12.8.14: Happy One Year, SQ!

Good Morning Team SQ! We just want to say thank you so much to you all for reading, sharing, and supporting The SportsQuip for the last year! So with that enjoy this awesome Russell Westbrook dunk from Sunday night.

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

What happened in Week 14 of the NFL? The Seattle Seahawks looked good in a 24-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Oakland Raiders somehow defeated the San Francisco 49ers 24-13, the New England Patriots rallied from a slow start to pick up a 23-14 win over the San Diego Chargers, the Denver Broncos got the win over the Buffalo Bills 24-17, the St. Louis Rams got another shutout win — this time over the Washington Redskins, the Carolina Panthers crushed the New Orleans Saints on the road 41-10, the New York Giants got the win (finally) over the Tennessee Titans 36-7 and last but definitely not least, the Indianapolis Colts had all the luck (cc: Andrew) they needed with a end of game touchdown that helped them sneak past Brandon Hoyer and the Cleveland Browns 25-24.

As we get closer to the end of the regular season, it’s time to start thinking about the playoffs. After this week’s games, the Philadelphia Eagles are tied with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East (they’ll play each other next weekend), the Green Bay Packers lead the NFC North, the Atlanta Falcons are ahead in the NFC South and the Arizona Cardinals have a 1-game lead over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. In the AFC, the New England Patriots remains on top of the AFC East, the Cincinnati Bengals barely control the the AFC North over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Indianapolis Colts remain in front of the AFC South and the Denver Broncos control the AFC West. If the season were to end today, the playoffs would look like this. Here’s the thing — the season doesn’t end today, so stay tuned because a lot could change.

Athletes are talking about race in America. Members of the St. Louis Rams, the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose (NBA), the Detroit Lions’ Reggie Bush and more are voicing their opinions and advocating for a much needed conversation on racism, social and criminal justice. We are thankful for these athletes using the power of sports to draw attention to an important dialogue on race in America.

This week’s Monday Night Football game should be a fun one as the Atlanta Falcons take on the Green Bay Packers on the road.

College Football

After a weekend of conference championship games, Bowl season is finally here. The most important thing you need to know is who made the college football playoff: #1 Alabama, #2 Oregon, #3 Florida State and … #4 Ohio State! That’s right, the committee chose these four teams to compete in the first ever college football playoff. So what does this mean and how will this work exactly? Top seeded Alabama will play lowest seeded Ohio State in the All State Sugar Bowl on January 1st in one of the two college football playoff semifinals while Oregon will play Florida State in the other semifinal at the Rose Bowl also on January 1st. The winners of each game will advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 12th in Texas. Get ready y’all, it’s about to be a fun ride!

So how did we get here? #2 Oregon crushed #7 Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship on Friday to reserve their playoff spot under the strong play of quarterback Marcus Mariota, who will likely be this year’s Heisman Trophy winner. #3 TCU convincingly defeated Iowa State and #6 Baylor picked up a victory over #9 Kansas State to share the the Big 12 Championship Title but neither was enough to advance either team to the college football playoffs. #1 Alabama looked good in their win over #16 Missouri to claim the SEC Championship, and #4 Florida State narrowly took down #11 Georgia Tech to win the ACC Championship game. The real statement came from #5 Ohio State, who dominated #13 Wisconsin to win the Big Ten Championship game and propel themselves into the last playoff spot.

What’s next? Lots and lots and lots of Bowl Games. Of note, #6 TCU will play #9 Ole Miss in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on December 31st and #5 Baylor will play #8 Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl on January 1st as part of New Year’s Six. This is important because TCU and Baylor were the other two teams with a legitimate shot of making playoff that just missed the cut. Check out the schedule here and enjoy as many games as your heart desires throughout December and January.

NBA

You guys, the Golden State Warriors are really good. After winning their 12th straight game on Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls (who are looking pretty good themselves), the Warriors showed us why people should start paying more attention to that NBA best 17-2 record. Also, how can you not love Steph Curry and the real Chef Curry? We love them.

While a lot of folks are talking about Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo having breakfast, we couldn’t help but notice Rondo’s triple double (13 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists) as his Boston Celtics topped former teammate Paul Pierce’s Washington Wizards on Sunday afternoon.

What to watch? The Cleveland Cavaliers (who have won 6 straight and are looking much better with improved defense) will play the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in front of the Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton at Barclays.

College Basketball

We’ve seen a lot of intense games and upsets during this college basketball season. This weekend and last week, we saw #4 Duke ace an early season test with a big road victory over #2 Wisconsin, and #1 Kentucky defeat #6 Texas (and on Sunday Eastern Kentucky) with a dominating second half performance on Friday. #11 Kansas fought back from an 18 point deficit to get the win over Florida 71-65, Yale upset UConn with a buzzer beater, Iowa got a surprising road win over #12 UNC (who won on Sunday against ECU)VCU lost both the game and their 22 home game win streak to #7 UVA, and #9 Gonzaga fell short in OT to #3 Arizona after leading most of the game. Oh, and #17 Michigan lost to the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Just another week…

We can’t tell for sure yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Duke move up to the #2 spot behind #1 Kentucky in the rankings. These two teams are looking impressive and will likely be the ones to beat as college hoops finishes out December 2014.

So, what to watch this week? It’s a light week, but stay tuned for conference play that will heat up towards the end of the month.

The undefeated South Carolina women’s basketball team rallied to defeat the Duke women’s basketball team 51-50 on a putback play in Cameron Indoor Stadium after being down the majority of the game. That means South Carolina will still be #1 when the new rankings come out this week.

Hockey

On Sunday, former Montreal Canadiens players and fans came together to celebrate the life of Jean Beliveau, who passed away on Tuesday at 83. Beliveau is a hockey legend, may he rest in peace.

Is expansion on the way for hockey? NHL owners have their annual meeting this week to discuss several topics including potential expansion cities and teams. It will be interesting to learn what the board of governors have to say about the opportunity.

Don’t be alarmed, but there appears to be a bit of a mumps breakout in the NHL. Okay, maybe outbreak is a little strong, but since mid-October, players from at least 4 teams have been infected by the virus. The NHL is taking precautions and here’s to wishing the players good health!

Other

The LA Galaxy are your 2014 Major League Soccer Cup champs! On Sunday afternoon, the Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 in Landon Donovan’s last game to win their 5th MLS championship. Congrats!

Lindsey Vonn is back on the slopes and appears to be better than ever. Vonn won her first race in about 2 years at the skiing World Cup. She had left competing behind to recover from two severe reconstructive knee operations. Go Lindsey go!

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the most popular NASCAR driver of them all? Dale Earnhardt Jr. No really, he just won the most popular driver award for the 12th time in a row. Wowza.

Major League Baseball kicked off their 113th annual winter meetings in San Diego on Sunday. The gathering brings together representatives of the MLB world.

CM Punk is leaving the WWE and will join the UFC. It’s a big move for one of professional wrestling’s most popular wrestlers and who is expected to fight in 2015.

The US Women’s Soccer team will be in Group D when the World Cup kicks off in 2015. By many accounts, it’s the toughest group and includes: Australia, Sweden and Nigeria.

JUST FOR FUN

Mo’ne Davis is at it again
She made her high school varsity basketball team, even though she’s only in 8th grade! Congrats!

 

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Cutting Costs
University of Alabama-Birmingham Football
UAB made the difficult decision to end their college football program due to finances

Keeping an eye out
The swing doctor is in full force
Chris Como spent years studying the best golfers, and is now bringing his eagle eye and quiet demeanor to Tiger Woods’ side

The Brow
Anthony Davis is growing up fast
He may only be 21 years old, but the New Orleans Pelicans’ player is very special

There’s no I in Team
Mike Miller has a reputation for being a great teammate
Grantland tells us why ‘Everybody loves Mike’ in this neat long read

Parenthood
An interview with parents of two Division I athletes
We wonder how they raised such superstar children, and how they manage game day craziness!

You’re my best friend 
Through the good times and the bad
Caroline nominates Serena for the Sports Illustrated 2014 Sportsman of the Year award

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