Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Assessing the Playoff Situation

            The college football playoff is an intriguing race. There are about eleven teams that could potentially make it in. In order to get four teams in, we need to break down the current situation that each of these teams faces.

Should Be Good To Go:
Unless the Crimson Tide get blown out by Florida in the SEC Championship Game, Alabama should be fine. The Tide ensured their playoff hopes with a win over Auburn and should make it in.
Wait and See:
Ohio State's case is more curious. Since the Buckeyes aren't in the B1G Championship Game, it'll be interesting to see if the committee a team like Wisconsin over Ohio State just for winning their conference championship. The Buckeyes' strength of schedule is good with quality wins over teams like Oklahoma and Michigan. That alone could help get Ohio State in regardless of what happens in the B1G Championship Game.
What will the committee think about a two-loss Wisconsin team? Will they leave them out or will they give them the benefit of the doubt and put them in if they win the B1G Championship? The Badgers' two losses did come to Ohio State and Michigan, so those aren't bad losses by any stretch. However, Wisconsin will need a blowout win to convince the committee that they belong. 
Need One More Win:
Clemson has survived almost every scare thrown at them, from Florida State driving down the field to North Carolina State almost pulling the upset. It's not that Clemson needs another statement win; it's that if they lose to a team like Virginia Tech, they're done. 
The Huskies have the worst non-conference schedule in all of college football, beating weak teams like Rutgers and Idaho in convincing fashion. However, if Washington can get a convincing win over a Top Ten team like Colorado in the PAC-12 Championship Game like the one they had in the Apple Cup, that should help boost their resume and get them in.
Needs Some Help
Penn State winning is said to be the doomsday scenario for the playoff committee. What would happen if the Nittany Lions won? Would they get in over an 11-1 Ohio State team? If Penn State wants any consideration, they'll need one or two teams in front of them to fall.
Like Ohio State, Michigan will be staying at home for the B1G Championship. However, if one, two, or even three of the teams in front of them lose and chaos ensues, you can bet that the Wolverines will get in. 
First, one of these two teams will need to win their game against the other. Then, they'll have to hope for one or more teams to fall so that their team's chances of getting in improve. 
A win over Washington in the PAC-12 Championship will help matters. But Colorado will need absolute anarchy everywhere else in order to clinch a playoff spot. 
The Gators need to beat 'Bama first. Then, they pray.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week Thirteen College Football Winners and Losers

            The college football regular season is winding down with conference championships looming. Which teams made the most during a stacked 'Rivalry Week' and who fell out of the picture? Who won this week and who blew it?

Winner: Washington: In need of a resounding win in order to boost its playoff chances, the Huskies got exactly what they wanted with a big win against in-state rival Washington State, 45-17. Aided by not one, but two goal-line stops, Jake Browning and the Huskies won the Apple Cup and the PAC-12 North by racking up 28 points in the first quarter. The win also helps boost their resume with a win over a ranked team. However, their work isn't done; they still need to win the PAC-12 conference championship against Colorado in order to possibly get in.
Winner: Pitt-Syracuse: That was a good basketball game, huh? A 76-61 win for the Panthers over the Orange. Over 1,300 yards of total offense from both teams combined with many rushing yards galore. A high-scoring fourth quarter really made for an exciting game. Wait, this was a football game?!?
Winner: Kentucky: Kentucky gave Lamar Jackson hell all game, forcing him to throw three interceptions and get sacked three times. Granted, Jackson ran for 171 yards in the game. However, a road win over a ranked opponent, especially one that has been a playoff contender all season and an in-state rival, is always good for a beleaguered football school like Kentucky.
Loser: Nebraska: It wasn't a good day for the #16 Cornhuskers against Iowa. Allowing 264 rushing yards against the Hawkeyes was just a part of the day that Nebraska had as they got embarrassed, 40-10.
Loser: Michigan (Wilton Speight): There were plenty of opportunities for the Wolverines to upend their rivals down south. Fumbling near the goal line along with a couple interceptions while being in the red zone five times isn't a good way to play against a team like Ohio State. What hurts even more is that they had a chance to win on the road with J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes' passing game looking pedestrian.
Loser: Texas: The Longhorns got rid of Charlie Strong and ended their season with a whimper, losing to TCU by a score of 31-9. Three losing seasons was enough to get Strong canned as the Longhorns's football program remains in competitive turmoil. The good news? They just hired Tom Herman, who's done a great job putting Houston football on the map.

Other Winners: Western Michigan, Tom Herman, Air Force, Penn State
Other Losers: Referees in the U-M/OSU game, Tennessee, Ole Miss, SMU

My Playoff Four:
  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Washington
Photo Courtesy of KOMO News

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Best Thanksgiving Moments

           It's Thanksgiving, which means there will be plenty of food, football, and political arguments (especially with this crazy election season). In order to help quell the absurdity that is sitting with your in-laws and other family members, here are some of the best (or not-so-best) moments that occurred on Thanksgiving Day (spoiler alert: all of them are football-related).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Gobble Gobble Gobble Picks

            Last week was a silent week, yet it was a good week for me regarding the picks. Can this Thanksgiving weekend give more blessings with the picks?

  • Vikings over Lions
  • Cowboys over Redskins
  • Steelers over Colts 
  • Raiders over Panthers
  • Chiefs over Broncos
  • Eagles over Packers
Bonus Picks: Ohio State over Michigan
                      Washington State over Washington
                      Alabama over Auburn
                      Colorado over Utah
                      Florida over Florida State
                      Clemson over South Carolina

Record: 44-26-2 (+8)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Reflecting on a Great Career

            A couple days ago, Jimmie Johnson won his seventh Sprint Cup title. That's more than the number of NBA titles Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have won. That's more than the number of Lombardi Trophies the Dallas Cowboys have hoisted. That's more than the number of World Series titles the Cubs and White Sox have won--combined. But if you want to grasp how dominant Johnson has been throughout his career, check out his career statistics.
            No. 48's seven titles include a five-year run from 2006 to 2010 where he was the Sprint Cup champion. Johnson is tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most Sprint Cup Series championships (seven). He's also a four-time Sprint All-Star Race winner, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, a five-time Driver of the Year, and the 2009 Male Athlete of the Year.
            Johnson's career numbers consist of 80 wins, 330 top-ten finishes, and 35 pole positions. In 543 races ran over a 16-year span, that's a very solid track record for a racer. His career also includes 219 top-five finishes, accounting for just over 40% of races that he's finished in the top-five. His 80 wins make him the winningest active driver. He is also the all-time winningest driver at the following tracks:

  • Auto Club Speedway (6)
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway (8)
  • Dover International Speedway (10)
  • Kansas Speedway (3, tied with Jeff Gordon)
  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway (4)
  • Texas Motor Speedway (6)
            The only tracks that Johnson hasn't won a Cup Series race in are Chicagoland Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, and Watkins Glen International (three tracks!!). Johnson is also the only driver to have qualified for the Chase every year since its 2004 inception. 
            In perspective, Jimmie Johnson is easily one of the most dominant NASCAR drivers in recent memory. Here's the thing about Johnson that you need to know: He's not done yet. Barring any changes in heart or freak accidents, Johnson will probably have at least six more years in him to win more races and be in the Chase. This'll mean that even more greatness awaits for Johnson. 

Photo courtesy of NASCAR.com

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NFL Coaches On the Hot Seat

            The NFL Season is starting to wind down. Once the NFL regular season's over, there will be some coaches that will be receiving pink slips at the end. But whose seat is scorching? Here's a look at who could be cut at the end of the season?

John Fox, Chicago Bears: Obviously the hottest seat in the NFL belongs to Fox. Known for successful turnarounds with Carolina and Denver, Fox has struggled to rally the Bears and turn them into a contender. Chicago is 2-8 and will definitely miss the playoffs. Fox's record with the Bears in two years is a dismal 8-17.
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars: This was supposed to be the year Jacksonville took the next big step to becoming Super Bowl contenders. However, they have been anything but, faltering to 2-8 after Week 11. Bradley's record with Jacksonville is 14-43, a record that leaves a lot to be desired.
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers: McCarthy has done the Packers no favors with his play-calling. Yes, Aaron Rodgers hasn't looked good this season. But a big part of the blame can be assessed to McCarthy's ineptitude.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts: Pagano has actually done pretty well with the Colts, garnering a 44-28 record in his five years with Indy and three playoff appearances. You also can't blame Pagano for the myriad of injuries to the defense. However, if problems with Andrew Luck persist, there will likely be major changes.
Rex Ryan, Buffalo Bills: You have to give Ryan credit: he turned the Bills into one of the best run-stopping defenses in the NFL. Granted, Ryan still has some trouble working with quarterbacks (he is more of a defensive-minded coach, after all). However, the culture is Buffalo looks to be changing for the better.
Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions: Caldwell's job is safe as long as the Lions keep winning. Caldwell should really be thanking Matthew Stafford, who's bailed the Lions out with six comeback wins on the season. Caldwell does have a playoff appearance under his belt with the Lions. However, a total collapse of the season could result in Caldwell's seat getting extremely toasty.
Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns: Yes, Cleveland hasn't won a game this season and probably won't. However, you can't really pin this on the first-year coach as much as you can on an inept squad devoid of talent.
Jeff Fisher, Los Angeles Rams: Fisher just signed an extension with the Rams, so it's unlikely that Los Angeles will can him this year. However, if a few more '8-8' seasons happen under Fisher's watch and the quarterback situation doesn't get resolved soon, Fisher's seat will get warmer.

