News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …


News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …

Well once again as we approach a festive period , in this case, Christmas and all of the alleged joy it is meant to bring .Sports’ fans are left to ponder what is happening within the realms of professional sports. The NFL remains a complete farce and once again we had a Thursday Night Game which failed to live up to expectations. The Arizona Cardinals (11-3) found a way to eke out a victory over the rather inept St Louis Rams. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians , believes incumbent starting quarterback Drew Stanton has what it takes to lead the team all the way to the Superbowl . Based on the events of the last night’s contest , I believe the head coach is delusional and definitely jumping ahead of himself !

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For the present Arizona has the best record in the NFC and will be looking for home field advantage throughout the postseason. The NFC West, where Arizona has a comfortable lead over their closest rivals , is now a division, which is theirs to lose . As to the continued idiocy and buffoonery by some, who believe the San Francisco 49ers (7-6) were good enough to gain double-digit wins for the season , well their year has been completely turned upside down with the head coach Jim Harbaugh no longer being seen in a favorable light by the front office led by CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke. Whether not Harbaugh returns next season is now open to a great deal of debate and conjecture. The Niners have a divisional clash on Sunday afternoon against the defending Superbowl champions the Seattle Seahawks and that contest will certainly be a ” make or break game ” for the team.

Colin Kaepernick will certainly have to now prove his worth beyond his audacious contract , one which he now has to live up to in more ways than one.

With the Cleveland Browns (7-6) still in the thick of things within the AFC North and fighting for their very lives, looking to make the postseason for the first time in almost twelve years , it remains to be seen whether or not this team can make that premise a reality. Head coach Mike Pettine has decided to sit starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor the team’s draftee Johnny Manziel and so the era begins for a player, many believe lacks the maturity to play in the NFL. The Browns’ coaching staff may well live to regret this decision, should the team fall at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) when these two AFC North teams meet in a decisive and pivotal division game on Sunday afternoon. Manziel will get the chance to show what he is made of and perhaps persuade his doubters and actually prove to them , he is the future of this franchise.

The NBA season continues with a number of teams already in complete disarray. The Toronto Raptors (16-6) and Golden State Warriors (20-2) are the respective conference leaders within the league as we reach the first quarter of the NBA’s eighty-two game schedule. Undeniably , there is still a long way to go before the season reaches its climax , but already we are beginning to see the frustration among the fans as well as a number of players , because of the continued poor play of the teams. Needless to say , teams such as the New York Knicks (4-20) , Philadelphia 76ers (3-19), Detroit Pistons (3-19) , Charlotte Hornets (6-15) , Minnesota Timberwolves (5-16) and Los Angeles Lakers (6-16) are no longer having to prove why they are so inept . Just take my word for it they are and will remain so over the course of the season based on their current play. Neither of the teams mentioned, have shown any signs of real competitiveness and clearly that has been shown in the results seen this season.

For all of the praised heaped upon Phil Jackson as a head coach , it has to be said, the expectations and his being able to work a miracle by turning around the misfortunes of the New York Knicks have been way beyond his control. The team is in complete disarray , with no signs of life now being shown. The situation will not be helped with Carmelo Anthony being sidelined due to an injury and as the team’s best player and offensive threat , it becomes easy to understand how dire the situation has become for the franchise. Jackson was brought in to head up the Knicks’ operations and now as the Head of Basketball Operations as well as holding a position as a Senior Vice President, the former head coach is witnessing the fact , the job of an executive is not as easy as first thought. Add in the culture of the New York Knicks’ fans and fan-base who have been starved of success for years and weight of expectation from the perceived savior, may well be now in doubt.

The indignity now being suffered by the New York Knicks apart from their dire record and the fact they are on a ten-game losing streak adds to the ineptitude witnessed from this team. Their last victory came in defeating the lowly and even less effective Philadelphia 76ers in a 91-83 win , which took place on the 22nd November , 2014. Hard to say where there are meant to be any positives to be found concerning the Knicks without delving further into the fact, they have a rookie coach , Derek Fisher and a coaching staff who are clearly out of their depth . The team’s next game will be on the road when they face the Boston Celtics (7-13) at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston , Massachusetts on Friday evening .

To now understand how dire things have become for the New York Knicks , consider the fact at the start of the season the franchise did their utmost in getting Carmelo Anthony to re-sign with the team with the player signing a five-year $124 million deal , tying him to the Knicks for the next years. Now comes word, the front office is said to be contemplating trading the NBA All Star and former scoring champion , but the premise would be based on Anthony waiving his no-trade clause. Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 and his $ 22.5 million salary is not necessarily cap-friendly to a team wishing to acquire the player much less obligate themselves to the remaining four years on his current deal. Undoubtedly, Anthony would be a desired player by a franchise looking for offensive firepower , but it is my belief the forward’s desire would have wish to be traded to a credible contender. The New York Knicks for their part are obviously seeking pieces which would complement their roster while looking to the future , whatever that may well be. Though this current situation is by no means the fault of Phil Jackson, it is my belief his arrogance and sheer complacency in not seeking improve the roster during the off-season, has led to this current debacle. For years this franchise has stumbled with their repeated pratfalls and lack of sheer insight as to what what was needed to improve their plight , without delving into the fact team owner James Dolan remained negligent in his responsibilities as the senior executive within the Knicks’ hierarchy. Come full circle and the New York Knicks are now heading aimlessly nowhere and an organization without a clue as what to do next .

It becomes asinine when fans try compare the careers of players from one generation to the next , before one of the athletes in question has actually retired .Yet like the ever anal retentive idots within the sports’ world, there will always be the fan or pundit seeking make an argument as to the merits in such a case . With Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant recently passing the plateau of 30,000 career points , the lead among active players and placing him among the top-ten all-time scorers in NBA history. Now as Bryant inches closer to the career points’ total of the player the greatest in the game’s history , the comparisons are now being made between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan . The former Chicago Bulls’ great, his career being well-chronicled , as been littered with accolades at every level of the game and it should be noted Jordan won an NCAA title at the collegiate level , whereas, Bryant made the jump straight from high school directly to the professional ranks of the NBA, forgoing a college career. Both players have won multiple NBA titles , Jordan’s six to Bryant’s five. Each has been a recipient of the Finals’ MVP Award and League MVP Award. Yet, the comparison should end there , because Bryant has become an anathema and petulant child, now resorting to chastising his teammates and the Lakers’ organization , publicly . Something, Jordan chose not to do publicly , and it was only with the advent of the breakup of the championship winning team in the Bulls’ last triumph under the auspices of general manger Jerry Krause , where the player was critical of the Bulls’ organization. specifically of Krause and his wish to breakup the winning team from that season. The similarities can end there , in-as far as the players may well have been critical of their respective hierarchies .

Kobe Bryant now finds himself in something of a dilemma as he plays on an uncompetitive team short on talent and coaching prowess being brought to the table by Byron Scott and his coaching staff. One could go as far as to suggest, Scott might be doing an even worst job than his two previous predecessors, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Brown , two former Lakers’ coaches who simply struggled to lead the franchise to any type of meaningful success during their respective tenures. Steve Nash remains unavailable to the team and Jeremy Lin , has proven to be about as useful as a dish-cloth being used to mop up an oil spill in the middle of an ocean. Beyond Lin, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill , there is very little to suggest the Lakers can survive the long haul of an eighty-two game schedule , let alone remain being competitive.

With a 6-16 record the Lakers find themselves at the bottom of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 13 1/2 games behind the division leading Golden State Warriors . To put it mildly , the Lakers are no longer the best NBA franchise in the state of California , a mantel they have held for a number of years , in particular in recently history , up until the 2012-13 season .

The Los Angeles Lakers are equally abysmal at home as they are on the road , further enforcing the fact they cannot win anywhere , let alone provide an opponent with some meaningful competition . Coming off a 98-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings their next opponent will be defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs in a game to be played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The resilience shown by Los Angeles could go a long way in defining the remainder of their season and whether not drastic changes are likely to be made at the trade deadline by GM Mitch Kupchak .

You have to admire rapper, entrepreneur , budding media mogul and now owner of an upstart sports’ management empire , seeking to challenge the likes of CAA , Top Rank , IMG , Golden Boy Promotions Inc as the next big thing in sports’ management and promotions. Jay-z , having accomplished a great deal as a musical artist , has now set his sights on becoming not only a boxing promoter , but also the manager of a stable of fighters. His fledgling agency RocNationSpotrts under the umbrella of parent company RocNation has entered the field of boxing promotions and management. Having been granted a license by the New York State Athletic Commission , his company will now seek to sign up and coming fighters to his stable of established sports’ personalities and athletes. Nevermind his coterie of renowned musical talent within the RocNation empire. Anything, which furthers the profile of boxing and can drag it out of the depths of mediocrity has to be seen as a welcomed thing , but given the lack and dirth of talent , I am not so sure, Jay-z will be as successful in this endeavor as he has been with his other commercial enterprises . Far be it for me to suggest , with the likes of Victor Cruz , Geno Smith , CC Sabathia , ,James Young said to be having indifferent seasons within their respective sports. It has to be said, an upswing of sorts , is needed for the agency. The biggest high-profiled athletes within the agency remain , Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant , Ndamukong Suh and Dez Bryant .

Boxing needs a dose of fresh air and creativity, because the likes of Don King and Bob Arum have been about as beneficial for the sport as the US Congress can be likened to have been of benefit to the country over the past six years. Inactivity, continued partisan bickering and infantile behavior, have become synonymous on Capitol Hill , just as much as it can now be witnessed within the sport of boxing. Needless to say, there are those who might think otherwise , perhaps due to their ongoing stupidity and complete lack of intelligence.

MLB’s Winter Meetings are not yet in full swing , but there has been abundance of trade activity since the postseason came to an end. A newly crowned World Series’ champion in the San Francisco Giants , and the witnessing of the largest individual contract being signed in professional sports’ team history, when Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins signed an outrageous $325 million deal , far dwarfing the next biggest contract in baseball. Needless to say, there are those , now questioning the wherewithal within an organization , which has been just as quick to jettison high-salaried players , as it has been to feign poverty , while team owner and billionaire art dealer Jeffrey Loria continues to pull the wool over the eyes of the Marlins’ fans as well as the league hierarchy , whom it appears have willingly let Loria get away with his unscrupulous behavior. Yet, baseball remains a law unto itself , with their being very little financial prudency being shown by the teams let alone with some of the most senior leaders within the league’s management .

Can anyone actually justify the $25 million salary paid to outgoing commissioner, Bud Selig , this past season or the fact , his successor Rob Manfred is likely to be paid in excess of that sum in 2015 ? All of this, coming at a time when a number of teams can barely survive on their gate revenues and still turn a profit even with endorsement deals from major corporate sponsors and that is without taking into account the ever growing payrolls around the league .

The Miami Marlins were far from convincing last season within an NL East division, which was sub-par and mediocre . One only has to understand that fact , in seeing how easily the the division’s winner , the Washington Nationals were brushed aside with the utmost ease during the postseason. Miami for its part, will continue to make good on its promise, to bolster their roster for the upcoming season with a number of deals, as they seek to make themselves competitive , in face of the alleged stiff competition within their division , the NL and the league. This might be just as good as it gets for the franchise, before they are back to ways of old , and the jettisoning of high salaried players.

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Picture gallery.

During 2014, which major sporting event has provided you with the greatest pleasure and which to your mind has been the most disappointing ? Chime in with a comments as you see fit on this and anything else you believe of merit concerning the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
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(1) St. Louis Rams’ Kenny Britt (81) sits on the field following an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam ..

(2) St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill (14) reacts after the Rams turned the football over on late downs late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam …

(3)St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher left, talk with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians following an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

(4) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scrambles from Oakland Raiders linebacker Miles Burris (56) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. San Francisco would go on to lose the game 24-13 . to the Raiders. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ..

(5) Johnny Manziel will be making his first professional start in a regular season game when the Cleveland Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an all AFC North clash on Sunday afternoon , the 14th December during week fifteen of the NFL regular season schedule. AP Photo/ Reece Carr …

(6) New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony reacts after a foul in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 4, 2011. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 119-115 . There now seems to be mounting speculation the Knicks might be willing trade the player with their season now spiraling out of control , but it would take Anthony to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate such a deal, likely to involve multiple teams and several players. UPI/John Angelillo

(7) Michael Jordan, left and Kobe Bryant whose careers are not intertwined by a great many meetings on the court , but clearly Bryant’s game was modeled on Jordan’s iconic stature . UPI / Roger Powell ……

(8) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins having signed the most lucrative deal in baseball history hopes lead the franchise to greater glory this upcoming season . The organization has also signed their NL Rookie of the Year , pitcher , Jose Fernandez (16) to a long-term deal , using both players as marketing chips to lure fans back to Marlins Ballpark , in Miami , Florida . A venue, which in recent seasons has been sparsely attended . Miami Herald / Octavo Figueroa …

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You can’t squeeze those to make lemonade, but you can get a whole lot of milk and a great deal of pleasure from giving her an assist .

No quick takes just a take …….

No quick takes just a take

The NBA postseason still remains a mess , with the clouds still hovering over a rather unsavory episode that neither the press or the fans fully comprehend . Instead it has been the constant apathy among both parties, that continues to be clear as everyone tries to make sense of Donald Sterling’s comments and the fact the NBA hierarchy chose not to reprimand the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner for his prior actions. This whole incident, has cast a giant shadow over this entire postseason , where the quartet of teams now remaining and now playing in the Conference Finals must now be wondering if there are likely to be any other events likely to overshadow the postseason , as it meanders towards a conclusion.

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With the Eastern and Western Conference Finals now taking shape , it is becoming clear that the defending NBA champions the Miami Heat are going waltz their way towards a third consecutive Finals’ berth , with their opponents the Indiana Pacers , having all but given up in making the series an actual competitive contest . The first game of the Eastern Conference Finals was won by the number one seed, with the belief being that Frank Vogel’s players were ready to avenge last season’s Conference Finals’ loss , but within the space of five days this Pacers’ team has fallen back down to earth and have shown the competitive nature of a docile cat afraid of their own shadow.

Now up 3-1 in their series, LeBron James must now be relishing the fact, that he and his teammates are now five wins away from securing a third consecutive NBA title.

If the contest in the East is said to be lacking in drama, then game three has breathed life into the Western Conference Finals with Serge Ibaka’s presence for the Oklahoma City Thunder and their contest against the San Antonio Spurs. Ibaka’s presence has given renewed energy to the Thunder , who now seek to overcome a 2-1 deficit , where a pivotal game four contest tonight , will tell us a great deal about the makeup of this team and whether or not they are indeed capable of defeating a Spurs’ team looking to make a quick return to the NBA Finals and seeking to avenge last season’s loss to the Miami Heat.

The coaching merry-go-round has begun in earnest with Steve Kerr having shunned the overtures by Phil Jackson to succeed Mike Woodson as the head coach of the New York Knicks . If that situation was not as asinine as it now looks , consider the fact that for the second time in four years Mike Brown has been fired by Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and that particular organization. I am beginning to feel that Gilbert , has little acumen, when it comes to owning a professional sport’s franchise , much less knowing what it is needed to make that an outright success ! As for this idiocy , that LeBron James would seek to rejoin that franchise to play alongside Kyrie Irving now makes about as much sense as James joining the Sacramento Kings because in being paired with DeMarcus Cousins would make that particular franchise a legitimate contender for an NBA title.

As if the comedic travails of the Cavaliers were not idiotic enough as they now seem to be , in conjunction that with of the New York Knicks , then consider the ongoing idiocy now unfolding within the front office of the Los Angeles Lakers . Anyone now believing that the Lakers would now be a desirable destination for anyone seeking to further their NBA coaching career either has to be delusional or a downright idiot to believe that the franchise under the auspices of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss has any inherent idea about what they are actually doing. These past two seasons alone, should prove to anyone with an ounce of common sense that a great deal of intelligence is lacking within the alleged acumen of both front office executives. Mike D’Antoni’s resignation and the next fallout with his actions , speaks volumes about the sense of unrest , that there was said to be within the Los Angeles Lakers as a franchise this past season. Beyond the team being uncompetitive , excuses in part could be made for the absence of Kobe Bryant , but the team was lacking heart and there was never any leadership forthcoming from the coaching staff or seasoned veterans on the team’s roster . Buss’ search for a successor to D’Antoni , is now likely to be a long drawn out protracted process that is likely to be speculated upon by an ever-growing circle of fans and observers alike.

Well, so much for the NFL Draft , the expectations thereof and the first round of the process, befitting the idiocy of the hyperbole and drama that surrounds this annual event, now becomes one of the teams now looking to sign their draftees to their rookie contracts. If that was not enough, the one player where a there was said to be great deal of scrutiny of and where he would likely be picked, still draws a great deal of news , for all the wrong reasons . The Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel seems to be drawing as much undesired attention to himself without yet having proven himself worthy of the stories now unfolding .

Manziel’s maturity level was continually questioned throughout this NFL Draft process and it may well have led to what many believed was the justification his being drafted so low . From being thought to be the likely first quarterback taken in the Draft , the player was taken as the twenty-second overall pick by the beleaguered Browns , who were in search of a passer for more competitive than the now departed Brandon Weeden than many of the quarterbacks to have filled the position for the franchise over the past eight seasons . As to why Johnny Manziel would feel it necessary to be seen in Las Vegas at a UFC , albeit , that it was on the weekend , but with the player and his agent trying to suggest, that the party and “Playboy Image” was said be surrounding Manziel was nothing but a creation by the press and his detractors , in no way should be seen as a detriment about his skill-set as a player. Those issues, may well be overlooked, if the rookie can lead the Cleveland Browns to a successful season in 2014. For head coach Mike Pettine and his coaching staff , their futures as well as that of the Browns’ fan-base, will be looking to the young rookie to bring about what they feel to be some long and overdue success to a franchise, that has seen very little success over the past decade.

Johnny Manziel will be given every opportunity to display his craft over the Browns’ preseason where he is likely to share a great deal of the playing time with the team’s likely starter Brian Hoyer . Though on the team’s depth chart , Manziel is likely to be seen as third in that role behind Tyler Thigpen , with a fourth alternative being Connor Shaw. Cleveland’s opening regular season schedule , begins with a week one contest at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania, against their AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers on the September 7th , 2014. Manziel, as the Heisman Trophy winner , undoubtedly has a great deal of expectation to live up to and without the other added distractions, the player must now prove his detractors that he is indeed capable of leading this franchise to some semblance of success, while also displaying the skill-set we all witnessed during his collegiate career with Texas A&M and his tenure with the program.

I am sick and tired of hearing repeated and the most banal of excuses, about why a team that becomes hamstrung by injuries cannot compete during the MLB season. Unless, that the players lost to the roster represents more than one half of their front-line starters , then there should be no reason for the constant whining of the fans. And therein lies the idiocy recently and claims concerning the under-achieving Tampa Bay Rays and a team that was said to have the best pitching roster within the Majors , as well as being capable of winning ninety to ninety-five games this season. A languid start has seen this team fall short of what many felt that Joe Maddon’s playing staff were capable of achieving at this point of the season , albeit, the Rays compete in one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball . As contentious as the AL East is known to be , several of the teams there can now be judged and now be said to be under-achieving, including the defending World Series’ champions the Boston Red Sox , who now find themselves rooted at the bottom of the division , eight half games behind division leaders, the Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto for its part, coming off a rather lopsided victory over the Tampa Bay Rays , were never thoroughly tested at any point , during the game played at the Rogers Center , in Toronto , Ontario , on Sunday afternoon . If the Rays are said to be a flawed team , then this contest against the Blue Jays , gave the fans every reason to see why , with their being mental lapses throughout the game, both competitively , as well as mentally . The two teams are set to meet again on Tuesday afternoon , with Alex Cobb of the Rays facing the Blue Jays’ Mark Buerhle in what should be a very good pitching contest .

Call me naïve, but I have always felt that “spending big “ , does always necessary means a team will , ” win big “ , when it comes to the World Series ! Case in point , has to be , both the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees , as this season’s two biggest spending teams by way of their payrolls. This season alone the two ball-clubs will combine to surpass almost 20 % of the over $ 3.1 billion that will be committed in team payrolls , with several of their players being among the highest paid in the game by way of their annual salaries or the contracts or contract value .If that is not an ongoing indicator about how out of whack the game of baseball has become, by way of the economic imbalances . Then I for one , would like to hear a concise explanation from any baseball fan, who now believes that the game can be self-sustainable with the ever-increasing contracts among the top teams , while their mid and small-market counterparts, are left in their wake !

In 2013, both the Dodgers and Yankees were atop of the spending pile , in terms of payroll commitments , with only the Los Angeles’ based franchise making the postseason , where they fell to the St Louis Cardinals in a rather lopsided NLCS Pennant Series. Out-managed and outmaneuvered by a stealth Cardinals’ team in the series , that Don Mattingly, as the manager of the Los Angles Dodgers, will be under even greater pressure and scrutiny to take this team further into the postseason this year , than he was able to do in 2013. That stinging failure, still lingers deep within front office of the Dodgers, with owners Peter Guber and Magic Johnson among the partners showing their concern , as to the team’s failings this past postseason.

In a division where now, three of the four teams are above .500 , the Los Angels Dodgers find themselves 4 ½ games behind the hard charging San Francisco Giants , who themselves have the best record in baseball with a 33-19 mark . Now in spite of Josh Beckett’s recent superlative outing in pitching a no-hitter in the team’s 6-0 trouncing of the Philadelphia Phillies . I still believe that the Dodgers will be hard pressed to equal their feat of last season , in running away with the NL West divisional title . It will indeed, take a great deal more than the Dodgers’ pitching , of which the rotation is plentiful in terms of their starters , if the team is to be truly successful this season . The effort will have to be collective one , with the offense being the primary emphasis , if Don Mattingly’s players are to obtain their first World Series’ appearance in over twenty-five years , with that feat being accomplished in 1988 , with their 4-1 triumph over the Oakland Athletics .

