December 10, 2013
Don’t look now, but the college basketball season is already about a third of the way complete. Who knew? With bowl season and the NFL playoffs closing in, college basketball doesn’t get much attention, but it is shaping up to be a great season. Kentucky, Michigan St., and Arizona have all been ranked No. 1. The defending champions in Louisville have just one loss and are at No. 6. And there are still 15(????) teams that haven’t lost. How long will that last? Let’s take a look.
No. 2 Syracuse (9-0) – The Orange should have no trouble in the next two and ought to be 11-0 heading into a showdown with No. 10 Villanova. The Wildcats will probably also be undefeated heading into that game. One streak will end.
No. 3 Ohio State (8-0) - The Buckeyes have a bunch of wins against schools that I have not heard of. So I’m not impressed. But they did hold a ranked Marquette team to 35 points. That is impressive. If they beat Michigan State on Jan. 7 then I’ll really be impressed.
No. 9 Connecticut (9-0) – The Huskies have three wins by one point and another win by just two. They could get to 16-0, but they won’t make it to 18-0. With games against No. 16 Memphis and No. 6 Louisville coming in a three day span, at least one loss is coming.
No. 10 Villanova (9-0) – Same story here as with Syracuse. If the Wildcats can beat Syracuse, they could go for a long run. There are no other ranked teams left on the schedule.
No. 12 Wichita State (9-0) – The Shockers have only been tested on a couple of occasions. There are no ranked teams on their schedule so they should finish the season with just a couple losses. And the first one will come at Alabama on Dec. 17.
No. 15 Oregon (8-0) – The Ducks have only played one close game and escaped with a win in overtime at Mississippi. They’ll be tested in two of the next three games when they play Illinios and BYU. My gut says they lose one of them.
No. 17 Iowa State (7-0) – The Cyclones are ranked in the top four in the nation in points, rebounds and assists. No wonder they haven’t lost. But they are about to. In-state rival Iowa (ranked in the top nine in the nation in points, rebounds and assists) comes to town on Friday and will give the Cyclones their first L of the season.
No. 22 Massachusetts (8-0) – The Minutemen have an impressive list of wins already. Boston College, LSU, New Mexico, Clemson and BYU gives them a pretty nice early season resume. I’ll be really impressed if they make it to 11-0 because that will require a win over Florida Sate on Dec. 21.
No. 29 Boise State (8-0) – Could Chris Peterson have left Boise State because he didn’t even have the highest ranked team at his own school? When was the last time the basketball team was ranked higher than the football team? The Broncos have the top scoring team in the country. Can they pull the upset at Kentucky tonight?
No. 35 St. Mary’s (7-0) – They don’t have any great wins yet, but St. Mary’s has a shot to pick one up against Boise State on Saturday.
Toledo (8-0) – The Rockets do not even have a vote to be in the top 25 right now. But they can shoot (6th in the country) and have put up at least 90 points five times already. A couple more wins should get some people’s attention. Then we’ll see what they can do when they visit No. 13 Kansas on Dec. 30.
December 4, 2013
How about that finish in the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn? Pretty crazy right. We’ve all heard about that by now. And that game between the Patriots and Broncos was pretty good too. They are just two of the big sports stories we’ve seen in the last few weeks, but there are a lot more that are just as strange but don’t get as much attention. Here’s a few that I like.
One of the fastest sprinters in history, Usain Bolt, recently revealed that he ate around 1,000 chicken nuggets from McDonalds during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing while he was winning gold medals in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4×100 meter relay events.
Speaking of Olympians, swimmer Ryan Lochte was injured by a teenage girl. She was an excited fan and ran at him and when he caught her, they both went down and he hit his knee on a curb and wound up with a torn MCL and sprained ACL.
A cross country runner in Kentucky opted not to run in the regional championships because she was assigned the number 666 for the bib she was to wear on her chest. She requested to change numbers for religious purposes and the request was denied by race officials.
A man was arrested for using a taser on his wife because of a bet between the two regarding the outcome of a Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. The couple had agreed that the loser of the bet would be tasered by the winner and after the Bears pulled out the win, the man used the stun gun on his wife’s butt twice and once on her thigh. She called the cops and he went to jail.
Kansas State attempted to lure students to attend the women’s basketball season opener by giving away five slices of bacon to any student that presented a valid ID.
Corey “Thunder” Law of the Harlem Globetrotters set a new world record for the longest basketball shot by making a bomb from just over 109 feet away.
An assistant football coach in Tennessee was arrested and charged for vandalizing his own school. He committed the crime in an attempt to frame the opponent in his teams rivalry game with the hopes that it would inspire his team to win the game. They lost 35-17.
