This Week in Sports: Jared Goff is In, College Football Upsets Galore, and it's Rivalry Week in Montana!

Well, I suppose I need to start this week by apologizing for ditching out on you all last week. So with that—I’m sorry! Also with that, it’s worth noting that I’m still a bit unsure of how to work this blog into my life now that I’m a full-time, desk covered in cases, soon to be incredibly overwhelmed, criminal defense attorney. I find myself struggling to work blogging time into my week, and yet again I’m up late Thursday night into early Friday morning trying to update myself and you all on the world of sports. But, that’s what we’re all here for, so let’s get to it.

 

College sports are the BEST!

As I was jotting sports things down throughout the week, it dawned on me how much I prefer college sports over professional sports. This is a conversation I’ve had many times, but this week it has proved to be particularly true.  

With this in mind, I’ve decided to devote much of this week’s blog to college sports. But, I can’t do that without addressing at least one NFL issue that hits close to home for me. So let’s detour really quick, and then it’s back to college, college, college.

 

It’s Goff tiiiiime!

Bye Bye Case Keenum, and helloooooo Jared Goff. The LA Rams announced earlier this week that the number one overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft (which I say in my Roger Goodell voice every time—seriously try to read this sentence NOT in his voice) would be starting quarterback in the Rams’ matchup with the Dolphins this Sunday. Now, I personally have my reservations about the rookie QB. I’m also particularly concerned about starting Goff before he is ready and not only ruining the rest of this season but potentially impacting Goff’s career before it’s really had a chance to start.

However, my faith in Case Keenum is at an all-time low, and without a decent pass game (and a bit more work from the offensive line), my guy Todd Gurley will continue to struggle in the run-game—and the Rams will continue to underperform and continue to fail to meet expectations.

After naming Goff the starter, both Coach Jeff Fisher and players on the team have expressed their positive thoughts on Goff and his progress thus far. Fisher expects that Goff will have some moments, “like all young quarterbacks do,” but that he expects Goff to do well for the team. Defensive tackle Michael Brockers noted improvements by Goff in regards to his huddle management and his knowledge of the playbook. Brockers also said that Goff’s youth gives him “the greatest ability to just go out there and play free.” That he’s at the range where he can just let it go. He said that Jared needs to not be afraid to do what got him drafted. “You’re a playmaker. Let’s go see it.”

Fingers crossed that we see Goff be the playmaker that his teammates think he’ll be. Another Rams loss is something I just can’t take. And if that loss comes to the Dolphins when the Rookie QB has finally been named the starter, on the same week as the team broke ground on a new stadium, well I might just cry.

 

3 of the Top 4 go down on one day!

What a weekend for college football! This season has been so exciting, and Saturday was no exception. Unbeaten 9-0 number 2 Clemson lost to unranked 5-4 Pittsburgh: 43-42. Unbeaten 9-0 number 3 Michigan lost to unranked 5-4 Iowa: 14-13. Unbeaten 9-0 number 4 Washington lost to number 20 7-2 USC: 26-13. The last time #2, #3, and #4 all lost on the same day (and the only other time it’s happened) was back in October of 1985. As a result of these games, Alabama remains the only at-large school with an unbeaten record.

Interestingly enough, Louisville (ranked number 6 last weekend when they beat unranked Wake Forest) currently the number five team in the nation lost to unranked Houston last night as well. So while the rankings don’t quite align to be 2, 3, 4, and 5 all losing within one week, it is insane that 4 of the top 5 or 6 teams all lost within one week, especially when college football playoff teams often complete entire seasons without seeing one loss.                                     
 

But, even on the heels of one of the biggest upset weekends I can recall, the College Football Playoff selection committee released their bracket if the playoffs were to be held today—and it’s as if the past weekend didn’t even happen. Here’s how playoffs would happen today:

 

#1 Alabama (DUH)

#2 Ohio State (up from #5 last week, and really the team who benefitted most from all of the crazy losses)

#3 Michigan

#4 Clemson

#5 Louisville

#6 Washington

But, the playoffs don’t start today, and if last week showed us anything, it’s that anything can happen in the world of college football. It’s not likely that too much will be shaken up in the playoff picture, but the teams who just suffered their first loss need to make sure they win-out the season if they plan to maintain their playoff standings.

 

Sneaky Kansas.

Moving from college football teams who are playing well, to one that may have a 1-8 record, take a look at what Kansas did this week.

Look at this.

Couple of things here. First, that guy’s name is LaQuvionte Gonzalez. Nothing to say about that I just thought it needed to be mentioned. Second, I am legitimately impressed at how well the all-blue jersey matched the all-blue end zone. Third, good work on Steven Sims Jr.’s part to actually make the lateral pass, unlike when the Eagles attempted this same trick play a couple of years ago in an NFL game—looking at you Brandon Boykin.

 

Out for the Season with Severe Burns? OUCH!

