Word on the Street: Playoff Beards for the Bears?

Word on the Street: Playoff Beards for the Bears?

Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Playoff Beards for the Bears?

Playoff beards are very common in the NHL, as Blackhawks fans can attest to over the past two seasons. But, are the Bears now following suit?

Jay Cutler is among the notable Bears looking scruffy lately, but he is joined by Robbie Gould, Pisa Tonoisamoa, Marcus Harrison and Johnny Knox in the bearded crew. However, none have openly admitted the facial hair is for the playoffs.

As Peggy Kusinski from NBC Chicago writes, maybe the Bears are just superstitious and don't want to jinx their luck by talking about it. (NBC Chicago)

Toews out two weeks

Just when the Blackhawks get Patrick Kane back, Jonathan Toews goes down with a shoulder injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Chicago captain is likely to miss two weeks after he was checked near the boards by St. Louis forward Matt D'Agostini in the Blackhawks' 3-1 loss to the Blues on Tuesday night. (CSNChicago.com)
Stephen Jackson heading to the Bulls?

Trade rumors continue to swirl around the Chicago Bulls as Stephen Jackson's name is starting to pick up some heat. Rumors are the Bulls could swing a deal for the veteran shooting guard, as his outside shooting prowess would be a better fit with Derrick Rose in the offense. (Associated Content)

Rodgers named Player of the Week

The Bears may be meeting the Packers at just the wrong time, as Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is riding a high after earning the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for a career-high 404 passing yards with 4 TDs against the New YOrk Giants Sunday. (Miami Herald)

Hester rewards teammates with gifts

Nobody can call Devin Hester ungrateful. The history-making kick returner found a good way to pay back his special team blockers who helped him return a record-setting 14th kick for a touchdown last Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings. Hester bought 14 remote-control cars and helicopters, but not just any.

"The big ones," he said. "Gas remote-control cars and everything." (Chicago Tribune)

Metrodome collapse impacting baseball now
The disastrous collapse of the roof of the Metrodome in Minnesota may be done ruining football until next season, but it is not mixing up baseball. The Minnesota Twins hold an annual winter festival at the end of January, but the Metrodome will not won't be repaired by then, leaving a huge question mark that impacts hundreds of college baseball games as well. (Chicago Tribune)

Buckeyes going back to College Football Playoff, will face Clemson in Fiesta Bowl

Buckeyes going back to College Football Playoff, will face Clemson in Fiesta Bowl

The College Football Playoff field is set, and for the second time in three years, the Ohio State Buckeyes will compete for a national championship.

The selection committee revealed the four-team field for this season's Playoff, with Ohio State coming at No. 3. The Buckeyes will battle No. 2 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. The other Playoff semifinal pits No. 1 Alabama against No. 4 Washington in the Peach Bowl.

While Ohio State has been considered one of the best teams in the country throughout the season, the Buckeyes' inclusion in the Playoff field is not without controversy, as they are the first team to play in the Playoff without winning their conference championship. But Ohio State had a sterling resume with three wins over top-10 teams: Michigan, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. The Buckeyes' lone loss came against a top-10 Penn State team.

The 2014 national champion, Ohio State returns to the Playoff after missing out last season. Big Ten champion Michigan State represented the conference last year, getting crushed by Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. Two years ago, the Buckeyes beat the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl and then beat the Oregon Ducks in the national championship game.

Big Ten champion Penn State, which won the conference title game Saturday night with an instant-classic comeback victory over Wisconsin, ended up fifth and was left off the bracket. So too was sixth-ranked Michigan, which didn't compete for a conference championship but was ranked fifth in the final set of rankings prior to Sunday's bracket reveal. The Nittany Lions and Wolverines combined for five wins over top-10 teams this season.

There was plenty of conversation that red-hot Penn State could surge into the Playoff, just like Ohio State did two years ago. The Lions are riding a nine-game winning streak, defeated Ohio State earlier in the season and claimed the championship in what has been the hands-down best conference in college football this season. And boy did they impress Saturday night in their most recent showing, erasing a three-touchdown deficit to come back and beat Wisconsin.

Michigan, too, had a mighty compelling case to make. The Wolverines, owners of one of the best defenses in the country all season long, beat three top-10 teams during the regular season and took the No. 2 team in the country to double overtime just last weekend.

But in the end, we did not get the first Playoff field to feature two teams from the same conference. Penn State and Michigan will learn their bowl fates — likely going to New Year's Six bowl games — later Sunday.

Big Ten poll update: Penn State jumps Michigan in last pre-Playoff AP poll

Big Ten poll update: Penn State jumps Michigan in last pre-Playoff AP poll

The College Football Playoff selection committee will reveal the four-team Playoff field shortly, but in the AP poll, Big Ten champion Penn State did vault ahead of Michigan.

The Nittany Lions, fresh off their instant-classic comeback win in Saturday night's Big Ten title game, jumped up three spots, from No. 8 to No. 5, passing the Wolverines, who dropped from No. 5 to No. 6 with no game to play this weekend.

Who knows if that will be the thinking of the committee or if Penn State's performance Saturday was impressive enough to get it above Washington or Clemson and into the final four.

In the AP poll Sunday, Ohio State checked in at No. 2 behind No. 1 Alabama. The Buckeyes didn't play Saturday either, but those top two spots figure to be how the top two spots of the Playoff field will look. Clemson and Washington stayed the Nos. 3 and 4 teams in the poll, which seems to be a likely possibility in the Playoff, as well.

Wisconsin, defeated by Penn State on Saturday night, dropped just two spots from No. 6 to No. 8, jumped by Penn State and Oklahoma, which was victorious in its regular-season finale against Oklahoma State, claiming the Big 12 championship in the process.

Iowa moved up one spot from No. 22 to No. 21, while Nebraska dropped a spot from No. 23 to No. 24. Neither team played this weekend.