Ten Days In The Valley and There’s Not $hit To Do Except Laugh …

Ten Days In The Valley and There’s Not $hit To Do Except Laugh …

Well the state of California is being decimated by wildfires likely to cost the state billions of dollars and with large payouts of claims , much to the detriment of the insurance companies. Don’t shed a tear for the companies involved , because at the end of the day, the consumer will always ending up paying. As to the state of the professional sports’ franchises active within the state, other than the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Dodgers , everyone else is in a state of disarray. Granted, fans of the NBA are hoping that the teams within Los Angeles will be able to provide some glamour as well as some competitiveness. Yes , I am talking about the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers . It’s like talking about two of the hottest girls you’d like to take to the prom , only to find out that both have self-esteem issues , where both lack eloquence and elegance. Anyone who believes that either of these two teams will be able to beat the best that the West has to offer much less the rest of the NBA has to be severely delusional.


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The Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers will begin their respective regular season schedules on the 19th October when they play each other on the Opening Night of their season. With both lineups afresh with new talent beyond the rookies, it will be interesting to see if Doc Rivers of the Clippers and Luke Walton of the Lakers can get the best out of their teams while seeking that first victory to start the season.

Weekend results in the NFL , proved one thing , injuries and lack of consistency will continue to ruin the boldest of ambitions for the teams. Taking Colin Kaepernick out of the equation , but how much worse can things get for the San Francisco 49ers (0-6) ? This is a team that is badly coached , lacks motivation , but above all, the players themselves apparently don’t seem to care. Call it too much kneeling (pardon the pun) or plain and simple, head coach Kyle Shanahan is in way over his head. Team GM Jon Lynch in his first executive position within the NFL has gotten off to a preposterous start. For all of the idiots who believed his draft class for the Forty Niners was one of the best in the franchise’s recent history. I have to ask, what the hell were they looking at when they came to that particular assessment ? The rookies and sophomores on the roster are not particularly good , the defense is abhorrent and let’s just say the quarterback play is way beyond mediocre. If Brian Hoyer is your starting quarterback, simply imagine your team sinking in quicksand. I am not about to suggest the Niners will go 0-16 , but if they do, I won’t be surprised at all. However , I do feel if things get much worse over the next two weeks , then Kyle Shanahan could very well become the first coaching casualty of the season.

In week seven the San Francisco 49ers are due to meet the Dallas Cowboys , for whom this season has already turned into a nightmare . Give Jerry Jones his due , his comments notwithstanding , he is now proving himself to be a monumental asshole , albeit that he has sought to backtrack after his recent comments drew criticism from players on the Cowboys’ roster.

The Oakland Raiders are having struggles of their own and the loss of starting quarterback Derek Carr certainly hasn’t helped. This team simply takes a step backwards without Carr in the lineup. As he goes when at his best , then so does the team. Oakland was in action against the Los Angeles Chargers whose season to date hasn’t met expectations. With veteran quarterback Philip Rivers in the twilight of his career , it’s difficult to see how the team will contend over the course of the season. Sunday’s game at the O. Coliseum provided the fans the chance to see what both of these AFC West teams are made of . The Chargers came away with a narrow one-point margin of victory , while David Carr back in the lineup , played as best he could . Inevitably the Raiders are expected to challenge for the division this season , but as I alluded to earlier it will all be predicated upon the play of the young quarterback . Lofty expectations for a player whose recent contract negotiations led to him being given a hefty pay raise and contract . No doubt the Oakland Raiders will b e looking to make a second consecutive appearance in the postseason, something which they haven’t done in a number of years. Next up for Oakland will be a home game against the division leading Kansas City Chiefs , who are led by the rejuvenated Alex Smith . The former Niners’ quarterback , great during the regular season in recent years has been unable to lead this Andy Reid coached team into making a deep postseason run. Perhaps this will be the year in which they are able to achieve that feat ? Smith’s years with the Forty Niners were ridiculed , but when you take into account the disarray there was with the franchise and the lack of competitiveness , much of the blame should have been laid upon the front office led at the time by former GM Trent Baalke and the coaching staff of Jim Harbaugh , whose relationship with Baalke was seething and coming to a boil. Alex Smith’s last season in San Francisco was in 2012 with the team ending with an 11-4-1 record and their making the Superbowl . Smith was on the roster , but did not take part in the championship game .

Stanley Kroenke might well be one of the richest owners in all of North American professional sports. Forget Michael Jordan’s , $1 billion fortune or Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones . They all pale into insignificance when measured against Kroenke’s and then you bear in mind he is married to Ann Walton-Kronke whose late father Sam Walton was the founder of Walmart , the world’s largest retailer. Their combined net worth would be well in excess of $15 billion , if not more. As the owner of the Los Angeles Rams , whose relocation from St Louis , Missouri to the outskirts of greater Los Angeles , gives the city two NFL franchises , with the other being the Los Angeles Chargers . With the Chargers having their own misfortunes this season, it has been left to the Rams to pull up the slack. Who would have thought at this point of the season the Rams would be riding high, sitting on top of the NFC West ? Led by Jared Goff , a second-year starter in the league , along with Todd Gurley , this team appears to have a pretty potent offense. It remains to be seen if head coach if Sean McVay in his first year in charge can get the best out the Rams while possibly leading them into the postseason. It would certainly be the shock of the season , given the visibility of the Seattle Seahawks who have been the dominant team within the NFC West in recent seasons. The regular season meetings between these two teams should prove to be entertaining once they take place. The first of which happened in week five, with the Seahawks taking that game by the score of 16-10 . Their next scheduled meeting will be in week fifteen on the 17th December , 2017.

What can go wrong for the Los Angeles Dodgers at this stage of the MLB Postseason ? They have a 2-0 lead on the reigning World Series champions the Chicago Cubs and the Dodgers’ pitching staff has proven to be exceptional not only during the NCLS but also throughout this postseason. Yet , there is a caveat and a lesson to be learned . The Dodgers have a way of self-imploding, having a series well within their grasp , only to be caught like a deer in headlights. Against the Cubs , this is not a team you want to let off the hook , having caught them on the end of your line. Joe Maddon as a manager should not be underestimated , as he will find a way to place the Chicago Cubs back in this series.

Game three of the NLCS will revert back to Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois, when when the Chicago Cubs will play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers. A win for the home team will put them right back into the series . Losing and it places the Dodgers in the driver’s seat , having to take only two of the remaining four games in the series. The heroes for the Los Angles Dodgers have been Justin Turner , Kenley Jansen and Kenta Maeda . However , it has been a solid team effort which has led the Dodgers to be just two games away from making their first World Series’ appearance in over twenty-five years. Tommy La Sorda was the last manager of this ball-club to take a team to the World Series and win it outright. Current manager Dave Roberts seeking to achieve what his seven previous predecessors have been unable to do. Were he to achieve the feat , Roberts would become only the second African-American manager to have won a championship after back-to-back series’ titles won by Cito Gaston as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993 .

Alabama (6-0) still reigns supreme atop of College Football as they remain unbeaten and already guaranteed a playoff berth in the reformatted system . Elsewhere, in the once highly touted PAC 12 Conference , the once mighty powerhouses seem to have fallen on hard times. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were hardly tested over the weekend when Alabama faced off against Arkansas , walloping their guests 41-9 in a home stand. The PAC 12 might still be revered , but I have always felt , defense was never part of the makeup of programs within the conference and where offense always remained a constant. The USC Trojans , Washington Huskies and Washington State are the top three teams within the conference based on their overall records . All three teams will be in action this upcoming weekend as will many of the top programs within College Football.

I have no doubt the SEC will produce this season’s National Champion and it seems all but a certainty Alabama will once again be in the mix. They will face Tennessee (Volunteers) in a game to be played on Saturday 21st October . Everything seems to be pointing towards a seventh consecutive victory for the Crimson Tide at this juncture. If Alabama’s fortunes are said to be on the rise then consider the problems now facing conference rivals Florida (Gators) . Let’s just say head coach Jim McElwain , his staff and players have some real issues to discuss. McElwain has seen this team simply fall apart at the seams and it’s not likely to get any better unless the players show signs of improvement. Up next for Florida will be a match-up against Georgia (Bulldogs) in Gainesville , Florida in a game being played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium . One more loss and the Gators will be out of the running for a lucrative Bowl Game once and for all.

It’s official , the Athletics Department of the University of Louisville had their fill with Rick Pitino , Head Coach of the Basketball Program for the university. With all of the mounting evidence and repeated infractions in spite of the denials from Pitino . He was fired with no formal comment from the coach after his dismissal . The writing was on the wall, because in spite of Louisville’s record , the off-court issues were far too much to bear for the fans and school itself. Rick Pitino’s character , lack of judgment , deceit and lies had finally caught up with him . No amount denials or excuses by his supporters or the man himself was ever going to be enough for him to escape the inevitable. There was no way he could continue in his role as the coach of the program under any circumstance whatsoever. Serious violations of NCAA rules, repeated infractions and the lack of oversight all fell on Pitino’s shoulders and that of the Athletics Department headed by AD Tom Jurich , who has since been replaced by Vince Tyra . The Sword of Damocles was wide-reaching as it led to Greg Postel being named Interim University President.

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Rick Pitino , now the former Head Coach of the Louisville Men’s Basketball Team. Pitino along with AD Tom Jurich were fired from their respective positions after revealed improprieties concerning the basketball program. There is also a federal investigation of Pitino and four other NCAA Basketball Head Coaches , which could lead to further penalties of the programs involved. Rick Pitino has denied any wrongdoing on his part or by any of his associates. There is mounting evidence to suggest the head coach has been less than truthful with some of his comments.

Rick Pitino’s future now looks bleak and his chances of returning to the collegiate ranks as a Head Coach are less than zero .

The firing of Rick Pitino might be the best thing to happen within the world of College Basketball , because for far too long , coaches like Pitino have been placed on a lofty pedestal not just by the fans, but also by the idiot members of the media , who would rather write meaningless stories , rather than seek out the truth when there is wrongdoing on the part of these coaches. It might even lead to coaches not skirting the rules , taking heed and changing how they conduct themselves professionally. Jim Boeheim’s denials concerning his assistant Bernie Fine , still leaves a disgusting taste in one’s mouth. A sexual predator whose proclivities rival that of Jerry Sandusky , whose close confidante was none other than Joe Paterno , then Head Coach of Penn State . Needless to say, the ensuing cover-up initiated by certain members of the Board of Trustees of Penn State , dragged the school’s reputation further into the ground.


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From rags to riches and back to rags again, this is what we are likely to see over the remainder of the sporting year as it relates to the sporting topics raised in this article. What thoughts if any do you have on the subject ?

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Tophatal …..

I love the smell of Napalm in the morning …

I love the smell of Napalm in the morning !

Well, in the  aftermath a tumultuous  NFL season we now know the twelve teams   to have made the NFL postseason. The New Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are the two top-seeds within the AFC, leaving the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals as the top seeded contenders within the NFC.

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Results   emanating   from Sunday’s games left us in no doubt who the top teams were within the    conferences after the two hundred and fifty-six games played. As usual with the postseason approaching , speculation will be raised to the possible coaching carousel likely to take place. There is the likelihood we might well have seen the last game coached by Tom Coughlin   as the head coach of the  New York Giants   after the team’s rather embarrassing loss to divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Chip Kelly’s abrupt firing by the Eagles’ front office , the number of coaches terminated this season are numbered at four , with the recent dismissals of Mike Pettine with the Cleveland Browns and Jim Tomsula with the San Francisco 49ers . As abysmal a season had by each of the teams in question , they were not the franchises with the worst record in the NFL during the 2015 regular season schedule . That accolade belonged to none other than the Tennessee Titans (3-13) a mark which was also shared with the Brown. What this might suggest about both teams can be best summed by their results over the course of the season and their statistical play throughout.

With the top two teams in each conference having a bye in the wildcard round of the postseason , teams seeded three through six will begin the playoffs with the scheduled games due. Those match-ups are likely to prove very intriguing with perhaps the best of the bunch being the NFC contest , which pits the Seattle Seahawks against the Minnesota Vikings . The two opposing quarterbacks Russell Wilson of the Seahawks and Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings, will provide the fans to see two of the more productive passers within the NFC this season.

Though we have not yet reached the midway point of the NBA season there can be no denying which team has been the best in the league at this point of the schedule. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors have set a blistering pace leaving others in their wake . Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr , in his absence has seen his understudy Luke Walton guide the team with a great deal of coaching acumen , leading a number of analysts to believe, Walton will likely be pursued by a number of teams at the end of the season, once the customary firings begin to take place. There are likely to be at least six teams seeking the former player’s services, but I do believe he will be reluctant to leave, unless his desired destination is with a franchise where there is a more than reasonable chance of success.

Coming off another victory , Curry and his teammates will next take to the court to face the Charlotte Hornets at the Oracle Arena , Oakland, California on Monday, 4th January . This should prove be an easy win for the Warriors against an Eastern Conference opponent given the team’s record against the conference and their record at home . The Hornets for their part will be looking to keep apace within their conference as well as against a Western Conference opponent where the team has had relatively little success this season.

