Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from Not Another New England Sports Blog!

Whatever your plans our this Thanksgiving day, I hope you have the opportunity to pause and give thanks for the blessings in your life- even the ones that may not be readily apparent.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Riots Erupt in Ferguson, MO After Grand Jury Declines to Indict Police Officer for Shooting Black Teenager

For the third straight night, authorities in the St Louis area struggled to contain arson and looting after a St Louis County Grand Jury decided there wasn't enough evidence to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the August 9th shooting death of 18 year old Michael Brown. Brown was black while officer Wilson is white, and the shooting underscored racial tensions throughout the region.

Brown and a friend were videotaped stealing cigars and threatening the clerk of a convenience store in Ferguson, MO. Minutes later, officer Darren Wilson spotted the two walking down the middle of a nearby street, apparently unaware of the strong-arm robbery that took place. After exchanging words, Brown reportedly reached into Wilson's cruiser, punching the officer and attempting to take his sidearm. Two shots were fired, one of them grazing Brown before he fled a short distance. According to Darren Wilson, Brown was about 40 feet away when he turned around, reached into his waistband and charged at him. Wilson emptied the remaining magazine of his department issue SIG-Sauer P229 .40S&W, striking Brown four more times. Witnesses, including Brown's accomplice in the convenience store robbery, claimed that Wilson had shot Brown in the back as he was fleeing or when his hands were raised when he was trying to surrender- although this testimony was contrary to both forensic evidence and other eyewitness accounts.

Despite pleas from officials and Brown's family, shortly after St Louis County DA Robert McCoullough announced that no criminal charges would be filed against Wilson on Monday night, shops along Ferguson's main thoroughfare had their windows broken by looters as they swarmed in and picked shelves clean. As many as 25 buildings were burned since Monday night, including a number of locally owned and operated shops, stores and restaurants. At least 100 arrests were made after shots were fired and some St Louis county police cruisers were also torched, but not before having weapons stolen from them- including at least one AR-15 rifle. A body was found in a burned-out car in Ferguson on Tuesday morning, a death that police are ruling 'suspicious'.

One of the businesses damaged in the rioting was Natalie's Cakes and More, owned by Natalie DuBose who had been in business for just over a year. Prior to that she had been selling cupcakes at flea markets and the single mother said that the store was her only source of income. After an online appeal, DuBose reportedly received more than $110,000 through online fundraiser site GoFundMe to help rebuild her business and she said she plans to stay in Ferguson.

Other store owners were more proactive in protecting their businesses, arming themselves and guarding each others' businesses in shifts as the rioting and looting spread while the police or National Guard were nowhere to be seen. One white-run business in Ferguson was protected by armed black volunteers from the neighborhood who were regular customers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sports Chowdah Update- Fifty 28 Shades of Gray, Patriots Romp at Indy; Bruins Shake the Blues at the Garden; Hurricane Warnings and High Tides, Mississipi State Falls to Alabama while Florida State Surges against Miami

NFL- November has proven to be a pretty good month for New England so far, with the Patriots bookending their bye week with convincing wins over division leaders.

The first weekend in November has the Patriots hosting Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, and the outcome was far less dramatic than the last time Denver came to Foxborough. This time around, the team with the big first half lead managed to hang on to it as New England rolled to a 43-21 win against the Broncos.

Coming out of the bye week, New England faced an equally important test against another AFC division leader as the Patriots travelled to Indianapolis to take on Peyton Manning's former team, the Colts.

Right off the bat, congratulations to those of you who happened to start RB Jonas Gray on your fantasy team on Sunday. RB Jonas Gray out of Notre Dame, who had moved from the practice squad to the starting roster less than a month ago, opened the scoring with a 4 yard TD run in the first to give New England the early 7-0 lead. The Colts quickly came back with a drive of their own that put them in the Patriot's red zone, but they had to settle for a chip shot FG off the leg of Adam Vinatieri to make it 7-3.

