Holiday hits

Chris Sale


drop-caps-w-webhile everyone else is out Christmas shopping, I am here digging through the biggest sports stories of the day, to bring you the best weekly column possible. So, with a Nat King Cole Christmas record spinning in the background, I present you with what I hope is the first of many fantastic Christmas gifts this holiday season – my humble column.

It appears the Boston Red Sox may have landed the best gift of MLB’s hot stove season. Chris Sale changed stockings, going from the white ones in Chicago to the red ones in Boston and in the process, he seems to have made Boston the favorite to win the American League. The Red Sox certainly paid a steep price to get Sale, giving up the top prospect in the game (Yoan Moncada) but you’ve got to like the move if you are a fan of either team. Time will tell if it truly makes the Red Sox the best team in the AL. At the very least, it gives them one of the top starting rotations in baseball.

ohio-footballCollege football announced its final four and the fans of Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Washington are certainly happy, while Michigan men and the folks in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania certainly are not. I don’t understand giving Ohio State the spot that should have gone to the Big 10 champion (Penn State). Yes, Buckeyes had one less loss, but they lost the head-to-head matchup. If the NCAA is just going to pick random teams it deems the best, then why bother even having a conference championship game? Likewise, I do not believe Washington is better than Michigan. The Pac-12 is typically a soft conference and their champions usually get destroyed when matched up with teams from the SEC and Big 10. I am guessing this will happen again when the Huskies try their luck against Alabama. All of this just goes to illustrate how college football needs a proper playoff. How about giving a berth to the winners of the major conferences and then have a few at large bids? It certainly would make for a more interesting playoff and the ultimate crowning of a truly deserving champion.

raiders-fanshristmas has certainly come early for fans of the Oakland Raiders. After years of frustration, it appears Oakland’s commitment to excellence is finally paying off dividends. The Raiders took care of the Bills last weekend and now have 10 wins. The last time they had double digit wins was 2002, believe it or not. The once-proud franchise went through 14 years of being fairly awful, but seem to have finally emerged from those dark days to find a bright future in front of them. I have said here before that I think a good Raiders’ franchise is good for the NFL and I am standing by that. They have some of the most loyal (and unusual fans) in all of sports and it’s certainly nice to see those peoples’ loyalty rewarded with victories on the field. It will be interesting to see what Oakland can do in the playoffs and I suspect this week’s matchup with Kansas City should provide us all some indication of just how good this year’s Raiders are.