Archive for November, 2012
In college football, it’s been a difficult year for former LSU superstar Tyrann Mathieu (known to most as The Honey Badger). Mathieu was all the rage in college football in 2011, named the Honey Badger because of his fierce aggression and dyed yellow hair. But, in the off season, he was kicked out of school due to drug charges. It was unclear if he’d ever be back, so he had to try and pursue opportunities at Division 2 and Division 3 schools. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to find a future and there was talk of him rejoining the Tigers. Well, that didn’t work out — so the only place left for Mathieu to go was the NFL draft. Yep, he’ll be in the pool come next April. Some team will inevitably take a chance on Mathieu because of his immense talent, but, as he told the media, he certainly has character issues he needs to work on. Good luck to Mathieu.
As I mentioned yesterday, the fight between the Brooklyn Nets’ Kris Humphries and Celtics’ Rajon Rondo resulted in ejections from the game. More upsetting for Rajon, though, was his 37 game streak of 10 assists or more in a game (and on his way to breaking Magic Johnson’s record) came to end. And, to make matters worse, it looks like Celtics GM Danny Ainge has decided to suspend Rondo for 2 games as punishment. This Celtics team looks discombobulated this season. They’ve got a lot of new, younger players who could make an impact, but there just doesn’t appear to be that zest on the court. They can win games against the likes of the Wizards, but they will be in serious trouble when they have to take on a team like the Heat in the playoffs. When a team gets in fights, it usually means that they are undisciplined and frustrated, and the Celtics better get under control fast.
And finally, some strange news out of Texas. Right now, everybody is in love with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (or likely better known by his nickname “Johnny Football”). A student in Kerville, Texas had a barber shave an actual drawing of Johnny Manziel into his head. It’s a funky looking haircut, but still pretty cool. The student’s school sent him home for the haircut, saying it didn’t meet the standards of their dress code. The student found this shocking (as did his mother), but in a show of faith towards Johnny Manziel, the student said he wouldn’t cut it for a few days. Click here for the picture.No comments
A big fight broke out Wednesday night when Kris Humphries (KIm Kardashian’s ex) of the Brooklyn Nets fouled Kevin Garnett of the Bostin Celtics. Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo jumped into the action and the brawl spilled into the stands. Humphries and Rondo were ejected from the game. There was certainly some trash talking of Humphries in the Celtic’s locker room when Celtics’ guard Jason Terry said, “Some guys are tough, some guys pretend to be. He’s one of those that pretends to be.” Nets 95, Celtics 83.
Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa are on the ballot for the baseball Hall of Fame. All three have been and are associated with performance enhancing drugs so there’s plenty of chatter and controversy out there. The big question is were these guys the only ones using steriods during this era (and got caught) or were there many others that were using. It will be interesting to see if they actually get voted in. The results will be announced January 9th, 2013 with the actual induction ceremony set for July 28th. As you can imagine, there will be a lot of buzz on this in the next few months.
WATERCOOLER CHAT: HOOSIERS LIVE UP TO HYPE, PENN STATE QUIETLY COMPETES, COACHING RUMORS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
In college basketball, it was a much anticipated match-up between #1 Indiana and #14 North Carolina. This was the first real test for the top ranked Hoosiers, led by big man Cody Zeller. Would they live up to the hype, as this was the first time in more than 20 years that the prestigious Hoosiers program was ranked #1. UNC came into Indiana, and got an absolute drubbing. Cody Zeller, arguably the best college basketball player in the country, had 20 points and 8 rebounds. Indiana definitely made their mark, and showed the country on National TV that they are certainly capable of winning a National Championship. Indiana 83, UNC 59.
And in college football, while they didn’t make huge headlines this season, the Penn State Nittany Lions quietly put together a very successful season. Remember, this team faced extremely strict sanctions from the NCAA, which included the elimination of scholarships — which means their recruiting class will be damaged for at least the next 5 years. Of course, this led to many of their players to jump ship to play for other schools, believing that there was only a losing future at Penn State. But Coach Bill O’Brien led them to a spectacular 8-4 record given his situation. He would be a very appealing head coaching candidate elsewhere, but according to sources from the O’Brien camp, he has every intention of sticking with Penn State.
And, speaking of coaching changes in college football, it looks like some of the two biggest coaching names in the sport may wind up somewhere else. First, the University of Arkansas prides themselves on being competitive every year. This year they had high expectations coming in, even though they had to fire their head coach Bobby Patrino before the season. Under new head coach John Smith, they were terrible, a complete embarrassment in the SEC. They fired Smith, and now it’s reported that they might put out an offer to LSU coach Les Miles for $27 million over 5 years. In addition, there are now rumors swirling that the Texas Longhorns may offer Alabama coach Nick Saban an unprecedented offer. If they got Saban, he would bring his recruiting team, and if the Longhorns can lock up all the best recruits in Texas, it would be tough for other teams to compete. This could get very interesting.No comments
In the NFL, it was Monday Night Football against two of the leagues most struggling teams — the Carolina Panthers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to the season, this match-up might look like it had playoff implications. But now, these teams were just trying to save face. Cam Newton looked amazing. He had 306 yards, two touchdown passes, and two rushing touchdowns. This looked like the Cam Newton we saw in his rookie year. Then again, the Eagles have zero defense, so it’s certainly easier for him. On the other side, the Eagles were missing their star running-back LeSean McCoy, but they got one great of showing from his rookie back-up Bryce Brown (who, by the way, was a brilliant pickup by my fantasy football partner). Brown went for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough (for this game and for my fantasy football game against our bitter rivals, the Ziti), as the Panthers held on for the victory. Carolina 30, Philly 22.
In college football, some major whining. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is complaining because of how the Bowl system works. His team earned their way into the SEC Championship, but will have to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in the Georgia Dome. That’s basically a home game. Moreover, while the winner of that game will likely go to the National Championship, the loser won’t go to a BCS Game. With that said, Florida, who isn’t even playing in the SEC Championship has basically locked up a spot in the Sugar Bowl (a major BCS Bowl game). Sure, they won’t get a shot at the BCS Championship, but they will get a lot of money for playing in the Sugar Bowl. Saban is complaining that a loss would put them in a lesser bowl, even though they were the top team in their division. But Florida coach Will Muschamp said he would gladly switch places with Saban to get a shot at the National Championship.
And in the NBA, it was the much anticipated rescheduled battle between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets IN Brooklyn. This game was supposed to tip-off the season for the Nets, but it was postponed on account of Hurricane Sandy. The Knicks’ Tyson Chandler showed why he was one of the few reliable big men in the league, finishing the night with 28 points, while Deron Williams contributed with 16 points and 6 rebounds. However, these guys would need overtime to finish this one, and that time belonged to Brooklyn, as the Nets pulled away to lead this rivalry 1-0. Brooklyn 96, NY Knicks 89.
WATERCOOLER CHAT: NOTRE DAME HEADS TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, COLTS PULL OFF BIG WIN, BROWNS OVER STEELERS
In college football, Notre Dame was the lone undefeated team left in college football. All they needed was one more win to secure their spot in the National Championship Game in January. But they would have to beat an unpredictable USC team in Southern California. USC was without their star quarterback Matt Barkley, but of course they have another reserve phenom waiting in the wings in Max Wittek. The game stayed close for most of the first half, despite some jitters from Wittek, but Notre Dame started to pull away in the second half. USC had a shot to get back into it at the very end, where a touchdown would have put them within one score of taking the game. But a ferocious goal line stand from Notre Dame stopped USC on all four downs and secured the Irish’s ticket to the Big Dance. They will likely take on the winner of the SEC Championship between Alabama and Georgia. Notre Dame 22, USC 13.
