Ho ho ho! Still working on those leftovers from Thanksgiving? Or maybe you're now just working off the pounds. Either way this weekend was more than a heaping helping of food, it was also a heaping helping of sports. Between the NFL games packed throughout the weekend and the college football games inserted as filler, you had plenty to watch.
The NFL's week kicked itself off on turkey day with three games. Starting off were the Houston Texans visiting the Detroit Lions and on paper it seemed like the Texans would walk out with a victory rather easily, but the Lions thought differently. It was a tight game and came down to overtime but the real tragedy occurred on a Texans 81 yard run for a touchdown. In the NFL every scoring play is reviewed automatically to ensure no mistakes are made. And indeed during the play Justin Forsett, Texan running back, had indeed made contact with his knee to the ground meaning he was down. As the referees went about their usual response Lions' coach Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag on the play. The flag being thrown on a already in review play resulted in a penalty and the touchdown allowed to stand. The score was the difference in a game that went into the overtime and the Texans escaped Detroit.
Other highlights from the weekend include the previously playoff bound Pittsburgh Steelers who now run with a back up of a back up as quarterback after a series of injuries. They played the Cleveland Browns over the weekend and gave away the ball 8 different times allowing the Browns a tough but almost easy victory. Now the Steelers are counting the days until Ben Roethlisberger can start playing again. Then you have the Baltimore Ravens visiting the San Diego Chargers, the Ravens have been steadily moving their way towards the playoffs with little problems and the Chargers shouldn't have been much trouble. There the Ravens found themselves losing by three points, 4th down and 29 yards to go, and only 1 minute and 37 seconds left. Not exactly where you want to be. That is until a small pass to star running back Ray Rice resulted in a spectacular first down which somehow led to a Ravens' win.
It was rivalry week in college football, meaning teams with years of history but almost no other connection face off in games of either no consequence, or heavy consequence. Games like #1 Notre Dame visiting USC in the Irish's last blockade between the regular season and the championship game. The Irish set the tone early by scoring an unanswered 10 points in the beginning of the game but soon found themselves in a dog fight as the game went on. Towards the final minutes of the game USC had driven across the field and backed Notre Dame to the 1 yard line. One yard and USC would ruin their biggest rival's best season in decades and the Notre Dame defense stiffened and refuses to budge, a last stand that punched the Irish ticket. On the other coast you had another set of rivals facing off in Florida versus Florida State. Both teams had only one loss on their records and at one point in the season they thought it could be their year once again. One loss however and now the teams only had a bitter rivalry game left on the schedule. Towards the end of the game FSU had inched ahead 20-13 and looked in charge of the momentum of the battle. But then the Gators reversed their fortunes and scored a whopping 24 points in the final quarter to win the game and take away a win from their rival.
Oregon, now at 5th in the rankings, beat in state rival of Oregon State. Stanford, #8, beat #17 UCLA pretty handlely as well and #21 Oklahoma State lost to #13 Oklahoma. Now all that's left in college football are the in division championship games. The biggest of which is #3 Georgia taking on #2 Alabama with the winner getting to take on Notre Dame for the biggest championship of all. It's an interesting match-up with Georgia known for the offense and Bama known for their defense.
Strikeforce: Champions, the supposed final card from the promotion, should be renamed Strikeforce: Champion. What was previously billed as a four fight (three of which were title fights) champion laden card, if you count Danile Cormier as their heavyweight champion, has lost half of it's televised bouts. The loss of lightweight and middleweight champions Gilbert Melendez and Luke Rockhold respectively hurt any sort of larger casual presence this card could hope for. Lightweight title challenger Pat Healy has been tentatively scheduled to face Jorge Masvidal while a replacement for Lorenz Larkin to face has yet to be named. On the up side Gegard Mousasi will fight Mike Kyle.
Bellator 82 is this weekend on MTV2,Spike.com, and Bellator.com. The only real fight worth noting is the Season 7 welterweight final between Andrey Koreshkov vs Lyman Good. Good was the first Bellator welterweight champion and brings a strong wrestler base, something Koreshkov has not faced yet in Bellator. The undefeated Russian brings powerful wild striking, which could end things for Good. Lyman Good is the best fighter Koreshkov has fought and has shown a good enough chin eat shots while going in for takedowns. With this fight being only three rounds Lyman Good seems the likely fighter to walk out of Bellator 82 with the big check and a shot at Ben Askren.