You know how it works…..15 deserve props, 7 got lucky, and 1 is a total zero. The Ravens don’t factor into the equation until Tuesday’s Top 7. And the weekend started in America on Wednesday night this past week, so we start with everything that happened on Wednesday night.
Please allow me to prop you….
1-DeAngelo Williams and those of us who kept him in our starting lineups
I didn’t make ALL good decisions in fantasy football this weekend; but I briefly considered moving DeAngelo Williams out of my lineup in favor of Jamal Lewis. If I had; all I would have missed out on would have been a guy who ran for 72 yards and FOUR touchdowns as his Carolina Panthers improved to 9-3 in a 35-31 win over the Packers at Lambeau Field. I’m a good decision maker.
2-Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough, and Josh Heytvelt
Griffin had 32 points and 15 boards in Oklahoma’s semifinal win over UAB; then added 18 points and 21 boards to help the Sooners beat Purdue to finish off the NIT season tip-off title at Madison Square Garden. North Carolina wrapped up the Maui Invitational title Wednesday night with 34 points from Hansbrough in a 102-87 win over Notre Dame. And Heytvelt scored 45 points in Orlando this weekend as Gonzaga knocked off Oklahoma State, Maryland, and Tennessee en route to the Old Spice Classic title. Did anyone else find it uncomfortable watching Bobby Maze give the Volunteers a lift off the bench this weekend?
3-Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida Gators
They both could have looked past rivalry games this weekend knowing that a SEC Championship Game and BCS National Championship playoff loomed one week later. But not only did both teams win, they both won convincingly. Nick Saban’s Tide snapped a 5 game losing streak in the Iron Bowl, beating Auburn 36-0 and keeping the Tigers from reaching bowl eligibility. Urban Meyer’s Gators ran all over Florida State in Tallahassee, beating Bobby Bowden’s bunch 45-15. If only Oklahoma was playing Texas again next week; we’d have a real college football playoff system.
4-Terence Garvin and Pat Balderson
Gavin looked like a man amongst boys Thursday in the annual Turkey Bowl at M&T Bank Stadium. He ran for 183 yards and a TD as the Loyola Dons pasted the Calvert Hall Cardinals in front of 12,000 fans. But as good as Garvin was; Linganore’s Balderson was even better. He rushed for FIVE TD’s as Lancers blasted Arundel 59-34 to advance to play for the 4A state title next week.
Does this clinch the AFC West for the Broncos? Just when everyone was penciling the Jets as potential Super Bowl contenders and the Broncos the worst of the AFC playoff teams; Cutler unleashed a 27/43 for 357 yards and 2 TD performance to give Denver a 34-17 pasting of the Jets at the Meadowlands. Maybe the Broncos are for real?
6-Chris Johnson and LenDale White
It was so bad for the Lions on Thanksgiving that Jeff Fisher actually tried calling off the dogs and his RB’s were STILL running for big gains. The duo combined for 231 yards and 4 TD’s as the Titans blew out the Lions 47-10. At one point I actually thought Kerry Collins might start taking knees in the 3rd quarter.
7-The Freaking Steelers Defense
Remember the week we all figured the Ravens would move into a tie for first place because the Steelers had to play AT the Redskins? That didn’t work out so well. But this week we had a much greater reason to think the Ravens would end up in a first place tie; as the Steelers had to visit a resurgent Matt Cassel and the New England Patriots in Foxborough. Once again, it didn’t work out so well. The Steelers forced FIVE turnovers, including interceptions for Lawrence Timmons and Troy Polamalu in a 33-10 win. They added 5 sacks for those scoring at home.
8-The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Clemson Tigers, and Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Florida State might not have given the ACC a win over the SEC; but everyone else who played a SEC team did. After being maligned as a league throughout the season; three teams all stepped up to the challenge Saturday. Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets ran for 409 yards in beat their rival Georgia in Athens. Dabo Swinney likely clinched the head coaching gig at Clemson when his Tigers blew out Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks 31-14. And Wake Forest made a case to not be passed over by ACC bowl tie-ins with their 23-10 win over Vanderbilt.
A lot of people thought Pitt got a “fluke” win over West Virginia in last year’s “Backyard Brawl” in Morgantown; but LeSean McCoy is certainly the real deal. McCoy ran for 183 yards and two HUGE 4th quarter TD’s as the Panthers beat the Mountaineers and likely sowed up a trip to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl in the process.
10-Mark Herzlich and the Boston College defense
For the last 3 weeks, the Eagles have been just one loss away from elimination in the ACC Atlantic Race. But after winning at Florida State and Wake Forest in the preceding weeks; Herzlich’s defense rose to the occasion again; intercepting Chris Turner twice in handing Maryland its first loss against a ranked team in the last 7 tries. The Eagles can avoid being passed over by Bowl games again by beating Virginia Tech next week in Tampa for the ACC Championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl.
11-Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
I don’t think we can be surprised by them anymore. No Courtney Lee, no problem for the Hilltoppers. They pulled a “Patsos” and double teamed stud Louisville freshman Samardo Samuels every time he touched the ball; frustrating Rick Pitino’s team en route to a 68-54 win over the #3 Cardinals. Many think the Cardinals will be a Final Four team this year, but maybe the Hilltoppers could again be a Sweet 16 team themselves.
After losing in the Sweet 16 each of the last two years; the Maryland Terrapins soccer team got revenge in two ways Saturday. Not only did they reach their first Elite 8 since their national title run in 2005; but they also avenged a 1-0 loss to Cal earlier in the season with a 2-1 victory. Gonzalez headed home a set piece from Graham Zusi to put the Terps ahead early, it was his first goal since Oct. 14; and the Terps would never look back. They’ll play Creighton next weekend for the right to advance to the College Cup.
