Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Writing for 1/31/2013

My look at how Ray Lewis' legacy is still impacted by the 2000 incident in Atlanta that lead to him having to testify in a murder trial to avoid be tried himself.

Replacing Denard Robinson as Michigan quarterback doesn't seem like a big deal right now (it really isn't), but it's always good to know what you have at the position, just in case.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Writing for 1/30/2013

My memories of Denard Robinson, now former quarterback of the Michigan Wolverines. Known as "Shoelace" because he doesn't tie his shoes, this guy helped bring the Wolverines back from an ugly place just a few years ago and did it through great plays through the air and especially on the ground.

My opinions about Manti Te'o and the whole Hoax for which the love affair between him and this country that was created through this lie. I love it because it was an example of "too good to be true" that blew up in everyone's face. Plus, I don't think that Notre Dame got slammed enough for the death of Declan Sullivan last year, so maybe it's karma.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Writing for 1/29/2013

My theory that the Alabama/LSU rivalry in college football is the new Ten Year War. If you don't know what the Ten Year War is, shame on you. But don't worry, I explain what it is in the article.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Writing for 1/28/2013

My answer to a simple question regarding Super Bowl XXLVII: are the Baltimore Ravens a team of destiny?

My look at the MMA career of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Jackson competed and lost this past Saturday at UFC on Fox 6, his final fight under his current UFC contract. Now it's all about who he signs with for what are likely the final fights of his career. That is unless Saturday was the last fight of his career. I doubt it, but you never really know.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Writing for 1/24 & 1/26/2013

The Wisconsin Badgers are once again engaging in their almost yearly search for a Quarterback. I go over the options and what the new hire as head coach could mean for the hunt for who will be the man behind center for the Badgers in 2013.

Tonight Anthony Pettis gained a nice win over Donald Cerrone on UFC's nationally televised fight card. This win gives Pettis a future lightweight title shot and I back up my case.

Charlie Strong signed an eight-year extension to remain Louisville's football coach. This is a good thing for the game at the college level because too many college coaches are either hunting for money, hunting for the spotlight, or hunting for a job in the NFL.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Writing for 1/20/2013

Written before game, my pondering whether or not it was Matt Ryan's time to shine. Turns out, it wasn't.

Written before game, my look at Tom Brady's quest for a fourth Super Bowl ring. That quest will have to wait until next year to continue.

So with Jim and John on opposite sides in the game, Super Bowl XLVII will be the Harbaugh Bowl, or Harbowl, which is trending on Twitter. I think the full name sounds better, but that's just me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Here it is...the Manti Te'o Hoax

This whole thing is incredibly funny for me being anything other than a Fighting Irish football fan. It's also funny because in this day and age it is just ridiculously stupid to get that attached to someone you've met online. I guess I can understand (to a degree) why Te'o himself didn't do any research after a dear friend "died," but why didn't Notre Dame? I know it's not really their business, but the moment that aspect of the story, combined with the very real death of Te'o's grandmother, began to garner some considerable hype for this player, then they should have at least taken a look at it. Because if there's one thing that's certain about when an athlete becomes a celebrity, it's that there's some kind of skeleton in the closet and the difference is only how big the skeleton is. In this case, it's a pretty big skeleton, especially if it turns out Te'o was complicit in the hoax from the beginning.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Writing for 1/15/2013

The Green Bay Packers' defense played absolutely horribly in their playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend. It was record-breaking bad actually, and for both sides.

Joe Flacco came through big for the Ravens in their playoff win last week. People aren't used to seeing this out of Flacco as he's usually needed his defense or Ray Rice to bail him out. Not this time.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Writing for 1/14/2013

Ray Lewis has been playing fabulous on defense for the Ravens through the playoffs so far. His ability to inspire is the only thing better than his ability to play defense at this point as the Ravens are playing much better football in the playoffs than anyone outside of B-More really expected them to.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Writing for 1/10/2013

Eddie Lacy & T.J. Yeldon benefited a great deal from missed tackles in the BCS title game. It wasn't the only reason they had big games, but it was a big reason for the Crimson Tide's blowout national title win.