Photo courtesy of Fox Sports

Week Twelve College Football Winners and Losers

            What better way to capitalize on a crazy weekend of upsets than to kick this week's slate of games with an upset? There's so much of the upset bug going around right now that it's messing with the playoff picture. Who won the week and who faltered?

Winner: Joe Thomas Sr.: The 55-year-old running back for South Carolina State carried the ball for three yards in a game this week. He made history as the oldest player in Division I football. Fun fact: Thomas Sr. is the father of Packers LB Joe Thomas Jr.
Winner: Houston: With basically nothing to play for, Houston went into Thursday's game against #5 Louisville with the mindset that this was their Super Bowl. The Cougars stepped up to the challenge, calling all sorts of trick plays en route to a shocking rout of the Cardinals, 36-10. Houston recovered three fumbles and sacked Lamar Jackson 11 times, showing a solid defensive effort when it mattered.
Winner: Kansas: The Jayhawks hadn't beaten an FBS opponent in over two years heading into their game against Texas. They finally did it against Texas, winning on a game-winning field goal in overtime by a score of 24-21. It was also the first time in 78 years that Kansas had beaten Texas in a football game. Normally, it's the basketball side of Kansas that does the "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk." But today, it was the football side's turn to 'chalk' one up.
Loser: Lamar Jackson: When Louisville needed the Heisman front-runner the most, he was nowhere to be seen. Jackson went 20 for 43, throwing for 211 yards and a touchdown. However, the touchdown was in the second half when Louisville was down by 31. Jackson ended up with a QBR of 20.4 and gave Houston two points for intentional grounding in the end zone in the fourth quarter, not a performance that a Heisman candidate should have in a game. Thanks to his lackluster performance, Louisville is basically knocked out of the playoff running.
Loser: Tyler O' Connor: The Michigan State Spartans were knocking on the door against Ohio State, inching close to an upset. However, their quarterback couldn't get the job done. Two picks thrown including the game-sealing interception cost MSU a chance to create some playoff chaos as the Spartans fell to #2 Ohio State, 17-16. Maybe if they had at least a Connor Cook-type quarterback, they'd probably pull of the shocker.
Loser: Utah: The Utes were victims of a terrific last-second catch by Darren Carrington II as the Oregon Ducks pulled off the upset against #11 Utah, 30-28. Check out the highlight below.

Other Winners: Colorado, Oklahoma, Florida's goal-line defense, Kentucky in the second half
Other Losers: Charlie Strong's job, Texas Tech, San Diego State, Kentucky in the first half

My Playoff Four:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Michigan

Friday, November 18, 2016


            There are plenty of streaks that are amazing in sports. Joe DiMaggio's hit streak. Cal Ripken Jr.'s and the number of consecutive games played. The New England Patriots' win streak. Mount Union's winning streak (which was recently snapped).  However, there is one streak that should be mentioned in the same breath as all of these streaks and that's the UConn Women's Basketball Team's current winning streak.
            The Huskies are currently on a 77-game winning streak. The last time UConn lost was in 2014 against Stanford, another prominent program in women's collegiate basketball. In the process, the Huskies have won two straight championships.
            This isn't the first time UConn has had a long streak. They ran off a 70-game winning streak from 2001 to 2003, winning two national championships in the process. But their most impressive streak started during the 2008 season and ended in 2011. Like the start of their current winning streak, the Lady Huskies lost to Stanford, which ended their streak.
            Some players to keep an eye on when watching UConn women's basketball are Napheesa Collier and Katie Lo Samuelson. Collier is averaging 19 PPG in two games this year and is averaging 9.5 RPG this year. Samuelson is the three-ball threat; she's 5-12 from beyond the arc this year and has averaged 15 PPG so far.
            This program has produced great players like Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, and Diana Taurasi. The program is up there--maybe even better than--the likes of Tennessee and Stanford regarding women's college basketball. Who knows? Geno Auriemma and the Lady Huskies might even make it to John Wooden's UCLA Bruins.

