Posts Tagged ‘Playoffs’

NFL Power Rankings Week 13: 10 Teams Feeling It in Preparation for the Playoffs

November 30th, 2010

There are only five games of football left in the season, much to everyone's chagrin, but with the end of the regular season comes the always exciting playoff games.

Aside from a great football team, one thing that has helped many teams going into the playoffs in years past is getting on a winning streak near the end of the year.

A string of wins put together near the end of the season shows that the whole team is clicking together, and that nobody is capable of stopping that team.

Teams gain confidence with every first down, every big play, every touchdown, every win, and every win streak, and if there is one thing that playoff, and Super Bowl worthy teams for that matter, need, it's confidence.

So, here are the top ten teams in terms of confidence building win streaks at this point in the season.

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NFL Playoff Scenarios Week 13: Who Makes Playoffs And Who Wins Super Bowl?

November 30th, 2010

NFL playoff scenarios Week 13 edition are here.

After yet another Sunday of NFL action, it's time to take a good look at the playoff picture and see who has the inside track to the playoffs.

There's a lot of teams in contention in both leagues. There's going to be some good teams that are left out on the cold when it comes to the playoffs.

It's going to be a wild finish to the season, and I can't wait to see it.

Inside are your division winners, your wild cards and breakdowns of every playoff matchup through the Super Bowl.

Any thoughts? Leave them below, as always.

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America-Pumas: Uphill Struggle in Mexican League Playoffs

November 28th, 2010

Mexican giants America have to win by two clear goals against Santos to proceed to the final of the Mexican playoffs, and Pumas have to beat Monterrey.

For many, it was the dream final: America vs. Pumas. A final that could put a new impetus into Mexican soccer—two of the biggest teams in the land locking horns. Sponsors and television companies licked their lips at the prospect of the bitter Mexico City rivals making it to the finals.

Following the Thursday night games, when both teams played at home, both face a monumental struggle to make the dream final come true.

America, in front of a pitiful crowd at the Estadio Azteca, lost 2-1 to Santos thanks to a late Christian Benitez screamer. Although America gave as good as they got and a tie may have been a fairer result, the class of Benitez snatched it for Santos. The nouveau riche team from Mexico’s North now consistently in competition...

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Ohio State President Gordon Gee on Playoffs and Professionalism

November 26th, 2010


The word “professionalism” was brought up by Dr. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University in an interview with the Associated Press this week.  When discussing a college football playoff, Gee said, "It's not about this incessant drive to have a national championship because I think that's a slippery slope to professionalism." This came in an interview in which the university president came off looking anything but professional.


 A  profession is defined as “a group of people in a learned occupation, the members of which agree to abide by specified rules of conduct when practicing the profession.” It is a code of conduct that helps guide a professional. The Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators states, “An educator serves as a positive role model to both students and adults and is responsible for preserving the dignity and integrity of the teaching profession and for practicing the profession according to the highest ethical standards.”


Dr. Gee insulted the work of fellow educators at Boise State and TCU, saying that the football teams at those universities do not deserve to play for a national championship even if they are undefeated. Dr. Gee disrespected still more fellow educators when he described Boise State’s and TCU’s opponents as “sisters of the poor.”  Anyone who has watched the football teams at Boise State and TCU over the last ten years has been impressed with the professionalism displayed by each coaching staff.


Some will excuse Dr. Gee’s comments and say he was just politicking to get his school in the BCS Championship game by making disparaging remarks about the other college teams in this quirky competition.  College administrators feel as though they have to stoop to this kind of behavior when opinion determines champions instead performance on the field.  It’s a sad state of affairs.  Most athletic competition around the world does not use pollsters’ opinions to determine champions, high school athletic associations don’t and neither do the professionals.


The professionalism Dr. Gee was speaking of was the use of professional players instead of amateurs.  He must think that having a college playoff will lead to the paying of players. Funny, there are high school football playoffs across the nation and authorities have managed to maintain amateurism.  Let’s face it, college players are already compensated for playing sports.  In addition to the education they receive, athletes have access to all kinds of amenities in varying degrees.  The level of amenities fluctuates from college to college depending on how much revenue a school can muster from many sources including conference bowl contracts and conference TV revenue.  Dr. Gee’s school and conference make more money than most.  This could be the reason Dr. Gee is satisfied with the status quo or would prefer to go back to the old bowl system.


The professionalism of the National Football League is evident on two fronts.  Yes the players are paid, but the league operates by an agreed upon standard and seeks the good of the profession or the sport of football.  Dr. Gee and other college presidents that preside over college football would do well to learn about the operations of the NFL.


For an in depth look at how some of the NFL best practices could be applied to college athletics check out the new book, It’s Possible! Realignment and Playoffs – College Footballs’ Opportunity by Scott N. Galloway.

MLS Cup TV Ratings Down 44 Percent From 2009: Why MLS Should Worry

November 26th, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, reported that the recent television ratings for the MLS Cup final were lower—much lower—than the previous year.

They were the lowest ratings in over a decade.

The 2010 MLS Cup drew a nation-wide audience of about 1.1 million viewers, resulting in a 0.5 TV rating, down from last year's 0.9.

We can look at these depressing statistics and presume that's the result a few things: unpopular teams playing in the final; it was prime-time on a Sunday; the American Music Awards were on; or there was an National (American) Football League match-up between Philadelphia and New York.

However, Major League Soccer cannot use these excuses for their cup final; the match that's supposed to be the flagship of the league, to show the league's best, drew weaker ratings than regular season matches.

MLS needs to accept the unfortunate realities of the American mainstream.


Sunday Night and MLS Don't Mix Well

If there's an NFL game on TV and Major League Soccer teams playing, odds are most people would pick NFL over MLS.  Even the World Cup final drew twice as fewer ratings than last season's Super Bowl (28.5 and 53.0 respectively). 

It's not to say that MLS should not have their cup final on that date; however, they should play the game when there isn't going to be a lot of coexisting sporting events that could hinder the league's ratings.

The best way to maximize the number of viewers is to host the match on a week-day evening. That way, MLS doesn't run the risk of interfering with NFL match-ups or marquee college, NBA and NHL games.

It is something MLS needs to realize when scheduling their Cup final for 2011.

They shouldn't even consider going up against any NFL matches until they have a cup final that draws crowds just as high, if not higher than NFL games.


The MLS Playoffs Badly Need an Overhaul

No, this doesn't mean adding teams, but rather, a complete reconstruction of the playoffs.

It sounds ridiculous to say that a club from the Rocky Mountains and the California Valley are playing each other for the Eastern Conference title.

The league (Don Garber) is so drilled into this belief that the playoffs must feature conference semifinals and conference finals rather than quarterfinals and semifinals, that it wrecks the credibility of the league and poses unfair advantages for clubs that seem to be rewarded for having a weaker regular season.

Does it sound right for the team to go into the final match of the season thinking "if we win this match...we have a tougher opponent in the playoff...let's tie or lose guys!"  


It results in lousy, unattractive football, which is exactly what we saw through the dwindling days of MLS; boring, lazy matches for no meaning. 

The playoffs themselves are not necessarily a problem; leagues across the globe use them (Greece and Mexico), but what's the difference?

These leagues seed their teams based on how they performed overall, not how they did in a conference. If that means three of the top four seeds are from the West Coast, so be it. 

Because of this, there has been too many fluky results and undeserving champions of the Cup, which has caused dissent towards the cup and more recognition to the Supporters' Shield.

For a league that likes to emphasize the MLS Cup and consider the Supporters' Shield its consolation prize, ironically the SS is getting more credibility from fans and even CONCACAF. 

MLS should still keep its playoff system, but the best way to convey the playoffs next year is dock the conferences and give the top eight teams seeds, regardless of "conference".

This would be fair since the league is retaining the balanced schedule for next season. 


Take Risks with the Playoffs

The reason MLS has this East v. West set up, is the hope two large markets from the East and West coast duel each other in the cup finals, in effort to maximize television ratings.

When the maximum is not cracking 1.0, then it's not the conferences problem, or the dark horse who caused outrage.  Thanks to Garber's parity philosophy, it might just be the fact you're emphasizing conferences. 

The worry behind docking conferences and using a 1-8 seed in the playoffs, is that it will not appeal to the "casual sports fan".  The casual sports fan only cares about the sport when it involves bandwagon clubs, or household player names.

The result of trying too hard to appeal to this demographic, is alienation of the true soccer fans in the nation. Can't even think of where to start when it comes to their sneering at the league; not because of its inferior play, but because of its corny structure. 

Of course, creating a 1-8 seed based on a single table will not instantly make every hardcore fan attracted to the league, but I highly doubt it was cause casual sports fans to find MLS anymore unappealing than they already find it.

There's nothing to lose in trying this format for the playoffs, because when you're attracting about 500,000 households in a nation of 300 million, you can only improve.


Sign of Stark Things

Assessing the record crowds that watched the World Cup final, of those 26-28 million, there's bound to be a good deal of soccer fans in the group.

The trick is appealing to them your league.

American eyes see it as an international sport with its own set of guidelines in structuring itself.

They love playoffs, but not playoffs where the underdog either wins or makes it to the final.

Structuring the league like almost every other league in the World will show the nation that MLS is a serious league, and not a league trying to be a cheesy spoof of the NFL, NBA or NHL. 

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