Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week Nine College Football Winners and Losers

            With the first official playoff rankings of the season slated for release on Tuesday, many fans are speculating on who is in and who isn't. While the answer will be obvious to some, there are some fans who are uncertain about their team's standing after their performance this week. Who had a good week?

Winner: Penn State's Second Half: Riding high off of their big upset over the Buckeyes, what better way for the Nittany Lions than to score 45 points in the second half? Tied at the half at 21 all, Penn State pulled away from lowly Purdue thanks to Saquon Barkley's 207 yards and two touchdowns. The Nittany Lions's 62 points are the most scored by an opponent in Ross-Ade Stadium (constructed in 1924).
Winner: Washington: One of the biggest criticisms about the Huskies's playoff resume is that is consists mostly of cupcake teams. Well, Washington got a big win and on the road against a good team, no less. Thanks to Dante Pettis's 58-yard punt return for a touchdown with 3:25 left, the Huskies edged the Utah Utes 31-24 and beefened up that resume. To make matters better, both Baylor and West Virginia lost.
Winner: Auburn: All of the sudden, Auburn is coming in hot. The #15 Tigers are now 6-2 and have won five straight after scoring 13 fourth-quarter points to beat Ole Miss 40-29 in spite of Chad Kelly's 465 passing yards. Kamryn Pettway ran the ball 30 times for 236 yards and a touchdown. Could Auburn knock Alabama out of the unbeaten ranks?
Loser: Bubble Teams: #5 Louisville needed 18 points to come back and win against a mediocre Virginia team. #6 Ohio State's young offense looked flat against Northwestern. #7 Nebraska lost a close game to Wisconsin. The Big 12 was the Big 12. This week only solidified the cases for the current playoff four going down the stretch.
Loser: Big 12's Playoff Chances: R.I.P. to the Big 12's playoff hopes. Their chances of possibly landing a playoff spot ended up in smoke this week when both Baylor and West Virginia went down. The Mountaineers got their asses kicked in Stillwater 37-20 while the Bears lost a nailbiter in Austin 35-34.
Loser: Florida State: With nothing to really play for besides a chance for a bowl game and to possibly play playoff spoiler, A week after Penn State upset #2 Ohio State on ABC's Saturday Night Football, Florida State had a reeling #3 Clemson team on the ropes. They failed to answer with their final drive that included a costly offensive holding penalty as they lost to the Tigers 37-34. Deondre Francois being sacked on the final two plays doesn't help matters, either.

Other Winners: Wyoming, Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans, Donnel Pumphrey, Oklahoma
Other Losers: Navy, NC State, Even More Playoff Shake-Ups, Tennessee

My Playoff Four:

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

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Three Reasons Why the Red Wings Will Make Their 26th Straight Playoff Appearance

            The NHL season is underway and one of the things that many pundits are saying is that this is the year the Detroit Red Wings miss the postseason. The reasons include an aging core and a terrible blue line that includes *shudder* Jonathan Ericsson. However, they are off to a 6-2-0 start that's mainly due to a six-game winning streak. Here's three reasons why the Wings will be in the postseason again and why you shouldn't believe the critics.

  1. Their Goaltending Tandem: While their defensive play is lackluster, the Wings make up for it with stellar goaltending from both Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. Mrazek (.924 save %, 2.48 GAA) is a solid young goalie while Howard (2-0-0, 0.50 GAA, .984 save %) has been a reliable backup so far. If the goaltending tandem can hold strong, the Red Wings will send the Joe off with spring hockey.
  2. Dylan Fuckin' Larkin: Have you seen how fast this guy can go? Not only is he a tremendous goal scorer, but he can fly around the rink. Watch him shatter records at last year's All-Star Game.
  3. They're the Red Wings: If there's one thing the Wings have always done well, it's develop players into contributing roles and passing the torch from one generation of hockey to the next. They have done this through making the right draft picks and picking up the right guys in free agency. Besides, the Bruins will probably choke in March again, right? The Wings should be fine.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This Week's Picks... Are Here

             Here's this week's picks. Somehow, a tie happened in one of these games. Anyways, I'm actually kind of scared for this week's picks because I don't know what to expect from these slate of games. Anyways, enjoy!

  • Titans over Jaguars
  • Redskins over Bengals
  • Patriots over Bills
  • Falcons over Packers
  • Cowboys over Eagles
  • Vikings over Bears

Bonus: Browns over Jets
            Broncos over Chargers
Record: 29-18-1 (+4)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

World Series Preview and Why The Cubs Shouldn't Overlook the Indians

            Yes, the Chicago Cubs have exorcised the Curse of the Billy Goat. They banished their demons by defeating the Los Angeles Dodger 4-2 in the NLCS. Now all that stands in their way of ending an 108-year drought is the Cleveland Indians. What? You thought that they had won it all already? Nope, the Cubs need four more games to win the World Series. But here's a few reasons why the Cubs shouldn't overlook the Indians in this epic World Series matchup.

  1. Andrew Miller and the Bullpen: Miller has been far and away the best reliever in the postseason so far. He's posting a K.9 of 16.20 along with a WHIP of 0.60. He also hasn't allowed a run yet this postseason and has only walked two batters in the playoffs. Cody Allen hasn't allowed a run yet, either. He's posting a 1.04 WHIP, five saves and 14.09 K/9. The Cubs will need to get to Cleveland's starting pitching if they want to end their 108-year drought. 
  2. Corey Kluber: Again, the Cubs will need to get to the starting pitching early if they stand a chance at winning the World Series. They have to do it against Corey Kluber, who could pitch in games 1, 4, and 7 if needed. Kluber has a 0.98 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP pitching against two potent lineups in Toronto and Boston. Getting to Kluber in at least one of these games will help the Cubs immensely.
  3. Baserunning: The Indians placed fourth in the majors in the regular season in stolen bases with 134. Considering that Jon Lester has a funky throw to first base, Cleveland could capitalize on this and make the Cubs' life a living hell. With speedsters like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Rajai Davis, Cleveland won't be the stop-and-go station type of team that Chicago comparably seems to be.
  4. Terry Francona: Theo Epstein and the Cubs face Theo's old protege in Terry Francona, the manager who won World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 with the Red Sox. Ever since Tito became Cleveland's manager in 2013, the Indians have gone 352-294 under his coaching (a winning percentage of .545). Francona has done an immaculate job managing the bullpen this postseason, utilizing Miller, Allen and other bullpen arms in key situations.
  5. Home-Field Advantage: As mentioned before in the "Other Curse" blog, the Cleveland Indians tied for the best home record in the American League. The Cubs have a road record of 46-34-1. Impressive, but it's a road record. Nevertheless, the Indians will want to end their titleless streak dating back to 1948 as much as the Cubs will want to end theirs. How cool would it be to see two curses lifted in the same season? 
            Are the Cubs better on paper than the Indians? By far. But this should be an interesting series with a lot of history for both clubs. Both teams seem engaged considering how interactive the two teams are on Twitter. The ratings should be huge considering that one of these title droughts will end.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Week Eight College Football Winners and Losers

