New Year’s Eve Playoff Is Not As Bad As It Sounds

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Year two of the College Football Playoff will be played on New Year’s Eve and not on New Year’s Day as it was in its first year. While much of the college football media has come out slamming the decision, the fact is that it’s not all that terrible of an idea.

MSU TDDan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports has absolutely chastised the idea. While Wetzel is correct in his cronyism view and that these games would have been bettered served being played on New Year’s Day or even on January 2nd, he is miss guided on several other points.

Not everyone has plans New Year’s Eve believe it or not. While a lot of people have to work on New Year’s Eve day, let’s be honest, nothing is really getting done (especially by kick off which is at 1pm PST) and with Watch ESPN, people are going to be watching in significant numbers on various devices. Also, people have to work on New Year’s Day and even Christmas so let’s stop acting like America completely shuts down on Holidays anymore.

If you do have plans on New Year’s Eve, did the bar or home of the party you are attending all of sudden stop having TV’s? If you are at a club, ballroom or what not, we can promise you that someone is going to be streaming the game on a smartphone. It’s 2015 after all.

Deshaun Watson ClemsonYes the ratings will be down this year compared to last year but that is not just because of the date and time the games are being played. In the second year of something you can almost guarantee a dip. The novelty has worn off. And if we’re being honest, Michigan State and Clemson are not the national brand names that Ohio State and Florida State are. Not to mention the fact that one of the games last year (Oregon vs Florida State) featured two Heisman Trophy winners squaring off against each other.

Yes a 1pm kick off on the West Coast on a ‘work day’ is a head scratcher. However we are in a 24/7 on-demand world. That means that we are not passively involved anymore, instead we have to actively seek out and find what we want to watch. Besides most people are using a second screen while watching TV anyway. Up to 87% of them in fact. So this notion that everyone stops, gathers around the TV and never looks away went out the window a long time ago.

Is a 1pm PST kick off on a ‘work day’ any worse than a 8:30pm EST kick off on a ‘work night’? Last year the Ohio State vs Alabama game didn’t kick off until almost 9pm EST and wasn’t over until well after midnight. Plenty of people didn’t stay up for that one after staying up late the night before and having to work the next day. Where was the outcry for that?

Look the College Football Playoff should be played on New Year’s Day and have games that are done well before midnight on the East Coast. But having the games on New Year’s Eve isn’t the ‘outrageous’ idea some want to make it out to be. Now there will be something on instead of Ryan Seacrest and Pitbull. If you prefer that then God be with you, the rest of us will be watching the College Football Playoff.

The Sunday: The Undefeated & Losing Your Mind

Undefeated No More

Three undefeated teams lost on Saturday. Ohio State lost at home to Michigan State on the last play of the game, Houston turned the ball over on the final drive and Oklahoma State was never really in their game. Ironically enough, Ohio State won the National Title last season and the head coach of Houston was their offensive coordinator. Both were undefeated for ten games and then received their first loss within about 20 minutes of each other.

Later in the evening, undefeated Oklahoma State lost to Baylor….and their third string quarterback! Needless to say, there are only two undefeated teams left, Clemson and Iowa, and the consensus seems to be that they will remain that way until at least the conference championship games.

Time To Celebrate

But if you’re the Michigan State kicker and you just made the game winning field goal….then you can celebrate anyway you want.

While this is good, it’s not better than Arizona Cardinals backup QB Drew Stanton’s celebration during Andre Ellington’s game sealing touchdown against the Seahawks. Ironically, Stanton went to Michigan State.

 

Or Not

Emotion is part of sports. Here are two examples of when emotion got the better of a a couple of coaches and a player.

Harbaugh hates his coat…

Pelini nearly attacks ref (go to the 3:30 mark)

And then there was this…..and the player wasn’t even ejected.

 

The Rant

And there is Nick Saban’s rant. Nick Saban may go down as one of the greatest football coaches in college football history. Better yet, ever now and then he gives us some great press conference fodder.

Alabama defeated Charleston Southern 56-6. Funny thing was, Charleston Southern is FCS Playoff bound and they rested their quarterback so he can be fresh for the playoffs.