Late in the second quarter, Gray found the end zone once again to put the Patriots up on top 14-3 before Andrew Luck led a quick counterattack to put the Colts within 4 points after hitting paydirt on a 10 yard reception by WR Hakeem Nicks with 55 seconds to go in the first half, making it a 14-10 New England lead.

However, during the opening drive of the second half the Patriots started pulling away, thanks to the first Pats TD of the night to someone NOT named Jonas Gray when Brady found TE Tim Wright for a short TD pass to go up 21-10. On the following possession, the Colts would only get as far as the Patriots 35 yards line, but they were able to convert that to points thanks to a successfully 53 yard FG attempt by ex-Patriot Vinatieri. With 3:30 to go in the third, the Patriots made it a 28-13 game thanks once again to Jonas Gray who successfully punched it in from the 2 yard line.

The Colts showed some signs of life late in the 3rd when they made their way down to the Patriots 4 yard line before the game clock flipped over to the 4th quarter. Luck connected with OT Anthony Costanzo to make it a one score game with the Patriots now leading 20-28. However, not only did the Patriots manage to score another TD thanks to an 80 yard drive capped by yet another Gray TD, but they were able to bleed nearly 5 minutes off the clock, putting New England up 35-20 with just under 9 minutes to go in the game. With the clock ticking, Andrew Luck and the Colts offense were pressured to go for it on a 4th and 12 at midfield, but Luck threw the ball incomplete, giving the Patriots an even shorter field to work with and less than 7 minutes to go in the game. The Patriots essentially put the game away on a 26 yard reception and TD from Brady to Gronkowski where he was shedding tacklers like a maple sheds its leaves this time of year- this comes AFTER destroying former teammate and Colts safety Sergio Brown by blocking him into an NBC camera trolley along the sideline.

New England goes on to an pretty easy-looking 42-20 win on Sunday Night Football and will next host the Detroit Lions [who, interestingly, aren't playing on thanksgiving- NANESB!]. Interestingly, this may be the first time ever that the Patriots and Lions have ever played each other when both teams were leading their respective divisions.

OTHER PATRIOTS NEWS- After being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, free agent RB and former Patriot LeGarrette Blount signed a two year deal with New England on Thursday. Blount was released by the Steelers less than 24 hours after the Steelers 27-24 Monday Night Football win over the Tennessee Titans after complaining about getting no carries in the game.

Although some sportswriters believed the Pats had their eyes toward the future when bringing Blount back [Ridley is currently on the DL and Shane Vereen is a free agent at the end of the season- NANESB!] that became more apparent when Jonas Gray missed practice on Friday. Something similar happened last month when CB Darrelle Revis missed practice last month, but he ultimately ended up playing in the Oct 26th win against the Bears.

ELSEWHERE IN THE AFC EAST- Sunday afternoon's game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets has been postponed and is rescheduled to be played at Detroit's Ford Field on Monday night. Over the last few days, the Buffalo area had been hit by a series of winter storms with accumulation up to six feet in many areas.

Initially, the Bills were optimistic that they could get the stadium ready in time for Sunday's game and were offering fans $10 and hour and free game tickets to assist in shoveling out the stadium. However, the snowfall clogged the surrounding highways to the point where some players were arriving at Ralph Wilson stadium via snowmobile and the forecast is calling for even more snowfall between now and Sunday.

Kickoff is scheduled for Monday at 7:00 ET and the game will be televised locally in both the Buffalo and New York City markets on CBS.

NHL- After a pretty disappointing week that saw the Olde Towne Team lose big to Original Six rivals Montreal and Toronto, the Bruins seemed like they found their rhythm once again after returning to the Garden and doubling up the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 over the weekend.

The win in Tuesday night's home game against the visiting Blues was made all the more strange by the fact that the Blues outshot Boston by nearly a 2:1 margin- 33-17, but Tukka Rask was able to record the shutout while Patrice Bergeron scored in the first and Torey Krug scored in the 3rd [both even-handed- NANESB!] to make it a 2-0 Bruins win.