Before moving on from college football we have to address a story that’s actually a bit old since I had planned to include it in last week’s blog. Late last week Florida International University announced that senior tight end Jonnu Smith will miss the remainder of the season after his pregnant girlfriend burned him with boiling water. Court documents state that Smith suffered severe burns to his head, neck, back, shoulder, and arms. It’s alleged that his girlfriend, who is five months pregnant with the couple’s child, was upset with Smith about the amount of attention he was paying to her and their relationship. After arguing throughout the day on Halloween, she boiled a pot of water and then walked over to Smith and poured it on him. When Smith didn’t react as the girlfriend had expected, she then began to hit him with her hands after scalding him.

It doesn’t sound as though the extent of his burns has been disclosed, but it was apparently bad enough to sideline him from the remaining games of the season. Smith is an NFL hopeful and was rumored early in the season to be the Carolina Panther’s top draft prospect. We’ll have to wait and see how this situation resolves and just where Jonnu Smith finds himself in the 2017 NFL Draft.

 

College basketball is officially here!

Moving right along through college sports for the week—COLLEGE BASKETBALL IS BACK! I’d planned to write this long elaborate segment on how well Duke was projected to do this year. They were the far and away number one seed in nearly every preseason poll. They were ranked to have the number one returning core (which makes sense with stars like Grayson Allen, Luke Kennard, and Chase Jeter) and the number one incoming class headlined by Jayson Tatum.

But, I didn’t write that article last week as I had planned. Duke also didn’t win this week as I had planned. To be totally honest with you, I’m actually pretty glad that both of those things happened (or didn’t happen I suppose). For one, even though I’m a die-hard Duke fan, no one needs to read another article about how well Duke is supposed to do. It’s really the same story every year. We get it. Also, being the number one ranked team carries a lot of pressure. That’s pressure that I’d rather my team not have to carry all season. The anticipation for the inevitable first loss of the season is seriously the worst. Getting that out of the way during the first week of the season is actually pretty refreshing. Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say that I’m happy Duke lost to Kansas, because I really do hate Kansas, and losing, but I’m just saying I don’t think it’s the end of the world.

As a result of Duke’s loss (and maybe something to do with each of the other top 4 team’s wins) Kentucky bumped from #2 to #1, Nova went from #3 to #2, Indiana went from #4 to #3, Kansas went from #5 to #4, and Duke went from #1 to #5 in the Top 25 rankings.

This past week also included one of my absolute favorite days, The College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, where there is 24 straight hours of college basketball. Unfortunately, now that I’m an actual adult, the marathon wasn’t quite as much fun as it was in college or law school when I took my tablet to class and substituted basketball for all other activities that day. Nonetheless, the marathon still signifies the beginning of my favorite season, and you’ll be sure to see a whole lot of college basketball talk right here in the upcoming weeks.

 

Mannequin Challenge winners!

While it’s likely that you’ll see a lot more about Duke, Kansas, Villanova, and any other big name schools in this blog throughout the season, this is likely the only time I’ll mention Lamar University.

I’m sure you’re well aware of the current internet fad that is the “mannequin challenge.” If you’re not, give that a quick google search and you’ll be quickly up to date. I’ve watched a number of these videos over the past couple weeks, most of them pretty terrible. But, I stumbled across the Lamar University basketball team’s challenge earlier this week, and I am quite impressed.

Using another human as a door stopper? Yeah. I can get behind that.

 

And for anyone reading this blog from Montana, it’s one of our favorite weeks: CAT/GRIZ!

If you’re not from Montana this rivalry won’t mean much. If you’re from Montana or have any ties to the state, you’re well aware of the meaning of the Cat-Griz rivalry. As is true of many rivalry matchups, Cat-Griz is one of those games that carries a lot of weight regardless of team rankings or playoff hopes. This year, however, the game has a different feel. Neither team has had the season they expected. The Cats are 3-7 under new coach Jeff Choate. Prior to their win against UC Davis last weekend the Cats were in the midst of a six game losing skid. The Griz, while technically still in playoff contention at 6-4, have also not had the season that they had hoped for. Even during their two blowout wins against Mississippi Valley State and Sacramento State, the Griz didn’t quite look like a complete team.

As a life-long Griz fan I have hope that the Griz team that shows up this weekend will be the same Griz team that played Idaho State in Wa-Griz just two weeks ago and saw backup QB Chad Chalich throw a record 7 touchdown passes. But, as a fan of this rivalry and a fan of college football in any capacity, I hope that this weekend provides for a competitive game that leaves me screaming in my seat, hopefully with a belly full of booze and snow covered mountains in the background, because that's the best kind of football. The Griz lead the series 73-37-5. Here’s to hoping that 73 becomes a 74 really soon.

Oooh, and before I leave for the week, if you’re a Bobcat or Grizzly and you’re not in Missoula for the game, or if you’re now intrigued by this rivalry and you’ve got some free time on Saturday, be sure to find the closest Cat/Griz watch location near you HERE.

GOOOOOO GRIZ!!