A Sporting weekend to behold , maybe

A Sporting weekend to behold , maybe

By Tophatal

So here we are , week eleven of the NFL season , and for some teams , their hopes seem to have gone up in a cloud of smoke. With so many franchises in a dire situation , it is hard to envisage how the teams will somehow extricate themselves from the mess they created . Nowhere , is this more evident , than with the continued plight of the New York Jets , as from one moment to the next , the NFL’s biggest sideshow gets more comedic by the second . From unconfirmed players , being critical of backup quarterback Tim Tebow , to Jets’ head coach, Rex Ryan , trying to explain away his team’s woes , while trying to keep his own position safe . If there is one thing that you can be sure of , how Ryan handles this situation and whether or not the Jets can turn around their season , will most certainly play a part, as to whether or not, he is retained by the organization.

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Slideshow .

Indifference , stupidity , and the mere conceitedness of Ryan, and his coaching staff , has led to the Jets’ malaise . This team simply isn’t good enough to be viewed as a legitimate candidate for the Superbowl . Yet at the beginning of the season, after the acclaim thrown upon Tim Tebow , and the thought that he could contribute to the success of the franchise. There is absolutely nothing tangible to be shown , by way of anything that can be deemed a success. That is unless you would consider a 3-6 record , while sitting at the bottom of the AFC East , a sign of success , eleven weeks into the NFL schedule ? There are litany of issues that Rex Ryan has failed to address concerning the team , while at the same time the beleaguered head coach seems at a loss for words concerning the team’s continued frailties on both sides of the ball. Mark Sanchez , is having an indifferent season , completely lacking in confidence , and while there might calls for Tim Tebow to replace the incumbent starting quarterback . In reality, the young backup , as an option , does not offer the franchise the best chance of long or short-term success.

One of the more enticing games on this weekend’s schedule , is a meeting , of two of the NFL’s most successful franchises over the last decade. The Indianapolis Colts , led by the 2012 NFL Draft, number one one overall pick , Andrew Luck, will get the chance to pit himself against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots , when these two teams meet at Gillette Stadium, in Foxboro’ , Massachusetts, this upcoming Sunday.

The game itself might be considered the “heir-apparent” seeking to pit gauge himself against perhaps , the league’s best quarterback of the past decade . Brady’s resume’ simply gives credence to that fact , whereas Luck , has been exceptional this season , while leading the Colts to an impressive 6-3 start , bettered by only the Houston Texans (8-1) , within the AFC South , where the team now sits in second place . Much of the Colts’ season has been encapsulated around the untimely issues , concerning the health of what now appears to be a cancer free , Chuck Pagano . While the head coach , has been undergoing exhaustive chemotherapy for cancer of the lymph nodes , his team has set about winning games, and rallying behind his calls for “getting the job done” . So much so , that it has now become the “rallying cry” , not just amongst the players , but the entire Colts’ organization and their raucous fan-base. If Luck is able to lead his teammates to an improbable win , it would have to be viewed as one of the high points of Indianapolis Colts’ already impressive season.

There is a quiet confidence about the Colts , not witnessed , since Peyton Manning was leading the reins of this franchise to a great many of their unprecedented successes. The question now being asked , is can Manning’s successor , lead them forward, along in the next chapter of the franchise’s history ? All signs now point towards that being “ an emphatic yes , on all counts” .

The one thing that is abundantly clear about this Colts , Patriots’ meeting , and it is that the defense of the New England Patriots will be severely tested by a young and talented Indianapolis Colts’ offense. And if their previous meetings are anything to go by, these two AFC teams , will put on a thoroughly exciting display.

If it’s not broken , then why try and fix it ? However, if it is broken , then get out the brooms and “ clean house “ . You will not have to go a long way to find the sort of ineptitude now being exhibited by the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) , Carolina Panthers (2-7) and Kansas City Chiefs (1-8) , Cleveland Browns (2-7) and Oakland Raiders (3-6) . Far be it for me to suggest, but I believe that these teams have lost their direction , and from hereon-in. the head coaches in question, will remain on the clock, as to whether or not their tenures will last the entire 2012-13 season.

Now while the Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) have labored under the perception that they were a championship caliber team . Their performances this season , have been nowhere near, what would be expected of a championship-caliber franchise. Many of the Eagles’ issues, as their season has unfolded , lay squarely upon the indifferent and rather poor performances of Michael Vick , this season . The player has a declining —- skill-set, which has now become an embarrassment for Vick and the Eagles’ franchise as a whole. What now exacerbates this situation , has been the very fact that head coach, Andy Reid , has stood steadfastly behind in his support of Michael Vick, and his bewilderingly inept displays this season. And with each post-game interview granted by Reid , his stance has remained the same , that is until Michal Vick suffered a concussion , which forced the head coach to insert Nick Foles into the lineup, as the their game against the Dallas Cowboys ,which ended in a 38-23 loss for the Eagles. Foles did enough to suggest that for the rest of the season . he might be the person to lead this team to semblance of respectability. Things are not going to get any easier for the Eagles , they face off against the Washington Redskins (3-6) , in what will be “ a must win situation “ for both of these beleaguered teams .

As things now begin to heat up within College Football , the nation waits to see what remaining teams amongst the unbeaten , will suddenly fall flat . As we know , the Ohio State (Buckeyes) are not BCS Bowl eligible , and are not eligible for any of the postseason fare normally associated with BCS , and the plethora of games that will be scheduled. Unbeaten at 10-0 , the Buckeyes , this season , have simply played with an intensity and a purpose , as they seek to remain relevant in the world of College Football. Urban Meyer , having succeeded disgraced former head coach , Jim Tressel , will now seek rebuild and redeem the reputation of this once prestigious program. Granted, upon Tressel’s dismissal , Luke Fickle was given the position of interim-head coach , it was clear that Gene Smith , the school’s athletic director , in conjunction with university President , Dr E Gordon Gee , would seek to hire a big name coach . The two-time national championship head coach with Florida , may well have picked up from where left off , but it is clear that Urban Meyer would have relished locking horns with the likes of Kansas State , Oregon (Ducks) , or even Notre Dame during the Bowl schedule . Instead , an unbeaten season , and national acclaim is all that can be attained by the Buckeyes in 2012 .

The Buckeyes will face the Wisconsin Badgers this Saturday , in what should be a highly anticipated and competitively fought battle . During that game we should get to see if the continued hype over Braxton Miller , is indeed justified . Miller, the Buckeyes’ quarterback has simply been stellar , all season , putting up astonishing numbers , while leading this team on their unbeaten run. The player is amongst the leading candidates for this year’s Heisman Trophy , but it is unlikely that he will beat out the three perceived favorites at this juncture , and the candidates in question are Colin Klein , Johnny Manziel and Manti Te`o .

I do believe that within the world of College Football , there are some coaches you simply despise, and teams that you simply hate with such venom ! When it is all said and done , I do not think I can honestly , say that there is a program I dislike more , with such intensity , than that of Notre Dame. Granted , in the aftermath of the Penn State tragedy , and one seriously doubts , if there is a more disliked program in all collegiate athletics. Suffice to say, with all of the detailed and insidious acts perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky , it seems sheer lunacy , that those in a position of power would seek to cover up such egregious malfeasance . Yet as this all came to light , there idiots out there still trying deflect that the justified criticism not only aimed at the school , but also the now disgraced former head football coach, Joe Paterno . His actions , if nothing else , were simply beyond reason , as he tried to explain away his lack of understanding what had gone and the very fact that he should have investigated further the allegations made against his one-time assistant coach . If nothing else , for sheer incompetence , the punishment rendered against the program was more than justified . However, the legal issues , in terms of the civil suits that will be undoubtedly lodged against Penn State will further tarnish the reputation of that academic institution

As I alluded to earlier , Notre Dame is a program , that is granted far too much reverence . Much of that I believe actually stems from the fact that the school’s benefactor , none other than NBC Sports and the money simply bestowed upon the school, by way of the multi-billion dollar television contract , carries way too much sway —- within BCS circles . OK, so one could allude to the fact that this season , unbeaten at 9-0 , and ranked number three , behind number one ranked Kansas State and at number two , Oregon. . In spite of what appears to be, on the surface a terrific season, you simply cannot hide the fact that this team just isn’t that good . Their record may not bear this out but simply look at the team statistics , when adjudged against other teams at the D1 level of College Football ? Winning however, trumps everything, , and that is what the Fighting Irish have been able to do, without a great deal style or substance, and with a schedule , that one could view as somewhat embarrassing in some circles.

NBC has never been any able to disguise their partiality towards the Notre Dame program , and the very fact that the programmer’s former head of the sports’ division is a proud well respected graduate of the school , merely adds further credence to that very fact. Dick Ebersol , a now a senior consultant in an advisory role for of NBC Sports , is one of the nascent pioneers of sports’ programming, has simply corralled his superiors in making sure that the Notre Dame program’s coffers are filled annually , while fellow alumni and boosters play their part in making sure that the “ gravy train” —- remains almost unparalleled in their exercise of raising money for the school. The football program remains one of the few bright spots for NBC , in terms of it sports’ content , for prime-time viewers and ratings , as everything else within its cupboard , has become extraordinarily stale and unimaginative .

Notre Dame’s head coach Brian Kelly is fully vested in bringing about success to the program, and with it heightened recognition . As a stand-alone Independent within the conferences , the school is afforded a great deal of latitude , and with that comes the fact , that as an adjudicator in determining who plays for the BCS national title. I do believe , that certainly muddies the waters , but such is the a sway held by Notre Dame , their authority in this matter , goes unquestioned . Furthermore , by merely winning six games on their schedule in any given season , they’re automatically granted a Bowl berth , when other programs with better records and from none BCS conferences, are not afforded such a chance . Yet, there are those , who view the whole BCS system and the soon to be adopted playoff format , as being fair and equitable. That system is flawed , but moreover , it is , and has been , and will always be driven by the premise of money , and not much else beyond that ! Until the system is looked at in-depth , rather favoring a selected group of conferences and programs , not everyone will be allowed “ a bite of the apple” .

Notre Dame’s next game will be a match-up against the ACC’s Wake Forest . It will be interesting to see whether not sophomore quarterback, Everett Golson , can lead this team with any great authority . If Golson , gives a more structured performance , then all roads lead to a Notre Dame victory . On the other hand, an upset could be in the making , if for any reason , Brian Kelly’s players have any lingering doubts and become complacent , then it should be beyond the realms of probability that they could suffer their first loss of the season. It is in this endeavor , that , Manti Teo, Carlo Calabrese, Kevin Carr , and Stephon Tuitt will seek to put this game beyond the reach of the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest.

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What if anything are you most looking forward in terms of the college games and by way of those within the NFL ? Simply chime in with a comment on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) FILE – St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer , center, talks with quarterbacks Kellen Clemens (10) and Austin Davis (9) during NFL football practice, in this June 14, 2012 file photo taken in St. Louis. Brian Schottenheimer is trying to treat the St. Louis Rams’ game against his former team, the New York Jets, Sunday Nov. 18, 2012 as just another game . AP Photo/Tom Gannam …

(2) New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan walks off the field after his team lost to the Seattle Seahawks in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 28-7 . AP Photo/Elaine Thompson ….

