VERONA, ITALY - AUGUST 26: Giuseppe Russo of Hellas Verona FC and Eugenio Romulo Togni (L) of Pescara Calcio during the Serie B match between Hellas Verona FC and Pescara Calcio at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on August 26, 2011 in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Thanks to the failure of owners and players to reach agreement over the collective bargaining agreement, the opening week of Serie A has been delayed. The 2011-2012 season was meant to start today, with the Tuscan derby being played between Fiorentina and Siena. Now, it seems the strike could continue, as clubs have not agreed to an interim agreement to bridge the gap for a year. But rather than sulk over having to wait at least another week (I'm a bit upset myself, as there's no way my Napoli pedicure will last that long), fans of Italian football can console themselves with Serie B.
I'll be the first to admit, I don't know a lot about the Italian second division -- but without Serie A, what better time is there to learn? The Serie B season kicked off Thursday with a thrilling 2-2 draw between Sampdoria and Padova, reminding 'Doria they won't have the easiest time earning promotion back to the top flight. On Friday, Pescara beat Hellas Verona 2-1, which might put a wrench in the hopes many have of seeing Verona clinch two promotions in two years.
The rest of the Serie B fixtures are set for 19:00 CET, 1pm ET. Here's what you've got to choose from:
Ascoli - Torino
Bari - Varese
Brescia - Vicenza
Cittadella - Albinoleffe
Crotone - Livorno
Empoli - Juve Stabia
Grosseto - Gubbio
Reggina - Modena
Sassuolo - Nocerina
Brescia, Bari, and Sampdoria are the clubs relegated from Serie A last season. Gubbio, Juve Stabia, Nocerina and Verona were all promoted. But if you're just starting out with Serie B, isn't it best to go in with no preconceptions of the clubs? Go forth, find a stream, and enjoy some Italian football.