Here's a good one: Michael Conforto's solo blast in the Mets' win Monday was the 150th home run hit by a rookie in August and set the major-league record for most home runs by a rookie class in any single month.
Michael Conforto's HR earlier tonight provided a milestone for MLB rookies pic.twitter.com/L81dKTbuGG— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 1, 2015
Carlos Correa, Tim Beckham, Addison Russell, Adam Duvall and Mark Canha added homers later on in the night to raise that number to 155.
In total, 56 rookies contributed to the record-breaking haul. Miguel Sano of the Twins and Kyle Schwarber of the Cubs led the way with nine apiece. National League Rookie of the Year frontrunner Kris Bryant smashed seven, as did Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp and Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw.
It's tough to score runs with how dominant pitchers are right now. To see all these rookies have this kind of success, this fast, is mighty impressive.
They aren't just doing it in meaningless games either. Conforto, Correa, and the Cubs' trio of Russell, Schwarber and Bryant are on teams in the thick of the playoff race. Could October bring another rookie home run record?
The future of baseball is in good hands.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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Tennessee defensive end Andrew Butcher was arrested over the weekend.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, officers found Butcher, a true freshman, drunkenly “running around” on Interstate 40 around 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning.
"The defendant was running around on 40 East near James White Parkway," the arrest report says, per The Tennessean. "Upon contact with the defendant he had a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath, bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet."
The 18-year-old was subsequently arrested and charged with “public intoxication, underage possession of alcohol and violating a controlled access roadway.”
According to police, Butcher admitted to drinking beer that night. He was later released after posting bound.
“We are aware of the situation involving Andrew Butcher and this matter will be handled internally,” UT spokesman Ryan Robinson said Tuesday in a statement.
Butcher, who enrolled in January, was a four-star recruit in the 2015 class. He was not listed on the team’s Week 1 depth chart.
The Vols open up against Bowling Green on Saturday in Nashville.
For more Tennessee news, visit VolQuest.com.
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If the Houston Texans meant to set the Internet on fire Tuesday afternoon, mission accomplished.
All they needed to do was tweet out a picture of 325-pound nose tackle Vince Wilfork rocking some bib overall shorts with no shirt. Hey, I'm not going to be the one to tell him he can't wear it:
Spectacular on so many levels. Every NFL writer alive retweeted that with some joke. The only remaining question is, does shirtless-overalls Wilfork take over as the top Internet moment for the former New England Patriots great, or is it still barbecue-dancing Wilfork?
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Central Florida coach George O’Leary wants to be the school’s athletic director, according to a report in USA Today.
O’Leary, 69, was named the interim athletic director in June and is willing to step down as football coach to assume athletic director duties full time.
According to USA Today, which spoke to two people close to the situation on the condition of anonymity, UCF was readying for a national search to replace Todd Stansbury, but put those plans on hold after O’Leary approached school president John Hitt with the idea to become the full-time athletic director. However, there’s concern about O’Leary’s administration experience. He’s been a coach either at the college or NFL level since 1980.
The article suggests that if O’Leary were to become the school’s AD, offensive coordinator Brent Key would be the new football coach. Key has been at UCF since 2005.
For more UCF news, visit UCFSports.com.
And don’t forget to keep up with all of Graham’s thoughts, witty comments and college football discussions on Facebook
Former USC linebacker Morgan Breslin is suing the university.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Breslin claims that school officials “guided him in purchasing” a disability insurance policy that has provided “inadequate coverage” for an injury.
Breslin, 24, played for the Trojans in 2012 and 2013, filed the suit Friday alleging “breach of contract, fraud and both intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic relations.” He was injured in USC’s game at Arizona State on Sept. 28, 2013 (you know, the one that got Lane Kiffin fired).
He says the injury prevented him from pursuing a professional football career.
From the Daily News:
Breslin was designated an exceptional student athlete for the 2013-14 season as part of an NCAA program that encourages athletes to stay in school and complete their degree program while being offered the chance to buy disability insurance, the suit states.
An insurance broker known to USC for offering quotes for athletic insurance policies proposed to the university staff in January 2013 that Breslin obtain a policy through AmTrust at Lloyd’s, according to his court papers.
“Contrary to the representations of USC and its underwriters, the issuer of the disability policy Breslin purchased ... is now taking the position that the policy is void,” the suit states.
The suit says “USC employees falsely led Breslin to believe” that the policy would protect him if he suffered a career-ending injury.
From the Daily News:
The university staff went so far as to advise him how to fill out the forms to obtain the policy, according to the complaint.
“USC controls all communications between insurers offering athletic insurance policies and the student athlete who will buy the policy,” the suit states. “This is done through USC’s Compliance Department and the training and medical staff.”
USC did not tell the underwriters about Breslin’s injury and did not inform the plaintiff they had not done so, the suit states.
“USC has the responsibility to explain the risks and benefits of athletic insurance policies to the student athlete,” the suit states.
The suit says Breslin filed a claim in May 2014, but it was denied.
The school has yet to comment on the lawsuit.
For more USC news, visit TrojanSports.com.
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There were rumblings Monday that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred had made a decision about the possible reinstatement of Shoeless Joe Jackson.
It appeared unlikely the decision would be reversed, and that proved to be true. In a letter sent to Arlene Marcley, the president of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, S.C., Manfred concludes that "it would not be appropriate for me to re-open the matter."
The letter from the commissioner, dated July 20, was posted on the museum's Facebook page early Tuesday morning:
Jackson was one eight members from the 1919 Chicago White Sox team that were banned from baseball by then-commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for allegedly throwing that year's World Series. Dubbed the "Black Sox Scandal," it remains one of the most infamous events in the long history of the game. There have always been questions about Jackson's involvement though. He was acquitted of the charges by a Chicago court, but that did not change his status in baseball. Jackson died in 1951, but his legacy lives on as one of the game's most compelling figures.
Marcley told the Hall of Very Good she had sent a petition with over 16,000 signatures to Bud Selig a few years back, but never received a response. With Manfred taking over the commissioner's office from Selig, Marcley had hoped that a fresh perspective would help Shoeless Joe's case, especially considering public comments Manfred made about Alex Rodriguez.
It was not be be.
That doesn't mean they're done campaigning to clear Jackson's name. Marcley and the Shoeless Joe Museum are asking fans to make it known to the commissioner that they too believe Jackson should be removed from the league's ineligible list.
Now, about Pete Rose...
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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It's every Winnipeg columnist's dream: a Jets team minus All-Star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.
And it could be a reality sooner than later.
Byfuglien is entering the final season of his current contract — a five-year deal that pays him at a $5.2 million AAV, and the actual dollar value trending up to this coming season's $6 million — and is already north of 30. The question for the Jets, who have a solid if young defensive corps that seems poised to be built around Tyler Myers for the foreseeable future, is whether they think Byfuglien is going to be worth the significant raise and years-long commitment likely required to retain his services.
This is a rather similar situation to what the Calgary Flames faced vis-a-vis Mark Giordano until they re-signed him to that irrational contract (which is exactly what it is, even if no one in the hockey media seems willing to say that). There are, however, a number of notable exceptions.
Byfuglien, for as good as he is, he's no Giordano. Byfuglien is an All-Star who should have been an Olympian in Sochi — ah, that USA Hockey decision-making — but Giordano would have a pair of Norris trophies on mantle at home were he able to stay in any way healthy for an 82-game season. For another, Giordano is Calgary's captain, and seen as a Strong Veteran Presence on a team with a lot of good young players. For a third, Calgary had to retain him for the two reasons above, plus the fact that, if they'd entertained the idea of trading him this year, their defense would have gone from being one of the best, if not the clear No. 1, in the NHL to being another screaming garbage heap that gives Deryk Engelland nearly 20 minutes a night; such is Giordano's ability and influence. The Jets have no such problem in terms of the quality of blue liners they have in the pipe, ready to go in the near future.
On the other hand, Byfuglien is a little younger, which probably only increases the dollar-value ask at the negotiating table (there's a lot of informed speculation that Giordano took a discount to “just” $6.75 million because the deal will pay him until he's approximately 200 years old). In addition, his current salary of $6 million likely portends a bump into the $7 million range. His AAV, in fact, is only 34th in the league right now, so it must be said that Winnipeg has gotten something of a bargain these last five years, though his current salary is tied for 18th, which seems just about right.
For the 2015-16 season, Winnipeg has a little less than $40.6 million committed to just 13 players, with some big-name players in the mix as pending free agents. In addition to Byfuglien, there's also Andrew Ladd (currently making just $4.4 million against the cap, and he'll be 30 in December) and Grant Clitsome (whom you can safely leave or take) as UFAs.
Then you get into the RFAs: Matt Halischuk and Adam Lowry are guys who probably won't cost you much; Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, and Michael Hutchinson are the opposite. That doesn't include other guys who might crack the NHL roster by that point, and whose future paydays may therefore have to be considered when extending Byfuglien.
As with signing any player over the age of 30 to a long-term extension, but particularly defensemen, there are many factors to consider when nailing down details. A $7 million price point seems to be in the offing here, at the very least, and that's not so bad given what Byfuglien can currently do on the ice. But as Calgary so wantonly ignored with the Giordano deal, defenders can see their skills diminish pretty quickly in this league around their mid-30s, so any term longer than, say, three or four years becomes a major risk. Especially when considering how his payday impacts future generations of Jets defenders.
Funny as it is to say, Byfuglien, a clear No. 1 defenseman in this league — except when the Jets inexplicably use him as a forward, but that's another discussion entirely — may simply be seen by Winnipeg brass as something of a stopgap or bridge to the Josh Morrisseys and Jan Kostaleks of the world. Indeed, now might be the time for a younger player like Myers or Trouba to start getting more serious ice time. Not that Byfuglien necessarily earned such treatment, but that might be the way the wind's blowing, and he might find himself the odd man out. It is obviously hard to replace D-men of his quality, but they might have to try given their financial considerations.
Another thing to consider here is that the Jets, for all their success in generating interest in the Winnipeg market, remain a budget team because of how small their building is. They do not normally approach the salary cap (last year they finished the year at a little less than $63.7 million in obligations, well below the ceiling), and with the Canadian dollar doing what it is right now, there's no reason to expect that they'd suddenly start breaking the bank to retain Byfuglien or perhaps even Ladd, their captain.
There's also the question of the return Byfuglien would command if he were put on the open trade market (i.e. not just allowed to walk into free agency at the end of Winnipeg Jets Cup run, which is an absurd and abstract concept that no reasonable person can actually picture). The idea of trading him now, in September, is of course a non-starter; if teams are struggling to put together the puzzle pieces in a way that allows them to sign Cody Franson for more than one year and short dollar value, adding Byfuglien's huge-money contract — which carries a higher payout than AAV — just isn't likely to happen. That is, unless the Jets are willing to take back (expiring?) problem contracts of their own, which is a possibility, but that would only mean the other team would have to further sweeten the pot.
Let's put it this way: Look at the return Phil Kessel commanded from Pittsburgh. A clear high-end goal-scoring winger had to be shipped, with $1.2 million in retained salary, a half-decent D-prospect (though time is running out for ol' Tim Erixon), and Tyler Biggs. That's in exchange for just Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, Nick Spaling and a potential exchange of conditional picks. The Maple Leafs were clearly looking to offload the years-long obligation, though, rather than an expiring deal, so you take what you can get to some extent. One can't imagine anyone would be too eager to help out the Jets if they're that concerned about losing him.
So instead you probably have to let Byfuglien play at least some of the season, thus reducing his cap hit, and making everything a little more palatable for a trade. Maybe by that point you get the old Theo Epstein adage about the market — people paying gallon prices for a quart of milk — and maybe you don't. The deadline has been strange the last few years, and with the cap not especially likely to go up, one imagines that's a trend which will continue in February.
It's easy to say the Jets should trade Byfuglien (or Ladd for that matter), because they probably should. Never again will they have more value than they do right this second. But the market and the NHL's current economic situation paint a very grim picture of Winnipeg's options.
It's tough to envy Kevin Cheveldayoff is responsibility to make a decision here.
All stats via War on Ice unless otherwise stated.
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The Sun Belt will reportedly add Coastal Carolina as its 12th member.
ESPN is reporting that CCU will join the Sun Belt in all sports but football for the 2016-17 year, with the football program joining the league for the 2017-18 academic year.
According to multiple reports, the news will become official at a press conference Tuesday afternoon near Coastal Carolina’s Myrtle Beach, S.C., campus.
Coastal was reportedly voted in as a member over Eastern Kentucky, the other finalist for the 12th spot.
In football, the Chanticleers currently play at the FCS level in the Big South Conference and have reached the FCS playoffs in four of the past five seasons.
The addition of CCU will allow the Sun Belt to create divisions and a conference title game for football.
Appalachian State and Georgia Southern joined the league as full members in 2014, moving up from the FCS level. The league also added Idaho and New Mexico State as football-only members in 2014.
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We’ve written about a lot of shocking stories here, but perhaps none more confounding as what you’re about to read.
OK, deep breath:
A 23-year-old, who gets his summers off work, is having parties until 6 a.m. in August and failing to properly clean up his trash.
And that’s why we have capital punishment, people.
The true patriot who brought this story to our attention is Richard Peddie, former CEO of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a man who stands next to a brick wall for his Twitter avatar. At around 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning (when we assume the party ended), he snitched on Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin, who is in Yorkville this summer and has apparently been having some all-night ragers:
Tyler Seguin now behaving himself? Yorkville neighbours sure don't think so. Lots of loud noisy parties to 6am Lots of garbage left behind— Richard Peddie (@RichardAPeddie) September 1, 2015
Clearly, Seguin needs to be the Zac Efron to Peddie's Seth Rogen and invite him to the kegger.
So here's a former NHL executive, trafficking in idle gossip about an NHL player, knowing full well that this accusation is a match to gasoline when said player was basically run out of Boston for partying like a 21-year-old.
But Peddie isn’t just acting like your great aunt as she clutches her binoculars and calls the police about “those suspicious types across the street”; he’s declaring that a 23-year-old having a 6 a.m. rager is predictive of anything other than that 23 year olds love having 6 a.m. ragers.
Hey, it’s not like the former CEO of the Maple Leafs would have any reason to tarnish the reputation of Tyler Seguin, a.k.a. the one that got away, right?
Look, it’s hard to give any reformed party boy the benefit of the doubt in a post-Patrick Kane society, but I know 43 year olds that are loud and untidy when they have [expletive] all to do in the dead of summer – and they’re not even multi-millionaires.
So outside of not being able to run for a seat on the neighbourhood board for Bloor Terrace or Yorkville Estates or whatever the hell, this is just Peddie, er, petty gossip.
And with that, we congratulate Tyler Seguin for being the rare player that’s getting run out of Toronto despite never having played for the Leafs.
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Robert Griffin III is trying to his get his life, his career and his passwords back.
According to SB Nation, Griffin's official Instagram account "liked" a post from another user that slammed the Washington Redskins, their "sorry ass team owner" and dropped an #ImpeachDanSnyder hashtag for good measure (in case the subtlety hadn't come through earlier).
Griffin then responded with a block-lettering mandate headlined "I JUST WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT" and then went on to throw "one of the interns" under the bus for authorizing the previous like, saying he didn't have access to his own passwords. (An aside: Has Hillary Clinton tried that one yet?)
The always-blame-the-intern routine might work for other folks in D.C., but Griffin's approval rating is hovering at Rick Santorum-esque levels currently.
Remember when Griffin vowed to quit social media? Yeah, that was fun while it lasted. Even two weeks ago when Griffin tried to be both deferential and confident in the same interview, it came out twisted. Why? It's because too often his cup runneth over and Griffin uses the pronoun "I" where "we" might be the better substitute.