UConn Women's Basketball/NCAA

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Here Are The Picks!!!

            Last week was a good week for me regarding the picks. I can always do better, though!!! Here are this week's picks!!

  • Panthers over Saints
  • Cowboys over Ravens
  • Cardinals over Vikings
  • Seahawks over Eagles
  • Redskins over Packers
  • Raiders over Texans
Bonus Pick: Bills over Bengals

Record: 39-25-2 (+7)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Coolest NCAA Team Names!!!

            To kick off the college basketball season returning, I've compiled a list of some of the coolest names/mascots in college basketball. See if your school's on there!!!

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Marshall Thundering Herd
Kent State Golden Flashes
IPFW Mastodons
Vermont Catamounts
New Orleans Privateers
UTSA Roadrunners
Idaho Vandals
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
UC Irvine Anteaters

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NFL Midseason Grades

            The NFL is a little past the halfway point, which means it's time to start thinking about the playoffs. There really aren't many teams that stand out sans Dallas and New England, so it's anybody's game (except for San Francisco and Cleveland).
            Here's how the grading works. Each team will be placed in a grade tier. The best tier (obviously) is the A+ tier, reserved for the best teams in the NFL. The worst tier is the F- tier. Here's how the teams are graded after eight or more games of this NFL season

Dallas Cowboys: How 'Bout Dem Cowboys? The NFC East as a whole has been quite impressive this season, but no team stands out more than the Cowboys do. Anchored by a stout offensive line and Super-Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas has a fairly firm grip on home-field advantage in the playoffs at the moment.
New England Patriots: When Tom Brady's four-game suspension was reinstated, I thought to myself, "Brady's going to be angrier than a Sun God." Boy, has he been on fire (and pissed)! He's completed 73.1% of his passes this season while throwing for 1,319 yards and 12 touchdowns. Not only that, but he has a rating of 133.9. The scary part? He hasn't thrown a pick yet.
Oakland Raiders: Surprise!! The Raiders are in first place in the AFC West. Aided by a young quarterback in Derek Carr (66.3% comp., 2,505 yards, 17 TD, 3 INT), Oakland is riding high. One thing they must work on is defense. Otherwise, it seems likely that the Black Hole will host one last playoff game. Fun fact: The Raiders, along with the Patriots and the Cowboys, are one of three undefeated teams on the road this year.
Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are starting to mold into a nice duo. These two are a big part for why Atlanta's high-flying offense (most points scored in the NFL with 305 and most passing yards in the NFL with 2,835) is soaring. But what should surprise you about this team is Vic Beasley Jr. on the defensive side. The linebacker has 26 tackles, three forced fumbles, and 7.5 sacks this year. 
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have quietly marched their way towards a 7-2 record, mostly because of a stingy secondary. Kansas City leads the NFL in Give/Take ratio with +13. The Chiefs have 20 takeaways on the year with 12 of those being interceptions (highest in the NFL). Marcus Peters (five interceptions) has been a focal point of the Chiefs secondary.
Seattle Seahawks: One surprising facet of the Seahawks that hasn't been effective is the running game (30th in the NFL with 603 rushing yards). However, Russell Wilson has been sacked 16 times this season, compared to the Seahawks getting 29 sacks of their own (Cliff Avril has nine of those). Perhaps it's the offensive line that is having quagmires?
Denver Broncos: The Super Bowl Champions still have a stellar defense. However, they have young, inexperienced quarterbacks in Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian who'll need more experience under their belt. Denver also needs to do a little better at stopping the run; they're allowing 1,157 rushing yards compared to the 871 rushing yards the Broncos are getting.
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings have proven that they have an elite defense. The proof is in their give-take ratio (+12) and total defense (2nd in the NFL with 2,391 yards). But can their defense carry their injury-riddled team to the playoffs after a 5-0 start?
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers have one of the more dynamic passing/receiving duos in Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and will use it immensely. On the other side, Pittsburgh needs to do a better job at getting to the quarterback; they're tied for dead-last in the NFL in sacks with 11.
New York Giants: The Giants aren't doing so hot with regards to creating turnovers (-7 in give/take ratio) and getting sacks (tied for last in the NFL with 11). In fact, New York hasn't had a solid defensive unit since they last won the Super Bowl. However, there is one bright spot in their defense and that's stopping the run. The Giants are 7th in the NFL in stopping the run with 751 rushing yards. 
Houston Texans: Losing J.J. Watt for the season isn't something to smile over. However, the Texans have the league's best secondary. They've only allowed 1,524 yards through the air. Houston's also one of the most disciplined teams in the NFL, amassing only 353 penalty yards. 
Baltimore Ravens: Believe it or not, Baltimore's been one of the more consistent franchises in the NFL in recent memory. A staple of Raven teams is being able to stop opponents from gaining a lot of yards and that's what Baltimore's doing this year (4th in the NFL in total defense with 2,534 total yards). The Ravens are only allowing 71.3 rushing yards per game, tops in the NFL.
San Diego Chargers: Honestly, this is the best team under .500 at the moment. Melvin Gordon has improved significantly from his rookie year (768 rushing yards, nine touchdowns), Philip Rivers is, well, Philip Rivers (2,560 yards, 17 touchdowns, 96.2 rating), and San Diego's stopping the run effectively (eighth-fewest yards allowed in the NFL with 768 yards). The Chargers have also beaten teams like Atlanta and Denver this season.
Philadelphia Eagles: I don't really know what to make of this team. Carson Wentz actually has more passing yards in Eagle losses this year (983 to 907) and a better completion rate as well (65.5% to 63.1%). They're in last place in the NFC East, yet their point differential is +57. It's pretty hard to put a pulse on this team.
Detroit Lions: If you told me that the Lions would be in first place in the NFL North by mid-November, I would've shaken my head and laughed. However, that's where they are thanks to the chemistry between offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and Matthew Stafford, who has 22 career come-from-behind wins (five of them are from this year).
Washington Redskins: The fifth-best pass attack in the NFL (2,390 yards) has also done a good job converting first downs (186). The 'Skins are also doing well in punt returns (best punt return average in the NFL with 17.6 yards per return). However, the Redskins will need to do better at stopping their opponents from getting first downs (185).
Green Bay Packers: What the hell's going on in Lambeauland? The Packers are stumbling around at the .500 mark and could possibly miss out on some playoff mingling. So, what's the problem? For one, the ground game has been ineffective. The Packers are only gaining 853 yards on the ground this season and should be getting more from the likes of Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Also, take the play-calling duties away from Mike McCarthy. The man has a hard time getting out of his own way.
New Orleans Saints: It's been business as usual for Drew Brees; he's been racking up yards for the 2nd-best pass attack in the NFL (2,611). New Orleans is also playing better after their 0-3 start because they're converting on third downs (best in the NFL with 53% conversion rate). If the Saints can cut back on giving up points, they'll be a serious contender.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills were a pleasant surprise early on, but ran into a tough stretch of the schedule as of late. Their defense, led by linebackers Lorenzo Alexander (10 sacks, 39 total tackles, three forced fumbles) and Zach Brown (89 total tackles, two forced fumbles, three sacks) has kept the Bills in contention. Buffalo has also gotten some offense, leading the NFL in total rushing yards with 1,395 and rushing yards per attempt with 5.3.
Miami Dolphins: Running back Jay Ajayi has been white-hot for the Dolphins, running for 200 yards in back-to-back games. However, head coach Adam Gase hasn't been able to turn Ryan Tannehill into a competent quarterback (eight touchdowns, seven interceptions). The Fins are also having a hard time converting third downs (tied for 30th in the NFL with 33). 
Arizona Cardinals: David Johnson (156 carries, 705 yards, eight touchdowns) has been a pleasant surprise for a Cardinals team that has surprisingly been disappointing. Injuries have hampered this team for a lot of the season and the schedule doesn't appear to be getting any easier, so the Cardinals need to turn the turbos on immediately.
Tennessee Titans: Tennessee's offensive line has actually been surprising, giving DeMarco Murray a lot of room to run and Marcus Mariota a lot of time in the pocket. However, the Titans can get more out of their passing game. Defensively, the Titans are doing well at getting to the quarterback (23 sacks). 
Indianapolis Colts: Remember all the hype surrounding the Colts being Super Bowl contenders from last year? What a difference a year makes. Bogged down by injuries defensively, the Colts have been a car wreck to watch. One positive is that they're leading the NFL in kickoff return yards (545).
Carolina Panthers: What a Super Bowl hangover Carolina's having. The Panthers are 3-6 and Cam Newton isn't having the best of seasons (57.7% completion, nine touchdowns, six interceptions, 1,733 passing yards). However, Newton's been sacked 21 times this season. If Cam wants to direct his anger at someone for all the dirty hits he's received, he should aim it at his porous offensive line who's done a poor job protecting him.
Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green has proven to be a formidable weapon for the Bengals once again. But the rest of the team has been pedestrian this season. Cincinnati has to be better than average in order to get back into the playoff race.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It's interesting that it took the Bucs their fifth home game to finally get their first home win of the season. Doug Martin has been out for a good portion of the season, but Tampa Bay has gotten good production from Mike Evans, who has 745 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Tampa Bay has also been sneaky-good on third downs, only yielding conversions 36.5% of the time. The Bucs will need to work on their secondary and stopping the run, though.
Los Angeles Rams: Todd Gurley's been a disappointment so far. There are calls for Jared Goff to start. Los Angeles just gave "Mr. 8-8" Jeff Fisher a contract extension. Yet, here are the Rams at 4-5 and in the thick of the playoff race. 
New York Jets: If there's one thing that's going right for the Jets, it's stopping the game in the trenches. Gang Green's fifth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed with 729 and fourth in yards allowed per game with 3.5. Sadly, that's the only thing aside from the run game that has been a positive for the Jets.
Chicago Bears: John Fox's seat keeps getting hotter as the Bears are looking at another lackluster season. Unable to convert third downs (33 conversions, tied for 30th in the NFL), the Bears have a myriad of problems to deal with before they ever become relevant again. At least the Blackhawks are doing well.
San Francisco 49ers: Chin up, Niner fans. Your team doesn't get called for a lot of penalties (fewest penalty yards in the NFL with 322). You might have a team that doesn't have a lot of talent and a head coach that should be coaching at the collegiate level. But hey, at least you aren't the Browns.
Jacksonville Jaguars: This was supposed to be the year that Jacksonville took that next step. Unfortunately, those plans have stalled as the Jaguars have limped to a 2-7 record. Jacksonville has had limited success getting first downs (21st in the NFL with 168) and converting third downs (worst in the NFL with 31.4%). Luckily, the AFC South is putrid. Every team, the Jaguars included, has a chance to take the division crown.
Cleveland Browns: Again, this is one season that Browns fans will want to forget. Will they make it to 0-16?

