The Heisman Memorial Trophy ceremony took place last night in New York City. The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding college football player of the season, based on the votes of qualified sports writers and former trophy winners. While there are thousands of players eligible for the trophy, finalists are chosen based on the number of votes they receive. The three finalists for this year’s trophy were Alabama’s Derrick Henry, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, all three of these players were outstanding all season. Early in the season it was almost certain than Leonard Fournette of LSU would be the runaway Heisman winner, but after his poor performance in a game at Alabama, Derrick Henry became the consensus favorite. Henry won the Heisman in a landslide, but I don’t think the voters got it right. While Henry’s play was tremendous, the Heisman is generally awarded to the best player who has the biggest impact on the best team, and that player in my eyes was Deshaun Watson. Watson lead the nation’s best team to an undefeated season, and he did everything you could ask a quarterback to do. Watson’s leadership was impeccable and his numbers were terrific, but he only managed to gain 148 first place votes to Henry’s 378. McCaffrey also played extremely well this season, but he suffered from the fact that most voters rarely get a chance to see the games played on the west coast live. Derrick Henry had a fantastic season and he definitely put up numbers deserving of the Heisman Trophy, I just think the voters should be required to pay closer attention to the players at the top of their list in order to make the best informed votes. Henry was great for most of the season, but Watson was perfect for the entire year. Now that the season has finally come to an end and the awards have been given out, Deshaun Watson will have a chance in the playoffs to prove that he should have had more Heisman votes, while Derrick Henry will be tasked with proving that he deserved the honor of raising this prestigious trophy.
Today is a big day in sports, while the Major League Baseball season started yesterday with the Cardinals taking on the Cubs, today all other teams get a chance to play. My impressions of yesterday’s game were mostly positive as I love that baseball is back, but it seems like the Cubs just can’t shake their losing ways. The Cubs were shutout yesterday in this seasons inaugural game, and it is starting to look like all of the big changes they made in the offseason won’t help them win a championship this year. The Cubs have not won a championship since 1908, and while I would love to see this “curse” broken, the team needs to believe they can win before they start winning. I know there has only been one game, so I will hold further judgment until at least June, the Cubs will have plenty of time to figure things out before I chide their performance. The team I am most excited for this year, is the New York Yankees, the Yankees have been struggling the past few years, but barring any major injuries, I feel they may have a chance make the playoffs this year. All baseball fans have a strong opinion of the Yankees, and given the fact that the team is very old, the haters have been quite loud in their opposition. I am optimistic this year because the team is extremely talented, and as long as they stay healthy, the Yankees will be a formidable opponent to any team in the MLB.
The last event going on today that will round out this full day of sports is the college basketball championship game, The two teams who have made it to the final game are the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Duke Blue Devils. I have been extremely vocal in my support for Kentucky as they were the most talented team in the tournament, but Wisconsin found a way to defeat them in the Final Four. I really like the Wisconsin team, but I am a Duke fan and I will roll with the Blue Devils, the score of the game tonight will be 68 – 63 with Duke winning the championship. I hope all of the events going on today are enjoyable, and I hope every sports fan out there enjoys the action today.
The NCAA quarterfinals starts today, and all of the teams who have been privileged enough to make it this far will be playing hard to stay in this tournament. This round of the tournament is often referred to as “The Elite 8,” and of the final eight remaining teams there are really no shockers, each team is a perennial powerhouse looking to bolster the notoriety of their program. This weekends games will prove who is the best in each region, and solidify the Final Four matchups. Here are my picks:
Wisconsin over Arizona
Wisconsin plays a slower style of basketball than I am used to enjoying, but the team’s off court antics have me secretly rooting for them to win it all. Wisconsin Forward, Nigel Hayes, has been entertaining college basketball fans with his expansive vocabulary, and his infatuation with stenography. Nigel has been trying to stump the stenographers all week by randomly tossing “academic words” into his press conferences. I hope Wisconsin makes it to the final four, just so media day will be slightly more interesting.
Kentucky over Notre Dame
What can I really say about The Kentucky Wildcats, these extremely talented young basketball players, who have a chance to all be drafted into the NBA this year, are still undefeated. Kentucky even doubled the score of their last opponent after hearing of the Twitter trash talk from one of the team’s players. This team is just too good to root against, and too good to bet against. I not only have them winning this game handily, but I have them completely steamrolling the competition until they raise that trophy.
Duke over Gonzaga
I am a huge Duke fan, and even with all of their close games they have managed to make me proud and get back to the elite 8. Gonzaga is a strong team with great players and solid coaching, but I honestly don’t see Duke blowing it this late in the tournament.
Louisville over Michigan State
I will admit I didn’t really give either of these teams much of a chance to get here, but they have shown to be consistent year after year. Over the past ten years these two teams have a combined 6 final four appearances, along with Louisville winning the championship 2 years ago. This one was a hard decision but I have to pick Louisville in a very close game, this one will surely be exciting wire to wire.
So there you have it, my final four teams are Wisconsin, Kentucky, Duke, and Louisville. I hope all of the games are as exciting as the rest of the tournament has been. I look forward to enjoying this great weekend of college basketball.
Yesterday’s games have ended, and sadly my Albany Great Danes were eliminated, they had a great season, and tried their best but the size of Oklahoma’s front court was too much for them. I will be making my predictions for the next 2 days worth of games right now so I can move on to other topics the rest of the week.
UAB over UCLA
Kentucky over Cincinnati
Ohio State over Arizona
Georgia State over Xavier
Villanova over NC State
Georgetown over Utah
UNC over Arkansas
Notre Dame over Butler
Saturday should be a fun day of basketball. I placed Georgia State as a winner in a shocker, since this team is already looking like this year’s “cinderella.” Georgia State is the little school, seeded as a big underdog, with the coach who celebrates like they won the championship after each win. Coach Ron Hunter has already torn his Achilles during one celebration, and fallen off his chair during another, I would live to see his enthusiasm and love for the game throughout the tournament.
Sunday’s matchups seem a bit tamer that today’s games, as Friday’s winners were the expected teams for the most part. Here are my picks:
Duke over San Diego State
Virginia over Michigan State
Kansas over Wichita State
Dayton over Oklahoma
Gonzaga over Iowa
Oregon over Wisconsin
Maryland over West Virginia
Louisville over Northern Iowa
I chose a few upsets for Sunday, the biggest being Dayton over Oklahoma, the lower seeded teams will have to play extremely well if they want to compete with the favorites, as the top ranked teams playing on Sunday seemed to blow out their opponents in the last round. San Diego State has a chance to beat Duke of they can start strong and keep up with Duke’s shooters. Duke is a very good team, but in past years they have shown that they can inexplicably falter in pressure situations. I know they have new players and a new team, but there is just something about playing for Duke that has these young talented player resting on their laurels, and getting caught off guard.
The “First Four” is over, so the NCAA tournament is finally in full swing. As promised I will now give you my list of first round predictions for today’s games, some are a bit crazy but I will add a few explanations at the end.
Notre Dame over Northeastern
Iowa State over UAB
Baylor over Georgia State
Arizona over Texas Southern
I have chosen all favorites in these matchups since these games seem pretty cut and clear. The only possible upset I am concerned with here is Georgia State over Baylor, Georgia State is on a hot streak and they have a bit of tourney experience thanks to the play of former Louisville guard, Kevin Ware, this game will most likely be much closer than expected.
Texas over Butler
SMU over UCLA
Ole Miss over Xavier
Ohio State over VCU
In this set I have quite a few upsets, most of them are for bracket reasons, but I honestly believe Ole Miss and Ohio state have shown they belong in the “big dance” over the past few weeks of play, and they are primed to let the nation know.
Villanova over Lafayette
UNC over Harvard
Cincinnati over Purdue
Utah over SF Austin
The Utah game will be close, this might be the one to watch in this block of games, SF Austin has been playing hot this entire season. I won’t say much about Villanova since they have been fantastic, and watch out for UNC they are currently playing inspired basketball, I expect them to go a long way in this tournament possibly even to the final game.
Kentucky over Hampton
LSU over NC State
Arkansas over Wofford
Georgetown over E Washington
The only team to talk about in this line is Kentucky, they are young, talented, hungry, and very good. I would be shocked if they even have a close game before the “Elite 8” it may be too soon to crown them champs, but their undefeated record, and convincing wins say otherwise. It would take a tremendous miracle for anyone to beat Kentucky at this point.
That does it for Thursdays matchups, I will return tomorrow to explain how my UAlbany Great Danes have a chance at the “Sweet 16.”
March Madness is here, this is the time of year when business productivity drops, and betting increases, as a bunch of “amateur” athletes vie for immortality. The NCAA tournament has changed slightly over the years, adding teams and play in games, but one thing is certain, when the madness begins, you either join it or get out of the way. This college basketball season has been a long one, yet I have stayed away from watching games to save my viewership for March, and I must say it has been well worth the wait. I really enjoy watching the relative unknowns of the smaller schools, like my alma mater UAlbany, make legitimate cases for the national championship. The NCAA tournament is a time when every school has a chance to be known, as the goliaths of the major conferences try to stave off the efforts of the hungry cinderellas, desperate to get a chance at the crown. The next three weeks will be littered with plenty of astounding basketball games, and amazing stories. I will be posting a full list of my tournament predictions once the table is set, hopefully I do better than I did for the Superbowl. It is going to be a great month of March, enjoy the madness and happy Pi Day everyone!