The Sunday: Scuffles, Farewells, and Finishing

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The college football regular season is done for all intents and purposes. While nothing has truly been decided on the national scale, a lot has been decided on the state level. And sometimes it wasn’t all that pretty.

The Scuffle:

Rivalries are called that for a reason. While Kentucky vs Louisville in football isn’t always a ratings grabber it is an intense rivalry. This one got started before the game did and Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino was even involved. He appeared to push a Kentucky assistant coach during the second of two pre game confrontations.

Farewells: 

Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pellini was fired on Sunday after another 9-3 season. In fact, in all 7 years of Pellini’s tenure the Huskers have won 9 or more games and lost a minimum of 3. Worst part about this is that it probably means an end to the Faux Pellini twitter account.

Faux Pellini

 

Saturday also saw the probable end to the storied career of Thierry Henry. The Frenchman has played for the biggest clubs in the world, won every trophy the sport has to offer and as a parting gift left the media with four words, ‘Well done New England’. 

 

Finishing 

Several college football teams finished 500. Some of those teams will go to a bowl game. Some are happy to be 500 and going bowling while others see their season as a failure. Those who are excited are Tennessee, Illinois and Arkansas. Those who are not are Florida and South Carolina.

Tennessee, Illinois, and Arkansas had to scratch and claw with young teams to get to this point while South Carolina and Florida started the season with expectations of competing for a conference championship.

Two performances of note from rivalry weekend in college football. Arkansas QB Brandon Allen tweaked his back against LSU two weeks ago. By the end of the game against Missouri it was clear that it was effecting his throws. He continued to fight and while the Razorbacks fell to Missouri it was a gutty performance.

Brandon Allen

The other performance was that of freshman Deshaun Watson. The Clemson QB is something special to watch and this week he did it with a torn ACL. That’s right. He apparently tore his ACL in practice and played against arch rival South Carolina anyway.

The college football and MLS seasons are rapidly coming to a close. With it comes the end for some but a beginning for others. What is always means though is a time for the body to heal for yet another season.

 

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What to Watch Thurs. 11/27- Fri. 11/30

All times are PST

Thursday November 27th

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions – 9:30am CBS: Cutler vs Stafford. Let’s see who implodes first.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys – 1:30pm FOX: This may be one of the better match-ups on Thanksgiving in a long, long time.

TCU at Texas – 4:30pm FS1: TCU needs this win in and an impressive one at that if they want any chance of making the Playoff.

Seattle Seahawks at SF 49ers – 5:30pm NBC: This is a pivotal game for both teams playoff chances.

Friday November 28th

NY Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers – 10am NBC: Two teams that hate each other. Goes along with some of the feelings come Black Friday.

Arkansas at Missouri – 11:30am CBS: This game just got a whole lot better with the Razorbacks latest form.

Arizona State at Arizona – 12:30pm FOX: This could be the best game of the weekend.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – 1pm NHLN: Two teams loaded with talent and probably Stanley Cup contenders.

Virginia at Virginia Tech – 5pm ESPN: Winning team goes bowling.

LA Clippers at Houston Rockets – 5pm NBA-TV: This game is just loaded with stars.

Memphis Grizzlies at Portland TrailBlazers – 7pm NBA League Pass: The top team in the Southwest vs the top team in the West. What?

Saturday November 29th

Georgia Tech at Georgia – 9am SEC Network: Georgia Tech runs the football and Georgia has had trouble with that this season.

NE Revs vs NY Red Bulls – Noon NBCSN: If it’s anything like game 1 we are in for a treat.

Mississippi State at Ole Miss – 12:30pm CBS: A ton on the line for both teams. Ole Miss will probably be without QB Bo Wallace which could make or break this game.

Minnesota at Wisconsin – 12:30pm Big Ten Network: Minnesota is a tough football team and Wisconsin is too. Oh yeah, they play for an axe.

Auburn at Alabama – 4:45pm ESPN: It’s the Iron Bowl. Did you see what happened last year?

Oregon at Oregon State – 5pm ABC: The Civil War tends to be one sided in Oregon’s favor but every now and then State jumps up to bite’em.

Washington at Washington State – 7:30pm FS1: The Apple Cup is always one the best in state rivalry games in the country.

Sunday November 30th

Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: When was the last time that this was a must watch game? Well it is now.

102nd Grey Cup – 3pm ESPN2: Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs the Calgary Stampeders. Calgary has been one of the best teams in the league year in year out. They don’t get to the Grey Cup often and when they do they don’t always walk away with the Cup. In other news, Hamilton got faded in last years Cup so you know they want this one.

NE Patriots at Green Bay Packers – 1:30pm CBS: This game should rock.

Denver Broncos at KC Chiefs – 5:30pm NBC: KC is going to be ultra motivated since they lost a Pro Bowl player in Eric Berry for the season and are coming off a loss in Oakland.

Seattle Sounders at LA Galaxy – 6pm ESPN: This is just going to be an amazing match. Does Landon Donovan continue to another MLS Cup or will Clint Dempsey get the Sounders to their first ever Cup.

 

 

The Sunday: The Other Playoff, Fakes, Falls and the Phenomenal

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The Other Playoff

This season of College Football has been all about the Playoff. Who is in, who is out and everything else that goes along with it. With all of the hype surrounding the Playoff we seem to forget about the playoff that has been going on since 1978, the FCS Playoff.

24 teams will compete in the playoff with the champion being crowned on January 10th in Frisco, TX. The championship game  is the only neutral site game in the entire playoff. The field was released this morning via a special on ESPNU.

This playoff should be the model for the big boys. While the 24 teams may seem a little excessive to some it is one that works and delivers a true champion.

Fakes and Falls

Tennessee football hasn’t been something to write home about over the last 5 years. The fake field goal they pulled off for a touchdown against Missouri was something to see. The best part was the aftermath. Alex Ellis not only ran over a bystander on the sidelines but also accidentally dragged a fan out of the stands.

 

The Phenomenal

Odell Beckham Jr made what will go down as one of the greatest catches in NFL history. It was a one handed (a three finger catch to be specific) for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys.

And that folks is your Sunday.

 

 

The Last Game

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Harvard

The game of football is as popular as ever. It’s also receiving more criticism than ever. But on the weekend before Thanksgiving it’s important to recognize that this will be the last time many of these players will ever play the game. On this weekend Harvard hosts Yale for the 131st time and Lehigh takes on Lafayette for the 150th time. Two of the longest running and greatest traditions in all of College Football and the end of a playing career for most.

Unlike most sports, when you’re last organized game ends in football you’re career is done. There may be the occasional throwing around of the football in the backyard but you rarely get an opportunity to strap on the pads, tighten the chin strap, line up and tackle somebody ever again. For some this ends in high school. For others it ends in college and for the rare few it ends on the professional level.

Yale

Schools like Harvard, Yale, Lehigh and Lafayette don’t pump out a lot of professional players. These guys do it because they love to play football. For many these games signify the end of a football career. They in all likely hood will never strap on pads again. There are no bowl games or College Football Playoff. They will simply go back to their locker room, take off their pads and hang up their helmet for the final time.

What do they gain by continuing to put their bodies on the line? The opportunity to do something that they love. There is also the camaraderie of their teammates, learning how to be a leader and the chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

So when you hunker down for Thanksgiving dinner this week take a moment and give thanks to these young men for going out there week after week for the sheer love of the game.

What To Watch Thurs. 11/20 – Sun. 11/23

All times are PST

Thursday November 20th

Kansas St at West Virginia – 4pm FS1: K-ST and WVU may not get into the College Football Playoff but this should still be one heck of a game.

LA Clippers at Miami Heat – 5pm TNT: Still a fun game even without LeBron.

Friday November 21st

Chicago Bulls at Portland TrailBlazers – 7:30pm ESPN: Battle of two of the top teams in NBA.

Saturday November 22nd

Minnesota at Nebraska – 9am ESPN: Key game in the Big Ten West. Both teams coming off of embarrassing losses last weekend.

Arsenal vs Manchester United – 9:30am NBC: The game may not decide the Premier League but it’s still a lot of bad blood between the two.

Yale at Harvard – 9:30am NBCSN: It’s one of the longest running rivalries in College Football. This year the winner walks away with the Ivy League title. It’s also signifies the beginning of the end of the College Football season.

Ole Miss at Arkansas – 12:30pm CBS: Arkansas finally broke through and got their first SEC win in what seems like forever. Now they welcome Ole Miss to town in a must win for both but for different reasons.

Arizona at Utah – 12:30 ESPN: Think the SEC West is tough? Try the Pac 12 South.

Stanford at Cal – 1pm FS1: THE BIG GAME! Winner goes bowling. Cal QB Goff has 4 INT’s all year.

Louisville at Notre Dame – 12:30pm NBC: Notre Dame is reeling and Louisville is no joke.

Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins – 4pm NHLN: An original 6 match up for your Saturday night.

Missouri at Tennessee – 4:30pm ESPN: Mizzou is looking to wrap up their second straight SEC East title. Tennessee needs to win one of the next two to go bowling.

USC at UCLA – 5pm ABC: Battle of LA.

Frankie Edgar vs Cub Swanson – 9pm(ish) FS1: This is a heck of a fight in the Featherweight Division.

Sunday November 23rd

Detroit Lions at New England Patriots – 10am FOX: Can anyone stop the Pats?

Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 10am ESPN: Eastern Conference Final.

NY Red Bulls vs NE Revolution – 10:30pm NBC: Can the Red Bulls get Thierry Henry to an MLS Cup before he retires?

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks – 1pm FOX: This could decide the NFC West.

Edmonton Eskimos at Calgary Stampeders – 1:30pm ESPN3: Western Conference Final, a chance to get to the Grey Cup and the battle of Alberta all wrapped into one.

LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders – 2pm ESPN: Game 1 of two in the Western Conference Final.

Wrap It In A Blanket

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

While the weekend brought us some interesting and exciting moments but none may have been as good as the Tennessee mascot, Smokey, wrapped in an orange blanket on the sidelines of their win against Kentucky.

Smokey in a Blankett

Yes, Florida State found a way to win, again! Yes, Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin ran for an NCAA record 408 yards on the ground against Nebraska. Yes, the Green Bay Packers scored 50 plus points for the second straight week.

But let’s be honest, nothing beats a hound dog wrapped in a blanket on the sidelines…and the photoshop madness that followed.

You’re welcome America.

What to Watch Fri. 11/14 -Sun. 11/16

All times are PST.

Friday November 14th

Pittsburgh Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs – 4:30pm NHL GameCenter: One of those classic hockey match ups. Also a tough ticket to get in TO as Sidney Crosby returns to Canada.

Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings – 4:30pm NHL GamerCenter: With the Polar Vortex comes good, classic hockey and this game epitomizes that.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics – 4:30pm NBA League Pass: LeBron James and the Cavs against Rajon Rondo and the new look Celtics. Cool.

Saturday November 15th

Ohio State at Minnesota – 9am ABC: Unexpected tough road matchup for Brutus and the Buckeyes. Let Down Alert Game.

Mississippi State at Alabama – 12:30pm CBS: So this is happening. It’s 1 vs 5.

Nebraska at Wisconsin – 12:30pm ESPN2: Strange but the folks in Wisconsin may already be looking forward to basketball season. If Nebraska’s Mr Everything RB Ameer Abdullah is only 50% it could be a long day for the Children of the Corn.

Kentucky at Tennessee – 1pm SEC Network: Both teams need this one to have a chance at a bowl. They also play for a beer barrell (even though that’s not politically correct to say).

Auburn at Georgia – 4:15pm ESPN: It’s one of the more underrated rivalries in college football. Good Ole Fashion Hate.

Sunday November 16th

BC Lions at Montreal Alouettes – 10am ESPN3: Yes BC is in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final (don’t think about it too much). The Al’s have been one the better teams in the CFL since Jon Crompton became the QB and now they take on a team that has to travel travel across Canada and then play outdoors. Yikes.

Seattle Seahawks at KC Chiefs – 10am FOX: The Seahawks have got to put it together or else an old nemesis, Alex Smith, may pull out a win.

Saskatchewan Roughriders at Edmonton Eskimos – 1:30pm ESPN2: Western Conference Semi-Final in the great white north. Both teams start the playoff without their main signal caller behind center. Being in Edmonton should help the Esks. And it will be F-You freezing. 

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers – 1:30pm FOX: Well the Packers have been on fire since Aaron Rodgers told everyone to relax. Can the Eagles fly with Mark Sanchez under center? It’s worked thus far.

Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings – 4pm NHL GameCenter: Talk about a big weekend in Detroit. Wow.

NE Patriots at Indianapolis Colts – 5:30pm NBC: This use to be the game of the year when it was Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning. Well just swap out Manning and insert Andrew Luck. Still a helluva game.

The Sunday: Jump, Flip & Drop The Football Into Playoff Contention

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The race for the  four slots in the College Football Playoff is more cutthroat than the mid term elections. While we won’t know who the final four teams are for several more weeks we do know that players on the field are doing all they can to get in.

The Flip

TCU played Kansas State in the only top 10 match-up of the day. TCU QB Trevone Boykin didn’t only lead the Horned Frogs to a beat down of the Wildcats but he may have stolen the night by flipping into the end zone.

Like Steamin Willie Beaman

The Jumps

While Boykin may have stolen the show with his flip for a touchdown. Oklahoma QB, and future Katy Perry boyfriend, Trevor Knight leaped over a Baylor defender.

 

 

Meanwhile in West Lafayette, Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon upped the ante by hurdling a Purdue defender on this way to a touchdown.

 

Dropping The Football Is Not Like Dropping The Mic

Then we have Utah WR Kaelin Clay. He was able to turn a 78 yard TD into a 99 yard TD for Oregon. It even left ESPN announcers Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge in shock.

 

 

With a few more weeks left before the four teams for the Playoff are announced. We should see more flips, jumps, and dropped footballs.

What to Watch Fri. 11/7 – Sun/ 11/9

All times are PST.

Friday November 7th

Memphis at Temple – 4:30pm ESPNU: No really. This is actually one of the better football games of the weekend. Temple is 11th in points against and Memphis is 22nd. Both teams are 5-3 in the very competitive American Conference.

Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks – 5:30pm NHLN: Stars galore in this match up of top tier clubs.

UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs Rockhold – UFC Fight Pass: Michael Bisping doesn’t really get along with anyone it seems and Luke Rockhold is no exception.

Saturday November 8th

Liverpool vs Chelsea – 4:45am NBCSN: Liverpool has got to turn it around but the last time they played Chelsea at Anfield Jose Mourinho ‘parked the bus’ and walked away with a win.

Baylor at Oklahoma – 9am FS1: Baylor still has a slim chance to make it into the College Football Playoff but in order to do so they have to pour it on against Oklahoma in Norman. Not an easy task.

DC United vs NY Red Bulls – 11:30am NBC: Second leg and DC is down two goals but now they are in the friendly confines of RFK.

Notre Dame at Arizona State – 12:30pm ABC: Big boost towards the Playoff with a win. A loss puts both teams in a second tier Bowl game.

Kansas State at TCU – 4:30pm FOX: Most people bet that the Baylor v Oklahoma game was going to decide the Big 12 at the beginning of the season. It won’t, but this one will.

Alabama at LSU – 5pm CBS: This game rarely disappoints.

Ohio State at Michigan – 5pm ABC: These are the two best teams in the Big 10. The winner, if they run the table, should get consideration for the Playoff.

Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets – 5pm NBA League Pass: Yes it’s early in the season but this is match up of two unbeaten teams.

Oregon at Utah – 7pm ESPN: This is going to be a tough test for Oregon. Utah is a nightmare at home for anyone.

Sunday November 9th

Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions – 10am CBS: When did this become the game of the day? 5-3 vs 6-2? Look out now.

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints – 10am FOX: Boy do both teams need this one.

San Jose Sharks at Chicago Blackhawks  – 4pm WGN: It’s always a fun matchup.

LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake – 4:30pm ESPN2: It’s winner takes all in LA. Will this turn out to be Landon Donovan’s last game?

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – 5:30pm NBC: It’s one of the best rivalries in all of sports.