October 1, 2013
Peyton Manning still good at football: The Denver Broncos are scoring points at a record pace and veteran quarterback Peyton Manning is behind it all. The Broncos threw up a franchise-record 52 points on the scoreboard on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles and Manning had another four touchdown passes despite playing only three quarters. That gave the QB a whopping 16 on September and put him on pace for 64 on the season. The 16 touchdown passes are the most in an opening month in NFL history and Manning’s Broncos, by the way, are 4-0.
USC fires Lane Kiffin: USC head coach Lane Kiffin was dismissed after the team’s 62-41 blowout loss to Arizona State this weekend. Athletic director Pat Haden made the move after the team returned from their road game and Ed Orgeron is now the interim coach. Kiffin hasn’t been terrible, but at 3-2 this year and 28-15 during his tenure at USC, the school expected more.
Miami Marlins end dismal season in style – with a no-hitter: The Miami Marlins haven’t had much to cheer about this year, but in the season finale on Sunday, they went out in style with a no-hitter by pitcher Henderson Alvarez. It was only the fourth no-hitter on the final day of a regular season in baseball history. The Marlins nearly squandered the game despite the outstanding pitching performance. In the ninth inning, the score was 0-0 and Miami needed a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning to score a run and win the game
Pirates clinch playoff berth: Earlier this season, the Pittsburgh Pirates broke a two-decade losing streak with their 83rd win. After finishing second in the National League Central Division, Pittsburgh is officially in the postseason for the first time since 1992. The Pirates will take on the Cincinnati Reds tonight in the one-game Wild card matchup with the winner moving on to the next round. While Pittsburgh can be unceremoniously bounced with a loss to Cincinnati, Pirates fans at least have the benefit of watching the team play at home in their first playoff appearance in over 20 years as the game will be at PNC Park.
NBA to change Finals format: ESPN is reporting that the NBA is likely to change their finals format from 2-3-2 to 2-2-1-1-1. The 2-3-2 format, which gives the top overall seed the first two and last two games of the series at home, has been widely criticized because the lower-ranked team gets three home games in the middle and that is somewhat of a disadvantage to the top seed. The 2-2-1-1-1 format will mean more travel (and in an Eastern-Western format, those trips can be long ones) but ultimately is a bit more fair to the best team since they would receive the pivotal fifth game on their home court.
Horse on roof: A race horse got bored and did what any other bored race horse would do – climb on top of a roof.
L.C. Greenwood passes away: Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive lineman L.C. Greenwood passed away this week of natural causes at 67. Greenwood was a member of the famed Steel Curtain, which also included Joe Greene, Dwight White, and Ernie Holmes. His death leaves Greene is the only surviving member of the group. Over his career, Greenwood was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and he ranks as second on the Steelers’ all-time sacks list.
Heat to sign Erik Spoelstra to extension: The Miami Heat finalized a contract extension over the weekend for him to remain as the organization’s coach. Terms aren’t yet known, but Spoelstra should be getting a significant raise after helping the team to two straight championships. It’s difficult to place a true value on his presence and there remain a good deal of fans that believe the team would win without him. Regardless, though, Spoelstra has done what he’s needed to in order to win titles and has had to deal with finding ways to keep all of Miami’s Big Three happy.
November 20, 2012
Did anybody see that coming? I sure didn’t. And now that there is just one perfect team left, the BCS Championship picture is pretty clear……unless they lose, too. And I think they will. With just a couple weeks of chaos remaining, here is where they stand:
No. 1 Notre Dame
The Irish are the only unbeaten team remaining and only have one game to go. Just USC stands between Notre Dame and a chance to play for a national championship. When the season began, the Trojans thought this game would be something they needed to survive to get a title shot. With the tables turned, I expect to see an angry USC squad take its best shot at knocking a long-time rival out of the title picture. The Irish would join a group of one-loss teams in the discussion if they don’t win, but an SEC team and Oregon (Ducks defeated Trojans 62-51) would be more deserving.
No. 2 Alabama
Nobody gets the help they need faster than Alabama. Last year when the Tide dropped to No. 3 in the BCS standings they were back in the top two in two weeks. This year it only took one week for them to go from No. 4 to No. 2. Alabama needs to beat an Auburn team that is 0-7 in the SEC and then No. 3 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game in order to have a chance to win back-to-back national titles.
No. 3 Georgia
Suddenly, a team that nobody has been talking about controls its own destiny to play for the national championship.
The Bulldogs need to beat Georgia Tech (6-5) and then knock off No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. If that happens, Georgia will be on the field against someone on Jan. 7.
No. 4 Florida
The Gators aren’t even going to play for the SEC title but are still in the mix. Sound familiar? (Alabama last year) We know one team in front of them is going to win and one is going to lose. And if Notre Dame falls at USC and Florida wins its final game at No. 10 Florida State, nothing will keep Florida from moving up to No. 2 in the rankings unless voters decide they do not want to see an all-SEC championship game and move Florida down.
