September 6, 2013

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Best NCAA Football Games of Week 2 and 3

By: Tyler Vespa

That Georgia-Clemson game was a dandy. Other than that, it was a pretty quiet opening week. I also wanted the Washington Huskies and Keith Price to know I picked them to “upset” Boise State. So, well done, and I expect you to stay competitive for the Pac 12 crown.

Now, lets take a look at the top matchups of this week and next.

Will Notre Dame leave the Big House with a victory over Michigan?

September 7th

No. 10 Florida at Miami (FL)- 12 noon ET (ESPN)

Two great offenses do battle at Sun Life Stadium. However, the Gators are the superiors on defense. Last season, Will Muschamp’s crew had the 5th best defense in the country. That will keep the Hurricanes off the board enough for the win.

Final Score: No. 10 Florida- 31  Miami (FL)- 17

No. 6 South Carolina at No. 5 Georgia- 4:30 ET (ESPN)

Fresh off a loss to Clemson last week, the Bulldogs will be looking to avoid a repeat of their 2011 season where they also lost their first two games. South Carolina had a solid performance last week against North Carolina, although Jadeveon Clowney didn’t have a Heisman-like performance.  This will be a battle of offense versus defense. Can Jadeveon stop Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley? I don’t think so.

Final Score: No. 6 South Carolina- 17  No. 5 Georgia- 28

No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan- 8:00 ET (ESPN)

Both teams got easy victories last week. This will be anything but. A year removed from the Denard Robinson era, Big Blue has the look on offense they’ve always dreamed of. With Devin Gardner, a pro-style quarterback who can move and a solid running attack, the Wolverines look like the “winged helmets” of old. The Fighting Irish, fresh off their unbelievable run to the national title a year ago, lost a key piece to their offense this offseason. Starting quarterback Everett Golson got suspended for the season for poor academic judgment. Now, they have Tommy Rees at the helm. To me, Rees is just as good a passer as Everett Golson, but he can’t keep the play alive like Golson. I like the Wolverines at the Big House in a close one.

Final Score: No. 14 Notre Dame- 21 No. 17 Michigan- 28

September 14th:

No. 21 UCLA at No. 18 Nebraska- 12 noon ET (ABC)

Both teams played a team from the Mountain West Conference last week. Both teams won. One team won in convincing fashion, the other did the exact opposite. Something’s got to give. The Bruins are going to destroy the Cornhuskers in Lincoln.

Final Score: No. 21 UCLA- 42  No. 18 Nebraska- 27

No. 1 Alabama at No. 7 Texas A&M- 3:30 ET (CBS)

Welcome to 2013 Johnny Manziel. The Aggies better buckle up. I expect this game to be the exact opposite of last season. Johnny Manziel will beat himself, and Alabama will score points on both on offense and defense. This will never be close. Roll Tide.

Final Score: No. 1 Alabama- 42  No. 7 Texas A&M- 20

August 8, 2013

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NCAA Football Games To Watch In 2013

By: Joe Williams

August 31, Georgia at Clemson

Could there be a better way to start the season that with two teams ranked in the top eight who have serious national championship aspirations? It doesn’t get much better than that. Unfortunately, the hopes of either Georgia or Clemson will take a hit before we hit September.

Georgia starts the 2013 season with two very important games.

September 7, South Carolina at Georgia

If Georgia survives the Clemson game, it will have to bounce back quickly to deal with another team in the top 10 in Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks. This game could determine who gets to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.

September 14, Alabama at Texas A&M

Last year, Texas A&M shocked the Tide on its home field. This year it’s the defending national champions against the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Maybe. It’s college football’s top coach Nick Saban against college football’s biggest star Johnny Manziel. Maybe. Can the Aggies knock off the Crimson Tide again? That likely depends on what happens with the NCAA investigation into Manziel’s autograph signings. He could be suspended. Or maybe this breaking news will turn into much ado about nothing. The impact of this game changes if he doesn’t play. My guess is that if he misses any games it will be just two and he makes his season debut against Alabama.

October 25, Boise State at BYU

Both Boise State and BYU could come in to this game on a BCS party-crashing run. Only one of them can leave this game that way. And they’ll have the college football audience to themselves with this game being played on a Friday night.

November 7, Oregon at Stanford

In 2011 Oregon ended Stanford’s perfect season. In 2012 Stanford returned the favor. In 2013 they are ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches’ Preseason Poll. One of these teams could be playing for a national championship game spot.

November 30, Ohio State at Michigan

The Buckeyes are coming off of an undefeated season and are now eligible for the postseason. The schedule sets up for them to make a run at the national championship game. Meanwhile, the Wolverines have returned to national prominence after a couple of down years and could make their own run if they catch a couple breaks.