But it's too late now. That ship has sailed; social-media posts can be unliked, posts can be removed and all that, but we know what the deal was in the first place.
Instead of an intern, Robert, we suggest getting an editor. They save our bacon on a daily basis.
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Major League Baseball's waiver trade deadline rarely results in huge deals, but contending teams can still make upgrades while heading into the final month of the season.
The Cubs struck first, picking up Austin Jackson from the Seattle Mariners. While the Cubs were rumored to be involved in acquiring other players, the team was unable to get anything else done prior to the deadline.
Other contenders must have taken notice, as three more outfielders would change teams before the deadline passed.
The Kansas City Royals acquired Jonny Gomes from the Atlanta Braves for minor-league shortstop Luis Valenzuela. The 34-year-old Gomes hasn't hit much over the past two years, but has consistently performed better against lefties over his career. He's not much of a threat defensively, so it looks like he'll mostly be used as a reserve/pinch hitter once the team reaches October. Gomes is also regarded as a strong clubhouse presence, and it's possible the Royals valued that down the stretch. There's no word on whether the Royals will utilize Gomes on the mound.
The San Francisco Giants added Alejandro De Aza from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for pitcher Luis Ysla. De Aza's overall numbers for the season are underwhelming, though he's been much better since joining Boston. In 60 games with the club, De Aza has hit .292/.347/.484. He did so in just 178 plate appearances, so there's some concern about small sample, but it's clear the Giants think he has something left in his bat. Like Gomes, De Aza is expected to be used as a reserve down the stretch.
Finally, the Los Angeles Dodgers picked up Justin Ruggiano from the Mariners for a player to be named later. Ruggiano began the year in the majors, but was sent to Triple-A after hitting just .214. Ruggiano has been more effective against left-handers over his career, and will likely be used as a platoon/bench option in September.
None of the moves made Monday are considered major, though all four players can provide value for their clubs down the stretch. For teams in a playoff race, even the smallest tweak can make a big difference in October.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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It may be too late, but the Cleveland Indians are surging heading into September. The club picked up its sixth straight win Monday, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2.
Starter Danny Salazar was magnificent against the best offense in baseball. Salazar allowed just two runs on six hits over seven strong innings. He walked one and struck out 10 Blue Jays during the performance.
Though Salazar was great, the team ran into some trouble after he exited the game. Toronto was able to make things interesting in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Bryan Shaw picked up two quick outs to start the eighth, but followed that up by allowing a hit to Jose Bautista. He was removed from the game at that point in favor of closer Cody Allen.
Allen looked shaky to kick things off. After a single from Edwin Encarnacion put men on second and third, Allen intentionally walked Troy Tulowitzki after falling behind in the count 2-0. He was able to strike out Justin Smoak to end the frame.
Things weren't any easier in the ninth, though. Allen allowed two singles in the inning, bringing the winning run to the plate twice. Ben Revere popped out, setting the stage for American League MVP candidate Josh Donaldson to play the hero.
For once, Donaldson couldn't get the job done. Allen struck him out, preserving the victory. With the win, Cleveland improved to 64-66 on the year. The team is just four games out of the second wild card spot in the AL.
In what should come as no surprise, the Houston Astros won a game with Dallas Keuchel on the mound Monday. Keuchel was excellent, helping his team pull off the 8-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
The AL Cy Young award candidate tossed seven strong innings, allowing one run on six hits. He struck out eight and walked one during the contest.
With the win, Keuchel became the first 16-game winner in the American League. He did some show that he was human during the start, though, giving up his first home run in Minute Maid Park this season.
Trumbo's HR was first off Keuchel at Minute Maid Park this year in 367 at-bats. He'd started 17 straight here since last HR in 2014.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) September 1, 2015
Coming into the game, Keuchel had a 1.35 ERA at home this year. He's still in good shape, despite the home run.
With the win, Houston improved to 73-59 on the season. They are four games up on the Texas Rangers in the AL West.
The New York Mets gained a game in the standings Monday. The club did so by riding Bartolo Colon to a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Colon had everything working during the contest. He kept the Phillies off the board for eight innings, giving up just four hits. Colon struck out nine and walked one.
He was backed by Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson. Both players hit home runs in the fifth inning, giving Colon a three-run lead.
Jeurys Familia came on in the ninth, and made things interesting before finally closing it out. Familiar loaded the bases to kick things off. One run would come around to score, but Familia would induce a double play. With one out, and the tying run at the plate, Familia struck out Andres Blanco for the win.
With the victory, the Mets improved to 73-58. They hold a 6.5 game lead over the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
The Mets were able to gain a game Monday after the Washington Nationals bullpen imploded. The Nats couldn't hold a lead against the St. Louis Cardinals, eventually falling 8-5.
The loss was a real let-down for Washington. After the club fell behind by two runs early, the Nationals managed to claw their way back into the game.
The team cut the deficit to one run in the sixth, and managed to take a two-run lead on a Ryan Zimmerman home run the following inning. It wouldn't last.
In the bottom of the frame, Casey Janssen struggled to pick up outs. While he did induce a double play ball, it was too late. Janssen was removed after allowing the Cards to tie things up. Felipe Rivero came on in relief, but gave up a two-run double to Jason Heyward and a run-scoring single to Kolten Wong.
After the five-run inning, the Cardinals kept the Nationals off the board. With the win, St. Louis improved to 85-46 on the year.
Want to see more from Monday's slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.
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Milan Lucic has yet to play his first game as a member of the Los Angeles Kings, and already his thoughts are drifting to where he’ll play next.
OK, that’s the pitiless summary of what Lucic said on “The Bro Jake Show” on TSN 1040 during Monday’s interview, but it captures the spirit of the thing: Lucic, a Vancouver native, was asked if he’d ever play for the Canucks and he said it’s been his dream since he was a child … and that he’s a UFA next summer.
The question: “Do you think we’re ever going to see you here, in a Canucks jersey, ever?”
“[Laughs] I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen, moving on. I mean, I have one year left on my contract, and there's a possibility that I can hit the UFA market. It's obviously something that's been a dream of mine since I've been a kid: To play in your hometown and play for the Canucks. But right now, the main focus is going down to L.A. and trying to make the most of that. If you look at the roster, we’re still a really deep team that has another chance to make a Cup run. Right now I’m more worried about that than anything else.”
So there you go: Super committed to the Kings’ Cup quest, but admittedly fantasizing about having the Sedins dragging him up and down the ice for 82 games in a Vancouver Canucks jersey.
Hey, you can’t blame a guy for wanting to play the local hero. But maybe don’t treat the Los Angeles Kings as a rest stop that only sells championship rings, refueling on the way up the coast to B.C.?
Lucic will visit both his future home in Vancouver and his former home in Boston this season; he was asked which Boston Bruins player he’d like to get one over on when they battle.
“I’m good buddies with Tuukka. I’d love to get one past him. Maybe run through him like I did another goalie that I ran through before,” he said.
Just a reminder that Ryan Miller is signed with Vancouver through 2017 …
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Ortiz belted No. 494 on Sunday, prompting the Red Sox to put up a banner in left field that would count down his home runs until he reached that magical number.
It didn't take long for them to tear down the first number.
In the bottom of the fourth inning during Monday's contest against the New York Yankees, Ortiz collected No. 495. He belted an 85 mph changeup from Ivan Nova to the opposite field for the solo shot.
Ortiz came dangerously close to hitting the banner the Red Sox put up for him. It was as if he were saying, "I hate that banner, I want it to be gone and I will do everything in my power to make that happen quickly."
It was Ortiz's 29 home run of the season. While the 39-year-old started the season slowly, he's on pace to match his numbers from last year.
David Ortiz in 2014: .263/.355/.517 35 HR. David Ortiz in 2015: .263/.354/.525 on pace for 36 HR.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) September 1, 2015
Ortiz's run to No. 500 is somewhat amazing considering his career. While he showed some promise with the Minnesota Twins, Ortiz didn't develop into an All-Star until his age-28 season in Boston.
Given his late start and body type, few expected he would continue producing at this rate this late in his career. Ortiz's batting average has fallen off, sure, but he can still get on base and provide power at an above-average clip. Few players can do that at his age.
If he can keep up this pace, Ortiz will achieve the milestone hit at some point in September. Since 500 home runs is a nice, round number, that ought to spark a more furious debate about Ortiz's Hall of Fame candidacy. Hitting 500 home runs in no longer a lock for the Hall, but it should help Ortiz's cause.
Until then, Ortiz will continue to build his case. The Red Sox hold club options on Ortiz's contract through 2017. Next year's option may have already been guaranteed, giving him at least another season to pad his stats.
Based on Ortiz's graceful decline, it would be tough to count him out for 2017 as well. Most hitters are out of the league at his age, and the few who stick around struggle to hit above the Mendoza Line. As he's already proven during his amazing career, David Ortiz isn't most hitters.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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NEW YORK – On a humid, still day in New York, No. 1 Novak Djokovic had no intentions of spending an extra minute on the court. He's here on a misson, and he completed the first step in rapid fashion, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.
"I'm going to do everything in my power to get an opportunity to fight for the trophy. That's all I'm looking for," he said after the match.
Djokovic has every reason to expect to challenge for the title. He's 20-1 in Grand Slam matches this year, with two titles to his name. He barely missed the crown at Roland Garros, where he was runner-up to Stan Wawrinka.
No. 8 Rafael Nadal looked like he'd finish just as quickly as he took the court Monday night. He jumped out to a two-set lead over teenager Borna Coric.
Coric had beaten the 14-time Grand Slam champion in their only previous meeting. He took the third set off Nadal Monday, before the Spaniard rallied back to the 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory.
"I think I started playing well," Nadal said. "The first two sets was a very high level for me, then I got a little bit tired...The conditions here are very humid, I am sweating a lot and in those conditions I suffer a bit. I was able to play aggressive in the fourth. He is an amazing player and has a great future."
Earlier in the day, former U.S. Open quarterfinalist Mardy Fish started what will be his final U.S. Open appearance. It's also his first since 2012. He won his opening match over Marco Cecchinato, 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
NEW YORK – Serena Williams stuck to the script Monday night, moving on to the second round of the U.S. Open and continuing her quest to complete the first calendar Grand Slam since 1988.
For all the hype that led up to this match, it was a sputtering start to the tournament. Williams' opponent retired just two games into the second set. But, a win's a win. Williams moves on.
"It was definitely different and bizarre," the 21-time Grand Slam champion said after the match. "But at the same time I was still focused. I kept thinking, you know, just stay focused; don't lose it."
There was really never any chance she'd lose it. Williams and Vitalia Diatchenko were on the court for just 30 minutes before Diatchenko retired with a foot injury. She had already called the trainer out to wrap her left ankle earlier in the match.
Williams held a 6-0, 2-0 when Diatchenko retired. She served six aces and won 13 of 14 first-serve points in the shortened match.
This was Williams' first match under the newly-constructed Arthur Ashe roof skeleton. The roof will not be functional until 2016, but the structure has already altered the atmosphere instide. It made it feel like a dome, Williams said, adding that it felt more intimate. She's always loved the fans in New York. Now, she feels that much closer to them.
“I can feel the love and support on my journey," she said to the crowd after the match. "Whatever happens, I’m here at home, where it all began in 1999."
Earlier Monday, older sister Venus Williams advanced with a three-set win. Americans CoCo Vandeweghe, Madison Brengle, Jessica Pegula, Irina Falconi, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and Madison Keys also advanced. Keys closed out her win in just over an hour, defeating Klara Koukalova 6-2, 6-4.
Serena will face Kiki Bertens in the second round.
NEW YORK – The Pegula family owns the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NHL's Buffalo Sabres, but the family's biggest win of the year didn't come in Buffalo.
About 400 miles to the southeast, daugther Jessica Pegula earned that honor as she won her Grand Slam debut on Monday afternoon in New York City.
Pegula upset Roland Garros quarterfinalist Alison Van Uytvanck in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.
The 21-year-old is ranked 260th in the world. She earned a spot in the main draw by advancing through the qualifying rounds, were she edged 2009 break-out star Melanie Oudin.
With Pegula making her way into the main draw, the tournament now has familial ties to the NHL, NFL, and NBA. The NBA connection comes from CoCo Vandeweghe, niece of Kiki Vandeweghe and granddaughter of former New York Knick Ernie Vandeweghe. She also won Monday, advancing to the second round for the third year in a row.
When coveted free-agent center DeAndre Jordan broke a verbal agreement to join the Dallas Mavericks to return to the Los Angeles Clippers, analysts and observers wondered what could have changed his mind over the course of just a few days. Did the Clippers wage an assault to convince him L.A. was the place for him? Was their emoji science too tight? Was Blake Griffin's chair barricade just too strong?
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While speculation over the cause varied and did not absolve Jordan of his mistakes, the most informed takes suggested that the shot-blocking, oop-dunking dynamo had felt pushed into the Mavericks deal by agent Dan Fegan, who has a longstanding relationship with Mark Cuban. The smart money said that Jordan would not retain Fegan's services for long after his reversal.
That has now come to pass. According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Jordan has parted ways with Fegan and his fellow representatives at Relativity Sports:
Jordan informed agents Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana last week that he was moving “in another direction,” said an NBA official not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Despite leaving Relativity Sports, Jordan still had to pay the agency the 4% it earned when he re-signed with the Clippers for $88 million over four years.
Jordan now has left three agents in seven seasons – Joel Bell, Wasserman Media Group and now Relativity Sports. He can’t sign with another agent until 15 days have passed after letting his former agents go.
Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal reported that Jordan's Clippers teammate Austin Rivers has also left Relativity to join ASM Sports, although it's not clear if his decision is related to the Jordan saga.
Reports at the time of Jordan's decision to go back to the Clippers indicated that he felt Fegan had pushed him towards the Mavericks due to his relationship with Cuban. The two have worked together on several deals in the past (not all successful) and were thought to have orchestrated Jordan's move to Dallas in some detail. Jordan's dissatisfaction seemed clear on the day of his move back to Los Angeles, when he apparently did not contact Fegan about his change of heart and left a number of interested parties in the dark.
Jordan will now need to find new representation, although his new four-year deal takes away some of the urgency. Whenever he decides to make his choice, it's likely that prospective agents will want some kind of explanation of what went down with the Mavericks, Clippers, and Fegan.
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LSU has its starting quarterback. Coach Les Miles said Monday evening that Brandon Harris had beaten out Anthony Jennings for the job.
“Brandon Harris, he’s throwing the ball more accurately,” Miles said via the Baton Rouge Advocate. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do.”
Miles did say that both Harris and Jennings would see playing time against McNeese State on September 5. While the Cowboys gave Nebraska a big scare in 2014, it wouldn't be surprising if a lot of LSU's backups see the field in the second half.
Harris was considered the frontrunner for the job despite receiving less playing time than Jennings did in 2014. He started just one game in 2014 and it was a disaster. As the Tigers lost 41-7 to Auburn, Harris was 3-14 passing for 58 yards. 52 yards came on one completion.
Jennings started LSU's 12 other games in 2014, though he wasn't much better. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes. LSU's passing offense was dreadful throughout the season. The Tigers were ahead of only Wisconsin, Minnesota, Georgia Tech and Boston College among Power Five teams in passing in 2014. Though it is important to note that those teams all excelled at running the football; LSU's Leonard Fournette is a 2015 Heisman candidate.
Jennings was arrested over the summer with two LSU teammates after they went to retrieve items from someone else's apartment. None of the players were formally charged.
Harris' high school coach said in January that he wanted Harris to transfer to revive his career. Now that Harris has the starting job, that doesn't seem too necessary does it? Harris was a four-star recruit and the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2014.
For more LSU news, visit Tigerbait.com.