Week Eleven College Football Winners and Losers

            It's yet another exciting week in college football, where we get closer to determining who's in the playoff. It's feast or famine as teams can't afford to lose one game. Who's one step closer to getting in and who suffered a major blow to their hopes in this crazy week?

Winner: Alabama: Of course, 'Bama won big against lowly Mississippi State 51-3 on Saturday. But they were winners in another sense. #9 Auburn went down to Georgia by a score of 13-7, leaving the Crimson Tide to clinch the SEC West heading into the Iron Bowl. Now they can get ready for the SEC Championship with less pressure on the Tide.
Winner: Duke: College basketball season is back and what better way to kick it off than beating your hoops rival in a football game? The Blue Devils upset #17 North Carolina 28-27, aided by a good trench game that amounted to 207 team rushing yards and three touchdowns. Joe Giles-Harris also had a monster game for Duke, amassing 16 total tackles and a tackle for loss. It was Duke's first conference win this season during a year that has been rather forgettable for the Blue Devils.
Winner: The Shake-Up of the System: First, Clemson went down. Then, Washington got tripped up by USC's defensive line. Then, Michigan was upset (in spite of covering the pink locker rooms up) by Iowa. Did I mention that #9 Auburn lost? It was a weekend with a complete shake-up of the system that breathed new life into teams like Ohio State and Louisville. Speaking of Clemson...
Loser: Clemson: All of those close calls seemed to have foreshadowed issues for the Tigers, as they were upset at home by Pittsburgh by a score of 43-42. Despite DeShaun Watson throwing for 570 yards and three touchdowns, he also threw three picks in the game. Now a couple of those picks weren't his fault since his receivers ran the wrong route at times. However, such costly errors along with 50 team rushing yards and nine penalties for 101 yards let a Panther team that was 3-for-11 on third down back into the game. This was another game that Clemson should've won. Instead, the Tigers let Pittsburgh bite them in the ass.
Loser: Baylor: With more dirt coming up involving the gang-rape scandal at Baylor involving Art Briles pulling a Joe Paterno, the Bears were dark horses to make the playoff. Suddenly, there in a free fall. First, Seth Russell suffered a gruesome leg injury (he had a QBR of 34.4, a lost fumble, and two interceptions in the game prior to the injury). Then they get blown out by 21 points to #11 Oklahoma, who's suddenly back on the rise. Now there are growing calls for Baylor's football program to be suspended for their misconduct regarding the gang-rape scandal.
Loser: Mount Union's 112-Game Winning Streak: This legendary streak came to a close as the D-III powerhouse fell to John Carroll 31-28. The Ohio school hadn't lost since 2005 and the loss was in the OAC Championship in Alliance, Ohio. To understand the magnitude of Mount Union's dominance, the last time they lost was when George W. Bush was beginning his second term and the White Sox were the other Chicago team that won the World Series.