            Another week in college football has passed us by, but not without a surprise or two. Expect big shakeups not only in the polls, but in the playoff picture as well. Who stole the week and who floundered?

Winner: Penn State: Marred by a sexual abuse scandal, Penn State football hasn't been relevant for quite some time. The once-proud program led by Joe Paterno has fallen into the average abyss, amassing nothing more than 7-8 win seasons lately. However, they got a boost of confidence as they pulled a massive upset over #2 Ohio State by a score of 24-21. The Nittany Lions scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to stun the Buckeyes, capped by a 60-yard blocked field goal return for a touchdown by Grant Haley.
Winner: Washington State: Ever since Washington State suffered an embarrassing loss to FCS Eastern Washington and lost to Boise State, the Cougars have pulled off five straight wins. Their most recent win came against a good Arizona State team on the road by a score of 37-32. Their next three games are fairly tame: a road game at Oregon State followed by two home games against Arizona and California will make for good prep for a tough game against Colorado.
Winner: West Virginia: The Mountaineers are sending a message to the committee that they will not be overlooked. #12 West Virginia routed TCU at home 34-10, giving the Mountaineers a second straight week where they blew an opponent out and giving the Big 12 a glimmer of hope in the playoff picture. They'll have a tough road test next week, when they play the Oklahoma State Cowboys on the road. Playing at Stillwater is never an easy task.
Loser: South Carolina: This SEC team is one of those teams to forget. After all, they nearly lost to 1-7 Massachusetts at home. The Gamecocks barely escaped the Minutemen 34-28. What's more, they have a tough home game against Tennessee coming up. This is a Vols team that is coming off a bye and is piping mad from being demoralized by Alabama.
Loser: Houston: What was a promising season for the Cougars is suddenly starting to spiral out of control. Houston lost to an SMU team that hadn't beaten an opponent ranked higher than #11 since 1982 (#6 Pittsburgh in the Cotton Bowl 7-3). Greg Ward Jr. got sacked seven times as the Mustang pass rush limited Ward to only three yards rushing on 17 carries. That marquee win over then-#3 Oklahoma seems so long ago for this Cougar team.
Loser: Defense in OKLA/TTU: Both Oklahoma and Texas Tech combined for an FBS-record 1,708 total yards in this high-octane air show. Both sides finished with 854 total yards apiece, shattering the previous record of 1,640 yards (2001) set by San Jose State and Nevada. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes II threw for 734 yards (tying an FBS record set by Connor Halliday in 2014) and had 819 total yards (FBS record). That's two 300-yard passing games and some change left over. On the flip side, Oklahoma became the first squad to have a 500-yard passer, a 200-yard rusher, and a 200-yard receiver. Baker Mayfield threw for 545 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns. Talk about a defensive performance from both sides that would make Buddy Ryan cringe.

Other Winners: Kyle Quiero, Lamar Jackson, Michigan, Auburn
Other Losers: UCLA, Oregon, The U, Charlie Strong's job prospects

My Playoff Four:

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

The NFL Has a Problem Handling Domestic Violence

            This season hasn't been the kindest to the National Football League. Plagued by lingering issues of concussions and being deemed the 'No Fun League' for penalizing celebrations, the NFL has been recently hit with plummeting ratings, player protests during the national anthem, and now another domestic violence case. If there's one thing that the NFL does NOT know how to do, it's how to handle the problem of domestic violence.
            Such is the case of Josh Brown. The New York Giants kicker is reported to have beaten his ex-wife, Molly. He has swung a jacket at Molly, hitting her with the zipper, and has also given her bruises on her leg. There was even a point where NFL security had to be called in because of a dispute between the two at a hotel in Hawaii during Pro Bowl weekend in January. Brown has admitted to committing such actions.
            Now a big part of this Brown issue falls on the Giants themselves. Team owner John Mara hasn't cut ties with Brown, only asking him not to come to London for Sunday's game against the Rams. Head coach Bob McAdoo has gone on record saying that "his team will not turn their backs on Brown". This sends the wrong message to the public while tarnishing the NFL's reputation, saying that beating your spouse is a condoned action in the workplace. What the Ravens and Steve Bisciotti did when a video surfaced of Ray Rice belting his wife was they terminated Rice's contract immediately. At least with Baltimore (and Rice himself for rectifying the situation), they got it right on the first try. With Mara and the Giants, they blew a chance to save face.
            As for the NFL, this isn't the first time they've botched a domestic violence case. Look at how they handled the Rice situation. Roger Goodell handed down a two-game suspension to Rice initially (he later suspended him indefinitely for the season). Think about this: How does Tom Brady get suspended four games for deflating footballs, yet Ray Rice can get suspended initially for two games for punching his fiance in an elevator? The NFL claimed that it was denied a public records request regarding the Josh Brown documents by the Sheriff's Office of King County, Washington, yet Diana Moskovitz of Deadspin proved how easy it was to get one. The article also explains how the NFL always has access to such public records, showing how Goodell and company tend to get in their own way when it comes to investigating these manners. Don't forget the NFL also reduced Greg Hardy's suspension from ten games to four in spite of being found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend and communicating threats in 2014.
            The NFL could take some notes from other sports leagues regarding domestic violence policy. Last year, MLB announced a joint policy regarding sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse that also encompassed everyone else employed in MLB and minor league baseball. The policy states that players accused be placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation goes on. Any players caught committing such crimes will be suspended depending on the severity. The policy also creates a program for treatment that includes counseling and psychological evaluation. There are three experts that serve on this board along with two MLB-appointed members and two union-appointed members. Any players that fail to comply with the treatment plan will subject to discipline. Recently, Rockies second baseman Jose Reyes was suspended for 51 games for domestic violence charges. Granted, Reyes's wife refused to cooperate in the investigation, prompting the case to be dropped. However, commissioner Rob Manfred did place Reyes on administrative leave before handing down the suspension, following the policy put in place.
             MLB actually suspended Aroldis Chapman first under their new policy for 30 games when Chapman allegedly used firearms against his partner. MLB put his trade to the Dodgers on hold as they investigated the incident. In the end, the charges were dropped due to lack of physical evidence and inconsistency in his girlfriend's report. However, this was the case to test MLB's domestic violence policy. The NBA handled the Jeff Taylor case better than the NFL has ever done and it took them one try. Charlotte Hornets forward Jeff Taylor was suspended 24 games without pay for misdemeanor domestic violence charges and malicious destruction of property charges in 2014.
            Whether it be the Greg Hardy incident, the Ray Rice incident, or the current issue of domestic violence, Roger Goodell must do better at fixing the domestic violence problem in the NFL. They've already gone through with PSAs, but they'll have to actually address the problem head-on. It's time to stop having Goodell be 'judge, jury, and executioner' regarding disciplinary issues and let a committee handle such situations. It's also time for some owners to properly rectify such situations in order to save being crucified by the general public. The NFL will not want to be left behind by other sports leagues regarding domestic violence and other crimes. After all, they don't want to lose any more fans and doesn't want to see their ratings fall any further.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This Week's Picks!!

             Last week was a spectacular week for me regarding the picks. To be honest, this was the toughest slate of games that I had to pick yet. I was certain that I'd go 2-4 last week. But I was pleasantly surprised. Anyways, here's hoping that I can pull off another 5-1 week... Or somewhere around that.

  • Packers over Bears
  • Giants over Rams
  • Vikings over Eagles
  • Patriots over Steelers
  • Seahawks over Cardinals
  • Broncos over Texans
Bonus Pick: Falcons over Chargers

Overall Record: 25-17 (+4)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My NBA Preview

            Okay, before you get mad at me for this article, understand this: I think I have a good hunch on who's going to be in the NBA Finals this season. Much in the same way that I have a good hunch on who'll win the Presidential Election come November, too. Anyways, I have my reasons for not giving much of a preview here other than telling you that I'm predicting Warriors/Cavs in the Finals for a third straight year. So before you come at me with torches and pitchforks, hear me out.

  • The Warriors Look To Be Too Good: I think that it'll take a little bit of time for this Warriors superteam to gel the same way LeBron and the 'Big Three' in Miami did in 2010. However, last year's 73-win team with the reigning MVP Steph Curry (tops in the NBA last year in PPG with 30.1 and steals with 2.14) recruited a pick-and-roll expert in Kevin Durant. Golden State will have a pretty tall task topping their 114.9 team PPG from last season. Still, if Stephen Curry's able to make 400 3-pointers in a single season, then anything's possible. Now, I don't want to discredit any of the other teams in the Western Conference. I love the backcourt that Portland has. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum make for one of the best dynamic duos in the NBA. Utah has a team that many experts love. Rudy Gobert (2.21 blocks per game) is a solid defensive player and the Jazz just added George Hill to solve their point guard issues (at least on paper). The Jazz also tied for seventh in defensive efficiency last season (101.6) and have a good tandem in Dante Exum and Derrick Favors. The Clippers have their own superteam with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. Oklahoma City has Russell Westbrook and is a great rebounding team. Then there's San Antonio, the Western Conference stalwarts who led the NBA in defensive efficiency last year (96.6). The Spurs are always a tough team to play and it'll probably be the same way this year, even without Tim Duncan. Nevertheless, the Warriors are still the team to beat in the West and will be a challenge for most teams this season.
  • The Eastern Conference Is Too Weak: The Cavaliers are one of the NBA's elite teams. In fact, it seems that they're the Eastern Conference's only elite team. The Boston Celtics added a big man in Al Horford, which is nice. The Celtics were also the fifth-best scoring team in the NBA last season (105.7 PPG). However, Boston ranked near the bottom in 3-point percentage last season (28th with a 3-pt. % of .335). Therefore, Boston will need to drive to the net as much as possible to beat Cleveland. As for the new-look Knicks, I'm not really buying their 'new look' a lot. They're getting an oft-injured Derrick Rose and a nearly-past-his-prime Joakim Noah to join Carmelo Anthony, who can't seem to make it to the conference championship. Will they be a playoff team? Possibly. I think they'll make it. But like Boston, their lack of a 3-ball threat (20th in the NBA in 3-pt. % with .346) will be a concern along with chemistry. The Detroit Pistons look like a nice pick-and-roll team, but will probably take a minor step back this year. Milwaukee's got the Greek Freak and are set up nicely for the future, it's just now isn't their time. The Bulls got Dwayne Wade and are trying to get Michael Carter-Williams. Still, that won't matter. The Hawks got Dwight Howard, who has no post moves and is a diva. Toronto's got one of the better defenses in the game and have one of the better trios in DeRozan/Lowry/Valanciunas. But will they score enough to beat the Cavs? Pretty much, this is setting up to be another year dominated by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference.
           So there you have it. This year is setting up to be another Cavs/Warriors matchup. Who'll win it? Most likely the Warriors. They now have a pick-and-roll weapon and can mix the offense up now. But hey, everyone counted out the Cavs in the NBA Finals last season...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Who Will Claim the Torch From Tiger?

