What No One Tells You About #Winning Tuesday

All Aboard the S.S.TD:

The Gronk.  Lovable meathead, really good tight-end for the Patriots just disembarked from his “Party-Cruise”.  The debaucherous, drunken revellry seemed to be on par with another party that comes to mind in the Big Easy, and according to social media, it was.  However, while everyone was re-living the halcyon days of Sodom & Gamora and being tailed by “intrepid” journalists to “document” the event – we need to ask this question – How is Manziel any different?

Is it because Gronk is a Pro-Bowler, a Superbowl Champion and has never been accused of striking a woman?  Why do we treat Gronk as lovable meathead and Manziel a loser for being the same Teddy Bro-sevelt?  At some point we should stop demonizing notorious behavior while applauding another as we maintain our upright moral status with the rest of the swine.  Then again, how much could you have had on this hedonistic cruise?

+ Read: Let’s all have as much fun as Gronk’s Party Ship.

Then there’s the King of Berzerkers, the thorn in the SEC paw, the man in the khakis, hanging out at WWE Raw last night.  The most visible and entertaining coach in college football lately, is a self-avowed rasslin’ fan and was front and center at Joe Louis Arena.  How can you not love this guy’s headline making ways?

Welcome to @UMichFootball head coach @CoachJim4UM, ringside at @WWE#RAW in Detroit!! #Wolverinespic.twitter.com/II49BL7Cml

— WWE (@WWE) February 23, 2016


ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 22: Andrew Bogut #12 of the Golden State Warriors dunks against Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

If you follow along with us, then you know Mondays are prettay prettaaay prettaaaay special when you read our 5pt plays and build your lineups with our LineupAnalyzer.  Or maybe you were too caught up in listening to another hit from the dark-side of the moon and the Apollo 10 astronauts…Either way, you can read The United Stats of #Murica #NBA edition for a review or read these 5 takeaways:

  • Warriors become the fastest team to 50 wins in NBA history by beating Hawks. It got interesting. Atlanta became the latest team to make a big run on Golden State and force a response. Portland did it most of the game, but the 13-turnover third quarter for the Warriors put that game out of reach. The Clippers game seemed to be in garbage time until a 13-0 run late gave Los Angeles a chance to tie (the shot fell short). Then Monday night the Warriors were in complete control up 23 in the third quarter, when the Hawks went on a 33-6 run and took the lead. These lapses are a combination of factors. The Warriors have some mental vacations, they get bored it seems, but also teams are not just rolling over for them. Good teams that have pride. The result is the Warriors having to work hard for games where it felt like they were in control.
  • Channing Frye makes his debut for Cavaliers but Pistons spoil the day. Cavaliers fans got to see the guy they gave up Anderson Varejao for Monday night (not that much was expected of Channing Frye in his debut, he’s had basically no practice time with the team). Frye played nine minutes for the Cavaliers, missed both his threes, and looked like the new kid trying to fit in. He’ll find a more comfortable groove.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo finishes the off-the-backboard alley-oop. Yes, it still counts if you do it against the Lakers’ defense. The Bucks picked up a win and the Greek Freak had maybe the highlight of the night.
  • Pistons void Donatas Motiejunas trade with Rockets over concerns about his back.Stan Van Gundy has coveted Motiejunas for years — a true 7-footer who can bang inside and is shooting 41.2 percent from three this season. He’s a perfect fit on paper for the inside-out offense Van Guyndy is trying to set up in Detroit.
  • Kyle Lowry puts up triple-double. Does it still count if Jose Calderon is guarding him? Kyle Lowry and the Raptors went into Madison Square Garden on Monday night and looked every bit the second best team in the East, with an unstoppable backcourt led by Kyle Lowry. Going up against the porus defense of Jose Calderon, Lowry did what he wanted on the way to 22 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds, and the Raptors picked up a comfortable win 122-95.

Source: Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Warriors become fastest team ever to 50 wins – ProBasketballTalk

Big man Hassan Whiteside continues to confound the Miami Heat by mixing in dominant performances with head-scratching mistakes that cloud his future with the team.

+ Read: Whiteside remains an enigma for Miami – Yahoo News

+ Read: NBA’s ‘haunted hotel’ strikes again — this time with bed bugs | New York Post


The NFL withheld a big chunk of money from the NFLPA. (USATSI)

The NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) was on the winning side of an arbitration that’s expected to cost the NFL more than $100 million.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank sided with the NFLPA over an issue that had to do with the pool of revenue (or shared revenue pool) that the NFL splits with its players. According to the Wall Street Journal, the league is going to have to return about $120 million in revenues that it wrongly collected over the past three years.

+ Read: Report: NFL withheld more than $120 million from players over 3 years – CBSSports.com

Let’s face it: All 32 NFL teams have plenty to do before the start of the new fiscal year, as well as the beginning of free agency on March 9.There are just some that have more to do than others.

