January 13, 2014
NFL Conference Championship Games Set: The NFL Playoffs continued this weekend and the conference championship games are now set. In the AFC, the New England Patriots will travel to Denver to play the Broncos. In the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks will host the San Francisco 49ers. At this point, the Super Bowl is anybody’s to win and both of the road teams will have legitimate shots to win. The Patriots are fresh off a three-touchdown drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts and have a guy named Tom Brady at the helm. The 49ers were soundly beaten in Seattle earlier this season, but came back to beat them at home and also are a different team with a healthy Michael Crabtree. Both home teams look good, but don’t be surprised by a road win or two, either.
Baseball to Induct New Hall of Famers: The Baseball Hall of Fame will grow by a few members later this year when Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine will all be inducted. Maddux received the most votes of the three but still took home ‘only’ 97% of ‘yes’ votes. It’s always astonishing to see voters that clearly don’t take their responsibility all that seriously. Maddux isn’t only a clear Hall of Famer, but he’s one of the best pitchers of all time. The Hall could do itself a favor by eliminating the follies of voters by simply taking away their ballot if they can’t exercise a bit of common sense. Craig Biggio barely missed the cut, but will almost surely get in either next year or in the near future. Meanwhile, voters again showed their clear disdain for players widely suspected to have taken PEDs as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Mark McGwire all fell well short of the required number of votes needed for induction.
Florida State wins National Championship: Last Monday, the Florida State Seminoles topped the Auburn Tigers after a slow start, winning 34-31. Trailing 21-10, the Seminoles were on the ropes and easily faced their stiffest test of the year against the SEC champion. But they rallied for 21 points in the final quarter to claim the title, led by freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. One loss can knock a team out in the regular season, but with Winston at the helm as well as talented players on both sides of the ball, it’s really hard to pick another favorite to win it all next year.
Dogs can be Football Fans, too, Right?: Right?!?!?
ALL THE DEREK HOLLAND JOKES: Speaking of dogs, Derek Holland’s apparently caused him to miss half of the 2014 baseball season. Cue the jokes about weird baseball injuries.
ARod Suspended for Season: Alex Rodriguez should officially miss all of 2014 after an arbitrator upheld MLB’s initial suspension for his use of PEDs. ARod actually had his suspension cut from 211 games but is still banned for the entire season, including the playoffs. The suspension is obviously a blow to ARod, but don’t expect the Yankees to be shedding any tears over his ban. The team still owes him about $60 million over the next few seasons, but will save over $20 million in luxury tax money they would have owed had he played. If ARod were still a dominant player, New York would rather have him on the field. But with his career in severe decline, not having their third baseman and saving all of that money is actually a significant benefit.
Penn State hires James Franklin: After losing head coach Bill O’Brien to the NFL, the Nittany Lions hired away James Franklin from Vanderbilt. Franklin is known as an excellent recruiter and did a remarkable job in getting the Commodores’ program to new heights, winning nine games in each of the past two seasons. The hire, however, shouldn’t go unquestioned since he also went 1-8 against Top 25 teams in his tenure at Vandy. Franklin will stand a better chance in the Big Ten at a historic program than he did trying to revive a struggling one in the difficult SEC. Beating the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan, though, won’t be a cakewalk, though.
Lindsey Vonn out of Olympics: U.S. skiing will look a little different in the Olympics at Sochi this year when Lindsey Vonn announced her injured knee will keep her from participating. Tough, tough blow for Vonn who, at 31, might not have the chance to ski in another Olympics.
NFL Could Sell Thursday Night Games: The NFL currently broadcasts Thursday night games on its own NFL Network, but the league may decide to sell those to other networks. If the decision goes through, the games would surely generate a huge amount of interest … and a huge amount of money for the NFL.
Chicago Bulls play for Future: The Chicago Bulls are without Derrick Rose, who is likely out for the season with a knee injury. Despite playing in a weak conference, the franchise decided to play for the future by trading away their best healthy player, Luol Deng, for the Cavaliers’ Andrew Bynum and draft picks … and then promptly releasing Bynum to save money. It’s understandable that many Chicago fans are perturbed by the move. The Bulls gain the draft picks and money to sign another player, but the team not only gave up on the season but also gave up on trying to re-sign Deng, who is a very good player.