Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Morning Place Kicker: Zags streak, Cougs slump and Beyonce wins the Super Bowl

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 11:41 AM


ZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Is it over yet? 

Unless you had a serious rooting interest in the Super Bowl, there's no denying that was the most boring one in recent memory. Hell, I would have won some good money if Carolina won, and I could barely keep my eyes open watching that sloppy show in Santa Clara.

Given the hype leading up to the game — Is this Peyton Manning's last game? Is MVP Cam Newton the new model of a quarterback? Is Coldplay really the half-time show? — what went down on Sunday between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers was just plain ugly. And stultifyingly dull. 

The 24-10 win by Denver was all about the defense. Both Denver TDs came courtesy of Carolina fumbles either in the end zone or really damn close. Manning had the lowest QB rating (9.9) for a winning quarterback in the playoffs since they started keeping track, and Newton was harassed all day, in addition to having passes dropped by his receivers seemingly every other pass he threw. Players slipped and complained about the turf. There were egregious penalties. But mostly, very little happened. This was a rare case when I actually looked forward to the commercials (yay wiener dogs on wiener buns!) between segments of seemingly endless three-and-outs by both teams. It was rough. 

Thankfully, there were some decent distractions. Say what you will about Lady Gaga, but she killed with her performance of the National Anthem. Little did we know that would be one of the few interesting things to happen for several hours. Coldplay turned its halftime show into something that seemed more geared toward the Olympics or a World Cup, and after sounding severely under-amplified on their own songs, Chris Martin and Co. eventually ceded the stage to Bruno Mars and Beyonce, the queen of all she surveys, who used her spot to introduce the world to her brand new song "Formation," and followed the performance with an ad announcing her new stadium tour. Savvy. How many artists do you think can play a song virtually no one has heard and make it work? Even Beyonce's near-slip was no big whoop:

As the game hurtled toward its conclusion, Twitter lit up with the announcement and reaction to Marshawn Lynch's apparent retirement, which came via a subtle tweet from Beast Mode himself, a photo and the emoji message "Peace out." 
click to enlarge marshawnshoes.jpg

At least that gave Seahawks fans something to talk about for the rest of their Super Bowl parties. And now you can watch a classy Marshawn video from the Seahawks organization right here

ZAGS SURVIVE SOCAL


A couple weeks back it sure looked like Gonzaga was scuffling, but Wiltjer, Sabonis et al have righted the ship and are now in first place in the WCC after St. Mary's got upset last week. 

Gonzaga went on the Loyola Marymount/Pepperdine road trip and after easily crushing LMU, they survived a tight matchup with the game Waves late Saturday night. Seriously, a 9 pm start time on the West Coast? I know WCC teams want to be on ESPN, but who's watching at that hour besides the die-hards and West Coasters anyway?

But I digress. The Zags beat Pepperdine 69-66 behind another double-double from Sabonis, and a complete game from Josh Perkins (10 points, six rebounds, five assists), and suddenly the Zags find themselves in pretty good position in the conference, a half-game up on St. Mary's with a challenging couple of game this week, on the road at Portland Thursday, then off to Dallas to play SMU. 

COUGS GETTING UGLY

This is not what Ernie Kent had in mind for his second year in Pullman. After back-to-back losses to Arizona and Arizona State at home, games that were relatively competitive, the Cougars find themselves in dead last in the Pac-12, 1-10 overall in conference, and facing a road trip to Colorado and Utah this week. Ouch. 

EAGLES, VANDALS CHASING BIG SKY LEADERS

Idaho split a pair of games on its road trip, beating Southern Utah but losing to Northern Arizona, and find themselves in the top half of the Big Sky standings. Eastern Washington swept the same two teams, and the Eagles are just two games out of first place in the loss column for the Big Sky. Next up for the Eagles and Vandals are home games against Northern Colorado and North Dakota. Here are the complete conference standings

AMERICA'S PASTIME

We are less than 10 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training. 
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