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Mike Maniscalco

Quick Hits: No crowds, big crowds and moving to the top

Posted September 28, 2012

NHL taking a calculated risk

The NHL has canceled the full slate of pre-season games, and both sides haven’t talked since Sept. 12. The good news is that the NHL and NHLPA are supposed to sit down and try to hammer something out this weekend, at least find some middle ground to end the lockout that the owners have issued.

There is one issue that almost everyone seems certain of — that fans will return if games or the entire season is canceled.

I have to disagree with the surveys and twitter polls that question whether fans return to the game. Die-hards will, but it is the fans that might have gotten into the game this past season that will move on if there isn’t a season. A sport that has a small, passionate fan base can’t build on that dedication if the powers that run the league keep missing seasons every decade.

All it took was one play

The NFL finally settled its dispute with the regular officials after two nationally televised debacles by the replacement refs. For anyone that wants to blame the replacement referees, you shouldn’t. They were put in an impossible situation and were given almost no help by the NFL or the teams. Players tried and succeeded to get away with bullying the officials and the NFL did not try to get the best replacements possible. Yes, one game was impacted by a terrible call and that was spurred the two sides coming to an agreement. But did anyone expect the fill-ins to do a great job?

The bottom line though is if the NFL wants to get something done they will and can in an expedient manner. The most important thing that the end of the lockout brings to fans, we don’t have to hear about how bad the refs are and just enjoy the game, until the real officials miss a call that costs your team a game.

Rowdiest crowd this weekend will be at a golf course

You won’t find the most intense and raucous crowd at any college football or NFL stadium this weekend. No, you’ll find it in the most unlikely sports setting — a golf course. Medinah Country Club near Chicago will host the Ryder Cup, and the gallery will resemble the Roman Coliseum. This is no place for the meek. The bi-annual event which pits the USA against Europe has become the most intense sporting event on the planet, and the crowd can really impact the result. In 1999 in Massachusetts, the crowd took Colin Montgomery off his game with taunts of “Mrs. Doubtfire” and rattled the Euros. Meanwhile over the Atlantic, the US hasn’t exactly felt the warmth and respect of the game of the host courses. Even if you aren’t a golf fan, this is must watch TV.

Seems like old times

The Florida State Seminoles have the look of, well, the Florida State Seminoles that we expect them to be. The way the ACC looks this year, it’s hard to believe a team in conference can knock them from the ranks of the unbeaten. The 'Noles big win over Clemson served notice that the squad from Tallahassee is closer to being an elite team and quarterback EJ Manuel put up the performance on a national stage that should propel him to a Heisman Trophy candidate. If Manuel can play at that level the rest of the year, Florida State will be playing for a national title.

Around the Triangle

This weekend will show the fan bases of NC State, Duke and UNC what to expect the rest of the year.

The Wolfpack heads to Miami after wins over South Alabama and the Citadel. While those are confidence builders, it is hard to gauge how State has moved forward since the opening loss to Tennessee. A win at Miami will give more insight into where this Pack team is headed. You will find out if running back Shadrach Thornton is for real, after a breakout against the Citadel it is safe to say the defense this weekend will be a step up.

Duke travels to Wake Forest so we know this is going to be a close game. The Blue Devils are 3-1 for the first time since 2008. A win over Wake Forest doesn’t guarantee a winning season, but a win would make the fan base feel better about that chance. What to watch for in this game: Wide out Connor Vernon will become the leading receiver in ACC with six catches, which he might have on Duke's first drive.

UNC should beat Idaho with ease, but that is exactly what needs to happen. The Heels defense is coming off a solid performance over ECU, Gio Bernard has returned and Larry Fedora isn’t sure what he has yet in his team. A win over the Vandals doesn’t fix all the Tar Heel problems, but it is a chance for the head coach to know if this team is capable of playing his style.

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  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Sep 28, 3:23 p.m.

    I see the NHL losing fans, especially in small markets like Carolina. It's a sad situation all around, and I don't see the season starting before January. If the New Year's outdoor game is cancelled, there goes the season.

