Bernier vs some kid named Jones tonight as Leafs Host the LA Kings
BY: Jeff Schneberk
Kings 20-7-4 at Maple Leafs 16-12-2
Anybody who woke up this morning with any thoughts of a ‘battle-of-the-former-friends’ matchup tonight when the LA Kings come to town to play against our Leafs tonight, are already in for at least one disappointment.
Announced earlier this morning online, Ben Scrivens won’t be getting the start for his ‘new’ team when they come to Toronto to play against his old team.
Due to an injury to Kings’ usual starter Jonathan Quick back on Nov. 12, LA will be going with their usual-third stringer.
Thanks to the good people of TSN, I’m going to get to watch this game on my TV.
This marks the first time the teams have met in Toronto going back to Dec. 19, 2011 when the Kings made off with a 3-2 shootout victory.
So far all the media seems to care about in this tilt is that it won’t be the goaltender battle that we all thought it might be (Reimer vs. Scrivens), and asides of course from the return to the Leaf lineup for winger Joffrey Lupul, it would have been cool to see Scrivens get the start against his former team; of course we all know what usually happens when Leafs trade someone to another team and then he comes back to beat Leafs every time!
Big story: the other ‘half’ of the big story has current Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier set to start against the team that traded him June 23. Rookie goalie Martin Jones was first off the ice at the Kings’ morning skate Thursday and likely starts for the Kings.
“Probably a lot of excitement, maybe nervous a little bit,” Bernier told the Maple Leafs website Tuesday. “And after the first shot, probably it will go away. But it definitely will be a first for me, to get traded and play against my old team. It’s going to be fun.”
Bernier is 9-8-2 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .929 save percentage splitting time with James Reimer (7-4-1; 2.63; .932).
“Obviously, everyone wants to play every game, but with the situation right now, it’s pretty good,” Bernier said. “It’s not like we’re waiting three weeks to get in. We know we’re going to play at least one game a week, which keeps your head in the game.”
Ben Scrivens (7-2-4; 1.56; .943), who was sent to L.A. in the June trade, played 10 straight games for the Kings after Jonathan Quick was injured Nov. 12, but Jones has played the past three, with two straight shutouts, including a 6-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
“They’re both kids, and they’re both trying to buy us some time until Jonathan Quick comes back, and whichever one plays best gets to play,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter told LA Kings Insider.
Kings: Los Angeles has allowed two goals or fewer in a team-record 16 straight games, and has not allowed a first-period goal in any of those. The Kings are 11-1-4 in that stretch.
Scrivens missed a start and has not gotten back into the net.
“Basically, we were going to rotate ‘em the last few games, but Ben wasn’t ready to play in the start he was supposed to have,” Sutter said.
Maple Leafs: Toronto will be without captain Dion Phaneuf after the defenseman on Tuesday was suspended for two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller in a game Sunday.
“Again, it’s another challenge,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “But the challenges are bountiful as we go forward into the season,” he added with a laugh.
INJURIES“But again, somebody else now gets an opportunity to fill those minutes, and some other people get a chance to play the power play and the penalty killing and to chew the 23-28 minutes that Dion plays night in, night out. That’s the way we have to approach it and that’s the way we brought it to our players, it’s seize this as an opportunity.”
Phaneuf leads the Maple Leafs in time on ice at 24:13, three minutes more than any teammate.
“The reality is we have to have somebody, or a group, share in the responsibility,” Carlyle said. “I don’t think, at this point, maybe we can look at one player or two players or three players. I think the level of our defense play has to go up. Now we’re taxing it to a point where we’re going to have to ask more of players that traditionally don’t play those minutes. They play part of those minutes, but they’re going to play the brunt of those minutes. … Honestly, I believe that there are people capable of doing it, and our window to view that will be tomorrow night against the L.A. Kings.”
One of them will be Jake Gardiner, whose ice time was increasing before Phaneuf was suspended. Gardiner played more than 25:00 in three of the past five games.
“We think that he’s calmed down in his play from a turnover standpoint and trying to do too much high-risk, high-reward,” Carlyle said.
Leafs’ dominance in the Atlantic division has tapered off in recent weeks but they still remain above .500 but for how long? They sit in fifth place at 16-12-3 and have a five-point lead over the Ottawa Senators. A win tonight vs the Kings will lift them into a tie with Tampa. Boston continues to dominate the division with 44 points. Montreal is next-best with 41 and Detroit sits one point above Tampa.
LA is tied for second spot in the Pacific division with the San Jose Sharks. LA is at 20 wins and seven losses for 44 points, three less than first-place Anaheim.
BY: Jeff Schneberk
Dec. 21 Gildan New Mexico Bowl Colorado State at Washington State 2pm espn
This one could also be known as the ‘welcome back’ bowl. The Cougars are bowling for the first time since 2003 while Colorado State is back in the postseason after a four-year absence. Both teams are led by coaches in the second year at their schools, Mike Leach at WSU and Jim McElwain at CSU.
Dec. 21 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl 20 Fresno State vs 25 USC 3:30pm abc
With 4,866 yards and 48 touchdowns, Fresno State’s David Carr is a big-name draw. USC’s strength all year has been its defense, and it hasn’t had too many strengths, which makes for an intriguing matchup. Drama has followed the Trojans all year long, yet despite that, they won six of their last eight games. The Bulldogs were a loss away from busting the BCS.
Dec. 21 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl San Diego State vs Buffalo 5:30pm espn
San Diego State rebounded from an 0-3 start to the season to win seven of its last nine games. Buffalo opened 7-2, with its only two losses coming to teams playing in BCS bowl games (Ohio State and Baylor) but dropped two of its last three games. San Diego State will need to run the ball with some success against Buffalo’s stout rushing defense. In the Aztec’s seven wins this season, they ran for two more yards per carry than in their five losses.
Dec. 21 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Louisiana-Lafayette vs Tulane 9pm espn
Tulane will not have to travel far for its first bowl trip in 11 years-the Green Wave will not have to travel at all. They will return to the Superdome in hopes of putting an end to Louisiana-Lafayette’s two-year winning streak in this game while looking to punctuate their first non-losing season in 10 years with a win.
Dec. 23 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg Ohio vs East Carolina 2pm espn
A battle of two underrated quarterbacks is coming to Tropicana Field. East Carolina is led by Shane Carden, the #6 passer in FBS with 3,866 yards and 32 TDs. Ohio brings Tyler Tettleton (2,623 yards, 2oTDs and a 7-5 team to St. Petersburg, Fla).
Dec. 24 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Boise State vs Oregon State 8pm espn
This matchup certainly looks as though it’s headed for a shootout. The Broncos average nearly 39 points a game, and the Beavers boast the third-best passing offense in the country. Both teams finished outside the Top 25 – despite their preseason rankings – because of their dreadful defenses.
Dec. 26 Little Caesars Bowl Bowling Green vs Pittsburgh 6pm espn
Bowling Green returns to Detroit where Friday it claimed its first MAC championship in 21 years. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, ends its run of three straight bowls in Birmingham, Ala. The game features the nation’s #5 scoring defense in Bowling Green (14.8 PPG) and one of the nation’s elite defenders in Pitt’s Aaron Donald, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Dec. 26 San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl 23 N. Illinois vs Utah St. 9:30pm espn
San Diego scored with Northern Illinois, which had looked set for a second-straight BCS bowl game appearance before losing to Bowling Green on Friday night in the MAC championship. So the end for star QB Jordan Lynch comes not against another heavyweight; instead he awaits Utah State and the best defense in the Mountain West.
Dec. 27 Military Bowl Pres by Northrop Grunmman Maryland vs Marshall 2:30pm espn
Maryland became bowl-eligible with a surprising win at Virginia Tech on Nov. 16, ensuring the program its first postseason appearance and winning record under coach Randy Edsall. Marshall win the C-USA East title and seven of its last eight regular-season games. Marshall lost to Virginia Tech in triple overtime on Sept. 21.
Dec. 27 Texas Bowl Minnesota vs Syracuse 6pm espn
Both programs faced September adversity, but the respective responses set the stage for an intriguing matchup. Minnesota battled through a rough patch with coach Jerry Kill’s uncertain health by winning four straight conference games, and Syracuse bounced back after losing its first two games under Scott Shafer to clinch a postseason appearance with six seconds to spare in the season’s final game.
Dec. 27 Fight Hunger Bowl Washington vs Brigham Young 9:30pm espn
With Steve Sarkesian leaving to take the USC head coaching job, QB coach Marques Tuisasosopo will serve as interim coach of the BYU Cougars. Expect fireworks from two of the best offences in the nation – Washington ranks #8 in total offense, BYU #14 – as the teams combine to average more than 1,000 yards a game.
Dec. 28 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Notre Dame vs Rutgers 12noon espn
In a game that will excite its New York fan base, Notre Dame is coming to the Bronx to take on Rutgers. The Irish look to rebound from a loss to Stanford in Tommy Rees’ final college game. Rutgers knocked off USF to become bowl-eligible after losing three straight.
