Tag Archive | auburn

FBS, BCS, WTF??? Frozen Cheese, a Flopping Foot, and How Hip Is My Mom?

1–Living in Washington DC, you get used to a lot of acronyms: CIA, POTUS, IRS, OMG the NSA sees my FB? But the government has nothing on football championship nomenclature.

Tonight, Auburn and Florida State face off in the “Football Bowl Subdivision” (FBS, previously NCAA “Division I-A” football) Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Championship Presented by Vizio, Dorito’s, Capital One and My Hairdresser. FBS championships are not actually sanctioned by the NCAA, but instead determined by a controversial ranking system (the BCS) and a whole lotta sponsorship money.

Dude, if you freeze to death at this game, it's not that hat I'll eat!

Dude, if you freeze to death at this game, it’s not that hat I’m gonna eat!

On Saturday, there was another Division-I NCAA college football championship between the “Football Championship Series” (FCS, traditionally known as “Division I-AA”) teams. After a month-long playoff tournament, finalist North Dakota State defeated Towson (Md.), 35-7 for the Bison’s third-straight national title. (By the way, Northwest Missouri State was the 2013 Division II winner, and Wisconsin-Whitewater won Division III.) FBS teams will adopt their own playoff system beginning in 2014,  producing what proponents argue will be a “true” champion. The new approach has its critics, but at least we can give the alphabet a little bit of a rest.

2–Green Bay is famous for many things—“Cheeseheads,” Vince Lombardi, the Lambeau Leap, and Butt. Cold. Football. Sunday wasn’t quite the 1967 “Ice Bowl” between Green Bay and Dallas, when the temperature was an all-time game low of minus-13. Pundits geeked out about the potential blizzard conditions all week for the nighttime NFC Wild Card match-up between Green Bay and San Francisco. And temps came close at a balmy 5 degrees. But in the end, the story actually became the game itself, which saw the 49ers top the Packers 23-20 after superb performances from quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers (newly returned from a broken collarbone) and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick (who rushed for 98 yards to become the fifth-highest rushing quarterback in NFL history). Also advancing in this weekend’s playoffs: New Orleans, San Diego and Indianapolis.

3—With its crime, jobless rate, and bankruptcy that had the city seeking to sell off works of art, it’s rare Detroit has anything to celebrate. But Red Wing fans enjoyed the Winter Classic New Year’s Day, the NHL’s annual outdoor hockey game, despite losing to the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2. At the University of Michigan’s “The Big House” stadium (where Michigan football usually plays), 105,000 people watched the teams battle each other and a steady snow that kept rink managers busy, skating back and forth between plays pushing shovels. During intermissions, fans enjoyed family activities, the introduction of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and the Zac Brown Band.

4—Ronda Rousey retained her women’s bantamweight championship title, defeating Miesha Tate Saturday night in the second-ever women’s UFC Championship. It was the eighth consecutive victory for Rousey, a former Olympic judo medalist. After the bout, Rousey turned her back on her opponent’s handshake—the two also face off regularly on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter.

But it was the main men’s fight, a middleweight rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, that stole the show (and had people grabbing for the nearest trash can). In the second round, the two men’s shins collided on simultaneous kicks, snapping Silva’s leg in half on live TV, with a result that resembled…um I don’t know…imagine you are wearing a long winter sock with the foot full of sand, and you are flopping it around in 360 degree circles. Weidman had handed Silva his first defeat in 17 bouts two months ago with a total knockout. Silva vows he will return to the ring.

(And of course, here’s the video. I used the Brazilian version so that maybe the Portuguese is a distraction from the carnage. No? Oh well.)

5–Speaking of gruesome breaks, just a quick tip of the hat to my mother Betsy, who fell and broke her hip the week before Christmas. A lifelong athlete, coach and a Senior Olympian who still holds records in track and field, she’s back home and on the mend–far sooner than she might have if not for making health and exercise such a priority in her daily life. We can’t change our genes or avoid freak accidents (in her case, tripping over the Geeksquad guy as she was hanging Christmas decorations), but we can prepare ourselves better for lifelong health by staying active through sports, the gym, or even just walking the dog (which isn’t so bad for him either!) Go Mom!

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Justin Bieber Takes my Basketball, U.S. Soccer vs. the Scut Farkus Affair, & Lip-Sync Love for Auburn

1—Two things confused me Friday night at the sports bar. 1) Why was Justin Bieber suddenly singing where my Kentucky-Baylor hoops game had been? And 2) When I checked my phone, how had said Kentucky hoops game leapt from the first half to four overtimes?

Say "uncle," America!

Say “uncle,” America!

Then I pieced it together. It was after midnight, thus the Bieber Fever, when the sports bar in my Millennial mecca of Arlington, Virginia, becomes a nightclub (and I start getting “ma’am-ed”). And the UK men had been playing so late because the #5 Kentucky women’s hoops team had battled #9 Baylor before the guys to win 133-130 at the same Dallas venue.

Yes I, a female sports blogger, saw the score on my phone and immediately assumed it was the #3 UK guys (who lost, coincidentally, to the #20 Baylor men). Shame on me because the ladies put up record-breaking numbers: Baylor’s Odyssey Sims scored 47 points, and UK’s Jennifer O’Neill 43, a career high—and she didn’t even start! Altogether, it was the highest-scoring Division I women’s game in history.

2—Auburn topped Missouri Saturday for the SEC title and a berth in the national championship, but fans are still talking about last week’s victory over Alabama. Auburn radio announcer Rod Bramblett’s joyous, “Oh, my Lord in heaven!”  ecstasy over Auburn’s last-second touchdown return has been lauded and played so often, fans have it memorized, including 21-year-old Kaitlyn Reed, who recreates the entire sequence spot-on in this video.

