Champ and Chump: Week 17

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Published on : January 6, 2016

 

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

Mr Triple Double

 

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.

 

Honorable Mention:

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

 Ball can’t hold on

 

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.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

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.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 16

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Published on : January 1, 2016

 

Happy New Year from myself and everyone here at SBS. As we ring in 2016, we make our New Year’s resolutions. Many of us we plan to make the gym a part of our daily routine, or put down our smokes or maybe it’s less drinking. For others maybe we just want to focus on becoming a better person overall, or get more in touch with our families and friends. While that all sounds great for you and me, we’ve chronicled a lot of athletes over the last 15+ weeks whose resolutions should have been to stay on the right side of this list. This week we take notice of a couple guys who outplayed the competition and also find a couple teams who were outplayed. We hit the hardwood a bit too, recognizing a great individual performance and could be on the way to seeing a first for a team in college ball. For the last time in 2015, let’s take a look at the picks for Champ and Chump, and I’ll see you again in 2016

 

 

Champ: Kirk Cousins

 Cousins has the Redskins headed to the playoffs.

 

How good is Kirk Cousins feeling right now? Out of nowhere the Skins have won the NFC East and are looking more and more like a contender every week. Defeating the Eagles on Saturday night, Cousins threw for 365 yards and 4 touchdowns without turning the ball over. Perhaps more importantly, the connection of Cousins to Tight End Jordan Reed (9 catches, 129 yards, 2 touchdowns in the game) has become lethal and seemingly unstoppable. I am not sure many people predicted a division title for Washington this year and I’m sure even fewer predicted a season like this for Kirk Cousins, but two things are for sure, Kirk Cousins is about to get paid and reporters and fans around the D.C. area definitely like that.

 

Honorable Mention:

Isaiah Ford- The Virginia Tech Wide Receiver caught 12 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown in a 55-52 Independence Bowl win over Tulsa, sending legendary coach Frank Beamer out with a W.

 

CJ McCollum- Starting in place of injured Damian Lillard, McCollum just missed a triple-double in a win over the Sacramento Kings. CJ finished with 35 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals.

 

Bryant McIntosh- Northwestern has never made the NCAA Tournament but is off to a 13-1 start and hoping for the school’s first bid. Sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh, leads the Wildcats including a 33 point/8 assist night against Loyola Maryland. McIntosh hit 11 of 14 field goals leading the charge.

 

 

Chump: Bill Belichick

 Belichick wearing his chump face.

 

Bill Belichick showed Shades of Marty Mornhinweg this past weekend, as Patriots’ coach was on the losing end following a very questionable decision to kick heading into overtime against the New York Jets. Belichick decided to play the wind, and trusted his defense to at least hold New York to a field goal, hoping Brady and the offense would then drive down and win the game. Unfortunately for Belichick, his defense couldn’t hold off Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets and they found the endzone on their first possession, ending the game and making Bill Belichick look foolish. I understand that with the new OT rules a field goal on the first drive no longer ends the game but when Tom Brady is your quarterback and you win the toss, go out there and trust Tom Terrific to lead your team to a touchdown on the first drive.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Green Bay Packers- I keep waiting for the Packers to hit their stride but it appears they may not find it this season. Heading to Arizona and looking to make a statement, the Packers were overmatched everywhere on the field losing 38-8. The Cardinals defense swarmed Green Bay, finishing with 9 sacks and 4 takeaways.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers- In control of their own destiny for the playoffs, Pittsburgh had seemingly one of the easier matchups this past weekend when they headed to Baltimore. The 4-10 Ravens had Ryan Mallett making his first start with the team after being signed December 15, yet the Steelers couldn’t take advantage and now find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture needing help to get in.

 

Manchester United- Winless in their last 8 games, Man U is fading fast. At one point they found themselves atop the table but those days seem incredibly far away. Manager Louis Van Gaal may be on his way out as the club struggles to find a long term replacement for the great Sir Alex Ferguson.

 

 

 


Champ and Chump: Christmas Edition

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Published on : December 28, 2015

 

Ho, Ho, Ho. The Champ and Chump piece gets into the holiday spirit a bit this week by playing Santa and separating our naughty and nice lists, and yes we’ve definitely checked it at least twice. The bowl season is under way, the NFL is gearing up for playoff action and both the NBA and NCAA hoops are rolling along. So grab yourself some eggnog, some fig pudding, and sit back and enjoy this week’s Christmas edition of Champ and Chump.

 

Nice: Charles Woodson

 

He made just two tackles in a win over the Chargers on Thursday night, but after an amazing career, Woodson played his final home game for the Raiders and is sure to go down as one of the all-time greats. Coined “Mr Everything” during his days at the University of Michigan, Woodson won the Heisman trophy before being drafted by Oakland in 1998. He has been almost a perennial pro bowl corner and safety and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers before returning to Oakland to finish out his career in the black and silver. A pleasure to watch on the field, and off it, Woodson has been a leader in the locker room and in the community. For everyone at SBS, we tip our caps to the great career of Charles Woodson.