Boston will travel to Columbus for a 1-game road trip on Friday before retuning home to the Garden on Saturday to host the Canadiens. That game will get underway at 4:00 and will be televised on both NESN, CBC and the NHL Network.

NCAA FOOTBALL- And then there was only one- at least in the "Power Five" conferences.

The Alabama Crimson Tide shook things up in the BCS and put themselves back in the championship hunt after beating the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa, AL by a 25-20 final on Saturday. Both 'Bama and Mississippi State now sport similar 9-1 records, with Bama holding the edge thanks to their head-to-head record against Mississippi State. The win propels the Crimson Tide to #2 in the Nation while Mississippi State falls to number four.

This weekend, Alabama has a fairly easy contest against FCS Western Carolina at Tuscaloosa before the Iron Bowl against Auburn at the end of the month while the rest of Mississippi State's games are against the SEC with Vanderbilt this weekend and the rivalry game at Ole Miss at the end of the month at Oxford, MS. There is also the matter of the SEC championship game- since Bama and Mississippi State are both in the SEC East division, one of them would go on to face the leader of the SEC west [which could be either Georgia or Missouri if the standings hold up over the next two weeks- NANESB!].

ELSEWHERE IN THE NCAA- Despite trailing most of the game against in-state rival Miami, the Florida State Seminoles pulled out a late win to continue their undefeated season. The 'Noles pulled ahead for good with just over 4 minutes to go in the 4th quarter when Freshman RB Dalvin Cook ran 26 yards for the go-ahead TD. FSU holds in to its top ranking by going on to beat Miami by a 30-26 final.

Florida State will finish off their regular season hosting Boston College, followed by the Florida Gators for Rivalry week and a showdown with #18 Georgia Tech for the ACC Title Game on Dec 6th.

ELSEWHERE IN THE ACC- After getting out to a 13-3 lead over the Louisville Cardinals, the Boston College Eagles gave up five unanswered touchdowns to Louisville and would go on to lose by a 38-19 final in Chestnut Hill two weeks ago. After a week off, the Eagles now face a monumental challenge when they travel to Tallahassee to take on #1 Florida State this weekend. The Eagles regular season wraps up with a Rivalry Week contest against Syracuse at Chestnut Hill on Nov 29th.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Obamacare Architecht: Law Passed Because of Lack of Transparency, "Stupidity" of American Voters

A series of videos have surfaced showing MIT Economist Jonathan Gruber, the man widely credited with crafting President Obama's sweeping healthcare law, admitting that the law was written in a vague and deceptive manner by design to hide costs and that the Affordable Care Act was ultimately passed thanks to the 'stupidity of the American voter'.

As of Friday, the total number of videos circulating of Gruber boasting to audiences about the circumstances under which Obamacare had passed was six. A number of the recently surfaced videos date from 2010 and 2011, while the most recent videos date back to fall of 2013 and there may be even more damning video to come.

In a 2011 conversation about the Affordable Care Act, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the law more commonly known as Obamacare, talked about how the bill would get rid of all tax credits for employer-based health insurance through "mislabeling" what the tax is and who it would hit.

The issue at hand in this sixth video is known as the "Cadillac tax," which was represented as a tax on employers' expensive health insurance plans. While employers do not currently have to pay taxes on health insurance plans they provide employees, starting in 2018, companies that provide health insurance that costs more than $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family will have to pay a 40 percent tax.

"Economists have called for 40 years to get rid of the regressive, inefficient and expensive tax subsidy provided for employer provider health insurance," Gruber said at the Pioneer Institute for public policy research in Boston. The subsidy is "terrible policy," Gruber said.

"It turns out politically it's really hard to get rid of," Gruber said. "And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people when we all know it's a tax on people who hold those insurance plans."