The Dodgers followed up that victory over the Phillies , with two positive results against the Cincinnati Reds . Those teams will meet again on Wednesday the 28th May at Dodgers’ Ballpark in Los Angeles , California , with Homer Bailey (4-3) taking the mound for the Reds against his NL counterpart Clayton Kershaw (3-1). As the Dodgers go this season, so rests the fate possibly of Don Mattingly’s long-term future with the ball-club , with the likelihood, that the team’s failure might well lead to his ultimate dismissal . However, his leading the franchise to that long-awaited World Series’ triumph would certainly cement his legacy in the annals of Dodgers’ postseason history , as being one of the few managers to have led the ball-club to a series’ victory in baseball’s showcase finale.

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Picture gallery .

The sports’ world is forever in search of stories that will whet the appetite of the fans and generate the debates , discussions , call them what you will. For the most part, without those tidbits to actually to nibble on, there is simply nothing to lure us in and to keep us galvanized on the events taking place at any given moment . What recent events, have piqued your interest in the world of sports and has there been a sports’ story , that you feel that has in some way been over exposed in terms of its coverage ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit on this and anything else you feel to be relevant.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) MIAMI, FL – MAY 26: Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers looks on against the Miami Heat during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 26, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The Pacers face the Miami Heat in a pivotal Game Five , on the brink of elimination from this season’s NBA postseason with a 3-1 deficit now staring them in the face. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(2) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) drives to the basket over Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) during the second half of Game 4 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series, Monday, May 26, 2014, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Pacers 102-90 . AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ……

(3) Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against Kendrick Perkins of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first quarter during Game Four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 27, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This series is now tied at two games apiece (2-2) with the Thunder having overcome a 2-0 deficit . Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images …

(4) Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder look on in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 27, 2014 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City,Oklahoma. Getty Images / Andrew D Bernstein ….

(5) Cleveland Cavaliers’ team owner Dan Gilbert ,left, is seen here with Mike Brown , center and team GM Chris Grant . Brown was fired for the second time during his second stint with the Cleveland based NBA franchise . Likewise , Chris Grant was not given a contract extension by the Cavaliers with his being succeeded by David Griffin , who has now has sole responsibility for player personnel decisions as well as seeking a new successor to fill the vacant coaching position. AP Photo/ Gary Mason …..

(6) Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns is seen here on NFL Draft Day , having just been selected by the franchise , where he is likely to be third on the team’s depth chart . Manziel has been the center and focus of news’ media attention in recent weeks , but over the past weekend the player was seen at UFC event in Las Vegas Nevada , in the lead-up to the Browns’ OTA’s (organized training activities) , with many questioning his willingness to be team player and shying away from the constant glare which he seems to seek out at almost every opportunity. Erik Burkhardt , Manziel’s agent , has suggested , it has been the press seeking out his client, rather than the player placing himself in front of the media . In a recent turn of events, a lawsuit has been filed against Johnny Manziel by an unnamed victim . claiming sexual harassment in which the plaintiff is seeking $25 million in damages . Burkhardt claims that the lawsuit is frivolous, without merit and will be challenged within the Florida courts , where the suit was originally filed. AP Photo / Martin Jones ….

(7) Toronto Blue Jays’ Adam Lind celebrates a home run with third base coach Luis Rivera , left, during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim ……

(8) Tampa Bay Rays’ Alex Cobb reacts after getting hit by a ball from Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Reyes during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim ……

(9) Starting pitcher Josh Beckett (61) of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the ninth inning during a game in which he threw a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Dodgers won 6-0 . Getty Images North America /Hunter Martin ….

(10) Starting pitcher Josh Beckett (61) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with teammates after throwing a no-hitter during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Dodgers won 6-0. Getty Images/ Hunter Martin …….

(11) Starting pitcher Josh Beckett (61) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with teammates after throwing a “no hitter” against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Beckett became the first MLB pitcher to throw a “no-hitter ” this season, joining select group of players to have accomplished the feat in baseball history. Getty Images /Hunter Martin …..

(12) From left to right , seen are Peter Guber , Stan Kasten , Mark Walter and Magic Johnson , who make up part of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ senior managing partner and ownership group for the Los Angeles’ based franchise . The ball-club was purchased for a record-breaking sum of $ 2.156 billion in 2013 , making it the largest purchase in North American sports’ history for a professional sports’ franchise. AP Photo / Matt Peters ….

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It’s not Rocket Science , so why turn it into something it is not ?

It’s not Rocket Science , so why turn it into something it is not ?

Was there really any doubt that the Houston Texans were not going to make Jadeveon Clowney to the number one pick in the 2014 NFL Draft ? The South Carolina Gamecocks’ linebacker was a consensus top pick among general managers , analysts , draft geeks and even those, who were not even intense football fans. It is pretty much safe to suggest, that had Texans’ GM Rick Smith chosen to forego the choice of Clowney , then there would have been a number of questions raised concerning the inner workings within the front office of the AFC South based NFL franchise. We all know what Clowney brings to the table as player, even where there have been questions concerning his maturity level.

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The first round of the Draft played out with a little drama, but the greatest surprise of the night might well have been the fact , highly praised Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had dropped to become the twenty-second pick of the first round , when he was taken by the offensively challenged Cleveland Browns , who were most definitely in need of dynamic passer and someone who could bring back fans to Paul Brown Stadium , in Cleveland , Ohio. Brandon Weeden’s short stay with the franchise was not a memorable one , with the quarterback rarely achieving anything of note during his two-year stay with the franchise. Whether or not Manziel can engineer something of a rebound will be completely dependent upon how quickly the player can acclimatize himself to the rigors of playing in the NFL . Head coach Mike Pettine is likely to use his rookie quarterback throughout much of the Browns’ preseason schedule and then into the regular season .

Johnny Manziel will also have to prove his doubters wrong , many of whom believe that the player because of his size, will not be an overall resounding success in the NFL . My take on it all, we will never know, until Manziel steps unto the turf and makes that first successful pass and his then being able move on from there. One game , is such a small step to take , but it could end up being the first of many , to the level of success that is likely to be achieved . Well, that will be dependent upon the player, his teammates and the coaching staff of the Cleveland Browns.

If the shock of Johnny Manziel not being taken as the first quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft was not enough of a surprise. Then Blake Bortles being the first passer announced, was stunning, given that , the UCF Golden Knights’ passer plays in a newly established conference where the play is still being assessed , are the teams that now make up the American Conference . Blake Bortles has been placed in the not too enviable position, being asked to succeed Blaine Gabbert of the Jacksonville Jaguars and to lead that franchise to some semblance of success.

Gabbert’s tenure , as the starting quarterback, for that particularly moribund franchise, can be best described as being mediocre , if not downright incompetent. Yet for some reason, it was felt that he still offered the best opportunity possible for the Jaguars to win throughout much of last season . Jacksonville’s year-end record was enough to suggest that they are nowhere near where they needed to be and quite possibly team owner , Shahid Khan may well be overreaching and overly ambitious, in suggesting the team would be capable of winning a Superbowl title within five years of his taking ownership of the franchise . The owner now entering the third year of his tenure and I would to think, that Khan’s strategy and plans are now being revised.

Teddy Bridgewater was the second quarterback taken behind Blake Bortles and he too , will be asked to succeed another failing quarterback , in Christian Ponder , whose tenure with the Minnesota Vikings has been a unique failure , beyond the incompetency shown the successive general managers of the franchise and the very fact that Zygi Wilf’s efforts in recent years , have been strictly been about strong arming the state legislature in Minnesota to finance the building of a $ 1.4 billion venue for the franchise , further endangering the state’s precarious financial situation , where they now have a burgeoning deficit and a number of municipalities are having to choose to cut much-needed services within their communities or simply seek bankruptcy reorganization protection. This is now a situation that several cities around the country are now facing, as they are being asked by the hierarchies of the NBA , NHL , NFL and MLB to finance what those bodies claim are newly required venues , while the revenues and profits within football , baseball and basketball are now on the rise . In the case of hockey , Garry Bettman and his teams still find themselves behind the “black ball “ , as well as between a rock and a hard place .

Bridgewater may well be just what is needed for the Vikings and for the team’s long tenured running back , Adrian Peterson , a player of Teddy Bridgewater’s ability could be the make or break decision for the franchise’s most revered player over the past six seasons . It has long been rumored, that Peterson would have sought a trade, if the front office was unwilling to bolster the Vikings’ roster . The departure of Jared Allen may well have been seen as a prudent move, but I cannot help but feel that GM Rick Spielman still has not done enough to make the team in its current guise a legitimate contender within their own division, much less the rest of the NFC as well and the league , itself !

The Minnesota Vikings will open their regular season schedule with a game against the St Louis Rams at the Edwards Jones Dome Stadium in St Louis , Missouri . on the 7th September , 2014 . As what we ought to expect , could very well be determined by what we are likely to witness by the rookies on show that day, when these two teams face each other .

With the first two rounds of the NFL Draft now having passed, the remaining four rounds now become about , teams simply doubling up by way of players they now feel perhaps, may well meet a need , in terms of a third or fourth depth choice on their respective rosters.

Offensive players were said to be in abundance in this particular NFL Draft, by way of the running backs and wide receivers said to be in play. I have no doubt, that players such as Sammy Watkins , Mike Evans , Marquise Lee , Odell Beckham and Kelvin Benjamin will find their way onto the rosters of teams who are in need of very good receivers . The same can be said also , for the running backs seeking to make their mark in the NFL this upcoming season and whether or not they are capable of taking advantage of the situation that they are likely to be placed in. The first running back taken in this particular draft, the Ohio State Buckeyes’ rushing sensation Carlos Hyde , albeit, that there are those who believe that there were number of players at the position with far greater productivity than Hyde has shown over the course his career. Yet, clearly Jeff Fisher , the St Louis Rams’ front office and the Rams’ coaching staff saw something in the player that they believe will be to their advantage , as they set about their season in 2014 , with their preseason and regular season schedule . Hyde will no doubt, be given every opportunity to prove himself a worthy successor to many of the franchise’s great running backs in recent years , most notably the Rams’ all-time leading rusher, Steven Jackson . A tough act to follow indeed, but Jackson no longer part of the franchise, and their being little power to the franchise’s rushing game last season , something is needed to reignite the team and Carlos Hyde may well be the player, in this case.

Trent Baalke , general manager of the San Francisco 49ers , having seen the franchise’s failed attempts in recent years, to add a sixth Superbowl trophy to the Niners trophy cabinet and to bring some joy back to the faces of the fans. Well, the front office executive , is now seeking to stock his team roster, with an abundance of offensive players by engineering a number of trades without yet , delving deep into the NFL Draft. The additions of Brandon Lloyd and during this draft process, in obtaining Buffalo Bills’ receiver Stevie Johnson might on the face of it seem a debatable risk , but clearly, Baalke , team CEO Jed Yorke and head coach Jim Harbaugh believe the moves worth taking. San Francisco’s divisional rivals the Seattle Seahawks reached the pinnacle of NFL team success in winning their first Superbowl , by bulldozing the highly rated Denver Broncos and along the way making five-time League MVP and Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning seem like a rookie in his third Superbowl appearance , in what has been one of the great NFL careers of recent years within the league.

Baalke fully realizes, that the NFC West has now become by far the best division in the entire NFL , with the likes of the San Francisco 49ers , Seattle Seahawks , Arizona Cardinals and St Louis Rams now jockeying for divisional supremacy. Take into account also the caliber of the quarterbacks within the division and you can now understand why that claim is now justified beyond the overall play of the quartet of teams in question. .

Colin Kaepernick the Forty Niners’ starting quarterback has proven himself to be a worthy successor to Alex Smith , who himself, now appears to have made a name for himself with the Kansas City Chiefs . Kaepernick’s failings , if there are said to be any, may well be derived from the fact that he comes across as too brash and arrogant . Yet, he cannot be faulted for the team’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Superbowl XLII(SB47), a game that still remains clouded by the incompetency of the league and host site, the New Orleans Superdome , home to the New Orleans Saints . That debacle still has not been explained adequately by the league office , in spite of the post-game comments made , to the resounding success in the staging of the event . A showcase for the NFL’s biggest game of the season was something of a shambles, with the organizing committee fully aware of the ongoing problems concerning site’s electrical infrastructure and an hour-long interval, as repairs were made to the electrical power generator supplying power to the Superdome.

Over the past two seasons , the New England Patriots have proven themselves to be the class of the AFC East twice succeeding to defend their divisional title, but it has been their postseason forays in 2012 and 2013 , that have many questioning whether or not Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have lost their “magical touch” when it comes to the postseason. The window of opportunity for both to add a fourth Superbowl title to their respective resumes’ seem to be slowly closing , in spite of Brady’s ongoing zeal to seek perfection with each postseason game , and the performances thereof. The Patriots’ quarterback remains one of the most successful passers in postseason history, over the past fourteen years and his three Superbowl victories are unmatched by any of his peers currently playing.

Tom Brady has never been outspoken or demonstrative in making demands of the Patriots’ front office , having placed his trust in the coach , the coaching staff and GM Nick Caserio to do what is in the best interests of the franchise. This draft could very well be the one, where the organization chooses to load up on both sides of the ball , while also availing themselves of the best available free agents on the open market . Caserio has sought to be prudent, in terms of the cap room , in the buildup to the NFL Draft and once the contract negotiations begin for the rookies, you can be sure that he will drive a hard bargain with their respective agents , representing those clients.

Finally , all of the gloating and self-righteous hypocrisy of the NFL remains on show , with the league’s drafting of its first openly gay player. Michael Sam will become of a member of the St Louis Rams , having been drafted in the sixth round by the NFC West based franchise. Head coach Jeff Fisher in addressing the issue , has stipulated that he does not want the actions of organization of the Rams to be the sole focus of this season. Also, he has stated, Sam will be made available to the press to discuss his place on the team and not the social relevance about his sexuality and what this all means to the NFL . Yet , for all of this hyperbole, to the importance of the decision by the Rams , one simply hide the fact the league remains not only homophobic , but it has to be said there still remains a great deal of racism hidden and obviously open in the aftermath of the Richie Incognito “ affair” within the Miami Dolphins’ organization .

In the aftermath of his being drafted by the Rams , Michael Sam was given a congratulatory kiss by his partner of several years , when Vito Cammisano , kissed the player on live television, with countless millions watching nationally and millions more globally . Now, while there has been some public outrage, about the act, and the fact there may well have been children watching the NFL Draft. It begs the question, if children can witness hours of gratuitous violence, during prime-time hours on national or syndicated programming, never mind the fact they also witnessing acts of war where victim’s global conflicts are sometimes being shown. Then why now, of all the situations possible, is there such outrage to the act of Sam kissing his partner ? Political correctness or not , unless one can either be respectful one’s right to freedom of expression , but dare I say it, show an ounce of common decency , rather than allude to the fact that this country remains without an ounce of bigotry . Those espousing such beliefs simply have no goddamn idea in actuality , concerning what is happening in the real world , much less realizing that times have changed , be it for the better or the worse . Common decency and respect ought to overshadow , intolerance and bigotry . Obviously, there are fans of the NFL , who remain ignorant and bigoted , while trying to behind some falsehood created in their own psyche .

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Picture gallery.

Do you believe there were any major surprises, during this NFL Draft? Which teams in your opinion may well have pulled off a coup, in terms of the players drafted and likely to be seen as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl this upcoming season?

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(1) Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans is seen here with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodel , after the defensive line was taken as the number one overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft by the Texans. Getty Images / Loyd Carr ….

(2) Jadeveon Clowney makes his arrival for the 2014 NFL Draft alongside his Mom, Joseanna , to the prelude for the night’s events . AP Photo/ Dinesh Patel ….

(3) Johnny Manziel , thought to be everyone’s consensus pick as the first quarterback taken in this draft , the player was taken as the twenty-second overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. Team GM Tom Heckert hopes that the Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner can show the type of form that made him one of the dynamic players at the collegiate level during his tenure with the Aggies . AP Photo / Tom Johnson ….

(4) Blake Bortles is seen here with Roger Goodell . The player was taken as the first quarterback in the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and is deemed the likely successor to Blaine Gabbert whose tenure with the franchise has been somewhat sporadic and uneven since being originally drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft by the AFC South based franchise. AP Photo/ Tom Johnson …….

(5) Teddy Bridgewater now of the Minnesota Vikings . The former Louisville Cardinals’ quarterback will be hoping to make a successful jump from the collegiate level to the NFL ranks for the Vikings’ organization. AP Photo / Phil Devlin …..