(3) New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow heads off the field after the Jets lost to the Seattle Seahawks in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 28-7 . Tebow ran four times for 14 yards, and was 3 of 3 passing for 8 yards . AP Photo/Elaine Thompson …

(4) New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) sits on the bench near backup quarterback Tim Tebow, left, late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 28-7. Sanchez finished 9 of 22 for 124 yards . Tebow ran four times for 14 yards, and was 3 of 3 passing for 8 yards. Those are the sort of “stats” that should get a quarterback benched , but now , idiots are seeking the insertion of Tim Tebow to be now inserted as the team’s starting quarterback . AP Photo/Elaine Thompson …

(5) FILE – This Nov. 4, 2012 file photo shows Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson before the start of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Indianapolis. The Colts gave Grigson his first chance to build a team . All Grigson has done is build a masterpiece by taking chances on players who didn’t pan out elsewhere and have somehow worked out in Indy, which is 6-3 and in the playoff hunt . AP Photo/Darron Cummings …

(6) Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. Luck threw for 433 yards and two touchdown passes , breaking Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s single-game passing record (422 yards) for a rookie ,as he led the Colts to a 23-20 win. AP Photo/AJ Mast …

(7) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. The Patriots would defeat the Bills 37-31 to remain atop of the AFC East divisional standings . AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(8) Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes congratulates Bri’onte Dunn (25) of the Ohio State Buckeyes after he scored a touchdown against the Illinois Illini on November 3, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Illinois 52-22 . Getty Images North America /Kirk Irwin …

(9) Braxton Miller (5) of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Illinois Illini on November 3, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Illinois 52-22 . Getty Images /Kirk Irwin ….

(10) Head coach Frank Spaziani of the Boston College Eagles walks the sideline in the second half of their game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the game on November 10, 2012 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Jared Wickerham …..

(11) Head coach Frank Spaziani of the Boston College Eagles shakes hands with Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly following their game on November 10, 2012 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Notre Dame would defeat Boston College 21-6 . Jared Wickerham / Getty Images ….

(12) Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson scrambles away from Boston College’s Kasim Edebali during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Boston on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. AP Photo/ Winslow Towson …

(13) Quarterback Denard Robinson (16) of the Michigan (Wolverines) is tackled by linebacker Manti Te’o (5) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and teammates in the first quarter of a game played at Notre Dame Stadium on September 22, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Getty Images / Johnathan Daniel ….

(14) NHL Commissioner , Gary Bettman ,left , is seen here with Dick Ebersol , former head of NBC Sports . Ebersol having left the program outlet , returned at the request of parent company Comcast in a senior advisory role for the sports’ broadcast division . Mark Lazarus now heads NBCSports , as Ebersol’s successor . AP Photos / Mark Shaw ….
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NFL news & news from around the league

NFL schedule important dates

NFL schedule week 11 & week 12 schedule

NFL results week 10

NFL team injuries

NFL transactions

NFL standings by division

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NCAA Football

NCAA Football news

NCAA Football schedule & …. week 11 results

Notre Dame football news

Ohio State football news

Penn State football news

NCAA Football standings (FBS)

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Wendy Fiore packing in a whole lot of ” goodies” into that fine a#s frame ! I like it !

My Bullshit is just as good as his, and it smells twice as good ….

My Bulls#it is just as good as his, and it smells twice as good ….

By Tophatal

I’ll say this for Urban Meyer , ever since his return to the ranks of D 1 Collegiate Football , as the head coach of Ohio State (Buckeyes) , not much has changed amongst the persona of the cocksure and always affable coach . Granted , he is taking over from the now disgraced Jim Tressel , whose idea when it came to telling the truth , was to embellish an episode beyond the realms of anything imaginable or simply seeking others to fall unto the sacrificial sword on his behalf . Never mind the fact that university President Dr. E Gordon Gee and AD Gene Smith showed about as much intelligence, as can now be found in both federal legislative chambers of the US Congress. In other words there’s not one fucking ounce of intelligence to be found there at all ! The duo of Gee and Smith were in complete denial after revelation after revelation came to the fore as to the egregious malfeasance of Tressel , members of his coaching staff and several members of the football teams covering the periods from 2008, right through until 2011.

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With the abrupt firing of Tressel in light of the findings on an ongoing NCAA investigation , it has to be said that this might well have been one of the more unsavory episodes within College Football. Although , I believe we can all now categorically agree that the events that are said to have taken place within the program have now been surpassed in its infamy by the now heinous and all too unsavory events that are said to have taken place at Penn State . The legacy of that school will forever be in tatters and it may well take a decade before all the wounds have healed and , that the legacy can be redeemed . The image of Joe Paterno is no longer that of a respected football coach, patriarch and counselor to the young men of the football program . Now, it is one of a disgraced elder statesman, who chose blind loyalty above those of the victims who were the subjects of the sexual heinous acts , of his close confidante Jerry Sandusky . While no one can be excused from this sorry episode because rarely was any common sense being shown by anyone of authority within the upper echelons of the hierarchical system of university. Such was the contempt and collusion of the cover-up, that it is still a disgrace that you have individuals still trying to excuse the actions of so many individuals at the center of this sordid situation !

Jay Paterno , while still seeking to defend the actions of his father , seems to forget that the victims of these crimes will never ever have any closure. And for all of the asinine claims of the Freeh Report are without basis in fact or cannot be recognized by a court of law. What the young Paterno should realize is that the report while not carrying the subpoena powers of a state judicial or law enforcement investigation , there were enough facts unearthed to suggest that should the state Attorney General’s Office conducted the investigation , rather than it being commissioned by the university , then there is every reason to believe that Joe Paterno could have wound up facing criminal charges for his actions in this sordid episode .

And while we are talking about action or lack of inaction thereof , Matt Millen has now lost all credibility and should keep his damn mouth shut about anything related to this episode ! . He sat idly by, even when it was revealed that Sandusky was at the center of an ongoing investigation concerning allegations of sexual abuse against these young male victims. The former Detroit Lions’ executive sat on the board of the charity (Second Mile) founded by Sandusky , that he used to procure many of his victims . But lo and behold , not once did it occur to Matt Millen to seek some sort of advice or perhaps speak with his fellow board members concerning the allegations . Instead, all we came to here from this buffoon, were some rather asinine comments as to the fact that nothing had yet been proven . Well , if many of the allegations of that had come to the fore, dated back almost two decades would it not have been in the best interest of Millen and his fellow board members to perhaps conduct an investigation , with the hiring of a seasoned professional ? Is it any wonder, that the Detroit Lions failed so miserably during his tenure as the general manager of that NFL franchise ?

Now we can all surmise what we believe the NCAA stands for, as the governing body for Collegiate Athletics. It has now come to the point that this body does not have the respect of the public , nor can it be trusted to do what is ethically or morally right . As a not for profit organization , the NCAA stands as entity in its present guise under the good graces of the House Judiciary Committee , House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and that of Senate Commerce Committee . Somehow , all four of these congressional committees have played their part in allowing the NCAA to become a quasi-bogus commercial enterprise, while being completely exempt from paying any federal taxes. Then again , we do have several bona-fide US corporations that have been allowed to get away with such a distinction, while the government and tax collecting arm of the US government continues to make excuses for not being capable to collect that taxes that they are rightfully due . Should you however happen to be a small business operator or a private citizen who just happens to be delinquent on your taxes and you will find the IRS , so quick to enter just about every bodily orifice that you possess, looking to collect what they believe to be due . Loopholes or not , the IRS under the tenure Tim Geithner and his predecessors have actually done a piss poor job with such objectives !

With the Buckeyes’ football program not being Bowl eligible this season , along with the loss of multiple football scholarships , head coach Urban Meyer and his staff will have to seek for new and improved ways to keep his current crop of players motivated . Ohio State’s 2012 recruiting class was said to be one of the best in the nation and it remains to be seen as to whether or not many of the players in question can make an immediate impact for the Buckeyes this season . Warren Ball, Jacoby Boren , Bri’onte Dunn , Frank Epitropolous , Peter Gwilym and Najee Murray will certainly feel that they can play a part in the team having a successful season .

Concentration for this team will begin with the fact that their schedule remains somewhat nondescript ,albeit that Michigan State , Nebraska , Michigan , Penn State and Illinois remains a constant staple, as part of their seasonal calendar . The Buckeyes’ season opener will pit them against Miami (Ohio) in Columbus , Ohio , on 1st September , 2012 . And given the prevalence of the teams within the Big Ten Conference and the seismic moves that have been made across the landscape of College Football and the still-to-be announced proposed moves . There have been more behind-the-scenes surreptitious deals, that have been made, and that can be found in any corrupt and sordid electoral campaign . Playing their part in this all , have been the Machiavellian antics of the broadcast networks , as they have continuously plowed tens of millions , if not hundreds of millions of dollars into Collegiate Football. Jointly, overseeing this all , have been the major conferences that make up that “corrupt organization “ known as the Bowl Championship Committee (BCS) . And now anyone , who is now of the belief that the proposed changes in the year-end format that will determine a national champion in college football , will be a win for the college football fan. Well, they had better put such thoughts to rest, on the back-burner . All the BCS has sought to do, is lure us all in, we the promise of candy like a sexual predator lures in a victim. Nothing good can ever come of such a premise , and you goddamn know , it never will.

It may well be that the Buckeyes can seek to reestablish themselves after the disgraceful saga and tenure of Jim Tressel . There were high hopes for Terrelle Pryor while he attended Ohio State , and as we now know the former Buckeye was knee-deep in so many aspects of the malfeasance , that the only route left for him was to leave the program , not quite with his tail between his legs . Pryor knowing that he was embroiled in an ever-growing conspiracy not only did Tressel subvert and condone the lies of his coaching staff but there was growing evidence to suggest that the former coach sought to have the players on the team lie on his behalf . How those allegations have played themselves out can be addressed by the actions of Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor , who have sought to distance themselves in part from many of the claims that came about . Tressell’s career will become simply another postscript in the annals of Buckeyes’ history.

Terrelle Pryor’s leap from Ohio State to the NFL by way of the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft , during which prefer before he could make his official professional debut for the Oakland Raiders , the player had to officially serve a five game mandated suspension rendered by the NCAA the part played in the Buckeyes’ scandal . When one considers the quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft , one might deem the very fact consideration for Pryor came with the beleaguered environment of the Raiders .

The Oakland Raiders under new style of leadership , with Mark Davis , having succeeded his late father , Al Davis at the helm of this historic NFL franchise . In comes Reggie McKenzie as the general manager , with Dennis Allen being named the team’s head coach. And it is clear for all to see that the franchise seeks to make a turnaround after the years of ignominy , it now becomes even more apparent that the Oakland Raiders can no longer afford to remain the laughing-stock “ of the NFL but more importantly of the AFC West . And the 2012 NFL Draft may well have been one of the ways that the front office sought to address that, along with their off-season free agency pickups . Tony Bergstrom, Miles Burris, Jack Crawford , Juron Criner , Christo Bilukidi and Nathan Stubar , as each seeks to make their contributions to the franchise this season .

Courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle

Raiders’ Pryor taking solace in his work

By Vic Tafar , San Francisco Chronicle

Terrelle Pryor, former college football star and current Raiders project, enjoys going to work at training camp.

“It’s a grind, man,” the quarterback said Saturday night in Napa. “Right now I am taking less reps, but that’s OK. I am just grinding and having fun. Smiling and getting better. One day I am going to be where I want to be.”

There were times Saturday, though, that the smile faded.

Pryor lost both his father and mentor in a span of seven days recently. Jeannette, Pa., businessman Ted Sarniak III died July 20 at 68, and then Pryor’s dad, Craig, died at age 44 on July 26. Craig Pryor suffered from a rare neurological disorder that weakened his ankles, feet and hands.

“The toughest thing is I can’t talk to Teddy or my dad, and they’re the only people I leaned on,” Pryor said. “I’m by myself now. I try to work around it and not think about it constantly.”

Pryor was born and raised in Jeannette, a town of 10,000, starring at Jeannette High School before going to Ohio State. Sarniak was founder and CEO of Jeannette Specialty Glass and a supporter of youth sports.

“Teddy was there for me for about 10 years, since I was 12 years old. My parents worked, but I never had much money at all, I could never get what I wanted. It’s a tough time for me, because this guy stepped in and he was a mentor for me.”

Pryor was able to attend his father’s viewing but skipped the funeral services Monday because he didn’t want to miss the start of training camp.

“I knew my father would want me to come here and get my reps in,” Pryor said.

He said his teammates have been very supportive, and practice has been therapeutic.

“It’s been a release,” Pryor said. “I can zone things out and just focus on my footwork and getting better as a quarterback. I thank God that he has given me the opportunity to play this; without that, my mind would be going crazy.”

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The preseason has not been too kind for the Raiders as they have posted an 0-2 record within the AFC West which sees them rooted at the bottom of the division and one of the four teams within the AFC that still remains win-less . Results , an 3-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week one of the preseason , then to be followed up by an equally abysmal 31-27 defeat against the Arizona Cardinals , that continues to show that the team still remains plagued by continuing woes . And it appears, Dennis Allen and his coaching assistants seems to have no answer for. What has been troubling for the Raiders, during the preseason, has been the inept play from the quarterbacks on the team’s roster . If anything, without an effective passing game to complement what we already know to be a proficient rushing attack , Carson Palmer , Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor , will certainly have to be more effective if the Raiders are to prevail this season . And that is especially true, when one considers that Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning , noted quarterbacks within the AFC East seem to be showing no real signs of regressing . And with the Raiders set to meet the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers , as well as the Kansas City Chiefs , as part of their scheduled divisional match-ups . It will be incumbent upon Palmer as the starting quarterback, to be at the top of his form in those highly anticipated games.

Weeks’ one , three and six will be the first of the six divisional match-ups that the Raiders will face off against their division foes. And the games against the Broncos , Chargers and Chiefs will go a long way in determining how the Raiders will fare, as they certainly cannot go into the games in question, being all too complacent.

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Picture gallery .

What if anything are you most looking forward to as the College Football season kicks off its regular season schedule ? And do you believe that the NCAA’s handling of the Buckeyes’ scandal was handled appropriately ? Are you of the opinion that the Oakland Raiders are about turn the corner, and quite possibly make a successful run in gaining a playoff berth ? Simply, chime in with a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below.
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(1) Urban Meyer speaks to the media after being introduced as the new head coach of Ohio State football on November 28, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Getty Images North America / Jamie Sebau ….

(2) Athletics Director Gene Smith of The Ohio State University introduces Urban Meyer as the 24th head coach in Ohio State football history at a press conference on November 28, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Jamie Sebau / Getty Images ….

(3) Denard Robinson (16) of the Michigan Wolverines gets in for a second quarter touchdown past the tackle of Etienne Sabino (6) of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan would go on to defeat Ohio State 40-34 . Getty Images / Gregory Shamus ….

(4) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) looks to pass as offensive tackle Joe Barksdale (72) blocks Dallas Cowboys defensive end Kenyon Coleman (99) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. The Cowboys would defeat the Raiders 3-0 in a complete uninspiring game . AP Photo/Ben Margot …

(5)Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, right, talk with an official during the third quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. AP Photo/Tony Avelar ….

(6) Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, left, talks with owner Mark Davis at an NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Monday, July 30, 2012. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …

(7) Quarterback Terrelle Pryor (right) is competing for practice reps with starter Carson Palmer (3) and backup Matt Leinart (7) during a trying time. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle ….

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Go Buckeyes …….. Urban Meyer Is Back In Town & Ready To Throw His Weight Around

Go Buckeyes …….. Urban Meyer Is Back In Town & Ready To Throw His Weight Around

By tophatal ………..

Well it has to be said that Urban Meyer for all of his chutzpah has to my mind lost all credibility as to his standing . Not content in simply abandoning the Florida Gators program at the end of the 2010 season the coach saw fit to prematurely announce his retirement . My own perspective with regard to this all , it all boils down to the fact that Meyer and his then coaching staff had seen a decline in the team’s play after the departure of Tim Tebow to the NFL ; in 2010 . Taken 25th overall (first round) in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos , as we all know the player’s career has been well chronicled upon his arrival in the league (NFL) . The fact that he is now a member of the New York Jets speaks to the fact as how much a of “what have you done for me lately ” attitude that continues to exist within the league .

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Slide show for your perusal .

In the aftermath of the Jim Tressel ” fiasco “ and the very fact that Gene Smith and university President Dr E Gordon Gee simply tried to negate the actions of the then beleaguered head coach indicated that they simply the violations of the NCAA rules by the program under Tressel showed how wayward the actions of the coach had been . Several players on the team and specifically team quarterback Terrelle Pryor were in large part at the center of the now factual allegations that brought about the sanctions that will see the football program being Bowl ineligible for this upcoming season , as well having lost several student athlete scholarships . The NCAA for its part under Mark Emmert have all but in essence given the Buckeyes’ program as a slap on the wrist . Collegiate Football and for all of the hypocrisy that exists within has not changed one iota and let’s be clear about something once and for all the NFL in its infinite wisdom loves nothing better than seeing the status-quo being maintained in spite of the continued controversies .

Meyer and his coaching staff this season will have to compete at a disadvantage against their Big Ten rivals . Urban Meyer with his 6 year $24 million contract in tow , now has to if anything , keep this program ticking over with a great deal of precision . He and former NFL player Mike Vrabel now have a team that if anything will have to prove that ills of 2010 has to be viewed as a thing of the past . With a slew of returning sophomores , juniors and seniors as well as the influx of freshmen hoping to make a significant contribution this season . Urban Meyer does have an extremely tough task ahead of him , and it will be these expectations that may well determine how he will be adjudged . Anything short of a winning record at least , will be seen as undoubted failure . Such are and have been the expectations of one of collegiate football’s most respected football programs throughout the years .

Meyer like his Pac 10 counterpart Lane Kiffin of USC (Trojans ) remains something of a ” pariah within the game of collegiate football and within the sport itself . As we now know USC was embroiled in a controversy of its own making that saw the athletics program sanctioned and placed on probation , therein losing scholarships for both the basketball and football programs . The actions of Tim Floyd and Pete Carroll to say the least were scurrilous and less than ethical in conjunction with that of then AD Mike Garrett . Anyone who’s of the belief that the trio were each without blame in any way either had to be downright stupid and anally retentive or simply of the opinion that the athletes at the center of this all were solely responsible , enabling the sanctions levied against USC . It has been left to Pat Haden having succeeded Mike Garrett , to clean up the mess and resurrect that athletics program . But the situation hasn’t been helped by Lane Kiffin’s antics since his installation as the head football coach and the very fact that the program has once again come under suspicion once again on several separate occasions. Can’t win ’em all they say ! Nice , at least you know what you’re getting with the USC Trojans , it goes with the adage of NASCAR . “If you ain’t cheatin’ then you ain’t tryin’ . ‘nough said on the matter !

E Gordon Gee , Gene Smith , and their own initial asinine stance was simply something that we have seen repeatedly by high-ranking academic officials when their programs have become suspect in a number of charges relating to academic fraud , recruiting violations which over the years have become a pattern of behavior. And even in light of their own in-house investigations into the school’s activities under Jim Tressel’s tenure leads me to believe that they may well have had their heads stuffed so far up their own ass that they couldn’t have possibly seen daylight !

Urban Meyer for his part , his tenure with the Florida Gators hasn’t been without controversy . Lack of accountability from the players and repeated allegations of criminal activity of which the coach would repeatedly lay the blame at the door of his predecessor Ron Zook , merely because the players in question were his recruits . If that’s not an indication of the self-aggrandizement of Urban Meyer and the very fact that the coach believes himself to be above suspicion is something that has now become atypical within the world of collegiate sports . Two BCS titles may go a long way in cementing Urban Meyer’s legacy as one of the best coaches in college football over the last decade but beyond that , he has simply had way too much baggage associated with him negatively . The Ashtabula , Ohio native will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed this season , even with the advent of knowing that the team is ineligible for a Bowl appearance . If nothing else all that Meyer can simply do , is to have his team play with a great deal of poise and ambition , if nothing else. Luke Fickell who succeeded Tressel on an interim basis did as much as could be asked of him but at the end of the day we knew that there was no way that he would be given the reins of the football program on a permanent basis.

And of the players one could positively delight in seeing with the Buckeyes this upcoming season , much of that will be predicated upon the play exhibited of last season but also how the players will acclimatize themselves to the playing schemes of Urban Meyer . I would certainly like to think that the tarnished and tainted image of the Ohio State Buckeyes can once again stand tall but there’s so much that would simply fall apart merely because of the continued pattern of behavior of the program and also that of Urban Meyer who has simply courted controversy but just like “The Teflon Don” …… John Gotti …. nothing ever seems to stick .

Of the players that I am most looking forward to seeing as the season comes into being , none more so than C J. Barnett , Zach Boren , Rod Smith , Braxton Miller and Darryl Wood who contributed greatly to the Buckeyes’ record 6-7 overall within the Big Ten standings (Leaders Division) in 2011 . However , if the Ohio State Buckeyes are to overcome the stellar performances of the Wisconsin Badgers (11-3) , Penn State (9-4) , Michigan State (11-3) , Michigan [Wolverines] (11-2) and Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-4) . Then , this season most certainly the players on the team will have to raise the level of their play , along with the coaching staff simply getting the very best out of the roster and themselves in particular .

For Urban Meyer , however , it will be the Buckeyes’ own conference schedule which will be the true determining factor this season as to how well he will fare . He has chosen to jump back into the cauldron of “fire” and that particular scene calls for him to test himself against the might of the Big Ten as well as the ” other powerhouses ” that the team will face over the course of their schedule . The funny thing is , one of the excuses used by the coach as a reason for Meyer’s stepping down while with the Florida Gators was the undue pressure , ill-health and the fact that he was unable to spend more time with his family . Now , I might hasten to add , if the SEC (SEC Conference) and the football played there is meant to be ” pressure packed “ , then what in hell does Urban Meyer expect to get or see once he gets into the full-blown maelstrom of the Big Ten and the expectations of the Buckeyes’ fans and their alumni ? Is this coach completely besides himself or simply that naive ? Your thoughts on the matter are certainly welcomed at this juncture !

With the idiocy we have seen of late concerning Bobby Petrino and his antics as the “now former head coach of Arkansas (Razorbacks) program . It has to be said that Urban Meyer’s issues pale into comparison when gauged against those of Petrino’s . Those notwithstanding , I have to ask this most pertinent of questions . If his actions upon on his hasty departure from the Atlanta Falcons wasn’t enough of a clear indication as to his less than seeming lack of honesty and integrity _____ his track record for simply having assistants depart from his association because of his lack of candor and being able to be truthful . Then why in hell would AD Jeff Long still consider Bobby Petrino a worthy candidate at the time ? Any thoughts on this matter ? Simply chime in as you see fit .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Whether or not you happen to be a fan of D 1 Football what do you envisage seeing from Urban Myer and the Buckeyes this season ? And as such , do you feel that Bobby Petrino will ultimately make a return to college football in any capacity ? Or do you feel that he will be hired as a coordinator by an NFL franchise ? Again , simply chime in with a thought on this and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, center, sings “Carmen Ohio” in front of the band after their spring NCAA college football game, Saturday, April 21, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Jay LaPrete ….

(2) Ohio State coach Urban Meyer coaches before the start of their spring NCAA college football game Saturday, April 21, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Jay LaPrete ….

(3) Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (5) , left, throws a pass over lineman Chris Carter during their spring NCAA college football game, Saturday, April 21, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Jay LaPrete …

(4) (4) This April 16, 2012 photo provided by The Ohio State University Athletic Department, shows Some 3,100 students surrounding the Ohio State University football team field goal unit during a live practice at the team’s indoor practice facility in Columbus, Ohio. According to the OSU athletic department, head coach Urban Meyer wanted to bring the students closer to his team, and his team closer to students, and consider that effort a complete success. AP Photo/The Ohio State University Athletic Department, Will Shilling @ copyrighted material …. all rights reserved .

(5) NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 04: Head coach Bobby Petrino of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks down in the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to sources on April 10, 2012, Bobby Petrino will not return as head coach of Arkansas following a scandal involving a motorcycle crash on April 1. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …..

(6) Seen here from left to right , Dr E Gordon Gee , university President of Ohio State , speaking at the dais the former head coach Jim Tressel (center) and the program’s athletics director Gene Smith , far right. Tressel issued a formal apology to the press and public alike for his involvement that embroiled the university in what is said to be numerous NCAA violations and which also had the university under investigation by the US Justice Department because of the association of several of the players with a known racketeer and gambler _ alleged gambling by members of the team . Jim Tressel was initially suspended by Smith but then later fired after it was revealed that he lied to senior members of the faculty as to the depth of his overall involvement in the scandal . AP Photo Nick Ross …..

(7) Gene Smith is seen here with Urban Meyer , just prior to the coach being formally announced as the new head coach of the Buckeyes football program . Meyer succeeded interim head coach Luke Fickell who still remains a member of Meyer’s coaching staff . It remains to be seen as to whether not the former Gators’ coach can replicate the success achieved with the University of Florida where he won two BCS national titles during his tenure . AP Photo /Aaron Talbot …….

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Mos Def ……….. ” Do It Now ”

Cry Me A River …….. Does Anyone Now Really Care ?

Cry Me A River …….. Does Anyone Now Really Care ?

I found it rather asinine that former (UNC) Tar Heels football coach Butch Davis prior to his firing by the university’s athletics’ director Dick Baddour . The coach saw fit to accept responsibility for the numerous violations that took place under his tenure as the head coach . In his four hectic year with the program Davis recorded a 30-21 mark but little to . show for the program’s development for the now tainted football program .

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Baddour by his own admission did not use due and proper oversight of monitoring the actions of the Davis and his coaching staff . The school no doubt acted appropriately in the firing of the coach and Dick Baddour has done the honorable thing in seeking to resign his position but he will now remain as the interim AD while the university starts the hiring process in seeking his successor . Once done , then new hire’s first course of action will be to undertake the search for a new head football coach. Many of the violations stem from the team’s association with an agent Gary Wichard which was in fact suborned by one of Davis’ own assistants John Blake who is now no longer with the program. Now much has been made about what was known or not known by the coach as to the actions of Blake , his interaction with the players and agent. What are now finding out is that there was a great deal of money changing hands as well as gifts but what might be even deplorable was the evidence of academic fraud on proportions unimaginable . It’s hard to understand how such a well established place of higher learning can now find itself embroiled in such a situation. But herein lies the caveat in such instances where a coach chooses to do whatever possible in order to achieve success.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the NCAA is a toothless governing body of collegiate athletics that simply metes out punishment but in doing so it chooses to show little common sense as to the penalties levied. While we all know what has become of former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel and his abrupt resignation the fact that Gene Smith retains his position as the school’s AD is almost beyond belief. Never mind the fact that university President Dr E Gordon Gee with his rather inane and mindless buffoonery acting as if the Buckeyes having turned the corner with the departure of Tressel after the litany of transgressions under his watch much of which came about the coach’s inaction in not reporting the violations in question.

In spite of the Jim Tresel’s departure even more stories are surfacing as to the egregious violations that took place with the coach himself actually suborning many of the actions that are said to have taken place . Now with the NCAA sanctions in place it remains to be seen how the program resurrects itself.

Oregon Ducks’ football coach Chip Kelly in a recent interview had stated that he was not prepared to discuss any further the problems of the school and what might appear to several NCAA violations by the program . Having lost the BCS national title game to Gene Chizik’s Auburn Tigers many felt that the Oregon Ducks moving forward would be in a welcoming position to defend their PAC 10 title .

Chip Kelly for his part is now reluctant to talk about anything concerning the allegations but has stated that the school has sought outside legal counsel to conduct an investigation on the school’s behalf into the numerous allegations . In this day and age it seems rather asinine to suggest or even make the assumption that a coach is now above reproach especially when many of them are hard pressed to show a modicum of honesty much less integrity. None more so than perhaps Kelly and his national championship adversary Gene Chizik. The Tigers’ football coach in a recent meeting with an NCAA committee official verbally attacked the individual in question when he had been advised by a reporter at a SEC function that the NCAA were still conducting their very own investigation into the school and their Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton .

Gene Chizik while under a great deal of pressure to prove that there has been no wrongdoing on the part of the school ____ the allegations are there as well as the actions purported to be of Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton who sought offer his son to the highest bidder . The school having conducted its own investigation suspended the player only to have that decision overturned by the NCAA who in this instance failed in using due diligence . But that in of-itself would suggest that esteemed body actually has its faculty’s about it , which if anything would be a naive thought. The NCAA can barely be trusted to act appropriately much less any degree of integrity or moralistic virtue. With so much power within its grasp and very little self regulatory action one wonders how the NCAA under their president Mark Emmmert can hold its head high with any degree of dignity.

Money has been the driving force and the underlying factor that has led to the mess that so many schools seem to repeatedly embroiled in year after year . It now seems crazy that each season we tend to hear of so many schools being caught in the midst of some underhanded seedy action that in some cases has been suborned by the actions of a coach his staff and the athletics director of the school involved . Rather than the schools themselves looking to augment a program of self awareness and in-house accountability so often all we tend to hear from the schools are numerous excuses and the odious commentary being put forth by analysts that it ought to be the student athlete who ought to be punished . It’d be remiss to think that college football where such a problem lies but nothing could be further from the truth . One only has to look at the actions of U Conn Huskies’ basketball coach Jim Calhoun and the quick jump to his aid and defense by none other than Dick Vitale of his colleague . Calhoun suborned numerous rule violations while taking little action if any to curtail the behavior of his players coaching staff . And when questioned on the matter by the school’s athletics director the coach offered little by way of an apology but somehow remained terse and and angry with reporters when asked about those allegations . Once again it seems that like many of his peers Jim Calhoun sees himself above that of the law and how one ought to conduct themselves while an employee of a renowned educational establishment .

When actions such as Calhoun’s are less than honest with allegations of lying to faculty members of the association of his players with agents as well as unsolicited contacts with known felons and the acceptance of monetary gifts , it begs the question what is it that Vitale still thinks is so honorable in the conduct Jim Calhoun ? Once again it is idiots such as Vitale that gives collegiate sport very little credibility apart from the inaction of the NCAA when it is actually called for !

So on Saturday the New York Yankees had the privilege of hosting the Baltimore Orioles and Buck Showalter a former Yankees’ manager . And inasmuch that team owner Peter Angelos can be considered an owner who seeks success for the organization, very little that he has sought to achieve has come to fruition . Andy MacPhail the team’s general manager has simply done little to suggest the fans are deserving of more when in attendance at Camden Yards / Orioles Ballpark . I simply don’t care what anyone says but ambition is not a top priority for this organization and it’s extremely sad to see this team flounder the way that it has !

Saturday’s events were typical of what the Baltimore Orioles have been going through for much of the season . The New York Yankees had a field day in this double header teeing of an woefully inept pitching performances from the Orioles’ Chris Tillman and Zach Britton pitchers that the coaches saw to field against the Yankees . If game one of this double header was anything to go by but the next second game was astounding to say the very least . Game one ended with 8-3 thrashing of the Orioles . However game two if anything left the fans in a disbelieving bewilderment as they were thoroughly entertained as the bats not only came alive but actually ignited an offensive onslaught.

The New York Yankees pounded out a season high 35 hits in the two games but in the night session of the double header was in essence where the fireworks really began. With Zach Britton on the mound the Yankees’ offense went to work pounding out 12 runs in the first inning and going on to win 17-3 and notching up their 63rd win of the season and closing the gap between themselves and the Boston Red Sox who sit atop of the AL East .

I’m not so sure that after these series of events the Baltimore Orioles can hold their heads high proudly and that is in spite of the statements made by Buck Showalter about the character of his team . Britton now has an of ERA 117.00 after his last two professional starts and one has to ask whether or not a stint in rehab within the Orioles’ minor league system will be enough for Zach Britton to actually regain his confidence .

The problems of the Baltimore Orioles have been well chronicled and it is difficult to say where the organization now goes from here . Certainly their farm system has talent and the prospects said to be on tap are the future of this organization . But herein lies the caveat for the Orioles with a dwindling attendance there’s little to suggest that the fans are feeling emotionally attached to this organization and its players . I know that the saying that one builds for the future but the foundations for the Baltimore Orioles may well have been laid well before Noah built the ark but over the last decade there has been little to suggest they are actually heading in the right direction. The Baltimore Orioles haven’t been relevant as an organization since the fans were raging on about Cal Ripken and his consecutive games playing streak but even then if that’s all that the fans can feel proud about then it clearly shows how far this organization has fallen off the map.

I am not about to suggest that the Baltimore Orioles won’t be able to turn things around but are the fans still prepared to endure the mediocrity from a team that now barely plays .500 ball while struggling to be competitive within baseball altogether . Over the ensuing months we will get to learn a great deal about the Baltimore Orioles and the direction that they may well be heading in . If they can acquit themselves with any degree of certainty then it bodes well for this team , if not then one can expect another season of discontent and simple mediocrity once again.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And how if anything do you see the season panning out for Baltimore Orioles ? And as such how what feelings do you have on how the NCAA deals with the gross negligence and behavior of the coaches within collegiate sports ? Do you as such feel that they act appropriately or do you simply believe that for the most part they tend to punish a school with impunity rather than also dealing with the behavior of the coaches in question ?

Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) North Carolina coach Everett Withers , left, speaks to the media in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday, July 29, 2011. Withers, formally the defensive coordinator, is now the interim football coach after the firing of Butch Davis. AP Photo/Gerry Broome ….

(2) University of North Carolina Athletic Director Dick Baddour, left, introduces North Carolina coach Everett Withers to the media in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday, July 29, 2011. Withers, formally the defensive coordinator, is now the interim football coach after the firing of Butch Davis. AP Photo/Gerry Broome …..

(3) In this photo taken Monday, July 25, 2011, North Carolina coach Butch Davis pauses during interviews at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C. University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp announced Wednesday, July 27, 2011, that Davis has been dismissed as head coach of the football program. AP Photo/Gerry Broome ……

(4) HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 04: Head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies cuts down the net after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament by a score of 53-41 at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ….

(5) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson hits a single off of Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Zach Britton in the first inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York. Granderson had four hits during the Yankees 17-3 win . AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ….

(6) Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, second from right, confers at the mound with players from left, J.J. Hardy (2), Josh Bell, Robert Andino and catcher Matt Wieters after Showalter removed starting pitcher Zach Britton from the game after the New York Yankees scored seven runs in the first inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(7) Zach Britton (53) of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after giving up a run in the first inning against the New York Yankees on July 30, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …..

(8) President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail (left) talks with manager Buck Showalter while looking at the team during batting practice . Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron ….

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Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Minnesota Timberwolves’ coach Kurt Rambis is said to be aggrieved as to the uncertainty concerning his impending future with the organization. Given his coaching record and the mere fact that the Timberwolves had another miserable season pretty much sums up what the front office’s thoughts may well be on the beleaguered coach . Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn surely know that with the upcoming NBA Draft due to take place on the 23rd June they can ill afford to any type of indecision on their part. They either retain the coach or relieve him of his duties and immediately start a search for his successor. Any indecsiveness on their part hurts the image of the franchise and shows complete ineptitude to the fans and across the NBA landscape in general .

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Things are difficult as it as already for the Minnesota Timberwolves without now further opening up themselves to ridicule concerning their coach and his job status. But then again the mindset within this organization can be easily summed up in two words …” woefully inept “.

Now don’t get me wrong I was happy to see the New York Knicks make the NBA postseason but the mere fact that their sojourn there lasted about as long as Usain Bolt would take to run a 100m race , essentially told you all that you needed to know about this team and such the organization. Team owner James Dolan is looking to extend the contract of GM Donnie Walsh the seventy four year old senior executive within the Knicks’ organization . If the rumors are to be believed Dolan wanted offer Walsh a two year contract extension as they seek to rebuild the basketball team . Donnie Walsh in spite of his undoubted NBA knowledge knows that in many ways he’s not getting any younger and at the same time his job placed him under a great deal of pressure allowing him very little time to be with his family. The general manager has told the owner that he will not be returning to the organization next season , choosing instead to relinquish his duties with the New York Knicks .

I certainly would have thought that the New York Knicks would be better prepared in terms of having a long term plan as to successor by having someone within their front office be tutored by Walsh since his original hiring by the organization. But somehow given the plethora of executives that make up board of the New York Knicks you simply knew that sheer incompetency wouldn’t be far behind in terms of the decision making that the organization has come to be known for. If Hank Ratner or any other of his peers aren’t capable of assuming Walsh’s role , then I would hate to think that Knicks would be idiotic enough to rehire Isiah Thomas to a position he once held within the organization. There is no way in hell that the Knicks would consider rehiring their former VP & Head of Basketball Operations , albeit , that Thomas stated that he has no interest in rejoining the organization but then again we are talking about the New York Knicks .

Cyclist Lance Armstrong the seven time winner of the Tour de France continues to maintain his innocence concerning the latest admissions by Armstrong’s former teammates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie former teammates members on the Radio Shack team ran team manager by Johan Bruyneel . The ongoing cause-de-celebre concerning concerning Armstrong’s innocence , the fact both Hamilton’s and Hincapie’s evidence was sworn testimony under oath given to law officials of the Justice Department . It would be simply idiotic to think that either cyclist would choose to perjure themselves knowing well that a federal sentence would await them courtesy of the Bureau of Prisons within the federal penitentiary system. In the advent of this all Armstrong seeks an apology from CBS News and in particular from the producers of the broadcast outlets news magazine program ’60 Minutes’. Anyone who witnessed the in depth segment on Tyler Hamilton and in particular his allegations concerning his former teammate would be hard pressed not to believe that allegations made by Hamilton . If nothing else Armstrong who has been adding to defense with a legion of of defense attorneys in pursuant of the Justice Department’s decision to seek the indictment of Armstrong for the illegal use of use steroids in particular EPO and several other known illicit substances .

From my own perspective cycling may well be the most corrupt sport on the landscape and the mere fact that UCI the international governing body for cycling has been literally all too slow in seeking to clean up its sport. L’Equipe which oversees the Tour de France has been less reluctant to actually come forward and say that they have not done enough to make this sport more appealing and its image above reproach . Instead L’Equipe’s greatest wish has been simply to make millions of dollars through the event with the broadcast rights of the Tour across the globe. My own wish would be to see the IOC the governing body of the Summer Olympics to simply suspend the sport from the Olympics until UCI has a strict and comprehensive drug policy in place . It would not be too much to ask but the idiocy within the sport of cycling does leave a great deal to be desired ! It has been all talk and with two of the sport’s most visible faces having been embroiled in drug controversy only a complete idiot would take this sport seriously and think that it has something tangible to offer !

Clearly anyone who believes that the Chicago Cubs’ fortunes are about to change hasn’t been watching this team play at all. I’m not saying that the curse of the goat still looms over Wrigley Field but at this juncture if a tornado were to hit that storied edfice the aftermath in terms of the destruction brought it would be a hell of a lot better than what the Cubs’ fans have been asked to endure since the start of the season . The NL Central where the Cubs reside along with the division leading St Louis Cardinals (33-24) whereas the Chicago Cubs have simply been mediocre . This team is on a three game losing streak and has lost seven of their last ten games during which manager Mike Quade and his coaching staff have tried to to the players playing with a great deal more resolve. GM Jim Hendry along with the ownership group headed by the Ricketts’ family has simply tried to instill a sense of purpose of and an eagerness to win . The long terms of efforts can’t go unrecognized with regard to the refurbishment of Wrigley Field in order to make the venue fan friendly. But that in of itself won’t be enough as the organization seeks its World Series title in over a century . Simply put the years of mediocrity that the fans may well have thought long gone still seem to be alive and present. .

So the so called saga concerning Alex Rodriguez’s stance that he simply abused the league’s steroid policy through sheer naivete` and the fact that he and his cousin Yuri Sucart were simply looking to get an edge no longer seems to make any sense . In the aftermath of his admission and apology to the league hierarchy and the New York Yankees still hasn’t stopped the player from associating with his cousin after Rodriguez having been advised not to associate communicate with Sucart on the Yankees’ property or any baseball facility during the season . It would appear that the requests are lost on Alex Rodriguez with there now being evidence to suggest that the player and Sucart have been seen together at the St Regis Hotel in San Francisco prior to a recent game played against the Oakland Athletics at the A’s ballpark . What might be even more unpalatable is the very fact that Sucart has accompanied Rodriguez to several games this season with the player knowing full well that he has been advised by senior executives within the Yankees’ hierarchy not to associate with his cousin.

If one remembers Rodriguez’s apology suggested that he and Yuri Sucart were merely experimenting with the use of steroids and the regimen followed was he says… so ill disciplined that it’s hard to take the player at his word when it has come to light that his name has come up repeatedly , in conjunction with the indictment of Orlando medical professional Dr Anthony Galea . The doctor is now awaiting trial with regard to the sale and transportation of illicit narcotics and steroids across international borders . The Justice Department having arraigned and indicted Galea ____ they are now seeking assistance from the medical professional in seeking the indictment of other subjects to whom he supplied steroids and other illicit substances. Many of the individuals that Anthony Galea is said to have supplied are a professional athletes in MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL and college athletes . If that isn’t now a cause for concern given the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig is still of the belief that the game now has the strictest testing policy in all professional sports , one has to ask what they will now do in light of these latest allegations concerning Alex Rodriguez. And with the player being less than forthright when asked about his name being associated with Galea and his cousin Yuri Sucart can we really now expect anything form of action by the league ? Rob Manfred a senior league official and Head for VP of Player Relations has spoken directly within the New York Yankees concerning Rodriguez’s association with his cousin. If this is what the league believes to be the appropriate action I firmly believe that the league has no idea as to what it takes to stem the flow of the illicit use of PED’s within the game , with players now flouting clear instructions makes a mockery their edicts . Is it any wonder that Manny Ramirez having failed a second drug test was allowed to walk away without any form of punishment levied against him by the league ? That is the complete asinine stance that MLB has with regard to its stance when players flout the rules . As for MLBPA and their Executive Director Michael Weiner and his response to what is now an acute issue that even the league and union have failed to really address .

In the wake of the Jim Tressel fiasco we are now learning that the quarterback for the football team Terrelle Pryor had been driving on a suspended license . What is now coming to light concerning this also is the very fact that the player who drives a 2011 Nissan 350Z which we have been informed was purchased by his mother Thomasina Pryor as a trade in . In light of that however since Pryor’s entrance to Ohio State he has been driving around in a number of vehicles for which there is no substantive evidence that would suggest he owned the vehicles in question or that they were leased by the player. The longer this saga has gone on the more idiotic both university President E Gordon Gee and the AD Gene Smith appear to be in light of their actions and what we now know Tressel had suppressed from his superiors . As the investigation went on both Gee and Smith stood behind their actions of a mere suspension and monetary fine of the coach knowing full well that were other far more serious allegations that had already come to light. Now with Pryor now subject of the school’s own internal investigation we’re now finding out that the NCAA is prepared to conduct their own separate investigation into the player and these latest allegations. And one wonders how corrupt collegiate sports is now said to be ? Why not simply allow the players to be paid, gamble on their games and have done with it ? It is becoming abundantly clear that collegiate athletics no longer can be taken seriously on any level at all !

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is gratefully appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 13: Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves’ front office is said to be undecided as to whether or the coach will be retained for the upcoming season. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) David Kahn seated right alongside Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. Kahn recently assumed the mantel of being the team’s GM as well as Head of Basketball Operations. He’s also keep the title of President of the Timberwolves’ organizational structure. Besides having to deal with the Rubio situation Kahn also will be in search of a new coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Richard Clarke-Patterson ………

(3) GM Donnie Walsh (seated left) is seen here alongside Knicks’ team owner James Dolan . Walsh has declined the team’s offer for a two year contract extension deciding instead to be with his family , retiring from the NBA having been involved in the sport for over four decades. AP Photo/ Chris Young ….

(4) Lance Armstrong of the USA, riding for Team Astana, speaks with Astana team director Johan Bruyneel before the start of stage six of the 2009 Tour Down Under January 25, 2009 in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(5) Tyler Hamilton seen here during his interview with 60 Minutes’ correspondent Scott Pelley reiterates his position that former teammate Lance Armstrong knowingly took EPO amongst other illicit banned substances during competition. Courtesy of CBS News/Getty Images …

(6) Aramis Ramirez (16) of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-RBI double against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 5, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 3-2 in 10 innings. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry is seen here with Alfonso Soriano as the player is formally introduced to the convened press . AP Photo/ Tonny Todd ….

(8) Cubs’ manager Mike Quade all smiles for the moment but for how long ? His job isn’t yet imperiled but who knows should the <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/team/roster_active.jsp?c_id=chc&quot;. team continue to lose without any real effort on the part of the players ? Getty Images / Keith Stoddart …….

(9) Yuri Sucart , cousin of Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez and whose name has once again been associated with the player in spite of the warnings issued to the player and New York Yankees’ organization. Both Rodriguez and Yucart were seen together in public at the St Regis Hotel and then again at the A’s ballpark . It would appear that the player has failed to heed the requests of MLB as well as the New York Yankees in not associating with his relative . The player who in his admission to the use of steroids stated that he was supplied with the prohibited substances by Yuri Sucart . AP/Getty Images / Rafael T Aguillar ……

(10) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 5: the New York Yankees the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 5, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Yankees won 5-3 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(11) In this photo taken Monday, May 30, 2011, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives for a players only meeting at the Woody Hayes Complex in Columbus, Ohio. Pryor, the highest profile recruit of former coach Jim Tressel’s 25-year coaching career, is one of five Buckeyes who have already been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for taking money and tattoos from local tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife, who pleaded guilty last week to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …

(12) Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives in this Nissan 350Z, center, to a players only meeting Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Woody Hayes Complex, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ……..

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Take Two …………. Say What ?

Take Two …………. Say What ?

Former NFL running back Robert Smith who’s now a college game day analyst for ESPN on the network’s show College Game Day was discussing the improprieties surrounding his alma-mater Ohio State . A running back for four years with the school the player excelled with the program before becoming a highly prized and productive player in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings .Now to my mind if there’s anyone who could provide the public with inner workings of that program then it would be Robert Smith . A highly intelligent individual who if he hadn’t become a player in the NFL I have no doubt that he would have become a medical professional , as the player studied medicine at Ohio State with a view to becoming a pediatrician specializing in neo natal medicine.

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Smith in his analysis suggested that as the NCAA is in effect powerless and has no legal powers to to negate the actions of the schools or players and that perhaps the best thing to do would be for the Federal government to be involved with the IRS being given additional powers to investigate any wrong doing where there is monetary gain that’s not reported as income by any students athletes at the collegiate level. He further suggested that state agencies as such could not be truly thought to be impartial in such an endeavor as there would most certainly be a conflict of interest were they placed in a position where they would have to conduct an investigation into a state ran university. Though I don’t fully agree with Smith’s premise I do fully understand that he too like many other fans of collegiate athletics are completely angered and dissatisfied with the malfeasance that is now rampant within collegiate athletics , seemingly at all levels. You have the ongoing situation with Ohio State itself , wherein the actions of Jim Tressel are merely written off as a mere child being caught with his hands in the cookie jar and the punishment exacted upon him by AD Gene Smith at the insistence of university President Dr E Gordon Gee comes across as nothing more than a slap on the wrist .

Another player on the 2010 team is wide receiver Ray Small who in a recent interview went so far as to suggest that a number of Buckeye players had been selling memorabilia and that the coaching staff were fully aware of their actions. However , Small would recant the statement saying that his statement had been in fact been misconstrued by the journalist conducting the interview. Small would state that he and no one else that he knew of had in fact sold their memorabilia for financial gain. I can well understand the change in the player’s statement after his statements had been reported in the college’s own in-house news publication , much to the annoyance of his former teammates . Smalls we would later be advised had failed a drug test and was thrown off the team in late 2010 causing him to make a none appearance in the Buckeyes’ postseason. Insomuch as this is nothing new, what we are finding out is the very fact that the actions of Small is very much widespread. The player himself stated that he knew his actions contravened NCAA rules but he simply didn’t care . And should anyone be surprised by the player’s claims at this juncture ?

My own view is that any form of intervention by the government never serves a real purpose merely because the government cannot be trusted to act with any expediency let alone with any real sign of competence. Be it the Justice Department , IRS or for that matter any a governmental committee which in this could be either the House Oversight Committee or Senate Judiciary Committee . The idiocy of this all however may well be a statement attributed to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe who suggests that the NCAA and the schools can adequately police themselves but the real problems stems from the actions of sports agents , boosters and other outside influences. Unfortunately Beebe completely ignores the actions of Tressel and the lies he told not only to the faculty but also to journalists and members of the public. And for certain ESPN analysts to suggest that Jim Tressel is still a man of honesty and integrity is akin to suggesting that the late Osama bin Laden would somehow seek a peaceful resolution in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Jim Tressel is no more a man of integrity or honesty as his most actions all along have belied those statements . Tressel’s less than contrite apology and the idiocy of both Smith and Gee in not firing the coach smacks of their own and innate stupidity ! If anything, their actions have been simply about greed and the very fact that because of the financial gain because of the countless million brought into the football program by Tressel because of his notoriety over the course of his tenure and the team’s success derived thereof.

The chances are that we will never see any of the suggestions made by Smith could ever come to fruition merely because both the NCAA , BCS and major college conferences would rather keep the status quo as is !

Am I mistaken here in thinking that the unfortunate injury suffered by San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey in a collision with the Florida Marlins Scott Cousins during the game in which the Marlins would defeat the Giants 7-6 . That in ofitself isn’t the real story but the real issue is now the number of fans who are now stating that they feel that baseball’s hierarchy should be doing more to protect its catchers . Well considering that MLB simply has never done enough to protect the players in lieu of the steroid era . I mean, who here is of the opinion that during that period in which Commissioner Bud Selig the MLBPA knew of the inherent dangers from the abuse of steroids and the health concerns in the aftermath of its abuse . Cardiac problems , neurological disorders and the obvious harm to the reproductive system but somehow this isn’t something that the league hierarchy , union or the team owners would actually care to address. And we now have idiotic fans wanting to protect a catcher because of the inherent dangers posed to him during a game ? Granted the injury to Posey , a broken leg and the fact that he will be lost the team for the rest of the Giants’ season . But there are far more grave dangers that the players face during a game beyond a home plate collision . Anyone yet within baseball’s hierarchy care to address those issues as of yet ? I guess not !

The San Francisco Giants are on a three game losing streak and are 5-5 in their last 10 games but lead the NL West by two games over the Arizona Diamondbacks (25-24). Now it goes without saying that the loss of Posey to the Giants will be a tremendous to this team as he provides a great deal of offense . Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff will most certainly be looking to boost the moral of the team with the loss of their All Star catcher . Curiously enough with the loss of Posey I do feel that the Giants are still capable of winning their division but at the same time it will come down to how prepared they are in terms of their mindset.

The likes of Aubrey Huff and Aaron Rowand as seasoned veterans on the Giants will now have to assume the mantel of being the leaders for this team if they are to really fare well over the course of the season. If they can show the leadership which I believe that they can , then they they can claim the division outright . I certainly don’t believe that the wildcard entrant will come from the NL West or NL Central for that matter ! That scenario more likely than not will arise from the competitiveness within the NL East . That division with teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies viewed as the presumptive winners of the NL pennant as well as the division will be in a tight race with the Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves is liable to become highly contested three horse race. At present a mere 3 1/2 games separate those three teams atop of the division with the Phillies (31-19) holding a one game lead over the Marlins with the Braves in third place .

The month of June could very tell determine how these teams will fare. It promises to be a very exciting nonetheless.

On much more somber note I found it heartwarming to read that former Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds has made a magnanimous gesture in stating that he’s prepared to meet all future expenses in the education of Giants’ fan Brian Stow’s children. If you remember Stow was the victim of a heinous assault by three assailants at Dodgers Stadium in a game earlier this season between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants . One assailant is now in custody and the LAPD through Police Chief Charlie Beck
has asked for the public’s assistance with any information that will lead to the apprehension of the remaining suspecrs in this ongoing investigation. The three remaining suspects , two men and a female are believed to be of Hispanic origin. The suspect in custody is a known felon to the LAPD who also happens to be a member of one of the most prominent Hispanic gangs within the city of Los Angeles . Giorgio Ramirez a convicted felon has a long and varied arrest record . I’ve no doubt that the city Los Angeles DA’s office will prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law given the viciousness and barbarity of this crime .

Hopefully, this will be something of a wake up call to the league hierarchy , the team owners and in particular the fans . This sort of violence cannot be tolerated under any circumstance but that in ofitself might not be enough to deter a repeat action of this magnitude. The victim’s family has filed a lawsuit against the Dodgers’ organization seeking compensatory and punitive damages in light of the assault on Brian Stow. As to what course such a legal matter may well take remains to be seen given the present circumstances of the Dodgers and their financial well being. There are some fans in the game who feel that it would be in the team’s best interest to settle the matter out of court rather than there being a trial but as I alluded to earlier we can only speculate as to the outcome of this matter for now .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this matter as you would deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) ESPN College Football analyst Robert Smith seated right discusses the Big 12 with his co-host. ESPN/ABC …..copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(2) University President E Gordon Gee, Jim Tressel (center) and AD Gene Smith (right) on the podium as they address and take questions from the convened press . It is now being reported that the once embattled coach has since resigned his position as coach of Buckeyes’ football team . AP Photo/Gene J Puskar ….

(3) Former Buckeyes’ wide receiver Ray Small discusses his own improprieties as a players with Ohio State . His interview with ESPN was conducted in conjunction with the network’s magazine program Outside The Lines . Small offered plenty of evidence of misdeeds but would not openly name names as to the cast of characters involved. However in light of an earlier interview given to a school campus journalist it’s hard to know what is in fact the truth and where the lies come into play. courtesy of ABC/ESPN …..

(4) Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe whose opinion it is that the NCAA and major conferences are quite capable of policing themselves without any outside intervention by the federal government or state governmental agency. Somehow Beebe has overlooked the actions Tressel and that of senior executives of the Fiesta Bowl . Political donations that have contravened state federal laws as well as in some cases payments made to a numerous escort agencies that were found to be the committee’s way of payment for the hiring of prostitutes allegedly for entertainment purposes. AP Photo/Chris Carlsson …..

(5) Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins, top, collides with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) on a fly ball from Emilio Bonifacio during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins was safe for the go ahead run and Florida won 7-6. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ….

(6) San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) is carried off the field after a collision with Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins scored the go-ahead run on the play as Florida won 7-6. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ……….

(7) Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks (23) leaps overt San Francisco Giants’ Pat Burrell (5) to turn a double play on a ball hit by Cody Ross during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Milwaukee. AP Photo/Morry Gash …

(8) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Milwaukee. AP Photo/Morry Gash ….. ……….

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Don’t Hate Appreciate ………… Have You Had Your Can Of Whup Ass Today ?

Don’t Hate Appreciate ………… Have You Had Your Can Of Whup Ass Today ?

I’ve said it repeatedly the tough teams know how to win when it matters most and case in point was proof positive of that as the Los Angeles Lakers simply gave up in their quest having succumbed to the Dallas Mavericks 98-92 in a decisive game three played at the American Airlines Center in Dallas , Texas. Instead of being composed we saw a Lakers’ team pressed and playing rather in consistently throughout this series .

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If there was an unsung hero during this game for the Mavericks then it had to be jointly Jason Terry , Peja Stojakovic and that wily veteran Jason Kidd who belied their years in the league. Now pardon me for saying this but each time I hear TNT or ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy I simply want to throw up ! Is there no time wherein this guy can simply be observant report on what he observes rather than coming up with asinine comments and analysis. Now down 0-3 this series is now beyond the reach of the Lakers as no team in playoff history has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to come back and win that series .

This was simply a collective effort from this Mavericks’ team and it was a thoroughly convincing result and this series now seems to the Dallas Mavericks’ for the taking . If you’ve any doubt about that then simply look at the box-score and the stats for the Mavericks ? Game four of this series resumes on Sunday and we’re liable to see the Lakers be swept out of this series as the Dallas Mavericks make their way to the Western Conference Finals . Personally I can see the Lakers quite possibly taking game four but beyond that this team is liable to lose one if not two of the next three to be played at the Staples Center after the series’ departure from Dallas .

Anyone who was in any doubt why Derrick Rose became the youngest league MVP in NBA history then you simply had to witness his display against the Atlanta Hawks in game three played at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia . The Chicago Bulls simply laid the wood to the Hawks as they took them behind the woodshed and literally beat the shit out of this Hawks’ team . Forty four points simply sums up this player’s play and the fact that the Bulls’ bench took up some of the slack . Joakim Noah , Kyle Korver and Taj Gibson played with a great deal of aplomb as and when needed, as they harried the Hawks’ offense and made them look lethargic .

By midway through the fourth quarter this game was simply beyond the Atlanta Hawks’ reach and their two All Stars on this team in Joe Johnson and Al Horford simply couldn’t do anything to bring the Hawks back into this game. On this series resumption with game four we could well see the Chicago Bulls take a 3-1 lead in this series .

Can someone explain to me how it is that Cliff Lee can strike out 15 batters in a game and still come up with a loss (5-0 ) in a game played at Citizens Ballpark in Philadelphia as the Philadelphia Phillies took on the Atlanta Braves ? Lee’s opposite number Derek Lowe also had the prospect obtaining a no hitter in this game in what was an exemplary display by both pitchers. In the end however this was more about the mistakes defensively made by the Phillies and solid resolute play by the Braves as they inched closer to the the Florida Marlins and Phillies within the NL East .

Andre Ethier’s amazing season continues as he embarks on rewriting the Los Angeles Dodgers’ record book. Ethier is on the cusp of becoming the Dodgers’ consecutive single season record in terms of a consecutive games hit streak . Now at thirty games and counting Ethier looks to surpass the Dodgers’ record of Willie Davis’ streak of 31 and hopes to top the mark of forty before he can think about even coming within range of Joe Di Maggio’s 56 game hit streak which is the all time record within MLB . It’s now becoming redundant to continue talking about the Dodgers’ off the field problems as nothing can now simply change that particular landscape as it now stands. The idiocy of it all is that the team’s owner Frank McCourt continues to wallow in the fact that he’s now become a victim in the aftermath of the league hierarchy taking over the day to day running of the organization. Suffice to say that the league , its team owners enabled McCourt and his executive subordinates to enact this madness . And for those opining that the Dodgers and their $3 billion tv contract signed with Fox and its parent company NewsCorp let’s just say if you’re unable to pay the staff salaries for your employees for the months of April and now May please don’t come up with the bullshit about this organization being in a viable financial position. Simply let it be , and get a dose of reality as to how business is conducted in the real world .

Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams effectively announced his retirement as coach of the Terrapins’ basketball team . Having assumed tenure of the Terrapins as its coach in 1989 while the team was under NCAA probation Williams single handedly resurrected this program and put it back on the map. In doing so he won the 2002 NCAA Basketball Tournament . That title has been Maryland’s sole NCAA Men’s title but it has been the programs consistency over the years that has made Gary Williams stand apart as a collegiate basketball coach . He leaves an indelible record having won over 630 games and a run of eleven straight NCAA appearances as well as the Sweet 16 on multiple occasions . Thirty three years as a coach of, which 22 were spent as the coach of Maryland and I’d like to think that makes Gary Williams something of a special talent within the world of collegiate basketball !

Well it appears now apart from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff looking to challenge the BCS’ antitrust exemption status and its stand as a monopoly within collegiate football. It now seems that the US Justice Department and its antitrust division will now serve notice that they intend to send letters to NCAA President Mark Emmert and the BCS seeking their reasons as to why there isn’t a playoff format in place for the national championship at the D1 level. If that’s not enough to peak your interest assistant US attorney general Christine Varney within the antitrust division of the Justice Department says that she is quite prepared subpoena records from both the NCAA and BCS to seek out how they conduct their business practices as it relates collegiate football . Considering the NCAA is already facing a civil suit challenge by several former NCAA athletes as to the use of their likeness for business purposes within the Federal Court System this couldn’t have come at a worse time for both the NCAA and BCS.

If it hasn’t been enough that we’ve seen the idiocy of the NCAA and the belief that the BCS and its subordinates feel that they’re above reproach . We now have to see them having to defend themselves from what we already know to be a grossly corrupt system that is in place and that’s being defended by an idiot in Ohio State university President Dr E Gordon Gee . How in God’s name that buffoon believes that the system is above reproach tells you all you need to know when you simply survey the 2010-11 and 2011 schedule of the Buckeyes to see how they affix their schedules , wherein they’re literally playing a bunch of no name programs to pad out their stats. In the midst of this all, Gee has the temerity to suggest that mid major conferences ought not to be allowed to have the privilege of attaining a BCS Bowl game berth because they’re simply not good enough. If anything, Gee ought to be more concerned over the image of his school and the fact that its football coach Jim Tressel has no moral character or integrity and the very fact that he’s self consumed a liar and a cheat . Those ought to be Gee’s biggest concerns rather than his asinine notion that the BCS system is above reproach.

I’ve longed felt that were it not for Severiano Ballesteros the European Tour and the PGA Tour wouldn’t be what is today . Having won five grand slam majors and over 68 tournaments worldwide Ballesteros’ legacy has been well chronicled . Long before Tiger Woods held the world as a captive audience on the golf course it was the spectacle of seeing Ballesteros simply play with a fluidity not often seen on any major tour today. His shot making was uncanny and anyone who knows anything about the sport of golf will know how special Seve’ Ballasteros was . Unfortunately , the Spanish star and a successful Ryder Cup captain is suffering from cancer of the brain , having gone through repeated bouts of chemotherapy and undergone several neuro surgeries over the past eight years ever since it was discovered that he had malignant tumors on his brain. Having removed several of the tumors it was felt that Severiano Ballesteros’ would be able to make a slow and successful recovery from his illness .

Ballesteros died at age 54 in the early hours of Saturday morning, in the arms of his family, a national treasure within the country of Spain and a worldwide celebrity . A wealthy individual in his own right , from his professional earnings and as a businessman from his the off the field business ventures , he married Caroline Boutin , whose family founded one of Spain’s largest financial institutions Banco de Santander . He will be sorely missed by the golf word but it was his larger than life character , respect for and of the game as well as his fellow competitors that made Ballasteros stand apart. His dominance of the game goes without saying and for those who’ve never witnessed Ballesteros at his very best , simply imagine the shot playing of Tiger Woods at his best with the power of Jack Nicklaus and you can imagine how special Ballesteros was at the height of his game.. Thanks Seve’ for all the grace you brought to the game and in particular the world of sport , you’ll be sorely missed !

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What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) DALLAS, TX – MAY 6: Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after hitting a three against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images …….

(2) The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks at his bench as Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki , left, Peja Stojakovic , center and Jason Kidd , right react during the final minutes of Game 3 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 98-92. NBAE/Getty Images / Danny Bollinger ….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol shoots over Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Kidd, left, and Peja Stojakovic during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …….

(4) ATLANTA, GA – MAY 06: Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls drives against Joe Johnson (2) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …..

(5) Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Derek Lowe(notes) delivers to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Philadelphia. AP Photo / Barbara Johnston ….

(6) Atlanta Braves’ Jason Heyward (22) steals to second base as Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Michael Martinez (19) is late with the tag during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Braves won 5-0. AP Photo/Barbara Johnston ….

(7) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Jamey Carroll(14) greets teammate Andre Ethier (16) at the plate after Ethier’s seventh-inning two-run home run as New York Mets catcher Ronny Paulino , center, looks on during a baseball game at Citi Field in New York, Sunday, May 8, 2011. AP Photo/ Kathy Willens ……

(8) University of Maryland basketball coach Gary WIlliams (L) hugs his wife Dana WIlliams after announcing his retirement on May 6, 2011 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images ……..

(9) University of Maryland basketball coach Gary WIlliams speaks while announcing his retirement on May 6, 2011 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images ……..

(10) Seve Ballesteros (C) of Spain poses with Per Ericsson (R) and German Lopez of Volvo Event Management during the press conference of the Volvo World Match Play Championship 2009 presentation at Intercontinental Hotel on October 14, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. Ballesteros, who is recovering from cancer which has left him partially blind in his left eye, is hopeful that he’ll be able to take part in the upcoming Volvo World Match Play. October 13, 2009 – Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images Europe ……..

(11) Ballesteros seen here in receipt of the Green Jacket having won the 1983 Masters Tournament at Augusta National G&C Augusta , Georgia ,. Photo archives / Reuters/ Peter McKinnon ……

(12) Christine Varney (left) head of the Antitrust Divsion of the US Dept of Justice . Her department has been asked by the AG Eric Holder to look into possible grounds to see if the BCS can be considered a monopoly in terms of its business practices as it relates to D1 collegiate football . NY Times Susan Etheridge ……

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MLB News

MLB Scoreboard & schedule 7th May 2011

MLB results 6th May 2011

MLB Schedule 8th May 2011

MLB Standings

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Results 6th May 2011

NBA Schedule 7th May 2011

NBA Schedule 8th May 2011

Now What ?

Now What ?

Well the NFL Draft began and over the course of three days Radio City Music Hall , New York City well become the epicenter of the NFL world . Never mind the fact that although Judge Susan Richard Nelson has sided with the players over their challenge of the league’s mandated lockout the nation’s top collegiate players will be front and center as the teams and their front office executives and coaches will assuage and assess their merits .

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Slide show for your perusal .

No real surprise as Cam Newton was taken number one overall by the Carolina Panthers having been the league’s worse team record wise last season. The draft itself as it continues and until its culmination on Saturday will provide the fans with a great many surprises and no doubt a great deal of disappointment as to the choices that’ll no doubt be made by the various teams. As a discerning fan I for one am not overly interested in the process , as from my own perspective until that first snap and first down is made on an NFL field during a regular season game we’re totally unsure what to expect from the rookies stepping up to the professional ranks . Suffice to say , that the likes of Newton , Von Miller , Marcell Dareus , A J Green , Patrick Peterson and Julio Jones are now set for life financially having been taken as the first six players in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.

That being said I expect a number trades to take place too as some teams may well look to off-load a prospective free agent in order to move up in the draft order in order to obtain a player that meets their needs. Given the still unclear picture of the league landscape and the very fact that though a 2011 schedule has been made public the fans are still unclear as to what awaits them in terms of there actually be a regular NFL season. The owners have still vowed to fight on in spite of Nelson’s verdict and her denying them a right of appeal at the Appellate Division . So the only recourse for the league and owners would be to challenge that decision in the Supreme Court , with that challenge being heard by the Justices there . And the likelihood that Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues supersede or overturn that decision seems highly unlikely , unless the the league as the plaintiffs, can provide a clear and substantive proof that Nelson erred in rendering her original decision .

For now in terms of anything tangible all the NFL fan simply has at this moment in time is that draft and the parade of the players as chattel bound for a new owner. For the analysts and draft geeks I’m of no doubt that they’re well on their way to making prognostications as to who has done well in the first two rounds and who may well have made a profound miscalculation with their picks . Be that as it may , no one really knows for sure what is liable to happen with these players until that first whistle is blown and the season should there be one , gets underway. Then and only then , will we be able to gauge these players and how they’re likely to do.

I’m sorry, but now is not the time for excuses ,…………. especially when your team gets handed its own ass on the proverbial silver platter for all to see . Having watched in large part several of the games in the NBA playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic , I have come to the conclusion that the Magic have and become the softest team in the Eastern Conference merely not only from a mental standpoint but also from a physical one as well ! At no time throughout this series has the Orlando Magic actually played well much less with any degree of consistency . If anything their play has been erratic and if anything the hype over these players and in particular the aspirations of Dwight Howard being a viable league MVP candidate was simply hyperbole and not much else . Big players step up and lead , here’s been a clear cut case wherein Howard has simply bitched and complained as things haven’t gone his way and where the team’s animated coach Stan Van Gundy has simply proven that when it really matters most , in the face of real adversity he simply cannot instill anything into this team. I’ve heard it said that a league MVP simply means being the best player on the team , I think it goes way beyond that , as it means also showing leadership qualities and actually getting those around you to raise the level of their play. If anyone can point to the fact where Howard has shown any semblance of the latter during this series where a teammate has stepped up and followed his lead then someone please intervene and show me such an instance ?

This series essentially was over once the Hawks took to taking the Magic and exposing all of their flaws bare for all to see . A one dimensional team that lacked creativity and imagination. The likes of Gilbert Arenas , Jason Richardson and Quentin Richardson have literally been stealing money from the Orlando Magic and undeniably it has been Van Gundy , the front office executives and GM Otis Smith who have been culpable in creating this unmitigated mess with the Orlando Magic in its present guise . There has been no cohesion on this roster as it has simply been assembled as a group of mismatched pieces . The trades that took place that gave berth to the roster must’ve been thought up as a quip at first because in terms of offensive presence what had been hoped simply didn’t materialize and in terms of defensive voracity it wasn’t on display by the Magic as Jamal Crawford , Josh Smith , Al Horford and the sighting of Joe Johnson made the Magic seem all the more irrelevant during the series . Hard to believe that Magic were actually the number four seeds in the Eastern Conference but that’s what one tends to get suckered into if you simply take a record at face value rather than looking over the entire body of work and what’s brought to the table in terms of anything tangible .

Game six and that result (84-81) was an emphatic statement as to which team was simply deserving of this series . Having lost the series (4-2) the Magic , the coaching staff and team will have to reassess where , why and how things all went so badly wrong . This much is certain the Orlando Magic in its present guise I firmly believe will be completely new entity for the start of the 2011-12 season . I certainly don’t believe that Smith , Van Gundy and in particular team owner Rich DeVos , President & CEO Bob Vander Weide and the other senior executives of the Magic can be entirely happy with the outcome of this seris from a competitive or financial standpoint. Especially in light of franchise’s ongoing difficulties , albeit, that they’re now esconced in their new facility the Amway Center in downtown Orlando . The NBA and in particular in order to remain viable not just from a competitive standpoint also have to remain a viable one from a financial standpoint also . And that if anything has cast a shadow over the organization over the past several years . With NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy projecting a fiscal loss of anywhere between $400 to $500 million you can well understand why it was imperative for the team to have had some semblance this postseason . Instead they’re now back to the drawing board looking to start over again with a plan in face hopefully with something that will lead to that ultimate goal of securing the club its first NBA title .

Given that in 2009 , the Orlando Magic were one of 18 teams around the NBA who were in receipt of a $175 million bailout courtesy of the league hierarchy by way of several financial institutions which the league itself has guaranteed . In 2010 the same exercise was again the norm with a further $300 million and it begs the question what’s going on with the NBA and in particular with its own financial template ? Anyone care to take a guess ?

I don’t know about you but as more information is divulged about Jim Tressel’s actions and the fact that he knew full well of several players’ improprieties , in their actions of selling memorabilia for financial gain. The more I ask myself , how is it that he still has a job at Ohio State ? Pardon me for saying this but how the fuck can the university condone these actions with a mere slap on the wrist by simply doing nothing more than asking Tressel to make a public apology and handing down a rather menial suspension ? The players involved in this subterfuge as such still have their athletic careers in tact but this simply gives further credence as to how corrupt collegiate athletics has become and the mere fact that the universities and the NCAA are powerless to stop any form of malfeasance that takes place . If Tressel can be allowed to remain on campus without there being real consequence for his actions , lying to senior faculty members and the press alike then it simply tells about this coach’s complete lack of integrity and character. And to think there are idiots about who still think of him as some type of role model ? Only a friggin’ idiot would be of that mindset I believe !

Dr E Gordon Gee the university’s president and Athletic Director Gene Smith have stated that they hope that episode can be put behind them and the school can proceed forward with its integrity still in tact . Well my answer to both Gee and Smith ….. ” had you had the balls to do what is morally right then perhaps your statements could be treated with a degree of realism “ . But given the fact that both have shown that they’d rather keep Tressel within their midst and with a tainted reputation simply emphasizes that within collegiate athletics ….. money simply trumps everything . There’s no denying that the football program brings in countless millions for the school but what that says about the school’s own image and the mere fact that they’d believe that Tressel’s less contrite apology makes up for his misdeeds shows and indicate how naive they actually are .

NCAA President Mark Emmert has stated that he’d like see a situation where student athletes would be able to receive some form of stipend while their collegiate athletic career is ongoing . But that’s something that I for one believe that the purists and many of the various athletic conferences might not be willing to part-take in . Not if it’s going to diminish what they’re receiving in terms of filling their monetary coffers . Imagine you have SEC Commissioner Mike Slive who’s now more concerned whether not the actions of Mark Shurtleff as Attorney General of Utah is stepping outside of his legal parameters ? Merely because Shurtleff wants to challenge the BCS’s antitrust exemption status and where he also feels that the BCS is an illegal monopoly in terms of its existence and how it conducts itself as a business entity. One could well understand Slive’s concerns , as he simply doesn’t want to see that gravy train dry up in any way .whatsoever . Not with there being countless millions at stake and pouring into coming into the major BCS conference coffers each year through various sports and business formats .

At some point there has to be some semblance brought into the midst as to how the NCAA deals with the misdeeds of not only the student athletes but also of the coaches who have been allowed in large have gone untouched for their actions . Simply look at what has taken place with Jim Calhoun , Bruce Pearl and Lane Kiffin recently and you can understand how pointless it as times to expect any sense of integrity coming from within collegiate athletics ! Integrity and greed simply doesn’t mix , much like oil and water is said not to . And that’s why nothing will ever change within the collegiate athletics landscape because in retrospect no one there actually wants it to change , the status quo has to remain the same . Integrity and honor be damned because that’s the least of the concerns of the schools , much less the NCAA itself .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do have on the topics raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1)Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Cam Newton answers a question after being introduced during an NFL football news conference at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Bob Leverone ………….

(2) Washington Redskins first-round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan addresses the media during an NFL football news conference at Redskins Park, Friday, April 29, 2011, in Ashburn, Va. AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez ……

(3) Cam Newton receives a hug from his mother Jackie on stage after he was selected #1 overall by the Carolina Panthers during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Mark Ingram, #28 overall pick by the New Orleans Saints, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ………

(5) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …..

(6) Dwight Howard(12) of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …….

(7) A fan hold up a neon green sign with the word “Kryptonite” written on it during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ……….

(8) Gilbert Arenas (1) of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket against Josh Smith (5) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ………

(9) NBA commissioner David Stern, left, chats with Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos during the first half of Game 1 in a second-round of the NBA basketball playoff series between the Magic and the Atlanta Hawks in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Stern announced earlier Tuesday that the 2012 All-Star Game will be held in Orlando. Courtesy of Forbes Magazine & AP Photo /John Raoux ……

(10) E. Gordon Gee, left, Ohio State University president; football coach Jim Tressel, center; and athletic director Gene Smith take questions during a news conference Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State suspendedTressel for two games and fined him $250,000 for violating NCAA rules by failing to notify the school about information he received involving two players and questionable activities involving Buckeye memorabilia. Tressel also will receive a public reprimand and must make a public apology. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ………..

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NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Games schedule

Friday 29th April 2011

Conference Semi Finals match-ups

Eastern Conference

Home team designated on the left

Chicago Bulls vs Atlanta Hawks

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks

San Antonio Spurs/ Memphis Grizzlies vs Oklahoma City Thunder TBA

The series between the Spurs has yet to be decided with game six to be played tonight at the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee . . The Grizzlies at present have 3-2 lead in the best of seven game series .

NFL News

2011 NFL Draft

Draft by rounds : Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6


Round 7

NFL Draft 2010

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Wyclef Jean …….. feat’g ….. Mary J Blige ……………. “911”