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North American sports week: A star is born in New York, college football ushers in a new playoff system

Odell Beckham, Jr. Remember that name.


On May 8th of this year, the New York Giants selected wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.  Of all the top receivers in this year’s draft class, Beckham was perhaps the most unheralded of the group.  This lack of attention caused many Giants fans to question this pick.  Beckham’s training camp injuries kept him sidelined for the first few games of this season further irritating many fans.


Well, those disgruntled fans are eating their words at this point in the season.  Odell Beckham Jr. has been, by far, the Giants best receiver this year.  On Sunday night, however, Beckham cemented himself into NFL legend.  On the first play from scrimmage in 2nd quarter of the Giants game versus the Cowboys, Beckham caught what might be the most amazing catch in NFL history.  It’s certainly the catch of the year, maybe the decade, and it’s hard to remember another catch that comes close in skill and difficulty.  Talking about it doesn’t do it justice, see for yourself:



College Football Playoff


2014 marks the first year of the College Football Playoff.  In previous years, the teams that played in college football’s championship game was decided by a group of sport’s writers who rank the teams based on factors such as record, strength of schedule, and points margin.


This system was roundly criticized as favoring the major football programs.  Sports writers are human beings and they tend to defer to the major football programs when the ranking criteria are close.


One reason there isn’t a full playoff schedule like in the NFL is because the fact remains that these players are still at university and December is an important time for school exams.  On the other hand, college football is a major source of income for these universities and a compromise has been in the works for years.


Finally, after years of dickering and even President Obama calling for a college playoff system, one was finally implemented for this year.  While it won’t have the same length as professional sports, this four-team playoff does make things a bit more competitive and fair for all.  While the system isn’t perfect, allowing four teams to compete rather than two just about ensures that any team deserving of the #1 spot will get a chance to compete for the championship.


While no system is perfect, this new playoff system should serve to avoid most future situation is which an undefeated team from a major conference does not get a bid to compete for the championship.


The college football playoff kicks off on January 1st and, like all other major sporting events, will be listed on the sports book.