Clinger’s Corner: 2016 is coming to a close


By Chad Clinger - cclinger@civitasmedia.com



Well, well, well…here we are everyone! That time of year when countless holidays are celebrated, Oprah Winfrey appears to be giving bowl games out to every college football team and people everywhere are beginning to think about the end of a year and the clean slate ahead of them. So, with that little preface, let’s talk some sports…shall we?

NCAA FOOTBALL

I could fill an entire page with the bowl games that have already happened and those still on the horizon. Instead, let’s just take a look at three of them.

The Orange Bowl will be played on Friday Dec.30 in Miami, Florida. The No.10 ranked Florida State Seminoles will be on the gridiron to face the No.6 Michigan Wolverines. Action will kick-off, supposedly, at 8pm. This is not a playoff game but just another bowl game, sorry Michigan fans.

Real fun begins on Saturday Dec.31 at 3pm when the No.4 Washington Huskies play the No.1 (ugh) Alabama Crimson Tide. The meeting of these two teams in the Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta will determine one of the participants in the National Championship game on Monday Jan.9, 2017. Later that day at approximately 7pm, the No.2 Ohio State Buckeyes will play the No.3 Clemson Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona to determine the second team to play for the National Championship at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

This year’s National Championship will be the third one decided by this playoff format. Last year’s champion was the Alabama Crimson Tide. ‘Bama defeated the Clemson Tigers by a score of 45-40 to take home the hardware. In 2015, it was the Ohio State Buckeyes defeating the Oregon Ducks, 42-20 to grab the trophy.

Three of the four teams that have played in the first two College Football Playoff National Championship games are trying for the supremacy again…hohum.

NCAA BASKETBALL

Not a lot of movement in the Associated Press Top 25 this week but let’s list them anyways…also, what is your problem Grayson Allen?!

1. Villanova 2. UCLA 3. Kansas 4. Baylor 5. Duke 6. Louisville 7. Gonzaga 8. Kentucky 9. North Carolina 10. Creighton 11. West Virginia 12. Virginia 13. Butler 14. Wisconsin 15. Purdue 16. Indiana 17. Xavier 18. Arizona 19. Saint Mary’s 20. Florida State 21. Oregon 22. USC 23. Cincinnati 24. Notre Dame 25. Florida

BIG THING: The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team still hasn’t lost. They have now won 86-straight games, needing just four more wins to tie their record of 90. The Huskies will duke it out with the No.4 ranked Maryland Terrapins on Thursday Dec.29.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Yes, yes and even more yes! The playoff pictures are almost fully developed and excitement ensues…here’s the division leaders and all the usual mumbo-jumbo…enjoy!

AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

East: New England Patriots 13-2; have won six games in a row

North: Pittsburgh Steelers 10-5; have won six in a row, eliminated the Baltimore Ravens from playoff contention

South: Houston Texans 9-6

West: Oakland Raiders 12-3; lost franchise savior a.k.a. quarterback Derek Carr in win over the Colts (broken fibula)

Most Points Scored: Raiders 410; Least Points Scored: Cleveland Browns 240

Least Points Allowed: Patriots 236; Most Points Allowed: Browns 425

Playoff Picture in the AFC: Patriots-won AFC East and clinched a first-round bye; Miami Dolphins-clinched playoff birth as a wildcard team; Steelers-won AFC North; Texans-won AFC South; Raiders-clinched a playoff birth; Kansas City Chiefs-clinched a playoff birth, currently own first wildcard spot, can win AFC West with win and Oakland loss

NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

East: Dallas Cowboys 13-2

North: Detroit Lions 9-6

South: Atlanta Falcons 10-5

West: Seattle Seahawks 9-5-1

Most Points Scored: Falcons 502; Least Points Scored: Los Angeles Rams 218

Least Points Allowed: Seahawks 269; Most Points Allowed: San Francisco 49ers 455

Statistical Leaders

Most Passing Yards-Drew Brees 4858; Most Rushing Yards-Ezekiel Elliot 1631; Most Receiving Yards-TY Hilton 1353; Most Tackles-Bobby Wagner 155; Most Sacks-Vic Beasley 14.5; Most Interceptions-Casey Hayward 7

Playoff Picture in the NFC: Cowboys-won NFC East, clinched a first-round bye and earned home field advantage; New York Giants-clinched playoff birth as a wildcard team; Falcons-won NFC South; Seahawks-won NFC West; Still in the hunt: Washington Redskins (8-6) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7)

Lions and Packers will be battling for NFC North title and a playoff birth next Sunday Jan.1 at 8:30pm. This is a messy situation due to the Lions not being able to handle the Cowboys on Monday Night Football (lost 42-21).

The San Francisco 49ers snapped their 13-game losing streak by defeating the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 22-21. The 49ers are now 2-13 this season and will finish their dismal 2016 season against the Seahawks. The only two victories for San Fran this year were against the equally terrible Rams.

More importantly (sort of) the Cleveland Browns won their first game of the season against the San Diego Chargers, 20-17. The Browns will more than likely finish at 1-15 as their final game of the year will be against the red-hot Steelers. Tsk, tsk San Diego…ruining an 0-16 parade…

For the first time since the 2003 season, the teams that played in the previous year’s Super Bowl will not be returning to the playoffs. After playing in the 2002 season’s Super Bowl, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders both missed the playoffs the following season. This year, the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers have both been bounced from contention.

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

I am not going to do the fan boy thing (too much) but Russell Westbrook is still killing it. Also tearing the league up is the entire Cleveland Cavaliers team. The Cavs edged out the Golden State Warriors by one point on Christmas Day in the anticipated re-match of last year’s NBA Finals.

Anywho, here’s the division and statistical leaders as of Monday Dec.26 at 9pm…

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division: Toronto Raptors 21-8

Central Division: Cleveland Cavaliers 23-6

Southeast Division: Charlotte Hornets 17-13

Western Conference

Northwest Division: Oklahoma City Thunder 19-12

Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors 27-5

Southwest Division: San Antonio Spurs 25-6

Statistical Leaders

Points Per Game-Russell Westbrook 31.7; Rebounds Per Game-Hassan Whiteside 14.9; Assists Per Game-James Harden 11.9; Blocks Per Game-Anthony Davis 2.7; Steals Per Game-John Wall and Chris Paul 2.3; Field Goal Percentage-Rudy Gobert 69.8%; Three-Point Field Goal Percentage-Joe Ingles 47.7%; Three Pointers Made-Stephen Curry 120

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By Chad Clinger

cclinger@civitasmedia.com

Find Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048

Find Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048