Dec. 28 Belk Bowl North Carolina vs Cincinnati 3:20pm espn
Cincinnati makes a second straight trip to the Belk Bowl, winning the game last year over Duke. This year the Bearcats face another opponent from the state of North Carolina expected to have home-field advantage in Charlotte. The Tar Heels are in the bowl game after a terrific turnaround from a 1-5 start and are relishing the opportunity after a postseason ban in 2012.
Dec. 28 Russell Athletic Bowl 18 Louisville vs Miami (FL) 6:45pm espn
Louisville entered the season a dark horse pick for the BCS National Championship after routing Florida in the Sugar Bowl last season, but a 38-35 loss to UCF on Oct. 18 upended those hopes. Still, Teddy Bridgewater has been exceptional, completing 71 percent of his throws with 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The Cardinals will face Miami, which climbed as high as #7 in the BCS standings before dropping three in a row to start November.
Dec. 28 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Kansas State vs Michigan 10:15pm espn
Michigan has played 134 years of football without facing Kansas State, until now. These two teams followed different paths, as the Wildcats won five of their final six after a rough start, while the Wolverines have lost five of their past seven games.
Dec. 30 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Navy vs. Middle Tennessee 11:45am espn
Navy’s triple-option attack will face a Middle Tennessee State defense that gave up 405 yards of offense per game. But the Blue Raiders are riding a wave of momentum, as they capped their regular season with five straight wins. Navy could also be riding that wave if it can come up with a win when it ends its regular season against Army on Dec. 14.
Dec. 30 Franklin Am. Mortgage Music City Bowl Georgia Tech vs Ole Miss 3:15pm espn
Ole Miss (7-5) will be looking to get its mojo back offensively after losing its last two-games and failing to score more than 10 points per game. The big challenge for the Rebels defensively will be dealing with a Georgia Tech option attack that’s churning out 311.7 rushing yards per game. The Yellow Jackets (7-5) have 45 rushing touchdowns this season.
Dec. 30 Valero Alamo Bowl 10 Oregon vs Texas 6:45pm espn
Both Texas and Oregon had chances to win their conference titles but failed to finish out strong. The Ducks lost to Stanford and Arizona in their final four games. The Longhorns got blown out by Oklahoma State and Baylor. Texas is 4-1 all time against Oregon but lost their most recent meeting in the 2000 Holiday Bowl.
Dec. 30 Nat’l University Holiday Bowl 14 Arizona State vs Texas Tech*10:15pm espn
Arizona State brings one of the top quarterback-receiver combinations in the nation with triggerman Taylor Kelly and aptly named big target Jaelen Strong. And Texas Tech is well, Texas Tech. the two teams combined to average 91.85 pass attempts per game, so this one should be fun to watch and a defensive backs’ nightmare
Dec. 31 AdvoCare V100 Bowl Boston College vs Arizona 12:30pm espn
If you want to see a good running back play, you’ve come to the right place. This year’s AdvoCare V100 Bowl features two of the best backs in the country in Boston College’s Andre Williams (2,102 yards) and Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey (1,716). Both also have 17 rushing touchdowns on the season. Good luck to both of these defenses when it comes to handling these beasts.
Dec. 31 Hyundai Sun Bowl 17 UCLA vs Virginia Tech 2pm CBS
The most intriguing matchup in this game features UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley against the Virginia Tech defense, ranked #4 in the nation in total defense. Hundley is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country with 3,432 total yards and 31 total touchdown. The Hokies’ D did have some trouble with the dual-threat quarterback it faced, C.J. Brown of Maryland.
Dec. 31 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Mississippi State vs Rice Owls 4pm espn
When last we saw Missisippi State, it was celebrating an overtime win over rival Ole Miss that helped the Bulldogs achieve bowl eligibility. Dan Mullen’s club will face Conference USA champion Rice in the Liberty Bowl, after the Owl’s blasted Marshall in the league’s championship game.
Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl 21 Texas A&M vs 24 Duke 8pm espn
Johnny Manziel put Texas A&M on his back for two miraculous seasons yet never made it to the SEC championship game. Despite falling short in what could be his final collegiate season, Manziel will at last get his chance to play under the lights of the Georgia Dome, as his Aggies will face the surprising 10-3 Duke Blue Devils on Dec. 31 in Atlanta.
