Archive for November, 2009
Great holiday weekend of football….
Thanksgiving weekend has always been host to some of college football’s biggest rivalries. The top 3 teams in the nation, #1 Florida, #2 Alabama, and #3 Texas all took on their in-state rival, each of which wanted to pull the ultimate upset. Tim Tebow and Florida hosted the Florida State Seminoles, and Tebow looked to have an amazing game, not only for his Heisman Trophy stats, but also because it was the last home game of his collegiate career. Well, Tebow dazzled the crowd, throwing for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns, and rushing for an additional 90 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s 5 touchdowns on the day for Tebow. Florida 37, Florida State 10.
Over in Texas, the historic showdown between Texas and Texas A&M. The Aggies got up early, and it looked like we were ready for a showdown. Texas A&M quarterback, Jarrod Johnson, was magnificent throwing for 342 yards and 4 touchdowns on the night. The Longhorns truly had their hands full. Fortunately, for Texas fans, their quarterback, Colt McCoy, is atop the Heisman race, and boy did he put on a show in his last Heisman showcase. McCoy threw for 4 touchdowns, passed for 304 yards, and, get this, rushed for 175 yards and a touchdowns. That’s 5 touchdowns, and nearly 500 total yards of offense. It was simply amazing, and enough to lift the Longhorns over the Aggies. Texas 49, Texas A&M 39.
Finally, in Alabama, Auburn played host to the #2 Crimson Tide, and of the top teams, they received the biggest scare. Auburn jumped out to a 14-0 lead to start the game, but the Crimson Tide tied things up at half. However, headed into the 4th quarter, Auburn led 21-20. And with only 1:24 left on the clock, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy hit Roy Upchurch for a 4 yard touchdown pass. Auburn couldn’t comeback, and Alabama remains undefeated. They will take on Florida next Saturday in the SEC championship with a ticket to the BCS Championship Game on the line. Alabama 26, Auburn 21.
And in the NFL, a highly touted game very relevant to the college football world. It was the Arizona Cardinals v. the Tennessee Titans in a game that featured a quarterback rematch of the memorable 2006 Rose Bowl: Vince Young (Texas alum) v. Matt Leinart (USC alum). The game was a back and forth battle, but it all came down to one play. With just 10 seconds left, eerily similar to the ending of the Rose Bowl, Vince Young was facing a 4th down and 10 at the 10 yard line. He should have been sacked, but scrambled to extend the play, then hit Kenny Britt in the end zone for the game winning touchdown. Wow! With that win, the Titans keep their Vince Young undefeated streak alive, and are strangely in playoff contention after starting 0-6. Tennessee 20, Arizona 17.No comments
It’s Turkey Day and you know what that means, heaps and heaps of….football. Three games today!
The tradition of playing football on Thanksgiving has been around almost as long as the sport itself, but the NFL took up the tradition and made it an annual event when the Lions played in 1934. And, the Detroit Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving Day since then (except during WWII years 1939-1944). The tradition started for the Lions when they recently arrived in Detroit and wanted to drum up some interest and extra publicity.
The Dallas Cowboys, being one of the most popular franchises in the sport, joined the fun and have also played every year since 1966.
So, here’s the lineup for the day:
12:30 EST: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (Fox)
4:15 EST: Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (CBS)
8:20 EST: New York Giants at Denver Broncos (NFL Network)
Enjoy the games, enjoy the turkey and enjoy of a day of rest with your family. Happy Thanksgiving!No comments
Week 11 in the NFL begged the question, could both undefeated teams, the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints go 10-0. That’s a very difficult task, and for there to be TWO teams still eligible is simply amazing.
The Saints had to beat their division rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have been pretty sloppy this season, but have become rather unpredictable the last few weeks. Their rookie quarterback, Josh Freeman, seems to be for real, and their defense isn’t too shabby. Could Drew Brees and the Saint march into to Tampa and get the job done? The answer: Yes, big time. Brees only threw for 187 yards, but he did connect for 3 touchdowns. And his new favorite target in the red zone appears to be second year man Robert Meacham. He hit Meacham twice for TDs. The Bucs meanwhile just couldn’t do much, short of an impressive 18 yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman to Michael Clayton in the back of the end zone. Perhaps it was a sign of good things to come from the Buccaneers. For now, however, all that matters it that the Saints are 10-0. New Orleans 38, Tampa Bay 7.
