Sportige The Sports Know-It-All Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:15:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UCLA Over USC: Narrowing the Pac-12 South Field of Contenders Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:15:15 +0000 More ]]> UCLA beat USC e1416747116233 UCLA Over USC: Narrowing the Pac 12 South Field of Contenders

A rivalry that was so one sided for so long has been turned completely around, as UCLA beat USC (38-20) for a third consecutive season, making their path towards winning the Pac-12 South and going on to play for the conference title a little bit easier, getting rid of the Trojans along the way.

UCLA aren’t going to be come the city’s team, even after three years of dominance against a slumping USC, losing for the 4th time this season and falling to 6-3 in conference play, losing to Arizona State and Utah as well in what has proved to be their close and most costly defeat. But they need to beat Stanford, just Stanford, at home, controlling their own destiny, only needing to win in order to face Oregon for a second time this season, hoping it goes a bit better this time.

Brett Hundley did throw an interception, but he also threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another. In any case, he did better than Kessler who was hounded by the pass rush all game long. Kessler threw one touchdown pass and one interception, getting only 62 yards of run support while UCLA, led by Paul Perkins, gained 135 yards on the ground.

The Bruins did an excellent job on Cody Kessler, who was sacked or put under duress on 22 of his 41 dropbacks, more than double the pressure (24% of his dropbacks) he’s used to seeing this season. He was sacked six times, tying his career high, also coming in a game against UCLA (2013). He averaged only 1.4 yards per play with the offensive line crumbling around him, with USC getting only 34 yards out of those 22 plays.

Kessler struggled connecting with his favorite receiver, Nelson Agholor, who caught only three passes for 24 yards despite being targeted nine times. Going into the game, the duo were the best among the Power five conferences, with Kessler completing 78.8% of his throws to Agholor. Another thing that fell apart was USC’s secondary and its tackling, with UCLA receivers gaining 265 yards after the catch. They gained at least 10 yards after the reception on 11 occasions, the most USC have allowed over the last four seasons. The Trojans were ranked second in the Pac-12 going into the game, allowing only 2.9 yards after the catch.

It’ll be another season for USC of playing in a lesser bowl, something the Pete Carroll years have made them forget about. This wasn’t a bad season under Steve Sarkisian and they don’t seem to be going through the free fall Notre Dame are, their rivals on the final week, but they blew it in big games this season when they could have done a bit more to stay in the picture of winning the division and playing Oregon for the conference title.

UCLA looked like possible favorites in the Pac-12 when this season began but two consecutive losses mid-October took them out of the running, or at least that’s what it looked like. They’ve bounced back in the right kind of way, while losses around them, especially Arizona State dropping a big one at Oregon State paved them the way back to the top spot. They can still lose to Stanford which will make this win over USC meaningless, although it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen.

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Roger Federer is Finally a Davis Cup Champion Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:12:25 +0000 More ]]> Roger Federer Roger Federer is Finally a Davis Cup Champion

Despite everything that happened over the last few days, Roger Federer brought his best, sublime tennis to his singles match with Richard Gasquet to come away with the win that wins Switzerland their first Davis Cup title, while Federer himself wins the only title missing from his loaded trophy cabinet.

The feud with Stanislas Wawrinka that involved his wife, the 0-3 loss to Gael Monfils which didn’t bother Federer, at least on the exterior, one bit. It all preceded to an excellent doubles performance from him and Wawrinka, followed by Federer making the final game meaningless, crushing Gasquet on the clay in Lille, beating the Frenchman in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, as Switzerland took a 3-1 win.

For years he held the national team on his own shoulders, which included an incredible streak (recently broken) of winning singles matches. But he needed something, and finally Wawrinka rose to the occasion, elevating his play, on most days at least, to the highest level possible in the world of Tennis.

The Davis Cup is just like the Grand Slam with a touch of patriotism. France didn’t have a home court advantage with hordes of Swiss fans filling and making more noise at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. They also had a part to play in Federer’s performance on the winning occasion, looking better, stronger and more accurate with every hit.