Other Winners: Iowa schools, Michigan State finally winning, Wisconsin's playoff hopes, USC
Other Losers: Jake Browning, Being the fourth-ranked team in the playoff, Virginia Tech, Auburn's playoff hopes

My Playoff Four:

  1. Alabama
  2. Louisville
  3. Ohio State
  4. Michigan

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why the Red Sox Should Hold Off Before Replacing David Ortiz

            One of the biggest voids left not just in Beantown, but in all of baseball, has been David Ortiz. Ortiz retired this season after an outstanding career that saw Big Papi win three World Series titles, the World Series MVP, the ALCS MVP, and one home run title. He has 541 career home runs, 1,768 career RBIs and is the all-time leader among designated hitters in home runs (485), runs batted in (1,569) and hits (2,192). Who should the Red Sox replace as their designated hitter?
            One of the names that keeps popping up for Boston is Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion. He had a solid season with the Blue Jays last year, hitting 42 home runs and 127 RBIs. Encarnacion would certainly love to play in the bandbox known as Fenway Park and it would boost his home run totals. But why should the Red Sox hold off on giving Encarnacion a contract?
            For one, the Blue Jays have already made a $17.2 million qualifying offer to Encarnacion. Is it worth giving a draft pick to Toronto for the Red Sox to sign Encarnacion, especially when it comes to signing the 34-year-old? Would a three-year or four-year contract be worth it, especially if it's $20 million per year or more?
            Besides, this free agent class isn't exactly the best class. In fact, it's one of the weakest. The hitting market is alright, but it's also one of the older markets. A lot of the hitters in this market are 30 or older.
            A short-term solution would be to offer a player like Carlos Beltran a one-year deal and wait until the 2018 offseason rolls around. Beltran actually had a productive season with the Rangers and Yankees this season, hitting .295 with 29 home runs and 93 RBIs. Getting a hitter like Beltran on a one-year deal for around $8 million would not only be cheap, but it would help Dave Dombrowski and Boston to spend on key pieces like a middle reliever. Another thing to look at with the 2018 MLB offseason would be at how loaded it is. The starting pitching market is outstanding, but so is the batter market. Free agents like Jose Altuve (assuming his option doesn't get picked up), Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, and J.D. Martinez would make it worth the wait for Boston.

Check Out This Week's Picks

             Last week, I didn't do so well on my picks. I actaully got the Monday Night and Thursday Night games current. I just whiffed on the Sunday games. Here's hoping that at least the Sunday games go much better than last time.

  • Ravens over Browns
  • Redskins over Vikings
  • Falcons over Eagles
  • Cowboys over Steelers
  • Patriots over Seahawks
  • Giants over Bengals
Bonus: Chiefs over Panthers

Record: 35-23-2 (+6)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Cher is Having a Twitter Breakdown

             Famous musician Cher is well-known for being an avid Hillary supporter (and Democrat). She shows up at the Clinton Election HQ to watch the results. She takes a peak... Then she leaves. It seems that she's vented her frustration on Twitter over the results.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Week Ten College Football Winners and Losers

            Fresh off the presses, the college football playoff rankings have caused quite a stir. Not only that, but a Top Four team just fell off their perch!! Who won the week and who blew it?

