Ball Talk with Jon Soc is back! Here I am for some pro-sports talk for the first time in a little bit. Let’s dive in!

First a quick Geaux Tigers, and a big shout out to Joe Burreux on winning the college football championship,and completing an undefeated season! The Louisiana State University Tigers have recently won their first college football championship in the last 15 years behind what could very likely be their best team of all time. Full of future draft picks and two potential top-10 picks in quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, the LSU offense and defense were both full of studs top to bottom. Coach Ed states, “The day I stop working out is the day I die.” Ed Orgeron was giving a second shot at coaching almost 10 years after his stint at Ole Miss and it has paid off with him winning the conference and the National championship for the first time. 

Second, Joe Burrow had 65 total touchdowns,  threw 60 touchdowns, rushed for five, threw for 5671 yards, and had 402 completions with a 76.3% completion rate and 10.8 yards per attempt. Ja’Marr Chase had 20 touchdowns, an average of 20 yards from scrimmage per play and caught 84 passes for 1780 yards. In short, these two had seasons that when you look at the stats make you go “Well, thats just stupid.”

Third, Tom Brady is not leaving the New England Patriots, and he’s already said he isn’t retiring. Leave me alone.

Fourth, the Titans are the perfect example of why the sport of football might be the best sport to watch in America, and possibly the world. To show why the Titans are the first example of this, I’m first going to explain what makes football such a good sport to watch. The stakes; football is a 16-game regular season and a single elimination postseason. Every game is important. A two-game slide can take a 9–7 wild card team to 7–9 lottery team. Second, extremely complicated rules are actually some of the best parts of football. Yes, people don’t always know what’s happening and that’s cool. It’s like watching a chess match with really heavy and tall men running into each other. Third, the strategy, due to the multitude of ways to score. You can score in football by throwing it to someone in the end zone, running it into the end zone, passing it and the catcher running into end zone, kicking the ball through the uprights and running the other team’s quarterback out the back of the end zone. These three factors all combine to mean that a team with a few lucky draws for matchup and who’s hot at the right time can go on a crazy postseason run. That is, the Tennessee Titans stealing gimmick time wasting plays from the New England Patriots and using them against: the Pats, using Tannehill for rushing touchdowns, and Derrick Henry as a football Lebron James has netted them wins against my two favorites to win the conference, The Patriots and the Ravens.

Fifth, I’m not worried about Trevor Lawrence. He lost a game, so does literally everyone.

Sixth, basketball talk is back. The Memphis Grizzlies are amazing. Currently sitting at the eighth seed in the western conference, if the Grizzlies make the playoffs they would have the lowest average age of a team to ever make the playoffs. Their closing lineup against the Houston Rockets featured 20-year-old Ja Morant, 21-year-old De’Anthony Melton, 23 year old Dillon brooks, 23-year-old Brandon Clarke, and 20 year old Jaren Jackson Jr. The average age of this lineup that closed out a win against a Championship Contender was 21.3 years old. There are multiple players on our Brandeis Judges that are older than that! The Grizzlies also have great and useful veterans in Jonas Valanciunas, Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill and Tyus Jones. This Grizzlies team won’t be making it to the finals this season, but they have the makings of a team that is going to absolutely dominate the league in years to come.

Seventh, as the antithesis of the grizzlies youth movement, the Los Angeles Lakers, currently the number one seed in the Western Conference, would be the oldest team to ever make the playoffs — if they make the playoffs this year — a pretty safe bet. The Lakers have been taking the league by storm since their three-game skid, going on a nine-game winning streak winning games without Lebron James and Anthony Davis. This Lakers team is sneakily deep and this will be obvious come playoff time when they show all the interesting looks they can put out as a squad.

Eighth, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan were known at the time for being some of the biggest complainers in the league when they played together. Patrick Beverly, Montrezl Harrell, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard keep this moniker up. Kawhi Leonard has already picked up multiple technical fouls this season, something we never saw from him before this season. These Clippers bring no effort on defense, and a lax effort on offense. It’s halfway through the season and yet they still lack an offensive identity, still don’t try on defense and are acting like they won the championship last year. At some point you have to build chemistry with your teammates, the whole starting five and Lou Will have barely played any games together, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have barely played together and Doc is running very few practices due to Kawhi’s injury concerns. I don’t see this team going to the finals unless they have a serious change in philosophy before the playoffs. They are running out of time to flip the “on switch” and I’m starting to doubt that it will be there for round-after-round come playoff time. 

Ninth, the Utah Jazz traded Dante Exum and two second round picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Jordan Clarkson. In his first game as a Jazz, Clarkson scored more points than Exum had scored all season. Since the trade 10 games ago, the Utah Jazz have won 10 games. Nice. Sitting on the second seed in the West, despite being out of the playoff picture earlier in the year, has become a classic Utah Jazz moment. Despite their current success, they will be tested soon with a 14-game stretch starting the 25th of January and consisting of the Mavericks twice, the Rockets three times, the Spurs twice, the Nuggets twice, the Blazers twice, the Heat, Suns, and finally the Celtics. Time to see if the Jazz are contenders or pretenders.

Tenth, the OKC Thunder decided not to tank. In fact they’re the seventh seed right now. Chris Paul leads the league in clutch scoring, Shai Gilgeous Alexander might be one of the best young guards in the league, Danilo Gallinari is scoring like a machine, Steven Adams is averaging a career high in rebounds, and Dennis Schroeder is looking more and more like the player he was drafted to be. To make matters better, this thunder team is loaded with future picks they can trade for more value or keep and see what kind of players they can get in the future. Whatever OKC does, I would not want to face this hungry team come playoff time.