+ Read: NFL Teams That Have the Most Work to Do Before Free Agency | Bleacher Report


Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke talks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, in Phoenix. Greinke could have stayed with the Los Angeles Dodgers or gone up the coast to the San Francisco Giants. Instead, he signed a massive contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, dramatically shifting the landscape in the NL West.   (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The phrase “play the game the right way” is vague, so it’s usually tough to know exactly what someone means when they use the phrase. Hitting batters as revenge, for example, could be “right” if you’re an old-school baseball type, or it may be wrong to someone else. NL West managers say the Diamondbacks “play the game the right way,” Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports.

+ Read: NL West managers say the Diamondbacks “play the game the right way” – HardballTalk


+ Read: Nation’s fastest football player? LSU’s Donte’ Jackson can make that claim – CollegeFootballTalk

On Sunday, a relieved Bubba Watson interrupted his post-tournament press conference at the Northern Trust Open in Pacific Palisades, Calif., as the gleaming prize was placed beside him on the table. Though he had to pass a kidney stone earlier in the week, he still managed to rally back on the final day of action to win the tournament for the second time in three years.

In a thrilling final round packed with twists and turns, Watson closed out a one-shot victory over leader Jason Kokrak and 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott at Riviera Country Club. Bubba finished with a 15-under 269 total.

+ Read: Bubba Watson won the Northern Trust Open.

Weekend Update: Boom Goes the Dynamite


In case you missed it – the Daytona 500 was this weekend and ther finish was the closest in the computer-timed era, that began in 1993 – .01 seconds.  Just watch the video and see an incredible final lap, even if turning left a-lot is not your forte.  Denny Hamlin passing three of his own teammates to squeek out a victory over Martin Truex – leaving Joe Gibbs to proclaim this #win over any Superbowl.

Maintaining the Motor theme – the Pistons wore Motor City on their jerseys last night and Anthony Davis motored right by.  Davis dropped the clutch on Detroit to a tune of 59pts and 20 rebounds in the Pelicans 111-106 win, (Davis was an 89 on #FanDuel and 93.5 on #DraftKings).

It was a career high for the “Brow” and also the highest total in the #NBA this season.  Fact: Only two other players have ever scored more than 55pts and grabbed at least 20 boards in a game – Wilt Chamberlain and ShaQ-Fu.


Kobe Is A Dick And Talks About It On HBO

Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in NBA history. Five NBA championships, 18 All Star Game appearances, one MVP award. Despite how unbelievably good Kobe is at basketball, no one has ever confused him with being a good teammate or a particularly nice guy. Although he’s currently on a Derek Jeter-like retirement tour, it’s not so much an admiration for the man himself, but rather an appreciation for the player that Kobe Bryant was.

+ Read: Kobe is a dick and talks about it on HBO

Since he was essentially anointed the next face of the NBA over the past year, Anthony Davis’ season has been a little disappointing on a number of levels. His per-game numbers are as good as ever — 24.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.2 blocks — but after last year’s surprise playoff run, the Pelicans have underperformed due to injuries throughout the roster and an awkward coaching transition from Monty Williams to Alvin Gentry. In the eyes of the casual NBA observer, the next shiny toy to get excited about has already become Timberwolves rookie phenom Karl-Anthony Towns.

+ Read: Anthony Davis joins elite company with 59-point game.

The Donatas Motiejunas trade between the Pistons, Rockets and 76ers isn’t the only one held up by a physical.The Cavaliers’ trade for Channing Frye still isn’t complete, either.

+ Read: Channing Frye trade still not complete, as Cavaliers continue to test former(?) Magic player – ProBasketballTalk

It took a few days to finally happen but the New York Knicks signed Jimmer Fredette to a 10-day contract on Monday. This will be Fredette’s third attempt at sticking with an NBA team this season.

+ Read: Knicks make it official, sign Jimmer Fredette to 10-day contract – CBSSports.com


Jimmy Rollins

The White Sox announced on Monday that they’ve added shortstop and former Phillies cornerstone Jimmy Rollins on a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Rollins is a client of MVP Sports.

+ Read: White Sox Sign Jimmy Rollins To Minors Deal – MLB Trade Rumors

Miami Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds, baseball’s home run king, made it clear “I’m a Hall of Famer” at an introductory news conference Saturday.Bonds, in his familiar No. 25, wore a major league uniform for the first time in nine years this week — aside from a weeklong stint as a guest instructor with the San Francisco Giants two springs ago.

+ Read: MLB Notebook: New Marlins hitting coach Bonds introduced, says ‘God knows I’m a Hall of Famer’ | West Central Tribune

It came as a shock on Friday when the news broke that longtime former Major Leaguer Tony Phillips had died of an apparent heart attack. A man determined and fit enough to suit up for an independent league team last season is now gone far too soon, at age 56.Phillips stood out for his personality, but even though he enjoyed an 18-year career in the big leagues, his on-field accomplishments flew a bit under the radar. He never made an All-Star team, only once showed up on an MVP ballot and received a single vote in his only year of Hall of Fame eligibility.

+ Read: Phillips most versatile player in MLB history.


