March Madness bracket challenge

March 14, 2011

It’s that time of year again, fellow sports fans.

The excitement, the drama, the tears and upsets–all leading up to the big dance. Will you be the one to pick the right teams to shoot their way to the Final Four?

Or are you still feeling the burn from last years mess of a bracket, the bracket barely anyone was able to get through without shock at the outcomes?

Here is your time for redemption.

Once again, Miss Sportaholic is offering the same challenge as last year. Beat the Sportaholic and her friends and you will get a free prize.

What is the prize? Same deal as last year. I have ideas in mind, but leave comments on what type of prize you would like if you win, and if others vote on the best idea, I will consider that and if your idea is the one that gets the most votes you might also win a prize!

Simply click on this link and fill out your bracket.

Yes, it is that easy. And leave a comment after saying what type of prize you would like to win and let the games begin!

Good luck and may the luckiest person win—which we all know in March Madness, luck and blind picks may be your best option.

 

**Don’t forget to check back here for updates on the tournament and the top winners each round.

Packers intercept Lombardi trophy from Steelers

February 7, 2011

Thirteen championships, four Super Bowls and one Lombardi Trophy later, the Green Bay Packers became the world champions Sunday night after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super bowl XLV.

In what many believed would be a close game, fought defensively between the two best defenses in the NFL, this Super bowl almost came down to the wire as the Packers won by six points.

Green Bay’s quarterback and the SuperBowl MVP, Aaron Rogers, had a stellar game with a passer rating of 24-39, and was the fourth QB in Superbowl history to have 300+ yards, three TD’s and zero interceptions (Jake Delhomme, Steve Young and Joe Montana were the other three).

Rogers was the difference maker in this game as both defenses pounded hard against the line, but the Steelers QB, Ben Roethlisberger, couldn’t keep up with Rogers almost flawless performance, as Roethlisberger was 25-40 in pass completions, threw for 263 yards, had two TD’s and two interceptions.

The Packers also took advantage of the three turnovers by the Steelers and converted them into points each time. This was the third straight Superbowl with a pick-6 as well.

The game proved to be a tough one from the beginning, as the Steelers went 3-and-out on their first possession and no one getting far down field until the Packers second possession, where Jordy Nelson made a small gain but big catch to get Green Bay down the field, and then right after caught a 30-yarder for first touchdown of the game.

The Steelers came back out strong, but within seconds, Nick Collins got a pick-6 and put the Packers up 14-0.

Roethlisberger wasn’t ready to let that happen again and despite a hard fall on his knee and having trouble getting up, right after ran for a gain of 18-yards when Green Bay’s defensive line went in for the sack but made the one error defense never wants to make with the mobile Big Ben—giving him the open pocket to run.

This would lead to a 33-yard field goal attempt to make the score 14-3.

 

But the Packers defense gave Big Ben more trouble as they scored once more after Bush intercepted the ball, leading to a TD pass to Greg Jennings.

The score going into the half would end up 21-10 after Roethlisberger finally found his receiver, Hines Ward, in the end zone with 39-seconds left in the half.

The Steelers, with 28 players with Superbowl experience, came out of the locker room in the second half (after a pretty atrocious half time show) ready to prove why they have six SuperBowl rings.

Rashard Mendenhall ran into the endzone, dragging a defensive player as he pounded his way in, and the Pittsburgh defense held the Packers back, allowing only one first down since the score had been 21-3.

The Packers seemed to be getting a little lose at the edges at the end of the third quarter with the score 21-17 (and were in luck after Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham missed a 52-yard FG attempt).

Clay Matthews, the big man on defense for Green Bay, wasn’t ready to let this game slip through his teams’ fingers. He forced a big cough up when he caused Mendenhall to fumble and the Packers recovered on their 45.

Rogers, without veteran WR Donald Driver (ankle),  who had been sidelined in the first half, was looking up to Jordy Nelson, who had four dropped passes and James Jones who couldn’t seem to get it together after dropping perfect throws.

But when Rogers anticipated the blitz from Pittsburgh and quickly found Nelson–who redeemed himself for those dropped passes—and he ran the ball down to the 1-yard line. Jennings caught the big pass in the end zone from Rogers just under 12 minutes to go in the fourth quarter bumping the score to 28-17.

Roethlisberger led his team down the field, and found Mike Wallace, who had a 25-yard running catch into the endzone, and the Steelers went for the two-point conversion, tossing the ball to Antwaan Randle El to get the Steelers to 25 and trail the Packers by three.

