Up in the air , heads above the clouds ….

Up in the air , heads above the clouds …

By Tophatal

It was interesting weekend in the weekend in the world of sports , acclaimed Hollywood actor and former Oscar, Best Actor nominee, Mickey Rourke at the age of sixty-two decided to to resurrect his boxing career. Well, with his acting career , somewhat on the decline, Rourke has painstakingly fought to get himself back into shape, for what he says is a serious attempt to legitimize himself as serious athlete in the sport. At an age in Hollywood, where leading man status are so few and far between , Mickey Rourke’s attempt as a boxer now seems comical. His bout in Moscow , Russia against a journeyman boxer , the loser of nine of his last ten bouts was not only idiotic, but his this contest against Elliot Seymour , was simply a non-event.


Rourke’s bout in its entirety against Elliot Seymour .

Rourke’s opponent in this match, put up as much resistance as the French, when they were under siege in Paris during the second World War (WWII) . Claims that the bout and result was staged as nothing more than a gimmick, with the state authorities governing the sport under pressure to conduct an in depth investigation in the match, has to be met with a state of realism and I would say derision ! Personally, from my standpoint, nothing concerning the outcome happens to be a surprise at all anymore ! The sport of boxing has now become a paradoxical paradigm and a complete joke ! With fans now yearning for a multi-million dollar mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao , the thought process has to be any damn gimmick to heighten the interest in a waning sport has to be better than nothing at all.

Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

Elsewhere , within the AFC West both the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers came away with victories, that kept their divisional and postseason hopes alive. Peyton Manning and the Broncos had an easy victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , while the Chargers came away with a narrow win over the Baltimore Ravens, leaving John Harbaugh’s team in a tightly contested divisional race in the AFC North. John Harbaugh’s sibling , Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers saw his team put up a rather inept performance as the Forty Niners went down without much of fight in a 19-3 shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. The loss might well have sealed the fate of the Forty Niners with this divisional loss and their chance of the NFC West divisional title outright. There remains mounting speculation also, concerning the future of Jim Harbaugh, as there seems to be a growing discord between the head coach and senior executives within the organization’s front office. GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed Yorke may well come to the decision to relieve their head coach of his duties at the end of the season. Among the NFL teams said to be interested in the services of Harbaugh are the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders.

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The best contest of this past Sunday in the NFL was the eagerly anticipated match-up between Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. This was only the second professional meeting between two of the league’s most outstanding quarterbacks. With everything to play for including the best record in the league, this contest lived up the expectations and a great deal more. Brady was unable to mount a game-winning drive or come from behind win as the Packers came away with a home victory.

Green Bay not normally known to have a stout defense held the Patriots’ offense to five first-downs and under one hundred rushing yards in the contest .New England for their part face a tough clash when they go on the road to play Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego, California on Sunday afternoon.

The College Football season has seen its highs and lows but this past weekend may well have sent reverberations around the game’s landscape with the death of Ohio State Buckeyes’ player Kosta Karageorge . The defensive lineman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, with his body being found in a dumpster not far from the college’s main campus in Columbus , Ohio,. Columbus Police Department are not treating his death as suspicious, but their ongoing investigation has revealed that Karageorge had been suffering with bouts of depression as well as repeated headaches brought on by concussions likely suffered during his playing career with the Buckeyes. Kosta Karageorge was also an accomplished wrestler and member of of the Buckeyes’ wrestling team as well as being part of this season’s sixth-ranked team in the nation. It has been seen as a devastating blow to the program as well as to his teammates and his fellow students on campus .

Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer has offered his condolences to Karageorge’s family on their loss, but I cannot help but wonder where were the coaches and the team’s medical staff as well campus counselors in the midst of this all ? For years we have been told by the NCAA and many of the more prominent coaches within the game, stressed that safety has been of the utmost importance, but neither NCAA President Mark Emmert or Urban Meyer himself, have ever stressed that to be of utmost importance and whereby the schools or college athletics’ governing body have jointly conducted an in-depth study of the cause and effects of blunt force head trauma from an extremely physical and violent sport such as College Football. While this issues still remains something of a ” hot potato” in the NFL , with Roger Goodell either backtracking or seemingly trying to be proactive on the issue, it is becoming abundantly clear, the only things that seems to matter to the conference commissioners and coaches , are the burgeoning financial windfalls to the sport and the level of publicity raised for the respective programs. Whether not Karageorge’s death will lead to a rethink on the part of the NCAA or Ohio State and how they treat the issue of concussions suffered by athletes will be predicated upon the actions of the athletics department and coaching staff moving forward. As to the NCAA itself, it continues to be an archaic and corrupt organization devoid real leadership and ingenuity.

