Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ups & Downs of the Sports Weekend

It’s been an eventful weekend in sports, with three sweeps in the baseball postseason, a dramatic Saturday in college football, and an action-packed Sunday in the NFL. Here’s a look at who was up, and who was down.

Up: Rudy in L.A. Notre Dame finally ended its futility with a road win over UCLA.
Down: Booty in L.A. USC’s John David Booty threw four interceptions in a stunning loss to Stanford. The downside for the Cardinal? They helped Cal get closer to #1.

Up: Rockies. Colorado finished off a three-game sweep of the Phillies.
Down: Rocky. Philly’s favorite icon saw another title opportunity fade away. On the bright side, Temple won a football game on Saturday. Yes, Temple. Seriously.

Up: LSU Tigers in Death Valley. A dramatic victory over Florida cemented LSU’s #1 ranking.
Down: Clemson Tigers in Death Valley. Clemson self-destructed in a home loss to Virginia Tech, fulfilling their annual obligation to rise to the top 15 before falling back to mediocrity.

Up: Brandon Lyon. He was part of the Diamondbacks’ sterling pitching effort in the NLDS, allowing no runs in three innings of work.
Down: Detroit Lions. A 34-3 trouncing by the Redskins dropped the Lions’ record in Washington to 0-21. Only Congress accomplishes less in D.C.

Up: Jayhawks on the Road. Kansas won at Kansas State to remain undefeated.
Down: Seahawks on the Road. Seeking revenge for Super Bowl XL, Seattle fell 21-0 in Pittsburgh. Completing the sense of deja vu, Jerome Bettis retired after the game.

Up: Travis Hafner. His 11th-inning single won Game 2 for Cleveland.
Down: Travis Henry. Facing a potential one-year suspension, Henry and his Broncos teammates suffered a 41-3 humiliation at home versus San Diego. He’ll need the entire year off to see all of his children.

Up: Michigan Alumni in Coaching. LSU’s Les Miles and Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh notched huge victories.
Down: Michigan State Alumni. With a home loss to Northwestern, they again saw their team go into the tank once October arrived. Look for the Spartans to change their nickname to the A-Rods.

Up: Manny Ramirez. He followed up his Game 2 walk-off shot with a homer in the Red Sox’ Game 3 clincher.
Down: Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs third baseman had no hits in the three-game sweep by Arizona. But at least no one can blame him for 1909 through 2006.

Up: Samuel Peter. He retained his WBC heavyweight championship with a decision over Jameel McCline.
Down: WBC. Its heavyweight champion is some guy you’ve never heard of named Samuel Peter.

Up: Frank TV. As every baseball fan knows by now, it premieres November 20 on TBS. Two more promos ran while I was typing that sentence.
Down: Yank TV. While the Yankees staved off elimination Sunday, they still need two more wins to set up another Boston-New York ALCS. Like LeBron James, Fox executives are wearing their Yankee hats.

Up: Carolina vs. the Hurricanes. Butch Davis collected his first ACC win at UNC with a victory over his old Miami team.
Down: Carolina Hurricanes. They dropped a 2-0 contest to Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Saturday. But since it’s the NHL, no one actually saw it.

Up: Billy Goat. The Cubs still haven’t made the World Series since 1945.
Down: Rams. St. Louis and Colorado State are both 0-5. But to my dad’s delight, the Spring-Ford Rams took down Upper Perkiomen on Friday.

Up: Maurice Jones-Drew. His 52-yard touchdown run sparked the Jaguars to victory in Kansas City.
Down: Marion Jones. The gold medal sprinter finally admitted to taking steroids. Track and field insiders responded, “Well, DUH!!!!”

Up: Buckeyes in Indiana. Ohio State gave Purdue its first defeat of 2007 in West Lafayette.
Down: Buccaneers in Indiana. Tampa Bay was routed 33-14 in Indianapolis. Afterwards, Colts QB Peyton Manning went on a rant, complaining about Frank Caliendo being in more commercials than he is.

Up: Chase Daniel. The Missouri QB threw for 401 yards in a 41-6 rout over Nebraska.
Down: Chase Utley. The Phillie star matched teammates Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell with a .182 batting average in the NLDS. At least the Phils have one thing in common with the Red Sox: Curt Schilling has their most recent postseason victory.

Up: Kris Brown of the Texans. Houston’s kicker made all five field goal attempts, including the 57-yard game-winner versus the Dolphins.
Down: Mack Brown of Texas. Dating back to last season, his Longhorns have dropped four straight Big 12 matchups. But better days lie ahead. “Better days” meaning Iowa State and Baylor the next two weeks.

Up: Pats in New England. Tom Brady and company cruised once again in Foxborough.
Down: Bats Versus New England. The Angels managed just four runs in the three-game sweep by Boston. Looks like the Rally Monkey’s no match for the Green Monster.

Up: Ranked Bulls. South Florida entered the top 5 for the first time ever.
Down: Ranked Bulldogs. Georgia suffered a 35-14 blowout in front of 107,000 at Tennessee. 97,000 if you exclude Travis Henry’s kids.

Up: Undefeated Ohio Teams: Like Ohio State, Cincinnati beat a ranked opponent on the road to go to 6-0.
Down: Undefeated Wisconsin Teams. The Badgers fell at Illinois, and the Packers dropped a heartbreaker to the Bears. If the Bucks had been in action, they would have lost to the Bulls.

Up: National League West. Arizona and Colorado will square off for a berth in the World Series.
Down: AFC West. Ladies and gentlemen, your first-place Oakland Raiders!