An early look at college football playoffs, NBA


Big Ten looks good in first playoff rankings

It’s getting to be that time of year again in college football.

On Nov. 1, the first playoff rankings were released. Sure, there are still four weeks of gridiron action to go but as of now, fans of the Big Ten Conference should be excited.

The Alabama Crimson Tide leads the way at No. 1 after eight weeks of play and that is not a surprise to anyone. However, the Southeastern Conference, or SEC, has just three teams in the Top 10.

The Big Ten Conference has four teams in the Top 10 and is finally getting the recognition many feel is usually snuffed. The Michigan Wolverines are the highest ranked team in the conference, sitting currently at No. 3. Michigan is 8-0 this season and has home games against Maryland and Indiana remaining, with road games against Iowa and Ohio State. Sitting at No. 6 in the initial polls is the Ohio State Buckeyes with a record of 7-1. Ohio State still has home games against Illinois and Michigan, with road trips to Maryland and Michigan State. At No. 8 is the 6-2 Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers have home games against Illinois and Minnesota remaining which are mixed in with away games against Northwestern and Purdue. Rounding out the top 10 are the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska currently has a record of 7-1 overall. They will play at Ohio State this week, followed by two home games against Minnesota and Maryland before finishing the season in Iowa.

Other teams in the initial top 10 of the polls are: No. 2 Clemson Tigers (SEC), No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies (SEC), No. 5 Washington Huskies (Pac-12), No. 7 Louisville Cardinals (ACC) and No. 9 Auburn Tigers (SEC).

NBA champs open on a high note

The NBA is now in its second week of regular season play. The Cleveland Cavaliers are defending their 2015-2016 title while “superteams” are trying their best to dethrone them. Huge numbers have been put up, some surprises have emerged so far and most teams are four games or less into the season.

This is now things looked after Tuesday night’s action.

The Eastern Conference and World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers lead the Central Division so far this season, going a perfect 4-0. One of the “superteams” this year in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls are neck and neck with the Cavs at 3-0. Leading the way in the Atlantic Division are the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors. Both teams are currently at 2-1 early in the season. The New York Knicks, another of the “superteams”, are just 1-2 while the Philadelphia 76ers find themselves in familiar territory, winless at 0-3. Rounding out the Eastern Conference is the Southeast Division leading Atlanta Hawks at 3-0. The Washington Wizards remain winless at 0-2.

Over in the Western Conference, there are two divisions that are lead by undefeated teams. First is the Pacific Division, where the Los Angeles Clippers are currently leading the way with a 3-0 record. Defending Western Conference Champions, the Golden State Warriors have won three in a row since losing to San Antonio in the first game of the season. In that same division, the Phoenix Suns sit winless at 0-4. The other undefeated team in the West is the Northwest Division leading Oklahoma City Thunder (3-0). Sitting atop the Southwest Division in the West is the San Antonio Spurs at 4-1. Finding themselves at the bottom of this division and winless are the New Orleans Pelicans (0-4) and the Dallas Mavericks (0-3).

Russell Westbrook of the Thunder leads the league in scoring so far this season, averaging 38.7 points per game. He is going to have to have a huge year if Oklahoma City wants to remain competitive in the West now that Kevin Durant suits up for Golden State. Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons finds himself atop the rebounding list, which isn’t far from the norm, with 15.5 rebounds per game early in the year. The Houston Rockets point guard James Hardin is leading the league in assists per game at 11.8. A pair of Atlanta Hawks leading the defensive categories early in 2016. Thabo Sefolosha is averaging 3.3 steals per game and big man Dwight Howard is the top shot blocker, averaging 3.3 blocks per game.

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Chad Clinger

cclinger@civitasmedia.com

 

Find Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

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