While the Northeastern part of the United States claims both NFL teams in Super Bowl XLII, the New York Giants and the undefeated New England Patriots, last year’s World Series’ Champion Boston Red Sox, and NBA leading 35-8 Boston Celtics, soon the New York Mets may join this elite group of dominant teams.

Tonight it was announced that Johan Santana, previously a member of the Minnesota Twins, was traded to the New York Mets for four minor prospects.  More than just the immediate impact of helping the New York Mets in real life, which can be assumed is pretty big because one New Yorker reportedly exclaimed, “I just proposed to my wife again” (whatever that means), Johan Santana should shoot up the fantasy baseball drafting boards to a definite top 5 pick.  This is because of the sheer run support that he will receive from the New York Mets who ranked 10th in the MLB and 4th in the National league in runs with 804 in the 2007 season.  His previous team, the Minnesota Twins, were ranked 25th with only 718 runs last season and also ranked dead last post all-star break. Assuming that Santana’s numbers stay roughly the same, and they will, he should turn many of those previously recorded losses with the Twins into wins with the Mets.
Enjoy all of your all-star teams Northeast, while the rest of America just sits on the sidelines watching teams we don’t care about.  Hey, at least we still have the NHL!

#6 USC 37 – #4 Georgia 7

Despite the score, for at least the first half of this game we had a very close game 
on our hands. USC held a slim 10-7 lead at halftime, but in the second half they 
pulled away for a 37-7 victory in the Gator Bowl over Georgia. Unfortunately for the 
Georgia Bulldogs the entire course of this game turned on a 37-yard punt return by 
USC wide receiver Ronald Johnson, which was this game’s nomination for the national 
Pontiac game-changing performance and the play that Johnson the MVP of the game.  
After that the story of the game was turnovers and for Georgia there were a lot of 
them. In the 4th quarter the USC defense forced two turnovers including a 53-yard 
interception for a touchdown by Carry Harris, a junior USC cornerback. Senior USC 
quarterback, John David Booty, did a great job of managing the game and extending his 
career at least one more game. The Trojan defense ended up with 7 sacks, 2 
interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries and will be sure to prove a difficult test for 
the USC Trojan offense, who they face next week.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
USC 3 7 17 10 37
UGA 7 0 0 0 7

First Downs 14 7
Total Offense 227 176
Rushes-Yards 9-14 14-(-33)
Comp-Att-TD 19-31-2 11-28-1
Passing Yards 213 209
Sacked 1 7
3rd Down Conv 3 – 8 (37%) 3 – 10 (30%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 1 – 2 (50%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 4 – 1 – 3 (100%) 1 – 0 – 0 (0%)
Turnovers 0 3
Fumbles – Lost 0 – 0 2 – 1
Intercepted 0 2
PR Yards 50 2
KR Yards 37 121
Total Yards 314 299
Punts – Average 2 – 26.5 3 – 28.3
Penalties – Yards 5 – 50 2 – 20
T.O.P. 10:28 9:32

8 games down and only 3 games left leave us in the semifinals of the EA Sports Virtual Simulation Playoff.  Here are the Final Four match-ups:

#1 Ohio State vs. #9 Florida – Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – Saturday December 29, 2007 
#2 LSU vs. #6 USC – FedEx Orange Bowl – Saturday December 29, 2007

#9 Florida 41 – #3 Oklahoma 14

2008 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators are at it again after 
routing the Oklahoma Sooners in the All-State Sugar Bowl, 41-14. The sophmore Gator 
quarterback carried his team with 250 yards and 4 touchdowns in the air and was named 
MVP of the game. The Gator defense also played a pivotal role in the game causing 
three interceptions, including two on Oklahoma’s first two possessions. Florida took 
a 17-0 into the half and was out to 31-0 lead before the Sooners finally got onto the 
scoreboard in the 4th quarter. The stifling Florida defense also held the Sooners to 
only 128 yards of total offense, most of which were in the 4th quarter when the game 
was already out of consideration.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
UF 10 7 7 17 41
OU 0 0 0 14 14

First Downs 14 4
Total Offense 332 128
Rushes-Yards 16-52 23-62
Comp-Att-TD 19-28-5 2-11-1
Passing Yards 280 66
Sacked 1 2
3rd Down Conv 3 – 9 (33%) 1 – 9 (11%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 1 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 2 – 1 – 1 (100%) 0 – 0 – 0 (0%)
Turnovers 2 4
Fumbles – Lost 1 – 1 3 – 1
Intercepted 1 3
PR Yards 13 3
KR Yards 12 106
Total Yards 357 236
Punts – Average 3 – 30.7 4 – 31.5
Penalties – Yards 2 – 15 4 – 26
T.O.P. 10:45 9:15

The Boston Celtics went 24-58 last season and 33-49 two years ago, this coming after four straight playoff appearances.  There is no doubt that the Boston Celtic’s luck turned around on May 22, 2007 and July 31, 2007 – the days that Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were acquired, respectively.  No one should be surprised that these guys are good, but maybe just how good and how well this team has meshed together so quickly.