Former Buffalo kicker Crosby would hit a 23-yard field goal right after to put the Packers up 31-25, where the score would remain after the Steelers wasted the last two minutes of the game and couldn’t get the first down as the Packers defense held strong…and would take the rings and trophy.

“It’s a great day to be Green Bay,” receiver Jennings yelled out at the end of the game with a big smile on his face.

And he couldn’t be more right. The Lombardi trophy is now back in Green Bay and the Packers gave America’s cheese head fans a reason to celebrate their new world champions.

Preview and predictions: Superbowl XLV

February 5, 2011

Superbowl Sunday is a holy day of obligation for many sports fanatics, and Superbowl XLV won’t be an exception as the Steelers hope to grab their seventh ring when they face the Packers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers have been prepping all week for one of the biggest days in sports  at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, and what it will come down to is defense.

Both teams own the bragging rights of being the top two defenses in the league, but at the same time, both teams have two of the smarter quarterbacks that are going to be needing protection.

Who will come away with that Lombardi trophy come February 6?

It will all come down to the offensive linemen protecting their leader in Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rogers.

Key plays for both QBs are going to be protecting the ball from the rush, quick snaps and throwing immediately, and being mobile.

If it comes down to that, I believe Aaron Rogers will lead the Green Bay Packers to victory as he knows how to look quickly and find his receiver, and even if James Harrison and the rest of the “fantastic four” linebackers for the Steelers get past the Packers line, Rogers knows how to hold onto the ball and not fumble.

He also seems to have a knack of knowing where to drop the ball perfectly into the hands of his receivers within three seconds after the snap, which is going to be a big difference maker Sunday.

On the Steelers side, Roethlisberger is a little bit more clumsy when hit, and with Clay Matthews dominance and the absence of Maurkice Pouncey (Steelers center) out due to high ankle sprain, the Steelers might find themselves in trouble when the Packers defense presses hard. Especially after a botched snap caused a fumble in the AFC championship game.

Don’t be too quick to overlook Big Ben, though; he also is extremely talented in being mobile on his feet and can change a play as needed and gets the ball down the field and in the endzone.

What are your predictions?

Check out my predictions for Super Bowl XLV on SeatGeek.  SeatGeek is the leading ticket search engine that enables fans to discover the best deals for sports and concerts — Check out SeatGeek next season when you are looking to buy your NFL tickets.

Home court dis-advantage for Maryland in 80-62 loss to Duke

February 3, 2011

The University of Maryland Terrapins hosted ACC rival Duke University Wednesday, but highly anticipated hopes for the Terps to win at Comcast Center were dashed as they fell to the Blue Devils 80-62.

The victory gave Duke (20-2, 7-1 ACC) a season sweep of Maryland (14-8, 4-4 ACC).

The Terps upset the Blue Devils last year when playing at home, but Duke’s two stellar players, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith ran over the Terps on their turf, with both scoring the first 16 points in the second half.

Singler (22 points) and Smith (21 points) were not going to allow Coach K’s team to fall into its first losing streak since 2009 (against UNC and Boston College) after coming off an embarrassing loss to un-ranked St. John’s (93-78) last Sunday.

The first half showed promise for the Terps as they were only down by seven  going into the locker room with the score 40-33 after they cut a 13-point lead by drawing fouls on Duke.

They used their defense and rebounds to their advantage to tighten the score with an “and one” then rebounding on two missed free throws by Miles Plumlee and scoring in the paint once more with seconds left in the half. Their strong defense caused six turnovers by Duke, and using big man Jordan Williams, outscored Duke 18-14 in the post.

The first half was a good run, but the Terps were tiring themselves out thinking too much about how their opponent was steps ahead of them and couldn’t seem to catch up to the drive by the Blue Devils who were 50% in all areas on the court; their three-point opportunities were a big factor as they sunk their shots past the arc.

The Terps kept the game intense for the first 10 minutes of the second half, going on a 9-2 run bumping the score 56-49 and giving them a glimpse at a possible comeback, with  Williams boxing out under the net and giving him a “double-double” game, with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

But it wouldn’t be enough as Singler scored 11 points in a row, and Coach K’s boys hot shooting kept the Terps at bay and with 5 minutes left, took the game away with Duke up 66-54.

Despite foul trouble early on for Duke, the Terps did not seem to be able to connect on their foul shots (were 16 for 23 on the line with five minutes left) and botched up court opportunities, and gave away the rest of the game to their rivals.