            Tiger Woods made an interesting move this past week when he withdrew his name from the Safeway Open. A week later, Tiger starts up his own business called TGR, a firm that includes a faction for organizing tour events and designing golf courses. With that, one of the most dominant golfers of all time has begun his transition into the afterlife of golf.
            This transition raises up some interesting questions: Who's ready to be Tiger's successor in being the face of golf? Is there such a person that exists? Will golf be a sport to watch if no such person exists? All of these questions are interesting thoughts that concern the state of golf as a whole.
            When Tiger Woods burst onto the PGA scene in 1996, there was a lot of fanfare due to his play at the amateur level. Once Tiger won his first major at the age of 21 (the 1997 Masters), the endorsement deals were rolling in. Soon, Tiger was endorsed by companies like Buick, Gatorade, and most notably, Nike. Tiger even had his own video game franchise back in the day. All of Tiger's success (which includes a period of dominance where he won three majors in 2000) had amounted to Tiger's net worth being around $700 million today. Yes, Tiger went through a sex scandal in 2009 that was a part of the damage done to his game (his father's death and debilitating injuries being the others). The sex scandal also lost him a great number of endorsements and sponsors. However, Tiger's name is still up there regarding who's the greatest of all time in the golf realm and is still recognized around the world.
            There aren't any golfers out there at the moment that have Tiger's sheer dominance. The current World Number One, Jason Day, only has one major championship (the 2015 PGA Championship). He probably will win another, but the 28-year old will be lucky if he wins at least four (maybe five). Jordan Spieth (ranked #4) won both the Masters and the U.S. Open in 2015, becoming the youngest to win the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones in 1923. He was also the 2015 Fedex Cup champion, capping off a dominant year. However, Spieth suffered one of the biggest collapses in PGA history after leading by five strokes halfway into the final round at the 2016 Masters (Danny Willett won). That loss showed Spieth lacking Tiger's intimidation factor and Tiger's ability to close out a tournament with the lead. Spieth has youth on his side and is perhaps the next successor to Tiger, but he probably won't touch Tiger's 14 major wins. Rory McIlroy is probably the closest thing to being Tiger right now, winning four majors and 22 PGA tournaments. However, the 27-year old has been hampered by an ankle injury from playing soccer. He also hasn't fared well at the Masters, with his highest finish being fourth (2015). The women's side doesn't have anybody that can be marketable, either. I mean, does anybody know who two-time major winner Lydia Ko is? I bet you didn't know that she's the current World Number One on the LPGA side and that she's only 19 (She has two majors).
            Compared to its "grand slam" brethren, the sport of tennis, the PGA doesn't really have anybody marketable for the game of golf. Tennis has names from both the men's and women's side with players like Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Roger Federer all being recognizable figures. You can even say Rafael Nadal is marketable, although injuries have severely crippled Nadal's ability. All of these tennis stars are still dominant at their profession and still have plenty of years left in their game. For golf, it may take some time for that one player to emerge.
            If golf wants to remain relevant, it needs a player who either has: an "it" factor, an amazing amount of talent, or preferably, both. The sport of golf needs a player that can be marketed and easy to relate with towards the common fan. Will that player come around in the near future? Who knows.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week Seven College Football Winners and Losers

            Another week of college football has gone by. How did the two upset-potential games pan out? Did anybody get knocked off of their perch?

Winner: West Virginia: I have mentioned many times in this blog about how the Big 12's playoff chances are dwindling. I've put them in the 'loser' section numerous times this year. Well, the Big 12 deserves to have a winner recognized. Their playoff hopes got a ray of hope... At least for now. #20 West Virginia went into Lubbock in what was being labeled as a trap game and ransacked Texas Tech 48-17. The Mountaineers produced 650 yards of offense in this game, providing the Big 12 with a bit of hope amidst their current crisis.
Winner: Syracuse: The Orangemen got a pleasant surprise on Saturday when they beat #17 Virginia Tech 31-17. This was Syracuse's first win over a ranked team since 2012. Check out Syracuse head coach Dino Babers's speech after the game.
Winner: Carlos Henderson: The Louisiana Tech wide receiver tallied 326 receiving yards and five touchdowns in a 56-28 win over Massachusetts. Henderson tied a program record for most receiving touchdowns in a game, but he still was a ways away from the receiving yards record (Troy Edwards had 405 in 1998). Still, those type of numbers make Julio Jones's performance against the Panthers a couple weeks ago seem tame.
Loser: Ole Miss: How in the blue hell is a team like this ranked #12 if they're .500? I get that they play in the SEC West, which gets a lot of love. But still, that baffles my mind how they're ranked so high after a loss to Arkansas.
Loser: Potential Upsets: Wisconsin had a chance to send their game against #2 Ohio State to another overtime. Instead, a sack on fourth down sealed the deal for the Buckeyes as they escaped Madison with an overtime win 30-23. North Carolina State had a chance to pull off an upset against #3 Clemson as well, but came up short in overtime like the Badgers 23-17. As for #9 Tennessee, don't ask them about their game against top-ranked Alabama. Overall, it was a chance to shake up the playoff picture that ended up being squandered.
Loser: Stanford's Missed Field Goal: While Stanford rallied back to beat Notre Dame 17-10, they certainly would've loved to have made this field goal. That has to be worth at least six points, right?

Other Winners: USC, Army, North Carolina, Western Kentucky vs. Middle Tennessee
Other Losers: Houston surviving again, Notre Dame, Northern Illinois, Georgia

My Playoff Teams:

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

Friday, October 14, 2016

More Funny Sports GIFs!!!

            It's time for some more funny sports-related GIFs... Or 'Vines'... Or whatever you call it. Actually, some of these GIFs will make you go "ahhhh"! Anyways, here are some short-second GIFs to make your day better!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

It's Time For This Week's Picks!!

              Here's another edition of the picks. Last week looked promising, but it went out with a whimper as I went 3-3. Let's hope for better!!!

  • Broncos over Chargers
  • Redskins over Eagles
  • Seahawks over Falcons
  • Cowboys over Packers
  • Texans over Colts
  • Cardinals over Jets
Bonus: Titans over Browns
            Dodgers over Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS

Overall Record: 20-16 (+2)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2016 NHL Preview: Pacific Division

            It's time to wrap up my NHL preview with a look at the Pacific Division. This division features a few teams that are young and budding and a couple others whose window(s) of contention are closing. Will the California teams reign supreme once again in the Pacific?