 

Honorable Mention:

Draymond Green- 22 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists in a win over Cleveland, and NBA Finals rematch that I’d love to see again.  

 

Jamauri Bogan- The running back from Western Michigan led the Broncos to a Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl win over Middle Tennessee State by toting the rock 19 times for 215 yards and 4 touchdowns.  

 

Kahlil Felder- Standing just 5’9″ doesn’t keep Felder from showcasing himself as one of the premier point guards in the country, even though he plays for a small school in Michigan, Oakland University. Felder helped Oakland take #1 Michigan State to overtime before losing a close game. Felder finished with 37 points and 9 assists against the Spartans. Expect to see Felder leading an NBA team in the near future.

 

 

Naughty: Odell Beckham Jr

 

Last Sunday, the New York Giants hosted the undefeated Carolina Panthers looking to put an end to their perfect season while keeping their own playoff hopes alive. All week leading up to the game, there was a lot of trash talk between cornerback Josh Norman of the Panthers and New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. It turned into a very physical matchup on the field that afternoon. Beckham has been accused of some extracurricular activity this season with punching, hitting the face mask area but has also been one of the best wide outs in football. This week he took it too far and was fortunate to avoid an ejection when he threw a headshot at Norman by leading helmet to helmet after the play. Beckham wound up being suspended this week and deservedly so. His actions were incredibly selfish and for a team desperate to win, he put himself and his own personal vendettas over the team’s needs. We can all talk about how he was provoked and taunted prior to and perhaps during the game but you’re in the NFL. Trash talk has been around these athletes since they played high school ball.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Donald Brown- While he did find the end zone once for San Diego, Brown could only muster 17 yards on 14 carries as the Chargers got nothing on the ground in a loss vs Oakland.  

 

New Orleans Pelicans- What happened to the Pelicans? An up-and-coming team, led by budding superstar Anthony Davis, made the playoffs last year. All of the sudden, they find themselves at 9-20 following a loss to Miami on Christmas. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans combined to shoot 7-26 with just 9 assists and 8 turnovers.  

 

Hayden Moore- Cincinnati Bearcats’ quarterback had a tough go of it on Christmas Eve in a blowout loss to San Diego State. Finishing with under 200 total yards on the night, Moore threw 3 interceptions and had one returned for six in a 42-7 beat down.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 14

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Published on : December 16, 2015

 

 

A little more variety this week as we give some love to the frozen pond and hit the hardwood in our Champ and Chump sections. As always, the gridiron takes center stage with quarterbacks in the leading role. And there were a couple very memorable performances, while another gets awful reviews for his play. So here we go, see which players took a bow as the fans begged for an encore performance and who saw the curtains crash down on them. To the picks!

 

Champ: Russell Wilson

 Can Russell lead the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl?

 

Hard to find a hotter quarterback on the planet right now than Seattle’s Russell Wilson. A few weeks ago the Seahawks looked like a team that might miss out on the playoffs after consecutive Super Bowl appearances, especially when running back Marshawn Lynch went down with an injury. Since then, Wilson has led the Seahawks to four straight wins and has Seattle looking at a Wild Card spot. On Sunday, the Seahawks manhandled the Ravens 35-6 with Wilson finishing 23-32 and 292 yards with 5 touchdowns. During the four game win streak, Wilson has 17 touchdowns (1 rushing) and 0 interceptions. With Lynch expected back for the playoffs, Seattle may be hitting their stride, and for everyone else in the NFC that could be very bad news.

 

Honorable Mention:

Khalil Mack- The Oakland Raider finished with 5 sacks, as he constantly pressured and hit Denver’s Brock Osweiler, leading the Raiders to a 15-12 victory.

Eli Manning- Finished 27-31 and 337 yards with 4 touchdowns in a win on Monday Night in Miami. A nearly perfect evening for Eli keeping the Giants in the playoff hunt.

Patrick Kane- With an assist on Sunday night, Kane extended his points streak to 26 games as the Blackhawks blanked the Canucks 4-0. Kane leads the league with 46 points.

Golden State Warriors- Speaking of streaks, an incredible run was put to an end this past weekend as the Warriors took their first loss of the season after starting the year 24-0. Give the Bucks credit for being the first to take down the defending champs, but my guess is Golden State will get another streak going here real soon, and I predict they will win 70+ games.

 

 

Chump: Rajon Rondo

 Rondo wins the award for biggest chump.

