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Hangover Sports Roundup

Lesnar retires, Lobos on fire, Giants embarrass America's Team

UFC 141

Lesnar took a beating from Overeem
Lesnar took a beating from Overeem

Brock Lesnar made his long-awaited return to the octagon when he faced top Heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem. UFC President Dana White was certainly happy to see Lesnar return as he's the biggest pay-per-view draw in mixed martial arts. Despite Lesnar's bout with diverticulitis, many critics picked him to win by overwhelming Overeem with his wrestling ability. Shockingly, when Overeem aimed to the body with knees and kicks, that ability disappeared. Eventually, Lesnar crumbled to the ground and allowed the referee to rescue him from the Overeem beatdown. In the post fight interview, Lesnar announced his retirement under pressure from his wife and kids. Despite only having eight professional fights, Lesnar accomplished a lot in his brief tenure in the sport. While professional wrestling fans will wish for Lesnar's return to the WWE, Overeem can now become a major star with American MMA fans with a victory over UFC Heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos.

Also in MMA, Jackson's fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone earned his co-main-event spot against Nate Diaz by going 4-0 in 2011. Both men engaged in a war of words through interviews and press conferences before the bout. Then, when the fight started, Diaz’ trash talk seemed to take Cerrone out of his comfort zone. Diaz’ signature boxing frustrated Cerrone and gave Diaz a massive advantage headed into the later rounds. “Cowboy” mounted a decent comeback in Round 2 with huge leg kicks, but Diaz countered with multiple combinations to the head. In Round 3 Diaz continued his striking dominance en route to a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 unanimous decision. Diaz makes a very convincing case for a title shot but most likely will have another fight against a wrestler in order to become No. 1 contender. As for Cerrone, he has six victories out of his last seven fights and is still a major player in the Lightweight division. If he gets his wish to fight on the UFC Japan card, a victory could put him back in the title mix.

Lobo Basketball

After a heartbreaking overtime loss to Santa Clara, the Lobos have been on a roll, winning nine straight before their New Year’s Eve battle with St. Louis. More than 15,000 witnessed UNM hold off the Billikens for the 64-60 victory. The Billikens kept within reach, but Drew Gordon’s 18 points and 9 rebounds carried the Lobos for their 10th straight win. While UNM may have been a little rocky to start the season, it has huge momentum headed into conference play. The Lobos have a good combination of athleticism, defense and confidence that may lead them to a Mountain West Conference title.

NFL

Eli’s in the playoffs; Tony’s not.
Eli’s in the playoffs; Tony’s not.

The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants had challenging seasons in 2011. But each team had had one last opportunity to erase the failures of the past and earn an NFC East title and a ticket to the playoffs with a win last night. Many would think with everything on the line during Sunday Night Football, this game would be competitive. Instead the Giants embarrassed the Cowboys and moved into an early 21-0 lead in the first half. The injured Tony Romo engineered a fourth quarter comeback with two touchdowns to close within seven points. But the underrated Eli Manning made the Dallas defense pay and threw a four-yard touchdown to Hakeem Nicks to seal the 34-13 victory and win the division. The Giants earned a wild card home game and will face the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday. Meanwhile, Dallas will search for answers to the many flaws they showed this season. Expect Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to evaluate everyone’s job, from star players to the coaching staff.

sports

Are you ready for some football?

Crunch time in NCAA, NFL

Alabama and LSU will sqaure off in the title game.
Alabama and LSU will sqaure off in the title game.
After Thanksgiving, football on both the pro and collegiate level heads toward the goal line.

NCAA games come to an end for many fansespecially in Albuquerque, especially these dayslong before Christmas. The bowl season extends further than it has in the past, sure, but that's mainly due to the proliferation of the so-called bowl games. We start with the New Mexico Bowl, which Temple took over Wyoming on Dec. 17, and continue all the way to the BCS.

The title game occurs on Monday, Jan. 9, when No. 2 Alabama will face first-ranked LSU. Between now and then, plenty of pretenders to the bowl throne will battle, but few of them are worth the time it'll take to play, much less to watch. Of course, no disrespect is intended, as I'm sure Michigan State and Georgia, at No.’s 17 and 16, respectively, are great football teams, and their fans care very much who wins the game. But outside that constituency, its hard to muster feelings for the Outback Bowl, amongst others.

