Monday, October 5
Hurricane Joaquin couldn’t put a damper on a tremendous weekend in sports. Three stories to know:
- Four top-10 teams went down on a wild College Football Saturday.
- The NFL played a game in London for the 12th time as part of a growing international strategy.
- Four compelling teams, two one-game playoffs this week. The Wildcard is must-see baseball.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAOS
We may look back on this weekend as a pivot point in the season, when four marquee teams fell from the ranks of the unbeaten. #8 Georgia got crushed by #13 Alabama, #3 Ole Miss got clobbered by #25 Florida, #6 Notre Dame got outlasted by #12 Clemson, and #7 UCLA got walloped in a head-scratcher vs. Arizona State.
In retrospect, we all should’ve known a Bama win was coming after Mother Nature pointed the wrath of the Crimson Tide elephant logo directly at the state of Georgia. Poor UGA.
NFL IN LONDON
NFL Sunday started at 9:30am ET yesterday because London fans were subjected to treated to the New York Jets handling the Miami Dolphins 27-14. This is the first of three games in London this season, and the 9th consecutive year that the NFL has played a regular season game across the pond. The NFL has a stated goal of having a team in London by 2022, even if that means sharing a home team with an American city.
The NFL is considering holding games in more cities than just London beginning in 2016, either in other U.K. markets or even Germany and Mexico City. Let’s just hope they get better than London. The three matchups this season (Jets-Dolphins, Bills-Jaguars, Lions-Chiefs) aren’t exciting enough to get you out of bed.
MLB PLAYOFFS START TUESDAY
WILDCARD MATCHUPS PROMISE DRAMA
There’s a compelling argument to be made that having a one-game playoff is not a fair way to decide which team keeps playing after a 162-game season. But don’t forget that the Wildcard games are the best drama that baseball has to offer. If you only watch two games all season, watch these:
ASTROS @ YANKEES: TUES 8PM ET ESPN
David vs. Goliath. Houston has the second-lowest payroll in baseball (69 MM) while the Yankees have the second-highest (214 MM). The Astros are the cinderella story of this season. Vegas predicted they would win 73 games, but they won 86, and if you don’t believe in them, well, they don’t give a f**k (language alert).
CUBS @ PIRATES: WED 8PM ET TBS
Okay, so if you watch ONE game all year, watch this one. These were the second and third best teams in baseball this year. They just happened to play in the same division as the MLB-best St. Louis Cardinals. Pittsburgh will have one of the rowdiest crowds in baseball supporting star pitcher Gerrit Cole. The Cubs will counter with Jake Arrieta, who has overcome anxiety issues to have one of the best pitching seasons of all time.
How good is Arrieta? Since August 1st, he’s given up just 4 earned runs in 88 innings pitched, and he’s hit as many home runs (2) as he’s allowed since June 21.
QUICK HITS AROUND SPORTS
ALABAMA DOGS GEORGIA 38-10
The Georgia buses were rocking (literally) before the game, but it was all Alabama after kickoff. The College Football media was quick to throw dirt on the proverbial grave of the Alabama dynasty after they lost to Ole Miss, but just two weeks later the Tide are back to looking unstoppable. Showdowns with Texas A&M and LSU loom on the path to an SEC title, but let’s just say that if gambling were legal, team Primer would’ve loved betting on Alabama to win the title at 20-1 odds last week.
Consolation prize for UGA QB Greyson Lambert: his girlfriend was crowned Miss Georgia at halftime.
FLORIDA SWAGS ALL OVER OLE MISS 38-10
After a few down years, the Florida Gators appear to have their mojo back. They’re 5-0, jumped to #11 in the latest AP poll, and have a very realistic shot to play for the SEC title if they can beat Georgia on Halloween. The Florida team was dancing during the game, and even the cops started breaking it down afterwards.
CLEMSON BRINGS GUTS IN 24-22 WIN OVER NOTRE DAME
College Gameday was at Clemson for what turned out to be a rain-soaked mudfest. Notre Dame fans were frustrated when, after coming back from down 21-3, the Irish got stuffed on an ill-conceived quarterback run on what would’ve been the game-tying 2-pt conversion. The real highlight was after the game, when ABC curiously cut to an unsuspecting SportsCenter set during Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s epic postgame interview. Among Dabo’s gems: “Tonight it was BYOG – bring your own guts.”
BEST OF THE REST:
- #1 Ohio State was in trouble at Indiana until RB Ezekiel Elliott put the squad on his back with 2nd-half TD runs of 55, 65, and 75 yards.
- The Big 12 now has three top-10 teams in #2 TCU, #3 Baylor, and #10 Oklahoma. Notable this weekend: Vegas predicted more total points (90) for Baylor-Texas Tech than any game in history. It was 49-21… at halftime! Baylor won 63-35, so it went over the Vegas total.
- Six Arizona State teammates bulldozed/dragged/punished the UCLA defense for a 23-yard touchdown run.
- After falling behind 21-0, North Carolina went on a 38-7 run to beat Georgia Tech. It was the largest-ever comeback by the Heels and largest-ever collapse by the Jackets.
SAINTS WIN SUNDAY NIGHT GAME IN OT
The Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints went to overtime tied at 20 after the Saints kicker missed a 30-yard field goal. Overtime lasted 13 seconds, with Saints QB Drew Brees hitting C.J. Spiller for an 80-yard touchdown. The TD pass was Brees’ 400th, good for 5th place all-time.
SIX UNDEFEATED TEAMS REMAIN
The aforementioned Saints win moved them to 1-3 this season, so they have work to do to catch their 4-0 NFC South division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. Other unblemished squads: Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, and New England Patriots (3-0, they had a bye this week).
BEAST MODE-LESS MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
If the Seattle Seahawks want to get to a 2-2 record, they’ll have to do it without star RB Marshawn Lynch (aka Beast Mode), who will miss his first game since 2011 with an injured hamstring. Even without Lynch, Seattle is favored by 9.5 points at home vs. the 0-3 Detroit Lions.
SCHERZER HAS ALL-TIME GREAT GAME
Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer made history Saturday, becoming the first pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same season since Nolan Ryan in 1973. He struck out 17 Mets, including the last nine players he faced (!). Bummer: it would have been a perfect game were it not for a throwing error by third baseman Yunel Escobar.
ICHIRO SUZUKI – THE PITCHER
42-year-old Ichiro has been in the MLB for 14 years, but Sunday was his first game as a pitcher. He actually threw 88 miles per hour and has a solid slider.
WHOA: LOUISVILLE INVESTIGATING ALLEGATIONS IT PAID ESCORTS TO HAVE SEX WITH RECRUITS, PLAYERS
The allegations are in a tell-all book written by the self-described ‘Madam’ behind the operation. The alleged events happened during coach Rick Pitino’s tenure, but there is no accusation that he was aware they occurred.
STEVE KERR TAKING LEAVE OF ABSENCE
The Golden State Warriors coach will take an indefinite leave of absence to recover from multiple offseason back surgeries. Assistant Luke Walton (Bill’s son) will coach the defending champs in the interim.
NBA PRESEASON VINE HIGHLIGHT: DEANDRE JORDAN
This man is nearly 7-feet tall. It’s not fair he’s this athletic.
THE CASE AGAINST PINKTOBER
This sobering article from a cancer survivor is an indictment of breast cancer’s commercialization. The NFL donates the full portion of its merchandise royalties (usually 12.5% of retail price) to the American Cancer Society, but manufacturers and vendors are certainly profiting from the sale of the pink goods.
0-to-100(K) REAL QUICK: ROLLER DERBY
Roller derby is now played in 53 countries. It’s grown like gangbusters since a group of women reintroduced it in Austin in 2001. Why?
BRANDS WANT FIFA HEAD TO RESIGN
Coca-Cola (then others) called for embattled FIFA head Sepp Blatter to resign, an idea that Sepp didn’t love.
HE HIT HIM HOW HARD?
HBO patented technology to measure punch velocity and impact that could change the boxing viewing experience.
IDEA FOR ALTERNATIVE TO NCAA: FOOTBALL MINOR LEAGUES
In our latest Primer strategy musings, we examine whether a state-sanctioned football minor league could help solve NCAA athlete pay and NFL draft age issues. What do you think?
We are bullish on the potential for virtual reality and drones to change the sports viewing experience, especially in action sports. See below for awesome drone footage of two whales checking out a paddle boarder in Australia. If you have two minutes and need some serenity, we recommend the full video .