  1. San Jose Sharks: The defending Western Conference champions basically return their entire team from last season. The only difference is they get Mikkel Boedker, a left wing who had 17 goals and 34 assists last season. The Sharks have a great shot of repeating as Western Conference champions this season.
  2. Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks's window of opportunity for a Stanley Cup is quickly shutting. Randy Carlyle is back with Anaheim, but he'll have some things to work on. One issue to fix is the penalty minutes, where the Ducks amassed the second-most in the NHL last season.
  3. Los Angeles Kings: Los Angeles possessed the top two plus/minus leaders last season (Tyler Toffoli with +35 and Anze Kopitar with +34), which is nice. But like the Ducks, LA's time for winning a cup (another one, that is) is winding down. Still, Darryl Sutter is an underrated coach and will probably get this team back to the playoffs (So will Kopitar, Toffoli, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick).
  4. Calgary Flames: Calgary made plenty of moves in the offseason, nabbing Brian Elliott to shore up anemic goaltending and signing Johnny Gaudreau long-term. Could the Flames make a return trip to the playoff the same way that they did a couple seasons ago? A lot of experts are penning Calgary as a playoff team.
  5. Arizona Coyotes: Formerly the Phoenix Coyotes, this team is flowing with young talent and prospects. Granted, players like Max Domi still have at least a year left before takeoff. But if the Yotes manage to contend, they should go for a goalie. Maybe Ben Bishop? Also, you've got to like the pickup of defenseman Alex Goligoski.
  6. Edmonton Oilers: Edmonton acquired Milan Lucic for a long period, giving phenom Connor McDavid some company on the offensive front. They also have Jesse Puljujarvi, a young right wing from Finland who'll help the Oilers with even more scoring in the future. Edmonton just might make it back to the playoffs with just McDavid and Lucic alone. 
  7. Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks inked Loui Eriksson for five years, which is nice. He should provide some scoring with the Sedin brothers. However, there isn't much else to look forward to as a Canuck fan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why You Should Root For This Other Cursed Team

            You've heard the numerous stories ran about the Chicago Cubs and their 108-year old World Series title drought. You've heard about the "Curse of the Billy Goat". You've seen ESPN run MANY articles about the Cubs and their "pursuit of history" (really, it's just a pursuit to break a century-old drought). But have you heard about "The Curse of Rocky Colavito"?
            "The Curse of Rocky Colavito" is a phenomenon that has haunted the Cleveland Indians for years. It was the result of an unpopular trade that sent Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn in 1960. Keep in mind that Colavito (42 homers) was the home run champ in 1959 while Kuenn was the batting champ (.359) in that same year. The trade had been initiated by the Indians' GM, Frank "Trader" Lane, who had gone on to trade every single player he inherited in only two years with the Indians. This outraged Cleveland fans greatly and left them to call for Lane's head on a platter.
            According to Terry Pluto in his 1994 book The Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a 33-Year-Old Slump, the trade was the catalyst for not finishing 11 games near first from 1960 to 1993. Pluto also mentions many other misfortunes that the Indians experienced during this span, such as Sam McDowell's alcoholism, trading Rick Sutcliffe to the Cubs, and the rushing of pitcher Steve Dunning into the majors without minor league seasoning. Of course, there are rumors swirling that Bobby Bragan, the Indians manager in the 1950s, placed a curse on Cleveland after being fired in 1958.
             Indians fans remember the moments where they were SO CLOSE to breaking the curse. If it wasn't for Jose Mesa's ineptitude in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, the Indians would've beaten the Marlins. If it wasn't for Boston rallying in the 2007 ALCS from a 3-1 deficit, the Indians would've faced the Rockies in the World Series (and probably would've been favored, too). Fortunately for Cleveland fans, LeBron and the Cavs snapped the titleless streak by defeating Golden State in the NBA Finals. But the Indians still don't have their title. So why should this year be a magical one for Indians fans?
             For starters, they have home-field advantage throughout the postseason starting in the ALCS. The Indians have been terrific at home, tying Texas for the best home mark in the American League at 53-28. Cleveland was third in the majors in runs scored at home with 452 and third in home batting average at .288. Cleveland lit up 22-game winner Rick Porcello and former Cy Young-winner David Price in their two home games against Boston. So Toronto should tread carefully with the bats.
             Another reason for why Cleveland has a chance to break "The Curse of Rocky Colavito" is the rotation. While the starting pitchers haven't been as effective at home as the bats have (sixth in baseball in road ERA at 3.81 as opposed to 13th in baseball in home ERA at 3.87), they've been just that: better on the road. Josh Tomlin, a pitcher who had an ERA of 4.40 during the regular season, held the Red Sox bats to just two runs in five innings pitched in Game 3 (he got the win in that game). Tomlin has posted a 1.75 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in his last four starts, providing more firepower to an Indians staff that has been shorthanded lately. Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA, 227 SO, 1.06 WHIP) has been the ace the Indians needed during a time where Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar have been injured.
             One final reason, and this is a big one, for why the Indians could break the curse this season is due to unlikely contributions. Mike Napoli (34 homers, 101 RBIs) has been a nice pickup for the Indians and Jose Ramirez (.312, 22 SB, 76 RBI) has also been a great contributor. The Indians have benefited greatly from their contributions in spite of not having Michael Brantley around for most of the season. Cleveland has also swiped a lot of bags this year, placing fourth in the majors in stolen bases with 134. The Indians also have a SB success rate of 81.21%, second to only Arizona (81.55%) in the majors. Rajai Davis has a good number of those stolen bases with 43.
             People are talking quite a bit about the Chicago Cubs and their curse, but these people should also pay attention to what's going on in Cleveland. Who knows? Maybe the Indians and Cubs will meet in the World Series. That way, it'll be a battle between "The Curse of Rocky Colavito" and "The Curse of the Billy Goat".

2016 NHL Preview: Central Division

            Now let's take a look at the NHL's deepest division: the Central Division. The Central Division will once again be a dog fight between some of the top teams in the NHL, with most of these teams being Stanley Cup Contenders. Who will make it out on top in this tough division?

  1. Chicago Blackhawks: Everybody talks about how good the Blackhawks are because of Patrick Kane (46 goals, 50 assists) or Duncan Keith or Jonathan Toews. There is one Blackhawk that you should know and that's Artemi Panarin. Panarin surprised a lot of people last season with 30 goals, 47 assists, and a plus/minus rating of +8. 
  2. Nashville Predators: The big news in the NHL over the summer was Nashville's acquisition of P.K. Subban. The former Norris trophy winner will be a steady upgrade in terms of age and ability over Shea Weber and will provide the Preds' blue-line with a player in his prime. If the Predators can get solid goaltending from Pekka Rinne this season, they should be legit Stanley Cup contenders. 
  3. Dallas Stars: The Stars have a lot of offensive firepower, namely Jamie Benn (41 goals, 48 assists), Jason Spezza (33 goals, 30 assists), and Tyler Seguin (33 goals, 40 assists). However, goaltending will be a question this season. Can they hold off enough shots as they try to outscore the competition?
  4. St. Louis Blues: St. Louis lost two key players from last season in Brian Elliott and David Backes. While they'll miss Backes's contributions and Elliott's goaltending, they still have one of the most exciting players in the league in Vladimir Tarasenko (40 goals, 34 assists, +7). They also have a fairly solid defense that'll keep opposing players at bay.
  5. Winnipeg Jets: A lot of questions surrounding Jacob Trouba, who's asking for a trade. However, the forward position is a deep one for the Jets, which will play a big role in why they'll get in the playoffs. 
  6. Minnesota Wild: The Wild hired Bruce Boudreau as their new head coach, which is a nice addition. Problem is, Boudreau has a hard time getting his teams out of the first round no matter what record they have. Will this be the case with the Wild?
  7. Colorado Avalanche: The main storyline with the Avalanche was Patrick Roy's sudden resignation as head coach. Was there something wrong on the management side? Anyways, the Avs have some things to improve upon. One of them is not letting opponents pepper the goalie with shot; Colorado had the third-highest shots allowed per game with 32.3 with a difference of -03.7.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

2016 NHL Preview: Metropolitan Division

             We move on to the Metropolitan Division, home of the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Can the Pens become the first repeat champions since the Red Wings of the late-90's? Can the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin finally get over the conference quarterfinal hump and make it to the Stanley Cup? What other teams will emerge from this cutthroat division? Here's the breakdown.

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins: The defending champs look to pick up where they left off. Pittsburgh is well-rounded enough to repeat as Stanley Cup Champs. They still have plenty of scoring options to go around; the Pens were third in the NHL last season in goals per game with 2.94.
  2. Washington Capitals: During the regular season, the Caps looked like a complete team. They had goaltending (Braden Holtby had a 2.20 GAA, good for fifth in the NHL). They had a top-notch goal scorer (Alex Ovechkin topped the NHL in goals with 50). Then, the conference quarterfinals happened. Again. The Caps were ousted in the second round by the Penguins 4-2. If Washington wants to make it to the Stanley Cup, they'll need Ovechkin and crew to start coming up with some big goals in the playoffs. 
  3. Philadelphia Flyers: Last season's biggest surprise looks to capitalize on their fortunes. Thanks to the arrival of upbeat defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, the Flyers managed to make the playoffs and give the Capitals a slight scare in the first round. If they want to continue their success, goaltending will be a big thing for Philadelphia to address.
  4. New York Rangers: Is the Rangers' window of contention closing? Henrik Lundqvist (age 34) and Rick Nash (age 32) aren't getting younger, so a transitional period is near for New York. They're in an interesting situation where they have plenty of older players, but plenty of younger players. Players like Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello will dictate how the Rangers do in future years.
  5. New Jersey Devils: The Devils added young left wing Taylor Hall to their team in hopes that Hall can improve their deadbeat scoring (Last in the NHL in goals per game with 2.2). New Jersey actually had a fairly solid power play (ninth in the NHL with a 19.9% PP) and penalty kill (eighth in the NHL with a 83% PK). They also have a pretty good goaltender in Cory Schneider (2.15 GAA, .924 save %). New Jersey's biggest problem will be depth, for they are a top-heavy team.
  6. New York Islanders: Losing Frans Nielsen will hurt this team, but the Isles did pick up Andrew Ladd (25 goals, 21 assists) to accompany John Taveres on the offensive front. A great penalty kill was what helped this team (fourth in the NHL at 84.5%), but will the losses hurt this team even further?
  7. Columbus Blue Jackets: Columbus was a bit of a let-down last year, wallowing out of a playoff spot and into near-cellar dweller territory. A big part of it was the amount of penalties the Jackets took. Columbus took 317 minor penalties last year, fourth-most in the NHL. If Columbus is to be taken seriously, they need to stay out of the sin bin.
  8. Carolina Hurricanes: Relocation rumors. A near-empty arena on a nightly basis. Ownership in turmoil. A lackluster team. It's going to be a long season for 'Canes fans. There might be hope with the young players and Teuvo Teravainen. But yeah, it's gonna probably be a long season.

Week Six College Football Winners and Losers

            Week Six of the college football season featured some good games, a few games, and a few upsets. There were some games that shook up the playoff picture from the outside, ensuring that the consensus top four hold onto their positions tighter. Who won Week Six and who lost it?

Winner: The Red River Showdown: The rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma has always produced some quality games and moments between the two teams and the latest duel didn't disappoint. In what was one of the highest-scoring games in the rivalry's history, both teams combined for 85 points. Baker Mayfield threw for 390 yards and three touchdowns for Oklahoma while Samaje Perine ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries for the Sooners. Dede Westbrook caught ten passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns. The Longhorns had some fireworks of their own with D'Onta Foreman running the ball for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
Winner: NC State/Notre Dame: While the game was played in harsh conditions of a hurricane, the game was an awesome throwback to a football game played in the elements. Torrential rains drenched the field as the two teams battled it out in a low-scoring affair (NC State won 10-3). Again, not the safest of environments to play in. However, it was a great throwback of old-school football.
Winner: SEC Drama: Once again, the  #8 Tennessee Vols were involved in some exciting late game dramatics, taking the #9 Texas A&M Aggies to overtime. However, the Vols were on the other end of the theatrics, losing thanks to Armani Watts's interception off of Joshua Dobbs in the second overtime. Still, the Volunteers continue to produce exciting games that leave their fans on the edge of their seats.
Loser: Houston Cougars: The Cougars watched their playoff hopes go on life support as they got caught in a trap game, losing to Navy 46-40. Houston was unable to stop Will Worth, who ran for 115 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. The fact that their marquee win over then-#3 Oklahoma was lessened by the Sooners' performance a couple weeks later damages the Cougars' chances even more.
Loser: Michigan State Spartans: What in the world is going on in East Lansing? The Spartans have suffered their first three-game losing streak since 2009, getting routed by BYU 31-14. The question of whether MSU could survive with a good chunk of their key players getting drafted and/or graduating looks like it's being answered, with the Spartans falling below .500 for the season.
Loser: Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Rutgers lost to #4 Michigan by a score of 78-0. You read that right. 78-0. It was over by the first quarter when Michigan was up by two touchdowns. In fact, the halftime score was 43-0 in favor of the Wolverines. Jabril Peppers enjoyed a nice homecoming in his native state by rushing for a 63-yard score. Rutgers punted the ball 16 times while Michigan tied a program record by scoring nine rushing touchdowns in a game. Looks like Jim Harbaugh shows no remorse for his opponents. Jim Harbaugh has no chill.

