The Work You Put In Provides You With Results In The End ….

 

The Work You Put In Provides You With Results In The End ….

Well, it’s been a long time coming, after a season of thrills, spills and in some cases utter despair. Now the NFL Postseason is upon us and the wildcard round began in earnest with some thrilling games. None more so perhaps, than the game between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts , two divisional rivals who split their season series in 2018. With so much at stake both quarterbacks , Andrew Luck of the Colts and DeShaun Watson of the Texans had to be at their very best. This was clearly the case as both players sought to exhibit their very best during this AFC Wildcard Round contest.


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Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts steamrolled through a Houston Texans’ defense which appeared non-existent on their way to a 21-7 victory . The Colts will now look forward to meeting the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round of this postseason .

Far be it for me to suggest , but Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys must have known that it had to be now or never to prove himself as the Head Coach of this franchise. Garrett’s record in the postseason has not been an enviable one in comparison to many of his predecessors. In Saturday’s home game against the Seattle Seahawks , the Dallas Cowboys were up against a team looking to make their mark once again. Opposing quarterbacks Dak Prescott of the Cowboys and Russell Wilson entered into this game needing to prove that they were among the best within the league and most certainly among the best within the NFC over the course of the season. Dallas would get the better of the Seahawks in the contest , moving on to the next round where they will meet the Los Angeles Rams on the road , in a game which should prove to be very exciting.

OK , so with the NFL now moving on to the Divisional Round , it will be interesting to see who these match-ups will play out and what the teams will bring to the table by way of their play. Defending Superbowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles were lucky to get by the Chicago Bears , whose defense simply didn’t do enough to allow the team to get any type traction in the game. Mitch Trubisky played well , but his counterpart Nick Foles played with a lot more poise and showed leadership when needed. Of the Divisional Round contests set to take place this upcoming weekend , the most appealing might well be the contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts . Yet I do believe the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots , could provide a major upset as Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers takes this franchise to their furthest appearance in the postseason of the past fifteen years.

The past three days within the NBA and the results seen should be a real indicator of what not actually to expect given the inconsistency seen from the teams. The Los Angeles Lakers have been without LeBron James for the past couple of games during which the team has not fared that well. A blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves , just proved that their victory over the Golden State Warriors should be seen for what it was , merely an aberration . Next up for the Los Angeles Lakers will be a match-up against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday evening , a game where the Lakers will have to be at their very best against a Mavericks’ team looking to play their way into playoff contention . With aging veteran Dirk Nowitzki now playing a slightly less competitive role for the team , it will be interesting to see how Dirk performs against the Lakers in this contest .

Of late both the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs have been on impressive win streaks , with notching a mark of 8-2 . San Antonio’s most impressive victory would have to be the one over the Toronto Raptors , the team with the best record in the league at this juncture , with the Raptors being the first to notch thirty victories this season within the NBA . Since that victory the Spurs have played with consistency , with production coming from all of their players. Next up for the Spurs will be a game against the Detroit Pistons on the road against a very good Eastern Conference team.

The firing of Tom Thibodeau as the Head Coach and as a
front office executive
within the Minnesota Timberwolves’ franchise, sent shock waves around the NBA. After the death of Flip Saunders , there was enough tumult within the organization . Ryan Saunders has since assumed the interim coaching position for the Timberwolves , with Scott Layden assuming the General Manager’s position . Glenn Taylor remains team owner , but his advanced age has seen him relinquish certain roles to subordinates within the Timberwolves’ hierarchy . The upheaval and the constant bickering with Thibodeau unable to corral his players led to the dismissal of the coach for the second time during his professional career , with his first firing coming as the former Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls , who this year fired Fred Hoiberg , after that team’s abysmal start to the season .

It is becoming extremely difficult to see where the Minnesota Timberwolves no go from here. With an extremely young roster , and winning having become extremely difficult for the team. It will be interesting to see if Ryan Saunders can show the pedigree of his late father, Flip Saunders , as he seeks to lead the franchise back to prosperity and success. Over their last fifteen games the Timberwolves are 6-0 , though not among the worst in the league, but their last ten games have shown the team to be in a truly dire situation . In their next game the Timberwolves will be facing the Oklahoma City on the road on the 8th January ,2019 , one of the slew of games being played on Tuesday evening . . With Minnesota having built their roster around the Karl-Anthony Townes , Andrew Wiggins and the veteran presence of former League MVP point guard Derrick Rose . A rebuilding process cannot be allowed to ensue within a franchise which is in such dire straits

If the Minnesota Timberwolves are said to be floundering, then the woes of the New York Knicks continue unabated . This franchise remains in a quagmire even after the three moribund and unproductive years under Phil Jackson’s tenure as a front office executive within this franchise. The fact of the matter is , even with Dave Fizdale coaching this roster , this team is simply not good enough to win on a consistent basis . The longest win-streak put together by this team lasted no more than three games. A sad state of affairs for a franchise considered to be one of the most renowned in the NBA. . Fizdale and the team are in action for their next game which pits the New York Knicks against the Golden State Warriors . This is not a game I believe the Knicks are capable of winning at all and it is likely to end in a rout of the Eastern Conference franchise .

So what was heralded as a memorable slug-fest turned out to be a complete rout as Clemson annihilated Alabama to win their third BCS National Title in the last five years . Alabama long revered as the best program in College Football now sees itself as having been surpassed by this Dabo Swinney coached team . Swinney’s opposite number Nick Saban must now think hard as to what needs to be done in order for Alabama to remain relevant and at the top of the food chain.


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With the sporting events you have witnessed over the past week or so , what do you believe were the biggest failings of the teams or athletes who failed to deliver ?


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The Ball Is In Your Court ….

The Ball Is In Your Court ….

We’re not yet a month into the NBA season and already there has been a coaching dismissal within the league when it was announced that the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Tyronn Lue from his position as the Head Coach of the franchise . Lue had coached the Cavaliers to the 2016-17 NBA Finals . Cavaliers’ team owner , billionaire Dan Gilbert and team General Manager Koby Altman have named Larry Drew as the Interim Head Coach for the rest of the season.

Six games into this season and the Cleveland Cavaliers are win-less , with the worst record in the league. Granted , the departure of LeBron James , with his joining the Los Angeles Lakers would definitely leave a gigantic chasm within the organization. Yet at the end of the day, poor decisions made by the front office has led to this debacle. It remains to be seen how the Cavaliers will seek to dig themselves out of this hole , especially as the team enters the Christmas schedule, the play tends to dictate what we would should expect over the remainder of the season.


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The next game up for the Cleveland Cavaliers will see them face the Denver Nuggets , one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference at this point of the season. That match-up will take place on the 1st November at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio , where the Cavaliers are win-less .

With all of the bally-hoo that surrounded LeBron James’ arrival in Los Angeles, with his joining the Los Angeles Lakers. You would have thought that the whole world was about to fall off its axis. Lakers’ fans were replete with their new jerseys bearing James’ name and number. The thinking was , with James’ signing with the franchise , a slew of free agents would be willing to join him as well. It didn’t happen and if you think that Rajon Rondo is going to provide the Lakers with the offense they need, then think again. Rondo’s best years are behind him rather than ahead of him. Coached by Luke Walton , the Los Angeles Lakers have stumbled out of the gate , performing like a team lacking in direction. I understand that it will take time for LeBron James to acclimatize himself to his new surroundings , but his teammates have hardly made their presence felt at all this season.

Next up for the Los Angeles Lakers will be a game against the Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles , California on Wednesday , 31st October. There have been rumblings with the Lakers having begun the season so languidly , calls for the firing of Luke Walton as the Head Coach have been on the rise. I seriously doubt that Magic Johnson , Head of Basketball Operations or GM Rob Pelinka would consider Walton’s dismissal at this juncture.

The Milwaukee Bucks are the only remaining team in the NBA who have yet to lose a game. Led by their All Star, Giannis Antentokounmpou , this is a team where there are great expectations for this season. . With the lineup that the Bucks have and the coaching ingenuity being shown by Mike Budenholzer , there is a very good chance this team could very well make the NBA Playoffs .

All teams will have to go through the Golden State Warriors , if it’s their belief that they have what it takes to win the NBA title for this season. Now while Los Angeles Lakers’ fans believe they will have a say within the Western Conference, they have done nothing at all to convince me that they can compete with the best that the conference has to offer. Klay Thompson might not be the best player on the Warriors’ roster , but anywhere else he might be among the top-two players on any other franchise within the NBA . Thompson chalked up another franchise and personal best in a recent game for the Warriors when he recorded fourteen three-pointers made in a match-up
against the Chicago Bulls , who appeared to be a completely listless team .

I have no doubt in my mind the Golden State Warriors are by far the best team in the NBA and their only chance of not making a successful defense of their title will come through their own complacency !

Well we’ve reached the halfway point of the NFL season and the trade deadline is about to come into play. Yet the main news’ story within the league , has been the dismissal of Hu Jackson as the Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley . Gregg Williams has been made the interim Head Coach until the end of the season and could parlay the gig if he is able to lead the team to moderate finish and standing in the NFL by season’s end. Baker Mayfield who was the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft as well as the top quarterback taken , has performed inconsistently through no fault of his own. On defense as well as offense the Browns have been abysmal all season long. Suffice to say, if they don’t end up with the worst record in the NFL , then once again they could be assured of having another top-five pick in the next NFL Draft.

With a record of 2-5-1 , at least the Cleveland Browns are assured of bettering last season’s mark within the NFL. Next up for the Browns in week nine , they will face the Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) in a game that should prove to be very entertaining. Victory for the Chiefs assures them of clinching their division as well as a postseason berth within the AFC .

It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to suggest that Eli Manning is now treading water as it relates to his career ? Two Superbowl victories are > accommodating when padding out his career achievements, but over the last four seasons , Manning has been nothing more than a moderate quarterback at best. His and that of the New York Giants’ record for this season (1-7) is truly reflective of a really bad team on its very last legs. Odell Beckham has proven to be just a player known for spectacular one-handed catches , but when it comes showing leadership and maturity, he is nowhere to be seen . Giants’ Head Coach Pat Shurmur is on the ‘ hot seat’ and it seems unlikely he will be returning next season , given the lack of success seen this season. The New York Giants are in need of an upgrade across their entire roster.

When the Pat Shurmur prepares his team for their next outing let’s hope that the New York Giants’ performance is a great deal better than their last five games combined. The team will be facing conference rivals the San Francisco 49ers in a game where a victory is certainly needed by both teams.

While the Philadelphia Eagles caught everyone by surprise
during
the postseason of 2017 on the way to the franchise’s
first Superbowl victory. This season the team has fallen back to earth with a colossal thud. They’re barely competing within the NFC East , perhaps the most overrated division in all of football. . The only team with a winning record in the division are the Washington Redskins (5-2) as they head into week nine of the regular season. Doug Pederson will prepare the Eagles to face the Dallas Cowboys in week ten of the schedule , while the Redskins will be in action against the Atlanta Falcons during week nine .

The runaway leaders within the NFC are the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams (8-0) led by their quarterback Jared Goff , whose talents have been on display throughout much of this season for his team . Jared Goff has led the Rams to an eight-game unbeaten streak by far the best in the league this season as the team has the best record in the NFL. Goff’s teammate Todd Gurley might well be the runaway leader in the first half of the season for League MVP . His all-round contributions for the Rams have been impressive to say the very least. I fully expect the Los Angeles Rams to extend their winning streak to nine games when
they face the New Orleans Saints (6-1) on Sunday afternoon . This is likely to be one of the better contests taking place in the NFL that afternoon.

I’ve always maintained that with the death of Al Davis , the Oakland Raiders would never be the franchise where there would be a constant interest in . That has rang true with his son Mark Davis taking over the reins of the franchise with Reggie McKenzie still in charge as the General Manager. Unfortunately their luring Jon Gruden out of retirement hasn’t worked wonders for the Raiders this season . Bear in mind Gruden was offered a ten-year $100 million deal , making him the highest coach in the NFL . A 1-6 record at this point of the season , with the Raiders having one of the worst defenses in the league and you can well understand why there might be clamoring for something drastic to take place among the team’s lineup .

If Jon Gruden is building for the future then , it doesn’t bode well for the Oakland Raiders then his track-record should be seen as a warning sign. During his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as his earlier stint with the Raiders, he has never drafted or developed a player of real note. All the optimism in the world among the franchise’s fans cannot hide the fact that this was an erroneous in the hiring of Jon Gruden. The coach will now have to muster the masses as he seeks to get the Oakland Raiders’ second win of the season when this team takes on the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night .

It might well have been the most lopsided World Series in the last decade, with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1-4) falling to the Boston Red Sox (4-1) with the utmost of ease. All of the money spent by the franchise on players since 2012 , has been well in excess of $1.6 billion and then you factor in the $2.2 billion paid by the ownership group to purchase the franchise. You simply get the feeling that there’s been more waste expended by the club than was needed. The lone factor of hope out of this all might well be that the Dodgers’ front office might have solved a glaring need when they obtained Manny Machado in a trade from the Baltimore Orioles. Machado and Walker Buehler were the only bright spots for the Dodgers through much of the postseason.

With Clayton Kershaw now said to be considering opting out of his contract , which still has two years left on one of the most expensive deals in baseball history . It would be foolish if the Los Angeles Dodgers were to allow Kershaw to leave , but at the same I can truly understand the player’s frustration with their continued lack of success during the postseason. They’re unable to play as a team and there sure as hell isn’t any leadership to be found anywhere among the players let alone among the managerial staff of Dave Roberts .

What if anything do you believe has been the most riveting piece of sports’ news of the past two weeks and please state your reasons why ?

Tophatal 10/31/2018……..

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In The Cold Light of Day You Can Always Figure Out The Truth …

In The Cold Light of Day You Can Always Figure Out The Truth …

Well, the Major League Baseball season came to an abrupt end and the Boston Red Sox claimed the best record in the league on their way to a one-hundred win season. The Red Sox were joined by the New York Yankees and Houston Astros as the only other ball-clubs to have achieved the feat during this long and arduous season. Among the players who excelled during the year , we have Blake Snell among the pitchers , who led all starters in the number of wins as well as having one of the lowest ERA’s among the starters. With regard to offense it was another very good season with several players living up to expectation , among them two-time AL MVP and Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout . It was another disappointing season for the Angels as they failed to make the postseason for 2018. It is widely known, that team manager Mike Sciocsia will not be returning to the ball-club in 2019 . Another big league manager also in the same position is John Gibbons of the Toronto Blue Jays , as the front office made it official, that his contract will not be extended.


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The Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals were among the major disappointments within the National League , with Miami having among the worst record of all the teams in the NL (National League) and their barely being competitive within the NL East , where they finished bottom of the division. The surprising winners there , were the Atlanta Braves who finished with a 90-72 record . The wildcard entrant within the NL will be the Los Angeles Dodgers tie-breaker with the Colorado Rockies and the losers of the tie-breaker between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers . That game is due to take place on Monday, 1st October , with the Cubs playing host to the Brewers at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. . It makes for a fascinating start to the MLB postseason in 2018 , with two tie-breaking series set to unfold . I’d dare say the Los Angeles Dodgers are in a very precarious situation , having to face divisional rival the Colorado Rockies.

Heavily favored, but yet somehow, a team largely made of PGA superstars and they failed miserably as the US Ryder Cup Team lost to their European counterparts in one of the most lopsided results in recent Ryder Cup history. The final score of 17 ½ to 10 ½ didn’t do the Europeans justice as Francesco Molinari led a tremendous team, with the Italian posting a 5-0 winning record , matching a feat only achieved by four other players in the format’s history. This biannual event is the biggest team competition in golf , bigger than the President’s Cup and the World Cup of Golf. In 2020 , when Europe seeks to defend their title , the Ryder Cup will be played on American soil at the Whistling Straits Golf Course , in Milwaukee , Wisconsin. It will be very interesting to see who will be the captain of the US Team will be and whether or not there will be a great deal of camaraderie among the players. Based on the results seen in France, there seems to be a great deal of animosity and among the Americans , with their also being a great deal of finger pointing and backbiting among those teammates.

Five games into the College Football season and it looks like Alabama intends to separate themselves from the rest of the programs at the top of D1 Football. With a 5-0 record there isn’t a great deal that the team has left to prove , other than for Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban to win another national title. Saban has cemented himself as among the greatest college coach in College Football history. On Saturday afternoon Alabama entertained or should I say played and toyed with Louisiana Lafayette on their way to a 56-14 lopsided victory. To say that Louisiana put up any type of resistance would be laughable , as the game was never really close at any time during its duration.

Alabama will like remain atop of the College Rankings , while also heavily positioning themselves to win out within the SEC (Southeastern Conference) once again. . In week six Nick Saban will take his players on the road as they face Arkansas (Razorbacks) on the road for a game to be played on the 6th October , 2018 at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas,. I doubt that this will be the game where Alabama will be upended .

The nearest team to Alabama by way of their play and athleticism based on record , being that there are still several unbeaten teams . might well be Clemson , whose championship winning run and their defeat of Alabama was a joy to behold. . In week six Clemson’s coaching staff headed by Dabo Swinney will prepare the team to face rival Wake Forest on the road . The Georgia Bulldogs might well be ranked as the number two team in the nation and they are very good , but I still believe the Clemson Tigers to be the better team ! Georgia for their part will have a very interesting upcoming game when they take on Vanderbilt .

Well , so much for that 3-0 start to their season by the Miami Dolphins and the claims that this might be the team to beat within the AFC East . That picture was quickly laid to rest as the Dolphins were manhandled and mauled by a New England Patriots’ team looking to make amends for a poor start to their season. Anyone who believed this Patriots’ roster had seen better days , well they were suddenly reawakened by the cacophony of a bang, as New England took it upon themselves to remind the rest of the NFL why this franchise is a five-time winning Superbowl champion. Tom Brady had his best outing of the season by far with both the defense and offense playing their part in this humiliating defeat of the Miami Dolphins. Adam Gase , a former protege’ of Patriots’ Head Coach Bill Belichick , now finds himself having been taught a real lesson by his Master. For Ryan Tannehill and all the talk of his being a leader or this Miami Dolphins’ team , it is becoming increasingly clear he still has a long way to go before he can be remotely considered to be an elite quarterback in the NFL .

Ryan Tannehill’s performance against the New England Patriots saw the player pass for a mere one hundred yards , while barely competing fifty percent of his pass attempts during the game. He would be replaced by backup quarterback Brock Osweiler , who fared no better than his teammate during the contest. With week five of the regular season just around the corner and the Dolphins not having their bye-week until week eleven where they’re joined by the Buffalo Bills , Cleveland Browns , New England Patriots , New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers as the teams with a bye for that week. Next up for Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins will be a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on the road in an AFC match-up . Meanwhile , Tom Brady and the Patriots will be preparing to take on the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium , in Foxboro’, Massachusetts,.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s world and that of the Tampa Buccaneers’ came crashing down to a loss , that was totally unexpected. In many respects , the writing had been on the wall , as the Buccaneers had begun to show frailties long expected and at some point we all knew would be exposed. Chicago Bears’ rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky passed for a franchise-game six passing touchdowns on the way to the team’s 48-10 victory over their conference rivals. The Buccaneers might well be 2-2 at present , but that record is very deceptive , because this is not a two and two one team . If anything, the Buccaneers are lucky to have that record and it begs the question what else can Dirk Koetter now do with a team which continually lets their fans down due to their complacency and inconsistency ?

If Ryan Fitzpatrick’s performance against the Chicago Bears was thought to be bad , then having Jameis Winston come on to replace Fitzpatrick, barely offered the Buccaneers any hope at all, as Winston simply showed us once again why his progress has been mediocre since becoming a first round draft pick for the franchise in 2015 . To suggest that there might be an upside to Winston’s game would be like trying to equate it with walking across the Grand Canyon without the use of a balancing pole to aid the walker on that journey. The hard part for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be to try and convince their doubters that they’re still a team capable of being viewed as a contender within the NFC and worthy of a postseason berth. Based on the four games played to date , I am far from convinced that the Buccaneers are even capable of having a winning season in 2018, let alone making it to the NFL postseason. It will be interesting to see how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seek to rebound from this loss the Chicago Bears when they face the Atlanta Falcons on the road in week six .

Patrick Mahomes might not have been the first quarterback taken in the 2018 NFL Draft , but he’s certainly playing like the top prospect the front office of the Kansas City Chiefs believed him to be. Too early to say as of yet if he’ll measure up to the accomplishments of Carson Wentz, which was seen last season , before Wentz went down due to injury , unable to participate in the Philadelphia Eagles triumphant postseason foray , where their ultimate triumph was the defeat of the New England Patriots in the Superbowl. I am not saying that Mahomes will lead the Chiefs to that sort of postseason experience , but it would certainly be interesting to see what could happen over the remainder of the team’s schedule. The rookie quarterback kept his composure in leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a well-deserved win over divisional rivals the Denver Broncos and thereby keeping their unbeaten record in tact.

Next up for the Kansas City Chiefs will be a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri .

The NBA preseason has begun in earnest and it will be interesting to see how the teams will fare , in the lead-up to the regular season schedule which tips off officially on the 16th October with two Opening Night Games. Current defending NBA champions , the Golden State Warriors will certainly be looking to improve upon last season’s record , albeit , that the team didn’t have the best regular season record. Yet , for Steve Kerr , his coaching staff and that of the front office led by Bob Myers . Their wish is to create another dynasty for the league to talk about. The Warriors’ roster led by Steph Curry and Kevin Durant , have to be seen as the prohibitive favorites to make a successful defense of their title. This team as it currently stands with the addition of DeMarucs Cousins might be even more formidable than last season’s championship roster .