 

May Helmet Be With You

Is there anything better than Minor League sports promotions? We think not. The Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League went all out for Star Wars night. Right down to the wear and tear on the the Rebel logo on the helmets. Now if only they would have had Star Wars night against the Fargo Force….oh the confusion.

What To Watch Fri. 11/20 – Sun. 11/22

All times are Pacific.

Friday November 20th

Montreal Canadiens at NY Islanders – 4:30pm NHL GameCenter: The Habs have cooled off and the Islanders are a tough team.

Cincinnati at South Florida – 5pm CBSN: Hey, we love watching the Bearcats. They have a tendency to score a lot of points or go down in flames.

Air Force at Boise State- 6:30pm ESPN2: A battle that will determine the winner of the Mountain division of the MWC.

Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors – 7:30pm ESPN: This could arguably be a Finals preview.

 

Saturday November 21st

Michigan at Penn State – 9am : Our first taste of Harbaugh vs Franklin.

Memphis at Temple – 9am ESPNU: While both teams have suffered losses in recent weeks, they are still two fun football teams to watch.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona -9am beIN Sports: Only a match up between the two biggest clubs in the world. No big deal.

Manchester City vs Liverpool – 9:30am NBC: Liverpool sits 11 points behind City but has a new manager and new hope.

Lafayette at Lehigh – 9:30am ESPN3: The 151st meeting between the two schools which is the longest in collegiate football. There is a reason they call it ‘The Rivalry’.

Montana at Montana State – 11am ROOT Sports: 115th matchup between the two schools. Montana looks to keep their FCS Playoff hopes alive with a victory here.

YaleHarvard at Yale  – 11:30am NBCSN: IVY League title is on the line since Harvard lost last week to Penn. Harvard gets a share if they win and Yale would love nothing more than to spoil that. There is a reason this one is called ‘The Game.’

Michigan State at Ohio State – 1:30pm ABC: No big deal just National Title implications.

UCLA at Utah – 1:30pm FOX: PAC-12 South implications and two pretty good football teams.

Arizona at Arizona State – FS1 : The 2015 edition of the Territorial Cup. Bowl eligibility is on the line for the Sun Devils.

Baylor at Oklahoma State – 4:30pm FOX : OSU looks to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive but they will have to find a way to outscore Baylor.

TCU at Oklahoma – 5pm ABC: Oklahoma has battled their way back after that loss to Texas to be one of the more dangerous teams in the land. This is a tall order but TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin may not be 100% & they lost their best wide receiver.

Cal at Stanford  – 7:30pm ESPN:The Big Game is a big one once again. Both teams have played well this year and Stanford is also looking to wrap up the Pac 12 North. And with all of the wacky finishes this year in college football, it will be nice to end a long day of football with a game that gave birth to crazy finishes.

Cotto vs Canelo – 8pm-ish PPV: Miguel Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez in boxing’s second super fight of the year. In all honesty, this one should be a better one too.

 

Sunday November 22nd

Tottenham vs West Ham United – 8am NBCSN: Both are sitting just outside the top four and are only separated by goal differential.

Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears – 10am CBS: Future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning will ride the bench for the Broncos as they take on their former head coach John Fox.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ottawa RedBlacks – 10am ESPNEWS: Winner goes to the Grey Cup. Combination of rain and snow is expected.

NASCAR Ford Ecoboost 400 – Noon NBC: Last race of the year and maybe, just maybe Jeff Gordon can go out on top with a win and the cup.

Toronto Raptors at LA Clippers – 12:30pm NBA League Pass: Raptors are on a West Coast swing and visit Lob City.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings  – 1:30pm FOX: Vikings are one of the best teams in the NFC while the Packers are slipping. Can the Pack turn it around?

Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Eskimos – 1:30pm ESPN3: Not only does the winner go to the Grey Cup but it’s also the Battle of Alberta.

Columbus Crew vs NY Red Bulls – 2pm ESPN: Leg one to decide the Eastern Conference rep in MLS Cup.

Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas – 4:30pm FS1: Western Conference Final and it starts in the best venue in all of MLS. There Ain’t No Pity In the Rose City.

Cincinnati Bengals at Arizona Cardinals – 5:30pm NBC: Cards held on last week in Seattle while the Bengals put up their first loss of the season against the Texans on Monday Night. Rebound in the desert is a tough task for Andy Dalton and crew.

 

 

 

What to Watch Fri. 4/3 – Sun. 4/5

All times are Pacific.

Friday April 3rd

Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies – 5pm ESPN: Two teams gearing up for the playoffs. Should make things interesting.

Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals – 4pm NHL Gamecenter: The Habs are locked into the playoffs while the Caps need to keep on winning if they want that Wildcard slot.

REMOTE

 

Saturday April 4th

Liverpool vs Arsenal – 4:45am NBCSN: A solid match first thing Saturday morning.

Vancouver Canucks at Winnipeg Jets – Noon NHL Network: Winnipeg is on the edge of the playoff chase and the Canucks are looking to secure a spot.

Final Four: Michigan State Spartans vs Duke Blue Devils – 3pm TBS: Great matchup between two of the best coaches in college basketball.

Final Four: Wisconsin Badgers vs Kentucky Wildcats – 5:45pm TBS: This is the matchup we’ve been waiting for this college basketball season. Holla!

Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas – 7:30pm MLS Live: While FC Dallas leads the West (and MLS) with 10pts in four games but Portland is the tough place to play and they really need a win.

 

Sunday April 5th

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder – 10am ABC: Two teams looking at the playoffs and wondering, ‘Are we gonna play these guys in a month?’

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs – 4pm NBA TV: The defending champs are starting to get into playoff form. While it’s a regular season game, it will be fun to see how these two teams matchup if they were to meet in a seven game series.

St Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks – 4:30pm NBCSN: Two teams jockeying for playoff position.

St Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs – 5pm ESPN2: Baseball is back and it’s a St Louis vs Chicago kind of day.

 

Knocked Back To 2014

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

You probably had never heard of Chris Callahan before today. He is the redshirt freshman kicker for Baylor. The reason you have heard about him now is because he got knocked half way across Texas.

His field goal kick was blocked in the fourth quarter of the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX. On the return a Michigan State player de-cleated Callahan.

It doesn’t get any better on the full replay either. In fact there are very few good things about this for Callahan who after the game tweeted that he was alive.

ALIVE

We wish Chris a long and prosperous career. One can imagine that he now has some hesitation about going out on the field again.

Bowl Preview

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

All times are PST

Saturday December 20th

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs Colorado State – 12:30pm ABC: Solid matchup between a tough Utah team and fantastic Colorado State team. Big issue for CSU, Head Coach just took the Florida job.

Tuesday December 23rd

Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs Northern Illinois – 3pm ESPN: These two teams are a combined 23-3. It’s also a chance to check out the best QB you may not have heard about, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato.

Saturday December 27th

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs Duke – 11am CBS: It’s the only bowl game CBS does for whatever reason. Both teams are a very talented 9-3 and this game should be close throughout.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs USC – 5pm ESPN: Nebraska is without a head coach which means guys are playing to impress the incoming staff. USC is in a better place than they were a year ago.

Monday December 29th

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs West Virginia – 11am ESPN: This could be the most exciting Bowl game Or it could totally suck. Either way it’s a Monday afternoon college football game.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs Clemson – 2:30pm ESPN: Don’t know what to expect here but it has all the makings of a shootout.

Tuesday December 30th

Belk Bowl: Georgia vs Louisville – 3:30pm ESPN: This is one of the best bowl games outside of the Playoff.

Wednesday December 31st

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Ole Miss vs TCU – 9:30am ESPN: Either TCU takes Ole Miss behind the woodshed or they get faded cause they are left out of the Playoff.

Vizio Fiesta Bowl: Boise St vs Arizona – 1pm ESPN: This game depends on what Arizona team decides to show up.

Thursday January 1st

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs Michigan State – 9:30am ESPN: Oh lord is this one going to be good.

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs Florida State – 2pm (ish) ABC: We can only hope that this Playoff lives up to the hype. This should be the better of the two Playoff games.

Valero Alamo Bowl: UCLA vs Kansas State – 3:45pm ESPN: This game has a tradition of being one that you don’t want to miss. This should be no exception.

Monday January 12th

National Title Game – 5:30pm (ish) ESPN: Let’s see if this is as good as we hope. Also, ESPN is apparently doing it’s ‘Film Room’ again during the game. It was awesome last year.

B1G Body Blow

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

It was bad weekend for the Big Ten Conference (B1G). The conference went 8-5 but they lost convincingly in 3 of the biggest games they played and two others came down to the final drive of the game against opponents that should have been beat by a far bigger margin. All in all, things could have go worse for the conference but not by much.

B1G

The 3 high profile games the conference was a part of were Michigan St at Oregon, Michigan at Notre Dame and Virginia Tech at Ohio State. Credit to the conference for scheduling these games in the first place as opposed to the SEC who had 3 teams on their schedule on Saturday from the Southland Conference.

The issue here isn’t that the B1G lost the high profile games but that they ended up losing going away. Michigan State was up on Oregon 27-18 but then Oregon ran off 28 unanswered points. Ohio State was exposed badly by Va Tech and Michigan didn’t score a point against Notre Dame in a 31-0 debacle.

Meanwhile other teams in the B1G like Nebraska and Iowa needed game winning drives with time running out to stay unbeaten. Wisconsin was only up 9-3 at the half against Western Illinois before pulling away in the second half and Purdue was manhandled by Central Michigan.

It hurt the conference because, although it is early, the odds of a B1G team making it to the 4 team playoff at the end of the year now seems highly unlikely. That could hurt recruiting, perception and financial standing in college football.

The B1G has a lot of work to do if it wants to compete with the ACC, PAC 12 and SEC. It may start with beating the teams they are suppose to beat like Northern Illinois and Central Michigan. Until they do, they will be on the outside looking in of the college football playoff.

What to Watch Thurs. 9/4 – Sun. 9/7

All times are PST.

Thursday Sept. 4th

Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians – 4pm MLB.TV: Stretch run and two teams in playoff contention.

Arizona at UT San Antonio – 5pm FS1: UTSA gave out a beating to Houston last weekend. Then again Arizona put a beating on UNLV too.

Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks – 5:30pm NBC: The good – The NFL is back! The bad – it’s the first game and on NBC so this thing may not kick off until 6pm (remember last year when Ryan Seacrest was on the field? No? Let’s remind you.)

Let’s all hope that this doesn’t happen again

 

Friday Sept. 5th

SF Giants at Detroit Tigers – 4pm MLB.TV: Why this series is happening so late in the year is beyond reason.

KC Royals at NY Yankees – 4pm MLB.TV: Another series with possible playoff teams squaring off.

Pittsburgh at Boston College – 4pm ESPN: Friday night ACC matchup between two hard nosed teams.

Washington St at Nevada – 7:30pm ESPN: The Cougars Air Raid visits the home of the Pistol offense. This means points a plenty.

Saturday Sept. 6th

SF Giants at Detroit Tigers – 10am FOX: Great pitching matchup with Bumgarner going for the Giants and Price for the Tigers.

USC at Stanford -12:30pm ABC: Awesome to have such a big conference game this early in the season.

Michigan St at Oregon – 3:30pm FOX: Probably the best out of conference game you will see this year. And a lot of green.

Sporting KC at NY Red Bulls – 4:30pm NBCSN: The Red Bulls need this one bad.

Michigan at Notre Dame – 4:30pm NBC: Worth watching because it is the last game between these schools for a while.

Virginia Tech at Ohio State – 5pm ESPN: This could be really close or an absolute blowout.

San Diego State at North Carolina – 5pm ESPNEWS: Carolina didn’t look all that great last week and the Aztecs have a tendency of scaring the daylights out of their big name opponents.

DC United at Vancouver WhiteCaps – 7pm  MLS LIVE: The Caps need three points if they want to get back into the playoff picture.

Sunday Sept. 7th

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons – 10am FOX: Big time battle in the NFC South. Remember, no one has ever won the NFC South two years in a row.

Washington at Houston Texans – 10am FOX: Watch for the sheer entertainment value as RGIII runs for his life from JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.

SF 49ers at Dallas Cowboys – 1:25pm FOX: So many questions like ‘How many INT’S’ will Romo throw?’ or ‘Who is actually on the 49ers defense now after the injuries and suspensions?’

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos – 5:30pm NBC: Peyton Manning has to find new people to throw to and Andrew Luck is the modern day version of ‘Captain Comeback’.