3—The 2014 Men’s Soccer World Cup had its group drawings in host country Brazil Friday, determining which teams will play whom in the first rounds. Team USA landed in Group G, which could be described as something like the movie “A Christmas Story”: the U.S. is Ralphie and pretty much everyone else is Scut Farcus. Group G’s other three teams are #2 Germany, #5 Portugal and #24 Ghana (the U.S. is #14). It’s the only group with two teams in the FIFA top five, and Ghana has knocked the U.S. out of the World Cup before. U.S. midfielder Sacha Kljestan tweeted it as the “Group of Death.”

Here’s hoping the U.S. goes all ‘Roid Ralphie on them: Kricken cracken goldang no good futzipuzz freckle crackle fudge fudge fudgers!!!

4—Speaking of Portugal soccer, you might as well get to know Cristiano Ronaldo now, because you will probably be seeing a lot of him when the World Cup starts next summer. The team captain, he normally plays for Spain’s Real Madrid and is the highest-paid soccer player in the world. He’s also very pretty. Naturally with so many gifts, a museum is being built in his honor.

Museums would be a lot sexier...I mean, educational,  if Ronaldo was in charge.

Museums would be a lot sexier…I mean, educational, if Ronaldo was in charge.

Except he is the one building it. Well, allegedly. Rumors differ, but Ronaldo’s home island of Madeira has announced a museum for the 28-year-old who, unlike most museum honorees, hasn’t done the courtesy of dying quite yet. In some cases he is just donating some trophies; in others, it was his own idea. Regardless, he can certainly back it up with 11 major titles and endless player of the year awards.5—You know of course about Nelson Mandela’s passing. What you might not know was the role sports played in his life and the transformation of his country.

Mandela was an amateur boxer in his youth, crediting the sport with giving him a sense of equality—your opponent was simply your opponent, no matter his class or color. A year into his presidency, his appearance at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg was considered the moment when South Africa was truly united—they beat New Zealand in an upset after years of being banned from international play. Later he was instrumental in landing South Africa the 2010 men’s soccer World Cup. Rest in peace, Madiba.

High Five Headlines! A Painting Pony, Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Prayer Answered, and Archery “Catching Fire” with Girls

1–I hate—hate—cleaning the kitchen. Which is why I am especially glad I skipped it Saturday or I would have missed what is being hailed as one of the greatest college games played in recent memory. Fourth-ranked Auburn topped undefeated and top-ranked Alabama in a closely contested “Iron Bowl,” 34-28 Saturday, locking Auburn into the SEC championship next week over the current national champion Crimson Tide.

The game also saw:

–Alabama’s longest-ever receiving touchdown (T.J. McCarron to Amari Cooper for 99 yards)
–An emergency sewing machine brought out in the fourth quarter to repair Auburn defensive end LaDarius Owens’ ripped jersey (normally there would be backups, but maybe an equipment manager stayed a little too late at the Sigma Chi house Friday?)
–A missed but valiant 57-yard field goal attempt by Bama redshirt freshman kicker Adam Griffith, which was…
–Returned 109 yards by Auburn’s Chris Davis for the winning touchdown
–And an “I’m sorry” kiss to McCarron from his girlfriend and former Miss Alabama, Katherine Webb—an Auburn grad.

Ecstatic Auburn students flooded the Jordan-Hare Stadium field so densely the team could barely move, and the Tiger mascot enjoyed crowd surfing as stunned Alabama fans could only wait it out. The famous rivalry began being played primarily in Birmingham, and dubbed the Iron Bowl as a nod to Birmingham’s role in the steel industry. (As for my kitchen, well I can eat off paper plates for a few days.)

Dames hunger for archery lessons.

Dames hunger for archery lessons.

2–Normally I eschew movie blockbusters, but I freaking loved “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” A flailing dystopian society. Liam Hemsworth. My girl crush Jennifer Lawrence at her REAL WOMAN, kickass bodily best. My admittedly-weird guy crush Woody Harrelson. (Did I mention Liam Hemsworth?) The best part is how the movies have caused a wild increase in archery nationwide—especially for young girls hoping to emulate hunting heroine Katniss Everdeen. Apparently the franchise has caused a huge burst in the sport’s popularity—so much that equipment makers can’t keep up, and USA Archery, the sport’s Olympic governing body, can’t train instructors fast enough. May the odds be ever in their favor—because there are still two movies to come.

3–A horse is a horse, of course, of course—unless he is a former racetrack champion who now paints pictures raising money–not just for treatment of his own life-threatening knee condition, but to save the lives of other racetrack rejects. Meet Metro Meteor, a retired Maryland thoroughbred whose adoptive owners taught him to use his bobbing head motion to paint and raise awareness of injured and unwanted former racehorses (he’s raised more than $45,000!). The story from legendary sportswriter Frank Deford (who reminds me a little of Grandpa from “The Munsters”) played as part of a Thanksgiving series on NPR.

4—The NFL regular season is nearing its end, so every game now—at least for some teams (not my 3-9 Redskins, sadly)—really counts. Tonight, 9-2 New Orleans meets the 10-1 Seattle Seahawks for an NFC Monday Night Football battle. In another highly-anticipated matchup Sunday, the AFC West’s Denver defeated Kansas City 35-28. Yet even teams like Philadelphia and Detroit, both 7-5, and Green Bay (5-6-1) have a little life left depending on their division’s “wild card” scenario. Regardless, if you don’t watch the NFL, now is certainly a fun time to start.

5–And finally, from a kid with maybe the best holiday name ever, Huntington (Ind.) University senior Shane Merryman stunned a crowd possibly bigger than his school’s 1,000-student enrollment with this three-quarter court buzzer beater against Marian, winning with one second left, 61-59.