Spieth’s Surge to Stardom

As the last major golf championship of the year came to an end, a familiar face sat near the top of the leaderboard.

That man is the 22-year old Texas native, Jordan Spieth.

Jordan has become the next superstar for the game of golf and already has achieved more than some players do in their whole career.

Before playing on tour, Spieth started as an amateur where he won the U.S Junior Amateur in 2009 and 2011. The only other player to do so? Tiger Woods.

  (Spieth, has surged to the top rapidly, something not matched by anyone except Tiger, Courtesy USA Today)

Ever since, it has been only up from there. Spieth is one of six players in the history of the sport to win the U.S Open and Masters in the same calendar year. He is also the youngest player since Bobby Jones in 1923 to win the U.S Open.

Despite the accolades, it is the maturity of the young player that has fans turning their heads.

In postmatch interviews and press conferences, his demeanor and character on full display, and it is something special. On the 17th hole in Sunday’s PGA Championship, he gave his opposing competitor Jason Day a thumbs up after a great putt. Then, the announcer went on to say what a “class act” Spieth was and how much he has grown since turning pro.

With his rise to greatness, Spieth had the opportunity to become the number one player in the world rankings with a top two finish and Rory McIlroy finishing outside the top 13.

He did that on Sunday when he finished in sole possession of second place, and McIlroy finished in 17th.

Spieth had a chance to be the youngest player ever to win three major championships, but his luck ran out when Jason Day ran away with the lead, shooting a final round of 67. Day became the first golfer in the modern era to finish 20 under par in a major championship.

Although it was a disappointing loss for Spieth, he is now one of four players ever to finish top five in all four majors in the same calendar year. The other three names are Jack Nicklaus, Rickie Fowler, and Tiger Woods.

Spieth can now focus his attention on winning the FedEx Championship, where he holds the lead by a large margin.

The second place player is 1,481 points behind Spieth, which will be very difficult to make up especially with the way Spieth has been playing.

What separates Spieth from the rest of the field is his ability to putt.

(Spieth makes the extraordinary look simple, Courtesy PGA Tour)

For the 2015 season, Spieth is number one in overall putting average (1.51), one putt percentage (44.29%), and birdie average (4.58). This kid (at only 22) is filthy on the greens, and when he is locked in, no one stands a chance.

What Jordan has done for the game of golf and the fans is absolutely amazing and is something the game hasn’t seen since Tiger Woods.

Every time I would watch golf, I’ve found myself only following Tiger, and if he weren’t in the tournament, I would either shut off the TV or change the channel.

Since Spieth has come on to the scene, I am watching all four rounds of golf and always looking where he is at, whether it is in a major or just a regular tournament. Watching four rounds of golf on TV was a foreign idea to me, and now I can’t stop watching.

On Sunday, I found myself yelling and cursing at the television and even rooting for players to hit a bad shot.

Yelling at the television in golf?

I thought yelling at the TV on Sunday was only for football.

Even Bill Simmons tweeted, “1st golfer I’ve really rooted for before Tiger”.

You can call this the Jordan Spieth effect or whatever you want, but this kid has had a huge impact on the game and the craziest part, he is only 22.

So what to expect from Spieth next?

I’m not quite sure because anything is possible for this guy.

He finished 54-under par all together in the four majors, which is a single-season record.

I have no idea how he can do any better than that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he broke that record next year.

So thank you, Jordan Spieth, for giving me another sport to eagerly watch and sit on the edge of my couch. Thank you for lowering my self-esteem because winning two major championships at the age of 22 just seems like a normal thing to do for you.

Week 9 review/week 10 preview

(Raiders vs. Vikings, courtesy of vikingsdigitaldiaries.com)

(Raiders vs. Vikings, courtesy of vikingsdigitaldiaries.com)

W9 Review/W10 Predictions

Remember if you will, a division so bad last year that the division winner had only 7 WINS!  The total division wins for the NFC South were 22 at years end….well guess which division has the most wins of the NFL so far this year at 21 thru W9!

Hard to think that Eddie Lacy was picked Top 5 in most leagues, with just 10 yards this past week.

Tyrod Taylor will likely rush for 80 yards tonight and throw for 300/3.  Jets DEF plays a tight man coverage which it leaves vulnerable to the running QB.

With Dion Lewis now down for the Patriots as RB…what no-name, never-has-been, recent grocery-store clerk, mild-mannered, unknown quantity, secluded and surreptitious, masked, exotic, nameless RB will we all be fighting for to pick up next week?  Stay tuned….same bat time….same bat channel!

Drew Brees is now playing the part of Drew Brees, at least for the last two weeks,  but his stand-in (Brew Drees) is able and ready to show up if needed….

RB DeAngelo Williams is doing his best “Beast-Mode” impersonation to sold-out shows now, and it appears as though the show should continue until the final curtain call.

How does one put up 284 yards without a TD?  Asking for a friend.

STAT OF THE WEEK:  2.1%-  That is the ESPN FFL stat of how many owners have Blaine Gabbert on their roster!  (82%) is the percent of people who read this that will go check this stat out themselves!

