It has been a pretty big day in sports so let’s get to the stories:
Penguins Win Winter Classic: The Pittsburgh Penguins won the first ever NHL Winter Classic 2-1 in shootout over the Buffalo Sabres. The game was held outdoors in the Buffalo Bills football stadium. This was the first ever pro hockey game held outdoors in the United States and the weather did not agree. A mix of snow, sleet, and rain covered the ice for almost the entire game and forced Zambonis to redo the ice during the middle of each period. The puck moved slower and players had to battle the wind, yet the event was a huge success. Sidney Crosby scored in the shootout to give the Penguins’ the win and jumped towards his bench in celebration when the puck hit the back of the net. 71,217 people braved the elements to see the NHL’s first ever Ice Bowl. Fans loved the game and created an energetic atmosphere that players loved. Watching it on TV, the ice looked small in the huge stadium, but it was a great game and I could feel the energy in the air.
Non-BCS Bowl Games: New Years has brought plenty of great bowl games today including the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. First, though, was the Capital One Bowl where Michigan defeated Florida 42-35. It is a sweet ending for Michigan who lost to Appalachian State earlier this year, erasing any hopes for a National Championship. The Wolverines came out on top in Lloyd Carr’s final game and will hopefully move back into the Top 25 after beating number 12 Florida. In the Cotton Bowl, number 6 Missouri destroyed Arkansas in what could have been Darren McFadden’s final collegiate game. McFadden ran for 105 yards and a touchdown, but was not happy with the result. “We had a bad game. You don’t want to lose a bowl game. You only have fun when you win a bowl game” McFadden said. He has not stated whether he is going pro or not, but most scouts expect McFadden to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft. Also today, number 16 Tennessee faced off against number 18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl. Tennessee finished the year at 10-4, the Vollunteer’s first 10 win season since 2004. Led by Quarterback Erik Ainge, Tennessee had 365 yards passing with Josh Briscoe receiving 7 of those passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.
BCS Bowl Games: The biggest bowls of the day though are the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The Rose Bowl was not close for long with 7 USC dominating 13 Illinois. Few people expected the Illini to be able to contend with the Trojans and USC put them away with early. They led 21-3 at halftime and QB John David Booty has had a good game, completing 22 of 33 passes for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Trojans are currently up 35-10 in the 4th quarter and have all, but clinched the victory. The final game of the night is between number 10 Hawaii and number 5 Georgia. This is the game that interests me the most where undefeated Hawaii tries to prove to the rest of the league that the WAC is legitimate. Most expect Georgia to easily beat the Warriors, but Colt Brennan and Hawaii hope to pull the upset
Odom Suspended One Game: Lakers forward Lamar Odom was suspended one game for a flagrant foul against the Celtics’ Ray Allen. With 2:56 left in the 4th quarter of a 110-91 loss to the Celtics, Odom ran across the floor and tackled Ray Allen into the crowd. The game was over and the play came out of nowhere. Odom received a flagrant and technical foul and Allen received a technical on the play. Today, Odom was rightfully suspended for one game and will serve the suspension Friday when the Lakers face the Philadelphia 76ers.
Chargers’ GM Smith Gets Extension: San Diego Chargers’ general manager A.J. Smith received a five-year, $11 million deal that will keep Smith in the Chargers’ organization through the 2014 season. The Chargers have made the playoffs three of the last four yeas and are 50-30 with Smith as GM. Smith has drafted well and sent 14 players to the Pro Bowl last year. The Chargers made the playoffs again this year with an 11-5 record and an AFC West Championship.