The Old Man And The Sea ………

The Old Man And The Sea

Of late, with all of the political in-fighting , backbiting and basic nonsense that seems to encapsulate the landscape of American politics on the domestic and international front . I’ve begun to take a look at some of the asinine things now out in print within the various news’ formats and social media platforms. The latest piece de resistance would appear to be the issue of what is meant to be ‘ White Privilege’ . From my own perspective I simply believe it to be the social basis, whereby Caucasians will continue to cling to power , be it politically, socially and economically. The fact that in large part, they feel it is being perpetuated by minorities when in fact, minorities have never been seen or be treated as their equal is somewhat perplexing, but here we are at a point in the nation’s history, where a President can simply be bold enough to insult a panacea of ethnic groups and it’s seen as his right as freedom of speech , while he also claims to be uniting the country as a whole.

Last I looked , President Donald Trump had little understanding of the rule of law let alone the Constitution. Be that as it may, nine months into his Presidential reign , his supporters remain staunch in their support while his detractors continue to look for ways to take him down.

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Away from the political landscape , the World Series is now in progress and the two best teams in baseball are now providing the fans with what should be an exciting series. I believe this series could and should go to a full seven games given the abilities of the two teams, the AL’s Houston Astros and the NL’s Los Angles Dodgers . The Dodgers have the highest payroll in the game as well as being among the best supported teams in baseball. Dave Roberts and his Houston counterpart, AJ Hinch could be up for managerial honors in 2017 , given their achievements this season. As for the teams themselves, after the first two games , they’re now square at one game apiece with game-three set to take place on Friday night at Minute Maid Field in Houston , Texas. The opposing pitchers will be Yu Darvish of the Los Angeles Dodgers against Lance McCullers Jr of the Houston Astros.

Not to take away from the spectacle of the World Series , but the other big story within the game has been the New York Yankees making the decision not to renew the contract of team manager Joe Girard . His four-year contract was due to expire and it was thought the front office might well be leaning towards a renewal . It wasn’t to be and after ten years in charge , Girardi is out the door and no chance his making another $16-$20 million over the next four years. Luckily enough with vacancies now in Washington with the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Phillies, Girardi has his pick of two viable alternatives. Though I do expect there to be one or two more possible vacancies coming up within the next few weeks.

Joe Girardi was able to guide the New York Yankees to a World Series’ title in 2009 , but since then, their appearances in the postseason have often ended in failure before the Fall Classic itself. Brian Cashman general manager of the Yankees’ organization is also in the last season of his existing contract and the siblings controlling the ball-club, Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner have not expressed their sentiments in keeping Cashman in his current role. If changes are to be made concerning the roles of the manager and general manager then now would be the time to do it. Gary Denbo was allowed to leave the organization to join Derek Jeter within the front office of the Miami Marlins , where Jeter now serves in the role of Chief Executive Officer while Denbo serves in his capacity as Vice President, Player Development & Scouting .

In terms of a new manager, where the New York Yankees go from here is anyone’s guess , as they could promote from within to fill the vacancy left with the departure of Joe Girardi or they could go out and seek a more high-profiled name to succeed Girardi. One thing is certain , the core of this roster , where several of the younger players made their mark this season. It leaves this ball-club in a very healthy situation, though I do believe several of their highly overpaid veterans ought to be shown the door because of their lack of productivity. I don’t believe there can be any justification for the return of CC Sabathia , Matt Holliday , Jacoby Ellsbury , Michael Pineda and Aroldis Chapman . I know that the Yankees like to do things a certain way , but when you’re shelling out over $20 million a year and getting very little in return . Then , there comes a time when you have to rethink your strategy entirely.

Ideas above their station and the belief, they continue to remain relevant . It has been several years since the Florida Gators were striking fear into their opponents. This season , the only thing being struck are the players’ egos , as they realize they’re way in over their heads, while the coaching staff of Jim McElwain looks to take down not an opponent, but fans who have become sick and tired of the mediocrity shown by the team . After a recent game , McElwain could be seen berating a fan who called for the dismissal of the entire coaching staff. It’s funny , I was under the impression some college coaches were thick-skinned. Clearly, Jim McElwain’s skin is softer than a baby’s ass and is of a really delicate nature . The loss to Texas A&M brought about the capitulation of the Gators’ season and the end to their postseason hopes of a playoff berth. Up next for the Florida Gators will be a game against the number three-ranked Georgia (Bulldogs) to be played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville , Florida on Saturday 28th October , 2017 .

Nick Saban will continue to rewrite the history books in terms of modern College Football . His legacy is there for all to bear witness to. With the number one ranked team in the nation , Saban has Alabama (8-0) firing on all cylinders as they look to have another unbeaten season. Their upset loss in the national title game to Clemson were what dreams are made off as Clemson in a game of cat-and-mouse , beat their more well-established opponent . The path to this season’s national title game will be a pleasant one for Alabama , as they have nothing else left to lose , other than their dignity. Dabo Sweeny and his fans knows that the program still has a great deal to live up to . In week nine Clemson will to face Georgia Tech . Alabama for its part will be looking to make it nine consecutive wins in a row when they take on LSU (Tigers) on the 4th November , 2017 .

The number of unbeaten teams in the NBA now stands at three , with the Los Angeles Clippers (3-0) , Portland Trailblazers (3-0) and the San Antonio Spurs (4-0) being the only franchises without a loss. Pretty much safe to say by the end of the season all of the teams will have suffered a defeat . On Thursday night there were five games taking place with the most interesting being the contest between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics . For the Bucks, Giannis Antetkounmpo has lived up to the expectations based on his performances of last season for the team . This season Antetkounmpou has proven to be equally effective alongside a considerably improved starting lineup. The next game for the Milwaukee Bucks will be a match-up against the Atlanta Hawks on the road at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia on October 29th .

At this moment in time I believe Giannis Antetkounmpo to be one of the top-ten centers in the league and among the best forwards now playing !

It will certainly be interesting to see what the Milwaukee Bucks are capable of achieving this season within their division as well as the league overall . I don’t see them a s fifty-win team, but they are certainly able to play themselves into contention, f we see the coaching acumen of Jason Kidd rise to the fore. He is by far in a way one of the most innovative coaches in the league today , though not yet on the plateau of Gregg Popovich , the five-time championship winning coach. Popovich has been able to coach All Stars , but he has also been able to groom and develop talent turning them into All Stars . Those claims cannot be made for the likes of Phil Jackson , Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra , because they were handed the keys to a Ferrari and then merely asked to take it for a spin before going on their respective journeys. Doubt my word , then simply look at the facts ?

Gregg Popovich continues to be a miracle worker and his record is remarkable. This season the San Antonio Spurs are without their best player , Kawhi Leonard , but somehow they remain in contention . Once Leonard is back in the starting lineup , then I expect to see this team really challenge the likes of the Golden State Warriors , Houston Rockets , Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder within the Western Conference . As contentious and competitive as that conference continues to be , by contrast the Eastern Conference will remain mediocre. Those who are on the know cannot deny that very fact. Popovich will lead the San Antonio Spurs out for their next game against the Orlando Magic , as he seeks to win the one thousand one hundred and fifty-fifth regular season of his professional coaching career.

Injuries we know tend to plague a season no matter what the professional sport and it is the case once again within the NBA. How the teams fare will be dependent upon what the coaches seek to do in rearranging their lineups from day to-day. Midway into month-three of the schedule , I believe the teams will have found their rhythm while playing some competitive basketball.