Ranked second in the world, Federer is still a force in Tennis. Maybe not as good as in the past, and possibly he’s already won his last Grand Slam title. But still, there isn’t a single player in the world with the ability to excite others like him, to produce this kind of Tennis when he’s at his best, not to mention still being the most popular player in the world.

Tennis is rarely a team sport, with doubles being meaningful to very few except when it’s playing for your flag. But the Davis Cup, especially for nations that rarely find themselves playing for the big trophy, is something unique. The best player in the history of the sport has been ‘unlucky’ to be something of a ‘one of a kind’ in his country for so long. Until now, and it turns out that change and improvement in his partner paved the way to winning the one title he hasn’t been able to capture for all these years.

For those asking: Federer did hug, more than once, with Wawrinka after the win. With tears in his eyes, despite hating his compatriot’s guts for a few days, he knows that without him, in the doubles and the opening win over Tsonga, all of this would have been impossible.

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Arkansas Over Ole Miss – Wishing the Season Began Now Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:45:34 +0000 More ]]> Arkansas beat Ole Miss Arkansas Over Ole Miss   Wishing the Season Began Now

We got a taste of what Arkansas can do at home all season long, and it seems these last two weeks have been perfect for them to come out and show their strengths, getting a second consecutive shutout against a conference opponent, beating Ole Miss 30-0 and winning their sixth game of the season, making themselves bowl eligible for the first time in three years.

Ole Miss have now lost three of their last four games, hitting free fall mode, with their last win against an non-FCS team being back in mid-October when they faced Tennessee. Bo Wallace threw two interceptions and seems to be leaving a very bad taste in everyone’s mouth about his tenure, just when it seemed the Rebels were heading towards a historic season. Some of that impression might be rectified in a win against Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl, but the main damage has already been done.

For Arkansas, it was simply about not making mistakes. They forced six turnovers out of Ole Miss, three interceptions and three fumbles, while losing the ball just once themselves. Branden and Austin Allen didn’t make any mistakes when throwing the ball, the running game was persistent (yet inefficient) combined with Rohan Gaines returning an interception 100 yards for a touchdown. It’s never going to be pretty with this team, but it looks impressive when the defense is so dominating.

The win over Ole Miss can be seen as a continuation of the victory against LSU. Two consecutive games of shutting out ranked teams with a combined scoreline of 47-0. Arkansas are now only the second team to shutout two ranked opponents in the same season while not being ranked themselves. They’re the first to do it in consecutive games, also making them bowl eligible after two terrible years, beginning with the Petrino and John L. Smith mess, followed by a rough landing for Bret Bielema.

The last SEC team with consecutive shutouts was Tennessee in 2002, but they did it against Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Not that LSU and Ole Miss are world beaters, but they present a much bigger challenge considering how they’ve done this season up until the last few weeks. Arkansas might be just as good as them, but lost too many close games along the way to be considered for anything in the very difficult SEC West, with every single team in the division eligible for a bowl game.

Arkansas can be pleased about the future, but next season is going to be difficult: They played home games against Texas A&M, Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss. Auburn and Mississippi State are the only ones from the division they played on the road. This season might have shown a vast improvement, as they lost three of their five games by 7 points or less, including one of them going to overtime, but it’s not going to present a very comfortable challenge either.

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Houston Rockets – James Harden Can do it On His Own Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:15:37 +0000 More ]]> James Harden1 e1416744967773 Houston Rockets   James Harden Can do it On His Own

Obviously missing Dwight Howard is a blow to the Houston Rockets, but they still have James Harden, who with all his flaws is one of those players who can win games almost single-handedly , leading his team to a 95-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks with an impressive one man show in the closing minutes.

The Mavericks held a four point lead with less than a minute left to play, but Harden made two free throws, Monta Ellis missed on the other end and Harden put the Rockets in the lead with a jump shot and another free throw. He actually made a huge defensive play, stripping the ball off of Ellis to secure the win, setting up a couple of free throws by Trevor Ariza to close out the win.

Dwight Howard not playing is mostly a pain on the defensive side. The Rockets with Howard are the best in the NBA when it comes to defensive efficiency, allowing only 90 points per 100 possessions compared to over 100 when he’s off the court. With his injury and possible legal problems keeping him off the court, the Rockets are adjusting, and finally getting the defensive beast out of their best player, someone who is often criticized for being one of the worst players on that side of the ball in this league.

Harden finished with 32 points, while shooting 4-of-9 from beyond the arc and hitting 12-of-13 from the line, efficient and plentiful as always. Patrick Beverley was quite helpful with 20 points on 6-of-11 from three-point range, as the Mavericks struggled covering the perimeter despite the Rockets having one less inside threat for them to worry about. The Rockets attempted 46 3-pointers, making only 5-of-26 excluding Beverley and Harden.

Both teams shot poorly, and the Mavericks hit only 39.8% of their shots. It was one of those games in which Dirk Nowitzki can’t get anything to fall from him, including a 3-pointer in the final seconds. Ellis also had a chance, but his finish, with the misses and the turnovers, is probably a big reason of why the Mavericks lost the game. He led the team with 17 points, but he and Nowitzki (11 points) combined to shoot just 11-of-39 from the field. The Mavs were a terrible 6-of-35 from beyond the arc, as both teams combined to shoot 81 3-pointers.

Despite the Rockets not playing with the anchor on their defense, they kept their reputation (statistically at least) of the best defense in the NBA, shutting down the best offense in the league up to this point. Trevor Ariza had a weak night with just 7 points and 20% shooting, but his presence, as opposed to Chandler Parsons on the other team, makes the Rockets better. It might have been a point of discussion when the offseason was heating up with Morey-hate, but while Harden is calling the shots on the floor, it’s better to have someone like Ariza than Parsons.

Speaking of Parsons, playing for the first time against his former team, he finished with 8 points, also struggling to get any kind of rhythm. With the Rockets at 10-3 and the Mavs at 10-4, it’s hard to say he has made the wrong decision by going to Dallas, but the Rockets are doing quite well without him, and the doom & gloom prophecies of the offseason are proving to be very very wrong. It turns out there’s life even after missing out on so many targets.

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Cleveland Cavaliers – LeBron James Doesn’t Trust His Teammates Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:48:13 +0000 More ]]> Raptors beat Cavaliers Cleveland Cavaliers   LeBron James Doesnt Trust His Teammates

Rock Bottom gets lower with each game as the Cleveland Cavaliers, with their trio of superstars in LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, lose to the Toronto Raptors 110-93 at home, making it four consecutive losses and a new low point for a team that was highlighted as the best in the NBA when the season began.

Most talented? Maybe. Best? Not even close. Not with a 5-7 record, and with a defense that gives up so many easy points near the rim, which mostly comes from an offense that simply isn’t comfortable with each other. The ball hardly moves, especially late in the game, and players seem to freeze up whenever the situations gets difficult. James spoke about it after the game, focusing on the mental aspect, suggesting this team is soft, falling backwards every time they face adversity.

The Toronto Raptors withstood the initial charge, with the Cavaliers running up to an 18-point lead, and then settled in, making the most of 18 turnovers and an offense that doesn’t know what to do if LeBron James doesn’t have the ball. Toronto outscored the Cavaliers by 30 points in the final three quarters, led by Kyle Lowry with 23 points and DeMar DeRozan scoring 20. It wasn’t the most efficient of performances from the Raptors, shooting only 40% from the field, but getting to the line easily, and hitting 38-of-42 from the line.

Cleveland bench Cleveland Cavaliers   LeBron James Doesnt Trust His Teammates

Kevin Love actually led the Cavaliers in scoring with 23 points and 50% shooting from the field. James was quite helpful with 15 points and 10 assists, Kyrie Irving scored 21 points and went with six assists. But James sat out the final 6:20 of the game. The Cavaliers look nothing like a team that’s coming together. They’ve actually regressed over the last week and a half, which brings criticism to the man on the sidelines, David Blatt.