Plenty has been said about how the New England Patriots unearthed a gold mine when they selected franchise quarterback Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 draft. Four Super Bowl rings, three Super Bowl MVPs and a supermodel wife — there isn’t much more for the future Hall of Famer to accomplish.

+ Read: 12 funny factoids about the 198 players picked ahead of Tom Brady in 2000 | FOX Sports

The NFL Combine has become very similar to the “Winter Meetings” of Major League Baseball over the last decade.The media interviews, workouts and drills are televised on the league’s network, but much more happens in Indianapolis during late February. Certainly, it’s a showcase for players to demonstrate their physical ability. It’s also a time for teams and player representation to come together and continue working on the offseason activities.

+ Read: 7 secrets of the NFL Combine | FOX Sports


A day before his team played for the national title in Glendale, Ariz., Alabama coach Nick Saban remained fired up about the same topic he had harped on six months earlier at SEC Media Days. After Clemson coach Dabo Swinney answered a reporter’s question about some of the Tigers’ best underclassmen mulling whether to stay in college or to enter the 2016 NFL draft, Saban chimed in with his own take.

“Could I make a comment about that? Because I’m going to call Dabo after the game, and last year after our game against Ohio State I tried to develop a little energy from college coaches who had players that are in this situation you just asked about, and the NFL moved the draft back. I wish they’d move the declare date back,” Saban said. “I wish they’d make a rule that says you can’t even give a player what his draft status is from the NFL [draft advisory] committee until they’ve finished their competition as a college player, so that you don’t put them and their family in this situation where there’s a big timing issue relative to competition.

+ Read: The case for an underclassmen NFL scouting combine

If there was a weekend to start getting fans excited about March Madness, last week was a good one. There was the Duke-Carolina game that lived up to its hype and a 31-point game from St. Bonaventure sophomore guard Jaylen Adams to lead his team to an upset over No. 13 Dayton.

+ Read: Louisville-Duke game was a great reminder that college basketball is broken | For The Win


The daily fantasy sports industry is dominated by DraftKings and FanDuel. DraftKings has raised in excess of $500 million since 2012, while FanDuel has brought in over $300 million. The two daily fantasy sports entities lead the way in terms of user acquisition and retention, and they both continue to operate in the State of Florida despite legal concerns regarding same.

+ Read: DraftKings And FanDuel Are Playing With Fire In Florida – Forbes

Could a budget crisis cause #LSU football to miss next season?

Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards insisted he wasn’t trying to scare anyone last week when he outlined the state’s economic woes ahead of a special legislative session to determine a new budget. But of course he was. Otherwise he wouldn’t have uttered the following words in his address to the state’s citizens:

“… If the legislature fails to act and we are forced to proceed with these cuts, the LSU Ag Center and parish extension offices in every parish, and Pennington Biomedical Research Center will close by April 1st and the LSU main campus in Baton Rouge will run out of money after April 30th, as will the Health Sciences Center in Shreveport and LSU Eunice. There is no money left for payroll after those dates. The Southern University System, and University of Louisiana System, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System are in the same boat: without legislators approving new revenue this special session, some campuses will be forced to declare financial bankruptcy, which would include massive layoffs and cancellation of classes.

If you are a student attending one of these universities, it means that you will receive a grade of incomplete, many students will not be able to graduate and student-athletes across the state at those schools will be ineligible to play next semester. That means you can say farewell to college football next fall.”

In the grand scheme, the closure of hospitals—something Edwards also threatened as a possibility in his doomsday speech—would be a far greater catastrophe than an interruption of college football in the state. But Edwards is a politician. He knew which button to push. By hinting that the budget crisis could harm LSU football, Edwards turned a state story into a national one and raised the antennae of people from all walks of life whose only commonality may be their love of the Tigers.

Will Louisiana’s budget deficit, which is almost $1 billion this year and could be as much as $2 billion next year, really affect LSU on the field? Probably not. All of Edwards’s dire predictions were things that could only happen if the legislature does not pass a new budget. The legislature will likely pass one. Edwards, the Democrat who replaced two-term Republican Bobby Jindal in January, would prefer for the budget to include the particular tax increases and budget cuts he has suggested. More than likely, the budget that gets passed will involve some sort of compromise between the state’s legislative and executive branches. That’s usually how this type of thing works.

To get a little perspective on the situation, I called a Louisiana native who has worked most of his life in politics. He also might be the world’s biggest Tigers football fan. LSU graduate James Carville helped Bill Clinton win the White House and is on record as saying the SEC title game should be a national semifinal. I asked him if Edwards’s introduction of college football into the budget discussion was representative of the old politician’s trick of re-framing a debate by threatening something that enjoys bipartisan support. “You’re right, it’s a gimmick that people use in politics to grab somebody’s attention,” Carville said. “But it’s not totally a gimmick here. There’s some reality under it.”

Keep Reading: Could a budget crisis cause LSU football to miss next season?

