Champ and Chump: Week 8

Written by :
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.

 

 

 


Five Thoughts on Arsenal’s Win Over Chelsea

Written by :
Published on : August 2, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arsène Wenger Overcomes José Mourinho for the first time in a hundred and fifty eight years, in a game with no meaning.  

 

 

  • While it was clear that Chelsea was never in fifth gear, they pressed Arsenal for the second half of the game with a greater sense of incision. Replacing Remy with Falcao, and, more crucially, Ramires with Oscar, opened up the field with more creative movement. However, Arsenal’s defense looked stout. Perhaps most importantly, there was a palpable air of confidence about them. The addition of Petr Cech may well prove to be the missing ingredient for an Arsenal team that never seems solid or organized under pressure.

 

  • Chelsea still has a scary “on” switch. Substitutions notwithstanding, Fabregas was the straw that stirred the drink in the second half. When he started finding those deadly passes to runners-on like Hazard, and when Hazard started running hard at defenders, the complexion of the game changed. Playing so forcefully against a well-drilled, organized squad, without a striker of Costa’s caliber, illustrates that Chelsea are still the prohibitive favorites to win the Premier League this year.

 

 

  • Then again, did anyone notice someone missing from Arsenal’s side? Yes, that was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the role of Arsenal’s Best Player, Alexis Sanchez, filling in admirably with an incredible offensive display. Despite that glorious goal, Ox is not a player of Sanchez’s ability. It bodes incredibly well for Arsenal that they may actually boast the depth that’s been proven to be so necessary for challenging for the title. I think of Manchester City and the Dzekos and Milners of their recent heyday, plugging holes and scoring goals (also the title of my favorite erotic film about soccer).

 

  • Olivier Giroud continues to outclass his reputation. The man has everything you’d want out of a striker except speed; his vision and touch are reliable and deft, he’s physically capable of both being a link in a chain as well as a holding fulcrum. He can finish in the air, with both feet, uphill, in the snow. Arsenal detractors can just stay away from this blind spot. It has a hawk’s profile and swooping hair and I love him.

 

 

  • Jose Mourinho will undoubtedly return to his immaculate, hermetically sealed underground chamber this evening with a small tic. He’ll hand his game clothes to his personal assistant, referred to only as “Object,” for incineration. Object will return to the sleeping quarter with an elegant Cat O’ Nine Tails, decorated with golden filigrees and the name “Arsène.” At this point Mou says calmly to Object, “initiate the sequence.” Object begins the Flagellation Ritual Of Defeat to Mourinho’s abject horror and delight. The game’s greatest manager will relish this loss for its meaninglessness. Object begins to clean up and prepare Jose’s Oxygen tent for sleeping.

 


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