Imagine M. Evans WR stats if he had great hands?

JPP was eager to give a “high 3.2” to the closest player he could find after his first tackle.

Unless FFL leagues change rules to “TEAM RB” stats, then the Philly situation is simply frustrating as both Murray and Mathews had good performances, but together they may a stud.  Hmmm…maybe some surgery to combine the two into one Frankenback?  We’ll call him Murrmat!

McFadden RB should now be considered a RB1 now that he is unencumbered by that pesky Rhandle.

Week 10

Vegas has the highest scoring prediction from the Patriots/Giants game, and second is the Saints/Redskins.  The latter being mostly saints points!

I kind of expect Green Bay to put on a clinic against rival Lions this week to get some respect back.  Rodgers will make up for his 77 yard outing with this game as they will be leaping in Lambo.

Carolina Def is a must start clash against the Titans.  Giggity.

Bears at Rams…snoozer alert…Jeffrey WR and Gurley RB  yes, maybe Bennett TE.

Brees should put up good numbers, value in weekly FFL.  (wink)

Dolphins and Eagles has playoff implications so expect a grind, but not much scoring.

Browns will throw everything but the sink at Pitt this week to keep relevant, and Landry QB will have hands full.  But with talent imbalance the Steelers will win.  The only 3 players from this game to play are Brown WR, Bryant WR and Williams RB.

The best game of the week might just be the Vikings/Raiders game…as the mascots might imply that there will be some plundering, thieving, groping and just plain anarchy goin on in that game!  Start ‘em if ya got ‘em!

Patriots vs Giants game will be normal 35-28 type of game with Brady winning and getting the girl in the end.  ( of the game)

Must play DEF of the week: Broncos at home vs rival Chiefs.  Sit all Chiefs.

Most curious game of the week:  Arizona at Seattle.  Should be a great game.

Bengals will look to avenge the Texans for 2 previous playoff losses by lop-sided win.  Play the usual suspects in this game.

-Commish

College Football Week 12 Preview

(TCU and Oklahoma headlines a huge slate of Saturday games, Courtesy AP)

(TCU and Oklahoma headlines a huge slate of Saturday games, Courtesy AP)

Florida Atlantic (2-8) at #8 Florida (9-1), 12:00 P.M.

Florida has been playing great defense all season and the only way that this game could be close is if they aren’t focused. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves will help shut down the FAU passing game. The Gator offense has struggled in recent weeks with quarterback Treon Harris at the helm.

Florida Atlantic has one great player in quarterback Jaquez Johnson, but even he has underperformed this season as he has only thrown for 1356 yards. The Owl defense gives up just eight more yards per game than Florida’s, but that is because of the lesser competition.

The Gators will win once again win because of their defense. Hargreaves will get another interception if Florida Atlantic chooses to throw in his direction.

Final Score: Florida 27 Florida Atlantic 6

#17 North Carolina (9-1) at Virginia Tech (5-5), 12:00 P.M.

North Carolina is flying up the College Football Playoff Rankings with their only loss coming to South Carolina in week one. Quarterback Marquise Williams is having a fantastic year for the Tar heels, who has thrown for 2222 yards and added his running ability to make the offense dynamic. The most impressive thing about UNC is how well their defense is playing, especially against the pass.

Virginia Tech has had a tumultuous season and have only beaten one FBS team with a winning record, which was a win over NC State. The Hokies have one of the best tight ends in the country in Bucky Hodges, who has been hard to cover in the red zone. Virginia Tech has lost its best player, cornerback Kendall Fuller, with a torn ACL, but is still only allowing 170 yards through the air.

Hodges will catch a touchdown pass for Virginia Tech, but it will not be enough for the Hokies. UNC will get a lot of offense from passes to wide receiver Ryan Switzer, which will win them the game.

Final Score: UNC 32 Virginia Tech 20

Purdue (2-8) at #5 Iowa (10-0), 12:00 P.M.

Iowa has gotten to an undefeated season thanks to great offensive line play and great defense. Cornerback Desmond King has eight interceptions which has helped Iowa hold opponents to 18.4 points per game. The Hawkeyes have a balanced offense with a stable of running backs picking up rushing yards and quarterback C.J. Beathard has been passing well.

Purdue allows almost 450 yards per game and gives up 34 points per game. Quarterback David Blough has been a bright spot for the offense, throwing for 1565 yards, but does have eight interceptions.

The Hawkeyes will control the line of scrimmage and win this game.

Final Score: Iowa 31 Purdue 13

#12 Michigan (8-2) at Penn State (7-3), 12:00 P.M.

Michigan still has a chance to win the Big Ten after winning three straight following their loss to Michigan State. Quarterback Jake Rudock is on a hot streak as of late and is doing a great job of protecting the football. The Wolverine defense had a down game against Indiana, but is still only giving up 14.8 points per game.

Penn State also has one of the best defenses in the Big Ten as they have only given up 17.7 points per game. The Nittany Lions have a very talented quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, but he has struggled. The running game has been able to bail him out at times, with Penn State rushing for 143 yards a game.

