The Sunday: Surprises and the Unexpected

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Beneath Where Beavers Play

BonesIt’s not been a good run for the Oregon State football team the last two years. They have lost a total of 17 games and to pour salt on an open wound, while doing renovations to Reser Stadium bones of a mammoth were uncovered. No word yet on if the this will help the Beavers beat the Ducks next season.

 

 

Last Rodeo

The Super Bowl is a week away and many pundits feel that this could be Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s last game. He nearly said as much at the 50 yard line to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after last weekends 20-18 victory over the Patriots in the AFC Championship game.

Regardless, we still get one more game with Peyton.

 

Curtain of Distraction

Not sure where this ranks but having an Olympian with multiple Gold Medals pop out from behind the Curtain of Distraction while you’re trying to shoot free throws would probably cause most people to miss. Well it did cause the Oregon State player to miss both free throws.

 

Another Hit

Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman has been suspended for his cheap shot hit…on a ref! Wideman claims that he didn’t see the ref and was just trying to get off the ice after taking a heavy hit into the boards himself. You decide. His hearing with the NHL is on Tuesday February 2nd after which it will be decided how many games he will be out.

 

Earn It

LeBron James may seem to have it all. Multiple championships, MVP’s, Gold Medals and a lifetime Nike contract. Well he also earns all these things. Saturday night he got his pocket picked by the San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginobili and then hustled down to the other end of the court to block the shot.

That’s what I’m talking about!

 

Steph Curry Moment of the Week

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What To Watch: 1/29 – 1/31

All times are Pacific.


Friday January 29th

X Games Aspen – 4pm ESPN: Among the events over the four hours of coverage, Snowmobile Freestyle Final and Snowboard Big Air Final.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons – 4:30pm NBA League Pass: The Pistons are only a few games back of the the Cavs and the Cavs have had some changes lately in case you didn’t here. Bigger point, the Pistons beat the Golden State Warriors while the Cavs got faded.

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder – 5pm NBA TV: Harden, Howard, Durant, Westbrook. Yeah, there are stars in this one.

 

Saturday January 30th

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid – 7am beIN: These two are tied atop of the La Liga table. Oh yeah, this game only features massive stars and the best venue in all of soccer.

X Games Aspen – 10am ABC: Featured events include Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final.

Virginia at Louisville – 10am CBS: Big ACC matchup for your Saturday morning.

Iowa State at Texas A&M – 11am ESPN: Iowa State is coming off a win over Kansas while the Aggies just lost to Arkansas on the road.

Senior Bowl -11:30am NFL Network: Scrounging for football? This is your only option. On the bright side, most if not all of these guys will be drafted.

Oklahoma at LSU – 2pm ESPN: Number 1 OU takes on Mr. Everything Ben Simmons and the LSU Tigers.

NHL All Star Skills Challenge – 4pm NBCSN: This is usually more entertaining than the game.

Kentucky at Kansas – 4pm ESPN: What? Excuse Me? UK at KU during the regular season at Allen Fieldhouse? Thank you baby Jesus.

X Games – 5pm ESPN3/ESPN: Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe Final will start on ESPN3 then shift to ESPN at 6pm. Ski Big Air follows that.

San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers – 5:30pm ABC: If the Warriors were not in the NBA, these two teams would battle it out for NBA’s best.

 

Sunday January 31st

Chloe KimX Games Aspen – 9am ESPN: Marquee event on this day is Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe Final. Remember last year when Chloe Kim became the youngest X Games gold medalist at the age of 14.

Chicago Bulls at LA Clippers – 12:30 ABC: The Blake Griffin-less Clippers welcome Jimmy Butler and the Bulls to downtown LA.

USMNT vs Iceland – 12:45pm ESPN2: It’s the first “friendly” in a big year for the US Men’s National Team.

NHL All Star Game – 2pm NBCSN: It’s 3-on-3 hockey which at the very minimum will create a lot more space on the ice.

Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat – 3pm NBA League Pass: Number 1 & 2 in the Southeastern division square off near South Beach.

Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks – 4:30pm NBA League Pass: It’s Dub City in the Big City to get a look at rookie sensation (and former bane of Knicks fans) Kristaps Porzingis.

 

Harbaugh: Doing It His Way

Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Jim Harbaugh has been anything but boring since returning to the collegiate ranks. He brought Michigan back to the double-digit win mark in his first season and is now making headlines with his antics on the recruiting trail. Some are not happy about Harbaugh’s recruiting methods but there is precedent for what he is doing.