(The White House press secretary said at a press briefing in 2010: "I would disagree with your notion that it is a tax on an individual since the proposal is written as a tax on an insurance company that offers a plan.")

The second way was have the tax kick in "late, starting in 2018. But by starting it late, we were able to tie the cap for Cadillac Tax to CPI, not medical inflation," Gruber said. CPI is the consumer price index, which is lower than medical inflation.

Gruber explains that by drafting the bill this way, they were able to pass something that would initially only impact some employer plans though it would eventually hit almost every employer plan. And by that time, those who object to the tax will be obligated to figure out how to come up with the money that repealing the tax will take from the treasury, or risk significantly adding to the national debt.

"What that means is the tax that starts out hitting only 8% of the insurance plans essentially amounts over the next 20 years essentially getting rid of the exclusion for employer sponsored plans," Gruber said. "This was the only political way we were ever going to take on one of the worst public policies in America."

Unions and employers who object in 2018, he noted, "at that point if they want to get rid of it they're going to have to fill a trillion dollar hole in the deficit...It's on the books now."

Speeches with much more blunt language on Gruber's part had surfaced on conservative blogs and talk radio earlier this week, although the story didn't begin gaining coverage until later on in the week when more videos began surfacing.

The comments were made during the panel sessions at the Annual Health Economics Conference last year.

"This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes," he said during a panel discussion at the University of Pennsylvania in October, 2013. "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the 'stupidity of the American voter' or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”

Democrats who were pivotal in passing Obamacare were quick to distance themselves from Gruber. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who cited Gruber's work during the push to pass Obamacare, denied knowing who he was and attempted to downplay his role in crafting the law during a press conference on Friday.

Gruber himself boasted of a 2009 meeting with the President Obama about the healthcare law in a 2012 interview- the White House visitor's log confirms Gruber's visit.

While some pundits have been wondering why these videos didn't surface before the election, their release may have been timed to coincide with something else altogether. The revelations come before the issue of Obamacare is once again before the Supreme Court. This time, the law is being challenged based on subsidies for the 14 states that didn't set up state-run Obamacare exchanges and the Administration's case could very well be undercut by Gruber's statements.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day From Not Another New England Sports Blog

Fort Rosecrans military cemetery overlooking the Pacific ocean in California. Mom to Madre photo

"Happy" seems a little bit of a stretch in light of developments at the VA earlier this year, but some veterans can take heart in the fact that more amd more veterans are getting elected to office after last week's historic midterms, including Senators-elect Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Earnst of Iowa who will become the first Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans to be elected to the US Senate. In fact, Ernst was reportedly incommunicado for a few days after the election to serve the required weekend muster with the Iowa National Guard.

For veterans who have been unhappy with the way things have been going in Washington, it is important that they join a veteran's group such as the American Legion or Veteran's of Foreign Wars to make their voices heard. Feel free to visit them online to enquire about membership or find the nearest Hall.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Election 2014- A Red Tsunami From Sea to Shining Sea

From Maine to American Samoa, Tuesday night was a bad night for the Democrats.

The big story of the night was that the Democrats and Majority Leader Harry Reid lost their majority in the United States Senate on election day after Republicans picked up no fewer than seven seats, with some race still to be decided through a recount or runoff. Although some Democrats had distanced themselves from President Obama while campaigning, the President in an interview said that his policies were on the ballot and he could count on support from Democrat incumbents- even the ones who were keeping him at arm's length on the campaign trail.

Heading into Election Day, the GOP needed a net gain of six seats in the Senate to regain a majority they hadn't held since 2006. It was widely believed that West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana would be fairly easy pickups for the Republicans, with states like Virginia, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Minnesota, South Carolina, Alaska, Louisiana, Arkansas and Colorado up for grabs in close races.