 

Rajon Rondo is not known as one of the “good guys” by any stretch in the NBA, and he may have made matters even worse this past weekend. Disgusted with a call, Rondo lashed out on an official before being ejected, going as far as to call him a slur that rhymes with “maggot.” Days later, that official has come out as a gay man. Whether Rondo knew he was gay or not isn’t necessarily the issue, though I suppose Rondo looks even worse if he did. Just last year on a Dallas squad that made the playoffs, we saw Rondo absolutely give up on his team and wound up being benched by coach Rick Carlisle, who Rondo constantly argued with on and off the court. Once thought to be potentially the best point guard in the NBA, Rondo has continued to put up good numbers for the Kings all the while looking like an absolute joker.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Robbie Gould- For the second consecutive week, Gould lined up with a chance to give Chicago the win or in this case a tie as time expired, and in both cases he missed it. The Bears easily could have won both these games making them 7-6 and just a game out of the playoffs with three winnable games left. However, instead they’re 5-8 with the chips stacked high against them.

Andy Dalton- The “Red Rocket” may have just cost the Bengals their season on Sunday. While blaming a guy for breaking his thumb while trying to make a tackle may seem a bit unfair, you have to consider the circumstance. In the redzone, Dalton threw an interception on an atrocious shovel pass attempt. I had to watch this replay a few times to even see what happened because it honestly looked like he just threw it to the defensive lineman and then dove into his knees. Dalton may be ready for the postseason where his resume absolutely needs a playoff win, perhaps more than any other quarterback.

Miami Dolphins- This one is personal. I just have to vent real quick. In the first round of my fantasy football playoffs I am sitting pretty at halftime with Lamar Miler and Josh Brown (NY Giants’ kicker) going against Odell Beckham Jr, who for the most part was held in check. Miller went off in the first half and Miami is leading so I think I’ll be ok. Fast forward to the second half and OBJ goes off for two scores (one being an 85-yarder) and Miller gets just 4 second half touches. Just 4! Thanks Miami, I hope you lose the rest of your games.

 

 


Champ and Chump Week 13

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Published on : December 12, 2015

 

 

It’s that time again ladies and gentlemen. Time to see who got their names in the paper and whose stat sheet became crumpled up paper. We had some championship performances as eight NCAA teams took home conference titles, where I correctly predicted seven of the games. But enough about my success, let’s see this week’s Champ and Chump.

 

Champ: Christian McCaffery

32 carries for 207 yards and 1 TD, 4 catches for 105 yards and 1 TD, an 11-yard touchdown pass, and 150 return yards.

Christian and his new hardware

 

As a sophomore, McCaffrey led the Cardinals to the PAC 12 Championship and helped them clinch a spot in the Rose Bowl. The son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, Christian is paving his own road as one of the best. He literally can do it all as Stanford’s “Mr Everything.” Earlier this year he broke the NCAA record for all purpose yards in a game and has earned himself a spot on the Heisman Trophy ballot. While it will be hard to beat Alabama running back Derrick Henry, I think McCaffrey just may be the most exciting player in college football.

 

Honorable Mention:

Blake Bottles and Allen Robinson- Blake finished 24-36, 322 yards with 5 touchdowns and no turnovers while Allen finished with 10 catches, 153 yards and 3 touchdowns in a win over the Tennessee Titans.

 

Cam Newton- The Panthers remain undefeated, led by MVP candidate Cam Newton. He finished with 380 total yards and 5 touchdowns in a come from behind win against the Saints 41-38.

 

Chump: Detroit Lions/Jim Caldwell

Another heartbreaker for Detroit

 

Looking for their first season sweep of the Green Bay Packers since 1991, the Detroit Lions were just seconds away from keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. However, as time expired Aaron Rodgers heaved the ball as high and as far as he could. Turned out to be just enough as Packers’ tight end Richard Rodgers brought down the ball without a Lion defender all that close to him. On the previous play, Detroit tackled Rodgers around the Green Bay 30-yard line after a couple laterals only to have a face mask penalty called on Detroit. A free 15 yards, and one more shot at a miracle, Green Bay made the Lions pay for it and added another chapter to Detroit’s seemingly never-ending tragedy as a franchise.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

ACC Championship refs- I hate to be one to criticize refs and say they cost a team the game but here is another prime example where they absolutely may have. North Carolina had scored a touchdown to get within 8 points with just over a minute left. They recovered the ensuing onside kick only to have the refs flag them for offsides. No North Carolina player was actually offside, nor was it close.

 

Special teams in the Dallas/Washington MNF game- The first 58+ minutes of this game saw a combined 18 points on 6 field goals only to have 17 points scored in the final 90 seconds or so. First, DeSean Jackson runs backwards 20 yards on a punt before fumbling, which leads to an easy touchdown. Then on the kickoff, a Dallas player face masks a non-ball carrier after a 40 yard return. Washington ties the game back up, only to kickoff and allow Dallas to return the ball some 40+ yards and line up for a game winning field goal.