November 30, Florida State at Florida

The Florida vs. Florida State rivalry has been heating back up lately and with these two teams starting the season at No. 10 and No. 12 in the preseason poll, this is a potentially huge game for at least one of these teams.

December 5, Louisville at Cincinnati

The Cardinals have one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. They begin the year at No. 9 and they don’t really play anybody that tough. They could be unbeaten and playing for a national title spot when they meet Cincinnati.

December 7, SEC Championship Game

While we don’t know which teams will be on the field in this game, we do know that it’s pretty much an unofficial playoff game with the winner headed to the national title game. It seems to happen every year so why not again in 2013?

July 31, 2013

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In Case You Missed It

By: Joe Williams

We all know about the Aaron Hernandez situation, Dwight Howard taking his talents to Houston and Ryan Braun getting suspended, but that’s not all the crazy stuff that happened in July. In case you actually have a life, here are a few stories that you may have missed.

Longtime New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur actually got to draft his son Anthony Brodeur for the Devils during the NHL draft.

During last week’s RBC Canadian Open, Hunter Mahan withdrew from the tournament to attend the birth of his first child. Mahan was leading the tournament and didn’t pull out until just before he was supposed to begin his third round, leaving his playing partner John Merrick playing in the final group by himself.

Not only did the Cincinnati Reds play a game in San Francisco as the home team, but during one of the  four-game series between the teams, the Giants grounds crew had a bit of trouble lining up the batter’s box. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding a photo of the screw up online.

When former Florida State offensive lineman Menelik Watson received his championship ring for the team’s win over Georgia Tech in the ACC title game, he was the only Seminoles player that got a ring that reads “2012 SEC Champions.” The rest of the team got rings with the correct conference inscribed on them.

The NCAA claimed that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo committed an NCAA violation when he tweeted “Welcome to the family” to a Class of 2015 wide receiver who recently committed to the University of Michigan.

“Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen fired one of the worst first pitches I have ever seen. Video of that won’t be hard to find either.

A linebacker at the University of Florida was arrested for sticking his head in a police car and barking at a police dog.

One Cleveland Indians fan pulled off an incredible feat, catching four foul balls in the same game…the odds of which are about one in one trillion.

Another fan in Cleveland wasn’t so lucky. When Scott Entsminger passed away earlier this month, this ended up in his obituary…”A lifelong Cleveland Browns fan and season ticket holder, he also wrote a song each year and sent it to the Cleveland Browns as well as offering other advice on how to run the team. He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.”

A battle royal erupted between two former Thai Olympic teammates during a doubles badminton match. They started trash-talking before the match even started and things continued to escalate until they fought from one end of the arena to the other. Both players received a black card.

And in the wildest story of the month former NBA player Baron Davis (the guy with the huge beard before James Harden) said that he was abducted by aliens while on a drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles during a podcast interview. I’m not even going to go there on this one.

I can’t wait to see what happens in August as the NFL season approaches, and the baseball playoff races heat up.

May 6, 2013

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The Week In Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Lebron James wins 4th MVP award: Widely regarded as the best player in basketball, the Miami Heat’s Lebron James won his fourth NBA Most Valuable Player award. The award put him in some elite company – the only other players to win as many were Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell. There was little doubt that James would win the award as he was the best player on the best team in the league, and the vote was nearly unanimous (one voter chose Carmelo Anthony as the winner). A good case could have been made for Kevin Durant, who led the Oklahoma City Thunder to 60 wins this season and averaged more points than James. But in the end, Durant finished second and my vote would have gone to James, too.

Will Adrian Peterson break the single-season NFL rushing record in 2013?

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. wins. Again. Big surprise, right? Floyd Mayweather, Jr. moved to 44-0 after disposing of Robert Guerrero in a unanimous 12-round decision this weekend. Guerrero was a worthy foe, but the win was a fairly decisive one for Mayweather, who had a 117-111 win on all three of the judges’ scorecards. He didn’t deliver the knockout that many pay-per-viewers wanted, but the important thing is that he remains undefeated. Mayweather now plans to fight again in September and the only question at this point is who will get the next shot to knock off the champion.

College athletics a losing proposition? The NCAA recently completed a study, the 2012 Revenue and Expenses Report, which showed that athletic departments are spending more money in expenses than they are generating new revenue. More importantly, perhaps, is that only 23 Division I schools reported a profit. That’s nothing new, though some fans may be surprised to hear that plenty of major universities lose money on sports. Even if a school has a big time football program, that money is often used to help support other non-revenue sports. And when you factor in salaries of athletics department staff and coaches, facility-related expenses, and scholarships, breaking even isn’t the easiest thing to do.