For veterans, one of the more noteworthy developments was that Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton became the first-ever Iraq war veteran elected to the US Senate after defeating incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor by a margin of nearly 10 points. Later on in the night, Cotton was joined by Joni Ernst, a fellow Iraq war veteran, Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa National Guard and state senator who was campaigning against congressman Bruce Braley for Iowa's senate seat that was open after Democrat Tom Harkin announced his retirement.

In South Carolina, former Congressman Tim Scott became the first black US senator from the South since Reconstruction- and the first ever to be elected to both the House of Representatives and US Senate. Scott was technically the incumbent, since governor Nikki Haley appointed him to replace fellow Republican Jim DeMint who retired to become president of conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation in 2012.

Before Tuesday, Democrats took some solace in the projections out of Kansas that had Independent Greg Orman leading incumbent Republican Pat Roberts before election day. Orman, who declined to state whether he'd caucus with Democrats or Republicans if elected although Orman reportedly received donations from Democrat-supporting PACs and Vice President Biden predicted that Orman would end up caucusing with Democrats and narrowly preserve the party's majority in the Senate.

But perhaps the biggest prize for either party was Colorado. Over the last decade, Democrats had prided themselves on making Colorado a model on turning a red state blue [and boasted they were going to repeat the process in Texas, more on that a little later- NANESB!]. Incumbent Mark Udall ran on a campaign reminiscent of the Democrat's 2012 "War on Women", claiming that GOP challenger Corey Gardner would outlaw contraceptives and earning himself the nickname Mark Uterus.

In Louisiana, that race is heading to a December runoff since incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu failed to get more than 50% of the total vote. However, the DSCC reportedly yanked a proposed $1.5 million ad buy in certain Louisiana markets, indicating that donors are less than confident about Landrieu's chances against Cassidy in the runoff.

The 'wave' wasn't just limited to a pickup of seven seats in the US Senate for the GOP. In the House of Representatives, not only did beleaguered incumbents such as New York Rep Michael Grimm [R- Staten Island] survive, but the Republicans gained a total of 15 seats [with some races in California and Maryland so close they're awaiting absentee and provisional ballots to decide the campaign- NANESB!]. Some of these included retired Air Force colonel Martha McSally beating Democrat representative Ron Barber in Arizona's 2nd congressional district- which comprised much of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords' district that had been held by Democrats after a 2011 assassination attempt on Giffords and redistricting. In Utah, former Saratoga Springs, UT mayor Mia Love ran as a Republican against Democrat Doug Owens for Representative in Utah's 4th Congressional District for the House seat up for grabs when Democrat Jim Matheson announced his retirement after the 2014 elections. Love- the daughter of Haitian immigrants- is Utah's first female congresswoman and the GOP's first black congresswoman [the NAACP was remarkably silent on the results of her election- NANESB!].

Republican governors favored just as well as the Senate and House races as it turned out. In Wisconsin, incumbent Scott Walker was elected governor for the third time since 2010- after a protracted battle over public sector unions between Democrats and the first-terms governor, the Democrats and unions successfully launched a recall campaign against Walker in 2012. However, Walker ultimately prevailed despite a well-funded campaign from unions and wealthy Democrat donors and PACs.

Democrat state representative Wendy Davis made a name for herself with wealthy liberal donors and the pro-abortion crowd after a lengthy filibuster on the floor of the State House in Austin, TX last year that was meant to hold up legislation that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. Shortly after the filibuster made her a rising star with the Democrats, she announced her candidacy for governor against Texas attorney general Greg Abbott. Although Davis wasn't expected to win, her candidacy was a trial balloon by out-of-state liberal Super PACs to try and turn Texas into a blue state. Davis ended up losing to abbot by more than 20 points, which in turned siphoned Democrat donor money away from much more competitive races.