The Wolverines will shut down the Nittany Lions running game and force Hackenberg to throw interceptions.

Final score: Michigan 29 Penn State 15

#21 Memphis (8-2) at Temple (8-2), 12:00 P.M.

Memphis has two straight losses, but still has an impressive resume. Quarterback Paxton Lynch is a very talented player with a strong arm, which allows the Tigers to attack teams down the field. The Tiger defense is one of the most inconsistent units in the country and can’t be relied on.

Temple lost their second game of the season last week to an average USF team. Their defense, led by linebacker Tyler Matakevich, has been great other than the USF game. Quarterback P.J. Walker is one of the best quarterbacks in Temple history and has thrown 2029 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Lynch will take advantage of the fact that Temple has young cornerbacks who are inexperienced and outscore Temple.

Final Score: Memphis 41 Temple 33

Chattanooga (8-2) at #14 Florida State (8-2), 3:00 P.M.

Florida State has officially changed their starting quarterback to Sean Maguire for this game. Maguire played well in his first start of the season and played decently in relief last week. Running back Dalvin Cook is a very elusive runner that can make plays out of nothing. The Seminoles are loaded with NFL level talent on their defense.

Chattanooga is 8-2 on the FCS level and may be able to make the FCS playoffs.

Florida State shouldn’t have too much of a problem in this game. Cook will rush for over 100 yards.

Final Score: Florida State 54 Chattanooga 14

#9 Michigan State (9-1) at #3 Ohio State (10-0), 3:30 P.M.

Ohio State finally gets to play a marquee game and should show up with their best play of the season. The offense has been better under quarterback J.T. Barrett, but it still relies on running back Ezekiel Elliot to get things done on the ground. The pass defense has been great for the Buckeyes because they have great coverage and a great pass rush.

Michigan State has an ugly loss to Nebraska, but still controls their destiny in the Big Ten. Quarterback Connor Cook has been excellent this season, but his offensive line has been struggling to protect him. The Spartans aren’t getting the same production that they usually get out of their defense, but defensive end Shilique Calhoun is disruptive.

Ohio State’s defensive line will beat the Michigan State offensive line to stop the run and get pressure on Cook. This game won’t be as hard as the experts think.

Ohio State 37 Michigan State 26

#20 Northwestern (8-2) at #25 Wisconsin (8-2), 3:30 P.M.

Northwestern has only lost to Iowa and Michigan this season. Their offense has been very inefficient this season, especially their passing game. Luckily for the Wildcats, their defense has been able to step up and stop the pass.

Wisconsin has been great defensively this season and only gives up 12.3 points per game and 272 yards per game. Quarterback Joel Stave manages games well, but has thrown eight interceptions on the season. They also have a few running backs producing for them, which is essential to their offense.

Wisconsin’s defense is just a little bit better than Northwestern, which will get them the win.

Final Score Wisconsin 23 Northwestern 13

#19 Houston (10-0) at Connecticut (5-5), 3:30 P.M.

Houston had a twenty-point comeback in the fourth quarter to beat Memphis and stay undefeated. Quarterback Greg Ward is one of the best dual threat signal-callers in the country. Houston’s defense gives up 20 points per game, but allows way too many teams to torch their secondary.

Uconn needs one more win to become bowl eligible. Their offense has been bad this season as they only average 19 points per game. The Husky defense is playing really well and is shutting down the pass well.

Ward poses problems for the Uconn defense. The Cougar’s secondary should be safe in this game as the Huskies aren’t great at passing the ball.

Final Score: Houston 35 Uconn 19

#24 USC (7-3) at #23 Oregon (7-3), 3:30 P.M.

Oregon has lost three games this season because of their defense giving up 37.1 points per game. They allow 317 passing yards per game. The offense has been much better since quarterback Vernon Adams has taken over and the Ducks are averaging about 300 yards rushing.

USC has a great passing game thanks to quarterback Cody Kessler, who has thrown for 2715 yards. The Trojan defense, which is led by linebacker S’ua Cravens, is doing a great job of keeping teams out of the end zone as they only allow 22.7 points per game.

The Trojans will torch the Duck’s secondary and give USC the win.

Final Score: USC 45 Oregon 31

UCLA (7-3) at #13 Utah (8-2), 3:30 P.M.

Utah lost their second game of the season to Arizona last week and needs to continue to win for a chance at the Pac-12 championship game. Running back Devontae Booker has rushed for 1261 yards and is also a threat to catch passes out of the backfield. The Utah defense did a great job early in the season when they forced turnovers, but haven’t done that much lately.

UCLA lost to Washington State last week for their third loss of the season. Quarterback Josh Rosen has been phenomenal and thrown for 2904 yards. The defense has been average for the Bruins, but would be a lot better had linebacker Myles Jack not been lost for the season due to a torn meniscus.

Booker will have a big day for the Utes and get a big win to stay in Pac-12 Championship contention.

Final Score: Utah 28 UCLA 24

#15 LSU (7-2) at #22 Ole Miss (7-3), 3:30 P.M.

