May 28, 2013

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The Week In Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Tony Kanaan wins Indy 500: After years of frustration, veteran racer Tony Kanaan finally won the prize of his life with a win in this weekend’s Indianapolis 500. For Kanaan it was his first victory at the historic race. With only three laps to go after a green flag, Kanaan quickly took the lead. It was a good thing, too, because defending champion Dario Franchitti crashed further back from the front and the race finished under caution with Kanaan in the lead. Rookie Carlos Munoz finished in second place.

Brian Urlacher retired from the NFL after 13 years with the Chicago Bears.

Brian Urlacher retires: After not re-signing with the Chicago Bears and becoming a free agent, Brian Urlacher figured he’d be playing again in 2014. But Urlacher surprised a few folks last week when he announced his retirement. Having played 13 seasons, it’s not as if his career is being cut short but he likely still has something left in the tank. Urlacher is believed to have reached out to every team in the league, but in the end, decided he’d had enough. There’s little doubt that he’ll be on his way to the Hall of Fame at some point.

San Francisco and Houston awarded 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls: NFL owners approved the cities of San Francisco and Houston as hosts of the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls respectively. Both edged out Miami, which was also vying for the games. San Francisco will host the historic 50th Super Bowl, which will be played in Levi’s Stadium, expected to be complete in 2014. For Miami, the biggest negative was the franchise not securing funding for improvements to their stadium. That likely cost them a bid and they may not see another one until either the team or the city forks over some money for upgrades to Sun Life Stadium.

Lebron James and Kobe Bryant headline All NBA First Team: The All NBA teams were named last week and among first-teamers were Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. Others included Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, and Chris Paul. Left off was the scoring champion, Carmelo Anthony. Duncan had a great season, but I’m not sure I would have given him the nod over Anthony.

Cleveland wins NBA Draft lottery: Cleveland had a miserable season, but wound up with a pretty good consolation prize when they won the top spot in the NBA’s Draft lottery selection on Tuesday. It’s the second time in three seasons they’ll have had the No. 1 selection and, should they keep it, could pair a big man such as Nerlens Noel along with Kyrie Irving. In a year where there isn’t considered a dominant player at the top, trading the pick could be an option. But when you consider that they have four selections in the top 33 picks, they may need to get a proven player or two in return instead of more picks. And for what it’s worth, Cleveland’s general manager Chris Grant has said he’s willing to consider dealing the selection.

NFL Draft moving to May: Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed in the NFL’s spring meetings last week that the league’s draft will move to May in 2014. The main reason for the switch? Radio City Music Hall will be booked during the regularly scheduled time in April.

Mike Trout becomes youngest AL player to hit for cycle: Anaheim Angels phenom Mike Trout already has an amazing track record in his short time in the big leagues. But he added another honor on Tuesday when he became the youngest AL player to hit for the cycle. Trout picked up five RBI in a 12-0 win over Seattle to accomplish the feat.

Michael Crabtree tears Achilles: The 49ers received some great news when it was announced San Francisco would host the 2016 Super Bowl. But things evened out a bit with the news that star wide receiver, Michael Crabtree, tore his Achilles and is expected to miss six months. Crabtree, who had gotten off to a modest start with the 49ers, had a breakout season last year with 85 catches, more than 1,100 yards, and nine touchdowns. The good news for San Francisco is that the team has some depth in the passing game with newly-signed Anquan Boldin, draft pick Quinton Patton, tight end Vernon Davis, and Mario Manningham.

Mike Krzyzewski will remain coach of Team USA: It was widely believed that Coach K would step down from his role as head of the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team, but he’s apparently had a change of heart and will return. In a nutshell, that’s nothing but great news for the program. Since taking over in 2005, Team USA has had nothing but success, winning gold medals in 2008 and 2012. The players have responded well to him and there’s also something to be said for consistency in the program.

St. Louis Rams sign 400-pounder: The St. Louis Rams made a big splash, literally and figuratively, last week. The team signed Ole Miss’ Terrell Brown as a free agent. If you’re not familiar with Brown, that probably doesn’t sound like a big deal … at least until you get to the part that he’s 403 pounds. And oh yeah, he’s 6’10”, too. Brown didn’t play much during his time at Ole Miss and is considered at best to be a project. He was mostly on the defensive line in college, but will shift to the offensive line in the NFL. It may sound like an interesting story, but if coaches couldn’t find a way to use him against smaller, slower players in college, the chances that he’ll be able to compete against the best players in the world are slim.