Nick Saban's place in college football history is now assured with his fourth national title as a coach. That puts him behind only three men for the most all-time and ties him with a few legends as well. He's also now ahead of plenty of college coaching legends in the titles department. But it's not just the titles, but how he's done it and how he's been able to continue winning.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Writing for 1/8/2013

Last night's BCS title game was played between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. If hearing those two names instantly made you think of college football history, then you're on to what this article contains.

A.J. McCarron performed incredibly in the BCS title game last night and deserved to be named offensive player of the game. I understand why Eddie Lacy got it, but I still think McCarron deserved it more.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Alabama Wins National Title

BCS Championship Game: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14

With their third title in four years, Alabama are now granted with the opportunity to become one of the great dynasties in all of college football history as well as go for a third straight national title. No hyperbole, no overblown sentiment, this is the straight truth: this Alabama team, even with the people they will lose after this season, still has a real chance to make it three in a row next year. And that would grant the Tide a special place in college football history.

The Crimson Tide running game ran over the Irish, pure and simple. Lacy & Yeldon both ran for over 100 yards in the game and each scored a touchdown on the ground with Lacy adding another on a TD catch late in the second quarter. And one year after a title game that was good, A.J. McCarron gave us a great performance and four touchdown passes.

The Irish defense was apparently not as prepared as we all thought they would because they had no answer for the Crimson Tide running game or McCarron's passes and that left them in a 21-0 hole with the game barely into the second quarter. It didn't get any better after that.

The Irish offense was ineffective partially because their running game was nullified quickly due to the score and partially due to Everett Golson showing he is just a freshman quarterback. Would Johnny Manziel have performed different in this situation? Probably, but he is a much higher caliber freshman QB than Golsen.

This was a stomping and is the 7th straight national title for the SEC. With McCarron returning next year to 'Bama and Aaron Murray coming back for his senior season at Georgia, the SEC is in good position for #8 in a row. As an SEC fan and supporter, this does feel really good, I can't lie.

Pre-Game Writing for BCS Title Game

Getting ready for the BCS title game. About 90 minutes people:

My look at the benefits and hindrances of having played in the BCS title game before. Notre Dame is making their first appearance while Alabama is making their third in the last four years and won the title last season.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Writing for 1/6/2013

My look at the two defenses that will go at it in Monday's BCS title game. Alabama and Notre Dame own two of the best (if not the best) defenses in college football and in the case of the Irish, they've ridden that defense to an undefeated season and a shot at a national title.

NFL Wild Card Weekend

Baltimore Ravens 24, Indianapolis Colts 9

Ray Lewis' final home game as a Baltimore Raven was a good one for him in several ways: his team won, he played in his first game since October, he played good, and he was in the backfield for the final kneel down of the game. That last one was a moment that made me smile and was the right thing to do for a guy who gave so much and did so much for the franchise he's spent his career with. All around feel-good stuff from Baltimore.

As for Indy, their interim coach during Chuck Pagano's absence had to be hospitalized this morning, but appears to be okay. Andrew Luck showed that he still a rookie and still needs to learn how to play on the road (where he's struggled all season). The Colts' D was able to make Joe Flacco look like Joe Flacco for the first half, they had no chance in the second half once Flacco began hooking up with Anquan Boldin. Boldin caught five passes for 145 yards and a touchdown in the second half.

Seattle Seahawks 24, Washington Redskins 14

The Redskins appeared to be on their way to a rout after their first two drives resulted in touchdowns and a 14-0 lead early. Underneath, the truth was horrifying for the Redskins: RG3 still didn't look like himself even after the win against Dallas last week. And it only got worse as Griffin was in pain throughout the game and really should have been pulled long before he re-injured his knee in the fourth quarter after a snap went bad. He really should have been pulled because the game was still close at halftime and Griffin had shown during the first half that he wasn't going to be able to give the kind of performance that we're used to seeing out of him and that his team needed out of him to advance. Kirk Cousins did show himself to be a perfectly suitable replacement when RG3 was originally injured last month, but wasn't brought in until after RG3 re-injured his knee and the game was basically out of reach.

It was out of reach by that point in the fourth quarter because of 24 unanswered points from the offense and tremendous play from a tremendous defense. The play of the game, and the play that may have started the Seahawks to victory came in the second quarter. Russell Wilson had lost the ball and Marshawn Lynch recovered it on the run and gained nearly 30 yards off the fumble. The Seahawks went on to score a touchdown on the drive and never looked back. It's not the one play that made this game, but it was one of those momentum shifting plays that nobody realized was a momentum shifter until later when the game had completely changed gears and people needed to find the reason why.

