|Photo Credit: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2013/12/22|
B is for Bowl Games. The Bowl Season kicked off on Saturday with four games. Colorado State scored 18 unanswered points in the final 3 minutes of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl as the Rams rallied to shock Washington State 48-45. Sophomore running back Kapri Bibbs ran for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns in the win, while Washington State's Connor Halliday threw for 410 yards and 6 touchdown passes in a losing effort... 25th ranked USC jumped out to a 35-6 halftime lead over Fresno State and cruised to a 45-20 win in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. Quarterback Cody Kessler threw for 344 yards and 4 scores to lead the Trojans... The San Diego State Aztecs routed Buffalo 49-24 behind 229 yards and 3 touchdowns from junior running back Adam Muema in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl... Finally, in an interstate showdown at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, a missed 48 yard field goal with 9 seconds left allowed the University of Louisiana-Lafayette to hang on for a 24-21 win over Tulane. Tulane Senior running back Orleans Darkwa tied a career high with 3 rushing touchdowns in a losing effort.
|Photo Credit: http://campusinsiders.com|
C is for Champions League Draw. The Champions League draw for the Round of 16 is set with some big-time match-ups now on the slate. Here's a rundown of the eight pairings: Manchester City (England) vs Barcelona (Spain), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) vs Paris Saint-Germain (France), AC Milan (Italy) vs Atletico Madrid (Spain), Arsenal (England) vs Bayern Munich (Germany), Zenit St Petersburg (Russia) vs Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Galatasaray (Turkey) vs Chelsea (England), Olympiakos (Greece) vs Manchester United (England), and Schalke 04 (Germany) vs Real Madrid (Spain). Some of the highlights involve Didier Drogba (Galatasaray) taking on his former club Chelsea and German star Mesut Özil (Arsenal) getting matched up with the German Champions Bayern Munich. Bayern Munich knocked out Arsenal in the first round of last year's tournament en route to the title.
|Photo Credit: http://www.eastbengaltherealpower.com|
D is for Dempsey. It looks like Clint Dempsey is headed back to Craven Cottage to join up with Fulham on loan before the 2014 MLS season kicks off. Dempsey enjoyed a monster 2011-12 season with Fulham scoring 23 goals in 46 matches including 17 in English Premier League play. Dempsey followed that up with a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur, but that marriage lasted only a year before he rejoined MLS by signing a deal with the Seattle Sounders. Dempsey is the U.S. Men's National Team's second all-time leading scorer with 36 goals trailing only Landon Donovan.
|Photo Credit: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football|
E is for East. The NFC East is going to be decided next Sunday in Dallas when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Cowboys. Dallas won the first match-up between the two teams back on October 20th by a score of 17-3. Nick Foles left the game with an injury and Philadelphia (9-6) was forced to rely on Matt Barkley who threw three interceptions. Dallas (8-7) wasn't at full strength either playing without starting running back DeMarco Murray.
|Photo Credit: http://www.eagledelphia.com/2013/10|
F is for FIFA Club World Cup. Bayern Munich can add another trophy to its collection as they defeated Moroccan Champion Raja Casablanca 2-0 to win the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, becoming the first German side to win the title. Dante and Thiago Alcantara scored the goals in the Final, both coming in the first half. Brazilian club Atlético MG took third place with a 3-2 over China's Guangzhou Evergrande. 23 year old striker Luan scored the winning goal in stoppage time for the Brazilian side who also got a goal from Ronaldinho. Earlier this week, Mexico's Monterrey won the 5th place match over Egypt's Al-Ahly by a 5-1 margin. César Delgado scored twice to become the competition's all-time leading scorer with 5 career Club World Cup goals. He passed up Denilson, Lionel Messi and Mohamed Aboutrika who were all tied with 4 goals.
|Photo Credit: http://www.thewhig.com/2013/12/21|
G is for Getafe. The middle of the table Spanish Club nearly shocked Barcelona when they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in their La Liga match on Sunday. Unfortunately, Barcelona proved to just be too talented even without stars Lionel Messi and Neymar. In their absence, it was Pedro who scored 3 times in a span of eight minutes late in the first half, and Cesc Fábregas who added a pair of goals in the second half as Barcelona wound up with a 5-2 win. Barcelona is now 15-1-1 and sits atop the La Liga Standings, edging out Atletico Madrid on goal differential.
|Photo Credit: http://espnfc.com/us/en/report/373048|
|Photo Credit: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10176724|
I is for Indiana Pacers. Already with the best record in the NBA Eastern Conference, the Pacers now have former All Star Danny Granger back in their lineup. After being limited to just five games in 2012-13 and having missed the first 25 games this season, Granger is finally back. He debuted on Friday against the Rockets, a 33-point Indiana win, and followed that up with a solid 25 minutes in Indiana's 27-point win over Boston today. Granger, who is averaging over 18 points a game in his career, has played 47 minutes so far this season and has scored 17 points and grabbed 7 rebounds while hitting 5 of 9 3-point attempts.
|Photo Credit: http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2013/12/20|
J is for Justin Tucker. A week after hitting six field goals in a win over Detroit, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker missed a 37 harder today against the Patriots snapping a streak of 33 consecutive made field goals. Tucker needed just three more made field goals to tie Matt Stover, another Ravens kicker, who hit 36 consecutive field goals between 2005 and 2006.
|Photo Credit: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles|
K is for Kobe. Kobe Bryant is expected to miss six weeks with a fracture in his left knee. He sustained the injury during L.A.'s 96-92 win over Memphis on Tuesday. While the injury isn't expected to need surgery, it's certainly a blow to the Lakers who have already started the season slowly in the tough Western Conference. Following Saturday's loss to Golden State, L.A. is just 13-14 on the year.
|Photo Credit: http://www.faniq.com/blog|
L is for LeSean McCoy. The Eagles running back all but locked up the 2013 NFL Rushing Title tonight with a monster of a game against the Chicago Bears. McCoy added another 133 yards and 2 touchdowns giving him 1476 yards on the year and nearly a 200 yard lead over Kansas City's Jamaal Charles as we head into the final week of the NFL season.
|Photo Credit: http://www.totalprosports.com/2013/12/09|
M is for Masahiro Tanaka. The Japanese phenom has been getting a lot of Major League attention this offseason, and while it looks like his Major League debut may not happen next season, it's worth mentioning this guy's numbers in Japan. In seven seasons, Tanaka is 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA. In his last three seasons he's posted ERAs of 1.27, 1.87 and 1.27 respectively. And perhaps most impressively, in 2013 he went 24-0 in 27 starts and recorded a save in his only relief appearance. He walked just 32 hitters in 212 innings, finished the year with 30 wins if you count the postseason, and helped lead the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to the 2013 Japan Series Championship. Just 25 years old, it's easy to see why Tanaka has generated such a buzz here in the States.
|Photo Credit: http://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgersnow|
N is for Nets. The struggling Brooklyn Nets suffered another blow this week as All-Star center Brook Lopez broke his right foot Friday night in an overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers and will miss the remainder of the season. Lopez was the Nets leading scorer at 20.7 points per game and second leading rebounder, and now they'll be forced to move on without him. The Nets, despite their loaded roster, are just 9-17 on the season and take on the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
|Photo Credit: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball|
O is for Omer Asik. This was supposed to be the week that Houston traded back-up center Omer Asik, but the unhappy Turk is going to be a Rocket for a little while longer. Houston was unable to find a trade partner willing to meet their demands for the defensive-minded center, and as a result he'll stay a Rocket, continuing to back up Dwight Howard. That said, it's still a possibility he gets moved prior to the February trade deadline, so stay tuned on this one.
|Photo Credit: http://www.capitalbay.com/basketball|
P is for Peyton Manning. Following Sunday's 400 yard, 4 touchdown performance, Peyton Manning now has 5211 passing yards and a single-season record 51 touchdowns for the playoff-bound Denver Broncos this season. If Manning throws for 266 yards in Oakland next Sunday, he'll break Drew Brees's single season yardage record of 5476 as well. Manning threw for 374 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 37-21 win over Oakland in Week 3.
|Photo Credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/22|
Q is for Queens, New York, the birthplace of the NCAA Men's Basketball's leading scorer so far this season. Antoine Mason, a junior guard for Niagara, is averaging 28.3 points per game for the 3-9 Purple Eagles. Mason has scored at least 18 points in every game and a season high of 35 on two occasions.
|Photo Credit: http://www.pickinsplinters.com/category/maac/niagara-purple-eagles/|
R is for Rangers. The Texas Rangers have reached an agreement with outfielder Shin-Soo Choo for 7 years and $130M. The 31-year old Choo posted a .423 on-base percentage last season while scoring 107 runs and drawing 112 walks for the Cincinnati Reds. The move isn't without risks though as Choo's career average versus lefties is 66 points lower than his average against righties (.243 vs .309).
|Photo Credit: http://prospectinsider.com/choo-for-100-million-pass|
S is for Suárez. The Uruguayan striker continued his impressive run for Liverpool by scoring two more goals on Saturday in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Cardiff City. Suárez now has a Premier League leading 19 goals so far on the year, just 4 shy of his total for all of last season. Suárez is no stranger to scoring binges though having tallied 35 goals in the Dutch Eredivisie for Ajax Amsterdam during the 2009-2010 season.
|Photo Credit: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20131221/football|
T is for Tristan Douglas Smith. My wife and I gave birth to our first child, a son, Tristan Douglas Smith on the 17th of December. Hey, it's my blog, I can post what I want.
U is for Udrih and Udoh. On Wednesday night, the only two players currently in the NBA with last names that begin with the letter U faced off against one another. New York's Beno Udrih got the best of Milwaukee's Ekpe Udoh on both the stat sheet and the scoreboard outscoring Udoh 21-0 in New York's 107-101 double overtime win.
|Photo Credit: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/ekN4fHAujbW|
V is for Vitali Klitschko. The 42 year old WBC Heavyweight champion has vacated his title to focus on politics in his native Ukraine. Klitschko, who is 45-2 with 41 knockouts, had held the title since October of 2008 when he took it from Nigerian Samuel Peter. Check this link for more on Klitchko's political activities.
|Photo Credit: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2009/sep/28/vitali-klitschko-chris-arreola-david-haye|
W is for Wade. The Miami Heat guard is getting married again, this time to actress Gabrielle Union. Union is almost 10 years Wade's senior, but the two have been together since 2009. Union's first husband was an athlete as well; former running back, and Hula Bowl MVP, Chris Howard.
|Photo Credit: http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/03/15|
X is for X-hausted. My wife just had a baby, and you expect me to come up with something for X? Give me a one week X-tension.
Y is for Youkilis. Kevin Youkilis is headed across the Pacific having signed a one-year deal with the reigning Japanese champs, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (Masahiro Tanaka's team). Youkilis, who will be 35 in March, is a 3-time All-Star and 2-time World Series Champion, batting .281 with 150 homers in his 10 year career. His best season was in 2008 when he hit 29 homers and drove in 115 runs while batting .312. Injuries have limited Youkilis in recent years, he hit just .219 in 28 games for the Yankees in 2013.
|Photo Credit: http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery|
Z is for Zero. With home wins over Orlando and Chicago this week, the Oklahoma City Thunder enter their Sunday evening tilt with the Toronto Raptors with a home record of 13-0. The only team that hasn't lost at home yet this season, the 22-4 Thunder boast the league's best record. The Thunder were 34-7 at home last season with their only losses coming against Atlanta, Memphis, Brooklyn, Miami, Denver, New York and Milwaukee (in the season finale).
|Photo Credit: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball|