Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Championship Weekend Sports Chowdah Update- Chief's Belcher Kills Girlfriend, Self; Patriots Clinch AFC East Title; Rick Majerus Passes Away at Age 64; NCAA Volleyball Finals Under Way; Boxer 'Macho' Camacho Dies From Gunshot Wound

John Rieger, US Presswire
NFL- Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot himself at the team's facilities in Arrowhead Stadium moments after murdering his 22 year old girlfriend- Kasandra M Perkins- on Saturday morning.

Belcher had reportedly shot Perkins nine times at their home before speeding the relatively short distance to the Arrowhead stadium. Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli and former Patriots defensive coordinator and current Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel were summoned to the parking lot where they came face-to-face with Belcher, who thanked the two men for giving him a chance in the NFL before putting the gun to his head and pulling the trigger.

Needless to say, the football world in general was stunned by this grim turn of events and Kansas City's disappointing 1-10 season suddenly paled in comparison to Saturday's murder-suicide.

Originally from Long Island, Belcher played Division I-AA football [now called FCS- NANESB!] for the University of Maine Black Bears of the Colonial Athletic Association between 2005 and 2008. Black Bears head coach Jack Cosgrove described Belcher as "a tremendous student-athelete" where he garnered preseason CAA honors and had 293 tackles and 18 sacks in 44 games before graduating with a bachelor's degree in child development and family relations.

The murder-suicide leaves Belcher and Perkins' 3 month old daughter, Zoey, without a mother or father. One of his former Maine teammates reportedly texted Belcher the night before the murder-suicide, congratulating him on the new arrival and joking about getting a gun to ward off future boyfriends. Belcher reportedly replied that he had at least eight firearms to choose from.

The Chiefs' decision to play the Carolina Panthers as scheduled [Kansas City would win by a 21-27 final- NANESB!] the following day came under criticism from some corners of the media. However, some of the media coverage itself drew withering criticism for painting Belcher in a sympathetic light and seemingly ignoring the fact that he killed his girlfriend.

ESPN's Tom Jackson had what many considered to be the most direct comment out of all the Sunday kickoff shows: ""Remember that Jovan Belcher, as we hear about what a great teammate he was and how close some of the guys where to him, that he is in fact a murderer. ... So as we look at the outpouring of sympathy that will go toward Belcher today, I would ask people to remember Kasandra Perkins."

3-month old Zoey is reportedly with Belcher's mother on Long Island while Chiefs players have announced plans to create a benefit fund for Perkins' daughter.

Photo/Rhona Wise
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS- During Sunday's road game in Miami, the New England Patriots were held to fewer than 35 points for the first time since October 21st. However, despite this fairly noteworthy accomplishment, it was not enough to help the Miami Doplhins in their first matchup against New England this season.

Miami's Brandon Fields would fumble the ball on the Dolphin's first possession of the game, giving New England the ball inside the Dolphins red zone and a rushing TD from Stevan Ridley and putting New England on top 7-0.

With about 3:10 to go in the first and New England driving, Miami safety Reshad Jones managed to pick off Brady and appeared to run it back for a TD- however, the officials threw a flag on the return and the touchdown was negated. Miami would still get a 44 yard FG off the boot of Dan Carpenter to get on the board and make it a 7-3 game.

In the 2nd quarter, the Patriots would make it a 17-3 game thanks to a short brady TD pass to Wes Welker and a 43 yard Gostkowski FG. But instead of running away with it at the half, with just under seven minutes to go, Miami would start off what would be their last drive of the first half from their own 5 yard line thanks to a pair of penalties. However, when RB Reggie Bush wasn't running for 7 or 8 yards, Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill would throw 12-15 yard passes to put Miami on New England's goal line inside the two minute warning. To cap off the drive, Tannehill would punch it in himself to make it a 17-10 game at the half and make it a one-score game.

There would be no scoring in the 3rd quarter and despite moving the ball inside the Dolphin's 2 yard line to start off the 4th, Brady was sacked twice and New England had to settle for the FG to make it 20-10.

Miami's next drive would bring them inside the New England 10, but LB Jarod Mayo managed to sack Tannehill at the 15, forcing the Dolphins to settle for a FG and 4th and 15.