13-Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Donovan McNabb
Manning was 21/34 for 305 yards and a TD as the Giants improved to 11-1 with a 23-7 win over the Redskins at FedEx Field. The NFC East’s other QB’s might not be fighting for a division title anymore; but they still did everything they could to keep their teams rolling towards the playoffs this week. Romo was 22/34 for 331 yards and 3 TD’s as the Cowboys beat up the Seahawks on Thanksgiving; and McNabb rallied from a benching in Baltimore to lift the Eagles over the Cardinals Thanksgiving night using 4 TD passes.
14-Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Look, I don’t play a lot of video games. In fact, while watching my cousins play “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” during our Thanksgiving celebration; I made a crack that my video game life consists of Tiger Woods Golf and Wii Tennis; EA College Football on the old Playstation2, and my frequent visits to FreeTetris.org. But when I saw a trailer for this game during my football watching this weekend; I almost stood up and cheered. It has been a LONG time since I’ve played a Mortal Kombat or Streetfighter-type game; but it I can have Baraka battle Batman; that might well be worth me making a purchase. However, someone else is going to have to buy me an Xbox 360. Haven’t seen the trailer? Take a look.
15-Turkey Sandwiches with Barbeque Sauce
If you have ANY leftover turkey, do this immediately. Grab some; stick it on your preferred type of bread. Now, grab your favorite bottle of barbeque sauce out of the fridge, and dump some on the turkey. It is important that you include leftover mashed potatoes in this meal as well; as the barbeque sauce you put on the sandwich should overflow and mix in with the potatoes. Enjoy; and thank me later.
You got lucky…..
1-Indianapolis Flippin’ Colts
You mean to tell me Peyton Manning threw 2 interceptions; the Colts’ offense didn’t find the endzone ONCE, and the Browns still found a way to lose??? The Ravens could have moved ahead of the Colts in the AFC Wild Card pecking order; but Romeo Crennel’s bunch fumbled away a 4th quarter lead and the Colts hung on for a 10-6 win. Bogus!
I brought a 2 liter of Diet Pepsi, a bottle of cheap wine, and a six pack of holiday beer to my family’s Thanksgiving celebration. Michael Phelps brought this……
That’s a point for you, Michael Phelps.
They looked good in their win over Oklahoma State; I get that. But stay with me. Texas Tech lost to Oklahoma ON THE ROAD. Texas lost to Texas Tech ON THE ROAD on the FINAL PLAY OF THE GAME. Oklahoma lost to Texas by DOUBLE DIGITS on a NEUTRAL FIELD. And yet somehow Oklahoma gets to play for the Big 12 Championship and a trip to Miami to play for the BCS National Championship? Yeah, that makes sense. Say everything you want Bob Stoops; but this one is pretty stinky.
4-The Rose Bowl Committee and the Ohio State Buckeyes
It was probably pretty awkward for Rose Bowl officials to have to book their trip to Corvallis this weekend knowing they would likely have to extend an invitation to the Beavers to play Penn State January 1. It has probably equally as awkward to hear the same officials cheering every time Oregon broke off another TD run in their 65-38 thrashing of Oregon State. It will be even more awkward is those Rose Bowl officials watch UCLA beat USC next week and are forced to invite the Beavers anyway. Jim Tressel must be smiling however, knowing that despite their blowout loss to the Trojans and a home loss to Penn State; he’s just a USC win away from heading back to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.
5-John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines
When DeShawn Sims hit a bucket from the corner as the final buzzer sounded in overtime; all of Ann Arbor raised a collective sigh of relief. The Wolverines trailed 39-19 to the Savannah State Tigers at halftime; and to put together a furious rally just to get to overtime. Hopefully the same Wolverines will show up Wednesday night at Comcast Center against the Terps.
6-Kansas Jayhawks and Nebraska Cornhuskers
Kansas had a double digit lead, blew it, and then needed THIS 4th down heave and a prayer to beat rival Missouri in the annual “Border War” at Arrowhead Stadium. Nebraska had a fake field goal intercepted and returned for a TD; but somehow got their kicker to nail THIS kick…..from 57 yards out…..to beat rival Colorado. Unreal.
My old pal Sam has been working as a media relations assistant at the University of Maryland for a few years now. Just this past year he started working on the PR staff with the Baltimore Ravens as well, you might have read his work at BaltimoreRavens.com. But when media relations superstar Natalia Ciccone took a new job this year; Sam stepped in as the point person for both the field hockey team and the women’s basketball team in College Park. All he’s done in the last 8 days is celebrate a national championship with the field hockey team in Louisville; then spent Thanksgiving in Cancun watching the Terps women sweep three games in a Holiday tournament. Must be a nice life pal.
You’re an absolute zero……
Nutjobs who go shopping at 5am on Black Friday
Look, I get it. There are $349 laptops; half price Ravens jerseys, and $400 flatscreen TV’s. There are plenty of deals to be had; and you want to get them. That’s all well and good, but I’ve been around you people. You’re insane. When I used to work at Best Buy, I had to break up fights between you guys while you were standing in line. It was EXTREMELY frustrating. And then there’s the story that some Black Friday nuts actually stampeded and killed a Wal-Mart employee in New York this year. There is NOTHING worth this type of insanity. Not ever FREE laptops.
Talk to you in the morning.