In Maine, incumbent Paul LePage carried all but two of the sixteen counties throughout the state. In Massachusetts, Democrat Martha Coakley- who lost the 2009 Massachusetts' special election for US Senate to challenger Scott Brown- lost to Republican challenger and businessman Charlie Baker on election day. In the Midwest, incumbent Michigan governor Rick Snyder won 51% of the voting after drawing the ire of unions by making the Wolverine state a right-to-work state in his first term as governor. In President Obama's home state of Illinois, incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn lost to republican businessman Bruce Rauner. Although Maryland's Democrat governor Martin O'Malley was term-limited, pundits both left and right believed that his Lieutenant Governor, Anothony G Brown, would coast to an easy election win over Republican challenger and Maryland businessman Larry Hogan but Hogan shocked the pollsters and pundits by getting just over 51% of the vote. Out west, someone forgot to tell incumbent GOP governors Brian Sandoval and Susana Martinez that their party has a problem with Latinos as the governors of Nevada and New Mexico coasted to an easy re-election. Sandoval received more than 70% of the vote just weeks after he had announced a deal that where Tesla Motors [NASDAQ- TSLA] announced they would open up a factory outside of Reno, NV in exchange for substantial tax breaks. Meanwhile, Susana Martinez won 57% of the ballots cast in New Mexico on election day.

It wasn't just the governor's mansions that were going red in 2014. On the state level, Real Clear Politics reports that the Republicans control an unprecedented 68 out of 98 possible partisan legislative chambers on the state level.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

One Giant Cup of Sports Chowdah Update- The Constant Bumgarner, Giants Ace Comes Out of Bullpen to Cinch World Series; Brady's Bunches, Patriots QB throws 5 TDs Against Chicago; Hokies Smoked, Boston College Becomes Bowl-Eligible With Win in Blacksburg;

WORLD SERIES- Those of us who wanted a Game 7 in the 2014 World Series weren't disappointed.

Game 7 was made possible by the Royals lighting up Giants starter Jake Peavy early in Game Six on Wednesday, cruising to an easy 10-0 win and tying up the series at 3 games apiece.

For Game 7, the Giants got out to an early 2-0 lead off of Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie thanks to a pair of RBI sac flies- one off the bat of Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford. However, the Royals got those two runs back in the bottom of the second and managed to chase San Francisco starter Tim Hudson after 1⅔ innings when Alex Gordon hit an RBI double and then advanced to third before coming home on an Omar Enfante sac-fly.

In the top of the 4th, Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval led off with an infield single, followed by a Hunter Pence single and a Brandon Belt fly ball to left field that advanced Sandoval to third. By this point, Royals manager Ned Yost pulled Guthrie and brought Kelvin Herrera in from the bullpen. Morse singled, which brought Sandoval in from 3rd before Herrera struck out Brandon Crawford and got Juan Perez to ground out and end the inning.

Nursing a 1-run lead, Giants manager Bruce Bochy brought in starter Madison Bumgarner from out of the bullpen. Although dominant against the Royals earlier in the series, Bumgarner immediately gave up a single to Omar Enfante followed by an Alcides Escobar sac bunt to move Enfante into scoring position, but that was followed by fly ball off the bat of Nori Aoki to left that LF Juan Perez managed to run down for the second out. Bumgarner then managed to get Lorenzo Cain to strike out and end the bottom of the 5th.

Instead of going to the bullpen, Bochy went with Bumgarner into the 9th inning, with the Giants starter getting better as the innings progressed. In the bottom of the 9th, he got Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler to go down quietly for the first two outs. Alex Gordon stepped into the batter's box and hit a line drive into left center that was misplayed by Gregor Blanco which rolled all the way to the wall. Gordon beat the throw to third and brought the increasingly demoralized crowd at Kauffman Stadium back to life with the tying run 90 feet away. However, Bumgarner got Salavor Perez to pop up to 3rd to clinch San Fransico's third World Series title since 2010.

For his two commanding starts and the Game 7 relief appearance, Madison Bumgarner was named the MVP of the 2014 World Series. On Friday, the City of San Francisco held their third World Series parade in less than five years.