The day before the title game, in fact, is somehow, for some reason, occupied by Arkansas State versus Northern Illinois in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Just for fun, although I'm sure it's been done before, let's look at some of these corporate sponsorships: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Little Caesar's Bowl, TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl! All of these games have been or will be televised nationally. Advertising really has changed the world.

The end of the college football bowl season dovetails nicely into the end of the NFL’s regular season, where things are really heating up. The titanic Green Bay Packers are obviously still a favorite, and the Philadelphia Eagles (preseason favorites who have been extensively covered) have now been officially dismissed from the playoffs. Perhaps another year to gel will help them live up to the lofty expectations.

While Green Bay has wrecked the regular season (save a blip two weeks ago), the New England Patriots have gone under the radar to resume their traditional position atop the AFC. Plenty of spoilers await a slip from either side, including the surprising stories of the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans.

Romo and Manning will decide who wins the NFC East
Romo and Manning will decide who wins the NFC East
With only one more week in the regular season, plenty of teams are still itching to play spoiler. The biggest end-of-season matchup, however, seems guaranteed to be the Dallas Cowboys playing in New York against the Giants. The teams will play for the NFC East Championship in the last game of the regular season, on New Year's Day.

Football's finale is always the best, save the drama regarding the need for a true playoff system in college football. This year should be no different, whether you'll be watching the boys play in the BCS title game, or following the pros as they make the final cuts for the playoffs.

news

The Daily Word in the Barefoot Bandit, brick weed on Broadway, boozy Blago

Six former Freddie Mac and Fannie May bigwigs sued by the SEC.

Video shows inmates escaping Santa Fe Courthouse. The cop who saw them flee takes a leisurely stroll and sets down his drink before chasing them down. Who is this guy? Dirty Harry?

55 bricks of weed found at crackdown on auto repair shop on Broadway.

Death toll up to 169 in India bootleg liquor poisoning, with 195 under treatment.

Barefoot Bandit due for sentencing today on 33 charges in a Washington state court.

Boy meets girl. Boy takes girl to movies. Boy leaves girl in theater and steals her car.

Christopher Hitchens died.

Woman’s breast implant sucked through her ribcage during Pilates maneuver.

ICC may investigate Gaddafi’s death as a war crime.

Two baby goats apparently tortured and killed in the South Valley.

In less depressing animal cruelty news, dog that was thrown from car window found alive.

Is the 1994 Chargers team cursed by the Grim Reaper?

Just when it looked like Blago was out of the picture, source tells the Sun-Times that “Rod can’t sleep without drinking.” The judge that sentenced him to 14 years recommends prison rehab.

Third-rate NFL player arrested in major drug sting. Meanwhile, Long Island high-schoolers get suspended for Tebowing.

sports

Tackling Tebow

A look at the inexplicable, divisive phenomenon

Almost everyone in the world has weighed in on Tim Tebow. His general managerformer Denver Bronco great John Elwaysaid a few weeks ago that he wasn't quite sold on the young gun as a franchise quarterback. Then there was Charles Barkley, coming out of the woodwork and publicly pleading the Chicago Bears to beat the Broncos. (By the way, they didn't.) The discourse even turns up in seemingly tangential corners, such as young-adult author John Green's Tumblr and the pages of Rolling Stone. So what has Tebow done to deserve, in either sense of the word, all the chatter? Let's review.

Tebow, as we see him now, is a two-time national champion from the University of Florida. He is a Heisman Trophy winner, and one of the rare college athletes who succeeded so spectacularly and still played all four years instead of making the jump to the pros early. He is enthusiastic in his love for the game, and most of his former associates, whether they be coaches or teammates, are nothing but effusive in their praise for him.

He also just so happens to be over-the-top religious. This, for a lot of people, is a deal breaker. Tebow's parents were missionaries, and he was raised with those beliefs. He has given numerous interviews stating that his ultimate goal in the NFL is to make enough money so that he can live the same kind of lifestyle as his parents did. The religious viewpoint is not unique to the NFL, nor to the Denver Broncos, but Tebow seems to raise a fervent attitude to people on both sides of the issue.