Over in the AFC, the Colts faced a much tougher opponent in the Baltimore Ravens. Would Peyton Manning be able to work his magic on Ed Reed and the always stingy Baltimore defense. Well, not really. Manning threw for 299 yards, but also threw 2 picks. It was an off-day for him. Fortunately for the Colts, Joseph Addai had a nice day on the ground with 74 yards and a TD. On the other side, the Ravens simply couldn’t get in the end zone and hoped that field goals would give them the victory. But against the Colts, you need touchdowns, and they just didn’t have the fire power. A 25 yard field goal from Matt Stover (a long time Raven, and now Indy Colt), put the Colts ahead in the 4th quarter and gave them the win. That’s 10-0 for Indy. Indianapolis 17, Baltimore 15.
And over in Oakland, the Raiders looked for a fresh start with a new quarterback at the helm, Bruce Gradkowski. They pretty much used their old quarterback, JaMarcus Russell as a scapegoat for losing. Well, this game was a different Raiders team. Gradkowski threw for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns (close to Drew Brees’ performance), and spread the ball around nicely to his receivers. And they were doing this against a very good Bengals defense. The game looked like it would go into overtime, tied at 17, but then the Bengals’ Andre Caldwell fumbled a kickoff return, the Raiders recovered, an had excellent field position to win the game. That’s exactly what they did, as Sebastian Janikowski booted a field goal to give the Raiders a win. Good news in Oakland, and bad news for Bengals fans who saw that their team has some weak points. The Bengals are certainly having a fine comeback season, but the odds that they go deep in the playoffs are slim. Oakland 20, Cincy 17.No comments
In the NFL, Thursday night football is all the rage. Last night it was the Miami Dolphins v. the Carolina Panthers. Miami received a piece of bad news this week, learning that their top running back, Ronnie Brown, is out for the season. So, stepping into the starter role, none other than good old Ricky Williams. You may not remember, but at the beginning of this decade, Ricky Williams was touted as the next Walter Payton. He was big, fast, and had an amazing college career. Then, over the years, he struggled with injuries, and even took a season off to, yes, smoke marijuana and tour the country with Lenny Kravitz. Upon returning to the Dolphins, Ricky has primarily been in a back-up role, but this season he’s played very well. How would he do as a starter?
The answer: Simply amazing. Ricky Williams seriously looked like he had something to prove out there. In the first half alone, he had 2 touchdowns, and he finished the game with a terrific 119 yards. His productive play allowed the Dolphins to completely manage the game and take the win. The Panthers, on the other hand, looked average at best. They kept it somewhat competitive, and Steve Smith had a touchdown for the Cats, but this one really belonged to the Dolphins. Miami 24, Carolina 17.
And in baseball, the San Francisco Giants Tim Lincecum won his second Cy Young award. This came as a surprise to Lincecum, as the favorites were the two aces for St. Louis: Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. They had more wins than Lincecum, but Lincecum led the league in strikeouts, and was second in the National League in ERA. The Giants weren’t as productive offensively, explaining his lack of wins, but Lincecum was a fabulous stat guy.
Finally, in college basketball, the North Carolina TarHeels start most seasons by putting their dominance on display. They want to make everybody afraid, and this season was no different. Their first 3 games have been cakewalks, allowing the TarHeels to crush opponents. However, last night #4 UNC got their first test in #15 Ohio State, and the Buckeyes wouldn’t prove as easy a victory. Evan Turner led the way for Ohio State with 23 points, but the Heels were able to hold them off (barely). Deon Thompson had 15 points for UNC, as the TarHeels edged out a victory and remain undefeated. UNC 77, Ohio State 73.No comments
At the outset of the NBA season, the top 3 teams in the East were determined to be Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando. Nobody knew where they would be after 3 weeks of play, but nobody would have imagined that not one of them would be in first place. That distinction belongs to the Atlanta Hawks. They are on fire this year, winning their last 5 games, and looked to take on another top team in the East: Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat. Wade wasn’t much of a factor though, putting up only 15 points. In fact, last year’s #2 pick Michael Beasley led the Heat in scoring with 21 points. The Hawks on the other hand looked fantastic, doing a number of alley-oop slams. Their star was Joe Johnson with 30 points on the evening. That’s 6 wins in a row. Watch out for the high-flying Hawks! Atlanta 105, Miami 90.