Houston Texas 19, Cincinnati Bengals 13

This year the Bengals got the INT return touchdown as the wild card rematch between these two teams ended with the same result. The Texans moved the ball consistently throughout, but couldn't finish drives. This resulted in Shayne Graham kicking four field-goals in the game, with the last three being from 27 yards or less. The Bengals never got going on offense despite their youth and talent, and this put more and more pressure on their defense to make key stops. The irony is that the game was there for Bengals to snatch away from the Texans like a pickpocket because their defense was able to force the Texans to settle for three points instead of seven on several occasions. Next for Houston: a return to Foxboro, the scene of the crime if you will; the Texans lost 42-14 to the Pats and that loss started the slide that resulted in the Texans limping into the playoffs after losing home-field advantage. They're still limping, but still alive for now.

Green Bay Packers 24, Minnesota Vikings 10

Christian Ponder was deactivated before the game and this alone almost made it a sure thing that Green Bay was going to win. Yes the Vikings still had Adrien Petersen, but their back up (Joe Webb) hadn't started a game in literally two years, and for that start to be in a playoff game was going to be too much for a quarterback of little experience to begin with. The Packers didn't play their best game, but Aaron Rodgers performed great and that's all the Packers really need if their defense plays even marginally good and the other team is crippled. Next week in San Francisco the Packers will need a more complete team performance, but it was good enough this week to get by.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Writing for 1/5/2013

Johnny Football performed beautifully in last night's Cotton Bowl. This year's Heisman Trophy winner broke Cotton Bowl records, made dazzling plays (both running and passing), and lead his offense to an absolutely huge performance in a 41-13 win.

My recap of Dream 18 & GLORY 4 from New Year's Eve. The main bouts for Dream 18 were Shinya Aoki/Antonio McGee, Tatsuya Kawajiri/Michihiro Omigawa, and Hiroyuki Takaya/Gerogi Karakhanyan. There was also a female bout and a noteworthy quick one involving Melvin Manhoef.

GLORY 4 was a one-night, 16-man kickboxing tournament in K-1 fashion, only a round longer. Glory Sports International, the owners of GLORY, co-promoted the doubleheader.

The Fiesta Bowl & The Cotton Bowl

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon 35, Kansas St. 17

Speed truly does kill. That was the moral of this game as the Wildcats simply couldn't keep up with the Ducks' speed. De'Anthony Thomas was a major thorn in the Wildcats' side when he returned the opening kickoff of the game for a touchdown (he was clocked at 26 m.p.h. during the return) and catching a touchdown pass later in the opening quarter. After that, it was mostly Marcus Mariota and Kenjon Barner taking care of things on offense for the Ducks. Collin Klein and the rest of the Wildcats' offense never fully got going, and when they did, it usually didn't work out. Several drives resulted in field-goals and a missed field-goal due to poor play calling and execution inside the Ducks' red-zone.

The biggest blow came late in the first half when the Wildcats were attempting to make this a 15-13 game late in the first half. Instead, they missed a field-goal and then Mariota drove the Ducks to a touchdown in less than 50 seconds. This made it a 22-10 lead for the Ducks at halftime. In the end, this was the backbreaker as the Wildcats came out flat in the second half and weren't competitive in the game again.

Oh, and there was a one-point safety (a first for me) in the second half. After the Ducks had scored another touchdown, their extra-point was blocked, then K-State tried to return it only to run into the end-zone trying to get around the mass of players, and eventually a Wildcats was pulled down for a safety. However, because it was on their extra-point, the Ducks only got one point instead of two for the safety.

Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M 41, Oklahoma 13

This was the Johnny Football Show. It was supposed to be a battle of quarterbacks, but this year's Heisman Trophy winner flew out of the gate with an impressive first drive and even more impressive touchdown run to finish that drive, and he never looked back. The Aggies' defense wore down the Sooners over time and took them out of the game mentally with plenty of stops as Landry Jones never got his offense into high gear.

