The New England nation took a huge blow last night as the Patriots fell victim to a 38-17 massacre at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. Progressing the Saints to 11-0 in the regular season. The only other undefeated team being the Indianapolis Colts. This victory was much more than just another win for the Saints however. This cements them as a team to truly be respected by all despite the fact that they have never won a Superbowl like the other top franchises in the NFL. Also, this helps tremendously in silencing the critics who have said that Drew Brees, the Saints quarterback, has not been able to show up and play well on the big stage. The Saints appeared to be able to score at will against the Patriots defense just as they have with every other team they have faced, as the highest scoring team in the NFL averaging just over 32 points a game. Equally as impressive was the Saints defense, holding one of the most dangerous offenses in the league to just 17 by excellent coverage and forced turnovers. The Patriots were just unable to make the big plays that New England has been accustomed to.
After this win for the Saints, looking at the tail end of their regular season it appears that this may be the biggest game as far as proving themselves as a team that has Championship potential. Though it is still early to speculate on anything, it is foreseeable that they could go 16-0 with a perfect regular season record, based on the quality of the teams they have left to play. This team seems to be hitting their stride, with an offense that no one has been able to figure what to do against, and an ever improving defense. This team could be the next big thing in the NFL.
One of the most anticipated derby matches of all lived up to its expectations today with a match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. With stars returning from injury to make the match including Cristiano Ronaldo for Madrid. Barcelona saw starters Eric Abidal and Lionel Messi return, as well as Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic made appearances from the bench. Cristiano would have the best chance for Real to get ahead midway through the second half when he struck the ball first time with only the keeper to beat. Victor Valdes would make a great save on the play as Ronaldo struck the ball directly at him allowing for a brilliant foot save. Zlatan would make the largest impact on the match with his goal in the early running of the second half, just five minutes after being subbed on for Henry. More drama was introduced into the match as Sergio Busquets for Barcelona was sent off in the 63rd minute leaving Barcelona a man down with nearly a half hour left in the match. Despite the disadvantage Barcelona would give away nothing to Real, and even kept their edge in possession. Messi would miss a chance to put Barca ahead by two scores from a chance he had one on one with Casillas, but would fire directly at the goalkeeper. In the closing moments of the match the playing field would be leveled as Diarra was sent off for Real with his second yellow card. Ibrahimovic's goal would prove to be all Barca needed to finish off Madrid as 'El Clasico' came to a close. With the victory Barcelona reclaimed the top spot in the Spanish League moving two points above Real Madrid.
Real Salt Lake shocked the U.S. soccer world with their upset over the highly favored LA Galaxy. In the early running of the match it appeared that the Galaxy would run away with the game after one of Salt Lake's better midfielders, Morales, had to leave the game due to injury. Then in the Galaxy would take the lead minutes before the half after some brilliant play from Donovan and Beckham.
At the start of the second half, another one of Salt Lake's key players was forced to leave the field due to sickness. Johnson had been ill from food poisoning that he had caught just the night before the match. But it was truely a tale of two halves, as in the second it was all Salt Lake with the possession and momentum. This would result in an equalizer for Salt Lake midway through the second half by former LA Galaxy striker Findley from a scramble play in LA's 18 yard box. Soon after LA's star keeper was injured in a collision with Findley and his own player Gonzalez that would force him out of the game with massive swelling to his right hand.
Living up to all the drama that is to be expected in a championship final, the game was forced into overtime. Chances would come and go for both teams, with an extremely close chance for Salt Lake in the closing moments of the second overtime, but in the end it would be penalty kicks to decide the match. Both keepers would make key saves in the high pressure situation, with a particularly amazing save from LA's backup keeper to keep them alive in the match after an unexpected Donovan miss. It would be Salt Lake, however to come out on top with a 5-4 advantage in penalties, leaving them the Cup Champions. A true Cinderella story come true for the team and their Coach who has become the youngest Coach to ever win an MLS Cup.
With all of the international matches that took place yesterday, the final 6 countries have been added to round out the 32 that will be playing in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Many of the games following through with the drama that is to be expected in the knock out stages of the qualifying rounds. It came down to being an evening of the predicted teams edging out the underdog squads who gave them a run for their money. Two of the biggest games where between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Portugal, and France against the Republic of Ireland. Both games where settled with a single goal in the early stages of the second half. Thus advancing both France and Portugal to South Africa in 2010.
Now that all the teams are set, all eyes are on the World Cup draw on Friday which would decide the groups for the initial stages of the Cup. As always, it will be very high tension as teams will soon know just who lies in their path to the round of 16 tournament over the summer.
