Cameron Mayberry Running Back Colorado School of Mines/Kai
Juwan Washington Running Back San Diego State/Kai
Bailey Hale Kicker Louisiana Tech/Kai
Michael Dean Wide Receiver Idaho State/Aina (Shortest Player)
Broc Rutter Quarter Back North Central College(D3)/Aina
Reggie Walker Defensive End Kansas State/Kai

The Hula Bowl just got revived this year. The game was played inconveniently on a Sunday evening, when Saturday probably would have been a bit better. It had been away for quite a while. Hopefully it becomes a prominent source of postseason achievement. As a stepping stone to a professional career. Some smaller school standouts got to show their stuff this year. They played a solid game for former NFL coaches.

The other two post season games, I did not even know had occurred until they were over. They can be found on various video sites. Just look for the East-West Shrine Bowl, another old school bowl game that used to be played on Christmas day when I was a child. And the last is the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Teams are evaluating their needs. Not everyone they need will be from big schools in Power 5 conferences. Not even everyone they get will be drafted. Some will be free agent signings that will work hard in training camp. But all these guys have worked hard for the opportunity. I hope to see these guys suited up for some teams out there.

Posted in College, Football | Tagged | Leave a comment

Senior Bowl Stand Outs

On 25 January 2020 in Mobile, Alabama the Senior Bowl was played. I am certain plenty of the players on both rosters will be drafted in April. There will also be a few undrafted free agents that make a practice squad as well. Many guys on the field are going to be a part of professional football.

Seems like most of the top players opted to to play in this game. Most that are missing, like Heisman winner Joe Burrow, we will have to wait until the combine to see. The combine will be in Indianapolis again from 23 February to 2 March. This year, they are trying to up the cache by putting the drills in prime time. Not sure the appeal for the majority of football fans. Junkies like me will likely tune in periodically though.

In a quick aside, the Hula Bowl is back after a long absence. But for some reason, they are playing it tomorrow, a Sunday, starting at 5:30 Hawaiian which is 10:30 Eastern/ 9:30 Central. I understand playing an evening game but why not today, a Saturday, where you will have an audience. Most people probably don’t even know the game is being played at all since it has been on hiatus for over a decade. Plus it is being broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. I think CBSSN would get more viewers than the scheduled Pro Bull Riding. Bad marketing on that one.

Back to the Senior Bowl, it was an opportunity to see some players from small schools. Watch them play with and against other top players. Here is my list of guys who made a positive impression:

Kyle Dugger:__ Safety/Punt Return-__ Lenoir-Rhyne University/South
Bradlee Anae:__ Defensive End-__ Utah/North
Evan Weaver:__ Linebacker-__ Cal/North
Kindle Vildor:__ Corner Back-__ Georgia Southern/South
Tyler Bass:__ Kicker-__ Georgia Southern/North
Braden Mann:__ Punter-__ Texas A&M/North
Antonio Gandy-Golden:__ Wide Receiver-__ Liberty/North
Adam Trautman:__ Tight End-__ Dayton/North
Josh Kelley:__ Running Back-__ UCLA/North
JaMycal Hasty:_ Running Back-__ Baylor/South
Justin Hebert:__ Quarterback-__ Oregon/South

I am not going to back this up with stats. I just did an “eye test” as to who played well. Also, these were just the stand outs. The game was pretty good. Saw a good plays from both teams on both sides of the ball. But the North had too much firepower. Any surprise my list is dominated by North players?

Final Score: North 34 South 17

Posted in College, Football | Tagged | Leave a comment

College Football National Championship Game

The Coaches Film Room is off to a good start. I only got home a few minutes before the start of the game. Still, as I hoped, they had started their analysis before the game. Almost like a fireside chat to introduce themselves and the game. Talking about keys for both teams, strengths of their squads, possible pitfalls, possible scenarios. So much more interesting to hear them, the experts of the college game, dig into . I am very glad to have it back.

Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Boston College’s Jeff Hafley, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and TCU’s Gary Patterson. No ESPN employees, just the coaches. To begin, Mike Gyundy was facilitating the conversation.

Interesting storyline is that Gary Patterson and Mike Gundy will be lining up against each other next year. The nature of the current Big 12 conference; they play every team in the conference. Making that match up both inevitable and annual. That “match up” here during the game will be interesting.

Makes me wonder what these coaches’ players do? In fact, all the other 126 or so teams? Do they watch together in their facilities? Do they watch the coaches film room? Would be interesting to find out. I am guessing most watch at home or small watch parties. But would be interesting to have graduate assistants run a film study for the employees. It is probably against NCAA rules for the players to come into the facility. But what a waste. I wonder if opening it to more than just players could alleviate that? I don’t want anyone running afoul of the NCAA.

The set up for the screens was a main view in about 70% of the screen to the middle, right justified. It is wide view though. Switching to the main broadcast for a second; they have better and tighter view with a good shot of the field.

