NO MORE UNDEFEATED TEAMS IN THE NFL

nfl 3NO MORE UNDEFEATED TEAMS IN THE NFL

The San Francisco 49ers finally went down to defeat after amassing an impressive 8-0 record to kick off the 2019-2020 NFL season.  They came so close so many times late in the game to clinching victory number nine, but they were up against a stubborn Seattle Seahawks team led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson, that would just not give up.

The game ended in a 24-24 tie at the end of regulation.  Russell Wilson and the Seahawks got the ball first and marched down the field aiming for the touchdown he needed to win the game in OT.  Unfortunately, when Seattle got down close to the Niner’s red zone, Wilson’s aim was just a little off and his pass was intercepted by the Niners’ DB Greenlaw and run back to mid field.

So now, according to the new NFL overtime rules, all it takes is a field goal to win the game. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a couple of passes and Mostert gained a few yards leaving a 47 yard field goal attempt for Chase McLauglin, who was just hired off the street by the 49ers after kicker Robby Gold went down to a quad injury.

McLauglin had just kicked a perfect 47 yard field goal to tie the game and bring on the overtime, but the moment was too much for the young kicker from Illinois and his attempt went wide left, leaving the fans there at Levi’s Stadium in shock and giving Seahawks with a chance to win the game with a field goal of their own.

Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson maneuvered his team down the field and even contributed a nice 18 yard scramble of his own to get the Seahawks into position for kicker Justin Myers to kick a 42 yard field goal and win the game, bringing the San Francisco 49ers’ undefeated season to an end.

The Niners’ went into the home game as 6.5 point favorites but ended up losing outright by 3 points.  The final score of 27-24 totaled 51 points and thus exceeded the predicted over & under of 47.

Speculation about whether or not Kansas City Quarterback Patrick Mahomes would play on Sunday helped move the posted line in favor of the Tennessee Titans at -6 over the Chiefs.  This line surprised a lot of bettors and money was laid down. As it turned out, the Titans did beat the Chiefs, even though Mahomes did play, however, Tennessee did not cover the 6 points, winning by 35-32.  35-32 adds up to 67 points scored, which was 18 over the posted O&U of 49.  The Chiefs have now fallen to 6-4 after such a promising start to their season.

It was a victory called a ‘season saver’ for the Cleveland Browns, another team that started the season with such high expectations but finds itself at 3-6 at mid term. Even after defeating the Buffalo Bills last Sunday by a final score of 19-16. This does not exactly exceed expectations with guys like Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry on the team to support the young quarterback Baker Mayfield, who, so far, it seems, was better last year than this one.

In yet another upset on Sunday Night Football, the Minnesota Vikings, behind the antics of RB Dalvin Cook, managed to defeat the Dallas Cowboys on their home field in Arlington, Texas.  Cook rushed for 97 yards and one touchdown and caught 7 passes for an additional 86 yards.

The Cowboys went into the game at -3 but the Vikings beat them by 4. Dak Prescott threw for 397 yards and 3 touchdowns completing 28 or 46 passes and Amari Cooper amassed 147 yards receiving in the losing effort. Ezekiel Elliott was held to just 47 yards on 20 carries by the stubborn Vikings defense.

So San Francisco will fall to 8-1 just like the New England Patriots who were idle last week.  The Seattle Seahawks are now at 8-2 along with the Green Bay Packers while the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints are both now at 7-2.  Still a long way to go in this NFL season.

TIGERS ROAR IN TUSCALOOSA

LSU_Tigers_Helmet_Logo_-_NCAA_Division_ITIGERS ROAR IN TUSCALOOSA

Alabama had won the last seven football games in a row  against the LSU Tigers, and they were playing at home, in front of one of the most boisterous, even rowdy, fan bases in college football there in Bryant-Denny Stadium on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, perfect football weather.

The Crimson Tide had just been replaced at the top of the AP Poll by their number one rivals, the LSU Tigers, over in Baton Rouge, where Nick Saban used to work.  No doubt that motivated Coach Saban and his football team to go out and give it their best effort, and they did.

It was a great SEC football game. It was back and forth action all afternoon with the outcome in doubt right up until the final moments of the contest. Both teams played their hearts out.  Together they managed to score a total of 87 points, exceeding the predicted over and under of 65.5 by 21.5 points.