The Golden State Warriors will begin the defense of their title with the customary preseason schedule before embarking upon their regular season beginning on the 16th October , when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at home at the Oracle Arena in Oakland ,

Of the big off-season moves , no one was really surprised when LeBron James made the announcement that he would be moving West to the bright lights and big city of Los Angeles. Joining the Los Angeles Lakers signing a five-year max deal that pays him just over $150 million dollars was not a big expenditure when you take into account this remains the NBA’s most popular franchise and quite possibly it’s most valuable based on attendance levels and ratings.

Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton will be hard pressed to convince me this team has what it takes to take down the Golden State Warriors and the best that the Western Conference has to offer. LeBron James might well have won with less while with the Cleveland Cavalier, but he’s playing with the Big Boys of the West and not the daycare kindergarten kids of the East as was the case last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers . When the Lakers begin their preseason schedule of five games it will be interesting to see how the team will fare. The first of those contests will see them them tip off against the Denver Nuggets at home on Tuesday , 2nd October . . Their regular season schedule begins on the 18th October when they face conference rivals the Portland Trailblazers .

Eight straight NBA Finals’ appearances is an astonishing feat for any player , but even with all of the accomplishments of LeBron James. He will be hard pressed to make it to a ninth consecutive appearance with a team which is short by way of real experience .

OK, so the Los Angeles Lakers might well be the big story in the NBA and for much of this season, that is likely to be the case , but there will be other stories unfolding. The Brooklyn Nets for many years a franchise hemorrhaging more money than having success , is now in the midst of being sold by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov to to Canadian citizen Joseph Tsai , who is of Taiwanese ancestry. Tsai also happens to be the Vice Chairman of Chinese e-Commerce giant Ali-Baba . His net worth is believe to be just over $9 billion , making him certainly among Canada’s richest citizens as well as in China and Taiwan. Before the sale can be finalized , it must have the approval of the NBA’s Board of Governors , before the Joseph Tsai can assume control as the league’s newest NBA franchise owner .

It is not known how much Joseph Tsai paid in purchasing the Brooklyn Nets , but I don’t believe that Mikhail Prokhorov will completely recoup his original investment . The coaching staff of the franchise led by Kenny Atkinson will now have a short period of time to assess the possible wholesale changes likely to be made. Brooklyn’s roster is not overly impressive and not one that I believe will be capable of being very competitive this upcoming season. The first game of the Nets’ preseason will see them facing their in-state rivals the New York Knicks on Wednesday , 3rd October ,2018 . Their opening game of the regular season will see the Nets facing the Detroit Pistons on the road. Given the productivity seen from these two teams last season, it will be very interesting to see how this contest will end .

Another disgruntled star in the NBA and the regular season has yet to begin. The Minnesota Timberwolves now have Jimmy Butler pleading his case by making a request to be traded. No doubt there would be a plethora of teams interested in acquiring one of the league’s best guards. Butler has proven himself to be productive and a leader ; this was clearly the case when he played for the Chicago Bulls . Timberwolves’ Head Coach Tom Thibodeau who also happens to hold a high-ranking position within the organization , is reluctant to let the player go , but he might be willing to do so if he were able to make a trade he deemed fair.

Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves might not reach an agreement where he is likely to leave the franchise before the season starts. In all likelihood , I don’t believe Tom Thibodeau will be pressured into making an unwanted deal . The Timberwolves’ preseason opener will see the team face the Los Angeles Clippers
on the road before embarking on their regular season opener where they will tip-off against the San Antonio Spurs on the road .

The number of players in the NBA who will be earning over $25 million this season is now at an all-time high. It certainly is above the figure of last season. The figure has almost doubled from fourteen to now twenty five and it is clear that the NBA hierarchy led by Commissioner Adam Silver is not at all overly concerned. Not while the league’s revenues to go higher and the value of the teams steadily increase . This season in the NBA could be a very interesting one with just about everyone taking note of what the Los Angeles Lakers are liable to do .



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What if anything , do you now feel has been the biggest sports’ story to date or over the past week , month or at least the last six months ?

Tophatal ……….. 10/02/2018


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It’s The Media’s Fault ….

It’s all the media’s fault

The media reports the news and politicians will continue to use the media in its various formats to get their messages out. So let’s stop pretending the two sides don’t need each other as there tends to be a great deal of ambiguity and hypocrisy which comes from both sides. On Tuesday night there was the gregarious display of President Donald Trump addressing the nation on national television as he sought to unite the country. Dependent upon who you would like to believe, he was able to achieve that , or you might be persuaded that he simply provided us all with another glaring performance of a pompous arrogant ass playing to his audience. He took snipes at two Republican senators from the state of Arizona , blaming them for his party’s failure in the repealing of the Affordable Care (ACA/Obamacare). Trump also presented the media as odious morons who misreport the facts, this coming from a Commander In Chief who has not always been willing to listen to the facts as given to him by his own inner circle of advisers. It will always be the media’s fault when you have nothing of substance to report or say.

It’s all the media’s fault

The media reports the news and politicians will continue to use the media in its various formats to get their messages out. So let’s stop pretending the two sides don’t need each other as there tends to be a great deal of ambiguity and hypocrisy which comes from both sides. On Tuesday night there was the gregarious display of President Donald Trump addressing the nation on national television as he sought to unite the country. Dependent upon who you would like to believe, he was able to achieve that , or you might be persuaded that he simply provided us all with another glaring performance of a pompous arrogant ass playing to his audience. He took snipes at two Republican senators from the state of Arizona , blaming them for his party’s failure in the repealing of the Affordable Care (ACA/Obamacare) . Trump also presented the media as odious morons who misreport the facts, this coming from a Commander In Chief who has not always been willing to listen to the facts as given to him by his own inner circle of advisers. It will always be the media’s fault when you have nothing of substance to report or say.


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The media for its part will continue to be lambasted , rightfully so , when there is a great deal of hypocrisy and idiocy on their part. Nothing at present can be more asinine and idiotic than the story now emanating from ESPN and their removal of Robert Lee from the calling of College Football Game , because Lee’s name might be seen as insensitive after the recent events which have taken place in Charlottesville , Virginia. Robert Lee was due to call a game between the University of Virginia and William & Mary next month. ESPN took it upon themselves after they stated, having met with Lee , it would be more suitable were he to announce a game taking place in Youngstown Ohio , rather than call this upcoming contest.

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President Donald Trump is seen here in Arizona , before taking the dais where he would give a rather incoherent speech on unity and the state of the country , while also lambasting the press for their poor reporting of the facts.

Political correctness, call it what you will, but ESPN remains a bastion of hypocrisy , stupidity and a network where not racial bigotry has existed , but also where male employees have been allowed to get away with rather salacious behavior and odious criminal acts. Misogyny and outright sexism is also part of the environment of the cable broadcast network outlet.

Former heavyweight champion now retired and business entrepreneur George Foreman remains in the public spotlight and is beloved for his heroics in the ring. Unfortunately , of late Foreman , has chosen to voice his opinion on what he believes are acts of non-patriotism with the actions of NFL player Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand while the national anthem is being played at NFL games. Kaepernick remains unsigned and his free agency status is likely to remain as it is long into the regular season. The former champion was not only critical of the NFL player but athletes in general and what he says are acts on non-patriotism and his directness in taking aim at Kevin Durant and Durant’s refusal to attend the White House when the Golden State Warriors are due to meet the President as the franchise is recognized for their championship series’ victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers , is to my mind a further indication as to the growing distance as what is seen as social awareness , the divergence where sports and politics are not meant to be aligned.

George Foreman’s criticism of Colin Kaepernick and Kevin Durant is hypocritical and dare I say it asinine , when you consider the boxer claims his friendship with the late Muhammad Ali and his recognition of Ali’s stance, due to his opposition of the Vietnam War .

It seems almost inconceivable that Jon Jones could fail a second mandatory drug test mandated by the UFC in conjunction with the California State Athletic Commission . Having regained the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship defeating Daniel Cormier UFC President Dana White now has to deal with the fallout from the serious ramifications of this latest controversy faced by MMA with Jones’ drug test failure. The champion’s decisive victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 215 was as decisive as they come and perhaps the best of Jon Jones’ MMA career . What is likely to transpire now will be dependent upon any additional investigation being conducted by the California State Athletic Commission in conjunction with the UFC. Jon Jones could face another lengthy suspension , the second of his career or a recommendation could be made for a lifetime ban from the UFC. Jones and his representative s might well seek to fight any proposed suspension , but any type of explanation from the MMA fighter would prove difficult to accept given his past actions (testing positive for the use of cocaine).

Dana White will now have to use all of his persuasiveness to prove to the fans , that MMA remains a sport beyond reproach and one that is clean . He’s swung and might be in the process of hitting a home run , having now backed the proposed upcoming boxing match between UFC fighter Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather , which is due to take place on the 26th August at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas , Nevada . As a co-promotion between the UFC and Mayweather Promotions , this will be the biggest joint event and most financially beneficial for the UFC in their history. McGregor will certainly earn the biggest payday of his career, earning an estimated $25 million for this fight alone. Floyd Mayweather is likely to earn in excess of $250 million and a great deal more when one takes into account merchandising and overseas’ broadcast rights .

With all of the hype and theatrics used to sell this bout to the masses and Floyd Mayweather now trying to amp this fight even further with his claims , he’s not as quick as he once was in his prime , I am beginning to think the boxing match could end up being a monumental bore or actually turn out to be competitive fight. The former welterweight champion remains an odds on favorite , but as of late there has been a great deal of money being wagered on Conor McGregor pulling off the upset.

Well it appears the lights have yet to go out at the Quicken Loans Arena after all of the tumult and upheaval within the Cleveland Cavaliers’ franchise over the past six weeks. David Griffin was ousted as the general manager , being replaced by Koby Altman . Team owner Dan Gilbert in spite of his denials , suggested all as well within the franchise and that disgruntled point-guard Kyrie Irving remained a part of the Cavaliers’ long-term future. Clearly smoke was being blown up everyone’s ass by the front office , with Gilbert leading the choir. Irving’s relationship with LeBron James had gone sour and the rapport between the two players was certainly non-communicative . A blockbuster trade has come into being with Kyrie Irving being sent to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isiah Thomas . Residual pieces also made up the deal, but the vital pieces in the trade were the point guards , Irving and Thomas. The Eastern Conference will certainly take on whole new shape and I do believe there will be a seismic shift which might not necessarily favor the Cleveland Cavaliers. Isiah Thomas is an exceptional talent , but I do believe the Boston Celtics got the better end of the deal with their acquisition of Kyrie Irving and the other players as part of this unbelievable blockbuster trade.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics will meet during the NBA preseason , with the game taking place on the 17th October at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. They will also face each other during the regular season at home and on the road. It will be interesting to see how the two teams will fare with their new lineups .

So will this be the season where Steve Mills and Scott Perry bring the New York Knicks back from the brink of ruin or will this particular NBA franchise’s tailspin continue ? Having spent over $60 million on Phil Jackson to simply reaffirm that Jackson cannot spot NBA talent let alone spell the word , Perry has been brought in the oversee the roster of the Knicks while Mills runs the operational side of the franchise while still answerable to team owner James Dolan . These are dire times for the New York Knicks as they continue to go through transitional changes which might ultimately make them better . I am not so sure the patience remains with Carmelo Anthony to undergo another season of uncertainty and even less of a chance for the seasoned veteran to win an NBA title . He has seen a number of his contemporaries from the 2003 NBA Draft go on to win a championship ring or win the game’s highest singular award, League MVP . All of these accolades have escaped Anthony’s career resume’ as he toils with an aimless franchise heading nowhere.

The New York Knicks will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Brooklyn Nets on the 3rd October , 2017 at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York . Yet their regular season schedule starts on the 19th October when they will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game which could prove to be highly entertaining with a great deal of offense .

There can be no denying in spite of the recent dominance of the Golden State Warriors , the NBA lures in the fans when the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers , Boston Celtics and New York Knicks are doing well. These three franchise might be the most followed in the league because of their respective histories. Yet it is clear as of late , neither Lakers or Knicks have provided their fans with a great deal of excitement in recent seasons. The Celtics ‘ front office might be one o the most underestimated in the game , while we already know both the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are still finding their way. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have been brought in by Jeanie Buss and her siblings to steer the franchise back in the right direction. A great deal of hype has already been put in place with the Lakers’ having drafted Lonzo Ball . If he is the second coming of Kobe Bryant , then the franchise will fare well , but this roster is still in the making and I don’t expect them to be very competitive this season. They might be lucky to win thirty regular season games during the 2017-18 schedule.

With the first game of their regular season schedule taking place on the 17th October when they face the Los Angeles Clippers who this season are likely to struggle having seen the departure of Chris Paul . It should prove to be very interesting to see which of the three NBA franchises in the state of California comes out as the ‘Top Dog’ in the state at the end of this season.

I do believe that the Los Angeles Clippers will be taking a step back this season , even though they will remain the best team in their division , I just don’t believe they are a championship caliber team. There is not enough depth on the roster and it has become increasingly clear , neither Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan are leaders. They are merely overpaid NBA stars showing little sign of maturity and the will to lead by example. Doc Rivers as the head coach of the team as well as Head of Basketball Operations is stretched too thin and needs to relinquish his role as an executive within the Clippers’ organization. Rivers should concentrate on the coaching of the team , while Steve Ballmer works in conjunction with Jerry West , seeking to make this team better. West joining the Clippers’ front office as a special consultant does seem somewhat ironic and eerie especially when you consider his career with the Los Angeles Lakers a nd the fact both of the Los Angeles’ franchises share the same home venue . I would love to be a fly on the wall inside both front offices over the course of this season , as Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka try to outmaneuver Jerry West , Lawrence Frank and Dave Wohl . The Clippers’ front office is top-heavy with far too many front office executives and the coaching staff itself, while there is an abundance of experience to be found. It was clear last season the coaches were not able to get the best out of the team , leading to their dismal showing during the NBA Playoffs .

When it is all said and done , this season for the Detroit Tigers has been glaringly abysmal , with the team failing to show any drive whatsoever. The death of Michael Ilitch was a devastating blow to the organization and now the franchise is left in the hands of the late owner’s family. Chris Ilitch now steps into the role as the Chief Executive and owner of the Tigers , while Al Avila continues in his role of general manager. Where the Tigers now go from here will be predicated on how the season rounds out for the ball-club.

Brad Ausmus and the Detroit Tigers face a tough month ahead while simply playing for pride. Ausmus’
managerial staff
will still try to instill some discipline and sense of purpose into the team. That will likely begin by out-playing the New York Yankees who they face on Thursday afternoon . The game itself should prove to be very interesting given what is at stake for both teams . During the off-season Al Avila will have to make a decision concerning the long-term future of stars such as Justin Verlander , Miguel Cabrera and several others of their highly paid players on the team’s roster. Over the last six seasons the Tigers have very little to show their fans by way of advancing during the postseason . While I don’t believe Al Avila will seek to make drastic changes , there has to be something done to improve this roster or ultimately , the paring down of the payroll must be a priority for the franchise moving forward.

Rich Hill a starting pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers toyed with a ‘no hitter’ in his most recent outing for the team , a game played against the Pittsburgh Pirates . One errant pitch broke up what would have been a career highlight for a player who has come so close to pitching a no hitter on several occasions during his career. The Dodgers would end up losing the contest 1-0, in ten innings . When these two teams are back on the diamond this Thursday evening , the opposing pitchers will be Hyun Jin-Ryu of the Dodgers against Chad Kuhl of the Pirates .

There is no doubt in my mind the Los Angeles Dodgers will run away with the NL West divisional crown, but I will continue to ask the question how good is this team really ? If they are unable to make a deep postseason run ,and play with consistency , then greatness cannot be foisted upon them. It has been over two decades since the Los Angeles Dodgers made an appearance in the World Series and subsequent postseason appearances have often ended in sheer failure on the part of this ballclub. If the Dodgers were to do the unthinkable and win the World Series in 2017, then the media would have a field day reporting the story creating a deal of hyperbole as to the Dodgers’ exploits.



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 Tophatal ….. 08/23/2017

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Not on my watch …

Not on my watch

Well,the NFL regular season came to an end and teams seemingly squandered their chance at a postseason berth . With the wildcard round underway , the participants provided the fans with a great deal of excitement and disappointment and nowhere was this more prevalent than the games which saw the demise of both the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings . Both teams entered the postseason as divisional champions and were perhaps widely expected to make their way to the divisional round of the postseason. It was not to be for the Marvin Lewis coached Bengals as they completely fell apart in their astounding loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Cincinnati’s defensive player Vontaze Burfict imploded showing his wrath , denigrating officials , his head coach as well as opposing players on the Steelers’ roster. As to what this suggests about the Cincinnati Bengals , can best be summed up by simply stating this was a team completely out of control , with the coaching staff showing little, if any experience in their coaching acumen.

For Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings their loss might well as have been as dramatic as anything seen in the NFL over the past eight seasons in NFL postseason history. The continued knock against the Vikings will be the fact they are not as competitive as many believe them to be. It might well have been a complete fluke the team actually won the NFC North , but herein lies the issue for the franchise, Teddy Bridgewater the Vikings’ junior rookie quarterback still remains a work in progress , while the defense though steady , have yet to reach the level of consistency expected of a perennial championship contender. Adrian Peterson a year removed from his suspension , came back with something of vengeance , but he proved that a player of his caliber cannot do it all by himself. At this stage of Peterson’s career , I am not thoroughly convince Minnesota remains the best place for him to round out his career or the franchise gives him his best chance of winning a Superbowl !

With the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings now bowing out of the postseason, it’s now onto the divisional round of the NFL postseason where the match-ups become all the more intriguing.

The top seeds within the AFC and NFC will enter postseason play with the Carolina Panthers led by Cam Newton facing the Seattle Seahawks , while the Green Bay Packers will be the guests of the Arizona Cardinals. In the AFC Peyton Manning makes a welcome return to postseason play , while the idiot Brock Osweiler supporters, can simply shut the hell up with their idiocy of Osweiler being the immediate future for the Broncos. The backup quarterback in the last of his regular season performances proved himself to be barely adequate in his role , but many believed him to be the answer to the Broncos’ prayers. Denver will face the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado on Saturday afternoon. The other AFC contest will feature defending Superbowl champions the New England Patriots facing the Kansas City Chiefs , with Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick seeking to win his fifth Superbowl title as a head coach. Belichick and Tom Brady should they win the title , can also use the spectacle as a poke in the eye of the NFL hierarchy for their ham-fisted approach in seeking to punish the player and franchise for their alleged actions in the Deflate-Gate Affair. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy are still hoping to punish the player albeit , after their suspension of Brady was overturned in a US Federal Court Judicial process. Goodell is adamant the quarterback is guilty of the allegations, but the league’s own evidence supporting the charges are circumstantial and held very little merit.

When your teams’ season can only be viewed as a disaster , then there isn’t a great which can be done to appease your fans other than to uproot your franchise and move elsewhere. With the recent announcement that the NFL has granted their wish to see both the San Diego Chargers and St Louis Rams back in the city of Los Angeles. The one question I have to ask, will the league seek to make their feasibility study on the issue public or will we simply have to take their word this is in the best interests of both teams as well as the city of Los Angeles along with their residents ? This much is abundantly clear, the taxpayers are on the hook for this whole process from a financial standpoint. The NFL as constituted , is seen as a not for profit business, but repeatedly , all Roger Goodell has sought to address throughout his tenure , has been the rise in revenues, the profitability of the teams and the league’s growing expansion around the globe. Never let it be said , the league hierarchy actually cares about the fans , much less the players, who are essentially overpaid subjugated slaves.

For the moment it would appear the St Louis Rams are a definite go with their return to Los Angeles set for 2016, but the San Diego Chargers have not yet made their thoughts known on the league’s approval. Alex Spanos and his family as the owners of the Chargers will likely move , with arrangements being made for a venue to be made available for the team’s home games in 2016. Where this now leaves the Oakland Raiders and their long-held ambitions to also make a return to Los Angeles is just about anyone’s guess at this juncture. As to the thoughts the Raiders would be a playing a greater part in determining the AFC West title. Well that came and went with the absurdity of the team’s performances on the field of play last season !

In what has to be seen as one of the best national title games in recent College Football history , as Alabama rolled past the Clemson Tigers , with both teams putting on an exhilarating display of football. Nick Saban claimed his fifth title as a collegiate head coach , while Alabama (Crimson Tide) won their fourth title in the past eight years . The Crimson Tide will round out their year as the national champions , ranked number one again and have to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the national title next season. DeShaun Watson and Derrick Henry solidified their respective positions as two of the best players in College Football during 2015,

The Golden State Warriors’ indomitable start to the season and their continued dominance has placed this team among the most consistent seen in recent NBA history. In the absence of Steve Kerr , Luke Walton is proving himself to be of considerable worth to the franchise as the team’s head coach. In all likelihood , Walton could very well end up being a head coach with a team at the start of next season. All signs now seem to be pointing to this and it only seems a matter of time before it all becomes a reality. Steph Curry , Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are the primary reasons why the Warriors have been so good this season. As to the nay-saying idiots seeking to detract from Thompson’s play this season , perhaps they need to be reminded this is a team game and solely about individual glory?

Golden State in their most recent contest took care of the Miami Heat with consummate ease getting by their Eastern Conference opponents on their way to an eight-point victory . The Warriors next game will see them on the road when they face the Denver Nuggets in a Western Conference road contest . Golden State is well on its way to nothing up their fortieth win of the season, leading their closest rivals by a considerable margin in the wins’ tally .

While the Golden State Warriors have remained dominant the same cannot be said for the Brooklyn Nets , who in mid-season have decided to rid themselves of head coach Lionel Hollins and general manager Billy King, The upheaval within the front office with King’s dismissal was not unexpected bu the firing of Hollins , may well have caught everyone by surprise. While there may well be justification for the coach’s dismissal , a great deal of the blame must rest on the shoulders of the team’s billionaire Russian entrepreneur , mogul and owner Mikhail Prokhovorov. The owner gave cart-blanche for King to try and outspend their rivals in assembling a high priced roster which was all to no avail repeatedly over the past five seasons. The fact, the current roster bears no likeness to the roster fielded during the 2012-13 season , should give you an indication as to how far things have come with this franchise and the present predicament they now find themselves in .

Tony Brown is now the interim head coach of Brooklyn Nets and I believe it is unlikely he will be given the position on a full-time basis. Rumors are now already in motion , with the front office seeking to gauge the interest of Kentucky Wildcats’ head coach John Calipari. Calipari does have NBA experience having been a former head coach of the Nets , but I believe he is far too comfortable in his role and clearly doesn’t want to deal with the bloated egos of the players at the professional level. Besides, he’s the coach of one of the most envied and wildly known programs in all of Men’s College Basketball.

Over their last fifteen games played the Brooklyn Nets have labored during the time-span in question.The Nets’ last victory came by way of a win over the Boston Celtics on the 2nd January, a span of six games , during which the Nets posted an anemic 1-5 record. Tony Brown will now prepare the Brooklyn Nets for a Wednesday night game against conference rivals the New York Knicks which will be played at the Barclays Center , Brooklyn, New York. Considering the intense rivalry between these two teams over the past three seasons this contest should tell us a great deal about the directions the two clubs are heading in .

For the New York Knicks this season has been something of an indifferent year , with the team having its struggles, but suddenly showing some signs of life. Derek Fisher might well be finally coming into his own as an NBA coach . The Knicks find themselves in second place within the Atlantic Division behind the Toronto Raptors(24-15) and with the team playing some credible basketball.

Sitting mid-table within the Eastern Conference , the New York Knicks might well be considered a playoff contender , but I feel the team is still a long way off from where they need to be ! How the Knicks fare over the remainder of the season will be predicated on the mindset of the team.

Pat Riley , now a senior executive with the Miami Heat has an association with the well-known NBA franchises., with his first professional mark coming as a player with the New York Knicks , also as a head coach with the New York Knicks , finally to be followed with the Heat. Having been the architect of all three champions successes for the Miami Heat., you can well understand why his success has left an indelible mark with all three NBA franchises. This season for the Miami Heat , without LeBron James having left the team after their last title , the franchise now finds it self at a crossroads. Their two elder statesmen Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are now in the twilight of their respective careers. Amare’ Stoudemire is proving to be nothing more than a stop-gap measure, even if his salary is deemed minimal . Yet , there might be nothing more Pat Riley would like to prove to his detractors, than to win another title without four-time League MVP LeBron James . His departure from the Heat might not have created a great deal of anger, but in some circles it was deemed James felt he was ill-served by Riley’s unwillingness to bolster the roster .

Erik Spoelstra as the Miami Heat head coach along with the coaching staff have worked diligently to have the team playing with a great deal of resolve, This can be seen with the play of several of the Heat’s youngsters on the playing staff, while the veterans also continue to show they have what it takes. Whether not the Heat has what it takes to beat the best in the East , we will have to take under advisement. Miami over their last eight games have been fairly competitive , but the feeling remains consistency , year-long will be the key for the team. In their last contest the Miami Heat fell to the Golden State Warriors in a 111-103 loss, with the defending champions showing why they continue to have the better of the Eastern Conference. Miami will be on the court Wednesday night when they face the Los Angeles Clippers led by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul .

How bad can an NBA franchise be and why does the NBA hierarchy allow teams to intentionally tank their seasons , while the fans are actually being defrauded ? Oblivious to this all, are some of the idiot fans and analysts who subscribe to the belief a team will be able to resurrect their fortunes by way of the NBA Draft . It doesn’t appear to be working out for the Philadelphia 76ers as their season continues to implode before our very eyes.

Joshua Harris as owner of the 76ers has been extremely negligent from a business and competitive standpoint , concerning the franchise over the past six seasons. Brett Brown and the coaching staff remain completely out of their depth. The firing of Sam Hinkie as the general manager will not cure what ails this franchise and I seriously doubt the hiring of Jerry Colangelo to head the franchise’s Basketball Operations will lead to an immediate turnaround in the short or long-term ! Key players such as the Sixers’ last two first round picks , I certainly don’t believe will be sticking around to play for an noncompetitive organization. Harris for his part, has sought to apportion blame elsewhere for the team’s continued woes, when he has been just as complicit in the debacle as the players and coaching staff in recent years.

Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid have yet to make their mark for the Sixers and in all likelihood both players will continue to struggle with the franchise. If the coaching staff is unable to get the best out of these two young players then the chances of Philadelphia getting better anytime soon will not be happening for the foreseeable future. Free agents will be unwilling to come to a franchise where there is no track record of recent success. Cap space availability now and next season doesn’t portend to anything meaningful. Granted, with the acumen of Jerry Colangelo , anything is possible , but as I have stated before the damage has already been done , due to the negligence shown by Joshua Harris.

At no point during their season have the Philadelphia 76ers been able to put together a winning streak of two games or more and considering their record it is easy to understand the reasons why !

Statistically , beyond the lack of coaching acumen shown by Philadelphia 76ers, the fact there seems to be some sort of pleasure being gleamed from the ineptitude indicated , there is no way the NBA hierarchy can continue to suborn this type of incompetency and believe it best serves the interests of the league . It is an insult to the fans of the game and if nothing else indicates the league’s top executives are just profit-driven and not much more beyond that ! The Sixers for their part , can continue to be among the least supported teams in the league alongside being its worst .

Do you believe professional sports’ hierarchies have an obligation to ensure the fans are provided with the best product available or just there to simply make money for their teams ?

Tophatal ……..

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” As We Enter” … Nas & Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley

 

NFL What ? NFL Who ? Is this League being ran by fools ?

NFL What ? NFL Who ? Is this League being ran by fools ?

The NFL regular season wound down with its usual aplomb , with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seemingly, not wanting to apologize for his poor lack of judgment or the fact his league is still in disarray both on and off the field of play. Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toes back into the water , there is news emanating where St Louis Rams principle owner , Stanley Kroenke is seeking an executive board on possibly relocating the franchise to the greater Los Angeles area. What is it with this continued fascination, in bringing an NFL franchise back to the city of Angels, where the municipality itself has its ongoing financial woes, with their being no signs the city council can deal with its deficit or any of the other matters affecting the City of Los Angeles ?

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Stanley Kroenke with the exception of Seattle Seahawks’ owner Paul Allen might be the wealthiest owner in the NFL and his fortune far exceeds that of Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder . The St Louis Rams for their part, had a poor season barely offering any resolve and a fourth place finish in the NFC West was a clear reflection of the team just happened to represent under Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff.

Stanley Kroenke’s fixation might well have more to do with the fact he believes the Rams can no longer be self-sustainable in a mid to small-market such as the greater St Louis , Missouri ,area, and were it not for his wealth and the fact his marriage to Ann Walton-Kroenke (Walton family , daughter of the late patriarch , Sam Walton founder of Walmart) and all of the visibility her name provides, is in a position to perhaps persuade the league hierarchy might well be time have a franchise back in Los Angeles. However, there has to be a caveat in the midst of this all, if Kroenke believes he can pull of such a coup, without the assistance of the assistance of the city or Los Angeles County or at the state level. It has been one of Roger Goodell’s main goals to have an NFL franchise back in the nation’s second largest ad-market , purely from the economical standpoint and the income derived from such a move.

At a time when revenues are on the rise within the league, much of it coming by the television deals, with expiring contracts being renegotiated as well as several cable broadcasters entering the fray , it seems only feasible that the commissioner wants to not only maximize his league’s exposure, but also profit financially from that exposure. Of even greater importance has to be the funding for a stadium to house the St Louis Rams on a permanent basis , as repeatedly different entrepreneurs and investors have tried to formulate a plan for a stadium to be built with a mix of private and public funding. To date, nothing concrete has materialized with these efforts and the list of names involved in these endeavors have read like a who’s who of commercial real estate or venture capital world within the state of California , with their being political backing, but no real evidence of success or actually getting anything off the ground. Like I have always maintained the state of California remains a law unto itself without outsized egos and even greater stupidity to be found at just about every level of government and within their business world , in spite of claims to the contrary. Has anyone heard from Ed Roski lately and his ambitious plans to bring professional football back to the greater Los Angeles area ? I thought not !

The rapid fall from grace for the Pittsburgh Steelers was in evidence as they fell to the Baltimore Ravens. Now one could be forgiven into thinking Ben Roethlisberger , James Harrison and Troy Polamalu had the leadership and experience necessary to lead the team and their making a deep run in the postseason was all to no avail as the Ravens swept aside their divisional rivals with clinical ease. John Harbaugh could be unto something with his claims , the team’s quarterback Joe Flacco is the best passer in the NFL during the postseason. Granted, Flacco during the 2012 postseason was simply sensational as he led the Baltimore Ravens to their second Superbowl victory in the franchise’s history and the player’s playoff record record would even bring a smile to the face of Tony Romo , who has repeatedly become the face of postseason futility among the league’s more prominent active quarterbacks with playoff experience.

Flacco will get the chance to try and prove the claims of Jim Harbaugh are justified, when the Baltimore Ravens meet the New England Patriots in the divisional round of this season’s postseason schedule. With an AFC championship berth at stake for the winner, this game could prove to be be one of the highlights of the round if not the entire postseason, itself. For the Patriots this will be the first time the team led by Tom Brady enters the fray, as he seeks to win his fourth Superbowl. Brady in conjunction with head coach Bill Belichick are currently the most successful coaching quarterback active tandem in NFL history. If this is meant to the season, which offers the franchise its best chance to add to its tally , of three postseason triumphs, then this game could prove to be defining point of the Patriots’ season.

While there are mounting questions concerning the direction of the Washington Redskins their future and the travails of quarterbacks’ Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III. It must be said , beyond the removal of Bruce Allenas the general manager and the disappointment of the Redskins’ season , you simply cannot deny the ” writing was on the wall” was on the wall for the franchise and the futility shown over the past two seasons. Hard to imagine how Cousins and Griffin having been in the same draft class as Andrew Luck Andrew Luck , have seen their stock fall so far , while Luck’s ascent to becoming an elite quarterback has seen a rapid rise in the fortunes of the Indianapolis Colts after the departure of Peyton Manning from the AFC South South based team.

Indianapolis in their divisional round game played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, India, last weekend, summarily left no one in any doubt about their pedigree, as they took apart the Cincinnati Bengals and cast doubts on the Bengals’ long-term future concerning the makeup of their roster. Marvin Lewis must be at a loss for words having seen his team perform so poorly . It was not as if this were the first playoff run for Lewis’ team, led by quarterback Andy Dalton who has made consecutive playoff runs for the franchise in his still young career.

Andrew Luck will now avail himself another chance to match wits with his predecessor , Peyton Manning, as the ‘Master’ and Pupil take to the field .

As great a regular season as the Arizona Cardinals were able to put together, during their wildcard game against the Carolina Panthers, Bruce Arians’ team became a ” Paper Tiger” ripped to shreds by a Panthers’ team looking to make up for lost time. I am not sure Cam Newton will have as much ease in dealing with the Seattle Seahawks in their upcoming game at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington , on Sunday afternoon . As defending Superbowl champions the Seahawks will be looking to make a statement and cast any doubts they are the best team in the NFC and the entire NFL.

We’re ” America’s Team ” , we’re America’s Team and we aim to prove it. If that proclamation were not so asinine, it would be believable when applied to the Dallas Cowboys . Jerry Jones believes he has finally crafted a team capable of winning a Superbowl. Having engineered a come from behind victory over a complacent Detroit Lions’ team , Tony Romo will take his supporting cast on the road to face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin,. It’s now or never for the Cowboys, because if this team fails , there will roars of laughter belittling the team and the organization for their ongoing ineptitude over the past decade. The Cowboys have a chance, but if they allow the Packers to take an early lead, I certainly cannot see the visitors pulling off another postseason victory behind the skill-set of Romo , it’s just not within him pull off back-to-back victories for Dallas. I may well be wrong,but I doubt it !

It will be interesting to see how the events unfold this weekend within the NFL and which teams will rise to the occassion.

Not quite the ” Last Man Standing” , but College Football’s long-awaited Playoff Format ,at last, has its final pairing. Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks after their trouncing of Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles , will now have the privilege of taking on Ohio State (Buckyes) , coached by two-time national championship winning head coach Urban Meyer . in the national championship game and the inaugural contest of the newly instigated system. Love it or hate , it is now here to stay, even though it is likely to be tinkered at some point in the future, as the empaneled body seeks to make this format more equitable for all. Meanwhile, what would the postseason format be, without its customary slate of meaningless postseason Bowl Games ? Let’s just say, tweaked or not, there was still plenty of food left on table, including the scraps left for the dog. In other words, everyone got a meal and hearty one at that, by way of the financial benefits of these Bowl Contests.

This is likely to be more about which team desires the win the most and whether not Buckeyes’ third-string quarterback Cardale Jones is ready once again step up to the plate after a solid game in defeating the number one ranked Alabama (Crimson Tide).

Mariota will be hoping to cement his legacy after a stellar career with the Ducks as well as being this year’s recipient of the Heisman Trophy . If he can bow out with a national championship to his resume’ then the sky is the limit for a player like to be taken in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. As to ESPN’s College Football analyst and draft guru , Mel Kiper and his assessment of Mariota, not being the prototypical NFL quarterback, with the required talent for the NFL, has about as much credence, as perhaps one of his most infamous claims ____ of which he stated, Akili Smith would go on to have a long successful NFL career while being a perennial Pro Bowl player. Smith’s career statistics/ a are paper thin and about as appealing as Kiper’s neatly coiffured hair . I can only surmise, Mel Kiper and Donald Trump might share the same hair stylist and barber ?

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Picture gallery .

Throughout the NFL season, which teams do you believe provided the fans with the least and most excitement ? Also , with the College Football national championship game set for Monday 12th January,2015 , do you believe Marcus Mariota can round out his season with a national championship title ? Or will Urban Meyer add a third national title to his coaching resume’ ?

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(1) St Louis Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher ,left, is seen here with team owner Stanely Kroenke center and GM Les Snead at the Edward Jones Dome Stadium in St Louis , Missouri, prior to a regular season game. Kroenke is said to be seriously contemplating the relocation of the NFL franchise back to the greater Los Angeles area , but he must first seek board approval for such a move . Kroenke is unwilling to discuss to discuss his plans his publicly , but he may well already have broad-based support for the move, without having to be totally reliant upon a vote from the executives within the organization . All that would be then required for the move, would be the seal of approval from the Board of Governors of the NFL and Roger Goodell’s blessing. AP Photo/ Phil Jones

(2) Billionaire commercial real estate developer Ed Roski whose plans for an NFL stadium to be built in the greater Los Angeles area never quite took of because of bureaucratic red-tape and a failure to obtain the financial backing and widespread support from interested parties from the city of Los Angeles, the city of Industry , Los Angeles County and at the state level. It is not known if Roski is now on board with Stanley Kroenke’s own ongoing effort to have a state of the art venue built for the St Louis Rams . Getty Images / Mike Cooper

(3) Head coach Mike Tomlin ,left , of the Pittsburgh Steelers meets head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens after the Ravens defeated the Steelers 30-17 in their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images North America / Gregory Shamus

(4) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers meets Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens after the Ravens defeated the Steelers 30-17 in their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Justin K Aller

(5) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers scrambles against the Baltimore Ravens during their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Jamie Squire

(6) Tom Brady (12) hands off the ball to Shane Vereen (34) of the New England Patriots during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Jared Wickenham

(7) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts begins his snap count during a game played against the Minnesota Vikings . Luck is widely considered to be the best quarterback drafted into the NFL since 2008 . The Colts’ quarterback was the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , considered to be one better quarterback draft classes of the past decade . AP Photo / Phil Carr

(8) Marcus Mariota (8) of Oregon and Cardale Jones (12) of Ohio State will square as the opposing quarterbacks in the national championship .game being played on the 12th January , 2015 at the AT&T Stadium , in Arlington, Texas . AP Photo / Phil Miller

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A case can be made ….

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The four teams have been set for College Football’s playoff format and while there will continue to be disagreements as to the merits of the four programs atop of the rankings. While no one can deny Alabama has been the best team in College Football this season , questions are likely to be asked as to why TCU (Hornfrogs) was not given a higher ranking . Yet based on the merits , we can only accept findings of the panel as being diligent. With the Bowl games still in tact , those programs not rewarded with the chance of taking part in the inaugural playoff system will still be part of a lucrative postseason extravaganza. Make no mistake , money remains the sole driving force behind this new format, alongside College Football’s wish to be seen as changing with the times . The first of those Bowl Games will be on the 20th December when Utah faces off against Colorado State .
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Squaring off the right to be designated as the national champion in what will amount to the semi-final round of the Playoff Format will be the number one ranked Alabama (Crimson Tide) staring down to face Urban Meyer and number four ranked Ohio State (Buckeyes) . The two opposing coaches Nick Saban and Meyer have a combined six national titles between them. In the other title bearing contest we have Oregon (Ducks) and their Heisman Trophy leading candidate Marcus Mariota leading the team against the defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) . With so much at stake for the quartet of teams , it will be interesting to see how both contests will come to their respective conclusions on the 1st January, 2015.

I am not about to suggest that either Alabama or Oregon will have their way with their opponents in their contests, but the prevailing thought might well be these two teams would provide the fans of College Football as well as the nation at large the best possible finale sought ,with their being ranked number one and number two in the nation. Granted, Ohio State and Florida State will have other ideas with view to upsetting the perceptions of those favoring the top-two contenders.

There has been little to suggest this has been none of the more memorable seasons in in the annals recent NFL history . If anything this year has provided us with a litany of games we would rather forget , with so many teams playing sub-par football and their being very little defense being shown in a wide variety of ways . Week fourteen provided us with another reason why you can never take anything for granted in today’s NFL and that point was so well emphasized in the San Francisco 49ers’ embarrassing loss to the lowly and hideously abhorrent Oakland Raiders . To suggest Jim Harbaugh’s players were simply complacent would be an understatement and while the Raiders should be lauded for a splendid effort, let us not forget the team’s record and their play over the course of this season. As to what one think of the Forty-Niners and their rapid fall from being the title contenders to quite possibly also-rans, can quite clearly be answered as speculation continues to mount Jim Harbaugh’s future and whether or not he will be returning to the organization next season. Harbaugh’s name has been linked to a number of positions around the NFL as well as within the College ranks , but for the moment, there has been no formal statement from the head coach or anyone within the Niners’ front office .

San Francisco has a 7-6 record and even if this team manages to notch up double digit wins , which seems highly unlikely at this juncture , with their play being so inconsistent and their remaining schedule decidedly shaky. Ten wins will not be enough to secure them a sixth seed conference berth and postseason guarantee , much less a chance of actually winning the NFC West. The division remains in the Arizona Cardinals’ hands and theirs lose if they begin to show any signs of complacency.

Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers will be on the road when they face divisional rivals the Seattle Seahawks in ” must win game” for the visiting team as well as the hosts. A loss for Seattle loss would put a dent in their postseason ambitions, but their position as a wildcard team still remains intact for the moment , but as I alluded to earlier , a victory if of the utmost priority for Pete Carroll and his players . Kaepernick may well feel that he bears a certain amount of responsibility for the team’s failures this season , but it has been a collective effort the players as well the coaching staff led by Jim Harbaugh , who have provided the inept performances we have seen from the team this year.

Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals will head to St Louis , Missouri to face the St Louis Rams in an all NFC West clash in the Edward Jones Dome Stadium , to open up the regular week fifteen schedule on Thursday night. Hopefully, both teams will show a sign of solidarity in the aftermath of the tragic events which took place in Ferguson , Missouri,. The violent protests which have taken place cannot be condoned , yet at the same , it gives credence to a much broader based tide of discontent that many simply do not understand or wish to acknowledge, there remains inherent racism within their confines. This is one sign of which, much of America has no wish to address , instead, seeking to show its apathy, continually burying its head in the sand on the “issue of race” .

I wholeheartedly believe Bruce Arians has to be seen as the front-runner for the NFL Manager of The Year ,after a fantastic job done in coaching his team one of the best records in the NFL . A mark currently shared by three other teams , likely to be looked upon as the prohibitive favorites for this season’s Superbowl . Whether or not the Denver Broncos , New England Patriots from the AFC will be there, joining the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers in their respective conference championship games remains to be seen.

It would not be an understatement to admit the NFC South has been the worst division in the NFL all season long . How anyone can equate or justify their brand of football as being relevant, let alone acknowledge the winner of the division will gain entrance into the postseason is beyond belief. Just as College Football decided to make change in its playoff format , the time has now come for the NFL to do the same where a division winner does not have a better record than a conference rival .If it means that team having won its division has to miss the postseason because one more teams have the advantage then so be it . However, with that in mind and the league’s Competition’s Committee and Roger Goodell looking to expand the postseason from eight to twelve teams , I get the impression isn’t seeking increase the level of competition , but solely looking to extract more revenues which comes courtesy of the NFL’s major corporate sponsors without taking into account the hundreds of millions of dollars which comes the NFL’s way at the time of the Superbowl . Avarice within this league remains limitless and the boundaries are forever being broadened and sought by the league hierarchy.