In the first quarter, the Cavaliers scored 34 points, hitting 63.6% of their shots and held Toronto to just 28.6%. They were outscored by 27 points in quarters two and three, hitting only 32.6% of their shots while allowing 52.4%. There’s nothing wrong with ups and downs during a game, but the Cavaliers, despite their star power, seem to be oblivious as to how to go through the motions and rebound from this kind of drop off. The moments things go wrong, all systems are in panic mode and being to fail without any option of repair.

The losses to two of the East’s best teams were bad, but now the Cavaliers have at least one day of rest to try and figure out where to go from here. Is this just a familiarity issue and feeling confident in each other, or is it something more systematic: The wrong offense, wrong positioning by players and mishandling the rotation by Blatt? Difficulties were bout to be part of the deal, James knew that. But teams with this much offensive talent shouldn’t do this badly. Instead, they’re under-performing at every level, from the first to the 12 player, and most of the time on both sides of the floor.

LeBron James didn’t come back to build something. The Cavaliers got swept up in the euphoria. If this was about being patient and building something great, Andrew Wiggins would have stayed along with Anthony Bennett. It wouldn’t have given the Cavaliers three All-Stars, but it would have set up something a bit nicer and more solid for the future. As of now, Kevin Love, if he’s unhappy at the end of this season, can go sign somewhere else. The same goes for LeBron James, with his opt out clause. That doesn’t sound very likely, and yet no one though James was going to leave a Heat team that went to the NBA finals four straight times.

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Florida State Seminoles – Don’t Deserve to be in the Playoff Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:45:15 +0000 More ]]> Florida State beat Boston College e1416742609115 Florida State Seminoles   Dont Deserve to be in the Playoff

The Florida State Seminoles remain undefeated after beating Boston College 20-17 thanks to a very late field goal, counting themselves lucky to remain undefeated and not having Jameis Winston thrown out of the game for pushing a referee.

Some of the headlines suggested Winston collided with an official. It wasn’t a collision or anything that happened by mistake. The official was standing behind center and above the ball because of substitutions, not allowing Florida State to snap the ball. Winston wasn’t paying attention, focused on moving the ball and taking a quick snap. He didn’t just bump into the official – he tried shoving him out of the way.

Maybe it was a smart decision by the officials: Not blowing up a game for this because the official didn’t seem to make a big deal out of it and he wasn’t hurt or taken to the ground. But with conferences having their own officiating crews, it’s interesting to know what would have happened if someone from a school with no chance to go to the playoff or a big bowl game would have done the same. Florida State have won without Winston this season (an overtime game against Clemson), but it was a very different situation.

With the game tied at 17 for a very long time (Boston College tied things up with 6:12 left in the third quarter), the Seminoles went on their final drive with 4:37 left on the clock. It began on their own 26, and most of it was Dalvin Cook running for small gains, while Jameis Winston completed three passes for a total of 33 yards. The end result? Roberto Aguayo hitting a 26-yard field goal to win the game, three seconds left on the clock.

The committee doesn’t select teams just based on records. Style and convincing (not the margin, but being in control of a game) matters. Florida State have needed five go-ahead scores this season in the final quarter or overtime to remain undefeated. It’s not that the ACC has suddenly turned into a juggernaut conference. Georgia Tech, Clemson and Louisville are barely in the top 25, and not all of the time. Florida State, including Jameis Winston, one of a growing number of players who have had their fair share of problems with the law, have simply regressed.

Winston threw and interception, but also one touchdown pass and for 281 yards, completing 22-of-32 passes. Rashad Greene set himself up as the most productive receiver in the history of the program with 8 receptions for 106 yards. The senior now has the record for career receptions (254) and yards (3613) while catching a pass in 40 consecutive games. Most of the focus on this team goes to Winston, but there has been more than just him over their 26 game winning streak.

