Who the Heisman SHOULD go to

Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o deserves this year’s Heisman trophy. The dilemma is that the award will probably end up in the hands of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel because he is a quarterback, while Te’o is a linebacker. When you look at the raw numbers alone, both candidates are very deserving of the award. The issue is that the typical stat sheet does not break down the most important factor. The Heisman is handed out every year to the player that is the most outstanding player, and the ability to step up in big situations should carry much weight in determining who should win the award. Hopefully these stats will be proof enough that the Heisman belongs in the hands of a defensive player for the first time in fifteen years.

Te’o has the raw numbers to support his case. In twelve games this season, he has amassed a total of over 100 total tackles (102 to be exact), and has also picked off seven passes. He is the only linebacker in the top twenty in the interception category. This stat shows that the guy makes big plays and he makes them often.

He also was undoubtedly the leader of the nation’s best defense. Notre Dame ranked 24th in opponent third down percentage, 8th in opponent fourth down percentage, and 2nd in opponent points per game. Not only was the defense solid overall, but they were also outstanding in the second half, and much of that has to do with him. This season, they ranked 2nd in opponent fourth quarter points per game, and 1st in opponent second half points per game. It can be argued that “Johnny Football” also was the leader for his offense, which ranked 4th in the FBS in points per game. They also ranked in the top 15 in both passing yards per game and rushing yards per game, and these rankings are mostly due to the quarterback, who accounts for sixty-nine percent of his team’s total offense.

Te’o starts to separate himself from Manziel when the clutch factor is considered. In Notre Dame’s five biggest games of the season (Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford, Oklahoma, and USC) Te’o recorded forty seven tackles and four interceptions. His team also went 5-0 in those five games. A&M’s five biggest games were against Florida, Louisiana Tech, LSU, Mississippi State, and Alabama. In those games, Manziel had a quarterback rating almost twenty points lower than his season average. In those five games, A&M escaped with just a 3-2 record.

When the trophy is handed out on December 8th, I pray that the voters have taken into consideration everything that goes into being the nation’s most outstanding player. Manziel has impressive numbers, but Te’o has the intangibles of a true Heisman candidate. I sincerely hope that Te’o wins the award because he is just as great of a person as he is a player.

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Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This is the best time of the year; we live in a world that always wants more and it is genius to have a day where everybody gets to reflect on and be thankful for all that they have.

What am I thankful for? First of all, my family. Even though we fight sometimes and get annoyed with each other, they are still all supportive of what I am doing with my life. I am also thankful for my friends; I have quite a few friends, but most importantly, I have a close group of best friends that I have been friends with for many years. We have never had fights over little things, and we still remain close despite our distance. It will be great to see them over this Thanksgiving break. I am thankful for my little nephew that is on his way! I was notified this past weekend that my brother and his wife are having a child that is due in July and I am incredibly excited! So once again, Happy Thanksgiving to all and remember what this day is all about.

Thanksgiving is also a great day for football as we all know, and while we indulge in our turkey, stuffing, and pie, we will also get to enjoy a savory slate of football games.

The first game features the Houston Texans (9-1) taking on the Detroit Lions (4-6) at Ford Field. The Texans are tied for the best record in the NFL, while Detroit has surprised us all in a bad way. The Lions’ passing game leads the league, however quarterback Matthew Stafford has just as many turnovers as he does touchdown passes (12). The other quarterback in this game, Matt Schaub, is coming off of a career day last week. He threw for an astounding 527 yards and five touchdowns.

Prediction: I believe that this will be a close game, but the Texans have the better defense. I like the Texans to win this one 27-23.

The next match-up is a beauty; the Washington Redskins (4-6) are taking on America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys (5-5), in an NFC East showdown. This is a very important game, as both teams are fighting to stay alive in a shaky division. Rookies Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III have led a productive offense, despite injuries to key players. The Cowboys have been inconsistent once again this year, but always have potential to pull out a when win they need to. If they want to win though, they will have to do it without DeMarco Murray.

Prediction: Griffin III has stepped up on many occasions this year, and I expect him to do it again. Redskins take it 27-20.

The last game of the night showcases AFC East rivals New York (4-6) and New England (7-3). The Jets are 2-5 in their last seven weeks and they need a win to avoid being at the bottom of the division. Mark Sanchez is under fire, but is coming off of a productive week against St. Louis. As usual, the Patriots are running away with the East. They have won six our of their last seven games, and their only loss was a one-point loss against Seattle.  The Patriots have added a run game to their repertoire , and it looks like they may have to rely more on it this week than usual after discovering that tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his arm.

Prediction: The Jets took the Pats to overtime and lost in their last meeting, but I like them to pull off the upset in the Meadowlands 21-17.

The best part about these games is not the match-ups, but the fact that all of these games are on cable television this year and I get to watch all of the games. So enjoy your family, friends, food, and football everybody! Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

STOP IT.

First off, my thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Ditka, who suffered a minor stroke over the weekend. He is a legend and his “STOP IT” segment on NFL Sunday Countdown is classic. So I wish him a speedy recovery, and hey strokes…STOP IT.