LSU came into the game as 5.5 point underdogs but ended up winning the game by 5 with a final score of 46-41 after holding off a 21 point push in the fourth quarter by the Tide.

Both the Tigers and the Tide came into the contest undefeated and on a roll.  Each featured a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback and both teams were coached my master motivators, one familiar to all NCAA football fans, the other just emerging out of the bayous as a national figure and a strong candidate for NCAA Coach of the Year honors.

For LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron, beating Alabama was the consummate victory of his carrier and surely one of the greatest days of his life. He and his wife Kelly could be seen down on the field after the win crying copiously with joy.  Not only did ‘Coach O’ beat Alabama, he probably secured the coaching job in Baton Rouge for the next decade.

Much of the credit for the Tiger victory must go to Ohio transfer and second year LSU quarterback Joe Burrow who rushed for 64 yards and completed 31 of 39 passes for 393 yards scoring three touchdowns, with no interceptions; thus moving him into serious consideration as the front runner for this year’s Heisman Trophy award.  Expect Joe to be there in New York.

LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire from Baton Rouge bulled his way into the end zone three times scoring touchdowns running on the ground then added one more when he caught a pass to score yet again. He was the Tigers work horse against the Tide carrying the ball 20 times for 103 yards and hauling in 9 passes from Joe Burrow for an additional 77 yards.

The other Heisman hopeful, Tua Tagovalloa also had an amazing game throwing for 418 yards and 4 touchdowns and completing 21 of 40 passes in a losing effort to the Tigers of LSU.  Tua did have one pick and a bad fumble, however, it must be said that Tua was not playing at 100% against LSU because of a procedure he had on his ankle just 20 days before the big game.  By the end of the game his was limping visibly.

So the headline on ESPN reads: AP Poll: LSU No. 1 landslide. Folks down in Baton Rouge must love to see that one!  LSU has a proud tradition of elite SEC football which has been less than spectacular in the past few years leading to the firing of popular head coach Les Miles and the hiring of Ed Orgeron as head coach of the Tiger football team.

Tigers fans have been expecting a change and Coach Orgeron has assembled a five star coaching staff that is destined to take the Tigers back to center stage in the SEC as well as a having a real shot at another National Championship, so, here we go.

GEAUX TIGERS!

CFP’s FIRST DRAFT & THE BIG GAME

CFP 2CFP’s FIRST DRAFT & THE BIG GAME

Just four days before the ‘Game of the Century’ featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide hosting the LSU Tigers in Tuscaloosa on Saturday afternoon, the College Football Playoff, or CFP committee has come out with the first version of their version of how the national rankings should look in Division I NCAA Football this year.  Remember that this early draft is from a committee and it has been widely speculated that ‘a camel is a horse designed by a committee’.

Keeping that in mind, the committee has decided that the Ohio State Buckeyes should be the number one team in the land, even though neither the AP Poll nor the Coaches Poll has the Buckeyes in the lead.  Note that the voters in these two polls are some of the most up to date, sports savvy writers and coaches in the game of football anywhere.

So, Ohio State comes in at number one in the CFP rankings and LSU holds down the number two position while the Alabama drops to number three; and a surprising Penn State team grabbing the final spot in this final four.  Clemson fans must be distraught with indignation while Penn State guys are counting their blessings.

Of course all of this will change weekly with the results of the games coming up in the next five weeks of NCAA Football action. Oddly enough, the winner of the LSU-Alabama game won’t move up much, and the looser won’t move down very much.  There is still a lot of football after this weekend to decide first the SEC championship, and eventually the national CFP title.

Ohio State will host the University of Maryland as 43.5 point favorites, so, the Buckeyes are likely to remain undefeated after this Saturday’s action.  In the other battle of the undefeated, the #4 ranked Nittany Lions of Penn State will visit the #17 Minnesota Gophers in a contest which will take place in TCF Bank Stadium up in Minneapolis as 7 point favorites.