Why will they be ranked (and not number one by the poll that matters)? Because they’re the defending national champions, a big school and are 11-0. In the AP way of things, that puts them above everyone else, with only Florida in a rivalry game and Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game left to stop them. Just a reminder of how bad they’ve been sometimes this season: Only Northern Illinois in 2013 has been tied or trailed during the second half games more than this version of FSU among teams in the last 30 seasons that had an 11-0 start. Florida State didn’t trail once last year through the 11 games.

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College Football: Rankings Stay the Same for Playoff-Bound Teams Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:19:18 +0000 More ]]> Oregon Ducks e1416739442415 College Football: Rankings Stay the Same for Playoff Bound Teams

The one thing to take from the results in week 13 is how bad Florida State looked again, but they remain the only undefeated team among the power five conferences, meriting their place among the top 4 that will make the playoffs, while Alabama, Oregon and Mississippi State had a very easy time navigating through weak opponents.

A lot of what happened in week 13 was about setting up a soft landing going into rivalry week. Alabama have to play Auburn, and both picked on FCS opponents, an SEC tradition. Mississippi State didn’t pick a weak opponent, they simply got one in the form of a 3-8 Vanderbilt team they had no problem shutting out. Oregon, who will play Oregon State to hopefully finish the regular season with just one loss, had no problem running all over Colorado, basically and FCS team these days.

But Florida State? They got a good defensive team in Boston College. Still, the Seminoles, the national champions and undefeated team that keeps coming back from difficult situations, managed to mess up this one, forced to win the game on a field goal with three seconds in the game. They never trailed in this game and finish their ACC tour at an 8-0 record, but they didn’t look even remotely impressive while doing it, and were probably lucky not to have their quarterback ejected from the game after he pushed one of the officials.

As for teams trying to claim a spot in the playoff? Ohio State took some time before they created some distance from Indiana, but clinched their division title and a place in the conference championship game. They now wait for either Wisconsin or Minnesota (a team they beat in week 12), who face each other in a head to head on the final week of the regular season, after both teams won very close games on the road against Iowa and Nebraska respectively.

Baylor were the only “important” team in the Big 12 to play, and just made Oklahoma State’s season look sadder, losing for a fifth straight time. Mike Gundy shouldn’t be on the hot seat, but there’s a chance that he doesn’t have too many fans among decision makers. A bad loss in Bedlam might actually create a chain reaction that leads to him leaving his job, although it’s a bit too soon to tell. Oklahoma, beating Kansas, haven’t been that impressive this season.

As for the most interesting division in the nation, the Pac-12 is ready for its final showdown. Utah (losing at home to Arizona, and badly) and USC (losing to UCLA again) are out of the picture, which leaves us with three: UCLA, playing a relatively comfortable home game against Stanford, who are only 4-4 in the conference this season; and the Arizona sisters, playing in Tucson. Right now, UCLA are the highest ranked team of the three.

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College Football – Week 13 Scores & Standings Sun, 23 Nov 2014 11:58:52 +0000 More ]]> Alabama Crimson Tide e1416738076350 College Football   Week 13 Scores & Standings

A somewhat uneventful week with the top 4 teams all winning: Alabama against an FCS team, Oregon against Colorado, Mississippi State over Vanderbilt and Florida State, the least impressive of them all, barely getting away with a victory facing Boston College.

Western Carolina 14  #1 Alabama 48: An easy way to get through a week, facing an FCS opponent, never really putting at risk their chances of being number one.

Colorado 10  #2 Oregon 44: Another huge day for Marcus Mariota with four touchdowns, as the Ducks get themselves ready for the Civil War.

Boston College 17  #3 Florida State 20: The Seminoles continue to look bad, but somehow squeak through to remain undefeated this season, scoring a game winning field goal with 3 seconds left on the clock.