Elsewhere in the NBA, LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers simply look confused. They’re not bad, but they’re not that good either. LeBron seems to be their only offensive weapon, begging the question: “Why didn’t they get him some serious help this off-season?” Instead they got him an aging, out-of-shape center in Shaquille O’ Neal. The Cavs took on the Wizards last night, and were up for a while behind LeBron’s 34 point night, but a resurging Wizards team came back strong. They had Antwan Jamison back, one of their top 3 players, and he finished the game with 31 points. Wizards win! Washington 108, Cleveland 91.
Finally, it looks like the Oakland Raiders are bailing on their former #1 overall pick, JaMarcus Russell. Russell was drafted in 2007 to be the Raiders’ savior. But since starting, he has been atrocious. Overthrowing receivers, and constantly getting sacked. He’s being revealed as more of a college all-star than a NFL QB with keen offensive awareness. Now, after starting the whole season, he’s being sent to the bench in favor of Bruce Gradkowski. Gradkowski certainly isn’t an upgrade, but the Raiders are desperate for ANY offense. And Russell wasn’t making that happen. We’ll see how this experiment works out.No comments
A major change in the NFL, as one team decided not to wait until the end of the season to fire their head coach. That’s right, the Buffalo Bills have disposed of head coach Dick Juaron after a string of disappointing seasons. This one, particularly, looked horrible. The Bills brought Terrell Owens to town hoping it would give them a major weapon, and even make them a playoff team. However, Owens hasn’t even been on the radar this year, and probably won’t be in Buffalo next season. It’s uncertain what the Bills plan to do for a head coach in the off-season (there are plenty of big names available), but they will definitely head in a completely different direction, and hope to return to their glory days.
In college basketball, it was a rematch of the 2008 National Championship game: The Kansas Jayhawks v. The Memphis Tigers. Sure, much of the players have changed, but the fans certainly remember. Kansas is currently ranked #1 in the country, and Memphis is unranked, but that didn’t stop the Tigers from bringing the heat. They stood toe to toe with Kansas in the first half, and their guard Elliot Williams had a fantastic night with 21 points. But Kansas, behind their super big man, Cole Aldrich (18 points, 11 rebounds) outlasted the Tigers by just 2 points, and hung on for the win. Kansas 57, Memphis 55.
And in baseball, a rare occurrence. The American League Cy Young Award Winner didn’t go to a Yankee or Red Sock, or even someone on a winning team. Instead, Zach Greinke of the putrid Kansas City Royals took home the award. The Royals were as forgettable as always this season, but Greinke was certainly a beacon. Given his horrible situation, Greinke still nabbed 16 wins and had a win percentage of .401, leading the league. This is quite the turn around for Greinke, who, in 2005, led the league in losses. Zach said publicly, however, that he isn’t allowing this to go to his head. He’s happy that people in his hometown Orlando aren’t showering him with praise. Unfortunately for Greinke, he will almost surely be pursued by the Red Sox / Yankees in the very near future. His life is going to get very public.No comments
On Monday Night Football, there were two teams with something to prove. The Baltimore Ravens wanted to show the world that they weren’t done yet; that the team that started out 3-0 was, in fact, a force to be reckoned with. In the other corner, the Cleveland Browns hoped to show that they actually do have some fight in them; that this putrid season is at least served with some promising moments. And on top of that, the Browns went with Brady Quinn at starting QB. He began the season as captain of the ship, lost the gig, and now was getting another chance. Would he make the most of it?
