Predicting The Fifth College Football Playoff Rankings

  1. Clemson 11-1
  2. Oklahoma 11-1
  3. Auburn 10-2
  4. Wisconsin 12-0
  5. Georgia 11-1
  6. Alabama 11-1
  7. Miami 10-1
  8. Ohio State 10-2
  9. Penn State 10-2
  10. USC 10-2
  11. TCU 10-2
  12. UCF 11-0
  13. Notre Dame 9-3
  14. Washington 10-2
  15. Michigan State 9-3
  16. LSU 9-3
  17. Stanford 9-3
  18. Washington State 9-3
  19. Oklahoma State 9-3
  20. Memphis 10-1
  21. Mississippi State 8-4
  22. Northwestern 9-3
  23. Virginia Tech 9-3
  24. Fresno State 9-3
  25. San Diego State 10-2

The Story of Valentina Allen: Half the Heart, but Twice the Fight

On February 15, 2013 Danielle and Ryan Allen gave birth to their second child, Valentina. However, this beautiful baby girl was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) 20 weeks into Danielle’s pregnancy, but Valentina was quite the fighter.

Throughout the pregnancy, Danielle and Ryan knew they had to make a very difficult decision. They visited several hospitals and received many recommendations from different doctors. Most did not give Valentina much of a chance at all. However, one hospital would match Valentina’s fight. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia gave her the fighting chance that the parents needed to hear.

The birth of Valentina, which was a question mark in itself, was a success. When examining her condition, the doctors realized not only was she born with half a heart, but also what was on the left should have been on the right and vice versa. This made every surgery even more difficult.

Valentina went through countless surgeries before she did not have any more fight left in her. On May 12, 2015, at just two years old, Valentina passed. Many looked at this as a battle that was lost. However, those same people did not realize that the battle was just beginning.

Danielle and Ryan could have sat back and grieved, which would have been completely understandable, but they did not do that. They were inspired by their daughter’s two-year fight and they continue till this day to raise money and fight for other’s who are in the same shoes that Valentina once was.

Their story and fight has inspired others to join along. The battle started off small with small donations, and wristbands and t-shirts being sold in Valentina’s name. However, it continued to grow. In the two years since her passing, Danielle and Ryan have raised nearly $200,000 through various fundraisers. Most recently, the Angels of the Bay Foundation donated over $40,000 in Valentina’s name to CHOP. The family also collects toys during the holiday season to bring to the hospital so the kids who are spending their days there have something to bring them joy. The ultimate goal is to have a cardiology examining room at CHOP to be named in Valentina’s honor.

The fight is far from over and people are still getting on board. I encourage you to help continue this fight and hopefully a cure can be found. There are various treatments for patients who are diagnosed with HLHS, but a cure is yet to be found. Some do live with this disease, but there are complications that they face their whole lives. They have to deal with taking medicine day after day, check-ups too often, and even additional surgery may be required. Some patients are lucky enough to receive heart transplants, but even then the fight does not stop. These patients have to take medicines for the rest of their lives to prevent the body from rejecting the new heart.

It is time that HLHS becomes more known so we can stop others from suffering down the road. The people fighting this battle have been tremendous so far, but it is far from over. The support system continues to grow and it has now reached college sports. The St. Joseph’s Brooklyn Women’s Basketball team will be playing in Valentina’s honor for their first six home games. These games will be played on November 15th, 21st, 28th, and 30th, and December 2nd and 5th. During these games the team will be collecting donations with all the proceeds going towards CHOP, while collecting toys as well for the kids who spend their holidays at the Hospital. On December 5th they will hold a ceremony in honor of Valentina. I urge you to come support these girls as they play for a growing cause. Do not let the battle stop now. Help us in making sure this continues to grow. The fight is far from over, but the light is in sight.

HLHS is a disease that is overlooked too often and awareness needs to increase. All I ask is that you spread the word about HLHS. I am not expecting anyone to donate or take further action, but anything helps. Visit the donation page if you wish to help the cause. You can also help the cause by coming out and supporting the St. Joseph’s College Women’s Basketball Team. As mentioned, they will be collecting donations via 50/50 raffle and donation jars, while collecting toys as well. You can learn more about Valentina and the growing community who has been helping support the cause and raise awareness by visiting the Facebook page that was started by her parents, Ryan and Danielle. Once again, just help spread the word by sharing this article, retweeting the tweet about it on New York Groove’s Twitter page, or just talking about HLHS in your community. Let’s continue this fight together, so one day we can finally put an end to HLHS.

Predicting Week 4 College Football Playoff Rankings

  1. Alabama 11-0
  2. Clemson 10-1
  3. Miami 10-0
  4. Wisconsin 11-0
  5. Oklahoma 10-1
  6. Auburn 9-2
  7. Georgia 10-1
  8. Notre Dame 9-2
  9. Ohio State 9-2
  10. Penn State 9-2
  11. USC 10-2
  12. TCU 9-2
  13. Washington State 9-2
  14. UCF 10-0
  15. Mississippi State 8-3
  16. Michigan State 8-3
  17. Washington 9-2
  18. Oklahoma State 8-3
  19. LSU 8-3
  20. Memphis 9-1
  21. Stanford 8-3
  22. Northwestern 8-3
  23. Boise State 9-2
  24. Virginia Tech 8-3
  25. USF 9-1

Predicting the Third College Football Playoff Rankings

  1. Alabama 10-0
  2. Oklahoma 9-1
  3. Miami 9-0
  4. Clemson 9-1
  5. Wisconsin 10-0
  6. Auburn 8-2
  7. Georgia 9-1
  8. Notre Dame 8-2
  9. TCU 8-2
  10. USC 9-2
  11. Ohio State 8-2
  12. Penn State 8-2
  13. Oklahoma State 8-2
  14. UCF 9-0
  15. Washington 8-2
  16. Washington State 9-2
  17. N.C. State 7-3
  18. LSU 7-3
  19. Michigan State 7-3
  20. Memphis 8-1
  21. Mississippi State 7-3
  22. Virginia Tech 7-3
  23. Northwestern 7-3
  24. Stanford 7-3
  25. Michigan 8-2

TCU Suffers Second Loss

TCU traveled to Norman this weekend to face the #5 ranked Oklahoma Sooners.

Many thought this game would be a competitive one. Oklahoma has one of the best offenses in college football, while TCU came in as one of the top rated defenses. It was the offense of Oklahoma that shined through.

The game started with an Oklahoma field goal followed by a TCU touchdown drive. They drove the ball 75 yards in two plays. TCU would go on to score one more time in the first half and would score one time in the fourth quarter and that was it.

TCU’s offense could never establish any rhythm and that cost them dearly. The defense played somewhat well but were overpowered by the Sooner’s offense.

Kenny Hill threw for 270 yards on 13-for-28 passing with one passing touchdown. He added 40 yards on the ground with one rushing touchdown as well.

Darius Anderson led the team in rushing yards with 42 yards. TCU has typically won the games when they could establish their running game and that didn’t happen tonight.

Neither team had any turnovers in this game. It would’ve helped TCU greatly if they could’ve forced a turnover or two.

TCU was most likely eliminated from playoff contention, but still controls their own destiny to play for the Big 12 Championship. If they win their next two games they will be the number two team in the championship game in what will most likely be a rematch with Oklahoma.

The Horned Frogs will visit Lubbock next weekend to play Texas Tech.


Photo Credits:

Notre Dame vs Miami (FL) Preview

After the Canes made me look foolish for placing my faith in the visiting Virginia Tech Hokies over the weekend we return again to Hard Rock Stadium as the Canes face off against #3 Notre Dame and one of the nation’s best rushing attacks. Led by junior running back Josh Adams, the Fighting Irish are fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game (324.8 per game) and have 34 rushing touchdowns on the season. The Irish have also only played in one game this season that was decided by fewer than 10 points, a 20-19 loss to the top ranked Georgia Bulldogs early in the season.

Mark Richt‘s Hurricanes are not bad defensively by any means. The U’s defensive unit has only allowed four rushing touchdowns this season and are exceptionally good at making big plays behind the line of scrimmage. On offense, quarterback Malik Rosier plays well enough to keep the team comfortably ahead of its opponents allowing the defense to control many of the games.

The Top 10 showdown between two of college football’s most notable programs will likely come down to which unit wins the battle in the trenches. Notre Dame wants to run the ball, and they want to run the ball a lot. First year starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush has only thrown for over 250 yards in a game once this season, while Rosier has thrown for over 250 yards in six of the Canes eight games. If Miami is able to slow the rushing attack of the Irish and force Wimbush to make plays with his arm the Hurricanes will roll on to 9-0 and only have the Clemson Tigers standing between them and their first Playoff berth.

On the other hand, if the Irish can run the ball even close to as dominantly as they have all season the offense will be able to dictate the clock and keep Rosier and the Cane offense off the field. Miami is not a team necessarily built to play from behind, giving Notre Dame a heavy advantage if the running game is able to establish itself early in the contest.

I tend to favor the Irish here. While Miami is one of the best in the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss, the defense also gives up a pedestrian 3.92 yards per rush. The defense will make some big plays, but sooner or later the consistency of the Notre Dame offensive assault will break down the defense and the Irish will pull away. Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish continue their incredible season, edge Notre Dame 31-21.

Oklahoma vs TCU Preview

As if the Sooners of Oklahoma had not been tested enough this year, here the team is yet again in a massively important game as they are set to battle #6 TCU on Saturday. Baker Mayfield and the Sooners will host the Horned Frogs in what is essentially a de facto Big 12 Championship Game. The conference foes each enter the game at 8-1 overall (5-1 in conference) with each only losing against the emerging Iowa State Cyclones.

The match up will be a battle of strength on strength, as the Horned Frogs are 6th in the nation in scoring defense (13.9 points allowed per game) while the Sooners are 2nd in scoring offense posting a blazing 45 points per game. TCU also posts high national ranks in sacks (t-11th, 3.11 sacks per game), rushing defense (1st, 69.7 yards allowed per game), and 3rd down defense (7th, 26.7% of third downs allowed). Offensively, TCU presents a steady and balanced attack led by quarterback Kenny Hill and running back Darius Anderson that will surely be able to put up points against a sub-par Sooner defense.

The contest will be the biggest challenge of the season for Baker Mayfield, who will look to keep the Sooners in the Playoff hunt as well as continue to push himself towards a Heisman Trophy. Mayfield torched Oklahoma State last Saturday throwing for 598 yards and 5 touchdowns, but the Cowboy defense is nowhere near as stout as that of the Horn Frogs. That being said, TCU is incredibly strong against the run while being about average against the pass, so if Mayfield is able to avoid taking too many sacks he should be able to produce.

Everything about Oklahoma’s season tells me to go with Mayfield and the Sooners here. OU is playing at home, has arguably the best offense (and best quarterback) in the country, and is coming off a big win against the in-state rival Cowboys. Yet, despite all of that, I have never found myself able to confidently pick against Gary Patterson and TCU. When the Horned Frogs lost to Iowa State, the offense managed only 7 points for the game. Oklahoma’s defense has only held one opponent, UTEP, to less than 10 points in a game this season. The Sooners have also allowed at least 24 points in each of the last six games, including 52 to Oklahoma State and 41 to lowly Baylor.

In short, looking at the match up it is almost certain that the Horned Frogs will be able to put up points on the Sooners while TCU also presents OU with the toughest defense they have faced all season. Gary Patterson has managed to build TCU into a program that wins in a way no one else in the Big 12 seems capable of – with great defense. Baker’s incredible run comes to an end Saturday, edge to the Horned Frogs 41-31 in Norman.