Kyle McCarthy: The Weekend That Was In Sports

Hello, hello everyone! This is Kyle McCarthy here. Lancer has entrusted me with a recap of the last week or so in sports, so here it comes! Let’s go ahead and start with the most recent week in college football!

NCAA Football

I’ll leave the BCS talk alone for just a minute and reflect upon the Conference Championship weekend that just occurred.

In the most exciting game of the weekend, the Alabama Crimson Tide pulled out a close victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. I actually thought this was Georgia’s year to overtake the Tide because of their stud freshmen running backs and very stingy defense. The final score ended up being 32-28 in favor of the Tide; some may do a double-take after reading this score because the SEC is known for their defense. But this was a great game for any type of football fan. Georgia actually had an 11 point lead with 6:31 left in the third quarter, but Alabama has been there before and responded quickly with two touchdowns in a row. The final minute may have been the most exciting, if Georgia had one timeout left they may be the team in the national championship. Aaron Murray had a pass that was tipped and caught by a teammate at the six yard line, and with the first down yards away and no timeouts, all the Bulldogs could do was watch as time expired and the Crimson Tide began their celebration.

In the other Championship games my UCLA Bruins came close but ended up losing to the very good Stanford Cardinals in the Pac 12 Championship game 27-24. Stanford’s victory gives them their first Rose Bowl berth in over 10 years. Their opponent will be the Big 10 Champion Wisconsin Badgers. Although the Badgers have five losses, this will be their third consecutive Rose Bowl appearance representing the Big 10. Kansas State beat the Texas Longhorns to clinch the Big 12 division. Florida State defeated Georgia Tech to clinch the ACC championship. And lastly Northern Illinois University beat Kent State in double OT to clinch the MAC Championship. Some of you may be wondering why I even mentioned Northern Illinois, and here is the reason why…

After defeating Kent State, Northern Illinois jumped high enough in the BCS to earn a spot in the Orange bowl against Florida State. ESPN analysts faces were classic upon the news, and of course twitter blew up as well. I personally root for the underdog in a lot of circumstances, but this is absurd. To say that a team like Northern Illinois deserves a spot in a BCS bowl game over other deserving teams like Georgia, LSU and even Oklahoma is ludicrous (I rarely use that word)! Thank God a college football playoff is in the works because the BCS system is flawed and this is another prime example of it. As I discussed earlier the Rose bowl will be played between the Stanford Cardinals and Wisconsin Badgers. The Florida Gators will play the Louisville Cardinals in the Sugar Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl will feature Kansas State taking on the Oregon Ducks. Keep in mind these were the number one and two ranked teams in the country just a couple weeks ago! And lastly the BCS National Championship game will feature the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish against the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide for bragging rights as the best team in the nation. Luckily, most (if not all) could agree that these are the two best teams in the nation and deserve the right to do battle for supremacy in college football.

With the upcoming Heisman trophy I thought I would share my top candidates and ultimate prediction for the prestigious trophy. I really feel there isn’t a run-away candidate this year which could make the race much closer than people think. I see this as a three person race. First you have Manti Te’O of Notre Dame. This guy is exciting to watch and very deserving of the award. What helps Manti is that his team is number one in the nation, and regardless of what anyone says, your team’s record does play a big factor in how people vote. As a linebacker Manti has seven interceptions on the year, for a linebacker, or any college player that is incredible! I have seen him play in a few games this year and he just has an instinct for being at the right place at the right time. What works against him is that he is a defensive player. Voters tend to show much more love for offensive players, no defensive player has won the award since Charles Woodson in 1997. The next candidate for the award is Collin Klein, quarterback of the Kansas State Wildcats. Collin had a very strong year. He threw 15 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions, but also added 22 rushing touchdowns to his resume. Having a total of 37 touchdowns definitely means you should be in the conversation for the Heisman. Working against Collin is that he lost against an unranked Baylor team, which ultimately cost his team a shot in the National Title game, and a TD to Interception ratio of just over 2:1. My last candidate is someone that came out of nowhere and is in my opinion, the front runner for the award. Johnny Manziel, or Johnny Football as he has been come to be known, had a record-breaking year. Johnny Football totaled over 4600 total yards, breaking the SEC record for total yardage, AS A FRESHMEN!! Not only did he break the past records of other Heisman winners Cam Newton and Tim Tebow, but he did it as A FRESHMEN, in the SEC, and in two fewer games. This guy is exciting as it comes in college football today, and with him under center Texas A&M has a bright future. His Heisman moment had to be when he went into Alabama and beat the Crimson Tide, great game! The only thing working against Johnny here is that he is ironically what makes him so intriguing, HE’S A FRESHMEN! For whatever reason some voters won’t vote for him just because of this. I find this downright stupid, and feel that a person’s tenure ship in college shouldn’t factor into their eligibility for an award. All three great candidates, but here is my prediction of how I would vote, and how I think it will realistically play out…

My Vote: WINNER- Johnny “Football” Manziel, second- Manti Te’O, third- Collin Klein

How it will turn out: WINNER- Johnny “Football” Manziel, second- Collin Klein, third- Manti Te’O

NFL

With the playoffs inching closer and closer, each and every game becomes much more important for each team, here is a re-cap of each game.

Falcons Defeat Saints 23-13: The Falcons defense did enough to stop Drew Brees’ legendary consecutive TD streak at 54. The defense played so well that they also forced Brees into a career high 5 interceptions. This was a big win for the Falcons as they close in on the number 1 seed in the NFC.

Bills Defeat Jaguars 34-18: The Bills win to move to 5-7 on the year and keep their small playoff chances alive. Big day on the ground by Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller.

Seahawks Defeat Bears 23-17: It took the Seahawks an OT period to do it, but they got the job done nonetheless. Russell Wilson threw 2 touchdowns and no interceptions to lead the Hawks by the Bears. The loss puts the Seahawks in great position for a wild card berth, while also taking away the division lead the Bears had over the Packers.

Packers Defeat Vikings 23-14: With this win, the Packers are right back where everyone thought they’d be, the top team in their division. Adrian Petersen had a big day on the ground with over 200 yards, but not enough to provide the Vikes with a W.

Colts Defeat Lions 35-33: What a game this was. The legend of the young Andrew Luck continues. Luck threw a game-winning walk-off TD pass to Donnie Avery to win the game and further prove why there was so much hype about him coming into the year. This makes the Colts now 8-4 on the season, who would have predicted this???

Texans Defeat Titans 24-10: The Texans continue to roll and defeated the Titans by a couple touchdowns. The win secured a playoff spot for the Texans.

Chiefs Defeat Panthers 27-21: In a game some didn’t think would be played, the Chiefs, who were the emotional favorite after the murder-suicide of one of their young linebackers, beat the Panthers. Truly a tragic story. Not much to say, but glad that at least for a little while residents of Kansas City were able to think of something other than the tragedy that just occurred.

Patriots Defeat Dolphins 23-16: The Patriots clinch their 4h straight AFC East title with their win over the Dolphins. The Patriots are known for finishing the second half very strong, and they held true to that by keeping with that trend. They will be a force in the AFC playoffs like they have been for years now.

Rams Defeat 49ers 16-13: In one of the more controversial decisions, Jim Harbaugh decided to give the starting nod to second-year QB Colin Kaepernick over their previous starter Alex Smith. I don’t agree with the move because I don’t think someone should lose their starting position to injury. Not only this but Smith led them to nearly a Super Bowl last year and leads the NFL this year with a 70 percent completion percentage. Regardless, these teams tied the last time and nearly did again. The Rams scored their only TD of the game on a fumble/bad pitch by Kaepernick after Janorris Jenkins scooped it up and fell into the end zone. The 49ers had their shot in OT with David Akers but he missed a field goal, then the Rams drove downfield and trusted their rookie kicker Greg “Legatron” Zeurlein, and he delivered.

Jets Defeat Cardinals 7-6: No highlights for this game. Sanchez threw 3 interceptions and was replaced. Only highlight is that TebowTime may be quickly approaching in New York.

Broncos Defeat Buccaneers 31-23: The strong MVP type year for Peyton Manning continues. Manning threw 3 TD’s and this win helped clinch the AFC West for the second year for the Broncos.