LSU has lost two straight games now and needs to get back on track. Running back Leonard Fournette hasn’t been playing his best, but it is not his completely his fault. The defense has struggled and allowed over 30 points in the last two games.

Ole Miss has had great offensive success this season, but quarterback Chad Kelly is prone to turnovers. Defensively Ole Miss didn’t play well in their last game allowing Arkansas to score 52 points.

Fournette will be able to have a good game against the Ole Miss defense. Cornerback Tre’Davious White will be able to pick off a pass from Kelly.

Final Score: LSU 34 Ole Miss 26

Wake Forest (3-7) at #1 Clemson (10-0), 3:30 P.M.

Clemson is still the number one team in the rankings and have a great Heisman contender in quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has been a great passer and runner. The Tiger defense has been great especially against the pass this season, because of their great pass rush.

Wake Forest is a very young team and has had a rough season. Their defense is decent, but their offense can’t score.

Watson will have a big stat day and the Tigers will win.

Final Score: Clemson 52 Wake Forest 8

Charleston Southern (9-1) at #2 Alabama (9-1), 4:00 P.M.

Alabama is still playing the best football in the country, but is ranked second again. Running back Derrick Henry has been great recently and is now a frontrunner for the Heisman. The Crimson Tide defense has been playing lights out, especially against the run.

Charleston Southern is a great FCS team this season. According to ESPN’s FPI the Buccaneers have a 0.6% chance of winning this game.

The Crimson Tide will role in this game and get ready for the Iron Bowl in their next game.

Final Score: Alabama 62 Charleston Southern 6

#16 Navy (8-1) at Tulsa (5-5), 7:00 P.M.

Navy is making a late push to be in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Their triple option attack is working to perfection, as they have gained 335 rushing yards per game. The defense has been steady all year and allows 18.4 points per game.

Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans has thrown for 3313 yards on the season to lead a great offense. The Golden Hurricane’s defense is not good and allows over 500 yards per game.

The Midshipmen triple option attack will not be stopped.

Final Score: Navy 33 Tulsa 26

#10 Baylor (9-1) at #6 Oklahoma State (10-0), 7:30 P.M.

Oklahoma State barely got a win over Iowa State last week and now faces a tough challenge. Quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh have both played well this season, with Rudolph throwing for over 3000 yards and Walsh running the ball well. The Cowboys have had a defense that has stopped good Big 12 offenses.

Baylor lost to Oklahoma and needs to win out in order to have a chance at the Big 12 championship. The Bears are playing with backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, but they do have wide receiver Corey Coleman, who is playing like the best receiver in the country. Baylor has given a lot of yards up on the ground this season.

The Cowboys will make Stidham uncomfortable and win the game for Oklahoma State.

Final Score: Oklahoma State 41 Baylor 33

#4 Notre Dame (9-1) at Boston College (3-7), 7:30 P.M., at Fenway Park

Notre Dame stayed at number four in this week’s rankings. The offensive line is the key to this team as all skill position players don’t seem to matter because they are all producing. The Fighting Irish have one of the best defensive players in the country, Jaylon Smith, who makes plays all over the field.

Boston College has a great defense with linebacker Steve Daniels leading the way. They allow only 14.4 points per game. The Eagles are terrible offensively and shouldn’t pose much of a threat.

Final Score: Notre Dame 36 Boston College 6

#18 TCU (9-1) at #7 Oklahoma (9-1), 8:00 P.M.

Oklahoma may be able to sneak into the playoffs if they can win out. Their defense has been doing well, especially against the powerful Big 12 offenses. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has also pushed himself into the Heisman conversation for operating a great offense.

Quarterback Trevone Boykin and wide receiver Josh Doctson are both questionable for this game. The Horned Frogs have a great offense, but will be horrible without these two players. TCU’s defense is has improved this season, but is still not great.

Oklahoma’s defense will stop TCU’s offense, especially without Boykin and Doctson. Mayfield will have a good game.

Final Score: Oklahoma 43 TCU 27

California (6-4) at #11 Stanford (8-2), 10:30 P.M.

Stanford lost to Oregon last week and made their road to the playoffs much harder. Running back Christian McCaffrey has had an outstanding season and has been a nice compliment to quarterback Kevin Hogan. The Cardinal defense had its worst game of the season last week and needs to do better stopping the run.

California has a great pro prospect at quarterback, Jared Goff, who has thrown for 3324 yards this season. The Bear defense hasn’t been great, as they allow 200 yards on the ground per game.

Stanford will be able to run all over the Cal defense.

Final Score: Stanford 41 Cal 30

Five Players to Watch:

1. Connor Cook, Quarterback, Michigan State

Cook is having a great season, but needs to play his best game to beat Ohio State.

2. Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State

Bosa has the potential to have a great game and keep his team in the College Football Playoff.

3. Corey Coleman, Wide Receiver, Baylor

Coleman has another big game and needs to help out his quarterback to get Baylor a win.

 4. Sterling Shepard, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma

Shepard is Oklahma’s best receiver and can have a good game against Baylor.

 5. Cody Kessler, Quarterback, USC

Kessler can get another big win for his team over a bad Oregon defense.