The real crux of The Tebow Dilemma, though, comes when examining the Broncos' record since Tebow was moved into the starting position at quarterback. In the words of DJ Khaled, all the Broncos have been doing since is winning. Often in ridiculously convoluted, dramatic fashion.

The Broncos were an anemic 1-4 before Tebow was slotted in to start, and have gone 7-1 since. The schedule, derided by critics at the beginning of the win streak, has gotten more difficult. The wins, counted as lucky by those same critics, have only gotten more and more tension-filled and climactic.

By most measures, Tebow is not, and should not be counted as a good quarterback in the NFL. Objectively, most scouts looked at him two years ago, before the draft, and said that he would not amount to much. (There were, of course, notable exceptions, such as Jon Gruden.) Subjectively, though, those critics, along with those who doubted his starting position or his worth to the Broncos at all, have had quite a few words to chew on in the last eight weeks. The wins keep piling up and, as of now, Denver sits alone in the top spot of the AFC West.

Steering away from the personal reasons people may or may not like Tebow, it seems now is a good time to remind everyone that we truly do live in the Moneyball age. Will Tebow continue to defy the numbers, or do statistical averages rule all? Will he break the numbers, or eventually conform to them? A third path exists: Perhaps Tim Tebow is making his own numbers, improving as he goes along. For now, the most entertaining words that any football fan can hear on any given Sunday go something like this: "It's the fourth quarter. The Broncos are down. But Tebow's got the ball." Tune in. Something amazing is going to happen.

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup

UFC 139, Cowboys vs. Redskins

UFC 139

Henderson strikes Rua en route to a big win.
Henderson strikes Rua en route to a big win.
When the Ultimate Fighting Championship finally got its television deal with FOX, UFC put all its effort into making the Heavyweight championship a major event. So when UFC 139 aired a week later, most of the fighters on the card fell under the radar. Despite the lack of hype and promotion, the fighters delivered some awesome bouts for those who ordered the pay-per-view event. Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua was expected to end in a knockout, but instead it resulted in one of the greatest fights in MMA history. Henderson almost finished Rua several times with his signature right hand but Rua managed to survive. Shogun was bloodied and exhausted but had his moments over the former Strikeforce champion. When both men came out for the fifth round, Rua controlled Henderson with dominant positions and ground-and-pound. So when the judges rendered their verdict, most thought the epic war would result in a draw. Instead, they awarded Dan Henderson the victory and, he’s now earned a title-shot against either the Middleweight or Light Heavyweight champion. Shogun is looking for a rematch and may fight on UFC's Japan show in February. Regardless of the future, both men put on a performance that will be remembered forever in the MMA history books.

NFL

It went down to the wire with the Boys and the Skins.
It went down to the wire with the Boys and the Skins.
The Dallas Cowboys have looked like a roller coaster ride more than a Super Bowl contender this season. But with Tony Romo regaining his confidence, “America's Team” might have their swagger back. Whenever the Redskins and Cowboys face off, records usually go out the window and the rivalry takes over. Washington had their chances to spring the upset, but when the game went to OT, a missed field goal by Graham Gano gave Dallas new life. Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey hit a 39-yard field goal and gave Dallas the 27-24 victory. With the Giants and Eagles appearing mediocre every week, the Cowboys are poised to make a run towards a division title.

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup

Diaz retires Penn, Ravens escape Cardinals, Steelers hold off Patriots

Diaz was too much for BJ Penn.
Diaz was too much for BJ Penn.
UFC 137

Despite the UFC 137 main event changes, BJ Penn and Nick Diaz delivered an exciting bout featuring a back and forth, crowd-pleasing battle. In the first round, Penn was very aggressive by getting the better of the striking and momentarily taking Diaz' back. But in the second and third rounds Diaz' conditioning enabled him to give Penn the worst beating of his career. Diaz demonstrated pinpoint accuracy by nailing Penn with lethal combinations to the head and body. Despite Penn bleeding for the first time in his career, he still showed fighting spirit by not allowing the former Strikeforce champion to finish him. But getting beat up by Diaz forced BJ Penn to unexpectedly retire from the sport. No one knows for certain if Penn has truly retired, but if he has, Penn doesn't have anything to be ashamed about. Meanwhile Diaz’ performance was enough to convince UFC President Dana White to grant him a title shot against George St. Pierre. While GSP vs. Diaz will be a money maker for the UFC, Albuquerque fighter Carlos Condit lost his title shot and will be forced to climb the ladder again to regain his spot.

