Daily Noontime (Thursday, October 16, 2020)

 

By Matt Noonan

Welcome to Thursday, everyone! 

It’s quite chilly outside this morning. In fact, I almost ordered a hot coffee from Starbucks but chose a cold brew instead. Was that a bad decision? 

Let’s get to some news from the sports world, beginning with a recent update from the National Football League (NFL): The Atlanta Falcons are shutting down their facility due to “multiple positive tests.” 

What exactly does this mean? We’re unsure, but as of now, the Falcons are scheduled to meet the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, but that game could be postponed or canceled, so stay tuned. 

I am sorry to share not-so-good news (again!), but Nick Saban, who is the head coach of the University of Alabama‘s football team, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Additionally, Greg Byrne, who is the school’s athletic director, also tested positive, which means this weekend’s conference clash between the Tide and the University of Georgia could be postponed, but who knows? 

As we noted yesterday on our mid-afternoon ‘Daily Noontime,’ two Southeastern Conference (SEC) football games for this weekend have been postponed. According to this week’s schedule from ESPN.com (as of 9 a.m. this morning), three college football games have been postponed this week. Could we see a few more due to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases?  

Staying in the college athletic world, the NCAA‘s Division I Council voted yesterday to provide student-athletes that compete during the wintertime an extra year of eligibility. And according to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, those that play basketball or hockey would be able to return to campus next year even if they play one or two contests. 

The NCAA also unveiled 450 host sites for upcoming championships, including lacrosse, which will return to Gillette Stadium in 2025 and 2026

Here are some more news and links from the world wide web: 

Could College Football Be Postponed to February 2021?

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Should the 2020 college football season be postponed to next February or March? (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualunt.com)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

The thought of the upcoming college football season starting on time seems to be the thought of many these days, including ESPN’s Chris Fowler, who appeared earlier today on the Dan Patrick Show to discuss the idea of postponing games until next February.

Fowler, who can be heard calling the marquee Saturday evening matchups on ABC and ESPN, told Patrick that he thinks “there are severe challenges with trying to start a season on time.” However, he did propose the thought of having the season start next spring so games could still be played during the 2020-21 school year.

Sure, playing football next February or March might seem strange or odd to all of us, but Fowler’s thought is certainly not a bad one considering most leagues are unsure of when or if their respective seasons will begin or resume.

Others in the college football world have also been pressed about delayed starts, including Notre Dame‘s Brian Kelly, who told Mike Tirico during last week’s Lunch Talk Live that the Fighting Irish could still play a twelve game schedule, even if it meant starting their season in October.

“There’s the potential that we could start as late as October and still get our twelve game schedule in without bye weeks and moving a little bit later into December,” Kelly said, during his interview with Tirico.

As for Alabama‘s Nick Saban, he seems to believe what is best for all of us during this time is to remain positive and “not let the circumstance control us.”

ProFootballTalk.com’s

For now, college football games remain scheduled, but we’ll keep you updated as more news comes out about the possibility of a delayed start to the 2020 season. And a potential delay would almost certainly impact the various New England schools, too.

Noontime Rewind: Boston Sports Teams of the 2010s

NSBostonSports2010s

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

Welcome to the first Noontime Sports rewind post, which will recap the current year of New England (and Boston) sports as well as look back on the soon-to-be past decade of blogging for NoontimeSports.com.

In this particular post, we highlighted our favorite Boston sports teams that we covered (and chronicled) through the site – there were some fun teams to watch and others that made us sick to our stomach over the past nine-to-ten years.

We hope you enjoy this look back at the soon-to-be past decade of Boston sports, which certainly kept us busy, both here on the site and social media.


The Best New England Patriots Team of the 2010s: The 2014 New England Patriots. Sure, you can make the case for the 2016 squad, which overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons or the 2018 squad, which outsmarted Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams, but in my opinion, the 2014 squad was the best Pats team of the 2010s. Between the offense and the defense and just the way they manhandled teams after losing to Kansas City, this particular Patriots squad was perhaps one of the best teams under current head coach Bill Belichick.

One of the most impressive games this team played was against the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the postseason. They ran a few tricky plays, including one that saw Julian Edelman throw a touchdown pass to a streaking Danny Amendola. Additionally, they stole a play from Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide, which infuriated Baltimore coach John Harbaugh.

But the cherry on top of the sundae was the Malcolm Butler interception on a potential go-ahead touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Butler will be forever linked to that play – the result ignited an animated (and giddy) celebration by Tom Brady and … Jimmy Garoppolo.


