College Football 2017: Early Predictions


It has been almost three months since the epic ending to the College Football Playoff National Champion Game where the Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31. Since then, schools have finished up their recruiting classes, the NFL Combine has come and gone (with the NFL draft taking place at the end of April), and Jim Harbaugh has upgraded his classic khaki pants to Lululemon pants.

Tide Keeps Rolling

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Despite the heartbreaking loss in the national spotlight and losing key players such as Johnathan Allen and Reuben Foster, the Alabama Crimson remain favorites to win the National Championship next season. Nick Saban will bounce back with the top recruiting class in 2017. Saban has built a powerhouse over the past decade at Alabama, and the odds are “ever in his favor” to reclaim the crown.

Michigan Will Meet Bama

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If the upgraded pants for Jim Harbaugh wasn’t enough to sway your opinion, Harbaugh’s recruiting should get your attention. According to Campus Insiders, the Michigan Wolverines have the 3rd best recruiting class entering next season. Harbaugh’s ability to use Satellite Camps in states like Georgia and Florida, along with is outspoken personality has helped turned this school back into the powerhouse of the early to mid 90’s. I believe the Wolverines will get over the hump and will face Alabama in the National Championship.

Back To Back

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As a sophomore, Lamar Jackson ran away with the Heisman Trophy last season (3,543 passing yards, 30 passing TD’s, 9 INT, 1,571 rushing yards, 21 rushing yards). Louisville was in the playoff hunt for most of the season because of the play of their star quarterback. I believe a win against either Clemson or Houston, the Cardinals would’ve replaced Washington in the top 4. With another year of experience in the spotlight, Jackson is the favorite to repeat to hoist the Heisman.

JGOOD

Respect Greatness


We are living in an era where we’re witnessing historical records are being broken, mesmorizing moments from deciding games are taking place, and once in a lifetime achievements are current. Clear examples of such greatness includes the Golden State Warriors winning 73 games in a regular season, the newly infamous Julian Edelman’s catch that helped propel the New England Patriots Super Bowl LI comeback, and the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908.

We are also living in an era where we’re witnessing some of the best athletes to ever play. When I was a child, I saw Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Ken Griffey, and Jerry Rice. As I got older, I witnessed Kobe Bryant, Mario Lemieux, Derek Jeter, and Randy Moss. Now there’s LeBron James, Patrick Kane, Kris Bryant, and Julio Jones. Over the past 30 years, we’ve have seen athletes come and go, but we have all been witnesses to the greatness that certain professionals have displayed.

In the last 12 months alone, we have seen some of the best championship sporting outcomes in history. We saw March Madness end with a buzzer beater by Villanova to beat North Carolina. Two months later, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the city’s championship drought by coming back against the Golden State Warriors down 3 games to 1 to capture their first NBA title in franchise history. Fast forward to October, we witnessed another drought end but on a more significant level. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 10th inning of game 7 after being down 3 games to 1 as well. Last month, we saw Clemson get their sweet revenge against Alabama in of the most fantastic finishes in recent memory. Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam title. Less than 2 weeks ago, we’ve witnessed the best Super Bowl ending in NFL history. The UConn women’s basketball team are currently on a 100 game winning streak (that is ridiculous!).

It seems like we’re at a point where we expect great things to happen at every major sporting event. From The Master’s to Wimbledon; the Stanley Cup to the World Series; the NBA Finals to the Super Bowl, we are spoiled by greatness. Appreciate these moments while you can because all things (including exceptional moments) must come to an end.

JGOOD

College Football Playoffs: Expansion Needed


The college football playoffs championship game is upon us. The defending champs, Alabama Crimson Tide, will take on the Clemson Tigers in what will be a rematch from last year’s CFP championship game (Alabama won 45-40). There are plenty of headlines you can make about this game like Alabama firing offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin this week (which seems very untimely), even though he’s going to be the head coach of Florida Atlantic, and will Alabama’s true freshman QB Jalen Hurts have a better performance than he did against the Washington Huskies (completed 7-14 for 57 yards)? Also, will the Clemson Tigers get their revenge?

