Author Topic: of the current era of what has been strong rivalry in recent years.  (Read 296 times)

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There’s no knowing what 2015 will serve up but it will start with a bang tomorrow in the US.

It isn’t too difficult to take comfort in the bright side of January when an overwhelming volume of football — both fake and Association — makes these dark days bearable.

I’ll let others glean whatever romance is left out of the third round of the FA Cup — although clubs like Dover and Blyth Spartans definitely caught my eye during the last week or so of Christmas-lazing with Sky Sports.

It’s do-or-die cup football on the gridiron too, with the first of six big games in both forms of American Football taking place tomorrow night.

On top of the NFL post-season which will kick into gear Saturday evening, the College version of the game has its first ever set Barcelona Messi jersey of semi-finals as part of its new play-off crescendo.

It’s worth repeating that the NFL — for all the malaise and muppetry which marred 2014 — is at its imperious best when easing us through the deepest winter month.

And now, finally, following in its lead will be College Football which will double up the annual prestigious Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl as semi-finals for the National Championship decider on Tuesday, Jan 13.

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena should be a cracker — free-flowing Oregon taking on reigning champions Florida State — while the Sugar Bowl will pair up the always lethal Alabama with the Buckeyes of Ohio State University.

There is a special sort of intrigue on offer for that first semi-final; Oregon and Florida State are both led by probable future NFL quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston on whose young shoulders so much of the pressure will be placed.

This game within a game between the two young men could decide who ends up as the number one pick at the draft in the coming months. Not always a guarantee for future success but worth enough millions in the short term to make tomorrow night’s game a relatively important audition for the big time.

Winston has been there and done this already — Bayern Munich jersey 2015 he has never lost a game in his two seasons at this level. He won the Heisman just over a year ago for being the top college player in the land. He was succeeded as a Heisman winner by Mariota who has been close to flawless for Oregon this year.

The previously condensed system would not have necessarily allowed for this fortuitous fight to the death and the rest of us can just sit back and enjoy.

But that’s just a prelude to the suddenly Chelsea Hazard jersey higher stakes offered up by the so-called wild card round in the professional game, with two games down for decision on both Saturday and Sunday.

The timing of all this is impeccable for television viewers. Cabin fever has kicked in and we’re sick of the sight of each other so the marathon of football is just what the doctor ordered for both mind and wallet.

The governing bodies overseeing the respective post-seasons are naturally keen to squeeze more dollars and cents out of these marquee moments and add more teams to the mix so it’ll get even better before long.

And as we keep reminding ourselves, the NFL in particular will Barcelona jerseys be keen to usher in 2015 as a means of sweeping out the remnants of an extremely corrosive 2014.

Saturday will be one of those days where you could binge on sport for over 24 hours. The Alabama Ohio State game will begin in and around midnight, Football Focus will take you through to the cup games and then if you’ve managed to make it through to the evening, there’ll be a double header of play-off football to feast on.

Now I can’t lie to you — none of these NFL teams will likely be in the reckoning beyond mid-January but they’re sufficiently evenly matched to provide some level of entertainment. And if you can only watch one game, the late Sunday showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions has the best chance of being a high-scoring affair.

It’s been five years since the Cowboys have made it this far and their return has ratcheted up the general interest significantly. They’re a far cry from the glory days of the early 1990s but they could well spoil things for the favourites on their side of the draw, Seattle and Green Bay.

There will be one other sentimental note as the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens play each other in what could be the last dying roar of the current era of what has been strong rivalry in recent years.

Contact: Twitter: JohnWRiordan

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