It would not be an understatement to admit the NFC South has been the worst division in the NFL all season long . How anyone can equate or justify their brand of football as bein relevant, let alone acknowledge the winner of the division will gain entrance into the postseason is beyond belief. Just as College Football decided to make change in its playoff format , the time has now come for the NFL to do the same where a division winner does not have a better record than a conference rival .If it means that team having won its division has to miss the postseason because one more teams have the advantage then so be it . However, with that in mind and the league’s Competition’s Committee and Roger Goodell looking to expand the postseason from eight to twelve teams , I get the impression isn’t seeking increase the level of competition , but solely looking to extract more revenues which comes courtesy of the NFL’s major corporate sponsors without taking into account the hundreds of millions of dollars which comes the NFL’s way at the time of the Superbowl . Avarice within this league remains limitless and the boundaries are forever being broadened and sought by the league hierarchy.

The Atlanta Falcons (5-8) jointly lead the NFC South alongside the New Orleans Saints , with Sean Payton being overly optimistic , suggesting the Saints have yet to play their best football and can still contend not only for postseason berth but also for the Superbowl itself. New Orleans’ struggles can be emphasized with the other three divisional occupants the fact, all four teams rank in the lower rungs of the NFL defensively. For head coaches Mike Smith, Ron Rivera , Sean Payton and Lovie Smith , this has been a season where not only have their teams underperformed but I believe their coaching abilities have to come into question ! A year on from having won the Coach of the Year Award Ron Rivera has seen the Panthers stumble to a (4-8-1) record with only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-11) seated below them within the NFC South. With Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton likely to be sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering non life threatening injuries in a car accident. One could suggest the team’s the season is now likely over and their now having to rely on backup quarterback Derek Anderson . Misfortune or not , with or without Newton, there can be no denying the Carolina Panthers have performed poorly throughout this season.

Carolina will play host to Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game likely to be high-scoring contest, but not necessarily an entertaining game. The Atlanta Falcons will look to stymie the ambitions of the Pittsburgh Steelers , who are in a tough divisional race within the AFC North. Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints will have a Monday Night contest against the Chicago Bears whose season has capitulated under the poor performances of Jay Cutler and a very under-achieving Bears’ team.

It has been almost six years since the Dallas Cowboys(9-4) had a winning season but now having found themselves tied in dog-fight of a divisional race with the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) , Jason Garrett and his team’s intestinal fortitude will be tested over their remaining three games of the season. That test will begin in earnest when they face the Eagles in the late Sunday night game to be played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania,. This contest will be a make or break shoot-out for both teams with a divisional crown at stake and Nick Foles and Tony Romo on opposing sides of the ball. The quarterback providing his team with the most consistent play is likely come out of this game , leading his side to the victory. For Jerry Jones , this gives the Cowboys’ owner something finally to ” crow about” , but I get the feeling, should his team fail to make the postseason his embarrassment will not be hindered in any way , as he suggests, there have been positives coming from this season. Jones simply loves the sound of his own voice, even when he makes the most ridiculous of statements.

If Gus Bradley , Rex Ryan and Mike Smith return to the NFL in their current capacities , will be honestly surprised. Ryan in particular , has been a monumental bust in his role as head coach of the New York Jets (2-11). His team sits firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC East and showing absolutely no signs of life without looking at the play of both Geno Smith and Michael Vick over the course of this season . Ryan seems nonplussed that the Jets have squandered their opportunities and even with hindsight anyone who believes this team with its current makeup was good enough to compete within its division let alone the rest the NFL has to be extremely misguided.

For Gus Bradley it has not been about what if, but more so to do with , where do we now go from here ? Having drafted quarterback Blake Bortlesin the 2014 NFL Draft . The player has shown he is capable of playing but unfortunately he is not surrounded by a great deal of talent in the specialist areas needed on offense for the Jacksonville Jaguars . Needless to say , a 2-11 record will not cut it for a franchise starved of and for success without knowing the organization has one of the lowest attendance level in the NFL , something which has been ongoing for several seasons. Team owner Shahid Khan having spent almost $800 million to purchase the Jaguars , he has tried in earnest to rebuild this organization from the ground up. He has yet to see anything tangible one would equate with success and with the team yet to have a winning season since he assumed control of the franchise in 2010.

As losers of three of their last four games Jacksonville will head into Baltimore to face the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC clash. John Harbaugh and the Ravens will be looking to make some inroads into the slender divisional lead held by the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) , in what has turned out to be the tightest divisional race in the NFL .

It is extremely difficult to have any empathy with the NFLPA (union) much less the NFL under the leadership of Roger Goodell . While the commissioner has not been able to distance himself from the incompetence shown in dealing with the Ray Rice issue . With the team owners having voted unanimously to initiate a revamped code of conduct policy , it does appear rather recalcitrant for the union to question the right of the league to initiate such a policy while having shown little propensity to rein in the behavior of their members . NFLFPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith remains a hypocritical @ss with Executive Committee and Board of Player Representatives showing little concern , if any, concerning the events reported concerning Rice , Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald. Idiots have even come forth, trying to use the law and tenets of innocent until proven guilty to excuse the behavior of McDonald, who jokingly an interview with the press, acted bemuse as why all the fuss over his laying his hands on his pregnant girlfriend. Begs the question if a female remains not off limits to to abuse then what they do they believe to abhorrent and distasteful in terms of personal conduct ? McDonald may well have plead not guilty to the charges with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office then stat there was insufficient no evidence to suggest there was ever an act of abuse , but what they failed to actually detail, was this was not the first time such an accusation had been ever leveled against the Forty Niners’ defensive lineman. Pattern of behavior ? Go figure .

It is extremely difficult to have any empathy with the NFLPA (union) much less the NFL under the leadership of Roger Goodell . While the commissioner has not been able to distance himself from the incompetence shown in dealing with the Ray Rice issue . With the team owners having voted unanimously to initiate a revamped code of conduct policy , it does appear rather recalcitrant for the union to question the right of the league to initiate such a policy while having shown little propensity to rein in the behavior of their members . NFLFPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith remains a hypocritical @ss with Executive Committee and Board of Player Representatives showing little concern if any , for the events reported concerning Rice , Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald. Idiots have even come forth, trying to use the law and tenets of innocent until proven guilty to excuse the behavior of McDonald, who jokingly an interview with the press, acted bemuse as why all the fuss over his laying his hands on his pregnant girlfriend. Begs the question if a female remains not off limits to to abuse then what they do they believe to abhorrent and distasteful in terms of personal conduct ? McDonald may well have plead not guilty to the charges with the Santa Clara County District Attorney , then stat there was no evidence to suggest there was ever an act of abuse , but what they failed to actually detail, was this was not the first time such an accusation had been ever leveled against the Forty Niners’ defensive lineman. Pattern of behavior ? Go figure .

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As the NFL season heads down its final stretch run what do you believe to be the event to have taken place in the NFL by way of the games or story which you think the most relevant ?

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(1) Nick Saban , left, head coach of Alabama meets with Urban Meyer , head coach of Florida in a press interview prior to the 2009 BCS title game , between the two programs . The pair will meet again when Alabama faces Ohio State in newly formatted playoff system in College Football . The winner will then play for the national title against the winner of the contest between Florida State and Oregon . AP Photo / Chris Dempsey …

(2) Marcus Mariota (8) of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State will meet in the second of the two semi-finals games which lead to the winner of that contest having the privilege of playing for the national title. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper in a recent statement made the prognosis that neither Mariota or Winston are elite NFL franchise caliber quarterbacks . Kiper has very little credibility when it should be noted he spends a great deal of time consorting with agents than he does judiciously assessing college talent . That asides, should anyone really take note of what he necessarily has to say , when his only spiel is one of guaranteeing debate and very little else of merit ? Getty Images / Sam Turner …

(3) Brandian Ross (29) of the Oakland Raiders gets his arms around Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter at the O.co Coliseum on December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. Getty Images/ Brian Bahr ….

(4) Head coach Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals is seen here on the sidelines with quarterback Drew Stanton . In the absence of the injured Carson Palmer , Stanton has assumed the role of starting quarterback for the team . Arians believes the player good enough to guide the Cardinals all the way to the Superbowl . AP Photo / Claire Howard …

(5) Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley , left , is seen here alongside the team’s 2014 draftee Blake Bortles , center and team GM David Caldwell . AP Photo / Matt Harris ….

(6) DeMaurice Smith ,left , Executive Director of the the NFLPA is seen her alongside NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The continued discord between the two entities , the league hierarchy and union, remains adversarial , with the union now question the veracity o f the league’s new player conduct policy , voted into effect unanimously , by the NFL’s thirty-two franchise owners. AP Photo / Rich Morris …
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Up in the air , heads above the clouds ….

Up in the air , heads above the clouds …

By Tophatal

It was interesting weekend in the weekend in the world of sports , acclaimed Hollywood actor and former Oscar, Best Actor nominee, Mickey Rourke at the age of sixty-two decided to to resurrect his boxing career. Well, with his acting career , somewhat on the decline, Rourke has painstakingly fought to get himself back into shape, for what he says is a serious attempt to legitimize himself as serious athlete in the sport. At an age in Hollywood, where leading man status are so few and far between , Mickey Rourke’s attempt as a boxer now seems comical. His bout in Moscow , Russia against a journeyman boxer , the loser of nine of his last ten bouts was not only idiotic, but his this contest against Elliot Seymour , was simply a non-event.


Rourke’s bout in its entirety against Elliot Seymour .

Rourke’s opponent in this match, put up as much resistance as the French, when they were under siege in Paris during the second World War (WWII) . Claims that the bout and result was staged as nothing more than a gimmick, with the state authorities governing the sport under pressure to conduct an in depth investigation in the match, has to be met with a state of realism and I would say derision ! Personally, from my standpoint, nothing concerning the outcome happens to be a surprise at all anymore ! The sport of boxing has now become a paradoxical paradigm and a complete joke ! With fans now yearning for a multi-million dollar mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao , the thought process has to be any damn gimmick to heighten the interest in a waning sport has to be better than nothing at all.

Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

Elsewhere , within the AFC West both the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers came away with victories, that kept their divisional and postseason hopes alive. Peyton Manning and the Broncos had an easy victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , while the Chargers came away with a narrow win over the Baltimore Ravens, leaving John Harbaugh’s team in a tightly contested divisional race in the AFC North. John Harbaugh’s sibling , Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers saw his team put up a rather inept performance as the Forty Niners went down without much of fight in a 19-3 shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. The loss might well have sealed the fate of the Forty Niners with this divisional loss and their chance of the NFC West divisional title outright. There remains mounting speculation also, concerning the future of Jim Harbaugh, as there seems to be a growing discord between the head coach and senior executives within the organization’s front office. GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed Yorke may well come to the decision to relieve their head coach of his duties at the end of the season. Among the NFL teams said to be interested in the services of Harbaugh are the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders.

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The best contest of this past Sunday in the NFL was the eagerly anticipated match-up between Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. This was only the second professional meeting between two of the league’s most outstanding quarterbacks. With everything to play for including the best record in the league, this contest lived up the expectations and a great deal more. Brady was unable to mount a game-winning drive or come from behind win as the Packers came away with a home victory.

Green Bay not normally known to have a stout defense held the Patriots’ offense to five first-downs and under one hundred rushing yards in the contest .New England for their part face a tough clash when they go on the road to play Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego, California on Sunday afternoon.

The College Football season has seen its highs and lows but this past weekend may well have sent reverberations around the game’s landscape with the death of Ohio State Buckeyes’ player Kosta Karageorge . The defensive lineman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, with his body being found in a dumpster not far from the college’s main campus in Columbus , Ohio,. Columbus Police Department are not treating his death as suspicious, but their ongoing investigation has revealed that Karageorge had been suffering with bouts of depression as well as repeated headaches brought on by concussions likely suffered during his playing career with the Buckeyes. Kosta Karageorge was also an accomplished wrestler and member of of the Buckeyes’ wrestling team as well as being part of this season’s sixth-ranked team in the nation. It has been seen as a devastating blow to the program as well as to his teammates and his fellow students on campus .

Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer has offered his condolences to Karageorge’s family on their loss, but I cannot help but wonder where were the coaches and the team’s medical staff as well campus counselors in the midst of this all ? For years we have been told by the NCAA and many of the more prominent coaches within the game, stressed that safety has been of the utmost importance, but neither NCAA President Mark Emmert or Urban Meyer himself, have ever stressed that to be of utmost importance and whereby the schools or college athletics’ governing body have jointly conducted an in-depth study of the cause and effects of blunt force head trauma from an extremely physical and violent sport such as College Football. While this issues still remains something of a ” hot potato” in the NFL , with Roger Goodell either backtracking or seemingly trying to be proactive on the issue, it is becoming abundantly clear, the only things that seems to matter to the conference commissioners and coaches , are the burgeoning financial windfalls to the sport and the level of publicity raised for the respective programs. Whether not Karageorge’s death will lead to a rethink on the part of the NCAA or Ohio State and how they treat the issue of concussions suffered by athletes will be predicated upon the actions of the athletics department and coaching staff moving forward. As to the NCAA itself, it continues to be an archaic and corrupt organization devoid real leadership and ingenuity.

Ohio State (11-1 ,8-0) stand atop of the Big Ten Conference and on track to garner a playoff berth for the inaugural season of the postseason format in College Football. Next up for the team will be the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Wisconsin (Badgers) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana on the 6th December , 2014. That contest should be a rip-rousing affair with both teams seeking to impose their will against each other.

As Mississippi State’s season has been curtailed after their loss to Alabama (Crimson Tide) in a classic SEC game as has often been the case with the best conference in College Football. With the Bulldog’s fall from grace , so too possibly has the chances of Dak Prescott to win the Heisman Trophy . The Bulldogs’ quarterback is having an exceptional year and though the defeat has led to their dropping down in the rankings, while Alabama’s ascent to the top seems to have happened with the utmost of ease, although they are are a one-loss team. Defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) and their troubled Heisman Trophy star Jameis Winston remain unbeaten and on track it would appear, to make their way back to the national championship game. Any slip-up by the Crimson Tide or the number two ranked Oregon (Ducks) and the Seminoles will be a ” shoo-in for one of the two final berths for the title game.

Oregon’s quarterback Marcus Mariota and his team am are in still in the running for a championship berth and a case could very well be made they might be more deserving of one of the two berths than Florida State whose schedule might well be deemed inferior to the Ducks’ over the course of this season. The upcoming games for both teams are likely to prove to be intriguing with Florida St taking on Georgia Tech (Yellowjackets), while Oregon will pursue Arizona (Wildcats) in an all Pac-12 clash.

The NBA season has been dire and were not yet one-quarter of the way through the schedule. Suffice to say, a number of teams’ seasons are essentially on track to franchise leading paths to possible ineptitude and most certainly at this juncture it is definitely the case of the win-less Philadelphia 76ers, who now bear the mark of starting their season on a sixteen-game losing streak. At this point, it would be fair to suggest that the Sixers haven’t a shot in hell of winning the NBA title though they might well be on the path to leading the NBA for the second time in three seasons> for sheer ineptitude .

It is hard to imagine how the league hierarchy and a number of NBA analysts can continue to look the other way, when a franchise such as the Philadelphia 76ers can continue to demonstrate such monstrous ineptitude, while trying to point to the fact that the level of play in the league, is said to be great, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Brett Brown and his Sixers’ team will have the privilege of facing the defending NBA champions at home on Monday Night when the San Antonio Spurs come to town. Neither defense or offense have been prerequisites of a 76ers’ team actually starved of creativity and the very fact Brown and his coaching staff appear to be out of their depth. A seventeenth consecutive loss does seem to be on the cards and the league’s longest losing streak of twenty-six games ought to be Philadelphia’s for the taking .

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If someone can impart some wisdom upon me, as why I should have any belief in two of the NBA’s most storied franchises, then I would like to hear from right now ! To witness how bad the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become is a question as to how inept their owners and respective coaching staffs are said to be . One can wax on lyrically about the fact Mitch Kupchak has won four NBA titles as a front office executive and Phil Jackson’s legacy as an NBA head coach makes him, perhaps the greatest NBA coach in the league’s history. Let us however, put it all into context, Kupchak has not actually been able to assemble a roster without the talents of two superstars to provide the Lakers with their most recent successes. I would dare say, without the insight of his predecessor Jerry West, their five most recent titles would not have come into being without the acquisitions of Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O’Neal. With the last of the franchise’s triumphs coming in 2010 , albeit, that O’Neal was no longer part of those two final series’ victories.

This season the Lakers’ 4-13 mark places the team at the bottom of the Western East Conference with no respite in sight. As to what this might suggest about the coaching acumen of Byron Scott and the mediocrity of the roster will play a great deal in how this organization is likely to move forward, as they approach the trade deadline. Coming off a seven-point victory over the Toronto Raptors may well provide the Lakers with the momentum needed, but it has become abundantly clear this team is far from being competitive enough to be in with a remote chance of winning their division, much less a conference berth as an eighth seed or better for the NBA Playoffs .

I am not saying the New York Knicks have capitulated , but even Phil Jackson had to have known James Dolan’s request for him to assume control for all player personnel decision moves, was not going to make his job any easier. He has a player roster that has marginal talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony and beyond that the pickings are threadbare.

The saying is , ” it’s not easy being cheesy “. Well , the Knicks have been that and a great deal more, with it being a reflection of their current record in the NBA. Feeling sorry for this team is akin to seeking to make an amends for an obese individual, who has no intent to look after their health .I mean, it is not as if this New York Knicks have actually shown a propensity to improve over the course of this season, as borne out in their standing within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, where only the Philadelphia 76ers lies beneath them in the division. To bear this out further, on Sunday night, Derek Fisher and his rag-tag of a team hosted their heated conference rivals the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York. As hosts, the Knicks succumbed to the Heat , with the utmost of ease, and their being no resilience shown by New York throughout this entire contest. Once again, it was left to Carmelo Anthony to try and carry the Knicks on his back, as he has so often done throughout his career with this franchise. If Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills cannot recognize the real issues on this roster, without this incessant idiotic belief that the ‘ Triangle Offense ‘ will aid this team , then the proponents of that idiocy, clearly have no damn idea as to what the hell they are talking about concerning this roster and their play , ultimately in this case, the lack of it .

Next up for Fisher and the New York Knicks will be a game against the Brooklyn Nets 6-9, the Big Apple’s other franchise whose own woes are no better than their conference rivals. New York ” bragging rights” or not , this is likely to be one spectacle that the NBA’s fans can do without as two pitiful teams face off against each other.

A last place finish in the AL East was enough to convince Tom Werner and John Henry , owners of the Boston Red Sox that something drastic had to done to bolster last season’s roster . GM Ben Cherington wasted no time in making a big splash signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez . Boston’s acquisitions are unlikely to be over as they may well seek to make further additions to their projected roster as well losing several players to through attrition via free agency.

Having committed almost $200 million in acquiring both Ramirez and Sandoval , you simply get the impression the Red Sox will not stand idly by while the Baltimore Orioles , New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays seek improve their rosters. Oh wait, let’s be real, the Rays are unlikely to make that sort of financial sacrifice to begin with, as the front office would rather penny-pinch , bitch and whine all the way into next season , as to their dire situation, financially and dare I say it , logistically ?

The Rays lost their two biggest assets during this off-season when GM Andrew Friedman sought to take his services elsewhere, rather than having to deal with an off-season of uncertainty and the constant whining among the local political dignitaries as well managing partner Stuart Sternberg, as to how close the franchise might to getting a new venue to replace the archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. Following Friedman through what has now become the Rays’ postseason turnstile, was the franchise’s most successful manager Joe Maddon. His signing a five-year $25.5 million deal to manage the Chicago Cubs , may on the face of it seem comedic. However, the Cubs are likely to move heaven and earth to give their new manager the tools necessary to get the job done , as they seek their first World Series’ title in over a century. Could the same thing be said of the Rays while Maddon’s tenure brought about a lone appearance in baseball’s showcase finale ? Tampa’s last postseason appearance came in 2013, when they were summarily dispatched with a great deal of ease by the the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS .

Tampa has yet to name a new manager to succeed Joe Maddon and it appears the interview process remains ongoing, but topping the list of potential candidates is Raul Ibanez . Rays’ GM Matt Silverman has not confirmed or denied that the ball-club is still pursuing the former player, but it would appear the organization would rather their cards closely to their chest, than divulge their apparent choice of a successor to Maddon.

While the Boston Red Sox will be hoping for quick turnaround in 2014, a return to the postseason, where their last appearance came in 2013 and unlikely run to the World Series’ that year. For the Tampa Bay Rays, it could very well be another forlorn season where the team lacks leadership both on and off the field of play. Evan Longoria continues to play the part of a Major League star, but what the franchise actually desires from the player are ” superstar exploits “ and a great deal more vocal leadership, none of which has ever really appeared to be evident with Longoria, during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays.

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What if anything, may well have piqued your interest, of the sports’ stories which came into being during this past weekend ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of this site, as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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(1) Mickey Rourke, right , is seen here taking on his opponent Elliot Seymour in what was said to be legitimate bout, but in some circles the contest is being viewed as simply an exhibition fight. The fact remains , it was something of a sham event , that took place at the Moscow Concert Hall as an under-card event . Elliot was said to be a former Golden Gloves’ champion with a credible record as an amateur . What is known about Rourke’s opponent, was that he has been homeless, living on the streets of Los Angeles and was used as a sparring partner for some of the stable of fighters within Golden Boy Promotions Inc , the boxing , managerial and promotional arm of Oscar De La Hoya’s sports’ interests . De La Hoya was not involved in the promotion of the bout and has distanced himself the controversy surrounding the fight. . Getty Images / Mattheus Huchtner …

(2) Mickey Rourke lands a blow to the head of his opponent Elliot Seymour during the first round of their five round bout . Rourke managed to knock down Seymour six times during the fight , three times during the second round . The bout was eventually stopped by the referee to stop the Los Angeles’ based fighter from suffering further punishment . UPI Press Syndicate Europe ….

(3) Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

(4) Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs passes against DeMarcus Ware (94) of the Denver Broncos during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium on November 30, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images North America /Peter Aitken …

(5) Tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) of the New England Patriots runs with the football after a reception past free safety Clinton-Dix (21) of the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter of the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Getty Images / Christian Petersen …

(6) Kosta Karageorge a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ football and wrestling team. The player’s body was found in a dumpster in what the local law enforcement agency believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound . The weapon was found close by with the victim’s body in close proximity to the main campus of Ohio State University. The Columbus Police Dept will be carrying out their ongoing investigation , but it is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances behind Karageorge’s death . AP Photo / Keith Jardine …

(7) Oregon Ducks’ starting quarterback and almost certainly the Heisman Trphy favorite for 2014 Marcus Mariota . AP Photo/ Chris Harper … ….

(8) Brett Brown head coach of the Philadelphia 7ers , the team currently with the worst record in the NBA. Getty Images / Angela Harris …

(9) Boston Red Sox senior executives , John Henry , left and media mogul Tom Werner . The pair are hoping to see an immediate turnaround for the franchise this upcoming season . Courtesy of The Boston Globe ….

(10) Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, long considered to be the franchise’s best player and the outward face of the organization . Questions have arisen about Longoria’s ability to lead and be more vocal on a team , that is certainly desperate for success, where in the AL East they have to deal with the burgeoning financial resources of the four other occupants of the division . Tampa Bay Times ….. all rights reserved @ copyrighted material …..

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Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way …


Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way

Another NFL weekend has almost come to a close, with only the Monday Night Football game still to be played. Nevertheless, there were some rather surprising results along the way and others , which seemed to be foregone conclusion even prior to their start. If there was said to be a major surprise in terms of the results witnessed, then the San Diego Chargers’ embarrassing and lopsided 37-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins(5-3) proved to be the most surprising of them all. Philip Rivers’ season to date has been one of the most impressive of the NFL starting quarterbacks, going into week nine.

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Rivers and his teammates may well look back on the defeat and see it was a way to jar them out their complacency, yet at the same time, I cannot help but wonder if head coach Mike McCoy and his coaching staff had his team prepared for this contest . Whatever this result might suggest, the Chargers and their fans cannot be entirely happy with the performances on the day. With a bye week in week ten , McCoy and his staff will no doubt assess the team injuries as well as the psyche of his players before they head into week eleven where they will face divisional rivals the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium, in San Diego, California. Tony Sparano and the Raiders are still seeking their first win of the season and their 0-8 record now seems a precursor of things s to come , bringing back memories of the Detroit Lions’ win-less season in 2008, where the team was simply abysmal all year long .

Oakland for its part , put up a spirited attempt to defeat the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday in their game played at Century Link Field in Seattle , Washington. Sparano for the moment remains the interim head coach, but sooner or later,GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis will have to make the decision as to whether or not the head coach is the right man to lead this team for the remainder of the season. The longer this prolonged agony continues , the less likely the Raiders are going to see any semblance of success , much less be reinvigorated with some new-found confidence.

After their victory over the San Diego Chargers I have no doubt head coach Joe Philbinand his staff might feel this was the team’s best performance of the season so far. Though there are still eight games left to the regular season, the AFC East division remains something of a tightly contested race. The New England Patriots after their lambasting of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, New England seem to be in the driver’s seat, leading the division with a 7-2 record, where their two-game lead over the Buffalo Bills(5-3) and Dolphins might well be enough for them to take the division with some ease. Given the way the Patriots dealt with Manning and the Broncos , the momentum for Tom Brady and his teammates has now swung their way.

With only the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets (1-8) having more consecutive losses over their last eight games, it is easy to understand why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) have struggled this season . Four consecutive defeats with the latest coming at the hands of the Cleveland Browns (5-3) has to be perplexing for the Buccaneers’ fans just as much as it has to for Lovie Smith and his coaching staff. Not one player on this Buccaneers’ roster can actually justify their salary , yet alone their contract , but somehow Smith suggests he has continued faith in his players , most notably , quarterback Mike Glennon. To try and put into words how abysmal Tampa has been can easily be summed up by sniffing the odor of a canine’s fecal matter or urine and then making a comparison with the Buccaneers’ performances this season. It’s safe to say, shit and urine definitely do stink , but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now in a ” class of their own” , when it comes to stinking up the joint .

Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the equally forlorn Atlanta Falcons (2-6) in a divisional race, where mediocritywithin the NFC South seems to be the norm for this season . All four teams are no better than a .500 record with the New Orleans Saints leading the way with a 4-4 mark. For Saints’ head coach Sean Payton , he knows his team has been uncharacteristic in terms of their overall play . New Orleans’ 28-10 victory over the equally lamentable Carolina Panthers and you get to understand why the NFC South has become an instantaneous joke this season.

To carry on with the comical side of the NFL this season , at what point will the New York Jets’ front office figure out that Rex Ryan , Geno Smith and Michael Vick have a great deal in common ? GM John Idzik and Ryan have formulated a recipe for disaster this season and I doubt that Julia Childs in her kitchen at the peak of her culinary guile could or would have served up such a meal for a dinner guest , let alone what the Jets have served up for their fans this season ! If Geno Smith is said to be a work in progress , then the Jets’ front office should be negotiating with the quarterback’s agents at RocNation Sports for a return of at least 90% of their money back in terms of the player’s contract.

Drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft , Smith is in the process of making Mark Sanchez’s final season with the Jets seem like a masterpiece painted by none other than Pablo Picasso . In reality though, even Picasso at his very worst, with his artistic ingenuity never made his admirers simply want to throw rocks at his work. Sanchez now commonly known for the “butt-fumble fiasco and legacy can take delight, that his successor has become a complete laughing stock around the NFL, with the print and television media and in the tri-state area now continually criticizing Geno Smith for his poor play. Decision making asides , there is now no upside to Smith as a player , let alone the fans seeing Michael Vick on the field as his immediate backup as a starting quarterback. As if to emphasize this point further , I need only point to the Jets’ 24-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs .

The clock is now ticking on Rex Ryan’s tenure with the New York Jets and as their season meanders on, there seems to be no signs the coach and his staff can actually point to any signs of progress, let alone their being confidence among the members of the roster. Dire consequences await should the New York Jets fall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in week ten, when they play host to one of the AFC North’s leading divisional contenders.

A 13-10 loss by the San Francisco 49ers to the St Louis Rams might not yet have created a scene of panic, but given the fact the Rams have not been truly competitive all season long, suggests to me , the Forty Niners were complacent and are extremely overrated this season. The team have begun to rest on their laurels , and Colin Kaepernick seems to be more concerned over his tattooed adorned arms , than he is with the team’s cumbersome play and their nondescript record in the NFC West. Needless to say, the idiocy of the Niners still being capable of winning ten games, seems further adrift than ever before. Should the Forty Niners fail in their quest for the divisional title and a postseason berth , the accusing fingers will certainly be pointed at not only the players , but certainly at head coach Jim Harbaugh .

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1).

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1). While Misssissippi State (Bulldogs) 8-0 still hangs unto the top spot , the belief appears to be they will not be around for the final round and seen as the last man standing. The Bulldogs took care of Arkansas in a competitive match-up that could have gone the Razorbacks’ way, , had they taken advantage of the opportunities offered at the time.

For Mississippi State , if they can simply win out then , they will be part of the inaugural playoff format. Granted, with the rapid rise up the rankings of Oregon , Auburn , TCU (Horned Frogs) and Nick Saban’s rampant Alabama (Crimson Tide) laying swath to their opponents , there is a suggestion the SEC’s presence in the final standings will be overwhelming. One program not part of the discussion is the rapidly falling esteem of the Florida Gators , where Wil Muschamp’s tenure appears to be at end with AD Jeremy Foley intent on prolonging the agony of every Gators’ fan nationwide . Alumni of the program are at the point, where they are calls for an effigy to be hung from the rafters of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida , and home to some of Florida’s greatest triumphs.

To understand the Gators’ plight this season , has been very much a chance to witness what it is like to self implode , while those around you remain calm. Two consecutive losses , before a beat-down of the Georgia Bulldogs and still the victory has not been enough to quell the calls for Wil Muschamp’s dismissal .

Florida’s next scheduled game will pit them against conference rivals Vanderbilt in a contest which could a long way in either resurrecting some respectability to their season or simply prolong the agony.

Kevin Durant , ” out” , Julius Randle and Steve Nash , both on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster out, have their fans witnessing an impromptu and below par start to the NBA season. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without their League MVP for two months of their starting schedule , but Scott Brooks as optimistic as ever is hoping the player can make an earlier return to the team’s starting lineup . The fact Sebastian Telfair now finds himself on the Thunder’s roster after a less than solid career in the NBA , has me wondering what GM Sam Presti hopes to get out of the veteran guard .

Still early stages in the season . but already , you have to wonder what to make of the Los Angeles Lakers and their poor start to their schedule . Win-less , with Byron Scott now unsure as to what his best starting lineup ought to be . An 0-4 start for the Los Angeles Lakers and the excuses have begun from the lame Lakers’ fans, who are unwilling to admit the roster has no real depth or talent beyond Kobe Bryant. If anyone thinks an aging Carlos Boozer can add to or make this roster more productive, /then clearly , they, Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and their forlorn fans are sadly mistaken. . Defensively, the Lakers are an unmitigated disaster and a complete mess, with their being no real sign the coaching staff or the players know when and where their first win of the season is likely to happen . Giving up on 115 points per game and you can easily understand why the Lakers are simply limping and whimpering their way to perhaps another miserable season.

Kobe Bryant will lead his teammates in their next game on Tuesday night when they face the Phoenix Suns at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California. If the contests between these two teams are anything to go by , then we are likely to see either A a high scoring contest , with their being no emphasis on defense or just a game , error prone in just about every facet imaginable. I am not so sure the Los Angeles Lakers are capable of winning their division (Pacific Division) much less able to garner a playoff berth . A year ago today , I doubt the Los Angeles Lakers would have envisaged a season where they would fall from grace even with the franchise having suffered injuries to several players on the roster throughout much of last season.

DeMarcus Cousins remains the troubled player at the professional level, just as much as he was a wayward, but mercurial and talented player at the collegiate level , with the Kentucky Wildcats where he played for one year with the program . Drafted by the Sacramento Kings, Cousins is now seen as the face of the franchiseand its immediate and long-term future. Now with the Kings seeking to make this season a competitive year for the coaching staff of Michael Malone. If the Kings are to succeed and at this stage of the season, where they appear to be the surprise team within the NBA , playing with a great deal of tenacity. Cousins and teammate Rudy Gay will have to be at the forefront of anything being sought by way of success for the Sacramento Kings.

Currently , with a 2-1 mark seated second in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. A surprising 98-92 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers might not have made everyone sit up and take note, until you realize the Clippers were one of the more consistent performers last season having made the NBA Playoffs . The Sacramento Kings were on the outside looking in, as Chris Paul , Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers fell short of their goal of winning an NBA title.

A Monday night contest between the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets earned the visiting team a five-point 110-105 victory at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

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The news in the sports’ world isn’t always refreshing, where the main agenda tends to be more about the unsavory sides to sports’ journalism even when the body of the story isn’t sports’ related. Baseball brought us a stirring World Series finale with the success of the San Francisco Giants . In the NFL the schedule has just moved beyond on its halfway point , with several teams now out of the divisional and conference races. No denying, the walk of shame will be an embarrassing one , no matter how it’s spun. The NBA is now seeking to take the gloss off its NFL counterpart and the press following now being garnered as the season is still in its infancy. No doubt the Lakers’ storyline will be one that is closely followed. Flawed or not , not everyone will be satisfied with formula being initiated. Your thoughts on the manner in which teams or athletes have been performing and where you see them at the end of their respective seasons? College Football in its inaugural year, where the new playoff format comes into being .

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(1) Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) of the Miami Dolphins throws during pregame workouts before his team met the San Diego Chargers at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …

(2) Running back Lamar Miller (26) of the Miami Dolphins scores a second quarter touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during a game at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Upended on the play is tackle Ja’Wuan James(70) of the Dolphins. Getty Images/ Chris Trotman

(3) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball during the third quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images /Steve Dykes …

(4) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Steve Dykes …

(5) Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators dives over Sheldon Dawson (2) of the Georgia Bulldogs for a touchdown during the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images /Sam Greenwood …

(6) Head coach Mike Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs (L) speaks with head coach Wil Muschamp of the Florida Gators before the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images / Sam Greenwood ….

(7) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Phoenix Suns at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Oklahoma City won 103-96 . Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman ..

(8) Teammates Julius Randle left and Kobe Bryant are seen here during the official team photo taken at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo , California ,. Randle drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Mason Porter …

(9) Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins (15) is seen here looking to make an offensive play as he is being defended by the Los Angeles’ Clipper DeAndre Jordan during a game between the two teams on the 2nd November , 2014. Cousins has been one of the primary reasons Kings are off to a great start this season , albeit , that the NBA schedule is still in its infancy . AP Photo / Mark Dennis … ….

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You can’t tell me enough about what I already know .

You can’t tell me enough about what I already know .

Week seven of the NFL came and went in almost a blur and once again as in previous weeks the same level of mediocrity remains within the league . A number of the results were not too surprising with the San Francisco 49ers being on the wrong side of a lopsided result, but yet, some apathetic individuals still believe the Niners are a ten to eleven-game winning team at this stage of the season. The team has become ill-disciplined lacking in leadership but above all, the coaching staff and head coach Jim Harbaugh have lost the confidence and the connection between themselves and the players.

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Though the Forty Niners were on the road in their visit Sports Authority Stadium to play the Denver Broncos in Denver , Colorado , were a complete embarrassment to the NFC West based franchise, who now find themselves behind the hard-charging Arizona Cardinals (5-1) who might just be the surprise team within the NFCthis season.

If the problems of the San Francisco 49ers are not transparent to those who doubt that they have issues , then clearly these individuals are nowhere as knowledgeable as they believe themselves to be. At 4-3 it is hard to envisage how the Forty Niners will win at least six of their remaining nine games, given the lethargy shown over their last five games (3-2), where they are currently on a one-game losing streak . With the team on a bye in week eight , their next game will not be until the 2nd November when they host divisional rivals the St Louis Rams . The game should see Colin Kaepernick and his teammates prevail , but a loss would surely put a dent in their season’s ambitions .

Dennis Allen might well have been the first coaching casualty of the NFL season it is my belief Rex Ryan is now hanging on by his fingernails as the New York Jets (1-6) have become mournfully inept and routinely inconsistent under the head coach’s tendencies during their season in 2014. Though they fought gamely against a less than impressive New England Patriots’ team in a Thursday night contest , the game can be best summed up by the lack of creativity shown by the Jets and the very fact that New England was not at its very best. If there is one thing which could also signify the Jets’ season, then it would have to be the playof Geno Smith , the team’s quarterback. Smith’s if anything in week seven, among AFC starting quarterbacks was one of the worst performing starters and when adjudged against the rest of the NFL , one could suggest the player was beyond woefully inept.

Jets’ GM John Idzik is likely to stick with Rex Ryan for the immediate future, rather than firing the beleaguered head coach. Ryan for his part has become somber and somehow unable to explain the reasons why his team has been performing so poorly. In 2013 and 2014 the New York Jets’ draft classes have been not only poor , but the players chosen have not lived up to expectations and now with the acquisition of Percy Harvin , I doubt whether or not the fortunes of this team is likely to change.

When the New York Jets host divisional rivals(AFC East) the Buffalo Bills in week eight, we are likely find out a great deal about the mindset of Rex Ryan’s players as they try to resurrect their season .

There has been little to suggest that the New York Jets were even capable of winning the AFC East and from a defensive or offensive standpoint, the team leaves a great deal to be desired . Rex Ryan’s future I now believe will be judged on a game-by-game basis , and loss to the Bills will seriously impact the decision that could be made by the front office as to his job security.

I do not believe there is or can be, a more inept division than the NFC South this season, with the play of the quartet of teams in question, being far from perfect . The Carolina Panthers (3-3), leaders> of the division have been less than impressive through the six games of their schedule . The Panthers coming off a rather embarrassing loss to the Green Bay Packers are not the dominant team seen in 2013 , where they won their division with consummate ease and then entered the postseason as one of the NFC’s best teams.

Rivera head coach of the Carolina Panthers has seen starting quarterback Cam Newton remain sidelined for much of the season due to a recurring injury which has led to the Panthers’ passing game to be rather indifferent .Newton’s performance in the game against the Packers was less than stellar but the real loss I believe was the organization to allow Steve Smith to leave the franchise and join the Baltimore Ravens in March of 2014 . Smith remains the Panthers’ all-time receiving yards and receptions’ leader , far surpassing his nearest rival in the category. Since joining the Ravens the veteran has simply been able to show that he can still be productive while aiding his team to very good start to their season within the AFC North .

John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens will be looking for build on their lead within the division when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati , Ohio , this upcoming Sunday. For the Bengals and Marvin Lewis this is a “must-win game” , if they are to have any real chance of making the postseason. Joe Flacco has the full complement of offensive weaponry to now make an assault another attempt at a deep playoff run. Something the franchise clearly needs this season , if it is to somehow rid itself of the less than welcomed image after their handling of the Ray Rice debacle .

Baseball’s ‘ Fall Classic now has the two final teams seeking to be this season’s World Series’ champions . Who would have guessed at the start of the season the last two teams standing would be the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants ? This has been the year where just about everything went right for the Royals after almost three decades of being in the wilderness . Opposing managers , Ned Yost of the Royals and Bruce Bochy of the Giants could very well be considered favored candidates as Managers of the Year within the AL and NL , given the success of their teams . If the postseason has taught us anything this year , it has been the divisional champions were simply paper tigers and the teams who won the AL and NL Pennants were deserving of their accolades.

When James Shields takes to the mound at Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri to face the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner , the long await for the Royals’ fans will have ended as the ball-club seeks to win their first title since 1985. I would like to think this will be series, likely to be one of the more memorable World Series’ contests of recent seasons ! Yet , I somehow get the feeling, this might be a contest or should I say a series of games , where one team is likely to perform admirably, while the other simply falls apart, because of the pressure . There can be no denying the Kansas City Royals’ postseason foray has been one of the great stories in recent MLB postseason history , as they remain unbeaten , outplaying their opponents, while not being placed under any great pressure.

As this World Series’ schedule unfolds , it will be interesting to see how the two opposing teams handle the pressure . What we already know and it is , the San Francisco Giants will be seeking to add their own piece of history to the game , seeking to win their third title in the past five seasons. Bruce Bochy has been front and center, managing the teams in question , showing the guile and managerial acumen not often seen by many of his contemporaries .

The College Football season has turned into a barnstormer and burner, with coaching reputations being torn asunder. The angst now seen and shown by fans of the Florida Gators cannot be underscored, as the team has another terrible season , with their being calls for not only the ouster of Wil Muschamp , but also his decapitation . Somehow, I wasn’t aware the ire of the fans were so wrought with anger . Needless to say, Muschamp’s tenure with the program is about to come to an abrupt end once the schedule comes to a close. There is no way AD Jeremy Foley can justify his being retained for another season , given the team’s poor showing in the SEC and their play over the course of this season .

If only to emphasize how bad the season has been for the Gators , consider their showing in their most recent game against the Mizzou (Missouri) Tigers , where just about everything one could imagine going wrong for Florida happened , as the events of game unfolded . I doubt the team has been this incompetent under a coaching Muschamp coaching staff in quite a while . Florida should consider itself considerably lucky the margin of defeat was simply twenty-nine points as the Mizzou Tigers could quite easily have scored fifty against a team, lost in its own ineptitude .

A bye-week for the Florida Gators will provide no respite as the speculation continues to grow concerning a likely successor for Wil Muschamp. Dan Mullen has let it be known , he has no interest in the position or leaving his current program the Mississippi State (Bulldogs) the number one ranked team in the country . Florida’s next scheduled game will pit them against Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) . Safe to say, a win will be utmost on the minds of the Gators’ players and the coachinfg staff , as their season and standing continues to spiral downwards.

The spiraling idiocy of the Florida State (Seminoles) and their handling of the ongoing issues concerning their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston is a case of damage control handling by simply playing with a stick of dynamite or an unpinned hand grenade . At every juncture, the school’s handling has been a template of what not to do. AD Stan Wilcox remains indifferent and clearly out of touch with reality. Now Jimbo Fisher has suggested the latest allegations of Winston signing some 1000 pieces of memorabilia is unfounded and without foundation . The matter has been substantiated with the memorabilia company stating Winston’s signature was authentic . If the player is said to have financially profited from this exercise then clearly he has violated an NCAA edict , but it appears the head coach , Jimbo Fisher is jumping out on a limb coming to the player’s defense . Given the fact, there has been a pattern of behavior with Winston and his behavioral issue, with he and his lawyers are now willing to settle with a victim of a sexual assault and his being charged with theft from a state wide known grocery store chain , it does leave many wondering, what else can go wrong with the quarterback and that is also in light of his recent suspension.

For the Seminoles they remain unbeaten this season , but have now slipped down the rankings to number two in the nation. In their most recent game Florida State overcame a feisty Notre Dame team winning the contest 31-27 . The contest was one , which in many ways has indicated the struggles of the Seminoles this season. Jimbo Fisher’s players have become complacent albeit the coaching staff might suggest otherwise .