During this last recruiting push before national signing day (February 3rd) Harbaugh has done just about everything one could imagine.

He’s tried to climb a tree

Had a ‘Netflix & Chill’ night

and even sleepovers.

While the jury is still out on if these tactics worked (getting a recruit to commit doesn’t mean he’ll be a contributing player) it has ruffled some feathers especially to those recruits who’s scholarship commitments he pulled.

 of the Detroit Free Press wrote a great piece about how recruits, opposing coaches and even writers are upset about Harbaugh pulling scholarship offers from long standing commitments.

While it appears harsh it is not without precedent. Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville literally walked out of dinner with recruits while at Texas Tech to take the job at Cincinnati. Later, he and his staff pulled scholarship offers once they arrived.

And this is at a non-Power five school!

While some recruits should be angry about the how they were treated by Harbaugh, Tuberville and others, this is a cutthroat business after all. Coaches get paid millions to win NOW. While we’d like to think that coaches are there to educate and develop young men, bottom line is they have to win to keep their jobs and sometimes even that isn’t enough.

Is a coach going to pull offer from kid A and give it to kid B if he feels kid B gives him a better chance of winning? Damn right he is. There are only so many scholarships to go around after all. Let’s also not forget, these scholarships are for a year and can be revoked. It’s cold blooded but it’s the system that has been allowed to grow due to the money that is involved with college football.

The good side, it’s life lesson kids are learning early. Just because you are qualified doesn’t mean you get the job. Just because everyone likes doesn’t mean you won’t be let go in a round of layoffs. Just because you have an offer doesn’t mean that the you are set for the next four years.

Harbaugh has a track record of winning in college and in the NFL. He clearly knows what he’s doing and the type of player he believes will help him win at Michigan. Like it, don’t like it but you see how the San Francisco 49ers did after he left. At the very least he’s entertaining and giving us something to write about besides “what school will this “5 star” kid select?” when we all know that this kid may never make any kind of impact for the school he signed with.

 

Surface Fail ?

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Super Bowl 50 may be set but one of the more interesting storylines to come out of Sunday’s conference championship games was the failure of the Windows tablet on the New England Patriots sideline in their game against the Denver Broncos. Turns out, the Microsoft Surface tablets failing is a pretty common thing.

The NFL released a statement on the issue on Monday evening specifically saying that the Surfaces didn’t fail.

BelichickEarlier in the day Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that the tablets failing, ‘it’s a fairly common problem’ (skip to the 5:45 mark) which is surprising but at the same time not surprising at all. They are Windows based products after all.

Microsoft’s contract with the NFL is some $400 million over five years. If four time Super Bowl winning head coach Belichick is claiming that the tablets failing is a “fairly common problem”, it makes you wonder about the frequency and if the problems were all network issues like the NFL claims.

Either way it’s certain that the technology and it’s connectivity have a ways to go. Their unreliability is probably why the NFL does not force the opposing team to stop using their tablets if one teams tablets stop working, unlike the headsets. And for you conspiracy theorists out there, according to the NFL, neither team has access to the devices until the game. 

Needless to say, it may just be a case of network connectivity….or they didn’t have the right drivers installed.

The Sunday: The Way It Should Be

The Way It Should Be

A noise complaint about kids playing basketball in the street…..really? Well as you have probably seen already, the policeman did what he should have done, say this is dumb and let’s shoot some hoops!

So few days later, the police officer brought backup….in the form of Shaq.

This is the way it should be, cops being part of the community….not ruling it.

 

Storms, The Way It Should Be

Snowzilla brought the East Coast to a halt and that included the sports world. Several games were postponed including two for the Washington Capitals. Caps star Alex Ovechkin had to do his part in clearing out the snow….

Some swimmers for West Virginia decided to not clear out the snow but instead practice in it.

While some were stuck on a bus for almost 24 hours, others decided to start a new sport…

 

Fired For Winning

BlattMost people were shocked at the Cleveland Cavaliers firing of head coach David Blatt. Then you read this and go, ‘well that makes sense.’

It is still pretty darn shocking to see the head coach of a team with a 30-11 record at the time and leading the conference to be fired.

Rush The Wall

https://twitter.com/AnalyseFootball/status/691266269228744704

 

Steph Curry Moment Of The Week

Face Up Against The Glass

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


It may be called the ‘glass ceiling’ but it is becoming very clear over the last 24 months that women in coaches are pressing their face up against the glass. From the San Antonio Spurs hiring Becky Hammon and then putting here in charge of the summer league team to the Buffalo Bills hiring the Kathryn Smith this week. The cracks are appearing in the glass.

Hammon and Smith may be the most notable names that are out there because they are the first two in professional sports to be actually coaching players. Their roles show that they have the motivational skills, acumen, and specific sports knowledge to help their teams win games. Because let us not forget, sports is about winning. If they aren’t helping the players get better and helping their respective teams win then they will be gone just like their boss.

Hammon and Smith are alone on the sidelines of professional sports but not in the front office. Several women have and do hold key positions in professional sports such as Senior VP of Baseball Operations from MLB Kim Ng and former Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask.

Danielle Bartelstein was named Senior Director of Football Operations at Virginia Tech this past fall. She joins new head coach Justin Fuente who was hired to take over for legendary coach Frank Beamer. While this role may not lead to a head coaching or coordinator position it is a vital roll in college football. It is essentially the right arm of the coach off the field.

While it is 2016 and these hirings aren’t even a dent in the grand scheme of things, it does show that people and coaches in particular are coming around. Will there be a female coordinator or head coach in the near future in basketball, football or baseball? Probably not but the near future ain’t what it use to be.

What To Watch: Fri. 1/22 – Sun. 1/24

All times are Pacific.

Friday January 22nd

Anaheim Ducks at Washington Capitals – 2pm NHLN: This game got kicked up do to the winter storm. Some people will a good game featuring the best team in the NHL.POSTPONED DUE TO STORM. 

Chicago Blackhawks at Florida Panthers – 4:30pm NHL Gamecenter: Two of the best teams in the NHL face off in South Florida. The Blackhawks (68 pts) and the Panthers (57 pts) and both are leading their respective divisions.

Oklahoma City at Dallas Mavericks – 5:30pm NBA League Pass: Big, big battle in the Western Conference between two teams who want to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers at Golden State Warriors – 7:30pm ESPN: Pacers are one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference but these are the Warriors who are undefeated at home this year. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr returns to the court after taking a leave of absence due to back surgery.

 

Saturday January 23rd

Providence at Villanova – 9am FOX: One of few top 25 match-ups for the day. Big East

West Ham vs Manchester City – 9:30am NBC: Man City is still in a battle with Leicester City and Arsenal for the top spot in the Premier League. West Ham is fighting for a European football spot for next season. It’s a crazy, crazy season.

Minnesota Wild at San Jose Sharks – 1pm NHL Gamecenter: Both teams are jockeying for playoff position in the Western Conference.

Maryland at Michigan State – 3:30pm ESPN: A big battle in the Big Ten…and nationally for that matter. Both teams have the potential to make a deep run in the tournament come March.

Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs – 4pm NHLN: While these two teams are far apart in the standings, it’s still one of the best rivalries in all of sports.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers – 4pm NHL Gamecenter: Tampa Bay sits three points behind the Panthers and the Panthers will be coming off a tough game against the Chicago. It’s perfect timing for the Lightning.

LeBron JamesChicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers – 5:30pm ABC: LeBron James and the Cavs take on Jimmy Butler and the Bulls. Both got teams are at powerhouses in the Eastern Conference and both need to rebound from butt kickings by the Warriors.

 

Sunday January 24th

Arsenal vs Chelsea – 8am NBCSN: Normally this would be a massive game. This year Chelsea is some 19 points behind the Gunners. They have gotten better though.

Sidney CrosbyPittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals – 9:30am NBC: A big game for the Penguins as they try to keep their playoff hopes alive. We’ll see if they can get their with the massive winter storm that is supposed to hit DC.

Purdue at Iowa – 10am BTN: Iowa seems to beat everyone this year but Purdue is a solid team and should give the Hawkeyes all they can handle.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos – Noon CBS: The 18th time Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have squared off with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake. What else do you need?

Los Angeles Clippers at Toronto Raptors – 3pm NBA League Pass: The Lob City roadshow makes a stop in Southern Ontario to take on one of the top teams in the east.