Other Winners: Top-five teams scoring 70+ points, Florida State, Western Michigan rowing the boat, Iowa
Other Losers: Kansas, Iowa State's attempt at pulling off an upset (again), Miami's playoff hopes, North Carolina

My Playoff Teams:

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

Saturday, October 8, 2016

2016 NHL Preview: Atlantic Division

            One of the more underrated sports in the America's resumes action next week. It's amazing how fast time flies as it was just yesterday that the Pittsburgh Penguins was hoisting the Stanley Cup in San Jose. Anyways, here's how the division will shake out this year (prediction time)!

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning: The Bolts got Steven Stamkos back and somehow managed to hold onto All-Star goaltender Ben Bishop, which are both big surprises. Kudos to Steve Yzerman for keeping Stamkos from leaving the Bay. Keep an eye on Tampa Bay's young right winger Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov had 30 goals and 36 assists last year while posting a +9 plus/minus last season.
  2. Montreal Canadiens: What's amazing is that Le Habs were actually one of the best teams in the league early on. It was just losing Carey Price that devastated Montreal for the rest of the season. They'll get their goaltender back, but it'll be interesting to see how they do since they swapped P.K. Subban with Nashville for Shea Weber.
  3. Florida Panthers: An emerging young group of players and a surprising ageless Jaromir Jagr (103 pts. last season) helped propel Florida to a surprising playoff berth last season. Now they're going all in with a new seven-year deal with defenseman Keith Yandle and acquiring Jason Demers and Dmitri Kulikov. Watch out for Aleksander Barkov, a young center who scored 28 goals and 31 assists last season.
  4. Boston Bruins: Can Boston avoid a late-season meltdown? The Bruins are hoping that adding David Backes (21 goals, 24 assists with St. Louis last season) can curb some of those late-season swoons that they've had. 
  5. Detroit Red Wings: Is this the year the playoff streak comes to an end? With an aging core and a shaky defense, it certainly seems that way. If young stud Dylan Larkin can continue scoring and Petr Mrazek plays solid in the net, then the streak will stay alive for one final year at the Joe. 
  6. Ottawa Senators: The Senators have both Erik Karlsson (66 assists, 82 points) and Dion Phaneuf for a full season, stabilizing a strong blue line. Great young forwards on this team will make Ottawa interesting to watch this year. 
  7. Buffalo Sabres: Young star Jack Eichel is part of a great youth movement in Buffalo. One other great strength of the Sabres was their penalty kill; they ranked 9th in PK last season with a 82.6% success rate.
  8. Toronto Maple Leafs: They got Auston Matthews for their No. 1 pick this year and inked goalie Frederik Andersen to a five-year deal, but didn't get Stamkos to come home. With or without Stamkos, this Maple Leafs team is still a ways away from going to the playoffs. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Five Things to Look Forward to This MLB Postseason

            It's October, which means that postseason baseball is upon us. The thrill and excitement of fall baseball is here, which means that magical moments will spawn in Autumn. This postseason looks to be more interesting than the others. What will this postseason bring? Here are five things to look for in the Fall Classic.

  1. Is This The Year? 108 years. That's how long it's been since the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series. One of the most cursed teams in baseball has the tools necessary to make it all the way this season. However, the pressure to win has never been greater for the North Siders. Can the Cubs finally exorcise their demons and hoist the World Series title come late October/early November?
  2. Big Papi's Farewell: Meanwhile in Boston, there's a big farewell tour that has reached the postseason. David Ortiz has had an MVP season for his farewell year, batting .315 with 38 homers and 127 RBIs. What better way to go out than to win the World Series one more time?
  3. The Cubs Aren't The Only Team With a World Series Drought: There are plenty of teams that haven't won the World Series for quite some time. The Toronto Blue Jays last won it in 1993. The Mets haven't won since 1986, the Dodgers since 1988,  and the Indians since 1948. The Rangers have never won the title and are looking for their first championship. Hell, the Washington Nationals have never MADE IT to the World Series. There's a good chance that someone will be ending a drought this year, for this year is one of the best opportunities to end it. 
  4. Even-Year Magic? Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants have been one of the more consistent franchises in baseball in recent memory. They won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Will this be another World Series title on an even year? They have the pitching staff to make it happen and the lineup's good enough to make some noise. San Francisco fans are hoping for a long run considering that the 49ers aren't too hot right now.
  5. Win For Vin: In Vin Scully's last season as a broadcaster for the Dodgers, Los Angeles looks to win one for Scully. The legendary broadcaster would love nothing more than to have the Dodgers win as a tribute to his many years of service to Los Angeles. That would mean that Clayton Kershaw would have to expel some postseason demons. 


            Another week, another set of picks. Hopefully, I can duplicate the awesome week that I had last week when I went 5-1. It's going to be hard, but here we go!!

  • Cardinals over 49ers
  • Eagles over Lions
  • Broncos over Falcons
  • Vikings over Texans
  • Packers over Giants
  • Panthers over Bucs
Bonus Pick: Patriots over Browns (Tom Brady's return)

Record: 17-13 (+1)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pleasant Surprises and Disappointments (So Far) in the 2016 NFL Season

            It's hard to believe that we're a quarter (or almost) of the way into the NFL season. This season has lent us to plenty of surprises, both good and bad. Which teams have gone above and beyond and which teams have wallowed in sheer incompetence?