Alabama vs Washington; Peach Bowl
Clemson vs Ohio State; Fiesta Bowl

The storyline that was trending a month ago and that I’m bringing up now is that the college football playoffs should expand the playoff format, specifically from 4 teams to 8. When the topic first sparked a month ago, I was in favor of it. After watching the results of a couple of bowl games since then, I’m completely in agreement of this proposal. If you watched the Fiesta Bowl, which featured Clemson and Ohio State (Buckeyes), you watched a complete domination by the Tigers. Ohio State was considered a top-3 team during the regular season. Their only other loss was against Penn State (Nittany Lions). The problem with that was Ohio State didn’t advance the Big Ten Championship Game because of that loss. The CFP Committee has said that winning your conference championship game is a big factor to being selected to the playoffs. Penn State, being ranked number 5 in the country, after winning the Big Ten Championship over Wisconsin (Badgers) was snubbed from the college football playoffs (If you watched the Rose Bowl, you missed arguably the best bowl game thus far!)

USC vs Penn State; Rose Bowl

Another bowl game I want to mention is the Orange Bowl that featured Florida State (Seminoles) and Michigan (Wolverines). Florida State defeated Michigan 33-32 in a stellar performance, but I want to point out that both of these schools were worthy of being in the playoffs as well (in my eyes). Michigan was ranked in the top 5 for majority of the football season, and Florida State has been consistent throughout the year. If you included Michigan, Florida State, Penn State, and USC in the playoffs along with Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington, I believe we would truly find out the best team in the country. 

Florida State vs Michigan; Orange Bowl

We all know Alabama has been dominant for a few years now. We have also seen some pretty good teams over the years that we thought were dominant as well for a short period of time. Expanding the field to 8 teams would get rid of a lot of the “what if” questions. I’ve always wondered how Boise State would fare with the big schools a few years back, especially after beating Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. The many excuses of a team not being on a particular team’s schedule will diminish. At that point, we’ll just let the play on the field decide the best in the nation. 

What are your thoughts about expanding the playoffs? If you agree or disagree, please let me know your reasons.

2016 Sports Moments: Top 10


What a year! I hope everybody enjoyed 2016. If you didn’t for whatever reason, I hope 2017 will be a better one. In the sports world, we definitely had our fair share of good and bad moments. We even had some interesting moments like Odell Beckham Jr. going one on one with a kicking net (and losing), Rougned Odor knocking the shades off of Jose Bautista’s face, Kevin Durant shaking up the NBA by signing with the Golden State Warriors, and JR Smith being topless for about half the week (supposedly) since the beginning of the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade.

Honorable Mentions

  • Joe Thomas Sr. (55 year old running back from South Carolina State becoming the oldest man to play Division I football. His son Joe Thomas Jr. is a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers)
  • Colin Kaepernick Kneeling (You may or may not agree with Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling to the National Anthem, but the reason behind the action should be the focal point)
  • Conor McGregor Dominance (Conor McGregor became the first 2 division champion in UFC this year. His next venture may be a fight with Floyd Mayweather, but we’ll see)

10) Ken Griffey Jr. Hall Of Fame (Almost) Unanimous

“The Kid” is my all-time favorite baseball player, ever since I saw him swing with the Seattle Mariners (I barely remember that). In January, Griffey and Mike Piazza were the only two players elected to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame. This is the hardest sport to get placed into the hall of fame because it requires 75% of the vote. The most impressive and staggering note to take away is that Griffey received the highest percent of votes in the history of Major League Baseball at 99.3% (437 out of 440 votes). Personally, Ken Griffey Jr. should have been the first unanimous hall of famer, and I would love to hear their reason for not voting Griffey in for those 3 voters who didn’t vote for him. Nevertheless, this is an astonishing achievement to cap off a remarkable career.

9) Stephen Curry: Unanimous MVP

Speaking of unanimous, Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA history to be voted unanimous MVP of a season. In 2015, the Golden State Warriors shocked the world by winning their first NBA Title in 40 years. Trying to top that achievement in 2016, the Warriors won the most games in a season in NBA history with 73, while Steph Curry was putting on a display. Even though Golden State came up a Draymond Green kick and few plays short of repeating this past June, they found a way to steal the headlines over the summer (signing of Kevin Durant).

8) Von Miller Dominates Super Bowl 50

Even though Cam Newton (#1 overall pick) was the only player selected ahead of Von Miller (#2 overall pick) in the 2011 NFL Draft, Von Miller came out on top on the biggest stage. Newton looked like “Superman” throughout the whole season until the Super Bowl, where Miller registered 2.5 sacks and forcing 2 turnovers. His constant pass rush disrupted the Carolina Panthers offense the entire game. If Von Miller wasn’t hitting the quarterback, Demarcus Ware was definitely getting a few hits in from what I remember.