The answer: Nope, not at all. The Browns couldn’t have looked worse. It’s like the don’t even have an offense out there. And remember, they traded one of their only weapons, wide-receiver Braylon Edwards, to the Jets earlier in the season. Edwards wanted out of there, and let him out (although Edwards situation in New York with the Jets is only marginally better). Quinn finished the game throwing 13 of 31 for only 99 yards passing. Plus, he threw two interceptions. No promise on display for Cleveland. Meanwhile, the Ravens looked decent in comparison to the Browns, but not dominant. Running back Ray Rice was the highlight, rushing for 89 yards and a TD. Browns fans… you have a long road of recovery to sit through. It could be 3 full seasons before this team can even compete for a playoff birth. Baltimore 16, Cleveland 0.
And in the NBA, it looks like the Allen Iverson experiment in Memphis is officially over. They released the former all-star yesterday, making the future quite uncertain for Iverson. Apparently, the Grizzlies felt that Iverson couldn’t start for their squad, and Iverson vehemently disagreed. Reports said he and the coach weren’t even talking. So the Grizzlies let him go.
The question is… can anybody use a guy who used to be one of the marquee players of the league. This guy has to have some practical value for some team. If you think about it though, if one of the league’s worst teams (Memphis), thinks they will be fine without him, than what decent team would actually benefit from his skills. You’d think Boston could find a spot for him. After all, they have so many other aging superstars (Garnett, Allen, Pierce). Then again, he would most certainly have a bench role in Beantown, and that doesn’t seem to suit him. Charlotte is supposedly interested, but they are all set at both starting (Felton) and back-up (Augustin) point-guard. What does this mean? You might see an Iverson retirement conference soon. Kind of sad that one of the most influential players of the last 15 years will just sort of fade out.No comments
In the NFL, the New Orleans Saints looked to stay unbeaten against a horrible St. Louis Rams team. But… how bad are the Saints, really? Well, this game was more about a sloppy Saints team than a good Rams squad. Drew Brees had only 223 yards on the day, and also threw 2 interceptions. Sure, he had 2 TDs too, but for Brees, it was not an impressive outing. On the other side, Marc Bulger was back in true form, as he threw for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns, both of which to Rams speedy receiver Donnie Avery. But, thanks to a relatively impressive day from Reggie Bush (83 rushing yards and a TD), the Saints were able to barely edge the Rams and move to 9-0. New Orleans 28, St. Louis 23.
Elsewhere, it’s worth taking a look at a comeback Tennessee Titans team. They started the season off an abysmal 0-6. They were going nowhere. But, ever since they benched Kerry Collins and brought in Vince Young, they’re undefeated, and now only 2 games back from a wild card birth. Additionally, their running back, Chris Johnson, is playing OUT OF HIS MIND! He rushed for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Bills, and also nabbed 100 yards of receiving. He is seriously emerging as the league’s superstar running back next to Adrian Peterson. The Titans just crushed the Bills, and will certainly play spoiler to some teams playoffs hopes in the home stretch of the season. And maybe, even make the playoffs themselves. Tennessee 41, Buffalo 17.
The Denver Broncos may have started the season 6-0, but they have also lost their last 3 games. Their most recent debacle… falling to a putrid Washington Redskins team. Orton threw for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns, but got injured, and was replaced by a rusty Chris Simms. Meanwhile, the Redskins actually looked… decent. Clinton Portis was out of the game for the Skins, but his back up, LaDell Betts was phenomenol. Betts ran for 114 yards and a touchdown, as the Redskins rolled to a victory. Washington 27, Denver 17.