NFL- After struggling just to outlast the Jets on Thursday night last week, the Patriots made it look easy against the Chicago Bears last Sunday when Tom Brady threw for 5 TD passes at Gillette Stadium.

New England had a 31-7 lead in the final minute of the first half when Bears QB Jay Cutler fumbled deep in Bears territory and Rod Ninkovitch recovered and ran it back for a TD with 55 seconds left in the half.

Brady would then connect with Gronkowski for a 46 yard TD reception to make it 45-7 on the Patriot's opening possession of the second half. The Patriots would cruise to an easy 51-23 win over Chicago thanks to 3 TD passes from Brady to Gronk, along with TD passes to Tim Wright and Brandon LaFell. Brady went 30-35 with 354 yards on the day to go with the 5 TDs on the day. Gronk caught 9 passes for 149 yards and the 3 TDs while Gostkowski made all three of his FG attempts.

This Sunday's game is a marquee matchup between two first-ballot Hall of Fame QBs when the Patriots will host the Denver Broncos and QB Peyton Manning at Gillette this weekend. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 ET and the game will be televised on ESPN.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NFL- As good a day as Brady had last week, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger had an even better one, with 6 TDs and 522 yards, going 40-49 in the Steeler's 51-34 win over the Indianapolis Colts. The performance set a Steelers franchise record and was an exclamation point on Big Ben's 100th career win.

NCAA FOOTBALL- The Boston College Eagles are now bowl-eligible after a road win in Blacksburg, VA against Virginia Tech. Although the Hokies got out to an early lead in the first, the Eagles took a 14-10 lead into halftime.

After the half, the Eagles extended their lead to 23-10, but Virginia Tech made it a 23-17 game early in the 4th quarter and took a one point lead on a pass from QB Michael Brewer to TE Bucky Hodges to give the Hokies a 24-23 lead.

With just over five minutes to go in regulation, Alex Howell gave Boston College the lead once again thanks to a 44 yard FG attempt. After the Eagles defense held the Hokies to a 3 and out on the following possession, the Eagles started to pull away thanks to a 57 yard TD run from QB Tyler Murphy to make it 33-24 Boston College. The Hokies would close the gap to 31-33 thanks to another driver from Brewer that was capped with a 5 yard TD pass with 1:09 to go, but the following onsides kick was recovered by the Eagles, which allowed them to simply take a knee and run out the clock.

Murphy went 8 for 15 with 110 yards and two TDs passing and 122 yards rushing with another TD. Charlie Callinan and Marcus Outlow each had TD receptions on Saturday as well.

This would be Boston College's second win in a row after beating Wake Forest on the road last Saturday by a 23-17 final. Next Saturday, Boston College will host the Louisville Cardinals at Chestnut Hill. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:25 PM ET and the game will be televised on ESPN 2.

NHL- After blowing a 3rd period lead to the Minnesota Wild at home, the Boston Bruins hit the road for a quick trip against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, getting past Buffalo 3-2 in OT thanks to a Brad Marchand tally just 1:20 into OT.

On Saturday night, the B's returned home to host the Ottawa Senators for the first time this season. Marchand would open up the scoring on Saturday night, giving Boston a 1-0 lead a little over a minute into the contest. Mark Stone got the equalizer for Ottawa with about 30 seconds to go in the first period, giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead.

The second period was all about Matt Fraser as he had two tallies less than 90 seconds apart to give Boston a 3-1 lead. Heading into the 3rd, the Bruins would add tack on some more insurance when Seidenberg got an unassisted goal just over two minutes into the period. Ottawa would get on the board once again with a Mika Zibanejad goal with about five minutes left to go, but that would be it for the Sens.

Tukks Rask turned aside 27 of 29 shots faced on Saturday as the Bruins went on to win by a 4-2 final in their first meeting with Ottawa.

The Bruins homestand continues on Tuesday when the B's will host the 4-2-3 Florida Panthers at the Garden. Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00 ET and the game will be televised on NESN