Vanderbilt 0  #4 Mississippi State 51: The Bulldogs bounce back nicely from their first loss of the season, shutting out the Commodores, which should keep them in the top 4.

Indiana 27  #6 Ohio State 42: T.J. Barrett threw four touchdown passes as the Buckeyes clinched their spot in the Big Ten title game.

Oklahoma State 28  #7 Baylor 49: Another loss for the Cowboys (fifth in a row) as Baylor possibly do enough to finally take over TCU in the polls.

#8 Ole Miss 0  Arkansas 30: Too bad the season doesn’t begin now for the Razorbacks, winning two games in a row without conceding a point, while the Rebels drop a third game this season, costing them any hope of doing anything big past the Egg Bowl.

#19 USC 20  #9 UCLA 38: Brett Hundley was involved with four touchdowns (passed for three) as UCLA won against the Trojans for a third straight time, taking them out of the Pac-12 South title picture.

Charleston Southern 9  #10 Georgia 55: SEC team vs an FCS team? It couldn’t end any other way but in a blowout.

Rutgers 3  #11 Michigan State 45: An impressive scoring performance from the Spartans, but not enough to help them keep up with Ohio State in the East.

Washington State 31  #13 Arizona State 52: A great day for Taylor Kelly and D.J. Foster keeps the Sun Devils in the championship game picture, but they will need to win against Arizona and hope for a UCLA slip probably. Luke Falk threw for 601 yards.

Samford 7  #14 Auburn 31: A win over an FCS team that won’t mean anything. Auburn need to beat Alabama so they’ll have something to smile about this season.

#15 Arizona 42  #17 Utah 10: A huge win for the Wildcats against a Utes team that fell apart in the fourth quarter, taking them out of the championship game picture, while the Wildcats are now in excellent position heading into their desert rivalry next week.

#16 Wisconsin 26  Iowa 24: Melvin Gordon ran for 200 yards and caught for 64 yards, surpassing 2000 rushing yards this season as Wisconsin took a huge step towards winning the West division.

#20 Missouri 29  Tennessee 21: The Tigers avoided their almost last hurdle towards winning the SEC East.

Kansas 7  #21 Oklahoma 44: Samaje Perine waited a week before breaking Melvin Gordon’s rushing record, going for 427 yards and scoring five touchdowns.

Georgia State 0  #22 Clemson 28: Scoring all their points in the first half was enough for the Tigers to get themselves ready for the South Carolina game next week.

#25 Minnesota 28  #23 Nebraska 24: A fourth quarter touchdown and outscoring the Huskers by 18 points in the second half put Minnesota one win away from winning the division.

#24 Louisville 31  Notre Dame 28: The Irish continue their free fall, losing a fourth game out of five, due to a missed field goal.


* - Missouri 6-1 9-2
* - Georgia 6-2 9-2
* - Florida 4-4 6-4
* - South Carolina 3-5 6-5
Tennessee 2-5 5-6
Kentucky 2-6 5-6
x - Vanderbilt 0-7 3-8
* - Alabama 6-1 10-1
* - Mississippi State 6-1 10-1
* - Auburn 4-3 8-3
* - Ole Miss 4-3 8-3
* - Texas A&M 3-4 7-4
* - LSU 3-4 7-4
* - Arkansas 2-5 6-5


* - Oregon 7-1 10-1
* - Stanford 4-4 6-5
* - Washington 3-5 7-5
California 3-6 5-6
Oregon State 2-6 5-6
x - Washington State 2-6 3-8
* - Arizona State 6-2 9-2
* - UCLA 6-2 9-2
* - Arizona 6-2 9-2
* - USC 6-3 7-4
* - Utah 4-4 7-4
x - Colorado 0-8 2-9

Big Ten

* - Ohio State 7-0 10-1
* - Michigan State 6-1 9-2
* - Maryland 4-3 7-4
Michigan 3-4 5-6
* - Penn State 2-5 6-5
* - Rutgers 2-5 6-5
x - Indiana 0-7 3-8
* - Wisconsin 6-1 9-2
* - Minnesota 5-2 8-3
* - Nebraska 4-3 8-3
* - Iowa 4-3 7-4
Northwestern 3-4 5-6
Illinois 2-5 5-6
x - Purdue 1-6 3-8