    I don't blame the replacement refs; they did the best they could with what they had. That said, I'm glad the "real" refs are back, but I think the honeymoon will be over this weekend. I'm a Panthers fan, so I can't blame the refs for anything - there's plenty of blame to go around in Charlotte - offense, defense and special teams. I don't think they'll beat a good Atlanta team.

    I think State will win tomorrow, as well as Carolina. The Duke/Wake game is harder to predict, but I think Grobe will be the happy coach when the game is over.

  • emb135mtx Sep 28, 1:31 p.m.

    I am a diehard NHL fan, or should I say I was. Two lockouts in 7 years? Unacceptable.

  • ACC: North Carolina vs. Miami

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego vs. Miami

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida vs. Georgia

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Notre Dame vs. Navy

    Tonight at 8:00 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Duke at Pittsburgh

    Today at 12:00 pm on 620am

  • Big Ten: Maryland at Penn State

    Today at 12:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Syracuse

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes vs Arizona Coyotes

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
12:00pm Today
PITT
DUKE
12:00pm Today
TEMPL
ECU
12:30pm Today
MIAMI
UNC
3:00pm Today
SYR
NCSU
4:00pm Today
BCOOK
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
MEM
 
Final
IND 89
MEM 97
Final
CHI 108
CLE 114
Final
MIL 93
PHI 81
Final
SAC 103
POR 94
Final
PHO 94
SAN 89
Final
LAL 111
LAC 118
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
MEM
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
MIA
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIL
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
BRK
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
BOS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DEN
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
PHO
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
LAL
 
Final
TULA 14
CIN 38
Final
MEM 40
TULSA 20
11:30am Today
ARMY
AFA
12:00pm Today
PITT
DUKE
12:00pm Today
TEMPL
ECU
12:00pm Today
PSU
MD
12:00pm Today
IOWA
NW
12:00pm Today
ISU
OKLA
12:00pm Today
FIU
RICE
12:00pm Today
UCONN
UCF
12:00pm Today
TEXAM
LAMON
12:00pm Today
RUTG
WISC
12:30pm Today
VT
BC
12:30pm Today
MIAMI
UNC
1:00pm Today
EMICH
CMICH
1:00pm Today
COL
WASH
2:30pm Today
UMO
WMICH
3:00pm Today
SYR
NCSU
3:00pm Today
LATU
WKENT
3:30pm Today
MTST
BYU
3:30pm Today
UGA
UF
3:30pm Today
APPST
GASTATE
3:30pm Today
MICH
IND
3:30pm Today
NEB
PURD
3:30pm Today
WVU
TCU
3:30pm Today
GT
UVA
4:00pm Today
SFLA
HOU
4:00pm Today
BAY
KU
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
KENT
4:00pm Today
NMST
TXST
4:30pm Today
WASU
USC
5:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
ARKST
5:00pm Tonight
LALAF
SALABAMA
5:30pm Tonight
UNLV
NMU
7:00pm Tonight
MISS
AUB
7:00pm Tonight
SJST
COLST
7:00pm Tonight
VANDY
ODU
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
7:15pm Tonight
MSST
ARK
7:30pm Tonight
OREG
STAN
7:30pm Tonight
SCAR
TENN
7:30pm Tonight
TTU
TEX
8:00pm Tonight
OSU
ILL
8:00pm Tonight
NAVY
ND
8:00pm Tonight
KST
OKST
8:00pm Tonight
UTEP
SMISS
10:30pm Tonight
UCLA
ARZ
10:30pm Tonight
ORST
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
NEV
SDST
10:45pm Tonight
FRES
WYO
11:00pm Tonight
HAW
UTST
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
UTAH
Final
CLB 1
TOR 4
Final
DET 5
LOS 2
Final
DAL 1
ANA 2
Final
CAL 4
NAS 3
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLA
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
WAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
WIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
COL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
DAL
 
10:00pm Tonight
EDM
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
NYI
 
4:00pm Today
BCOOK
NCCU