It wasn't all bad news for Albuquerque fighters as Lightweight contender Donald Cerrone destroyed Dennis Siver on the Spike TV prelims. Cerrone has gone 4-0 this year and can make a case to fight for the title. But his main goal is to stay active and now is rumored to face Nate Diaz at UFC 141.

Ray Rice had three TD’s.
Ray Rice had three TD’s.
NFL

Last Monday night, the Baltimore Ravens went through a nightmare when they got embarrassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. So when the Ravens welcomed the Arizona Cardinals, many thought Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis would take out their anger on one of the worst teams in the league. Instead, the Cardinals humbled the Ravens defense by taking a 24-6 lead into halftime. But Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin’s seven receptions for 145 yards and running back Ray Rice’s three touchdowns helped fuel a 21-point comeback. The Cardinals tied up the game in the fourth quarter but Flacco’s pass to rookie Torrey Smith set up a Ravens game winning field goal.

Steelers vs. Pats

It's rare to see the New England Patriots get bullied by any team in the NFL. Often Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick push around and frustrate their rivals. But when New England traveled to Pittsburgh, the Steelers turned the tables and dominated the Patriots defense. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made Belichick’s defense look amateur by going 36-50 in the air with two touchdowns. Despite having long offensive drives, New England was unable to finish off their longtime AFC foe. Brady threw a red zone touchdown late in the fourth quarter to cut the lad to six. But a botched onside kick and a safety sealed Pittsburgh's 25-17 victory. With Roethlisberger finally finding his rhythm, the Steelers have recovered from their opening day disaster against the Ravens and look primed for a deep playoff run.

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup

Aggies beatdown Lobos, Brewers take 2-0 lead, Ravens swarm Jets

NM State QB Matt Christian goes off on the Lobos
NM State QB Matt Christian goes off on the Lobos

Lobo Football

To say it’s been a difficult season for UNM is a massive understatement. With former coach Mike Locksley getting axed and battling another controversy, dealing with rival New Mexico state looked impossible, to say the least. To UNM's credit, 30,091 fans showed up to support interim coach George Barlow’s chance to salvage the rest of the season. The new-felt optimism quickly disappeared as New Mexico State quarterback Matt Christian dominated the Lobo defense with three passing touchdowns in the first half. When the second half started the Lobo offense showed some signs of life, scoring 21 points. But the defense was unable to stop NMSU as the Lobos suffered its third loss in a row to the Aggies. Despite the lopsided 42-28 loss, the Lobos showed some positive signs, with quarterback B.R Holbrook making decent decisions and moving the ball. There's not a lot of positive signs to take away from an 0-5 start to the season, but the Lobos need to focus on the fundamental basics in order salvage something out of the disaster.

MLB Playoffs

The Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks engaged in a slug fest during game two of the National League Divisional Series. The teams combined for 22 hits, in a game marked by shifting momentum. During the fifth inning, Arizona seemed set for a comeback victory with Justin Upton tying the game with a two-run homer. But in the sixth, a Jonathan Lucroy bunt and Nyjer Morgan's two run single contributed to the Brewers scoring five runs in that frame. With the 9-4 victory the Brewers take a commanding lead in the series as they head to Arizona on Tuesday. Milwaukee is not exactly used to success of this kind, as the 2-0 series lead is the first in franchise history. If the Brewers can pull of its first sweep in its history, it might give them the momentum needed to move toward a World Series victory.

NFL Football

When Rex Ryan was coaching the Ravens, Baltimore was the most dangerous defense in the NFL. Ryan continued improving the defensive side of the ball with the New York Jets, but on Sunday the Jets got a rude awakening. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez looked like he was in a horror movie, suffering multiple hits and giving up three defensive touchdowns. The Ravens defense caused so much havoc, it covered up Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s mediocre 10-31 throwing performance. With the 34-17 loss, the Jets are now on a two-game losing streak and have a date with their heated rival the New England Patriots. The Ravens proved they're one of the top teams in the AFC, while the Jets looked terrible and should set the stage for another memorable Rex Ryan tirade.

sports

Michael Vick signs new contract

Point of Touré's ESPN piece mainly missed

When word broke that the Philadelphia Eagles were going to make Michael Vick a hundred million dollar man again, commenters on the Internet immediately dug into their trenches and started lobbing grenades at the other side. After all, this is Vick we're talking about. If the hype on either side is to be believed, he's either a vicious, unrepentant dog killer who deserves nothing, or he's one of the greatest quarterbacks of the modern era.

All this controversy came on top of an earlier explosion, this one being totally out of Vick's control. On Thursday of last week, ESPN ran a piece that will appear in the September 5th issue of ESPN the Magazine titled "What if Michael Vick were white?". The author of that piece, Touré, says that he asked ESPN not to title it as such, but obviously that request went unfulfilled.

Touré's article was actually a nuanced piece on how asking such a question is, in the world we live in, impossible. However, the title was what a vast majority of people saw. Those who did not see the title nor read the piece, though, had plenty to take away. Accompanying the piece, ESPN commissioned a photo illustration, literally depicting the titular question. All subtlety and nuance from a gifted writer went out the window.

Instead what we were left with was very reminiscent of the political landscape of today. The aforementioned trenches were dug, opinions were honed to an even finer point, and pithy, five- to ten-second commentary abounded. No one's mind was changed by Touré's article, nor by the comments that followed as it was reposted on site after site. Those who thought we live in a post-racism world before reading the article still do. They hold up the article as an example of minorities harping on a problem that no longer exists. Those who were sympathetic to possibilities of racism in the world finished the piece by shaking their heads, finding yet another textbook case of proving their viewpoint right.

It's difficult (nigh impossible) to honestly discuss these sorts of issues nowadays. If you want to talk sports, you've got to be able to get on TV and give a thirty-second opinion. If you're not screaming, you've got to be issuing some sort of fierce rebuttal to the person who screamed before you. If you want to discuss things at length, you're an academic: out of touch with the world and only interested in perpetuating ideas, refusing to deal in reality.

There are serious questions that are raised by the Touré piece, including but not limited to: race and racism, black style and black lifestyle, the ever-changing morals of bringing up children in Americaregardless of race but keeping in mind how that race (something no person has a choice on) affects that upbringing. There are questions on the American judicial system and the penalties that any person should have to pay for any crime, whether it's against human, animal or another form of life. There are questions on how worthy any thought experiment really is.

But, at the end of the day, instead of those questions being discussed, most people saw the picture, read the headline, and started screaming.

sports

NFL lockout is officially over

Despite grumbles, agreement is reached

NFL commish Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith squash the lockout
NFL commish Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith squash the lockout

On Monday morning, the good news started pouring in for fans of American football. The lockout which had threatened the country's (true, modern) pastime finally ended. The focus now turns to the actual start of the season, currently slated for September 8.

When the new NFL season begins, there will be a couple important differences, but most of them will be invisible. When it comes to the changes that both sides were pushing for, there was compromise instead of hard manifestationat least to this point. The schedule will remain a 16-game affair for now. Owners will be getting more money than they were previously. Practices will change, and there is already grumbling from those who are attached to the old schedule.

These differences, however, are inevitable when two sides are fighting for every inch. All told, in the process of negotiation, the NFL was officially locked out for more than 4 months, the longest lockout in NFL history. However, the good news is that no official games were lost to the labor dispute, save an exhibition game which had been scheduled for August 7. 