Last Thursday a soldier opened fire on Ft. Hood in Texas outside of a processing center, killing 12 and wounding 30 before he was killed by emergency personnel. Eleven of those killed were soldiers and the remaining one was a civilian contractor working on the base. The shooter, identified as Maj. Nidal Hasan is believed to have been upset about being scheduled to be deployed to Iraq, however much more investigations are being done to determine his motive. Also, it is believed that there may have been more than one shooter in the incident. However the primary shooter was seen carrying two weapons, both handguns. Fort Hood and its approximate 40,000 troops is the largest Army installation in the U.S. As of now the base is officially closed and an order has been passed to execute 100 percent accountability for all personnel.
Just a few days ago prospected starter for the United States Soccer National Team, Charlie Davies was severely injured in a car accident in which one person was killed. He broke two bones in his right leg, one in his left elbow, and also a lacerated bladder and facial fractures. He will be hospitalized for at least a week with a projected recovery time of six to twelve months.
In support of Charlie many fans waved white cards with the number nine printed on them in the ninth minute of the U.S. vs. Costa Rica game on Wednesday. Also, long time friend of Charlie's, Jozy Altidore wore the number nine underneath his own jersey and was given a yellow card for lifting his shirt in celebration during the game. Afterward he had the shirt sent to Charlie in the hospital quoting, "Charlie is like a brother to me, so it was really tough news for me to hear."
Through recent studies, there has been evidence that links a somewhat staggering divide between those who live in a more "affluent demographic" and the lower to middle class society even in social networking. There seems to be a trend in movement from Myspace to Facebook in those who are members of these affluent demographics. Showing statistics that those on Facebook are more likely to be college educated and above. While those on Myspace have larger membership from blue-collar and middle class members of society. The most staggering of the major networking sites is that of Twitter, which is targeted towards white-collar professionals. Almost 38 percent of its users make over 100,000 dollars a year.
In a study taken by Danah Boyd, she found that in High School most people start off with a Myspace account, but by the team they graduated either use both Myspace and Facebook, or have completely switched to Facebook. People used such reasoning like Facebook is safer, or even saying that Myspace was "ghetto".
None of the findings are very conclusive in any way. Nor do they seem to show some type of networking racism, however it is interesting to see the social choices people take to stick with those who are in their same "scene".
Brett Farve became the first quarterback in NFL history Saturday to defeat all 32 teams in the league. Leaving is team of 16 years for last. Evidently all the hype behind whether or not he could still play the game was of no concern to Farve as he threw for 271 yards and 3 touchdown passes. He also went 24 for 31 with no turnovers. The man is still simply phenomenal. It was reported today that the game set new heights for "Monday Night Football" with over 21.8 million viewers. Shattering the previous record set by the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the Dallas Cowboys of 18.6 million viewers.
With the victory the Vikings move on to a 4-0 record and are beginning to make a very impressive name for themselves throughout the NFL. As stated by Favre himself, "It's why I play the game. It was fun. It never gets old to me, even though I do."
Real Madrid drop their first match of the season without their $131,000,000 striker Cristiano Ronaldo. Out with an ankle injury, it seems that although Real spent upwards of $360,000,000 on transferring in new talent this year on players like Kaka and Benzema, that they still may be too dependent on a skills of single players. A problem that no top flight team in La Liga can afford to have especially if they plan on staying in the running for the league and tournament play.
"Cristiano is great player who can decide a game, open up a game, but a club like Real Madrid cannot afford to depend on only one player. It should be above individuals," Pardeza told daily newspaper El Mundo.
Teams such as Barcelona will make the season very difficult for Real if their poor defensive strength and dependence on individual players becomes habitual. Currently Real are only 3 points behind Barcelona in the table for La Liga, but the returning treble winners are showing no signs of slowing down. It will more collective effort and drive from Madrid if they hope to dethrone last years Spanish and UCL Champions.
Being one of the many students attending Plymouth State who is on the meal plan, I find it hard to think of a reason why a 4th meal concept has not been applied to the dining hall services on campus. I know almost any student can tell you they have had a moment on a late night of studying where they have either had to order out or survive on Cheetos and Easy Mac because the dining hall was closes at 8pm.
Many other universities I have visited, including Temple University which I attended for a year, have caught on to this idea and the students tend to love it. They all tend to follow the same idea of just having real quick and easy finger foods like mozzarella sticks, chicken nuggets, and other similar quick fixes.
Plymouth Dining Services
Now I know in reality having a 4th meal service would probably mean it would come out of the pocket of the students, but personally I find that this would be worth it and would definitely allow for me to get the most out of the money I am spending. Then again maybe some of the money saved by the universities trayless plan can go to keeping the dining hall open for a few extra hours, but who knows. Something to think about.