Champ and Chump: Week 17

Written by :
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 13

Written by :
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 6

Written by :
Published on : October 25, 2015

 

 

 

A little late with my Champ and Chump picks this week but even with the few extra days, there was nothing that could save the Wolverines from finding a less than desirable spot on the charts over here. Spoiler alert, not that you needed it, Michigan finds itself on the wrong side of the Champ and Chump board this week and boy was it ever something special. See what other special performances happened this past week below, and take a scroll through my Champs and Chumps of the week.

 

Champ: Daniel Murphy

Murphy has been a home run machine this post-season.

 

What a post-season for Daniel Murphy thus far. As the New York Mets enter the World Series, they do it with the hottest hitter on the planet right now. In a series sweep of the Chicago Cubs, Murphy hit .529 and has homered in 6 straight post-season games, a Major League record. The Mets are heading to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2000 where they lost to their cross town rival, the New York Yankees. This time they’ll take on the Kansas City Royals, who lost the World Series last year in a 7-game thriller against the San Francisco Giants.

 

 

 

Honorable Mention: 

Landry Jones- The third string quarterback came in for the injured Mike Vick and went 8-12 for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns in a win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Cristiano Ronaldo- Became Real Madrid’s all-time leading goal scorer (324 goals) passing Raul who played in 741 games with Madrid from 1994-2010. Ronaldo accomplished the feat in just 310 games with the team.

Christian McCaffrey- The son of former Denver Bronco’s wide receiver Ed McCaffrey had a school record 243 yards on the ground and 4 touchdowns, helping Stanford beat the UCLA Bruins last week. McCaffrey, who also returns kicks, finished with 369 all purpose yards.

 

 

Chump: Tie: Jim Harbaugh and Blake O’Neill

Harbaugh and O’Neill dropped the ball in a big way.

 

On what will likely be the play of the year, Michigan State defensive back Jalen Watts-Jackson took a fumbled punt attempt 38 yards to the house as time expired to give the Spartans a win over archrival Michigan. We’ve all seen the play, (as a Spartan fan I can’t watch it enough) with Michigan up 23-21, the Wolverines faced 4th and short with just 10 seconds left. On the other side of the ball, Michigan State figured they had one shot at a miracle and that was to go all out for a block. The snap came in (a bit low) and Michigan punter Blake O’Neill did the unthinkable and dropped the snap. In a panic, O’Neill picked up the ball, turned and tried to get off a kick while getting swarmed by white jerseys. The ball was fumbled up into the air and came right down into Watts-Jackson’s arms. Shocked, speechless, in disbelief, Michigan fans could hardly move. Once they could, and they realized what happened, naturally, the thought was how the hell could you fumble that snap?! Why didn’t you just fall on it?! Both good points, and while O’Neill no doubt is quite the goat for this incredible finish, I think equal blame should fall on the shoulders of their coach. Jim Harbaugh called two timeouts on that drive allowing the clock to dwindle down as much as possible on 2nd and 3rd down before ultimately deciding to punt. I have no problem with the decision to punt, however, how do you not prepare your team to setup in max protect, knowing the Spartans are bringing everyone to block this kick. Again, no Spartans were back to field the kick, yet Michigan sent four gunners down to cover the return? While O’Neill fumbled the ball, I think the Spartans may have got in there to get the block even if O’Neill caught it clean. Four guys had a free release, Harbaugh and company enjoyed their spot as my Champ of the week last week, a complete 180 here as they are big, big Chumps this week.

 

 

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Colts 4th down “fake punt”- Every once in a while a team calls a play or a player does something that leaves you speechless. The Indianapolis Colts provided us with one of these moments last weekend in a highly anticipated game vs the New England Patriots. Down 6 in the 3rd quarter, the Colts faced a 4th and 3, they shifted 9 guys down towards the sideline leaving a wide receiver and safety to act as the quarterback and snapper. Hut, hut, hike…and then 3 unblocked New England Patriots tackled the Colt “QB” for a loss.

David Price- This may be a bit harsh, but for an ace entering free agency one can’t ignore the struggles that Price can’t seem to shake in the post-season. With a career 0-7 post-season record as a starter, and an overall post-season ERA of 5.24, Price was given the ball again for Game 7 in the ALCS vs Kansas City and didn’t pitch well enough, getting a no decision.

 

 

 

 


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