Jan. 1 TAXSLAYER.COM Gator Bowl 22 Georgia vs Nebraska 12noon espn
It was a disappointing season for both Georgia and Nebraska. They each had aspirations of winning a conference title but fell short of their goal. The Bulldogs were marred with injuries and will be without quarterback Aaron Murray in the bowl game. The Cornhuskers have had quarterback issues of their own, but running back Ameer Abdullah, an Alabama native, has been the one constant for this team
Jan. 1 HEART OF DALLAS BOWL-Pres. By PLAINSCAPITAL BANK N. Texas vs UNLV12noon espn
It’s a strength versus strength in this bowl. The Rebels have the obvious edge on the offense thanks to senior QB Caleb Herring (25 touchdowns to four interceptions). But North Texas boasts the far superior defense, as its ranked No. 27 in yards allowed (355.5 YPG), about 80 fewer yards per game than UNLV
BCS BOWLS (5)
Jan. 1 OUTBACK BOWL No 16 LUS vs Iowa 1pm espn
The Outback Bowl features two team whose records could easily have been better than they were. On one hand, you have Iowa, whose losses (to Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin) were to team with a combined 45-6 record. Then there is LSU, which beat Auburn, but lost at Alabama, at Georgia and at Ole Miss.
Jan. 1 CAPITAL ONE BOWL No 9 South Carolina vs No 19 Wisconsin 1pm abc
If you like the running game, this is a good one for you. South Carolina has one of the SEC’s better backs, Mike Davis (1,134 yards, 11Tds). Wisconsin personifies power football with the nation’s eighth-best rushing attack (283 yards per game) led by Melvin Gordon (1,466 yards, 12 TDs) and James White (1,337 and 13).
Jan. 1 ROSE BOWL GAME PRES. BY VIZIO No 4 Michigan State vs No 5 Stanford 5pm espn
The Rose Bowl will not only be a traditional matchup between the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions, it will also again match top-10 teams. Not only that, but it will match up physical, defense-first teams that prioritize owing the line of scrimmage. Stanford is playing in its second consecutive Rose Bowl. Michigan State will make its first trip to the Rose Bowl since the 1987 season.
Jan. 1 TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL No 6 Baylor vs No 15 UCF 8:30pm espn
Baylor and Central Florida will be playing in the first BCS bowls after finishing of the best regular seasons in their school histories. The Bears own the nation’s highest-scoring offense, led by QB Bryce Petty. But the Golden Knights have a prolific QB of their own in Blake Bortles.
Jan. 2 ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL No3 Alabama vs No11 Oklahoma 8:30pm espn
Months ago, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops called out the SEC for being too top-heavy. Now he gets to see one of the SEC’s top teams front and centre. Alabama still might be the nation’s best team, but it crossed paths with Auburn’s run of destiny, while Oklahoma pulled its own upset over Oklahoma State to become BCS-bound.
Jan. 3 AT&T COTTON BOWL No8 Missouri vs No13 Oklahoma State 7:30pm Fox
It’s a matchup of two teams have played a time or two before. Missouri is familiar with Oklahoma State from its days in the Big 12, but in the Tigers proved this year that they have the talent to compete in the SEC, too. The Cowboys missed an opportunity to play in a BCS bowl with their loss to rival Oklahoma, but they feature one of the better offences in the country.
Jan.3 DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL No7 Ohio State vs No 12 Clemson 8:30pm espn
Ohio State had hoped to play Florida State in the BCS title game but settles for a matchup against the ACC’s second-best team. These teams meet for the first time since Woody Hayes’ infamous punch in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Two electric quarterbacks – Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller.
Jan. 4 BBVA COMPASS BOWL Houston vs Vanderbilt 1pm espn
Vandy has been one of the SEC’s better teams lately (15-4 record in its past 19 games) while Houston enjoyed a three-win improvement over 2012 and leads the nation in turnover margin (plus-23) and takeaways (-40). Two fun receivers to watch here: SEC career leader Jordan Matthews (Vandy) and rising star sophomore Deontay Greenberry (Houston).
Jan. 5 GODADDY BOWL Ball State vs Arkansas 9pm espn
Arkansas State, winner of Sun Belt Conference for the third straight year, technically the away team but has a decided home-away-from-home-field advantage in playing this bowl game for the third straight year. QB Keith Wenning, Ball State’s all-time leading passer, led the Cardinals to 10 wins.
