This weekend, the AFC-NFC Championship games will feature four teams that started the playoffs as favorites to reach the Super Bowl. It will serve as the penultimate episode of a season that was chock full of intriguing subplots which managed to do nothing but fill up think pieces and conspiracy theories. Teams like the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles were like the Bob Bensons of the NFL – just something to keep our minds away from the thought of an inevitability. It was nice to see some fresh teams added into the mix after years out of the picture – greetings from Kansas City/Charlotte – but alas, the favorites prevailed, and there is not a Super Bowl dark horse in sight. Not that this is a bad thing. It’s actually quite to the contrary. If last year’s conference championships games were battles of Davids against Goliaths, this is an all-Goliath fest.
Now that we’ve undoubtedly relinquished our New Year’s resolutions to the pain of reality, we can return to the one constant in this twisted life: J.R. Smith is a raging lunatic. The NBA’s most notorious night owl has been benched, and the Knicks have subsequently begun winning with much more frequency than we saw in the 2013 portion of this season. Elsewhere, the maniacal genius Rajon Rondo has hinted at a possible return to the court on Friday night, and the Eastern Conference has a fourth viable team that is playing over .500 basketball – an excellent defensive squad in the Atlantic Division, of all places, which is where we turn our attention this week.
Last week was not great.
Halfway through the first game of the NFL playoffs, I was feeling cocky. The Chiefs were up big, even after the devastating loss of Jamaal Charles. Andy Reid seemed to have a legitimate game plan.
Then Andrew Luck happened, and the rest of my weekend was downhill from there. Read More
The BCS National Championship Game, the final computer- and poll-generated practice in automated futility before the FBS’s playoff system comes to fruition next season, played out last night in operatic, storybook fashion. Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterback, led an 80-yard, 58-second final drive which concluded in a two-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin, sealing an 18-point comeback victory on Winston’s twentieth birthday. The SEC’s seven-year run of preeminence in college football came to a close, at least for the moment, and a valiant performance from Auburn will surely be lost to the annals of time. No one ever remembers who finished second.
While all of that is well and good, including the 100-yard Kermit Whitfield kickoff return which brought the Seminoles back to within striking distance late in the fourth quarter, the real story happened on ESPN2: the BCS Title Talk portion of ESPN’s BCS MegaCast, an all-eyes-on-us cavalcade of programming which included the game itself, analysis from college coaches and, of course, Title Talk. Jemele Hill and Michael Smith co-hosted a quasi-ESPN office party complete with appearances from country singer Taylor Hicks, actress Cheryl Hines, SEC Network poster boy Tim Tebow and Texas A&M renegade Johnny “Football” Manziel. For the first quarter of the game, Rece Davis and Jesse Palmer seemed entirely uninterested in being there, carrying on side conversations between themselves. Smith spent most of the game attempting to hand out sliders and other finger foods, creating the illusion of a jovial atmosphere. In typical conglomerate fashion, ESPN attached the hashtag #TitleTalk to the program and to the game in general, which elicited a wide variety of responses from participants and onlookers alike.
Happy New Year, ladies and gentleman of the NBA-watching populous. It’s that time of year again, when we use the descent of a magical disco ball in New York City as a metaphor for new beginnings.
We celebrate with copious amounts of alcohol and kisses at midnight. But New Year’s is really all about turning a new page. It’s an arbitrary day to do so, but plenty of things in life are arbitrary. So why not decide to improve your life the same day you hang a new calendar in your kitchen?
Courtesy of myself
Each turn of the calendar at New Year’s brings tradition and hope. For the night itself, for the many opportunities which lie before us and for a carrying on of the memories we created in the previous twelve months. Amid the repeated choruses of “Auld Lang Syne” and Ryan Seacrest’s face invading your television live from Times Square, it can sometimes seem rote to imply that a new year means a fresh start with entirely different ideas to the ones in which we’ve become entrenched. Sometimes, however, retreating to what we know best, a place of comfort, allows us to freely move to a new stage of our lives and get better at whatever it is we’re striving to become, with the people most important to us there for support. Sometimes a combination of the two is the best way.
My Hypothetical SuperContest is over.
It was a great run. There were some great bets, and admittedly some awful ones. There was world travel. There was a lot of love for RUSSELL HUSTLE BUSTLE WILSON. It is a series of articles that I am extremely proud of, and its conclusion left me extremely pleased with my ability to write about sports betting.
It also left me hypothetically broke.
“WORST MOTHERFUCKER NEVER LOVED US.”
This is the first line from Drake’s “Worst Behavior.” I have been listening to this song a lot lately because I am one of those motherfuckers who never loved Drake, got a late pass and decided to listen to this album a month ago. This song has stood out to me because it’s Drake’s musical double middle finger salute. It may be counteracted by “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” but still, this song is the hardest I’ve heard by the rapper pejoratively referred to as Young Garnier Fructis by “Ghostface Killah.”
It’s a song that I didn’t see coming, but that’s because I never held any microscope to the former DeGrassi star. I just assumed Drake was going to keep doing Drake things, like sulking sensually. Nope, Drake has a breaking point when he can’t stop thinking about people like me who never thought he did anything other than the aforementioned. “Worst Behavior” is a Twitter rant, a response to being disrespected. It’s Roy Hibbert’s “y’all motherfuckers don’t watch us” set to a trap beat. It was the soundtrack to my attitude on Friday night, when my social media outlets filled with solid orange glee from Clemson fans.