Friday, November 5, 2010

NFL Picks Week Nine: In Which I Look Toward The Future

It's probably a little too soon to be talking about this already -- the trip isn't for two more weeks -- but the bye week and a flurry of bad news related to my Devils periodically causes the mind to wander. Fortunately, the Giants return to action this weekend against Seattle so I won't have to wander much longer, but I couldn't help but get jazzed upon seeing the photo to the right.

Yeah, you're seeing that right. That's Northwestern's home gridiron painted in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field in Chicago. For those of you who aren't aware, on November 20 the Wildcats will be leaving their regular home of Ryan Field (nee Dyche Stadium) for the mecca of National League baseball when they take on Illinois. It will be the first college football game played at Wrigley in nearly 72 years and the first football game of any type since the Bears left for Soldier Field in 1971.

The novel setting, the joy of watching my alma mater in person and the excitement of returning to Chicago for the first time in three years all add up to an awfully pleasant distraction from what has been a two weeks in sports ranging from boring to depressing -- though I guess the Knicks' 2-2 start is mild cause for excitement. Beyond the anticipation of the Wrigley game, however, the biggest cause for excitement for me has been Southampton's race back up to the promotion zone of League One, which I'm sure you've all been paying attention to.

Oh, and the Giants won the World Series, which I guess is pretty cool considering it ended one of the more underrated title droughts in baseball history. The best part about it for me, however, was getting an e-mail from a friend in Australia congratulating me when she didn't realize that the San Francisco Giants are not the New York Giants. Really, it's a pretty honest mistake, and considering she was the absolute first person to congratulate me when the Giants actually did win the Super Bowl three years ago, I'd say she's earned a lifetime of sports-centric passes.

But, as I so often do, I'm getting off topic.

I'm going to Chicago and going to Wrigley, and beer, college football, Giordano's stuffed pizza and a whole lot of Northwestern fun await -- not to mention one of the more interesting sporting events I'll have ever been to. What's even more exciting about the whole experience, however, is that after an almost incomprehensible three-year drought in which I didn't see Northwestern in person, I'll be going to my second game this season with a few more on the way in the near future. Surely, you all remember my jaunt out to Minnesota to see the Cats and Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium, but next year and the year after provide even more opportunities.

Northwestern opens its 2011 schedule on Sept. 3, 2011 at Boston College with another visit east to West Point two weeks later. A mid-season trip to Nebraska is also intriguing though obviously far less convenient. A year later, in 2012, the Cats return to Syracuse to take on the Orange in another easily do-able trip.

And so, for several reasons, I look toward the future of college football with incredible zeal -- and because I'm a little too anxious about this weekend's game against Penn State. Pro football should be a little easier to watch this week. I don't want to be arrogant, but as the Giants finally return from the bye they take on a Seahawks team that is apparently without it's starting quarterback and wasn't all that great to begin with.

So I guess I know what one of my picks will be. As if it were going to be any different. And now, once you're done sifting through all the info of that awesome Bruins-Capitals preview you saw, check out the rest of them.

Last week: 7-5-1
Season: 55-56-6

NY Giants (-7) over SEATTLE
Tampa Bay (+9) over ATLANTA
Chicago (-3) over BUFFALO
New England (-5) over CLEVELAND
NY Jets (-5) over DETROIT
MINNESOTA (-8) over Arizona
New Orleans (-7) over CAROLINA
BALTIMORE (-5) over Miami
San Diego (-3) over HOUSTON
Kansas City (+3) over OAKLAND
Indianapolis (+3) over PHILADELPHIA
GREEN BAY (-9) over Dallas
Pittsburgh (-5) over CINCINNATI

Did I really just pick only three home teams? Apparently. We'll see just how crazy I am on Sunday.

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