This past week on Thursday for the first time ever the NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS, NCAAFB, and NHL all played on the same day🤯. Then on Saturday, we saw the beginning of the Premier League season come back after a pandemic shortened offseason, and just like that most of the major sports in the world returned to action. Fans across the world received a long-awaited rejoice after the abrupt ending of multiple sports leagues in March. As the NBA Conference Finals start to take shape, the MLB season approaches the postseason, and the NFL attempts to sustain its regular season while avoiding COVID-19 concerns, we are pumped to see what the rest of this year will look like. Here is a brief preview of what happened over the past week in sports:
Premier League is Back
After a short offseason and transfer window that began July 27th, the English Premier League has returned and the competition did not slow down at all. Former EPL title winners Liverpool did not disappoint in a 4-3 victory over the recently returned Leeds United, a team that has been playing in the lower tier league after dominating in the late 90s-early 2000s. With new faces such as Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, and Hakim Ziyech, the EPL remains one of the highest-paid and exciting soccer leagues in the world. The fight for the top 4 begins as Arsenal, Leicester City, Newcastle United, and Liverpool all walked away with a win in opening weekend.
NBA Conference Finals Stage is Set (mostly😬)
This past week the NBA semifinals came to an end as the Miami Heat stunned the No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks, The Lakers smothered the hot-shooting Houston Rockets, and the Celtics won in Game 7 versus the Toronto Raptors in one of the most exciting series of recent memory. The Miami Heat were able to oust the Bucks, flexing how deep their squad is as well as finding an answer to sustaining the Greek Freak (who suffered a sprained ankle in Game 3 that had him sitting out the final two games). Jimmy Butler proved that this team is no joke. After losing in Game 1, the Lakers repeated their previous series outcome vs. the Blazers, and went on to sweep the next 4 games using their stifling defense to create shooting droughts for the two main stars on Houston: James Harden and Russel Westbrook. The Celtics were able to stop the defending champion Toronto Raptors from making a repeat visit to the Eastern conference Finals behind a stellar performance from Jayson Tatum, and a balanced scoring attack and gameplan from basketball supergenius Brad Stevens. Maybe this year he will finally break through to the highest stage of competition and reach the Finals.
Now for the Clippers... They had the unfortunate task of beating the flaming Denver Nuggets and it looked good when they were able to make the series 3-1 in Game 4. However, the Nuggets are not a team to be overlooked as proven by their last 3-1 series deficit against the Utah Jazz. Nikola Jokic (avg. 26.4PPG, 9.9 boards, 6 assists, and 46.3% from 3PT) is making the argument for being the best center in the league and with the return of Gary Harris, this squad could definitely cause some problems if the Clippers do not shape up and command an early lead in Game 7. Paul George has looked decent since a major scoring drought in the First Round of the playoffs, but it is truly up to Kawhi Leonard (avg. 29.4 PPG, 9.6 boards, and shooting over 50% from the field) who was in this exact same situation last year when he had one of the greatest playoff performances that ended in a Game 7 buzzer beater.
Power 5 Teams Begin College Football Season
(Image via The State)
This past Thursday, a power 5 team (Miami vs. UAB) played its first game of the NCAAFB season and began a shaky but necessary discourse for how the rest of the season will play out for other top contending conferences. The Big Ten has recently had another presidents' meeting, and seem to have retracted on prior statements that there would be no football in the conference. In the meantime, the ACC and Big 12 have begun their seasons with the SEC following suit on September 26th. To be honest this is a complete fucking mess. Besides rescheduling and other conferences such as the Pac-12 having to make a tough decision now that other teams are willing to continue a college football season, I do not see a College Football Playoff being possible, or better said, being manageable with all the conflicting regulations throughout the NCAA. Things like record, strength of schedule, and bowl games do not seem as easily doable if the amount of teams willing to play is scarce. However if they do happen, I am rocking with the UL-Laffayette Ragin Cajuns to win it all after a dominating win over No. 23 Iowa State that saw me lose an unnecessary amount of money 🤦🏾♂️
The NFL Season Kicks Off
(Image via Getty)
As a devoted football fan, I honestly did not think that the NFL season was going to happen. Unlike the NHL and NBA, it is much harder to contain the massive rosters that make up an NFL team in a bubble, and with scheduling having teams travel all over the country, the idea of one of my favorite sports coming back seemed foolish. Well... foolish or not, best believe I was glued on my couch watching the elusive Quad Box on NFL RedZone for hours this past Sunday. 28 teams took to their respective fields this weekend in a completely different environment as some arenas had fans and others were pumping fake arena noises that some players have already taken notice of.
The ending of the previous season left fans with a bunch of questions: Will league MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens be the next Superbowl champions? Will the 49ers remain as dominant as they were and lead the NFC? Is there any team that can stop Patrick Mahomes in Andy Reid's high powered offense that led to them hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February? Will Tom Brady lead the Buccaneers out of their 11-year playoff drought in Bruce Arians' offense? Although its just Week 1, football fans definitely were able to make some assumptions. Thursday gave us a glimpse of how dominant the Chiefs plan to be after their 34-20 victory over the Houston Texans. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire looked like he can be a serious threat and great addition to the Chiefs' gameplan. Lamar Jackson has not lost a single step and if anything, he looks even more experienced and accurate as a passer after the 31-6 blowout win over the Clevland Browns 💩. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals stunned the 49ers at home with their new and improved offseason acquisitions as D-Hop had a monster debut with 14 receptions and 151 yards. If this first week is any indication for the rest of the season, I am more excited than ever for the NFL to return. Look out for Busti the Bookie's NFL Week 1 Power Rankings after the Broncos-Titans and Giants-Steelers game tonight.