There is no denying Jameis Winston is an extremely talented player , but an NFL team isn’t likely to take a flier on him given his recent issues and it does not bode well for his standing for the NFL Draft of 2015 where he is likely to be seen as consensus top-ten first round pick . From my own standpoint, I believe he is likely to meet the same fate as his predecessor of Heisman winners, when Johnny Manziel slipped down the pecking order of quarterback candidates , as he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns . If anything , it was an emphatic slap in the face for the player and many of his protagonists , who felt he would be a top-five pick and the first quarterback taken in last season’s NFL Draft.

The fate of the Seminoles’ season will lay in what they are to achieve between now and the end of the regular season schedule . before the panelists go about making their decisions in the the new formatted playoff system to determine the national champions. Controversial as this may be , it still will not provide a satisfactory outcome for those who prefer the old flawed system or something widely different , with the preference still favoring programs of the major conferences , specifically those who made up the BCS system . Next up for the Seminoles will be a game on the 30th October , when they will face Louisville . From thereon-in, Florida State’s fate lays in their own hands. Are they good enough to make a successful defense of their national title ? That would be dependent upon the various views now part of the whole conversation concerning the topic.

We are now a week away before the opening night schedule of the NBA season with the defending champions the San Antonio Spurs looking to make a successful defense of the title they won with a great deal of ease “downing “ the overrated Miami Heat . With the core of their team back and their newly crowned Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard looking to make this season more emphatic than last year in which the Spurs were so dominant .

With San Antonio returning with a roster intact with a few additions , the real story in the NBA has been the departure of LeBron James from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers the franchise where James first made his name and where the legend began. The four-time League MVP will be joined also by Kevin Love in a newly revamped roster which will also have point guard Kyrie Irving also a part of the team’s lineup coached by rookie head coach David Blatt. Cleveland is now seen as the predetermined favorites within the Eastern Conference this season to make it to the NBA Finals . I believe the Cavaliers to be a very good team but I am not so sure they are actually good enough to win the conference title outright . Granted , when you have a player of LeBron James’ caliber , things are made a great deal easier , but other than Shawn Marion , Mike Miller and James Jones, there is no one else on the roster with postseason experience, without taking into account the postseason coaching experience of Blatt’s coaching staff .

The Cavaliers will begin their regular season schedule against the New York Knicks at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on the 29th October, 2014. For LeBron it will him give a chance to renew an old rivalry against Carmelo Anthony as well as the Knicks . If their past regular season contests are anything to go by, then these two teams should put on quite a show for the fans in attendance that evening.

Gregg Popovich will lead the Spurs as they begin the defense of their title when they take on the Phoenix Suns , as the Suns seek to make a renewed attempt at resurrecting their fortunes . Suns’ head coach Jeff Hornacek and his coaching staff will use this contest as an initial gauge in their process of improving. Last season the Phoenix Suns were less than competitive within their division and the Western Conference . If Hornacek can instill the discipline he showed as a player with the Utah Jazz and he Phoenix Suns , then the Suns could be well on the way to having a meaningful season in the NBA, but I believe it will remain a work in progress for this team .

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Picture gallery .

During the past week what event do you believe highlighted as a news’ story has grabbed your attention and piqued your interest ? Also which story do you believe has been the most overblown in terms of reporting ? Chime in with your thoughts by way of a comment as you see fit .

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery.
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(1) Ned Yost(3) of the Kansas City Royals looks on during batting practice before Game One of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 21, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals would go on to lose game one 7-1 to the Giants in first of the seven-games series in the 2014 World Series . Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …

(2) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers walks in the tunnel with teammates as he prepares to face the Denver Broncos in a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 19 , 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Kapernick on the Broncos would go on to losing the game to Denver 42-17 . Getty Images / Justin Edmonds …

(3) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked in the third quarter by defensive end Malik Jackson (97) of the Denver Broncos as cornerback Bradley Roby (29) comes in at the end of the play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images / Justin Edmonds …

(4) New York Jets’ GM John Idzik left is seen here with the team head coach Rex Ryan . The Jets are off to disastrous start to their season with a 1-6 mark , firmly rooting the team at the bottom of the AFC East without a chance of making the postseason . AP Photo / Mark Thomas ..

(5) Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk (7) scrambles out of the pocket as Florida defensive back Keanu Neal (42) moves in during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. AP Photo/John Raoux

(6) Missouri coach Gary Pinkel , left, and Florida head coach Wil Muschamp chat at midfield prior to the NCAA game between Missouri and Florida on the 18th October , 2014 ,. AP Photo / John Raoux ….

(7) Jameis Winston (5) , quarterback of Florida State is seen here on the sidelines with head coach Jimbo Fisher during a game . The embattled player is having a torrid time both on and off the field, as his reputation has taken a battering , as well as the program’s own problems with their handling of Winston’s behavioral issues . AP Photo / Carter Burris … ….

(8) Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach David Blatt ,left , is seen here with the team’s general manager David Griffin at a formal press conference to introduce Blatt as the franchise’s new head coach . The Cavaliers embark on a new season with a revamped roster headed by their acquisitions of LeBron James , James Jones , Mike Miller and Kevin Love . Getty Images / Keith Jones .. ….

(9) Jeff Hornacek shows off his shot as he is introduced as he is introduced as the Phoenix Suns’ new head basketball coach during an NBA basketball news conference, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

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I don’t like Mondays …

I don’t like Mondays …..

Well it’s Monday and in the aftermath of an excellent sports’ weekend we can look back and assess the damage done by way of the results. Major League Baseball and the mystifying play of the teams was beyond bewildering. Two of the series were uncompetitive with the Baltimore Orioles sweeping the Detroit Tigers with immense ease. In the other ALDS contest, the Cinderella story continues with Ned Yost and the Kansas City Royals continuing their march through the postseason after downing the Los Angeles Angels. As to what this might say about a team whose payroll exceeds the Royals’ almost “two to one “ , has me now believing , it’s not about the pay alone , but the quality of the players and their commitment to pursuing the same goals .

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For Angels’ manager Mike Sciocsia , this might have been his last season in charge as the manager of Major League team. Executives , Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto are likely to make the decision relieve Sciocsia of his managerial duties , with several of the players on the current roster likely to be shown the door .

The two remaining series still ongoing, have now become the best of a three-game series, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and St Louis Cardinals’ squared at one game apiece (1-1), with the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants also squared one apiece . Game three for the four teams will take place on Monday 6th October , 2014 with the home teams in both cases seeking to take a 2-1 advantage in their respective series.

Say what you will about the College Football season with the now defunct BCS seeking re-image itself as a more concerned entity and its perceived image by the fans. With intelligence , it is said comes clarity and a sense of purpose, but for collegiate athletics as it relates to football, it is business as usual , with money being the preeminent reason for the game to exist . Where else can you witness such brazen greed among the major conference, with the programs themselves and conference commissioners playing an active role in how the tens of billions of dollars in revenue are disbursed ? I guess the word “shamateurism ” is well represented , with the NCAA playing their part in making sure the fraud continues , albeit the all too naive fans of the game and college athletics believes there still remains some endearing principles being upheld.

If nothing else, with a new playoff format now set to unfold the results one would hope, will play some part in how the empaneled body will seek come up with their premise upon which teams are likely to be playing for a national championship in College Football. Week six’s results were somewhat surprising , with Alabama falling to conference rivals Ole Miss in a very extraordinary result .

We all know how competitive the SEC will be this season , with several teams within the conference likely to be vying for one of the playoff berths. With Alabama’s loss , things have not only been shaken up within the conference , but also among the collegiate landscape and the national rankings . How five weeks into the schedule , Nick Saban’s team can still be ranked inside the top ten having suffered a conference loss while noted unbeaten teams are ranked lower, remains as mystifying as the play of the players during their game against the Rebels.

I am not about to suggest Nick Saban and the Tide’s hopes have been dashed after this defeat, but it is unlikely to be an aid to the team and their long-term goals. Next up for Alabama will be a game against Arkansas (Razorbacks) in a contest likely to be a competitive match-up between these two teams.

It seems rather idiotic the talk within certain circles happens to be the future of Florida Gators’ head coach Wil Muschamp after an indifferent season in 2013 and a rather tenuous start to 2014 . AD Jeremy Foley has stated Muschamp’s job is safe for now and there will be no changes made until the end of the season. Florida (3-1) are a good team , but they are not a great team and while the expectations are always high for a program known for the success gained with Urban Meyer as the head coach. It must be said, the Gators became very complacent after their two most recent national title championships. A great deal of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Meyer prior to his abrupt departure from the program.

The Gators’ defeat came in their week four loss to Alabama in what was to be a reflection of their season so far . If you thought things would get any easier, then consider the fact Florida struggled in their next game eking out a 10-9 win over Tennessee (Volunteers) in a terrifically bad exhibition of football by both teams on the day within the SEC .

Gators’ quarterback Matt Jones was the starter in the game against the Volunteers who struggled constantly as did his backup , Jeff Driskell , but the issues of the team are not just on the offensive side of ball but also defensively which suggest Wil Muschamp and his staff have a great deal of work do before their next game . That contest will be against another SEC behemoth , where Les Miles and the LSU Tigers will be the guests of Florida this upcoming Saturday , 11th October, 2014 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Heisman Trophy winners often viewed as the best player in College Football for the year they won the trophy or simply for the body of their work during their college career. In recent seasons we have seen winners such as Cam Newton , Robert Griffin III and now Johnny Manziel take the step from the college ranks to the professional level. In 2014 , the front-runner for the award appears to be Marcus Mariota of Oregon (Ducks) , a program simply known for their offensive prowess while showing very little guile on defense . Such are the ways of the programs within the Pac-12 , that it remains easy to understand why those teams have continued to struggle in recent seasons to make inroads in winning a national title.

Mariota and the team were off to an impressive start to their season before being recently upended by conference rivals Arizona (Wildcats) in a lively contest where the two opposing quarterbacks let loose with their array of talents . This was a game which told us a great deal about Mariota, but also likely may , well have forestalled his chances of winning the Heisman this season . I believe he remains the front-runner , where last year’s winner Jameis Winston because of his off-field antics will be overlooked as a repeat winner and where the other likely candidates may well have inched closer in closing the gap on the presumed leader . Todd Gurley , Amari Cooper , Ameer Abdullah , Kenny Hill , Dak Prescott , Everett Golson and Melvin Gordon are seen as the players still in with a chance of claiming college football’s most prestigious individual trophy.

Week seven will see Oregon led by head coach Mark Helfrich lead his team against the UCLA Bruins (4-1) in what is sure to be a lively contest.

You have to wonder how much longer fans of the NFL can endure the idiotic antics , rhetoric and pragmatism of New York Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan . At the start of the season Ryan was extolling the virtues of his team and in particular his quarterback Geno Smith. Five weeks into the NFL season and Smith remains one of the least productive quarterbacks in the league and his frailties and tendencies are still being exposed .

Coming off the wrong side of an embarrassing defeat, where no real explanation could be offered up by anyone on the Jets’ coaching staff or roster . It easy to now understand why everyone might want to hide their heads in shame . Not only did Philp Rivers and the San Diego enjoy exploiting the New York Jets’ secondary, but I got the impression had the Chargers not made a number mistakes the margin of victory certainly would have exceeded fifty points instead of the end result of 31-0 , in a rout of the Jets.

There are few alternatives for Rex Ryan with regard to demoting Geno Smith and then calling on a veteran such as Michael Vick . The former starter with both the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles is now on the downside of a less than stellar career . Things are unlikely to get any easier in six when the New York Jets host the Denver Broncos who are coming off the demolition of the Arizona Cardinals this past week . Needless to say , Peyton Manning is likely to revel in the task of shredding the Jets’ defense throughout this contest.

In week seven the Jets will lock horns with the New England Patriots in a game which will likely have a bearing determining the AFC East , where the play has been less than impressive from the teams within the division.

New England have been far from convincing through their first five games , A> with some now questioning the consistency of Tom Brady’s play and of the defense and offense in particular . A great deal of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of head coach Bill Belichick and his coaching staff who seem to be showing complacency in a number of areas. A case could be made that Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are failing in their respective duties without pointing blame at the Pro Bowl quarterback . And while the Patriots lead the AFC East , the division is by no means sewn up , albeit, it remains a poor division in terms of the overall play witnessed this season.

Policy or no policy , the idiocy of the league as well as their front office executives remains bewildering and rather self-absorbed . Who are the NFL trying to protect , if not themselves ? Clearly, neither Roger Goodell or the owners have the faintest idea about reality and the world they conduct business in, other than to make money at the cost of consumers , and the legions of female fans of the league. As for the insistence of the league, it remains conscious of their duties in fighting off all stereotypes of their image, concerning player misconduct, consider the negative stories which have engulfed the league recently and the response from the NFL , certain members of the hierarchy without the failure of the NFLPA (union) and its executive committee to step up and issue an official statement. Instead there has been a great deal of rhetoric , pragmatism but above all , a great deal of goddamn hypocrisy and apathy on the part the traditional male fans , who seem to be Neanderthal in their nature and thinking .

Colin Kaepernick and the Forty Niners have been indifferent in terms of their performances this season . Having landed a multi-year , multi-million dollar contract which makes the quarterback among the highest paid players in the NFL . It would be true to suggest through five games, Kaepernick seems a mere shadow of the player who took the franchise to their most recent playoff successes , albeit they failed in their ultimate goal of claiming a Superbowl victory.

Kapernick and the San Francisco 49ers(3-2) will be in for a tough battle with the Seattle Seahawks(3-1) as they each seek divisional supremacy within the NFC West this season . The divisional games between these two teams this season should tell us a great deal about both teams as well as the two opposing quarterbacks , Colin Kapernick and Russell Wilson . Wilson for his part almost single-handed took apart the woefully inept Washington Redskins(1-4) in the latest chapter of another bad Monday Night Game this
season
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With there being a great deal on unrest now said to be ongoing within the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room and the adversarial approach now taking place between head coach Jim Harbaugh and his players , it remains to be seen whether not the coach last the season or the possibility he might be fired by Trent Baalke .

It’s still early days yet , but with a new owner in tow , Tom Benson of the New Orleans Pelicans has to be hoping the franchise he purchased will one of the teams likely to be very competitive this season . With Anthony Davis coming off a FIBA World Cup medal tournament win and the player being the centerpiece of head coach’s Monty Willams’ ambitions for this team . It will be interesting to see how the players fare once the regular season gets underway.

While I believe the Pelicans to be a good team , they are not yet a great team and they have no real pedigree or body of work to show they will be one of the better franchises within their division much less their conference this upcoming season. What we are aware of, is the very fact they have a young core group of players quite capable of excelling at the highest levels when coached by a very good staff . Dell Demps has assembled a roster he believes will be good enough to make a competitive challenge within the Southwestern Division and Western Conference this upcoming season .

Anthony Davis , a supporting cast of Jimmer Fredette , Tyreke Evans , Luke Babbitt , Eric Gordon , John Salmons and Austin Rivers are likely to provide Pelicans’ fans with a number of highlights this season. In the preseason the team has already had their way with an experienced Miami Heat team , that may well appear to be still shell-shocked after their rather shocking display in NBA Finals last season.

The Pelicans will open their regular season schedule against the Orlando Magic in a game where the home team will have a distinct advantage. Regular season meetings between the two teams over the past four years have been entertaining and wild, with the emphasis placed on offense over defense. Anthony Davis will be viewed as the focal point of the team, but I believe it will be Tyreke Evans who will prove to be one the primary mainstays for the Pelicans over the course of this season . Games against the San Antonio Spurs will be of particular interest , as it will be a way for the Pelicans to test the merits of the team .

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Picture gallery .

In the aftermath of this sports’ weekend , what do you feel was the biggest story to unfold and which event do you think was simply over-hyped and merely the media looking to make something out of nothing ?

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz gestures after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning in Game 3 of baseball’s AL Division Series against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Detroit. Cruz was one of the primary reasons why the Orioles swept the Tigers in three games to make it to this season’s ALCS where they will face the Kansas City Royals with the winner representing the AL in this year’s World Series . AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …

(2) Baltimore Orioles’ Nick Markakis , right, and Nelson Cruz celebrate after Baltimore defeated the Detroit Tigers, 2-1, in Game 3 of baseball’s AL Division Series Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Detroit. Baltimore won the series 3-0. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

(3) Kansas City Royals’ Eric Hosmer , right, celebrates his two-run home run with Alex Gordon in the 11th inning against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 2 of baseball’s AL Division Series, in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. AP Photo/Gregory Bull …

(4) Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, right, celebrates with Mike Moustakas after the Royals’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels in 11 innings during Game 1 of baseball’s AL Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Moustakas hit a home rum in the 11th inning. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi …

(5) Trae Elston (7) of the Ole Miss Rebels celebrates after a kickoff against the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 4, 2014 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. Getty Images/ Joe Murphy …

(6) Serdius Bryant (14) of the Ole Miss Rebels tackles T.J. Yeldon (4) of the Alabama Crimson Tide on OCTOBER 4, 2014 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. Mississippi beat Alabama 23-17. Joe Murphy/ Getty Images ..

(7) Marcus Mariota quarterback of Oregon Ducks , seen as this year’s Heisman Trophy front-runner , but with the team suffering their first loss of the season against Arizona , the feeling is the player has now fallen in down the list of favored candidates for this season’s award. AP Photo / Michelle Ward ..

(8) Geno Smith of the New York Jets whose performance against the San Diego Chargers was among the worst of week five among the starting quarterbacks in the NFL on the day . The Jets would end up losing the game 31-0 , with head coach Rex Ryan having to insert Michael Vick in the early stages of the contest. It remains to be seen whether or not Smith will be the team’s starter for week six . Getty Images / Richard Parsons …

(9) Anthony Bennett(42) of the New Orleans Pelicans is seen here with Pelicans’ head coach Mont Williams during a team workout session for Team USA in their preparation for the FIBA World Cup Basketball Tournament held in Barcelona , Spain this year . The team took home the gold medal after a very tough and competitive competition. Getty Images / Phillipa Law …

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tophatal 2014/10/06

Tophatal’s Blog

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Make that ‘two ‘ to go , with a side order of tits and @ss .

Wake up everybody , it’s NFL and College Football time

Wake up everybody , it’s NFL and College Football time

Well , week one of the College Football season has past us by with the number one ranked Florida State Seminoles coming off a rather close victory over Oklahoma State in the first contest of their season schedule . Seminoles’ head coach Jimbo Fisher knows his team will be under a microscope, while quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston will have a great deal to live up to after an exhilarating season for the team in 2013. Within the ACC , I do believe Florida State will once again be the team to beat , with their being very few challengers within the conference about their dominance. In week two the Seminoles will face off against the Citadel in a game to be played at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida this upcoming Saturday when there will be a slew of games on the schedule.

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Elsewhere within the Collegiate Football landscape, erstwhile SEC powerhouses , Florida (Gators) , Alabama , Auburn and LSU (Tigers) will be looking to rebound while seeking to prove the ACC’s ascent will be nothing more than a passing fad. In six of the past seven seasons it has been an SEC program which has been anointed the national champion at the FBS Level in College Football. Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide team are seeking to put in the past a rather demonstrative 2013 season , where they fell apart at the seams in more ways than one. . That disappointment will have disappeared , with Saban coming into this season with a fresh crop of rookies , as well have holdovers in his sophomore , juniors and seniors, as the program seeks to add another illustrious chapter to their well-chronicled history.

Alabama’s pounding of West Virginia with a 33-23 romp was something of a cruise, but the team’s schedule is likely to become a great more difficult in the upcoming weeks. The second game of their season will see them host Florida Atlantic at the Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa , Alabama on the 6th September ,2014. However , their week five showdown against SEC rivals , Wil Muschamp’s Florida Gators will provide fans nationwide as well of the program with the chance to see how far the team will have progressed in their season.

Nick Saban, as he seeks to re-energize Alabama’s standing within College Football and will have to no doubt relieve the memories of last season’s six-point 34-28 loss to Auburn, only to then further compound the lackluster effort with another defeat suffered at the hands of Oklahoma Sooners in the Allstate Sugar Bowl , one of the now meaningless end of season postseason games, which the NCAA and the BCS believes benefits College Football as well as the fans. Well , if adding tens of millions of dollars in revenues to the programs , with very little finding its way benefiting the student athlete , then I am sure College Football does indeed benefit from that type of largesse on a grand scale. The fact of the matter remains, the NCAA’S finances , that of the BCS and major programs are not always opened up for public scrutiny , in spite of claims to the contrary being made by proponents of the present system.

For Wil Muschamp and the Florida Gators, this will be a season where the coach and his staff will have to prove to their fans and the nation at large , the program remains among the elite within the college game. Last season however, was something of a nightmare on all fronts as the players failed to respond on the field , ending the season with a rather lackluster record (4-8) and a poor national ranking at year-end. . Florida will enter into week two , when they will square off against Eastern Michigan in a game that neither side can really afford to lose. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be the venue for this contest which will be seen nationwide. Tyler Murphy and Mack Brown will be looking to provide the impetus for the Gators’ offense in this game as their opponents will have Reginald Bell , Bronson Hill and Tyreese Russell looking to get the Eagles up and running from an offensive standpoint , while their defense seeks to quell the offense of the Gators.

Perhaps it is me , but I have always felt once the truth became known about how callous, conniving and widespread the cheating had become within the USC Trojans’ program . The rats would begin to desert the vessel, like a sinking ship amidst a turbulent storm in the middle of the ocean . Pete Carroll’s feet barely touched the ground , as he left the football program , but that may well have had more to do with the five-year $35 million offer from the Seattle Seahawks , rather than his seeking to stick around to answer any questions from the NCAA and investigators from the Infractions Committee . Reggie Bush’s Heisman was more tainted than a Petri dish filled with bacterial microbes and former AD Mike Garrett seem to be always nonplussed when asked to explain what was going on within the program he presided over as the athletics director. Carroll’s successor , Lane Kiffin proved to be as effective a head coach as sponge would be in aiding a crew on a capsizing vessel at sea with his record at USC speaking volumes about why the football program almost sank without a trace.

Mike Garrett’s departure brought in Pat Haden to oversee the athletics’ program and to steer it back onto the right path , but it has to be said in the first few months of his tenure Haden allowed Kiffin to run amok in violating several of the NCAA’s rules , but there are some under the impression his reputation is one above reproach and makes him a great candidate to be now seated on the panel, which will bring about changes in College Football and a playoff format in deciding a national champion at the FBS Level . The system is likely to have initial teething problems just like anything else , but it will continue to have its detractors within and outside of the game , because anything which brings about change of this size leading to some programs and conferences getting even less of the revenue pie will ultimately lead to a revolt. Barack Obama in 2008, went behind of the mantra “ change is good” , yet six years later the changes he envisioned have not led to the betterment of the country overall. Can and will the same be said of the proposed changes for College Football?

USC in recent years have fallen upon lean times in terms of success and have not been part of the national championship picture in several years . Last season was an abysmal year all round with Lane Kiffin and his players falling short of the general expectations while the Pac-12 title and championship was never within their grasp. This season and it has been left to Steve Sarkisian to take over the reins as the head coach of the football team along with an experienced coaching staff to assist him in his endeavors . The USC Trojans kicked off their 2014 season schedule with a 52-13 trouncing of Fresno State in a contest that was hardly competitive for Sarkisian’s players. Their week contest will be against the eleventh ranked Stanford Cardinals coached by David Shaw , in a game likely to prove to be one of the highlights of the Pac 12 schedule for the day and the season .

Away from the spotlight of the Trojans’ season, have been the off the field issues concerning two members Steve Sarkisian’s roster , with the ugliness of lies , deception and claims of racial bias among the coaches. Josh Shaw , has been suspended indefinitely for lying about an injury sustained when he claims , he rescued a seven-year old relative from drowning . When pressed to provide further details of the rescue attempt and his alleged bravery , Shaw admitted he lied about the incident and the injuries to both of his ankles , which were sustained during a dare, when he jumped from a second story balcony into a pool below at a motel. As to Josh Shaw’s reasoning behind the subterfuge, I can only surmise the level of education being provided at USC is on the decline and being a member of the football team has nothing at all to do with honesty or intelligence ! Allegations of racism cannot be overlooked, but when it comes from a player, who levels those accusations against coaches as well as the educational establishment , one has to delve deeper to make sure there are no underlying issues or any veracity to those claims. Anthony Brown , one of a bevy of running backs on the USC Trojans’ team has leveled those allegations against the program. Brown’s claims are troubling and the coach has refuted the claims defending himself vehemently against the accusations of racism. Brown has left the program, but it does make you wonder what the hell must be going on at an educational establishment and renowned collegiate sports’ institution still trying erase the memories of their most recent scandals touching the basketball and football programs.

Hard to believe it has been a mere six months since the NFL season ended with the lopsided victory of the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos in the Superbowl . Peyton Manning’s season came to a crashing end, when he and his teammates fell apart at the seams in the NFL postseason finale. Jon Fox and the Broncos will be looking to put that mishap in their rear view mirror, but it will be hard to do so , as they will enter the regular season without the aid of Wes Welker through the first four games of the season. Welker’s four-game suspension for the use of a banned substance (MDMA), amphetamines comes as something of a shock , but his explanation about how he might well have ingested the substance is laughable to say the least. The wide receiver believes his drink was “spiked” , while attending a horse racing event with friends. Having failed the test, it should be noted Wes Welker suffered a concussion in a preseason game while playing for the Broncos. It was the third concussion the player has suffered over the past eighteen months and the tenth of his NFL career.

The Broncos’ will begin their season in what is likely to be a hard-fought game against the Indianapolis Colts, in a contest to be played at Sports Authority Field , in Denver, Colorado ,.

Officially , the 2014 regular season schedule opens up on Thursday night when the Superbowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks begin the defense of their title against the Green Bay Packers , led by Aaron Rodgers . The Packers’ quarterback will be the guests in the boisterous atmosphere of Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington, and this could be seen as a contest of two of the NFC’s heavyweight titans. If the off-season moves and the draft class of Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff are anything to go by, then the Packers are likely to be seen as one of the favorites within the conference and a possible Superbowl contender. Green Bay I believe are good enough to win the NFC North with considerable ease, because I do not believe any of their divisional rivals have the talent to challenge this Green Bay Packers’ team over the course of the season ! The defense and offense re likely to be considerably better than witnessed last season.

It would be fair to suggest the Atlanta Falcons have proven to be a major disappointment in 2012 and 2013 , with the franchise failing miserably in each of the seasons in question when it came to the postseason. Matt Ryan proved to be vulnerable and questions arose as to leadership skills and the money vested in one of the NFL’s highest paid players and quarterbacks in the league. Mike Smith and the coaching staff , will be hoping to rebound from the team’s 4-12 showing last season when the play of the Falcons was a monumental disaster. With a new stadium on the horizon, I seriously doubt team owner , Arthur Blank and the front office would like to see this team fall even further into the depths of mediocrity .

The woes of the Atlanta Falcons were on full display in 2013 and one can only hope their showing for 2014 will be a great deal better than last year. A fresh influx of free agents and a rookie draft class should provide Mike Smith with the tools needed , while Matt Ryan will certainly have to show he is not simply a good regular season quarterback who gets derailed during the postseason. Ryan will have to prove he is capable leading a team deep into the postseason and try to justify the claims he is one of the best quarterbacks to have been drafted in the NFL over the past seven years .

Atlanta will open their regular season schedule with an all divisional contest against the New Orleans Saints when Drew Brees and his teammates will be the guests at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta , Georgia ,. The Saints have not been the NFC South champions since 2011, a season in which the team would make it to the postseason , only to fall in the divisional playoffs. Since then , it has been the Saints as franchise , with one of the league’s most explosive teams in terms of offense. All four teams within the NFC South this season, are likely to be seen as viable candidates as a potential divisional champion, but I believe there will be three teams likely to make the division competitive in the NFL . Those three teams are the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans Saints , Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a toss-up between the Atlanta Falcons and the Buccaneers as to which of the duo will be filling in the final position within the NFC South.

Week one of the regular season of the NFL will merely provide us an appetizer and entrée for the remainder of the season . I would like to think the fans will be satisfied with what is on view and we are thoroughly entertained, after-all it is what we have now come to expect of the NFL over the years .

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Picture gallery.

What if anything, are you hoping to see out of the College Football season and within the NFL? Your comments are welcomed, so by all means chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details.
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(1) Jameis Winston (5) of the Florida State Seminoles directs the offense against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Advocare Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images North America / Ronald Martinez

(2) Jameis Winston (5) of the Florida State Seminoles passes against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Advocare Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez …

(3) Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators signals to the team to head back to the locker rooms after it was announced that there has been a lightning strike near the stadium and players must return inside after the kickoff of the game against the Idaho Vandals on August 30, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida. The game was then terminated for weather and unsafe playing conditions. Getty Images / Rob Foldy ….

(4) Nick Saban, head coach of the University of Alabama football team . Saban will be looking to make the Crimson Tide once again one of the elite teams within the SEC , as well as back on the national stage, with a view to winning the national title . AP Photo/ Chris Murray …

(5) USC President C.L. Max Nikias (L) , Steve Sarkisian (C) , and USC Athletic Director Pat Haden pose for photos at a press conference introducing Sarkisian as the new USC head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Stephen Dunn / Getty Images …

(6) USC Trojans’ running back Anthony Brown , whose allegations of the team’s head coach Steve Sarkisian and members of his coaching staff has raised more than a few eyebrows concerning the program this season Sarkisian has refuted the player in essence calling them groundless . Brown has since left the football team of his own volition . LA Times / Hector Ramirez …

(7) Josh Shaw , pictured here was formerly a corner-back with the USC Trojans before being suspended indefinitely by Steve Sarkisian for lying about an injury sustained prior to the start of the team’s season . Courtesy of the LA Times…

(8) Wes Welker , wide receiver with the Denver Broncos and quite possibly the most high-profiled player to have been suspended by the NFL: over the past two seasons to have been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Welker tested positive for the use of MDMA (‘Molly’) an amphetamine based PED banned by the NFL, which the player claims was “spiked” into his drink taken, when visiting a sports’ event with friends. The Denver Broncos will be without the wide receiver for the first four games of their regular season schedule before he returns in week five for a game against the Arizona Cardinals . AP Photo / Matthew Hurd …

(9) Matt Ryan , right , quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons is seen here with teammate, wide receiver Julio Jones . If the duo are to provide an effective tandem, then it is imperative Jones stays healthy and Ryan performs consistently at a very high level this upcoming season . Getty Images / Paul Matthews …

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For your consideration ………

For your consideration ….

It is that time of year once again where pundits are out making their prognostications for the upcoming season within Collegiate Football as well as the NFL. Given the fact both institutions continue to fail their fans consistently, albeit , a number of idiots are clamoring for the latest piece of idiocy from the NCAA and BCS for an empaneled body to come up with a format in deciding a playoff system to decide a national champion at the FBS Level . Claims are continually being made format as now being described cannot work , but what really likes at the heart of this all is actually the disbursement of revenues as divided up between the major conferences making up the BCS system. If the fools who continue to bitch and whine cannot see it for themselves , then they are as dumb as they look.
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NCAA President Mark Emmert remains in a position of power but his lack of understanding of so many issues within collegiate athletics, truly belies his lack of intelligence. Emmert and senior members of his institution, remain slow in enacting safety measures that protect female victims from on campus sexual assaults , without the colleges themselves actually being proactive in such measures. The statistics are there to bear this out and it has been a damning indictment of a number of major college campuses up and down the country , including Florida State , home to last season’s BCS national champion and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston , himself the subject of alleged rape incident , where he remains the only suspect. Winston’s legal representatives have repeatedly changed their story concerning their client’s guilt, without one having delve into the player’s other off the field issues, where he was charged in the theft of grocery items stolen from a prominent Florida grocery store chain. Jameis Winston’s apology wore thin, when you consider the player had the means to pay for items stolen but somehow this has been all overlooked by the press and Seminoles’ fans alike without the favoritism shown the player by the Tallahassee Police Department after this latest incident.

In the preseason polls , Florida State are ranked number one after their unbeaten season in 2013 and narrow victory in the national championship game. Quarterback Jameis Winston will be looking to fortify his status as a likely first round draft pick and being taken as the top passer in the draft. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the Seminoles’ Heisman Trophy predecessor Johnny Manziel when he was taken down in the depth charts of passers picked in the 2014 NFL Draft . Whether or not the decision came by way of the player’s attitude or simply because general managers around the league failed to be impressed by his Combine Workouts, has as much to do with the never-ending stories within the print and television media. Reporters and NFL analysts alike simply clamored for anything related to the Texas Aggies’ quarterback , even when the stories were innocuous and mundane.

Manziel will have to prove himself as he looks to impress staff of the Cleveland Browns as well as their fans and the press alike. Whether or not he can beat out Brian Hoyer for starting role during the preseason and enter the regular season as the starting quarterback on the team remains to be seen. The franchise has a great deal vested in Johnny Manziel , because his success will play a great part in the furtherance of their ambition of the franchise and owner , Jimmy Haslam who remains beset by his off-field ongoing legal problems . Mike Pettine head coach of the Cleveland Browns seems to be convinced his rookie quarterback shows all the signs of maturity since joining the franchise, but there will always continue remain doubts about Johnny Manziel’s maturity and leadership skills. While the player has admitted his mistakes as a college player, upon entering the ranks of the NFL and its bright lights , it would seem he has learned absolutely nothing from his collegiate experience and the problems which followed him there. Needless to say, with all of the negative publicity which has followed the NFL recently the league can ill afford more negativity to follow while the league hierarchy continues to make a complete ass of itself with their asinine statements. Never mind the fact we now have apathetic fans and professional pundits alike showing their own stupidity with their lame ass comments concerning these recent events.

From my own standpoint, in spite of their draft and off-season acquisitions , I do not believe the Cleveland Browns will prove to be a major contender within the AFC North or the conference this upcoming season. There are still too many issues on the roster which have not been fully addressed and Brian Hoyer is being asked to do way too much based on minimal experience of playing time in the NFL. How this is meant to equate with the team being viewed as legitimate divisional or playoff contender , does seem far-fetched. Cleveland will open their regular season with a divisional game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania when they are the guests of the Pittsburgh Steelers . That contest should prove to be very interesting for two teams seeking to bounce back after a somewhat horrific season in 2013. A win is of utmost importance for both franchises, as they each seek to get 2014 off to a rousing start .

While the NFL tries to dig itself out of an ever-deepening hole, through their own sheer stupidity and by the encouragements of idiots such as ESPN’s on air analyst Stephen A Smith . One has to counter the impression being created by this league , it is indeed in touch with the fears of women, who are the victims of assault. Roger Goodell continues to show how out of touch with reality he remains , while Smith showed what a contemptible asshole he just happens to be. Furthermore, with some male fans using the analogy of being politically correct and freedom of speech to excuse the act of Ray Rice’s behavior , while ignoring the very fact this widespread behavior is now almost rampant within the NFL, with the league hierarchy itself , doing very little to punish the players themselves , who are guilty of acts such as spousal abuse or battery . Never mind the fact , the NFLPA (union) as led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has said very little publicly about the abusive behavior of his members, but yet we are led to believe this league values the support of female fans? Nothing remains further from the truth and it will continue to remain that way, as long as the NFL continues to ignore the repeated wake up calls by such incidents being repeated by its players.

The ACC this season will look to reaffirm its status as a top program in college football. While the BCS title win by Florida State may well support the claim, I believe the power within collegiate football rests in the SEC by way of the litany of top-flight programs within the conference. Nick Saban and Alabama will be looking to reaffirm its position within the conference, while the Florida Gators and Wil Muschamp will be looking to show his players will be playing with a great deal more consistency than shown in 2013. September 20th should prove to be a very interesting date on the collegiate football calendar when Florida meets Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium .

Week one of the college football season and programs within the FBS will begin their preamble to decide a national champion. With so much being at stake the Florida State Seminoles and Jimbo Fisher seeking to make a successful defense of their national title. I firmly believe the task will be beyond the team, because it is so difficult to win back to back titles within the game. The Seminoles will begin their defense against the number seventeen ranked Oklahoma State (Cowboys) in what may well prove to be game all about offense , with some defense thrown in for good measure. The SEC itself remains a formidable powerhouse in terms of the teams within the conference and the competitiveness there as witnessed over the past two seasons.

Will this season’s champion come from within the SEC? Well that remains to be seen, but all paths to another national championship are likely to pass through the conference.

Two national titles has a way of legitimizing a coach’s resume and credibility , but the cloud under which Urban Meyer left the Florida Gators , only to return to the coaching ranks of college football to head to the program at Ohio State (Buckeyes) has left an unpalatable taste in the mouths of Gators’ fans. Meyer in no uncertain term has been critical of his former employer, most notably suggesting he was not to blame for the behavior of a number of players who ran afoul of the law as well violating NCAA rules. What might be even more asinine when taking the former Gators’ head coach’s statement , is the very fact he was extremely lax in reprimanding many of the players, most notably Aaron Hernandez whose legal troubles in the NFL have been well chronicled. Meyer succeeded Jim Tressel whose career with the Buckeyes, while having brought about a great deal of success , the latter years proved to be extremely controversial and extremely distasteful, with their being a lack of honesty from Jim Tressel , his coaching staff at the time , and the culpability of AD Gene Smith and former university President Dr E Gordon Gee.

Urban Meyer and his team will have a great deal to prove this season and in Braxton Miller lies the hopes of the Buckeyes over the course of their schedule . Miller is likely to be among the top contenders for his year’s Heisman Trophy , if his play remains consistent and at an extremely high level . Ohio State will begin their season against Navy, in what is likely to a lopsided contest between the two teams. The Big Ten Conference and the Buckeyes’ schedule as usual, remains as soft as a baby’s ass, but Ohio State fans will seek to overlook the fact.

While I have never been truly enamored with college football , I am beginning to feel in watching the games, I am merely witnessing a somewhat mediocre version of the NFL in all of its alleged glory, with even greater pretentiousness within this environment. Like the NFL, college football above all else, is a money-making behemoth with their being little to show for it all at the end of the day , by way of the alleged benefits for the student athlete. The NCAA and conference commissioners continue to live in the “land of make belief” , with no one ever addressing the real issues now ravaging this sport and the collegiate athletics in general. Mark Emmert remains clueless, while carefully treading water, as he recently accomplished, when questioned by a congressional committee concerning the safety of women on college campuses who are the victims of sexual attacks. Emmert’s responses were in many respects, very much like the recent idiotic statements attributed to Roger Goodell and the NFL’s Assistant Chief Legal Counsel Adolpho Birch . Clearly, all three individuals, do not understand the debate as it now currently exists and the ongoing issue of violence against women by male athletes . The NCAA , NFL and those presiding over collegiate athletics , along with the universities have a long way to go before they can convince female fans much less sports’ fans in general. The issue of on campus violence against women , the issue of the player misconduct in the NFL, and the issue of spousal abuse remains a dire result of the inaction by the NFL and the hierarchies mentioned.

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Picture gallery.

In the lead-up to the NFL regular season what are you hoping to see from the teams during the preseason ? Do you also believe the college football season will be extremely competitive?

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Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) The BCS national championship trophy for which the 125 FBS programs will contest their competitiveness to be anointed national champions . UPI ….

(2) 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is seen here with Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher as the two celebrate their national title victory over Auburn . AP Photo/ Michael Burton …..

(3) Cleveland Browns’ quarterbacks Brian Hoyer (6) and teammate Johnny Manziel (2) are seen here during the team’s preseason practice. Head coach Mike Pettine hopes to see a valid contest between the two players , who are hoping to succeed former starter and now Dallas Cowboys’ backup quarterback Brandon Weeden . AP Photo/ Michael Walsh…

(4) Ohio State Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer left is seen here alongside the team’s quarterback Braxton Miller (5) . Miller is being viewed as a likely candidate for the 2014 Heisman Trophy . Getty Images / Harry Howe …

(5) Bryce Petty of Baylor (Bears) will be hoping to lead the team to even greater success this season . Petty an impact player for the Bears in 2013 , seen as a consensus first round draft pick for the 2015 NFL Draft . Getty Images / David Moss …

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And you think the view from up there is amazing ? Try being down here .

A year in review , part two

A year in review , part two

Less is not necessarily more and that is something , the fans found out as the Alabama Crimson Tide’s season came to an abrupt halt with the team’s inexplicable loss to Auburn (Tigers) , when Nick Saban and this team were seen as prohibitive favorites to repeat as a national champions in College Football . Yet, more than anything else , it was the arrogance of the head coach and his coaching staff that led to Alabama’s own undoing in that highly competitive and touted contest . Far be it for me to suggest , but when you show that type of arrogance during such an important game , your fate can only be dealt with and brought to such a fateful way as many witnessed on that day . Nothing more, nothing less , will suffice at this juncture , the Tide now playing in many respects , a totally meaningless Bowl Game . Anyone who believes that the culmination of Alabama’s season can still be looked upon as a resounding success , has to be viewed as someone who is actually delusional and without an ounce of intelligence.

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Auburn’s victory in the Iron Bowl , now has the team and program playing for their second national title in the past four seasons , where they will face Jimbo Fisher and the number one ranked team in the nation , the Florida State Seminoles in the BCS national title game . . Fisher’s opposing number, Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff will be fully aware that going into this contest as a slight underdog should not be seen, as an actual detriment for the Tigers . If anything , it will be the Seminoles, who as favorites , will have far more to prove , given the way that they have simply steamrolled over the vast majority of their opponents over the course of the their season .

For Florida State’s Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, after his spectacular season on the field . It will be interesting to see whether or not the player can live up the hype and pressure placed upon his young shoulders over the course of the year . This much is certain , next season with his eligibility a foregone conclusion, the quarterback will simply be playing to exhibit his skills and showing his maturity level for any potential suitor seeking a player of his caliber and skill-set.

College Football , but in particular the BCS, now needs to go out on a roll , as a precursor to the new format , that will be put in place for the 2014 season . From my own perspective, no matter whether or not, it is a committee made up of experts, deciding on a formula of sorts, for a playoff system , as long as large sums of monies are exchanging hands , simply to facilitate a pretext to determine a national champion , with purists juxtaposing a premise, that this newly revised format will be the best way to determine a national champion. It is merely a pretext to deny the obvious, money, more than the spirit of competition, will always be a deciding factor .

For those players, who will undoubtedly seek to declare their eligibility for the 2014 NFL Draft , with the hope of undoubted financial and professional rewards. The rich pickings, that they may well envisage, are not necessarily as great, as they believe it to be. Being drafted in the first round and amongst the top-ten or fifteen draft picks , at times can bring about the highest financial rewards. Yet, that, in of-itself is no actual guarantee of success and for many , toiling for a team that has drafted you in the mid to lower first or third round , can prove to be far more rewarding than being drafted as the first or second pick or third pick overall , for a franchise at least two or three years away from being viewed as a legitimate contender within the NFL . Let the speculation begin, as to which player will be taken as the number one pick , as that privilege and the status it holds can so quickly be forgotten, if the individual in question is unable to show his ability within their first two seasons in the NFL . With the sums of money now vested in player of that status , it easy to understand why teams are sometimes unwilling to make that type of outlay , often associated with a player taken that high in the NFL Draft.

The Louisville Cardinals , coached by Rick Pitino came away with last season’s NCAA Men’s Basketball title and along with it, the esteemed coach added to his already list of illustrious achievements . With that also came the departure of several players from that championship winning roster , who having declared their eligibility , made their way to the NBA Draft , where they were picked up by the franchises in question , searching for fresh college talent . For Louisville , Peyton Siva and Gorgui Deng were the players taken in this Draft, now looking to make their amongst the professional ranks .

As the NCAA season has progressed the standings have remained the same , with the Arizona Wildcats and Syracuse (Orangemen) seated atop of the polls respectively, ranked numbers one and two. . From Kevin Durant in 2007, as the AP Player of the Year and Naismith Award Winner to last season’s claimant Trey Burke , everything has evolved around seeking out the next major star , taking his talent to the professional ranks of the NBA. Perhaps, if league itself, were not in such a dire situation , where the play within the Eastern Conference in particular , has bordered on being completely inept , even with the recent struggles of the reigning NBA champions the Miami Heat struggling as of late.

David Stern points to the fact that the brand and product has become a global phenomenon far outpacing the popularity of Major League Baseball and the NFL , combined. Thankfully, however, the commissioner and the fellow members of the league hierarchy , have yet, sought to expand beyond the North American continent by way of adding an international franchise. If only Stern could expound upon that premise and advise his NFL counterpart , Roger Goodell , that it would be futile and simple idiocy to believe that the NFL can be a resounding success in Europe, by way of adding in a franchise and then having to compete against the soccer leagues in the UK , as well those of Western Europe. It was enough that Goodell and his predecessor , Paul Tagliabue, simply learned nothing by the tens of millions in losses accumulated with the experiment of NFL Europe . One hundred and sixty million dollars ($160 million) later and it would appear that the NFL hierarchy , very much like the administration of Barack Obama , simply believes that by burning through vast piles of money, is another way of trying to solve an issue, without having first done a complete and thorough investigation of that issue and then seeking how to solve that problem.

The NBA for its part burns through money, by offering exorbitant contracts to players who in some instances are simply not worth the value of the deal signed . And purportedly, general managers and NBA team owners are said to be astute businessmen? I guess, that, James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov can make the case , that stupid is as stupid does ? Consider the fact that the respective franchises, owned by both individuals , the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are currently struggling, languishing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and at the bottom of the Atlantic Division . Meanwhile, the bloated payrolls of both teams , the Knicks and Nets , are simply another reason why the NBA has completely lost touch with reality. The NBA marches to the beat of its very own drum and drum beat without noticing the ever-present danger and self-inflicted wounds to its own image.

There have been plaudits, behind three players this season within the Collegiate Level of the NCAA , that are thought to be stars of the future within the NBA. Andrew Wiggins of the Kansas Jayhawks , Jabari Parker of Duke (Blue Devils) and Antoine Mason of Niagara , who play within the Metro American Atlantic Conference (MAAC) . A conference not necessarily renowned for what one would be deemed great college basketball. Yet, as the game has evolved, so too have the programs who now find themselves with players who were overlooked by the more illustrious schools within the NCAA basketball hierarchy. Whether or not Mason’s game can easily acclimatized to the rigors of the NBA is solely dependent upon his productivity over the course of this season , and the success of Niagara , how their stature is raised and the publicity garnered by their young star.

For Andrew Wiggins , having Bill Self as his coach , will avail the young freshman one of the best tutors in College Basketball , in aiding him hone his game . While there seems to be the consensus that he is likely to be the number one overall pick for the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft . It is my belief, that the player, will undoubtedly be drafted in the first round and likely be a top-five pick. However, there still remain questions, concerning his all-round game and willingness to come to the aid of teammates when adversity stares the team directly in the face. Coming off a recent victory over Toledo , the Jayhawks’ next opponent will be San Diego State of the Mountain West Conference on Sunday, 5th January , 2014. It will be interesting to see whether or not the team can push their record to 10-3 and rise up the rankings.

While, I believe Jabari Parker to be a better player than Andrew Wiggins! Being the best, does not always equate to being great in the NBA , and what is said to be desired by a general manager looking to improve a team’s roster. Parker, under the tutelage of Blue Devils’ coach , the renowned Mike Krzyzewski , will garner a great deal of attention , simply because of the stature of the Duke program and its history under Krzyzewski. Duke as a resident within the ACC and perhaps the most “celebrated program ” within the conference , will this season be undoubtedly tested as they seek to improve on last season’s showing within the ACC as well as the NCAA Tournament . A lopsided thirty-eight point victory over Elon , may well not signify a great deal about Duke , because as usual , it tends to be their conference schedule and games against the more noted programs , that dictates how much of a credible contender that the team is likely to be over the course of the season .

Parker throughout much of this season has proven his worth for Duke in a number of games , showing a great deal of maturity and leadership for someone so young. Clearly, while many are in agreement with the NBA’s ruling, concerning the eligibility of players declaring for the NBA Draft. While, there are supporters of the current edict, a number of detractors have also begun to voice their concerns of the league’s denial of a players’ right to earn a living. However, with so many declarer’s each season making the jump to the professional ranks, all but a handful, are actually looked upon as entering the NBA and capable of playing at a high level .

The NBA and the NCAA will at some point, have to revisit the issue of player eligibility and seek to find a solution that is equitable for all of the parties concerned. David Stern’s biggest concern on this issue has to be the quality of the players making the jump. Within Collegiate Athletics, NCAA President Mark Emmert has to be seen as credible , when consulting with coaches and administrators , in gauging their views on the matter. The coaches, ultimately know, whether or not players that they have recruited for a program are likely to make one or four-year commitment to that school and its athletic endeavors.

Duke for their part will begin 2014 foray, with a game , on Saturday afternoon, when they travel to South Bend, Indiana, to take on Notre Dame . The contest should prove to be a very interesting contrast of styles and coaching , with the Fighting Irish’s coaching staff being led by Mike Brey and his coaching assistants.

Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals , would like nothing better than to make a successful defense of their title . That premise , easier said than done, but with only Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators , having achieved that feat in the past decade , It is extremely difficult to see Pitino and his coaching staff being able to guide the team on not only an arduous season , but then into a series of games , where everything is said to be on the line. The Cardinals’ lopsided victory over the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando , Florida, now sets them up, for what may well prove to a tough contest against Rutgers , in Piscataway , New Jersey this weekend. Both programs, will certainly be looking to give it their all, while entertaining the fans in attendance the Louis Brown Athletics Center , in Piscataway ,. From there, as the season meanders for Rick Pitino and the program, we can but merely speculate on what is likely to happen .

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Picture gallery .

What if anything to your mind, were the biggest surprises of this past season within both College Basketball and that of the Football season also ? And in the BCS championship game , do you believe that Florida State will be able to subdue a very tough adversary , in the Auburn Tigers ? Leave a comment , as you see fit on this and anything you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide is surrounded after their 28- 34 loss to the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama. Getty Images North America / Kevin C Cox …

(2) Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers and head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide shake hands prior to their game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama. . Getty Images / Kevin C Cox ….

(3) Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher is seen here with the team’s quarterback and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston . Unbeaten all season , the lone quest remaining on their schedule is an upcoming national championship title game against Auburn on the 6th January , 2014 in AP Photo / Curtis James ….

(4) Dwayne Allen of the Indianapolis Colts , who was taken in the third round by the team in the 2012 NFL Draft and has proven to be effective for the Colts this season , as they have garnered their second consecutive playoff berth since the arrival of quarterback , Andrew Luck , who was the pick taken overall in that year’s NFL Draft. AP Photo/ Mark Woods …

(5) Rick Pitino the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to his team during the against the Missouri State Bears at KFC YUM! Center on December 17, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(6) Some time adversaries , but for the most part the best of friends , coaches , Bill Self of Kansas (Jayhawks ) shaking hands with Mike Krzyzewski , right, coach of the Duke Blue Devils . Both of these well-respected programs are currently ranked in the top twenty-five in the nation of the NCAA Rankings . Courtesy of ESPN ….

Three highly touted recruits and like to be lottery first round draft picks in 2014 , in the NBA Draft . From left to right Jabari Parker , Andrew Wiggins and James Young of the Kentucky ( Wildcats) . AP Photo / George Parsons …..

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tophatal ….

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Related article : A year in review , I think not

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NCAA Football and the postseason

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NCAA Men’s Basketball and the NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule

NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA results 31st December 2013 and schedule 1st January 2014

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference

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A couple of well-developed assets , I believe !

No question , she wants to ‘party’ .

All that glitters, is not necessarily gold …..

All that glitters, is not necessarily gold …

Well , the sports’ world brought us all an array of surprising results , but perhaps , nowhere was this more surprising than in the arena of College Football . The continued arrogance of Alabama’s , Nick Saban continues to know boundaries as to its excessive-ness and his self-absorbed demeanor, was once again on display for all to see in the team’s ” highly touted” match-up against Auburn on Saturday afternoon . Given what this game meant to nation’s top ranked team at the time , the ensuing loss suffered by the Crimson Tide , their first of the season , pretty much has sealed their fate in terms of any national title hopes , as the program sought to win their third BCS national title in the past four seasons . Personally, I see the team’s defeat as a blessing in disguise for the program , a wake-up call for Nick Saban , his coaching staff and players as a whole !

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Slideshow .

Saban’s explanation, as to the reasons why he felt it necessary to go for a fifty-seven yard field goal attempt , when all season long , neither kickers Cade Foster or Adam Griffith had succeeded from a range beyond forty-eight yards , warrants as much of answer , as to the coach’s own decision , to seek to make the attempt at the time. What followed is likely to go down in the annals of the Auburn Tigers’ folklore, as well its rich heritage of footballing history. With the remainder of the Collegiate Football schedule, yet to be played out , the question now becomes who best serves being anointed to play for this year’s BCS title, with the winner being viewed as the nation’s top football program for the 2013 season .

A clearly disgruntled Nick Saban strolls the sidelines during Alabama’s game against Auburn this past Saturday . The game ended with Alabama’s unbeaten reign for the season coming to an abrupt end .

While Alabama, was being sent back to Tuscaloosa, with their tails between their legs. Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes , sought to move up the rankings by seeking to be victorious over Michigan . It is pretty safe to say that the Buckeyes and that rampant offense are by far the best team in the country as things now stands with the exception of the ACC’s own juggernaut Florida State (Seminoles) . I am beginning to wonder, if Jay Jacobs the Tigers’ AD is actually serious when he says ” ‘College Football’ would be done a great disservice, if a one loss team would be left out of the national title game and undefeated team such as Ohio State were allowed in “ . Once again, an administrator with clearly no damn intelligence, is seeking preferential treatment for the SEC , after Alabama’s repeated chances to put the game beyond Auburn’s reach, when the teams faced each other on Saturday afternoon . Jacobs, if anything should be elated at his school’s triumph and that they are now viewed as a possible national title contender while praising Chris Davis in showing his athleticism in racing through for a one hundred and seven yard touchdown run , that sealed the victory for the Tigers and leaving Alabama questioning their alleged invincibility .

Urban Meyer having brought back a sense of respectability to the Buckeyes’ program , their clash with Michigan (Wolverines) has always been seen as one of the highlights of the Collegiate Football season. Nonetheless, it would take a wildly rousing and stirring contest , before this game would come to a satisfactory conclusion on Saturday afternoon , with Meyer’s team coming away with a narrow but hard-fought 42-41 victory . At 12-0 , the Buckeyes can now seal their own fate, by winning the Big Ten title and booking their way to a BCS title match-up .

One can truly tell a great deal about a program in College Football , by the demeanor of a head coach and the relationship that he is said to have with the fans. In the case of the Florida Gators . The expectations were high , with the hire of Wil Muschamp , as he sought to make a name for himself , rather than seeking upon the retirement of Mack Brown at the University of Texas and that illustrious program . Of late , both the Longhorns and Gators seem to have hit upon lean times , and now comes the question what fate now awaits both Mack Brown and his former heir apparent Wil Muschamp after their respective under-achieving seasons. You can have all the talent in the world along with this asinine notion as to a top recruiting class on an annual basis , as many of these misanthropes who purportedly call themselves die-hard Gators’ fans . Ask them to explain why none of that has matriculated into a successful 2013 season , and it almost akin to berating and telling them to stop suckling on their mother’s breasts .

These Gators’ fans are bright , but not that bright or excessively intelligent. Jeremy Foley no longer has that glint in his eye and his reputation has taken a gigantic hit with the team’s failings this season under the young head coach . From my own standpoint, I do not believe that Wil Muschamp is a great motivator , while he may well be a very good coach , there has been nothing to suggest that he is either astute or in fact knows how to deal with real adversity on or off the field of play ! The results this season bear this out and the team’s lopsided loss (37-7) to instate rivals, the Florida State Seminoles , further emphasized that fact and was a damning indictment of the team’s failings that have been on show , all season long .

Wil Muschamp is likely to be retained by the school , but I believe that after this loss to the Seminoles, the picture for the head coach is not as bright as first thought , when hired as the successor to Ron Zook , whose own tenure with the program was short-lived , after the boosters were not satisfied with the on field progress of the team , at the time . If Zook, can be hung out to like a dying carcass , for just about everyone to pick at his entrails , then why has not the same fate , now befallen his successor ?

If the NFL has actually proven one thing to me this season , it is never ever look at a team and to think them great , in spite of the results or statistics ! Well , in the case of the , Atlanta Falcons , Buffalo Bills , Cleveland Browns , New York Jets , Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins , that argument was already mute to begin with, Neither team from a coaching standpoint, or competitive standpoint has been a worthwhile exhibit to view and categorically state , this is what the NFL is all about . If anything , all six teams , it could be argued this is what the league should not desire to be about , under any description that would give credence that this is how football ought to be played .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9) were thought to have turned the corner having won two straight , before running into the hottest team in the NFL , when Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers played host to their NFC South divisional rivals on Sunday afternoon . Anyone who may well have remotely thought this contest to be even competitive , must be viewed with a great deal of skepticism . This is a badly coached Buccaneers lineup , whose head coach Greg Schiano is as bereft of coaching acumen , as the team he sent out onto the field of play on Sunday afternoon . Where Tampa and the front office now decides to go from here, will be predicated upon the remaining four games of the season on the Buccaneers’ schedule.

Geno Smith , turnover machine , his understudy this season , Mark Sanchez , likewise . How else can one describe a New York Jets’ team that has been so extraordinarily bad , other than to say , “ boy this team sucks “ ! The Jets and the Miami Dolphins met in an AFC East divisional game that had a great deal riding on the outcome for both teams. Miami, is still looking to downplay and forget about the verbose behavior of Richie Incognito , while the Jets are simply looking to forget about this season altogether . Suffice to say, after the Dolphins’ open-ended 23-3 annihilation of the Jets , you have to come to the conclusion that the team’s GM John Idzik has to take matters into his own hands and fire head coach Rex Ryan at the end of this season . What use is a coach , who is unable to motivate a team , much less teach them the basic fundamentals of the game ? Answer me, that , if you can ?

Geno Smith may well be in his rookie season , but the repeated mistakes , are common placed , that there is no way in hell , I can see the player being the regular season starter for the franchise next year ! He was ill prepared in 2013 and under the tutelage of quarterbacks’ coach David Lee , his progression has been at a snail’s pace. .

How the mighty have fallen and it seems almost inconceivable, that the Houston Texans (2-10) can now be so bad and look so bad . At the beginning of the season, this team was thought to be one of the more credible contenders within the AFC South , as well as the AFC and a legitimate Superbowl contender. Instead, a team , plagued by injuries , poor quarterback play, inexplicable mid-season personnel decisions and a complete lack of leadership both on and off the field of play . Matt Schaub , has simply proven that all the all great regular season stats cannot make up for the flaws he has in terms of his postseason play , and not one to be viewed as a leader , when faced with adversity during the postseason. Head coach Gary Kubiak , in spite of his recent health issues , I can only surmise that team owner Robert “Bob” McNair and GM Rick Smith are likely to make the decision to jettison their beleaguered coach. Two successive postseason failures and then , in 2013 , a none responsive unit on the field of play , has all but condemned the franchise to a rather moribund season . The team’s record, as it now stands, certainly bears this out and it is simply another damning indictment of another NFL franchise , where the coaching has been so mediocre beyond the atrocious play .

The Texans’ narrow three-point 34-31 loss to the New England Patriots may well have been another nail in the coffin , that is likely to bring about Gary Kubiak’s abrupt departure as well the team’s veteran quarterback Matt Schaub. Many, still question, why it is, that the coaching staff have not made more use of either TJ Yates or Case Keenum . The latter, in Keenum, who showed a great deal of poise earlier this season , when asked to step in for the then injured incumbent starter , Matt Schaub. Keenum’s demotion back to the bench, created a great deal of anger amongst Texans’ fans. Case Keenum’s play on Sunday was very good , but the Texans’ defense was simply diabolical to watch under any circumstance , that one might deem to imagine.

As the Seattle Seahawks roll on , and based on last night’s rollover and demolition of the New Orleans Saints, this Pete Carroll coached team might just now be the best in the NFC . My only caveat to this all , “buyer beware “ , as the Carolina Panthers with their recent win streak aided and abetted by the play of Cam Newton and the Panthers’ defense has the team rolling along nicely . Not only that , but with a 9-3 record , they are now challenging the Saints for divisional supremacy within the NFC South , in what has been a totally abhorrent season for the division’s two other divisional occupants , the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While I believe that the Seahawks’ fortunes are tied to that of the team’s quarterback Russell Wilson . I can’t help but wonder, how differently, things might have turned out, had not then GM John Idzik persuaded Pete Carroll to draft Wilson, rather than going with a defensive lineman . It is clear, that since Russell Wilson’s first appearance for the Seattle Seahawks, the franchise has become relevant once again, with the young sophomore quarterback once again showing his worth this season . Seattle’s next game will be a true test of wills when they make an appearance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco , California, when they are the guests of the San Francisco 49ers in a divisional contest. In the driver’s seat, having already garnered a playoff berth, the best record in the conference and the league are still up for grabs.

As a die-hard New England Patriots’ fans , I must say that at times I have been completely dismayed by the play of the team and what appears the whimsical and often complacent attitude of Bill Belichick and his staff . I believe much of this, may well have to do with how the franchise has been viewed in light of the Aaron Hernandez ” scandal” . A great deal of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the head coach and front office , with GM Nick Caserio working in close conjunction with team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft. . In the aftermath of Hernandez’s arraignment and being charged first degree murder , all of the finger-pointing and blame game began , with Kraft suggesting that the player lied to the organization . My question for Kraft , if as suggested , the franchise conducted their own in-depth background check of Aaron Hernandez’s past history , then why was it that a number of the prior allegations against the player while in college, were simply overlooked by the organization ? And given the player’s propensity for violence and a need to be around multiple firearms, licensed and unlicensed , then clearly that had to have been a ‘red flag’ raised for the Patriots’ investigators, for Bill Belichick , Nick Caserio and Robert Kraft.

A trial date, has yet to be set for Aaron Hernandez, in the homicide of a former acquaintance, Odin Lloyd . This story will become a media cycle and news’ frenzy for the NFL and the nation’s broadcast networks in 2014. Especially where, there now seems to be a belief that the tight end may well now be an accomplice in two other homicides that have yet to be closed by law enforcement in terms of a full investigation .

At 9-3 and leading the AFC East , quite comfortably, New England’s destiny over the remainder of the regular season rests in their own hands. The remaining four games on their schedule, are all winnable , if the effort is shown to garner the results desired. A number two seed and gaining a bye, in the wildcard round of the playoffs has to be the objective of the team. I am sure that Tom Brady and his teammates would like to make that a reality , rather than having to face the pitfall of facing a lower seed in the always dangerous opening round of the NFL postseason .

This never-ending rationale by Roger Goodell with the rise in popularity of the NFL across the Atlantic Ocean , and specifically in Western Europe . There now seems to be a growing anticipation amongst Goodell and the most senior league executives that the time is almost upon the league to make it a reality , of having a franchise based in Europe . Language barriers asides , the preferred choice would appear to be London , England . Yet, the real issue would become the venue and the cost to an apparent aspiring franchise owner. Any bidding consortium is likely to be asked for a rights’ fee in excess of $750 million . No small price, considering the avarice continually being shown Goodell and the franchise owners around the NFL . What the NFL Commissioner has failed to take into account, apart from the tens of millions dollars lost after the league’s first foray on the European continent with the doomed failure . of NFL Europe . Presided over by Paul Tagliabue as the then commissioner , is the league having to compete against not only Premiership soccer , but also the various professional soccer leagues in Western Europe and their scheduling .

One of the major failings of that first start-up , was the very fact that the NFL handled it all haphazardly , without their being any input being sought from the then starting franchises, that encompassed NFL Europe’s beginning . Communiques between the league and its counterpart , were often comedic and bore no substance in fact , in terms of the claims that the initiative was an overall success . Two decades later , and I am convinced that Roger Goodell has learned absolutely nothing from his predecessor’s failure with NFL Europe. Owners such as Jerry Jones , Robert McNair, Jed York , Arthur Blank , Jerry Richardson , Pat Bowlen and Jim Irsay and Jeff Lurie are proponents for the league’s expansion outside North America .

If the NFL can barely make any inroads, in seeking the creation of a franchise in the nation’s second largest advertising market in Los Angeles , California. Then what might I ask, would embolden the league to now believe, it now has a better chance of having a European franchise ? One would also have to take into account the logistical nightmares that are likely to be created, concerning a regular season schedule and the time zones involved . While there are billions of dollars at stake in terms of increased revenues , there is no guarantee of success and I sincerely doubt that a prospective franchise owner would willing wait anywhere between four to six years before the franchise would be deemed a competitive success. Never-mind the fact, that the fans are likely to be subjected to several years of likely incompetence in terms of the on-field product . Is that really the price , that you as a consumer and fan would be willing to pay?

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