Category Archives: NBA

The No Headband Game

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Michael Jordan’s Flu Game. Jordan’s “Shrug” Game, Willis Reed’s injured ankle game, Magic Johnson’s Baby Hook. These are some of the greatest games in NBA Finals History. After last night, we have to add one more to the pantheon of the “Holy shnikies! We are watching history! Games”. The “No Headband Game”.

It was like Superman shed his suit and glasses** and donned a cape and instead those stupid glasses are equivalent to a headband that protects a certain hairline from being shown over and over on really high definition televisions. Wait…that doesn’t do it justice. It was really like when Steve Urkel from Family Matters decided he had to take drastic measures to win Laura’s heart. He invented “Cool Juice” and what resulted can only be described as television history. Stefan Urquelle. LeBron totally drank “Cool Juice” with about 9 minutes left in the game and became Stefan Urquelle.

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**Quick Tangent: Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman absolutely started the fake glasses trend that has maneuvered its way into pop culture with hipsters and NBA players. The only problem is NBA Players/Hipsters aka Plipsters. You aren’t hiding your identity! We totally know who you are. All Superman has to do is put on some generic reading glasses from CVS and BOOM. Clark Kent and everyone is fooled. It’s ridiculous.

LeBron pre-headband was having a pedestrian game, a game where people would question his ultimate legacy in another loss to the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. But no, headband off, “Cool Juice” chugged and voila, LeBron and company not only came back in epic fashion. They destroyed the smartest, most headstrong team in recent memory. This is Spurs team is a team that never shakes, never questions itself, always finishes off quarters and games, but on the biggest stage they folded. Manu Ginobili had a +/- of -21 and 8 turnovers. Kawhi Leonard couldn’t hit both free throws to make a two possession game. Parker took uncharacteristically bad shots.

They literally roped off floor with time left on the clock, the NBA even brought out the trophy. You cannot get any closer to destroying the fake dreams of the fake fans of Miami. They were leaving for South Beach so they could see Chris Brown & Drake fight again, I’m sure.

But no, we were privileged to see the best NBA Finals game since 1998 and Jordan’s game-winning shot against the Utah Jazz. Stefan Urquelle LeBron James’ no headband did it. THAT HAS TO BE THE REASON.

How do the Spurs recover from this? Game 6 on the road against the best team in the NBA and they choked. How do they even show up for Game 7 after such heartbreak? If one team can do it, it is the Spurs.

But the real question is: Will LeBron be wearing a headband? Is this a new statement like when Jordan wore 45 or Kobe cut his afro and sported #24? Or is it LeBron’s superhero, his Superman, his Stefan Urquelle that only comes out when they need a Super Hero.

I loved Family Matters. It goes down as one of the greatest sitcoms of the ’90s. My friday nights were epic #TGIF. Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Step by Step and Family Matters. How do you beat that? YOU ADD STEFAN URQUELLE.

LeBron, for the love of Basketball please rock the no headband and take what is rightfully yours. Your second NBA Title. The Laura to your Urkel.

– Lance Cartelli

NBA Finals Storylines and Prediction: What Really Matters

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It’s finally here, the NBA Finals! After an excruciatingly long playoffs that started in April and saw great series like the Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers, the rise of Steph Curry and the dominating backcourt that was Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock of the Los Angeles Lakers (J/K), we finally made it.  The two best teams in the NBA tip off in what should be the best NBA Finals in the past 10 years sans Lakers vs Celtics in 2010.

We could go over the X’s and O’s, the pick and rolls, the rotation help defense but that shit is boring. Let’s take a look at the real storylines of the 2013 NBA Finals:

The Stars:

LeBron James – LeBron is obviously the best player in this series and the world and he can and will take over games whenever he pleases. He’s like Will Smith, whenever he wants to come back and dominate the box office – he will. Oops, just saw the news about “After Earth”…I guess that’s what happens when you’re in a M. Night Shyamalan movie and your characters name is Cypher Raige. Guess I’ll have to come up with something else to name my first born son.

