The One Where We Watch the Balls Drop

Today's Rundown

NBA

Please come back, we need you.  The Golden State Warriors collected their second loss of the season last night against the Dallas Mavericks (91-114).  The Warriors had a record-breaking start to the season with their 24 game win streak, but now they are at 29-2.  What happened?  Last night their star player and future MVP Stephen Curry sat out with a bruised lower leg.  The Warriors have won games with other star players out due to injury, but last night’s blow out shows that it’s a whole different ball game when Curry’s sidelined.  

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Bowling in the deep.  Yesterday there were three major bowl games that people tuned into. Here are the highlights:

  • Belk Bowl: The Mississippi State Bulldogs easily defeated the NC State Wolfpack (51-28) in this rainy mud-fest.  QB Dak Prescott looked dominant and proved why he he’s the best player in Mississippi, throwing for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns.  

  • Music City Bowl:  The Louisville Cardinals pulled out a victory against the Texas A&M Aggies (27-21).  Louisville freshman QB Lamar Jackson made his second career start and broke bowl records by running 226 yards for 2 touchdowns and throwing for 2 more.  The Aggies put up a good fight considering they were down to their 3rd string QB.  

  • Holiday Bowl:  The Wisconsin Badgers outplayed the USC Trojans, resulting in a 23-21 victory.  The Badgers controlled the offense from the start, but the Trojans were able to make it a close game due to big plays.  This is the Badgers first win this season against a team with a winning record.  


Spotlight on the College Football Playoffs

That glorious time is upon us.  No, I'm not talking about the holiday season, I'm talking about the College Football Playoffs!  The Playoffs begin today with the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl, which you can read more about in today's Hot Read.  This is only the second College Football Playoffs.

So how does this thing work?  The top four teams in the country were selected and ranked by a 13-member committee.  They face off in two semi-final games: one where the #1 seed will play the #4 team and a second where the #2 team will play the #3 team.  The winner of each game will face off in the College Football Championship Game, which will take place on Monday, January 11.

This is only the second Playoffs?  What did they do before this?  A National Football Champion has been awarded since 1869, but there have been many different systems for selecting the champ. Before the current Playoffs, the Bowl Championship Series (“BCS”) was the system from 1998-2013.  Under the BCS, teams were ranked based on a combination of polling by coaches and a computer algorithm.  Then 10 teams were selected to play in 5 bowl games.  There was a lot of criticism of this system, because these weren’t necessarily the top 10 teams.  Instead, there were complex rules requiring one team from each of the six biggest conferences, which often left out teams with undefeated records.

Trivia Queen: Who has won the most championships?  Princeton with 28 … but all of them were before 1950.


Hot Read

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Tales of redemption and drug abuse. #4-ranked Oklahoma will take on #1-ranked Clemson in today’s Orange Bowl.  Oklahoma has a lot to prove, after last year’s 40-6 loss to Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl.  At the time, Oklahoma was facing a lot of coaching personnel turnover, so people gave Oklahoma the benefit of the doubt that they couldn’t be that bad. This year we’ll see if Oklahoma’s star QB Baker Mayfield can make it a fair fight.  Mayfield is a bit of a Cinderella story.  He went from no college wanting to recruit him because of his relatively slim 6 ft. frame, to walking-on at Oklahoma and becoming a serious contender for the Heisman trophy.  He has described himself as having a “chip on his shoulder,” so you can be sure that he will use that anger to fuel him in today’s game.  Oklahoma’s defense will also be sure to exploit Clemson’s one major weakness, their offensive line.  Clemson’s star QB DeShaun Watson will attempt to compensate by threatening to run and getting the ball out quickly. 

Earlier this week Clemson suspended 3 of its players for failing a drug test.  They will not be allowed to play in today's bowl game or the championship game if Clemson wins today.  The biggest loss was their 2nd string WR Deon Cain, who has put up some decent numbers this season.  Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said Cain will be allowed to play again "if he grows up." Drama, drama, drama.

The Student becomes the Master?  #3-ranked Michigan State will take on #2-ranked Alabama in today’s Cotton Bowl.  These two head coaches have quite the history together. Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban was just 23-years-old and working as a defensive assistant for Kent State when he first saw high school football player Mark Dantonio on a recruiting trip.  Later when Saban coached for 10 years at Michigan State, he recruited Mark Dantonio to his coaching staff.  Saban even recommended Dantonio to take on the Michigan State Head Coach position in 2006.  Now the two will face off, and you can bet that they won’t be taking it easy on one another.  During the game, be sure to watch out for Michigan State QB Connor Cook’s hyper-accurate passing and Alabama’s major weapon Heisman trophy winner RB Derrick Henry.  Henry broke the SEC record for most rushing yards at 1,986 so far this season and touches the ball in nearly half of their offensive plays.