Tom Brady is your 2017 NFL MVP

Well there it is folks; Tom Brady wins the MVP award at forty years of age, the oldest player ever to win the NFL’s highest honor. To put it into perspective, Ram’s head coach Sean McVay just won Coach of the Year at 32. For those of you that struggle with math, Tommy Touchdowns is eight years older than the coach of the year in the most physical league of all major sports. It truly does not make sense that Brady is still able to compete at this high of a level.

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This is Brady’s third NFL MVP award, and is just another piece of hardware to add to the trophy case. You may hear the critics get their takes in before the game tomorrow, saying how Brady has won this award twice in the past but the Pats didn’t win in those seasons. That those teams weren’t as good as other Patriots teams, and this team is in that same category. That winning the award will get inside Brady’s head during the game. Some may even go as far as bringing up the awkward kisses with his Dad and son.

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Well I am here to tell you that after tomorrow, that will not be the case, and there is no chance this affects his gameplay. Hell, I wouldn’t even be surprised if he doesn’t know that he won it! Brady continues to play like he has something to prove, and has even indicated he is still not over the whole Deflategate suspension. Continuing that mentality throughout this season has the Patriots back in the big game, and I just don’t see them losing. Time and time again, they have shown us that no matter how many points they are down, Belichick’s preparation and gameplan is better than anyone else’s, especially in the playoffs.

If you have gotten this far, it is clear that I am picking the Patriots. Final score:

Patriots 31 Eagles 21 (and another Superbowl MVP for the GOAT)

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The Garoppolo Effect

Midway through the season, the Patriots made a move that surprised a lot of people- trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a measly second round pick. Based on the fact the Pats shipped off Jacoby Brissett to the Colts, one would assume that meant they wanted to keep Garoppolo long-term. Never assume with Belichick making the decisions. It seems like every single year a move is made by the Patriots and everyone thinks, “Why on earth did they do that? That was stupid” but every time it just happens to work itself out. Even though that is the case, this one feels different and I don’t like it.

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When asked about the success of the 49ers, Tom Brady had nothing but good things to say about the situation, which obviously comes off as no surprise. In an interview with WEEI, Brady was quoted as saying “Any time you’re in a winning environment that definitely helps and I think guys really enjoy that. You take what you can and try to use it in other places if that’s where you go. Like I said, I think what they’re doing is a credit to them. I don’t think anyone should take credit for what those guys have accomplished.” The 49ers win over the Jaguars also impacted the AFC playoff picture, securing a first-round bye for the Patriots. I’m sure Brady wasn’t too upset by that.

The way Garoppolo was able to come in to a team that was getting embarrassed on a weekly basis and turned around the entire culture has been very impressive. There have been many arguments circulating around about whether the 49ers would be a playoff team is Garoppolo started at the beginning of the season. While I am not totally convinced, I think there is a chance they could have at least four more wins (Cardinals X2, Colts, Redskins). Does that get them into the playoffs? This would be a huge week 17 for them if that was the case.

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Being a Patriots fan, there hasn’t been many times where I would actively root for another team. This has definitely changed since the trade, and I hope Garoppolo can carry on his success, whether or not he comes back to New England. Keep rockin’ Jimmy G.

Lane Kiffin Signs Ten-Year Extension with Florida Atlantic

What is coming off as a surprise to most people, Lane Kiffin has extended his contract with Florida Atlantic to stick around for another ten whole years. While he most likely won’t stay for the entire time, this type of deal should not be taken lightly. When he left for FAU, most people were under the impression that he would stick around for a couple of years, and then head back to a Power Five Conference. That does not seem to be the case.

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Already a potent offense before his arrival, FAU has an opportunity here to make a true impact on the College Football landscape. Since his arrival to FAU, out-of-state applications for the university have gone up by 35%, which just goes to show you that not only will Lane bring in more talent for the football team, but more brand recognition for the school.

FAU absolutely demolished Akron the other night in the Boca Raton Bowl. Many people criticized Lane when they went for two up 31 points in the third quarter. Kiffin fired back by saying an Akron athletics official was talking trash before the game, and that it was “his bad”. Absolutely love the move. Akron never stood a chance, so not too sure why one of their athletic officials would think that’s a good idea.

I am very curious to see what type of recruiting class Lane can bring in for the upcoming years. Do we have a new best team within the state of Florida? Only time will tell. If you haven’t already, it’s time to hop aboard the Lane Train.

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College Football Playoff – Where Do We Stand?

With the final week of the regular season in the books, it is time for conference championships. I wanted to review how the committee did stacking the teams and some different scenarios that could play out.

From top to bottom, I think the committee nailed it. I had the same top four, and I think most people did. Everyone wants to see the four best teams in the country make it, and right now, it is these four. Yeah, I know, Alabama isn’t there right now. But things could shake up and have them wind back up in the picture (looking at you Wisconsin).

