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Five Up, Five Down: Ranking Days on the Sports Calendar

Some days are better than others.

89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Not all days are created equal, especially when you examine them through the prism of sports schedules. Not every day is going to be a game seven or a championship round. Some days won’t have much going on at all.

This past week featured one of the least packed days on the sports calendar, namely the day after the MLB All Star Game. Thanks to the WNBA, there is still great basketball to be seen, but its certainly not like today when there is a whole slate of MLB baseball, four WNBA regular season games and the British Open to follow.

With all that in mind, for this week’s Five Up, Five Down, we’re going to discuss the best and worst days on the sports calendar. Let’s do it.

Clayton’s Five Up

1. New Year’s Day Before the BCS

New Year’s Day before all the BCS/CFP/National Championship Game nonsense was magical. Any one of about six teams could win the national title. It was the ultimate in sports drama and scoreboard watching. And then all of you nattering nabobs of negativism ruined everything with your crocodile tears for “fairness.”

2. Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Weekend

I am a sucker for induction speeches. Whether or not the inductee is a player I followed closely, I enjoy sharing this moment with them. More importantly, the weekend ends with the first preseason NFL game. I don’t care who is playing. I watch every snap. My circadian rhythms and stuff are back in order when I can build my waking hours around football games.

3. Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Saturdays

These late afternoon delights punctuate some of the loveliest late-spring, early summer days on the calendar each year. Plus, they are events that encourage people to dress up. I am in favor of any event that does this.

4. Sunday Afternoon, 5 p.m. Golf

I don’t play golf or watch much golf, but there is rarely more compelling television than the last few holes of a hotly contested PGA tournament.

5. Every WWE PPV Sunday

I am not “All In.” I support mainstream sports entertainment.

Clayton’s Five Down

1. Super Bowl Sunday

Until my New York Jets make it back to the Super Bowl, this game just feels like the funeral of every football season. It is a game for non-fans that goes way too long. The conference championship games feel like the real end of football season to me.

2. The Sunday on the Second Weekend of the NCAA Tournament If You’ve Got No Rooting Interests Left

I’m a pretty upbeat kind of guy unless it’s the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament and my teams are all gone and my bracket is busted. The Sunday is worse than the Saturday because you’ve got to go back to work the next day.

3. Every All Star Game Weekend

Pick the teams and give the guys three days off. No need to play the games and get people hurt. At least the NFL’s stupid Pro Bowl is after the season.

4. That Saturday night when you decided to eat at a franchise steakhouse and the bar section of that franchise steakhouse is showing the UFC Fights and it’s about 8 o’clock and the card doesn’t start for two hours and there’s a bunch of guys in Affliction t-shirts pounding Coors Lights and looking to reenact Wanderlei Silva-Rich Franklin on the way to the men’s room.

5. 5K Saturdays or Sundays

If you’re going to have a marathon, have a marathon. Do you really need to get between me and my coffee and donuts to have a glorified Sunday morning stroll?

Johnny’s Five Up

1. Derby Day

Even if you don’t play the ponies, you can drink a julep, put on a fancy hat and pick a winner. It’s wholesome fun for the whole family, and it can inspire your kid to become a bookie. That’s a recession-proof job!

2. Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake

How else would you spend your Spring Bank Holiday? I like nothing more than fighting for my cheese. Keto ain’t a game, son.

3. Super Bowl Sunday

Mostly for nostalgic reasons. I don’t care about halftime, or pre-game, or post-game TV coverage. It feels like a holiday, and every day should feel that way.


5. MLK Day NBA

I don’t watch a lot of pro basketball, but this is always a nice chance for me to catch up on the league and watch Mario Chalmers get juked out of his sneakers.

Johnny’s Five Down

1. Sunday at the Masters

You are literally watching the grass grow beneath their feet while they think about a game of putt-putt.

2. Memorial Day at the Indianapolis 500

Those ain’t real cars. Real cars are at Daytona. Indy don’t run the Tri-Oval.

3. LeBron James Picks Where He Wants to Pay (or not pay) Income Tax

This is a once-in-a-whenever-he-gets-bored event. The actual thing isn’t as bad as the advent season. The title of this isn’t an allegation against Chrysler LeBaron. I’m pretty sure that’s why he went to Florida, the lack of state income tax.

4. Thanksgiving Day Football

I don’t care enough either way about the Cowboys or Lions to feel strongly about this one. It’s more fun to go out in the backyard of my folks’ house with Clayton, half-heartedly throw a ball around for 10 minutes, and then go downstairs to play Bill Walsh College Football and carb up.

5. College Decision Day

They’re high school kids. Leave them out of the spotlight until they’re adults you weirdos. Keep in mind that they haven’t even been to their senior prom yet, and you’ll realize how creepy this is.

Phil’s Five Up

1. The Thursday of the First Round of the NCAA Tournament

As far as you know, every game will be an upset won by a buzzer beater. That optimism and intrigue is real. There may not be much else going on, but 16 high-stakes basketball games from noon until you go to bed is more than enough.

2. MLB Opening Day

After a long winter of no professional baseball, there is baseball once more.

3. Christmas Day NBA

You can keep your Thanksgiving NFL. Christmas Day NBA is the real holiday sporting event to watch. Every game is carefully crafted and features the best players in the league. Its a gift to everyone no matter what you celebrate.

4. First October of College Football Season

In September, the heat can still be intense and I’m still wishing it was summer. In November, I’m stoked about basketball and kind of losing the spark for football. This is the sweet spot.

5. Super Bowl Sunday

While having options is usually better, there’s something to a day that has so many people, sports fans or otherwise, all watching and sharing in the same event.

Phil’s Five Down

In descending order, as always.

5. The Days Right After the World Series Ends

The realization that there will be no baseball for months is bad enough. On top of that, this is usually a few days before basketball season has started, so all there is is football to think about. Football is fine, but not that fine.

4. The Day After the MLB All Star Game

This was much worse before the WNBA came around. It is clearly a day without one of the four “major sports” and a day without baseball in the middle of the summer feels wrong. No, the ESPYs do not make it better.

3. Pro Bowl Sunday

It’s time for a ranking within a ranking. Today we’ll look at the best All Star games:

1. MLB All Star Game

2. NBA All Star Game


671. Getting smacked in the face with a frying pan


903. The Pro Bowl

2. The First Day of the NFL Draft

While the first day has more big names, it becomes an even that is covered far too heavily. I’m fine checking into NFL Network once in a while to see who was picked, but I don’t need a draft to be pushed over actual sporting events.

1. Week 17 NFL

There is NBA and college basketball to be had, but the invisible stakes in most of the pro football games are depressing.

Disagree with us? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter or via a FanPost. Also, if you want us to rank something specific next week, let us know.