A coyote stole the show when it joined in the Arizona cross country state championship race. It disappeared back into the brush after making a short appearance at the front of the pack.
Jacksonville defender Jason Babin came away from a tackle with a handful of Arizona running back Andre Ellington’s dreadlocks.
Michigan State got some help from the crowd in avoiding an upset loss against Columbia. The Spartans led by just two points with about three minutes to play when the student section helped out the defense by mistiming its shot clock countdown on two consecutive Columbia possessions. The Lions didn’t attempt a shot either time and turned the ball back to Michigan St. who ended up winning 62-53.
Just over a year after Jack Taylor of Grinnell College set the single-game collegiate scoring record with 138 points, Taylor was at it again, scoring 109 points in a 173-123 win over Crossroads College.
David Murphy’s free agent signing with the Cleveland Indians was leaked by his young daughter at her daycare.
The PBA started using blue dye to show viewers the oil on the lanes in an effort to help fans better understand the challenges facing the pros.
A golfer from Wales made a hole-in-one to get into contention in the World Cup of Golf and then played himself out of contention on the very next hole by carding an 11.
The Chicago Cubs, a team that is known for having a loyal fan base despite not winning a World Series in more than a century, has asked one of their biggest fans, an 11-year-old girl no less, to stop getting so excited at the games.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are trying to distract kickers with a dramatic gopher video when the kickers are facing the giant video board.
Jason Kidd was fined $50,000 for intentionally spilling his drink on the court when he didn’t have any timeouts left an needed to stop the game to set up a final play against the Lakers.
November 26, 2013
In just a couple days the nation will be eating turkey and giving thanks for all the Black Friday sales. So if you are planning to spend hours in line waiting for the chance to trample other shoppers and need something to pass the time, try predicting what will happen in the last five weeks of the NFL season. I did. And trust me, I’m in the mood to trample. But I learned a few things along the way, too.
Here’s how my playoff field turned out in the AFC:
1. New England: 13-3
2. Denver: 13-3
3. Cincinnati: 12-4
4. Indianapolis: 9-7
5. Kansas City: 13-3
6. Miami: 9-7
The Broncos may have just cost themselves home field advantage in the AFC by blowing that 24-0 lead in New England. And if they don’t bounce back with a win in Kansas City on Sunday, they’ll be looking at a wild card spot.
Suddenly, Sunday’s game between the Titans and Colts is huge. The Colts are reeling after another blowout loss and still have to play the Bengals and Chiefs. A Tennessee win on Sunday would put the Titans just a game back with the Cardinals, Jaguars and Texans as their last three opponents.
Here’s how my playoff field turned out in the NFC:
1. New Orleans: 14-2
2. Seattle: 13-3
3. Dallas: 10-6
4. Green Bay: 9-6-1
5. Carolina: 11-5
6. San Francisco: 11-5
The NFC East will come down to the final game of the season when the Eagles head to Dallas to battle the Cowboys. Especially if the Eagles can beat Arizona this week.
The NFC North will come down to the health of Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers. The quarterback that returns and regains his form first will lead his team to the division title. And Detroit is going to regret blowing the game against Tampa Bay last week.
Several teams are playing for their season in week 13:
Detroit Lions: After losing at home to Tampa Bay the Lions face a must-win situation on Thanksgiving against a probably Aaron Rodgers-less division rival from Green Bay.
San Diego: With the Giants, Broncos and Chiefs still to play, San Diego cannot take a seventh loss against Cincinnati on Sunday.
Arizona: The Cardinals must beat the Eagles this week if their week 17 game against the 49ers is to mean anything in the wild card race.
November 19, 2013
We’re just 10 games into an 82-game NBA season so obviously there’s a lot of basketball left to play. But now that the games are for real, its time to take a look at what has happened so far compared to what we expected to happen.
Philadelphia was supposed to be the worst team in the league and the 76ers are leading the division. They have Michael-Carter Williams to thank for that. The rookie is making everyone forget they traded Jrue Holliday during the offseason and led the team to shocking wins over the Heat and Bulls. The future looks bright in Philly with Williams, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes (averaging a double-double), injured rookie Nerlens Noel and probably a high draft pick coming in the summer.
Brooklyn is supposed to be a threat to Miami and is in last place at 3-7. The Nets have been dealing with injury problems and that makes life even tougher with a first-time head coach. Good thing they are a veteran team and have an owner willing to do whatever it takes to win. Once they get healthy, the Nets should get back on track.
Indiana has picked up where it left off in the playoffs when it nearly knocked off the Heat. The Pacers ought to be better this year.
In Cleveland its starting to look like the Andrew Bynum addition isn’t going to be the move that gets the Cavs back to the playoffs. They are going to need a lot more than six points and four rebounds from their big man.
