Oregon Ducks, NFL Playoffs, Ted Williams and Tuesday's Top Sports Stories
Oregon Ducks football fell just a field goal short of their first BCS national title, as Auburn kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired. However, the program has grown exponentially over the last few years, and while fans in Eugene missed out on title celebrations this year, they may have plenty of chances in the near future to pop the bottles and toss the confetti.
NFL playoffs are in full swing. The Seahawks are still under .500, but somehow have advanced past the Wild Card Round, knocking off the 11-5 defending Super Bowl champion Saints.
Perhaps the most exciting and most hyped game of this weekend will be the New York Jets taking on the New England Patriots. The Patriots come into the contest with the NFL's best regular season record (14-2) and will attempt to return to the Super Bowl. Everything is now "personal" for Rex Ryan against Bill Belichick, so this game should be one to watch.
Ted Williams went from homeless to folk hero over night, and we will catch up with him and the latest news surrounding his job offers, new home and reunion with his mother.
All this and more in today's top stories...
Boxing has become stagnant lately, as fans seem to be migrating away from the sport on a small level.
Perhaps MMA and UFC are overshadowing boxing these days, the upstart sport and subsequent league getting all the attention.
However, movies like "The Fighter" starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, and TV series like "Lights Out," set to debut tonight, are attempting to bring the sport back to the national spotlight, and it seems to be working.
"The Fighter" is experiencing success at the box office, and "Lights Out" is projected to have very high ratings.
The world of boxing no longer has huge names and a curly-haired promoter to support it, and will need these types of productions to maintain an image, and draw in paying viewers. Recent debates are arising on whether fights should be on HBO or basic cable, citing a lack of funding and a diminishing fan base. Whatever the case, we examine these ideas to the fullest.
In the spirit of promotion, here is another great idea to promote boxing:
Lionel Messi was named the male FIFA Player of the Year at the FIFA Balloon d'Or according to Yahoo! Sports, The Seattle Times and several others.
Messi joined the female winner, Marta, for the award in their respective leagues. The Seattle Times reports:
"Lionel Messi won his second consecutive FIFA men's player of the year honor Monday and Marta was selected the top women's player for the fifth year in a row.
Argentine forward Messi beat out Barcelona of Spain teammates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta for the renamed FIFA Golden Ball Award, which merged the FIFA player of the year with France Football's Golden Ball.
Messi became the first repeat winner since Ronaldinho in 2004 and 2005.
Messi, 23, received 22.65 percent of the votes cast by national-team coaches and captains, plus selected reporters. Iniesta got 17.36 percent and Xavi received 16.48 percent to finish third for the second consecutive year.
Marta, a 24-year-old Brazilian forward, got 38.2 percent of the vote and Germany's Birgit Prinz got 15.18 percent. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, a former University of Washington standout from Richland, was eighth in the voting at 3.85 percent.
Marta had a stellar season with the Women's Professional Soccer League champion FC Gold Pride. But the franchise, based in Santa Clara, Calif., folded in November."
Ron Rivera will be the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers, according to Adam Shefter of ESPN. The former San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator has agreed to a deal that just needs some "finishing touches" before being officially announced by Carolina officials.
Nationalfootballpost.com also has confirmed the rumors:
"The former Chicago Bears linebacker is expected to be introduced in a press conference tonight.Rivera interviewed twice for the job with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson."
Rivera is a former Bears defensive coordinator who ran the 3-4 scheme in San Diego, but is also familiar with the 4-3, and would fit well with the current play-calling left behind by Fox.
The website goes on to say, "Rivera has learned a variety of defenses from Buddy Ryan and other mentors.A former second-round draft pick, he played for the Bears for nine seasons.Rivera has previous coaching stints with the Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles.The former Cal-Berkeley football standout has interviewed for several jobs in the past, but this is his first head coaching position."
New York Jets fans have faith in Mark Sanchez, but the game might be out of his hands either way against the New England Patriots.
The Patriots defense allows over 250 yards per game through the air, which ranks them 30th in the league in that category. Sanchez should experience some success against the New England defense. However, it's Sanchez's teammates that may decide this one. The Jets defense will have to shut down Tom Brady, and if this one is a high-scoring affair, it will likely go to the Patriots.
The Jets are strong on the ground game, ranking fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game. Does this mean Rex Ryan's plan for the offense will change against the Patriots this weekend? Not likely. New York will still pound it out on the ground, but should mix in a few timely short patterns for Sanchez.
Meanwhile, the Jets defense will be challenged in the secondary. They rank sixth in the league in pass yards allowed, so this one will be solid on both sides. It seems neither team has a clear edge, but Belichick may be the "X-Factor" in this one for the Patriots. This one will come down to defense, which slightly favors the Jets. However, they will have to be on their best behavior to slow down Brady and the Patriots enough to be successful with the running game and some passes from Sanchez.
Marshawn Lynch tore up the surprisingly soft Saints secondary last weekend, so how will he fare against the Chicago Bears?
The Bears hold the second best mark in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, giving up just 90 yards on average per contest. The Saints were nowhere near this mark when they entered their match-up in Seattle with the 7-9 Seahawks, but still stood to blowout the team no one expected to see in the playoffs.
However, the numbers just don't add up for the Seahawks' running game against the Bears rushing defense. This game will likely come down to a battle of quarterbacks. Amid health concerns, Seahawks' starter Matt Hasselbeck still threw for four touchdowns. It was the normally-stout secondary of the Saints that relinquished the game.
Now, the Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch will take their 89 yards per game on the ground (31st in the NFL) to Soldier field to face the Bears and their 90 yards per game on the ground average (2nd in the NFL). If Hasselbeck can defy the odds against the Saints defense, maybe Lynch can do the same to the Bears defense.
But not likely...
Logic will prevail in this one, and the Bears will end the Seahawks brief and unlikely run.
Prediction Score: Bears 34, Seahawks 20
New York Jets fans are buzzing about the possibility of defeating the New England Patriots in this weekend's showdown in Boston. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
The Jets are coming on strong, but there's a reason why the Patriots finished the regular season with two losses, although one of them came in Week 2 at the hands of those same Jets.
Tom Brady appears incapable of throwing an interception, despite tipped and dropped passes. Bill Belichick is quite possibly one of the best coaches in NFL history, according to multiple non-fans and non-bloggers.
Despite Jets head coach Rex Ryan calling the upcoming match "personal" in regards to Bill Belichick, the Patriots seem to have the edge here. As a recent commenter pointed out in a previous article, the interceptions Brady threw against the Jets the first time around were mostly in attempts to force the ball in to a covered Randy Moss.
Since that Week 2 game against the Jets, Brady has only thrown two other interceptions, both in a close victory over the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots put up 45 points on the Jets the second time around, and although this game will likely be much closer, the Patriots won't get knocked out this early.
Bold Prediction: It will be the RAVENS, not the Jets, that the Patriots will have to beware. The Ravens are finding stride and dominated the Chiefs in their opening round game. They seem difficult to solve, and may pose the biggest threat to New England.
Without the website telling me who to predict, I choose the Patriots in this one, in a close contest. While no one is looking, here is my prediction score:
Patriots 30, Jets 24
Michigan football has missed out on Les Miles and Jim Harbaugh, but Brady Hoke could be their next target, and it appears athletic director Dave Brandon is on his way to San Diego to discuss a possible job offer with the San Diego State front man.
Hoke served as the defensive line coach under Lloyd Carr at Michigan from 1995-2002, and is a Michigan fan. This year, he took the Aztecs to a 9-4 record and a 35-14 victory over Navy in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
With the more notable options out of the picture, Hoke could have a harmonious homecoming on the horizon. Enthusiasm will not be a concern for Brandon, and assuredly Hoke couldn't count out the idea of returning to a larger program, this time as a head coach.
Other options are rumored to be Mike Leach, the disgraced former Texas Tech head coach, and Ralph Friedgen, the former Maryland coach who was fired despite successes at the program.
Neither Leach nor Friedgen seems like a good fit in Ann Arbor, where a quiet demeanor and tradition observation reign supreme. Hoke seems like the best fit, although not the most successful option.
BCS championship games are always exciting, but this year will go down in history books as one of the biggest thrillers in series history. The Auburn Tigers defeated the Oregon Ducks 22-19 on a game-winning field goal from Wes Byrum as time expired.
For the Tigers, it marks just their second national title, and first BCS championship. Cam Newton capped off his historical season with a Heisman Trophy and BCS national championship. In the upcoming days, the focus will now shift to the decision before the Auburn QB—to stay in school or enter the 2011 NFL Draft?
Most speculate if Newton were to enter the draft, he would be a mid-first round pick. He is rated as the third-best QB available in the draft, behind Washington's Jake Locker and Arkansas' Ryan Mallet.
For the Ducks, coming up just short of a national title could be just the beginning. The program is certainly on the rise and a sponsorship by Nike ensures their 400-some uniform combinations aren't going anywhere. Darron Thomas and LaMichael James will both be returning next season, so expect to see them in the national spotlight for at least one more season.
Michigan football is sending athletic director Dave Brandon to California in an attempt to lure Brady Hoke away from San Diego State, according to sources and the Michigan plane flight plan on flightaware.com.
This revelation comes just minutes after ESPN and other sources learned LSU head coach Les Miles had decided to stay in Baton Rouge. The Wolverines also missed out on Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, who elected to take a five-year, $25 million deal to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
Hoke served under Lloyd Carr in Michigan from 1995-2002, as the defensive line coach, and his San Diego State Aztecs finished 9-4 this season, 5-3 in the Mountain West. Hoke could represent a transitional phase in the program, as the storied football team looks to regain prominence in college football.
The underlining story of this head coach search is the concerns for Denard Robinson, and what his role will be next season under a new head coach. Robinson thrives in the spread offense, but may get lost in the wayside if the offensive scheme is drastically changed.
Les Miles will be returning to LSU and will not join Michigan, according to multiple sources. The Tigers head coach had been in constant rumors for nearly a week after the Wolverines fired Rich Rodriguez, who had posted a 15-22 record in three seasons.
So what made Miles stay at LSU? Many sources believe it could be revenge. Miles was the prime candidate for the Michigan job three-and-a-half years ago, but the Wolverines eventually informed Miles they were going in another direction. Miles and LSU then became a very successful SEC school, and perhaps Miles no longer needs Michigan.
Another idea centers on a meeting between Miles and Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon just hours ago. Reportedly, Brandon flew to Baton Rouge to discuss the idea, but no agreement could be made, and it is unclear if an offer was made to the LSU coach.
Perhaps Miles realized he has a dynasty brewing with the Purple and Gold, and wants to bring another BCS title to the Bayou Bengals. Whatever the case, Miles will not be donning Maize and Blue next season.
Ted Williams, the homeless man now known as "The Man with the Golden Voice" was detained by Los Angeles police officers on Monday night in Hollywood after a dispute with his daughter at the Renaissance Hotel.
The LAPD responded to a disturbance call in the late hours of the night when an altercation broke out in a room and hallway. According to the Los Angeles Times:
"Williams was eventually released, and the sources said the investigation was continuing. The sources stressed it's unclear if any arrests would result from the probe. Sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing."
Williams was in town with several television appearances lined up, including Entertainment Tonight. He also visited the Lakers for the first time, and was introduced to Kobe Bryant and the rest of the team.
For a man who was panhandling on the streets in Ohio, the story of his overnight success is a true feel-good story. However, problems with the law could quickly turn this into a media frenzy and a "rise and fall" story.
Les Miles will be staying at LSU, according to a tweet from Randy Rosetta of The Baton Rouge Advocate. Rosetta tweeted LSU AD Joe Alleva texted him Les Miles is returning.
Miles had been in several rumors surrounding the vacant Michigan job, even before his Tigers defeated Texas A&M in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. The LSU head coach became the Wolverines' prime target after Rich Rodriguez was fired from the position. In three seasons at Michigan, Rodriguez finished 15-22, well under the standards the storied college football program has come to expect.
Following the Cotton Bowl victory, Miles was repeatedly asked about the possibility of making the move to Ann Arbor, but the LSU front man refused to answer the question directly, praising LSU and Baton Rouge.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon then flew to Baton Rouge to meet with Miles, and just hours after the meeting, it was announced Miles would be staying at LSU.
Les Miles will not be the head coach of Michigan football in 2011, according to freep.com. The website released an article earlier today to announce Miles had decided to return to LSU and spurn Michigan once again.
"Miles, who met with Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon in Baton Rouge, La., Monday night, will remain at Louisiana State, according to a person familiar with the situation."
The revelation comes just days after LSU defeated Texas A&M in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. Rumors had been surrounding Miles and the potential Michigan job almost instantly after the Wolverines fired Rich Rodriguez, who compiled a 15-22 record in just three seasons with the program.
Miles was questioned repeatedly after the game, but would not offer any answer to the questions, repeatedly changing the topic while stating his love for all things LSU and Baton Rouge.
It is unclear what made Miles choose LSU over Michigan, but most sources point to a meeting Miles and Brandon shared in Baton Rouge. However, it has not been reported that Brandon offered Miles the job.
Read more: LSU's Les Miles won't be next Michigan coach | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20110111/SPORTS06/110111041/LSU-s-Les-Miles-won-t-be-next-Michigan-coach#ixzz1AkZq1DS7
Eva Longoria and Tony Parker are officially no longer an item, but Longoria now has new problems: She was hit with a lawsuit by her favorite R&R spot in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Beso has filed for bankruptcy protection, reportedly $5 million in debt. According to Astrochicks.com, Longoria was in Sin City as late as this weekend, posing for a photo shoot to gain publicity for Beso.
The website said:
"Yesterday Eva Longoria posted on Twitter: ‘Yesterday at Beso Vegas! It is gorgeous in there!’ she tweeted on Sunday.’ Eva also tweeted a couple of photos of her lounging around inside, including one in a revealing lace dress."
In the lawsuit, an investor by the name of Mali Nachum claims that Eva Longoria lent $1 million to Beso's holding company in order to receive increased interest described by media outlets as "amounting to a staggering $4.6 million over just two years."
The accord between Longoria and Beso is illegal in California, and the subsequent fines for Beso by the state of California are tremendous. Longoria will now be paying high prices for lawyers in her divorce and the pending lawsuit.