From there on out, Carpenter and Gostkowski would exchange FG's to make it a 7 point game and while Miami would attempt to get one last posession with 31 seconds to go in regulation, the Patriots would recover the onside kick to close out the game by a 23-16 final.

New England hangs on to win this one and clinch their 9th AFC East title in 10 seasons, joining the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos in clinching their respective divisions on Sunday.

The Patriots next opponent- the 11-1 Houston Texans- have clinched a playoff spot, but the AFC South title isn't official yet. This will be a prime-time matchup [one of the relatively few New England is scheduled to appear in- NANESB!] with the two teams going at it from Foxbourough, MA on Monday night football. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 PM ET and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

NCAA FOOTBALL- The UConn Huskies, the only New England FBS school with a shot at a bowl game, instead ended the regular season with a 34-17 loss to Cincinnati on Saturday. Between Boston College, UMass and Connecticut, the three schools had 8 wins between them in the 2012 Football season. The Minutemen and Eagles wrapped up their respective regular seasons last week.

While this wasn't entirely unexpected for UMASS's FBS debut season, this is the second straight year the Eagles finished under .500 and were Bowl ineligible.

ELSEWHERE IN NCAA FOOTBALL- Pretty busy Championship Saturday, so I'll try to wrap it up as best I can. In what was no doubt the most anticipated game over the weekend, Alabama held off the Georgia Bulldogs to punch their ticket to the BCS Championship game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on January 7th.

There was a pair of conference championship games on Friday night as #8 Stanford held off #16 UCLA by a 27-24 final to win the Pac-12 title. Meanwhile, over in Detroit the #21 Northern Illinois Huskies needed double OT to get past the #17 Kent State Golden Flashes with that one ending in a 44-37 win for NIU.

The OT Championship games resumed on Saturday when the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes got past Central Florida by a 33-27 final for the Conference USA title. The Sun Belt title game wasn't anywhere near as close as Arkansas State routed Middle Tennessee State by a 45-0. #12 Florida State held off a game Georgia Tech [don't let that 6-6 record fool you, I guess- NANESB!] to win by a 21-15 final in prime time while the Wisconsin Badgers simply demolished Nebraska by a 70-31 final in the Big Ten title game.

It was just another Saturday in the Big 12- albeit the final Saturday of the regular season which saw a couple of contests pitting ranked teams against one another. The most marquee matchup was the primetime game between #7 Kansas State and #23 Texas on Saturday- which was sort of a de-facto Big 12 title match. Although they looked a little lost and confused in the first half, the K State Wildcats had a great second half and pulled away from the Longhorns to win by a final of 24-42. #11 Oklahoma managed to beat Texas Christian by a 24-17 final and Baylor played spoiler to #24 Oklahoma State, taking care of business in Waco by a 41-34 final.

The only remaining regular season college football game this upcoming weekend is the annual Army-Navy game from Philadelphia. The game will be televised on CBS and kicks off a 3:00 ET.

OTHER NCAA NEWS- Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bret Bielema has been announced as the new Arkansas Razorbacks head coach on Tuesday. The announcement came barely 48 hours after Wisconsin handily beat Nebraska in the Big Ten title game and earned a spot in the Rose Bowl and third straight Big Ten title.

Bielema was with Wisconsin for 7 seasons and has an overall record of 68-24. He replaces interim Razorbacks head football coach John L Smith, who in turn replaced former head coach Bobby Petrino after the University dismissed him amid revelations he was having an affair with a University of Arkansas Athletic Department employee.
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

NCAA HOOPS- St Louis Billikens head coach Rick Majerus passed away at the age of 64 this weekend. The jovial basketball coach was perhaps best known for helming the Utah Utes to the 1998 NCAA Men's final and had just one losing season in his 25 year coaching career.

Majerus ended the Billiken's 12 year NCAA tournament drought last season and St Louis took a contest with top regional seed Michigan State down to the wire. Throughout his coaching career, the Wisconsin born Majerus also was head coach of Marquette, Ball State and Utah- as well as a brief stint as an assistant with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks in the 1980s. Overall, Majerus had a record of 516-217 as a head coach.

Having been the Billiken's head coach since 2007, Majerus announced in August that he would not be returning due to ongoing health issues- he had been suffering from heart problems for the last 20 years. Assistant coach Jim Crews has been the Billiken's interim coach since then.