Manziel did not have such a problem. He ended up with Cotton Bowl record for total yards (516) and rushing yards by a quarterback (229) while throwing for two touchdowns and running for two more. With help from other running backs in the third quarter and his receivers in the fourth, Manziel helped the Aggies to outscore the Sooners 27-0 in the second half and turn a one-point game at halftime into a rout.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Writing for 1/3/2013

My recap of the MMA portion of Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012. The main bouts were Mirko Cro Cop/Shinichi Suzukawa (sumo wrestler turned pro wrestler making his MMA debut), and Satoshi Ishii/Tim Sylvia.

Terrell Floyd's INT return TD to start last night's Sugar Bowl acted as the catalyst for Louisville's 33-23 upset of Florida. It wasn't the only big play from Louisville and it wasn't the only reason the upset happened, but it was a big contribution to the upset.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Sugar Bowl

Louisville 33, Florida 23

I can't believe it, but it happened. This was a scenario where everything went right that had to go right for the Cardinals to pull off this upset: they got an interception return touchdown on the game's first play, Teddy Bridgewater wasn't dominated by the Florida defense, Jeff Driskel & Mike Gillislee struggled along with the Gators' offensive line, and even when the Cardinals squandered opportunities (and they did that plenty of times) they weren't hurt by it.

Andre Debose's kickoff return touchdown that almost ended up starting a Gator comeback in the fourth quarter was the highlight of the game for them. The Cardinals had many highlights in what is the biggest BCS upset to date. No top-five team (Gators were #3) has lost to a team as low in the BCS poll as the Cardinals were (#21) coming into this game.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Orange Bowl

Florida St. 31, Northern Illinois 10

The Huskies gave it a shot and were decently competitive in a game that was very divisive in the opinions people had of it. Either it was a game that didn't mean anything to anybody or it was an obvious shootout with the potential for an upset to occur. In the end, we got a very defensive game for the first 30 minutes. The Seminoles gained plenty of yards, but they couldn't put that many points on the board and lead 14-3 at halftime.

Jordan Lynch never got going both his his running or his passing and ended up with a poor night overall. Because of this, the Huskies' offense never got going and a key turnover later kept it from ever fully getting going. In the end, Lynch had just over two yards per carry running the ball and had 11 more incomplete passes than completed ones.

The Huskies' best stretch of football came early in the third quarter. They held the Seminoles to a field-goal when they were inside the Huskies' 10 yard-line and then converted a 3rd & 15 from their eight yard-line with a brilliant 55-yard pass play from Jordan Lynch to Akeem Daniels. The Huskies made the best of this break and scored their first touchdown in a BCS game. Then they shocked everyone by going for an onside kick like the Saints in the Super Bowl a few years ago. And like the Saints, Northern Illinois recovered and began to move the ball down the field again. Tragically for them, the drive ended in an interception and the Huskies weren't a threat after that.

E.J. Manuel ended his time with the Seminoles with a very good outing. Manuel ran and threw for a touchdown and passed for nearly 300 yards.

And I can't forget the contribution of Seminoles fullback Lonnie Pryor who rushed for 134 yards on just five carries. That's right, just four. Pryor's first carry was for a 60 yard touchdown and he would ice the game in the fourth with a 37-yard touchdown run.

My Writing for New Year's Day 2013

Clemson's defense played superbly in their Chick-fil-A Bowl upset win over LSU. It's the first time in years that I've seen this defense play good, and this was a really good night despite giving up 22 points. Overall, they got the win, they earned it, and they should savior it.

Aaron Murray riddled Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl today. I go over his many touchdown passes and the specifics of how he helped Georgia to a 45-31. They finish with 12 wins and look like an SEC title contender for 2013. If Murray comes back for his senior season, they look like a national title contender.

Ace Sanders made plenty of big plays in the Outback Bowl for South Carolina. As a Michigan fan, this guy gave me some fits early and at the end of the game.

Another Wisconsin Rose Bowl loss. It seems like in each of the Badgers' three straight losses in Pasadena there has been an x-factor to point at as a major reason for the loss. Against TCU it was the play calling during the game, against Oregon it was them not being able to keep up with the Ducks' offense, and today it was losing the battles at line of scrimmage that helped doom the Badgers.

