Beyond Golf — 23 November 2014 by Bob Sherwin
Foursome Forecast: Weekend of rivals

ONE: There’s a group of union workers that’s expected to go to work all day Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, and just about everyone likes it. At least they’re not as hated as Wal-Mart. It’s their time of year. The NFL’s annual ‘Turkey Day’ games, a long, time-honored tradition, is set for a triple header Thursday. All three games are rivalries, which is like piling the dressing on our plates. It opens with Chicago at Detroit, two teams often seen on this day. In the afternoon, Philadelphia is at Dallas, a turkey day stalwart. Then in the evening the latest and bestest rivalry, Seattle at San Francisco. That doesn’t have the same impact as it did in the beginning of the year – when both teams were fresh and unbowed – but both the Hawks and 49ers desperately need a victory here to enhance their post-season aspirations. Sunday, there are a couple good late games, New England at Green Bay (Brady vs. Rodgers) and Denver at Kansas City.

TWO: It was a bad collection of college football games last week that created very little turmoil. This week is not much better, but we’re saved by the traditional rivalry games, such as Michigan at No. 6 Ohio State Saturday. The Buckeyes are aiming for the final four and the Wolverines would love to spill that applecart. No. 13 Arizona State takes on its natural rival, also ranked No. 13 Arizona on Friday. No. 18 Georgia Tech is at No. 10 Georgia Saturday. Both are outside the circle of contention. No. 3 Florida will have another chance to escape with a narrow victory when it hosts Florida Saturday. No. 4 Mississippi State plays No. 8 Old Miss. That’s a good one for those Southern institutions. The one game that likely will attract the most eyeballs, however, is No. 14 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama. Don’t think rival Oregon State has what it takes this year to challenge No. 2 Oregon.

THREE: Soccer continues to draw a pulse, at least on the coasts. The two best teams in the West and recent rivals, L.A. Galaxy and Seattle Sounders, play the second leg of their series Sunday in Seattle. The Galaxy won, 1-0, in the first game Sunday. Saturday, New England goes to close out the New York Red Bulls in the East Conference series. The Revolution beat the Red Bulls, 2-1 Sunday.

FOUR: This is just the beginning of the silly season. It’s also the time championships can be won. The Boston Red Sox struck Sunday night by leaking word that infielder Hanley Ramirez is about to sign a $90 million contract, which is mere funny money to most people, even those getting it. How do you grasp that kind of cash? Then realize that Giancarlo Stanton will be getting $325 million over 13 years with Miami. To answer your question, no, there is no end to it. More free agents will fall this week and they will fall in the lap of luxury. But that’s what it takes this time of year to put a championship foundation together. Just try not to think of how high that dollar-bill pile would be.

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 44th year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 10 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. He won't win the club championship any time soon with his 14 handicap and default-swing slice but he does have a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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