All’s Fair In Love And #NFL

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Count de Mone:

Well, well, well…First, the 6 man-NFL-Relocation committee said they approved the Carson project.  Carson, the place that makes East Rutherford look like a vacation destination, is the project that was proposed by the Raiders and Chargers.  Now, the man who has a caterpillar on hgh on the top of his head, just gave St. Louis the double-bird salute, after Hizzoner said the Rams were the team that is moving, and will be moving to Inglewood-up-to-know-good.

Hey Rams fan, he’s just being philanthropic.  Afterall, 20 years ago someone else ripped the team from LA – consider it righting a wrong.  Or don’t.

Kroenke called the city of St.Louis a struggling market – after the city was willing to give Powerball scratch to build him a new stadium.  But really, who needs an NFL Team nowadays.  With the RedZone, and fantasy football, loyalty erodes with every week.  Actually going to a NFL game anymore – meh.

Ram fan, now you can tell your civic leaders to use that scratch earmarked for a new stadium on social issues and maybe stem the tide of migration out of St.Louis.  Think of all the good, a billion dollars could do for the community if you yelled as loud about social problems as you do about losing a team that doesn’t care about you…you’re better off St.Louis, just ask the Wall Street Journal.

Read: You don’t need the Rams or the NFL to be great, St. Louis | FOX Sports

Read: FuQ You, Stan Kroenke, and the Toupee You Rode in Under | Riverfront Times


…And Twiiiins

ANTONIO Cromartie makes a living playing in the NFL for the New York Jets, and while he is an exceptionally talented defensive player, his greatest talent appears to lie outside the world of football.

The 31-year-old has an incredible knack for fathering children, with the announcement on Wednesday that his wife is expecting twins, which would make the new additions his 11th and 12th offspring.

Twelve is a lot of kids, enough in fact to field a full football team plus a kicker, but it’s nothing the world of reality television hasn’t seen before. Alas, the plot thickens.

The real shock comes in the knowledge that Cromartie had a vasectomy prior to his wife Terricka falling pregnant, clearly to stem the reproduction of genetics that has already seen the cornerback father 10 children, including eight from previous relationships. Now that is extraordinary……

Continue Reading: New York Jets’ Antonio Cromartie expecting 11th and 12th children


America’s Most Watched Network, We get It…

HOUSTON, TX- AUGUST 16: A camera man films the Atlanta Falcons in warm up before playing against the Houston Texans in a pre-season NFL game on August 16, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas

The Super Bowl is turning 50, although the game played next month on America’s informal national holiday will hardly be showing its age because of new gadgetry CBS Sports is debuting.

A replay system will give viewers a 360-degree perspective and higher resolution than previously ever seen for the game. Thirty-six cameras strung around the upper deck of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, can freeze the moment and revolve around the play before continuing to show the scene. Viewers on Feb. 7 will be able to check out the quarterback’s view from the pocket to other players’ perspectives on the field, and it can be animated, too.

“We tried it on a couple regular-season games and it looks remarkable,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said Tuesday at a gathering of TV critics.

For the first time in a Super Bowl, CBS will use eight custom-molded pylons that house 16 cameras to film the goal lines and sidelines of both teams. The cameras also will have microphones embedded in them to enhance the game’s natural sound. They were used in the College Football Playoff championship Monday……

Continue Reading: CBS To Unveil New Technology For Super Bowl 50 Broadcast



National Championship: Alabama 45, Clemson 40

This game was better than good, and it will feed an offseason of unmatched anticipation. Here’s why:

Nowhere to hide: The College Football Playoff selection committee has made it clear that schedule strength is vital. There will be a day when a two-loss conference champion makes the playoffs.

To that end, schools are scheduling tougher, benefiting the fans. These glossy matchups will be played in the first two weeks of the 2016 season: Alabama-USC (AT&T Stadium), Clemson-Auburn, Oklahoma-Houston (NRG Stadium), LSU-Wisconsin (Lambeau Field), Arkansas-TCU, Notre Dame-Texas, Ole Miss-Florida State (Citrus Bowl) and North Carolina-Georgia (Georgia Dome)……

Continue Reading: 2016 college football season could be the most anticipated ever


Market Shift


Given that the American League features both the DH and the Yankees, it makes sense that the AL tends to outspend the National League in free agency. But recently Andrew Beaton noted in the Wall Street Journal something peculiar. For the first time in years, the NL has been outspending the AL in free agency. This made us wonder if NL teams were actually getting more player value for doling out all that cash.

When Beaton looked into this topic a few weeks ago, the NL was outspending the AL by $254 million. Since then, the NL surplus in total spending has grown to $335.2 million, according to FanGraphs’ data. On a per-year basis, NL ballclubs will pay their new free agents about $50 million more next season, as it stands now. Most of the NL’s splurge comes in later years, as huge contracts like Jason Heyward’s are paid out over several seasons.

To see if this spending relates to actual production, we looked at data using FanGraphs’ free agent tracker to determine which league is signing the better players. We grouped players according to the league of their new team, and we looked at 2015 WAR, 2016 projected WAR, current salaries and projected salaries……

Continue Reading: NL teams outspending AL in free agency.

pablo (2)

Everyone Loves The Drake! – #CFP

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How Can You Not Love The Drake?!