Ohio State (11-1 ,8-0) stand atop of the Big Ten Conference and on track to garner a playoff berth for the inaugural season of the postseason format in College Football. Next up for the team will be the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Wisconsin (Badgers) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana on the 6th December , 2014. That contest should be a rip-rousing affair with both teams seeking to impose their will against each other.

As Mississippi State’s season has been curtailed after their loss to Alabama (Crimson Tide) in a classic SEC game as has often been the case with the best conference in College Football. With the Bulldog’s fall from grace , so too possibly has the chances of Dak Prescott to win the Heisman Trophy . The Bulldogs’ quarterback is having an exceptional year and though the defeat has led to their dropping down in the rankings, while Alabama’s ascent to the top seems to have happened with the utmost of ease, although they are are a one-loss team. Defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) and their troubled Heisman Trophy star Jameis Winston remain unbeaten and on track it would appear, to make their way back to the national championship game. Any slip-up by the Crimson Tide or the number two ranked Oregon (Ducks) and the Seminoles will be a ” shoo-in for one of the two final berths for the title game.

Oregon’s quarterback Marcus Mariota and his team am are in still in the running for a championship berth and a case could very well be made they might be more deserving of one of the two berths than Florida State whose schedule might well be deemed inferior to the Ducks’ over the course of this season. The upcoming games for both teams are likely to prove to be intriguing with Florida St taking on Georgia Tech (Yellowjackets), while Oregon will pursue Arizona (Wildcats) in an all Pac-12 clash.

The NBA season has been dire and were not yet one-quarter of the way through the schedule. Suffice to say, a number of teams’ seasons are essentially on track to franchise leading paths to possible ineptitude and most certainly at this juncture it is definitely the case of the win-less Philadelphia 76ers, who now bear the mark of starting their season on a sixteen-game losing streak. At this point, it would be fair to suggest that the Sixers haven’t a shot in hell of winning the NBA title though they might well be on the path to leading the NBA for the second time in three seasons> for sheer ineptitude .

It is hard to imagine how the league hierarchy and a number of NBA analysts can continue to look the other way, when a franchise such as the Philadelphia 76ers can continue to demonstrate such monstrous ineptitude, while trying to point to the fact that the level of play in the league, is said to be great, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Brett Brown and his Sixers’ team will have the privilege of facing the defending NBA champions at home on Monday Night when the San Antonio Spurs come to town. Neither defense or offense have been prerequisites of a 76ers’ team actually starved of creativity and the very fact Brown and his coaching staff appear to be out of their depth. A seventeenth consecutive loss does seem to be on the cards and the league’s longest losing streak of twenty-six games ought to be Philadelphia’s for the taking .

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If someone can impart some wisdom upon me, as why I should have any belief in two of the NBA’s most storied franchises, then I would like to hear from right now ! To witness how bad the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become is a question as to how inept their owners and respective coaching staffs are said to be . One can wax on lyrically about the fact Mitch Kupchak has won four NBA titles as a front office executive and Phil Jackson’s legacy as an NBA head coach makes him, perhaps the greatest NBA coach in the league’s history. Let us however, put it all into context, Kupchak has not actually been able to assemble a roster without the talents of two superstars to provide the Lakers with their most recent successes. I would dare say, without the insight of his predecessor Jerry West, their five most recent titles would not have come into being without the acquisitions of Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O’Neal. With the last of the franchise’s triumphs coming in 2010 , albeit, that O’Neal was no longer part of those two final series’ victories.

This season the Lakers’ 4-13 mark places the team at the bottom of the Western East Conference with no respite in sight. As to what this might suggest about the coaching acumen of Byron Scott and the mediocrity of the roster will play a great deal in how this organization is likely to move forward, as they approach the trade deadline. Coming off a seven-point victory over the Toronto Raptors may well provide the Lakers with the momentum needed, but it has become abundantly clear this team is far from being competitive enough to be in with a remote chance of winning their division, much less a conference berth as an eighth seed or better for the NBA Playoffs .

