December 1, Week in Sports
:: OKLAHOMA EDGES TEXAS IN BCS RANKINGS (College Football)
:: ALABAMA AND FLORIDA SLATED TO FACE OFF (College Football)
:: PLAXICO BURRESS WOUNDED IN ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING (Pro. Football)
BIG 12 CIRCUS
The Oklahoma Sooners outranked the Texas Longhorns in this week’s BCS rankings. As a result, the Sooners earned a chance to play in the Big 12 Conference championship next week. More importantly, since the Sooners are expected to win that game, they will very likely have a chance to compete in the national championship game–the most important game of the college football season.
Normally, conference rankings are determined by team records. However, this year the Big 12 was highly competitive, with Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech finishing the season with identical records. Per conference rules, the BCS rankings serve as one of the tie-breakers to decide which team wins the Big 12 South.
The fact that Oklahoma so narrowly outranked Texas is sure to draw the ire of Longhorns fans, particularly since Texas actually beat Oklahoma earlier this year. The BCS rankings are subject to criticism year in and year out. While the final BCS rankings come out next week, this week’s rankings will likely be the most controversial from the 2008 season.
Quote of the Week: “Oklahoma jumped over Texas and into the No. 2 spot of the Bowl Championship Series standings Sunday, putting the Sooners in prime position to play for the national title should they defeat Missouri this coming Saturday.” — Eddie Timanus, USA Today
Further Reading: ”Sooners Mess with Texas” — Associated Press, via ESPN
CHOMPING AT THE BIT
Alabama and the Florida Gators are slated to play each other next week in the Championship game of the SEC Conference. Whoever wins this game is virtually guaranteed a spot in the national championship game.
Alabama and Florida are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the AP poll, and No. 1 and No. 4 in the BCS rankings. When it comes down to it, the BCS rankings are more important, since the top two teams in the BCS get to play in the national championship game. Though Florida is currently in the 4 spot, knocking off top-ranked Alabama would certainly help them jump into the top two.
The college football rankings system is often criticized for being too subjective. However, there can be no complaints about the game between Alabama and Florida. Both teams are playing at their best going into next Saturday, and all they have to do is beat the other team to make it to the national championship game. Let the best team win.
Quote of the Week: “[Florida Quarterback] Tebow could have demanded more throws and more carries, and he probably would have run away with the Heisman…. But the Gators would be 9-3 and headed for a second consecutive Capital One Bowl instead of 11-1 and headed for the
national semifinal SEC Championship game next week against Alabama.” — Ivan Maisel, ESPN
Further Reading: “Gators eyeing SEC showdown in Atlanta” — Ivan Maisel, ESPN
BENCHED, SUSPENDED, FINED, SHOT
Plaxico Burress, a wide receiver for the New York Giants, accidentally shot himself in the thigh on Friday night, according to reports. Burress is one of the stars of the Giants, and one of the most famous football players in New York.
Plaxico Burress has been a premier player in the league for years, but he arrived at true superstardom in last year’s Super Bowl, when he caught the game-winning touchdown. However, Burress has had his run-ins with authority in the past, including a suspension and fine this year. Regarding the shooting, the facts are not all in, but early reports suggest that Burress was at a Manhattan night club when his own weapon went off. If it turns out that Burress is not licensed to carry that weapon, he could face criminal charges, as well as punishment from the NFL.
Obviously, gunshot wounds are not to be taken likely. That being said, the damage to Burress’ leg is reportedly very minimal. However, it will likely take days, if not weeks, before it becomes clear when Burress would be able to play again, and whether or not he will face a suspension from the league.
Quote of the Week: “We’ve come to anticipate the worst whenever Burress’s name appears in a news headline, and this was no different.” — William C. Rhoden, New York Times
Further Reading: “Giants’ Burress hurt in accidental shooting” — ESPN Services
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: COLLEGE FOOTBALL: On Saturday, Alabama plays Florida in the SEC championship game. The game will be played during the day, and it will be aired on CBS. The winner will almost certainly earn a spot in the national championship game. Oklahoma is also scheduled to play Missouri on Saturday–Oklahoma needs to win the game in order to get into the national championship. On Sunday, the BCS will announce the final rankings for the season, which determine the matchups in this year’s bowl games.
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. The BCS Standings currently place Alabama as the best team in the country. The final BCS rankings will be released this week. [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]