 

 

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 8

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Published on : November 7, 2015

 

As we reach the halfway point of the NFL season, and the first college football playoff rankings are revealed, we crown a true champion in this week’s Champ and Chump. The World Series is over, the dust has settled on the infields soon to be covered by snow in many parts of this nation and we bid farewell to America’s past-time for 4-5 months. This week we welcome a couple first timers to our Champ and Chump section, but also see a familiar face. Spoiler alert: My Detroit Lions are the definition of “Chump”. Alex always said in his NFL Spread picks, “Always bet on the Packers”, well you might as well always bet against the Lions. But before I go on a 6-page tangent that goes through all the feels, six beers, and a box a Kleenex, I’ll just cut to the picks for Champ and Chump this week.

Champ: Kansas City Royals

The Royals getting hype in the 9th inning of their series winning game 5 matchup with the Mets.

 

Not too much of a surprise here. Let’s face it, if you win the World Series, or any championship for that matter, you have a great shot at finishing as my Champ of the week. A year after losing Game 7 of the World Series to the San Francisco Giants, the Royals had one goal all season long, and for the most part they played pretty consistent baseball to get there. As a Tigers fan, I know all too well how good these Royals are and have been the past few years. Often described as a gnat, or pest, that just won’t go away, they battle for 9 innings, and most times end up on top. They made great moves at the trade deadline, and I declared them winners there, and a few months later, those moves paid off. A quick 5 game dismantling of the New York Mets gave the Royals their first World Series title since 1985. Hats off to them.

 

Honorable Mention:

Drew Brees- 39-50 for 505 yards with 7 touchdowns. 91.7 QBR and a passer rating of 131.7 begs the question, “Is this a video game?” Big win over the Giants and Eli, mentioned below

Eli Manning- Weird to have a loser from a game in the same “Champ” category but what else could you have asked Eli to do vs the Saints? 30-41 for 350 and 6 touchdowns with zero turnovers. QBR or 94.1 and a passer rating of 138.2, insane.

Andre Drummond- Pistons fans haven’t had much to cheer about the past six or seven years but they have an absolute star in the making at center. Through four games, Drummond is averaging 20/20 a game following a monster performance vs Indiana where he scored 25 and ripped down 29 boards.

 

 

Chump: Minnesota Golden Gophers’ late 4th quarter clock management

Because of the terrible clock management, Michigan once again holds the Little Brown Jug.

 

A little over a week ago, Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill had to resign due to health reasons. In a very sad press conference, Kill was emotional as he knew that coaching the game he loved was taken away from him far too soon. Kill was building a very successful program at Minnesota, a tough feat to achieve. From a 3 win season in his first year, to coming one win shy of a Big Ten West title last year. He led the Gophers to a 4-2 start before having to say goodbye. Tracy Claeys, an assistant under Kill, took over the job as interim head coach and figures to have a legitimate shot to become the long term replacement. After an emotional week, the Gophers and Gopher fans were ready to “win one for the gipper” as they say. They welcomed the Michigan Wolverines for a game on Saturday night. A back and forth game had Minnesota driving deep into Michigan territory, down 3 with under a minute to play. Then with 19 seconds left Minnesota thought they had it, a touchdown pass to win the game, but it was reviewed and called down. Minnesota had the ball, first and goal at the 1-yard line. Apparently, Minnesota spent no time drawing up a play just in case their touchdown was reversed because they got to the line, the ball was spotted, the clock began and they went on to waste a dozen seconds before even snapping the ball. Minnesota’s quarterback then ran around and threw the ball away leaving them 2 seconds left. They called timeout (yes they had a timeout) and ultimately opted for a quarterback sneak which came up short, and they lost. Two things really bothered me about this complete mismanagement of the clock: For one, call timeout as soon as the play is reversed and you would have four cracks at it from the 1-yard line, and secondly, you’re down 3, kick the field goal and force OT. Michigan was down to their backup quarterback due to an injury, so trust that your quarterback can outduel him in overtime. Also to quote Brian Piccolo from the famous Brian’s Song, “When you dedicate a game to somebody, you are then supposed to go out and win it, idiot. Pat O’Brien never said let’s blow one for the gipper.”

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Detroit Lions- Congratulations to the Lions as they now suck on two continents, a tough feat. Falling to 1-7 across the pond to the woeful Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 45-10 has led to the firing of their President and General Manager, a week after firing a couple coaches. Cheers Lions fans, it literally cannot get worse (we’ve already achieved 0-16), so hang your hat on that.

Los Angeles Lakers- The Lakers and NBA fans couldn’t wait for Kobe Bryant to return this season, and in what may be his final season he is far from riding off into the sunset on a high note. Sitting at 0-4 Kobe’s $25 million per year contract is easily the worst contract in sports right now… well, aside from Bobby Bonilla still getting paid in New York. The guy is shooting 32% from the field, and just 20% from 3-point land, averaging just 16 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game. To make matters worse, first round pick Deangelo Russell appears to be struggling compared to a lot of the other top-10 picks from this past draft.