I am not saying the New York Knicks have capitulated , but even Phil Jackson had to have known James Dolan’s request for him to assume control for all player personnel decision moves, was not going to make his job any easier. He has a player roster that has marginal talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony and beyond that the pickings are threadbare.

The saying is , ” it’s not easy being cheesy “. Well , the Knicks have been that and a great deal more, with it being a reflection of their current record in the NBA. Feeling sorry for this team is akin to seeking to make an amends for an obese individual, who has no intent to look after their health .I mean, it is not as if this New York Knicks have actually shown a propensity to improve over the course of this season, as borne out in their standing within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, where only the Philadelphia 76ers lies beneath them in the division. To bear this out further, on Sunday night, Derek Fisher and his rag-tag of a team hosted their heated conference rivals the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York. As hosts, the Knicks succumbed to the Heat , with the utmost of ease, and their being no resilience shown by New York throughout this entire contest. Once again, it was left to Carmelo Anthony to try and carry the Knicks on his back, as he has so often done throughout his career with this franchise. If Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills cannot recognize the real issues on this roster, without this incessant idiotic belief that the ‘ Triangle Offense ‘ will aid this team , then the proponents of that idiocy, clearly have no damn idea as to what the hell they are talking about concerning this roster and their play , ultimately in this case, the lack of it .

Next up for Fisher and the New York Knicks will be a game against the Brooklyn Nets 6-9, the Big Apple’s other franchise whose own woes are no better than their conference rivals. New York ” bragging rights” or not , this is likely to be one spectacle that the NBA’s fans can do without as two pitiful teams face off against each other.

A last place finish in the AL East was enough to convince Tom Werner and John Henry , owners of the Boston Red Sox that something drastic had to done to bolster last season’s roster . GM Ben Cherington wasted no time in making a big splash signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez . Boston’s acquisitions are unlikely to be over as they may well seek to make further additions to their projected roster as well losing several players to through attrition via free agency.

Having committed almost $200 million in acquiring both Ramirez and Sandoval , you simply get the impression the Red Sox will not stand idly by while the Baltimore Orioles , New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays seek improve their rosters. Oh wait, let’s be real, the Rays are unlikely to make that sort of financial sacrifice to begin with, as the front office would rather penny-pinch , bitch and whine all the way into next season , as to their dire situation, financially and dare I say it , logistically ?

The Rays lost their two biggest assets during this off-season when GM Andrew Friedman sought to take his services elsewhere, rather than having to deal with an off-season of uncertainty and the constant whining among the local political dignitaries as well managing partner Stuart Sternberg, as to how close the franchise might to getting a new venue to replace the archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. Following Friedman through what has now become the Rays’ postseason turnstile, was the franchise’s most successful manager Joe Maddon. His signing a five-year $25.5 million deal to manage the Chicago Cubs , may on the face of it seem comedic. However, the Cubs are likely to move heaven and earth to give their new manager the tools necessary to get the job done , as they seek their first World Series’ title in over a century. Could the same thing be said of the Rays while Maddon’s tenure brought about a lone appearance in baseball’s showcase finale ? Tampa’s last postseason appearance came in 2013, when they were summarily dispatched with a great deal of ease by the the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS .

Tampa has yet to name a new manager to succeed Joe Maddon and it appears the interview process remains ongoing, but topping the list of potential candidates is Raul Ibanez . Rays’ GM Matt Silverman has not confirmed or denied that the ball-club is still pursuing the former player, but it would appear the organization would rather their cards closely to their chest, than divulge their apparent choice of a successor to Maddon.

While the Boston Red Sox will be hoping for quick turnaround in 2014, a return to the postseason, where their last appearance came in 2013 and unlikely run to the World Series’ that year. For the Tampa Bay Rays, it could very well be another forlorn season where the team lacks leadership both on and off the field of play. Evan Longoria continues to play the part of a Major League star, but what the franchise actually desires from the player are ” superstar exploits “ and a great deal more vocal leadership, none of which has ever really appeared to be evident with Longoria, during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Picture gallery .

