October is finally here. The best month in sports is now upon us.
The four major sports: baseball, basketball, football, and hockey are all there. The MLB is now in the playoffs, both basketball and hockey are just now gearing up, and football is in full gear.
So what’s in store for us here in the Northwest?
There isn’t much going in the baseball world, as far as the Northwest goes. Seattle was eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago. That didn’t matter Wednesday night as they went out in stylish fashion with their romping of the Los Angeles Angels. In their final game of the season, Blake Beavan outdid the Angels ace Jered Weaver. They won the game 12-0. They have a decent young squad and are gradually getting better. I look for an improved team next season, as they did this year. The Mariners finished the year with 8 more wins than a season ago.
Nonetheless, baseball is at its best when it comes to playoffs and we shall all be watching.
Training camp has started in the NBA. It’s great to see a full regular season back in the works. I have already been hearing good things in the development of this young Portland Trail Blazers team and I can’t wait for the NBA to hit full gear. This is a young talented team that should surprise some people. I won’t say playoffs, just yet, but I do think it’s a possibility.
A full training camp will be good for this team. They have a new head coach in Terry Stotts. He will need all the time he can get. I’m interested in how well he can implement his own system into this team and how well these guys can carry that out onto the court.
Offensively, I hope to see more pick-n-rolls, efficiency on behalf of the point guard position (all positions for that matter), spreading of the court, and a more aggressive Nicolas Batum with that hefty contract he was awarded this off-season.
Defensively I just hope to see some communication, passion, and work ethic out there.
The NCAA basketball season doesn’t start up until November – more on that in a future column.
Oh NFL, sweet NFL, thank you for bringing back the REAL referees. The replacement refs were absolutely horrible! Enough said. Moving on.
The Seattle Seahawks are currently last in the NFC West division – even after stealing won away from the Green Bay Packers, literally. They are 2-2 with a 0-2 divisional record. These next four weeks are going to make or break their season. It doesn’t get much tougher than what is in store for them this October.
Here is a look at their next four games: @ Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, a Thursday night game @ San Francisco 49ers, and then @ Detroit Lions.
One home game this month, and it’s against the Patriots… tough luck. If the Seattle Seahawks are still able to hold their heads up high after these four games, then Pete Carroll is doing a damn good job. The division may be out of reach at this point. I hate to say that only half way through the season, but I truly think it will be.
The most important game here will be against the 49ers. They can’t start off 0-3 against division opponents. But when they do… Hey, there’s still the wild card, right? The NFL is tough and anything can happen. I wouldn’t rule them out, even if they only get one win in October – leaving them with a 3-5 record.
NCAA Football has been good to the state of Oregon. Both Oregon State and the University of Oregon are playing extremely well. This may actually turn out to be a good civil war game. Oregon State is well prepared each week and plays very tough defensively. Oregon is on top of their game right now as well.
Thanks to Washington last week, and Stanford a week before that, everyone else in the Pac-12 has a loss on the season. This leaves the door wide open for Oregon as they are currently ranked number 2 in the nation. Oregon State comes in at number 14.
Oregon must avoid the upset to Washington this weekend. Arizona State has been playing some good ball and should give them a good battle as well. To be honest, the Pac-12 has been playing some great football thus far. This should make for some good games the rest of the season.
For both Oregon and Oregon State, their game(s) against the Washington Huskies should be the measuring stick this month. I label Washington as their toughest game(s). Oregon State plays them on the 27th and Oregon plays them this weekend.
For Oregon, this Washington game, in a way, gives them an idea of where they stand with the SEC teams, and what their chances are in a possible national championship game. Washington was absolutely demolished by LSU in week 2, in a 41-3 loss. They do have a little more confidence, however, after the huge win last week against Stanford. This Oregon/Washington game is my pick for Pac-12 game of the week.
Although the NHL is under a lockout, hockey is still alive for us Oregonians. We still have the Portland Winterhawks. After falling short the past two seasons, the Winterhawks look primed to make another run at the WHL Ed Chynoweth Cup.
The Winterhawks have some key losses in goalie Mac Carruth, defender Joseph Morrow, and all but one left wing forward – losing Oliver Gabriel, Marcei Noebels, Brad Ross, and Sven Bartschi. This left them with Taylor Leier, who was recently drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers. Leier will have to step up with so many pieces leaving at that spot. They also have another drafted player to replace Joseph Morrow at defender in Derrick Pouliot. Pouliot is a top-tier player as he was drafted 8th overall in the 2012 Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Winterhawks have brought in a new goalie to help replace Curruth as well. Alongside last year’s bask-up Brendan Burke, they will have Cam Lanigan. Lanigan is in his 7th season with the WHL. He played well last season with the Kamloops Blazers. This year, he has already recorded his first shutout.
These replacements should suit well and the Winterhawks will be on their way to make another run. I know I will have to make it to a few more games than I did last year.
This should be an exciting month of sports. Don’t forget to catch the two one-game Wild Card matches Friday #MLBPlayoffs.