Charlotte is off to a pretty good start (for Charlotte) at 5-6 and that is with Al Jefferson only playing three games so far. He should improve their 30th ranked offense.
What’s wrong with Washington? Weren’t the Wizards supposed to be a playoff team? Not at 2-7 they aren’t.
Portland is the hottest team in the league with seven straight wins. This appears to be a much improved team and another contender to battle for a playoff berth in the stacked Western Conference.
Utah is running away with the race for the most lottery balls in the draft. The Jazz already have 11 losses. That’s four more than the next highest. Will it be Wiggins or Parker?
Phoenix may be the biggest surprise so far at 5-4. The four losses are by a combined 13 points and that includes games in San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Impressive start, but will it last?
New Orleans is a Wednesday night win over the terrible Utah Jazz from getting to .500 and they’ll still be the worst team in the best division in basketball.
San Antonio has nine players averaging at least seven points a game. Some teams don’t even have nine guys they will put on the court.
November 14, 2013
We’ve past the halfway point of the NFL season and now have a pretty good idea of who is good and who isn’t. But the playoff race is still wide open. Unless you are the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams or Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For everyone else, their season could be defined by the outcome of one game. Here’s my take on the games that each team must win to secure its playoff destiny.
Baltimore Ravens - The defending Super Bowl champ Ravens are on the ropes. And when you are on the ropes, you cannot afford to lose to a team playing without its starting quarterback. Even if the game is in Chicago.
Cincinnati Bengals – Nobody wants to head into the bye with three straight losses. A loss to Cleveland would take the Bengals out of the hunt for a playoff bye and leave them in a dogfight to win the division that was theirs just a couple weeks ago.
Denver Broncos – They can take control of the AFC with a win over the undefeated Chiefs. A loss and the Broncos could be looking at the No. 5 seed in the AFC. There is a huge difference between No. 1 and No. 5.
Philadelphia Eagles – New coach Chip Kelly has his team tied for the lead in the NFC East despite starting the season with four straight losses at home. A win in Philly over the Redskins would put the Eagles in first place and eliminate a division rival from contention.
Washington Redskins – A win would really tighten up the NFC East race. A loss would put the Redskins at 3-7 and needing six straight wins plus help. Better win in Philly.
Cleveland Browns – The Browns have two games left against the Steelers. If the Browns don’t win this one, the week 17 rematch won’t have any playoff implications.
Green Bay Packers – The Packers need to pick up at least one more win before Aaron Rodgers returns for the final month. Playing at home against a bad Vikings team looks like the one they cannot afford to lose.
New England Patriots – The Patriots will be in the playoffs but if they are going to have a chance at home-field advantage, this is a must win game on Sunday night against the Broncos.
San Diego Chargers – The Chargers have two games coming up against the Chiefs and for the one in week 17 to matter, they need to win this one.
Chicago Bears – If Jay Cutler can’t stay on the field, the Bears are in trouble. Either way, they’ll need this game against the Vikings to improve their conference and division record because if they are going to get in the playoffs, I expect tiebreakers to be involved.
Detroit Lions – The Lions are in first place in the NFC North and have a sweep over the Bears. They could win the division and make a run at a first-round bye. But for that to happen, they’ll need to give their fans something to be thankful for with a win over Green Bay on Thanksgiving Day.
Kansas City Chiefs – Despite the 9-0 record, the Chiefs haven’t shown they belong with the big boys by beating any of the other top teams in the league. They’ll have to beat Denver at least once to win the AFC West and home-field advantage in the AFC and this will be their best shot.
Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks should have no trouble making the playoffs. But they could just about lockup home-field advantage in the NFC with a Monday night win over the Saints.
Indianapolis Colts – Nobody has better wins than the Colts. Another big one against the Bengals would give the Colts the edge for the No. 3 seed and keep them alive for the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers shouldn’t have trouble picking up a few more wins to reach the playoffs. But if they are going to have a shot at winning the division or make a Super Bowl run, they’ve got to redeem themselves against Seattle after getting creamed earlier this season.
Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals will need at least nine wins to get a wild card spot. They could get number nine in Tennessee and with Seattle and San Fransisco coming up, it could be their last win as well.
Carolina Panthers – They have two games to play against the Saints. Losing both would really hurt and I like Carolina’s chances to win at home much better.
Dallas Cowboys – The NFC East looks like it will come down to the final game of the season as usual. Luckily for the Cowboys, they’ll be at home to face the Eagles.
New York Jets – The AFC wild card race looks like its headed for a wild finish with at least six teams still in play. A week 17 win is a must for the Jets to grab the final spot.