This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly roundup of top headlines and sports news, plus a preview of what’s up next. Heading into the week of November 10, 2019, here’s the top sports news, with a twist. Skim it, and you’ll be good to go all week.
This Week in Sports Talk: November 10, 2019
We begin with some short takes in sports news heading into the week of November 10, 2019. It was a HUGE week in college football, with dramatic upsets and come-from behind victories in several games yesterday.
LSU defeats Alabama
The LSU Tigers scored a 46-41 win at Alabama on Saturday, ending an eight-game losing streak against the Crimson Tide and securing the top spot in the SEC West. They scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the win (we’re guessing there was no problem with the ‘Bama fans leaving too early this time). LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has become the favorite for this year’s Heisman Trophy. Previously, Alabama had been on a 31-game winning streak at home.
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Illini come from behind to beat Michigan State
In a dramatic come-from-behind recovery, after being down 31-10 with 15 minutes left, the Illinois Fighting Illini scored 27 points in the fourth quarter, including a touchdown with seconds left, to pull off a 37-34 win over the Michigan State Spartans. Illinois is now 6-4, and bowl eligible for the first time since 2014. It’s also the first time under head coach Lovie Smith.
Golden Gophers shine
Yesterday, No. 13 Minnesota achieved a dazzling 31-26 win at home against the No. 5 Nittany Lions of Penn State. The Golden Gophers are now one of two unbeaten teams in the Big Ten, along with Ohio State. Minnesota is 9-0 for the first time since 1904.
Minnesota wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson were standouts during the game, and both are expected to soon be playing in the NFL
Speaking of No. 3 Ohio State, they rolled over unranked Maryland yesterday, with a 73-14 win.
Crimson Tide and Patriots Synchronicity Returns
In an eerie repeat of a long-established pattern, the NFL’s New England Patriots and the NCAA Alabama Crimson Tide seem to be alternating wins (and losses). The Pats lost last weekend for the first time this season. And the Crimson Tide lost for the first time this season yesterday. The last time the Pats and Alabama lost within 7 days of each other was in 2014.
But there’s a strong pattern of alternating winning seasons for the two teams. In years when the Crimson Tide wins the national college football championship, the Pats never seem win the Super Bowl. And vice versa.
Why? Well, the joke is that when the two head coaches – Bill Belichick and Nick Saban – made their “deal with the devil,” guaranteeing their decades-long dominance in their respective leagues, the one stipulation was that they couldn’t both win the college championship and the Super Bowl in the same year. Hmmmm . . .
Silver Sluggers in MLB
The winners of Major League Baseball’s Silver Slugger Awards for 2019 were announced this week. Voted on by major league coaches and managers. they honor the best offensive players at each position in each league. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout received his seventh award, and eight players won for the first time, including New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu,
Coco wins her first singles title
We were remiss in not reporting sooner that 15-year old women’s tennis phenom Coco Gauff won the WTA Linz championship in Austria in mid-October with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 win over Jelena Ostapenko. Making her the youngest American woman to win a tour singles title since 1991. Wow.
Meanwhile, at The O2 in London, the ATP Finals may come down to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Nadal has been battling injuries, and had to withdraw from the Paris Masters last weekend. Historically, Rafa hasn’t performed well at the end of the season, so stay tuned to see if he competes as planned in the finals.
College basketball kicked off this past week, with a couple of early surprises. #1 ranked Michigan State is 0-1 and #3 Kansas is 1-1 for the season.
Top Sports Headlines heading into the week of November 10, 2019
Now that we’re warmed up, here’s everything else you need to know about sports heading into the week of November 10, 2019:
It’s week 10 in the NFL.
As of this posting, only one NFL team remains undefeated: the San Francisco 49’ers. They play the Seattle Seahawks tomorrow night.
Week 9 roundup
The Baltimore Ravens beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots on Sunday night. In what appears to be an annual ritual, following the Patriots’ loss, there was a lot of chatter about how they’re overrated, not very good, and so on. It seems to happen every season, even in the ones where they end up winning the Super Bowl. Haters gonna hate . . .
In other headlines from last week, the momentum of the Green Bay Packers was somewhat derailed by the LA Chargers, who beat them 26-11 on Sunday. The New York Giants started out well on Monday Night Football, but then the Dallas Cowboys steamrollered them, 37-18.
Only the Cincinnati Bengals remain winless, as the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets last week.
The spread between the top tier teams and everyone else continues to widen. The 49’ers, Patriots, and New Orleans Saints remain the three teams at the top, with one loss or less. Just behind them, the Buffalo Bills, Ravens, and Green Bay Packers have only 2 losses each.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Bengals, Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins have only one win (or less). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns have only 2 wins each. OBJ, dude, what happened?
Nice to Know:
In Thursday Night Football this week in an all-Cali match-up, the Oakland Raiders scored a last minute victory over the LA Chargers in a back and forth game. As a result, the Raiders are viewed as still alive in the playoff race, while the Chargers are probably out of it.
By one way of thinking, the “big game” today is the one between the New York Jets (1-7) and New York Giants (2-7), with the Giants slightly favored. The two New York teams have struggled all season, and head coaches Gase and Shurmur are clearly on the hot seat.
Many are calling this match-up the “Toilet Bowl.” On Friday, as a result of a Go Fund Me page to raise funds, a plane flew over and around New York City and the Hudson River with a banner saying “Fire Adam Gase Now.” Yikes! And you thought you had a rough week at work.
Halfway through the season, the new rule to allow challenges on pass interference is largely viewed as ineffective. Virtually every challenge has been denied, even when the call seems pretty clear. It appears that the NFL Commissioner’s office has communicated that the referees should only overrule in the most egregious errors – arguably, like the infamous Saints-Rams play last year. Many coaches just keep challenging the calls, though, as if to make a point.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka “The Greek Freak,” of the Milwaukee Bucks is having a freaking unreal start to the NBA season. He was on fire during the preseason, and now he’s the first player in NBA history to have – in the first 8 games – 200 points, 100 rebounds and 50 assists. Just epic.
Nice to Know:
The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard scored 60 points in a game against the LA Clippers, and they still lost. It’s a personal best for Lillard , but the rest of the team is suffering from injuries.
In the East, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are on top, while the New York Knicks (1-7) are at the bottom of the heap.
In the West, the LA Lakers are number one, and unfortunately for fans, the Zion-less Pelicans (1-6) are at the bottom. The Lakers are on a 6-game winning streak, and as a result, LeBron James is feeling pretty good.
Things are not so rosy further north in California. Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is out until at least February with a broken hand, and the rumor is that he may be out for the rest of the season. The Bleacher Report broke that story, setting off a frenzy of speculation about whether the injury is worse than originally thought, or whether he will sit out because there’s no way for the Warriors to be competitive this year.
In an interesting turn of events, it appears that many NBA teams are relishing beating the Warriors. The feeling is that the Warriors were “showboats” when they were on top, and now that they’re down, there’s a lot of crowing and spiking of the ball.
A lively debate has started in the NBA over the issue of resting players. The league is trying to accommodate players concerned about injuries via “load management” of the games. For example, Kawhi Leonard sat out 2 games last week due to load management. While that might sound like a sensible idea, the problem is that fans really want to see the stars play. So ticket sales could suffer if they rest the big names too often.
While it’s still early in the season, the New York Islanders are off to a good start. They had a 10-game winning streak going, which unfortunately snapped with a loss to the Penguins. The last time the Islanders won that many games in a row was in 1982 when they won a total of 15 games in a row.
This Week in Sports News November 10, 2019
That’s it. You’re good to go with the top headlines and coming attractions heading into the week of November 10, 2019. Have a good one, and see you next week.
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