 


1.Clemson – Clemson, who in my opinion has been the best team in college football this season, deserves to be in the top spot. Interested to see how they handle the match-up with Miami come Saturday. I see them pulling out the victory after Miami was exposed by a sub-par Pitt defense. With arguably the best defense in the country, Miami’s offense needs a quick turnaround to have any hope.

 

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2.Auburn – This two loss Auburn team could be one of the best two-loss college football team ever. Bold statement, I know, but this team is scary good and they are hot at the right time. Need to take care of business against Georgia for the season sweep. Lose and no doubt they’re out.

3.Oklahoma – Baker Mayfield is the front-runner for the Heisman, and Oklahoma is one of the hottest teams in the country. They will be facing a tough TCU team, but I don’t think TCU will be able to handle this potent offense.

 

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4.Wisconsin – This team just keeps finding a way to win. Can they keep the momentum going against Ohio State? This is the classic case of win and you’re in. Ohio State on the other hand will need some serious help to go along with a victory. If Clemson and Oklahoma both lose and Ohio State wins, who knows, maybe they sneak in.


Besides the current top four teams, a number of teams still have a shot of making it. I don’t believe that the top four teams will stay the same, as I can’t picture all four teams winning. We will see who is cut out for the big moment. A lot needs to happen, but here’s how we look:

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  1. Alabama – Without a conference championship, Bama will be watching from the sidelines this weekend. The Tide will no doubt be pulling for teams like Miami, TCU and Ohio State in order to slide back in.
  2. Georgia – Revisiting the matchup from earlier this season, Georgia looks to be in some trouble. I don’t think they have what it takes to beat this Auburn team.
  3. Miami – Arguably the biggest matchup of the week, Miami needs a bounce back victory over Clemson to secure a spot. Will the turnover chain show up? Can’t have this offense disappear like it did last week.
  4. Ohio State – Even with a win, I think Ohio State is a long shot. A lot would need to happen for them to sneak back in.
  5. Penn State – Sorry Penn State, not looking very good.
  6. TCU – Well, beat Oklahoma and who knows what happens. Much like Ohio State, they would need some serious help to get in. Doesn’t look too good.

And if you’re wondering, no, USC does not have a chance at making it. I hope everyone has a great day of football on Saturday. Stay tuned for a breakdown next week once the playoff is set.

College Football Rivalry Week – Top 5 Games to Watch

Welcome to one of the biggest weekends in college football- RIVALRY WEEK. This week brings us some great matchups that include playoff implications. Let’s dive right in to some of the big-time matchups:

5- USF (9-1) @ #15 UCF (10-0)

It’s the battle of some lesser-known Florida teams. UCF is playing at home trying to remain undefeated. If they can win this week and remain undefeated, do they deserve a playoff spot? The answer is no. One player to watch, however, is Shaquem Griffin, who is the reigning AAC defender of the year. Did I mention he only has one hand? I’m taking UCF to remain undefeated.

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4- #8 Notre Dame (9-2) @ #21 Stanford (8-3)

While this game will not have any direct impact on the CFP race, it will have an impact on the Pac-12 championship. If Stanford can pull out a win at home, this will hurt the resumes of teams such as Miami and Georgia, who were able to beat Notre Dame. Stanford can clinch a spot in the Pac-12 championship with a Washington win over Washington State. It will be a close game, but the Irish pull out a close one.

3- #3 Clemson (10-1) @ #24 South Carolina (8-3)

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This game will be a big test for Clemson, battling against in-state rival South Carolina. With one loss already to Syracuse, Clemson cannot afford to lose again if they hope to make the playoff. From the outside, there will be a lot of South Carolina fans around the country. Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Auburn are playoff hopeful would all greatly benefit from a Clemson loss. Going to be a tough environment on Saturday, Go Gamecocks!

2- #9 Ohio State (9-2) @ Michigan (8-3)

Huge Big Ten matchup to finish off the season. Michigan, one of the most disappointing teams all season, could crush Ohio State’s slim playoff hopes with a win in the Big House. If Ohio State loses and then goes on to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, say goodbye to a Big Ten team in the playoff. Ohio State comes out on top in this one.

1- #1 Alabama (11-0) @ #6 Auburn (9-2)

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The game everyone has been waiting for- The Iron Bowl. Alabama has taken a lot of heat this year for having a soft schedule, and didn’t look too hot in one of their tougher matchups against Mississippi State a couple weeks ago. Auburn, who is coming in with two losses already, will make the playoffs if they can pull off the win. After two close losses against Clemson and LSU on the road earlier in the season, Auburn blew the doors off top-ranked Georgia and looks to continue that momentum against ‘Bama. I see Auburn winning this one in a close game at home. If Alabama loses, are they out? Would need some assistance from the rest of the country if they can’t get it done come Saturday.

Life without Julian

For the past decade and a half, the New England Patriots have been in the business of winning. Led by the greatest coach/QB combination of all time, the Patriots have followed three simple words, “Do your job.” Doing your job is exactly how it sounds. When faced with adversity, you must step up and take ownership of what you are able to control.

In the Pats’ third preseason game against the Lions, Julian Edelman, who many consider the heart and soul of the organization, went down with a torn ACL and will miss the entire season. Edelman was Mr. Reliable, always there when Brady was under duress, ready to make another big catch and get the first down. Now that Edelman is gone, what does this mean for the rest of the roster moving forward?

Many people going into this season figured that with the addition of Brandin Cooks from New Orleans, a healthy Gronk, and Edelman, this offense would be even more unstoppable compared to previous years. With a strong backfield made up of Gillislee, Burkhead, and White, along with other receiving weapons like Hogan, Amendola, Mitchell, and Allen, this roster had some serious depth and could very well have averaged thirty points per game. Does losing Edelman actually change anything? I don’t think it does.

Looking at those names above, I can taste a breakout year coming from someone. Yes, Bellichick is still the coach, and we all know he runs the team by committee rather than a superstar, but a couple of names really stick out to me.

Chris Hogan- After Edelman went down, and even before, Hogan was out there running with the first team offense. 5 catches for 70 yards and two TD’s in the first half aint bad, albeit a preseason game. Hogan, who joined the team last year from the Bills, really broke onto the scene in the AFC Championship game, and I expect for that trend to continue throughout this season.

Malcolm Mitchell- This will be Mitchell’s third season on the Patriots. He has missed some time with injuries, but he is a big target that if healthy, can really hurt defenses under Brady’s guidance. Mitchell had one of the biggest catches (besides Edelman’s, of course) during their comeback in the superbowl. Mitchell needs to get and stay healthy, but if that happens, I could see a 50 catch, 700-yard season from him.

Even with Edelman going down, many reporters believe that this is the best offense Brady has had throughout his whole career. Looking at the offense without all of the other names, Gronk and Cooks alone will be hard to stop. With so much talent and depth at receiver, running back, and even tight end, this will still be an explosive offense that won’t miss Edelman.

 

A Preview of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills

For the first time in its one hundred and twenty-two year history, the U.S. Open will be played in the state of Wisconsin at Erin Hills. Established in 2006, Erin Hills is a relatively young course that we do not know a lot about. What we do know is this course was literally built to host the US Open, and with its width and length, who knows what is we have in store come Thursday. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is looking to defend his title, a feat that has not been accomplished at the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange did it in 1989.

There are plenty of story-lines circulating the airwaves- will Jason Day keep up his impressive play as of late? Can Rickie pick up his first major victory? Does Spieth get back on track? Will DJ fall down another flight of stairs? Who knows. What we do know is the field is looking pretty wide open and this championship could belong to anyone.

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Look at those dudes, they mean some serious biznass. We also have some young guns shooting up the ranks, looking to capture their first major victory. Look out for the likes of Smylie Kaufman, Jon Rahm, and Justin Thomas to sneak in there and make some noise.

We are already starting to get complaints from players about Erin Hill’s infamous fescue, and Kevin Na posted on social media to share his concerns. “Erin Hills is a great design course but the fescue is almost unplayable. BTW never found the ball. So don’t hit it in there lol. straight hitters have a chance!” Lol indeed, Mr. Na.

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One thing I have never really understood about golf is people complaining about how easy or difficult a course is. Everyone is playing the same course with, for the most part, the same conditions so sorry Kevin, but I don’t feel bad for you and your millions. Just don’t suck and you might make the cut. Jack Nicklaus once said, “When a player complained it just meant that was one less person I had to beat.”

Another story-line I know everyone is just DYING to hear more about is whether or not Lefty will make it for his Thursday afternoon tee time. If you didn’t know already, Phil Mickelson came out and said that he will be attending his daughters high school graduation where she is giving the Valedictorian speech, rather than play in the open. Phil, who states that it was one of the easier decisions he has had to make, has never won a U.S. Open, the only major remaining to fill his trophy case. There is a chance of Thunderstorms for Thursday, and reports are coming out that Phil would need a four hour delay in order to make his tee time. Lets just say, crazier things have happened.

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My Three Players to Watch

Dustin Johnson- Might be a little obvious (World No. 1, defending US Open winner) but I’d be remiss if I didn’t include DJ on here. Barring any injury, I expect DJ to be battling late on Sunday.

Louis Oosthuizen- Love me some farmer Louis. Any man that likes to farm more than golf and is a professional golfer must be one damn good farmer. No particular reason I’m taking Louis(Just kidding, its because he loves farming), dude just gets it done.

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Rickie Fowler- Is it finally time for Rickie? Most likely not, but who am I to judge.

Who do you like come Sunday? I’m excited to see how this course is going to play out and what the golfers are going to be able to do, especially if the end up in the thick stuff. Stay tuned for post-tournament recap.