|ESPN.com: News||[Print without images]|
It was a wild weekend of sports. While the NFL should have been all about the race to the playoffs, the weather garnered top billing. College football's award season culminated with the granddaddy of them all in New York. There was plenty of men's and women's college hoops to give you your basketball fix. Plus, the NCAA Women's volleyball Final Four is ready for its first serve. Just in case you couldn't take in all of the never-ending sports, we're here for the assist.
|Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night. Now the big question is whether he'll chase the glory to the NFL.|
College football: In one of the most unsuspenseful Heisman ceremonies ever, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton took the trophy in a landslide. Newton, though mired in controversy due to a pay-to-play scheme led by his father, garnered 82.2 percent of the first place votes. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Oregon running back LaMichael James finished second and third, respectively. The real question surrounding Newton these days in whether or not he will declare for the NFL since unlike many other Heisman Trophy winners, he's viewed as a future superstar. Judging by yesterday's NFL action, there are a plethora of teams salivating for his services. You know who you are! (P.S.: Newton will be appearing on tonight's Late Show with David Letterman.)
NFL: Maybe he has a chip on his shoulder due to all the hair jokes (or maybe he really is that good) -- Tom Brady is playing M.V.P. football. In a Chicago blizzard, he threw for two touchdowns and 369 yards in leading the Pats to a blowout 36-7 win over the Bears. The Patriots, at 10-2, have their eyes on home-field advantage and look pretty unstoppable at the moment. Sticking with the quarterback theme, the Packers lost a great opportunity to regain the NFC North lead when Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of the game and backup Matt Flynn couldn't quite get the job done in a 7-3 loss to the Lions.
Flynn wasn't the only play-caller who struggled -- there were some god-awful quarterback performances Sunday. Rex Ryan admitted to almost pulling Mark Sanchez, who had a costly interception and lost fumble and was inaccurate all day in a 10-6 loss at home to Miami. Matt Cassel was sorely missed as backup Brodie Croyle threw for 40 (yes, 40) yards as the Chiefs were shut out by the Chargers 31-0, making the AFC West suddenly tight. Also closing the division gap were the 49ers, who with Alex Smith back at the helm, dominated the Seahawks 40-21.
The Eagles vs. Cowboys might have been Sunday's best game with explosive plays (we're looking at you, DeSean Jackson!), awesome offensive lines and some staunch defense by the Cowboys, forcing two picks out of Vick. The Eagles pulled it out 30-27, but my favorite part of this grudge match was Tashard Choice asking Mike Vick to sign his glove during all the postgame hoopla.
Arguably the two best NFC teams are in the same division: the NFC South. Both the Falcons and Saints dominated the Panthers and Rams, respectively. The Falcons, who hold a one-game lead over the Saints, are in prime position for home field advantage, and they deserve it after the awesome head-bobbing displayed in the NFL's Play 60 commercial.
Madness in Minnesota: Just a reminder that yesterday's Giants/Vikings game has been moved to tonight in Detroit at 7:20 P.M. ET after the Metrodome roof couldn't withstand the pressure of the Midwest storm. For more from the Metrodome, here's ESPN's Ed Werder.
NFL playoff picture: Here's how the playoffs would look if the season ended today:
• AFC division leaders: Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs, Jaguars. Wild cards: Jets, Ravens.
• NFC division leaders: Falcons, Bears, Eagles, Rams. Wild cards: Saints, Giants.
Note: The only team to have clinched a playoff spot so far are the Patriots.
Women's college volleyball: Moving off the field and onto the court, where the No. 7 seed, Cal Bears beat host Washington 25-21, 25-20, 25-14 to advance to the NCAA Women's Volleyball Final Four. In a much more dramatic match, No. 6 USC beat third-ranked Stanford at the wire with a grueling 20-25, 25-17, 22-25, 26-24, 16-14 match. Rounding out the Final Four, is Penn State, who won its 94th consecutive match at home against Duke, and the ninth-ranked Texas Longhorns who will be making their third straight appearance in the Big Dance.
|Senior Nolan Smith led Duke with 22 points in a win against St. Louis on Saturday, increasing the Blue Devils' unbeaten streak to 20.|
Men's college basketball: No. 1 Duke, led by Nolan Smith's 22 points, extended its win streak to 20 with a blow-out of Saint Louis on Saturday, 84-47. Mike Kryzyzewski is now one win away from Dean Smith on the all-time wins list. The weekends' most eventful games were: No. 12 Villanova overcoming an eight-point deficit late to avoid the upset to LaSalle, and No. 13 Tennessee handing third-ranked Pittsburgh its first nonconference loss at home in almost six years, 83-76. Texas A&M also pulled off the upset at home, topping No. 22 Washington 63-62. All other Top 25 teams were victorious.
Women's college basketball: It was a dominating weekend for women's Top 25 hoops as well. The notable exception: Syracuse upsetting No. 6 Ohio State 75-66 for the Orange's 36th straight nonconference home victory. The undefeated Orangewomen are sure to crack this week's Top 25. There are still plenty of undefeateds standing in the Top 25 including UConn, Stanford, Duke, Xavier, West Virginia, UCLA, North Carolina, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Boston College
Etc.: The University of Miami hired Al Golden (formerly of Temple) to be its new football coach. Golden gets a five-year deal which could be worth up to two million dollars annually.