So all of the hoopla and hype cannot hide the fact of what we already know , the Miami Dolphins are not a very good team . Having lost Ryan Tannehill for the regular season , the front office saw fit to seek out the retired Jay Cutler , offer him a one-year $10 million deal . Adam Gase seemingly had no faith in Matt Moore who led the team to the postseason in 2016 , in one of the Dolphins’ most recent appearances. Cutler’s lack of consistency has derailed any hopes they may have had within the AFC East as well as obtaining a postseason berth within the AFC . The team’s defense cannot mask the fact they’re simply not that good to begin with. With Jay Cutler now suffering an injury , it would appear team owner Stephen Ross will continue to tow the league line by having nothing to do with Colin Kaepernick . This might well come from the fact in recent weeks under the advice of his legal counsel , Kaepernick has filed a grievance within the US Federal Courts with the charges of collusion by the NFL and team owners . There may well be grounds for the suit, but the preponderance of proof will be by that of the plaintiff and his being able to prove his case. However , what has been glaringly obvious team owners have paid this issue very little lip service , while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to hide behind a great deal of rhetoric while in the background. What also is astoundingly clear, the NFLPA leadership and their Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have shown very little support for Kaepernick.

The Baltimore Ravens played host to the Miami Dolphins in a Thursday night game played at London’s Wembley Stadium . This match-up proved to be eventful as Joe Flacco was lost the Ravens , even though they routed their opponents in a 40- 0 clubbing of Miami. Matt Moore’s performance itself was far from satisfactory and it should tell you something that prior to the start of the game , Miami had seen fit to sign David Fales to a contract. As I alluded to earlier , I do believe there are grounds for Colin Kaepernick to proceed with his suit against the NFL. Now his detractors are likely to suggest that Kaepernick is not that great a player if you base it on his play during 2016 , but I would suggest he is far from being the worst quarterback in the league last season and his statistics would be favorable over number of players in the league who have played two or more games in the league during this season . If we really want to make comparisons concerning the ability of Colin Kaepernick and how he measures up against Jay Cutler and Joe Flacco , perhaps we might take a look at their statistics .

As for understanding the reasons behind Colin Kaepernick’s stance , let’s just say when it comes to real activism by the NFL , it tends to favor their making money and placing what they believe to be a pristine image rather than actually taking a noticeable stance. As for the issue of privilege , be it Black or White , let’s just say that whole issue has never been addressed in the true sense of the word . Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones suggests that the players on the Cowboys’ roster are his property. Last I looked, in spite of their current mediocre record , the Cowboys wasn’t a plantation , but I am beginning to deduce Jones’ slave mentality approach is something that might be shared by several of his fellow owners .

Donald Trump’s idiotic rants calling for the NFL players to be fired from their teams for showing a lack of patriotism when the national anthem is played., indicates he has no concept as to the rule of law , let alone the issue of free speech ( freedom of expression) , yet he considers it appropriate to denigrate people of color and the families of fallen war veterans , using the language and tact you’d come to expect of a highly uneducated person. My bad , I forgot his education at Brown University and Wharton Business School actually allows him that privilege. Bigoted ‘white privilege ‘ run amok . Jerry Jones like Donald Trump , they don’t lack candor , but what they do lack, is respect for another person’s right to express themselves freely. What might be even more hypocritical about the owner , has been his willingness to support players on his team who’ve ran afoul of the law under suspicion for acts of battery , spousal abuse and even felonious assault. The reason behind his support , simply from the fact, it would lessen the chance of the Dallas Cowboys winning a game.



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Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit with regard to the points raised within this a rticle.

Tophatal …….. 10/26/2017

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Continue reading “The Old Man And The Sea ………”

Heark The Herald Angels Sing

Heark The Herald Angels Sing  …

As the world of sports enters into the Christmas season and all of the festivities one would come to expect at this time of the year , we can also reflect on what has taken place during 2016. In the world of College Football , was there ever any doubt the Alabama Crimson Tide would be riding high at the top of the College Football world ? This team has simply ran roughshod over the opposition all season long and they now find themselves in the playoffs , as head coach Nick Saban looks to win another national title in the modern era. Suffice to say , the only thing likely to deny the Tide their chance of winning a title will be the complacency shown by the team. From my own standpoint, I do not believe Alabama will be that naive or over-confident.

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Well, we’re almost through with the NFL season and who would have thought the Dallas Cowboys would be considered the best team in the NFL throughout much of the season? The team’s rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has been sensational in leading the Cowboys to an eight-game winning streak , though as of late the team has slipped up. Having already qualified for the postseason and winning the NFC East with consummate ease . The question being asked , can the Cowboys win their first Superbowl title in over a decade ? Certainly , on paper Dallas does appear to be good enough, but the postseason is a completely different environment from the regular season.

Dak Prescott in his rookie season shown a great deal of maturity , but one has to wonder if he will be able to show all of the mental traits needed to win. Jerry Jones , the team’s owner , knows he has experienced veteran Tony Romo to call on, but anyone with an ounce of common sense will know Romo’s record in the playoffs can be best described as being mediocre. In week fifteen the Dallas Cowboys will be in action and it will be interesting to see if the decision is made to give Tony Romo some playing time in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) in what might be the best game on the schedule this upcoming weekend.

If the Dallas Cowboys are said to be flying high, then the woes of the Cleveland Browns’ (0-13) record is a sign of not just a bad team , but one which has been lacking confidence all season long . The Browns now seem to be well on their way of equaling the unnerving season of the Detroit Lions in 2008 . For all of those who have forgotten Detroit somehow managed to go 0-16 , a mark in history which goes down in infamy. All of the signs with the Lions are now to be witnessed with the Cleveland Browns and their inauspicious season , as it unfolds . For head coach Hue Jackson , he cannot be blamed for the team’s woes and the fact there appears to be no leadership from anyone on the roster. Needless to say, heading into week fifteen after thirteen consecutive losses , there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of hope the Browns will be able to avert a fourteenth straight loss. Cleveland will be on the road when they meet the Buffalo Bills on Sunday 18th December in Orchard Park , New York at New Era Field (Ralph Wilson Stadium). Defeat there and most certainly the odds-makers will be shortening the odds on the franchise not averting losses in weeks’ sixteen and seventeen .

The death of 1994 Heisman Trophy winner and former Chicago Bears’ running back Rashaan Salaam came as a shock to many . Salaam had a four-year career in the NFL , which never lived up to hype or heights of his collegiate career . His apparent suicide, is still under investigation by the authorities , but it would appear there are mitigating factors now coming to light , as to why he would choose to take his own life , with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Rashaan Salaam is just another in a long line of former NFL players suffering from acute or chronic neurological disorders brought on by the impact of playing not only at the collegiate level but also in the NFL , where brute force seems to be the norm , with bone-crushing hits fitting of a gladiatorial theater . Meanwhile , the NFL hierarchy under Commissioner Roger Goodell , continues to create the perception , the league is doing to enough to protect the players and aiding in the well-being of retired players. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth , as proven with the league seeking to fight the civil suit and settlement of $1 billion in US Federal Court , filed against them as defendants.

As an $8billion a year behemoth , it is easy to understand why the NFL seeks to protect its brand and image , but with no clear transparency and the autocratic rule by Roger Goodell and the team owners goose-stepping on queue behind him, anyone with the belief the league has a compassionate nature to it , is sadly mistaken.

So here we go and it’s the off—season in Major League Baseball and the free agency market is now heating up , as teams make a big splash signing players to deals , which in many respects , we should now come to expect. Team payrolls in some cases , are likely to increase over last season, with the Los Angeles Dodgers once again leading the pack in 2017 with the highest payroll in the game. Dodgers’ GM Farhan Zaidi and the club’s Head of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman will try to put together a roster which they believe will be able to compete in 2017 . This past season proved to be a monumental disappointment for the Dodgers, as they were expected to challenge for the NLCS Pennant in 2016.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ NLCS loss to the eventual World Series champions the Chicago Cubs was an embarrassment of riches for the Cubs. Chicago manager Joe Maddon and his team were gifted the series , because simply put, the Dodgers have come to be known as “chokers” when it comes to their recent forays in the postseason. Consider the fact, it has been over twenty-five years since their last appearance and victory in the ” Fall Classic” and you have to wonder why their narcissistic fans believe they are always good enough to win ? The Dodgers’ biggest move of the off-season was the signing of pitcher, Kenley Jansen to a five-year deal . Whether or not Jansen can prove to be as productive for the team this upcoming season as he was in 2016 remains to be seen. As a closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers , Kenley Jansen was among the best relief pitchers in the game last season . While I expect the Dodgers to be competitive this upcoming season , I am not holding out any hopes of them being considered to be a legitimate contender for the World Series. They have yet to learn anything at all from their recent postseason appearances and it will continue to be a problem for the organization.