What if anything, may well have piqued your interest, of the sports’ stories which came into being during this past weekend ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of this site, as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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(1) Mickey Rourke, right , is seen here taking on his opponent Elliot Seymour in what was said to be legitimate bout, but in some circles the contest is being viewed as simply an exhibition fight. The fact remains , it was something of a sham event , that took place at the Moscow Concert Hall as an under-card event . Elliot was said to be a former Golden Gloves’ champion with a credible record as an amateur . What is known about Rourke’s opponent, was that he has been homeless, living on the streets of Los Angeles and was used as a sparring partner for some of the stable of fighters within Golden Boy Promotions Inc , the boxing , managerial and promotional arm of Oscar De La Hoya’s sports’ interests . De La Hoya was not involved in the promotion of the bout and has distanced himself the controversy surrounding the fight. . Getty Images / Mattheus Huchtner …

(2) Mickey Rourke lands a blow to the head of his opponent Elliot Seymour during the first round of their five round bout . Rourke managed to knock down Seymour six times during the fight , three times during the second round . The bout was eventually stopped by the referee to stop the Los Angeles’ based fighter from suffering further punishment . UPI Press Syndicate Europe ….

(3) Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

(4) Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs passes against DeMarcus Ware (94) of the Denver Broncos during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium on November 30, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images North America /Peter Aitken …

(5) Tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) of the New England Patriots runs with the football after a reception past free safety Clinton-Dix (21) of the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter of the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Getty Images / Christian Petersen …

(6) Kosta Karageorge a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ football and wrestling team. The player’s body was found in a dumpster in what the local law enforcement agency believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound . The weapon was found close by with the victim’s body in close proximity to the main campus of Ohio State University. The Columbus Police Dept will be carrying out their ongoing investigation , but it is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances behind Karageorge’s death . AP Photo / Keith Jardine …

(7) Oregon Ducks’ starting quarterback and almost certainly the Heisman Trphy favorite for 2014 Marcus Mariota . AP Photo/ Chris Harper … ….

(8) Brett Brown head coach of the Philadelphia 7ers , the team currently with the worst record in the NBA. Getty Images / Angela Harris …

(9) Boston Red Sox senior executives , John Henry , left and media mogul Tom Werner . The pair are hoping to see an immediate turnaround for the franchise this upcoming season . Courtesy of The Boston Globe ….

(10) Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, long considered to be the franchise’s best player and the outward face of the organization . Questions have arisen about Longoria’s ability to lead and be more vocal on a team , that is certainly desperate for success, where in the AL East they have to deal with the burgeoning financial resources of the four other occupants of the division . Tampa Bay Times ….. all rights reserved @ copyrighted material …..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle

Raiders’ Pryor taking solace in his work

By Vic Tafar , San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By tophatal ………..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Not As Good As Advertised !

Not As Good As Advertised !

I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again if you’re going to put up an argument about anything you had better put both sides of the argument in place and state the case with authority. Idiots around this environment had tried to state the case that Ohio State as the nation’s number one ranked men’s basketball team were good enough to win the NCAA Tournament and actually end the season unbeaten. Fact of the matter is, the Buckeyes succumbed to the Wisconsin Badgers —- 71-67 at the Kohl Center this past weekend. Thad Matta’s team as good as they’ve been this season has never really been good on the big stage . The loss to the Badgers summed up everything that you need to know about a team that was starting to believe in its own hype and what the print and tv media were saying about them.

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Jared Sullinger in his post game interview was sullen and peeved that he was treated in such a way as a visiting team by the Wisconsin fans. He may well have been denigrated by the Badgers’ fans but what was he expecting to be adored and have the opposing fans throw rose petals at him at the end of the game ? What ….. all of a sudden Sullinger becomes as soft as a wet piece of tissue paper ? Man up and shut the hell up rather than whining like a bitch ! Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor outplayed Sullinger and if anything made a case that when placed under pressure he knows how to play when it really counts. Sullinger may well be putting up the stats and is being talked about unlike any other rookie freshman in college basketball but until he proves that he can lead with authority he’ll simply be thought of just another phenom being lauded up and down the country and within the media.

Now pardon me for saying this but the reality here is that Ohio State may well be good enough to win the NCAA Tournament but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. Any team with a view to staking their claim to be thought of as a contender has to be playing with consistency and at the time of the tournament they had to have hit a rich vein of form. I don’t know that we may well be saying that about the Buckeyes but there’ll be those who’ll be stating that there’s still a case to be made that they can win.

