NCAA FOOTBALL- And just like that, the college football season is upon us [Yay!- NANESB!].
Thursday night marked the beginning of the first season in which the champions of college football will be decided by a playoff format instead of polls and sportswriters.
This also marked Texas A&M's first game since quarterback Johnny Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft earlier this year. Texas A&M started off the season ranked #21 and faced #9 South Carolina on the road in Columbia, SC on Thursday night.
Coming into the season opener, the Gamecocks could boast 18 consecutive home wins- the longest active streak on Division 1 Football. Aggies fans worried about A&M football post Johnny Manziel had to like what they saw from sophomore QB Kenny Hill, who had Texas A&M up over the Gamecocks 31-14 at halftime. In the second half, South Carolina had no answers for Hill who would go on to throw for 511 yards and complete 44 of 60 pass attempts and three TDs as the Aggies blew South Carolina out of the water by a 52-28 final. According to the USC press guide- which keeps records as far back as 1962- the previous record for passing yards allowed by the Gamecocks was 485 prior to Thursday night.
ACC- The 2014 Boston College Eagles football season got underway on Saturday with an all-Massachusetts melee, travelling to Gillette stadium to take on the UMass Minutemen.
After a scoreless first quarter, BC took a 6-0 lead on field goals from Alex Howell and Joey Launceford. After halftime, the Eagles managed to pad their lead thanks to a running TD from RB Myles Willis followed by a rushing TD from QB Tyler Murphy to make it a 20-0 game before UMass got on the board with 2:28 to go in the 3rd with a TD pass from QB Blake Frohnapfel to Tajae Sharpe.
However, in the 4th, the Eagles would put the game out of reach with a 43 yard TD completion from Murphy to WR Josh Bordner to open up the quarter and Launceford capped the BC scoring with a 21 yard FG to make it a 30-7 final.
Although Saturday's game took place about 40 miles from Chestnut Hill, the home opener for the Eagles will take place on Friday, September 5th when they host the Pitt Panthers.
ELSEWHERE IN THE ACC- Defending national champions Florida State travelled to Texas on Saturday night to take on Oklahoma State. The Seminoles were ranked #1 heading into Saturday night's game and were able to get by a very game Cowboys [currently unranked- NANESB!] by a 37-31 final. 2013 Heisman trophy winning QB Jameis Winston went 25 for 40 with 370 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE- The Brigham Young Cougars managed to spoil the UConn Huskies home opener and debut of new head coach Bob Diaco on Friday. Thanks to four TD passes from BYU QB Taysom Hill, the Cougars cruised to an early lead and led UConn 28-7 at the half. BYU would go on to win by a 35-19 final at East Hartford.
UConn's homestand at E. Hartford will continue for the next two weeks as they host Stony Brook and Boise State [in that order- NANESB]. Both games are scheduled for a 12:00 PM ET kickoff.
BIG 12- Defending Big 12 Champions Baylor kicked off the 2014 and debut of their new stadium in Waco, TX in style with a convincing win over Southern Methodist University on Sunday night. With former president George W Bush and Heisman winner and Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III in attendance, the #10 ranked Baylor Bears routed the SMU Mustangs at newly-completed McClane Stadium by a 45-0 final. Bears starting QB Bryce Petty went 13-23 with 161 yards and 2 TDs before leaving Sunday night's game at halftime and being replaced by Seth Russell who also went 13-23 with 124 yards, a TD and an interception.
NFL- Just a quick reminder that the NFL season gets underway on Thursday, September 4th. The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks will host the Green Bay Packers with kickoff scheduled for 8:30 PM ET on Thursday night- the game will be televised on NBC.
The Patriots will open up the 2014 season on the road in Miami on Sunday- that game is scheduled to kick off a 1:00 ET and will be broadcast on CBS.
PATRIOTS- The New England Patriots sent backup QB Ryan Mallet to the Houston Texans in exchange for a conditional 7th round draft pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Earlier in the week, new England traded G Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay in return for TE Tim Wright and a 4th round draft pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
BOSTON RED SOX- After the shock of trading Lester [and most of the starting rotation from the 2013 World Series team- NANESB!] away wore off, the Sox had a pretty decent road trip to the Midwest and West Coast where they took two out of three from the Angels and swept the Cincinnati Reds during a brief two-game series at the Great American ballpark.
However, the disastrous homestand that took place once the Sox returned to Fenway was enough to make even the most die-hard and optimistic Sox fan write off the 2014 season as auditioning for the 2015 season. The series began with a split of the 4-game series with the Houston Astros before going 0-7 against the Angels and Mariners.
Boston bounced back somewhat on the road in the AL East, with the Sox taking two out of three from the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre before heading to Tampa Bay. The Red Sox won the Friday night series opener before being shut out in Saturday night's game by a 7-0.
On Sunday, Boston bounced back nicely by shutting out the Rays by a 3-0 final thanks to a complete game 3-hit shutout by Clay Buchholz. Clay struck out six batters and walked none while getting run support in the form of RBI singles from Christian Vazquez, Mookie Betts and Big Papi throughout the game.
After Boston took two out of three from the Rays over the weekend, Tampa is hoping to salvage a split on Labor Day. To that end, they'll send Drew Smyly [9-10; 3.31 ERA] to the mound to face off against Rubby de LaRosa [4-5; 3.81 ERA]. First pitch for this Labor Day game is scheduled for 1:05 ET and the game will be televised on NESN.
OTHER RED SOX NEWS- Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia may be missing at least a week after suffering from 'concussion-like symptoms' after a collision with Logan Forsyth during Saturday's 7-0 loss. With the rosters expanding on September 1, the Red Sox may not even have to put Pedroia on the DL although if it is a concussion, he will probably miss at least a week's playing time.
EVEN MORE RED SOX NEWS- The Red Sox and Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo have agreed to terms on a 7 year, $72.5 million contract last week. The sought-after Cuban defector became eligible after obtaining his US P-1A work visa and arrived at the team's Ft Meyers facility last Wednesday to begin workouts.
Although the regular season for the Red Sox minor-league affiliates is nearly over, Castillo may end up seeing time in the playoffs for the Ft Meyers Red Sox in the Gulf Coast League or the Portland Sea Dogs of the AA Eastern League or Pawtucket Red Sox of the AAA International League.