On the other side, Tony Parker is playing like the best point guard in the NBA and Tim Duncan had to have visited Germany to inject his whole body with what Kobe did for his knee.  If Parker remains unguardable, the Heat are in for a long series. Duncan is a better matchup for Bosh than he was against Hibbert, but going up against the greatest power forward in the NBA is never an easy task.

Former Stars:

Dwayne Wade & Chris Bosh – Let’s face it, LeBron is the only legitimate superstar on Miami now. I’m not saying that DWade and Bosh can’t be huge factors in this series – – they will be — but, if you had to rely solely on those guys then Wade wouldn’t be able to carry them like in ’06 and Bosh would bring you back to the days when he was a Raptor and looked like he was adopted out of Jurassic Park.

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Manu Ginobli – Manu is a shell of his old self as well. He’s still a high-energy player that comes through whenever you need him. If Ginobli outplays Wade this series, the Spurs will win. The only problem is Ginobli is falling apart faster than Rob Stark’s peace offering in Game of Thrones. #RedWedding.

Fans: 

You know you’re a Spurs fan when…

  • Your team always “plays the right way” since, apparently, they are the only ones in the NBA that actually do play the “right way”.
  • You say, “It’s not boring basketball, it’s beautiful basketball”. If anyone ever says that they are a soccer fan. They are really into passes and not seeing a score. (BTW, the Spurs are definitely not boring, they are fun to watch…wait, what’s happening to me?!)
  • You are the most annoying lady in the building. #SceamingSpursLady

You know you’re a Heat fan when…

  • You became a fan in the past 3 years and call everyone a “hater” because they don’t like LeBron and the new Flo-Rida CD.
  • You can’t point out Miami on a map.
  • You’re a lady that flips off opposing teams and was once wanted for her husband’s murder.
  • You look like this:
#Swag

#Swag

Coaches:

Gregg Popovich – Arguably the best active coach in the NBA and one of the greatest coaches of all-time and creator of the greatest sideline interviews. Ever.

I want to see Popovich on Christmas morning as a child. I bet he hated it.

Popovich can cement his legacy with a win over the Heat and it may be the end of his prolific career (Duncan’s as well).

Erik Spoelstra – Spoelstra is an underrated coach, if you can be one with four hall-of-famers on your team. He is only 42, has a championship under his belt, and has kept this team together through a lot of adversity. And he takes a shoulder bump like a champ. Out maneuvering and out-coaching Popovich might be an impossible task, but if he can match him and find ways for “The Others” to contribute, it will be his greatest achievement as a coach and cement his legacy as one of the best coaches in the NBA. No pressure, Spoel.

Red Mamba / Birdman – 

I could write a whole 250 page manifesto on whether to love or hate Matt “Faux Red Mamba” Bonner. KOBE HOW COULD YOU?! One day, when Kobe and I become BFF4L and he reads my columns, he’s gonna totally regret that move then we’ll live happily ever after! But until then, I hate you, Matt Bonner. It also doesn’t help that announcers have latched on to this great nickname and call him it at every opportune moment. These NBA Finals are gonna force me to drink more than I actually do. Oh well.

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The Birdman is scary. So scary that I picked him to be the #10 athlete I’d love to see chase down Beiber. But, like I said before I’m pretty sure they are best buds and that when this season is over Beiber will invite The Birdman into his entourage and have him featured on one of his songs. As Americans, we can only hope that Birdman the Rapper is featured as well and they have a rap battle. Mind = Blown. That would probably go down as the worst song ever made and it’d probably win a Grammy.

Prediction: 

This series is tough to predict. I usually go with the best player in the world, but the Spurs are a different beast. LeBron will put up his points, but after a week and half off and the greatest coach in the NBA has that much time to prepare for an opponent, he will shut down “The Others” and the Spurs will take this series and solidify some of the greatest careers in NBA history.

Even if you aren’t a fan of these teams, this series has a chance to be epic and will be a joy to watch the two best teams faceoff.

SPURS IN 6. 

Follow Lance the real “Red Mamba” Cartelli on Twitter!

ESPN Backhands LeBron James and Beiber & Bynes Dream Couple!

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In case you were to enthralled with Justin Beiber doing an Amanda Bynes impression** at the Miami Heat game on Monday, then you already know that the Heat decimated the Indiana Pacers and have advanced to the NBA Finals to take on the wily vets, the San Antonio Spurs.