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Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier is known for his stellar defense in the outfield. That hasn't come across lately, as Kiermaier looked silly on a recent home run ball that hit the catwalk.
He made up for that Monday against the Baltimore Orioles, though. In the bottom of the first inning, Manny Machado hit a ball out to deep center. It certainly had the distance to leave the park, that is, until Kiermaier showed up.
Kiermaier not only tracked the ball perfectly, but was able to jump high enough to make the play. He didn't even use the wall to boost himself up, making the catch even more impressive. You can tell based on where Kiermaier makes the catch that Machado had a no-doubt home run taken away from him on the play.
Amazingly, it looks like Kiermaier may have predicted his excellent defensive play prior to the contest.
#Rays Kiermaier talking pre-game: "If I have to go back there and jump and take one away, I’d love to do it.”— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) August 31, 2015
So, on top of flying, we can now assume Kiermaier also has psychic abilities. We're not sure a baseball player has ever been compared to Jean Grey before, but we're willing to go there. How else can you explain this series of events?
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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Running back Trent Richardson didn't make the Oakland Raiders' roster. He didn't even make the cutdown to 75 players on Monday.
Richardson was released by the Raiders, as reported by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson. Richardson might be done in the NFL after his abrupt end in Oakland. The Raiders gave him a two-year, $3.85 million contract with $600,000 guaranteed, according to Spotrac, which seemed high because who were they bidding against? Richardson was traded from Cleveland and failed spectacularly with the Indianapolis Colts. The third overall pick of the 2012 draft averaged just 3.1 yards per carry with the Colts in 29 games.
Even though he was bad with the Colts, it seemed worth a flier for the Raiders (although at a higher price than anyone should have paid). Then Richardson had just 42 yards on 15 preseason carries. He still has problems finding the hole or getting through it when he spots it. It was clear that Richardson was behind many of the Raiders' backup backs, including former Auburn standout Michael Dyer. There was no reason for Oakland to keep him around until the final cuts.
What's next for Richardson? Any team giving him another chance is doing so because they remember his college tape from Alabama and must believe that there's a correctable reason he has been so bad in the NFL. If Richardson doesn't reemerge he'll go down as a massive first-round bust. Not only was he the third overall pick by Cleveland, but Indianapolis doubled down by trading a first-rounder to Cleveland to get him. Two teams invested first-round picks for Richardson for 2,032 career yards on 614 carries.
The Raiders decided they had seen enough after three preseason games and saw the $600,000 they gave Richardson as a sunk cost. Will anyone else see anything in Richardson after that?
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Kris Tamulis had been waiting a long time for this – 185 starts to be exact. But on Sunday, she finally earned a breakthrough win on the LPGA Tour, taking the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Alabama.
She had to play 29 holes on Sunday to do it, finishing out a weather-delayed third round at The Senator Course in Prattville with a 5-under 67, then did two better in the final round with a 65 that held off former No. 1 Yani Tseng and Austin Ernst by a shot at 17-under 271.
The 34-year-old may well have been helped by the marathon nature of the finish, leaving little time to think about what could happen.
"It was amazing," Tamulis said after the win. "I was definitely not expecting this today."
Tamulis made a birdie on the 71st hole of the tournament and came up just short of another on the 18th, left to wonder if someone would catch her from well behind. After waiting almost an hour, the 34-year-old had her win when neither Ernst nor Tseng, playing together, could convert their birdie putts.
"When they both missed I was just shocked," said Tamulis, who didn't even bother hopping to the range to prepare for a potential playoff. She didn't follow what was happening on the course on her phone, either. A friend did that, according to the Associated Press.
After the win, Tamulis said she was inspired by her caddie, Thomas “Motion” Frank, who lost his Houston home, which he purchased from his mother, in April in a fire caused by a lightning strike.
“Mo believes in me more than I believe in me,” said Tamulis, according to Golf Channel. “He’s just such an inspiration.”
Tamulis and her fellow LPGA players raised $14,000 to help Frank rebuild the home.
“Having what happened to him really puts everything in perspective,” Tamulis said. “He's been dealing with the city and trying to figure out his house situation since then. That was in April. He shows up. He's great, and I am so thankful. He really puts everything in perspective for me, and I'm just really lucky to have him.”
The Chicago Cubs aren't playing around. With about a month left before the playoffs, the team is still looking for ways to improve. They showed as much Monday, acquiring outfielder Austin Jackson from the Seattle Mariners.
Hearing Jackson has been traded to the Cubs.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) August 31, 2015
The move, while not major, should help the team down the stretch. Jorge Soler is currently sidelined due to an oblique issue, and neither Chris Coghlan or Chris Denorfia have established themselves as full-time options.
Jackson is hitting .272/.312/.387, so he isn't really an upgrade at the plate. He can play center field and has some value as a pinch runner, though. Jackson's stolen base figures are somewhat questionable, as he's been caught nine times this season, but he's the type of guy who could go first to third on a single, and that can make a big difference during a playoff game.
The Cubs aren't counting on Jackson to be a full-time player, and that's probably a good thing. While he could probably still start on other teams, he'll make for one heck of a fourth outfielder with Chicago. The club didn't give up much to acquire Jackson, so the move makes sense.
Austin Jackson traded to Cubs for player to be named and possible international slot.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) August 31, 2015
For Seattle, the trade allows them to get a look at Brad Miller in center. Miller hasn't really developed as a shortstop, but the team is still looking for a way to keep him involved. If he can prove himself over the final month, there's a chance he'll work his way into the team's future plans. If not, the club will be looking for replacements during the offseason.
While the trade benefits both clubs, the Cubs side is more significant now. It doesn't look like a major acquisition on paper, but Jackson could play a significant role down the stretch if used correctly.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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Sometimes, all it takes to do something is belief, persistence and patience.
At 46, Dicky Pride earned his 2015-16 PGA Tour status on Sunday in the final regular-season event on the Web.com Tour, winning the WinCo Foods Portland Open for his first professional win in some 21 years. He jumped from 40th on the money list to fifth, guaranteeing him one of 25 PGA Tour cards up for grabs from the season-long money list.
The journeyman knew this was coming, or at least that's what he was telling himself with a card he'd carried in his wallet for most of the Web.com Tour season, which he shared on Twitter after his win.
This has been in my wallet for 6 months I look at it every day. Dream it Believe it write it down and watch it happen pic.twitter.com/fYICaxVwtm— Dicky Pride (@DickyPride) August 31, 2015
The three-shot win sends Pride back to the PGA Tour, while Tim Herron, who finished second and three behind Pride, jumped up from outside the Web.com Tour Finals into the 32nd spot with a chance to earn one of the 25 PGA Tour cards available in the four-event series that runs concurrently alongside the remainder of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs.
John Daly is lucky to be alive after he collapsed Saturday during a Jackson, Miss., area golf tournament.
Daly passed out on the 18th hole at Deefield Golf Club while competing in a small event, including several friends. He was eventually taken to nearby Baptist Medical Center and treated for a collapsed lung, but, in the initial moments after the collapse, Daly was not breathing.
“I had my arm around him when he went down. He had no pulse and wasn’t breathing for close to three minutes,” said playing partner Will Dottley, according to Golf Channel. “It was kind of a miracle.”
Dottley said a nurse in the gallery performed CPR on Daly.
Daly's agent, Bud Martin, said Daly's injury was partially the result of a rib injury he suffered in 2007 at the Honda Classic, when Daly had to stop his swing on the 12th hole of the first round when a female fan, according to Daly, stepped out in front of him mid-swing to snap a picture of the two-time major winner. Witnesses and playing partners said Daly had been struggling in the 90-degree heat on the course and had appeared in poor condition before the incident.
However, after Daly was released on Sunday morning, he returned to the course to finish the tournament.
The 49-year-old is eligible to compete on the Champions Tour, reserved for players who are 50 and older, in April 2016.
Greyson Lambert will start Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana-Monroe, coach Mark Richt announced Monday.
Richt said Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta will share second-team reps this week.
“There may be other or others who get in the game, but right now the thing that I know that he’ll start the game,” Richt said. “Very, very close competition. Still being contested in my mind. But at this point we felt it'd be wise to name a starter and get him ready to play in this ballgame.”
Lambert was a transfer from Virginia where he started eight games last season before being replaced. He completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,632 yards 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Last week, Richt said he was reluctant to name a starting quarterback and that he might need to see some actual game reps to choose a starter. However, all that changed after Saturday’s scrimmage. Richt said he and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer felt good about Lambert then, but wanted to give it a couple days. The quarterbacks learned of the depth chart prior to Monday’s practice.
Ramsey was the favorite to win the starting role because he was the backup to Hutson Mason last year and he put up decent numbers in limited time. However, Richt’s reluctance to name Ramsey the starter seemed to open the door for Lambert to win the starting role.
Lambert’s only been on campus for 49 days, but in that time he’s picked up the playbook and taken command of the offense.
Richt said while Lambert is the Week 1 starter, the competition is by no means closed.
“I think they all can get us in the right plays. I think they can all get us in the right protections. I think they can all function extremely well and help us win,” Richt said. “That’s what made it really tough. I can’t tell you how many times we went back and forth on the thing, quite frankly. So it was very close.”
For more Georgia news, visit UGASports.com.
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Everett Golson is Florida State's starting quarterback.
The Notre Dame transfer was named the Seminoles' week one starter Monday afternoon by coach Jimbo Fisher. Golson had been competing with Sean Maguire for the position. Maguire spent 2014 as the primary backup for Jameis Winston and started against Clemson after Winston was suspended following an inappropriate act on campus.
Golson transferred from Notre Dame following the 2014 season after he lost his starting job at the end of the year to Malik Zaire. As a graduate transfer Golson was eligible to play immediately. His first FSU start will come against Texas State.
While Florida State had been reluctant to name a starter, Golson winning the job isn't too surprising. It would have been unlikely he would transfer somewhere to play his final season of college football and not be the starting quarterback.
Golson started the 2014 season strong but was plagued by turnovers in the second half of the season. He was also the starting quarterback for Notre Dame when the Fighting Irish went to the BCS Championship Game against Alabama following the 2012 season. He missed the 2013 season because of academic issues.
He also has has the same number of starts at Doak Campbell Stadium as Maguire. Golson was the starter for Notre Dame when the Irish traveled to Tallahassee in October 2014. Florida State won the game 31-27 when a late Notre Dame touchdown was nullified because of offensive pass interference.
For more Florida State news, visit Warchant.com.
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Rob Manfred has reportedly come to a decision on whether to reinstate former Chicago White Sox great Shoeless Joe Jackson. Arlene Marcley, curator of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, S.C., will reveal Jackson's fate on the museum's Facebook page Tuesday, according to Greenville Online.
Shortly after Manfred took office, Marcley organized a petition asking him to consider reinstating the outfielder. Jackson was one of the eight members of the 1919 White Sox who were banned from the game by former commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis after allegedly throwing the World Series.
Jackson was accused of accepting a bribe to throw games, though he was acquitted of those charges by a Chicago court. Despite the acquittal, Jackson remains banned from baseball.
This whole reinstatement situation is a little strange. If Jackson were being reinstated, you would think Major League Baseball would make that announcement. At the same time, the fact that the museum is promoting the announcement makes it look like that's exactly what's going to happen.
Of course, it's possible Jackson won't be reinstated, and the museum is releasing the news in order to get some attention. It's starting to look like that's the case.
For what it's worth, Shoeless Joe Jackson is not getting reinstated by MLB tomorrow— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) August 31, 2015
If that's what happens, we can't really fault the museum for promoting the story. If they have a letter from Manfred ruling on Jackson's reinstatement, even if it's a negative outcome, that's still significant to them. Plus, a little self promotion in this case is hardly the worst thing.
If Manfred has truly made a decision regarding Jackson's reinstatement, questions about Pete Rose are sure to follow. A decision on Rose is expected by the end of the year, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
While the two cases aren't directly connected, it would be tough to see Rose allowed back in the game if Jackson remains ineligible. Jackson was at least acquitted by a jury, while Rose accepted a lifetime ban and admitted to gambling on baseball. Letting one of them in while the other remains out doesn't make a lot of sense unless Manfred is all-in on the Rose redemption tour.
In Jackson's case, it looks like we'll have our answer Tuesday. Reinstating Jackson would be a major story that could have huge implications regarding how Manfred will approach the Rose decision. If something that big is going to happen, we doubt MLB would allow anyone else to break the news.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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With less than a week remaining until the FBS college football season kicks off, there are still several Power Five quarterback battles that have yet to be decided, including some involving possible College Football Playoff contenders.
Here’s a look at the starting quarterback battles that are still raging:
Contenders: Sean Maguire, Everett Golson
** Coach Jimbo Fisher named Everett Golson the starting QB after this post was published **
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has been reluctant to name starting quarterback through fall camp and that didn’t change when camp practices ended Saturday.
“We’ll name it when we think it’s right,” Fisher said. “We’ll keep watching the film and evaluating.”
Maguire was the backup last season and the leader heading into fall camp, but that’s because Golson was a transfer from Notre Dame and had not yet worked with the Seminoles offense. Obviously Golson has picked things up or the starter wouldn’t be a question. However, as noted in the Orlando Sentinel, Maguire has been taking the first snaps at quarterback while Golson has been taking the second.
“I’ll name a quarterback when I’m ready,” Fisher said. “You can ask, I know you’ve got to ask. I have no problem with that. I know exactly what I’m going to do.”
It’s hard to believe you’d bring a QB like Golson — a QB that once led Notre Dame to the national title game — and not play him. Still, he did lose his starting spot at Notre Dame and had issues with turnovers a year ago. If Golson isn’t the best option, Fisher has to cut his losses. Maguire looked shaky in his only start (last season against Clemson), but that was a year ago and he’s probably gained some confidence knowing he was the frontrunner for the position.
Contenders: Will Gardner, Kyle Bolin, Reggie Bonnafon, Lamar Jackson
Coach Bobby Petrino said he’s in no hurry to name a starting quarterback and that all four competitors were in the running to start the season opener against Auburn on Saturday.
“They’ve all been competing, all been taking a lot of reps, all been working hard to get better at practice every day,” Petrino told “The John Stashower Show.” “They continue to do that, and we’re in no hurry to make a decision or announce a decision. We just want to figure out a way to get better each day in practice.”
This is a bit of gamesmanship by Petrino. He has to have an idea of his starter going into this season-defining game against Auburn, but he’s not willing to give Auburn the advantage of knowing whom that will be.
Gardner was the opening day starter a year ago, but suffered a season-ending knee injury later in the year. Still, he was the Cardinals’ best passer, leading the team with 1,669 yards and 12 passing touchdowns in 2014. Bonnafon, who started five games last season, is the team’s best running quarterback. However, he completed only 50.8 percent of his passes last year. Reports out of camp say that his passing and footwork have improved, and Bonnafon’s agility might be an asset with a rebuilt offensive line.
Bolin played in four games a year ago and started the Belk Bowl. He threw for 716 yards and four touchdowns on the year, but was most effective against Kentucky where he completed 21-of-31 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns after replacing Bonnafon in the second quarter. He turned a 13-0 deficit into a 44-40 win.
Miller is definitely the longshot since he’s a true freshman, but the four-star recruit might be the best mixture of passing and running talent.
Petrino has said multiple times that there’s no advantage to naming a starting quarterback publically, so don’t expect that answer to come before kickoff.
Petrino on if he's decided on a starting quarterback but just isn't saying: "I've probably got a pretty good idea."— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) August 31, 2015
Contenders: Jesse Ertz, Joe Hubener, Alex Delton, Jonathan Banks
Coach Bill Snyder said during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference that he would name a starting quarterback on Tuesday, but Ertz appears to be the favorite to replace Jake Waters.
