Frankie O's Blog: Bowled Over?

Frankie O's Blog: Bowled Over?

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
2:23 p.m.

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

Unfortunately in college football were finding out. Thats because thanks to our friends at the Bowl Subdivision, there are now 35 of them. Remember when it was easy to figure out the levels of college football? Division I, Division IA, Division II and Division III? Well the powers to be couldnt leave that alone. So we still have Divisions II and III, but as we move up the food chain, there is the Championship Subdivision and the Bowl Subdivision. And just so we dont get confused, they're making sure there are enough bowls.

In fact, if I was marketing them, I have the perfect slogan: The NCAA: We put the bowls in the Bowl Subdivision! I guess they figure with so many bowls well remember the name. NOT! Everyone still calls it Division I, but I digress. The point is that there are so many that theyve killed the buzz. Way back when, while the thought of inebriating adults for a living was only a gleam in the eye, I remember the 4 bowls that we all watched and the ability to get to one of these games really meant something: The Rose, Sugar, Orange and Cotton. These games were special and had historical significance if not National Title implications and any fan knew the teams playing in each game. Now? Now we have teams competing for the right to throw down in the Beef O Bradys Bowl. What?

My question is, when you have 120 teams, do 70 deserve to go to a bowl? (And we think too many teams get in to the NHL playoffs?) Again, we have the B.C.S. to thank for this. Since creating their 5 bowl country club for the good old boys, they decided to spin it to the rest of their membership by letting the little sisters of the poor have their moment of glory in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Keep your hands out of my pie!

As long as everyone can wet their beak, there wont be any support for that darn playoff that every fan in the country is crying for, because, as you know, a national title playoff would erode the sanctity of the bowl system. I want my Chick-fil-A Bowl! So as I spent another bowl season in a bar where at least a third of the games did not even get watched, and another third were only watched by alumni and gamblers, Im thinking: This is good for business? Not theirs, mine! As someone that can watch almost any football game, it even gets to be too much for me. And as someone who wants to entice customers to stay by putting something on the TV that is compelling and fun to watch, I end up putting on NBA games instead. Regular season NBA games! Games that dont include the Bulls!

So the system has to change, right? Wrong! As long as the big conferences are making their money, and GUARANTEEING that one of THEM will win the title by excluding, at all costs, (is that ironic?) smaller schools from having a chance (T.C.U.Boise State) the system will not change. As their proof that the system works, they will point out that the 1 team beat the 2 team in a National Title Game that was the most watched cable program EVER. As someone whos been numbed by the glut of bowls, I say that only proves that we love college football and want to find out who the champ will be. It would be nice though, if we could equally enjoy the path to get there. Think about that while enjoying your BBVA Compass Bowl!

Never say die: Cubs battle back for wild walk-off win over Pirates

Never say die: Cubs battle back for wild walk-off win over Pirates

It would have been so easy for the Cubs to just chalk this one up as a loss and head home.

But this 2016 Cubs team isn't built that way.

They showed what they're made of again Monday, walking off the Pirates, 8-7, in front of 38,951 fans at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs had plenty of chances to score all game, including in extra innings as Javy Baez was thrown out at home plate to end both the 10th and 12th innings.

In the top of the 13th, the Pirates finally broke through, loading the bases with nobody out against Rob Zastryzny and scoring a run — but only one run.

In the bottom of the 13th, the Cubs got their offense going again as Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant led the inning off with singles to put runners at the corners. Anthony Rizzo then singled through the infield to tie the game and drive home Fowler.

Ben Zobrist was intentionally walked to load the bases with nobody out, setting the stage for Miguel Montero's walk-off single to start the Cubs' homestand off on a positive note and send Zastryzny home with his first MLB victory.

It capped off a game in which almost 465 pitches were thrown and took more than five hours to complete.

"We got in late last night," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I got back about 3 a.m. So these guys — they're coming off West Coast to the Central Time Zone, they're tired, we had to show up today early for a picture — that happens sometimes — and they came out and played until Midnight.

"Of course you want to win that game. That's a tough game to lose. But understand the effort that you saw tonight based on a lot of fatigue. And that's probably what I'm most proud of."

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The Cubs opened up a 3-0 lead on Pirates rookie starter Steven Brault early, but they could have easily had more, narrowly missing home runs in the first (Zobrist) and third innings (Jorge Soler).

The Pirates, meanwhile, came roaring back against Jake Arrieta. 

First, Josh Bell hit a solo homer just over the basket in left field in the fourth inning. Then Gregory Polanco deposited a three-run shot down the left-field line in the sixth inning, two batters after it appeared the Cubs had gotten a strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play. Home plate umpire Tripp Gibson disagreed, calling the pitch Ball 4 to Bell and putting two runners on with nobody out instead of two outs and nobody on. Arrieta was irate, staring down the umpire and prompting a visit from Maddon, who proceeded to get in Gibson's face at the base of the mound after calming down Arrieta.

"That's an entirely different baseball game right there that occurred on that particular pitch," Maddon said. "Everything turned on that particluar pitch.

"But I'm not gonna denigrate the umpire. We had plenty of opportunities — PLENTY — to win that game in a normal fashion or earlier. We had so many great at-bats to set it up and then we could not seal the deal."

Arrieta was also saddled with a pair of runs in the seventh inning, with Travis Wood letting two inherited runners score on Josh Harrison's two-out double to make it a 6-3 Pirates lead.

The reigning NL Cy Young winner finished with a tough-luck line that flashed six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings on five hits and three walks.

Then the Cubs began their comeback.

In the eighth, Jason Heyward doubled and Willson Contreras homered to straightaway center.

With one out in the ninth, Soler sent a charge into Tony Watson's offering to tie the game with a blast to center.

That set up Montero for the storybook ending.

"The resiliency of our team is incredible," Arrieta said. "That's what you need down the stretch. ... Just a crazy ballgame all the way around."

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox continue their road series with the Tigers on Tuesday night in the Motor City, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage from Detroit starts at 6 p.m. Then be sure to stick around following the final out for reaction and analysis on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Anthony Ranaudo (0-1, 7.88 ERA) vs. Daniel Norris (2-2, 3.63 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you're ready for the action.

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— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

Isaiah Wright, young fan with cancer, receives VIP treatment from White Sox

Isaiah Wright, young fan with cancer, receives VIP treatment from White Sox

Berwyn-native and White Sox fan Isaiah Wright entered the world fighting the odds. At just 14 years old, he has undergone multiple organ transplants and more than 50 surgeries because of a rare birth defect.

Isaiah and his family have an appreciation for just how precious life can be and they were able to make the most of a recent visit to the South Side for a White Sox game, where he received VIP treatment and met his favorite players, including a private meeting with Jose Abreu.

Check out the video above.

A Go Fund Me page was also created to help support Isaiah and his family. Click here to make a donation.