The Boston Celtics have glided out to a 34-8 start and virtually insured themselves the Atlantic Division championship with a 10.5 game lead over the Toronto Raptors.  This team has the best trio in the NBA in previously fore-mentioned Allen and Garnett, along with long time Celtic, Paul Pierce.  I applaud general manager, Danny Ainge, for the job he has done getting a solid core of veterans on this team, but with only 13 active players on the Celtic roster it definitely wouldn’t hurt to get another solid veteran before the trade deadline for playoff time.
Outlook & Predictions: If this team can stay healthy, especially the Big Three, I think they will go 64-18 and make The NBA Finals.

Texas Tech 92 – Missouri 84

January 23, 2008 
7:00 PM
United Spirit Arena – Lubbock, Texas
“901! 901! 901!” – this is what the Tech student crowd screamed as the game clock expired; okay, not really, but with his Red Raider victory over the Missouri Tigers Bobby Knight won his 901st career game and his team improved to 11-7(2-2), tied for 5th in Big 12 play.
With that here is your review and breakdown of the Red Raider’s each aspect of the game.
In their second highest scoring effort of the season the Red Raiders had to deal with Missouri’s pesky press all but one possession with about three minutes left in the game.  Though the press did cause a few Tech turnovers, for the most part after Texas Tech got to the front-court they scored quickly and made most of their open shots shooting 26-46 (56.5%).  The Red Raiders also did a good job of playing aggressively and driving towards the basket in route to drawing thirty-one Mizzou fouls and an even fifty trips to the charity stripe.  Tech has finally learned how to play offense-the only problem is they can only do it in Lubbock; the Red Raiders need to get it going offensively on the road too.  Another thing that concerned me was that Texas Tech’s bench was held scoreless and all five starters stayed in almost the entire game.  The bench play only consisted of five D’Walyn Robert minutes, two Trevor Cook minutes, and six Mike Singletary minutes; if this continues to happen than I believe stamina will start to become an issue.
It may sound simple, but the Texas Tech men’s basketball team needs to learn how to rebound the basketball.  The Red Raiders were out-rebounded twenty-three to thirty-six and allowed a ridiculous fifteen offensive rebounds to the Missouri Tigers.  Against the best teams in the nation the Red Raiders would not even have a fighting chance of being in the game if they rebounded like they have in their last three games.  The last game that the Red Raiders have led their opponent in rebounding was January 12 against Oklahoma State.  Since then, in the last three games the Red Raiders have been out-rebounded 100-69 by their opponents and surrendered 39 offensive rebounds.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders head to Austin this weekend to face #12 Texas on Saturday night.  The Red Raiders need to get some Big 12 wins on the road and this would be a very big win if they can beat the University of Texas; the team needs to stay confident and aggressive whether or not their crowd is there or not.

#2 LSU 45 – #10 Hawaii 15

The 2008 Rose Bowl’s result really could not have surprised anyone except for a few 
fans from the Aloha State. LSU dominated early and often scoring the first 17 points 
of the game in route to a 30-point victory over the Hawaii Warriors. Matt Flynn threw 
for 327 yards and 4 touchdowns for the Tigers in the process of being voted the Most 
Valuable Player of the game. Colt Brennan, senior Hawaii quarterback, did throw for 
2 touchdowns of his own in his last college football game, but this was clearly a 
mismatch from the start.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
LSU 10 28 7 0 45
HAW 0 13 0 2 15

First Downs 16 11
Total Offense 439 266
Rushes-Yards 18-119 5-(-3)
Comp-Att-TD 16-25-4 22-42-2
Passing Yards 320 269
Sacked 1 1
3rd Down Conv 4 – 8 (50%) 3 – 10 (30%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 2 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 1 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 2 – 1 – 1 (100%) 1 – 0 – 0 (0%)
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles – Lost 1 – 1 3 – 2
Intercepted 0 0
PR Yards 13 6
KR Yards 58 133
Total Yards 510 405
Punts – Average 2 – 28.0 5 – 25.4
Penalties – Yards 0 – 0 2 – 13
T.O.P. 11:22 9:38

Just Briefly…

January 20, 2008

Here are my two predictions for today’s games:

AFC Championship – San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots
2:00 central, CBS
New England 27, San Diego 17
I hope that the Chargers prove me wrong.
NFC Championship – New York Giants at Green Bay Packers
5:30 central, FOX
Green Bay 31, New York 17
Don’t worry folks I will be back later tonight with some more analysis.