“It was very competitive throughout,” Snyder said. “I have a great deal of faith in all four of the youngsters. They worked hard. Those that had less experience in the program were diligent about learning our system and made amazing progress in that respect.”
Ertz has run with the first-team offense during practices and scrimmages and media reports say that he’s been the most accurate quarterback during fall camp.
Ertz played in four games as a redshirt freshman last season, but never threw a pass. He rushed for 46 yards on seven attempts.
Contenders: Davis Webb, Patrick Mahomes
Texas Tech released a depth chart Sunday and had Webb and Mahomes listed as “or” starters.
Both played a year ago. Webb started the first eight games before suffering an injury. He finished the season completing 61.2 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Mahomes stepped in and completed 56.8 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury noted during a Chamber of Commerce event in Lubbock last week that he probably wouldn’t make the starter public until Saturday’s opener against San Houston State.
“We’ll try one guy and let them going at it on Saturday — there won’t be some announcement or anything like that — but both have pushed each other and it’s exciting to see their development,” Kingsbury told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
While Kingsbury is being coy about his starting quarterback, popular opinion seems to point to Mahomes as the frontrunner.
Contenders: Shane Morris, Jake Rudock
There’s been rampant speculation about the contest between Morris and Ruddock, but Harbaugh has remained tight-lipped about the situation. Initially Harbaugh said he didn’t want to announce his starter until he saw the depth chart of first-week opponent Utah, but that depth chart was released early Monday and still no public peep from the Wolverines.
Morris was probably best known as the quarterback who suffered a concussion and was sent back on the field to take a snap a year ago. But he was the Wolverines’ backup last season and completed just 35 percent of his passes for 128 yards and three interceptions.
Rudock started at Iowa last year and completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 2,436 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions.
While there were a lot of bad things about Michigan last year, inconsistent quarterback play was definitely at the top of the list. One would have to think Rudock, who threw for more than 2,000 yards in both his seasons as starter at Iowa, would have to be the frontrunner, but according to Harbaugh, only the team knows that for sure.
"To the team, yeah (we'll make sure they know in time), (the competition's) something that's been ongoing and that takes place on the team,” Harbaugh said. “They'll know. ... and they do know that (the quarterback race has) been tight, close."
Contenders: J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones
The derby for Ohio State’s starting quarterback position has been closely monitored by pretty much everyone all offseason and there’s still no clear-cut winner.
Coach Urban Meyer said Monday morning that the race was too close to call and that he wasn’t ready to announce a starter for Monday’s opener against Virginia Tech. Both Barrett and Jones have said they’d rather have one starter than share the role, but Meyer was adamant that he hasn’t ruled that out.
"We'll announce the starter when the first guy takes the snap," Meyer said during his Monday news conference. "It's still very close, both guys are performing very well.
"If it was different skill sets, we probably would (need to decide), but they're not. If you look at J.T.'s game plan when he was our quarterback and Cardale's, it was very similar. There's a chance they'll both play, as well, so that hasn't really (been a factor) with our mindset with a game plan on offense."
There’s no bad choice here for Urban Meyer, which is probably why he’s having such a tough time declaring a starter. Could he pick a quarterback based on the defense he’s facing? That would interesting.
In any case, this is a problem a lot of coaches on this list wish they had.
Contenders: Brice Ramsey, Greyson Lambert, Faton Bauta
** Coach Mark Richt named Greyson Lambert his Week 1 starter after this post was published **
The search for the replacement for Hutson Mason might extend into the season.
Coach Mark Richt has been reluctant to name a starting quarterback during fall camp and he hinted that he might need to see how the competitors respond in games before he can make a decision.
“I'd like to know and have some peace about it; when I make a big decision, I like to have peace,” Richt said. “I don't have that right now.
”I'm a patient guy, but the clock is ticking. I got a feeling it will play out in the games.”
Ramsey was the backup last year and Lambert is a transfer from Virginia. Both have led the first-team offense during scrimmages this season (Bauta has been running with the twos). Ramsey was listed atop the depth chart in early July, but that was more because of his experience within the system than something definitive. Ramsey played in eight games last year and completed 24-for-39 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns.
In his final year at Virginia, Lambert completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,632 yards 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Initially, many thought Ramsey would be a shoo-in to fill the starting role, but Richt’s reluctance to name him the starter means Lambert has come along quickly in a month. Still, the fact that Georgia is an SEC title contender with no starting quarterback has to have many Bulldog fans a tad bit nervous.
Contenders: Johnny McCrary, Wade Freebeck
The winner of the competition between Johnny McCrary and Wade Freebeck will not be announced publicly before the Thursday season opener against Western Kentucky, but coach Derek Mason remarked earlier in the year that one of the biggest things he learned from his first year as head coach was to pick one starting quarterback and stick with him.
The Commodores started four different quarterbacks last season and it led to more inconsistency than wins.
McCrary played in seven games last season and started the final five of the year. He completed 78-of-152 passes for 985 yards and nine touchdowns, which was the best among all Vandy quarterbacks.
Freebeck played in five games last year and started contests against UMass, Kentucky, Georgia and Charleston Southern. He finished the season completing 34-of-72 passes for 376 yards and one touchdown.
Mason noted last week that the team knows its starting quarterback, but that he’ll wait for offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig to make that announcement official.
Contenders: Brandon Harris, Anthony Jennings
** Coach Les Miles named Brandon Harris the starting QB after this post was published **
Coach Les Miles hasn’t spilled the beans regarding his starting quarterback, but he’s hinted at a frontrunner.
"I would not be surprised to see Brandon Harris take a first snap," Miles said. "Who takes the last snap and who is the starter at the back end of the season, I'm going to withhold my judgment."
Harris was awarded the starting role after Jennings was suspended following an arrest this past summer. Jennings was suspended from team activities, but after the district attorney decided not to pursue charges, Jennings was allowed to rejoin the team.
Miles has said Harris has not lost that starting role despite the fact that Jennings started 12 games last season.
"[Harris has] not lost his position," Miles said. "He's kind of put himself in that position based on a summer's body of work and he's continued that path."
Harris completed just 25-of-45 passes last season for 452 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Jennings completed 111-of-227 passes for 1,611 yards for 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
However, Jennings didn’t win LSU a lot of games last season (the defense did that) and if the Tigers want to be an SEC contenders and a national contender, it will need great improvement from its quarterback spot.
Contenders: Cooper Bateman, Alec Morris, Jake Coker, Blake Barnett, David Cornwell
It’s been awhile since Alabama has entered a game week without naming a starting quarterback. Monday’s depth chart release named all five competitors as possible starters, though coach Nick Saban did acknowledge that Bateman, Morris, and Coker have been rotating first-team reps.
“I would like somebody to win the team over which may not happen until they play,” Saban said during his Monday news conference. “When you have guys that haven’t played before, that’s the case.”
The search for a starting quarterback has caused Saban considerable angst. He said he would have loved to have named a starter months ago, but that none of the quarterbacks have emerged as a consistent frontrunner.
Saban on QBs this week: Each day a different QB (Jake Coker, Alec Morris, Cooper Bateman) will get a chance to run practice as the starter.— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) August 31, 2015
And Saban hasn’t ruled out playing multiple quarterbacks until one can separate himself from the pack.
“If both guys can play well, and both guys can do well, not necessarily,” Saban said. “I don’t necessarily remember saying we were going to play multiple quarterbacks, but maybe I did say it. A lot of people have had success playing multiple quarterbacks.”
Coker was definitely the favorite heading into this season because he played backup to Blake Sims a year ago. However, similar to a year ago, Coker has not yet entrenched himself as a viable SEC starter. Cromwell drew praise in the spring, but has apparently yielded to Bateman and Morris.
While we don’t know who that starter is, we do know that Saban has a pretty good track record of picking the right guy even if that goes against public opinion.
And don’t forget to keep up with all of Graham’s thoughts, witty comments and college football discussions on Facebook
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Derek Holland had an excellent day Sunday. He threw a three-hit shutout against the Baltimore Orioles with 11 strikeouts as the Texas Rangers won 6-0. It was Holland's third start since returning from a shoulder injury that had him sidelined since April.
Holland has a little something extra in his corner these days. And if you're a fan of baseball movies, you're sure to love this. The 28-year-old has fully embraced "Major League" and now has a Jobu doll in his locker to go along with the Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn-inspired haircut he's been sporting for the past couple weeks.
Like those overachieving fictional Indians, the current Rangers are surpassing everyone's expectations. They'd be in the playoffs if the season ended right now, owners of the second AL wild card. They are also within range to challenge the Houston Astros for the AL West title, three games out entering Monday's action.
Since we at The Stew are devoted fans of "Major League" and Jobu, we give Holland a round of applause. But we also think all of this deserves a little more inspection. First, here's the haircut:
And now, here's the video Holland posted to Instagram unboxing the Jobu doll that a fan sent him after his public display of Wild Thing-ness:
Other Rangers fans seem to be on board too. Holland posted the fan-made pic below on his Instagram on Monday afternoon. It has Adrian Beltre as "Major League's" Pedro Cerrano and some of the other Rangers, including Holland and Elvis Andrus, gathered around him like the famous scene from the movie where Jobu is introduced:
BLS H/N: Dallas Morning News
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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UCLA defensive back Ishmael Adams was arrested early Sunday for an alleged incident with an Uber driver, according to a report from the Daily Bruin. His bail is set at $100,000.
The report says Adams is accused of using force to steal the driver's cell phone around 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
From the Daily Bruin:
Police arrested UCLA cornerback Ishmael Adams for allegedly stealing an Uber driver’s cell phone outside of UCPD headquarters on campus early Sunday.
Adams, a redshirt junior on the UCLA football team, was arrested about 3:30 a.m. near the Facilities Management building in central campus about a block away from the reported robbery, according to police logs. His bail was set at $100,000.
Adams was arrested about 12 minutes after the driver called police and reported the robbery. The driver also reported apparent minor injuries, police said.
UCLA said in a statement that it is aware of the incident.
“We are aware of the situation and continuing to gather information,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “As this is a pending legal matter, we will have no further comment at this time.”
According to KTLA, Adams, who is As%20of%205%20mins%20ago,%20Adams%20was%20still%20being%20held%20in%20jail%20on%20$100,00,%20according%20to%20UCLA%20PD.%20Charge%20was%20robbery%20(212.5).
As%20of%205%20mins%20ago,%20Adams%20was%20still%20being%20held%20in%20jail%20on%20$100,00,%20according%20to%20UCLA%20PD.%20Charge%20was%20robbery%20(212.5).—%20Kyle%20Bonagura%20(@BonaguraESPN)%20August%2031,%202015%20">reportedly still in custody, was charged with robbery and has a court appearance scheduled for Tuesday.
Adams, a redshirt junior, started in all 13 games was a first team All-Pac-12 selection last year. He registered 41 tackles and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. Adams also established himself as a dangerous return man, scoring on an electric 100-yard kickoff return at Arizona State.
He also started every game in 2013 and led the Bruins with four interceptions. He also totaled 61 tackles and had a 35.0-yard kick return average.
UCLA’s season opens up at home against Virginia on Saturday.
For more UCLA news, visit BruinSportsReport.com.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars spent big money on a splashy free-agent addition, former Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas. The Jaguars, though, are going to have to wait a while to see him in action.
Thomas is expected to need surgery on a tendon in his finger and will miss 4-5 weeks, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Thomas is seeking a second opinion.
This is another tough blow for a Jaguars team that already lost pass rusher Dante Fowler, the third pick of the draft, back in his first offseason minicamp.
Thomas suffered a broken middle finger in the Jaguars' preseason opener, but he was supposed to be ready for Week 1. Something changed in the diagnosis.
The Jaguars were hoping Thomas gave them another piece on offense to help quarterback Blake Bortles' development. They have young receivers like Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns, and are excited for rookie running back T.J. Yeldon, but Thomas would have been a nice threat, especially in the red zone. Thomas had 12 touchdowns each of the last two seasons catching balls from Denver's Peyton Manning.
The season hasn't even started and the Jaguars lost their most exciting addition on defense for the whole season and their most exciting offensive addition for perhaps a quarter of the season. That doesn't make their rebuilding efforts any easier.
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The Redskins have finally sacked their quarterback. The Dallas running game remains a mess. San Diego's rookie runner is off to a slow start. Check out the newest Yahoo Fantasy Freak Show, where Brandon Funston and Scott Pianowski break it all down.
The NBA offseason has brought many changes to rosters, coaching staffs, and the list of championship contenders. As we draw closer to opening night, it's time to move our focus from the potential impact of each offseason event and onto the broader issues that figure to define this season. The BDL 25 takes stock of, uh, 25 key storylines to get you up to speed on where the most fascinating teams, players, and people stand on the brink of 2015-16.
The next year will feature a great deal of speculation about Kevin Durant's future. The pending unrestricted free agent is that rarest of things — a generation-defining superstar who will become available in (or on the cusp) of his prime. Like LeBron James before him, Durant commands enough attention to make all the rumors and speculation to come seem at least somewhat sensible. Transformational talents demand such attention, and the entire league will feel the reverberations of Durant's eventual decision to stay with or leave the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Before we look to far ahead, though, it's worth remembering what 2015-16 could hold for one of the two best players of the last five years. Last season saw KD struggle through three foot surgeries over the span of six months, limiting him to just 27 games as the Thunder failed to make the playoffs for the first time since his second NBA season. OKC played like a team that missed him, depending on Russell Westbrook's impressive one-man wrecking crew to maintain any semblance of contender status. Even then, they couldn't manage better than 45 wins.
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Yet the impact of Durant's absence extended far beyond the Thunder. Although not up to his usual standards, KD's numbers were still excellent — 25.4 ppg on 50/40/85 shooting percentages, 6.6 rpg, and 4.1 apg with the lowest minutes average of his entire career. He was excellent even while hobbled, scoring with brute efficiency and contributing in various other parts of the game. An understandable lack of MVP consideration did not change the fact that he was very much the same kind of player who won the award the 2014. It's fair to assume that anything approaching a healthy season for Durant would have kept the Thunder in the ranks of the West's elite and made things substantially tougher for the Golden State Warriors and other rivals. Without taking anything away from teams that outpaced the Thunder in 2014-15, the NBA lacked something with Durant out for so many games. Yes, injuries occur every year, but they rarely turn the reigning MVP into an irrelevant figure.
It would be an exaggeration to say that Durant's return makes the NBA whole again, because the league proved it is strong enough to be just fine without him. But his pending free agency has perhaps taken too much away from the excitement that should surround all he might accomplish this year. Here's a quick refresher on what Durant offers — the most varied and best scoring abilities of his generation, the possibility of a 50-point at any time, the near-certainty of a 30 points, a disarming casualness that could morph into a vicious streak at any moment, the still-jarring sight of a seven-footer playing like a guard, etc. He is a transformational figure.
The free-agent story is going to dominate any discussion of Durant this season — anyone who suggests differently is naive. But the genius of KD is that, if he manages to stay on the floor, there will be 20 or 40 or maybe even 60 nights this season where he renders all that talk totally relevant. He will perform at such a high level that the basketball world won't be able to focus on anything but his incandescent talent. At least it'll be clear why everyone's so concerned with his next move.
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NEW YORK – Venus Williams continued her streak of perfection in the first round of the U.S. Open, this time defeating Monica Puig, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-3 on Monday afternoon.
Williams is the oldest woman in the draw this year. She has won her first-round match in all of her 17 appearances here.
Puig held off four match points in a second-set tiebreak, forcing a deciding third set with the sun blazing overhead. It was Williams' serve that made the difference, as the 35-year-old recorded 18 aces in the win.
"By the time I got to the third set I was able to clean up my game a bit," Williams said after the match. She added that the new roof structure over Arthur Ashe stadium added more shade than usual. "I felt some clarity and just wanted to take the opportunity to play better."
Williams will face fellow American Irina Falconi next. Falconi advanced with a straight-set win over American Samantha Crawford.
American CoCo Vandeweghe joined Williams and Falconi in the next round with a quick 6-4, 6-3 dismissal of Sloane Stephens. Stephens came in as the No. 23 seed, and many had expected her to face Serena Williams in the third round.
"I thought I kept my intensity up really well. I thought I was very focused through the whole match," Vandegweghe said.
Her win set up another all-American showdown between, as she'll face Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Wednesday. Mattek-Sands defeated Kateryna Kozlova, 6-4, 6-3.
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One has 21 Grand Slam titles and is closing in on another.
The other has demolished every opponent the UFC has sent her way.
Is Serena Williams the most dominant female athlete competing today? Or is Ronda Rousey? You really can't go wrong with either, but Kevin Kaduk and Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports tackled the topic in their latest "Grandstanding" debate.
Which woman do you think is most dominant? Let us know in the comments below.
There’s an expectation that Phil Kessel is going to reach new and exciting offensive heights with the Pittsburgh Penguins. His career best numbers were achieved in 2011-12: 37 goals and 45 assists for 82 points in 82 games. (Although he had a higher points-per-game average of 1.08 in 2012-13 and a higher goals per game average in 2008-09 with the Bruins, 0.51.)
There’s also an expectation that Phil Kessel might not immediately find his fit with the Penguins. Coach Mike Johnston will start him with Sidney Crosby in camp, but no one would be surprised if he settled in as Evgeni Malkin’s triggerman like James Neal was before he was traded to the Nashville Predators.
Then there’s the expectation that Steven Burtch of Sportsnet has for Kessel, which is that his game will be elevated by either Sid or Geno, because that’s what they do for wingers, but that breaking 40 goals might still be a challenge despite the upgrade in talent around him.
From Burtch, the good news for Phil:
Whatever the reasoning, we can assume Kessel's personal share of shots and the proportion that are scoring chances will remain fairly stable, but his shooting percentage may increase slightly due to improved offensive possession. Assuming good health for all Kessel, Crosby and Malkin, the slight improvement in shooting percentage coupled with the likely increase in scoring-chance opportunities means we can project Kessel's production at 20 to 23 even-strength goals. That would represent a significant rebound from the 14 he scored last season and a return to the form that saw him post 20-plus in 2008-09, '09-10, '11-12 and '13-14.
Kessel will have the luxury of skating with superior linemates in Pittsburgh, but he isn't likely to get more ice time than he saw in Toronto, and he isn't necessarily going to turn into a 15-percent shooter because he's firing home passes off the sticks of Crosby and Malkin. In the end, it makes sense to assume that whatever improvements in production rate Kessel sees will be slightly offset by the fact that he isn't likely to regularly see 20-plus minutes of ice with the Penguins.
Let’s assume his even-strength scoring hits the high end of 23 goals, as Burtch projects. Which means he’ll need another 17 goal from special teams to hit 40.
Unless something changes in the way Johnston sees Kessel’s usage, he’s not playing shorthanded. At least he didn’t over the last three seasons in Toronto.
Let’s now assume that all special teams are cyclical, and the Penguins’ power play is healthy and wealthy and back at around 23 percent instead of last season’s downtick. We saw Neal hit 18 power-play goals with the Penguins in 2011-12. When Chris Kunitz popped in 35 goals in 2013-14, 13 of them came on the power play.
What can Kessel do with that power play?
Give Burtch’s piece a read, as it goes in-depth on what numbers will improve for Kessel with the Penguins and which stats are a flatline. But I’ve come away thinking that the Pittsburgh power play, and Kessel’s effectiveness on it, is going to determine if he breaks 40.
His previous career best? Twelve power-play goals in 2010-11. But that was the Toronto Maple Leafs, not riding shotgun with Sid and Geno.
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There's a large contingent of football fans that staunchly believe preseason games are completely inconsequential. To these naysayers, they're nothing more than an evaluation phase for head coaches looking to comprise the best 53-man roster possible. However, most fanatics would vehemently disagree. Exhibition action gives owners the opportunity to gain invaluable insight into potential sleepers and busts. In an attempt to decipher the meaningful from the meaningless, here are the top-five Lames from Preseason Week 3.
Joseph Randle, Dal, RB – We all have the Dallas talking points memorized. "Historically good offensive line." "Balanced offense." "Great passing attack spearheaded by Tony Romo and Dez Bryant." Regurgitated over and over again this summer, the Cowboys' RB-friendly narrative spiked Randle's value. Now, after a lackluster preseason and with reports surfacing Darren McFadden may head up the committee, the popular early-round RB's ADP is plummeting faster than stocks in China. Those who invested a Round 3 or Round 4 pick in his services may soon endlessly weep. Yes, he will play a substantial role and a hard sneeze would likely sideline McFadden for an extended time, but it's silly to trust the young back as a RB2. Though Jerry Jones continues to deflect questions about bringing in additional help, I still feel Dallas' best option isn't currently on the team. Fresh free agent Fred Jackson or Pierre Thomas could eventually sign to help spark the ground game. Ultimately, the 'Boys will sorely regret not ponying up the cash for DeMarco Murray. Someone will eventually yield starter-worthy numbers in Big D, but, as of now, it's impossible to designate Randle that guy. Ameer Abdullah (40.9 ADP), Doug Martin (39.2) and Latavius Murray (30.4), RBs going in the same range as the fallen 'Star,' are safer, wiser selections.
T.J. Yeldon, Jax, RB – Some publications would lead you to believe the Alabama product is on the verge of fantasy superstardom. Yeldon propagandists have repeatedly said the RB's alleged 'three-down' skillset, minimal competition and massive slated workload in an emerging offense would land him firmly inside the position's top-20 come year's end, a ridiculous prediction. In his preseason debut, Yeldon resembled a backup dancer for Taylor Swift, not a premier running back. He lacked vision, patience and assertiveness. For a rusher that checks in at 6-foot-1, 226-pounds, he's a twinkle-toed, fumble-prone RB best suited for change-of-pace duties. Though smaller in stature, Denard Robinson, who was RB13 Weeks 7-13 last year (90.8 typg, 4 TDs, 4.7 ypc), is a far better back. The former Michigan QB is lighter on his feet and, unbelievably stronger, compared to the rookie. Yeldon did score a controversial TD against Detroit, but his 10 yards on eight carries were telling. Unless he sacks up, negative plays will be an all too common occurrence this season, especially behind a highly suspect offensive line that ranked No. 25 in run-blocking last year per Pro Football Focus. By all means, pick him for his potential. I will gladly take Robinson 100 picks later.
Melvin Gordon, SD, RB – When asked about the Chargers' RB situation Monday, Philip Rivers mouthed a quote that made fantasy owner stomaches churn, "it's a running back by committee crew." Puke. For those that have followed San Diego closely this August, the implementation of a three-back rotation should come as no surprise. Gordon, who's averaged a 'whopping' 2.3 yards per carry this exhibition season, has looked like a blind basset hound stumbling in the dark. The Chargers' shoddy offensive line is partially to blame, but the much ballyhooed rookie hasn't found cut-back lanes in Frank Reich's zone-blocking scheme. It's as though Trent Richardson has overtaken his mind and body. Gordon is an electric, gliding running back with explosive open-field wheels and deceptive power. He averaged a ridiculous 7.79 yards per carry at Wisconsin last year, the highest mark in FBS history. But, as noted time and time again in this space, he's struggled in pass protection and possesses below average receiving skills. Danny Woodhead, who the organization loves, will revive his hybrid role from 2013. Recall that season he caught 76 balls, totaled 1,030 yards and crossed the chalk eight times. Roughly 9-11 touches per game for the dual-threat should be expected, including the occasional goal-line touch. Second-year back Branden Oliver, who has again impressed in preseason action, will also be sprinkled in, possibly netting 5-7 touches per game. Donald Brown could enter the picture too. If that work division occurs, Gordon would be in line for only 11-13 carries per game. Last season, Bolt backs notched 27.6 touches per contest. If you've yet to draft, Gordon is RB3/bench material in 12-team leagues. Nothing more.
Duke Johnson, Cle, RB – Another week, another Cleveland RB on the Lames list. Isaiah Crowell earned the unwanted designation in the last go round. This time, Duke carries the torch. The rookie from the 'U' blew a golden opportunity to establish himself as the lead dog in the Browns' crowded backfield. He rotated in with Crowell and Terrance West on first team work, but prematurely ended his evening after suffering a concussion in the first quarter. He finished with an 'earth-shattering' four yards on two touches. After missing a significant chunk of training camp and the preseason with a hamstring setback, Duke is struggling to keep his head above water. Currently in the league's post-concussion protocol, he's no guarantee to play Week 1. Given the limited work put in, he could be nothing more than a bit player for the regular season's first couple games. Still, as Adam Caplan recently noted, many insiders believe he'll eventually seize control of the backfield, leading all Browns RBs in touches. His low center of gravity, tacky hands and break-tackle ability should win in the end. The learning curve has widened, but at his 97.2 ADP (RB42), he's a quality, upside bench back worth waiting on. Recall, Cleveland ranked No. 11 in run-blocking last year according to PFF.
Colin Kaepernick, SF, QB/Torrey Smith, SF, WR – Mr. Bicep Kiss, under siege 55.6 percent of the time against Denver's relentless pass rush, was lucky to escape last weekend's preseason tilt with all bones intact. Overall, Kaepernick finished 2-of-5 for 13 yards. He also chipped in 53 rush yards. San Fran's yielding offensive line is a blessing and a curse for the QB. Pocket time, precious to any NFL passer, will be extremely limited, likely capping his vertical production around 3,300 yards with 17-20 TDs. However, because of Kaepernick's wheels and break-contain abilities, jailbreak situations are sure to boost his ground production. It's conceivable he surges past 700 rushing yards this fall. Ground scores will obviously be the kicker, but even with conservative passing numbers he could crack the QB top-12. A 3,200-19-700-1 line would presumably land him just inside the position's top-15, making him a suitable stream option in competitive formats. As for the receiving corps, unless the Niners' frontline starts to feed, preeminent home-run threat Torrey Smith will often disappear. Kaep would likely target Anquan Boldin, Reggie Bush, Carlos Hyde or Vernon Davis more often in the short field to alleviate pressure. The WR, drafted on average around pick No. 117 (WR48), should continue to be viewed as a depth-only option in 12-team leagues. Stock up on the adult beverages, Niners fans. It's going to be a long, brutal year.
The image above essentially summed up Carson Palmer's outing in Oakland. Pressured relentlessly behind a battered Arizona offensive line, he was bruised and bloodied en route to a forgettable Sunday night. He finished 8-of-22 for 108 yards with zero TDs and a pair of picks. He was also sacked three times. For the sake of the veteran's health, the Cards O-line better stiffen in a hurry. Rob Ryan, who oversees the Saints defense, is already salivating over his Week 1 matchup against Arizona ... Staying in O-town, there's no reason to downgrade Latavius Murray. His 7-1-0 line was ghastly, but 'Zona's impenetrable defensive line will make treasured RBs resemble trash this year. Mark Ingram will surely experience a similar fate opening week ... Cody Latimer, once believed to be a future star in Denver's offense, continues to head in the wrong direction. Though physically gifted, he struggled to grasp Adam Gase's offense last year. This time around in a less complicated system, he still can't get comfortable with the playbook. If he sees 20-25 snaps per game early on, it would be a tremendous victory. Feel free to overlook ...
Randall Cobb's 'minor' shoulder injury scared the bejesus out of Aaron Rodgers owners and Packer fans alike. Diagnosed as a sprained AC joint, he's headed for a likely 'questionable' tag Week 1, though the organization is optimistic he'll suit up against Chicago. For the late drafters in attendance, it would be silly to downgrade him more than a spot or two. If he slips to the early third in 12-team leagues, feast ... Joique Bell's activation from the PUP list isn't an automatic downgrade to Ameer Abdullah. The veteran was originally slated for early-down and goal-line work. If he quickly rounds into shape, he should shoulder 10-12 touches per game Week 1 at San Diego. If the veteran isn't ready, preseason breakout Zach Zenner could slide into the power role with Abdullah operating as the explosive between-the-20s complement.
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NEW YORK – Kei Nishikori's attempt to repeat his 2014 U.S. Open finals appearance is already over. The No. 4 seed fell to frenchman Benoit Paire 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 on Monday afternoon, a shocking upset rarely seen so early in the men's draw. The women's draw saw its own early surprise, with No. 7 Ana Ivanovic falling in straight sets to Dominka Cibulkova.
Ivanovic was the first to fall. After dropping the first set 6-3, it looked like she'd taken control as she built a 4-1 lead in the second. She eventually took the set 6-3 to even the match. But Cibulkova proved too much in the third.
"It's not easy, but today I felt lke she used her opportunities better than I did," Ivanovic said after the match.
Ivanovic leaves a gaping hole in her quarter of the draw, and her loss means that should Serena Willams advance to the semifinal, the highest seeded player she could face there is the No. 10.
With the sounds of the Arthur Ashe stadium crowd bleeding into Louis Armstrong next door, Paire was stunning Japanese star Nishikori. Nshikori failed to convert a match point in the fourth set, opening a door that Paire stormed through. The 26-year-old Frenchman took the fourth set tiebreak, then the fifth set and the victory. Paire served 21 aces to Nishikori's three, but Nishikori played a cleaner match. He had 36 unforced errors compared to Paire's 67.
"I think he was playing good tennis. I mean, I don't think I played bad. Didn't play great, but still it's never easy first match," Nishikori said after the match. "I had match point and kind of lost a little bit of my forehand." He added that he lost a bit of concentration, too.
Two young Americans also added upsets on Monday afternoon. Lauren Davis knocked out British No. 1 Heather Watson 7-6, 7-6. Madison Brengle defeated China's SaiSai Zheng, 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.
You’ll recall that Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris suffered through a terrible season, mostly of his own design, in 2014-15. He clashed with the team’s coaching staff, the league’s referees, allegedly an assault victim in Philadelphia, the Phoenix fans; and in the Suns’ pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge during the free agency period Morris’ twin brother Marcus was dealt to Detroit in a salary purge.
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Markieff responded with a read-between-the-lines trade demand, telling his hometown Philadelphia Inquirer that while he would show up for training camp as contractually obligated to, that by the time the season started he was “not going to be there.” With the “there,” presumably, meaning the Phoenix roster.
Well, the Suns have started up an unofficial minicamp as the summer drones on, and Markieff is expectedly nowhere to be found. And apparently the Suns have absolutely no interest in dealing their disgruntled forward. Via The Score, here’s Paul Coro at the Arizona Republic:
Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin, Brandon Knight, Alex Len, Jon Leuer, Ronnie Price, P.J. Tucker, T.J. Warren and Sonny Weems have been playing at US Airways Center since Monday.
There is no surprise that Markieff Morris is missing from that list, given his "Keef beef" with the franchise. His trade request fell on deaf ears.
As Coro goes on to detail, the Suns won’t be dealing Morris for a litany of reasons.
Phoenix failed to land Aldridge, or any other big forward in free agency, and team general manager Ryan McDonough is already on record in stating that Markieff is the team’s starting power forward moving forward. Even in a down year, which on a per-minute level Morris slogged through in 2014-15, he’s still a better option than starting Jon Leuer or tossing the undersized P.J. Tucker or T.J. Warren out there.