Kaká Shines In All-Star Friendly

Kakà influences a big victory for the MLS All-Stars!

(Kakà influences a big victory for the MLS All-Stars!)

The Major League Soccer All-Stars were able to pull off a big victory in Wednesday evening’s 2-1 win over the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur.

Kaká of Orlando City was able to net a goal and had an assist, giving him Most Valuable Player honors for the game.

Kaká scored on a penalty kick in the 20th minute after Nacer Chadli committed a senseless handball on a corner kick.

New York City FC forward David Villa was able to knock home a goal (24′) on a beautiful cross from Kaká.

The MLS All-Stars held a 2-0 lead in the first 24 minutes of play.

Hotspur forward Harry Kane had two opportunities to score but was denied by MLS goalie Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake.

Kane scored in the 37th minute, however, bringing the score to 2-1.

Kane would leave the game in the 77th minute.

After several heart racing moments in the second half, the score was left 2-1 in favor of the MLS All-Stars.

MLS action resumes this weekend when all 20 teams will be in action.

Frankfurt DOTA 2 Major Groups

(The Frankfurt Major presented by ESL, courtesy of teamliquid.net)

(The Frankfurt Major presented by ESL, courtesy of teamliquid.net)

Well, the days are upon us, the days that have been the topic of discussion all over the eSports world, since it was announced in September.  The Frankfurt Dota 2 Major, the second biggest tournament to date right behind the infamous Dota 2 Internationals.  What makes this tournament so special you might ask?  Well sit back, relax, and I will give you all the details.

Now first off let me explain exactly what the Major is.  The Major is the first of four Dota 2 regional championships, Fall, Winter, Spring and finally Summer, Which will be The Internationals. With a prize pool of $3Million and will be broken down as so, first place $1,110,000, second $405,000, third $315,000, fourth $255,000, fifth and sixth $202,500, seventh and eighth $105,000, ninth through twelfth $45,000 and finally thirteenth through sixteenth $30,000.  That surpasses every single eSports tournament prior to the Dota 2 International 2015, which was just a hair over $18Million.  Yes, $18,000,000.  The largest prize pool of any eSports tournament, ever.  Now, back to the Major, the easiest way to think of the Frankfurt Major is a stepping stone to the Internationals.  Same number of teams, the same format, the same world-class talent, and in my opinion, the same hype.  Now, the Major ran its group stages over this last weekend, with some very exciting gameplay, expected wins and some huge upsets.  Then, starting Monday (November 16th, 2015), the main event will run until Saturday (November 21st, 2015).

For those who are new to Dota, or just need a refresher on The International format, the first stage is the group stage, it will determine the bracket placement for the main event.  There are four groups, A, B, C, and D.  Each playing Best-Of-Three (BO3) in a double elimination format.  The main event will also be a double elimination bracket.  With all qualifiers and semifinals being played in a BO3, with the exception of the lower bracket games, being played in a Best-Of-1, and the Grand Finals, which will be played in a Best-Of-Five.  Now just a reminder, there will be teams who start the tournament in the lower bracket.  So expect some of your favorite teams to be cut on that first day, and possibly, their first game.

To start, Group A and B, which played on Friday, Group A consists of Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, Virtus.pro and Newbee.  Group B consists of Vici Gaming, Unknown.xiu, Vega Squadron, and OG.  Group A started off with Fnatic vs. EG, Fnatic got off to a magnificent start, winning the first game of the series and causing EG fans to fear that they might be falling back into their post TI5 ways, losing.

(EG takes match over Fnatic, courtesy of teamliquid.net)

Game one consisted of EG letting Anti-Mage be picked and placed into the hands of Dominik ‘Black’ Reitmeier, which to be frankly honest, is a big no-no because that is Black’s best hero.  They also allowed him the space to farm up Anti-Mage and split push lanes. While Evil Geniuses went for 5-man Dota, Fnatic went for split-pushing, witch in current meta, is the way to go.  Evil Geniuses however, showed they did come to play in game 2 and 3, winning both games, and taking the series and advancing them to the next bracket, while sending Fnatic down to group A’s lower bracket.

Next up we have Virtus.pro, who also had a good opening day, and as usual put on a good show for spectators. VP ended up facing Newbee twice due to the format, and besides for Game 2 of their first series, which lasted a total of 84 minutes seemed to handle all of the Chinese teams who showed up to the Major, in poor shape.

After advancing, it was time VP met up with EG. Artem ‘fng’ Barshack tried to be a bit innovative, choosing Huskar and Weaver for Ilya ‘Illidan Stormrage’ Pivtsaev in games 2 and 3, but ultimately it didn’t work out for the Russian teams standout. Although, the VP vs. EG series was hands down the best series of group A. If we are to learn anything from group A, it’s that Evil Geniuses are back to what seems to be TI5 shape, and a force to be reckoned with.

In Group B the finals scores were somewhat misleading, for example, Unknown.xui, who despite being the weakest team, in what most are calling the toughest group, put up quite a fight.  In their first game against Vici Gaming, they were winning by a large margin thanks to Alonso ‘kotaro /\ mnz’ Leon Arango’s Templar Assassin but failed to end the game before VG’s Alchemist and Morphling came online with their farm.  Although game 2 between the two teams did not go in favor of Unknown, VG had won the game in 19 minutes with a score of 27-5.  Even after the loss, Unknown has shown they mean business in the world of professional Dota.

ESL One New York winners, Vega Squadron, were also found in group B, and 5 out of their 9 games, had picked Night Stalker for solo to play.  Although Andrey ‘Mag’ Chipenko was Vega’s MVP over the weekend with outstanding Dark Seer plays in his 3 games on the hero. With a win over OG in their first match forced them to play against Vici Gaming for first place in group B.

Vega opened the series with a win, in which Mag’s Dark Seer and Pavel ‘9pashaebashu’ Khvastunov’s Ember Spirit not acquiring a single death in a match which lasted only 26 minutes.  The next two games in the series showed both teams came to play, in matches that were constantly back and forth, featuring Burning playing Wraith King for only his 3rd competitive game on the hero.  VG ended up winning the series but not without a fight.  Forcing Vega into another series with OG.  Vega ultimately prevailed vs. OG, winning the series in 2-1.  Which means Vega and VG will be headed to the upper bracket, while OG and Unknown move directly into the lower bracket to start the main event.

Up next we have Group C and D, which played on Saturday.  Group C consisted of Team Secret, Newbee Young, LGD Gaming and Cloud9, and Group D which consisted of EHOME, Alliance, CDEC and Mineski.  Now looking at this lineup, you expect without a doubt, Team Secret would be victorious out of this group, but as we’ve learned in the world of eSports, nothing is ever that easy.  The first match was Secret vs. Newbee Young, the series ended in favour of Team Secret winning the series 2-1.

(Cloud 9 took on Chinese team, LGD in their battle through group stages, courtesy of Dota 2 tournaments LIVE YouTube)

On the other side of this group was Cloud9 vs. LGD Gaming, in a match which had Cloud9 struggling to secure ground on LGD.  Cloud9 had some decent team fights, unfortunately, poor lane setup in games 1 and 3, had C9 struggling to finish the series off with wins.  Newbee Young finished in 4th place, while Cloud9 took 3rd.   LDG finishing 2nd, and just as most had predicted, Team Secret secured 1st.

Group D was full of surprises, including a Cinderella story for the SEA Dota 2 region.  Mineski managed to do what Fnatic could not, qualify.  The underdog Filipino team managed to upset The Alliance, who entered the tournament in TI3 form, but crumbled to ashes as they did in post TI3.  They also managed to outplay EHOME, in a victory that was nonetheless outstanding, a 2-0 victory.  Sending an open qualifier team to the upper bracket of the main event with the big dogs.  For TI5 runner ups, CDEC, well they never really got challenged in this group, easily finding their way into the upper bracket, facing LGD Gaming for their first match.

The main event starts on Monday, with the brackets looking as so.  Upper bracket, Evil Geniuses vs. Vega Squadron, Vici Gaming vs. Virtus.pro, Team Secret vs. Mineski, CDEC vs. LGD Gaming.  The lower bracket will be, Newbee vs. Unknown, OG vs. Fnatic, Cloud9 vs. The Alliance, and finally EHOME vs. Newbee Young.

~~Jerry “Reth” Bartlett is a former amateur Dota 2 player, playing for teams such as Hyperplex, Aten Wolves and CalStar Gaming. Mainly playing a support role, you can find him now a days spending most of his time playing with friends in the 3k mmr bracket, feeding the pudge in the mid lane or spectating games and writing reviews.~~

Kobe Bryant Ranked 93rd

(We all know Kobe Bryant is better than 93rd, right? Courtesy of, interbasket.net)

Kobe Bryant: No longer elite, but still a star

Kobe Bryant hasn’t played a lot in the past few seasons with various injuries, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a star.

Bryant was ranked 93 in ESPN’s #NBArank for players in the upcoming 2015- 2016 season and is ranked behindplayers such as Clippers’ shooting guard J.J. Redick and Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic.

#NBArank is decided by a panel of experts who are shown a pair of players and must choose who will have a better 2015-2016 season.

The panel got this one wrong.

If Bryant is sidelined again this season he would be worse than those players, but if Kobe plays he is certainly better than the 93rd best player in the league.

Bryant may not be able to dunk as well or jump as high, but he has a lot of different moves that enables him to score. His iconic fadeaway and smooth jumper will still allow him to score at least 17 points per game, which is better than Redick and Mirotic.

Most of Bryant’s critics say he never passes the ball, but he averages 4.8 assists for his career, which is better than a lot of shooting guards. He is currently 30th on the all time assists lists for the NBA and is only behind four non-point guards: Lebron James, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen and Jerry West.

While some aspects of his game will worsen with age and injury, his passing ability shouldn’t.

Age may affect his defense, but he is a twelve time all- defensive team selection and should still be at least an above average defender.

Another reason why Bryant will be better than the 93rd best player in the NBA this season? He has a lot more help than he did in limited action last season in 35 games.