Jan. 6 VIZIO BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP No1 Florida State vs No2 Auburn 8:30pm espn
Auburn’s remarkable ride to Pasadena began by beating Georgia with a Hail Mary, upsetting then-No.1 ranked Alabama and beating No. 5 Missouri to win the SEC championship. No. 1-ranked Florida State is looking to win its first national title since 1999, while the SEC has claimed the past seven national titles.
35 bowl games in total!
BY: Jeff Schneberk
The most interesting part of Week 14 in the NFL was two things, at least. One was this was the first day of the NFL season where football players got to play in the snow. The Eagles and Lions went at it in the fluffy white stuff and so did the Steelers and Dolphins. The one real mystery is how a team from Florida beat them on their own turf…also Cam Newton was brought back to life courtesy of Mr. Drew Brees. New England was very close to losing to the Cleveland Browns, and Peyton Manning lit up the Tennessee defence for another four touchdown passes.
Playing in the snow creates all kinds of interesting challenges that you cannot possibly prepare for in practice (unless of course it happens to be snowing there too).
Anyways, the Ravens and the Vikings were two of the teams that got a real good crash-course in operating in the snow in Baltimore. Pittsburgh entertained Miami in the snow…and still lost! And the Eagles and Lions also had one great big three-hour long snowball fight too.
Here is my summary of the best of the NFL snow wars of Week 14:
Will we ever see a Sunday like we did in Week 14? It was the best Sunday of the year and the drama was amazing. You had it all: snow and late comebacks; Denver’s Matt Prater set an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal; New England Patriots QB Tom Brady rallied from a 12-point deficit with two touchdown drives in the final 2:39 in a 27-26 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Baltimore 29 Minnesota 26
There were five touchdowns in the final 125 seconds. The lead changed five times and the plays couldn’t have been much bigger. Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta caught a 1-yard touchdown pass. Toby Gerhart had a 41-yard touchdown run for the Vikings. Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones had a 77-yard kickoff return for a score. Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson caught a 79-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel. Joe Flacco drove 80 yards in 41 seconds and hit Marlon Brown with the game-winning, 9-yard touchdown pass. Overall, the six lead changes in the fourth quarter were the most in NFL history.
Tampa Bay 24 Buffalo 6
If there was one game that I most definitely would have played Pro-Line on for Buffalo, it would have been this one for sure. Now I am glad I did not do that. After starting the season 0-8, Tampa has come back to win four of its past five games, scoring at least 22 points in each win.
New England 27, Cleveland 26
If there was another game that I am also glad that I didn’t bet on, it woulda been this one. Even though I would have placed my bet on the Pats to win, you know very well that anything can happen when someone kicks a field goal. The Browns kicker was not all that far off, and his kick went right down the middle but fell just short. For the Browns to have pulled that off, would have been epic.
San Francisco 19 Seattle 17
San Francisco beat Seattle in a game that should have totaled many many more points. Kaepernick vs Russell Wilson would be great for an NFC championship showdown but I was disappointed by how slow this game went, thought it could either way too.
SNOW BOWL round 2 Philadelphia 34, Detroit 20
If for no other reason, watching football games being played in the snow is a lot of fun. Makes me wish I was still in high school, having snowball fights in the school yard, that’s what these games feel like when watching on the TV. In this one, Detroit star RB Reggie Bush tweaked his ankle reportedly just before the start of the game and Philly’s LeSean McCoy set a franchise record as the Eagles won in the snow storm.
McCoy ran for a franchise-best 217 yards, including touchdowns of 57 and 40 yards, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame two TD returns by Jeremy Ross to beat the Detroit Lions34-20 in a blizzard Sunday.
The Lions lost running back Reggie Bush when he fell on the slippery field during warmups and re-injured his calf. Matthew Stafford fumbled three snaps in the first quarter and had a costly turnover in the fourth.
Cincinnati 42, Indianapolis 28
Andy Dalton throws 4 TDs against the Colts. Has he ever done that before, ever??! Andrew Luck had four TDs in the loss. Has he ever thrown four before, and lost the game?? Combine both QBs’ passing yards for this game and you have just over 600 yards.
Troubles continue for the Colts post-Peyton Manning era.
SNOW BOWL round 3 Dolphins 34 Steelers 28
Dolphins found a way to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, and in the snow. Miami now at 7-6 while Steelers drop to 5-8. Considering how resilient the Dolphins have been over the past two months dealing with all of the negative spotlight, a couple of snowflakes probably weren’t going to derail them.
Apparently Ryan Tannehill really likes playing in the snow, and running in it, too. Charles Clay bulled through Pittsburgh Safety Troy Polamalu and Cornerback Cortez Allen to score a 12-yard TD with 2:53 left to put the Dolphins out front to stay. Both teams had 14 points in the third quarter.
