As we approach the start of college football season, ESPN The Magazine created a mini bracket to determine the top five storylines to watch in the 2014 season, and enlisted the fans' vote to pick the winners. The first round produced close voting, including Appalachian State winning by less than 50 votes and Charlie Strong and T.J. Yeldon pulling upsets over higher seeds. Vote now in the final round and then check out The Mag's July 24 football issue to see the winners!
The final round of voting ends July 18.
RUNNING BACKS: Gurley vs. Yeldon
Todd Gurley and T.J. Yeldon will be two of the pre-eminent backs in the SEC this season.
QUARTERBACKS: Coker vs. Allen
COACHES: Sarkisian vs. Strong
Steve Sarkisian returns to USC as the head coach; Charlie Strong won 2 Big East titles in 3 years.
UPSETS: Wisconsin or Appalachian St.?
Wisconsin is 18-2 in nonconference since '09, while Appalachian State upset Michigan in '07.
SURPRISES: Florida or Michigan?
Florida has one .500 or below season since 1987, while Michigan has one since 1984.
World Cup final -- Germany-Argentina
One semifinal brought an ocean of goals. The other featured precisely zero. But only one thing mattered in each: Germany and Argentina won, and now they will meet in the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Will the Germans, who routed the hosts 7-1, take the whole thing? Or will the Argentines, who won a penalty shootout against the Netherlands after 120 scoreless minutes, gut out another victory? Cast your votes!
pollcenter:category=5445+worldcupfinal__germany_argentinaJuly 9, 2014Jul9
How do you react after a loss of that magnitude? Even a late goal couldn't save Brazil from experiencing their worst loss ever, a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany that saw the home team give up five goals in one brutal 18-minute stretch in the first half. There were 36.5 million people who tweeted about the match, making it by far the most-discussed sporting event on Twitter. We're not going to subject you to all of them (don't doubt that we could -- we're very powerful), so here are the best reactions we found:
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored against the U.S. in the knockout stages, posted this photo after Brazil scored their fourth goal:
Oooh myyyy goood pic.twitter.com/uYIFJ1Mpmm— R.Lukaku Bolingoli (@RomeluLukaku9) July 8, 2014
British comedian Russell Brand tried to see the bigger picture at 5-0:
I hope PSG kept their receipt for David Luiz.— Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) July 8, 2014
Dirk Nowitzki, obviously rooting for Germany, became less coherent with joy as the game went on:
Jaaaaaa— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) July 8, 2014
Boooooyah— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) July 8, 2014
Wow— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) July 8, 2014
Finaaaale— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) July 8, 2014
One fan repurposed the World Cup's logo to represent Brazil's stages of grief:
ESPN's own Michael Ballack celebrated in the studio once the scoring had stopped:
At least one fan decided to blame a familiar target, although for once we don't think it was his fault:
Fans in the stadium reacted in various ways, from anguished disbelief ...AP Photo/Bruno Magalhaes
... to clothes-rending frustration ...Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
... to a kind of quiet resignation.Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
For our money, however, the match was best-summed up by this 13-second spot by a German radio station: