"The Stack" 12-20-16

By ndstacken
Dec. 20, 2016

Star freshman Harry Giles made his collegiate debut for Duke last night against Tennessee State.
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers beat Washington and damaged their playoff hopes on MNF. Josh Norman did not get revenge against his former team.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back on this Tuesday with a few different items to discuss.  It’s primarily football talk, but The Stack has been doing some research and has found out that football is king in this country so we will discuss it.  Did you hear that Gus Bradley was fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday after their loss to the Houston Texans?  NDSU had a tough weekend.  Let’s get to all of the headlines in “the stack” for today, Tuesday, December 20th:


Panthers impose will, top Washington on MNF


The Carolina Panthers are all but mathematically out of the playoff race in the NFC.  They played like the team who had playoff aspirations though on Monday night against Washington, beating them 26-15.  Kirk Cousins wasn’t the sharpest in this game and had an interception and fumble lost.  DeSean Jackson had a couple of bad drops.  Tight end Jordan Reed lost his cool and threw a punch and got ejected.  Cam Newton got an unsportsmanlike penalty called on him on a play that should have drawn a personal foul against Washington for a hit to the hid while Cam was sliding.  The NFL is a joke when it comes to protecting Cam Newton.  The officials should be suspended.  There needs to be something done about this in the offseason.  The Panthers kept Washington around a little more than they should have been when Graham Gano missed a field goal in the fourth quarter, but he added one later that put this game away.  Bad loss for Washington who now has some work to do if they want to make the playoffs.


Fournette, McCaffrey skipping bowl games


LSU running back Leonard Fournette and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey are sitting out of their team’s respective bowl games.  Fournette will miss LSU’s bash with scumbag Bobby Petrino (hey at least they have Lamar Jackson) and Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl while McCaffrey will miss Stanford’s game against UNC in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.  They are focused instead on preparing for the NFL Draft.  Both players declared for the draft earlier this month.  There is a lot of debate on if this is truly the right decision.  Shouldn’t you be there for your teammates?  Yes, but Fournette has been banged up all year long and does not want to risk further injury.  McCaffrey if he were to get hurt would lose significant money if his draft stock plummets.  They have made a lot of money for their respective schools.  It’s time they make a financial decision about their future and I have no problem with it.  Would it be great if they played in the bowl game?  Absolutely.  Other seniors and even juniors have played in their bowl games, but their draft stock isn’t as high as Fournette or McCaffrey with the immediate exception that comes to mind of Notre Dame linebacker Jalon Smith.  This is the world in which we live in regarding football.  NFL contracts aren’t guaranteed unlike the NBA, MLB and NHL.  College football generates a ton of money and the athletes don’t see any of it apart from their scholarships.  Full-ride scholarships are a big deal.  I certainly see both sides of the argument regarding whether or not athletes should be paid or not.  And I certainly see both sides of the argument regarding McCaffrey and Fournette playing or sitting out.  I would love to see them play and I think players should play whenever they can, but at the risk of injury and for financial reasons, I certainly understand why both Fournette and McCaffrey are sitting out.


Memphis vs. Western Kentucky (Boca Raton Bowl) 7 PM ET ESPN


Congrats to Tulsa by the way for mopping the floor with Central Michigan and winning the Miami Beach Bowl.  As for this one, this is a toss-up game as far as I’m concerned.  Both teams are pretty good.  They have good offenses.  I initially thought Memphis would win.  Then some have talked me into Western Kentucky.  Bottomline, I have no idea who is going to win.  I’m going back and forth and in fact I may switch from the time you read this blog post.


Pick & confidence points: Memphis, mid to high single digits (5-9 points)


College basketball fast break headlines


The biggest star in the college basketball freshman class made his debut last night.  Harry Giles played in his first collegiate game for Duke last night against Tennessee State.  He only played about four minutes and finished 0-of-1 from the floor, but as Giles is coming back from knee surgery, Duke is being very sensible in easing him back in.  Giles has a history of knee injuries dating back to high school, but when healthy he is as good as they come.  Assuming Giles can stay healthy, he’s one of the reasons why so many people, myself included, have pegged Duke as national champions for this year.


What a cool moment in South Bend last night at Notre Dame where Matt Farrell of the Fighting Irish was surprised by his brother who came back early from a tour in Afghanistan.  These are the moments in sports that certainly can make you choke up.  Matt was overwhelmed with genuine emotion welcoming his brother back.  Awesome!


Coming up Wednesday: Bowl game pick plus other top headlines in sports