 

Ravens retired early, gave game away to Patriots in 23-20 loss

October 18, 2010

The Baltimore Ravens gave a lot of hope and excitement for this 2010 season based off of off-season actions, but so far, many fans have been none to pleased with the 4-2, 2-1 record.

Coming off two big games–one being a huge 17-14 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a touchdown throw to T.J. Houshmandzadeh with 32-seconds left in the game in week 4, and eating the Denver Broncos alive in week 5 winning 31-17—Baltimore fans should be more than happy with their team.

But nonetheless, every talk show Sunday afternoon and Monday morning was full of fans bashing the Ravens and their performance after the Ravens basically gave away week 6’s game against the Patriots as they fell 23-20 in overtime.

The first three quarters of the game, the Ravens seemed that they would walk away with the win as they navigated the field in uncharted territory–not an easy feat at Foxborough, one of the hardest fields to travel to.

The Ravens were ten up for at least half of the game and in the third, with the score 20-10, the game should have been a slam dunk.

Key words: should have been. In the fourth quarter, Read the rest of this entry »

Baltimore Ravens joins list of contenders for 2nd annual Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award

October 13, 2010

***NOTE FROM CCSPORTAHOLIC: this is a reposting of an article emailed from Tanya Rydners. Contact her for more inforation at Tanya.Rynders@mslworldwide.com *****

RAVENS OFFENSIVE LINE HELPS GROUND GAME POUND OUT IMPRESSIVE WEEK FIVE VICTORY OVER BRONCOS

Baltimore Wins Third Straight Behind Solid Protection From Offensive Line; Joins List of Contenders for 2ndAnnual Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award presented by Prilosec OTC

CINCINNATI, OH (October 13, 2010)– The Baltimore Ravens put up a season-best 415 yards on offense, including four rushing touchdowns and 233 yards on the ground in a convincing 31-17 victory over the Denver Broncos Sunday afternoon. By doing so, the Ravens offensive line has joined this year’s list of contenders for the 2ndAnnual Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award, presented byPrilosec OTC. The award honors the NFL’s best offensive line and will be presented during the week of Super Bowl XLV which will be played on February 6, 2011 in North Texas.

The Madden Most Valuable ProtectorsAward recognizes the fundamental role offensive linemen play in their teams’ success by providing consistent and reliable protection day in and day out, just as Prilosec OTC provides 24-hour heartburn protection when used as directed. Last year, the offensive line of the Super Bowl Champions New Orleans Saints was named first-ever winner of the award.  For more information on the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award presented by Prilosec OTC, visit www.MaddenProtectorsAward.com.

Baltimore running back RAY RICE (Rutgers) rushed for a season best 133 yards and scored two touchdowns as the Ravens ran out to a 17-0 lead and coasted to its third straight victory. The win allowed Baltimore to move past Pittsburgh into sole possession of first place in the AFC North.

The Baltimore offensive line was dominating throughout the game helping the Ravens pick up 17 rushing first downs while allowing just one sack and scoring touchdowns on three drives of 67 or more yards. As a result of the long drives, Baltimore dominated the time of possession (36:17 vs. 23:43 for Denver).  Providing the powerful protection up front for the Ravens were tackles MICHAEL OHER (Mississippi) and MARSHAL YANDA (Iowa), guards CHRIS CHESTER (Oklahoma) and BEN GRUBBS (Auburn) as well as 13-year veteran MATT BIRK(Harvard). The Baltimore offensive line has allowed just five quarterbacks sacks on quarterback JOE FLACCO (Delaware) all season, tied for 2nd fewest in the league. JOHN MATSKO, a 37-year coaching veteran, is in his third season directing the Ravens’ offensive line.

“I really liked what I have seen from the Baltimore offensive line over the last few weeks,” said Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach JOHN MADDEN.  “Last week the Ravens line was extremely efficient in their pass protection in the win against Pittsburgh and this week their run blocking was exceptional allowing their running backs to pick up quality yards.”

Other offensive lines from around the league delivering powerful protection during Week 5 of the season included theDALLAS COWBOYS (370 net yards passing, and a 6.1 average yards per rushing attempt), NEW YORK GIANTS (414 total net yards including 117 yards rushing and 297 yards passing) and the SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (506 total net yards including 431 yards passing).

Around the League in 80 seconds…week 2

September 21, 2010

In case you missed the news, sportscenter, or any other ESPN/news program, you might have missed some headline making news covering the NFL in the past two days.

Injuries, arrests and deaths.  Heavy stuff and not the way any fan wants to begin the season.

First, the tragic death of Denver Broncos WR Kenny McKinley. McKinley was found Monday in his home from apparent suicide from a gun wound.