Broncos 51, Titans 28
Peyton Manning proves that he too, can play in the cold, and win. Kicker Matt Prater proved that he could do it too, as he kicked a 64-yard FG. The temperature was only 18 degrees at kickoff and 14 when Prater kicked his way to one of the most iconic records in the game.
As for all those doubts about Manning’s abilities in the cold: “I won’t try to answer it because I didn’t give it any validation in the first place,” said the quarterback, who is now 4-7 in games where the temperature is 32 or below at kickoff.
Manning’s 39 completions set a team record. His 59 attempts matched a franchise high. His seven games this year with at least four touchdowns are the most in NFL history. He’s now in the playoffs for the 13th time, which breaks a record for a quarterback that he shared with Brett Favre. Manning led the Broncos (11-2) past the 50-point mark for the third time this year, the first time a team has done that since the NFL merger in 1970.
The quarterback’s 4,522 yards and 45 touchdowns this season remain on pace to break the NFL records of 5,476 and 50.
Packers 22, Atlanta 21
Falcons slide continues and now they are at 3-10, they scored all of their points in the second quarter then fell asleep and were shut out for the remainder of the game. Packer QB Matt Flynn won the game with 258 passing yards and a major.
Saints 31 Panthers 13
The Saints were another team that scored 21 points all in the second quarter, then added a FG and a TD in the second half and beat Cam Newton. Not too many teams have been able to do that this season. The last team to beat Carolina was Arizona back on Oct. 6. Carolina has two very winnable games left on their schedule (NYJ and Atlanta); the other game is against these same Saints. Last night’s game was by far the least exciting game of the Panthers’ season IMO.
Chargers 37 NY Giants 14
Here we have two teams both of whom likely had high expectations back in August and both are going absolutely nowhere. Not all that long ago, people talked about Philip Rivers like he’s the best QB in the business, he’s not even close but he keeps showing all kinds of crazy potential.
He used to get in Peyton Manning’s way all the time when Manning played in Indy. This time, Rivers got in the ‘little’ Manning’s way, keeping the Giants off the scoreboard for the entire first half. Manning was held to one TD on 259 yards while Rivers lit it up with three TDs and 10 fewer yards (249).
Chiefs 45, Redskins 10
RGIII’s losing season continues to get worse. Nobody ever thought that the prized-rookie from last year would lose 10 games this season. I remember the jokes running around after week 3 about RG 0-3 and now this. Although it is nowhere near all of his fault, throwing one TD and throwing for only 160 yards are not stats to be happy with. Washington fell behind 17-0 in the first quarter.
Cardinals 30 Rams 10
St. Louis Rams have fallen out of playoff contention. Looks like maybe another year of holding a clipboard for former 1st round draft pick Brady Quinn. Now that the Rams’ season is pretty much done, maybe they will give him the ball a couple times and see what happens??! It probably couldn’t get much worse. Kellen Clemens was picked off twice in 27 pass attempts and was sacked four time.
NY Jets 37, Oakland 27
Raiders fall to 4-9, Jets improve to 6-7. New York puts together 20 points in the first half, then adds another 10 in the third quarter.
Monday Night tonight: Dallas at Chicago
Handful of games on tap last night help set up the BCS Title Game
BY: Jeff Schneberk
There was one last handful of NCAA football games, one of which took us right up until 2am as the Mountain West championship was decided between Utah State and Fresno State, the latter being the victor, but in other action the Ohio State Buckeyes saw their Nation Title bid fall one game short as they lost to the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championships, and the Florida State Seminoles basically put their own finishing touches on their trip to the Title game, blasting the Duke Blue Devils by four touchdowns. Baylor knocked off Texas to win the Big 12 championship and Oklahoma Sooners beat Oklahoma State Cowboys and will face Rutgers in the Fiesta Bowl.
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP (Florida State vs Duke)
Florida State over Duke 49-7
This will be the final BCS title game before next year’s College Football Playoff, which will involve the top four teams.
Florida State (13-0) has won each of its games by at least 14 points.
“We’re not champs yet,” coach Jimbo Fisher yelled to his team after it crushed Duke in the ACC championship game on Saturday night.
Florida State will play for the national title for the first time since the 2000 season, and Winston will likely have to stop in New York to pick up the Heisman Trophy before heading to Southern California. The Seminoles will be looking for their first BCS title since 1999.
FSU takes its second ACC title but now all they can think about are their chances for a BCS title.
It was Florida State’s 12th win by at least 27 points. The Seminoles entered as 29-point favorites after outscoring its opponents by an average of 43 points.
Winston struggled early with overthrowing receivers and the Seminoles failed to score in the first quarter for the first time this season.
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP (Auburn vs Missouri)
Auburn wins 59-42
Tre Mason ran for 304 yards and scored four touchdowns and Auburn (12-1) is now a sure bet for the VIZIO BCS National Championship after No. 2 Ohio State lost to Michigan State 34-24 in the Big Ten championship game. The Tigers are likely headed to Pasadena to face top-ranked Florida State, which routed Duke 45-7 in the Atlantic Coast Championship game.
The Auburn players headed off to watch the games that would decide their fate, the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in Charlotte, N.C., and the Big Ten title contest in Indianapolis. If Auburn misses out on the big game, it will head to the Sugar Bowl as the SEC champion.
Missouri (11-2) should be in the mix for a New Year’s Day bowl, with the Capital One, Cotton and Outback games among the possible destinations.
In a game where neither team played a lick of defense, Auburn finally stopped Missouri on fourth-and-1 deep in its own territory, setting up Mason’s final score. Chris Davis broke up the pass, not quite as thrilling as his 109-yard return of a missed field goal to beat Alabama, but another huge play for the nation’s biggest turnaround team.
Auburn, which was 3-9 a year ago and didn’t win a game in the SEC, claimed the title in its first year under Malzahn. The Tigers didn’t even need a dramatic finish to do it, holding Missouri scoreless in the final quarter while Mason notched two more TDs to break open a game that was close most of the way.
MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPS (Utah State at Fresno State)
Fresno State wins 34-27
Not too often this NCAA-F season has there been a CBS broadcast of a game beginning at 10:30pm, so if you were not in the mood to head to dreamland, there was one more reason to stay awake. And it turned out to be one of the closest games last night too, Fresno State got by with a 34-27 win, but it definitely came down to the late stages of the fourth quarter.
In a season defined by overcoming long odds, Utah State came up just short in the conference championship game.
Third-string quarterback Craig Harrison threw an interception deep in Fresno State territory in the final minute and the Aggies lost the inaugural Mountain West title game 24-17 to the 24th-ranked Bulldogs on Saturday night.
“It’s a tremendous group of young men,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said. “The thing that I’m proud of is they continue to move this program little by little, step by step. They earned the right to be in this game.”
The Utah State Aggies appear to the Poinsettia Bowl.
BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP (Baylor at Texas)
Baylor wins 30-10
Thanks to a 17-point effort in the third quarter, the Baylor Bears are headed to a BCS game as the Big 12 champion, making a reality out of the goal that seemed so far out of reach when Art Briles became their coach six years ago.
“That’s what hit me,” quarterback Bryce Petty said. “This is where it is. This is where that vision was.”
Fans in black, green or gold didn’t even seem to mind the bitter cold — the temperature was 24 degrees at kickoff with the wind chill making it feel much colder. And most stayed around to share in the celebration and a stadium closing ceremony, chanting “Big 12 champs!” and “BCS!” That ceremony ended with representatives from different eras in Baylor history turning over one of the eight light standards in the stadium. The last was Briles.
BIG 10 CHAMPS (Michigan State vs Ohio State)
Michigan State wins 34-24
All Ohio State had to do was get past Michigan State in order to make the Vizio BCS National Championship. In fact OSU Head Coach Urban Meyer was visably as pumped up for this one as I have ever seen him.
The bad news for him was they did not get the win. The other bad news was the crazy fans in East Lansing getting arrested for what starting what was called “a large civil disturbance”.
East Lansing police arrested “multiple people” Saturday night near River and Cedar streets, Capt. Jeff Murphy said in a statement. No injuries were reported in what he called “a large civil disturbance.”
The No. 10 Spartans defeated No. 2Ohio State 34-24 late Saturday, earning its first Rose Bowl appearance in a quarter-century.
Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon issued a statement Sunday expressing pride at the victory and anger at the disorder, vowing punishment for any students involved.
According to espn.com, Ohio State will play Clemson for the Discover Orange Bowl.
RANKINGS GOING INTO MONDAY
RANKINGS (top 10)
1) Florida State
4) Michigan State
7) Ohio State
9) South Carolina
Gardiner scores his first of the season
BY: Jeff Schneberk
In yet another hockey game that easily could have gone either way, and where Leaf goaltending faced nearly 50 shots, they won yet again; they are one of only three teams in the league to win games when facing upwards of 50 shots.