The Rose Bowl

Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14

So Bucky goes 0 for 3 in straight Rose Bowl appearances, just like the last team (Michigan in the late-70's) from the Big Ten to go three years in a row. Not even Barry Alvarez on the sidelines could cure the Badgers' Rose Bowl ills. Saddest part is that this may be the last time for a while that the Badgers get to the Rose Bowl.

The game itself was an interesting one with Stanford's only touchdowns coming on their first two drives of the game, the Badgers scoring their only two touchdowns in the second quarter, a scoreless third quarter, and then Stanford finishing it off with their running backs.

The Badgers played good mostly, but they didn't take advantage of the field position battle they were winning in the third quarter. The Cardinal ended up winning this game with good old fashion grind it out running after both of their TD's were set up by long passes from Kevin Hogan. Stepfan Taylor had one of the touchdowns, but failed to gain 100 yards as both defenses were able to limit both team's high-profile running backs enough to make the game a battle of the defenses in the second half.

The Badgers rushed for over 200 yards as a team (Stanford came close), but it ended up being not enough. Curt Phillips threw an interception with around two minutes to go that ended up sealing the win for Stanford. It was an almost eerily similar play to one in the second quarter where Phillips threaded the needle and completed a pass into coverage that should have been intercepted. In the fourth, it was intercepted and it cost the Badgers the game. 

A Few More New Year's Day Games Completed

Outback Bowl: South Carolina 33, Michigan 28

As a Michigan fan, this was painful. So many opportunities for the Wolverines to end this game on that final drive by South Carolina. They got the first string quarterback out of the game and just needed one stop or one sack. Damn. Great, great game though, it's just too bad the team I was cheering for ended up with a loss in the final fifteen seconds. The game-winning catch by Bruce Ellington was painfully and pitifully easy for him to make. It makes me sad that Denard Robinson has to go out like that, but he did contribute and ran for 100 yards on the dot in his final game as a Wolverine. The Wolverines also got brakes when South Carolina missed a field-goal in the first half and then the Wolverines blocked an attempt in the second half. There was some trickery from Michigan with a couple of fake punts that worked, even though the second time was due to a generous spot by the referees. It ended up being balanced out when Jadeveon Clowney broke through and made the defensive play of the bowl season with a clean hit that sent Vincent Smith's helmet flying (literally) and forced Smith to fumble, which Clowney recovered. If you didn't see the hit, don't worry because it's already online I'm sure.

Capital One Bowl: Georgia 45, Nebraska 31

Aaron Murray, Taylor Martinez, Todd Gurley, and Rex Burkhead all have huge games in creating another Capital One Bowl shootout. The Bulldogs pull away thanks to two Murray touchdown passes in five minutes to start the final quarter. The game was back and forth, very exciting, and had plenty of scoring the whole way. The Bulldogs got a blocked punt for a safety to start the game when they couldn't recover the ball in the end-zone. After that, it was guns blazing for both offenses while the defenses were too overwhelmed to do much. Though Nebraska took an early lead with an INT return touchdown. Many lead changes in the first three quarters as both teams played with a lot of determination, both looking to prove something after their conference title game losses.

First New Year's Day Bowl Games Completed

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Oklahoma St. 58, Purdue 14

This was was destined to be a slaughter, but even this is pretty bad. The Cowboys finish off a down season with a big bowl win and maybe even a statement that their offense is going to continue to be a high-octane and high-scoring one. For Purdue it's back to the drawing board, though rumors are that their coach may be leaving. That would definitely put the Boilermakers back to the drawing board. This was a beating from start to finish as the Cowboys never really let up as even the backups being put in wasn't enough to stop the slaughter. The Cowboys scored double-digit points in every quarter and maybe most impressive of statistics for this game is that the seven Oklahoma St. touchdowns came from seven different players. Talk about spreading the love around.

Gator Bowl: Northwestern 34, Mississippi St. 20

The Big Ten gets their first win on New Year's Day this year as Northwestern wins 10 games in a season for the first time since their 1995 conference title season. For the Bulldogs, they finish the season 1-5 after starting 7-0, though all except one of those losses (including this one) were against quality and ranked opponents. And kudos to Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald on getting his first bowl win with the Wildcats in five appearances over six seasons as coach. As coach, he's suffered through some heartbreaking bowl losses recently, so I'm glad he finally got one. Sadly for Jerry Kill, coach of Minnesota, he wasn't able to get such love this bowl season.