With the recent announcement Allan ‘ Bud’ Selig and Atlanta Braves’ Team President John Schuerholz will be among the inductees into the Hall of Fame in 2017. I have to wonder what were the precise merits for Selig to have met the criteria for his induction ! I have no problem with the induction of Schuerholz as his resume’ simply speaks for itself concerning the success attained with both the Kansas City Royals , but even more so with the Atlanta Braves. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) have their very own set of rules and the Veterans’ Committee continues to be a bastion of sheer stupidity , but in reality the institution itself remains an endeavor of comedic delight and idiocy. This has to be one of the very few institutions , who believe itself to be above reproach and who clearly believe they know what they are doing at every given moment. When your vote can be bought and sold at the drop of a hat , concerning a nominee , it simply smacks of incredulity , connivance and deceit on the part of the BBWAA.

Bud Selig was among the longest-serving Commissioners in Major League Baseball and while it could be said he presided over the growth of a game , to the point where it is now a mult-billion dollar commercial enterprise annually. It has to be said, the game has seen its fair share of mistakes made by the hierarchy under Selig’s guidance. I find it extremely difficult to laud someone , who remains unwilling to admit his mistakes as Bud Selig has failed to do repeatedly over the years ! During the ” steroid tainted era “ , when the likes of Mark McGwire , Sammy Sosa , Barry Bonds , Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro were among the notable names known to have taken an illicit substance. Bud Selig as well as the members of the BBWAA and other journalists failed to investigate in-depth , the cheating which took place.

Steroids remained rampant during the last decade and it was rampant within the Minor Leagues , something which Selig failed to acknowledge. During his tenure also, baseball was no longer an Olympic sport, as MLB and the sport’s international governing body failed to reach a compromise on comprehensive drug testing within the sport. This was a requirement of not only the IOC (International Olympic Committee) , but also the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) . Now in spite of claims maintained by the former commissioner , as well as his successor Rob Manfred , the sport still finds itself in something of a quandary. Both Bud Selig and Rob Manfred are hoping for baseball’s return to the Summer Olympics along with the sport of Softball. The IOC remains reticent about the game’s return to the Summer Olympics and it is unlikely either sport will be welcomed back with open arms.

With the sport of baseball no longer having an international presence MLB in conjunction with the World Baseball & Softball Federation have come up with the grand idea of an international team competition called the World Baseball Classic . This quadrennial event will return to the international stage in March 2017 , at a time when teams in baseball will be in the midst of Spring Training . Team USA will be a participant in the competition along with teams from thirty-one international countries .

As for the aspirations of the US Team , with their having never won this tournament , it could be stated without a victory and even with the competitive nature of the competition . It does seem remarkable with the talent at the coaching staff’s disposal , they have failed miserably on each occasion the event has been staged . Claims of the tournament being an instantaneous success has been mixed and the television audience domestically, has been nowhere near the levels anticipated by MLB . On an international front , the attendance levels have been high , as too have been the television audiences around the globe, but the sport has not really grabbed the public’s attention in the way baseball’s hierarchy and the game’s international body had anticipated.

In what might be deemed a highly competitive NBA season after the major trades which took place during the off-season. It has to be said a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals might be the most appealing thing the fans could wish for. Reigning champions the Cleveland Cavaliers would like nothing better than to make a successful defense of their title, while the beaten finalists the Golden State Warriors will be attacking this season with a renewed vigor. The addition of Kevin Durant to the Warriors’ lineup makes this team the most formidable in the entire league . Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr and the coaching staff are still showing the acumen seen last season as the Golden State Warriors’ dominated the league , but fell short in the NBA Finals.

This season the Golden State Warriors have proven themselves more than up to the task, as they dominate within the Western Conference and have opponents in the East quaking in their boots. The dynamics of this Warriors’ team, is one where they have a three-pronged offensive attack led by Steph Curry , Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. It would also be foolish to overlook the contributions of others on this team. In their most recent game the Golden State Warriors defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves by an eight-point margin on their way to a 116-108 victory .

Golden State will be back on the on the court this Tuesday night , when they will face Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans in all Western Conference clash . This game should prove to be a very interesting contest between two very determined teams.

At this point of the season, the leading candidate for League MVP might be none other than point guard Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder . Westbrook has been on a unique tear , having recorded six triple doubles this season , a franchise record . The league record in a season for triple-doubles is nine , recorded by NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain . It will be interesting to see if Russell Westbrook can break the record of Wilt Chamberlain , but for a player who is often criticized as being selfish, but I feel the point guard has taken on the mantel of being a leader of this Thunder roster , after the departure of Kevin Durant. Westbrook has picked up the slack , but has to be aided by his teammates if the Oklahoma City Thunder are to have any chance of success this season.

Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder will be on the court to face the Portland Trailblazers this Tuesday.

College Basketball has gotten underway and already there have been one or two surprising results. Sitting at the top of the heap are Villanova (10-0) , unbeaten and looking like the top team in the nation . In their last game the Wildcats laid down the “smack” in taking apart Notre Dame , winning by an eight-point margin, 74-66 , in a contest where had they taken every opportunity available , the margin of victory would have been far greater.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright and his coaching staff know that they and the team are now under a microscope , as they have a target on their back as the number one team in the nation. Wright and the Wildcats’ next game will be against Temple (Owls) on Tuesday, 13th December , 2016 .

Storied program or not , you have either come to love or hate the Duke Blue Devils . Head coach Mike Krzyzewski continues to have a commanding respect from legions of Duke fans across the country. Granted , of late the famed head coach has been under a great deal of criticism and justifiably so , but at the end of the day , you simply cannot deny his achievements . Krzyzewski and the team have suffered an early defeat on their season schedule , but as we all know , the season is about the NCAA championship and not much else. Duke will set its sights on another title , as Mike Krzyzewski seeks to add to his already astonishing legacy. Next up for the Blue Devils will be a game against Tennessee State . in a contest which should offer the fans a real treat. For Duke to win the NCAA title this year , I do believe this team has to be more consistent all-round , with their being total dominance by their best player , Luke Kennard who is averaging 20 ppg , 3.2 assists has a 52% field-goal percentage for his season’s statistics .

Now considered to be a PGA Tour veteran, former world number one , Tiger Woods made his return to the Tour , although his first appearance at the Hero World Challenge was not in an officially sanctioned tournament by the PGA . Woods no doubt, wants to regain the form which made him the most dominant golfer on the Tour for several years, having won fourteen Grand Slam Major tournaments , second only to golfing legend , Jack Nicklaus .

There was a time when a Tiger Woods’ sighting on a golf course during a tournament, a Grand Slam Major in particular, actually meant something. However, due to recurring injury problems , a drop off in form and his well-chronicled personal issues, Woods has now become something of an aging fossil among his contemporaries . Tiger Woods has now dropped so far down the World Golf Rankings , you need to turn several pages just to see a mention of his name , never-mind his standing among the Fedex Cup listings. Woods’ next appearance in a PGA Tour event might well be the subject of a great deal of conjecture and speculation , as the player himself has not made us a ware of his playing schedule for the current list of PGA Tour tournaments. If his body can withstand the rigors of the Tour, then I expect Tiger Woods to play a minimum of fourteen tournaments , including all four Grand Slam Majors . I do not believe he will regain the form to make him a legitimate contender for a Grand Slam tournament , but there is the possibility, we might well see Woods lifting a trophy , having won an officially sanctioned PGA Tournament. Jason Day , Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy will seek to made those variables seem less likely. The triumvirate are all ranked in the top-ten of the world rankings .
As entertaining as this sporting year has been , with a slew of great performances , singular and team-wise , I can’t help but wonder if thing could have been better during 2016 and what 2017 will have in store for the fans ! At the end of the day, we will be left with memories , some good and some bad. The sporting gods are watching and the likelihood will be, a great deal more is about to happen , expected and unexpected. there are

Tophatal ……………. 12/13/2016

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Not on my watch …

Not on my watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tophatal ……..

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

 

It’s not just practice , athleticism , it is also about character , character, character and integrity ….

It’s not just practice , athleticism , it is also about character , character, character and integrity .
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By Tophatal

If you don’t believe character plays a part, in the determination of a player or should I say an athlete’s status , then think again . So much of what I’ve read by patrons within this domain, simply veers around ability , rather than looking at other innate intangibles . If one tends to overlook character and integrity in the belief that also isn’t a desired trait in an athlete , then that front office executive along with the coaching staffs in question , are liable to end up with egg on their face .

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Throughout the years teams within the MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL have made costly blunders by way of their draft choices by simply going after what they believe to be a great athlete , rather than looking at a number of other intangibles . With the 2013 NFL Draft set for April , from the 22nd to the 24th , it will be interesting to see how those teams go about making their choices as it relates to the franchises’ needs at the time . Already, there seems to concerns over a number of players and their presumed status . Perhaps, no more so, than it relates to Notre Dame defensive player and Heisman Trophy candidate finalist , Manti Te`o.

As good as Te’o was said to be for the Fighting Irish during the season , undoubtedly, it was the player’s apparent off the field issues that brought more attention and his claims that he was duped into an online relationship with a female he had never met, Lennay Kekua, whom he insisted was his girlfriend . Having come forward to profess his love for this female , Manti Te’o would then go on to inform us of the untimely death of his grandmother , and then, that of his girlfriend. What we now know , is that the whole episode as it related to Kekua, and played out chronologically, was false and littered with a great deal of perception on the part of the perpetrator and by Manti Te’o , who for some apparent reason, chose to play along with this charade . The individual in question, who engineered this deception, was a male admirer of the Notre Dame Player. Roniaoh Tuiasasopo, a closeted homosexual, claimed that his intent was simply to get the athlete reciprocate what he felt was a reciprocal emotional affinity with the athlete . Yeah , that’s the sort of horse-#hit you tend to read about when there’s said to be a psychologically imbalanced individual on the loose . ” I want him to love me , but , he doesn’t know I’m male and not female ” !

Notre Dame AD , Jack Swarbrick , jumped to the defense of the athlete without ever apparently obtaining a full explanation from Manti Te’o , as to his original statements about his now apparent imaginary girlfriend. Te’o , a defensive lineman and linebacker for Notre Dame, is thought to be a consensus top ten pick in the upcoming NFL Draft . . If Teo’s actions are not seen as a sign of the player’s lack of credibility and integrity , then can someone advise me, what is ? Because , with the young Irish player now claiming that his actions should not affect his draft status , as he should be judged purely by his accomplishments on the field .Granted , Manti Te’o was very good for his team throughout much of the season , but when it mattered most , both the player , team and coaching staff were simply nowhere to be seen , as Alabama , literally blew their opponents of the field in the BCS national title game with a rather embarrassingly lopsided 42-14 victory .

If Teo’s actions are not seen as a sign of the player’s lack of credibility and integrity , then can someone advise me, what is ? Because , with the young Irish player now claiming that his actions should not affect his draft status , as he should be judged purely by his accomplishments on the field .Granted , Manti Te’o was very good for his team throughout much of the season , but when it mattered most , both the player team and coaching staff were simply nowhere to be seen as Alabama , literally blew their opponents of the field in the BCS national title game with a rather embarrassingly lopsided 42-14 victory .

I do believe that Manti Te’o is likely to be a first round draft pick in this upcoming NFL Draft . However, the question remains , which team is likely to take this young man , given his lack of maturity , but yet, his undoubted skills ? We know that several franchises around the NFL are desperate for NFL defensive help , and at a wide variety of positions , beyond linebacker . At the end of the day, it will be left to the general managers and head coaches , to come to a decision which will undoubtedly have far-reaching ramifications for their long-term ambitions, no matter which way one seeks to look at this situation .

Well the “culling “ has begun in the NFL as teams seek to gain some exposure and placed themselves in a healthy position under the proposed NFL salary cap , which is likely to be in the region of $126.5 million for the upcoming season . And for several franchises , this may well mean having to rid themselves of several high-priced veterans , who are deemed no longer productive , or simply beyond the fact that their salaries are too much of a cap-burden , as they prepare for the upcoming draft.

Well, the story that was, and is, the New York Jets , shows no signs of abating . The newly appointed general manager, John Idzik , having succeeded. Within the franchise’s front office . Idzik , has remained tight- lipped , as to the immediate future of the team’s Pro Bowl corner-back Darrell Revis , and whether or not the player will be placed on the trading block. Yet, it appears that Tim Tebow’s future with the franchise , is now all but certain , that the player will be part of the cotillion of players who will be shown the door .

A disaster filled season for the Jets, was further evidence of the fact that Rex Ryan , as the head coach , had lost control of the team , was simply unsure of what his best lineup would be from week to week , never-mind the fact , he had no means of telling how diabolical a player , Mark Sanchez would continue to be over the course of the season , where indeed the starting quarterback was among the league’s worst performers at the position throughout much of 2012 .

Backups , Greg McElroy and Tebow , used in whatever ways thought up by then , offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano , was simply another indication as to how bereft of creativity the coaching staff just happened to be , but the mere fact that Ryan , himself, would continue to make excuses for the team’s poor performances , without ever once holding his players accountable . That pretty much summed up the entire Jets’ season , without adding to the fact, that team owner Woody Johnson chose to “ cry foul” , by stating that he was pressured into acquiring Tebow , by his front office, against his own reservations , which somehow , he just failed to communicate with former general manager , Mike Tannenbaum , who along with Rex Ryan , were the original proponents of what has now described, as one of the “more asinine trades” in recent NFL history . can’t say, that I would disagree with that statement at all ! As to where Tim Tebow’s future may well lay , is anyone really overly concerned at this juncture ? .

Riddle me this, name the NFL franchise which in this past season was amongst the worst performing defensive teams in NFL history ? If you guessed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , New York Giants , Tennessee Titans , New England Patriots or the Jacksonville Jaguars , you not be that far off in your estimation . The answer is , none other than the New Orleans Saints , who gave up a monstrous 440.1 yards per game which ranked the beleaguered franchise last among the NFL’s thirty-two teams. That figure equates to just over 7,000 yards over the course of a sixteen game schedule , and a record in NFL history.

The impasse between Roger Goodell , the Saints’ players , the NFLPA (union) , their animus towards the league hierarchy’s handling of the now infamous ” Saints’ Bounty” scandal , speaks volumes as to why the NFL commissioner has far too much power, in terms of his authority within the hierarchical setup of the league entity . And even with the rescinding of the suspensions of the four players centered within this scandal, you still get the feeling that this whole episode is far from over ! Saints’ defensive player, Jonathan Vilma , has yet to stop his legal action , pursuant of the NFL and Goodell , in which as a plaintiff, in his lawsuit at the Federal level for slander , libel , and defamation of character , for which he is said to be seeking punitive damages. Vilma , if anything has right to seek recourse in such a manner , as from the very outset Roger Goodell set out to be antagonistic , rather than being impartial , as the league’s investigators gathered their evidence , in some cases by dubious and surreptitious means. As defendants in this case , the commissioner and the NFL as a whole, have now either to, publicly issue some form of an apology to the player, or seek to settle this matter out of court.

Away from those legal issues , it would be fair to say , that in spite of the injuries , it would be fair to say that the New Orleans Saints had an underwhelming season , falling far short a number analysts and fans’ expectations . The fact that the team failed to make the postseason , falling short and completely out of contention not only within the NFC South, but also within the NFC , casts a giant shadow their 2012 sojourn. The franchise’s coaching staff at times , used a plethora of excuses for the team’s lackluster performances during the season.

With head coach , Sean Payton , having been reinstated ,after his year-long suspension mandated by the league , he recently re-signed with the franchise , “inking” a five-year deal , worth north of $42.5 million , including performance based, incentives and bonuses . That deal would make Payton amongst the highest paid head coaches in the NFL , ranking him alongside Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks , Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots .

As I alluded to earlier, the Saints’ biggest concerns were with their defensive corps , but yet, there was evidence there to suggest , that the team’s once prolific offense of recent years had now began to splutter , rather badly . Those issues I believe will be addressed in this upcoming NFL Draft by Sean Payton and the front office staff , headed by general manager , Mickey Loomis ! Last season , the franchise was expedient in addressing their needs , in a variety of positions, as they availed themselves of the talent available in that particular NFL Draft (2012).

For this upcoming draft , before anything is actually done , I believe that there will be some rather expedient decisions that will have to be made, as to the franchise’s salary cap issues as it relates to the team’s payroll ($138.6 million). The team will need to pare down , just off over $25 million to place themselves in a comfortable position to either re-sign a number of their impending free agents or pursue free agents in the open market , as well as meet their obligatory needs , as it relates to their payroll for the upcoming season based on the league mandated cap. Teams such as the Saints will be under the gun , as by 3:00 PM , Eastern Standard Time( EST), today , general managers around the league, will have to come to a decision, as to the contracts of their impending free agents , and whether or not to cut them or simply seek to re-sign at a lower base salary. “Capologists” , will now come into play as they seek to make a name for themselves inside of their respective front offices. In the lead-up to the NFL Draft they might just be amongst the most important employees inside an NFL franchise , as they are able to do from a financial standpoint can go a long way in saving a franchise tens of millions of dollars over a three or four-year time-frame .

Gainful employment sought, unwilling applicants need not apply. Yes, these are now the deafening tones now being heard across the entire NFL landscape. Can someone explain to me why Brandon Jacobs would seek to talk himself out of what was thought to be a fruitful position with the San Francisco 49ers ? It now appears all but certain , that the running back will be jettisoned by the Forty Niners’ front office headed by GM Trent Baalke. The franchise has already began with a slew of moves as they seek to create a comfortable enough cap space , before they embark on their off-season moves. One of the other much-discussed scenarios , has been that of the future of the team’s starting quarterback in the earlier part of 2012 , Alex Smith .

Having lost his starting spot , to understudy , Colin Kaepernick , who would then go on to guide the franchise to the NFC championship game and then on to a thrilling Superbowl 47 (SBXLVII) loss to the eventual champions, the Baltimore Ravens . The consensus seems to be that Baalke and head coach Jim Harbaugh may well seek to gauge the interest of any vested parties seeking to gain a veteran quarterback. From my own perspective , I believe that it would be in the Forty Niners’ best interest to retain Smith , rather than allowing the player to leave via a trade . The player, still has two years remaining, on a three-year $24 million contract , of which he is owed $15 million, and wherein , he is due to become a free agent in 2015 .

I certainly do not believe, any NFL franchise can operate competitively without a standout backup quarterback in the league today ! Doubt my word? Then simply look around at the depth chart of the franchises within the NFL and peruse the rosters of the teams in question and the backup quarterbacks at the coaches’ disposal.

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Picture gallery .

I certainly do not believe, any NFL franchise can operate competitively without a standout backup quarterback in the league today ! Doubt my word? Then simply look around at the depth chart of the franchises within the NFL and peruse the rosters of the teams in question and the backup quarterbacks at the coaches’ disposal.

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Picture gallery slideshow details below .
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(1) Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide (L), and head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish talk before the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Alabama would go on to defeat Notre Dame 42-14 in a lopsided and embarrassing defeat for the then, number one ranked team in the nation . The win , garnered Saban his fourth BCS national title as a head coach of a college program. Gettty Images /Kevin C. Cox ….

(2) Manti Te’o (5) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish warms up prior to playing against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The player throughout much of the Irish’s strove to fight off questions concerning his sexuality , in the aftermath of it being revealed that the alleged female he was said to be involved , in a relationship , never existed . Ronaioh Tuiasasopo , a closeted homosexual with unrequited love fomented a charade , which somehow Te’o chose to play along with , even after revelations were made that Lennay Kua was never existed . Much ado about nothing ? Or simply the possibility of a high-profiled athlete not wishing to reveal a taboo in testosterone driven sport of college football, ” where a man must be and reveal , he is a man ” . Quite frankly , there has to be male athletes within the college game and NFL who are definitely gay , but who are simply too afraid to reveal their sexuality because of the stigma that is still attached to the lifestyle within collegiate and professional sports amongst male athletes . Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …..

(3) Linebacker Manti Te’o of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish works out at IMG Academy on January 23, 2013 in Bradenton, Florida. Te’o is considered a top-ten consensus pick amongst the line-backers declaring their eligibility for the upcoming NFL Draft (2013) . Getty Images / J Meric ….

(4) New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. The beleaguered head coach faces, and will be , under a great deal of pressure to resurrect the fortunes of a franchise that had a disappointing season (7-9) within the AFC East , having failed to make the postseason . With their being upheaval , within the front office , with the removal of former GM , Mike Tannenbaum , to be replaced by John Idzik who would then subsequently relieve offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano of his position. As if to complicate matters further there still remains the uncertain future of quarterback Tim Tebow , as the Jets seek to revamp their roster . AP Photo/Michael Conroy ….

(5) John Idzik talks to the media during an NFL football news conference introducing him as the new new general manager of the New York Jets, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Florham Park , NJ,. AP Photo/ Julio Cortez ….

(6) John Idzik, center, reacts while standing next to New York Jets owner Woody Johnson , left, and head coach Rex Ryan during an NFL football news conference introducing Idzik as the team’s new general manager, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Florham Park , N.J. AP Photo/Julio …

(7)FILE – In this Dec. 12, 2012 file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell smiles during a news conference after the NFL owners meeting in Irving, Texas. Roger Goodell was paid $29.49 million by NFL owners in 2011, nearly triple his compensation from the previous year. Goodell earned $11.6 million in 2010. Throughout much of 2012 , the commissioner very much had antagonistic and contentious relationship with the New Orleans Saints’ organization , as well as with the NFLPA (union) . All, in all , after the rescinding of the suspension of four players , said to be involved in the Saints’ Bounty scandal , it should be acknowledged that Goodell has seen his once autocratic power diminish , somewhat . Of further embarrassment to Roger Goodell , has been his complete failure to enact the HGH testing protocols that had been agreed to , between the NFLPA and the league hierarchy. The commissioner insists that the edict will be carried out , but the never-ending delays have now drawn the attention of Congress’ House Oversight & Government Reform Committee as well as the Senate Commerce Committee and that of Senate Judiciary Committee . Having given to testimony to the congressional committees in question , it now clearly shows how incompetent the tenure of Roger Goodell has been since he succeeded Paul Tagliabue in 2007. AP Photo / L M Otero …

(8) Mickey Loomis , executive vice president/general manager of the New Orleans Saints, talks with Saints head coach Sean Payton, right, in the first half of an NBA basketball game between the New Orleans Hornets and the Phoenix Suns in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. AP Photo/Bill Haber …..

(9) San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick (7) and Alex Smith (11) talk on the sideline late in the fourth quarter of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …

(10) Brandon Jacobs of the San Francisco 49ers in seen here during a game played at Candlestick Park , in San Francisco , California ,. The veteran running back has somehow managed to talk himself out of a job with the franchise , after his continued sniping at the coaching staff and front office at his not being given enough playing time under the staff of head coach Jim Harbaugh. The player has since been cut by the franchise , with his immediate future somewhat uncertain. In an ironic turn of events, Jacobs’ former Superbowl winning teammate with the New York Giants , Ahmad Bradshaw was also let go by that franchise for salary cap reasons . AP Photo/ Mark Pettigrew …. ==========================================

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NFL news and news from around the league

NFL archived stories

NFL transactions

NFL free agents

NFL team salaries

NFL Draft 2013 & 2013 NFL Draft order

NFL Combine and news therein

NFL postseason results

NFL standings (division)

NFL standings (conference)

New York Jets news

New Orleans Saints news

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NCAA football & College Football news

Notre Dame Football news

NFL Draft top prospects by position

Quarterbacks running backs —- wide receiver —- tight-end

corner-back —- defensive tackle

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Thao-Annie

That’s a hot piece of Asian-American ” persuasion ” Annie Thao .

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Reflection Eternal ….. Move Somethin’

It’s not about the money is it? Hell yeah, why else would they play?

It’s not about the money is it? Hell yeah, why else would they play?

By Tophatal

The College Football season (D1) is already in full swing and the wherewithal of the teams as they pad their schedules in order to proceed up the rankings . Never let it be said that the NCAA in conjunction with the BCS doesn’t know a good thing when they see fit .College Football has exploded into a multibillion dollar industry that can simply exist by itself. However, the corporate executives on Park Avenue and further afield know that a tie-in with the NCAA , BCS or in fact a wildly successful college program can do them no harm . There are a multitude of sins come hand in hand with such an arrangement, that can lead to the gross violations and surreptitious behavior, that we have witnessed in recent years. And it has been the failure of the NCAA, as well as athletic directors and compliance officers at these schools that has led us to where we are today.

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Slide show .

NCAA President Mark Emmett and the body he presides over are toothless body, whose powers are rarely exhibited as warranted. OK, so a great deal will be made of the punishment handed down to Penn State but let’s face it, were it not for the public outrage and a certain amount of the empathy , the football program at the university would have been given the death knell . Not quite cast out in exile , it may well be several years before football at the Penn State can once again be looked upon with any reverence. Bill O’Brien has an unenviable task ahead of him , beyond succeeding the late Joe Paterno , as he also has to reinvent the sullied image and tarnished reputation of this once proud program. I firmly believe that he will succeed but that success will come along with detractors who are averse to change.

The acting AD David M. Joyner has been quick to show his support for the new head coach and his revamped coaching staff and that faith now seems to paying dividends . Beaver Stadium at College Park in Pennsylvania seems to have been revived with the fans now throwing their full support behind the Nittany Lion players . The team is off to a 1-2 start with their next scheduled game to be played this upcoming Saturday when they take on Temple (Owls) University at University Park, Pennsylvania . This game should give us a guide as to the progress being made by team and where they may well stand amongst their competitors within the Big Ten standings .

Matt McGloin is clearly being asked to lead and provide with the prerequisite leadership sought, as the program and the team undergoes a new chapter in its history. And the best way possible is for Penn State to win and at the same time show the pride and demeanor that clearly wasn’t present under Joe Paterno, as he and his coaches led the program into some unfathomable depths of despair while trying to gloss over the egregious and heinous actions > of Jerry Sandusky , most notably Gary Spanier and Tim Curley. It is extremely hard to fathom how both Curley and Spanier could be so nondescript and lackadaisical in their handling of the sordid affair that dragged down Penn State. The Freeh Report has done little to alleviate to the pain caused by all of the parties involved in this sordid episode , other than to suggest that there was no leadership or moral decency to be found from anyone in a position of authority. Such, are the vagaries and the Machiavellian maneuvers deemed necessary to pursue a cover-up.

Be honest here , hands up if you were ready to ride on the USC (Trojans) bandwagon because Lane Kiffin was selling you the fact that this team was ready to become a “world beater” ? Don’t be shy, man up, and show yourself. There is nothing more humbling, that a large dose of reality and being solidly kicked in the ass as well as by a nemesis who brings you back down to earth. Kiffin and his self-absorbed demeanor, were rendered less reverential in light of the Trojans’ 21-14 loss to Stanford (Cardinals) . And in one fail swoop, the chances of USC being a prominent factor in the BCS national title picture , resembles the chances of Donald Trump becoming a Democrat! And with that loss we may well seen the hopes of Matt Barkley dashed , as the presumptive favorite for the Heisman Trophy . The Trojans’ quarterback will have to play at an at exceptionally high level over the remainder of the team’s schedule if he is to have a remote chance of being an award winner , thereby adding to the Trojans’ legacy of producing Heisman Trophy winners .

Lane Kiffin’s career has been marred by a great deal of controversy and his departure from Tennessee (Volunteers) to become the head coach at USC after the departure of Pete Carroll, to return to the NFL . Kiffin’s abrupt and rather surreptitious move left a rather unsavory taste amongst the hierarchy at Tennessee, and certainly among the majority of Volunteers’ fans. The coach’s disposition for flouting the NCAA rules and then responding that he was unaware that there has been any transgression , shows Lane Kiffin not only to be somewhat economical with the truth but also a conceited son of a bitch ! How else would one describe the fact that on repeated occasions since his ascent to his current position , he has seen fit to endanger a program that has only just returned from sanctions imposed on it by the NCAA , while his predecessor and then AD Mike Garrett simply looked the other way, as the surreptitious behavior of several Trojans’ football players went unreported. As we all know former USC tailback Reggie Bush rather than face further embarrassment returned his Heisman Trophy —- (2005) after all of the furor of his career with USC and the alleged payments received by the player . A house was furnished to his family, which has since has been proven that the player profited from that gift. Something that Bush to this day, still denies any wrongdoing on his part, while only having offered a less than contrite apology for what he says were simply errors in judgment while at attending USC on a full scholarship.

The Trojans’ program is one of the most profitable and revenue driven programs in College Football, ranking in the top ten of all of D1 football. And though thePAC 12 is seen as the epicenter for college football in the West , in no way should it be deemed that the teams can be overlooked as non-contenders for the national title. Stanford, Arizona (Wildcats) , Arizona State , Oregon (Ducks) , Oregon State , California (Bears) and UCLA (Bruins), can be viewed as omnipresent forces within the conference.

Kiffin has been blessed with a talented team led by Heisman Trophy hopeful, Matt Barkley , T J McDonald, Silas Redd and slew of NFL hopefuls, who for the present will look to impress the NFL scouts while parlaying their college careers into something more tangible. The conference games will be also a telling mark as to whether or not the Trojans are a national championship-caliber team. From my own perspective I believe that USC , if they are to prove themselves worthy , they will have to win out , and simply win the PAC 12 championship game convincingly , in order to convince the BCS Committee of their worthiness as a national champion contender ! Having lost so early in the season isn’t necessarily such a bad thing but the manner of the loss and the opponent in question, certainly has hindered Lane Kiffin’s chances raising the national championship trophy.

If Lane Kiffin is said to be conceited, then Alabama’s head football coach, Nick Saban has to be looked upon as a conniving and disingenuous bastard! He has been known to be condescending, most definitely a liar, and if nothing else, someone who has willingly courted controversy solely for the sake of placing his himself for scrutiny within the public arena. There is no denying that as a college coach he has known considerable success having won three national titles over the course of his career but it has been his cold and calculating approach that has times alienated him with the press while he is beloved by the program’s fans in the state of Alabama. Last season , Saban brought the Tide program another national title, with their thoroughly lopsided victory over SEC rivals LSU (Tigers) —– 21-0 in the BCS national title game. That loss left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Tigers’ players and left Les Smiles smarting and somewhat dismayed in the way his team lost the game , having gone in as the decided favorites , due to an earlier regular season conference victory over Alabama in 2011.

