The Sports Section

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College Football

The big movers this week were from the Big Ten. The Ohio State Buckeyes fell to Michigan State, knocking them from the playoffs for the moment all the way down to #8. Michigan State, not the Buckeyes will play in the Big Ten Championship game and a win against Iowa could definitely shake things up. Unless something very bizarre happens in the last couple of games, it looks like there will be a new NCAA Champion this year. Meanwhile, Iowa remains the only undefeated team in the conference and is #3 in the playoff rankings. It looks like the Big Ten tournament will decide the conference representative in the playoffs. #1 Clemson and #2 Alabama remained at the top after winning last week’s matchups easily. Notre Dame stays at #4 after surviving five overtimes against Boston College at Fenway Park.

The Florida Gators still have an outside chance at making the playoffs even after a close call last week against Florida Atlantic who took the Gators to overtime. Florida won the game 20-14, but the road ahead is a rough one. They face their in-state rival, the Florida State Seminoles Saturday and would need a victory to play for the SEC championship. Even though the Seminoles are lower in the rankings, they enter this weekend’s matchup as the favorite. Things won’t get any easier for the Gators even with a win over FSU. They will have to face Alabama in Atlanta for the SEC championship if they make it there. However, even an SEC championship doesn’t guarantee a spot in the playoffs for the Gators. A Gators victory might only knock the SEC out of the playoffs completely. Nevertheless, anytime the Gators and the Seminoles play, it’s like a bowl game.

NFL

Poor officiating pretty much stole the show on Monday Night. In one of the worst displays of bad calls and a phantom whistle, the Patriots were able to hold off the Buffalo Bills and remain one of the two undefeated teams in the NFL. It wasn’t pretty and with the Patriots down to their 5th and 6th string wide receivers, the Bills still weren’t able to pull off the upset, and fell to New England, 13-20. Not only did the refs blow a whistle early on a play that could have led to a touchdown, but at the end of the game they kept a play running after the Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins ran out of bounds, which resulted in the final seconds of the game running off the clock. I’m pretty sure at that point the officials just wanted their embarrassing night to come to an end. It was the worst officiating of an entire NFL game that this reporter has ever seen. However, after all the smoke cleared, the Patriots remain one of the last two teams to be undefeated.

The Carolina Panthers didn’t need any help from the refs to remain undefeated. One of the favorites to be this year’s MVP, Cam Newton threw for 5 touchdowns and pounded on the Redskins 44-16 and are now 10-0. And speaking of throwing for 5 touchdowns, rookie quarterback Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Bucs also threw for 5 touchdowns in the team’s 45-17 drubbing of the Philadelphia Eagles. Winston tied the rookie record for touchdown passes in a game against the team he grew up rooting for. Tampa also set a franchise record with 283 yard rushing and its 521 total yards were the second-most in regular season franchise history.

Kyle Busch: New Sprint Cup Champion

It was a season of highs and lows for Kyle Busch, but on Sunday it was the highest of highs. Busch completed a comeback that even he couldn’t have seen coming after crashing into a concrete wall at Daytona. Upon impact he instantly knew his right leg and foot were broken and maybe his career was over. He expressed that he had thought about his “pregnant wife and I got no job.” Giving up wasn’t an option for Busch and he began the road to a comeback for the ages. On Sunday Busch finished the final leg of his amazing comeback by winning at Homestead-Miami Speedway to earn his first Sprint Cup Championship, just nine months after his crash the day before the Daytona 500. After watching the season opener from a hospital bed and missing the next 11 races, Busch reeled off four wins in five weeks to earn his berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. After holding off other contenders for three elimination rounds, he was able to take the crown from the odds-on favorite, Kevin Harvick. At the end Harvick was a distant second place and four-time champion Jeff Gordon was sixth. Martin Truex Jr. the fourth driver of the championship field finished the race in 12th place. Busch’s championship gives Joe Gibbs’ his fourth career Cup title. Referred to as “coach,” because of his successful career as head coach of the Washington Redskins (Super Bowl titles in 1882, 1987, and 1991), Gibbs now has more NASCAR championships than Super Bowl rings. Congratulations to Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Mike Yost

Beach Bowl Fantasy Standings

  1. Lights Out (1588) 16-6
    2. Do Your Job (1456) 16-6
    3. 88 Snake (1416)                          15-7
    4. Justin’s Team (1360)                   15-7
    5. Ted’s Team (1383)                       11-11
    6. I Love Big Sacks (1265)              11-11
    7. Cubbie Bares (1291)                   10-12
    8. Winston’s Witch (1240)              9-13
    9.Wyzard o’ whoopass (1252)       7-15
    10. John’s Primos (1229)                7-15