Chelsea Football Club- In England’s Premier League, Chelsea has enjoyed much success in the 21st century and have done so while having some of the most loathsome creatures take the pitch in their all blue kits. Being a Manchester United fan, there isn’t much I enjoy more than seeing Chelsea completely crumbling right now. Currently sitting in 15th place in the table, just four points from relegation, has Chelsea frantically clawing to stay above the cut. While I am sure they will avoid relegation, it is still a bit satisfying to watch them struggle.

 

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 5

Written by :
Published on : October 15, 2015

 

 

Welcome back to another installment of Champ and Chump. The Major League Playoffs are in full swing, college football is at the halfway point of the season and we are beginning to separate the contenders from the pretenders around the NFL. Hockey is back, and the NBA is on its way with a few more preseason tilts left for each team. Be sure to check out a couple recent articles by Antoine and Patrick to educate yourself on what to expect from the NHL and NBA this season. As for me this week, here’s a look at the champs and chumps.

 

Champ: University of Michigan Football

Harbaugh and khakis have led the Wolverines to the nation’s top ranked defense.

 

It was only a matter of time before Jim Harbaugh was going to revitalize the football program at Michigan, but I’m not sure even the biggest Wolverine slappy thought it would be this fast. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, realistic expectations had Michigan needing a full season under their belts before they could compete for a conference championship, let alone a national championship. After just 6 games, Harbaugh and company look primed and ready for potentially both as they dismantled Northwestern this past weekend 38-0. It was the third consecutive shutout for the Wolverines who have outscored their last three opponents 97-0. Michigan has the nation’s #1 ranked defense and the offense seems to be finding a groove too. Climbing up to #12 in the rankings has folks in Ann Arbor ready to explode and with in-state rival Michigan State coming to town this weekend, expect the college football world to be glued to some Big Ten action.

 

Honorable Mention:

MLB Divisional Rounds- With at least two of the four going to the maximum 5 games and the other two looking like they may as well, the 2015 playoffs have gotten off to an awesome start.

Eli Manning- For as much shit as people give this guy (myself included), he’s having one hell of a season and Sunday Night was no exception. He went 41-54, for 441 yards and 3 touchdowns including the winner with 21 ticks left.

Andy Dalton- Leading the Bengals to an undefeated record thus far is anything but expected but perhaps something we need to get used to. After all, the guy’s made the playoffs every year. He went 30-44, for 331 with 3 touchdowns in an overtime win over the Seahawks Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

Chump: Bret Bielema

 

If you didn’t see it, Bret Bielema and the Arkansas Razorbacks went down to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide this past weekend. While Alabama went on to win the game, Bielema himself looked like a loser on two fronts. One, he coached the losing team, which is no embarrassing feat when you play Bama. However, after an interception in the first half, a little shoving happened, all of it very mild and the type of behavior you’d expect to see on a football field after almost every play. Bielema is seen in a video getting in between the players to separate this “confrontation” that is clearly not going to escalate, and then sells a shove by flopping away from the Bama player, getting the referee to throw a flag. This immature small victory causes Bielema to celebrate like a 5-year old who just knocked down his first couple pins in bumper bowling. I’m a big soccer fan, and much like we see in the NBA nowadays too, I am ok with a little selling of the foul every once in a while. Granted, there better be some contact, I am 100% against completely flopping. In the case with Bielema, you’re a coach. You should be setting the example for the players on the field, and instead you’re desperately trying to sell that to get your team 15 yards? It is cheap, classless and down right embarrassing. Stay on the sidelines and let the players determine the outcome of the game because after all, you were hired to coach. You do remember how to coach right? (12-19 career record at Arkansas)

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Rutgers QB Chris Laviano- Ugh this poor guy. In the final seconds, on 4th down near midfield with his team down 7, he spikes the ball trying to stop the clock turning the ball over to Michigan State.

Golden Tate- Saying that Lion fans have “turned their backs” on the Lions? Really?! You’re 0-5, have one playoff win in 57 years, you find any and every way to lose while making millions of dollars, yet they owe you more?… he has since apologized but the damage is done.

US Men’s Soccer- On Saturday night, the USMNT had one last chance to clinch a spot in the 2017 Confederation’s Cup after losing during the Gold Cup this past summer. Played in Pasadena, California, the US Men got on the board early only to lose 3-2 in extra time. These guys have been absoluty Jekyll and Hyde recently, when it matters most they’ve faltered.

 


Champ and Chump: Week 4

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Published on : October 9, 2015

 

Much of my 4th installment of Champ and Chump is centered around Detroit. Both my Champ and Chump involve players and teams from the beautiful Great Lakes State. It’s a beautiful time to be in Michigan as fall weather comes in. The leaves on the trees take on gorgeous shades of red, orange, yellow and collectively they paint a beautiful picture for us Michiganders to take in and enjoy. At many a local watering hole on Monday evening plenty of pints took on the same golden, amber hues as they painted the insides of our stomachs with happiness. That is until late Monday night when the wonderful fall colors of Michigan were stained by one call. By one individual wearing such boring and drab stripes of black and white…and with that let’s get to the Champs and Chumps of the week ladies and gentlemen!

 

 

Champ: Miguel Cabrera

Won his 4th batting title in 5 years

All dude does is put the bat on the ball.

 

I have only spent some 29+ years on this Earth, and more than likely only around twenty of those glued to baseball and sports in general. However, I can say confidently that Miguel Cabrera is the best pure hitter that I have ever seen, and assuming his career doesn’t completely fall off in the next couple of years, he may go down as the best hitter to ever play the game. Before everyone jumps down my throat, really consider what this guy has done, at such a consistent level mind you. 4 batting titles, a Triple Crown, 5 Silver Sluggers, 2 MVP’s, a career .321 hitter, and more than half of his career spent in a pitcher’s ballpark in Detroit. Hitting .338 this season, Miguel Cabrera barely qualified for the award because he missed six weeks during the season due to a calf injury, only to return and hit .360 for the month without needing any sort of minor league rehab start. I’m convinced, that if Miguel Cabrera was stranded on a deserted island like Tom Hanks in the movie “Castaway,” Miggy would simply need a quick bite, a few sips of Gatorade and he’d be ready to step into the batter’s box. After taking two pitches to get reacquainted with the speed of the game, he would rope one into the right field gap for an RBI double. He is just that good, and it’s a luxury getting to watch him day in and day out. If you’re a Tiger’s fan or just a baseball fan even, cherish the memories of watching this legend, because in some 50 years, he’ll be the one you tell your grand-kids about.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

Texas Rangers- Came out of nowhere to win the AL West and thus clinch a playoff berth. A year removed from losing 95 games, and trailing by as many as 8 games back in early August.

Florida Gators football- Had their coach in the “Chumps” section a couple weeks ago for a sideline tantrum, however the Gators are looking strong at 5-0 (3-0). Knocked off #3 Ole Miss over the weekend with ease and appear to be an SEC contender.

Texas A&M football- Sticking with the SEC, the Aggies struggled mightily in their first season without Johnny Manziel last year, but have cleaned it up and are off to a 5-0 start following a win over Mississippi State.

 

 

Chump: NFL Refs in Detroit-Seattle Monday Night Game

Bro, how do you miss that? You were right there!

 

Let me first start off by saying that I am a big Detroit Lions fan, and growing up in the metro-Detroit area in fact has made me a big Detroit sports fan in general. However, there is absolutely no bias with this argument, complaint, rant or what have you. What happened at the end of the Monday Night game is undoubtedly inexcusable on multiple levels. First off, as you’ll see below, it was inexcusable for the Lions to even put the refs in this position because Calvin Johnson needs to hold on to the damn ball! But that aside, having an NFL referee, or multiple referees, screw up that call is garbage. To me there’s only two possible explanations for what happened with the back judge, and I’m not sure which would frustrate me more: First one being, simply, the back judge didn’t know the rule well enough to call it, or option two being that he was intimidated by the “12th man” in Seattle and therefore left the flag in his pants. According to multiple outlets, the refs determined that the bat wasn’t “overt” enough and thus they didn’t feel they had enough evidence to make the call, but I am not buying that at all. It sounds like a save your ass type excuse because the ref had a clear, perfect view of the play. By having the combination of 3rd grade science, and the experience of watching 10 minutes of a football game, you could tell that the ball was clearly batted the other way intentionally. Simply look at Newton’s laws of motion, and the fact that football players don’t use a flat hand to recover a fumble! The NFL has to find a measure to eliminate crucial errors like this. They have made it so that all scoring plays are automatically reviewed and I think turnovers need to be added to that category because while there was a lot of time left, the Lions very possibly had a win stripped away from them…again (See 2014 NFL Wild Card game).

 

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Calvin Johnson- Fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line with just under 2 minutes to go at Seattle on MNF. Detroit was down 13-10 at that point.

Texas Longhorn’s football- 1-4 in 2015, lost 50-7 vs TCU Saturday. Crazy to think this team was in the national championship game just a few years ago, the program looks so lost. Charlie Strong will unfairly be the scapegoat.

Miami Dolphins- Perhaps I’m the chump here by thinking Miami would win the AFC East this year, (granted at the time, Brady was suspended for 4 games) yet the Dolphins apparently suck on two continents now by losing in London over the weekend. 1-3 on the year and the first team to fire their head coach this season.

 

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : October 1, 2015

 

Just a couple days until the weekend so let’s look back at this past week and find the studs and duds who made the headlines in the sports section. Tough week choosing the champs as there were a lot of quality contenders, but there’s no participation trophies in my articles so we kept it to the usual amount. The duds made it a little easy on me. So here we go, the nominees are…

 

Champ: Aaron Rodgers

24-35 333 yards, 5 TD’s, 0 Turnovers, 78.0 QBR, 138.5 Passer Rating

 

Rodgers doing work on MNF

 

At this point, you could put Aaron Rodgers in the “Champ” category on a weekly basis. The guy just flat out produces and is, in my opinion, the best quarterback in football. As ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith would say, Rodgers is “A bad, bad man.” Heading into the season everyone wondered how big a void the injury to wide receiver Jordy Nelson would cause, but through three weeks, Rodgers and the Packers offense haven’t missed a beat. Monday night was no exception as the Packers offense made a very tough defense look average, especially in the passing game. While Rodger’s success isn’t surprising to anyone, the numbers he has put up at home are incredible and damn near unbeatable. In his last sixteen home starts, Rodgers has thrown 43 touchdowns without throwing an interception, not a single one! Dominance like that makes Lambeau Field one of the toughest places to play, and the Packers know it. Watch out if the Pack gets home field throughout the NFC Playoffs.

 

Honorable Mention:

A.J. Green- 10 catches for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns in a road win over the Baltimore Ravens to help Cincinnati improve to 3-0.

Leonard Fournette- 26 carries for 244 yards, 2 touchdowns in a win vs Syracuse propelling Fournette to the top of the Heisman leaderboard.

Devonta Freeman- 30 carries for 147 yards, 3 touchdowns and 5 catches for 54 receiving yards in a come from behind road win at Dallas.

 

 

Chump: Saturday Night’s PAC 12 Football Games

#9 UCLA-56 @ #16 Arizona-30,   #18 Utah-62 @ #13 Oregon-20,    #19 USC-42 @ Arizona St-14

 

Utah running wild on Oregon

 

If you’re a big college football fan like myself, then you probably were looking forward to catching a lot of the PAC 12 lineup this past Saturday night. Living in the Midwest, I don’t get a chance to see very much of the PAC 12 like I do with the power houses on the Eastern side of the United States, so these three matchups featuring 5 ranked teams definitely caught my attention. The PAC 12 seems to be wide open this year, with a lot of strong teams competing for the conference championship. Naturally, one would assume these games would be absolute dogfights, featuring back and forth scoring with the loser likely to be whoever had to settle for a field goal first, right? Instead, we saw three games where the home teams all got absolutely skunked by their opponent by an average of 35 points per game. While I offer a huge congrats to the winners who showed they are more than likely the top dogs in the conference, and perhaps have a shot at making the College Football Playoff, it definitely was a major dud overall as I’m sure most viewers decided to reach for the remote during the second half.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper- Papelbon put Harper in a choke hold after the two exchanged words in the dugout. More fight than the team has shown on the field since the trade deadline.

Oregon Football- Lost 62-20 at home to Utah, their biggest home loss since 1977.

Brandon Marshall’s attempted lateral- While it wasn”t as bad as the “butt fumble”, Marshall made a poor choice to make a play when he lateraled the ball to a Philadelphia defender while the Jets were driving. The Jets went on to lose by 7.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 26, 2015

 

 

 

I’m a little late with my winners and losers of the champ and chump awards from this past weekend. But better late than never I suppose, and I used the extra time to nominate someone for an achievement from Tuesday even though it came after the weekend.  It’s my own article after all, so if you take issue with that then I’ll see you in the comments section! Without further adieu, here are my picks for champ and chump from this past weekend.

 

Champ: Jason Day

Won the BMW Championship on Sunday, becoming the #1 ranked player in the world.

Jason Day has been killing it recently.

 

About a month ago, I wrote a piece about how golf was in great hands with a young star like Jordan Spieth. In the article, I gave just a small nod to Jason Day as well by saying he also appeared to be ready for stardom, but apparently that compliment didn’t do him justice because since then, Day has been the one to take over the PGA Tour. By winning this past weekend’s event, Day has now won 4 out of his last 6 tournaments and is within striking distance this weekend to take home another prize. The winner of the Tour Championship this weekend ultimately could also decide the PGA Player of the Year award, an award that is likely up for grabs between Spieth and Day.

 

Honorable Mention:

Chicago Cub Starter Jake Arrieta- First pitcher in MLB to reach 20 wins this season. 2015 stats- 20-6, 1.88 ERA, 0.90 WHIP

LSU Running Back Leonard Fournette- Heisman hopeful ran for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 45-21 thumping of Auburn.

Our very own Treasure Gutierrez- Perhaps less knowledgable than some of us here at ScoreBoredSports when it comes to football, but comes out and wins the week in NFL Staff Picks, going 9-7 here at the site, making the rest of us look like the Chumps.