And in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills were hoping to keep their one game win streak alive. They were hoping to extend that win streak to the end of the season and pick up a wild card birth. After all, the NFL is all about who’s the hottest team headed into the playoffs. Buffalo won last week against Miami, and were looking to pick up a win against Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. But Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills couldn’t get anything going offensively. Fortunately for the Bills, the Colts offense was rather stagnant as well. Andrew Luck hit rookie T.Y. Hilton in the 3rd quarter to give the Colts a safe 20-6 lead, but then a rare Lee Smith sighting (a star receiver from the middle of the past decade) gave the Bills a touchdown to bring them within one score. But the Bills defense couldn’t stop Luck, and the Colts pull out a victory. This helps their OWN playoff agenda. Indianapolis 20, Buffalo 13.
And in another NFL game, Cleveland had a nice day. The Browns franchise has obviously been down for the past few years, and this season is no different, as they came into a game against Pittsburgh with a 2-8 record. For the Steelers, the Browns are typically ticked off as a win prior to the season. The Steelers organization always expects to beat them. So when the Browns see a hobbled Steelers team coming to town, starting a very old veteran at quarterback in Charlie Batch — needlessly to say, the Dawg Pound salivates. The Browns defense caused Batch to throw 3 interceptions, while the Browns star rookie Trent Richardson rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown. The game still came down to the wire, but, in the end, the Browns defense did enough to hold Pittsburgh and get the win against the hated Steelers. For the record, this is always a big morale booster for the city of Cleveland. Cleveland 20, Pittsburgh 14.No comments
WATERCOOLER CHAT: TEXANS EDGE LIONS IN OT, RGIII OUTPLAYS ROMO FOR REDSKINS WIN, PATRIOTS PUMMEL JETS
In a Thanksgiving edition of NFL football, the Houston Texans slipped past the Detroit Lions in overtime 34-31. Between the two teams, there were two missed field goals and two turnovers before Texans’ kicker Shayne Graham kicked a 32-yard field goal to win. But, if you ask the Lions, the game should have never gone to overtime. Detroit’s head coach Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag at the beginning of the third quarter, when he didn’t have to. Texans’ running back Justin Forsett was tackled by two players on Detroit’s defense, but stood up after having his knees hit the ground and ran downfield for 81 yards. The referees didn’t blow the whistle, but the booth reviews every touchdown, so it would have inevitably been called back, except for the fact Schwartz threw his challenge flag out before the play was reviewed. And since he did that, the play stood because the rules say a team cannot benefit from throwing the challenge flag, when it isn’t allowed. The other play of note in this game was Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh falling to the ground and in the process kicking Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, exactly where it hurts males the most. Suh will probably find himself in trouble with the league after this incident when the week is over.
In the second game of the day, Robert Griffin III went back to the state he played college football and won the Heisman trophy, only to outplay Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. Griffin went 20-28 and threw for 311 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception. Tony Romo threw the ball 62 times and completed 37 of the throws. He gained 441 yards through the air and had three touchdowns and two interceptions. Griffin’s Redskins however put up 28 points in the second quarter and never looked back after going into half time up 28 -3. Washington proceeded to finish out the game by winning 38 -31.
And the final game of the night had the New England Patriots pummeling the New York Jets. The Jets were embarrassed with miscues on every side of the ball. In the second quarter alone, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez lost a fumble that resulted in a touchdown on a broken play with Sanchez running into his offensive lineman. Then on the ensuing kickoff New York’s return man Joe McKnight fumbled the ball to lead to another Patriots touchdown. By the end of the quarter New England was up 35 – 3. Tom Brady was nothing short of great by going 18-23 for 311 yards and three touchdowns. And while most team stats were similar for the two teams, the game was as far apart as the 49-19 final score. The Jets ended the game with five turnovers and had the crowd chanting for Tim Tebow to quarterback the team. And while Tebow did not make an appearance, maybe Rex Ryan is waiting to play him consistently as a holiday gift in December.No comments
In addition to eating your body weight in turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving is also about football. And, every Thanksgiving since 1945, the Detroit Lions have played. Today, they take on the Houston Texans at 12:30 pm ET.
In case you miss any of the 12:30 matchup, you can still get plenty of football with a 4:15 pm game featuring the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.
Enjoy your turkey and football and I’ll have a recap of all the games Friday morning!
WATERCOOLER CHAT: KAEPERNICK PERFORMS FOR NINERS IN MNF, BIG 10 GETTING NEW TEAMS, EAGLE’S REID WON’T QUIT
In the NFL, it was a much anticipated Monday Night Football match-up between the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers. A battle of two of the NFL’s best defenses, except it would also be a duel between back-up quarterbacks: Jason Campbell for the Bears and 2nd year quarterback Colin Kaepernick for the Niners. Unfortunately for Campbell, Aldon Smith and the 49ers defense absolutely gave him a typhoon of trouble. Campbell couldn’t get anything going. Meanwhile, Kaepernick looked like a robust starting quarterback out there, throwing for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. He hasn’t locked up the starting gig just yet, but the Niners looked like a different team out there with Kaepernick and they won’t necessarily be quick to throw Alex Smith back into the mix. San Francisco 32, Chicago 7.
In college football, while all eyes are on the BCS Championship, some other conference matters are brewing as well. Teams have been flying from conference to conference for financial reasons. They know that playing in certain conferences will get them more TV time, and thus more money. The Big East and the ACC have been unpopular homes, and now it looks like Maryland and Rutgers are both looking to bail. Where to? The Big 10. The Big 10 has been pretty putrid this year. Ohio State is undefeated, but the level of competition in the Big 10 is rather porous. Both Maryland and Rutgers think they could compete in the conference and also net some serious cash playing the likes of Michigan, Ohio State, and Nebraska — teams that attract TV attention. It’s not a done deal yet, but it’s looking quite likely.
Finally, in some more NFL news, there is a lot of negative attention surrounding Eagles coach Andy Reid. The Eagles have had one of their worst seasons in years, and in a city that demands perfection (i.e. Philadelphia) they want him out. Michael Vick is already hurt, and it doesn’t look like rookie QB Nick Foles is going to lead them to the promised land anytime soon. Fans want Reid to quit, officially marking the transition to a new Eagles era. Remember, however, that Reid was responsible for more than a decade of successful Eagles football. They were always competitive. This year, Reid had a lot of personal strife as his son died of a heroin overdose. That would get in anybody’s head, and surely that has affected Reid’s focus on his job. But Reid said he can’t quit, that that would be a “cop out”. He said how could he quit when he’s asking his players to keep pushing. It’s likely that the Eagles will move on from Reid after the season, but he at least deserves to the right to fight for the remainder of the season.No comments
In college football this weekend, it was something that nobody could have predicted. After Alabama lost last weekend, everybody thought their BCS Championship hopes were over, unless some crazy stuff happened. And, well, some crazy stuff happened.
First up, it was #1 Kansas State vs. an unranked Baylor team with, supposedly, a putrid defense. And you definitely need strong defense against the score-at-will Kansas State Wildcats. Right from the get go, however, Baylor’s offensive machine was in full throttle. Before the Wildcats knew it, the Bears had jumped out to 28-7 lead. The Wildcats would cut it to an 11 point lead before the half and receive at the beginning of the second half, but it was no use, as Baylor just kept charging. Kansas State kept thinking they were going to catch up, but the lead kept growing and growing, until finally the game was out of site. Baylor didn’t just pull the upset of the year, they absolutely killed the #1 team in the nation. When does that happen? Wow! Baylor 52, Kansas State 24.