Cam NewtonArizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers – 3:40pm FOX: Man this is an awesome game. The Cardinals almost blew it last week against the Packers and the Panthers almost did the same with the Seahawks. Someone has got to out together a complete game.

St Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks – 4pm NHLN: The Blues are looking to get a little closer to Central Division leading Chicago.

Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks – 7pm NHL Gamecenter:  Best rivalry on the West Coast.

Skipper In The Storm

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


The head of ESPN, John Skipper, did an interview with the Wall Street Journal where he talked about cord-cutting, Apple, and ESPN’s plans.

John SkipperSkipper says that Apple is close to being a bigger player in the TV service realm but are ‘frustrated by their ability to construct something which works for them with programmers.’ The Q & A goes on to touch on Sling TV and sports rights.

The major hurdle Skipper and ESPN have, along with other outlets, is the handoff from traditional distribution to digital combined with the rising cost of sports rights.

The fact is this, digital doesn’t pull in the dollars like traditional cable and satellite distribution does. Hence people are reluctant to do anything that could effect the cash cow because that cow is how ESPN affords the $1.9 billion a year for NFL rights.

Skipper has a tough job, ‘how do you make the handoff and maintain or increase revenue at the same time?’ Not sure there is an answer until but you are at some point going to be forced to make decision. That moment is coming closer with the evidence being the 7 millions subscribers ESPN has lost over the last two years.

I think Skipper very much understands the situation and see’s the gathering storm. Some sign makers on College GameDay differ and they could be right but Skipper doesn’t sound to me like someone who is panicking. The next questions becomes, will the Disney board panic if subscribers continue to decline?

Trippin Out

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


What is going in Salt Lake City? First BYU’s Nick Emery punches Utah’s Brandon Taylor during a game and now Oregon State’s Jarmal Reid blatantly trips a ref during a game.

Emery was only suspended for one game by the Mountain West Conference (MWC) and BYU took no additional action. I felt that was very weak by BYU and the MWC. THe PAC-12 and Oregon State should make a statement and suspend Reid for a couple of games and have him attend counseling or something. What Emery did was terrible and what Reid did was flat out uncalled for.

Another question is, ‘what’s going on in Salt Lake?’

Is there something in the water? Is Utah really that frustrating of a basketball team to play against? Is it the elevation?

Regardless, Utah home basketball games need to be added to the ‘must watch’ list for the rest of the season.

The Sunday: So That Happened.

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Did That Just Happen?

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals. Seemed like a good game on paper….then they played it and it got better. Better as in OH MY GOD THAT JUST HAPPENED!

First, Aaron Rodgers did this….

Then the coin didn’t flip…

And then Larry Fitzgerald did this to setup the game winning touchdown which he also took care of.

I think this reaction pretty much sums it up….

 

Left Behind

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has had a good year. It was capped off with a shootout win over Clemson to help claim Alabama’s 16th National Title.

That wasn’t enough however to have the bus wait for him after the game. Don’t worry, Nick Saban was able to give Lane and his brother a ride back to the hotel later on.

 

Drilled

New England Patriots slot receiver Danny Amendola absolutely nailed Kansas City Chiefs Jamell Fleming who was trying to down a punt. If this was college, Amendola would have been ejected for this hit. We’ve seen hits this season at all levels of the game that were not as severe as Amendola’s and the majority of the time the player was ejected. Amendola was flagged but not ejected. He should expect a fine from the league.

https://twitter.com/_MarcusD_/status/688488973241470976

 

Saved

While the majority of people were glued to the madness that was the Green Bay vs Arizona playoff game, Tuukka Rask did this….

And not to be out done, Cam Talbot did this….

 

Made This One

While Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh may have missed the game winning field goal against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, he did win over some new fans. A bunch of first graders tried to cheer him up so he went to the school to thank them.

This was awesome. Still not as awesome as 88-year-old former Vikings head coach Bud Grant heading out for the game’s coin toss in short sleeves in -8 degree weather though.

 

Thank You

A $500,000 may not seem like a lot of money when you are talking about football player salaries but it is a lot of money in the CFL. This was the main reason why new Saskatchewan Roughriders VP, GM and head coach Chris Jones cut two icons of the organization, Weston Dressler and John Chick.

Dressler wanted to show his appreciation to the loyal Rider fan base so he posted a ‘thank you’ on twitter.

Classy move by one of the classier guys in the league.

 

Steph Curry Moment Of The Week