Winner: Western Michigan: P.J. Fleck's crew continues to row the boat. Zach Terrell led the 23rd-ranked Broncos to a 52-20 victory over Ball State with 367 passing yards and three touchdowns. Western Michigan is one step closer to getting a New Year's Six bowl.
Winner: Devin Singletary: The freshman running back for Florida Atlantic had a monster game against Rice, running for 252 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries as the Owls won handily 42-25. Heading into the game, his career total for rushing yards was 295. He nearly doubled his career amount in a single game. Amazing.
Winner: Ohio State: With concerns about their offense rising, the Buckeyes couldn't have picked a better opportunity to get back into a rhythm than against #10 Nebraska. Ohio State outgained the Cornhuskers in total yards by a count of 590 to 204. The Buckeyes had 34 first downs compared to Nebraska's nine and had the football for 37:18 of the game. The road gets a little easier for Ohio State: their next two games are against Maryland and Michigan State. Granted, both are road games. But these two teams are average at best and should provide Ohio State with a warm-up before "The Game" against Michigan on November 26.
Loser: Texas A&M:  The committee gifted the Aggies with the number four spot in the rankings mainly because of their strength of schedule and record, which were actually very good. How did Texas A&M respond? By getting upset against Mississippi State by a score of 35-28. The Aggies allowed both Nick Fitzgerald (182 yards, two touchdowns, a 74-yard run) and Aeris Williams (140 yards, a touchdown) to run for over 100 yards. Texas A&M were dominated from start to finish on defense, leaving them to try and claw back before it was too late. The Aggies are practically eliminated from the playoff chase with the loss. The loss also leaves the door wide open for Washington to jump back into the playoff four.
Loser: The Ref in the MSU/Illinois Game: This referee signaled a touchback in a game between the Spartans and the Fighting Illini. Problem is, the 'touchback' was actually the go-ahead touchdown, a 16-yard pass from Jeff George Jr. to Sam Mays with under two minutes to play. Check it out for yourself.
Loser: Florida: Hoping to play spoiler in the SEC and steal a playoff spot, those chances went up in smoke for the Gators. #11 Florida went into Arkansas and got steamrolled by the Razorbacks 31-10. Florida's only touchdown of the game came on a 37-yard interception return by Duke Dawson. The least they can do now is go into the SEC Championship and beat 'Bama, but it likely won't matter at this point.

Other Winners: Wake Forest, Lamar Jackson, Texas, Temple in the First Quarter
Other Losers: Baylor, The SEC East, Fresno State, Temple in the Other Quarters

My Playoff Four:

    1. Alabama
    2. Michigan 
    3. Clemson
    4. Washington

Saturday, November 5, 2016

On The Playlist

             Welcome to another edition of "On the Playlist", where I showcase my favorite songs to you. Here's what's bumping on my playlist.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Tribute To An Underrated Legend

            Legendary Buffalo Sabres announcer Rick Jeanneret has announced that he will announce three more years of Sabres hockey before retiring (try saying that first part three times fast). The 74-year-old has been with the Sabres since the 1971-1972 season. Here are some of Jeanneret's best (and funniest) calls!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Here Are This Week's Picks!!!

            Here's another edition of this week's picks!!! Believe it or not, last week saw yet another tie in the NFL. Will there be another tie this week?

  • Falcons over Buccaneers 
  • Eagles over Giants
  • Vikings over Lions
  • Packers over Colts
  • Broncos over Raiders
  • Seahawks over Bills
Bonus Pick: Cubs over Indians 

Record: 33-19-2 (+5)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Bark, No Bite

            The Arizona Coyotes are having a hard time stopping pucks. Seriously.
            In a season that was supposed to be an under-the-radar type, Arizona has instead flopped to a 2-6-0 start. The big reason? Allowing goals.
            The Coyotes are allowing 4.1 goals per game, worst in the NHL. To make matters worse, goaltender Mike Smith has missed the past week with a lower body injury and is week-to-week. So the Coyotes have to stick with Louis Domingue, who hasn't been that great (4.38 GAA, .869 save %).
            A big part of why Arizona's allowing so many goals is the fact that they're allowing so many shots. The Coyotes top the league in shots allowed per game with 34.1. They're second-worst in SOG differential only to Columbus at -04.8.
            What could help remedy this issue? For one, getting a defenseman would help. It seems that Alex Goligoski and Oliver Ekmin-Larsson have been burdened with the task of playing the back check for the 'Yotes and they need some help. Maybe Jacob Trouba could be of assistance? Arizona has a lot of prospects and Trouba is young, so the two seem like a good fit. Plus, Arizona also has a lot of forwards and are looking to shop Martin Hanzal since it's his last year before free agency.
            Whatever the case, Arizona needs help and solutions in their goal problem. Otherwise, it'll be another lost season for Arizona.