December 8, Week in Sports
:: FLORIDA TOPS NO. 1 ALABAMA (College Football)
:: MANNY PACQUIAO POUNDS OSCAR DE LA HOYA (Boxing)
:: PLAXICO BURRESS SUSPENDED, DONE FOR YEAR (Pro. Football)
FLORIDA, OKLAHOMA, TO PLAY IN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Florida Gators knocked off top-ranked Alabama on Saturday, effectively de-throning Alabama and earning the Gators a ticket to the national championship game. The national championship game is the culmination of the college football season.
The Oklahoma Sooners, who also won their game on Saturday, moved up in the rankings, as well. The result is that Florida and Oklahoma are the top two teams in the country, which means that they will face off in the national championship game. The game is part of a series of “Bowl Games,” the end-of-year contests between the best teams in college football. The matchup between Florida and Alabame will take place in January of the new year.
After Oklahoma and Alabama, the next top-ranked team is the University of Texas. There will likely be grumbling across the country that Oklahoma is unjustly ranked ahead of Texas, especially since Texas beat Oklahoma earlier in the year. It is yet another controversy in the hotly-contested ranking system in college football.
Quote of the Week: “Although there is plenty of room to decry [Oklahoma outranking Texas] as another example of BCS illogic, this cannot be disputed: Oklahoma’s fight-or-flight reflex was astonishingly powerful.” — Pat Forde, ESPN
Further Reading: ”Florida, Oklahoma runaway trains primed for collision” — Pat Forde, ESPN
THE POUND-FOR-POUND KING
Manny Pacquiao defeated Oscar de la Hoya on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Pacquiao’s victory will gain him a worldwide reputation as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and it will also almost certainly be the last fight of De la Hoya’s career.
Oscar de la Hoya is one of the most famous boxers alive, and still probably the most popular. However, the “Golden Boy” is getting older and slower, and while he has been a competitive boxer up until this point, he is clearly no longer the boxer he once was. De la Hoya has already established hiimself as one of the biggest promoters in boxing, and that is likely where he will focus his efforts from now on.
On the other hand, Pacquiao’s star is rising. Among boxing afficionados, he is already one of the most respected fighters in the sport. With this victory and the fights that are sure to come in the future, he is quickly becoming a household name among sports enthusiasts.
Quote of the Week: “So this is how it ends. It is the way it almost always does, even for the best of them. It is the way it ended for Muhammad Ali. It remains, over a long, drawn-out period, the way it is ending for Roy Jones. And now it is the way it ends for Oscar de la Hoya.” — Kieran Mulvaney, ESPN
Further Reading: “Trigger? What Trigger?” — Kieran Mulvaney
THEY SHOOT GIANTS, DON’T THEY?
The New York Giants have suspended their star wide receiver Plaxico Burress for the remainder of the regular season. Burress accidentally shot himself in the thigh at a night club last weekend.
Burress has a history of being a problem child in a league full of loose cannons, but this incident is by far the biggest indiscretion of his career. He has been charged with possession of an illegal weapon after authorities found that he was not licensed to carry the gun in question. If convicted, Burress could be imprisoned from 3 1/2 to 15 years.
Incidentally, because of Burress’ injury and the way the Giants classified it, he will also be unable to rejoin the Giants in the playoffs this year.
Quote of the Week: “There is nothing good that will come of it and there isn’t much to say.” — Amani Toomer, Giants receiver
Further Reading: “Giants suspend Burress four games in wake of weapons charge” — Associated Press, via ESPN
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: COLLEGE FOOTBALL: The Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award in college football, will be announced next Monday. That means that this week there will be all sorts of chatter about who deserves the award. Last year’s winner, Tim Tebow, put himself in a good position to win it again, after leading Florida to the national championship game.
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The 2008-09 season is currently underway. It runs from late October to April of 2009, when the playoffs commence. [Official NBA Website]
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): The college basketball season started last week and runs through “the Tournament,” which takes place in March. [CBS Sports]
NFL (Pro. Football): The regular season is now underway. The Tennessee Titans and the New York Giants are currently the best teams in the league. [Official NFL Website]
NCAA FOOTBALL (College): The college football season is now in full swing. Florida and Oklahoma will play each other in the national championship game. [NCAA Football, ESPN]
MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. Now that the PGA Championship is over, mainstream golf news will most likely revolve around Tiger Woods’ return from injury and preparation for next year’s Majors. [Official PGA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson
NHL (Pro. Hockey): The hockey season runs through April of 2009. By the new year, the league power rankings should be pretty well set. [Official NHL Website]
MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic
MLB (Pro. Baseball): The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in this year’s World Series. During the off-season, baseball news will focus on major trades and player signings. [Official MLB Website]
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