The promising wide receiver was a young 23-years old and the father of a baby boy. As of now, there are no reasons of why or what may have happened to have caused this only two weeks into the season. Some speculations are McKinley’s current injuries or maybe money.

McKinley’s agent, Andrew Bondarowicz, said family and friends are at a loss to explain the death of a young man “who had such a love for life.”

“Everybody has their explanations, their own theories. Whether it was injuries, no one’s going to know for sure,” Bondarowicz said. “It’s a tough situation all the way around.

“Some people speculate that it was his being injured, some said it was financial challenges. … It’s a tragic situation.”

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The Hard Knock life of a DWI The New York Jets have been loud and proud of the progress they have made over the past few years.  After this summer’s show “A Hard Knock Life” featuring the team, they made it clear they intended to make moves and dominate the field this season.

However,  WR Braylon Edwards must have started celebrating early after the Jets big win over the New England Patriots on Sunday after being arrested for a DWI on Tuesday morning.

He was pulled over due to the tinting of his SUV’s windows, and when the police on scene smelled alcohol, had him use a breathalyzer; he blew a .16 which is two times the legal limit.

The Jets and the league are going to have to go over Edwards past to determine whether or not he will be fined or suspended based off their substance abuse policy. Read the rest of this entry »

Baltimore fans no longer wacco for Flacco

September 21, 2010

The Ravens met their division rivals Sunday afternoon and lost in another sloppy game to the Cincinnati Bengals 15-10.

With such a high-powered offense, there was not a lot to brag about in this game. Was the Bengals defense that good? That does not account for QB Joe Flacco not looking comfortable or fluid this game or last weeks against the Jets.

Many fans out there the past few days have been crying to “bench Flacco” and to “bring in Bulger.” Many Baltimoreans are not happy with losing and the fact that Flacco threw four interceptions against the Bengals and another against the Jets—five picks just two games in makes Baltimore very unhappy.

These errors were costly in yards, turnovers and production as Flacco, very uncharacteristically, completed only 48.1 percent of his passes for 402 yards in the past two games (he was 13/34 for 85 yards on Sunday).  He only threw for one TD, but had five interceptions and a fumble.

“Hey, four interceptions is too much,” Coach John Harbaugh, who plans on keeping Flacco as his starter, said Monday. “It’s not just the QB…Joe will be the first to tell you he wants to play better. So, I’m not going to stand up  here and single one guy out.”

True statement the offensive line couldn’t pass protect and Baltimore’s promising offense just could not seem to get open against Leon Hall, Pacman Jones and Johnathon Joseph, or when they did would fail to catch the ball.

However, there were many times that Flacco Read the rest of this entry »

Jeter the Cheater?

September 16, 2010

The New York Yankees captain and short stop Derek Jeter caused controversy in the 7th inning during the Yanks game against Tampa  Bay Rays Wednesday night with a “fake-out” while at bat.

What terrific acting, Jeter! Did we miss something on your resume that said you also starred in some Broadway plays?

Probably not. The supposed ball that hit Jeter was inside, and Jeter proceeded to jump and writhe in pain as if he did get hit.  And the rules of baseball allow the player up at bat to take a base if the pitcher hits them with the ball. So Jeter, even though he did not actually get hit with the ball [though he acted as if he did] should still get to take the base, right?

Of course he did. He milked getting hit by the ball that really hit the butt of his bat before hitting him. And the ump told Jeter to take the base. When asked later why Jeter was not honest and took the base anyway, he basically said why not?

“He told me to go to first base. I’m not going to tell him I’m not going to first, you know,” Jeter said. He said the “vibration” of the ball is what caused him to act out the way he did and even admitting to “acting a bit.”

The result of Jeter on base would result in a 2-run homer by Curtis Granderson, making the score 3-2 Yanks.

However, the idiom of “cheaters never win”  will prove true as the Rays will go on to win the game after TB Rays Dan Johnson hits a 2-run shot in the last inning to win make the score 4-3, and are now the top team in the AL east.

For baseball fans out there, this move resembles the college baseball game in 2007 against Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Arkansas’ Brian Walker out-acted Jeter’s performance but this time the ump did not buy  into his “getting hit” performance and proceeded to throw Walker out after Walker threw a tantrum (which was a better acting job then his “fake hit” act…or maybe because that was real?)

Then again, the Yanks lost anyway.  And would you tell the ump “I actually don’t think I should go to the base.” Oh the politics of the sporting world.  But the question is, did he really cheat? Or would you call it “gamesmanship”?


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