#1 Ohio State 20 – #12 Arizona State 10

This game was much closer than the score made it appear to be.  Arizona State scored 
a touchdown on their opening drive and controlled the game for the entire first half.  
The Bucks added three field goals in the first half taking the score to a 
ASU 10 – OSU 9 halftime score. In what would have been a monumental upset, ASU led 
the game until with three minutes and thirty-six seconds left in the 4th quarter 
Todd Boeckman, Ohio State junior quarterback, hooked up with Brian Hartline for a 
41 yard touchdown pass, a Pontiac Game-Changing Performance play. On Arizona 
State’s last possession of the game they drove the ball down into OSU territory, but 
were forced into a fourth down play and could not convert. Upon getting the ball 
back, Chris “Beanie” Wells added a dagger in the hearts of Sun Devils fans everywhere 

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
ASU 7 3 0 0 10
OSU 0 6 0 14 20

First Downs 11 10
Total Offense 236 275
Rushes-Yards 13-(-1) 27-154
Comp-Att-TD 18-34-1 5-9-1
Passing Yards 237 121
Sacked 4 0
3rd Down Conv 6 – 12 (50%) 2 – 7 (28%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 1 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 3 – 1 – 1 (66%) 2 – 0 – 2 (100%)
Turnovers 1 0
Fumbles – Lost 1 – 1 2 – 0
Intercepted 0 0
PR Yards 13 9
KR Yards 60 41
Total Yards 309 325
Punts – Average 4 – 31.2 4 – 31.0
Penalties – Yards 0 – 0 0 – 0
T.O.P. 9:48 10:12

With the end of the first round of the playoffs, we are down to 8 teams.

Here are your 2nd round match-ups:
#1 Ohio State vs. #12 Arizona State – Capital One Bowl – Saturday, December 22, 2007
#2 LSU vs. #10 Hawaii – Rose Bowl – Saturday, December 22, 2007
#3 Oklahoma vs. #9 Florida – Sugar Bowl – Saturday, December 22, 2007
#4 Georgia vs. #6 USC – Gator Bowl –Saturday, December 22, 2007
Most Intriguing Matchup – Gator Bowl – #4 Georgia vs. #6 USC
My Final Four Prediction – #1 Ohio State, #2 LSU, #3 Oklahoma, #6 USC

Texas Tech 68 – #10 Texas A&M 53
January 16, 2008 
8:30 PM
United Spirit Arena – Lubbock, Texas
For anyone that is not a Texas Tech fan they may dismiss a Tech/A&M game 
as “no big deal”, but anytime these two schools meet it is a big deal, in any sport.  In the midst of a frigid night both teams came out cold and mistake prone.  Unfortunately for A&M they stayed that way most of the night.  The Aggies had a season-high 20 turnovers and shoot a miserable 18-52 (34.6%) from the field.  Texas Tech played good defense except for a few defensive possessions, but the Tech crowd also played a role in the game.  In the first game in the USA with a good sized crowd,  the deafening noise kept A&M out of rhythm for the entire game, except for a few minutes in the beginning of the second half when they went on a 14-4 run to cut Tech’s lead to 8.  Texas Tech took a 17-14 lead with six minutes and seven seconds left in the first half and never looked back.  Martin Zeno led the Red Raiders with 19 points and Trevor Cook added 14 along with 3 three-pointers.
Offense: B 
Texas Tech shoot 22-50 (44%) from the field and for the most part took good shots.  John Roberson took a few crazy shots and he will need to continue to grow into a mature point
 guard in order for this team to have a chance to sneak into the NCAA tournament.  Suddenly Tech also learned how to shoot free throws making 20-25 (80%), much better than they have shoot from the stripe prior this season.  I really liked what I saw tonight on the offensive end; Tech was aggressive, drove to the basket, and patient in finding open shots, despite a slow start.  This consistency will need to continue in the following weeks for the Red Raiders.
Defense: B+
The Red Raider did a good job playing well disciplined defense against Texas A&M tonight, making every point hard to get, and holding their opponent to 17 first-half points.  At the same time, a lot of A&M mistakes were mental ones – mostly travels possibly caused by crowd noise and intensity.

Overall: B+
I am really looking forward to this weekend’s game at Oklahoma to see if Texas Tech has finally come together as a team.  There is no doubt tonight’s game was the best game of this season thus far, but once again the Red Raiders will need to play more consistently in upcoming games, and if they do they can hang with most teams.