Fun Fact of the Day: Going into the 4th quarter of last night’s College Football Playoff National Championship game, Alabama was up 24-14 against Clemson. It was the first game in 10 years under head coach Nick Saban that Alabama lost when entering the 4th quarter with a double-digit lead.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
And the National Champion is… Clemson! A year after losing to football behemoth Alabama in a close National Championship game, they got payback last night, beating Alabama 35-31.
The Offensive MVP was… Clemson’s star QB and 2x Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson. After getting off to a shaky start, Watson came out in the 2nd half with guns blazing. The game came all the way down to the wire with 4 lead changes in the 4th quarter. Clemson finally sealed the deal when Watson threw a touchdown with only 1 second left on the clock. Now with this incredible win under his belt, he’s officially declared for the NFL draft.
Who can Alabama blame? You’ll hear Alabama fans grumbling about the decision to fire former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin right before the National Championship Game. Kiffin was planning to leave for a head-coaching job at the end of the season anyway, but Alabama head coach Nick Saban dumped him a little early when he was becoming a distraction for the team. Even though Kiffin was at times immature and annoying, he was also an offensive mastermind. Steve Sarkisian replaced him and didn’t have much of a backup plan after Alabama’s best running back Bo Scarbrough was injured in the 3rd quarter of the game.
Seen and Heard
Back to the very beginning. The Jacksonville Jaguars welcomed back Tom Coughlin as their executive vice president of football operations. Coughlin was the Jags’ first head coach when the team was founded in 1993, and he led them all the way to the AFC championship in 1999. Most recently, he spent 12 years as the head coach of the N.Y. Giants and helped them win 2 Super Bowls before stepping down at the end of last season. The Jags are hoping he can help right the sinking ship, but he’ll have his work cut out for him; the team just finished their 6th straight losing season with a pathetic 3-13 record.
Spotlight on the Columbus Blue Jackets
We’re about halfway through the NHL season and something crazy is happening… the Columbus Blue Jackets’ are the best team in the league! Yes, really. Here’s what you need to know about their unbelievable season:
Why is this so unexpected? Before the start of the season, the Blue Jackets were long shots to make the playoffs. That’s because last season, they set a new record for most consecutive losses to begin a season (8) and they finished 27th out of 30 teams. Now, they are suddenly favorites to win the President’s Trophy (best record in the NHL).
How good are they? Really good. Earlier this month, the Blue Jackets were on an incredible 16-game winning streak—1 win shy of the NHL record set by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1993. Now, they still have the NHL’s best record (28-7-4), most points (60), best goal differential (+47), and highest power play conversion percentage (26.7%).
How did they do it? Head coach John Tortorella has helped turn the team around. He was hired last season after the team’s slow start. At the time, the move was a little controversial, because Tortorella is known for his “fiery” personality. In the past, the NHL has penalized him for fighting with fans and coaches and for suggesting that refs were rigging games. This fall, he drew criticism for his terrible coaching of Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey and for saying he would bench any player that refused to stand for the national anthem.