The Suns, frankly, have made some rather questionable personnel moves over the last few years. They’ve also made some knockout moves, though, utilizing leverage expertly. Securing first-round picks for the already-gone Goran Dragic was a masterstroke, the team patiently waited out Eric Bledsoe’s restricted free agency prior to signing him to a reasonable contract, and both Morris twins are working on very favorable (and, as was obviously the case with Marcus, tradable) deals.
Phoenix is under no obligation to flip Markieff. He has four years and $32 million left on his deal, and if he makes an outright trade demand he leaves himself liable to be fined by the NBA. If he fails to show up for camp and/or games, the Suns won’t have to pay him for his chosen time off. He genuinely has to put his money where his mouth is if he wants no part of Phoenix from here on out.
That isn’t to say that the Suns are lousy with leverage, here.
We don’t doubt for a second that if Phoenix could even deal Morris for a reasonable approximation of his stretch-four talents that they would. The GMs running 29 other NBA teams, however, are quite aware of the Suns’ situation regarding Markieff, and they’re not bending over backward to take Phoenix’s problem off of their hands. Even if his trade demands weren’t so glaringly obvious, a heavy chunk of the NBA landscape would want no part in dealing for a player who clashed with so many last season, while racking up 15 technical fouls along the way.
Still, with the official training camp one month away, it will have to be Markieff Morris, and not the Phoenix Suns, making the tough decision. He has to decide if he wants to swallow his pride, cash in those checks, and return to the team. Because, to hear the Suns tell it, he ain’t going anywhere any time soon.
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Well, there was Mike Fiers nine days earlier against those same Dodgers. Hisashi Iwakuma threw one Aug. 12 for the Seattle Mariners. That's three in August alone. Who else?
Oh yeah, Cole Hamels in July, when he was still with the Phillies. Max Scherzer threw one in June. That's five, who are we missing? Oh yeah, San Francisco Giants rookie Chris Heston, the least-known name on this list, who threw the first no-no of 2015 on June 9.
Point being: There have been so many no-hitters this season, it's getting hard to keep track. If you could name all six pitchers who threw one without looking it up, props to you. The no-hitter in baseball — like the outrageous Miley Cyrus awards-show outfit — just gets more and more common by the year it seems.
We're up to 30 this decade and on pace for 47 before 2020, according to Cork Gaines of Business Insider. The most in any decade in baseball history is 33, back in the pitcher-friendly 1960s. The 2010s should easily surpass that, unless commissioner Rob Manfred passes a rule next year that says pitchers have to throw half the game with their opposite hand.
The record for no-hitters in a season is eight, which happened in 1884. In the modern era, the record is seven, which happened most recently in 2012 and also in 1990 and 1991. Those records are well within reach considering how things have gone in baseball this season and these past five seasons. Here's a decade-by-decade no-hitter look from Gaines:
Why is this happening? Why are no-hitters so plentiful? Here are three reasons:
• First, offense as a whole is way down. Last year, MLB games averaged 4.07 runs, the lowest since 4.00 in 1981. This season, that number is 4.20, still significantly lower than 5.14 in 2000 and 4.59 in 2005. If this year's runs-per-game average holds, it would make 2013, 2014 and 2015 three of the four lowest totals since 1991. Some might attribute that to a "cleaner" game with fewer PEDs and perhaps that's true. But do recall that Biogenesis happened in the 2010s.
• Pitchers and defenses are more prepared than ever, which contributes to the figures above. Thanks to better analytics, data and technology, pitchers can study their opponents better and know their weaknesses. Add to this defensive shifts and alignments that take hitters' tendencies into account and you'll see why it's harder to get a hit.
• Finally and simply: There are more teams than there were back in the '70s, '80s and '90s and thus, more games being played. For much of the '60s, there were 20 teams in MLB compared to the current 30. So the pitching then was even more dominant.
After 1968 — a year in which five no-hitters were thrown and average scoring was 3.42, an all-time low outside of the dead-ball era — MLB lowered the mound because the pitchers were just too good. They called that 1968 season "the year of the pitcher."
And now, almost 50 years later, it looks like we're living in The Decade of the No-No.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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Amid the news that Kirk Cousins was named the Week 1 starter for the Washington Redskins and that the team might be preparing an exit strategy for Robert Griffin III now comes this, one lasting reminder of the mess in D.C. that still lingers.
It always works out this way, does it not?
Maybe the Redskins should have played the safe route and featured some of their all-time greats on the tickets. After all, it has been years since the glory days, and some of the team's former titans are the ones fans of the team still resonate most with. (John Riggins, for instance, never goes out of style.)
But then again, everything the Redskins spewed out this offseason was that Griffin was their guy, even if many people failed to believe it. We're not even convinced head coach Jay Gruden believed what he was saying as far back as February.
Of course, this team has been a total nightmare almost since the day Daniel Snyder bought the team, so why did we expect anything different?
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Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at email@example.com.
• Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos suited up for a team in Toronto. Except it was an exhibition batting practice with the red hot Toronto Blue Jays. [Steven Stamkos]
• Contract talks with Stamkos are supposed to get rolling. Tampa would probably like to have him under contract before the start of training camp on Sept. 17. [NHL]
• The sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins continues to trudge on slowly. When will Mario Lemieux and Rob Burkle cash in mightily on their investment? [Post-Gazette]
• Wayne Gretzky says there were few classier men in hockey than the late great Al Arbour. [Newsday]
• Remembering Arbour. We will miss you Radar. [Grantland]
• Unrestricted free agent forward Matt Cooke says he still has that fire in his belly to play. Will some team pick him up before training camp? Other such topics include possible retirements of Jordan Leopold and Keith Ballard. [Star Tribune]
• Who are your highest rated right wingers on NHL16? [Bar Down]
• There are many reasons why the St. Louis Blues are facing a make or break season. And Chris Peters of Eye on Hockey delves into all of them. [Eye on Hockey]
• Is Dustin Byfuglien a good fit for the Boston Bruins? With smoke swirling around a Byfuglien trade, should Boston attempt to go after the rover. [Boston Sports Desk]
• Considering the current rape investigation into Patrick Kane, do the Chicago Blackhawks really want him back? [Daily Herald]
• The Washington Capitals’ championship window might be closing. Weren’t they supposed to be a favorite after all their moves this offseason? [The Hockey Writers]
• The Winnipeg Jets will make a $7.5 million addition to their practice facility. [Illegal Curve]
• Colorado College senior Jared Hanson has retired to focus on going to medical school. [The Colorado Springs Gazette]
• Cody Franson played a game of chicken with the system and he lost. Now he may not get the multi-year deal he hoped for at the start of free agency. [Dobber Hockey]
• There have to be more Calder Trophy candidates than just Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid. Right? Here are three who could make a run at the award given to the NHL's top rookie. [Puck Drunk Love]
• Unrestricted free agent forward Curtis Glencross regrets taking a hometown discount to stay with the Calgary Flames in 2011. Back then he was a 20-goal scorer and got just $2.55 million per-season in the four-year deal. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]
• Former NHLer Ryan Thang says a team in South Korea reneged on a deal. [Sportsnet]
• The Nashville Predators have always been a solid regular season team. Why can’t they get the job done in the playoffs? [Along the Boards]
• Boston’s drafting of Danton Heinen in the 2014 fourth-round was flat out theft. [Scouting Post]
• Former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj will attend Los Angeles Kings camp on a PTO. [LA Kings Insider]
• Jason Spezza’s Dallas Stars mega contract isn’t quite as bad as it looks. [Today’s Slapshot]
• The story of Jessica Berman, the NHL’s vice president and deputy general counsel. “Some foresee Berman as the first female commissioner of a men’s professional sports league.” [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]
• Finally, Former Islanders players talk about Arbour.
MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS
AthlonSports.com is a leading website for preseason and in-season football previews, predictions, rankings and analysis.
While offensive and defensive lines are arguably more important to the success of any college football team, it’s the skill talent – running backs or receivers – and quarterbacks that generate most of the preseason attention. And with the balance of power in football shifting to the offense, big-play threats and speedy receivers are more valuable than ever.
Compiling the top 35 receiver groups for 2015 clearly showed there's a wealth of talented corps this season. Baylor takes the top spot in Athlon's top 35 receiver groups, with Texas A&M and Clemson rounding out the top three.
Note: This ranking also takes into account tight ends.
How did we come up with these rankings? A couple of factors were considered. Depth, overall talent, production, level of competition and projected output in 2015 all factored into the rankings for the backfield. While some teams may have experienced a down year last season, having a different quarterback or a change of scheme can make a huge difference. These rankings reflect projection for 2015, not solely what teams have accomplished in 2014.
College Football's Top 35 WR/TE Groups for 2015
Recruiting and developing playmakers at receiver is becoming an annual strength for Baylor under Art Briles. Antwan Goodley departs after a standout career with the Bears, but there’s no concern about the returning group. Junior Corey Coleman led all Big 12 receivers with 10 touchdown catches in league games, while KD Cannon led the team with 17.8 yards per catch. Jay Lee is a reliable third option, and the Bears expect big contributions from sophomore Davion Hall and redshirt freshman Ishmael Zamora in 2015. The cupboard isn’t bare at tight end for Briles with 410-pound converted lineman LaQuan McGowan on board.
2. Texas A&M
Kevin Sumlin’s team is loaded once again with playmakers in the receiving corps. Josh Reynolds led the team with 842 receiving yards and 13 touchdown catches in his first year after arriving from the junior college ranks. Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones combined for 95 catches and nine touchdown receptions as freshmen last season. Edward Pope, Frank Iheanacho and Sabian Holmes are back as other key targets, but true freshman Christian Kirk could be one of quarterback Kyle Allen’s favorite weapons by the end of the year.
Athletic and speedy playmakers are in abundance at Clemson for new co-coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott. Mike Williams is back after leading the team with 1,030 receiving yards last season, but the offseason buzz with the Tigers revolved around the development of Artavis Scott. As a freshman in 2014, Scott caught 76 passes for 965 yards. Williams and Scott will catch a majority of quarterback Deshaun Watson’s passes, but Germone Hopper, freshmen Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud, Charone Peake and tight end Jordan Leggett will be involved.
4. Ole Miss
The talent and depth of the receiving corps have improved significantly under coach Hugh Freeze, and whichever quarterback starts for the Rebels will have plenty of options. Laquon Treadwell’s 2014 season was cut short by a nasty leg injury against Auburn, but all signs point to the junior returning at full strength by the opener. In nine games last year, Treadwell caught 48 passes for 632 yards. Evan Engram is listed at tight end, but the Georgia native can stretch the field like a receiver. Cody Core (41 catches in 2014), Quincy Adeboyejo, Washington transfer Damore’ea Stringfellow and Markell Pack join Engram and Treadwell as proven and viable candidates. Talented true freshmen Van Jefferson and DaMarkus Lodge are also in the mix for playing time.
The Ducks could be a spot or two higher on this list, but this unit also has a few question marks to sort through. How soon will Devon Allen return at full strength from a knee injury suffered in the Rose Bowl win over Florida State? And how many games will Darren Carrington miss due to a suspension? Even if Allen and Carrington are sidelined for a significant period, Oregon has plenty of options for quarterbacks Jeff Lockie and Vernon Adams. Byron Marshall (74 catches) is the top target, with Dwayne Stanford (43 receptions) and redshirt freshman Jalen Brown also in the mix. The coaching staff was toying with the idea of placing dynamic sophomore Charles Nelson on defense. However, all signs point to Nelson spending most of the 2015 season on offense. Unless Pharaoh Brown returns at full strength from a serious leg injury suffered against Utah, Evan Baylis and Johnny Mundt are expected to share the bulk of the snaps at tight end.
California’s offense averaged 38.3 points a game last season, and the Bear Raid attack could add a few digits to that total in 2015. Coach Sonny Dykes has a loaded offense, starting with quarterback Jared Goff and running back Daniel Lasco. And despite the departure of Chris Harper to the NFL, this is one of the deepest groups in the Pac-12. Kenny Lawler (54 catches), Stephen Anderson (46) and Bryce Treggs are all candidates to earn All-Pac-12 honors this year. Trevor Davis, Darius Powe and Maurice Harris are three other names to watch in this group.
The Horned Frogs return four of their top five statistical receivers from last season. Josh Doctson is quarterback Trevone Boykin’s favorite target, and the Wyoming transfer became the first TCU receiver since 2003 to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. Doctson also led the team with 11 touchdown catches last year. Kolby Listenbee averaged 18.4 yards per catch and caught seven passes of 40 yards or more. Deante’ Gray, Ty Slanina, Emanuel Porter and Ja’Juan Story round out an athletic and fast-improving receiving corps.
8. Notre Dame
New quarterback Malik Zaire inherits a strong supporting cast. The Fighting Irish return their top four receivers in 2015, including All-America candidate William Fuller (76 catches for 1,094 yards and 15 scores). Fuller is the top option, but he will have plenty of support from Chris Brown (39 receptions), Corey Robinson (40), Amir Carlisle and Torii Hunter Jr. C.J. Prosise caught 29 passes for 516 yards last year and is expected to see more snaps at running back after Greg Bryant was ruled ineligible for 2015. True freshman Alize Jones is expected to push Durham Smythe and Tyler Luatua for the starting tight end spot.
9. Ohio State
This group was already stocked with speed, talent and options for quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, but the addition of converted signal-caller Braxton Miller has added another weapon for coach Urban Meyer. Junior Michael Thomas led the team with 54 catches last season and is expected to be the go-to target for Jones and Barrett. There’s no shortage of big-play threats around Thomas, including Jalin Marshall (six touchdown catches in 2014), Dontre Wilson and Miller. Curtis Samuel and converted quarterback Torrance Gibson are other names to watch, especially in the opener with Marshall, Wilson and Smith suspended.
Nelson Agholor is catching passes with the Eagles on Sundays, but the Trojans are stocked with talent on the outside once again. Sophomore JuJu Smith is poised for a monster year after catching 54 passes for 724 yards and five touchdowns last season. Smith should be the No. 1 option for quarterback Cody Kessler, while dangerous all-purpose threat Adoree’ Jackson is expected to see limited snaps on offense. Darreus Rogers, Steven Mitchell and junior college recruits Isaac Whitney and De’Quan Hampton round out the top weapons for Kessler. The tight end position is a concern for coach Steve Sarkisian after Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick and Bryce Dixon did not return to the team this fall.
12. Penn State
16. Florida State
18. Mississippi State
21. Oklahoma State
22. North Carolina
23. Bowling Green
25. Colorado State
26. Washington State
27. Virginia Tech
28. Boise State
29. Texas Tech
30. Iowa State
35. Western Michigan
Watch for more rankings, previews and predictions from the good folks at Athlon here on Dr. Saturday. And don't forget to follow @YahooDrSaturday and @AthlonSports for all your college football information.
Chad Kelly will “likely” start at quarterback when Ole Miss begins its season on Saturday, Rebels coach Hugh Freeze told reporters Monday.
Freeze said Kelly, a redshirt junior, has a “slight edge” over Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade. He added that all three would play against Tennessee-Martin and the competition is ongoing.
It’s been a long journey for Kelly to reach this point.
He started his career at Clemson, but was dismissed during his redshirt freshman season for “conduct detrimental to the program” and having a “pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of (Clemson’s) program.”
After his dismissal, Kelly moved on to East Mississippi Community College. In his lone season at EMCC in 2014, Kelly threw for 3,905 yards and 47 touchdowns en route to a junior college national championship.
Kelly then announced that he was transferring to Ole Miss in December 2014, but was arrested a few days after signing his letter of intent for an alleged altercation with bouncers outside of a Buffalo, N.Y., nightclub.
After being hit with a disorderly conduct charge, Kelly eventually reached a plea deal that included 50 hours of community service and a “drug and alcohol evaluation.”