So, that pretty much gave the reigns to #2 Oregon. All they had to do was win, and they would be ranked #1 in the nation and presumably make their destiny towards a National Championship. Oregon has been on fire this year, and the experts felt, with Alabama out of the picture, this was finally Oregon’s year to hoist the trophy. Um, yeah, ask Stanford how they feel about that. Stanford is known for their stone wall defense, but could it hold up against a seemingly unstoppable offense. The answer: Yes. The game was tied at 14 towards the end of the 4th quarter. 14! For Oregon! Wow! The game would even need an overtime, and you had to assume that Oregon would own that. Well, not exactly. They couldn’t even get a field goal on their first possession. And, mind you, this is AT OREGON, one of the hardest places to play in the country. But Stanford got it, and got in position to kick an easy field goal to win the game and upset Oregon. Oregon isn’t out necessarily, but they did drop out of the Top 5 rankings. Wow, #1 and #2 fall on the same weekend. That’s extremely rare! So now Notre Dame is #1 and can control their destiny to play for the National Championship, and it’s likely they will play the winner of the SEC Championship between Alabama and Georgia. Stanford 17, Oregon 14.
Finally, in the NFL, there was a thriller between Houston and Jacksonville. Houston was coming off a triumphant win against a very tough Chicago Bears team, so they never expected that a lowly Jacksonville, playing with their back-up quarterback Chad Henne would give them such a fit. For most of the game, the Jaguars were absolutely trouncing the Texans. And the Texans have one of the best passing defenses in the league. They allowed Chad Henne to throw for 4 touchdowns and 354 yards. Plus, we got to see the breakout performance from the top wide-receiver in this year’s draft, as Justin Blackmon had 236 receiving yards on the day. He was a beast out there. However, the biggest hero of the day was Texans quarterback Matt Schaub who finally came alive, throwing for 527 yards and 5 touchdowns — the last of which was an overtime, game-winning toss to the immortal Andre Johnson. With the win, the Texans remain atop the AFC. Houston 43, Jacksonville 37.No comments
In Thursday Night Football, it was the Miami Dolphins heading to Buffalo to play the Bills. Both teams desperately needed this game, but more so the Bills, as a loss would almost surely signal the end of their season. The Bills defense has improved since they got back their high priced free agent Mario Williams. And that’s the defense they would need and use to completely shut down Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. They held him to just 141 yards and even caused him to toss 2 interceptions. Meanwhile, the Bills offense wasn’t exactly impressive (they failed to convert one offensive touchdown), but they did just enough to hang on a take the game. Their season remains alive. Buffalo 19, Miami 14.
The New York Knicks are the last undefeated team in the league, and they were looking to go 6-0 against the Spurs on the road. Winning against a Spurs team that’s gunning to take you down is no easy task. But, the Knicks are seriously gelling this year. They’ve got a nice rhythm, and the team is clearly led by Carmelo Anthony, without all the talk of Jeremy Lin surrounding him. Their roles players are playing great, including the newly add J.R. Smith who openly admitted he was kinda checked out last year because the New York night life was just too appealing to him. The Spurs did everything they could to cause the Knicks first loss, but Raymond Felton (25 points, 7 assists) and the Knicks were just too much for the Spurs to handle. The Knicks remain undefeated at 6-0. That’s very hard in the modern era NBA. NY Knicks 104, San Antonio 100.
The big daddy of them all, the MVP awards, finally came in. Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants took the National League. That was no surprise. The big drama was in the American League between the Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera, who had a phenomenal season, and the Los Angeles Angels’ young superstar Mike Trout. The Angels even won more games than the Tigers, they just happened to be in a tougher division. But, in the end, the voting wasn’t even close, as Cabrera got the award by a landslide. However, there is a lot of controversy over this While Cabrera’s stats were better, Mike Trout may have been actually been more valuable to his team. He helped them win a lot of games, while Cabrera actually lost quite a few for the Tigers. That’s what baseball is about: arguments over who’s the best.No comments