SPORTS TALK: Musing on sports injuries and more

Deshaun Watson

We lost another top NFL player last week. This time it was the guy who seemed to be on his way to being the NFL’s rookie of the year, Houston Texan quarterback Deshaun Watson.

I cannot recall another season when so many big names went down with season-ending injuries. It certainly muddies the playoff waters, while also taking something away from the on-field product. I mean, really, does anyone want to watch Tom Savage or Brett Hundley play? Didn’t think so. It is the nature of the game though, so I guess we will just all have to persevere.

Three UCLA basketball players have been arrested for allegedly shoplifting during the team’s trip to China. One of them is LiAngelo Ball, brother of Lonzo, son of LaVar, and a future NBA superstar (if you buy into all of his father’s talk.) Details on this one are a bit shaky thus far, but I’m going to go on record saying it’s not a good idea to do anything wrong when visiting a foreign country. Okay, it’s not a good idea to shoplift, ever. But if you’re back home in the states, at least you understand the legal system. In China, not so much. I have read that Ball and his teammates could very well go to prison for what they did. I doubt this will happen, but words cannot express how bad an idea it was for these three to court any sort of trouble while on this trip. For their sake, I hope they all return home with the team.

Things got messy in college football’s top 10 recently. Michigan State knocked off Penn State, while Iowa somehow upset Ohio State, sending both Big 10 powers tumbling out of the top 10 and into the next tier of the rankings.

The losses did not change anything about the four teams who would be in the playoffs if they were scheduled to start this weekend, but it did eliminate two more one-loss teams from the picture. There are still 11 teams left in the top 25 with one or fewer losses. Two of these teams are UCF and Memphis.

So as far as the NCAA goes, they don’t count. This leaves us with nine actual contenders for the national championship. Of those teams, four of them are undefeated, while the rest have all lost once. The picture will get even clearer on the weekend. Four of those teams, Notre Dame and Miami and TCU and Oklahoma, are playing each other, while the top team in the country, Georgia, travels to take on No. 10 Auburn in a game they could easily lose. You have to figure if any of those teams with one loss lose, then they are out, too. Any way you look at it, it should be an exciting weekend for college football.

Finally, a sad farewell to Roy Halladay. The former ace pitcher of the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies died Monday when a small plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. In an age of pitch counts and starting pitchers struggling to get past the sixth inning, Halladay was a throwback to a different time. He routinely pitched complete games and usually did it in dominating fashion. While he has not played for a few years, I still have not-so-fond memories of him mowing down my Boston Red Sox. He will be missed.