Rand: Four events that give fans their sporting fix

  • Updated: February 19, 2014 - 12:11 AM
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National Signing Day in college football is a really big deal in the South. Above, Clemson recruiting coordinator Jeff Scottshowed off the team’s 2014 recruiting class at a news conference in Clemson, S.C., on signing day, Feb. 5.

Photo: Mark Crammer • Anderson Independent-Mail,

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When it comes to creating buzz in the offseason, no league does it better than the NFL. That said, that league doesn’t own exclusive rights on what we like to call “national holiday” offseason sporting events. There are four of them; we just passed one, and we are barreling toward another. Here are the four, as we see them:

1. National Signing Day in college football: This isn’t quite as big a deal in Minnesota as it is in a lot of other states, but it has still earned a place in the big four. Having spent time in Florida last month just before this year’s signing day — and seeing all the radio billboards trumpeting wall-to-wall coverage of signing day — I saw the thirst first hand. Even without that experience, the proliferation of recruiting websites and signing day ceremonies confirms that ­football signing day (right or wrong) is a huge deal.

2. NBA trading deadline: The nature of the sport, whereby one player can make a huge difference to a team, makes the NBA trading deadline a big event. This year’s deadline is Thursday, and the local conversation Tuesday was dominated by discussion of whether a trade scenario reported by Yahoo.com — J.J. Barea and Chase Budinger to the Grizzlies for Tayshaun Prince and Tony Allen — makes sense for the Wolves. Barea and Budinger haven’t even been part of the Wolves’ starting lineup for most of the year, but still a potential trade makes ears perk up.

ESPN.com ran a piece with the headline, “Which tankers will be dealing,” which couldn’t have made incoming Commissioner Adam “Nobody Tanks” Silver very happy.

3. NFL draft: This is the biggest of the big, of course. The NFL has created a cottage industry around the offseason, with the upcoming scouting combine fueling months of draft speculation. You can’t click on a sports website without finding a new mock draft, and you always click on them so why would they stop? And now the draft itself is a three-day affair, and more people will watch the seventh round than will read a book this year. (OK, that’s probably not true, but still).

4. MLB trading deadline: This is like the NBA trading deadline, but even better. Hot stove talk heats up in July, at a time when other sports are in their doldrums. It’s too early to care too much about football. The NBA and NHL are in the 17 days or so of their offseasons. And regardless of whether your favorite team is ­buying or selling, the deadline is bound to keep you occupied and interested for days.

Michael Rand

 

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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech

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