No. 5 Oregon
Despite last week’s loss to Stanford, the Ducks have some hope. What has to happen? They must win at No. 15 Oregon State and hope that No. 17 UCLA can knock off No. 8 Stanford. That would put Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship Game against UCLA, who would be at top-15 team. A win there coupled with a Notre Dame loss to USC and either Alabama or Georgia losing should get Oregon a title shot because it would be a conference champion and Florida would not. Although, it wouldn’t matter if the Gators lose to Florida State.
No. 6 Kansas State
The Wildcats are pretty much out of it because of the way they lost against Baylor. Getting blown out 52-24 to a 5-5 Baylor team pretty much means they won’t get to the BCS Championship no matter what happens, but it would be possible if Notre Dame, Florida and Oregon all lost. Of course, they also need to beat No. 16 Texas to keep their hopes alive.
No. 10 Florida State
Are they still in it? It’s a longshot, but isn’t that what the BCS is all about? Notre Dame has to lose. The Seminoles need to blow Florida out of the water and beat Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. Oregon and maybe Kansas State would have to lose again and the voters would need to decide they want a conference champion to play the SEC champ.
Did I miss anything? Probably. Anything can happen in the BCS. Did I mention that Kent State has just one loss? Maybe it still has a shot.
November 6, 2012
The big day has come and gone. All season, we’ve been waiting for Nov. 3 to make or break the BCS title race for some of the top teams. The LSU vs Alabama and USC vs Oregon games could have created BCS chaos, but with Alabama and Oregon remaining undefeated, the BCS waters have cleared. With three regular season games left for each team, here is where we stand.
We all know at least one SEC team will play for the title. Current BCS No. 1 Alabama will be in the SEC Championship Game and barring an upset, so will No. 5 Georgia. The question is…can the Bulldogs pull off a shocker and take down the reigning champs? If that happens and Georgia gets into the title game, Alabama could still end up in the top two and make it an all SEC Championship game again. But that’s not likely so lets look at the other teams remaining in the chase.
No. 2 Kansas State
The Wildcats path to the BCS title game has two roadblocks. The first is the injury to quarterback Colin Klein who is one of the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy. They managed to get by Oklahoma State fairly easily without him playing much in the second half but don’t expect them to beat TCU, Baylor and Texas without him. Hopefully, his injury is not serious. And the second roadblock is Oregon. If everyone wins out, Oregon will jump Kansas State in the standings. The Wildcats need the Ducks to go down.
No. 3 Oregon
Oregon jumped Notre Dame after beating USC. They will jump Kansas State if they beat California, Stanford, Oregon State and win the PAC-12 title game. The Ducks should be the only team besides Alabama that controls its own fate. Win and they are in.
No. 4 Notre Dame
The Irish keep winning ugly. Winning ugly doesn’t help you pass the teams in front of you. Notre Dame should beat Boston College and Wake Forest. Then it comes down to winning at USC and hoping somebody knocks off Kansas State and Oregon.
No. 9 Louisville
Hey. These guys keep winning so I’m keeping them in the discussion. It’s the least I can do. Yeah they haven’t beaten a ranked team all season but if they run the table and Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame all lose….the Cardinals will still be left out.
No. 10 Florida State
The Seminoles should be rooting for a couple teams to finish unbeaten. Otherwise, they may be kicking themselves over that never-should-have-happened last second loss at North Carolina State. But they may not be done yet. They just need to win against Virgina Tech and Maryland, then beat Florida while having Georgia lose to Auburn, who is 0-6 in the SEC. That would send Florida to face Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. And if Florida can win and Notre Dame, Kansas State and Oregon all lose a game…
November 5, 2012
Lakers off to rough start: The Los Angeles Lakers not only started the season 0-3, but lost starting point guard Steve Nash along the way. He suffered a small fracture to his fibula and will be out for at least a week according to early reports. Obviously not the start the franchise was hoping for after trading for Nash and Dwight Howard in the offseason. Los Angeles was once a trendy pick to reach the NBA Finals, but while it’s early, that’s looking like a pipe dream so far. Any chance General Manager Mitch Kupchak is frantically searching for Phil Jackson’s cell phone number? Maybe not just yet, but …
Mariano Rivera decides he’ll be back in 2013: After a season-ending injury in May, Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera says he’s returning in 2013. At age 43, the thought was that he may retire, but as an all-time great, he should have the right to try to come back if he wants. Plus, with an ERA just over 2.00 last season, it looks like he still has something left in the tank.
NHL cancels Winter Classic: With the hockey season still on ice (see what I did there?), the NHL had little choice but to cancel its popular Winter Classic. This year’s event was to feature the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan’s football stadium on January 1st, but with the current lockout, that’s just not feasible – even if the season gets underway before then. So much planning goes into that game and without even knowing if the lockout will end anytime soon, it had to be canceled. That’s really bad news for a sport that struggles to keep up with the other major leagues. The Winter Classic is one of the few times the league is in the spotlight and this is just another reason why hockey needs to get back to playing … quickly.
CM Punk defeated Ryback in the WWE’s pay-per-view main event: Punk has now held onto the belt for nearly a full year after defeating new sensation, Ryback, at WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. With a marred finish (the referee gave Ryback a cheap shot), the WWE played this perfectly. CM Punk keeps the belt, but helps Ryback maintain his momentum even as his unbeaten streak ends.
Division II St. Leo defeats Miami Hurricanes: When the Miami Hurricanes scheduled Division II St. Leo for a friendly exhibition basketball game, the thought of losing couldn’t possibly have crossed their mind. Yet, that’s exactly what happened as St. Leo won 69-67 over the ACC team. Miami’s Trey McKinney Jones said it best after the game when he declared “It’s embarrassing” (‘Yeah, pretty much’, I add parenthetically).
Rory McIlroy defeated Tiger Woods in golf exhibition: Tiger Woods lost to Rory McIlroy in a golf exhibition by one stroke in China. Even though it was only an exhibition, I’d personally like to see more of these types of matches in golf. Trying to follow dozens of players in a tournament is a bit mind-boggling. And even on the final day of a major, you can have a half dozen golfers in contention. But in a one-on-one stage, it turns golf into a bit more like the other sports. In a tournament, golfers are playing against a course. In a one-on-one match, while that still holds true, to a degree, there’s also direct competition with another player.
Alabama defeats LSU: The Crimson Tide defeated LSU in the top college football matchup of the week. With the Tigers suffering their second loss, it’s all but assured that the two teams won’t meet again in the national championship game as they did last year. Everyone outside of Alabama and Louisiana just breathed a massive sigh of relief.
San Francisco Giants snafu: And finally, presented without comment, a musician participating in the San Francisco Giants’ World Championship parade opened the stage show portion of the event by saying the “San Francisco 49ers swept the Detroit Tigers.”
Yeah, something like that.
November 1, 2012
With college football’s BCS bowl picture just vaguely starting to take shape, speculation is already running rampant about which teams will play for the BCS National Championship. We have a long way to go before we find out, but Week 10 in college football could help shape the futures of a lot of teams. We look at the 5 biggest games of the weekend and how they could change the BCS picture.
Alabama at LSU
This game could drastically change the BCS National Championship game. Alabama has long been penciled into the BCS National Championship game and a loss to LSU could be devastating. LSU has been very successful in Saturday night games at home, but they are still thought to be heavy underdogs against the Crimson Tide. If they can pull off the upset, they would have one loss and be launched back into the national championship conversation. Not to mention potentially take Alabama out of it.
Oklahoma State at Kansas State
Kansas State has been one of the most surprising teams this college football season. They are averaging over 44 points a game and giving up only 17. The Wildcats have dominated their last two opponents, #13 West Virginia and #14 Texas Tech, and are contending for a spot in the BCS National Championship. Oklahoma State has two losses and this will be their first of 4 straight games against ranked opponents. A win against the Wildcats would start their streak off on the right foot. A loss puts Kansas State one step closer to their goal.
Oregon at USC
No team scores quite like the Oregon Ducks. The undefeated Ducks average 53 points a game and, at 8-0, have been pretty successful winning games. The knock on Oregon is that they don’t play tough competition, but they beat Arizona, a team that beat USC just last week. USC would like nothing better than to bounce back and spoil Oregon’s season. Both team’s look set for a rematch in the PAC-12 championship game, although a loss to Oregon would put USC’s chances in jeopardy.
Texas A&M at Mississippi State
Both of these teams are facing season-defining games these next two weeks. If #16 Texas A&M can win this week against Mississippi State and then upset #1 Alabama, their BCS resume would be looking great. The Aggies would be 8-2, with their only losses being to Florida and LSU.
However, if #15 Mississippi State can beat Texas A&M and then turn around and upset LSU, they would be 9-1 with their only loss coming to Alabama. Regardless of the outcome of this game, one of these teams will have a chance to make some noise in the BCS picture in the next few weeks.
Texas at Texas Tech
Both teams are 6-2 and fighting for ranking spots not only in the Big 12 but in the national polls as well. While they both have two losses, Texas’ came at the hands of West Virginia and Oklahoma, while Texas Tech lost to Kansas State and Oklahoma. The winner of this game still has a chance to go to a big bowl game later this year if they can win out the rest of the season. That task will be a little harder for Texas, who still has to play Kansas State in their regular season finale.