Adrian Peterson sets lofty goal for 2013: Last year, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson nearly broke Eric Dickerson’s long-time NFL record for most rushing yards in a season. The running back not only wants to break the mark next year, but shatter it. Peterson recently said in a Sports Illustrated interview that his goal is to reach 2,500 yards. On the surface, that appears nearly impossible. No other running back has even come close to that total and with Peterson’s big season last year, opposing defenses will be doing all they can to shut him down. And when you factor in that he would need to be fully healthy all year, it’s difficult to expect that much out of him.

SEC Network announced for 2014: ESPN and the SEC announced a new 20-year deal to broadcast games last week. As a part of that package, the two sides will launch a 24-hour/day SEC network that will air football, basketball, and baseball games, as well as other events. With the B1G already airing games on its own network and the ACC reportedly making plans to do so as well, conference networks are becoming the norm. One of the biggest benefits not specifically related to revenue is that smaller sports will get a bit more coverage. Non-revenue programs should draw a bit more interest from fans that may not have paid that much attention to them in the past.

Warren Moon says Tim Tebow not good enough for CFL: Football Hall of Famer, Warren Moon spoke recently about Tim Tebow in a radio interview and his comments were a bit surprising to say the least. There are plenty of ex-players that don’t think Tim Tebow is a legitimate NFL quarterback, but Moon isn’t even sure Tebow can play in the Canadian Football League. Even though the CFL is a significant step down from the NFL, Moon doesn’t believe that Tebow can pass well enough to play in the league. Moon makes a valid point in that the league is high on aerial attacks, but what he doesn’t factor in is that the level of competition in the CFL isn’t what it is in the NFL. Since he’s been in the NFL, Tebow has completed less than half of his passes. But in college, where the competition wasn’t as difficult, he completed nearly 70%. Tebow may not be a great passer, but the guess here is that he’s capable of having success in the CFL if he ever decided to go that route.

April 15, 2013

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The Week In Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Adam Scott wins first Masters in dramatic fashion: Golf’s biggest event was front and center this weekend and there were plenty of theatrics. First, there was 14-year old Tianlang Guan taking the world by storm by not only making the cut, but finishing as the youngest low amateur in the history of the tournament. Then, there was Tiger-gate, when Tiger Woods took an illegal drop that caused many to question if he should remain in the event. Finally, Adam Scott walked away with his first ever Masters win after defeating Angel Cabrera in a playoff with a birdie on the second hole. Say what you will about golf, but there are few things in the world of sports that can compare to Sunday at the Masters.

How far can the Lakers go without Kobe Bryant?

Kobe Bryant tears Achilles tendon – out for season: The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled all season with a star-studded lineup, but they may have been dealt a death blow last week. Star guard Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of this season. So how did the Lakers respond to losing their best player? By promptly beating what could be the best team in the Western Conference – the San Antonio Spurs. Los Angeles’ win on Sunday proved there is still life within the team. While the backcourt is in shambles (especially with Steve Nash who has missed several games), the frontcourt can still be one of the best in the league with center Dwight Howard and forwards Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, and Antawn Jamison. The Lakers may have a more difficult time keeping up with the younger Oklahoma City Thunder, but you’ve got to give them a fighting chance against the Spurs if they meet in the playoffs.

Louisville defeated Michigan for the NCAA championship: A week later and it seems like old news by now, but the Louisville Cardinals won their first title under Rick Pitino with an 82-76 win over the Michigan Wolverines last Monday. Pitino became the first coach to win NCAA championships with two different teams. The Cardinals went on a tear late in the season and became the trendy pick to win the title. Nearly as important as winning the championship was that they allowed folks like me to finish respectably in their bracket pools despite a plethora of other questionable picks.

Jeff Garcia to New York Jets – ditch Tim Tebow: Former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia had some interesting comments about young quarterback Tim Tebow in a USA Today interview. Speaking about Tebow, Garcia said he just brings distraction and that having him on the Jets doesn’t add anything positive. He then went on to say that starting quarterback Mark Sanchez’ main competition will come from aging veteran David Garrard or little-used Greg McElroy. I won’t totally disagree with Garcia that Tebow is a major distraction, but I’m not so sure he still can’t contribute to the team if used effectively. I’m not of the opinion that he’s an ideal starting quarterback, but there are certain packages where he can be used infrequently and make plays with his legs. Is that more valuable than what Garrard or McElroy can add? Unless one of them unseats Sanchez or plays considerably as a backup, I’d say yes.

Wrigley Field to get updated look: The Chicago Cubs announced that historic Wrigley Field will get some upgrades as part of a $500 million renovation. That will include the Field’s first electronic video board. Typically I hate stuff like this, but sometimes upgrades are needed to remain competitive. And as long as there’s no plan to make sweeping changes to one of the most recognizable stadiums in baseball, it’s hard to complain too loudly.