Pleasant Surprise: Los Angeles Rams: Guess which team is tied for first in the NFC West with the Seattle Seahawks? If you guessed the Arizona Cardinals, you'd be dead wrong. Instead, it is the Los Angeles Fightin' [Jeff] Fishers, who have actually beaten two playoff teams from last season. They're tied for fourth in Give/Take (plus-four) and are tied for the most takeaways in fumbles (nine). They're also one of the best punting teams in the NFL, amassing 1,201 yards on 27 punts.
Pleasant Surprise: Minnesota Vikings: Consider this: You lose BOTH your starting quarterback and your starting running back. What the hell do you do? You record the second-most sacks in the NFL (15) and lead the NFL in Give/Take (plus-eight). They've also yield the third-fewest first downs (57) and have been the most disciplined team in the NFL (147 total penalty yards, first in the NFL). Like the Rams, the Vikings have already beaten two playoff teams from last season.
Pleasant Surprise: New England Patriots: It's odd that I'm putting New England in the "pleasant surprise" ranks considering their recent success. However, you have to give Bill Belichick props given the circumstances. Two of your quarterbacks are injured and one of them--your starting quarterback [Brady]--is serving a four-game suspension, leaving one of your receivers [Edelman] to serve as a backup. Throw in your starting tight end [Gronk] missing a couple games and your team should be at least 2-1 headed into the Buffalo game. Instead, New England has pulled off a 3-0 start thanks to Belichick's brilliance and have found ways to win tough games. Also, LaGarrette Blount is third (surprise!!!) in the NFL in rushing yards with 352.
Pleasant Surprise: Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles seemed to have no qualms about trading Sam Bradford to make way for new quarterback Carson Wentz. It has certainly paid off for them. Wentz has completed 64.7% of his passes, compiling 769 passing yards and five touchdowns in the process. Philadelphia has also gotten help on defense, particularly from safety Rodney McLeod. McLeod has 14 tackles, two interceptions, and three pass deflections in three games to start the season. Philadelphia has the largest point differential in the NFL, outscoring opponents by 65 points so far in the season. The Eagles are also tied for first in committing the fewest penalties (18).
Utter Disappointment: Arizona Cardinals: What was supposed to be a Super Bowl-contending team has come out flat to start the season. Carson Palmer left Sunday's game to be evaluated for a concussion. Another problem that has plagued Arizona is turning over the ball. Cardinal quarterbacks have thrown seven interceptions to start the season (five from Palmer, two from Drew Stanton). Their point differential shows that they've been competitive in their games. It's just a matter of being able to seal the deal in close games (0-2 in games decided by less than a touchdown).
Utter Disappointment: Carolina Panthers: Three games into the season and the defending NFC champions already had more losses than they did a season ago. The schedule has been rather unforgiving for Carolina, starting them off with an season-opening game at Denver. Part of Carolina's problem has surprisingly been Cam Newton. The reigning NFL MVP has a 57.9% completion rate while throwing for six touchdowns and five interceptions. The Panthers have also shown that they're depleted at the corner position (hello, Josh Norman), which is evident by the 300 receiving yards that they yielded to Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones. The Panthers do play in a fairly weak division, but their non-divisional schedule is rather grueling. They still have a game at home against the Chiefs and road games against the Rams, Seahawks, and Raiders.
Utter Disappointment: Jacksonville Jaguars: How can the Jaguars be an utter disappointment if they're the Jaguars? Well, this season was supposed to be the year Jacksonville took that next step and contend for the playoffs. Instead, they started the season 0-3. Blake Bortles has been sacked 12 times to start the season, a worrisome sign showing the offensive line might have some leaks. The Jags did have a good win defensively over the Colts on Sunday, sacking Andrew Luck six times in a 30-27 victory in London. Luckily for the Jaguars, the AFC South is very soft. So getting back into the thick of things in their division shouldn't be an issue.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Week Five College Football Winners and Losers

             Week Five featured plenty of games with impactful implications regarding the college football playoff. Plenty of teams will be knocked out of the running or have their hopes damaged with a loss. Who got the big win and who took a step back?

Winner: Washington Huskies: In a big Pac-12 game, the Washington Huskies proved they are for real with a resounding 44-6 win over #7 Stanford. They nearly stuffed the box, holding Christian McCaffrey to just 49 yards and got eight sacks on the night. With the Big 12 imploding, the chances of a Pac-12 team, particularly Washington, getting in look even better. However, the Huskies can't overlook their next opponent in Oregon. Washington has lost 12 straight matches to the Ducks.
Winner: Tennessee/Georgia: The last minute of this game was one of the more dramatic finishes that you'll see. A 47-yard touchdown reception by Riley Ridley with ten seconds left put Georgia ahead 28-24. However, a Hail Mary pass from Joshua Dobbs was caught by Juaun Jennings as the #11 Vols shocked the #25 Bulldogs by a score of 31-28. Considering that this was a divisional game between two SEC East schools, this finish carries extra weight.
Winner: Dalton Sneed: Watch Dalton Sneed avoid a safety and break out for a 91-yard touchdown in a game against Fresno State. One of the few moments where you should never say, "die".
Loser: Florida State: Losing on a last-second field goal to North Carolina broke the Seminoles' playoff chances into nothing. This game has just been a culmination of the disappointment that Florida State has experienced this season, with the latest being a heartbreaker. Their kicker Ricky Aguayo missed all three field goal attempts while the secondary let Mitch Trubisky throw for 405 yards and three touchdowns.
Loser: Texas Longhorns: The Big 12's running out of options with regards to its postseason hopes. Baylor barely survived against a lowly Iowa State team and now Texas falls to Oklahoma State. While Texas gained 568 total yards, it also allowed 555 total yards on defense with 392 of those yards through the air. The reason for Texas being in the 'loser' category isn't for the fact that they lost. Oklahoma State on the road is always going to be at least a trap game. It's mainly based on the fact that the Big 12 is running out of contenders for the playoff and this loss hurts the conference's chances even further.
Loser: Michigan's kickers: The Michigan kickers are lucky that the Wolverine defense held up nicely against Wisconsin. Kenny Allen missed two field goals, one from 31 yards and another by 43 yards, while Ryan Tice missed a 40 yard field goal for a chance to take the lead late in the third quarter. The game didn't look as close as the final score (14-7) indicated. It was just the kickers missing kicks that made it seem like a nailbiter.

Other Winners: Clemson, last-second wins, Greg Ward Jr., Colorado
Other Losers: Michigan State, Iowa State's upset bid against Baylor, San Diego State, East Carolina in the fourth quarter

My Playoff Teams:

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