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EW’s Trash Talk – The Big Games Start

Week 2 is upon us, football is really back, and the big games are really starting to be played now. The first weekend you are just glad to have the pigskin back in the air, you don’t care that the games are usually not that good. Last weekend’s game between Tennessee and the Bruins of UCLA was a definite exception. Holy cow, it was a great game, especially the second half (masaccio, being a Vols fan, may not agree). Rick Neuheisel may be starting something special in Westwood, and that would be a fantastic thing for Pac-10 football, and college football generally.

Wobbly yawner games, where the cobwebs are still being shaken off, are not the case for Week 2 though, there are huge games on tap. Let’s belly up to the bar then.

NCAA – The Rose Bowl. The Grandaddy of Them All. Right here in the second week of September no less. All kidding aside, it is hard to envision a more compelling early September matchup than Number 5 ranked The Ohio State University invading the Coliseum and the Mighty Men of Troy, the Number 1 ranked USC Trojans. What can you say, the game speaks for itself. National Championship hopes are already on the line big time; even if they were not, college football games just don’t get more compelling than this. Don’t be a McCain hiding behind a skirt wimp, be open and notorious, pick a side and state yer case. Then let me give you a hint. There is a track record on these kind of matchups, and it ain’t a real pretty one for the three yards and a cloud of dust conference. That record will continue I’m afraid. Other games to pay attention to include #10 Wisconsin at #21 Fresno State, UCLA at #18 BYU, and the Ramblin Wreck from Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech. Oh, and and yet another scintillating meeting between Michigan and Notre Dame. Hard to imagine that it could live up to last year’s matchup of the un-victorious and un-tieds. But they will try.

THE BIG BOYS OF SUNDAY – Pats at Brett and the Jets tops the list. Ground control sans Major Tom looks to be in the offing for the Pats. I think they will still run the same basic offense with Matt Cassel in place of Tom Brady, now done for the year, but look for a bigger commitment to the run. And look for Cassel to find Randy Moss a lot. If you were a young quarterback making your first start since high school wouldn’t you look for Randy Moss? Of course you would. Thing is, Mangini may be a prick, but he ain’t stupid, he knows about Moss too. I don’t know who is going to win this game; but, man, is this gonna be must see TeeVee.

In the other games, there may not be quite the compelling drama of the Jets/Pats, but there are some good hookups. One is the Frightning Bolts visiting the Donkos at Invesco Field. The last time we saw Invesco, there was quite a show put on; this may be a worthy sequel. Jay Cutler is really starting to come into his own this year. I literally saw some shades of Elway’s arm last week, and I think the Broncs are going to send the Powder Blue to 0 and 2. Pittsburgh at Cleveland and the ‘Boys hosting the Iggles are also pretty interesting. I dunno on the latter, both look real tough this year, Iggles may be a surprise here though.

THE BOYS OF SUMMER – Well, the Sawx are still rockin, the Yanks are a fadin, The LA teams are killin, and the fuckin Diamondbacks suck. In light of the total suckiness of the young D’backs, I am full on rooting for a 405 series. Thats right, Mrs. O’Leary’s Bovine Creature still holds forth, the Cubs go bye bye and we get the Angelic Ones versus Lasorda’s Beloved Boys in Dodger Blue for the World Series. Vlad the Impaler versus Manny being Manny. And a line of Bentleys and Mercs stuck on the 405 freeway going between the ballyards. Yep, that’s the ticket.

F1 Circus In Monza – What could be better than a great duel down the stretch between Ferrari and McLaren for the driver’s championship and a trip to the fabled Monza Circuit? Not much really. This is simply the highest form of auto racing as it is supposed to be. But as I write this, we have breaking news. There is a bit o the wet at Monza this morning for qualifying, and Lewis Hamilton, perhaps the best tiger in the wet on the circuit now that Michael Schumacher is no longer prowling the field, has just failed to make it past the knockout round. That means he is not going to start in the top ten positions when the race goes off Sunday. Curiously, Kimi Raikkonen didn’t make it past the knockout either, and Felipe Massa barely made it, squeaking into the pole fight at P 10.

For those of you unfamiliar with Monza, wow, where to start. This is the place of legends. You’ve heard of the banked turns at Indianapolis? Nothing compared to what they used to face at Monza. Here is an old video that kind of shows what banking really is. This ten minute clip from the movie Grand Prix is even better. Phil Hill drove the camera car for Frankenheimer in the filming of Grand Prix, and the footage is utterly spectacular. The clip is very much worth the time to watch. Monza is the fastest circuit on the Grand Prix tour; always has been. Some of the best drivers in history have lost their life at Monza, including Count Louis Zborowski (driver of the real "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"), Alberto Ascari, Wolfgang von Tripps (whose death in the 1961 Italian Grand Priz at Monza gave his teammate Phil Hill, the winner of that tragic race, the championship in 1961), Jochen Rindt, and Ronnie Peterson. If you have ever had a hankering to watch a F1 race, this would be a great one. Coverage on Speed TV.

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