Freeze was initially unsure about allowing Kelly to remain with the Rebels, but ultimately decided to keep him around. Kelly completed his community service in March and also joined Freeze on a volunteer mission to Haiti.
Ole Miss went 9-4 with Bo Wallace at quarterback in 2014. After opening their season against Tennessee-Martin at home on Saturday, the Rebels host Fresno State on Sept. 12 before a trip to Alabama to open SEC play on Sept. 19.
For more Ole Miss news, visit RebelGrove.com.
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Even with the history of dysfunction surrounding the Daniel Snyder-era Washington Redskins, it's still confusing how we've gotten to this point with Robert Griffin III.
Griffin is out as the Redskins' starter. Kirk Cousins will start Week 1 and beyond, as Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN broke the news.
Gruden confirmed at his Monday press conference that Cousins will start, and it's not a short-term thing. Gruden said Cousins in the starter "for 2015, moving forward."
"It's Kirk's team," Gruden said.
Gruden said that Cousins opened the organization's eyes with his work through the offseason and training camp, and complimented Griffin too.
"We believe in Robert," Gruden said. "It's a good problem to have, to have three quarterbacks who are competing."
Gruden said Snyder had nothing to do with the decision and hasn't stumped for Griffin at all. Gruden made the announcement more about what Cousins has done in practices, and not about any of Griffin's failings.
Gruden answered the obvious follow-up question, if Griffin will be on the team this season. Gruden said that he planned on Griffin being on the roster.
"I have nothing against Robert, I like Robert as a quarterback, there's no doubt about it," Gruden said. "His future with the Washington Redskins is what it is. There have been no discussions of letting him go or any of that stuff."
It was clear it wasn't injury related, since Griffin had almost two weeks to be cleared from a concussion suffered in the Redskins' second preseason game. It was definitely not because Cousins has shown he's a good NFL quarterback during the regular season. Cousins has 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in his career, and a poor 77.5 rating. The Redskins are 2-7 in games he has started. Cousins has had a good preseason, but the number of quarterbacks who have looked good against vanilla defenses in preseason before disappearing when games count is too high to count.
This move just doesn't make a ton of sense based on previous moves. This offseason, after Griffin finished with three pretty good games to end the 2014 season, the Redskins picked up the $16 million option on Griffin for 2016. They expressed confidence in him all offseason.
“We think Robert is a starting quarterback: We’ve seen him win; we’ve seen him win big games,” Redskins president Bruce Allen said this offseason, according to the Washington Post. “We know his talent. It really was a no-brainer. I think if you asked us six months before it would have been the same decision.”
The Redskins had enough confidence in Griffin to put him on their ticket for the Week 1 regular-season opener against Miami:
And what changed? Griffin threw 13 preseason passes. In the second game he was under constant pressure behind a leaky offensive line and got hurt. The Redskins didn't think it was that bad of an injury, since he was right back at practice, until the NFL's independent neurologist stepped in and ruled him out for the third preseason game. Even if Cousins played well in practice or preseason, the track record in the regular season is not good.
After Griffin was ruled out last week, that was followed by another batch of leaked stories — the Redskins aren't good at much, but they are unbelievably prolific in anonymously sourced stories — that the Redskins want to move on from Griffin but (what a surprise) can't find a trade partner.
So a solid finish and an offseason of praise and confidence for Griffin is flushed for Cousins, who has never shown he can be even an average NFL starter. Never change, Washington. You're not a very good team, but you certainly entertain us.
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Jane Rosenberg became famous, or at least her artwork did. If having your work dissected and laughed at by instant social media art critics counts as being famous.
Rosenberg was the Tom Brady courtroom sketch artist. You know the drawing. She drew it in a style that ended up making Brady look unlike the famous celebrity we're used to seeing. And, as folks on Twitter enjoy doing at times, people shamed her over it. Some turned it into a lighthearted thing, taking the sketch and photo-shopping it on famous images; others were downright mean. Rosenberg told the media to tell Tom Brady she was sorry, though that clearly was unnecessary. Gotta love America in 2015.
Rosenberg was back in the courthouse with Brady on Monday morning, and her appearance led to an impromptu press conference outside. She said she has been under a lot of stress and has been practicing drawing Brady before she got another shot at it in court.
“There’s a lot of pressure on me. A lot of eyeballs on me. I just hope my hands can move, period. I know I’m not going to have any sleep tonight,” she told the New York Daily News. “I still might blow it; anything could happen.”
This seems entirely unnecessary, since Rosenberg is infinitely better at art than probably everyone who mocked her.
And even though Rosenberg had only about 10 minutes of time to capture Brady on Monday, it turned out well.
And here's Jane Rosenberg's sketch of Tom Brady from today's hearing. "It was a nightmare." pic.twitter.com/o53cEV4rUL— Stephen Brown (@PPVSRB) August 31, 2015
Her practice sketches were good, which isn't surprising considering she is an accomplished artist who has been doing courthouse sketches for a long time.
Rosenberg told the Daily News it's hard to draw Brady, that "something subtle goes on with his eyes. He has a big chin with a cleft in it."
The deflate-gate court battle seems to be winding down, so Rosenberg should soon be able to go back to doing her job in relative anonymity.
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In a decision that shouldn’t be much of a surprise, Texas head coach Charlie Strong announced Monday that junior Tyrone Swoopes will start at quarterback when the Longhorns open up at Notre Dame on Saturday.
Swoopes, who started 12 games for the Longhorns in 2014, beat out redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard for the starting gig.
Swoopes was plagued by inconsistency in his first year starting. He finished the season 2,409 yards, 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while also rushing for 262 yards and four more scores.
Though Swoopes will start the game, Strong said that Heard will also see action against the Fighting Irish.
Elsewhere of note on the Texas depth chart released Monday is that the Longhorns will start five true freshmen: wide receiver John Burt, left tackle Andrew Beck, right guard Patrick Vahe, middle linebacker Malik Jefferson and punter Michael Dickson. Redshirt freshmen Edwin Freeman (weakside linebacker) and John Bonney (cornerback) will also start..
Here’s the entire depth chart, via Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News:
Texas depth chart. pic.twitter.com/AMZKNBGX8d— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) August 31, 2015
Saturday’s game in South Bend will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
For more Texas news, visit Orangebloods.com.
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Mark Shapiro couldn't have picked a better time to come to Toronto. Hired Monday by the Blue Jays to replace retiring team president Paul Beeston, the longtime Cleveland Indians executive will have the power to make an already promising situation even more appealing.
In terms of their place in baseball, the Blue Jays have been a sleeping giant for years. By itself Toronto is a growing market of over six million people, and every game they play is broadcast to a national audience on Sportsnet. Owned by Rogers Communications – a gigantic Canadian telecommunications and media company – Shapiro can expect to be handed a larger budget than what he had in Cleveland.
Landing Shapiro gives Toronto much-needed stability at the top of the organization and by every indication he's in it for the long haul. After ownership whiffed on Dan Duquette and Kenny Williams in the offseason and just watched Dave Dombrowski take over baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox, they still managed to attract an experienced executive who might even be a better fit than the three other candidates anyway.
Having joined the Indians in 1991, he worked his way up from player development director to general manager in 2001. During his time as GM he was twice named Sporting News' Executive of the Year and his success saw him promoted to team president in 2010.
Shapiro won't officially take over in Toronto until the season ends, but that certainly won't stop him from thinking about what he's going to do next. His first major decision will be whether or not to retain Alex Anthopoulos as GM. Shapiro shouldn't really have to think long and hard about it. Anthopoulos' contract expires Oct. 31, and based on his recent moves – he acquired Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin last offseason and made trades for Troy Tulowitzki and David Price before the deadline – he's absolutely earned himself an extension. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, that's how Shapiro is believed to be leaning.
Anthopoulos' job with Shapiro in charge might differ slightly from what it was like Beeston with at the helm. Rosenthal writes that Shapiro will want "more structure" and "more systematic decision-making," and ultimately that could end up being a significant positive for the franchise going forward.
The work won't stop there either. With grass scheduled to replace the much maligned turf at Rogers Centre for the 2018 season and the stadium needing a bit of a facelift, Shapiro's going to be busy right from the get-go.
This past month has shown just how big the Blue Jays can be. Their talented roster is winning games at a record pace and in turn, captivating a large audience across Canada. They currently lead the AL East, and their first postseason appearance since they won the World Series back in 1993 is in sight.
Taking into account what he brings and where he's going, Shapiro is in a terrific postion to elevate the Blue Jays to the next level as a business and a baseball team and make sure they stay there for the foreseeable future.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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It's a stars-and-scrubs sort of day, at least for me. I've got Dallas Keuchel (vs. Sea) and Chris Archer (at Bal) starting on Monday at a whopping total cost of $108. Thus, we'll need to find a few near-minimum bats. Let's do this thing...
Justin Bour, 1B, at Atl (Foltynewicz), $13: Bour has homered in back-to-back games, his 13th and 14th of the season, and he's facing a pitcher who's been tortured by left-handed batters. Foltynewicz has allowed a .950 OPS to LHBs so far this season in the majors, and they crushed him in the minors, too. It may seem a little weird/wrong to use a muli-Marlin formation, but I'm rolling with two Miami LHBs on Monday. Bour is one, this guy is the other...
Derek Dietrich, 3B, at (Foltynewicz), $9: That price is just so friendly, considering the strength of the matchup. Dietrich is reaching base at a .360 clip this month, plus he homered and doubled on Sunday.
Chris Coghlan, OF, vs. Cin (Lorenzen), $9: Lorenzen has been mauled by LHBs as well, to a ridiculous extent. Left-handed hitters are slashing .329/.446(!)/.594 against him with 22 extra-base hits in 143 at-bats. Coghlan is a terrific low-cost option, but don't limit yourself to just one Chicago hitter on Monday.
Various other Cubs LHBs, vs. Cin (Lorenzen): Kyle Schwarber is $20, Anthony Rizzo is $19, Miguel Montero is $13 and Dexter Fowler is $18. Start any or all. Fowler is 3-for-5 against Lorenzen with a homer and a walk; Schwarber has reached base twice against him in his three plate appearances. You know what to do.
Joey Butler, OF, at Bal (Chen), $7: Butler was recalled last week, and he's gone 3-for-9 since returning. He figures to start on Monday, with a lefty on the mound for the O's. Butler is 3-for-9 with a double and a homer in his limited history against Chen. It's tough to find a better setup for a minimum-price player.
Jake Lamb, 3B at Col (Bettis), $14: Colorado is the one spot on the map where rain might be an issue, but game-time looks OK as of this writing. Lamb has three multi-hit games in his last four, he's facing a righty on Monday, and he gets a Coors Field bump. I'm definitely interested.
Andrelton Simmons, SS, vs. Mia (Narveson), $9: Simmons has hit well this month (.317/.400/.400), he went 2-for-5 on Sunday and he gets a sketchy lefty here. No, he doesn't offer much in terms of power or speed, but I'd be mildly surprised if he can't get himself on base repeatedly against Narveson. It's tough to find better options with single-digit price tags.
Yadier Molina, vs. Was (Gonzalez), $13: I'm using either Schwarber or Montero is most leagues, but it's worth noting that Molina hasn't exactly struggled against Gonzalez. He's 5-for-12 lifetime with three doubles and just one K. Molina has gone 5-for-14 over his last three games, so it's not as if he's slumping.
Delino DeShields, at SD (Ross), $15: DeShields has gone 10-for-23 over the past week, with four straight multi-hit games. He's also a speedy dude (22 steals), facing a pitcher who's allowed the second-most stolen bases in MLB this season (34). Yes, please.
As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History.
I was on a date, and I missed it.
For three hours, I was completely unaware of what was going down in Oakland Arena during the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. It was Vince Carter’s night, and we were all spectators, with me arriving fashionably late to the party.
Carter was then a 23-year-old in his second year with the Toronto Raptors. He would average 25.7 points per game that season, helping the franchise to its first-ever postseason appearance and earning a spot on the All-NBA Third Team. That weekend in Oakland marked the first of his eight All-Star appearances.
I’m a hockey guy, but growing up in New York in the 1980s and early 1990s, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the New York Knicks. Oak and Mase (RIP) were my guys, but as they got older, the rivalry with the Miami Heat died down and the franchise started its slow decent, my interest in the game was left mostly to the Dunk Contest. I’d watch a random Knicks game if there was nothing else on that night, but I would definitely tune in to the Dunk Contest every year.
Amid criticism due to the lack of star power year after year, we went two years without a Dunk Contest before Carter breathed new life into the event.
The date went well. Not too well, though, considering I was back in my buddy Ryan’s dorm room not too late into the night to watch the replay.
He told me I had to sit down to watch. It didn’t take long for me to get out of my seat.
The build-up to Carter’s first dunk was so nonchalant that you got the impression he'd practiced it in the gym many, many times. Except, as he would tell TNT’s Cheryl Miller afterward, he hadn’t.
He was in full spin when he cocked his right arm out wide and windmilled it, cradling the ball and throwing it down ferociously as the crowd erupted.
Even Shaq, giant camcorder and all, was impressed:
“Let’s go home, ladies and gentlemen,” said TNT commentator Kenny Smith, who was on to something. Carter received 10s from all five judges in the contest, the first time a perfect 50 had been handed out since Cedric Ceballos’ contest-winning blindfold dunk in 1992.
“I have a couple tricks up my sleeve,” Carter told Miller after dunk No. 1. Oh, boy, did he ever.
Dunk No. 2 was another powerful throw-down, this time with Carter coming from out-of-bounds behind the backboard:
It wasn’t jaw-dropping, and it earned him a score of only 49, thanks to fellow Tar Heel Smith. In the grand scheme of history, though, it served as merely the warm-up act to greatness.
For his final act in the first round, Carter called upon his Raptors teammate, cousin and fellow Dunk Contest competitor Tracy McGrady for some assistance, which the new Dunk Contest rules demanded on at least one dunk. T-Mac would stand in the paint and bounce the ball as Carter glided in.
“So I said to Tracy: ‘Just stand here and bounce it and get the hell out the way,’ Carter told ESPN.com in an oral history of the event. "He said, ‘What are you gonna do?’ I said, ‘Just bounce it and back up. About this high.’”
The arena was mostly silent, awaiting what was coming. The only noise emanating from your television was the voice of Mike Fratello, explaining that Carter had stitches on his left hand from a weight room injury.
Carter then approached, took the ball mid-bounce and … as Marv Albert put it, “OHHHHHH!”
This was my reaction, as captured by Ryan:
Everyone in the building that night, from Carter to Kenny Smith to an overly excited Isiah Thomas, knew that at that point, the crowd could go home and we all could turn off our TVs. The contest was over.
The rest of the night — the elbow in the rim (which earned Carter another 50), the just-inside-the-free-throw line glide —basically served as the Dunk Contest’s radio bumper until Carter was awarded the trophy.
According to the rules, McGrady and Steve Francis of the Houston Rockets also had to take part in the contest’s final round. After Carter’s first dunk, though, it became his show. The rest of the characters were only there to give him a breather.
After several rewinds to remind myself that what I saw had actually happened and was not some sort of dream, Ryan and I sat there on his couch bewildered, dumbfounded and amazed. We still talk about that night 15 years later, occasionally texting that picture of my reaction, three hours after the fact, to one another as a reminder of the birth of Vinsanity.
The Dunk Contest needed a savior in 2000. Vince Carter showed up.
