The One Before the First One!!!!!!

Today's Rundown


I just need my lucky purple shirt (47-41).  The TCU Horned Frogs pulled out a completely unexpected victory against the Oregon Ducks yesterday at the Alamo Bowl.  The Ducks were up 31-0 at the end of the first half, in large part because TCU's star QB Trevone Boykin was suspended for assaulting a police officer during a bar fight earlier this week.  Everyone naturally assumed this would be another blowout game that they could stop watching.  Instead the Frogs pulled out an unbelievable comeback, sending the game into triple overtime.  How on earth did they manage to win the game?  Some will point to several Ducks injuries, including QB Vernon Adams Jr. who sat out the second half with a head injury.  Others may point to Frogs 5th year senior QB Bran Kohlhausen, who suddenly went on a hot streak after an abysmal first half.  But Frogs Head Coach Gary Patterson will say it was his wardrobe change at halftime.

Just peachy (24-17).  The Georgia Bulldogs pulled out their 5th straight victory in yesterday’s win over the Penn State Nittany Lions.  Despite a skeleton crew coaching staff, the Bulldogs looked dominant and even tried out a trick play for a touchdown during the game.  On the other side of the field, Penn State’s QB Christian Hackenberg went out with a shoulder injury in the second quarter.  He was replaced by Trace McSorley who helped keep things interesting, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to pull out a win.

Spotlight on Tim Duncan's First Scoreless Game

Tim Duncan is a future Hall of Fame power forward for the San Antonio Spurs.  He is a 5-time NBA champion, a 3-time NBA Finals MVP, a 2-time NBA regular season MVP, 15-time NBA All-Star, and NBA All-Star MVP. 

But perhaps the most amazing thing about Timmy is that he is 39 years old.  He has somehow defied the laws of aging and is still one of the greatest players in the game.  Seriously, how is he doing this, and where can I get some?

Last night, he showed a rare sign of his age, being held to his first scoreless game in his illustrious 1,360-game career. His teammates weren’t too concerned though, because he played relatively few minutes and was returning from injury.  Teammate Manu Ginobili joked: “If he’s playing until he’s 48, I guess he’s going to have that a couple more times.”  Probably true, but who knows with super-human Timmy.

Hot Read

NFL:  The “Who’s making the Playoffs?” Edition

The NFC playoff contenders are all locked up, but several teams in the AFC are still fighting for a chance to make the playoffs.  Here’s a preview of the games that matter today.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Spotlight for a detailed look at the first round of the playoffs.

Takesies backsies?  The game of the week is today’s New York Jets v. Buffalo Bills matchup.  The Jets have a chance at one of the AFC wildcard spots with a victory against the Bills.  The Bills are out of the race, but you can bet they will be pulling out all the stops to try and ruin the Jets chances.  Why is that?  Because the Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan formerly used to coach the Jets until he was booted at the end of last season.  This year, when Ryan came to the Bills he guaranteed that the Bills would make to the playoffs in Year 1.  Err… about that… When asked about that statement, Ryan said “I wish I wouldn’t say some stupid thing I said.”  Now, at least he and the Bills' NFL-best rushing offense will have the opportunity to stick it to his old team, but they will have their hands full against the Jets' NFL-best rushing defense.

Who else is cheering for Rex Ryan?  The Pittsburgh Steelers.  They are the other team in contention for the AFC wildcard spot.  In order to make the playoffs, they need to pull out a victory against the Cleveland Browns as well as a Jets loss to the Bills.  The two games will be going on simultaneously at 1pm ET, but Steelers players say they will try to keep their heads in their own game, and not to check their phones to find out what’s going on with the Jets.  If the Steelers can stay focused, they are expected to win against the Browns who have had a terrible season and are playing without their starting QB Johnny Manziel who is out due to a concussion.

And the last playoff spot goes to… Both the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts are fighting it out for the AFC South division playoff spot.  If the Texans can pull out a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars today the last spot is theirs.  If they lose, then the Colts stand a chance at taking the playoffs spot with a victory against the Tennessee Titans.  But the Colts probably shouldn’t hold their breath.   Despite the fact that the Texans have cycled through 4 QBs this season and star DE J.J. Watt is still playing with a broken hand, the Texans are still expected to win today.  

If they win, and we win, what happens again?  This is where things get really hairy and all the different playoff seeding possibilities read a little bit like an LSAT logic puzzle.  It makes my head hurt and I really don't want to think about it.  Instead, I’ve bucketed a few different things that teams care about:

  • Teams fighting for home field advantage:  The New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, and Cincinnati Bengals have all made the playoffs, but depending on the outcome of this week, the top team will secure home field advantage for the entire playoffs.
  • Teams fighting for a bye week:  The Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals have both made the playoffs but depending on what happens this week, the top team won’t have to play in the first round of the playoffs.  This is a huge advantage to be able to rest your players, while the other teams duke it out.
  • Teams playing for seeding: There are a bunch of teams that are already guaranteed spots in the playoffs but are looking for the best matchup in the playoffs.  Each team’s ranking dictates who they will play in each round of the playoffs, so some teams will be looking for wins (or possibly losses!) to try and avoid playing other teams.  Stay tuned for more of the nitty gritty details in tomorrow’s Spotlight.