O's Sweep Tigers

The Baltimore Orioles are going to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 1997 after a three-game sweep over the Detroit Tigers.

As a Baltimore fan for my entire 30 years, I have experienced many ups and downs, but this team has made given its fans plenty to be excited about. Led by Buck Showalter, the Orioles have been one of the league's most dominant teams over the past couple of seasons. This season, Baltimore is winning when it counts.

Powered by a two-run homer from AL Homerun leader Nelson Cruz, the Orioles held on the win against a talented Tigers team. Despite facing the last three Cy Young Award winners in Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price, the Orioles were able to complete the three game sweep.

Not many people gave the Orioles a chance to win this series in three games, but the gritty play of Baltimore continued to prove people wrong. Playing without three of its top players in Manny Machado, Matt Wieters and Chris Davis down the final stretch of the season, the Orioles continued to roll.

The Orioles will take on the winner of the Kansas City and Los Angeles series in the ALCS.


Vols Win Big In Opener

Tennessee was fired up. You could tell it was a new year and Vols head coach Butch Jones had the team ready to go. As Tennessee simply dominated Utah State en route to a 38-7 win Sunday night in Neyland Statium, the orange nation had a lot to be happy about.

Sure, you could make the argument that Utah State was not strong. However, there were a lot of people that said the Aggies would prove to be a stiff test for the young Vols. Some even predicted the Vols to be upset by the visiting Mountain West opponent.

If it wasn’t apparent that the new look Tennessee team was ready from the opening kickoff, you were watching a different game. The Vols were fired up, and it showed. Tennessee put on a show in front of the sold out 102, 455 crowd – the first time a season opener has been sold out since 2007.

Vols senior quarterback Justin Worley was able to manage the offense and the A.J. Johnson led defense was able to shut down the Aggies team led by darkhorse Heisman candidate Chuckie Keeton.

Worley threw three touchdown passes and completed 27 of 38 passes for 273 yards on the night. Two of his three touchdown passes went to new Vols: Freshman Jalen Hurd and junior-college transfer Von Pearson. Utilizing those two weapons as well as an experienced tight end in Brendan Downs, who caught Worley’s first touchdown pass, enabled the Vols to capitalize.

The defense was led by Johnson, who forced a fumble on special teams, recorded an interception and finished with nine tackles.

Having Johnson on the field was huge for the Vols defense, but putting him on special teams to lead that unit was brilliant. Johnson was often times to first one down the field, and he fired up the team the entire game.

There were many strong performances Sunday night, but Johnson’s was probably the most impactful. Here is a player that decided to return for his senior season. Having a opening season performance like this validates his reason for returning to the Vols.

Utah State may not have played like the team many thought they would see Sunday night, but regardless of their performance, the Vols were ready to play.


Peyton Manning Fined For Taunting, Doesn't Care

When a NFL player gets fined, I don't normally think much of it. It's just another game, another day. NFL fines have become common amongst the game due to the league's continuing effort to make the game safer. However, when a player such as Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning gets fined for taunting, it grabs my attention.

Manning was fined $8,258 for taunting Houston safety D.J. Swearinger following a 29-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders during Saturday's pre-season game.

Swearinger, known around the league as one of the premier trash talkers, caused Broncos receiver Wes Welker to leave the game due to a hit that caused a concussion earlier in the game.

Manning's comments when asked about the incident were:
"I accept it," Manning said. "Money well spent."

The Broncos players have to love the fact that Manning stood up for Welker like that. A football team is a family and Manning made sure he did his part to stand up for Welker after he suffered the injury earlier in the game.


Manny Machado Out For Season

Baltimore Orioles Manny Machado will have season-ending surgery on his right knee. According to reports, the star third-baseman will have the surgery within a week to repair the knee.

Machado had season-ending surgery last year on his left knee and began this season on the disabled list as he recovered from that injury.

Machado hit .278 with 12 home runs and 32 RBIs this season for the Orioles. In addition to his solid offensive production, he is arguably the best fielding third-baseman in the game. The absence of Machado will definitely hurt the first-place Orioles during the final stretch of the season.

Having already lost catcher Matt Wieters for the season, the Orioles will be forced to rely on a lot of other players to pick up the production. Chris Davis and Ryan Flaherty have filled in at third base in Machado's absence. Fortunately the Orioles are packed with depth, but it is hard to say Baltimore will be able to match Machado's offensive and defensive production.