October 29, 2012
Today we’ll be debuting a new feature – ‘The Week in Sports.’ That’s hopefully a temporary name until we can come up with something a little more catchy (patience is required since that might be a while). Here’s a brief look at what happened in the world of sports in the past week.
Giants sweep Tigers in World Series – A little thing called the ‘World Series’ kicked off … and ended. The Giants soundly defeated the Tigers in a four-game sweep over the weekend and the Series seemed like it was over before it even began. It was San Francisco’s second championship in only three years and all of a sudden, Bruce Bochy has become one of the hottest managers in all of baseball.
James Harden traded to Rockets – The Oklahoma City Thunder traded a big piece of their team, the NBA’s best sixth man, James Harden. He was sent to the Houston Rockets along with a few minor players in exchange for scoring guard Kevin Martin, rookie Jeremy Lamb, and three draft picks (including two first-rounders). My initial reaction when the Thunder moved Harden was that it was foolish. But when I saw how much they got in return, it was hard to argue with the move. Martin is an all-star caliber guard, Lamb was the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft, and two potentially high picks is a lot to get back. That said, the Rockets are getting maybe the best beard in the NBA in return … so there’s that.
Is London ready for the NFL? – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said this week that London is ready to have an NFL team after hosting a few games. They may have the fan-base for it, but logistically it could be a bit of a headache to get eight teams to make that trip out there every year. In addition, will the team’s players really want to play in an entirely different country and live so far from family and friends? I’m not sure a franchise in London is all that feasible.
Marcus Lattimore injury – South Carolina star running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a gruesome injury over the weekend in their game against Tennessee. If you saw it, it was ugly. If you didn’t and want a glimpse (despite my highest recommendations against it), here you go. The good news is that head coach Steve Spurrier said it’s an injury from which he can come back and the hopes are that he’ll be playing again. Lattimore’s been a big part of the team’s success this year.
Atlanta Falcons still undefeated – I’m not sure if the 1972 Miami Dolphins are getting antsy yet, but the Falcons stayed unbeaten with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend. Now, Atlanta’s played well, but they don’t have that superhuman look that other recent teams have had. They’re 7-0, but four of their games have been decided by a touchdown or less. The verdict? Don’t expect them to finish the season without a blemish.
Frankenstorm is coming – No, it’s not sports-related, but working ‘Frankenstorm’ into this column was a must.
Astros’ new logo leaked – With the Houston Astros’ move to the American League next season, the franchise planned to release a new logo this week. Unfortunately, the MLB offices didn’t get the memo and advertised the logo on products online. #Oops
Updated BCS standings – After No. 2 Florida was upset by Georgia on Saturday, Notre Dame and Kansas State moved up in the latest BCS rankings. The Irish leapfrogged Oregon, who remained at No. 4. With top-ranked Alabama in the mix, the top four teams all play in different conferences (including Notre Dame, who’s independent, of course). That means all four could theoretically go undefeated causing a major logjam near the top. College football’s proposed playoff can’t come soon enough.
October 19, 2012
With college football’s first BCS standings being released 4 days ago, there were a few surprises near the top of the standings, along with the two teams we all expected to be there. This season, at least to this point, has been one of the most intriguing for the fan in years. 3 of the top 5 teams are playing way above expectations, and there have been a few teams that have lost one game much earlier than expected.
If the second half of this season continues to be as wide-open as the first, we may have two teams in the BCS title game that haven’t been there in a while. And that’s an understatement.
Here are the current top 5 teams in the BCS Standings:
The preseason number 1, the Crimson Tide will have to beat themselves to not be in Miami on January 7th.
This is the first surprise in this year’s standings. Great victories over Tennessee in Knoxville and against LSU in the Swamp came because of stifling defense. However, it doesn’t get any easier for the Gators as they play #7 South Carolina and #11 Georgia in back-to-back weeks.
The Ducks have been nothing short of dominant, although they have yet to play the best competition on their schedule. That comes in two weeks, when they travel to Los Angeles to battle the 10th-ranked Trojans. They finish the year with back-to-back games against Stanford and at an up-start Oregon State team that is currently 8th in the BCS standings.
4. Kansas State
Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein has the Wildcats playing classic Bill Snyder football. Klein has passed for 1,074 yards with 7 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. He is also a dual-threat, running for 5.2 yards per carry. The key to their surprise start to the season was their upset win against Oklahoma in Norman. This week against West Virginia in Morgantown and next week’s battle with a gritty Texas Tech team will tell us if these Cats’ are for real.
5. Notre Dame
Yes, wake-up the echoes. Senior linebacker Manti’ Teo is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. The Irish defense ranks 2nd in the country allowing just 8.7 points per game. The Golden Domers should proceed with caution starting this Saturday with a game against BYU who boasts the 7th ranked defense in the nation. It doesn’t stop there, next week the Irish take on Oklahoma in Norman, and they will finish the year with their annual “ Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh” where they face the Trojans in the Coliseum. Sounds daunting.
The next few weeks will either separate these five teams even more, or make 2012 the most wide-open chase for a national championship ever. Just behind these 5 are a host of great one-loss teams: LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State, West Virginia, USC, and Oklahoma. So, just one slip-up down the stretch would be extremely costly. Personally, I would love to see 12 one-loss teams in the running for a national title. However, Alabama is my pick to go undefeated. Can anyone else? We’ll see.
September 19, 2011
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about NCAA Football Conference allignment and how superconferences could be good for college football. My point was that if six such conferences existed, the BCS would be more accessible to a greater number of teams. But with the Big 12 possibly on the verge of an epic collapse, the more likely scenario is a sport with only four of those 16-team conferences.
