December 10, 2012
Johnny Manziel makes history, wins Heisman Trophy: Texas A&M’s freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel made a bit of history last week by winning the Heisman Trophy. Manziel was the first freshman in the history of college football to win the prestigious award. He didn’t have stats that blew others out of the water (Manziel didn’t even finish in the top 15 in yards, touchdowns, or passer rating), but they were just good enough to put him on top. Also helping Manziel was the fact that Texas A&M had an outstanding season as a team, finishing 10-2 and defeating No. 1 Alabama on the road. He deserved the award, but the real news is that Manziel likely has opened the door for others. Many voters may have been hesitant to give the award to a freshman, but now that it’s already been done, that will make it easier for other underclassmen to win the award.
Manuel Marquez stuns Manny Pacquiao: For a long time, boxing fans have been clamoring for a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight. Talk of that may finally be dead, though, as Pacquiao was stunned by Manuel Marquez last week in dramatic fashion. Marquez knocked Pacquiao out cold with one second left in the sixth round, shocking the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mayweather, for one, has to be a bit happy at the turnout. Even if he felt he could beat Pacquiao, there’s always the chance he would lose. Now, Mayweather doesn’t even have to risk hurting his legacy as those calling for him to fight Pacquiao will likely move on to finding the next best opponent.
Seattle Seahawks crush Arizona Cardinals, 58-0: If you had the Seattle Seahawks’ defense on your fantasy football team, you had a good chance of winning your game this week. The Seahawks pitched a shutout against the Cardinals, prevailing 58-0 at home. The 58 points was a franchise record, but the defense was just as impressive. The unit not only stopped Arizona from scoring a single point, but forced eight turnovers. You just don’t see blowouts all that often in the NFL and this was simply a bloodbath.
Sidney Crosby talks Europe: After talks between players and owners broke down again last week, the NHL lockout may be forcing more players overseas. In particular, Sidney Crosby, who is possibly the league’s biggest star, talked about being more open to playing in Europe. That may not sound like a big deal, but you can bet that type of news isn’t what the league wants to hear. Even if the biggest stars are able to leave their temporary teams once a deal to play in the NHL is struck, there’s always the chance that someone could suffer a bad injury. The last thing the league wants in the midst of trying to rebuild a relationship with a disgruntled fanbase is to start a short season without a major star.
Jeremy Lin’s struggles continue: Jeremy Lin’s lackluster year continued with the worst stretch of the season. In three games against the Lakers, Spurs, and Mavericks last week, Lin’s offense was virtually non-existent. He scored a total of only 15 points and did it on a dismal 6-21 shooting. A fairly overlooked statistic is that Lin had only two free throw attempts in the three games. Not only is he not scoring, he’s not even being aggressive enough to get to the line. It’s really early but so far, the Jeremy Lin experiment isn’t going all that well in Houston. He isn’t completely falling off the radar as he’s averaging just over six assists and four rebounds a game, but his scoring is down significantly, despite having less talent around him. The expectation was that his numbers should improve even more as he’d be taking more shots, but Lin is actually shooting slightly less. It’s clear he has work to do to even approach the season he had last year.
Los Angeles Dodgers sign Korean star Hyun-jin Ryu: The Dodgers made an offseason splash by signing Korean pitching star Hyun-jin Ryu for six years/$36 million, according to ESPN. In seven seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization, Ryu struck out nearly a batter an inning and had an ERA of 2.80. With the new star, the Dodgers have added to their deep rotation. With Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett, the team has an outstanding one-two punch at the top of the rotation. Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, and Ryu will presumably compete for the remaining three spots. If all are healthy, look for the team to make a move or two in exchange for some more offense.
May 4, 2012
NHL Playoffs. NBA Playoffs. The Kentucky Derby. NASCAR at Talladega. UFC on Fox. This weekend is packed with amazing sporting events, so amazing that some of the events above didn’t even make this week’s viewing schedule. With a weekend as action packed as this one, I thought I would break down the must-see events this weekend. (All times ET.)
Phoenix at Nashville – NHL – 7:30pm
There is so much surrounding this playoff game. Nashville has to decide if they want to play Radulov and Kostitsyn after suspending them for the last game. With Phoenix up 2-1, the Predators may need to pull out all the stops if they want to bring this series back to Nashville.
New York Rangers at Washington – NHL – 12:30pm
After a triple-overtime thriller in the last game, I don’t see how this doesn’t make the list. Washington is reeling after falling late in the third overtime, and a loss in this game could all but end the series. The Rangers will look to win one more on the road before trying to end the series in New York, but as the last game proved, Washington isn’t going down without a fight.
Memphis at Los Angeles Clippers – NBA – 4:30pm
With many teams already down 2-0 or 3-0, a series tied at 1-1 seems refreshing at this point. Heading into the playoffs, the Grizzlies managed to get home-court in the first round, which could factor in later in the series. For now, enjoy a series where both games have been decided by a combined 8 points, with another close game sure to follow.
The Kentucky Derby – Horse Racing – 6:00pm
Whether you are an avid horse racing fan (is anyone anymore?) or not, the Kentucky Derby is a must watch event every single year. The first leg of the Triple Crown, we find out which horse America will fall in love with this year, at least until The Preakness Stakes.
Mayweather vs. Cotto – Boxing – 9pm
Everyone wants to see Mayweather vs. Pacquiao,and until then every fight seems a little less special. Unlike previous fights, however, this fight could have some real fireworks. Cotto is no pushover and could legitimately challenge Mayweather during this fight. I still think Mayweather will win, but this is a fight worth ordering.
NASCAR at Talladega – 1:00pm
There is a reason Will Ferrell named his movie “Talladega Nights”. Talladega is right up there with the Daytona 500 and when it comes on, you have to watch. The Sprint Cup standings are incredibly tight, as the top 4 drivers are separated by 10 points. This early in the season, drives will be taking chances in the hopes of finding their way to victory lane at Talladega.
Atlanta at Boston – NBA – 7:00pm
Another playoff series tied 1-1, the Celtics won Game 2 without star PG Rajon Rondo. The Celtics get Rondo back in Game 3, as well as home court for the next two games. This game is a pivotal point in the series and Atlanta will be playing with urgency to get back home court. After a long sports weekend, this will be a great game to wrap it all up.