(6) Michael Sam is seen here in a congratulatory embrace, as he shares a kiss with his partner Vito Cammasino after the announcement was made that the SEC Defensive Player of the Year had been drafted in the sixth round by the St Louis Rams . Sam is the first active and openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL . As to whether or not this will be met with a “seal of approval” by ardent Rams throughout this season remains to be seen , but that first preseason home game , as well as regular season contest , should prove to be an indication , as to whether or not the fans will be supportive of Michael Sam. Already those within and outside the NFL have begun to voice their disapproval of the player’s embrace and the kissing of his partner on live television. Courtesy of ESPN @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …………

(7) Michael Sam is seen here addressing members of the convened press as takes questions concerning his thoughts on the upcoming NFL Draft. Sam was taken in the sixth round of the Draft by the St Louis Rams and hopes to be a productive member of the team as they embark upon their season in the NFL . AP Photo / John Pettite ….

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Trouble in paradise ……..

Trouble in paradise ………

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & AP


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

By Pat Forde , Yahoo Sports

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

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

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

[Related: Mack Brown looks out for Mack Brown]

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

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

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

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

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

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Though I have not always been an avid College Football fan, I do believe the game in its purest form is one of the most exhilarating pieces of sports’ entertainment to be found on the sporting landscape . Now while we will continue to question the integrity of the NCAA and the tenure of its President Mark Emmert, I have to admit that the biggest I have within collegiate athletics at present , has been the lack of oversight and leadership provided at all levels within the college sports. Billions of dollars on annual basis, finds its way into the coffers of the NCAA and the college programs nationwide. Yet at the end of the day, there seems to be nothing tangible to show for it all , beyond the lavish and palatial venues and the continued controversies that envelopes college sports by way of corruption and unabated violations that continually takes place . What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised in this article and your expectations for this College Football season ? Your comments are greatly welcomed, so by all means chime in with your thoughts.

Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) College Station , Texas , a fan of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel poses near the stadium before the start of the game between the two SEC programs Alabama (Crimson Tide) and Texas A&M this past Saturday at Kyle Field . Alabama would go on to defeat the Aggies 49-42 in what was a thrilling contest , with Manziel giving an exceptional performance that saw his team come up just short in defeating Alabama for the second successive season . Getty Images / Scott Halleran ….

(2) Head Coach Kevin Sumlin (L) of the Texas A&M Aggies and Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide talk before the game at Kyle Field on September 14, 2013 in College Station, Texas . Getty Images / Scott Halleran …..

(3) Johnny Manziel (2) of the Texas A&M Aggies throws a pass as Brandon Wilson (36) and A’Shawn Robinson (86) of the Alabama Crimson Tide bears down on him at Kyle Field on September 14, 2013 in College Station, Texas. Getty Images / Scott Halleran …..

(4) Florida coach Wil Muschamp wipes his face during the game the Miami Hurricanes , a clash between the two in-state rivals played at Sun Life Stadium , in Miami , Florida . Errant plays , turnovers and inconsistent play led to the Gators’ defeat by Miami 21-16 . AP Photo / Alan Diaz …

(5) Stephen Morris (17) of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates with teammate Shayon Green (51) celebrate after a touchdown during the first half of the game against Florida played on Saturday , 7th September , 2013. AP Photo / J Pat Carter ….

(6) Devin Smith of Ohio State, out-runs Damariay Drew of Cal, as he makes his way to the end-zone for a touchdown in the first quarter of a game played in Berkley , California on the 14th September , 2013 ,.. AP Photo / Ben Margot ….

(7) Teammates Kenny Guiton (13), Devin Smith (9) and Andrew Norwell (78) celebrate another touchdown in the Buckeyes’ 52-34 romp over the Cal (Golden Bears) in Berkley ,California . AP Photo / Ben Margot …

(8) Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer , right, is seen here with the program’s AD Gene Smith . Coming off academic probation this past season , Meyer hopes to have his team challenging for a Big Twelve championship as well as the BCS national title . Currently ranked at number three in the nation behind second placed Oregon and the number one ranked Alabama , Urban Meyer knows that the road to the national title will warrant an unbeaten season . Critical of his former employers , Florida, Meyer has been courting controversy over the past ten months . AP Photo / Andrew Matthews …

(9) USC Trojans’ AD Pat Haden is seen here at the Trojans Galen Center , home to the basketball program . Haden has some real issues concerning the poor play of the Trojans’ football program and their lackluster performances this season . Lane Kiffin is now under a great deal of pressure to succeed but there are growing calls for the head coach’s removal of the football team . LA Times / Paul Garcia ….

(10) Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans reacts during the game against the Washington State Cougars at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 7, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Cougars won 10-7. Kiffin remains now under a great deal of pressure in spite of the team’s rout of Boston College in a 35-7 victory . The Trojans are 0-1 in the Pac 12 but 2-1 overall , yet they are seated at the bottom of the South division .

(11) DeLoss Dodds AD of the Texas Longhorns is seen here at the Darrel K Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin , Texas. Dodds in conjunction with Mack Brown have been the architects in the program’s joint deal with ESPN for the Longhorns Network , for which the derived revenues would be shared equally . The Longhorns’ AD will be placed under a great to deal with the now growing calls to fire the head coach of the program , calls that are significantly coming from boosters of the University of Texas . Paul Walsh / Summit Enterprises ….

(12) Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns waits on the sideline during the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Oxford, Mississippi. The Longhorns’ head coach has seen the team’s season turn upside down as they are now 1-2 , and facing mounting criticism from the press and boosters alike for the Longhorns’ lackluster performances this season . Brown fired Manny Diaz and promoted Greg Robinson to become the new defensive coordinator . It remains to be seen whether not , there will be an improvement from the team’s secondary . Getty Images / Matt Shaw ….

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tophatal ………………………….. 09/19/2013

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