A great summary of the winners and losers of the draft has been written up at espn.com. In regards to that article, though, I'd defy anyone to go out and talk to a football fan. There is a reason that this was the top story on ESPN for the last three days, and why it continues to get mentioned on CNN. In times like these, when people are looking toward August 2 as a potential for the United States government defaulting on its debt, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, took the time to point out that if football can get a deal done, certainly the bureaucrats in Washington should be able to follow suit; especially when the matter is of such increased gravity. For those who prefer their sports without politics, there's a handy comparison, too: The NFL lockout being resolved in a timely fashion gives hope to the fans of the NBA, which is still engaged in a lockout of its own.

At the end of the day, though, despite lists of winners and losers and total amount of time lost to this lockout, the easiest proof is in the pudding. Next time you're out and about, ask a sports fanwhether it's at a bar, at work, or even just at a stoplight"Hey, how do you feel that the NFL lockout is over?" Chances are, they'll gripe a bit. They'll mention how it was millionaires fighting with billionaires. And they'll say how ridiculous it was to have to slog through the news. But, at the end of that conversation, most people, as Americans who love football above all others, will smile and say, "Hey, I'm just glad it's back."

news

The Daily Word with Migraines, Mullah Omar and Manatees

Taliban leader Mullah Omar may be dead.

House Republicans pass a crazy Tea Party debt plan.

Albuquerque judge arrested and charged with rape.

Michelle Bachmann gives gets migraines.

Former Santa Fe county sheriff faces 250 counts of embezzlement.

Check out this fake Chinese Apple Store.

Leopard mauls 11 people in India.

Photos from a ghost town in Cyprus, untouched by humans for almost 40 years.

McDonald's will open a 10,000 square foot, double-decker restaurant in London, for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Your crazy wife will love these crazy milk ads.

Game of Thrones adds two new cast members.

What was the coxoplectoptera?

75 ex-football players sue the NFL for concealing brain injury risks.

The Hubble Space Telescope discovers a new moon around Pluto.

The Tea Party vs. manatees.

South Park will continue for at least two more seasons.

Loch Ness-type cryptid sighted in Alaska.

Here's the new Spike Jonze directed Beastie Boys video!

Happy Birthday Dean Winters!!!

sports

The Summer of Our Discontent

In the bleakest of sports times, there may still be reason to cheer

U.S. women's soccer team
U.S. women's soccer team

This is the worst time to be a sports fan. 

Late June to early August has always been a tough time. There are years when we have the Summer Olympics to get us by. There's a brief respite for the Tour de France, although it's lost some of its luster recently. And yes, I am excited about both the upcoming Women's World Cup as well as the 15th WNBA Season. But there's no denying these are dark times.

The NBA, NFL and NHL are all done with their seasons. MLB, for those who care, hasn't really picked up any steam yet by this point in the season. But most importantly, for now, the two behemoths of American sports, basketball and football, seem to be on a collision course with no righting in sight. 

The NFL is already locked out and the NBA appears to be heading in that direction. As though sports fans weren't already mired in what is traditionally the worst time of the year, that slog is now compounded by the fact that it might stretch on even longer.

There's already been extensive coverage of why this is happening in both of these leagues, so for now, let's focus on the positive: There are reports that the NFL sides might be close to reconciliation. The NBA can learn from this NFL experience and perhaps avoid actually locking out. 

But even more importantly, we can shift our focus from those leagues to the alternatives. The aforementioned Women's World Cup features not just a strong U.S. team, but a hungry one. The Tour de France, free from those Americans that some claim the French love to hate, might have a chance to stand on its own, as opposed to being hounded by the WADA for violations; focusing on the actual sport and its real winner could prove to be a successful formula. And the WNBA is becoming a refined product on its own, not merely the little-sister-league of the NBA.

The WNBA is trying to make summerthe ironic winter of sportsits time to shine: By celebrating 15 years of existence, the league gets to simultaneously advertise its product as well as remind viewers that this league is no longer an experiment. Love it or hate it, the WNBA appears to be here to stay. The human aspect of sports is really what captivates people, and the inclusion of fan voting on the top 30 WNBA players of all time seems a great place to start.

Bicycling Magazine says that of the 200-plus riders who will take place in this year's Tour de France, Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer, two Americans, are some of the most worthy riders to watch. Perhaps America will once again have riders come from seemingly out of nowhere to challenge for the yellow jersey, enabling us to focus on the sport and the will of those who participate. 