 

 

Chump: DeMarco Murray

By far the coolest thing DeMarco has done this season.

 

DeMarco Murray was the catalyst behind the Cowboy’s season last year, rushing for over 1,800 yards. As he went, so did the rest of the offense. This past off-season, Murray decided to sign with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles and was expected to put up similar numbers in Chip Kelly’s high-powered offense. Through two games however, that has not been the case at all, as Murray was completely shut down against his former team. Murray finished with 2 just yards rushing and has just 11 yards for the season on 21 carries. How bad is his start to the 2015 season? Well, consider this, while it’s only been a couple games, last year Murray rushed for almost 2,000 yards, at this rate this season, he is projected to finish with just 88 yards.  Philadelphia is off to an 0-2 start and while Murray isn’t their only problem, averaging 0.5 yards per carry is definitely isn’t helping.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

NFL Survivor Pools- For thousands of leagues, (mine included) week 2 busted many survivor pools this past week. Upsets like Tampa over New Orleans, Oakland beating Baltimore and Jacksonville shocking Miami eliminated a lot of us before we even saw it coming. Damn you Drew Brees!

Ndamukong Suh- This is perhaps unfair because it’s somewhat speculation, but the guy makes the headlines for the wrong reasons seemingly every week. The latest being some reports that Suh “freelances” plays on defense, ignoring his assignment for the plays that are called.

Jamaal Charles- He put up good stats against Denver on Thursday night, but had two critical fumbles. The last one returned 21 yards for the game winning touchdown with 27 seconds left.

 

 


Champ and Chump of the Weekend

Written by :
Published on : September 16, 2015

 

Fans rejoiced this past weekend as the NFL kicked off its 2015 season. Add in a couple big college football tilts and the U.S. Open in New York, and it made for one jam packed weekend in sports. Week 1 in the NFL had some great story lines and some memorable moments. With that in mind, here’s my Champ and Chump of the weekend.

 

Champ: Marcus Mariota

13-16, 209 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 turnovers. 95.7 QBR, 158.3 Passer Rating in a 42-14 victory over Tampa Bay

All he does is win.

 

In a much anticipated match up featuring the top two quarterbacks taken in the 2015 NFL draft, and the last two Heisman trophy winners, Marcus Mariota looked a lot more NFL ready than Jameis Winston, who threw a pick-six with his first throw. Many doubted Mariota coming into this season, fearing his style wouldn’t translate to the NFL, a trend that has been true with former Oregon quarterbacks in the past. Through one week, Mariota has silenced his critics for now, and the Jameis supporters have to hope that Winston’s career takes off much like the career of a former legend who also started his NFL career with a pick-six—Brett Favre.

 

Honorable Mention:

Michigan State football- Huge win over #7 Oregon avenging last year’s loss in Eugene

Novak Djokovic- Defeated Roger Federer for the US Open Championship, his 10th career major win

Zack Greinke- Pitched 8 scoreless innings vs Arizona to improve to 17-3 on the season, 1.61 ERA, 0.85 WHIP…truly remarkable season, could go down as one of the best seasons ever.

 

 

Chump: New York Giants

Rashad Jennings summing up how the Giants ended the game.

 

On a play that may be scrutinized as much as the Seattle Seahawks bonehead decision to throw the ball at the 1-yard line in last year’s Super Bowl, Eli Manning left many fans scratching their heads yesterday. The New York Giants were just about to shock the defending division champion Dallas Cowboys Sunday night when Eli Manning and company did the seemingly unthinkable. Up 23-20, the Giants had a 3rd and goal at the Cowboy’s 1-yard line with just over 90 seconds left. Out of timeouts, Dallas had no way of stopping the clock. The Giants had them on their heels, all they had to do was punch it in. Hell, they had two chances if they wanted.  Worst case scenario, they come up short on 3rd down and kick the field goal to go up 6 and leave Dallas with under a minute and no timeouts to drive for a touchdown. Another scenario, on a potential fourth down, if the Giants came up short, Dallas would have to go some 99 yards without any timeouts for a touchdown, or some 60 yards for a field goal try with like 45 seconds left. Instead, on 3rd and 1, Eli dropped back to throw, and threw the ball away avoiding the pressure, but ultimately also avoiding the 40 second runoff that may have helped win New York the game. To make matters worse, it has been reported Eli told running back Rashad Jennings to intentionally not score with the hopes of draining the clock. Well, the G-Men may not have won the game but they did win the award for chump of the week.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Adam “Pac Man” Jones- Flagged and fined for slamming Oakland Raider Amari Cooper’s head into his helmet

Florida football coach Jim McElwain- Childish tirade on the sidelines while berating a player

Detroit Lions/Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi- After leading 21-3 at San Diego, the Lions

gave up 30 unanswered points and lost 33-28. Calvin Johnson targeted just 4 times (2 catches)

 


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