**Best celebrity couple ever? (If you can still call Amanda Bynes a celebrity). What would their celebrity nickname be? I love these things: Jamanda Byber? Amastin Beibynes? Jumandin Bebyners? Jumanji, for short?! The possibilities are endless! I must make an iPhone app that does this for me.**

ESPN posted that great video from illustrator Richard Swarbrick. Now, I don’t know this illustrator from any other illustrator, but clearly he has an appreciation for the history of Basketball. From Willis Reed playing on his hurt ankle to Michael Jordan celebrating his six championships and the most famous layup of all time to Magic Johnson’s skyhook. I would buy posters for every single one of those images, but the one image that stood out among the rest – LeBron’s cramps.

Swarbrick, you crazy son of a gun, you illustrate some of the most historic and glorious moments in NBA History and then give a little backhand to Bron Bron? Is he a Cavs fan? Did he hate the decision as much as the rest of the world? Or he hates male baldness? Maybe he doesn’t like that LeBron is being compared to Jordan. Whatever it is, it’s hilarious. When his artwork for this inevitably comes out I shall frame LeBron writhing in pain. No homo, No offense, Bron Bron.

My only question: Where was the iconic Paul Pierce getting wheelchair-ed off the court from the NBA Finals against the Lakers?

Other than the one LOL moment from the video, it’s pretty awesome. But, seriously can we get Beibs and Bynes to date already? She might throw her bong at him though. 

Follow Lance “The Red Mamba” on Twitter!

10 Athletes I’d Love to See Chase After a (Speeding) Justin Beiber

Justin Beiber is under investigation after allegedly speeding through a gated community in LA in his white ferrari. The cops aren’t the only ones interested in Beiber’s activities, former football player Keyshawn Johnson followed Beiber to his house to confront him on his reckless driving, but Beiber danced his way into his house without talking to Johnson.

Keyshawn was a prolific receiver, but he wasn’t fast back in his prime so there’s no way he could chase after the Beibs these days. But I can think of at least 10 athletes today that can stop the Beibs today and make everyone regret being a Belieber.

10. Chris “Birdman” Andersen – The “Birdman” as some affectionately call him is a big man that has journeyed around the league and is now a key contributor to the Miami Heat. The tattoo aficionado terrifies me, but I think if he ended up chasing after Beiber he’d fit right in on his entourage and might even be featured on J. Beib’s new single.

9. LeBron James – LeBron is one scary man. So scary that his hair is running away from his face! Ha! I kid. Bron Bron has been seen by many in their rearview as he comes gliding across the court to swat an attempted lay up, just think what he could do to Beiber and his ferrari.

8. Justin Smith – The San Francisco 49ers’ defensive lineman known as “The Cowboy”. He intimidates 300-pound offensive lineman and shoves them like a rag doll, so what could if Beiber was speeding through his ranch? Probably this.

7. Kevin Garnett – Garnett is a big man that has guarded the paint for over 18 years and Beiber has been alive, like 18 years. Plus Kevin Garnett is 7 feet tall and yells obscenities all the time, that would hurt poor Beiber’s virgin ears.

6. Patrick Willis – Willis is the leader of the 49ers defense and the heir apparent to Ray Lewis as big middle linebacker that will destroy you. His hobbies include long walks on the beach with his dog, Zeus and destroying wide receivers that like to go over the middle. Be careful Justin!

5.  J.J. Watt – Watt is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL and was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year award in just his second season. He loves going after the quarterback, come to to think of it, Beiber has the same facial features as Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo. They should both be careful.

4. Mike Tyson – I know he’s not a current athlete, but Mike Tyson is still one of the scariest men on Planet Earth. If someone told me Metta World Peace’s dad was Mike Tyson you wouldn’t hear an argument out of me. I don’t know whether Tyson would destroy Beiber or hug him like he’s his long lost white child, actually I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. Tyson and Beiber have to be BFFs.

3. Jon “Bones” Jones – Arguably the best fighter in the UFC, Jon “Bones” Jones is one of the most dangerous athletes in all of sports. Bones Jones would hit Beiber with a spinning elbow faster than Beiber could sing “Baby, baby, baby”.