Mike D’Antoni said that he is planning on coaching Sunday, and I could not be any more excited. There has been much criticism about his hiring, but why? I understand that Phil Jackson is the most qualified coach ever, but that doesn’t take anything away from D’Antoni. Here are two reasons why Laker Nation doesn’t need to panic:

In Phoenix, he coached one of the best offenses in the league and don’t forget; he coached Steve Nash to MVP honors twice during his tenure. D’Antoni is known for running the pick-and-roll offense, which would bode well for the Lakers in my opinion. Though I am yet to see the coach’s offense in action, Los Angeles has the pieces necessary to make the offense effective. Nash is already a given because he has thrived in this offense in the past. He has an even better team to run it with now, because he has two seven footers that possess different talents to work with. Howard is lethal around the basket, while Gasol is a solid mid-range shooter. Metta World Peace can knock the occasional three down, and then there is Kobe, who can create for himself when the offense breaks down. This offense was built to succeed, and there is no reason that it won’t be effective under D’Antoni.

My next reason is that the leaders of the team have respect for the man. He wasn’t successful in New York, but that wasn’t really his fault. That team was just a mess and I do not know of many people that would be able to defuse that situation. As I previously mentioned, Nash played under D’Antoni for a few years, and he believes that the Lakers can do great things with him as the coach. I have not heard of any comments from Dwight Howard, but it’s probably because he is too busy drooling over the opportunity to take part in this offense. Amar’e Stoudemire thrived in the pick-and-roll and Howard should be able to have even more success. I’m sure he’s fine. Finally, and most importantly, Kobe has personally expressed optimism about him leading the team. He admired D’Antoni as a child and he played well under D’Antoni’s offense that won two Olympic gold medals. If Kobe is happy, then I’m happy.

I’m sure that there are still plenty of people who refuse to believe that Mike D’Antoni will be a successful coach in Los Angeles. Give the man a chance though. Not just three or five games, because it may take a few games to get the offense down; but evaluate him after December. So to Magic Johnson, all of the writers who don’t agree with the move, and all of my friends who don’t like the move because they just don’t like the Lakers…STOP IT.

 

HELLO

What up sports world!

What I plan to do with my inaugural sports blog post is to give you a basic background on myself, disclose my favorite sports teams and players, and talk about my tentative plan for my blog.

My name’s Damon Turbitt and I hail from the great state of New Hampshire(It’s where Adam Sandler is from for those who have never heard of it) and I am 19 years old. New Hampshire is still my home, however I am going to school in Boston. I am a freshman journalism major at Emerson College. My dream is to become either a sports broadcaster, analyst, or writer for a major network, and I plan on getting there someday. I have two brothers; Holden, who is 20, and Nate, who is 22. I am also taken care of by my wonderful mother, Denise. I am a sports fanatic, a dog lover, and I possess every other positive manly quality that there is. There. Out of the way.

Before I elaborate on my favorite sports teams, I will say that I encourage all to share with me your feelings about my teams. Whether you hate them or love them, I will defend them like prized possessions. Debating sports is a passion of mine along with reporting, so feel free to comment!

My four favorite professional sports teams(in no particular order) are the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Red Sox, and the Boston Bruins. As far as college sports go, I only follow football and basketball. My favorite college football team is Notre Dame and my favorite college basketball team is Duke. The question that I am asked goes something like, “Why do you like these teams? You’re from New Hampshire, right?”. Yes, yes I am. I can’t stand the belief that you must support all of the local sports teams. Well, anyway…why do I like these sports teams? I honestly do not know. I have been fascinated with these teams since I was a kid, and I have never been able to trace back far enough to find the source of my fandom. 

I do have an answer for my favorite sports players though, and I will start with my favorite players that are currently active in their respective sports. My favorite players of all-time may come in a later post.

Kobe Bean Bryant- My favorite athlete of all time. He is one of the most, if not the most, dedicated athletes ever. Also, he is among the most fierce in terms of competing. The man is a beast. He plays for the Lakers, so that obviously helps, but I admire his drive and love for the game so much that I would like him even if he was a Celtic. In my opinion, he is up for comparison with Jordan. I never got to see Jordan in his prime, so it is not fair for me to choose one over the other, but Bryant definitely deserves to be mentioned in the same conversation.

Ben Roethlisberger- He is one of the toughest players of my generation and in my opinion he is the toughest quarterback in the NFL today. His ability to extend plays never allows me to give up, and being that he plays for my favorite team, it makes me that much more excited to watch the Steelers play. He has brought 2 Super Bowls to the Steel City, and no matter what has been said about his antics off of the field, I will always remember him for what he has done on the field.

David Ortiz- Except for Yankee fans, nobody has a right to hate this guy. He has been one of the best players in the MLB over the last 10 years, and he is possibly the most clutch to go along with that distinction. He made an entire region believe in a team that had constantly let down its fan base for almost an entire century, and luckily for me I was able to get to experience both titles as a New Englandah. Above all, he is a great guy. Big Papi is one of the best personalities in the game and he should be remembered for that as much as he will be for all of his other accolades. 

Now that that’s finished; what is going to be the purpose/angle/basis of this blog? Well, that is a great question. I know that I will begin by blogging about some of the major stories in sports and giving my opinion on them. As I get more blog-inclined, I will attempt to post my own stories on here. I will try to cover small sports events and take pictures and interviews. For now though, it will just be my take on some of the biggest stories in sports, with some posts about my teams and their success/struggles sprinkled in.

Although this is only my first blog, I must say that this is pretty fun! I will try to post as often as possible. The goal is to post daily, but that will probably not work out because I am a busy college kid. That’s all I have for now though, so follow me! You won’t regret it.