Thank you ESPN.  Now, just like last year with Urban Meyer, we have to hear if coach X is the greatest ever.  Stop it.  Do we have to do this every year?  This guy in this category, or that category or Mt.Rushmore, blah-blah-blah – and it will be all day – ALL DAY, that Saban will be in more ESPN mouths than a whore on dollar day.

But that game tho.  It was an all-timer.  You can point to a few moments in the game that were true turning points; OJ Howard end-a-round, onside-kick, or The Drake’s Return, and it still almost wasn’t enough.  Alabama needed all of it.

While ESPN talks about Saban, let’s talk about this guy:

Kiffin has come a long way from the LAX tarmac and you could further say this was his redemption song. No matter your thoughts on the guy personally, he was in-charge all game with his formatons and play calling.  Seriously, OJ Howard had gone about 2 years without a touchdown and Kiffin dialed up plays that left him wide open for huge gains.  When Saban called for the onside kick, Kiffin said; “I had to look away because I was afraid I was going to make a face.”  Maybe some still view him as not ready, but he is maturing and becoming the coach that maybe Al Davis saw all along.

The MVP?  That’s Alabama tight end O.J. Howard – 5 catches for 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns. You or I could have caught those TD passes of 53 and 51 yards and ran in untouched, as long as we left the piano on the sideline, but we would not have looked as good doing it.  It’s been awhile since someone with the name OJ had a game like that.

But the play of the game is The Drake.  Remember the Tigers had just kicked a field goal to close to within 31-27 midway through the fourth quarter when they kicked off to Kenyon Drake. He sprinted up the right hash, avoided one tackler, then trucked to the left sideline. It didn’t look like he had the angle, but The Drake turned on the jets, got to the sideline, and headed upfield. 95-yard TD. 38-27. It was then that it felt that…the Tide had turned – pun intended.  Sure the onside-kick was a few minutes earlier, and important just to give the D a rest and change the momentum Clemson was gaining – also a huge play. But this one puts Clemson down double digits, and everyone thought that was the nail.  Without The Drake, we might be having a different conversation today.


Ziggy Played Guitar


By Bomani Jones JANUARY 11, 2016

There is nothing more attractive about a musician than audacity. We give our stars the freedom to do pretty much whatever they want, so long as they please us. The irony of that trade is they often become musically safe in order to protect the spoils that come with stardom.

But then there are those who are stars. They exist among us, but they shine hot and bright enough to keep us all warm. And David Bowie, to paraphrase an amazingly self-indulgent KRS-ONE quote, was the sun.

He knew he was a star. He had to have the biggest balls in the world to do the 1971 album Hunky Dory, a glamorously folk — or was it folksy glam? — exploration of the thrills and terror of fatherhood, his physical and emotional vulnerability on full display, then follow it up a year later with the declaration that he was the alien messiah. Just three tracks into The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars, it became clear he could be that, too. He could be whatever he wanted: the struggling human we could all relate to or the Nietszchean evolution of humanity; the soul singer who didn’t actually have any soul or the hard rocker both in 1969 and 20 years later. He seemed to be influenced by all, grateful to many, the inspiration to more and tethered to none……

Continue Reading: ‘Heroes,’ Heavenly Bodies and David Bowie’s Untouchable Brilliance


Where Does This Game Rank?

After a yawner of a bowl season, college football needed a little drama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T.

We got more than a little drama, as Alabama had to fight back in the fourth quarter and then hold on to defeat Clemson 45-40 in a game that featured a little bit of everything — heroic performances by both quarterbacks, enormous plays on special teams and a breakout game for the ages by a player who hadn’t scored a touchdown all season.

The gold standard for national title games remains Texas’ 41-38 win over USC a decade ago in the 2006 BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl. Hard to believe it has been 10 years since that classic.

What we witnessed Monday night in Glendale, Arizona, was the perfect segue to take a little stroll down memory lane — and merited a re-ranking of any top-10 list. Which national championship games, or those bowl games that led to a national championship for a team, were most memorable?

We’ve taken the liberty of ranking the top 10, updating it with the Alabama-Clemson thriller, based on a number of factors, including entertainment value, dramatic finishes, great performances, memorable plays, surprising upsets and any other interesting and/or historic elements about the game itself. In other words, don’t look for any yawners or runaways in this list, regardless of how attractive the matchup might have looked coming into the game.

Here’s what we came up with:…..

Continue Reading: Instant classic: Alabama-Clemson crash-lands into top 10 title games ever

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Monday #CFBPlayoff – Nat’l Championship Edition

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All season, conventional wisdom in college football has told us that there were no truly dominant teams this year, and there wasn’t one team that neutral fans would remember as one of the best of its era in 5-10 years.

After Clemson and Alabama dispatched of Oklahoma and Michigan State, respectively, in Thursday’s College Football Playoff with blowout wins, it might be fair to question those previous assumptions a little bit.

I still think we won’t put either this year’s Tigers or Crimson Tide in a class with title-winning teams from Miami, USC, Texas, Florida or Alabama earlier this century or even Florida State two years ago. Yet, we can’t at all doubt that these two teams are far and away the class of the college football season……

Continue Reading: Sports Central / How Alabama Can Be Beaten


10 Reasons To Watch:

The national championship game is set, and No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabamaleft no doubt that they belong. The Tigers steamrolled No. 4 Oklahoma for a 37–17 win in the Orange Bowl hours before the Crimson Tide shut out No. 3Michigan State in a 38–0 rout in the Cotton Bowl.

Now Clemson and Alabama will meet in the second College Football Playoff national championship game on Jan. 11. The battle for a national title provides enough intrigue, but in case you need more, here are 10 reasons to be excited for this year’s championship game……

Continue Reading: National title game: 10 reasons to be excited for Alabama-Clemson – SI.com


Where Did The $$$ Go?

College administrators don’t seem to know exactly where their athletes’ cost of attendance stipend money is going.

Last month, North Carolina State athletics director Debbie Yow faced a backlash during the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York when she said schools have “failed athletes” in teaching them fiscal responsibility considering she sees athletes riding around on hoverboards, which cost $300 or more. Alabama athletic director Bill Battlethen added, “tattoos and rims” to the discussion, a comment he explained later was supposed to be cute and just emphasize the frivolity of college students’ spending habits.

Beginning this academic year, NCAA Division I member schools were allowed to give their athletes a stipend to cover their full cost of attendance at their respective schools. USA TODAY Sports asked some of of the players competing in the College Football Playoff what they’ve spent their cost-of-attendance stipend money on thus far……

Continue Reading: What College Football Playoff entrants did with their NCAA stipends


It’s College Football Trading Season:

Image result for 2016 college football trading seasonFormer Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray transferred to Oklahoma, and former Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight announced he’d become an Aggie.

So Oklahoma and Texas A&M essentially traded quarterbacks via transfers. We could wring our hands over this, or we could celebrate college players seeking their manifest destinies as all Americans should.

Or — OR! — we could throw out four other college football trades that will never, ever happen. They could be an assortment with varying degrees of irrelevance and irreverence, which you could chew up, spit out, or fume over our implications……

Continue Reading: College football trade possibilities for Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Alabama Crimson Tide, Baylor Bears and others


5 Bold Predictions:


So it’s come down to this. The second College Football Playoff has a very attractive national title game: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 1 Clemson.

This game features no shortage of storylines, from Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney taking on his alma mater to Alabama head coach Nick Saban trying to win his fifth national championship to a battle of Heisman Trophy supremacy between winner Derrick Henry and third-place finisher Deshaun Watson.

This duel in the desert features a high-powered Clemson offense that averages 38.4 points per game, No. 16 nationally, against a tough, talented Alabama defense that yields just 13.4 points per game, No. 1 nationally. With a win, Clemson can become the first FBS team to ever finish a season 15-0, but it won’t be easy against the Crimson Tide.

How will the national championship game unfold? Who’ll be left standing at night’s end? Here are five bold predictions about what will happen.

Continue Reading: 5 Bold Predictions for 2016 National Championship Game

Ranking All 40 College Football Bowl Games – #CFBPlayoff


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The College Football Playoff national championship isn’t really a bowl game – it’s a whole other entity.

So what were the best bowl games of the season and which were the worst? Which ones will everyone remember, and which ones were the total duds?

The New Year’s Six disasters and the horrible two-day stretch on December 31st and January 1st marred an otherwise wonderful group of bowls, but the biggest problem? Two of the best finished up around 2:30 am ET. For those who sat through all 40, there were some great rewards to go along with a slew of disappointments.

1. Valero Alamo Bowl: TCU 47, Oregon 41 3OT

TCU came back with the comeback of all comebacks – started off by Gary Patterson changing his shirt to purple – but it also helped that the team started to execute. TCU got down 31, Oregon overcame the disappointment of blowing the lead by forcing three overtimes, and this turned into the signature bowl – for those who stayed around on a Saturday night to sit through the whole thing. Oregon’s collapse was more than just losing Vernon Adams, and TCU’s comeback was more than just getting hot. This is why you watch bowl games.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 4

2. National Funding Holiday Bowl: Wisconsin 23, USC 21

It’s a shame this was played so late – most of America was fast asleep when this was rolling into the wee hours of the morning East Coast time. It was the best finish of the bowl season with Wisconsin hanging on for dear life while Cody Kessler had one final shot, but overall, the game itself was wildly entertaining.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 15

3. Motel 6 Cactus Bowl: West Virginia 43, Arizona State 42

How do you finish up the bowl season? In an insane shootout with a little bit of everything for everyone – unless you like defense – both teams marched up and down the field at will in the exact type of firefight deserving to be the last game before the national title. 676 yards of total offense for West Virginia, and it still almost wasn’t enough.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 24

4. New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Duke 44, Indiana 41 OT

Really, was it good? With controversy, lots of offense, and huge performances on both sides of the ball, it was wildly entertaining with normally-solid IU PK Griffin Oakes missing a game-winning 56-yard attempt in regulation, and putting a possible game-tying overtime attempt over the top of the right upright – it looked good on replays.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 18

5. Camping World Independence Bowl: Virginia Tech 55, Tulsa 52

Frank Beamer’s retirement game took a backseat to what turned into a thriller. It would’ve been the ultimate embarrassment had Beamer’s team gagged away the game after going up 52-31, but his team hung on. Tulsa kept pushing, and almost pulled it out. Lots of offense, lots of drama – it’s what an early bowl game should be like.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 32

6. Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Appalachian State 31, Ohio 29

Appalachian State played like a team in its first bowl game. After whiffing on two easy kicks, senior Zach Matics ran off the field after hitting the game-winning 23-yarder to end a game of crazy mood swings and lots of effort from both sides.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 36

7. NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Nevada 28, Colorado State 23

It didn’t matter that it was Mountain West vs. Mountain West – the two teams were fighting from the start. There was plenty of intruige throughout with Nevada overcoming the Rams’ control with lots of home runs. Colorado State had a shot at the win late, but time ran out in a heart-stopping finish.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 27

8. Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona 45, New Mexico 37

The two teams kept throwing haymakers and kept on pushing each other. New Mexico made Arizona sweat – the Wildcats were really trying – in an entertaining battle early on in the bowl season. There was a sense of desperation after Arizona lost to Boise State in last year’s Fiesta – it couldn’t lose two bowls in a row to Group of Five teams.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 13

9. Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Utah 35, BYU 28

It was all about the comeback. BYU couldn’t have tried to have a worst first quarter with five giveaways, but it made up for it by balling and battling to get a shot at pulling off the miracle late. Utah hung on by grinding out the clock late just when it became obvious the D didn’t have any answers.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 9

10. Hyundai Sun Bowl: Washington State 20, Miami 14

The snow-globe aspect in the second half made the game special in a lot of ways, and Miami did its part to keep the battle going. Nothing seemed to go right for the Hurricanes, but Washington State struggled to put the game away. Miami looked like it had it late, but a lost fumble after a called back play made it a heartbreaker for the Canes.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 21

11. Miami Beach Bowl: WKU 45, South Florida 35

The two teams kept cranking up the offense. WKU looked great early, but USF kicked it into gear in time to make this a fight to the finish. For those who care about conference pride, it was a big moment for Conference USA holding off the American Athletic team.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 22

12. Russell Athletic Bowl, Baylor 49, North Carolina 38

645 rushing yards. The game itself might not have been all that interesting after Baylor took control, but if part of the bowl game fun is to see something different, that Bear ground game was it. The North Carolina defense didn’t have a prayer.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 5

13. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron 23, Utah State 21

It was a low-scoring game as expected, but Akron played well enough offensively to get on the road and come up with a stunner. Utah State just didn’t have it, but the Akron D had a lot to do with that. It was the first even bowl win for Akron.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 35

14. Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Western Michigan 45, Middle Tennessee 31

Lots and lots and lots of offense – way over 1,000 – made it lots of fun. Jamauri Bogan and his four touchdown runs made it memorable, but Middle Tennessee didn’t go away until late. The Corey Davis 80-yard touchdown catch for WMU was terrific.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 12

15. BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State 44, Notre Dame 28

This probably won’t get the credit it deserved. Notre Dame turned in an impressive comeback to fight back into the game and make Ohio State work. It was a bittersweet game for Ohio State – it showed what it could’ve been, but still, it was a win over Notre Dame. The program will take it.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 2

16. Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Washington 44, Southern Miss 31

It was the Myles Gaskin show with the Washington running back going off. Southern Miss did its part to hang around with a huge day from its offense with plenty of big plays, but it was Gaskin who made it a game breaking open a 24-24 tie.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 31

17. TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia 24, Penn State 17

Penn State had a Hail Mary attempt that meant something – that didn’t seem possible after getting down 24-3 and with Christian Hackenberg knocked out of the game. Trace McSorley almost pulled the Nittany Lions out of the fire, but give credit to Georgia for getting it down with Mark Richt off to Miami.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 29

18. Foster Farms Bowl: Nebraska 37, UCLA 29

Nebraska obviously didn’t care about being 5-7. UCLA wasn’t unfocused, but it couldn’t gear it back up after the Huskers started pounding. In a lot of ways, this was the type of teams Husker fans were waiting for with the power running attack getting it done.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 26

19. Quick Lane Bowl: Minnesota 21, Central Michigan 14

It might have been a forgettable bowl, but it was close until the end. Minnesota needs to score in the final few minutes to get over the embarrassment over a MAC team, but the defense held down Cooper Rush and the high-powered CMU attack.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 33

20. AutoNation Cure Bowl: San Jose State 27, Georgia State 16

Georgia State played fired up in its first bowl game, while San Jose State had something to prove at 5-7. The Georgia State passing game pressed, but couldn’t connect late, while the defense and special couldn’t handle Tyler Ervin and his 132 rushing yards and punt return for a score.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 37

