October is one of the best months of the year. The leaves begin to change colors, the weather mellows, there are bonfires and haunted houses, and the sports calendar goes into overdrive. Welcome to the greatest sports month there is. Every single day during October, there is an MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, or NCAA football game. I wish this lasted all year.
The most popular league in the country, the NFL, gets into the swing of its season this month. Teams have had a few weeks to knock the rust off and for many, every Sunday becomes a time to sit down and watch ten plus hours of professional football. If you are a casual sports fan and have never done this before, I would greatly encourage you to do so. It is almost like going into a completely meditative state for ten whole hours, turning your brain off and reacting to what is in front of you.
If football is not your thing, the MLB playoffs begin this month and, with the new expanded format, will stretch into the first week of November. Baseball season is grueling, with each team playing 162 games in six months. All that comes down to just a handful of games for the 12 teams in the postseason.
This year, there are plenty of great storylines for fans to watch. The St. Louis Cardinals had two great players, Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols, retire at the end of their season. Both reached historic milestones during the regular season and looked for a final championship, but came up short in the division series October 9th. Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees broke the single-season American League home run record and carried his team to a division victory. The Los Angeles Dodgers finished with the third-most wins during a regular season in MLB history, but have had trouble translating their regular season success to the postseason. Playoff baseball is tense, agonizing and exhilarating — and it lasts all month long.
The NBA and NHL both begin their seasons this month as well. Both play 82-game seasons that finish during the summer. The NBA has more talent and good teams this year than in many years past, with 12teams solidly in championship contention. This comes on the heels of a memorable offseason that saw one of the league’s best, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, demand a trade, then demand his coach and GM to be fired, all for him to end up fixing his relationship with both and remaining with the team. The Utah Jazz tore down their core by trading their two best players, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively. The league will also have some of its worst teams in recent memory, including the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs. The race to the bottom will be equally as intriguing, with the prize at next year’s draft being highly touted center Victor Webimyama from France. Stories and sagas abound in the NBA this coming season.
The NHL similarly contains many top teams vying for championship contention. The St. Louis Blues will once again be in the mix for a championship after an offseason that saw several small signings, albeit with the loss of winger David Perron to the Detroit Red Wings. The offseason also saw the movement of some of the league’s best, including forward Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets and a trade of Matthew Tkachuck to the Florida Panthers with Jonathan Huberdeau heading to the Calgary Flames. As in the NBA, the competition to be the worst team in the league will also be intriguing with highly talented forward Connor Bedard as the prize to the team who picks first.
October also marks the beginning of rivalry season in NCAA football. Some of the most storied rivalries will play this month with more coming in November. Georgia will play Auburn this month, a cross-division SEC rivalry that has seen Georgia win the last five matchups. Oklahoma played Texas Oct. 8th in the Red River Rivalry that saw a 55-48 shootout in which Oklahoma came from behind for the victory.
October also has some of the best sporting events at Truman State University as well. Football will play conference games all month, facing Missouri S&T and Southwest Baptist at Stokes Stadiumto begin the month. Men’s and women’s soccer will both play conference games all month as well, with the conference tournament coming at the end of the month to determine each team’s season. October will be a make-or-break month in Truman sports.
In October, we as sports fans are blessed to have all four professional leagues in play as well as intriguing collegiate events to sink our teeth into all month. No matter what your favorite sport is, you are likely going to see meaningful games played these next few weeks. Let us bask in the glory that is the October sports calendar.