Sunday, November 21, 2010

Colorado Rapids claim MLS Title

An own goal in overtime gave the Colorado Rapids a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas in Sunday's MLS Cup Final. It is the first championship in franchise history for Colorado.

Macoumba Kandji was credited with the goal in the 107th minute to give Colorado the lead. Kandji appeared to hit the ball off the back of a FC Dallas defender, redirecting it into the goal past goalkeper Kevin Hartman. Kandji appeared to be injured on the play and immediately left for the locker room, leaving the Rapids to finish the remainder of overtime with only 10 players.

FC Dallas got off a few shots in the final moments, one of which was saved in brilliant fashion by Colorado goalie Matt Pickens. 

Midseason NFL Report: NFC West and South

We're finishing the NFC portion of the Midseason NFL Report, concluding with the West and South divisions. The AFC portion of this blog will be available before the radio show on Tuesday.

NFC West

Current Record: 5-5
Final Record: 9-7

How bad is the NFC West this year? The Seahawks team stats: 22nd in Passing, 28th in Rushing, 28th in Passing Yds allowed, and a mediocre 14th in Rushing Yds allowed. 185 points scored, 233 allowed. Matt Hasselbeck has 7 TD's and 7 Int's. Despite such mediocrity, this Seahawks team would have a home game if the playoffs started today. That's how bad the NFC West is. They have the Chiefs and Panthers at home, both very winable games especially with the 12th man in the house. Then they have San Fran, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta to test their durability and these games will be crucial if they want to sneak into the playoffs. I do not want to see an 8-8 team in the playoffs, so I'll say the Seahawks finish 9-7.

Current Record: 4-6
Final Record: 6-10

It's pretty unbelievable this Rams team turned around a terrible season last year, into a season that can best be described as "not too shabby". Well considering that they are 4-6 and only a game out of 1st place in the NFC West, these boys from St. Louis could accidentally win this division. Steven Jackson has been up and down with only 3 TD's and 700 yards. Sam Bradford is a strong candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and their run defense is top 10 in the NFL. They have the Cardinals, Saints, and Chiefs in a row and that's what scares me. Not to mention Denver in Mile High, and the Niners and Seahawks to end the season. All those teams hittin the Rams back to back....I see them ending 2-4. Compared to last season, if they end 6-10 the Rams can pat themselves on the back for a pretty solid turnaround.

Current Record: 3-7
Final Record: 5-11

This Niners team was supposed to run away with this division this year, then joined the list of lost causes after the first month and a half. Searching for their first win, all the while making Goodell feel sick for giving London a game between them and the Broncos. But then a win in Oakland, followed by a 2 game win streak, now winners of 3 out of 5....wait a minute! This team is sort of back in the hunt. Only 2 games out, this Niners team got a fresh start with Troy Smith, who has been looking pretty solid but not the answer. They have a pretty tough schedule to end out the season, including 4 division games, Green Bay and San Diego. I say they win 2 games at best and finish this disappointing season 5-11.

Current Record: 3-7
Final Record: 4-12

Bye weeks are supposed to be gifts from the schedule makers to grant a team a week of rest. Teams usually thrive after this time, but not the Arizona Cardinals. 3-2 heading into their bye week, they have not won since they beat the Saints on Oct 10th. This team lost its veteran leadership they had in Kurt Warner, and Derek Anderson proves that they need a valid QB. Obviously slumping, they are not above 27th in any category on offense or defense. They have 4 home games remaining, but despite that I think they keeping falling and end 1-5, bringing them to a dismal 1-10 after their bye week.

College Football Thoughts

All across the country yesterday, the college football action was stellar. LSU scored in the final minute at home to beat Ole Miss, Stanford kicked the door down against Cal to win the annual "Big Game," and the Big 10 stayed gridlocked at the top with a berth to the Rose Bowl on the line.

But nothing was more special (at least for us local fans) than UC Davis' 17-16 victory in the Causeway Classic over Sacramento State. It was an epic, rain-soaked game which included a 47-minute severe weather delay during halftime because of torrential rain and lightning. The wind was consistently between 25 and 30 MPH, with gusts of winds close to double those numbers. I wasn't at the game, but just on television you could get an idea of how insane the weather was. After the delay, roughly 1,000 of the announced 9,785 remained at Aggie Stadium.

The Aggies kicked a field goal with 6:34 remaining after a game-changing turnover gave UC Davis the ball inside the Sacramento State 10-yard line. The Aggies faced a fourth down at midfield in the fourth quarter, and punted away to Hornet returner Kyle Monson, who muffed the catch, allowing Aggie special teams player Stephen Dunstan to recover at the 8-yard line. From there, the Aggies failed to score a touchdown but Sean Kelley converted the field goal that put UC Davis ahead for good.

UC Davis honored 14 seniors before the game: Marshall Congdon, Sean Creadick, Jeff Freeman, Reggie Mason, Tom McConnell, Marcus North, Dean Rogers, Eric Sobotka, Brandon Sofley, Mark Tos, Joe Trombetta, Brandon Tucker, Dozie Amajoyi and Danny Hart.

Amongst the rest of the college football world, all the top teams maintained themselves atop of the BCS Standings. Boise State used a 51-0 win over Fresno State to move closer in the BCS Standings to #3 TCU, who was idle. Boise State (#4) has two games remaining, including a showdown this weekend with #17 Nevada. TCU has one game remaining. 

Oregon remained #1 and Auburn remained #2, both also having no game this past weekend. Oregon hosts Arizona in the upcoming weekend and Auburn travels to face Alabama, which is arguably the most challenging game of their season thus far. 

In regards to the games I made notes about prior to the weekend:

-Boise State dominated Fresno State, 51-0. Kellen Moore threw for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns for the Broncos. It was an incredible defensive game from Boise State which I did not anticipate. I figured the decent Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn and running back Robbie Rouse would get Fresno State on the scoreboard.

-Florida pummeled Appalachian State 48-10, with the Mountaineers having no hope of repeating an upset of a D-I team as they did against Michigan in 2007. The Gators rushed for 311 yards and 6 touchdowns in the victory.

-Ohio State scored in the final two minutes to beat Iowa 20-17. The Buckeyes remain in the hunt for the Big 10 title, tied atop the league with Michigan State and Wisconsin. Dan Herron scored on a 1-yard run with 1:47 left to put Ohio State ahead for good.

-Stanford beat Cal 48-14 in the annual rivalry matchup, the "Big Game." Andrew Luck completed 16 of 20 passes for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns in a tidy performance by the Cardinal, that spoke "business as usual." Stanford is #6 in the BCS Standings and hosts Oregon State next Saturday with Rose Bowl hopes still on the line. 

-Notre Dame beat Army 27-3 at Yankee Stadium in one of the many Fighting Irish rivalry games. Notre Dame allowed only 39 yards passing and held Army to 3.1 yards per rush. Army led 3-0 after the first quarter before allowing 27 unanswered points. 

In regards to getting our "picks" correct, we were right on 4 of 5 (Iowa lost) but didn't get terribly close on any of the score predictions. We did predict a 19-17 victory for UC Davis in the Causeway Classic, which was only off by 3 points combined (17-16). 

Check back later this week for another college football preview, looking into Auburn's big game at Alabama and Boise State's contest at Nevada. GO AGS!