“It seems we work hard for 40 minutes, and establish the kind of game we want to play, then we start taking penalties that change the momentum and we son’t deem to get it back. Tonight, they scored two power play goals that we should have had the coverage on… but we won the hockey game, no matter how you get the points, we are going to take them.”
For the first time in recent memory, Leafs shut out during the shoot out; their first two skaters roofed it (James van Riemsdyk and Mason Raymond) while James Reimer shut the door on both Erik Karlsson and Erik Condra.
During regulation, Reimer received goal support from JVR, Phil Kessel and Jake Gardiner scored his first goal of the 2013-14 season and it was a beauty.
Hopefully defenceman Jake Gardiner will silence those idiots out there that think he should be traded. This is the kind of thing that most blueliners under the age of 25 can’t do (watch the video below). This is the closest thing to a coast-to-coast goal even though it happened in the offensive zone only; Gardiner made his way from the far point, skated to the near point, skated around two guys, cut towards the middle and roofed it…check the celly…
Carlyle continues to face stupid reporter questions about the decision to play Reimer or Jonathan Bernier on any given night.
“Well we have to put somebody in net,” he replied.
Ottawa got goals from former Leaf Clarke MacArthur, Erik Condra and Erik Karlsson. Craig Anderson made 28 saves, and pretty much eliminated himself from any talk regarding playing for the USA Olympic team in February.
The Sens scored twice in the third period to rebound from a 3-1 deficit.
Senators forward Zack Smith would just as soon forget everything related to the Leafs’ second goal, starting when he was knocked down just inside the Toronto blueline and turned the puck over.
Van Riemsdyk was the initial recipient of the turnover as he gained control of the loose puck and started up ice on a 2-on-1 that was eventually turned into a goal by Kessel at 3:05 of the second period.
The bad news didn’t end there for Smith. Following the goal, thinking there should have been a penalty on the play, he was given a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty along with a 10-minute misconduct.
“What we think doesn’t matter. Only when the guy with the orange armbands puts his hand up in the air and calls it a penalty, that’s the only time it’s a penalty,” Senators coach Paul MacLean said.
“We can all argue and say (Nazem Kadri) had his stick in between (Smith’s) legs and he up falling down and they ended up with a 2-on-1 going the other way, but the guy with the orange armbands didn’t put his arm up so it’s not a penalty, it’s a good defensive play.”
Despite the loss, Senators captain Jason Spezza feels the club has performed well in their past half dozen games, even if the results are not as positive as they would like having won just twice in those six games.
“This has probably been our best six block game of the season with our effort, so you’d like to think that first comes the process and then comes the result,” Spezza said.
Toronto continues to get point production from their top players. JVR’s point streak four goals, five assists and nine points in the last six games
Kessel has four goals, four assists and eight points in the last six games
Kessel is on six game point streak
Notes: The game was the second of four meetings between the teams this season. Toronto won the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout on Oct. 5 at the Air Canada CentreaSenators forwards Bobby Ryan and Milan Michalek, who turned 29 Saturday, haven’t scored in eight games,,,Forward Matt Kassian was in the lineup for the first time in the Senators’ last 11 gamesaThe Maple Leafs have the third youngest roster in the NHL with an average age of 26.8 yearsaPaul Ranger and Morgan Rielly were scratches for the Leafs while Eric Gryba and Cory Conacher were scratches for the SenatorsaThe Leafs have lost 80 man games to injury this season compared to just 15 for the Senators.–
Van Riemsdyk led all skaters last night compiling three points, Jason Spezza was next with two assists, Mika Zibanejad also had two assists and Kessel had a goal and assist.
Leafs win on the road for the first time since Nov. 30 in Calgary.
To that end, Collins told the Sun that more than 200,000 tickets have already been sold for Michigan’s hockey love-in that runs from Dec. 27-Jan 1, a lineup that includes the Great Lakes Invitational NCAA tournament featuring Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech and Western Michigan; an OHL doubleheader involving Windsor, Saginaw, London and Plymouth; an AHL clash between the Toronto Marlies and Grand Rapids; two games between Red Wings and Leafs alumni: and, finally, the Winter Classic game between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs.
In the second game of the Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader, Calgary led 1-0 for almost the entire game, before Edmonton tied it with 10.2 seconds left in the third, before Calgary got it back in overtime to win, 2-1.
Tonight is a rematch of the first round of last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs as the Bruins come to town for a very rare Sunday-night thriller.