In 2012, these two teams may well be clashing once again for the SEC championship title that might be seen as a precursor to another potential national title rematch. However, it is my belief that there may well be another SEC aspirants with something to say about that whole premise ! Florida , under second year coach Will Muschamp has his team playing with a great deal of zeal , with an improving defense and an offense , that is slowly finding a rhythm that will indeed serve them well, as they proceed over the course of their schedule. Will Muschamp has recruited vigorously, trying to avail himself of best talent available in order to make the Gators a competitive force once again. The program had fallen on hard times, since the departure of Tim Tebow in 2010, for the NFL . With Tebow’s departure , then came Urban Meyer’s abrupt and sudden resignation, subsequent retirement, un-retirement and then return to the program , only to then leave once again. Now, with Meyer having returned to the college game, where he now coaches the Ohio State Buckeyes. A betrayal that is not lost on the vast majority of Gators’ fans across the country who still feel aggrieved by Meyer’s actions.

Florida, is off to a 3-0 start with decisive victories over Bowling Green State, Texas A&M and Tennessee (Volunteers ). Next up for Muschamp’s players will be a 22nd September match-up against SEC rivals Kentucky (Wildcats) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium , in Jacksonville , Florida. It will be here that we should get to see whether or not, Jeff Driskell, Trey Burton , Mike Gillislee , Solomon Patterson , Josh Evans , and Jonathan Bostic are as good as advertised.

Things are genuinely great, when all three prominent Florida college football programs are riding high. The Gators are 3-0, as are Florida State (3-0 and the Miami Hurricanes (2-1) . Albeit, that the latter two programs are part of the ACC , it should be misconstrued that football isn’t part of the glamor of a conference primarily known for their renowned basketball programs . Jimbo Fisher has a top ten ranked team with ambitions on a national scale. And no doubt the Seminoles’ head coach would like to prove the naysayers wrong with a run to BCS Bowl prominence , with the ultimate goal , being a participant in the BCS title game. The results garnered by FSU through three games , are pretty impressive , and gives credence to the fact that Jimbo Fisher and his coaching staff has this team playing with a great deal of guile . And a highly anticipated game against the Clemson (Tigers) this weekend should give the home fans a great deal to cheer about , when the two programs meet at Doak Campbell Stadium , in Tallahassee ,in Florida ,.

Miami’s off-season woes have been well chronicled concerning the mismanagement and non-compliance of the athletics department with NCAA mandates , concerning personal gifts offered to student athletes . School AD, Shawn Eichorst and university President Donna Shalala have simply buried their heads in the sand, while this sorry episode engulfed the program. What might be even more inconceivable is that head football coach Al Golden could have been conduit for much of the actions that went on , unreported , with an intermediary of the coach, acting as a go-between for the players and the now disgraced and federally incarcerated former Canes’ booster Nevin Shapiro. And Shapiro has been naming names , embroiling current and former players to whom he paid hundreds , if not thousands of dollars , plied them with substantial gifts beyond what anyone could have deemed possible. Now as the school tries to distance itself from those issues , Al Golden still retains his position as the head coach. Miami did themselves no favors with their embarrassing 52-13 loss to Kansas State on the 8th September , before rebounding back to beat Bethune Cookman ….. 38-10 . Miami’s next meeting, has them tangling with fellow ACC rivals , Georgia Tech in a game that is sure to competitive, as it will be mean-spirited between these two high-profiled programs.

College Football is fraught with danger , not necessarily with regard to the endangerment of the players on the field . More so, it has to do with the corruption of the sport and the bear facts, that the major conferences within the game are simply driven by greed , power and the growing need to garner as much money as they can , while carrying on their business activities with wanton disregard of morals or ethics. The idiocy remains that so many fans are buying into this bullshit , while trying to suggest that this is simply the best way for the game to proceed. Clearly , there is not enough intelligence to go around , and it would appear that being apathetic is the choice that is preferably taken by many rather than seeing the NCAA , BCS and conference presidents act responsibly. Not to be left out of this all, are the well compensated coaches who simply are happy with their lot, no matter what idiotic changes are proposed.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Although we are only into the fourth week of a fourteen week schedule for College Football , what surprises if any , have come as a complete shock to you ? Which programs , do you feel will be vying for the national title, as well as the most prominent BCS Bowl games? Simply leave a comment as you see fit on this topic and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) NCAA President Mark Emmert , who succeeded Dr Myles Brand upon his death, to become the highest ranking executive of the NCAA . Over the years , questions have arisen as to the genuine willingness of that governing body to punish certain programs with impunity . Only light of the apparent outrage of the public did the NCAA punish Penn State for the egregious acts that took place and the conspiracy to cover up those acts by the highest ranked officials on the board of trustees of the academic establishment . AP Photo / Connor Gilchrist …

(2) Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, left, shakes hands with Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo before an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. The Nittany Lions would go on to defeat Navy 34-7 . AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …

(3) Quarterback Matthew McGloin (11) of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to Jesse James (18) during the first quarter against the Navy Midshipmen at Beaver Stadium on September 15, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. Getty Images North America / Rob Carr ……

(4) Matt Barkley (7) of the USC Trojans tries to get a pass away after being hit during their final quarter of their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Palo Alto, California. .Ezra Shaw / Getty Images ….

(5) USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin talks to quarterback Matt Barkley during their loss to the Stanford Cardinals at Stanford Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Palo Alto, California. Ezra Shaw / Getty Images ….

(6) Head Coach John L. Smith of the Arkansas Razorbacks shakes hands with Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide before a game at Razorback Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Tide would go on to crush Arkansas 52-0 in a game that wasn’t even remotely close . Getty Images / Wesley Hitt ….

(7) Denzel Devall (30) of the Alabama Crimson Tide sacks Brandon Allen (10) of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 52-0 . Getty Images /Wesley Hitt …..

(8) Jeff Driskel (6) of the Florida Gators throws under pressure from the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half of play at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. . John Sommers / Getty Images …

(9) Will Muschamp head coach of the Florida Gators reacts to a call by the officials during the first half of play a against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Getty Images / John Sommers ….

(10) University of Miami President , Donna Shalala , is seen here with the university’s AD Shawn Eichorst . The two have tried to distance themselves from the allegations brought about, after it was revealed that former Canes’ booster Nevin Shapiro was guaranteed access to current and former athletes on the men’s basketball and football teams. Monetary gifts and loans were provided to these players by Shapiro. In the latest around of allegations , head football coach Al Golden has been embroiled in this mess , with the belief that he had a subordinate act as an intermediary between Shapiro and his players . Golden vehemently denies any wrongdoing on his part or that he was aware of any of his players accepting gifts from the now incarcerated Shapiro. Miami Herald / Antonio Echevarria ………

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NCAA Football news

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

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

By Tophatal

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

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Slide show for your perusal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle

Raiders’ Pryor taking solace in his work

By Vic Tafar , San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Outkast ………… Roses /Caroline “

I Don’t Drink The Kool Aid Simply Because I Don’t Like It !

I Don’t Drink The Kool Aid Simply Because I Don’t Like It !

I’ve never been one for hyperbole myself but it appears that the analysts of ESPN would rather come out with some of the most asinine statements imaginable simply to create that furor media frenzy needlessly . The Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton is off to a tremendous start as a rookie for the team throwing for over 850 yards in his first two games as a professional . Granted, the number one pick overall in this past NFL Draft has been lauded as the best player available of the talent to be had . Opinions being what they are , there is no denying the player is something special but it’s one thing to show that prowess in the college game , within the NFL it becomes a whole new ball-game altogether .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now as much as I respect the analysis provided by these individuals simply brought in to host these shows on ESPN but there comes a time when Chris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson make the statement that Newton should be seen as the “Chosen One “ amongst the players that were recently taken in this past draft . As talented as many believe Cam Newton to be , there is a growing belief that until he becomes more attuned to the NFL and his teammates then there’s no way in hell the Carolina Panthers will be viewed as a success in the NFL . Coach Ron Rivera and his coaching staff are in for an arduous season and though playing as well as can be expected the team has yet to register its first win in the NFL . At 0-2 there is a belief that once having notched that first victory the Carolina Panthers might just be able of acquitting themselves well in enough within their division (NFC South) and the league as a whole .

There’s no doubt that expectations were high for Cam Newton coming out of college given the success attained by the player while attending at Auburn . And now that player has to take his talents to the NFL he’s now being viewed as “The Messiah” and ” Prodigal Son” all rolled into one as the Carolina Panthers seek to become relevant in the NFL once again. Rivera and his staff sought to obtain the best possible talent available in the draft to complement an already experienced roster which has a mix of youth and seasoned veterans .

The Carolina Panthers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in week three that is bound to be of real interest to the Panthers’ fans. Jacksonville at 1-1 look to be a staunch test with coach Jack Del Rio and his team facing the challenge of taking advantage of the problems that have beset the Indianapolis Colts and make an outright challenge to the now presumed favorites within the division to win the AFC South the Houston Texans (2-0). As to whether or not those teams within the division can actually take advantage of the woes of the Colts remains to be seen .

From my own perspective , I do believe that Cam Newton can be a success within this league but he’s still a work in progress , as too is his Tim Tebow whose current status with the Denver Broncos seems to come into question with each passing week in the league. It simply has become idiotic to witness the sheer ineptitude shown by the front office of the organization led by EVP John Elway . Team owner Pat Bowlem and newly installed coach John Fox have certainly got to address this issue before it gets completely out of hand and sinks this organization to even lower depths than could be imagined . It is bad enough that the team’s incumbent starting quarterback Kyle Orton has performed miserably for the Broncos during the first two games of their season schedule .

Certainly for Tim Tebow , he has done himself no favors with his alleged poor performances during team practices but it seems somewhat hard to be believed . Either that’s simply due to poor coaching by John Fox’s coaching staff and in particular from quarterback’s coach Adam Gase or quite possibly due to the fact Tebow was simply coddled as a player by his former college coach Urban Meyer while the player attended Florida . Now while the fans’ calls seem to be for Tebow to be on the field , one simply cannot be sure that the player is a sure fire guarantee to be the presumed savior of this organization . Draft choices asides and the organization’s history in that field , it has been troubling to see the Denver Broncos struggle to make their presence felt within the NFL .

The Denver Broncos for their part have had something of an inauspicious start to the season with a 1-1 record within the AFC West where they sit jointly atop of the division alongside the Oakland Raiders , San Diego Chargers with the winless Kansas City Chiefs seated as the cellar dweller in a hapless division. Kyle Orton and the Broncos next play a conference game against the Tennessee Titans in a match-up that should tell us a great deal about the temperament of this Broncos’ team under the leadership of John Fox and his coaching staff.

Perhaps it’s me but with the NCAA —- football season now up and running is now filled with more scandal than collegiate athletics would willingly care to admit . With Butch Davis having been fired the school ( UNC[ Tar Heels]) is now having to endure multiple sanctions for violating NCAA rules with regard to recruitment violations and several other transgressions that the school’s now former AD Dick Baddour has seen fit to address before stepping down in his role . I am not about to suggest that this will be the last time that we will hear or bear witness to such indiscretions across the collegiate sports landscape . Suffice to say …… where there’s smoke there is fire and there are several schools at present in college sports either fanning the flames or simply looking to put out those flames because of their incendiary nature . Think Ohio State , Miami Hurricanes , Oregon and Boise State and USC (Trojans) ? Let’s just say that until the landscape is cleaned up with any sense of urgency we will continue to see such malfeasance on the part of these schools . Never mind that we have the idiocy of college football conferences simply looking to become bigger by luring teams from one conference to another , simply through sheer financial greed . It has absolutely nothing to do with bringing about a competitive balance because as we all know the system is skewered to favor the teams within the major BCS conferences in terms of college football . Anyone who believes otherwise obviously is living in complete denial !

Now while the various polls are now out there ranking the teams within D1 football , I am of the opinion that until we are at the midpoint of the season we will not truly get a true glimpse of how things are about to pan out over the course of the year ! Certainly the rankings seem to bear out what we have longed felt about a number of teams . Oklahoma ( Sooners) , LSU , Alabama , Boise State and Stanford seem to be the standouts this early in the season . And that is with good reason as each of the teams remain unbeaten but as they get into the meat of their schedule I would preface this by saying that one or two of those very same programs are likely to slip up . Whether it this upcoming week or down the line it remains to be seen .

For myself the college football season only becomes really interesting down the stretch of the schedule when everyone seems to be aggrieved once the BCS rankings simply skewers what many of feel to be to be a brokens system and what is wrong with college football to begin with . We know that the minnows of the game will never truly be given the chance to go up against the big boys within college football . Oh , once in a while when the beat writers and fans alike show their resentment , we may well see the subterfuge take place with a proposed match-up of one of those teams on the outside looking in , as they’re given the privilege of playing in one of the lesser tiered Bowl games or BCS games . But God forbid ….. we will ever see the day of seeing the likes of Boise State perhaps taking on Auburn or perhaps Florida for the BCS national championship . What do you think would happen then amongst the likes of conference commissioners or even an idiot such as Ohio State universtity President Dr E Gordon Gee who still believes that a program outside any of the major bowl conferences is not entitled to play for the national title ? I feel that Gee should simply stick to cleaning up what we now know to be an utterly corrupt athletics program , with both he and AD Gene Smith then stepping down in shame ! I mean only these two assholes could still maintain that they were completely unaware as to the deceit , lies and subterfuge that was taking place that was being orchestrated by the program’s former football coach Jim Tressel ! Imagine that ….. ?

Amongst the presumed Heisman Trophy candidates this season the names of Andrew Luck , Landry Jones , Marcus Lattimore , Kellen Moore , Robert Griffin , Trent Richardson and Chris Rainey are being bandied about . And though there may well be justification for those names to be mentioned let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet . It’s still too early in the season to be making these type of prognostications , so give it a while and let things simply play themselves out as the season progresses .

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .
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Picture gallery for your perusal .

I know that Kool Aid can be viewed as a great elixir but in reality it’s all down to one’s preference . Do you like it sweet and mixed in with something else or do you simply drink it , as is ? It’s the same with the opinions that tend to be proffered up by the analysts on tv , so simply make of it what you will ? For myself , I tend to like my drinks shaken (preferably with alcohol) and not stirred much as in the same way as that fictional character James Bond does ! Which are you in that context ? Chime in with a comment as you deem fit with regard to the subject matter and anything else you deem to be pertinent .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Seen here from left to right are ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman joined by analysts Mike Ditka , Keyshawn Johnson , Cris Carter and Tom Jackson . courtesy of ESPN …..

(2) CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers takes the field for play against the Green Bay Packers September 18, 2011 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Packers would go on to defeat Carolina 30-23 . Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….

(3) Quarterback Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers runs for a gain against the Green Bay Packers September 18, 2011 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(4) Fans wear jerseys in support of Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos face the Cincinnati Bengals at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bengals 24-22 . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(5) Fans dispaly a sign in support of quarterback Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 24-22 at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……..

(6) Something of an ambiguous sign by fans in support of Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos face the Cincinnati Bengals at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bengals 24-22. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(7) DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos watches a video replay during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(8) Quarterback Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos fumbles the ball and as he is sacked by Michael Johnson (93) of the Cincinnati Bengals in the third quarter at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The fumble was recovered by Domata Peko (94) of the Cincinnati Bengals as the Broncos defeated the Bengals 24-22. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(9) Wide receiver Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos tries to avoid cornerback Leon Hall (29) of the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(10) Quarterback Andrew Luck (12) of the Stanford Cardinal scrambles to pass during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 37-10 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ………

(11) Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones (12) fires a first quarter pass during an NCAA college football game against the Florida State Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, in Tallahassee, Fla. Oklahoma would go on to defeat FSU Seminoles 23-13 Getty Images / Ahmad Kilyan ……

(12) Running back Trent Richardson (3) of the Alabama Crimson Tide breaks away from defensive back Ryan Downing (22) of the North Texas Mean Green and defensive back Royce Hill (21) of the North Texas Mean Green for a 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter on September 17, 2011 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama would defeat North Texas 41-0 . Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images …..

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