The Women's World Cup, taking place in Germany, presents a similar opportunity for the American women to take on the shadow that's been hanging over their programin this case, for the last twelve years. In 1999, Brandi Chastain sealed a victory for America with her iconic penalty kick and celebration, but Team USA has been mired in mediocrity since then. The U.S. is ranked first in the world currently but needs to perform in order to maintain the enthusiasm that is beginning to dwindle. 

So while the millionaires of the NBA and NFL fight with their billionaire owners, take some time in this traditionally dark period to try to get back to the great storylines that make us truly care about sports.

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup: Lobos lose heartbreaker, NFL Wildcard,

Lobo Basketball

Road games continue to be the Lobos' kryptonite. The Wyoming Cowboys aren't known for dominating the conference but it doesn't mean the Lobos could overlook them. UNM senior point guard Dairese Gary was the only player in double figures scoring 24 points and adding six assists. Gary gave the Lobos the lead by hitting two free throws in the final seconds. The Cowboys had to final possession and eventually finished off New Mexico with a fade away floater by Wyoming's Francisco Cruz. If the Lobos want an invitation to the big dance in March, Phillip McDonald, Kendall Williams and Drew Gordon need to step up. Despite losing three out of their last five games, the Lobos have a two game home stand against Colorado State and #6 San Diego State.

If New Mexico can sweep both games, it can be a major momentum boost for the rest of the season.

NFL

Four teams went into the weekend with Super Bowl Dreams, only two survived. No one gave the Seattle Seahawks any shot of beating the defending champs, New Orleans Saints. Despite having the home field advantage, the Saints were an 11 point favorite. Instead of a one-sided beating, the game turned into a back and forth battle. Seattle's Marshawn Lynch touchdown run in the forth quarter destroyed the Saints defense and sealed the victory for Seahawks. The Seahawks 41-36 victory became one of the biggest playoff upsets in the history of the NFL.

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan seemed determined to ruin Peyton Manning's playoff legacy. Ryan wanted revenge for the Colts beating the Jets in last years AFC championship game but the only way he could get it was to trust his quarterback Mark Sanchez. After Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri gave Indianapolis the lead, the game rested on Sanchez's ability to be clutch in crunch time. Antonio Cromartie kickoff return took some pressure off of Sanchez and enabled him to throw a 18-yard pass to Braylon Edwards. Jets kicker Nick Folk nailed a chip shot and gave Ryan his much need victory over Peyton Manning. Now the Jets look for payback against their hated rival, the New England Patriots.

In Sunday's games, the Baltimore Ravens defense forced five turnovers and dominated the Kansas City Chiefs, 30-7. With Joe Flacco two touchdowns passes, the Ravens have a steady offense to compliment their hard hitting defense. Later that day the Eagles tried to overcome a Packers defense who injured the Eagles original starting QB, Kevin Kolb. The Eagles seemed destined for the comeback victory in the 4th quarter. Instead ,Vick threw a interception, crushing their playoff hopes. Vick may have thrown the game ending interception but he doesn't deserve all of the blame. Hopefully the Eagles can improve their offensive line to protect Vick. Meanwhile Aaron Rodgers will try to add to his frist playoff victory when the Packers face the Atlanta Falcons.

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup: Lobos lose in OT, UFC 125 Classic, NFL gets ready for Playoffs

Lobos Basketball

The Lobos had a rough start to begin 2011. The Dayton Flyers won the 2010 NIT tournament and have put themselves in a position to make the 2011 NCAA tournament. With the Lobos barely beating Texas Tech the game before, New Mexico had to overcome the Flyers three-point shooting. The game was sent into double overtime with strong performances by Dairese Gary and Kendall Williams.

Williams had 14 points and had a chance to send the game to another overtime with a three-pointer, but it bricked the top of the rim. The 76-73 loss sends the Lobos to 11-3 and searching for a win against Cal State Bakersfield at home on Wednesday, Jan. 5.