The last time a team ran the table, having won the national title and be unbeaten happened in 1976. And while others have come close , well close simply isn’t good enough as being damn perfect ! And that’s how the great teams if they want to be judged as to their greatness in the annals of college basketball then they need to show that they’re not good but damn perfect when it matters most.

A great deal has been made that the ACC is having a down year and that in particular Mike Krzyzewski’s —– Duke team isn’t anywhere good as thought. But anyone who knows Krzyzewski and how he gets his players ready for the big games then they’ll know that this Duke team will rise to the occasion when it matters most. As defending NCAA champions having won their fourth national title under Krzyzewski’s reign and it has to be said that anyone thinking that they’re not a contender then they ought to consider the resume’ of the coach during his tenure with the Blue Devils. If that’s not evidence as to what Krzyzewski has been able to achieve and the consistency that comes along with it then you have to be either naive or simply know nothing about the game but you merely love the sound of making rather asinine prognostications.

Now as the world awaits the latest rankings to come out as to who’ll the number one spot we will no doubt see a new team ascend to the the top spot . In all likelihood that may well be the Texas Longhorns or the Kansas Jayhaws . If anything this Longhorn’s team may well be the most balanced team D 1 basketball and are certainly now beginning to look the part . And if you simply believe that they’re not a worthy candidate of winning the NCAA Tournament if not their conference championship then simply look at their statistics this season ?

I’ve no doubt as usual the NCAA Tournament will be what we’ ve always come to expect with a great deal of suspense and one or two surprises along the way. It’s clear that of all of the sporting highlights of the season the men’s NCAA Tournament may well be the most suspenseful , exhilarating of all the the tournaments that take place within the sport’s calendar. We get all of the hype of the Superbowl and all that it offers the fans as a spectacle but given the length number of competitive participants the NCAA Tournament itself might just be the best competition that there is from a fan standpoint. You get the chance to adjudge the teams as the competition gets underway through its knockout basis through the regional rounds . Sixty five initial starters through the process of elimination gets down to the Sweet Sixteen , Elite Eight , Final Four and the Finals itself . What else could anyone actually ask for from a competition ?

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

As to the fate of the Ohio State Buckeyes as the rest of the season plays itself it will be interesting to see what lies in store for the team under Thad Matta and how they are able to regroup from this loss. How do you see the season panning out for the Buckeyes and which particular team if any do you see as a possible threat or winner for the NCAA Tournament this season ? Conference Champions and invitees notwithstanding this tournament will be one which I believe will have the fans intrigued ! So by all means simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic and any thoughts you have on the college basketball season so far.

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1)Ohio State head coach Thad Matta reacts to a call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash …..

(2)Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor and Keaton Nankivil , right, are smothered by fans after beating undefeated No. 1 Ohio State 71-67 in an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash ……….

(3) Ohio State’s William Buford (44) tries to drive past Wisconsin’s Mike Bruesewitz (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash …………

(4) Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger (0) tries to drive on Wisconsin’s Keaton Nankivil (52) and Jordan Taylor (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash ………..

(5) Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor (10) looks to pass as he drives the baseline past Iowa State guard Diante Garrett (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011. Taylor scored 14 points in the game. Kansas defeated Iowa State 89-66 . AP Photo/Orlin Wagner ………

(6) Kansas forwards Marcus Morris (22) and Markieff Morris (21) celebrate a basket as a timeout is called during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa State in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011. The twin brothers each had a double-double and keyed a 23-4 first-half run that carried No. 2 Kansas past Iowa State 89-66 on Saturday. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner ……….

(7) Texas forward Gary Johnson , left, and forward Alexis Wangmene , right, celebrate the win over Baylor in an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Austin, Texas. No. 3 Texas won 69-60 . AP Photo/Michael Thomas ……….

(8) Texas forward Tristan Thompson , right, brings down a rebound against Baylor forward Fred Ellis , left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Austin, Texas. Thompson tied Jordan Hamilton for Texas high scorer with 17 points. No. 3 Texas won 69-60 . AP Photo/Michael Thomas ……

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😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

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Eye candy ……………. Rebecca

Wet on the net ……. Carrie and Jenny

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Outkast …… feat’g Killer Mike ……. “The Whole World”

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