2016 is only in its first week but it’s off to a very exciting start. From the drama of NFL Playoffs kicking off this week, the College Football Championship game coming up on Monday to college basketball beginning conference play. As the NFL wrapped up its regular season with week 17 coming to a close, so does the Champ and Chump column.
So for one last hurrah until next season, we recognize some of the youngest and brightest in college hoops while shaking our head at a big loser on the college gridiron. We celebrate two players, one breaking records, and another chasing some. For one last time, let’s see who wore the crown this week and who wore the frown. The Champs and Chumps!
Champ: Draymond Green
Raise your hand if you saw this type of potential with Draymond Green when the Golden State Warriors drafted him in 2012…I’ll wait… Neither did I. Following an NBA Championship last year, Green signed a long-term deal worth $85 million and many wondered if a guy like Green was worth such a large contract. With a little more than half of the season left, the Warriors are chasing history sitting at 32-2 and much of it is thanks to Draymond Green. On Monday night, Green finished with his 3rd consecutive triple-double leading the Warriors to a victory over the Hornets.
So far, Draymond has seven triple-doubles, only two other players in the entire league have more than one. Averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists a game, Green is chasing a little history of his own as only Oscar Robertson has averaged a triple-double over the course of the season.
Christian McCaffery- How exciting is this young guy? Narrowly missing another Champ of the Week performance this year, McCaffrey broke the Rose Bowl all-purpose yard record (368 yards) and led the Cardinals to a dominant 45-16 Rose Bowl win. McCaffrey will have a tough time one-upping himself for next season. A Heisman Trophy may be in his sights.
Diamond Stone- The Maryland freshman provided a huge spark off the bench in a win over Penn State scoring 39 points on 10-15 shooting (19-25 free-throws) and 12 rebounds.
Brice Johnson- From freshman to senior, Brice Johnson was just as dominant as Stone on Monday night when he led his Tar Heels to a big road win over Florida State. Johnson finished with 39 points and 23 rebounds.
Chump: Memphis football player Reggis Ball
After losing 31-10 in the Birmingham Bowl to the Auburn Tigers, senior defensive back Reggis Ball showed an incredible amount of bad sportsmanship when he tackled an Auburn staffer, took the game ball and ran with it, holding it up in one hand, middle finger flying in the other. Just another example of today’s generation demanding the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Ball had himself a fine afternoon finishing with 5 tackles and 2 interceptions, however no takeaways will get more attention than his last, the hit and strip of an Auburn staffer.
Michigan State football- As I wrote earlier this year, it was a playoff or bust for the Spartans, and while they achieved their goal and the season was an overall success, getting blanked 38-0 in the Cotton Bowl to Alabama was an absolute embarrassment. Making the playoff is a great program builder for Mark Dantonio and company, but it’s going to take a while for these wounds to heal before we can celebrate the season that it was.
New York Jets- The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves in this spot last week when they lost a seemingly easy game against the Ravens which allowed the Jets to pass them in the playoff standings. This week, the Jets returned the favor by losing to Buffalo and eliminating themselves from playoff contention while handing Pittsburgh the final spot.
Oregon football- Leading 31-0 at halftime against a TCU team playing with a walk-on at quarterback and their top wide receiver out with an injury, the Ducks were ready to end their season on a high note with an Alamo Bowl victory. Instead, Oregon miraculously allowed the Horned Frog offense to do whatever they pleased in the second half and TCU beat Oregon 47-41 in a triple-overtime thriller.
Until next time.