Yale Athletics photo
NCAA VOLLEYBALL- Well, the regular season for NCAA Women's volleyball has wrapped up and the only New England schools who earned an invite to the Division 1 tournament are Yale and Fairfield.

Yale finished the season with an impressive 14-0 record and clinched the Ivy League title, only to lose to Bowling Green 3 sets to 2 in the first round.

Fairfield Stags celebrate their MAAC volleyball title

Like last season, Yale and another small school from Connecticut [not UConn- NANESB!] were the lone schools representing New England in the NCAA women's volleyball tournament. Last year, Sacred Heart university of Fairfield, CT was felled by Stanford in the first round. This year, it was a different school from the same Connecticut town.

Siena's Lesli Akeo (#9) and Taylor Akana (#12) in action against MAAC opponent Fairfield- Photo: JS Carras- Troy Record
Fairfield, which plays Division volleyball in the Metro Atlantic Conference, had a 15-3 regular season record and came from behind to best the Siena Saints in the MAAC tournament. Siena hasn't appeared in the NCAA tournament since the 2008 season.

However, Fairfield was swept out of the tournament by the USC Trojans last week- the same volleyball program that had eliminated Yale in the first round of last year's tournament.

Louisville's Katie George and Haley Pouliezos seen celebrating win. Scott Utterback- Courier Journal photo

BIG EAST VOLLEYBALL- Despite a pretty good regular season in which they went 19-12, the UConn Huskies made an early exit from the Big East tournament after losing to the Cincinnati Bearcats by a final of 3 sets to 2 on November 16.

UConn finished the regular season in 4th place in the Big East. However, the Big East tournament loss was particularly frustrating as no less than three Big East teams had been selected to the 2012 NCAA tournament. Louisville won the Big East title after sweeping the Marquette Golden Eagles 3 games to none, but both Marquette and Notre Dame managed to secure at-large bids. However, Marquette was swept by Creighton and Notre Dame was swept by Ohio State in the first round.

Louisville came into the tournament ranked #10 and managed to get by Belmont in the first round but lost in the following round to Michigan.

ACC VOLLEYBALL- The BC Eagles women's volleyball wrapped up their 2012 with a 13 game slide, with the soon-to-be-departing the ACC Maryland Terrapins getting a measure of revenge over Boston College for an earlier loss in September. Boston College finishes the regular season with a record of 10-22, behind every school but Virginia in the ACC.

For the ACC tournament, Florida State defeated Miami 3 sets to 1 to clinch the 2012 ACC Volleyball title. Besides FSU, North Carolina, Miami and North Carolina State earned at large bids. However, North Carolina State and Miami made early exits with the Hurricanes losing 3 sets to 2 to the College of Charleston and the Wolfpack losing 3 sets to 1 to Texas A&M in the first round.

The Tarheels and Seminoles managed to advance to the second round with Florida State sweeping Hofstra and North Carolina getting past Cal. However, in the seond round, the Tarheels were dispatched in Ames, IA by the Iowa State Cyclones while the Purdue Boilermakers eliminaetd the Seminoles.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION VOLLEYBALL- Depsite a promising regular season in which they finished with a 20-7 record, the Northeastern Huskies lost in the first round of the CAA volleyball final to James Madison.

Towson finished the regular season ahead of Northeastern and beat the Huskies in head-to-head competition last month, but they ended up losing in the CAA champioship game to Hofstra before Hofstra was eliminated from the NCAA tournament in the first round.

BOXING- Professional boxer Hector 'Macho' Camacho died at a hospital just days after being shot multiple times in him hometown of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The southpaw had won major championships in featherweight, lightweight and welterweight categories.

Camacho's family moved to New York when he was three and repeatedly got into street fights as a teen. A teacher persuaded Camacho to take up boxing as a more constrictive outlet and within a few years, he began winning amateur titles around New York.

Some of Camacho's noteworthy opponents include Sugar Ray Leonard, Julio Caesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya. Throughout his boxing career Camacho won a total of 45 matches by knockout- including a bout where he reportedly ended Sugar Ray Leonard's career.

Camacho's body was laying in state for two days in San Juan Puerto Rico before being transported to New York for burial at the request of his mother and sisters. However, the open casket viewing was disrupted when an altercation between Camacho's sisters and a woman claiming to be his girlfriend broke out.....because funeral catfights are apparently the best kind of catfights.

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