Big 12

* - Baylor 6-1 9-1
* - TCU 6-1 9-1
* - Kansas State 6-1 8-2
* - Oklahoma 5-3 8-3
* - Texas 5-3 6-5
* - West Virginia 4-4 6-5
Oklahoma State 3-5 5-6
x - Texas Tech 2-6 4-7
x - Kansas 1-7 3-8
x - Iowa State 0-7 2-8


* - Florida State 8-0 11-0
* - Clemson 6-2 8-3
* - Louisville 5-3 8-3
* - Boston College 3-4 6-5
* - North Carolina State 2-5 6-5
x - Syracuse 1-6 3-8
x - Wake Forest 1-6 3-8
* - Georgia Tech 6-2 9-2
* - North Carolina 4-3 6-5
* - Duke 4-3 8-3
Virginia 3-4 5-6
Pittsburgh 3-4 5-6
* - Miami (FL) 3-4 6-5
Virginia Tech 2-5 5-6
Standings via ESPN
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Lionel Messi Breaks Telmo Zarra’s La Liga All-Time Goalscoring Record Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:56:30 +0000 More ]]>

It was only a matter of time before Lionel Messi was finally crowned as the greatest scorer in the history of the Spanish La Liga, reaching 253 league goals with a hat trick in a 5-1 win for Barcelona over Sevilla, leaving the record of Telmo Zarra behind.

For one night, it was a bit beyond the title race and the individual scoring rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi was racing history, no one and nothing else. At the age of 27, amid rumors he might actually leave Barcelona in the near future, he added another crowing achievement.

The first goal came with a beautiful free kick to put his team in the lead. The other two, coming in the garbage time of the match, came with the help of Neymar, setting up both goals. The third one, after Messi had already broken the record, was especially pretty with a fine 1-2 combination between the two on the edge of the box.

Maybe he is on the decline, and his best has been already seen. That is quite amazing to think about – being so good, and actually not at your best.

In our opinion, he isn’t only the best footballer in the world, he’s also the best of all-time. We’ve dived into the reasons in the distant and less distant past, and we’ll probably go into the argument again. A crowning achievement like this one only makes his case stronger, at least in the Spanish League, but his legend goes well beyond it.

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Match Highlights – Arsenal vs Manchester United Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:32:27 +0000 More ]]> Wayne Rooney e1416684630636 Match Highlights   Arsenal vs Manchester United

Some things never change: Arsenal always lose the big matches, and they can’t seem to win anything this season. Manchester United didn’t play too attacking or well, but a Kieran Gibbs own goal and a clever chip from Wayne Rooney gave them a 2-1 win, putting back and strong in the top four.

Olivier Giroud, who came off the bench for the weak Aaron Ramsey, scored a brilliant goal in the 94th minute (nine minutes of added time), but it was too late. Arsenal were the dominant side, the busier team and the more attacking side in the match. Yet again, playing more elegant and pleasant on the eyes football doesn’t turn out to produce results.

David de Gea, along with Marouane Fellaini and a very young back line that included Tyler Blackett, Patrick McNair, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw deserved more credit than anyone else for the win, as Manchester United played like a team pleased to come out with a draw, only to be lucky enough to have things go their way in a couple of instances.

Arsenal have won only four times in the first 12 matches. In the weird Premier League we have this season it’s enough for 8th place, but that might change soon enough. Alexis Sanchez has been finally slowed down and when disregarding his fantastic season, it’s hard to say anything positive about the Gunners this season.

Mike Dean making bad calls also had a part to play: Fellaini probably fouled Gibbs before the own goal (56th minute), and Angel di Maria should have been sent off in injury time for trying to club Calum Chambers and then making a pathetic act of being injured.

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