Good Monday morning HerDaily readers! Thanksgiving is officially in the books (well done people). Sadly, there isn’t a lot of time before things start to ramp up again. Take a few days to relax and rejuvenate, before you have to put it back into high gear for the upcoming holidays. Let’s not think about ALL we have to do, but instead, chill out for a bit and check in on some sports! With all the holiday parties and family gatherings around the corner, you know some #SportBits will come in handy.
#SportBits Scores and Highlights
College Football – What a weekend for the Title Conference Games! The CFP committee has finally announced their top four teams. For the second consecutive year, the playoff will feature four conference champions. They are:
- #1 Clemson, the ACC champion and only remaining unbeaten team, will face #4 Oklahoma, the Big 12 champion, on Dec. 31 in a College Football Playoff semifinal in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
- Alabama, who won its second consecutive SEC Championship on Saturday against Florida, finished #2 in the committee’s final rankings. The Crimson Tide will face #3 Michigan State on Dec. 31 in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
- AAC Championship: Temple vs. Houston – Houston Cougars won the ACC and clinched a New Year’s Bowl, but it didn’t come without some drama. After the game, excited fans rushed the field, while some over zealous security guards attempted to stop them. There was pushing, punching, and tackling in a very chaotic scene. The Houston Athletic Director vowed to review the event with police, and come up with better security protocol.
- Baylor lost to Texas, 23-17, and with it, a chance for a Sugar Bowl bid in this regular season finale game. The trouble didn’t stop there. A bench-clearing brawl added some drama to this upset win by Texas.
- Stanford won the Pac-12 and a Rose Bowl Bid, beating USC 41-22. A week after crushing cross-town rivals UCLA and securing the head-coaching job, USC coach Clay Helton had his hands full with Stanford sophomore Christian McCaffery. Defensive coaches could be heard screaming and dropping F-bombs in the press box as USC failed to stop the Cardinal running back who broke Barry Sanders’s record for all-purpose yardage in a season, and his own program all-purpose yardage record in a game (461, fifth-most all-time).
NFL – It’s December and that means cold weather football and play-off push time. Lots of exciting games with playoff implications. Here is the rundown:
- The NY Jets (7-5) pulled out an overtime win against the NY Giants (5-7) to keep their playoff hopes alive. Meanwhile, the seriously slumping Giants have lost three in a row and their playoff prospects, once so bright, are dimming fast.
- The Buffalo Bills (6-6) snapped a four game winning streak by the Houston Texans (6-6), in what was a must-win game for the Bills. Buffalo’s playoff hopes stay afloat for now.
- The two-time defending NFC champs Seattle Seahawks (7-5) climbed further into the playoffs picture following a 2-4 start, by beating the Minnesota Vikings (8-4), 38-7 on Sunday. The Vikings now fall back into a tie for first with the Packers in the NFC North.
- The Patriots were stunned at home and lost 35-28 to the Eagles on Sunday. After their undefeated start, the Pats have dropped two in a row, and with injuries to a couple key players, are in danger of losing their first round bye in the playoffs.
- Here is a complete list of Sunday games.
LeBron James sat out of the Cleveland Cavalier’s game against his former Miami Heat team, and the fans were not happy about it. They started chanting, “LeBron is tired.” #KingJames responded with a flash of his championship ring. Pretty funny. Watch. The Heat had the last laugh though, winning 99-84.
Golden State extended their winning streak to 22, blowing out the NJ Nets in Brooklyn, on Sunday. On Saturday, Warrior Super Star Steph Curry (and if you don’t know his name by now, you haven’t been reading #SportBits) became the first player in NBA history to record back-to-back games with 40 or more points and eight or more 3-pointers. Golden State is on a mission to break the record of 34 consecutive wins, held by the ’72 Lakers.
A complete list of weekend games…here.
College Hoops – There were many games over the weekend, but I think the Pac-12 hosted the most exciting matchups.
- #1 Kentucky lost to UCLA, 87-77 on Friday. Last year Kentucky demolished the Bruins in the CBS Sports Classic in Chicago, and the Bruins returned the favor by handing the Wildcats their first loss since March 8, 2014.
- At the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the UNLV Running Rebels took down #15 Oregon Ducks to make a push for the top twenty-five. I think the Running Rebs are very underrated; their only loss this season was to UCLA, #team2watch.
- #19 Arizona Wildcats lead a second half comeback to defeat the #13 (and mid-major) Gonzaga Bulldogs, 63-68. This was a big road win early in the season for the Wildcats.
- In other news: the Syracuse/Georgetown rivalry was renewed after a 3-year hiatus on Saturday. The Hoyas came away with the win, in a 79-72 victory over #14 ranked, Orange. Syracuse played without coach Jim Boeheim, who is serving a 9-game NCAA mandated suspension.
- Here is a complete look at the weekend scores.
MLS Soccer – The Portland Timbers defeated Columbus Crew SC 2-1 in a thrilling, wide-open MLS Cup final on Sunday, in front of a sold-out crowd at MAPFRE Stadium.
It was a tough week for 14-time major champion Tiger Woods. He gave a sullen interview, in which he admitted that he may never be back to the game after his most recent back injury. I’m with Jack Nicklaus though, who thinks Tiger’s competitive nature and stellar work ethic will get him back on the course with a chance to break Nicklaus’ own championship record at 18.
Officiating in the NFL has gotten so bad that players and coaches are no longer afraid of getting fined for speaking out against them. After a season of bad/questionable calls, members of multiple teams have sounded off on the league, it’s referees, and even commissioner Roger Goodell. During the Patriots first defeat of the season last week, QB Tom Brady could was seen yelling and pleading with officials at the end of the game. Last Wednesday, the commissioner finally stated the obvious: The NFL has an officiating and rulebook crisis on its hands. He announced he is forming a group of current and former players, coaches, and officials to recommend changes to address the flood of blown calls, and the confusion as to what constitutes a catch. There have been a few games this season where bad calls directly impacted the outcome of the game, so something has to be done – good luck with that.
On Thursday, a South African appellate court convicted Oscar Pistorius of murder, overturning a lower court’s conviction of the double-amputee Olympian on the lesser charge of manslaughter, for fatally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. Pistorius, 29, killed Steenkamp in the early morning of Valentine’s Day. He said that he thought there was an intruder behind the door of a toilet cubicle in his home. The prosecution said Pistorius shot Steenkamp during an argument. He is currently under house arrest at his uncle’s mansion in Pretoria, South Africa. He was placed under house arrest in October after serving one year in prison. A 15-year prison sentence is the minimum punishment for murder in South Africa.
The finalists for the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award in college football, will be announced Monday evening. The Heisman Trust determines how many players, anywhere from three to eight, will be invited to New York for Saturday night’s ceremony. The Heisman Watch used to be a huge topic of conversation during the college football season, but now with changes to the playoff system, it feels like the trophy talk has been sidelined. Rest assured, there will be many players, coaches, and family members glued to their TVs tonight to see who is chosen to go to Saturday’s celebration.
That’s all for #SportBits. Check back in next Monday for more news and highlights. Follow me on social media for daily updates, and please feel free to leave comments about what sports you’re watching and talking about with your family and friends. I’d love to hear!