7) Bolt, Phelps, USA Takeover Rio 2016 

Rio 2016 will go down as one of the most memorable summer Olympics ever. It signifies the end of an era with Usain Bolt accomplishing the “triple-triple” (winning the 100m, 200m, and 4 x 100m relay races consecutively in 2008, 2012, & 2016) and Michael Phelps winning a total of 28 medals (23 gold medals). The United States also were dominant in swimming events, gymnastics, and track and field events. I’m going to miss seeing Bolt and Phelps dominate their respective competition, but I’m excited to see who’s going to be the next sensation on sports’ biggest stage in Tokyo 2020.

6) Villanova Buzzer Beater

From what I remember, Villanova has always been a tournament let down whenever they are seeded high. This past March and April, Villanova actually lived up to the hype. Their mind-blowing victory over North Carolina in the NCAA Championship game was the icing on the cake. That game, in particular, was arguably the best championship game I’ve ever witnessed. The game had non-stop action with suspense and an appropriate climax. Kris Jenkins brought the game to a close and a National Title home to “Nova”.

5) Eric Berry’s Homecoming

PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO. Eric Berry has been my favorite safety in the NFL since he came into the league back in 2010. Berry was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2014 and was pronounced cancer free in July of 2015. When he bounced back after 7 months, it gave me a stronger reason of why he’s my favorite safety. Atlanta is Eric Berry’s hometown and where he received treatment during his fight against cancer. In his first visit back since therapy, Berry had a “pick 6” and a failed 2 point conversation returned for a touchdown (another pick 6) to solidify the Kansas City Chiefs victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

4) Mamba Out: Kobe Bryant’s Final Game

On the last day of the 2015-16 regular season, you had the choice to either watch the Golden State Warriors go for 73 wins or Kobe Bryant’s last game. I caught the 4th quarter of “Mamba Out”. I wasn’t the biggest Kobe fan, but I truly respected him. Watching the final 3 to 4 minutes live gave me chills and rewatching this video duplicated how I felt about it. Seeing him leave the game lets you know that an era in the NBA has ended (and my childhood basketball icons are gone). When you add Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen (officially announced his retirement) to that list of retirees in 2016, you have a higher level of appreciation for the game of basketball (and an epic hall of fame class down the line). Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, and Manu Ginobili are next in line.

3) Cavaliers Comeback 3-1

In June of 2015, the Cleveland Cavaliers came up short in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors. Even though LeBron James nearly averaged a triple-double, missing Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving due to injuries played a crucial part of them coming up short. A year later (with healthy teammates), the Cavs pulled off an improbable comeback in the NBA Finals. What really makes this achievement special is the fact that this is the first major championship for the city of Cleveland since the Cleveland Browns won in 1964 during the Jim Brown era. This was also the first ever NBA Title for the Cavaliers. Being a Chicago Bulls fan, I wasn’t thrilled about Cleveland winning, however, I know the importance that particular title meant to the city of Cleveland. Congrats, again, to the Cleveland Cavaliers!

2) Passing Of Legends

With the amazing things that I’ve previously mentioned during this countdown thus far, we lost some great people along the way of this special year of 2016. Some of the icons that we’ve lost this year includes boxing legend Muhammad Ali (His contributions inside and outside the ring can’t be compared to another), golfing legend Arnold Palmer (golf’s most beloved figure and he surged the sport into popularity), legendary sports broadcaster Craig Sager (#SagerStrong), former NFL head coach Dennis Green (coached the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals), legendary women’s basketball head coach Pat Summitt, and ESPN’s reporter John Saunders. I know it can be sad to think about, but we should remember their achievements and how meaningful their contributions were.

1) Cubs Win!

This is by far the most memorable moment for not only this year but the best moment for certain people’s lives. There have been generations that have waited for the day for the Chicago Cubs to win a World Series championship since 1908. I remember a little over a decade ago in 2003 when the Cubs were 5 outs away from the World Series. Then…the Steve Bartman incident happened. I seriously believe Chicago is the best sports city and Chicago Cubs fans are the most loyal fans amongst all major sports. Chicago coming back from 3-1 against Cleveland (pretty ironic), which included an unreal rain delay in extra innings of game 7, made their championship more fitting for the franchise. I know a few Cubs fans that are still celebrating (and it’s well deserved). 2016 is your year, Chicago Cubs.