21. St. Petersburg Bowl: Marshall 16, Connecticut 10

It was supposed to a defensive struggle, and from that aspect it didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t fun with the two offenses sputtering, but it was still a tight battle in the final minutes. There weren’t enough big moments to make the game matter.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 40

22. Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: Navy 44, Pitt 28

Kennan Reynolds was almost worth watching this game. He ran for tree short touchdowns, but it was the Navy grinding offense that won the day with a huge late drive and a 31-point run to never have to worry too much.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 19

23. R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana Tech 47, Arkansas State 28

Kenneth Dixon, Jeff Driskel, and the Louisiana Tech was fun, but Arkansas State was a massive disappointment. The Red Wolves didn’t play well at all with too many little mistakes that added up. ASU is better than it showed.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 11

24. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: California 55, Air Force 36

This was a disappointment after it became obvious Air Force didn’t have a prayer of stopping the Cal passing game. However, the Jared Goff show was terrific, throwing for 467 yards and six scores.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 20

25. GoDaddy Bowl: Georgia Southern 58, Bowling Green 27

Favian Upshaw and the Georgia Southern running game were worth the price of admission, but it would’ve been nice if the Bowling Green offense of the regular season did more. The Falcons just never had the ball.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 6

26. Franking American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Louisville 27, Texas A&M 21

Texas A&M mounted a comeback late, but without the starting quarterbacks the game didn’t have the sizzle. However, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson did his part to make it wild with 227 passing yards and 226 more on the ground.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 28

27. CapitalOne Orange Bowl: Clemson 37, Oklahoma 17

It will be remembered as a dud, but it was a really, really intense, energetic game for a half. Oklahoma’s running back injuries turned into a problem, but Clemson also turned its game up a few notches.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 3

28. Marmot Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo 32, Temple 17

This was a strangely rough game with Temple’s defense not playing like it did throughout the season. Toledo was good, but that wasn’t the Owl team that beat Penn State and almost got Notre Dame.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 17

29. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Houston 38, Florida State 24

Florida State had a moment when it looked like it might turn it on and be Florida State again, but Houston never let it happen. The goal was to get this game over with to get to the Orange Bowl and the College Football Playoff.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 10

30. AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: LSU 56, Texas Tech 27

Leonard Fournette and the running game ran like they were supposed to against the porous Texas Tech defense. This was going to be an LSU walk – or pounding run – in the park if it showed up and tried, and it did.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 16

31. AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Arkansas 45, Kansas State 23

Kansas State kept it close for a while, and Arkansas needed to battle a bit in the second half, but there was no pop from the Wildcats. Arkansas was too good being able to out-Kansas State, Kansas State with the time of possession and running game.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 34

32. Allstate Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss 48, Oklahoma State 29

This was over instantly. Ole Miss did its part with the stars showing up on both sides of the ball, but the high-powered Oklahoma State offense was a stunning disappointment. This was supposed to be a fun shootout, and it never materialized.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 6

33. Belk Bowl: Mississippi State 51, NC State 28

Dak Prescott and the Mississippi State offense were just too good. NC State kept on fighting and didn’t give up after getting down 21-0, but the outcome was never in doubt.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 14

34. Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: Stanford 45, Iowa 16

Christian McCaffrey by himself made this worth the watch at an all-timer level, but Iowa wasn’t built to come back after getting down fast. Stanford is good, but it’s not that good. Iowa was far, far, far better than this.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 5

35. Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Alabama 38, Michigan State 0

For a jaw-dropping display of talent and muscle-flexing, Alabama provided a showstopper. That wasn’t some lightweight Michigan State team that got rolled over – that was a strong, veteran team that’s been through the wars. Alabama ran a scrimmage.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 1

36. Tennessee 45, Northwestern 6

This was expected to be a total disaster of Tennessee’s SEC talent got up early on the punchless Wildcats, and that’s exactly what happened. It took a while for the game to get going, and then once it did, it was time to do something else.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 38

37. Birmingham Bowl: Auburn 31, Memphis 10

Memphis lost its head coach weeks ago, and its quarterback was ready to go to the NFL. Auburn’s offense wasn’t interesting, but it didn’t have to be.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 23

38. Hawaii Bowl: San Diego State 42, Cincinnati 7

Cincinnati at least got a trip to Hawaii. San Diego State meant business from the very start with a killer performance from the defense against the Gunner Kiel-less Bearcat offense.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 25

39. Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Michigan 41, Florida 7

Florida’s New Year’s Resolution to keep sucking on offense started off on the right foot. At least this was supposed to be a defensive slugfest, but the Gators didn’t oblige.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 30

40. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State 55, Northern Illinois 7

Northern Illinois came up with 33 yards of total offense whether they were needed or not. Boise State is a great bowl team, Northern Illinois is an awful one. The Broncos wanted to make a statement, and NIU didn’t have a prayer.
Pre-Bowl Season Matchup/Game Rank: 39

Source: Ranking All 40 College Football Bowl Games –