The #5 ranked Clemson Tigers visit North Carolina State as 32 point favorites and the #6 Georgia Bulldogs will host 5-3 Missouri as 16.5 point favorites.  But the big one will be down in Tuscaloosa where dignitaries, hall of famers, famous alumni and maybe even the President of the United States will be there to watch as the #3 ranked Crimson Tide takes on the #2 ranked Tigers.

Major questions concern the availability of Alabama quarterback, and Heisman Trophy contender, Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered a high ankle sprain during the recent Tennessee game.  Head Coach Nick Saban has declared Tua a game time decision and says that his team will be OK one way or the other.

The Tigers, on the other hand, have just lost the services of star starting linebacker Michael Divinity, ‘for personal reasons’, at least for the Alabama game. LSU Head Coach Ed Oregon is hopeful that his Tigers can defeat the Tide for the first time since 2011. If nothing else, this game will go a long ways towards deciding the SEC West this year.

Before the CFP rankings came out, this game was between the #1 team and the #2 team in the country according to the AP Poll.  Some might think that the Buckeyes being awarded the number one ranking by the CFP committee could take a little of the glamour off the LSU-Alabama game, but don’t try to sell that to anyone in the SEC.

So, Roll Tide & Geaux Tigers!  Oh what a game this shall be.

THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES

nba teamsTHE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES

The newly formed professional basketball rivalry in the City of Los Angeles between the long established Lakers and the upstart Clippers is off to a hot start already this NBA season. In the Western Conference the Los Angeles NBA teams are holding down first and third place with the Lakers at 5-1 and the Clippers at 5-2.

For the time being, Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers share the facilities at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The Clippers are anxiously awaiting the finishing of a brand new basketball facility, which is currently under construction in nearby Inglewood, not far from where the LA Chargers and the LA Rams will be playing NFL football at the innovative SoFi Stadium, being built on the site of the famous old Hollywood Park Horse Track, sometime in 2020.

Both teams have undergone some significant changes during the off season and the ‘City of Angles’ is ripe with anticipation for homegrown NBA action.

The Lakers traded away some valuable future pieces to get big man Anthony Davis away from the New Orleans Pelicans to team up with LeBron James in hopes that the Lakers will at last achieve the necessary chemistry with the obvious talent they have on the roster to return the team, and the franchise, to its glory days of old.

The Clippers, on the other hand, went out and recruited NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard from the Toronto Raptors as well as All Star journeyman forward Paul George to make up another dynamic duo to take on the mighty Lakers with James and Davis waiting at center court.

The Lakers lost the first game of the regular season to the Clippers 112-102, but then won their next 5 games in a row to lead the NBA West.  After defeating the Lakers in game one, the Clippers went on to beat the Golden State Warriors 141-122 in game two.  Their only losses so far were to the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns.

But the Lakers have not lost since opening night and look to be among the strongest teams in the NBA with LeBron James starting to look like LeBron James again and Anthony Davis living up to expectations, and then some.  Davis put up 40 points with 20 rebounds against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers waited until the fourth quarter to extract revenge on the Utah Jazz, which had beaten the Clippers just two weeks before the November 3rd meeting.  Leonard put up 18 of his 30 points in the 4th quarter to cap off a 105-94 victory over the Jazz.  No discussion of NBA’s MVP candidates for this year is complete without Kawhi Leonard.

The NBA has planned a very special Christmas gift for Lakers and Clippers fans as the next time the two teams meet will be on December 25, Christmas Day at 6 pm EST.  In fact the NBA will be presenting 5 games on Christmas day beginning with the Boston Celtics hosting the Toronto Raptors at 10 am, then the Philadelphia 76ers visit the Milwaukee Bucks at 12:30pm.

That game will be followed by the Houston Rockets hosting the Golden State Warriors at 3 pm, then the aforementioned Lakers-Clippers clash at 6 and then finishing off down in New Orleans at 8:30 pm when the Denver Nuggets come to the ‘Big Easy’ to take on the Pelicans, who will hopefully have Zion Williamson back on the court by that time.  That should be enough basketball to satisfy even the most diehard NBA fan for one day.

Currently Las Vegas oddsmakers are listing the two Los Angeles NBA teams as the two favorites to win the 2019-2020 NBA Championship with the Lakers leading at +150 and the Clippers right on their heels at +200.  It will be interesting to see how this season plays out for both these talented teams.

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