Happy Holidays!!

JGOOD

 

Hardest Job In Sports


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You would think being a coach, manager, general manager, or owner would be the hardest job in sports because of the responsibility and impact they can have in an organization. Even with the tough criticism those positions endure in times of underachieving, those positions also receives accolades for their success.

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Being a referee (umpire in baseball) takes thick skin with no pride or ego. The title also requires integrity, humility, and confidence. You have to be able to call the game equally, be humble enough to admit your mistakes, but also be confident to make a call that you felt that was needed to be enforced. Unlike other positions, referees are usually in a lose-lose situation because someone somewhere is always going to be upset at a call OR lack of a call that was against their associated team. Reality is that every call is not going to be made and there are going to be bad calls made because of human error.

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At times, I am officiating flag football and organized basketball games at my second job. It can become difficult at times when you have both teams in your ear telling you what you are suppose to call or watch out for a certain illegal action. A lot of times it is a “lose-lose” situation because one team isn’t going to be happy either way.

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Refs are going to be highly criticized in the public eye, especially if the public and media feel that a game was decided by the officiating instead of the players. However, if everyone feels that game’s outcome was decided by the players, then you would hear little to nothing about the referees. It’s very rare to hear someone say that “the refs did a job officiating tonight” or “the weren’t any calls missed tonight”.

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At the end of the day, referees are the people that you will notice right away if a mistake is made, but you wouldn’t even think of mentioning if they are doing their job “correctly”.

JGOOD

Post March Madness


Congratulations to Marcello for winning
the JGoodWithSports March Madness contest. His prizes are on his way.

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That game was one of the best that you will ever see in any sport so don’t take it for granted. I have the same emptiness when the Superbowl ended and football season was over (luckily we’re getting closer to the NFL draft).

In other sports:

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NBA – My Bulls are about to be officially eliminated from playoff contention. This has been one of the most disappointing seasons that I can remember. It’s basically the same team as last year (adding Bobby Portis). The only thing changed is the coach and culture. We lost our defensive, gritty, and resilient identity. I’m not sure what will happen in the offseason but I wish we’ll get our defensive, gritty, resilient identity back.

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NFL – The season is still some months from here but the NFL Draft is only a couple a weeks away. “Draft Town” will be in Chicago for a second consecutive year (a 3 day event for fans to meet former players, participate in activities, food, prizes, and have a chance to win tickets to the actual draft blocks away) and guess who’s going?? (Wait for it… You guess it.. It’s me!) I’m very excited. I wanted to go last year but didn’t have the courage to skip work for it. I will let you know how it goes.

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MLB – My Chicago White Sox has started the season off on a positive note by winning 3 of 4 in Oakland against the A’s. Even though the Chicago Cubs are the talk if the town as the World Series favorite, we’re are projected to make a run for the AL Central. We added some much need bullpen help in the winter. Hopefully that’s enough to get some extra wins.

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NHL – The Blackhawks are set to defend the Stanley Cup. The Dallas Stars and the St Louis Blues have been consistent all year. The Washington Capitals are looking like the favorites to meet of those 3 teams in the Stanley Cup. Personally, I want to see Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews against Alex Ovechkin.

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The Masters are underway this weekend. Honestly I’m not sure who will come out on top. I just hope it’s a close finish on Sunday (preferably down to the last hole).

JGOOD

Road To Houston: Final Four


What a tournament so far! My bracket was sabotaged when Michigan State went down (I’m sure I’m not the only one who went down with me). There were quite a few upsets that left us in awe and disbelief.

CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIRST WEEKEND

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North Carolina has played to their potential and are the clear favorites to win it all. Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson is making it look easy.

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Villanova has surprised me this year even though they were a 2 seed. This is their second final four appearance since 1985. In their recent history, Villanova usually chokes and disappoints (similar to Georgetown). Beating Kansas was the definite eye-opener.

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Syracuse is the ultimate shocker right now. They went from a team that didn’t even belong in the tournament to pulling off improbable wins to reach the final four (like being down 16 to Virginia). That 2-3 zone has bent but hasn’t broken.

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Buddy Hield is a monster and has taken the tournament by storm. I originally picked Oklahoma to get to the NCAA Championship game and they are poised to do so.

At this point I’m hoping for a stunning finish to cap off this amazing March Madness season.

JGOOD