2. Brock Lesnar – Lesnar is a former WWE and UFC Champion that had stints in the NFL. I don’t know where he is now, but I’m sure whatever it is he’s breaking someones bones. Lesnar will make you think that there is alien life, he is not built like a human should be with muscle on top of muscle. I still think he should’ve been the bad guy in “Fast and Furious 6″. Oh well, there’s always a sequel.

1. Metta World Peace – The artist formerly known as Artest, World Peace is a psycho who likes to thank his psychiatrist after winning NBA Championships. That is the last man I would want chasing after me. Justin, World Peace is Coming After You! Oh damn, I just gave Beiber the new title to his CD.

Follow Lance “The Red Mamba” Cartelli on Twitter!

Kobe Bryant Tweets a Grotesque Picture of His Surgery, Crosses Social Media Boundaries

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In case you’ve been living under a rock the past couple months, Kobe Bryant has taken up social media in an unprecedented way. After rupturing his achilles tendon, Kobe has embraced the 21st century and has quickly ascended my Power Rankings of Favorite Tweeters and Instagrammers. Congrats Mamba, you’re my number one!

Recently, he’s been giving updates on his rehab as he tries to prove his haters wrong and comeback from his most devastating injury of his career. But Kobe crossed a line this past week. A social media line, that is usually reserved for the creepy people on the internet not named Kobe. He Instagrammed a picture of his achilles surgery and it was the most disgusting picture I’ve seen since Kevin Ware’s broken leg made its way on the interwebs.

Click here to view the graphic photo 

At least he’s got the #hashtagging down. #Graphic is an understatement, Kobes.

While perusing my Instagram and eating lunch, this popped up. So, after I puked profusely and woke up from my Instagram induced blackout (I didn’t faint! I swear!) I thought we should set a couple guidelines for celebrities and their Instagram’s.

Do’s:

Do post #selfies of yourself. Honestly, if you’re a celebrity that means you’re probably pretty damn attractive. As much as I hate #selfies, if you’re good looking I won’t complain. Unless you post an inspirational quote as the caption to your selfie, then I will pray for your soul.

Do post pictures of you with other celebrities. Do I want to know if you’re out partying with Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Rodman and Charlie Sheen? Hell yes I do. That would be a fun game of Marry, F*ck, Kill*

*Marry: Charlie Sheen because you know he’d at least keep it interesting. F*ck: Lindsay Lohan, well she’s a girl, I’m a guy, it’s physics. Kill: Dennis Rodman, no explanation needed.

Do post behind the scenes looks at your prolific life. If you’re an actor, take some pictures that will give us an inside look on your new movie that I will probably download. If you’re an athlete, take a picture of your teammate passed out on the plane ride. We eat that shit up.

Don’ts: 

Don’t post gruesome pictures of your injuries! It is disgusting and will make the collective nation sick. We get it, Kobe, you’re a warrior, you play through injuries and you speak your mind. But, please spare me seeing the insides of your body. It just ain’t right.

Don’t tweet out a picture of your instagram that you Facebook’d. That is confusing and annoying and I will probably hate you.

Don’t like pictures that people have tweeted just of you. You’re a celebrity, so I’m sure you’re naive and need the attention, but just do a Google image search of you and bask in the glory that is yourself.

Follow Lance Cartelli on Twitter!

Kobe Bryant Betrays Me, Gives Rightful Name to Another

In case you missed the awful NBA All-Star Saturday Night, you didn’t miss much other than missed dunks in the Slam Dunk Contest, but you did miss a betrayal for the ages.  In an effort to get San Antonio Spurs Forward Matt Bonner into the Three-Point Contest, Kobe Bryant bequeathed the nickname the “Red Mamba” to him.  Needless to say I was heartbroken.

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Let’s go over the facts:  Kobe Bryant is my second favorite basketball player of all-time behind Michael Jordan. The Lakers are my favorite team.  I have red hair.  Those three factors alone put me on the short list for greatest nickname ever, “The Red Mamba”.

470807e8d9df908f72ba852a435e6294Not only did Matt Bonner — whose name is really close to being Matt Boner — get the greatest nickname on Planet Earth and probably the Milky Way Galaxy, but he also got a shirt of a Red Mamba in attack mode?!

That is my shirt.  I understand your mistake Kobe, so I’ll take that shirt in Men’s Large, does it come as a tall tee? I am ready to terrify the little kid that was jumped over in the Slam Dunk Contest. 

Now after being bestowed the “Red Mamba” nickname and an equally awesome and horrifying shirt, the Red Mamba has to run away with the Three-Point Contest, right?  There’s no way the Red Mamba could lose!

At this point, I was torn.  Do I root for Mr. Red Mamba even though he stole my rightful name?  Us Gingers do have to stick together, you know.  Or…has this man become my mortal enemy — the Joker to my Batman, the receding hairline to my LeBron James — and I must destroy him to regain what is rightfully mine? I decide to go with the former seeing as he’s a big, white guy with red hair, he’s just too damn lovable.  Damn you Bonner!

The Red Mamba comes out nailing everything.  Maybe Kobe was right.  Bonner advances to the finals against Kyrie Irving.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 11.22.19 AMI’m now on the #REDMAMBA bandwagon, if you can’t beat them join them.  And make it a #Hashtag, of course.

Unfortunately, being tall and white and a Ginger caught up to big Bonner in the Finals where he ran into the buzz-saw that is Kyrie Irving.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 11.25.51 AMThe Red Mamba loses, which gets me thinking –  I lose all the time.  I could’ve lost at the Three-Point Contest, I could lose a lot of things for the right to be called the Red Mamba by Kobe Bean Bryant. Lance “Second Place” Cartelli doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Therefore, the twitter campaign #Lance4RedMamba begins, it shall be trending in no time.

At least Kobe still has his back right?  The guy that created the nickname and started the campaign to get Matt Bonner into the Three-Point Contest wouldn’t just turn his back on him would he?  Never turn your back on a Mamba!

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 11.28.55 AMOh.  Nevermind. Me and my Bonner feel betrayed again.

After being stabbed in the back by Kobe, I doubt Mr. Bonner wants to keep this nickname that is tainted by the 2013 NBA Three-Point Contest.  Which means the reign of Lance “Red Mamba” Cartelli is in full affect.  Hopefully the power doesn’t go to my head and I become Joffrey from Game of Thrones

I had to do more research on this Red Mamba.  Like a Method Actor, I had to do more research to get into the role of a lifetime.

First, a Google search.  The seventh thing on the list is a movie called “The Red Mamba” made in 2002.  I don’t even need to read the plot summary I know that this will be the best movie ever made (sorry, Highlander) and that if there is a God, it will be streaming on Netflix. But, I get sucked into the IMDb page.  A movie written and directed by James Jackson – whose other credits include: Actor – Aliens vs. A-Holes and he was also a Cinematographer for Blood, Guts, and Cleaning Supplies: The Making of “The Janitor” – well, that’s two more movies on my Netflix queue. Still perusing around the IMDb page, I get to the plot summary and it is everything I’ve ever wanted and more.

A bright sunny day in the deep wilderness fades to black for Oz and Lucy, two teens on a quest for a magical sex drug which grows wild in a mythical mushroom field known as Cloud 9. Oz assures her that the story about a man who claims to have seen a caveman in the woods was either a delusion caused from his eating a similar but poisonous variety of the sex drug known as the “Red Mamba”, or more likely a spook story to keep poachers clear of the treasured fungus in Cloud 9… Or is it?

Why did Christopher Nolan not write and direct this?  There’s always the sequel.  I am available, by the way.

Unfortunately, there are no reviews or even any message board comments.  How can this be true? But, from eight satisfied patrons it is rated 8.4 which would effectively put it as the 50th greatest movie of all-time according to IMDb. I’m sold.

But I digress, I finally return to my Google search to realize there is no Wikipedia page for the Red Mamba and that it doesn’t even exist! Time to genetically mate a Black Mamba with a Ladybug to create the #REDMAMBA.

Kobe – I know you will read this and I just want you to know I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.

#LANCE4REDMAMBA

– Lance Cartelli

This Week in Sports

In case you were out with your imaginary girlfriend this week, here’s what happened in sports:

– In the most bizzarre sports news in years, Manti Te’o got Catfish-ed by a friend who created a (fake) dead girlfriend that did not actually exist and we all got #Te’o’d. Although she was fake, reports are that during her stint with (fake) leukemia she wore a “LIVESTRONG” bracelet to support Lance Armstrong.  Apparently she never got the news.  In addition, the sequel of Catfish is now in early development, and the working title is “Catfish Part II: Revenge of the Fallen”.  It is being directed by Michael Bay.

– Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and being a bully while winning seven Tour de France titles in an interview with Oprah.  Worried about his public image, Lance prayed to God to give his last nut for a “bigger story about a fake dead girlfriend that a superstar has never met so that his indiscretions become an afterthought”.  After Manti Te’o’s story came out, he once again prayed to God, “You know I was joking, right?, YOU ALREADY TOOK MY GOOD TESTICLE!”.  In other news, Lance Armstrong is privately funding Catfish Part II:  Revenge of the Fallen.

–  Colin Kaepernick ran for a record 181 yards rushing while throwing for over 200 yards and accounting for four touchdowns in a win over the Green Bay Packers to advance the San Francisco 49ers into the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. Kaepernick has lead to the new craze “Kaepernicking” where you kiss your tattoos after a touchdown.  Other crazes include “Tebowing“, “Griffining” – where you lay on the ground writhing in pain because your field destroyed your knee. “Romo-ing” – where you throw an interception at the most crucial time in a game. “Manning-ing” – where you look like you breath out of your mouth and wonder how the hell this guy is a successful QB? and everyone’s favorite “Sanchezing”  when a big butt gets in your way and you fumble the ball.

– The New York Jets are reportedly interested in signing potential free agent Michael Vick.  The Jets seem to be interested in Vick because he combines everything the Jets love, a left-handed QB that loves to run but also takes a lot of sacks and turns the ball over.  Vick is also contemplating changing his name to Mark Tebow or Tark Sanbow.  Coincidentally, Tark Sanbow will be the fake love interest in Catfish Part II: Revenge of the Fallen.

– Kobe Bryant was voted to his 15th All-Star game in his career.  Kobe starting is a perfect fit for the Western Conference Team — a game where Kobe can shoot whenever he wants and people play little-to-no defense, sounds like the quintessential Laker team.  Hopefully Kobe can bring Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni to coach the team.

– Lance Cartelli

 

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

This Week In Sports

Oh, you want to know what happened this week in sports? Why don’t you let me tell you…

  • The San Antonio Spurs rested their “Big Three” in a closely contested loss to the defending champions, the Miami Heat last night and sparked a controversy between the Spurs and NBA Commissioner David Stern. Since nobody knew who these players were, the Miami Heat Public Address Announcer had to make up names during the pre-game introductions.  He came up with crazy names like: Tiago Splitter (the bad guy from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies), Boris Diaw (Russian Bad Guy in every movie featuring Russian bad guys), Matt Bonner (hehehe…Oh wait, no, not boner…Nevermind), Patty Mills (The name of the Leprechaun from Lucky Charms), and my personal favorite — Nando de Colo (Just a great name.).  Breaking News:  That was actually the San Antonio Spurs starting line up.
  • The Atlanta Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints last night 23-13 and ended Drew Brees touchdown passing record in consecutive games at 54.  The Falcons ended other famous streaks of Drew Brees, such as: Throwing as many interceptions as his team has wins (5), most awful commercials that Drew Brees has been in in a loss, Most consecutive days where you ask yourself, “What the hell is on Drew Brees’ face?  Is it a birthmark or a scar?  OR did he get some crazy disease like ring worm on his face?  I hope it’s the latter”.
  • On his Facebook, Rolando McClain said “Officially no longer an Oakland Raider…Looking forward to playing for an actual team”.  Fans were actually more angry that McClain Instagrammed the picture of his status update and then tweeted his Instagram picture.  Due to McClain’s terrible social networking he was suspended two games by the Raiders and lost over 200,000 followers.
  • David Wright signed the largest contract in New York Mets history – an 8-year, $140 million contract. Not to be outdone, the New York Yankees decided to sign Rolando McClain (10-year $100 million), Angus T. Jones (Whatever he makes on Two and a Half Men plus one dollar and the copyright to the word “Filth”, and Lindsay Lohan (Whatever bottle of alcohol she wants whenever she wants it a.k.a. always).
  • Rajon Rondo was ejected and later suspended two games by the NBA for pushing Kris Humphries and tackling him into the stands after an altercation.  After Kim Kardashian saw the push, she quickly ended her relationship with Kanye West to start dating Rajon Rondo.  This just in:  They have officially gotten married…And now they are divorced.
  • On Thanksgiving, Ndamakong Suh’s foot collided with force against the groin region of Texans QB Matt Schaub.  Suh’s thinking may have been a little flawed, overheard by NFL Films microphones, Suh said “I thought if I kicked him hard enough he wouldn’t have testicles anymore and you have to have testicles to play in the NFL! Right?…RIGHT?!”

– Lance Cartelli

This Week in Sports

What Happened in Sports This Past Week? Well Let Me Tell You…

– After the Los Angeles Lakers fired Mike Brown, they moved quickly to hire Mike D’Antoni to a three year deal.  Previous fans of teams coached by Mike D’Antoni famously removed the “D” from his name, for his lack of coaching on the defensive end.  Don’t worry Laker fans — Mike ‘Antoni will coach Wight Howar and the rest of the Lakers in Hollywoo to eliver a ecisive NBA Championship.

– The Knicks came back in the 4th quarter to defeat the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday to remain undefeated at 6-0. After not resigning Jeremy Lin, the Knicks have been playing the best defense in the NBA.  Said star Forward Carmelo Anthony, “Once Coach ‘Antoni resigned, we realized there was 26 letters in the alphabet, so from now on you can call me D’Carmelo D’Anthony…It’s been a pleasure playing for the D’New D’York D’Knicks in D’Madison D’Square D’Garden”.  I think he’s getting carried away after finding out that “D” is an actual letter.

– The Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays consummated a blockbuster deal that allowed the Marlins to dump over $180 million in contracts. After the trade, there was a huge public uproar over the deal that decimated the Marlins roster…oh wait, there wasn’t?  People in Miami didn’t even know the Marlins were a team? Oh, well in that case…Go Heat?  Oh..Miami residents didn’t know that the Heat season started either?  They must still be at the beach or watching the new season of Dexter.

– As many as four Quarterbacks suffered concussions this past week in the NFL, including Mike Vick and Jay Cutler, who will not be able to play this week.  The only fans really disappointed by this outcome are the Fantasy Football Owners who had circled this date on their calendar because their Defenses was going against Vick and Cutler.

-The San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams tied 24-24 for the first tie game in the NFL since 2008.  Once the clock hit 0:00 in overtime and the teams and fans started to exit, a fan came running onto the field with a microphone yelling, “WHERE IS EVERYONE GOING?  THE GAME ISN’T OVER! FOOTBALL CAN’T END IN A TIE!”  It was actually Donovan McNabb who had been admitted to an insane asylum after having a mental breakdown over his last tie four years ago.

– The #1 team in the Nation, Alabama, was upset by Texas A&M on Saturday. Texas A&M was led to victory by Freshman phenom quarterback “Johnny Football”.  Wow, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Football, got really lucky that they named him that and he played Football.  It would’ve been really awkward if Johnny Football played Cricket or Bat-mitten.  Crisis Averted!

– Miguel Cabrera won the AL MVP after receiving 22 of 27 first place votes to defeat Rookie of the Year Mike Trout.  Cabrera won in large part due to becoming the first hitter since 1978 to win the Triple Crown.  At his press conference to accept the MVP, Cabrera wore three crowns and said, “As King of the American League and Ruler of the three realms of Batting Average, Runs Batted In and Home Runs, I demand that you all bow to me at once!”.  After slamming his mace into the ground, National League MVP Buster Posey busted the door down and stabbed Cabrera with the World Series Trophy.  It was a bloody day for the King of the American League, but the rightful heir to the Realms stood over the bloody corpse of the Triple Crown Winner and showed his supremacy.

– Lance Cartelli

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