The Lakers picked point guard D’Angelo Russell with the second pick in the 2015 NBA draft. Russell will be able to penetrate and kick to Bryant or vice versa. Last season they had to start second round draft pick Jordan Clarkson at point guard, who showed flashes of being good, but was a last resort to start for the Lakers.

Power forward Julius Randle got hurt in the first game of the season last year and missed the entire season. He has looked good in the preseason thus far and has a rapport with Bryant. Bryant will be able to run pick and rolls with Randle, which will make both players look solid.

Roy Hibbert is the Lakers’ new Center. Although he has struggled offensively the last season and a half he is stilla good defensive center, who is an upgrade over former Laker center Jordan Hill. Hibbert can defend the rim and help out the Lakers on the boards.

The depth is also better for the Lakers as they have guards Lou Williams and Clarkson, rookie forward Larry Nance and  Center Robert Sacre who will get some minutes for the Lakers. These players will be able to give Bryant more rest and will help the Lakers be successful.

Bryant will not be on the All- NBA first team, but he will be a good player for the Lakers if he can remain healthy.

The Lists: Week 10 Edition

(Tom Brady leads this list of MVP’s because well…he’s Tom Brady. Courtesy of, washingtonpost.com)

 

Now everybody loves analysis. That’s why the so- called experts are so expert. But sometimes quantity is better than quality.

Being a full- time college student and a writer for Below Mendoza can be a big workload. So instead of boring you with lengthy explanations for what I believe, I present to you…. The Lists!

The way this will work is I will give you a brief insight into my brains. Prepare yourselves for a set of brief lists that are open for discussion (@CoachKochman or using the GH

forums).

For this edition of The Lists, I’ll hand out some of the most coveted awards in football to studs and sleepers alike. Let’s go!

Most Valuable Player (MVP):

The Studs:

1. Tom Brady à 2015 Tom Brady is putting past Tom Brady’s to shame. We’ll see how the loss of Dion Lewis affects the offense, but with a new and young offensive line. Outside of Sebastian Vollmer, no offensive lineman has more than five years of experience and two of them are rookies.

2. Andy Dalton à The Bengals have for sure surprised me this season. They are 9-0 and I had them going 8- 8 this year. The Red Rifle has done a fantastic job integrating all of the offensive weapons Cincy has to offer rather than just throwing to AJ Green. Jeremy Hill has struggled this season and Dalton has effectively picked upthe slack.

3. Cam Newton à The last of the starting quarterbacks for an undefeated team, Newton follows the trend. He lost Kelvin Benjamin preseason and has found a way to use Devin Funchess, Corey Brown, and Jericho Cotcheryto win games.

The Sleepers:

If you eliminated everyone in MVP contention, these are some guys that could win the next level of MVP and deserve more credit

1. Devonta Freeman à Freeman earned his starting job when Tevin Coleman got hurt early in the season. Since then he has been a huge reason for the Falcons leading the wild card charge in the NFC. He can run the ball and catch the ball and leads the league in both rushing touchdowns and all purpose touchdowns.

2. Antonio Brown à Antonio Brown has had to help out the Steelers to stay competitive in light of the Le’Veon Bell injury. Some may argue that Julio Jones has been better but Antonio Brown has 27 fewer yards receiving with THREE DIFFERENT QUARTERBACKS! It’s difficult to stay elite when you have some combination of Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, and Mike Vick throughout the season

3. Derek Carr à Derek Carr has revitalized the Oakland Raiders organization and made a name for himself at the same time. Using guys like Clive Walford and Seth Roberts, Carr has a stat line to put himself in the conversation for elite quarterbacks. Derek Carr has time to grow as a player too and it helps being on a young and successful team.

Most Likely to Win the Super Bowl:

No explanation necessary

  1. New England Patriots- The best team in football and maybe all-time

  2. Cincinnati Bengals – From top to bottom this team is good, how long can Dalton stay hot?

  3. Green Bay Packers- When they are on, this team is near unstoppable. They just have to prove that they can beat a good team

  4. Denver Broncos- Amazing on defense and shaky on offense. We will get a good look when they place Cincy and the Pats later this season

  5. Carolina Panthers- I still don’t trust the offense but the defense has been big. They need to learn to protect leads better (Colts, Packers)

  6. New York Jets- Sleeper pick! The Jets have a great receiver tandem, running back, and a good defense to back it up

  7. Arizona Cardinals- The Cards started so hot and trounced many opponents. They have the talent on both sides of the ball to compete with anyone

Rookie of the Year:

  1. Todd Gurley- There aren’t many running backs that carry their team and make a defense worried. Gurley has become one of those guys even after coming off of injury

  2. Amari Cooper- Cooper has been the best rookie wide receiver and has shown long- term potential. He’s proven that he can compete with anyone in the league

  3. Jordan Hicks– Hicks is 4th among rookies in tackles and has five turnovers to his name including a pick six

  4. Marcus Peters- Three interceptions including a touchdown makes Peters a nice tool for a Kansas City defense that already has Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, and Justin Houston

  5. Stephone Anthony- The two- headed monster of Anthony and fellow rookie Hau’oli Kikaha has combined for over 100 tackles and 5 sacks. Anthony leads all rookies in tackles

  6. Marcus Mariota- Finally a quarterback, Mariota has had many brilliant games this season but also struggled at times. He needs to continue to get better if he wants to keep his starting job in Tennessee

Scandal of the Year:

Anything that has happened this calendar year that has become notorious. Ranked from most despicable to least despicable.

  1. Greg Hardy –Greg Hardy should not be playing in the NFL right now. He is a good player but a hothead on and off the field. Jerry Jones has managed to draw unnecessary negative attention to the Cowboys in a season where that is the last thing they need

  2. Geno Smith vs. IK Enemkpali –This was kind of harmless at the time, but both players were kinda in the wrong. It wasn’t hard for Geno to just show up to the event or pay back the $600 but then you don’t go and break the QBs jaw. Props to Rex Ryan for rekindling the rivalry with the promotion on Thursday Night Football.

  3. Color Rush –Following the debut of TNF’s Color Rush jerseys, there has been quite some drama. The millions of Americans who suffer from red- green colorblindness were vocal about the impossibility of distinguishing the Buffalo Bills (all red jerseys) from the New York Jets (all green jerseys). Also, the Jaguars color for next Thursday is anything but appealing to the eye.

  4. Running the Ball in the Super Bowl –I did say calendar year so let us just remember the decision that was made in Super Bowl XLIX that resulted in a Patriots victory. This left plenty of Seahawks fans outraged, including Marshawn Lynch’s mom.

  5. Daily Fantasy Sports –DFS has become one of the most popular formats of fantasy football today. Unfortunately, states are arguing that this is a form of illegal gambling. There will be more to come on this issue as the New York situation develops.

  6. DeflateGate –Surprise! Yea, yea, the point of this section was kind of to show the harmless of the media circus that was DeflateGate. The only aftershock we’ve seen is Angry Tom Brady running through the NFL like they were Pop Warner. Thanks Goodell!

Well, that’s all for this issue. Have a list you want me to make? Have some questions about my rankings? Contact me directly on Twitter or the Forums.

AL Playoffs Feature No Front-Runner

(The Kansas City Royals own the number one seed for the AL Playoffs, Courtesy Kansas City Star)

The Houston Astros and New York Yankees led off the 2015 MLB Playoffs last night, with the Astros winning by a final tally of 3-0.

The Astros will now head to the epicenter of barbeque in Kansas City. The Royals finished with the best record in the AL, at 95-67.

In the other matchup in the AL, the Toronto Blue Jays (93-69) welcome the passport-bearing Texas Rangers (88-74) to town.

The AL is particularly clouded compared to the NL. While the NL possesses a front-runner (St. Louis), and a barrage of other capable teams, the AL doesn’t seem to have a favorite.

I will not predict an AL Champion, but I will give a rundown on the ALDS pairings and give a predicted winner.

American League Divisional Series 1:

#5 Houston Astros @ #1 Kansas City Royals

In one of the better parodies displayed in this year’s playoffs, America’s underdog from a year ago hosts America’s underdog for this year.

After winning their wild card game in dramatic fashion, the Royals proceeded to travel all the way to the World Series last season.

This season, the Astros (86-76)  won their wild card game, and are the darling of many playoff fans who don’t have their favorite team in the big dance.

In the playoffs, it often comes down to who has the best pitching staff. Both the Astros and Royals possess aces, so this series will be close.

Kansas City is 4-0 when Yordano Ventura starts in the playoffs, and he’s slated to take the hill in game one.

Houston will be throwing their number two pitcher in Collin McHugh.

(Houston will lean on Dallas Keuchel at least once during the series, Courtesy AP)

Houston owns a better starting pitcher ERA, but KC’s bullpen earns a slight edge. Royals star reliever Wade Davis virtually guarantees a scoreless performance whenever he’s called upon.

Houston’s bats provide a huge source of power, as five players have hit at least 20 home runs for the team.

Neither teams have players that hit for high average, as each squad rosters just one player who hit at least .300 over the course of the regular season.

For some reason, I just can’t see the Astros losing this series. That said, I have to pick Houston to win this matchup in five.

Prediction: Houston in five games, Carlos Correa is MVP

American League Divisional Series 2:

#3 Texas Rangers @ #2 Toronto Blue Jays

The high-flying Blue Jays have ended their 21-year playoff drought thanks to their AL East crown this season. The Texas Rangers are in the playoffs after a short hiatus dating back to 2012.

When the common fan thinks about the 2015 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays, one word comes to mind. That word is power. The Blue Jays have hit the most home runs (by far) in the MLB, and also lead all teams in runs scored.

(Josh Donaldson should be pivatol in Toronto’s quest for a title, Courtesy National Post)

I think this series will be pretty quick and clean. Toronto may let one game slip, but they’ll finish off Texas pretty quickly through their offensive juggernauts

Prediction: Toronto in four games, Josh Donaldson MVP

Page 1 of 212