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

 

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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The Ball Is In Your Court ….

The Ball Is In Your Court ….

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tophatal 10/31/2018……..

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Tophatal ……….. 10/02/2018


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It’s The Media’s Fault ….

It’s all the media’s fault

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

It’s all the media’s fault

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Picture gallery and by clicking on an individual image you can view that frame in a reformatted size alongside the accompanying narrative.

 Tophatal ….. 08/23/2017

USA Today Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tophatal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NFL news and archived stories

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A case can be made ….

A case can be made ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(6) DeMaurice Smith ,left , Executive Director of the the NFLPA is seen her alongside NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The continued discord between the two entities , the league hierarchy and union, remains adversarial , with the union now question the veracity o f the league’s new player conduct policy , voted into effect unanimously , by the NFL’s thirty-two franchise owners. AP Photo / Rich Morris …
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Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way …


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I don’t like Mondays …

I don’t like Mondays …..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kapernick and the San Francisco 49ers(3-2) will be in for a tough battle with the Seattle Seahawks(3-1) as they each seek divisional supremacy within the NFC West this season . The divisional games between these two teams this season should tell us a great deal about both teams as well as the two opposing quarterbacks , Colin Kapernick and Russell Wilson . Wilson for his part almost single-handed took apart the woefully inept Washington Redskins(1-4) in the latest chapter of another bad Monday Night Game this
season
.

With there being a great deal on unrest now said to be ongoing within the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room and the adversarial approach now taking place between head coach Jim Harbaugh and his players , it remains to be seen whether not the coach last the season or the possibility he might be fired by Trent Baalke .

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tophatal’s Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NCAA Football and NCAA Football news

NCAA Football schedule week two

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For your consideration ………

For your consideration ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & AP (Associated Press)


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

By Pat Forde , Yahoo Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(5) Roy Williams head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels is now under siege with claims current and former players receiving monetary and unspecified gifts , as well as their being academic fraud within the basketball program , with certain members of Williams’ coaching being fully aware of the violations being perpetrated. Former Tar Heels’ player Rashad McCants has made a number of clams concerning the allegations without suggesting that he was in fact part of activities taking place . UPI / Chris Hendricks …
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All that glitters, is not necessarily gold …..

All that glitters, is not necessarily gold …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

As the NFL regular season is coming into the final stretch , what if anything do you believe awaits a number of the league’s perceived contenders ? Also, which team to your mind , has proven to be the biggest disappointment of this season ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else, you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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(1) Auburn’s Chris Davis (11) returns a missed field goal for the winning touchdown against Alabama. Auburn would go on to defeat the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide 34-28 in a nail-biting game that may well have dashed Alabama’s national tile hopes in a game played this past Saturday Nov. 30, 2013 in Auburn, Ala. Todd J. Van Emst …

(2) Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn , arms aloft , celebrates as he sees Chris Davis makes his way to the end-zone during the game between Alabama and Auburn this past Saturday , in a clash of two of the SEC’s most respected programs . The outcome has now wreaked havoc in the BCS standings , with the formerly unbeaten Alabama now falling down the rankings to number four in the BCS Poll . AP Photo / Curtis Todd ….

(3) Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (21) of the Michigan Wolverines is tackled by defensive back Tyvis Powell (23) of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first quarter during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Getty Images North America / Gregory Shamus ….

(4) Wide receiver Devin Smith (9) of the Ohio State Buckeyes scores a touchdown in the first quarter as safety Josh Furman (14) of the Michigan Wolverines defends during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Getty Images / Gregory Shamus …..

(5) Wil Muschamp left , head coach of the Florida Gators’ program is seen here with his counterpart Jimbo Fisher of Florida State as the two meet center-field prior to the game between the programs in Gainesville , Florida on Saturday 30th November , 2013 . The Seminoles would go on to rout Florida 37-7 in a lopsided match-up where the Gators’ defense was simply abysmal . So much for the idiocy that the program on annual basis has a top five recruiting class , which obviously hasn’t matriculated into anything of substance in 2013 , given Florida’s present record (4-8) . Orlando Sentinel / Jose Garcia ….

(6) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers breaks through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense for a first down during play at Bank of America Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 27-6 . Getty Images / Grant Halverson …..

(7) Another loss and another erratic display from the New York Jets . Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets leaves the field after a loss against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on December 1, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images / Jeff Zelevansky …

(8) Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll , right , is seen here with the team’s quarterback Russell Wilson . The player has guided the team to their second consecutive playoff berth in two season and will be looking to go one step further than last season , when the Seahawks were defeated in the divisional round by the Atlanta Falcons . Seattle currently has the best record in the NFC , much of it due to the improved play of the quarterback and what is now turning out to be one of the league’s best defenses . On Monday night the Seattle Seahawks showed their dominance in routing the New Orleans Saints in a completely lopsided affair . AP Photo / Mark Shaw …

(9) Case Keenum (7) of the Houston Texans is seen here on the sidelines at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas, speaking to head coach Gary Kubiak . Currently rooted at the bottom of the AFC South with a 2-10 record , all things seem to be pointing to the fact that Kubiak will not be returning in 2014 , albeit that the front office has been noncommittal concerning the head coach’s long-term future. AP Photo / Scott Parker ….

(10) Former New England Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) is seen here with head coach Bill Belichick at the Patriots’ practice facility in Foxboro’ , Massachusetts. With the franchise having released the player early this season after his having been arraigned and charged with first degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd . Hernandez now awaits a trial date to be set , with two accomplices and his fiancee` Shayanna Jenkins also charged on a lesser count of obstruction of justice and perjury . Meanwhile , the New England Patriots, have seen their season become one of erratic performances , but with their not being much of a competitive resolve from their divisional competitors , their fate now lays in their own hands over the remainder of the regular season , and beyond . Getty Images / Sam Gardner ………

(11) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , foreground , is seen here with Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones . Both high level executives are proponents of the NFL’s expansion beyond North America . Jones has long wised and pushed for the NFL to have an overseas’ franchise specifically in Europe even in spite of the league’s failure with NFL Europe in the mid to late eighties. NFL regular season games have been played in Toronto , Ontario , Mexico City , Mexico and in recent years in London , England , at the cathedral of English soccer , Wembley Stadium , in London. In 2014 , Goodell expects the schedule to incorporate two regular season games at the English soccer venue , though no concrete deal has yet to be set on the schedule and how it would fit in with any proposed events to be staged at the stadium. . AP Photo / Scott Parker ….

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Slap me silly .

Saban left his team hanging in the wind with his boneheaded decision , much like this chic’s tits .

Don’t believe the hype ……….

Don’t believe the hype

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tophatal ……………………… 10/24/2013

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Public Enemy ” Don’t believe the hype “

It’s not always the journey , but the first step taken on the road to that destination

It’s not always the journey , but the first step taken on the road to that destination

Six weeks into the NFL season and what we have all witnessed within the league , just happens to be an abundance of bad coaching , with some inexplicable explanations being offered up by the players and coaches alike for their continued mediocrity. Far be it for me to suggest, but I have never impressed by claims that there is said to be parity in the league (NFL) . It is my belief , that there are good teams, moderately good coaches , but an abundance of talent , where in large part , a number of these players are overpaid and not particularly skilled or adept, much less be able to show signs of leadership . Unfortunately, a large part of the fan-base that tend to follow the sports’ scene, they would to rather discuss rather the more mundane topics in the world of sports rather than succinctly debate a topic of discussion .

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Slideshow .

A recent visitor to my site made a comment that he could not have foreseen the impact made, where the Kansas City Chiefs would have started off the season at 6-0 , remain unbeaten and would now be challenging the Denver Broncos as the best team in the NFL. From my own perspective , I believe that the groundwork had already been laid , but the only things needed, were the right coaching staff , a good enough quarterback to helm the team , along with a front office , where the executives and coaches were all on the same page . Last season , none of the aforementioned criteria were in place , with Romeo Crennel as the head coach , along with his coaching staff and Matt Cassel as the team’s quarterback . The one saving grace for the franchise, might well have been , general manager John Dorsey , having replaced Scott Piolio , has seen fit to draft players who have been able to contribute immediately to the team , while acquiring players who were ready to play .

After the Chiefs’ clinical annihilation of the Oakland Raiders , the first of their two , now highly anticipated divisional match-ups against the Denver Broncos, are the games in question that the fans and the nation now awaits , with a great deal of excitement over the contests of note. Kansas will play host to the now troubled Houston Texans in week seven at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri, a chance to push their record to 7-0 and giving the team their best start in franchise history, now seems all the more possible, given the frailties of the Texans at present on both sides of the ball. It must be said that for a number of teams, they are now simply playing for self-respect or in a number of cases, the livelihood of the respective head coaches in question. The more things are now beginning to unravel for the Oakland Raiders , it is my belief that Dennis Allen’s days with the once venerable are numbered, with GM Reggie McKenzie now seeking to make the head coach , the sixth incumbent to be fired from his position with the organization since 2005 .

College Football heads into its eighth week with the Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) still riding high atop of the AP Poll , with the BCS rankings due to be announced later this month. Yet for some inexplicable reason , a number of analysts and outside observers or one might describe as antagonists, are now trying to suggest that Nick Saban’s team not deserving of being the top ranked team in the nation. Last I looked , Alabama remained unbeaten , albeit , that they have had a few scares along their schedule . In light of that however, their closest rivals in the rankings, the Oregon Ducks (6-0) in spite of their offensive prowess , have yet to show the nation that they are as equally adept on the defensive side of the ball . Granted, the Pac 12 has never been known as a conference where defense has been taught ,much less played to any degree , with the exception of perhaps one or two programs , most notably the Stanford Cardinals (5-1) . But in light of their recent slip up against the Utah Utes , defense , we can now surmise, is not now a prerequisite within the conference.

Alabama will play host to the Arkansas (Razorbacks) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa , Alabama , this Saturday , as the Tide seeks to keep their unbeaten record intact , while further strengthening their position atop of the rankings and within the SEC Western Division . A J McCarron and his teammates will seek to use this game as a reminder why this team is still seen as a prohibitive favorite to win their second consecutive national title, Saban’s fifth , and the program’s fourth in the past seven seasons .

Living in the state of Florida where College Football is treated with such reverence , the choices will abundant with regard to the programs , yet the only ones that seemingly matter , are the Florida Gators (4-2) , Florida State Seminoles (5-0) and the Miami Hurricanes (5-0) . Having lived and worked professionally in the southern part of the state before moving northwards on 2003 , the program of choice , merely by way my association with several alumni who were students at the University of Miami . I was able to frequent a number of basketball and football games as their guests and rallying to their support in such instances . Granted, as of late, the Canes’ program has been mired in controversy , while it still awaits some form of punishment for multiple violations of the NCAA rules on recruiting , alleged , academic fraud and what are said to current and former students gaining monetarily from gifts in violation of NCAA edicts . University President Donna Shalala and recently installed AD Blake James are still trying to remove the smear and lingering stains of the school’s association with the incarcerated felon Nevin Shapiro , whose statements led to the NCAA’s investigation of the athletics’ program by the NCAA’s Infraction Committee , as ordered by NCAA President Mark Emmert . That effort and investigation was mired with a great deal of incompetency, and it seems rather impulsive to believe how any reasonable verdict can be seen as just , in light of the ineptitude shown by collegiate athletics governing body .

With both Florida State (Seminoles) and Miami Hurricanes , riding on the crest of a wave, their SEC counterpart, the Florida Gators have found a way to simply throw a wrench into their season , with their recent loss to the LSU (Tigers) . That defeat has now left Wil Muschamp , his staff and the team asking why things have come apart when their intent was to be a major part of the SEC championship scene, if not the national championship landscape, itself ? Two losses , this season , and suddenly we have to question the direction Muschamp has the program heading in , and the quality of his recruits over the past two years . Florida now has the unenviable task of now having to go on the road to take on the Missouri (Tigers) this upcoming Saturday, in what can be best described as a make or break game for the team , this season . Another loss would further impact their year and all that they had hoped to achieve .

Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes ,with a top twenty-five ranking nationally, are also sitting pretty within the ACC standings , and are seen as one