Back to the coaches, the left justified ⅓ has three screens. The top being another view of the field, usually from the defensive point of view. The middle is Mike Gundy and Jeff Hafley on one side of the table. The bottom is the other 2 coaches on the other side of the table; Gary Patterson and Derek Mason. Interesting use of space.

Clemson was going hurry up. So the coaches could commentate. But no telestrator on the screen to direct the viewer to the pointed out action. Also not able to replay or “rewind the tape” in such a short turnaround time. They did coming back from the commercials with some video analysis. But the first sequence by Clemson was so fast, the coaches had no opportunity to review plays. A foul finally allows them to go back during the game.

Tied up 7-7 at the end of the first quarter. Defense has been the highlight. Both teams have shown their stingy nature on defense. One of the great insights was the inefficiency of both teams on 3rd down early. 1 for 9 on 3rd downs with 12:10 remaining in the 2nd quarter. They talked about the talent at quarterback and wide receiver. But they left out how good and effective the defenses started out.

Also LSU has seemingly abandoned the run. Until Mike Gundy asked about what if Burrow makes a QB run. And on 3rd and goal, lone backfield, right after mentioning it, Burrow scampers for a touchdown.

A moment of commonality, Gary and Mike talking about the hit on Amari Rogers. They both knew Oklahoma State has an Sluggo (Mike corrected Gary to Inside Sluggo) that the ‘Pokes run. That is a moment you can’t get from a play-by-play and color commentator who don’t face each other. I am starting to see the genius in having 2 Big 12 coaches.

Injury at 5:54; talk about how to stop possible fake injuries. If a player is injured; they can’t return to the game until a change of position. They acknowledged not knowing of the player was faking or not. But also, this addresses player safety. Until the NFL, college rosters are deep. Not sure the rules committee is watching though they should be.

Their breakdown of a catch by Clemson at 5:01 also provides good insight. They asked for certain views. Then some good crosstalk. Especially Mike and Gary talking about what they want to see from the other next season. Jeff and Derek added plenty. Good balance of coaches. Not having an ESPN employee hasn’t slowed the commentary. They are even adept with the replays too. Need more pen/telestrator work. Maybe John Madden needs to give them a class?

As the third quarter went on, the banter was fantastic. Cross talk between the coaches was light and funny. Them ribbing and joking with one another is fun to watch. Also getting more familiar with each other too. Makes for an enjoyable experience. Talking about possible offensive sets.

Another tough targeting call. This time against James Skalski of Clemson. During the semi-final; Clemson benefited from Ohio State’s Denzel Ward being eliminated for targeting. This one may hurt Clemson as Skalski has been active for the defense. Both were technically true. But also in both, the offensive player was on the way down. I don’t think either defender in these 2 instances were trying to bang helmets. They wouldn’t know where the falling offensive player would be by the time they get there. Just hard to watch a player who is giving his all be taken out of the game.

Throughout the game, the coaches made a few predictive calls. Defensive pressures and offensive pass plays. They made a bunch of correct play choices. Questioning schemes. And warning against being 1 dimensional even when down, though I am skeptical they would/do follow that advice when they are coaching.

The coaches were also very fair as the game went on. Fair on the calls and fouls. Fair to Clemson as LSU was just better. Which became evident as the third quarter turned into the fourth. Clemson could not figure out an offense to counter LSU’s defense. And LSU was spectacular on offense. Clemson defense looked a bit overwhelmed. Clemson played a good game but just not enough. LSU won convincingly down the stretch.

LSU 42 beats Clemson 25. Congratulations to LSU=National Champs!

Coach Patterson said it best at the end: “We’re all 0-0, Good Luck next season.”

I will be watching.

Posted in College, Football | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Football National Collegiate Semi-Final games broadcasting

I talked about the broadcast coverage prior to the national semi-final games. I was vocal and adamant about not liking the line up that ESPN is offering. But it seems that my bad attitude led to less enjoyable experience. Left with less attractive options; I settled on the Command Center coverage on ESPN2.

The Command Center had two views on the field covering the top ⅔ of the screen. Usually one is the skycam behind the offense the other a side view. The bottom ⅓ was itself split in thirds. Each coach had their own respective views and in the middle a stat rundown.

The commentary came from the same personnel doing the main broadcast on ESPN. What was a little confusing was if I was watching the wrong view has they started to describe a play. Was an unexpected wrinkle. I tried a bunch of views before settling on the Command Center. Spent most of the 2nd halves of both games on that channel.

I would rather just have a split screen of the field views. If I was in control, I would get rid of the coach cameras. The stat rundown could be in the middle bottom of the screen in some manner. I think that would make a more interesting view.

I tried to watch the Film Room on ESPNU. But both crews were slow with their analysis. Both Tom Luginbill and Louis Riddick for the Peach Bowl as well as Emmanuel Acho and Bobby Carpenter for the Fiesta Bowl. As the plays happen, they were mostly silent which was both odd and off-putting. It was hard to keep up because they weren’t really analyzing anything in real time. That was not a good way to watch the game.