Bengals Defeat Chargers 20-13: The Chargers have done it again! They let a 4th quarter lead go and end up losing the game. Just like so many games before, the Chargers let me down. By the time I went to voice my frustration on twitter, “#FireNorv” and “#FireAJ” were already trending. I wish I could say that I was more optimistic coming into the year. But this is what Charger fans have come to expect under leadership by Norv Turner and AJ Smith. I would be embarrassed to have Norv coach another game. IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE!!

Browns Defeat Raiders 20-17: Unless you are a Browns or Raiders fan you probably didn’t watch or care about  this game. Since I am neither, that’s it.

Steelers Defeat Ravens 23-20: In one of the more surprising games of the day, the Steelers went into Baltimore and beat the Ravens without Big Ben, and had their third string QB Charlie Batch play a great game in leading them to the win. A win for the Ravens would have secured a playoff spot. Furthering my point that Joe Flacco IS NOT an elite QB. Regardless of how much Flacco thinks he is.

Cowboys Defeat Eagles 38-33: Romo set the all-time Cowboys TD mark by beating their classic division rival. The Eagles may be the only more disappointing team other than the Chargers and Lions. It appears that Andy Reid’s days are numbered in Philly.

NBA

Not a whole lot to comment on with the NBA right now. Playoffs are too far away and no big trades have happened yet. Here are my rankings of the Top 5 in the league right now!

  1. San Antonio Spurs- Despite putting out a bunch of scrubs on Thursday night against the defending champion Heat, in Miami, they almost won! This just shows how deep and well-coached the Spurs are. They will be a tough out in the playoffs
  2. Memphis Grizzlies- Another deep team in the same division playing very well. The only reason they aren’t number 1 in my rankings is because they just lost to the Spurs on Saturday. Somehow they lost OJ Mayo and appear to be a much better team. Just like the Spurs, the Grizz will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs this year.
  3. Miami Heat- The defending champs have played solid to start the year. They have the best player in the game today and should dominate the Eastern conference just like the last couple years.
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder- They made a big splash to start the season by trading away James Harden when he refused their extension offer. The trade for Kevin Martin is working out well so far and the Thunder have an impressive 14-4 record.
  5. New York Knicks- Rounding out the top 5 are the Knicks. They have been one of the more surprising teams to date. Without their $20 mill/year star Amare Stoudemire they are off to an impressive 12-4 start. They have beaten several good teams and appear to have finally righted the ship in NY. Melo is playing at an MVP level to start the year.

Out of my top 5, and if I did a top 10 they’d be out of my top 10 is my favorite professional team, the Los Angeles Lakers. I don’t think I have ever been more excited for a season to start than this one. The additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash put huge expectations on a team that has a “championship or bust” mentality every year regardless. After 17 games the Lakers hold an 8-9 record. This is a record even though the team has had about two-thirds of their games at home to start the year. This is a record though of a Lakers team without their top two point guards in Steve Nash and Steve Blake who are both out with injuries. The tip of the iceberg came last night when they lost to Dwight’s former team, the Orlando Magic, at home. I couldn’t name more than 3 players on the Magic to be honest. Yet, the Lakers let a bunch of no-namers come in and embarrass Lakers fans. Where do they go from here? Sure the offense will be much more efficient once Nash comes back, but it appears to be their defense which is struggling. Do we trade Pau Gasol? One of the top power forwards in the league and great passer? I’ve been a big Pau critic for a while, because I don’t think he plays to his potential a lot of the time. But the trade rumors I hear for him I don’t think make sense. Josh Smith’s name is talked about a lot, he would be an upgrade defensively, but to play the 4 in D’Antoni’s offense when he doesn’t have a consistent jumpshot, I say no. I think it ultimately is up to D’Antoni and Kobe. They need to get the team to play hard each and every night like it’s the championship. A prime example is last Thursday when the Spurs play the Heat without their starting five (Duncan, Ginobli, Parker and Green sent home, and Leonard is still hurt) and nearly won in Miami. That is a team that regardless of who is on the floor gives you everything they have every single night. Who they play doesn’t matter, and I think the Lakers have a bit of cockiness in several of these games they’ve blown. And it has cost them. Only time will tell, but I think they can turn it around!

– Kyle McCarthy

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Posted on December 3, 2012, in Basketball, Football, NBA, NFL, Sports and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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