The Best Boston Red Sox Team of the 2010s: The 2013 Boston Red Sox. Following the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, our city became enamored with the local nine, especially after David Ortiz delivered a heartfelt speech just days after the horrendous attacks. Ortiz’s words would be the catalyst for a magical season that concluded with a World Series victory at historic Fenway Park.

Boston, which went from worst (2012) to first (2013), concluded the 2013 campaign with 97 wins. They beat the Tampa Bay Rays in four games before topping the heavily-favored Detroit Tigers in six games. Shane Victorino hit a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh in game six before Koji Uehara shut the door on a possible rally in the top of the ninth.

The win over the Tigers secured the Sox their third American League crown, as well as their third appearance in the World Series in 10 seasons.

Against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Red Sox overcame a 2-1 deficit by winning the fourth, fifth, and sixth games to clinch the series and win their first championship in Boston in 95 years.


The Best Boston Bruins Team of the 2010s: The 2011 Boston Bruins. If the Bruins won the Stanley Cup earlier this year, I would have chosen that team, but instead, I’ll play it safe and go with the squad that won the Stanley Cup eight years ago.

After seeing the 2010 squad collapse in the second round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers, I was unsure if the 2011 Bruins would be able to make myself (and other Black and Gold fans) proud. But they certainly did.

Their Cup run began with an epic game seven overtime win in the opening round against the Montreal Canadiens, thanks to Nathan Horton. One round later, Boston erased memories of a dreadful collapse from one year earlier by sending the Flyers home with four-straight wins (it was sweet revenge, in my opinion!).

But perhaps Boston’s most impressive win came against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals, especially in the seventh game. Horton netted the lone goal of the contest, while Tim Thomas, who won the Vezina Trophy, stopped every shot he faced.

“I’m just happy to see the guys smiling in the dressing room,” coach Claude Julien said to the media following the exciting one-goal win over the Lighting of Tampa Bay.

Those ‘smiles’ would not disappear as those same grins reemerged days later after the Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in six games to win their sixth championship in franchise history.

The win over the Canucks was exciting – it was also the team’s third game seven victory of the 2011 postseason, which was the most game seven wins by any team in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Unfortunately, their win over Vancouver did not result in a few more titles as Boston would lose in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and seven games to the St. Louis Blues in 2019.


The Best Boston Celtics Team of the 2010s: The 2017-18 Boston Celtics. After winning their 17th championship in June 2008, the Celtics have yet to return to top of the mountain but have had chances, including ten years after they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games when the Green and White almost beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Boston was without Kyrie Irving who missed the entire postseason, as well as Gordon Hayward, who suffered a serious end-of-season injury during the team’s initial game of the 2017-18 campaign, which happened to be against the Cavaliers. So, without two of the league’s marquee players, the Celtics turned to both their veteran and youth players to go on an exciting run, which included wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers (4-1).

Against Cleveland, Boston won the series’ first two games before losing four of the next five contests. They had chances to beat James and the Cavaliers in each of the final five contests, but the youth and inexperience eventually caught-up with the Green and White, who have been really fun to watch this season.

What made this particular postseason run so much fun was the play of both Brown and Tatum, along with Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Marcus Morris.

For Pride, For Passion, For Respect, For Responsibility

Jim Tressel is yet another domino that continues to hurt NCAA Football.

By Dan Rubin 

Boston College used to sell a shirt at its bookstore with a “WE ARE…BC” logo on the back. Around the logo bore the expression: For Pride, For Passion, For Respect, For Responsibility. At their home football games, their sportsmanship announcement punctuated that with a “For Boston!  We are!  BC!” It was a way to tie the right morals about the game with what it meant to wear maroon and gold and what it meant to show respect for your opponent while hoping your team beat the stuffing out of their opponent.

Boston College football averaged a respectable 38,000-plus fans per game. Their stadium, located on campus in Chestnut Hill, seats only 44,400, so that number reflects an almost 75% full stadium every game. This, of course, doesn’t take into consideration that some games were against lower-profile opponents, not televised, and at a start time when fans usually didn’t show up (noontime starts against Central Michigan usually don’t cut it).

But where a [6-6] record got BC a date in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Nevada, the Eagles still finished the season as one of the top-ranked teams in the nation. That’s because Boston College graduated 91% of eligible student-athlete lettermen, a rate that placed them as the best academic institution in the NCAA’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.

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