The SEC Network had an LSU radio crew. They were good but obviously biased. I would rather listen to an ESPN crew. Same went with ACC Network’s Clemson radio crew. I am not knocking either one just not partial to them either.

But lucky for me, the coaches film room is back for the national championship. The coaches participating has been announced. They are Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Boston College’s Jeff Hafley, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and TCU’s Gary Patterson.

I am surprised to see that the Big 12 got 2 coaches. But I am also expecting a lot from Mike Gundy. One of the most colorful personalities in college sports as a while. This is based on a few factors. One, his mullet is one of the most unique haircuts in sports. And he has had one of the best defenses of a player I have seen from a coach in this video. I doubt we will see anything like that from Gundy on Monday but I am looking forward to his analysis being a part of the broadcast.

I don’t have much experience with the other 3 coaches. I hope there is plenty of intelligent cross talk. And they need to keep up with the pace of the game and not let it get too far ahead by overanalyzing in one place. There is usually plenty of time in between plays and coming back from commercials too. I hope they take notes. Go back to plays. It could be so much fun.

I also hope they have some banter before the game starts. Have the coaches talk about what they hope to see. Some players to look for as well. Could be very valuable to see into how and what they think prior to the game.

I am hoping for a good game. Both teams won convincingly in their semi-finals. This has become a match-up of undefeated teams. I think they both have a lot of balance on both offense and defense. They have had 16 days to get ready and healthy. I am looking forward to a hard fought game. Better than the BCS mess. Good luck to both teams.

I predict the Tigers will win.

Posted in College, Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cotton Bowl: Memphis Tigers vs Penn State Nittany Lions

I have rooted for Penn State my whole life. They have had a good season. Losing twice to Minnesota and Ohio State, both of those teams are quality programs. Penn State just could not keep pace. But they finished the season and decade strong.

Memphis is a Group of Five team with only one loss to American Athletic Conference (AAC) rivals Temple Owls (ironically a Pennsylvania university). Their season has been so successful, their head coach Mike Norvell has been hired away to lead Florida State. The team stands ready for a good competition.

Memphis has a new coach. Ryan Silverfield is a football enthusiast. Having started his football career not as a player but as a coach at 18 because of injury. He spent the rest of this season as the coach of the offensive line. Now he has the reigns as head coach.

Memphis looked good to start the game. Offense had some solid series to begin with. And the defense got a 3 and out on the first series. Solid first quarter.

But as the second quarter went on, the Nittany Lions came on. Both offense and defense showed why they were in contention for not just the Big Ten east title but a spot in the playoff, earlier in the season.

Journey Brown https://gopsusports.com/sports/football/roster/journey-brown/9483 took everyone on a sojourn. Scoring 2 rushing touchdowns on long, quick powerful runs. Add in big plays by tight end Pat Freiermuth. Linebacker Micah Parsons made his presence felt including forcing a fumble but no turnover. Yetur Gross-Matos came back in this bowl game to make an impact despite declaring for the draft, getting a sack to help out the defensive effort.

Memphis stayed in the game with big pass plays. Tearing up the Penn State secondary. In both halves, Brady White was able to keep the pressure on. Their run game was good for short yardage as well. The Tigers again looked good in the 3rd.

Unfortunately for White and the rest of the Tigers, the best player on the field was Micah Parsons and Micah is a Nittany Lion. Definitely had the most impact on both teams. And the rest of the lions had too much to keep up with in the end.

This is the expected result. If polls mean anything, and I am skeptical that they are in anyway useful, Penn State as the #10 team should be expected to beat Memphis at #17.

But this not any indictment on Memphis. The Tigers played a solid game. They were forced into too many mistakes. More than the Nittany Lions who made their own. But in the balance, Penn State was able to make more positive plays.

Going into the spring, Memphis has a lot to build on. Brady White’s future is going to have something to do with their continued success. But Silverfield has a bright future. Playing against the talent in the AAC is going to make a difference. Competing against UCF, SMU, Cincinnati and dare I say Navy are going to make the conference better.

Penn State is going to need to focus to take the step that will both win them the Big Ten and get them into the playoff. Their high rankings show the committee was taking them seriously. But they can’t get stalled in their pursuit of the East division title that will lead to the first goal.

Commitment to a solid run game will help. When Journey Brown got slowed in the 4th quarter, Noah Cain was the next man up. K.J. Hamler is a solid receiver but he can’t be the only option. Receiver Daniel George and tight ends Pat Freiermuth, Nick Bowers and Zack Kuntz are all viable options. Part of their dearth of receptions might be that Sean Clifford is not the right guy at quarterback. Will Levis showed a lot in “relief” against Ohio State. During spring, I hope Levis gets a good look because he might just win the job.

It is time for James Franklin to step forward. Win the east in the Big Ten beating upstarts like Indiana and Maryland as well as blue bloods like Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. Get another Big Ten title. And take all this talent into the playoff.

This is listed as a New Year’s bowl but it is too early for that. Being the lead into the semi-finals is good though. Time for the Lions to become contenders.

Posted in College, Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment