Happy Friday, Gabbers! Well, a nasty cold/flu has beaten me down the end of this week, but nothing that would stop me from Gabbing away. This week had the baseball playoffs kick-off with excitement around the wild card that was actually...wild! Now the NLDS and ALDS are ready to kick-off and what a wonderful New York Yankees-free playoffs it will be.
The NHL kicked off the regular season this week as well (seems hard to think about ice at this time) and the NBA is not far behind. Week six of the NCAA College Football schedule looks like a good kickoff to the weekend with a few more quality matchups, and of course the NFL prepares to start the second quarter of the schedule.
October baseball kicks off following a wild wild-card week with a play-in game and then two “winner-take-all” games. This post-season is great as perennial losers the Pittsburgh Pirates won the wild-card eliminator and now face the St. Louis in a best of five series. I’d love to see the Pirates advance, but with Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller at the front of their rotation, they will be tough to beat. Great story this year in Pittsburgh, but this looks to be one of those “happy to be here” teams. Maybe they can win one at home versus St. Louis in game three?
The other NLDS series has the Los Angeles “No Peeing in the Pool” Dodgers against the “Them Again?!?!?” Atlanta Braves. Both teams skated in September without any real competition, but both teams have strong lineups, strong starters, and strong bullpens. One team is gonna be cheesed by losing in the first round, when both are legitimate World Series contenders. The Braves bullpen is dynamic, but the Dodgers are pretty damn good. The Dodgers top starters are the elite of the elite in baseball, but the Braves are not exactly chopped liver (if not household names). I give the Braves a slight advantage, if only because the Dodgers have no Matt Kemp, a dinged up Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez, and locker-room cancers Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford along with injured beer swilling and fried chicken eating Josh Beckett...whoa, a little Red Sox anger coming out there...reel it in, reel it in...2012 is a bad memory...reel it in...ok, I hate the Dodgers. Go (formerly Boston) Braves.
The 2013 Boston Red Sox run into the same problem as wild-card winning Tampa Bay Rays match-up in the short series by throwing Cy Young Award winning David Price, All-Star Matt Moore, and the best pitcher in second half of the season, Alex Cobb. I would say the Sox lineup is an advantage, but with Wil Myers in the middle of the lineup with Evan Longoria and Delmon Young seemingly always saving his hitting prowess for the postseason, this is a tough matchup for Boston. The Rays got here by eliminating Baltimore, the Yankees, the Rangers, and the Indians over the past week or so. Wow. Here’s one Boston fan hoping the Rays take their foot off the pedal and the Sox move on.
The other ALDS matchup of the Detroit Tigers matching up against the Oakland Athletics is a very intriguing series. A rematch of last year’s ALDS that went the full five, the A’s have a trump card this year: everyone’s favorite Science Fair winner, Bartolo “Performance Enhancing What?” Colon. In addition, Detroit has injury concerns with Miggy Cabrera dinged up and ineffective in September. Can Victor Martinez, Jhonny “Performance Enhancing”Peralta, Torii Hunter, and Prince Fielder step up for Cabrera? Oakland has a lot of no-names who keep winning, but the Tigers have starting pitchers Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez...that’s a big advantage.
This week has an ACC matchup with two top 25 teams (depending on what ranking you use, I guess) with Florida State welcoming Maryland. Florida State is coming off a win at Boston College that was a lot harder than most (especially me) expected. Maryland is no slouch, and they have two stars in quarterback C.J. Brown and receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs opened eyes with a great year as a true freshman, so the sophomore won’t be drafted in the NFL until 2015 at the earliest (no one cares what he says in 2013 about staying four years when first round money isn’t being thrown in his face with a frenzied fervor by potential agents next year), but I want to see him as much as possible as he looks like a future star slot receiver in the NFL with his quickness and speed.
Ohio State and quarterback Braxton Miller face off against the purple powerhouse Northwestern Saturday night. This is a great Big Ten battle of undefeated squads. With Miller stepping up last week against Wisconsin, OSU will be trying to carry that momentum on the road this weekend. Northwestern plays two quarterbacks, dual threat Kain Colter and pocket passer Trevor Siemian. The biggest difference-maker could be Northwestern running back Venric Mark who has been injured since preseason. Mark rushed for over 1300 yards last year, and if he is healthy and effective, this could be an upset special for Northwestern.
Finally, the third matchup of top twenty-five ranked teams takes place late (I may be asleep by then, no guarantees, but if awake, I’ll have ESPN on) as two West Coast Pac-12 powerhouses matchup with Stanford and Washington in Cali. Last year Washington beat Stanford with an impressive defensive display. In 2011, Stanford rushed for almost 450 yards in wiping out Washington and putting up over 60 points. So two undefeated inter-conference power-houses face-off and most of America will be sleeping. Kathy, put the coffee on! It’s football watching night!
Numero uno Alabama is facing off against Georgia….State. These types of games are boring to watch and while I understand the top programs wanting to have these “cupcakes” on the schedule to rest, recover, regroup, and get a look at the second and third teamers, as a sports fan I have no desire to watch a game that’s 35-0 after the first ten minutes.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers: The Lions are in first place. Seriously. The Packers are in a tough start to the season, but coach Mike McCarthy is also 13-1 against the Lions (no wonder Detroit hates this guy--he’s like Don Shula and the Dolphins against all those horrible New England Patriots teams of my youth!). The Lions look like a legit powerhouse with running backs Joique Bell and Reggie Bush to complement Megatron. Can Matt Stafford outduel Aaron Rodgers? In Green Bay? Why the heck not?
Prediction: Lions 44, Packers 27
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears: The Saints are sizzling on offense and are vastly improved with the fatter Ryan brother in charge. The Bears' defense is living off a reputation from three years ago, they are simply not very good. If Jay Cutler has to get into a shootout with Drew Brees, well, it won’t be pretty. If I were coaching the Bears I’d put the ball in Matt Forte’s hands early and often.
Prediction: Saints 54, Bears 17
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns: This is the Thursday night game, so I can’t make a pick, but I expect this game to be more interesting than it looked just a few weeks ago. The Browns lead the NFC North by tie-breaker right now and their defense looks like a playoff-caliber defense (they’re calling to Beezer...come back to the Browns...come back to the Browns...we won’t break your heart!) I love that they are winning with their new starting quarterback, Brian Hoyer, who apparently learned something practicing with Tom Brady for three years. The Bills have a find in quarterback EJ Manuel and are 2-2, too. Great game, I hope. I’m rooting for Hoyer.
Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys: Take the over. Then take over the over. I think this game is whoever settles for a field goal loses. The joke I pulled out is it is Enver versus Allas, because this game has no “D” (wow, that was bad!). I’d like to see Denver lose, but think they should win. I’ll go with heart over head here.
Prediction: Cowboys 42, Broncos 38
Atlanta Falcons vs New York Jets:
The talk out of New York is that Rex Ryan is already considering benching Geno Smith? Everyone but Rex realizes this is a rebuilding year. Matt Simms? Really? The Falcons are 1-3. Matt Ryan, he has gotta be pissed after losing to New England, and looky-looky what creampuff is on his schedule.
Prediction: Falcons 27, Jets 17
New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals: So for the second consecutive week, the perfect Patriots are road underdogs. If I made t-shirts and bumper stickers, they would read “Believe in Talib!” Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib pitched a shutout last week against Atlanta: seven passes thrown at him, no completions. Those are REVIS numbers. If he shut-down Julio Jones, can he do it to A.J. Green? I say why not. Also, I have to state that I hate the Bengals more than any other team. Their lousy bloggers pissed me off to no end this offseason (I’m so glad we drafted chumpzilla Jermaine Gresham over Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez--we’re so much smarter!). Grrrrrr. I hate them. I want to drive out to Cincy and do the Icky Shuffle at midfield after the game when the Pats smack them around. I may be the only one, but I HATE THE BENGALS!!!!!!
Prediction: Patriots 34, Bengals 13
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins: This would be a great tie. I expect Baltimore quarterback will be going for six (interceptions that is)
Prediction: Dolphins 24, Ravens 17
Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams: I see this as a winnable game for Jacksonville, even on the road. That said, trading left tackle Eugene Monroe was a head-scratcher...to give away a franchise left tackle for a bunch of late round picks is waving the white flag. There goes Maurice Jones-Drew’s fantasy value with his best blocker gone. How long until Jones-Drew is on the block for draft picks? Rebuilding is one thing--emptying the cupboard completely is another. The Rams are terrible, but not quite that bad.
Prediction: Rams 28, Jaguars 7
Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans: This game did not look too marquee before teh season, but Chiefs-Titans looks like a good matchup. Being stuck with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick after Jake Locker got hurt after FINALLY playing so well kills Tennessee.
Prediction: Chiefs 23, Titans 13
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants: Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks!
Prediction: Eagles 34, Giants 27
Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts: Seattle has been a little off so far this year, but they keep pumping out the wins. The Seahawks pass rush should stop the NFL’s best young quarterback, Andrew Luck.
Prediction: Seahawks 20, Colts 17
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals: Ugh. My preseason super-smart fantasy football pick of quarterback Carson Palmer looks terrible now that he returned to earth in a hurry. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is slowly getting back on track.
Prediction: Panthers 27, Cardinals 20
Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers: Wasn’t this the Super Bowl prediction everyone made last year? Houston vs Seattle Super Bowl this year? Houston cannot win with Matt Schaub at quarterback in a big game. EVER. This counts as a big game.
Prediction: 49ers 31, Texans 24
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders: It's either Sunday Night Football the Late Show Edition or Early Monday Morning Football. The game kicks off at 11:35 PM eastern time. Wow. Well, I’ve been stashing him on my bench in a few fantasy football leagues, but I need Philip Rivers to have a huge game against a questionable defense
Chargers 78, Raiders 17 (hey, I need the fantasy points!)
Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins: These guys can’t lose! (They all have the bye this week)
Finally, in the English Premier League, Everton hung on at Goodison Park against Newcastle U after jumping out to a 3-0 lead at the half. Barring a complete breakdown, at that point the game is over. In the second half, just like the New England Patriots did against the Atlanta Falcons, the boys in blue were forced to hang on with white knuckles and fight off Newcastle for the three points with a 3-2 win. After three straight draws to open the season, this was the third straight league match win. With 12 points after six games, it’s great to see Everton leap into the top of the division and sitting in fourth place a point behind cross-town rival Liverpool and the Spurs, and only three points back of Arsenal. For a transition year, this is a great start. This weekend brings Everton on the road to play Manchester City (aka the best squad money can buy) who are 3-0 at home so far this short season. It’s a tough matchup, but I’ll be cheering the boys in (dark) blue.
OK, all...have a great weekend and enjoy all the playoff baseball, college football, NFL football, NHL action, and of course footy from across the pond.
While massaging my temples trying to figure out what the hell one of my former players is thinking...
The early game of interest to me was kind of by default this week. I was waiting for the Boston College - Florida State game at 3:30 when I came home from running errands. I caught the start of the second half of the #12 South Carolina - Central Florida game.
Surprisingly enough, it was Central Florida who led at halftime, 10-0. Part of the reason could be attributed to the fact that South Carolina QB Connor Shaw left the game in the first quarter with a shoulder sprain. But South Carolina didn't waste much time finally getting their offense on track to start the second half. They marched right down the field to cut it to 10-7.
The Gamecocks then had a chance to take the lead but fumbled the ball late in the drive. But it didn't deflate them at all because they got the ball in the end zone on their next possession.
Now down 14-10, Central Florida seemed to be imploding late in the 3rd quarter as they threw an interception and could do nothing to stop South Carolina as they barged into the end zone and took a 21-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Gamecocks made it 28-10 before Central Florida showed a bit of a spark to cut it to 28-18 on a TD run and 2 point conversion and then scored another TD to make it 28-25. It was a nice comeback but it fell short as that was the final score.
The big dog for SC was Mike Davis. He ran for 167 yards and 3 TDs.
I know that Steve Spurrier only worries about offense but giving up 427 yards to Central Florida (despite the team being 3-0) can't be a good sign when the Gamecocks go on to play their "tougher" opponents.
The Boston College game against #8 Florida State started off well for the Eagles as they took an early 7-0 lead thanks to a Chase Rettig TD pass to C.J. Parsons.
After giving up a Seminole field goal, the Eagles went on a long drive that resulted in a TD pass from Rettig to Jake Sinkovec (pictured) and a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Eagles got a stop and then keyed on Andre Williams as they went on another drive. While the drive stalled out, the Eagles did get a field goal to make it 17-3 in their favor.
But the Seminoles aren't #8 in the country for nothing. A 75 yard 44 second quick strike drive culminated in a 56 yard TD pass from Jameis Winston to Rashad Greene as FSU quickly climbed back into the game at 17-10. The BC pass defense got abused on the play.
After some ineffective back and forth from both teams, FSU found its rhythm again and a quick drive (80 yards, 7 plays) that tied the game at 17 on a TD pass from Winston to Chad Abram.
And as time expired to end the half, the goodwill BC had built for itself completely fell apart as Winston unleashed a Hail Mary bomb after avoiding the pass rush and threw a 55 yard TD pass to Kenny Shaw. As they say on the NFL highlights, KNOCK IT DOWN. Halftime score FSU 24 BC 17.
In the third quarter, the Eagles started the scoring with a Nate Freese field goal, but Rashad Greene caught a 10 yard TD pass from Jameis Winston to make it 31-20 Florida State. Add in another rush TD and FSU was in complete control 38-20.
That is until Chase Rettig threw a 52 yard TD pass to Miles Willis to make it 38-27.
A BC defensive stand near their own goal line opening up the fourth quarter kept FSU from scoring a TD but Roberto Aguayo kicked a field goal to put Florida State up 41-27.
But Boston College killed themselves on the very next position when Chase Rettig got picked off and saw it run back for a score. 48-27 Florida State. The game analyst on the ABC broadcast pointed out that BC needed to start looking at other receivers besides Alex Amidon. And right then, Rettig threw behind Amidon and it was picked off. ARGGGHH!
Thankfully, the Eagles didn't just roll over after that back breaking INT. Rettig drove the team down the field and hit C.J. Parsons for a TD to make it 48-34.
Dominique Williams then picked off Jameis Winston and gave BC another shot of hope with just over 6 minutes left in the game. But it went for naught as Chase Rettig got intercepted at the goal line to effectively end the game.
What to take away from this game? Florida State has an explosive offense but if a team with only marginal talent, as BC quite honestly has, can put 34 points on the board, your defense isn't quite ready for prime time. And while BC's top talent does the job for the most part, there isn't enough there to compete with top flight teams right now.
QB Jameis Winston (pictured below) threw for 329 yards and 4 TDS. He was also the leading rusher with 68 yards.
Receiver Kelvin Benjamin had 103 receiving yards. Rashad Greene caught two TDs and the defense had 2 INTs and 3 sacks.
For Boston College:
Chase Rettig passed for just 197 yards but had 4 TD passes. Those were offset by two killer INTs. He was sacked three times too.
Andre Williams (pictured below) didn't find the end zone but again showed that he is a pretty good running back. He finished with 149 yards.
Alex Amidon caught 7 passes but had just 42 yards. C.J. Parsons caught 2 of the TDs from Rettig.
The late day game was of course the Alabama-Ole Miss game.
A lot of talk before the game seemed to be centered around the Alabama offensive line and how unsettled that particular part of the team is. I heard some people calling Ole Miss for the upset.
But as the game got underway, the Alabama defense has started out being the driving force of the game. They held on a 4th and 1 to take over on downs and then intercepted a pass on the next drive.
But as good as Bama's defense has been in the first half, Ole Miss is holding their own as well. They've given up just two field goals and trail 6-0. Cade Foster's second field goal was a career long 53 yards. He tacked on another field goal as time expired and led 9-0 at halftime.
Alabama couldn't establish anything in the running game during the first half, but T.J. Yeldon had a 68 yard TD run to cap the first drive of the 3rd quarter and gave the Crimson Tide a commanding 16-0 lead.
The defense has continued to shine in the second half. They shut down Ole Miss on a 4th and 2 towards the end of the 3rd quarter and then Bama continued to use Yeldon to establish the run game. It allowed them to both move the chains and work the clock as the third quarter ended.
To open the fourth quarter, Ole Miss got an interception off of Alabama QB A.J. McCarron. This was seen as a break that they needed to try and get something started offensively. But it wasn't to be as Alabama forced another turnover on downs.
Later, Ole Miss got pinned down on their own 1 foot line and it got turned into a safety by Alabama. On the first play after Ole Miss kicked the ball following the safety, Kenyan Drake ran for a 50 yard touchdown.
And then Alabama recovered a fumble. Knowing the game was "in the bag", the Tide sent in Blake Sims at QB. But they turned the ball over on downs.
After a slow offensive start, Alabama got things going a bit in the run game and their defense was superior throughout.
A.J. McCarron had just 180 passing yards and an INT but still managed to keep things moving along enough to keep the Tide out ahead even when the offense couldn't get things going against the defense.
T.J. Yeldon had 121 rushing yards and a TD while Kenyan Drake added 99 yards and the other score. In all the ground game had 255 yards on the ground.
The defense had 2 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery on the day. They gave up just 49 rushing yards and 208 total yards of offense.
They won the game 25-0 and despite not being a fireworks offense like Oregon, still maintain their status as the #1 team in the country.
The other game of note (to me at least): In what will probably be seen as the game of the day, Georgia came from behind late to beat LSU 44-41. Though Zach Mettenberger had slightly better numbers, it was Aaron Murray who came up big to give the Bulldogs the big win. He's working his way to shedding that "can't win the big games" reputation.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
A little trip back in time to last Sunday lets you back to the Patriots-Buccaneers game. The Patriots started out a bit weak against Tampa Bay but by halftime were in complete control of the game on the way to a 23-3 victory.
Everything for the Patriots was at least adequate in the game, but Tampa Bay had huge issues all day long. I think it is easy to see the lack of performance by Josh Freeman in this game as the final nail in the coffin of his starting QB job. He got officially benched late this week and there was even talk of him being deactivated as a player too.
The passing game for the Patriots looked good in the early going. Tom Brady had a run of the mill day overall. He was 25-36 for 225 yards and two TDs. But the big talking point of his game was the horrible INT he threw in the end zone that ended a New England scoring drive. It was really bad and you could see that Brady himself was pretty irked over his mistake.
The rookie receivers were marginally better in this game as opposed to the first two games. Kenbrell Thompkins caught just 3 balls for 41 yards but two of those catches were for TDs.
Stephen Gostkowski had a good day with 3 field goals and his kickoffs were mostly unreturned by the Bucs.
The running game had a REALLY good day totalling 156 rushing yards. LeGarrette Blount led the running back by committee with 65 yards with Brandon Bolden adding 54. Stevan Ridley had 35 yards. The numbers were individually impressive but they got the majority of those yards on big and timely runs that kept drives going.
The defense sacked Freeman 3 times and also picked him off once.
Overall, it was a solid win albeit lacking in the expected fireworks. But now comes more of a real test for these Patriots. The relatively easy opening portion of their schedule is over. They play the Atlanta Falcons today and while the Falcons may not have the most showstopping defense, they do put points on the board which will challenge the Patriots to do the same.
The news out of Camp Shamrock this week was the announcement that point guard Rajon Rondo is likely to be unable to return to the court until December. This is not a good thing to be sure.
Who will play the point while Rondo is still out? And can new coach Brad Stevens implement whatever system he's looking to put in for the team when the floor general isn't able to be out on the practice or game court in order to run said system?
BOSTON RED SOX
With the division wrapped up, the next win benchmark for the Red Sox to look forward to (though not necessarily be overly concerned with) was 100 wins. Unfortunately, that won't happen this season. The best they can do is 99 wins.
But they are still in the running for home field throughout the playoffs. They battered the Orioles last night 12-3 to get one step closer. If they win 1 of their last two games, they'll get that advantage.
As for the game last night, David Ortiz came to plate and smacked a deceptive fly ball to the opposite field. As it came off the bat, to me it looked like it was just going to be a long fly out. But the ball kept carrying and went out for a home run.
The homer for Ortiz was the 30th of the season and gave him his seventh 30 homer, 100 RBI season. That ties him with Ted Williams in that category.
Clay Buchholz pitched 7 innings and while he wasn't as dominant as he might've liked, he got the job done. He finishes with a 12-1 regular season mark and has a 1.74 ERA.
My mom's favorite player, Daniel Nava had a big three run homer in the game as well. I don't know if there is any kind of award he might be eligible for, but he has had a magnificent season.
It was a crappy week 3 for me in the Yahoo fantasy football leagues. I dropped both games and neither score was close.
And thus the season dies for me a bit.
The Chicago Sky were the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. But they were also playoff rookies. And it showed as they got swept out of the playoffs by the Indiana Fever. They lost the first game which I wrote about last week.
But when they went on the road to Indiana, The Fever wasted no time in putting them on the sidelines and ran away from Chicago 79-57. Despite the loss, this was the most successful season in Sky team history.
Sylvia Fowles had 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead the team. Epiphanny Prince and Elena Delle Donne each scored 10 points.
The elimination of the Sky kind of kills my interest in the WNBA season now. I don't have a real rooting interest left so it makes it kind of hard to stay interested in the results.
Books - I finished reading the Castle TV series tie-in novel Deadly Heat this week. While a serviceable enough read, overall I was kind of disappointed in this one.
I also picked up the new John Sandford paperback Mad River. It is the latest in his series featuring the character Virgil Flowers.
Comics - For those who are fans of the Firefly TV series and Serenity follow up movie, there was news this week of a good nature. While there is no new movie or TV project coming up soon, Dark Horse Comics will launch a new comic book series that picks up after the end of the movie. You can read the story and see some preview images here: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=48004
I'm a huge fan of the franchise, so this news cheered me up immensely. As soon as it gets listed for order, you know I'll be placing my order.
TV - The first full week of fall TV premieres kept me pretty busy watching new and returning series over the last few days.
On Monday, I really liked the premiere of The Blacklist. Other shows like How I Met Your Mother, Mom, 2 Broke Girls, Bones and Castle varied in quality.
Tuesdays brought the return of NCIS and NCIS: LA. Both episodes were good but not great. The premiere of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was good though a bit underwhelming. It did a good job of setting up the characters (I didn't care for Fitz and Simmons though. They seemed like plucky comic relief characters, but weren't actually funny) and the basic premise of the series. And they set up the running subplots for the character's backgrounds which was nice.
Wednesday was actually the season finale of the BBC America drama Broadchurch. The finale was amazing and the reveal of the killer was a huge surprise that I had no idea was coming. The season premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit spent the first hour wrapping up the big cliffhanger from last year. It was good right up until the very end when it kind of copped out. I haven't seen the second hour yet.
On Thursday I watched the first two episodes of The Big Bang Theory's new season. I was kind of disappointed in them. The series premiere of the Robin Williams series The Crazy Ones was good but if you watch the trailer (see below), you've basically seen the entire episode. The first two episodes of The Michael J. Fox Show were decent if unspectacular. The documentary feature of talking to the camera was annoying though. I still have to watch the season premiere of Elementary though.
Friday was the return of Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods which were both good.
And then there is tonight which features football as well as the season premieres of The Good Wife and The Mentalist. And though I can't remember right now, I'm pretty sure there is something else on that I watch.
Oh and some enterprising poster on Youtube did a reimagining of the sci-fi show Orphan Black's opening credits as set to the theme for Friends. It's pretty good and you can check it out below.
While dreading the possibility of having to buy a new computer...
BOSTON RED SOX
I haven't really written a lot about the Red Sox lately. I think there has been a lot said about the amazing turnaround of the team from last season and a lot of it covers pretty much what I could say myself.
The timely play of pretty much everyone on the roster has been a wonder and joy to watch. But the Red Sox back in the playoffs after four years (and the last two seasons of disaster) is a nice thing.
I'm loving this team. Forget stats and honors, who did this and who did that. This is a TEAM and they have regained the fanbase with how they have approached the entire season.
And I couldn't be happier for this team who after Friday night's game are the...
The Boston College Eagles were on a bye week yesterday so the main focus of my college football watching this week was the Alabama-Colorado State game on ESPN2. But that doesn't mean there weren't some other things that caught my interest in the early games.
To start my game viewing day, I was watching the North Carolina-Georgia Tech game. The most dominating factor in that game had to be Mother Nature as it rained throughout the game. It played havoc with the condition of the footballs themselves. The Tar Heels held the edge over Georgia Tech in the first half 20-7, but the Yellowjackets came back in the second half by rushing for over 200 yards in the half and scored the final 21 points of the game to win 28-20.
David Sims (pictured below) was one of two players for Georgia Tech that ran for 99 yards in the game. He also found the end zone twice.
Louisville had absolutely no challenge in their flaying of FIU. QB Teddy Bridgewater was an efficient 17-22 for 212 yards and 4 TDS as the Cardinals won 72-0. I know that this is just a paycheck game for FIU, but come on man, this is not a game. This a legal way to fleece people out of their hard earned money foolish enough to spend it on a ticket. How bad was it for FIU? They had just 30 net yards of offense for the entire game!
Surprisingly enough that wasn't even the biggest blowout of the day. Ohio State destroyed Florida A&M 76-0. Buckeye QB Kenny Guiton had a heck of a day for himself subbing in for regular starting QB Braxton Miller. He set a school record with 6 TD passes. And he did that in the first half of the game. It was the biggest win for OSU since 1935.
And for those who don't believe that college players should be paid, keep in mind this little nugget. FAMU, for prostituting their team as a victim to the Buckeye juggernaught, got a $900,000 guarantee. If I was a player for FAMU and I got hurt in this game that they were so obviously unable to even dream about being competitive in, I'd be looking at how to sue the school for selling me out. Especially since they managed just 79 yards of total offense.
I watched the Tennessee-Florida game as my late afternoon matchup. The first half was just terrible as both teams had issues with turnovers. The Tennessee QB Nathan Peterman kicked off one odd sequence in the game when he dropped back to throw a pass and has he threw it, the ball slipped out of his hand, got intercepted by Florida and when the Gators ran it back for what looked like a sure TD, the guy who made the interception got tripped up by Dominic Easley...his own teammate. Florida went on to win the game 31-17 and Tennessee continues to be an also ran in the SEC.
By the way, Florida's QB Jeff Driskel got hurt in the game and is apparently out for the season. Tyler Murphy (pictured below) will be the new starting QB for the Gators. Against the Volunteers, he passed for 134 yards and a TD and also ran for 84 yards and another score.
The late game for me was Alabama's matchup against Colorado State. Of course, before I talk about that, it seems Texas fans aren't waiting for coach Mack Brown to be fired, as they are now apparently wearing shirts that advertise their hopes for the 2014 season:
As for the actual Bama game:
In the first quarter, the Tide missed a field goal attempt but scored a TD late in the game. Running back T.J. Yeldon was suspended for the first quarter after his unsportsmanlike penalty against Texas A&M last week. Kenyan Drake punched in the TD on a three yard run.
But it was just 7-0 at the end of the quarter. And Colorado State, while they may be overmatched, aren't playing afraid in the least. This is not surprising since their coach, Jim McElwain, used to be the offensive coordinator at Alabama.
In the second quarter, Bama got a special teams TD off a blocked punt that Dillon Lee returned for the score.
So far, there really hasn't been much in the way of fireworks. The Crimson Tide added a field goal and led 17-0 at halftime. They are fully in control of the game, but it feels like a business-like approach than a ground and pound operation. Both ways work so there isn't really much to complain about here.
Colorado State essentially owned the third quarter with two field goals, cutting Bama's lead to 17-6 by the end of the period. The Tide just couldn't seem to get much going and that A.J. McCarron INT didn't help.
The Alabama offense woke up in the 4th quarter, at least a bit. After a fumble recovery, McCarron hit DeAndrew White (pictured below) with a 30 yard pass to make it 24-6. Then Chris Black found the end zone for the Tide on a 14 yard TD pass from Blake Sims. The final score was 31-6 in a very business like way.
The margin of victory was large and Alabama wasn't really threatened, but it wasn't until late in the game that they were fully able to put Colorado State away on the scoreboard and moved to 3-0.
New England Patriots - The supposed return of Rob Gronkowski has kept the local papers buzzing this past week. But I don't believe he'll be playing against the Buccaneers today. Of course when he does come back, I can only hope he stays healthy because the Pats passing game needs to add someone who can catch the darn ball.
With Danny Amendola now apparently out for a number of weeks, Julian Edelman is the #1 receiver. I like the guy and all, but if he's your top option in the passing game, you really have issues.
As you might imagine the majority of my wardrobe is made up of sports team T-shirts and sweatshirts. The local outlet store had a big Pro Team tent sale this weekend and I made the trip over on Friday afternoon. I didn't spend a lot of money on a bunch of clothes, though I certainly could have. Instead, I went the conservative route and just picked up a new Patriots sweatshirt for the winter. The regular price is $50 but the sale price was just $15.
Cleveland Browns - I have a friend named Chad. He is originally from Cleveland. And as you might expect, he routes for the Cleveland sports franchises. It must gall him that his older son loves the Patriots despite his best attempts to sway the child to Cleveland fandom.
But this past week makes me wonder if he isn't ready to jump off the bandwagon for the Cleveland Browns.
Not ten minutes after I emailed the article link to Chad, the news broke that the Browns traded away Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first round draft pick.
It was the most talked about event in the NFL not surrounding the Chiefs-Eagles game on Thursday night.
The Browns tried to spin the deal a number of ways, but no one with a lick of sense was buying it. The Browns after just two weeks of the season have quit on the season. I can only imagine the sense of yet another betrayal by the team the fans (and especially season ticket holders) must be feeling right now.
ESPN carried audio of sports radio hosts and fans in Cleveland and they were unbelievably unhappy with the trade.
I can't say that I blame them though. While Trent Richardson may not be bound for the Hall of Fame at the moment, the ex-Alabama running back is far and away the best offensive player the Browns had. And now that he's gone, plus the decision to start Hoyer at QB with Brandon Weeden out injured, the Browns are going to be even worse.
The Browns have been promising that "we're going to stink this year but watch us in two years" for more than a decade now. At this point, I'm wondering how the people running the franchise (into the ground?) can say this was a good move with a straight face.
This cannot be what Browns fans expected to see when their team lined up for Week 3...Richardson in a Colts uniform.
It was a new week in fantasy football land, but the results of Week 1 were repeated in Week 2. I split the two leagues I'm taking part in this year. Unfortunately for me, I lost the league I was victorious in last week and won in the league I lost last week. That's me, Mr. One and One.
New York Liberty - The Liberty's first season under head coach Bill Laimbeer was not a rousing success. It came to an 11-23 end this past Sunday against the Washington Mystics. The final was 70-52. The game also served as the last game of Katie Smith's career.
She got a nice ovation from the Mystics crowd and left with 36 seconds in the game with 7 points and 4 rebounds. Kelsey Bone led the team with 11 points. Tamera Young had 10 points and Plenette Pierson had 11 rebounds.
A fellow Liberty fan from the Rebkell women's basketball forum contacted me about the Katie Smith retirement shirt from the final Liberty home game. I wrote about it last week. Well, the package came in the mail a couple of days ago. Not only was the shirt in the package, but the game's roster card, a mini team calendar and a special Katie Smith trading card were including as well. Big shout out of thanks to LibWNBAFan for thinking of this Katie Smith fan.
Here's some pics (from Getty Images) of Katie's last game:
As Katie says goodbye, I'm left with a big decision to make myself. I've always rooted for whichever team she played for. But I've never felt a particular desire to follow those teams after she left. Of course, I do like Bill Laimbeer as a coach so I could stay on as a Liberty fan, but I don't think it will be the same.
Of course, there is the Chicago Sky. They have Carolyn Swords. The Boston College alum is the only "active" player in the league that I follow so I might switch allegiances to her team next season.
I guess time will tell.
Chicago Sky - Speaking of the Sky, they opened up the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Indiana Fever on Friday night.
Leading up to the game, rookie Elena Delle Donne came in third in the MVP vote and was the runaway winner for the Rookie of the Year Award.
Despite being the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Sky are playoff rookies. That particular fact shined through on Friday night as they got stunned in Game 1 by the Fever. They lost 85-72. I didn't get to see the game despite it being on NBATV (sorry, I was watching the Red Sox game), but from what I read and heard, the Sky didn't play well on defense. The Fever hit ten 3 pointers in the game. Worse yet, Fever star Tamika Catchings had an off night shooting the ball (4-14 FG, 11 points). If she gets going in Game 2, the first playoff appearance for the Sky will be a short one.
For the Sky, Delle Donne had 20 points, while Epipphany Prince had 19. Sylvia Fowles had 16 points and 10 boards.
But none of that matters when you finish on the losing end of the score. So the best of 3 series moves to Indiana for Game 2 on Sunday (ESPN2 at 3pm) and the Sky will have their backs to the wall.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Boys Soccer - The boys dropped two more games this week to fall to 0-6 on the season. They lost 6-1 to Seekonk and 2-0 to Bourne.
Wareham Girls Soccer - The girls continued to lose games with a three more losses this week. They lost 11-0 to Seekonk to start the week. Then came a 7-3 loss to Bourne. In that game, one of my former players, Breanna, got two goals and an assist. Friday night saw the team lose to GNB Voc-Tech 7-1. They close the week at 0-6.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The volleyball team got swept in three straight games to lose to Bourne.
Wareham Field Hockey - The team remained winless (0-6) after losing to Case 3-0 and then losing to ORR on Friday night 3-1. Below is a pic of one of my ex-players Amber (in blue in the foreground) during the ORR game. The pic credit goes to Adam Ellis of the Wareham Courier.
Upper Cape Girls Soccer - The Lady Rams have a two game winning streak! Now 3-3, they got a 2-1 win over Old Colony earlier in the week. My ex-player Sierra got cited in the paper for the fourth time this season. On Friday night, the team beat Southeastern 4-1. Once again, Sierra got cited for her defensive play in this game in the paper.
Wareham Football - The Vikings lost their first game of the season 28-6 to Bishop Stang. Then came a bye week in which they saw Bishop Stang lose 48-0 to Dartmouth. You know you are probably in for a bad year when the team that crushes you turns around and gets crushed the following week.
And that seems to be the way things are going because the Vikings lost on Friday night to Seekonk 48-20 to fall to 0-2. At one point in the game, Wareham trailed 34-0. One of my ex-players, Josh, ended up leaving the field late in the game in an ambulance. He is being evaluated for concussion symptoms.
ORR Football - The Bulldogs got one of their primary ball carriers back before Friday's game. Richie is one of my former players and he missed the first two games over an eligibility concern with the MIAA (the state school athletics governing body). While the first two appeals were denied, the third one was granted and he was back on the field.
When ORR hit the field, they cruised to victory beating Bourne 35-0. It was their first win over Bourne since 2009.
Richie finished with 7 rushes for 31 yards and played well on the defensive side of the ball as well. His brother Raekwon had 5 rushes for 65 yards, including a 46 yard TD run.
I don't have anything earth-shattering to talk about here this week but I did place my order for tickets to a couple of Boston College women's basketball games. I got a ticket for the Stanford and Hartford games.
TV - Almost all of the summer TV series have ended their seasons now. This week saw the end of Copper on BBC America in both season and series form. It was canceled after two seasons on Friday. Some shows like USA's Covert Affairs and Suits ended temporarily as they still have some episodes left to air over the winter.
Speaking of BBC America, the final episode of the 8 part murder mystery series Broadchurch will air this coming Wednesday. So far, the show has done a masterful job of keeping all the balls in the air as to the identity of the killer. There have been a number of red herrings where a variety of people have looked guilty at any given time. But instead of feeling cheap for the sake of extending the story, they were all well handled in the script and smartly dealt with in the case of some of those false leads.
The one series I'll miss the most is HBO's The Newsroom. After just a 9 episode season, there seems to be some question whether the show will even get a third season. While series star Jeff Bridges tweeted that Season 3 was a go, HBO has yet to announce a renewal. And there is some question whether Aaron Sorkin is interested in continuing the show. If you watch the show, you saw the season finale and realized that it could very well serve as a series finale.
I'd be really disappointed if the show ended because the last three episodes of Season 2 were flat out awesome and demonstrated what the show could be at all times if it really wanted to.
I picked up the fifth season of Castle on DVD on Saturday. It continues to rank as one of my favorite shows and I eagerly anticipate getting the season DVDs to add to my collection and rewatch.
The new fall season begins in earnest starting Monday, but some shows have already had their season premieres. I watched the season premiere of Bones which was good. The pilot episode of the Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine Nine got pretty decent reviews but I thought it played more as a series of interconnected skits instead of a story.
The surprise for me was the Fox drama Sleepy Hollow. Twisting the legend of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, the show sends both of the characters into modern day and goes from there. I didn't really have anything in terms of expectations for the show and didn't plan to watch it. But there was nothing else on at the time of the premiere so I checked it out. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself quite entertained by the series. I'm probably going to add it to my watch list.
For those of you who are award shows inclined, don't forget that the Emmy Awards are on tonight.
Movies - I haven't seen the Brad Pitt movie World War Z yet and I'm not sure if I'm going to do so, but the people who put together those wonderful "Honest Trailers" on Youtube have watched the movie and give their skewed but hilariously funny take on it below.
Books - It was kind of a slow week for my book reading. I finished the C.J. Box novel Below Zero. It was an excellent read and harkened back to an earlier book with its plotline. There were a number of twists and turns that really kept the reader on their toes.
But the fact I had less time to read books this week didn't stop me from picking up four new books to add to my "To Be Read Pile".
I picked up the Alex Marwood novel The Wicked Girls based on a review I read in Mystery Scene Magazine. As an aside, I had sent a letter to the editor regarding the magazine being responsible for me discovering C.J. Box. I got a response back from the editor in chief of the magazine and was told that the letter would be appearing in the next issue.
I also picked up the new tie-in novel for the Castle TV show by the show's main character Richard Castle, Deadly Heat. I would renew my stance that the people in charge of putting these books out should tell us who really writes the stories but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the books.
I got the new David Baldacci thriller The Hit. It is the second in his series featuring assassin Will Robie. And finally, I got the Iris Johansen thriller Taking Eve.
Music - It's been an interesting week for new music for me.
Despite buying the album when it came out in January, I simply hadn't gotten around to listening to the new Helloween CD Straight out of Hell until this week. And I'm kind of kicking myself for waiting so long. You can read my review of the album here: http://knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=10152
Here's the video for the song "Nabataea":
Rat Pak Records confirmed this week that the new Metal Church album Generation Nothing will be out October 22nd. Even more exciting is they released the audio clip of the new song "Scream" for all to hear. You can check out the song here: http://soundcloud.com/rat-pak-records/metal-church-scream
Seven Witches has a new CD out called Rebirth. You can check out the official video for the track "Stand or Fall" here:
Finally, the self-titled debut album from the band Ashes of Ares came out on September 6th. I picked up the CD on Friday. I'm normally hard to hook into new bands these days, but when the band features ex-Iced Earth singer Matt Barlow on vocals, sign me up.
"Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky."
—Alan Moore in The Mustard magazine (January 2005). Moore is a British writer, most famous for his influential work in comic-books and graphic novels. (Watchmen, V for Vendetta)
Alabama - This week's Game of the Century featured the Crimson Tide vs. Texas A & M. Among the many things leading up to this game, there was the constant babble from the talking heads about how this game was the chance for revenge for Bama over the loss to the Aggies last season.
I really wish those talking heads would stop referring to the game this way. It isn't. Alabama may have lost to the Aggies last year, but they got the national title. And the season ended. This is a new year. No revenge possible.
As for the game, I was out running errands when it started but was listening on the radio. In the beginning, Texas A & M was just shredding the Bama defense. It was almost too easy for Manziel & Company on their way to a 14-0 lead. This had shades of last year written all over it.
But things settled down a bit and then A.J. McCarron started getting his offense on track and led the Tide to three scoring drives.
On an A&M drive, the refs called a penalty on a pass play against Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton Dix and it really ticked me off. They called him for "targeting" which is an ejection from the game penalty. Watching the replay you could see that it was an utterly BS call. Dix was playing tight D and made a move to intercept the ball.
But what made the call even worse was the replay booth overruled the ejection of Dix, saying there was no foul on the play. But under the rule, the penalty yardage still stays in effect. So instead of a third down play after an incomplete pass, the Aggies got 15 yards and a first down for a thoroughly blown call by the refs.
It didn't end up hurting them on the scoreboard but it was just a bad bad call. Thankfully Bama led 28-14 at the half and then scored another TD (a 73 INT return) to go up 35-14 before the Aggies broke up the Tide's 35 point streak with another touchdown of their own.
Not to be outdone, Alabama got another score to go up 42-21 by the end of the third.
But the fourth quarter started off pretty much like the first quarter as Manziel led the Aggies to two scoring drives, including a stunning 95 yard TD pass from Manziel to Mike Evans. Evans was the stud receiver all game long for A&M.
That TD pass came after T.J. Yeldon fumbled the ball on the 1 yard line as Alabama drove for a score.
But A.J. McCarron directed another cool as a cucumber drive that culminated in a TD pass to Jalston Fowler for a 49-35 lead.
You'd think with just over 2 minutes left in the game, that would be big enough, but given the lack of pass defense by the Tide's defensive backfield today, you shouldn't have been surprised to see Manziel deliver another TD drive to cut the lead to 49-42 with 15 seconds left.
For those in the know, this means A&M would be trying for an onside kick. It didn't work as Bama got the kick and ran out the clock to at long last seal the victory.
Defense was a myth in this game. In fact, the 42 points the Aggies score was the most given up by Alabama since Nick Saban took over as coach.
Manziel threw for 464 yards with 5 TDs and 2 picks. He was also the Aggies leading rusher with 98 yards. He may be a jerk of the first order but the SOB sure can play.
If you don't know the name Mike Evans don't feel bad, the Alabama defense apparently didn't either. He caught 7 passes for 249 yards and a score against Bama and it looked they couldn't be bothered to remember he was torching them each time he caught a ball. All those yards and he only found the end zone once. Meanwhile, Malcome Kennedy had just 57 yards receiving but had 3 TDs.
As for Bama, their offense carried the day behind 334 passing yards and 4 TDs from A.J. McCarron (pictured below). The offensive line did a great job of protecting him too. He wasn't sacked at all.
T.J. Yeldon had great numbers with 25 carries for 149 yards and a score but he lost a fumble on the one yard line. On the TD he made, he got called for an unsportsmanlike penalty for making some sort of "show me the money" gesture followed up by a throat slash move. I can only imagine that Nick Saban (pictured below) probably wants to make him walk home.
Bama's defense gave up 628 yards in total offense, while A&M gave up 568 yards. Alabama's defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is really going to have to figure out something should these two teams end up meeting again.
Boston College - I was hoping for better, but I can't say that I was really all that surprised to see the final score (the game wasn't on TV in my area that I could find) of the BC game against USC be a 35-7 blowout in favor of the Trojans.
BC (2-1) managed just 184 yards of total offense. Chase Rettig threw for just 83 yards and lead back Andre Williams had 38 yards on the ground. The one score for the Eagles came late in the game on at 29 yard TD run by Tyler Rouse.
The Eagle defense did get two sacks in the game but were otherwise used and abused for 521 yards of total offense by USC.
So it is back to the drawing board for the Eagles.
In other game news from yesterday:
The Minnesota game against Western Illinois saw the Gophers win 29-12. It isn't the result of the game that interested me but rather a story that came out of off the field action. Minnesota coach Jerry Kill apparently suffered a epileptic seizure at halftime while still on the field.
If I remember correctly, this is the third time he's had a game day seizure. While you obviously can't do anything to force him to leave his job due to his condition, you do have to wonder how long the coach can endanger his health this way. While there is medical staff around to provide aid, if game days help provoke the seizures wouldn't it be time to consider stepping down?
Louisville beat Kentucky 27-13 and Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater had what for him qualifies as a pedestrian day with just 250 passing yards and 1 TD pass.
Another off field story at a game also made me wonder: In the Rutgers 28-10 win over Eastern Michigan, the school retired the number of Eric LeGrand. You remember LeGrand right? He was the Rutgers player who was paralyzed in a game a couple years back. And now for the first time in the 144 year history of the school, they retired a football player's number.
Look, I'm as impressed by his recovery to this point as the next guy, but I think retiring his number is a bit much. It is terrible that he got hurt in a game, but retiring numbers should be reserved for players who established legends ON the field. Yes I realize that I will be in the minority opinion on this and probably be looked at as kind of a dick for saying it but come on people, we are rewarding too much for too little in all aspects of sports and life these days.
Chicago Sky - The best season in team history continued to get better and better this past week as the Sky rolled off three more wins to improve to 24-9. They beat the Mystics 93-79. Their offense was led by 22 points from Elena Delle Donne and 21 points from Epipphany Prince.
Against the Phoenix Mercury, Delle Donne (18 points) hit a back breaking game winner at the buzzer to win 70-68. Prince had 21 points. You can see the game winning score from Delle Donne below:
On Friday night, they continued their winning ways by knocking off the Atlanta Dream 87-82. It was Prince leading the way with 29 points for Chicago. Delle Donne scored 18 points while Sylvia Fowles had 12 points and 18 rebounds.
Unfortunately, in their season finale last night against the Minnesota Lynx, the Sky came up short in their quest for the #1 overall seed in the playoffs. They lost 79-66 to finish 24-10. Fowles had 17 points and 11 boards to lead Chicago. Delle Donne had 14 points and Prince finished with 10.
New York Liberty - The New York Liberty will finish out of the playoffs this season. They lost their two most recent games to end their flickering hopes for a "second season" spot this year.
September 10th was their final home game and it served as fan appreciation night AND as a means of honoring Katie Smith before the game. She's retiring after the season after 17 pro seasons.
ESPN had a really well done video piece on Smith leading up to the final home game. You can check that out here:
As for the game against the Mercury, it was a valiant effort but the Liberty came up just short, 80-76. Smith (pictured below) led the offense with 17 points while Alex Montgomery had 13 points and Kelsey Bone finished with 11 points. Plenette Pierson added 5 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists.
(with her parents)
On Friday night, the Liberty visited the Indiana Fever and despite leading for a while in the game fell 66-63 to drop their record to 11-22. Delisha Milton-Jones scored 18 points to lead the Liberty. Tamera Young had 10 points and Smith (pictured below, from Getty Images) had 10 points.
As anyone who has read my ramblings knows, I'm a huge fan of Katie Smith. On the occasion of her retirement tomorrow, I wrote up my own appreciation piece. It's loaded with details, pics, links and commentary. I hope you'll take the time to read that piece which is located here: http://yougabsports.com/pt/Exit-Stage-Left---A-Legend-Leaves/blog.htm
By the way, Nike did a shirt that was given out to the fans at the final home game. I've got lines on a couple of shirts thanks to Liberty fans who know what a big fan of Katie's I am.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Well I tried but there's always some high school action going on each day of the week it seems.
Wareham Field Hockey - After a 1-0 loss to Bourne, the team is 0-4.
Wareham Boys Soccer - The team is 0-4 after losing to Dighton-Rehoboth 4-1.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The team fell to 1-4 after losing 3-2 to Dighton-Rehoboth.
ORR Football - The team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 35-6 win over case. Raekwon had a 23 yard TD run.
Upper Cape Girls Soccer - The Lady Rams blew a 4-1 lead but ended up beating Blue Hills 5-4 for their first win of the season (1-3).
Wareham Girls JV Soccer - No news to report as far as game results but it looks like I'll have to try and attend a game now that I've learned another ex-player of mine, Gabby, has been added to the JV team. Not bad considering she hasn't played in a number of years and is actually still in the 8th grade. But I'm sure she'll be a great addition to the team. Way to go Gabby!
While still taking no public stand (not that I think or expect them to), the IOC announced this week that Tokyo Japan will host the 2020 Summer Olympics. Also announced was that wrestling (which had been kicked out earlier in the year) had been voted back in as an Olympic sport.
This news was a big sigh of relief for those of us that aren't even huge Olympic wrestling fans. It just seemed wrong to take out an original and still relevant sport from the Olympic games.
BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME
While watching the Patriots game last Sunday, I completely forgot about the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony which was being held in the afternoon. For some reason I thought it was a nighttime ceremony.
I ended up catching the rebroadcast on NBATV and a couple things that caught my notice was the speech from Gary Payton and a line from Rick Pitino's speech. I know there was a lot of talk about how Payton's speech was one of the best. But when I watched it, I thought he came off as a bit arrogant. Not quite as bad as Michael Jordan's speech but it just didn't feel as if he had what I would think would be proper deference to the magnitude of being inducted.
Pitino's speech included the line that "Coaches don't get to the Hall of Fame, players put them there." I thought it was a great acknowledgement of a true fact that the coaches are only as good as the players that suit up for them.
As for my favorite moments, one was bittersweet and one was my pick for best induction speech.
The best induction speech was from Dawn Staley. She was a three time Olympic gold medalist, played in 3 Final Fours at Virginia where she was player of the year a couple of times, and was a star in the WNBA. She crafted a superb speech tied into the time at the Olympics when she was selected to be the US flag bearer at the Opening Ceremonies. It was just a great speech. You can see it here:
The bittersweet moment was the long overdue induction of ex-UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian. Now 83 and in terrible health, he could barely speak and his wife read most of his statement during a pre-recorded segment. His long and eventual winning battle against the NCAA cost him an earlier induction is what most people believe.
It was great to see Tarkanian get his proper due, but it should've come when he could speak for himself.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
I'm sure some will see it as a sign of a spoiled fan base, but the fact the Patriots are 2-0 is not sitting well with the fans or some of the press.
The utter lack of a cohesive offense (particularly the passing game) has set tongues to wagging in New England.
The Patriots beating the Bills despite a defense that generated no pressure on Bills rookie QB E.J. Manuel was lucky to say the least. Sure receiver Danny Amendola did well as did Julian Edelman. But Stevan Ridley got benched for an inability to hold on to the ball. Shane Vereen had a huge game in his place.
But the 23-21 win over the Bills came at a big cost. Vereen broke his wrist and is probably out until at least Week 11. Danny Amendola injured his groin in the game and he was out for the Jets game this past Thursday.
With Julian Edelman having a career high 13 catches, the Patriots were able to not stink on offense just enough to beat the Jets 13-10. The run game was pathetic and the passing game was so bad that Tom Brady couldn't contain his bad body language when receivers ran bad routes or dropped passes. Brady finished with 185 yards and a TD pass.
The key to the win over the Jets was the defense coming up with a lot of pressure against the Jets QB Geno Smith. They got 4 sacks and picked Smith off three times.
At this time, the receivers are a joke. Brady didn't even target a tight end for the entire Jets game. And the rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins mostly reminded you of that Jerry Glanville one liner about the NFL standing for "Not For Long". Despite catching that Brady TD pass, Dobkins was pretty terrible otherwise. Between he and Thompkins they got targeted 17 times and caught just 5 passes.
Really, I could be that bad, why aren't I getting a contract offer?
The first week of fantasy football saw me split the two matchups. The team that features Peyton Manning as my starter won in the league's biggest blowout of the week while the Tom Brady led team lost a comeback game due to the Monday games.
Fates Warning has released another song from their upcoming CD Darkness In A Different Light. It's called "I Am" and you can check it out below:
Movies - The remake of the movie Robocop has released the first trailer for the new movie. You can check it out here:
TV - The USA Network show Burn Notice ended its seven season run this past Thursday. For the most part I enjoyed the show (there was an early season that I tuned out but came back to the show). And unlike a lot of shows that give a bad final episode, I thought the series finale was quite good. It tied up the story in a nice fashion and even managed to work in the two lines most associated with the series as a nod to their beginnings. It was a job well done.
The HBO show The Newsroom will end its season tomorrow night and it should be a blowout finale. While there has worthy and unworthy criticism of the show, the past two episodes have been lights out awesome. Episode 7 "Red Team III" was particularly noteworthy as I saw a lot more positive talk about the episode online than I've seen for most of the other shows.
Books - I finished a couple more books this week. They were the C.J. Box novel Blood Trail, which was fantastic and I also finished the Lorna Barrett book Bookplate Special. Unfortunately, that one was merely adequate in terms of entertainment value.
I also picked up two more books. Thanks to my BJ's Warehouse membership, I got to two trade paperback versions of novels for the same price as the mass market paperback cost and don't have to wait the extra few months to read the stories. The two books in question were the James Patterson and Marshall Karp novel NYPD Red and The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer.
In sad news, author A.C. (Ann) Crispin died on September 6th at the age of 63 after a long fight with cancer. While probably not familiar to most people, she was quite well known to those of us who read the Star Trek and Star Wars universe novels. She wrote a quite well received trilogy featuring Han Solo as well as writing one of my all-time favorite Star Trek novels. It was called Sarek and was about Spock's father. Quite a brilliant read I thought. She was also one of the creators and driving forces behind the website Writer Beware which kept aspiring writers up to date on publishing scams.
She made a final post on her Facebook page on September 3rd and I wanted to share it here: "I want to thank you all for your good wishes and prayers. I fear my condition is deteriorating. I am doing the best I can to be positive but I probably don't have an awful lot of time left. I want you all to know that I am receiving excellent care and am surrounded by family and friends."
Happy Friday, Gabbers. It’s been a long week but the weekend is in sight. Patriots vs Jets on Thursday night is the big game in New England, but the Red Sox are stealing fans as the area begins to realize 1) the team is close to the playoffs and trying to pull away with the division; 2) former manager Bobby Valentine is saying stupid stuff elsewhere; and 3) this team is fun to watch.
The Bent household watched a lot of football (as usual) this weekend, with some college sports on Saturday (between errands, groceries, laundry) and all day Sunday to watch the NFL and follow my 12 Fantasy Football teams (I have problems saying no to things I love--which explains why my wife has me wrapped around her pinky finger!) and try not to root against myself in one league while cheering on another. Some of the league’s were just public “practice” leagues, some are with friends, one with Gabber pals, a couple pay/money leagues I’ve played in for years, just about every other website I write for has a team, and then the family league where the gloves come off, the trash talk is strong, and the conspiracy theories are strong.
There were some great college football games on Saturday, with the Boston area’s biggest division one team playing on Friday night with Boston College beating ACC opponent Wake Forest behind running back Andre Williams. Considering BC was behind early against Villanova
and had to pull out the opening game in week one, this was a needed confidence boost. No one in the area is buying BCS tickets, but it is always good to have a local team doing well and getting the fans up for autumn Saturdays in New England.
Although I always think of them and college basketball, all eyes are on Louisville this fall as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is likely the top rated quarterback in the NCAA and probable top pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Facing Ohio, Bridgewater only played three quarters, but was 23 for 28 and started nine for nine on the first two drives with touchdown passes. He ended up with 355 yards and five touchdowns against a team he was expected to excel against. It would be better had it been against Ohio State rather than Ohio, but he was expected to excel and Bridgewater delivered.
The big game Saturday is number one Alabama against you-know-who and number six Texas A&M. All eyes will be on the big time, beloved and reviled quarterback in the game: AJ McCarron.
Nah, you know I’m kidding: it’s Johnny Football: Johnny Manziel. Manziel led A&M to a victory against ‘bama last year running and throwing himself into the lead for the eventual Heisman Trophy. Sure, Alabama rolled back to win the National Title, but ‘bama coach Nick Saban does like losing, especially to the Aggies. CBS will have the “Johnny Cam” on Manziel at all times (come on, nose picking shots! I’ll give you double or nothing he eats the booger!) . So far, Alabama has had a so-so performance against Virginia Tech and a week off. A&M is 2-0 and Johnny Football has put the offseason nonsense behind him to play good football so far. It’s a great game, and great for college football to get this kind of match-up so early in the season.
On Sunday, its all NFL all day. I previewed the Cleveland/Baltimore game already at http://www.firststopfantasy.com (or at least its supposed to be there onl Friday AM!). Other matchups include:
There is the match-up of two young, dynamic quarterbacks with Carolina versus Buffalo: Cam Newton versus EJ Manuel. The Bills lost a game they shoulda/coulda won, while Carolina had the Seahawks on the ropes in week one and somehow dropped the game. Sadly, one of these upstarts are going to be 0-2 (unless there is a tie, which would just be awesome).
The awesome RGIII brings the Redskins into historic Lambeau field for a matchup of two playoff teams trying to avoid starting 0-2 (I’m begging for ties this week, nothing messes up standings like ties in the NFL). Aaron Rodgers at home is hard to beat, but if there is anyone capable, I’d put my money on...Tom Brady. Sorry, I was being realistic, not hyperbolic...RGIII bay-beeee! The rust is off, all hail the dreadlocked Redskin!
The ever-popular NFC matchup between the Vikings and da Bears matching the up-and-down Bears (are decent offensive linemen that hard to find?) against Adrian Peterson and the (ugh!) Vikings passing game (or lack of one).
The Atlanta Falcons, heavy favorites for the Super Bowl, are now trying to stay ahead of dropping to 0-2 by facing the comeback kids of St. Louis, who pulled off a come-from-behind win against the Arizona Cardinals last week.
The hideous Manning bowl pits Gomer against Gopher as the two good ol’ Manning boys battle. Eli always plays well against big brother, and Denver’s defense is terrible without Von Miller (pencil him in as most VALUABLE player...wow what a difference he makes). Definitely a “take the over” game. (Patriots fans ask: Can they both lose?)
The Dolphins enjoyed an extra preseason game against Cleveland last week (Sorry, Beezer!), but the Colts--who barely edged Oakland (OAKLAND!) last week--has the Luck needed to pull out a win in the dome (plus, no one in New England wants Miami winning any games).
Cowboys vs Chiefs comes down to Dez Bryant. Does he show up? Is he hobbling and invisible? Can Alex Smith lead the Chiefs to (gasp!) 2-0! The Chiefs are at home, and 2-0 would be a great story.
Jaguars and Raiders: the Raiders showed up last week. The Jags pooped their pants against Kansas City. Jacksonville should play better, but is it enough? They have the structure in place to succeed long term in Jacksonville, but it is going to take time to get there.
49ers vs Seahawks is the premier matchup of the week as all eyes are looking West. These teams are both good, but the 49ers looked SCARY good while the Seahawks looked over-hyped.
The Houston Oilers Tennessee Titans play the Houston Texans back in their old home of Texas. The Texans had to scramble back to beat San Diego, while the Titans beat the crud out of Pittsburgh (wow!). This is a good looking game all of a sudden. Can anyone imagine Tennessee beating the Texans on the road to go 2-0?
Speaking of the Chargers, are they going to get gassed by Philadelphia? I’m a huge Chip Kelly fan from when he built UNH into a national (division two) powerhouse. The University of New Hampshire is not really an NFL pipeline...I won one fantasy football league by having Michael Vick, Shady McCoy, and Desean Jackson all running up the points early and often. Can they do it again? Washington really slowed them down in the second half last week.
Tampa Bay lost to the Jets for God’s sake. Take as many points as you can get and enjoy watching the Saints go marching in. New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had the Saints defense (seriously!) rocking against Hotlanta. Drew Brees challenging Revis Island? I love it!
Arizona versus Detroit matches the resurgent Carson Palmer against the high powered Lions offense. Take the over! I don’t care if its 100 points, I’m betting the over. Look for an Arena Football League score.
Finally, Steelers (lost to Tennessee) and the Bengals. The Bengals were the big preseason favorite and lost to the Bears. The Steelers have no offensive linemen who can block and the Bengals have the best defensive lineman in the NFL (Geno Atkins--absolute BEAST against the run AND rushing the QB). Looks like a rough day for Pittsburgh unless Big Ben has some magic left. Another of those “wow, one of these teams will be 0-2” games.
OK, thanks as always for reading. If the Jets beat the Patriots, there are no guarantees I take this post down and replace it with a stream of obscenities.