What to Watch Fri. 11/13 – Sun. 11/15

All times are Pacific

Friday November 13th

San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings  – 4:30pm NHL Gamecenter: These two had some legendary playoff series back in the day.

USA vs St. Vincent & The Grenadines – 4pm ESPN2: Let the road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia begin.

USC at Colorado – 6pm ESPN2: Colorado is better than their record shows. USC has some NFL level talent. At night in Boulder is a tall order for the Trojans.

 

Saturday November 14th

Georgia at Auburn  – 9am CBS: Fact is, if Mark Richt and Georgia win then he may have saved his job.

Texas at West Virginia – 9am ESPNU: This is a swing game for both when it comes to Bowl eligibility.

Miami at UNC – 12:30pm ESPNU: Last time Miami was in the state of North Carolina they won by lateraling the ball like eight times. UNC is on a roll though.

Alabama at Mississippi State – CBS: Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs have one last chance to beat the Tide and prove that they are a force to be reckoned with in the SEC West.

Memphis at Houston – 4pm ESPN2: The over on this game should be like 150 points.

Oklahoma at Baylor – 5pm ABC: Game of the day and OU has always had problems defending Baylor. Question is, can OU keep place offensively?

FourtnetteArkansas at LSU – 5:15pm ESPN: Like old school, run oriented offenses and hard hitting defenses? Well this is your game. One is coming off a tremendous win in OT while the other got beaten down pretty good.

 

UFC 193 – 7pm PPV: Ronda Rousey takes her winning ways to another continent (Australia) to square off against Holly Holm. Hidden gem on this card is Mark Hunt vs Bigfoot Silva in a rematch of their legendary 2013 fight.

Washington State at UCLA – 7:30pm ESPN: Washington State lost their first game of the year to Portland State who plays in the FCS. People were calling for head coach Mike Leach’s job. Boy how things have changed.

 

 

Sunday November 15th

Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 10am ESPN3: It’s playoff time in the CFL and this is a great way to start it off. Both have had to overcome injuries at key positions and it’s the equivalent of a ‘backyard brawl.’

Minnesota Vikings at Oakland Raiders – 1pm FOX: A year ago we wouldn’t dream of making this a ‘must watch’ game but man, what a difference a year makes.

BC Lions at Calgary Stampeders – 1:30pm ESPN3: The defending Grey Cup Champion Calgary Stampeders begin the final run of head coach John Hufnagel’s career. They are heavy favorites but don’t count out the Lions.

Toronto Maple Leafs at NY Rangers – 4pm NHLN: Always a fun game to watch.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks  – 5:30pm NBC: Two top teams in the NFC West square off the end your weekend.

The Sunday: Bad Tackling and Big Mouths

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Bad Tackling

The story of Saturday was LSU running back Leonard Fournette. He literally ran through the Auburn defense. While he clearly has next level talent, his talent was greatly helped by some very good blocking by the LSU offensive line and supremely bad tackling by Auburn. As we said, Fournette literally ran through the Auburn defense but trying to jump up on his shoulder pads? What was that? Auburn has some work to do.

Another example of bad tackling was when Tennessee defensive back Evan Berry was wrapped up by a Western Carolina defender….sort of. He spun out of it on his way to an  88 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

 

Bad Idea = Great Result

While the talk down South is how Ole Miss beat Alabama in back-to-back years for the first time in school history, the real talk should be about the horrifically bad idea Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly made that turned out great. Kelly took a bad snap and with a defender bearing down on him, heaved the ball up for grabs. Luckily Ole Miss wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo was there to come down with the ball and score a touchdown.

Pretty sure head coach Hugh Freeze said later, ‘great job, don’t ever do it again.’

 

Big Mouths 

Brett Bielema has done a great job of firing up the fanbase at Arkansas and pissing off other coaches along the way. Arkansas looked like world beaters in the last three games of 2014 and the first game of 2015. Now, they have lost two in a row and Bielema’s big mouth is coming back to haunt him. Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury made sure everyone knew how he felt about Bielema’s rants this offseason after Texas Tech beat Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR.

Having a big mouth ended up in fisticuffs after the Monday Night game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings. A Vikings fan was pummeled in the parking lot after trash talking with 49ers fans. Our question is, when did 49er fans become Oakland Raiders fans? This is sad and unacceptable.

 

Sad

Notre Dame defensive back Drue Tranquill blew out his knee after doing a celebration jump with a teammate.

This reminds us of a few years ago when Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell blew out his knee celebrating a touchdown with then Georgia running back Todd Gurley. Coaches may want to outlaw jumping celebrations.

But on a happier not, is there anything better than shots of sad Alabama fans? SBNationn put together a best of for us. We highly recommend checking it out here.

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.

 

 

What to Watch Thurs. 9/18 – Sun. 9/21

All times are PST

Thursday Sept. 18th

Auburn at Kansas State – 4:30pm ESPN: Another week and another SEC vs Big 12 matchup. K State escaped against Iowa State two weeks ago and hopefully those two weeks was enough time to get ready for the high powered Auburn attack.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons – 5:30pm CBS: Tampa is staring 0-3 right in the face. They need a huge effort on the road to prevent that.

Seattle Mariners at LA Angels – 7pm MLB.TV: The Mariners are hanging around and send King Felix to the mound against Jared Weaver.

 

Friday Sept. 19th

Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates – 4pm MLB.TV:Pennet race is coming down to the wire and division rivals square off.  It’s what September is all about.

Detroit Tigers at KC Royals – 5pm MLB.TV: What we said above applies here too.

 

Saturday Sept. 20th

Arsenal at Aston Villa – 7am NBCSN: 2nd place Aston Villa welcomes in the Gunners to kick off your Saturday.

North Carolina at East Carolina – 12:30 ESPNU: UNC had a week off after being in a thriller against San Diego State. ECU is riding high off of their upset of Virginia Tech. Should be a good one.

Indiana at Missouri – 1pm SEC Network: No it’s not a basketball game but the score may reflect one. IU can’t play defense but they can score points and Mizzou picked up right where they left off last season.

Vancouver Whitecaps at Portland Timbers – 2:30pm NBCSN: A lot of things on the line in this game. Cascadia Cup, playoff berths, you name it.

Clemson Tigers at Florida State – 5pm ABC: Game of the day which is why Gameday is there. Clemson has gotta have a better showing than they did last year or else they could be 1-2 come Sunday morning.

Miami at Nebraska – 5pm ESPN2: If the Clemson at FSU game goes south then flip over to this one. Nebraska has one of the best RB’s in the country.

California at Arizona – 7pm PAC-12 Network: If you’re planning on staying up to watch this game to the very end then you might want to pop a Red Bull around 6:45pm. These teams like to score and score fast which could make for a long and entertaining west coast shootout.

San Diego State at Oregon State – 7:30pm FS1: San Diego State game UNC all they wanted two weeks ago and Oregon State had to travel back from Hawaii. Guess here is close game in the 4th quarter.

 

Sunday Sept. 21st

Chelsea at Manchester City – 8am NBCSN: How about this matchup to start off your Sunday!

San Diego Chargers at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: The Chargers are coming off of a huge win last Sunday but now they have to go all the way across the country to play the 2-0 Bills. What?

Calgary Stampeders at Montreal Alouettes – 10am ESPN2: We didn’t forget about you Canada. The Stamps may be the best team in the league but starting QB Bo Levi Mitchell is banged up. Meanwhile the born again Als are back on the right track with former Tennessee Vol Jonathan Crompton at the controls.

Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks – 1:25pm CBS: This has to be better than last years Super Bowl right?

 

Best Of The Sideline Signals

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

There has been a shift at all levels of football on how teams signal in their plays. Back in the day coaches would send in a player with the play and now they use everything from images to numbers to hand signals. Every team is different but there is a wide, if not fun, variety of signals to admire.

Washington State Head Coach Mike Leach is an odd cat, a genius to some. 60 Minutes thought so while profiling him back in 2009. He is one of the simplest signal callers in all of football. He doesn’t have some massive play calling sheet like you see with some coaches. He has what looks to be a folded piece of paper and his signals to the QB are done with generally one hand (see 8:44 mark of 60 Minutes video for an example)…and some of them rock!

LEACH

Other PAC 12 coaches have some interesting signals as well. We have no idea what they mean or if they work but they are sure fun to look at especially those by Arizona State Head Coach Todd Graham.

Sun Devil Hook'em Horns?
Sun Devil Hook’em Horns?

At Arizona there are three people signaling in plays and the players have to know which one to is signaling in the play and which two are decoys.

Can you find the play?
Can you find the play?

Chip Kelly even took way of signaling plays from Oregon to the NFL. He apparently bypasses the coach to QB radio in favor of hand signals. The reason, everyone on the offense looks over for the play not just the QB.

Whatever the play, it didn't spell V-I-C-T-O-R-Y
Whatever the play, it didn’t spell V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

If you watch the BCS Title game you’ll see how Auburn’s Gus Malzhan signals in plays and how quickly they do it. Take notice how much faster Auburn will go when they are on the hash nearest their sideline.

Sideline signals will always vary and look funny to most us. But if they work and help give teams an advantage then we’ll see them for a long, long, time. And they might even get stranger.

The Year That Was

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

It’s really just a gut feeling when it comes to the biggest moments in sports for 2013. There will always be moments that will be left out but most moments or events are pretty obvious. In any event, here is the list, in no particular order, that we came up with.

THE BAD

Boston Strong

The terrorist attack in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon left three dead and 260 injured. But you can’t keep Boston down. The culprits were caught or killed and the city recovered as the Boston Red Sox went on to win the World Series. David Ortiz, aka Big Papi, said it best thought:

Lance Armstrong

Remember that great story of a man who beat cancer and went on to win seven straight Tour De France? Yeah, not true. He cheated. He told Oprah.

Aaron Hernandez

From up and coming NFL star to charged with murder. It’s a sad story but one that some saw coming.

THE ODD

When the Lights Went Out In New Orleans

Who could forget when half the lights went out during the Super Bowl. After which the San Francisco 49ers went on a tear. It wasn’t enough as the Baltimore Ravens held out to beat the 49ers. Either way, you can be pretty sure that the lights won’t go out in the Meadowlands for the 2014 Super Bowl.

The Finish

Possibly the greatest finish in college football history in one of the biggest games of the year. You’ve seen it before but it’s worth watching again.

The Hit

This launched Jadeveon Clowney into the public conscience. It’s a perfect play by a defensive end. NFL QB’s should be worried.

THAT JUST HAPPENED

Anderson Silva’s reign at the UFC Middleweight Champion came to an end in July when he was knocked out by Chris Weidman. His reign lasted over six years.

KTFO

THE GOOD

Team Jack

While Auburn may have had some of the best finishes of the college football season the best moment may have taken place back in April when Jack Hoffman ran for a touchdown in the Nebraska spring game. Jack had a brain tumor removed and is fighting another one. Find out more here.

Goodbye Mariano

The respected paid to this man is well deserved. He is one of the greatest closers in Major League Baseball history. Credit to Joe Girardi and the Yankees for sending him out in a very cool way.

Green Machine

This may be one of the best stories of 2013. Why write about it when MLS Insider did this great piece on it.

Now let’s see what 2014 has in store for us.

The Best of College Football 2013

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

With the bowl season rapidly approaching it’s time to look back at some of the better moments from the college football season. Let’s face it, there are really too many to count but here are four we’ll always come back to.

The Finish

It may be the greatest finish in the history of college football, the 100 yard (plus) missed field goal returned for a touchdown.

The Catch

Two week  before Auburn’s amazing finish against Alabama they had another one against their other long time rival Georgia.

The Other Catch

2013 Cardiac Kids, also known as UCF do it dirty to Temple and keep their BCS Bowl season intact.

UCF One Handed Grab

Team Jack

While Auburn may have had some of the best finishes of the college football season the best moment may have taken place back in April when Jack Hoffman ran for a touchdown in the Nebraska spring game. Jack had a brain tumor removed and is fighting another one. Find out more here.

Now Bowl Season (why ESPN calls it Bowl Week when it lasts for multiple weeks we’ll never know) is upon us. Happy Holidays.

The Quick Turnaround

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Jones and Kingsbury

In this modern era, things happen fast. From business to sports. Everyone wants the reward now, the profits now, the lead now, you name it. People want it now and no one wants it faster than fans.While customers are demanding fans can be unforgiving. While coaches can sell ‘the process’ fans know that turnarounds can happen faster than ever even when you factor in ‘the process.’

Butch Jones, Gus Malzahn and Kliff Kingsbury were some of the bigger hires during this past off season in college football. All have had their ups and downs this season and all have the possibility of a bowl game within reach.

While Kingsbury and Texas Tech have had more success on the field Jones and his Tennessee Volunteers have no doubt had a tougher road. To this point the Vols have played six teams in the top 15 and their seventh will be on Saturday as they host Auburn. The current 4-5 mark was within inches of being 5-4 but there is no doubt that Coach Jones has a long road to hoe or as he refers to it as ‘the process’.

Speaking of Auburn, they are currently ranked in the top 10 a year after not winning a conference game. With new head coach and former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn at the helm, the Tigers have shown a lot of fight and even pulled off a few upsets. The are now a legitimate threat to no.1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl in a few week.

Kingsbury has revitalized a fan base still bruised from the firing of Mike Leach a few years ago and left disillusioned by the Tommy Tuberville regime. Kingsbury has done it with true freshmen QB’s (one a walk on) and a little bit of West Texas magic. While they will not win the Big 12 this season they are going to a bowl game and the expectations have been elevated for next season.

While all the coaches are different and all of the circumstances unique, all three are on a path to turning around a football program. While some have made that turn faster than others the expectations of the fans will always be for an overnight success. Right or wrong, a quick turnaround can be a coaches own worse enemy.

Auburn @ Tennessee – 9am ESPN

Kansas St @ Texas Tech – 9am ABC/ESPN3

Signing Day Part 1: Why A Top Class Doesn’t Equal Wins

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Over the last decade the college football world has become consumed with National Signing Day. It’s the first day that a high school football player can sign a letter of intent with the University he wishes to play football at. Before this day it there can be only ‘verbal’ commitments.

Many moons ago National Signing Day wasn’t a big deal accept to the Universities and the players. Now it’s an all day special on ESPNU. There are supposed “experts” from San Antonio to Connecticut.  17 and 18 year old young men sit at tables with every member of their family behind them and try to keep every one guessing as to which school they will choose by having several hats laid out on a table. It’s the months, and sometimes years, of built up into a few fleeting moments for a young man and his family. All broadcast live on cable television and plastered online.

ESPN Homepage

(Above is a look at ESPN.com’s homepage during the frenzy known as signing day)

But what does all this spectacle actually mean? Does the team with the best recruiting ranking win? Do these highly touted players become superstars and difference makers at their schools? Do they do well in the NFL?

We went back and look at scout.com’s team rankings for the last 5 years (2008-2012) to see if recruiting rankings actually mean. (Please note that there are several recruiting sites out there. A list is at the bottom of this post.) At first glance one could say yes. Alabama is ranked in the Top 10 every year with their lowest ranking being 7th and they’ve proceded to win 3 out of the last 4 BCS National Championships.

Alabama’s cross state rivals at Auburn have been in the Top 10 the last 3 years. In that time they’ve won the BCS National Title game and this year fired their coach after a 3-8 season with no wins in the SEC. They’ve seen both sides of the pendulum.

UCLA has been in the Top 10 3 times in the last 5 years. During that time they have a 30-35 record, changed coaches, managed only 2 winning seasons, didn’t have a single player taken in last years NFL Draft and are 1-4 against cross town rivals USC.

Texas has been in the Top 10 in the last 4 years and was even ranked #1 last year. During this time they’ve played for a BCS National Title (they ended up losing to Alabama) and 3 other bowl games. The year after their loss to Alabama they finished 5-7.

The overall point here is that a top ranked recruiting class by ESPN, Rivals, Scout, or Tom Lemming does not guarantee a team anything except for maybe higher expectations. But if you go to Alabama, Texas or Auburn the expectations are pretty high as it is. A top ranked recruiting class does improve your chances to winning but how a staff takes these recruits and molds them into a team is what really wins games.

Recruiting Sites Scout.com, rivals.com, ESPN, CBSSports, MaxPreps