The Los Angles Lakers (8-27) and the Philadelphia 76ers (3-33) have combined for eleven regular season wins at this point of the season , having played roughly thirty-five games. It would be fair to suggest both teams could very well end up with what would be franchise lows in terms of regular season victories. There also appears to a remote possibility the Sixers are well on their of equaling the NBA league-low number for regular season wins, a mark held by 1973 Philadelphia 76ers .Wins have been have been very difficult to come by for this Brett Brown coached Sixers’ team . Philadelphia’s last victory came on the 30th December when they defeated the Sacramento Kings by the score of 110-105. The team’s next game will be a home contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday evening.

For Byron Scott and the Los Angeles Lakers , their season has been one of sheer ineptitude with only sparing glimpses of Kobe Bryant at his best among the players on the Lakers’ roster. It is hard to envisage where the Lakers now go from here , as GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss have very few alternatives with regard to the depth on the roster. Capable perhaps of only playing for their self-respect, the Los Angeles Lakers do not appear to have a short-term, much less a long-term strategy once Kobe Bryant has played his last game for the franchise. Bryant made it official , this would indeed be his last year with the Lakers , formally announcing his retirement for the end of this season. Unlikely to be a major player in the free agency market , salary dumping or otherwise, Kupchak can only seek to assess the current crop of Los Angeles Lakers’ players and go from there with regard to rebuilding the roster. With a game coming up against the Golden State Warriors , which will be on the road , it will be interesting to see how the team will fare against a conference opponent , the reigning NBA champions .

The College Basketball season is now in full swing and with the teams gearing up towards ‘March Madness’ ,and it has been an interesting season , which has meandered its way through a slew of games. Seated atop of the rankings are the Kansas Jayhawks (12-1) under head coach Bill Self and his Jayhawks’ team . Wayne Selden , Perry Ellis and Frank Mason are the leading scorers for the Jayhawks , but a great deal of praise this season has been heaped upon Ben Simmons of the LSU Tigers . Simmons is considered to be a consensus first round lottery pick and the likely number one choice of the team privileged to have the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft . Judging by his game that is not without merit for a player whose all-round skill-set has been compared to has been compared to four-time NBA League MVP and Cleveland Cavaliers’ player LeBron James . Great praise indeed, but I believe it to be way too premature to be making such comparisons ! The LSU Tigers have an upcoming game against the Kentucky Wildcats.

Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks will have pride of place when they tip off against the Oklahoma Sooners in a battle of top-ten ranked teams.

We know the SEC to be the best conference in College Basketball and there can be no questioning of that very fact. The programs within the conference, speaks volumes as to the quality of play witnessed each year. Florida are now going it alone without Billy Donovan going as the head coach of the program. His successor Mike White is being asked to fill a big pair shoes after the considerable success achieved by Donovan during his reign. Florida is off to an inauspicious start to their season and their most recent game was an exhilarating victory over the Georgia Bulldogs with a fourteen-point 77-63 win . White and the Gators will be on the road to face the Tennessee Volunteers in a contest which should bring out the best in both teams.

I have to admit in recent years I have grown tired of the sport of boxing ! It remains corrupt , devoid of real leadership at the international level and most notably without any real transparency by way of leadership here in North America. The USBA which is affiliated to the IBF remains a constant joke, like many of the international counterparts which now hold sway over the sport internationally. Consider the fact there is no undisputed champion in any of weight categories and it is easy to understand why this sport is dying on its knees and close to being in need to resuscitation.

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao may well have brought back a certain amount of excitement in what was Mayweather’s last professional bout which saw close out his career with an unbeaten 49-0 record. In reality however, this fight was five years too late and simply lacked the excitement the fans truly hoped for . Lackluster, would be too soft a word to describe the title fight , where both fighters walked away with an estimated $300 million to split between them , Mayweather taking the larger slice of the purse before taking into account another $200 million in television rights from the overseas sales and merchandising revenues grossed.

From my own perspective , I believe Floyd Mayweather will make a return to the ring to push his record to 50-0 . Mayweather has not really fought anyone of consequence in the past four years and even though his resume’ boasts and unbeaten record , along with multiple title defenses , one could suggest the record might well stand the test of time , but it truly lacks the hyperbole many believe it deserves.

Several boxers at the welterweight and light middleweight division would undoubtedly like to head into the ring and got toe-to-toe with Floyd Mayweather, but herein lies the caveat with the unbeaten fighter. He cherry-picks his opponents and simply added insult to injury , when he chose Andre Berto , to push his record to 49-0 . Berto was certainly undeserving of a title shot and the fact he was not high enough within the welterweight category clearly indicated the titleholder wanted a “patsy ” in the opposite corner for his last professional bout.

It has been ten years since the heavyweight category last had an undisputed champion with the last titleholder of the titles being British fighter Lennox Lewis. Since Lewis’ retirement from the ring there have several claimants to the differing established belts as recognized by the four main international governing bodies. Unfortunately, the entities in question have failed to give the fans what they yearned , a unified and undisputed champion. Siblings Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko for years, each held claim to one version of the title but refused to defend their versions against each , seeking to unify the division. With Vitali having retired it was left to Wladimir to reign supreme over the division , which in many ways he had done with a string of successful defenses, against less than credible opponents.

Yet in what was believed to a bout where he was considered to be a clear-cut favorite , he fell to the boxing skills of Tyson Fury of Great Britain in what some considered to be one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history. The bout itself was far from being an instant classic but what it lacked in drama was made up for with the passion shown by the challenger as he wrestled away the title from the Ukrainian champion. However, in what one could only deem as farcical the IBF (International Boxing Federation) has seen fit to strip Tyson Fury of the belt he legitimately won in the ring. The explanation if it is to be believed, smacks of stupidity on the part of the governing body and from the former titleholder , Wladimir Klitschko , who was said to be not only upset with the decision rendered by the judges in a fight he lost in a unanimous decision, but also by the fact Fury sought not to grant him an immediate rematch within ninety days. If boxing has a flaw , then it is one of its own self-importance and indulgence , where the fighters themselves lack as much credibility as the various governing bodies which preside over the sport.

Boxing has lost a great deal of credibility around the globe, albeit , if there are claims it remains the one pugilistic and combative art form every fight fan yearns for . I am not so sure those claims are any longer legitimate and can be proven. While boxing has seen a marked decline , the rapid rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) now under the banner of the UFC , seems to be giving fans something they really yearn for. UFC has brought legitimacy and business acumen to a sport which has now become the fastest growing participant sport across the globe. Many of the fighters within the UFC stable of MMA stars are fast becoming recognized names as well Hollywood action stars and crossover celebrities. Suffice to say, the UFC hierarchy under Dana White has struck box-office gold , even if White is considered to be a dictatorial executive.

Ronda Rousey’s shocking and surprising loss to Holly Holm may well prove to be a welcome change for the sport and actually shape the direction and open even more opportunities for women who might see an interest in entering the genre. Rousey created a buzz needed when many felt MMA had lost some of its appeal. Now with her defeat, her drive and eagerness to reclaim her Bantamweight title could be the best thing to happen to Women’s MMA as well as the UFC in general.

In recent months several champions have seen their reigns come to an end within the UFC and added new honorees within the sport. It could well be seen as a good thing for MMA and its viability long-term if the excitement created can be maintained . Certainly , Dana White is taking a new approach of growing the UFC brand globally as well as expanding across North America , with the executive’s biggest wish being to see the sport be granted the license to promote and stage events in New York State.

For some strange reason the State Legislature of New York State sees no need to grant a license and continues to show their disapproval of a sport they deem barbaric. Last I looked, with the issues stemming from the NFL and how that particular league hierarchy has dealt with the issues of chronic head trauma , I would have to say the New York State Athletic Commission has been oblivious to the idiocy of Paul Tagliabue and his successor Roger Goodell , who have somehow chosen to remain in the dark ages as to the deniability of the damages caused from years of brutal head to head helmet contract driven by the physicality of football within the NFL. The league itself , still seeks to challenge the multi-billion dollar settlement obtained by retired by players in a Federal Appeals Court ruling , while also seeking reinstate their four—game suspension of Tom Brady for his alleged involvement in Deflate-Gate. Begs the question, at what point will both the New York State Athletic Commission and the NFL hierarchy actually wake up and smell the coffee , much less the napalm ?

Sports in general as always is in need of a good shakeup , be it at the competitive level or among its hierarchical leadership structure. One thing for sure, without real change , things tend to stagnate and show signs of recession rather than real growth or excitement.

Tophatal ………. NB : By clicking on the individual images seen below you can view them in a reformatted size along with a narrative.

NFL  news 

  NFL  standings (divisional)

NFL   standings  (conference)

NFL  playoff picture

Week  seventeen results

Wildcard round   (playoffs)

NBA news

NBA standings (divisional)

NBA results 3rd January

NBA schedule 4th January

NBA player stats

NBA team stats

NCAA Basketball

NCAA Men’s Basketball news

NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule

NCAA Men’s Basketball standings

NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings

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Boxing news
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UFC

UFC news

UFC events’ schedule (upcoming)

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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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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
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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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It’s that time of year to reflect , review and then ponder as to what happens next …

It’s that time of year to reflect, review and then ponder as to what happens next …

There can be no denying this year within the world of sports we all witnessed the highs and lows of the sporting season. Basketball crowned a new champion in the NBA with Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs winning the title, the franchise’s fifth in their admired and revered history. The fact the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat with so much ease , came as a major surprise to many who favored the LeBron James’ led lineup that boasted Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen among their ranks. Complacency and a lack of support for James, were the contributing factors leading to Miami’s demise. With James departing during this off-season, a bewildered Pat Riley , the organization and the coaching staff of Erik Spoelstra will now have to start from scratch rebuilding the roster which hopefully, will have some semblance of competitiveness this season.

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Off to what might deem a favorable start to their schedule , the Miami Heat are no longer a team to be favored or feared, though I believe they are good enough to gain a playoff berth this season, given the mediocrity of the play encountered in the Western Conference , in a season where in its infancy, the basketball in the conference has been truly astounding and banal. The results bear z this out , without delving further about the reasons why beyond stating , two obvious factors, bad coaching and no depth of talent by way of the rookie players .

While of late, singular achievements have been given a great deal of praise, with Kobe Bryant having surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time career points list (third) and LeBron James moving ahead of Charles Barkley for twenty third in the rankings. While I believe this all to be commendable achievements, it begs the question, why are fans now beginning to make comparisons with today’s players and those of the past ? The game has changed drastically during the respective eras, along with a number of rule changes initiated by outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern. This is all overlooked as fans and analysts alike try create a debate that will be filled with conjecture and a great deal of nonsense behind the supposed logic by a number of the debaters on the matter.

On the court the Golden State Warriors led by their dynamic duo of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are seen as capable of leading the team on a dominant run in the NBA and to a deep NBA Playoff foray, albeit, they have encountered some stiff opposition resulting in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies (20-4) the Warriors still maintain a healthy lead within the Pacific Division of the
Western Conference . No major fallout from this loss, as the loss ,as the team has been able to show its resilience over the course of the season .

In the collegiate ranks of basketball, the NCAA Tournament . Kevin Ollie and the U Conn Huskies won another title which heightened the prestige of the program and the fourth title in the school’s history. The Huskies’ victim in that tournament victory, the John Calipari coached Kentucky Wildcats are once again atop of the college rankings with an unbeaten season and the deemed the best team in the country. They are likely to be a team to be reckoned with as Calipari seeks a second title win to add to his burgeoning resume’. Kentucky has cut a swath through their opponents , but I feel we are reading far too much into the accomplishments at this stage of the season ! The run up to this season’s NCAA Tournament and the event itself will place an d even greater emphasis on how good the Kentucky Wildcats are likely to be. Hard to suggest where a likely challenge is likely to come from in stopping the Wildcats’ dominance.

With its inaugural format within College Football now in motion , last season’s defending national champions the Florida State Seminoles will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Jameis Winston the program’s 2013 Heisman Trophy winner in spite of his off the field problems has been able to lead the team to their unbeaten run this season. The Seminoles ended the regular season ranked in the top four availing the chance to be part of the playoff schedule which has been essentially adjudged a four-team semi-finals’ playoff format with contests’ winner playing in the national title game.

The four programs who are the recipients of this inaugural system are Alabama , Oregon , Ohio State (Buckeyes) and Florida State making up the quartet. While there will be continued debate as to the veracity of this format , many feel a four-team playoff is by no means the best way to decide a national champion . Yet for all of the criticism leveled and the fact an empaneled body were arbiters on this whole scheme, not everyone can state this was of satisfaction to the doubters as well as some protagonists of the new format. Money remains the driving force behind this all, without anyone trying to suggest this system has been the best possible solution after years of idiocy with the BCS format and a system so void of legality , that it was simply ridiculous for anyone to try and justify its legitimacy. Come full circle, in reality the progress made is simply miniscule , even if the new format is tinkered with at various points in the future, as is likely the case.

This year’s Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota can go out on a high if he is able to lead Oregon past Florida State in their highly anticipated game on the 1st January, 2015. Mariota is highly regarded within the college ranks and seen as one of the most dynamic players in the game as well as perhaps the best quarterback in college football. A victory in that that game, to be followed with a championship victory , will lead to certain financial gain, a high draft pick the upcoming NFL Draft of 2015.

In light of the recent disaster of Johnny Manziel’s first professional start in the NFL this season was such a catastrophe it is hard to see any positives which could come out of the debacle, where the Cleveland Browns were shutout by the Cincinnati Bengals in their divisional clash 30-0 . The fact this was a home game for the Browns was all the more embarrassing for the fans. Manziel in the aftermath of his disaster has suggested he can play better , but that must now come into question after the idiotic decision made by Mike Pettine to sit Brian Hoyer merely to gauge what the team’s 2014 draftee was capable of doing. We’ve now seen what Manziel is not capable of doing and that is to lead a team with any great authority, much less play competently at the NFL level.