December 14, 2012

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What Advantage Tom Watson brings as 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain

By: Tyler Vespa

On Thursday evening, 63-year-old Tom Watson became the next captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. The next Ryder Cup will be contested on September 26th-28th, 2014 at Gleneagles in Scotland.

This decision went against the grain for the PGA of America. David Toms was thought to be a lock and fit the blueprint the PGA looks for, age of 45-50, past Ryder Cup experience, and a major champion.

Bottom line, the victory at Valhalla in 2008 wasn’t enough. Neither were the losses by a single point in 2010 at Celtic Manor and 2012 at Medinah, after a historic meltdown on the final day. Something had to change.

Steve Stricker was a part of the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup Team that lost in 2012.

With that I give you 5 reasons the selection of Tom Watson gives the U.S. an advantage in Scotland:

  1. He captained the last win on foreign soil in 1993 at the Belfry.
  2. He is a 5-time British Open Champion. 4 of those victories came in Scotland.
  3. He will have the respect of all his team members. He almost won the 2009 British Open again at Turnberry, but lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink.
  4. Won 3 Ryder Cups as member of Team USA (1977, 1981, 1983)
  5. Boasts a 10-4-1 record in Ryder Cup play. That winning percentage trails only one American; Arnold Palmer was 22-8-2.

The game of golf is built around an unmatchable sense of tradition. However, this was nothing short of “elementary” for the PGA of America. Europe has won 7 of the last 9 Ryder Cups played. Close and competitive doesn’t create results. Watson will accept nothing short of victory. With over 365 days until we arrive at Gleneagles, the face of American golf is in good hands.

July 24, 2012

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2012 Olympic Preview

By: Joe Williams

It’s hard to believe four years have passed since we saw Michael Phelps win eight gold medals and 16-year-old Shawn Johnson became America’s sweetheart. We are just a couple days away from the Olympic opening ceremonies in London. In the next few weeks, we will watch events we haven’t seen in four years and very few of the competitors will be names that we recognize. But it doesn’t matter. We will watch anyway. Here’s what I’ll be watching:

Can anybody beat Michael Phelps?

He won eight gold medals in ’08 and will compete in seven events this time around. It’s a safe bet he will get the three medals he needs to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. The real question is how many of them will be gold and will rival and fellow American Ryan Lochte be able to beat him?

Ryan Lochte will be a main focus at the Olympic Games in London.

Fastest man on the planet

The men’s 100 meters is always one of the most talked about events. Usain Bolt won the 100 and 200 meters in ’08 and holds the world record in both events. But another Jamaican (Yohan Blake) beat him in both races at the Olympic trials. Nobody has won both races in back-to-back Olympic games.

Women’s all-around

Nastia Liukin is not on Team USA to defend her title. Now we have Jordyn Wieber (the reigning world champ) and Gabby Douglas (winner at the U.S. Trials) that will look for a third straight all-around gold for Team USA. The U.S. team should also contend for the gold medal.

The Dream Team?

Kobe Bryant claimed that the 2012 squad could beat the original ’92 Dream Team. No way. But they won’t have to do that to win gold. Will they be able to defend the gold medal Team USA won in ’08 after losing several top players to injury? Oh and the women should continue to dominate. They have won 33 straight games and the last four gold medals.

Women’s soccer

Hope Solo and company will be aiming for a fourth gold medal in five Olympics for Team USA. They lost in last year’s World Cup Final against Japan in penalty kicks. Hopefully we get to see a rematch for the gold medal. And hopefully that leads to more appearances for Alex Morgan in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

Blade Runner

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius (nicknamed “Blade Runner” because of the carbon-fiber prosthetics that he runs on) will be the first amputee ever to compete in an Olympic track and field event (the 400 meters and the 4X400 relay).

Others:

- Missy Franklin could be the first American woman to win seven medals at one Olympic games…and she’s just 17.

- Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh will try to capture a third straight gold medal in beach volleyball.

- Lolo Jones seeks redemption after a stumble in ’08 cost the gold medal.

- Men’s tennis dropped down to this part of the list when Rafael Nadal dropped out, but we could still get a Djokovic-Federer showdown and don’t forget about Andy Murray playing in front of his own nation.

May 29, 2012

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Who will be on Team USA?

By: Joe Williams

There are currently 22 players listed on the roster of finalists to represent the United States this summer in London. Only 12 will make the final roster. Some are locks. Some can be eliminated from consideration.

Coach K and I have never seen eye to eye. He continues to root for Duke to win and I continue to root for Duke to lose. So he probably doesn’t care what I think about the Olympic roster but here is what I would do.

First let’s eliminate the players who have gotten injured. That takes LaMarcus Aldridge, Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose out of consideration.

An injury will keep Dwight Howard off of Team USA's roster.

Next, I’ll keep a solid core of guys who won gold in 2008. Give me Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and Deron Williams.

There are six spots left and it is a no-brainer that one of them goes to Kevin Durant. He’s the best scorer in the world and at just 23, still getting better. Plus, he led Team USA to the gold at the FIBA World Championships. Add him to Lebron and Kobe and team USA will have the three best players in the world.

One guy I don’t want on the team is Lamar Odom. He’s got the talent but he’s had some issues ever since the Lakers traded him to Dallas. I would say that he quit on the Mavericks, but I’m not sure he ever got started in Dallas. He went home before the season was over. He should stay there and get himself together.

The Howard and Aldridge injuries leave very few options for big men. So add Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love to the roster. Chandler was just named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year and to the second team of the league’s All-defensive team. I don’t know how he’s the best defender in the league and the second best at his position at the same time but regardless, this team needs a defensive presence and Chandler fits the bill. Love will be a nice fit for the international style of play because he is a rebounding machine that can also win the three-point shootout at All-Star Weekend.

There are three spots left and I want to fill two of them with the best shooter and best defender left to choose from. So let’s add Eric Gordon and Andre Iguodala to the roster. Gordon is a deep threat and can score in bunches. He’ll also be a pesky defender on the other end. Iguodala is a great defender because he is long and athletic. He can guard multiple positions which gives the coaching staff options. Coaches like options.

I have just one spot left and I want another big man to protect the rim. That’s one thing Anthony Davis can do. He’s not going to shoot much, if at all, but that’s ok because he will need to be spending his energy taking on some of the best big men in the world. That’s a lot to ask for a guy who only played one season in college and hasn’t even been drafted yet. Is he up to the task?

July 19, 2010

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Charles’ Guilty Pleasure

By: Charles

Breaking News: The Cast of the Jersey Shore is Going on Strike. (I hope you were sitting down for that)

I know people, it’s hard to comprehend. What will we do without the moral compass and intellectual guidance of  Snickers and J-Woww (sp?)? Where will we go for awkwardly forward (and ultimately doomed) advances from the Situation? WHAT WILL WE DO IF WE CAN’T WATCH RONNIE DEAL WITH HIS EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS??

Apparently America’s collective plans for the fall have been dashed, because the Shore is on Strike.

I think my boss’ comments about summed up “The Situation on the Shore”:

“They’re on strike? From what? Their job is to live their lives…. so what are they not doing when on strike?”

And now, in honor of the strike, I have the pleasure of introducing the new Jersey Shore Fatheads!

You didn’t really click that link did you?

We are still waiting on comment from the ACLU and the UAW to see if they will take up the standard to defend their fellow oppressed workers.

And most importantly, what is supposed to bring us joy if we can’t see Snook getting rocked in the face with a right hook that Manny Pacquiao would be proud of??

Questions, Comments, Concerns, and Clown Jokes:

In an extremely shortsighted move, a Spanish aquarium is prepared to offer Paul the Octopus’ owners “whatever they demand” to move him to Madrid. I love soccer too, and I’m sure everyone will be partying up and down La Rambla (bonus Culture Lesson of the Day!) until Rio 2014 starts, I’m just not entirely sold that they will be paying to see Paul that long. And yes, if you are wondering, if you type in “Paul the” on google, “Paul the Octupus” shows up before “Paul the Apostle”, go ahead and try.

College football news: the college football world is corrupt. Who knew?

Jason Kidd might be officially making the jump from player to coach this week at the Team USA training camp this week in Las Vegas. Since the guy has never lost in a USA jersey, I’d say its a good call.

The always classy and rarely egotistical Jordan commented on the LeBronstallation of stars (OK, that was a stretch) in Miami, saying he never would have made the same move. That’s because Jordan, (Listen up LeBron)  for all his faults, was a winner. The man would’ve sold his soul and stabbed his teammates for a championship that he won his way, he’d never team up with an arguably better teammate, just to avoid the possibility of a coattails discussion.

That’s about all I’ve got for you. You stay classy Fathead Nation.

Peace. Love. Guidos. Fatheads.