That got me to thinking – if it did happen, who would likely be included? Rivals/Yahoo had some writers discuss the issue with each one coming up with their list of NCAA teams. It’s safe to say there were some notable omissions – Duke, UConn, and Indiana all were left off some of the rosters.NCAA football rules college athletics, but is it really fair to leave out such NCAA basketball powerhouses?
Well, I’ll get to that in a bit. But for the record, basketball programs that don’t play FBS football were left out of consideration. So Villanova, Georgetown, Xavier, Marquette, Gonzaga, et al? No dice.
So here’s my list of 64 teams:
The Absolute Locks– There’s absolutely no discussion on these guys. The fact that I even have to list them is borderline insulting. Call them first-ballot Hall of Famers, if you will. If there was only one superconference, these guys would be the first ones in: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, USC
Next In Line- These schools aren’t the cream of the crop, but they’d definitely get in without any question. Any NCAA conference would be glad to have them and there’s as much of a chance of Oddibe McDowell getting into the Hall of Fame as there is of these schools being left out: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, Pittsburgh, UCLA, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Still In With Little Question – This is the third tier…NCAA schools that no sane conference would leave out. There could be some trivial questions about a few of them, but these institutions would certainly all be in as well. Arizona State, Boston College, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Purdue, Oregon State, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Virginia, Washington
The “Basketball” Schools– Personally, I don’t see how you have superconferences without including some of the most storied basketball programs around. Sure, we all get that despite March Madness, in terms of money, NCAA basketball takes a back seat to football. But as the second biggest college sport, these schools have got to be in. After all, are you really going to turn down these schools that not only each have won multiple basketball championships for someone like Baylor? Didn’t think so: UConn, Duke, Indiana
The “Non-BCS Football Schools”– These guys have all had incredible success without being in a BCS automatic qualifying conference. I can listen to the argument of not moving them to the front of the line for various reasons such as market size, but they’ve all been ranked in the top ten in recent years on the gridiron and are too good to leave out: Boise State, BYU, TCU, Utah
The Final Five In
Minnesota – Mediocre football and basketball programs, but has had respectable years in each.
Northwestern– Here mostly for their academics and market (Chicago). Oh yeah, and Michael Wilbon.
Rutgers – One of oldest universities and recent football success with average of nine wins from 2006 – 2009.
South Carolina – Are you gonna be the one to tell Steve Spurrier he’s not invited?
South Florida– Football program on the rise after only being in Division I for ten years and brings the Tampa market.
Left Out – Can’t find room for everybody and these would be the unlucky schools if I were putting the conferences together. Would they be on someone’s list? Absolutely. But on mine, they just miss the cut: Vanderbilt, Baylor, Iowa State, Washington State, Wake Forest
February 25, 2011
Here’s some proof that school spirit is stronger than the success of a school’s basketball team. Below are the 50 best selling colleges on Fathead.com over the last month. By our estimates, only about half of them will make the NCAA Tournament.
The top selling colleges of the last 30 days:
1. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
6. Penn State
11. Michigan State
15. Miami (FL)
19. West Virginia
29. Florida State
30. Oklahoma State
32. Virginia Tech
34. Boise State
38. Arizona State
42. South Carolina
44. Georgia Tech
45. Kansas State
47. Iowa State
50. Oregon State
And, of course, here is the weekly list of top Fathead sellers. The Super Bowl hype is beginning to fade, and with it, the NFL’s stronghold on list. While many NFL Fatheads remain, the league has given up some ground to the NBA on the heels of a great NBA All-Star Weekend.
The top selling Fatheads of the last 7 days (Feb. 18 – Feb. 24):
1. Kobe Bryant
8. Rajon Rondo
10. Derrick Rose
September 3, 2008
By John Fontana
Queue the marching band. Queue the cheerleaders. Queue the coaches, the team and the trainer. And for the sake of college football and all its excitement, queue the University of Colorado’s Ralphie, http://www.autumnspectacle.com/Pageantry/Ralphie-runout.jpg the greatest live mascot http://www.fathead.com/college/colorado-buffaloes/colorado-buffaloes-logo/ in college sports – hands down. Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of young men like the sight of a 1,300-pound hulk of hairy buffalo (actually an American Bison) bearing down on them when Ralphie makes her (yes, her) pregame run right into the teeth of the opponent’s warm-ups. There have been more than a few players who have had to change their pants even before the game started.
A tradition since 1967, Ralphie V made her debut Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver (three days after Barack Obama accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the same venue), leading the Colorado Buffaloes into their annual in-state rivalry against Colorado State (represented by a docile old Ram that wets itself at the site of the great buffalo). Talkn’ smack? You bet. My wife went to CSU. I went to CU. Colorado won the game, 38-17.
There is nothing like college rivalry to light the flame in a college football fan’s heart. It’s the game that puts a glint in a fan’s eye as sharp as Ralphie’s horns. Michigan-Ohio State. Miami-Florida State. Oklahoma-Texas. Alabama-Auburn. USC-Notre Dame. Army-Navy. Florida-Georgia. Harvard-Yale. Cal-Stanford. Minnesota-Wisconsin. Alabama-Tennessee. Washington-Washington State. Clemson-South Carolina.
Every fan wants to see their college team win on Saturday, but with a rivalry game it’s about pain, suffering, and a guaranteed 365 days of bragging rights until next year. Rivalry is about opening the portal to that dark spot on your heart; about that shooting pain of contempt, about the one win that rescues even a season of crushing defeats. It’s everything that makes college football the best way to spend a fall afternoon.
The smell of tailgate barbeques, the sound of college fight songs, and the sight of Ralphie bearing down on those silly enough to stand in her way.