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders , merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure .

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders, merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure . San Francisco’s home loss in week sixteen to the San Diego Chargers put an immediate end to their postseason hopes. The fallout from it all , has been the growing speculation Harbaugh will fired or he resigns and accepts the vacant coaching position at Michigan (Wolverines). An 8-8 is the best the San Francisco 49ers can now hope for , something no might have envisage at the start of this season’s NFL schedule.

It is extremely difficult to now try and justify any reason why Rex Ryan should be retained as the New York Jets’ head coach for next season. In spite of their narrow one-point loss o to the New England Patriots(12-3) the defeat dropped the Jets’ record , with a with a penultimate game left on their schedule, they now find themselves bearing a mark of 3-12 . The franchise’s front office will have several decisions to make beyond Ryan’s immediate future, there is also the questionable performances of Geno Smith and Michael Vick over the course of this season. It remains to be seen wheter not both players are likely to be retained for the upcoming season, but clearly , GM John Idzik and the front office staff have to ponder the drafting of a quarterback or acquiring a reliable free agent to fulfill their needs .

The NFL enters its final week of games, with a number of divisions having been decided . Yet,for all of their accomplishments, there still remains the preposterous diatribe served up within the NFC South all season long . With the Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) now holding a slender one-game lead over the New Orleans Saints (6-9 and Atlanta Falcons (6-9) , a great deal still remains on the line as they each head into the final week knowing that a defeat could end their hopes of winning the division and gaining a playoff berth . Atlanta made sure, they still remain in the hunt, with their total annihilation of the Saints in Sunday’s game, beating a demoralized New Orleans’ team 30-14 . Carolina for their part, kept up their side of the ongoing equation by making sure the Cleveland Browns’ woes continued as the team suffered their second successive defeat . Thankfully, for the Browns’ fans, Johnny Manziel was kept on the sidelines for the entire game,as his services were not needed , not even for mop-up duty .

While I thoroughly enjoyed the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during this MLB Postseason . The AL Central franchise became the rallying cry for the underdogs within the game of baseball, as they wore down team after team on their way to the World Series . Alas, for the Royals it wasn’t to be, as the San Francisco Giants and Madison Bumgarner had more in store for the underdogs than they could ever have imagined . The series’ statistics may well stated the Giants won their third World Series’ title in five years . with some ease (4-3) and in part they actually achieved that. Yet to my mind, the Royals were never in with a chance of winning game seven , simply because of their lack of postseason and veteran experience being part of their lineup !

During this off-season with the Winter Meetings in full swing , teams made their play a> to acquire the free agents sought, while also jettisoning players they believed superfluous to their needs. The Miami Marlins made the headlines for the right and wrong reasons, dependent upon your point of view , but their signing Giancarlo Stanton to his now ridiculous $325 million contract smacks of sheer lunacy and a great deal of narcissism and conceit on the part of the organization . Two years ago this very same ball-club had a burgeoning roster of high-paid stars who simply flamed out under the misguided managerial acumen of Ozzie Guillen . A last place finish in the NL East games out behind the the divisional winner and a further out of card berth sealed Guillen’s fate for the year, leading to his dismissal after a disastrous season where the team was uncompetitive and > in complete disarray on and off the field . In the aftermath of the disaster, GM Michael Hill summarily initiated the fire sale which led to the trading away of those highly paid players from 2012.

A great deal will be expected of Mike Redmond and his managerial staff this upcoming season, because of the high and renewed expectations of this team led by Giancarlo Stanton and their NL Rookie of the Year pitcher Jose Fernandez , who was also signed to a very lucrative deal by the Marlins.

For the greater part of my youth and into my teenage years, I was an avid and voracious boxing fan and aficionado . My two biggest idols from the sport are still remain Muhammad Ali , ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler with former light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins not far behind . All three fighters were great champions during their prime with each rewriting the history books with records likely to be surpassed. I now champion the world of MMA and as an actual martial arts’ practitioner (karate & tae-kwon-do) this sport I believe has far exceeded what has boxing has failed to do in the last decade and that is to draw fans in, rather than systematically pushing them away . The death of another peer of Ali’s , at the age of seventy-five Ernie Terrell died but his career was memorable for the bout in which a charismatic , flamboyant Ali taunted Terrell in a lopsided contest where Muhammad Ali showed his dominance and gave light to what he would go on to achieve in the future . .

Muhammad Ali faces Ernie Terrell for the WBA Heavyweight title at the Houston Astrodome on the 6th February , 1967.

In light of the recent news, that Ali has been admitted into hospital with what is alleged to be a slight bout of pneumonia and with the former champion’s health having deteriorated over the past two-and a half decades. It may well seem sordid, in surmising he could now be at death’s door , wherein, if Parkinson’s disease doesn’t take him from within our midst, this latest health setback, likely will. Ali remains to this day not only the biggest icon in the sport of boxing, but his name and face are the most universally recognized in the world of sports. Outside of Michael Jordan in the NBA and Pele’ in the world of soccer, I sincerely doubt that there has been a more revered icon in the world of professional sports on a global scale.

Boxing has now become a sport, lacking in a charisma , where the top fighters in the various weight categories, simply avoid each other while formulating their prowess and claims of being the ‘true champions’ of their weight divisions . Personally, for all of the hype surrounding a potentially lucrative fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, I will continue to maintain, it is a fight a number fans have become completely disinterested in ! Is there anyone willing at this juncture, to pay in excess of $55.00 for the “privilege” of seeing these two fighters, who have spent the past three years padding their stats with meaningless bouts , while earning exorbitant fight purses ? This has become the ” new norm” within the sport, along with the petulance of the fighters, promoters , connivance and continued corrupt practices of the various international governing bodies which preside over the boxing. Yet we wonder why the sport no longer truly resonates with fans and how it now lacks a broad-based appeal ?

Meanwhile, a viewed as a pugilistic upstart, continues to dominate the landscape and has become a multi billion-dollar industry under the main promotional flagship of UFC . MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has now become the fastest growing sport in the world , with an increased audience participation , rising viewership and gate attendances for many of their biggest events staged around the globe. Idiots such as promoter Bob Arum and ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard continue to question the legitimacy of the sport , but have failed to recognize , while boxing has become pallid and stagnant, the growth of Mixed Martial Arts has been explosive. . In little over a decade, this combative style of fighting has caught the imagination of fans around the world and now has a growing legion of female fans, while holding on to its main demographic of males aged between eighteen to thirty-five . If you think fans of the the sport , is strictly confined to adults alone , then you would be wrong, as martial arts’ dojos are now beginning to incorporate MMA within their criteria , while still teaching their main forms of combat , such as karate, judo , taekwondo , Ju-jitsu , Krav-magav and other lethal forms of fighting.

Dana White rules the roost of the UFC, but he has now become more a totalitarian dictator, rather than a lead executive and arbiter of the sport. His apparent idiocy, in chastising many of the biggest names in the sport, who helped place it on the global map, shows not only White’s bombastic attitude, but also his naivete’ and complete stupidity. Can you imagine David Stern questioning the abilities of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson , Kobe Bryant or even LeBron James at the height of their careers ? Well, White has managed to do that with the MMA fighters, while becoming the antithesis of what is expected of a governing sports’ executive.

It may well be a great deal of schtick and panache’ on the part of Dana White, but before too long his idiocy will being to grate on the nerves of not only the fans but also the fighters themselves. The two biggest names in the sport at present are Cain Velazquez and Jon Jones , but with neither fighter having recently defended their respective titles, a small void has been created , yet to be filled by any other fighter, with the character or genuine appeal to strike a note with the masses. Ganted, the likes of Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis and of late the sport’s only genuine female ‘star’ Ronda Rousey have a growing fan-base , but that might not be enough, unless there is a major title bout involving Jones, Velasquez or former champions Anderson Silva or Georges St Pierre. Rousey and St Pierre may well carved out side careers having appeared in a couple of Hollywood action movies, but their ” bread and butter ” remains the UFC for now .

Having been justifiably critical of the UFC and the lack transparency shown by the hierarchy concerning the drug testing of its fighters with repeatedly violations , most notably by Chael Sonnen , it will be interesting to see if Dana White is willing to welcome back the former UFC welterweight champion Georges St Pierre. Johny Hendricks’ first championship defense of the title , he won in an vacant title bout title as the successor to St Pierre, ended with his loss to Robbie Lawler. . All of the hype and actually nothing to back it up, simply indicated, Hendricks , was not all he was cracked to be .

With no major event on the schedule until January 3rd , 2015 , when Jon Jones defends his Light Heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier in a bout that will see the finality to what has already become contentious period between the two fighters , name calling asides , it’s time for both Jones and Cormier to sort their ” beef out”, rather than act like petulant children . I know the fight scene has to create an angle , with a ” hero” and a ” villain” , but when you are being asked to choose between two self-absorbed individuals, there isn’t much to actually throw your support behind. Your thoughts on that ?

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Picture gallery.

This was my simple breakdown of some of the interesting events I witnessed during the sports’ year and granted, I failed to touch on the PGA , NASCAR the NHL and even the WSOP (World Series of Poker) . So by all means chime in with your thoughts on the event or events of this sporting year which piqued your interest.

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Picture and slideshow gallery .

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(1) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra gestures against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York . The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91 . Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(2) Dec 16 , 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) reacts to losing the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(3) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Johnson (7) holds his head as Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) and Miami Heat forward Luol Deng (9) high-five late in the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center. The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ..

(4) Nov 11 , 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (right) pats guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena . The Spurs defeated the Warriors 113-100 . Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports …

(5) Kentucky players from left, Devin Booker , Tyler Ulis , Trey Lyles, and Willie Cauley-Stein celebrate their 83-42 win over UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game , Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in Chicago. AP Photo Nam Y. Huh …

(6) Left , Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State . Both college quarterbacks are one of the primary reasons why their respective programs will be part of the inaugural college playoff format which will decide this season’s national champion at the FBS Level of College Football . Both players will likely declare their eligibility status at the end of the playoff season , seeking to enter the 2015 NFL Draft . Mariota and Winston are considered consensus first round draft picks . Yet , there is a common belief teams in need of a passer might well be weary in light of the recent issues of Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel . AP Photo / David Parsons …

(7) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers runs off the field after the 49ers lose 38-35 in overtime to the San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium on December 20th, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw …

(8) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers shakes hands with free safety Eric Weddle(32) of the San Diego Chargers after the Chargers defeat the 49ers 38-35 in overtime at Levi’s Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ….

(9) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to his team in the huddle during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(10) New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan , left, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, right, shake hands after an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Patriots won the game 17-16 . AP Photo/Julio Cortez

(11) Quarterback Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets is tackled by defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) of the New England Patriots in the first quarter during a game at MetLife Stadium on December 21, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. AP Photo/ Julio Cortez …

(12) Miami Marlins’ manager Mike Redmond left and Giancarlo Stanton are seen here in the dugout at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida during a home game on 2nd September , 2014 played against the New York Mets . Miami would go on lose the contest 8-6 . …

(13) In what is believed to be the last known public appearance by former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is seen here attending the funeral of boxer Joe Frazier in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , in November of 2014. Ali was recently admitted to a local hospital where he is said to be suffering from a mild respiratory problem and a bout of pneumonia . Ernie Terrell whom Ali beat during his illustrious career recently died at the age of seventy-five. AP Photo / Steve Woods … …

(14) Ernie Terrell gets advice from his advisor Joe Louis between rounds of the vacant 1965 WBA World Heavyweight Title fight versus Eddie Machen at the International Amphitheatre , Chicago, Illinois on the 5th March , 1965 ,. UPI Syndicate ….

(15) Anderson Silva (left) is seen here with UFC President Dana White prior to Silva’s defense of his world welterweight title against Chris Weidman . The challenger would score a surprising knockout of the champion and then follow up that victory with a successful defense against Silva in their rematch which ended with a TKO after the former champion suffered a broken leg in their bout at UFC168 . Courtesy of MMA Magazine . @ all rights reserved …

(16) From left to right , Georges St Pierre , Anderson Silva and Jon ‘Bones’ Jones . St Pierre relinquished his welterweight title, taking a prolonged leave of absence from the sport . The former champion has been critical of Dana White for his lack of consistency and a stringent drug testing policy. White in retaliation, was less than salutary to one of the sport’s biggest attractions and most successful fighters in MMA history . MMA Junkie … …

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A case can be made ….

A case can be made ….

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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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 .

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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 ?

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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

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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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(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 .

If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

I have long-held the contention that the NCAA and just about everything it represents has been a charade and a farce! Furthermore , the apathy of the fans of collegiate sports might be just as asinine as the institution itself , without going into greater detail than suggesting that this charade now underway about a legitimate way of deciding a national champion at the FBS Level for football can be done with the empaneling of publicly respected individuals. It would not be so bad were it not for the fact the panel members sought are in some respects no more versed in collegiate athletics than perhaps a truck driver would be knowledgeable enough in providing you with his thoughts on molecular biology or Sarah Palin’s thoughts on the US economy and the country’s foreign policy.

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NCAA President Mark Emmert was summoned to appear at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC , where he was quizzed by members of the Senate Commerce Committee on the inner workings of the NCAA and the institution’s continued aversion to paying student athletes while in school.. One has to bear in mind, currently, Collegiate Athletics’ governing body is the main defendant in a class action lawsuit now underway in the US Federal Court , where a resulting loss could see the NCAA pay out tens of millions of dollars in damages for the use of the athletes’ likeness to market and sell college merchandize without their permission. This suit was brought by former UCLA and NBA player Ed O’Bannon , for what he says are purely for moral reasons and the fact collegiate athletics remains a complete sham without their being any clear transparency being shown by the NCAA and the major college conference and educational institutions in the way these monies are disbursed within collegiate athletics. I have read some of the most asinine claims and statements by conference commissioners and by fans, suggesting that the system itself is not broken , but the issues that continue to affect college sports, stems from the violations of the athletes themselves. Such a suggestion , is no more valid than making a claim, the NCAA can actually deal with their ongoing issues without any outside oversight. The NCAA failed the victims of the Penn State ‘ scandal ‘ miserably,without the university and the state’s governor Tom Corbett seeking to enact a cover-up, without the supporters of Joe Paterno trying to apportion blame elsewhere for Jerry Sandusky’s heinous actions and the lack foresight shown by the now deceased head football coach. The scandal, still permeates through the school’s campus and it can never be forgotten no matter how many changes are put into place by the Board of Trustees of Penn State.

Mark Emmert remains an enigma and a conundrum all rolled into one, having succeeded the late Myles Brand as the NCAA’s highest ranking official. During his tenure, Emmert has shown that his interpersonal and communicative skills leave a lot to be desired without having to delve into his past administrative history , which seems to be littered with a great deal of controversy and claims of incompetence , graft and corruption. Perhaps, those were the qualifications sought by the executive search firm hired by the NCAA as they sought a successor to Myles Brand ? There can be no other reason for the hire than Emmert’s past actions and therein lies one of the numerous reasons why this institutional body cannot be taken seriously.

Emmert’s appearance in front of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee proved to be embarrassing and equally distasteful with the fawning of the members fawned over not only the NCAA President but also several current and former college athletes who gave testimony to the convened members of the congressional panel. Senator Claire McCaskill in her questioning of Mark Emmert concerning the issue of on campus sexual assaults which has been on the increase over the past decade, of which over seventy-percent (70%) of all sexual campus crimes go unreported , a staggering figure when judged against the national average. Emmert would suggest the NCAA does take the sexual assaults seriously, especially where the majority of the victims are women. Victims of such crimes are always reluctant to come forward and report that they are victims of rapes or an assault because they are not likely to be believed or subjected to further degradation by either law enforcement or the educational institution itself.

The NCAA, an institution primarily presided over by men among its most senior ranks, simply has no idea how to deal with sexual crimes, much less Mark Emmert being able to provide the Senate Commerce Committee with a satisfactory explanation about how the institution now plans to discuss future incidents of campus sex crimes. It should be noted, current Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston still remains a person of interest in a sexual assault claim made by a female victim. The player’s legal representatives first suggested that the claims were false, only to then claim that the sex between the two , was consensual. Tallahassee Police Department came under severe criticism by State Attorney General Pam Bondi for the lackluster and lack of professionalism in the conducting of the original and later investigation for the Florida State player, who has since fallen afoul of the law for his theft of groceries from a well-known grocery store chain within the state of Florida. Winston’s public apology rings hollow, very much like the university’s failure in reprimanding the athlete for his actions.

Winston while remaining in school , can now look forward to a year in which he will look to heighten his value to Florida State, as well as looking to enhance his value as a future first round draft pick in the NFL Draft . Short term memory remains the norm within the NFL, no matter when there is said to be a lack of character among the prospective players looking to make their mark in the NFL. A cautionary tale can be provided with the fall from grace of New England Patriots’ tight-end Aaron Hernandez and his continued legal issues without delving into what were already clearly troubling signs during his collegiate career at the University of Florida . The excuses made by his former head coach, Urban Meyer and by the Patriots’ organization was simply another sign, where the NFL and another collegiate educational establishment simply did not care about a troubled individual with a litany of psychological problems.

The convening of a Congressional Committee and its empaneling can be about as insightful as watching paint dry or watching flies congregate around an elephant’s ass, as it begins to defecate. Which begs the question, why are these committee members there to begin with and how productive are they once in Congress? Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) , a fellow member of the Senate Commerce Committee, spent more time regaling the press , convened members and Mark Emmert about his collegiate career at Stanford as a wide receiver on the school’s football team, than asking any meaningful questions of Mark Emmert about the direction of the institution he presides over and the increase of sexual assaults on college campuses across the country. If that were not enough, Booker would go on to suggest that his college years were difficult, because he and teammates spent far too much time reading play books than studying. .Am I missing something here, but getting a free ride as a student athlete is nowhere as arduous as the congressman was trying suggest ?

Academic fraud on a college campus where a respected coach presides over a college program believed to be among the best in the nation ? Legends were built under Dean Smith , as he cemented a legacy and where fans got to see a young Michael Jordan excel at the collegiate level , garnering a national championship at North Carolina (Tar Heels)before embarking on his now legendary NBA career. Roy Williams, who took over from Smith’s successor Matt Doherty in 2003, was already a well-respected coach before coming to coach the Tar Heels’ program. Williams is now at the center of a scandal that is likely to blow the roof off the program in Chapel Hill as well as the Dean Smith Center where this storied program play their home games. Far be it for me to suggest, but Williams, his assistants and the school’s AD Bubba Cunningham will have a great deal of explaining to do if the allegations are proven to be true. Allegations leveled are of the head coach turning a blind eye to current and former players failing to meet academic requirements and their being widespread cheating, encouraged by members of the coaching staff, is unlikely to sit well with everyone , especially among the diehard Tar Heels’ fans.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & AP (Associated Press)


Dean Smith’s former players backing Roy Williams in wake of North Carolina’s academic scandal

By Pat Forde , Yahoo Sports

Dean Smith is alive but absent, his remarkable mind ravaged by the effects of dementia. While that has caused deep mourning among those who know and love the legendary former North Carolina basketball coach, there is one small sliver of relief regarding his current condition.

He is unaware of the ongoing integrity crisis that has engulfed the program he built into a national model.

“I’m tired of it,” said former Smith-era player Richard Vinroot. “I want it fixed. I want it to end.”

The NCAA recently announced it has re-opened its investigation of an academic scandal at Carolina. That figures to follow the tracks of the school’s ongoing (and latest) investigation of itself. Those investigations follow the drip-drip-drip of allegations of classroom shortcuts – and other embarrassing headlines – at a school that once proudly considered itself the ultimate intersection of competitive excellence and off-court class.

“It pains me greatly,” Vinroot said. “I have such high regard for Coach Smith. I revere him.”

Vinroot is a former mayor of Charlotte and one-time Republican nominee for governor of North Carolina. Smith, a staunch and outspoken Democrat, cited player loyalty over party loyalty when supporting Vinroot’s gubernatorial bid in 2000.

That was Dean Smith, to those who played under him: a mentor and ally for life, extending well past the player/coach relationship. David Chadwick, senior pastor of Forest Hill Church in Charlotte and another former Tar Heel under Smith, wrote a book, “The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith.” The first principle he cited: “The Reciprocal Law of Loyalty.”

“He had an unyielding loyalty to us,” Chadwick said. “That’s why we had that fierce commitment to him, because he had that commitment to us.”

Smith cultivated something of a Camelot aura in Chapel Hill – it was Duke before Duke, and before Duke had the taint of Corey Maggette and Lance Thomas to deal with. The UNC players and coaches were all part of something special, and forever bonded in the making of it. Which is why this disorienting journey from Camelot to crucible has the Carolina old guard dismayed.

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Farcical and downright stupidity can now be the only reason why many the Tar Heels’ former players are jumping to the defense of Roy Williams and the allegations being made. A scandal of this size came into being or compromised the integrity of the program under Dean Smith, but in many respects one should be at all surprised at the claims or allegations now being leveled at Roy Williams. He is simply one of many coaches within collegiate sports, who have conflicted with violating NCAA rules. Accountability and oversight was never the highest priority within collegiate sports and it will continue to be that way even with the NCAA flexing their muscles , but therein lies idiocy of that premise, as Emmert seeks to punish some programs with impunity while excusing others. Let us not forget also, the continued incompetency shown by the investigative arm of the NCAA, where the Infractions’ Committee, who having misplaced evidence in their investigation of the University of Miami program chose to make up and then proceed to lie in how they obtained the very same evidence.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala has requested an appeal of the decision of the NCAA’s probation and other sanctions placed on the Canes’ program , for which she has yet to receive a response from Mark Emmert or from a high-ranking subordinate within the NCAA. Collegiate Athletics’ governing body should have their antitrust and tax exempt status removed by the Congress, but with the lobbying power of the institution and the money spent to curry favor with the members of the House and Senate , the ongoing hypocrisy is likely to continue, while congress members play at the role of being tough legislators. In reality, they are nothing more than money hungry members, simply looking to prolong their stays within both Federal legislative chambers

Judge Claudia Wilken will preside over the case where Ed O’Bannon is the lead plaintiff in a multi-jurisdictional proceeding . While the NCAA will fight the case as a defendant with the legal power at their disposal, I cannot help wonder, if Mark Emmert’s own efforts forestall the obvious, is simply another way of appeasing conference commissioners such as John Swofford, Larry Scott , Mike Slive and many of their peers. They are seeking to ward off this case, while trying to keep the monies pouring into their treasure chests . Billions of dollars are at stake and the chances are even with a loss , the litigation process would be prolonged with an appeal being lodged in the Federal Appellate Court . A loss for the plaintiffs and this all can be put to rest , with the stain and stench of the NCAA still within our midst.

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Picture gallery.

Are you of the opinion the NCAA represents the best interests of the college athlete? Alternatively, do you feel the institution to be outmoded, with far too much beyond its scope concerning collegiate athletics? Leave comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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(1) Jameis Winston of Florida State is seen here with team head coach Jimbo Fisher as the pair celebrate becoming BCS National champions in 2013 . The Seminoles had a tremendous season outplaying their opponents and performing to the highest of standards ending the year ranked number one in the polls . AP Photo/ Matt Mason ..

(2) NCAA President Mark Emmert is seen here addressing members of the Senate Commerce Committee up on Capitol Hill , in Washington , DC . Emmert faced some tough questions from certain members of the committee , but in large part there was a great deal of posturing by the NCAA President and his inquisitors . Getty Images / Mark Hurst …

(3) Sen. Claire McCaskill , D-Mo., asks a question of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s choice for defense secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. McCaskill relished the opportunity to quiz Hagel on the issue of Israel’s right to defend itself and brought similar determination in her quizzing of Mark Emmert as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. AP Photo/Susan Walsh

(4) Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee members (L-R) Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) , Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) listen to testimony during a hearing about the future of unmanned aviation in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony about the Federal Aviation Administration’s policy on unmanned aviation systems and about the privacy and freedom issues surrounding their use. Getty Images North America / Chip Smodevilla

(5) Roy Williams head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels is now under siege with claims current and former players receiving monetary and unspecified gifts , as well as their being academic fraud within the basketball program , with certain members of Williams’ coaching being fully aware of the violations being perpetrated. Former Tar Heels’ player Rashad McCants has made a number of clams concerning the allegations without suggesting that he was in fact part of activities taking place . UPI / Chris Hendricks …
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NCAA

Latest news from within the NCAA

A recap of sorts

Well, the NCAA Tournament has to come a close , with the vestiges to that competition reaching a finality . Two storied programs were there the combatants in the Finals , were John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats facing the University of Connecticut (Huskies) coached by second-year coach, Kevin Ollie , a former mainstay within the NBA . With U Conn prevailing in a six-point triumph , Ollie joins a select group of coaches to have won a national title within their first three years of coaching a program . For Shabazz Napier and the leadership shown in leading his teammates to this triumph, is likely to open doors , not previously thought about in great depth , with several general managers around the NBA , likely to be showing an interest in a player , who should he declare for the upcoming NBA Draft , is likely to be taken quite high in the first round .

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I am sure that the administration within Storrs, Connecticut, are truly overwhelmed at this triumph and the Huskies’ second title in the past four years , with the program’s last triumph in the Men’s NCAA Tournament coming in 2011 , when Jim Calhoun and that team triumphed over Brad Stevens and Butler . As we know, the Huskies women’s program , coached by Geno Auriemma , has been triumphant several times , with six national titles during his reign, as the coach of the now famed women’s program. Auriemma is back again as a finalist in this year’s tournament where the opponent will be a heated rival , with Notre Dame (Fighting Irish) staring across at their adjoining number one tournament seeds. That game , will be played tonight at the Bridgestone Arena , in Nashville, Tennessee,.

A week into the MLB season and there is not really a great deal to report , beyond the fact , there appears to be more money now seated ? on the disabled list , than would actually make up the payroll of the league’s lowest paid team , in this case , that privilege belongs to the Houston Astros with an estimated payroll of $44.5 million . Yet, somehow , it was the intent of Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow to field a competitive team this year , while trying to avoid a fourth consecutive season of one hundred losses or more ? I guess , Astros’ manager Bo Porter and his managerial staff were fed another boatload of “ bull” , by the executives entering the season , about the ball-club’s ambitions for the year.

With a record of 3-4 , the Astros are competing in what is likely to be a competitive AL West division this season , where the main competitors for the divisional title are likely to be the defending champions the Oakland Athletics , who in turn , are likely to be challenged by the Texas Rangers , Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners . For Robinson Cano and his hefty $240 million contract , signed in the off-season, having left the New York Yankees , for what he believes to be greener pastures. This season , is likely to prove to be a tough one for the former Yankees’ infielder, as he seeks to prove that contract. Coming off a 6-3 loss to the Oakland A’s , Seattle will in their next game face the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington , where James Paxton will take to the mound for the Mariners to face off against Hector Santiago , in what should prove to be a very competitive pitching match-up , between the two starting pitchers .

As beleaguered as the issues are for the Houston Astros are now , I am not so sure, that the team will simply be good enough to avoid another one hundred loss season for a fourth consecutive time. Bo Porter’s staff simply does not have the acumen , and there is not a player on the staff ready, to assume any type of role of leadership or be presumed to be, looked upon as a leader. Tuesday’s scheduled meeting against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center ,in Toronto, Ontario, where Brett Oberholtzer will pit wits with his opponent for the Blue Jays’ Mark Buerhle .

It is beginning to look as if Mark Teixeira’s career will become known for being injury prone , rather than for anything achieved on the field of play , since he was acquired by the New York Yankees to bolster the team’s roster and add to what was believed to be an already explosive lineup by way of the team’s offense. In his first season with the team in 2009, Teixeira proved to be as productive and well worth the contract , as it appeared to be at the time. The player we are told, will resume light exercise with a view to returning to the team and perhaps playing in his first regular season game by mid-April, but in all likelihood , I believe that Joe Girardi and the staff will not have their first baseman return too soon , until they believe that he is fully fit .

The Yankees’ 4-2 victory, over the Baltimore Orioles , places them atop of the AL East with a one game lead over the second placed Tampa Bay Rays (4-4) . How the season, now plays out for the New York Yankees will undoubtedly be predicated upon the play of mainstays, such as Teixeira , Derek Jeter , Ichiro Suzuki , Brian McCann , Kelly Johnson, CC Sabathia , Hiroki Kuroda , Carlos Beltran , Alfonso Soriano , Masahiro Tanaka and Jacoby Ellsbury . The team will once again , play host to the Orioles today, when they meet at Yankees Stadium , in New York City, New York on Tuesday afternoon , where the opposing pitchers will be Wei Yin Chen and Ivan Nova .

On this date in MLB history , one of the great achievements within the game of baseball was attained , when Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit , what was his seven-hundred and fifteenth home run (715) to move ahead of Babe Ruth in the all-time career home runs’ list. Granted, that record has since been surpassed by Barry Bonds , whose legitimacy about that mark , still comes into question, but not by the MLB hierarchy or that of the Elias Stats’ Bureau . While, there has never been a positive drug test on record to somehow negate Bonds’ achievement of the career home runs’ record or that of the single season mark for home runs. The persistent questions still lingers, about Bonds’ claims, that he never intentionally or knowingly, took what he believed to be a banned substance. In the court of “public opinion” , the now retired player’s claims, are not believed and the legal system has deemed Barry Bonds to be untruthful and indeed deceitful, with his denials and the statement offered at his perjury trial .

For Hank Aaron and the opposing pitcher on the day , when the record was broken , Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the event have been posthumously recorded . However, in the run-up and the aftermath, of Aaron , having broken the record, baseball historians have tended to gloss over the fact, the Hall of Fame inductee came under death threats , racial threats , along with the lives of the immediate members of his family being threatened by bigoted racists . Poignant, when you consider the claims being made at the time that , the nation had indeed progressed , that the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr , the integration of baseball and it being woven into the fabric of society , had indeed made the world a better place. Four decades later, those claims do not hold true , even with the nation’s first African-American President Barack Obama midway through his second Presidential term and the deaths of James Byrd Jr and Alfred Wright are seen as mere footnotes and the apathy of idiots are still within our midst , about the claims of racial bigotry has in fact ended .

We are now less than a week away from the culmination of the NBA regular season and several of the divisional races have been all but decided. In the Eastern Conference, only the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat , are the two teams apiece, to have garnered more than fifty wins. Counterparts within the West, where the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers , are three of five teams to have accumulated more than fifty wins each . Somehow, one gets the feeling that in the East, theirs is a conference, where competitive basketball, which is claimed to being played, is simply an acronym for complete mediocrity .

For the New York Knicks , the past seventy two hours has seen the team play themselves into contention for a playoff berth, to once again showing the trait, that has been on display , all season long and that simple inconsistency . Their fans and the print media within the local market , may well decry the fact, the team, is now likely to miss the postseason , altogether. Yet, what else can you say, when there really has been absolutely no one willing to step up to the plate? As to this utter idiocy, that Carmelo Anthony ought to be given a worthy mention as a legitimate MVP candidate , has to be viewed with the utter contempt that the claims deserve. Anthony, has been playing on a team , that at no point during the regular season, have they led their division , nor have they strung together double-digit wins in terms of a consecutive wins’ stretch.

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An eleven point loss to the Miami Heat , may well have placed the “nail in the coffin” of Mike Woodson’s players and any last vestiges of hope, that they might well have had, in gaining a playoff berth. The team’s only hopes, now rest with the Atlanta Hawks simply imploding, with six games remaining on the Hawks’ schedule.

The seismic shock waves from the Superbowl and the lopsided loss suffered by the Denver Broncos , must be seen as something of a precursor, about what we have witnessed by way of the waiving of players and the contracts lengths now being offered new contracts by their new teams . It’s pretty much safe to say, with a number of franchises, seeking to make themselves “cap-friendly” , the luring of marquee free agents , while preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft , has been the one thing , that the front office executives have been using a great deal of due diligence in some of that preparation.

Veteran quarterback , Michael Vick has now found himself a new home , having signed with the New York Jets , where he is likely to be the backup to incumbent starter, Geno Smith , whose propensity throw interceptions during a game , are as frequent, as the guests at a wedding, throwing rice to celebrate the nuptials of a just-married couple. I am not suggesting that Smith is a terrible quarterback, but he has shown no inclination to improve his game and the coaching staff of the Jets, have done little to aid the player during his rookie season. The team’s problems during the season and the fact, they were simply of no relevance within the AFC East , simply summed up the Jets’ year and the fact , they performed so poorly.

It will be interesting to see how the New York Jets do during the off-season in the build-up to the NFL Draft, as GM John Idzik , seeks to rebuild and revamp the roster, while also seeing the type of influence, that Michael Vick will provide for Geno Smith.

The waiving of running back Chris Johnson , is likely to come back and haunt the Tennessee Titans , at some point , during their future . Yet, I am not entirely surprised by the move , considering the ongoing stupidity that we have witnessed from team owner , Bud Adams , down the years. Cap issues or not , the explanation now being offered by the front office , makes about as much sense , as Sarah Palin offering up her assessment as to the country’s foreign policy or what her alternatives might be to Barack Obama’s healthcare initiative and the program that has now taken effect. Johnson , at the time of his release, was one of the franchise’s most productive offensive players, and all, but a mere handful of running backs in the NFL, have more rushing yards in the league, over the past five seasons .

With a slew of teams, now said to be interested, in Chris Johnson , many of them in need of a productive running back, to aid a franchise with a woefully inept rushing offense . Rex Ryan is said to be keenly interested in acquiring the free agent running back , but the asking price , might well be too high for the New York Jets to meet at this juncture .

Johnson and his agent, Joel Segal are likely to look for an offer, that best meets the need of the player, while giving him the chance to play for a legitimate Superbowl contender. As to where that offer is now likely to come from, will be open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation over the next few days. With the NFL Draft, just over a month away , one seriously doubts that Segal would still like to have his client unsigned, with their being some depth to the ” draft class” of running backs said to be part of this group of rushers , as well as the other unsigned free agent running backs , who might come at a less steeper price, than his own client, Chris Johnson.

“Bang the drums more loudly” , as the consensus seems to be, that the South Carolina Gamecocks’, Jadeveon Clowney , is still being viewed as the number one pick for the NFL Draft. Now, whether or not, the Houston Texans and their front office led by GM Rick Smith decide to go this route, in making Clowney that number one overall pick , will be clearly dependent upon the assessment of the player made by head coach Bill O’Brien and his staff . The Texans’ needs, as a team overall, are great and the simple thought, that the defensive player is an answer to all of their needs , is merely ludicrous and not warranting an answer, that is simple. Defensively , the secondary was a mess, throughout last season , and that fourteen-game losing streak was a clear indicator as to several of the reasons why, beyond the poor play of the often injured Matt Schaub and an offense, that has been nowhere near as explosive, as in seasons past . Yet, for all the talk of Clowney’s impact as a defensive player , one cannot help but ask, is Bill O’Brien actually willing to pass up on an array of quarterbacks in this upcoming class , that many feel might be as good and is being compared to in some circles , as good as the 2012 NFL quarterback class , that saw Andrew Luck , be taken as the number one overall pick , a grouping that I might add, that also included Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles , Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins .

Quarterbacks, may well come and go , but can a team that certainly in need of one afford to pass on the likes of Blake Bortles , Johnny Manziel , Teddy Bridgewater , Zach Mettenberger , Bryce Petty , Tajh Boyd , A J McCarron and Tom Savage ?

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Picture gallery .

One way or another , Jadeveon Clowney’s fate, might not rest in the Houston Texans’ hands, but actually the perception that he created, that has been perpetuated and bought into by the press , pundits and fans, alike . I believe, he is likely to be drafted in the first round, as one of the top ten picks, taken on the day. Anything short of that , will clearly be viewed as something of a major disappointment for a player , looking to be handsomely rewarded for his collegiate exploits .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Kevin Ollie , head coach of the U Conn Huksies’ Men’s Basketball team is seen here cutting down the nets after his player’s triumph over Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament . Ollie in his second year as the head coach, simply had his players playing at a high level throughout the tournament , with them upping the tempo in the championship game , itself against the Wildcats . AP Photo Keith Mannix …..

(2) Shabazz Napier (13) walks the length of the court being cheered on by Huskies’ fans after the team’s 60-54 victory over John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats in the finals of the NCAA Tournament . It is widely believed that Napier is likely to declare his eligibility and enter the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Keith Mannix ….

(3) Mark Teixiera of the New York Yankees , for whom much of the 2013 season was a loss, is once again back on the team’s DL , uncertain of when his season is likely to begin in 2014. As one of the highest paid players on the roster , as well as having one of the most lucrative contracts among all of the ball-club’s players , Teixeira is afforded a luxury not often shared by a player of his stature . Getty Images / Tim Walsh ….

(4) Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his historic 715th home run which would surpass the all-time career home runs’ record (714) at the time held by Babe Ruth . Aaron hit that record-breaking home run on the 8th April , 1974 at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, in a game between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers . The pitcher on the day, who gave up the home run was the Dodgers’ Al Downing . AP / REUTERS Inc/ Pathe ….

(5) Veteran quarterback Michael Vick who was acquired by the New York Jets and signed to a one-year deal by the franchise to be the backup to incumbent starter , Geno Smith , a first-round quarterback draft pick in 2013 NFL Draft by the Jets . In his rookie season , Smith’s continued struggles were ever-present throughout the season , with their being little real evidence that his game was progressing, in spite working diligently with quarterbacks’ coach , David Lee . It remains to be seen what type guidance and influence Vick will provide for Geno Smith , as he enters his sophomore season in 2014 . If Smith shows signs of regression , then in all likelihood the veteran will be called upon the replace his young charge . AP Photo / Rod Fletcher ….

(6) Free agent running back Chris Johnson who was waived by the Tennessee Titans for cap reasons . The player who was among the franchise’s leading rushers in their history , is now said to be one of the most desired free agents now on the market . It remain to be seen where Johnson’s final destination , is likely to be. AP Photo / Phil Prentice ……

(7) Robert ‘Bob’ McNair , (left) owner of the Houston Texans , is seen here with the team’s general manager Rick Smith. The general manager , scouting department of the franchise and head coach will have a tough decision to make, whether or not, to take Jadeveon Clowney, as the number on overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft or as is being forecast by many , the organization is likely to go with a quarterback , with instate hero Johnny Manziel said to be atop of Smith’s wish-list, along with Blake Bortles , Teddy Bridgewater and the fast rising stock of Tom Savage. The Texans have never made a quarterback their top pick , over the course of the franchise’s history. Getty Images / Austin Morris ….

(8) Jadeveon Clowney of the South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A &M’s Johnny Manziel , right . Both players , high achievers , have the wish to be taken as the number one overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. With the Houston Texans’ afforded the first pick , it remains to be seen whether or not the AFC South based franchise takes either player as that privileged first choice .

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tophatal …………………

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Simply soaking up the sun while making an imprint in the sand .

 

Hype will be the death of sports and then some ….

Hype will be the death of sports and then some ….

Well there is nothing like a littler hyperbole to set tongues wagging and to get the most idiotic of prognostications from analysts and fans alike. Nowhere does this happen to be more prevalent than within the world of the NBA and NFL . The 2012 NFL Draft , may well have been the best draft of the past decade in terms of the depth of talent made available by way of the players who declared their eligibility . The NBA has seen its wealth of talent makes its way into the league with the current class of rookies now making a name for themselves by contributing to their teams’ success during this season . Already, a little more than one-quarter of the way through a rigorous eighty-two game regular season schedule and talks already amiss concerning the 2014 NBA Draft and whether not Kansas Jayhawks’ rookie phenom Andrew Wiggins will be the top player taken in that upcoming draft. Now as good as Wiggins just happens to be , and he is very good, given the talent already on display for the Jayhawks. I truly believe that Wiggins might not be the best player, likely to be available in the draft. That accolade quite frankly, should go with the Duke Blue Devils’ own rookie sensation Jabari Parker , who is coached by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski .

Now while there is a great deal to be said for both of these respected programs, in terms of Duke and Kansas, do not make the mistake that both coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Bill Self are unlikely to take anything for granted concerning the aforementioned talents in question. What we do know , is that Parker like Wiggins , both make their teams considerably better when they are on the court , than sitting on the sidelines watching their teammates at play. Both Duke and Kansas are currently ranked in the AP Top Twenty-five , with the unbeaten Arizona Wildcats (11-0) sitting atop of the heap , followed by the number ranked Syracuse (Orangemen) , also unbeaten with a record of 10-0.

Duke (7-2) coming off a recent ten point 79-69 victory over John Beilin’s Michigan Wolverines , will be seeking to push their mark to 8-2 , while seeking to move themselves up in the ACC standings , where the Pittsburgh Panthers (10-0) and Syracuse both lead the way in the overall standings , but the conference lead is held by Maryland (Terrapins) and the Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0) . Next up for the Blue Devils, will be one these always nondescript out of conference games that tend to make up the more mundane side of a top programs’ schedule. Facing Duke in that contest, will be Gardner Webb of the Big South Conference , in a meeting that is not likely to prove too much of a mental or physical test for Mike Krzyzewski’s players .

Jabari Parker will undoubtedly prove to many that he is not only the best player on the Blue Devils’ team, but clearly has to be thought of as one of the best collegiate players in the nation. Andre Wiggins for his part, has been making analysts and fans sit up and take note of his game . . While the Jayhawks recently came unstuck, when they faced Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators , it was clear, that those in attendance for that contest , were indeed witnessing a very special talent in Andrew Wiggins, albeit , that the Gators came away with a well-deserved victory . Subsequent to that defeat, the Kansas Jayhawks were able to rebound with a rather lopsided 80-63 victory over New Mexico .

At this stage of the Collegiate Basketball season , there still remains a great deal to play for , but at the same time a number of teams are exuding a great deal of confidence.

The nation’s top ranked program in the AP Polls , the Arizona Wildcats are playing some very good basketball , and the case be made that with their current RPI , the plaudits are justified in their current ranking of the program. Much of that credit for the team’s early season form has to go to Sean Miller and his coaching staff . Miller and his team will play host to Southern University on Thursday night, at the McKale Center , in Tucson , Arizona,.

I have no wish to anoint a player as being the next big thing in any professional team endeavor , as has often been done by these on air analysts . Only for those very same individuals to then go on to have selective memory loss , when posed the question, why it is that their choice, has not fulfilled those expectations ?

It has to be said that the NFL has not only proven to be a complete joke this season by way of the poor coaching , pedantic play , but even more so, players long thought to very good or anointed as being “ the next big thing” , have simply offered nothing of substance . If that premise could not be better emphasized, then anyone who witnessed Sunday’s home game at Texas Stadium , where the Dallas Cowboys played host to the injury riddled Green Bay Packers , who were without quarterback Aaron Rodgers , will know that this game unraveled , simply because the Cowboys possess no stomach for any type of adversity on a football field . A twenty-three point lead by Jason Garrett’s players was simply squandered , as Garrett , his coaching staff and the team were unable to answer the unbelievable rally , as Matt Flynn led his team on an improbable comeback , that quite possibly may well have sealed the Dallas Cowboys’ postseason aspirations .

As Tony Romo and a weeping Dez Bryant , now ponder what might have been. It begs the question, if Bryant as he claims, is the best wide receiver currently playing in the NFL. Then where was the skill-set so often hyped over, which was simply nowhere to be seen during this contest? As to those, who are still jumping to the support of Tony Romo, being one of the best quarterbacks in the league. My question for those , who still believe that to be true , why is it that this player, has no leadership ability or and whose postseason career has been mired in mediocrity ?

The Dallas Cowboys, in perhaps their worst loss of the season , will now have to live with that experience , as Jason Garrett seeks to regain some type of momentum for the team. A divisional game against the still self-imploding Washington Redskins in week sixteen , in what is likely to be either a putrid contest or something thrilling. I am liable to think that it will be the former as Tony Romo and his teammates seek to close out their season on a competitive high. Yet, it could very well be the final game of the season that could ultimately decide the fate of the Cowboys, in what is likely to turn out to be a highly physical contest against the Philadelphia Eagles at Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas , could very well be the difference of the Texas-based franchise being part of the postseason makeup or sitting at home , watching the participants in the NFL postseason foray.

This season’s NFL rookies have acquitted themselves well in a number of cases , even if their teams are not necessarily competitive. We have seen the travails of Geno Smith whose rookie season with the New York Jets has simply been abysmal . A great deal of the player’s woes, stem from the fact that he was not an NFL ready quarterback and his game has simply been far too inconsistent for the Jets to have been competitive . Furthermore, in what is eerily , looking like a situation that could very well see the departure of Rex Ryan and his entire coaching staff . There is a growing belief that GM John Idzik, no longer has any faith in the one-time bombastic head coach. The coaching staff is unlikely to be the only remnants jettisoned at the end of this season , as several players on this roster are likely to be as superfluous to the franchise’s needs as well as Idzik seeking to slash the team’s payroll .

Coming off a ten-point loss to the Carolina Panthers , in what was simply a pre-audition for the playoffs, for Ron Rivera’s team, as they seek to challenge the New Orleans Saints within the NFC South . Just about every area of the Jets’ game in this contest was abysmal , and it is a further damning indictment of Rex Ryan having lost the team, where there seems to be no on-field leadership, not from Geno Smith or from any of the veterans on this roster. The sooner, the departure of Rex Ryan becomes a reality, rather than the continued idiocy of his reign remaining intact, the greater the likelihood of this franchise continuing with its ever-growing incompetency.

A season of indifference and now the talk has to be, how and why the New York Giants have failed so miserably this season . Having missed the playoffs last season, the front office saw fit to do some house cleaning , seeking to get rid of several players that aided the franchise in winning two Superbowl titles in the past six seasons. Eli Manning , for his part, his play has been indifferent, with coach Tom Coughlin not seeing fit to call out his veteran quarterback and for his lack of leadership this season. If nothing else, Jerry Reese must now be blamed for several of the transactions that led to the departures of Mario Manningham, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Boley and several others who contributed in that success.

This past weekend the Giants were on the wrong side of a lopsided defeat against the Seattle Seahawks , as Russell Wilson led his team to a 23-0 whitewash of the NFC East based franchise. At 5-9 New York’s season has all but ended , with their being few positives to have been gained at all from the team’s schedule, by way of the productivity of the players and with the rookies unable to add little of note. It’s likely to be, back to the drawing board for Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff , who are likely to work in conjunction with Jerry Reese to assess the needs of the franchise. Needless to say, Eli Manning has to know that a great deal more will be expected of him , given his status with the franchise and amongst the highest paid players on the roster , as well as at the quarterback position in the NFL .

The two remaining games on the New York Giants’ schedule , will pit them against the Detroit Lions in week sixteen, to be followed by a divisional contest in their final regular season match-up, where they will meet the Washington Redskins . Victories in both games, would end the year on something of an emotional high, but the common belief has to be , that the franchise has simply under-achieved in 2013.

I’ll say it again , of the four major professional team sports , nowhere is the hype greater than within the NBA ! Each season , the crop of rookies entering the league are being anointed for no other reason , than the less than knowledgeable on air analysts, feel the need to feed into the idiocy , that their insight happens to be the only thing that matter. Granted , when you have the piety of _ Mel Kiper and Todd McShay being thrust upon you at each NFL Draft , the fans get the feeling that the idiocy doesn’t only remain within the NBA alone.

The 2012 NBA Draft brought us a less than memorable rookie class and likewise it has been the same for this season. In the midst of it all, the league’s brand has deteriorated with the play of the teams seemingly mediocre , but meanwhile the NBA hierarchy and its broadcast partners would have us believe that it is simply a cyclical effect, and that the marquee stars are still playing at the highest level . There are, but a handful of ” elite players ” in the NBA, yet an abundance of average to mediocre teams , with no more than four or five franchises that would be considered credible contenders for the NBA title.

Last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard .. excelled in his role with the Portland Trailblazers (21-4) , and with the Indiana Pacers suddenly looking far from impervious or invincible , it has been the Trailblazers and coach Terry Stotts’ team with the best record in the Western Conference as well as the NBA, with Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way for the Northwest Division based franchise who lead their closest divisional rivals the Oklahoma City Thunder by a mere game in the standings.

The Trailblazers’ young point guard along with a number of his peers from last season are off to notable starts this year , and a somewhat similar case could be made for this season’s crop of rookies , where Michael Carter-Williams , Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke lead in scoring . In the assists’ category , the leaders there are again , Carter-Williams, Burke , with Nate Wolters being given due consideration.

It would be correct to suggest that this season the two biggest stories in the NBA season, are the not so implausible facts , that both the Brooklyn Nets (9-15) and New York Knicks (7-17) continue to be mired in mediocrity, in terms of their play , collectively . Never mind the fact that for all of the alleged insight of their fans , even they , cannot acknowledge the fact that neither team has the propensity to play defense . Personally , I believe the more ridicule heaped upon both of these franchises , the more justifiable the claims can be made that owners Mikhail Prokhorov and James Dolan are out of their depth as proprietors of a professional sports’ franchise , never-mind the incessant stupidity still being shown by Billy King and Steve Mills .

With New York coming off another defeat , which in many respects has been symbolic of their season. I cannot help but wonder , how long before a revolt takes place amongst the players , with the blame being apportioned upon the shoulders head coach Mike Woodson and his coaching staff ! ! The turmoil is beginning to take its toll on a number of players on the team, many of whom have no wish to be held accountable, much less with their being any leadership shown by the veterans on the roster. That one point loss at home to the Washington Wizards , where in the third quarter of the game was essentially broke open by the offensive output of the Hawks . From thereon-in, the Knicks were left found wanting , showing very little heart in the waning moments of the contest. . Next up for the laboring New York franchise, will be an away game against the Milwaukee Bucks , that is likely to tell us about the mental capacity of this team.

Brooklyn’s blowout victory over the Philadelphia 76ers might not be seen, as this Jason Kidd coached team turning the corner, but for the moment , it might well have loosened the noose that appeared to be around his neck. This much we do know, even with the front office , giving the coach their full backing , a case can be made, where if the season for this franchise should become more woeful , then a decision has to be made whether or not, he should be retained in his current position. . Kidd and the Nets will play host to the Wizards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday night , as the team seeks a second consecutive victory.

Do you believe, that it is worthwhile hyping up an athlete , purely based on speculation or what they have achieved at the collegiate level , when there is no guarantee that success will come their way at the professional level ? Your thoughts, on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

🙂

tophatal ….

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Mack Wilds …… “Own It”

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Wendy Fiore

Don’t believe the hype ……….

Don’t believe the hype

One of the seminal groups in all of music, but more so rap music, came out with a song that still resonates socially today, as it did two decades ago. Chuck D and Flava Flav , two of the founding members of the rap group Public Enemy are just as respected today, as when they first burst onto the scene over two decades ago with their socially conscious lyrics, which some suggested as being overtly racist . Take that with a pinch of salt, from a group of individuals, who at first thought that Rock-n-Roll was the Devil’s music. The song in question, by the Grammy nominated group was ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ , delivering strong lyrics of defiance and of being socially relevant. Well today , in the world of sports , that means not being socially relevant , much less being involved. More so today, it is all about creating an image of being family friendly, in order to lure being wielding and deep pocketed corporate sponsors , broadcast networks and their billions of dollars . Nowhere, is that particular message more resonant , than within the NFL , NBA , MLB and Collegiate Athletics .

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Slideshow .

This season in the NFL , a great deal of the hype was made over the amazing start of both the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs . Two teams who came flying out of the starting gate, having rolled off seven straight victories apiece . By week seven in the league , the Broncos had fallen back to earth , having slipped up , when Peyton Manning as the ‘prodigal son’ , made his return to Lucas Oil Stadium , home to the Indianapolis Colts , where Manning and his teammates would succumb to his former team in a thoroughly entertaining game , as we witnessed the ongoing maturation process of Andrew Luck , the number one overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft .

With their now being only one remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, as the 7-0 Kansas City Chiefs seek to keep their quest for a perfect regular season alive . All eyes will on Andy Reid’s rather surprising roster and their seeking to keep that record intact. From my own perspective , I felt with the departure of former general manager Scott Pioli , Matt Cassel , along with a number of players who proved to be unproductive , there was a chance that the Chiefs would be something of a surprise in 2013. Little did I realize, that they would now seen, as perhaps the best team in the NFL . Certainly, the traits were already there from last season , but what was most definitely needed , were the players to execute and coaching staff in place to get the players buying to into a proven message . Pioli’s successor , John Dorsey laid the foundations for that , with the hiring of Andy Reid and the acquisition of quarterback Alex Smith and some very shrewd off-season moves . On Sunday , the Chiefs will seek to further distance themselves from the rest of the AFC West , when they play host the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri , in what should to be a very good AFC match-up .

If to suggest that things could not get any worse for a team now seeking not only redemption but also respectability , then what more can one say, about the now stagnant Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6) , who tonight host the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida ? This team has lost focus , heart , but overall there seems to be no leadership forthcoming from anyone on the roster or coaching staff . Greg Schiano’s demeanor at times has shown a lack of discipline , which seems to have been reflected a great deal in the Buccaneers’ lackluster displays throughout the season. And as usual, the Buccaneers’ fans continue to show more optimism than anything else . A loss tonight , and the franchise can start to think about 2014 and their likely draft status next year , beyond assessing the current roster .

I was never impressed with the hiring of hiring Greg Schiano in 2012 , in spite of his pedigree as a head coach with Rutgers . All of the bally hoo, surrounding the hire and the player acquisitions that came about , with GM Mark Dominik being viewed as a front office genius. Not much, by way of tangible success was borne out of the transactions or the overall play of the team during Schiano’s first year tenure. Take into the account, the idiocy , this preseason concerning what appears to the head coach’s reluctance to play Darrelle Revis during the four exhibition games and you can now understand why the Buccaneers’ season has simply spiraled out of control , with their not being much hope that things are likely to be turned around anytime soon .

As to the week eight schedule in the NFL, there are a number of games that will most definitely carry a great deal of intrigue and hype around them . I will personally leave that to the on air television personalities to discuss , because I am always assured of something inanely stupid being stated by the individuals in question who allegedly are providing the fans with a great deal of insight.

Leave it to the NCAA , to continue to show their utter stupidity and ongoing incompetence. After almost eighteen months of continued buffoonery by the Infractions’ Committee , an announcement was made as to the punishment to be meted out the Miami Hurricanes’ program and their willful violations of the NCAA rules , on a wide variety of transgressions . Bearing in mind , the actual mistakes by the NCAA investigators , the loss of documentary evidence and then their falsification of records . The fact that NCAA President Mark Emmert is said to feel comfortable the findings and the verdict rendered , either shows signs of his own stupidity or the very fact that the NCAA has lost all touch with reality along with its own credibility . I would like to think that the University President Donna Shalala would challenge the findings and the verdict , simply based on the wrongdoings by the NCAA investigators, if nothing else , to show that Collegiate Athletics’ governing body , simply cannot change the rules to meet their needs , after their own misdeeds . Granted, the University of Miami is at fault for its failed oversight in the monitoring of the athletic staff , compliance office and that of the student athletes past and present , embroiled in the scandal that has brought further disrepute upon the program .

As to the belief, that the NCAA has always had the student athletes’ interests at heart. I will liken that premise to the slave master /plantation owner an and his overseer , who grants the slaves on the plantation some time during a hot humid day, a ten minute water break, before they are made to return to their daily chores . As Malcolm X so astutely stated, “ we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock , Plymouth Rock landed on us “ ! The students remain indentured slaves of a corrupt and flawed system , but no one seems to want to acknowledge that fact , but they are prepared to discuss what is said to best adjudge, a fair way of determining a national champion in football at the FBS (Football Subdivision D 1 Level) . Have I actually missed something here , amidst all of this, and the countless billions of dollars reaped annually within collegiate athletics , but no transparency is shown by the NCAA , BCS or the major bowl conferences by way of their finances or business practices, while each of the entities operate under a tax-exempt status ? I guess, that must be overlooked by those who try to seek some sort of justification for the latest pretense being shown by the BCS and conference commissioners ?

As Wil Muschamp and his coaching staff seek to find ways to now resurrect the Florida Gators’ season after the team were routed by the Mizzou Tigers . I can’t help but wonder what must now being going on in the minds of the Gators’ fans statewide as well as nationally ! . Yes, there are fans of the program who actually reside outside the state of Florida . Who would have thought that, but yes, they remain as loyal as ever . For my friend, Chris , who in a recent comment on my site tried to suggest that the Gators have now slipped as low as number three in the state , in terms of football prominence . My response to that , would be , you seemed to have forgotten about the rise in prominence of the centrally (Florida) based UCF Golden Knights (5-1) , a now nationally ranked program in the BCS Poll and who appear to be on route to a major BCS Bowl berth, should their season pan out .

For Wil Muschamp and the Gators, they now have a week in which to prepare before facing the Georgia (Bulldogs) on the 2nd November , during week ten of the College Football season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville , Florida. To say that this game will be of utmost importance as a “make or break” for the season, would be a vast understatement. Nonetheless, it has to be now or never if Florida are to make something of their year.

It may not have been the World Series many had hoped for, with undoubtedly many hoping that the Los Angeles Dodgers would now be staring down the Boston Red Sox in the 109th edition baseball’s postseason finale . The Dodgers simply failed show up in game six of their NLCS game against the St Louis Cardinals , who simply laid waste the Los Angeles franchise’s ambitions for the postseason . And for one of the team’s most prominent owners , Magic Johnson . This will be the season where he can now look back and merely speculate on not only what might have been, and whether not , it is now worthwhile pushing the team’s payroll to beyond $250 million annually , which would be an MLB record in terms of a team’s salary obligations . Not even the now once mighty New York Yankees have ever been bold enough to undertake such a premise. Can someone remind me once again , why it is that Alex Rodriguez remains the highest paid player in the game ? Damned, if I know !

Game one of this year’s World Series was something of a shock as the Boston Red Sox showed their intent , in making the Cardinals pay for their defensive errors on their way to an 8-1 opening series’ game-win . A shell-shocked Mike Matheny and his coaching staff must now be wondering , if after that bombardment they are in for more of the same during game two on Thursday night when the series resumes at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts. I believe that this St Louis’ team has it within them to even the series but it would have to be premised on the Cardinals’ players not repeating the mistakes witnessed in game one .

The more things are said to change, the more they remain the same . That is most certainly true of what might now be the most incompetent administration to hold office political office in this nation . Once again , leave it to Barack Obama to come up with another lame comment as to why he is so upset with the contractors who set up and maintain the website for the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obama-care) . Upon the website’s debut there were numerous problems that Kathleen Sebelius’ department , the Department of Health and Human Services failed to acknowledge or bring to the attention of the various technicians within that agency or the contracted company providing the maintenance and administration of the site . Now leave it to none other than the House Energy & Commerce Committee who also deal with health matters within the Congress . As they have sought to empanel their committee and request the presence of Kathleen Sebelius and the contractors to answer questions, as to why this site has either repeatedly crashed or the fact that most inquiries to the site would not lead an individual beyond the homepage . Nothing like incompetence, to show what you are not missing, when the government repeatedly screws things up. For months on end , during the initial setup there were numerous issues that cropped up concerning this site (healthcare.gov), but somehow , it is only now , that there seems to be a sense of urgency after the tens of millions of dollars that have spent . Call me naive , but where else can you find this sort of incompetency without anyone being accountable for the sheer magnitude of the ineptitude executed and then somehow deliberately covered up ?

Should I now shed a tear every time Barack Obama is upset or emotionally torn apart by an issue ? I will be damned, if I now give him the time of day , much less anything else ! Is it not enough , that he has made a complete ass of himself , concerning the issue of Syria and the apparent death of 400 children, who were subjected to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian military forces , during what has now become a violent uprising in the Middle Eastern country . Yet, there seems to be no sense of outrage by this President , over the fact that approximately 550 children have been gunned down on the streets of Chicago , Illinois over the past thirty months. A great many of the victims were innocent and mere bystanders to a senseless crime wave , driven by drugs and gang related, as to the territorial rights of the various gangs at the center of this spree . The President, though not a native Chicagoan , his former senatorial seat took in certain parts of the Windy City.

Now come full circle, and with the NBA regular season is due to commence in five days and there seems to be a heightened sense that Chicago Bulls are more concerned with the start of their season , rather than the ongoing crime spree gripping the city . The city’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel , himself a former Chief of Staff to the incumbent President, has already shown his own incompetency since becoming the city’s chief executive . Emmanuel has complained, that he does not have the necessary resources to take a tough enough stance on crime , but has sought to inflame the situation even more so, by systematically cutting resources because of his city’s now burgeoning fiscal crisis. What this has now indicated to me, is that the country has become more uncaring and there is only a pretext displayed as to their being any type want to or need to aid others in distress . I believe that this all has more to do with apathy and a complete lack of understanding by the government itself , as to what is really ailing the nation at present !

No one from within the Bulls’ front office has spoken publicly on the issue of the increased violence within the city . Yet, the franchise has seen fit to air numerous radio and television commercials reminding the fans in the run-up to the start of the preseason and regular season of the return of the team’s star point guard Derrick Rose . I can only surmise that team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Gar Forman do not believe that there needs to be a shared or civic responsibility as to the communal well-being of the citizens of the city , just as long as they are under the roof of the United Center in Chicago , showing their support for the team.

After an almost eighteen month layoff , a great deal is expected not only of Derrick Rose, but also the team as a whole , where the presence of Joakim Noah is likely to be felt throughout much of this upcoming season . Noah’s growing , maturity , presence and the very fact that his all-round game seems to have improved immensely over the past two seasons , would suggest that he is ready to be seen as one of better center/ power forwards within the NBA at present , especially from a defensive standpoint .

With Chicago starting off their regular season schedule as guests of the reigning NBA champions , the Miami Heat . The added expectations are that both teams will prove to be a serious challenge to each other within the Eastern Conference as well as during the playoffs this upcoming season . A likely match-up between the two, sets up some scintillating possibilities and expectations for both sets of fans , as well the NBA fans in general .

For the Miami Heat , it is not only about making a successful second defense of their NBA crown , but whether not this team can be seen as a legitimate dynasty , with its core element of LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade leading the charge towards for NBA immortality . Seen, as clear-cut favorites, to make that defense more than a reality . The question now becomes, which team within the Eastern Conference will pose a serious enough threat to derail those hopes during the postseason ? It is my belief, that the Miami Heat will gently stroll through the regular season , not necessarily posting the best record within the conference , but they will have certainly will have done enough , to make their qualification for the NBA playoffs a foregone conclusion and from there , they can simply shift into overdrive and lay waste to the opposition within the East and then await their Western Conference counterpart without a great deal of trepidation.

With finances, for any professional sports’ franchise always at the forefront of profitability, it has become increasingly annoying to hear senior basketball executives simply walk around with their head buried in the sand , acting as if the glaring precipice they are close to , does not pose an imminent threat or danger. Not unlike the mind numbing stupidity, shown by the Congress and how they have continually dealt with the fiscal budgetary crisis and the debt ceiling . After a while , there is only so far down the road where you can kick the can , before coming to the conclusion that something drastic has to be done . It is the same within the NBA and the very fact that teams who are being punished, by way of the league’s luxury tax, for exceeding the soft “salary cap” ($58.044 million) , are now looking at ways to implement a much more equitable solution. Far be it for Congress, to actually think of trying such an idea of reining in their spending or even for the members to actually seek cuts their own benefits . Like, that is ever likely to happen ? Voices of dissent, are no now coming from owners such as Micky Arison , James Dolan , Mikhail Prokhorov , Jim Buss , Robert Pera and Ted Leonsis . Yet, with David Stern not wanting to leave a maelstrom for his successor , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to deal with , it would appear that the NBA Commissioner will seek to calm those voices of dissent, by simply stating , that there is nothing for these owners to worry about. Where have we all heard that before , and then a calamitous event occurs ?

Though voted up upon by the NBA Board of Governors and approved, the league hierarchy’s wish to increase the rate upon which the luxury tax is based , which will rise from $1-00 for every dollar over the mandated soft cap of approximately $58 million to $1-50 for every dollar over the aforementioned figure . One can well understand the outrage of any team owner, who has a payroll in excess seventy-five or one hundred million dollars and the financial forfeiture that will have to be made to satisfy the league (NBA). Yet these are the very same owners who have allowed their general managers to spend so capriciously on players’ salaries and team payrolls. Not unlike the federal government and its idea of sound financial and fiscal restraint .

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Picture gallery .

What do you now believe to be the biggest myth or hindrance to the sporting landscape today , be it from a financial standpoint or otherwise ? Also what positives do you now believe there to be within sports ? Leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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(1) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos meet after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 39-33 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …..

(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(3) Quarterback Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball into the end-zone for a touchdown during the 1st half of the game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires ….

(4) Wide receiver Eric Page (17) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fumbles a punt return against the Carolina Panthers October 24, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Carolina recovered and won 31 – 13 . Getty Images / Al Messerschmidt ……

(5) Quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators is hit by defensive lineman Kony Ealy (47) of the Missouri Tigers during the game at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Columbia, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires …..

(6) St Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Michael Wacha delivers a pitch during the first inning of game two of the World Series played at Fenway Park , in Boston Massachusetts ,. . St Louis would defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 to even the series at one game apiece (1-1) in the best of seven-game series . The series resumes on Saturday evening with game three scheduled at Busch Ball Park in St Louis , Missouri . AP Photo / Matt Slocum …..

(7) Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox breaks his bat hitting a single during game two of the World Series played on Thursday , 24th October , 2013 at Fenway Park against the St Louis Cardinals . Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is well placed to see the incident . AP Photo ? Charlie Riedel ……

(8) Health & Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius is seen here with President Barack Obama at the White House in the Rose Garden , as the Commander-in-Chief addresses the convened press on his healthcare initiative . Sebelius’ department and the secretary , herself, have come in for mounted criticism for the handling of the technical issues concerning the website that provides all of the pertinent information concerning the Affordable Healthcare Act . The issue has been an ongoing problem for several weeks, with patrons of the site not being able access pages beyond the initial homepage . The website is actually administered by an outside government contractor . . A Congressional committee has been empaneled and convened, with both Sebelius and high-ranking personnel within the Health & Human Services’ Department summoned to attend an inquiry to answer questions concerning the still ongoing issues . Also in attendance, will be several executives from CGI Federal Inc . Reuters/ Craig Thompson …..

(9) Derrick Rose , left and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls are looking place a serious dent in the Miami Heat’s attempt of making a successful defense of the NBA title . The Heat won the title previously in 2006 and then again 2012 and 2013 . The Florida based franchise are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive titles since the Los Angeles Lakers were able to achieve the feat in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Chicago Sun Times/ AP Photo / Mark Richardson ….

(10) From left to right , Mario Chalmers (15) , Lebron James , Chris Bosh , Greg Oden (52) and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. Oden is the newest member of the franchise and will be seeking to add his presence to what is an experienced roster. Injuries have restricted Oden’s career in the NBA but during the off-season he was signed by the Miami based organization and has began to contribute to the team’s preseason production . Head coach Erik Spoelstra no doubt hopes that the player will be able to replicate that form during the regular season . Miami Herald / AP Photo / Paul Sharpe …..

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tophatal ……………………… 10/24/2013

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Public Enemy ” Don’t believe the hype “

Trouble in paradise ……..

Trouble in paradise ………

College Football’s season is well under way , with schools now heading into the fourth week of their scheduling . Alabama remains atop of the AP Poll , as the number one ranked team in the nation. Nick Saban and his team survived a minor scare when they were pushed by Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M (Aggies) in a game played at College Station, Texas . Manziel proved once again, why he might just be the most electrifying player in college football at present. Far be it for me to suggest that the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner can repeat as a back to back winner of college athletics’ most prestigious individual honor .

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Slideshow .

Amongst the collegiate football landscape, there does not seem to be any bona-fide standout nominees at present, to perhaps challenge Johnny Manziel as a repeat winner of the Heisman, , albeit that there seems to be the ridiculously over-hyped hyperbole surrounding South Carolina’s defensive tackle Jadaveon Clowney. And as good as Clowney is said to be , unless Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks are in the midst of the SEC championship aspirations, little if anything , is likely to come out of the arguments and sentiments that now surrounds the player . For the defending BCS national champions, this season has seen the showing something of an immense drop off in terms the play in comparison to last season . Granted when a program loses that many players to the NFL by way of the NFL Draft , it does become something of a boon as well as a boost to the school’s notoriety ,while adding to Nick Saban’s already illustrious legacy .

At 2-0 , Alabama’s next game will be against Colorado State (Rams) to be played in Tuscaloosa , Alabama at the cavernous Bryant-Denny Stadium. The match-up itself , will be the Crimson Tide’s home opener, and there is likely to be a packed venue to see the highly favored national champions make a statement as to their intent , of making a successful defense of their national title. For juniors and seniors such as A J McCarron , Cyrus Kouandjio , Kyle Zazakevicius , Kevin Norwood , Kenny Bell and Deion Belue , this game can be seen as an initial audition for many of the NFL’s scouts , general managers and head coaches. While I believe that Alabama are likely to be tested , I do not think it will prove such a competitive contest, wherein they are likely to be on the wrong side up an upset defeat . We tend to see that sort of complacency shown by the likes of former top-fifteen ranked Florida and their inexplicable loss (21-16) to instate rivals the Miami (Hurricanes) . Florida coach Wil Muschamp now has to reassess where the mistakes were made beyond the defensive lapses and errant plays by quarterback Jeff Driskell during this game .

. If Florida are to have any hope of regaining their momentum, then every effort will have to be made to remedy their mistakes , as their next game will be at home against SEC rivals the Tennessee Volunteers (2-1) coached by Butch Jones . The Volunteers are a team that should not all be taken that lightly , at this point of the Gators’ season . A second slip up , especially in a conference game is likely to put any chances to their own conference championship aspirations as well as an appearance in a major BCS Bowl match-up into a tailspin . Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, will be packed with two sets of intensely rabid fans showing their support for their respective programs.

The hiring of Urban Meyer to replace the now disgraced former head coach , Jim Tressel at Ohio State (Buckeyes) did not come as a great surprise ,but the coach’s demeanor since his being installed into the position, has left many people wondering how conceited Meyer has become. Beyond his criticism leveled at his former employers , Florida, it has also emboldened the coach to deny any culpability of a program that he coached for six years , where he won two national titles , but also this was a program mired in controversy, which Meyer and AD Jeremy Foley may well have clandestinely sought to cover up a great many of the misdeeds carried out by the players under his tutelage . Allegations of sexual assaults , drug use, theft , grand larceny and academic fraud , much of it unsubstantiated , but there were also clear indications that Foley had boosters intervene to smooth things over with local law enforcement and specifically with the Gainesville Police Department and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department , where there was said to be misconduct by members of the team .

Meyer having taken over a program that itself was mired in its own controversy , with much of the facts coming to the fore, only after a state and federal investigation was undertaken after it came to light that several players were known to have accepted illicit monetary payments from a known felon , gambler and drug dealer. A great deal of the subterfuge was actually enacted by Tressel , to cover up his own misconduct, web of lies and deceit enacted by himself , and assistant coaches players. While this was going on, both university President , Dr E Gordon Gee and AD Gene Smith stood steadfastly by and vehemently defended the beleaguered coach as the mountain of evidence grew and was then substantiated .

The NCAA , long thought to be the moral voice of reason, saw fit to punish Ohio State, only after the somewhat ridiculous self-imposed sanctions that the program’s Athletics Department was said to be willing to impose upon itself. A mere slap on the wrist for Tressel, with the coach being given a punitive monetary fine and having to sit out a six game suspension, was prescribed by Gene Smith and sanctioned by Gordon Gee. Take into consideration that a $250,000 fine and being told to stay away from the program for six games should be deemed somewhat laughable , when you are made aware that Jim Tressel’s annual salary with Ohio State at the time was in excess of $3.5 million a year . The Infraction’s Committee’s investigation and findings, concluded that there was gross negligence on the part of the Athletics Department’s compliance office, as well as by several administrators . That level incompetency went to the very top of the school’s hierarchy and showed also the complete lack of oversight by Gene Smith in its entirety . The fact that both Gee and Smith are still in the employment of Ohio State, either should be seen as a worrying sign or the fact that Gene Smith would be true to his word and actually make the changes recommended as well accepting the academic probation , with the loss of several scholarships and the forfeiture one year of non-appearance in College Football’s postseason jamboree .

A year removed, from having undergone their sanctions and prohibited from postseason play in 2012. The Buckeyes went through their schedule unbeaten , compiling a 12-0 record with a team , filled exciting players . This season brings about new set of challenges and a chance to see whether or not Braxton Miller is in fact the real deal . With Miller having to sit out the last game in Ohio State’s somewhat lopsided 52-34 victory over the California (Golden Bears) , it was left to Kenny Guiton take over the reins and guide the team to the win . Say what you will about Urban Meyer , but I believe that it is his intent to prove this season that the Buckeyes are justifiably the number two ranked team in the country . although based upon the recent performance of Oregon (Ducks) , some might believe that the Pac 12 program should be fitting of that role, as the second best team in the nation . . Oregon’s 59-14 pummeling of Tennessee, shows that they have no intention of being overlooked in the polls that matter the most, the BCS and AP Polls . The racking up of victories and the piling up of stats seems to be the thing that generates the most votes amongst the adjudicating officials . For Ohio State their next scheduled game will be against Florida A&M in Columbus , Ohio , this upcoming Saturday , at the program’s state of the art facility Ohio Stadium .

Since succeeding Pete Carroll as the head coach of USC (Trojans) , it would be easy to suggest Lane Kiffin has under-achieved in his position as the football program’s head coach. From my own perspective, Kiffin has been controversial from the very day that he was formally announced in that role . Within eighteen months of succeeding Carroll, Lane Kiffin was already within the cross-hairs of the NCAA for having violated several minor infractions. All this , while the program was still under probation in the aftermath of the improprieties of both the basketball and football programs coached at the time by Tim Floyd and Pete Carroll . Mike Garrett , the former AD was either simply naive or was somehow collusive with many of the actions that brought the program into disrepute. With former Heisman Trophy honoree, Reggie Bush , having to return his trophy after bringing dishonor to the school. It has to be said that a great deal more was expected of Lane Kiffin as a head coach. Instead it has been one pratfall after the other , with countless apologies being proffered and the excuse of being unaware as the NCAA requirements . Much to the embarrassment of present AD Pat Haden , who in having succeeding Mike Garrett, has done his leveled best to clean up the program and bring back some respect to one of college athletics’ most high-profiled and visible names .

Last season , was far from being deemed a successful year for the Trojans , who finished with a rather average 7-6 record overall and a 5-4 mark within the Pac 12 . Suffice to say, that with expectations being high, this misstep was seen as step backwards , rather than forward. Off to a 2-1 start in 2013, the team’s first loss (10-7) came by way of Washington State (Cougars) and much to the chagrin of the local media and boosters alike. When you are said to be one of the powerhouse programs of the Football Subdivision (FBS/D1) , these types of losses will not be tolerated easily. Kiffin for his part and his coaching staff seem to be at a loss to explain another haphazard and lackluster performance by the team. With the constant rumors now swirling and calls for Lane Kiffin’s ouster, you simply now get the feeling that his days in Southern California could very well be numbered. And you can bet that those call will not waver, should the situation become more dire for the program, with university President C L Max Nikias likely to be attuned to any changes that Pat Haden might well deem necessary to make . I do however, believe that Lane Kiffin will be allowed to fulfill his obligations for the year and then a decision will be made at the end of the season, concerning his long-term future with the program. There is no denying that Kiffin can recruit , but it would appear, that he has been unable to harness the talents of his players and the get the best possible performances out of them .

Beyond the issue of the team’s defense, it has been inconsistent play of quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek , that has to be a cause for concern for Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans .

Utah State awaits Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans, this upcoming Saturday , in a game that they must win emphatically. The home crowd will be there at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California, to show their ravenous support. The question however, will it be all in vain ?

Jaded, condescending, conceited and complacent. All of these traits, I believe best sum up Mack Brown and the University of Texas (Longhorns) ! Granted , Brown and DeLoss Dodds seem to have a stranglehold on the entire athletics’ program and the way that it is ran . With annual revenues conservatively estimated at between $120 million to $145 million annually , this does not take into account the joint ownership of the Longhorns Network between the school and the ESPN sports and cable broadcast outlet, where the two parties share jointly in the revenues derived of the agreement . Suffice to say, that Brown’s and Dodds’ imprints were all over that deal , with the football program undoubtedly being the biggest beneficiary of it all .

Off to an inauspicious start the Texas Longhorns are 1-2 , uncompetitive and Mack Brown has taken to apportioning the team’s shortcomings on his coaching assistants , rather than accepting the brunt of the responsibility in not having his players prepared . Losses to BYU , 40-21 and Ole Miss , 44-23 , now has the boosters , fans and analysts questioning the direction of this program and even the coach’s own mindset and that of assistant coaches. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was summarily fired and replaced by Greg Robinson , but the question will remain . What happens, if the Longhorns suffer another embarrassing and lopsided defeat over the remainder of their schedule ?

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & AP


Texas fires defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, tabs former coach Greg Robinson as replacement

By Pat Forde , Yahoo Sports

Reeling after surrendering 40 points and 550 rushing yards in an upset loss to Brigham Young on Saturday night, Texas coach Mack Brown didn’t waste any time making a change. Yahoo Sports sources confirmed what was originally reported by Orangebloods.com: Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on Sunday afternoon.

Diaz was replaced by former Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who was last in that role at the school in 2004. After several unsuccessful tenures elsewhere, Robinson returned to Texas this offseason as a program analyst. His presence and availability probably shortened the leash on Diaz, whose Longhorns defense last year was among the worst in recent Texas history, allowing more than 400 yards and 29 points per game.

“Our performance on defense last night was unacceptable, and we need to change that,” Brown said in a Texas release issued Sunday evening.

[Related: Mack Brown looks out for Mack Brown]

The dismissal of Diaz may only be a prelude to bigger changes if this season continues on a disappointing path for the Longhorns. Brown, who has won 151 games and a national title in 16 seasons at Texas, will be under serious pressure.

Brown told Yahoo Sports last month, “I’m not going to (be fired).” He also said he wants to coach through the end of his contract in 2020. But Brown acknowledged that his program’s performance the past three seasons – a 22-16 record, just 11-15 in Big 12 play – was not up to the standard he’s set at Texas.

Coming off a 9-4 record last year, Brown was optimistic heading into 2013 that he had his best team since going 13-1 in 2009.

“We could win nine again and be disappointed,” Brown said. “Or we could win all of them.”

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With a slew of games set for week four of the College Football Schedule , it will be interesting to see how a number the top programs fare. The Texas Longhorns will play host to Kansas State (Wildcats ) at the Darrell K Royal/ Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. That contest should give us a clear indication as to how Mack Brown will intend to ride out the rest of the season with this team and their aspirations within the Big 12 .

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