MMA

Many fans were dreading the UFC 125 main event between Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard. After all, both men fought to a boring decision in which Maynard dominated Edgar with takedowns. However the rematch played out very differently, and Maynard hit Edgar with huge punches, almost finishing the fight in the first round. Somehow Edgar survived and responded by pushing the bout to a judges decision. With both men having strong moments in the fight, the judges ruled a draw.

UFC President Dana White at first stated Anthony “Showtime” Pettis would get the next shot but then changed his mind and booked an immediate rematch.

It was also a good night for Jacksons MMA fighters Brian Stann and Clay Guida. Stann knocked out the strong favorite Chris Leben and moves up the middleweight rankings. Guida had an impressive submission of Pride lightweight legend Takanori Gomi in the second round.


NFL

The last week in the season resulted in some anti-climatic results. The Jets, Steelers and Patriots destroyed their opposition and look ready to make a impact in the postseason. The Indianapolis Colts provided the only drama of the day, defeating the Tennessee Titans with a game-winning field goal. Colts lock up with AFC South and now face the cocky New York Jets in the wild card game.

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup: Lobos beat Aggies in OT, Colts lose

Lobo Basketball

Whenever the Lobos and Aggies collide, you can forget about records or standings. Overtime was needed to decide who would win the first of two meetings of the season. The Lobos had a 17-point lead in the first half but the Aggies eventually tied the game. Kendall Williams had a chance for a game winning shot but it rimmed out sending the game into overtime. The Aggies had all the momentum when the extra period started but the Lobos stepped up and came away with the 84-78 victory. Besides the second straight road win for New Mexico, the experience of playing a close game against a rival will prove to be very valuable when Mountain West Conference play starts. In the meantime the Lobos get a well deserve break until December 11th when they face the Aggies in a rematch at home.

BCS Standings

Now that the college football season has ended, it's time for fans to get disappointed and watch pointless bowl games until the BCS national title game in January. As expected Auburn and Oregon disposed of their opponents, setting up what should be a every entertaining title matchup. It'll be interesting if either team's defense can create a gameplan to avoid an offensive spectacle. TCU plays Wisconsin in a consolation game disguised as the Rose Bowl. At least TCU gets to prove why they deserve to be considered for the national title.

NFL

After the Cowboys nailed the game winning kick in overtime against the Colts, many are wondering if Peyton Manning run of consecutive playoff appearances has come to an end. Manning threw four picks in the 38-35 lost causing many critics to question if Manning has lost his mojo. But keep in mind the Colts have a .500 record and play well at home despite many injuries to key positions. Now the Colts may miss the playoffs, but it doesn't mean Manning has entered into the last days as a premier quarterback in the league. Instead of labeling Peyton Manning as 'washed up' lets wait until he has all of his weapons back before giving the final judgment.

sports

Michael Vick continues to leave the world in his wake

In the history of comebacks, Michael Vick on Monday night has got to rank high up there.

As previously discussed, Michael Vick made some bad, bad choices. And when he went to jail to pay for those choices, a lot of people were writing him off. In fact, as he was getting started with the Eagles last year (reportedly at the behest of Donovan McNabb, it's worth noting!) many people still were willing to write him off.

They claimed that he'd lost a step, that his time away from the game would irreparably damage the way he played. He ran the ball too much to begin with anyway, people said, and he'd never amount to much more than a decent back-up. This was quickly proved wrong.

However, what he did on Monday is on another level. If Michael Vick continues to put up numbers at this clip, there'll be very little debate about the MVP of the National Football League this year.

Vick's performance on Monday night immediately qualified him for the best individual line of the season, and it thrust him into a tie for the third spot on the top fantasy performances since 2000! Beyond the fantasy line, though, the pure numbers were gaudy: Vick threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns. Vick wasn't the rushing leader for Phillythat honor went to Jerome Harrisonbut he did carry for a mere 80 yards and two more touchdowns.

All this on the same day the Washington Redskins announced a contract extension for Donovan McNabb, the quarterback that's at least partially responsible for Vick's second chance in Philadelphia, and it adds up to a fairytale Monday Night Football game. The two teams may be done with each other, but Vick's story, to some people's great surprise, is seemingly just beginning.

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