Wabash managed to pretty well steamroll Carnegie-Mellon after the first quarter on Saturday. Both defenses looked to be as stiff as paper, both teams scoring on their first few possessions. Wabash went down 21-7 about midway through the first quarter. From there, though, Wabash finally started to look like the Little Giants I remember, going on to win comfortably at 54-28. That only pushed the team up to sixteenth in the polls, but just as with BCS schools, that is to be expected. It’s awfully hard to move back up the polls once you stub your toe.
What is also terribly unfortunate is Wabash probably still won’t be able to make the playoffs this year, even if they’ve got their groove back. Of all the games they could have blown, one against a conference foe was just about the worst thing they could have done. Compound that with being against a conference foe that most likely won’t be in contention for the conference title, and you have a textbook “bad loss” on your hands. You might be able to get away with a bad loss or two in basketball. Not so in football. Wabash pretty well needs to win out and hope they can snag one of the last at-large bids. Of course, if Wabash can beat Wittenberg, and Wittenberg hits another snag on their path, that would work. It’s just that nobody else in the conference has beaten Wittenberg lately, I don’t see why that would change now.
But, now, brace yourselves everybody, because we are now officially in October, quite possibly my favorite month of the year. Why? It’s playoff time in the MLB. We’re more or less all set in the National League. We’ll get a showdown with the Braves and Cardinals for a chance to get to the real playoffs, where the winner will get either the Reds or the Nationals. I don’t know who would have the tiebreaker if they’re still all knotted up at the end. Whoever draws the short end of that stick, though, will have to play the suddenly hot Giants. I don’t think it’s just the Cubs fan in me, but it just doesn’t seem right that a team could win 93 games, good enough to win the West, with a future hall-of-famer making his farewell tour, could be knocked out in one game by a team that managed 86 wins. I would buy that scenario in football, but not baseball. My argument has always been the same. Baseball is played by nothing but series. The only one-game, do-or-die scenarios have been settling ties that weren’t decided after 162 games. It was no coincidence that those games were declared game 163, not game one of the playoffs. It just ruffles my feathers.
Anyway, over on the American League side of things, the only thing that really seems certain is the Tigers have the Central Division won. It’s not official just yet, but the Tigers just need to win one out of three against the Royals, which doesn’t seem to be too tall an order. That isn’t a big surprise, but boy, did the White Sox give them everything they could handle. No shame on the southside this year. The East is all knotted up, though it seems the Yankees have a slightly easier path. Baltimore has to go down to Tampa to take on the Rays, while the Yankees get the hapless* Red Sox in the Bronx. Out west, the Rangers lead the A’s by two games, which typically would be more or less settled by now. Except, in this case, the A’s are playing the Rangers, which means every game they play is guaranteed to swing the standings. If the A’s end up sweeping the series, there’s a very good chance you’ll see Buck Showalter lose his iron grip on Manager of the Year, though it would have been well-deserved. As amazing as the Orioles have been, everybody expected even less out of the A’s. And a lot out of the Rangers, given where they’ve been the past couple seasons.
*I don’t usually go that negative on teams, honestly. But, I think it has been well-reported that this was a wasted summer in Boston pretty well as soon as Bobby Valentine was announced as manager. Ask the White Sox just how nice it is to have Kevin Youkilis on board.
That’s all I’ve got for today. Stay tuned, though. I think we’re in for a wild week.