Last week was my birthday, so I've turned a new chapter towards *GASP* my 30's. For me, it's not a big deal. We tend to base our lives around a supposed set of events that are supposed to happen in Western civilization, i.e. having kids and living behind a white-picket fence. Our lives happen at different paces with different events. With that being said, I'm reflecting on what I've done in my 20's that I'm proud of.
Fresh off their historic Premier League title, Liverpool is looking to dominate the Premier League once again. However, the competition is looking to lock it down and take the title for their respective club(s). Liverpool should have their hands full for the upcoming season with numerous clubs gunning for their spot at the top. Will Liverpool be able to hold on and go back-to-back?
Yes and here's why. Liverpool is practically returning the same squad from last season. You know about the dynamic duo of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, but you should know that Liverpool's midfield drastically improved last season. On top of that, the Reds just added Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich. Thiago will create gaps in the field, creating more scoring opportunities for Liverpool and making life a living hell for opposing defenses. The 4-3 victory over Leeds United might've been a bit discouraging. However, this unit should get better as the season progresses.
As long as everything else holds up for Liverpool, the Reds won't be walking alone this season. There will be clubs such as Chelsea that will be gunning for that top spot. However, Liverpool looks set to repeat and dominate the Premier League again.
0-8. That's the Los Angeles Clippers' all-time record in potential clinching games to the conference finals. It's a depressing stat, especially for a franchise that had to endure Donald Sterling's tenure. Yet, the franchise choked away its chance to face its crosstown rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, even with Steve Ballmer running the show. This has raised questions about whether this current incarnation can work and what went wrong?
Some will point the blame at Paul George for putting up pedestrian numbers (20.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.8 APG). In Game Seven, George had only ten points, five turnovers, and a plus/minus rating of -20. In the series against Denver, George averaged 3.4 turnovers a game along with 3.6 personal fouls a game. It doesn't help that George was much worse in the series against Dallas, averaging 18.5 PPG, an average FG% of 34.6, and four personal fouls a game.
Doc Rivers has stated that the blame should be put "all on him" and there's some merit. As good of a perimeter team as the Clippers are, Rivers steered away from that strength. As a result, the Nuggets burned the Clippers from beyond, draining 34.9% of their threes in the series. The Clippers also didn't avoid foul trouble, constantly sending the Nuggets to the free throw line.
Whatever the case is, the Clippers choked their way out of the playoffs. A potential matchup with the Lakers was lost due to a few problems. Will the Clippers be able to fix their issues in time? That's a question to be revealed sooner.
This NFL season is unlike any other. You will not be seeing any fans in the stands for the first in possibly forever (or the first time ever). There are also some newsworthy story lines going on in the NFL. Here are those noteworthy takeaways from the first week.
We all have our teams that we root for. Some of them we will ride and die for, some of them we feel hopelessly tied to like a bad marriage. I'm highlighting the hopelessness behind these franchises and why you should steer as far away from them as possible. Let's start with the Detroit Lions.
The only NFC team to never make the Super Bowl (that was a Jeopardy! question, by the way), the Lions have only won one playoff game since 1957. That's a long time for mediocrity. The funny thing is that William Clay Ford, as many other midwesterners do, believed in the wholesome philosophy of tradition. That includes the tradition of getting your asses kicked by either Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers on Thanksgiving Day. There's also the 0-16 season in 2008. Then there's also the team's current ownership getting their asses kicked by the eccentric, dopamine-filled businessman Elon Musk and Tesla.
The sad thing is that there are numerous Lions fans who believe that their team is like the Chicago Cubs. They believe that "it's gonna happen" and drink the poisonous kool-aid every year. They are either extremely dumb or just trying to sound cool. At least the Cubs made a smart hire in getting Theo Epstein and just got out of the way to get their World Series. I can't say the same for Lions fans.
I started giving up on this team around the eighth grade and never looked back. Now they're someone that I used to know. As long as the Fords own the Lions, you're going nowhere, Lions fans. Your team will waste generational talents that will despise your organization for as long as possible. Enjoy Elon Musk dancing with maracas on the Lions/Ford gravestone, Lions fans.
Perhaps one of the most controversial seasons to date, we start the 2020 season. The Pac-12 will not be partaking, nor will the Big Ten (at least for now). We also have an upset that happened in the AP 25! Here's who won the week and who blew it.
Other Losers: Kansas, Kansas, Kansas
Clemson. You thought I was going to say Alabama, did you? If rumors of Alabama's alleged demise are indeed true, then I will stick with Clemson. Trevor Lawrence should rebound and have a better season. Clemson should have a formidable front seven again and an easy time with the ACC, which should make matters better.
If we don't have a football season, the coronavirus will be the champion.
Welcome to another edition of Nostalgia Game Review, where I showcase classic games that you should (or shouldn't) give a try. This edition will highlight an NES classic, Punch-Out!!
Originally released on September 18, 1987, Punch-Out!! actually had Mike Tyson as the final boss. Minoru Arakawa was so impressed by Tyson's fighting that he wanted to use his likeness in an upcoming port of a boxing game. Tyson was paid $50,000 for a three-year period for his likeness. Due to the contract with Nintendo expiring, Tyson was replaced by Mr. Dream.
You play as Little Mac, a boxer from the Bronx who's looking to become the World Video Boxing Association champion. You go through three circuits, fighting boxers from the likes of France, the U.S.S.R., Japan, and Germany. All Little Mac can do is punch, jab, and pull off a star punch, i.e. an uppercut. Little Mac also has a heart counter, which will prevent Little Mac from attacking once it hits zero. The game follows basic boxing rules: You get a knockout if your opponent doesn't get up before the count of ten and you win if your opponent is knocked down three times.
Punch-Out!! can be a difficult game to play. It was hard for me to pull off star punches, which is a requirement to beat Bald Bull in the second go-round of the World Circuit. It can also be frustrating taking down the likes of King Hippo, especially if you don't know the cue to strike. Granted, most Nintendo games were hard back in the day, so it should not be much of a surprise.
Still, the game can be fun and motivating for you to beat. The characters are fun and goofy. You even see Mario make an appearance as a referee in the game! How cool is that?
Punch-Out!! can be a tough game for a newbie to play. It may take a while to pick up on the opponent's cues and the later fights can be a challenge. If you're down for that challenge, give Punch-Out!! a shot.
If you checked the American League standings, you'd be surprised to see the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros hovering around .500 right now. Both teams, mainly the Yankees, had lofty expectations of getting to the World Series. However, with the Yankees being 2-8 in their last ten and Houston being 3-7 in their last ten, it seems like both are on pace to miss out altogether.
The Houston Astros aren't much of a surprise to fall. After the sign-stealing scandal, it was not much of a surprise to see them fall. Jose Altuve (.224 BA, 12 RBIs, two stolen bases) and Alex Bregman (four homers, 14 RBIs) have been non-existent and having Justin Verlander hurt weakens a weaker rotation.
As for the Yankees, the back end of their rotation has been a dud. Jordan Montgomery (-0.2 WAR, 1.41 WHIP, 5.72 ERA) and James Paxton (-0.4 WAR, 1.48 WHIP, 6.64 ERA) have been useless and J.A. Happ (1.21 WHIP, 4.31 ERA) could be better. Not even the bullpen, which was supposed to be their selling point, is doing anything this season.
Can these two teams turn it around, especially with teams like the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, and Los Angeles Angels hot on their heels? It still seems likely, but something better change quickly. Otherwise, it would be a colossal embarrassment for both franchises.
With the unusual circumstances from the coronavirus this season, various conferences such as the Big Ten and the Pac-12 have opted to play football at a later date. This has left the door open for numerous possibilities, including the possibility of a Group of Five school making the CFP. So, can it be done this year?
It certainly can. For me, there are a couple schools that come to mind in this category. One is Cincinnati, which has an elite defense led by cornerback Ahmad Gardner. This was a conference led by Central Florida, but Scott Frost left for Nebraska. The Knights are still a good team, but they're not going to be the undefeated juggernauts they once were. This is going to be the Bearcats' conference, barring underperforming expectations from the Bearcats.
Another school that could crack the CPF is a Sun Belt school, Appalachian State. Quarterback Zac Thomas (2,718 passing yards, 28 touchdowns last season) is one of the most underrated passers in college football. He and Christian Horn are a dynamic duo that can lead the Mountaineers to the playoff. Of course, they will have to deal with Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt. But Appalachian State still looks like the better team.
There are other factors that can lead to a Group of Five school making the CFP. One is the ACC, which has not been a strong conference as of late. This would be especially true if Clemson were to suffer a loss or two in their conference. Who else would take their place in the playoff? North Carolina? Duke? The only other viable contender in the ACC is Notre Dame and they've relinquished their independent status just for this season.
The Big 12 is in the same boat. What happens if Oklahoma suffers a loss or two? It's far unlikely that both the ACC and Big 12 will have two-loss champions, but chaos will ensue if one of these conferences has a two-loss champ.
This season (if it finishes) will be one of the most chaotic college football seasons to date. With both the Big Ten and Pac-12 sitting out, it could mean that a Group of Five school finally cracks the playoff. Either that, or the SEC just gets three schools in. I don't know if that would be as fun, though.
My life! Food, sports, school. It's what it is!