Finally, the game of the week was easily New England vs. Indianapolis. Indy was 8-0 headed into the game, and this was a true test. Beat the Pats, and they might actually have a shot of running the table. Well, the Pats were all over the Colts in the first half. Peyton wasn’t playing well, and the Pats were seemingly scoring at will. Brady threw 375 yards and 3 Touchdowns in the game, and the Pats looked poised to win this one. Then again, the Colts quarterback IS Peyton Manning. He led the Colts to a marvelous comeback in the 4th quarter, but they still trailed 34-21 with just over 7 minutes in the game. The Colts got a TD from Joseph Addai, but still needed 6 to tie the game. That’s when it happened, a controversial call that everyone is talking about today. The Pats decided to go for it on 4th down and 2 with 2 minutes left in the game. The logic being that they didn’t want Manning to have the chance for a 2-minute drill. Well, they didn’t convert, and the Colts got the ball in excellent field position. That’s all they would need, as they ran out the clock, and got a 1 yard touchdown from Manning to Wayne to win the game. Just a miracle comeback! And with that, the Colts preserve a perfect record and move to 9-0. Indianapolis 35, New England 34.No comments
It was the second Thursday Night Football game of the year in the NFL, with the San Francisco 49ers playing host to the Chicago Bears. This game put Jay Cutler in the prime time light, but would he shine. The answer: Not at all. Fortunately for the Bears, their running back Matt Forte finally showed up rushing for 41 yards, plus 120 receiving yards. But aside from that, the Bears offense looked horrendous. Cutler threw for, count ’em, 5 INTERCEPTIONS. Disgusting. And on the last play of the game, in which the Bears had one last play in the red zone to actually WIN the game, Cutler… threw an interception. This was no receiver’s fault, it was simply a horrible pass. The Bears move to 4-5, and could still make the playoffs, but don’t expect them to do much if they get in. San Francisco 10, Chicago 6.
In the NBA, two big match-ups. First up, it was LeBron and the Cavs, coming off a win against Orlando, against Dwayne Wade and the red-hot Heat. This would be a true test for both teams. It was a back and forth game, but the main attraction here were the insane dunks from both D-Wade and LeBron. You have to see them for yourself. LeBron led the way for the Cavs with 36, and D-Wade dropped 34 of his own, and in the end, the Cavs were just a bit too much for the Heat. Cleveland 111, Miami 104.
The next big battle was out of the Western Conference where the scorching-hot Phoenix Suns would face their first major competitor of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams had only one loss headed into the game, and if the Suns won this game, you knew they were for real. Unfortunately for Nash and Phoenix, the Lakers are simply too incredible this season. Their starting five played brilliantly, Kobe put up 29 points, and their big man Andrew Bynum has seriously come into his own. He scored 26 points, and nabbed 15 rebounds. Between him and Gasol (currently injured) the Lakers will be mighty difficult to stop. The Suns, meanwhile, did what they could, but they really need one more weapon if they expect to even stand a chance against LA in the playoffs. LA Lakers 121, Phoenix 102.No comments
The major story last night was out of the NBA. It was a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Magic were simply the better team last season, but the Cavs were hoping the addition of Shaquille O’Neal would allow them to match-up against Superman Dwight Howard. Well, it basically worked. Howard only put up 11 points. Shaq, meanwhile, had 10 of his own. And LeBron was simply outstanding, posting 36 points. The Cavs started off slow this season, but defeating last year’s Eastern Conference Champs shows that they might just be working out the bugs. Cleveland 102, Orlando 93.
The other featured game last night was the Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Hornets. Surprisingly, Phoenix has looked incredible this season. Most assumed they would be a middle of the road team, especially since they look to be doing more rebuilding than contending. However, they look as tight as ever, and poised to take on anyone. All-star point guard, Chris Paul, did what he could for the Hornets, but it was the balanced Suns who got the job done again. The points were evenly distributed throughout the Suns roster, and that’s always the sign of a team with solid chemistry… a championship team if you will. Now, the Suns are 8-1. Phoenix 124, New Orleans 104.
In baseball, the Seattle Mariners have inked their former superstar Ken Griffey Jr. to another 1-year deal. This is more of a contract for team morale, and to sell tickets in Seattle. Remember, the Mariners have been abysmal the last few seasons, and bringing in Griffey has at least been a call back to the Mariner glory days of the mid-90s. Last year, Griffey was average at best, but he did a lot for the clubhouse. He even managed to turn Ichiro Suzuki, the Mariners best player, from a recluse to a happy teammate. That’s always good. Griffey will turn 40 next year, but the Mariners see him as a positive good luck charm. And maybe he’ll hit a home run every now and then.4 comments