More Dunk History:
• Shawn Kemp, Alton Lister and how memory works
• Chris Webber, Charles Barkley and a poster preserved
• Young Wolf Andrew Wiggins goes straight for Rudy Gobert's neck
• Rajon Rondo leaps past Dwight Howard, ascends to All-Star status
• Blake Griffin defines 'Mozgov,' picks up Stoudemire's mantle
• Dunk History, Season 1: Our 2014 series, collected
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Monday was billed as a significant day in court for both sides in the deflate-gate case, as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared at Manhattan Federal Court, but the session came and went with little progress in the proceedings.
The most significant news to come out of the brief hearing was Judge Richard M. Berman's announcement that he will rule on the case in the next 48 hours after the two sides failed to reach a settlement for the last time. New York Daily News court reporter Stephen Brown, as always, chronicled the proceeding on Twitter.
Final push by both sides yields no settlement in#deflategate case. Berman to rule in next day or two.— Stephen Brown (@PPVSRB) August 31, 2015
In hopes of avoiding any further appeal of his upcoming ruling, which could prolong the deflate-gate case for years, Berman had been pushing both sides to reach a deal from the moment the trial began earlier this month. New York Giants co-owner John Mara and former NFL kicker Jay Feely — a college teammate of Brady's at Michigan — reportedly participated in the final round of settlement talks. In a five-minute hearing on Monday morning, we learned Mara and Feely were unsuccessful in their attempts to resolve the case.
Brady and Goodell stood feet apart and made sure to never look at each other. Neither appeared in a good mood.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) August 31, 2015
As a result, Berman will either uphold Brady's four-game suspension or vacate the penalty entirely when he rules Tuesday or Wednesday, but the losing side is expected to appeal regardless of the outcome.
The Buffalo Bills are pinning their playoff hopes on a quarterback who has completed one pass in the past two years, as Tyrod Taylor will finally get his shot.
Taylor won the Bills' starting quarterback job after impressing through the summer and then playing well in the preseason. Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported the Bills have picked Taylor to be their Week 1 starter. He passed veteran Matt Cassell and held off EJ Manuel, a 2013 first-round pick who gave him a spirited run by playing well in the preseason.
What should we expect out of Taylor? It's hard to say since he has almost no track record in the NFL regular season.
Taylor was Joe Flacco's backup for four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens but hardly ever played. He was 19-of-35 for 199 yards over four seasons. He was 1-of-5 for 2 yards in 2013 and didn't throw a pass in 2014. But the Bills are betting on his upside. He has shown solid accuracy and good running ability this preseason. We'll see how that carries over to the regular season.
Buffalo's roster is deep at a lot of positions, as it tries to break the NFL's longest playoff drought under new coach Rex Ryan. The biggest question the team has is quarterback. If the Bills are right about Taylor, maybe he'll still be starting for them in the postseason.
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Monday was a busy day in the NFL for trades, even if none of them involved major players.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dealt tight end Tim Wright to the Detroit Lions to give them another pass-catching tight end. But isn't that what Eric Ebron, the 10th overall pick of the 2014 draft, was supposed to provide?
Wright got off to a nice start early last season with the New England Patriots after coming over from Tampa Bay in the Logan Mankins deal but was an afterthought down the title stretch. He was waived and claimed by the Bucs, who originally signed Wright after he went undrafted in 2013.
Ebron isn't in any trouble for a roster spot, but there is growing concern that he might never fulfill his massive potential — even a little more than a year into his tenure there. But Ebron seems unaffected by the news of the Wright deal or his status on the team.
Lol.. People So Concerned About Me— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) August 31, 2015
The Denver Broncos shipped offensive tackle Chris Clark to the Houston Texans for a seventh-round pick in 2016. Clark will provide the Texans with depth behind starters Duane Brown and Derek Newton after Clark was deemed a poor fit in Gary Kubiak's offense in Denver.
The Pittsburgh Steelers now are on their third kicker of the year. The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Josh Scobee, who has been with the team since being a fifth-round pick in 2004, to the Steelers after the injury Garrett Hartley suffered was found to be more serious than expected. Hartley was signed during training camp after Shaun Suisham suffered a season-ending injury.
The wide receiver-needy Carolina Panthers were stung with the injury to Kelvin Benjamin, and rookie Devin Funchess (the man most equipped to replace him there) appeared to hurt his left leg in practice, so they swung a deal for former Seattle Seahawks fourth-round pick Kevin Norwood. There had been a report that Norwood was released, but he was shipped to Carolina instead after being the odd man out in a crowded Seattle receiver situation. He caught only nine passes for 102 yards in nine games (two starts) as a rookie out of Alabama.
As NFL teams start whittling their rosters down from 90 to 75 players on or before Tuesday, there might be a few more minor deals that happen.
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Zach Boychuk is no stranger to fantasy drafts.
During the hockey season, the Carolina Hurricanes/Charlotte Checkers forward would sit with his teammates, scope out the competition of a particular event and try to pick the winner each week.
But this wasn’t for a sporting event. Oh no … it was for The Bachelor, a reality TV dating show that airs most Mondays during the second half of the hockey season.
“There’s lots of drama and I’m sure people would probably find it funny having that many guys watch a show like this, but I guess it’s something to do on a Monday night,” Boychuk said.
This past season, Boychuk’s attention to the series spanned further to The Bachelorette, which airs during the summer. There, he noticed a former hockey player named JJ Lane who was trying to win the heart of Canada’s most eligible single, Kaitlyn Bristowe.
JJ brought up this hockey love to Kailtyn upon their first meeting, saying he wanted to ‘puck’ her. And he kept up his hockey persona throughout the season and into Bachelor in Paradise, the last show of this romance series for the year.
Boychuk and Lane struck up a friendship on Twitter, sometimes direct message each other.
“I think he seems like a pretty decent guy and reminds me of my hockey playing buddies,” Boychuk said.
He’s not the only hockey player who has come in touch with Lane. Eric Tangradi also follows Lane on Twitter. Granted, it’s not like Boychuk and Tangradi are P.K. Subban and Roberto Luongo – superstars with tremendous online social media personalities – but quickly getting the attention of two NHL players through a stint on a reality TV dating show is quite impressive.
“I’m not in this for all the hot girls tweeting at me. I just want these pro hockey players I’ve looked up to to acknowledge my existence,” Lane said jokingly. “So Zach Boychuk reached out to me and followed me and favorited one of my tweets. So I was like, ‘OK, I finally made it!’”
We chatted and joked with the 32-year-old Denver area investment banker about his hockey story, Claude Lemieux playing in the Avalanche/Red Wings Stadium Series alumni game, whether the sport helped in his wooing of Bristowe (Spoiler: it didn’t, though he did make it to Week 7) and of course … which hockey player would make the best Bachelor.
Sadly, nobody at ABC listened to our list from earlier in the year. The network picked Ben Higgins. For shame!
Bachelor in Paradise airs Sunday and Monday on ABC.
Q: So, what did you think of our list of NHL players who made make awesome Bachelors?
LANE: The name that stood out to me that would probably be the most entertaining to watch would be Tyler Seguin. Unfortunately I think Seguin is a little too similar to me. Women of America love the Ben Zs, the Ben Hs, the Jareds, the ‘Cupcakes’ and all those guys from my season on The Bachelorette. They’re all lovable. They don’t have any edge to them let alone sleeve tattoos. Sidney Crosby would be blameless. Nobody would find fault with Crosby. I’d pay to watch Seguin, he’d be fun to watch as The Bachelor.
What would you think of Phil Kessel?
Had Nick Viall not decided to start training his ass off and doing abs and getting all ripped like he recently has. He and Kessel remind me of each other. I don’t know why. There’s like a weird connotation I see between them, but I think Kessel … he’s the everyday man. He has kind of a dad bod, but somehow still scores 40 goals.
You know JJ, Ovi was our No. 1
But he would be like Juan Pablo. Nobody would understand what he says. He may make insensitive comments to the women because of cultural differences, and it would be a huge gong show but would be entertaining.
Paul Bissonnette, would need his own show. I don’t think The Bachelor would be a good outlet for him. If he does get his own show I just hope I could cameo in that because it would be amazing.
It would be like Entourage, hockey/The Bachelor style
Yes! Yes! Sign me up! Where can we finance this and get this thing going. Wouldn’t TSN want to broadcast something like that?
So you say you’re a hockey fan, what’s your hockey story?
I didn’t start until later in life. We had the Denver Grizzlies and the Colorado Avalanche came to town shortly after. I was a baseball player up until that time and then really picked up hockey when I was 14 or 15 years old and was obsessed with it. I played in Syracuse and Binghamton in juniors. I got hurt, and missed my last year of junior eligibility and that was all she wrote for it. It was a quick, kind of competitive career, which sucked. But I matriculated into beer league rather nicely and found kind of a nice home in the beer leagues around Denver. It sucks, but at the same time it’s just a passion whether it’s playing or watching, just kind of the hockey culture. It has been my life since I was 15, so like 17 years, obviously. I wish I had started much younger. I started my daughter on skates at 18 months. That’s the difference, I wish I’d had that opportunity. Hockey had never been my face until 1995.
I started with roller hockey. My parents didn’t want me to play ice hockey, so I paid for myself. I had a lawn mowing business paying for my league season, and ended up taking to the sport rather quickly. I played club level here in Denver in midgets and then did the whole tryout circuit, which in the early 2000s or late 90s, it wasn’t the same scene, at least in the States here in Denver. We had to go out of state to find the tryout program stuff. Now with all the rinks here, my friend’s kids who are 14 and 15, hockey in Denver has changed so dramatically. Even with the Triple-A teams and junior scouting programs that they have coming through the town … Denver hockey scene has changed insanely since I was back in high school.
What junior teams in Binghamton and Syracuse?
The Binghamton Tornadoes and then a cup of coffee with the Syracuse Crunch.
Wow, you played at a decently high level?
Yeah, literally lasted one week in Syracuse, like I tore my hip flexor and that was it.
Do you have any glory stories? Did you score on anyone awesome or deke out anyone cool?
No, sadly no. My glory story comes from my best buddy who lived in the Cul-de-Sac with me. He played at college hockey at Colorado College. He also played against Sidney Crosby when Crosby was at Shattuck St. Mary's. His glory story was ‘I stopped Crosby on two breakaways … but he had five goals that game.’
Has any hockey player ever tweeted at you that caught you off guard?
I’m not in this for all the hot girls tweeting at me. I just want these pro hockey players I’ve looked up to to acknowledge my existence, so Zach Boychuk reached out to me and followed me and favorited one of my tweets. So I was like ‘OK, I finally made it!’ All of the drama was finally worth it!
Mike Reilly reached out to me.
Eric Tangradi followed me. It would be like a random one would pop up and it would be like, ‘These guys are normal guys.’ I feel bad they’re wasting their time watching me on TV, but if hopefully I’m entertaining them.
Are there any hockey haters?
Not a single one of the hockey guys, or anyone who appreciates hockey or appreciates me for having played hockey or been a fan of hockey has not been negative on any level. It has been only positive stuff. I’m very thankful for that. The hate usually comes … we sign up for this show and we’re on display for everyone to form snap judgments love or hate. It brings a lot of emotions out of people. Nobody that tweets at me negatively affects me at all. I’m more shocked you took time to find my Twitter account than type something mean up. It doesn’t bother me at all. It would bother me if one of the people I looked up to said something. Then I’d be upset.
Did being a hockey player help or hurt your ability to woo Kaitlyn Bristowe?
Yeah, it’s funny, so when I went on the show we didn’t know who The Bachelorette would be. So, I was already basically committed and fully in, and found out with the rest of America who The Bachelorette would be. So I was like, ‘All right, we’re all in.’ Knowing it was Kaitlyn I had some form of a head start because we have a commonality that we share. I heard her ex-boyfriend had played hockey. So I was like, ‘OK, at least she knows this mentality. She grew up watching it. Her dad is probably a fan.’ I went in fairly confident. My limo move was based around giving her a puck and going, ‘I’d love to puck you.’ I learned pretty quick that was going to get me so far and kind of … there had to be other tangible relationship qualities we shared. It only helped a little bit.
It never even led to talking about it. When we’re in this situation, there are so many other guys talking to her, the amount of uninterrupted conversation you have with her is very minimal, and so you have to really focus on important details. You’re trying to get to know this person, so you’re trying to ask without being too over the top. There were a lot of important questions. With me it was, ‘Are you interested in stepping into a relationship where there’s already a kid involved and an ex-wife?’ We gravitated towards that more. Kaitlyn was awesome and always asked about my daughter. The conversation went down that direction as opposed to hockey.
No hockey with her? Really?
Once I did talk hockey with her. We were talking about the Oilers in Ireland on an island where I eventually got sent home.
About 15 minutes later she sent my ass home. So it didn’t help me.
I know fights don’t happen super often on the show, but I think Joe (Bailey) was really scared of you in Bachelor in Paradise. Do you think he was afraid you would pull his shirt over his head and start punching him? And would that have been your preferred method if you had to fight him?
What people don’t really get was that I had a secondary sunburn on my head and my shoulders. I had just put some cream on and I was in so much pain from the sunburn, then all of a sudden the Joe thing happened. I was already irritated and I just wanted something to happen at that stage. I was like, ‘Please make the first move, say something to insult my daughter or my mom.’ I was kind of looking for it but wasn’t obviously going to throw the first punch.
I’m lucky enough to play in a men’s league in Denver that’s not regulated at all and they kind of let us get away with everything, so we had a lot of fights, especially for a men’s league. I enjoy it. It’s fun to have that side of it, especially being in finance and a corporate conservative life. It’s fun to get outside of yourself. I was looking forward to it and Joe knew that and Joe wanted nothing to do with it.
You didn’t have any foil on you sadly …
I didn’t foil up. It was a situation where he would have had to literally knock me unconscious with the first punch, or … Joe knows. I joke I have a dad bod. Joe is the epitome of dad bod. I don’t think he’s seen the inside of a gym or a squat rack in five years.
So I imagine you’re a pretty big Colorado Avalanche fan?
Die hard Avs fans, yes.
Were they your first favorite team? How did you transition into being an Avs fan in the mid-90s?
I probably first watched hockey in 1994, so right before the Grizzlies came to play in Denver. I was a big fan of Pavel Bure, Patrick Roy and Sergei Fedorov were my favorite players. Before the rivalry happened between the Avs and Red Wings, I was obsessed with Fedorov and his Nike skates. I had the Nike skates. Right now I wish I had the white Nike Fedorov skates. That would be amazing. Those were the players I followed. It was hard to fully relate to a team, but you would collect cards and hope ESPN would show one game per-week of one of those guys.
So you had to suddenly hate Detroit when the Avs moved to Denver?
Yeah, after the whole 1996 playoffs and Claude Lemieux/Kris Draper thing, yeah I could never, ever like a Red Wings player again in my life. That got real, real fast.
Would you shake Claude Lemieux’s hand?
Oh yeah, Dino Ciccarelli … what a great line, right? I don’t take a lot of pride in the Lemieux hit necessarily. That is what it is. I wasn’t pumped about that necessarily, but being able to grow up watching that rivalry was very formative. The cheapest hit of all of them was Slava Kozlov on Adam Foote when he threw his head straight into the glass and Foote started bleeding out of the forehead. That was intent to injure there. I don’t think you really expected to have the Draper situation happen the way it did.
If Lemieux plays in the Avs/Red Wings Stadium Series alumni game, how do you think that will play out?
Well, the bigger question is will (Darren) McCarty get time off from the pawnshop he’s working at so he can play in the alumni game?
Whoa! Shots fired!
At this stage of the game they almost need to just script it out, all shake hands in the locker room and be like, ‘Boys let’s give them what they want’ and go out there with one last hurrah, because we know we’re not going to see a rivalry like that in the NHL again.
John Grahame (former NHL goaltender) works with you at your company Capital Hour. How did that come about?
First of all, I want to say something about John Grahame. He was a goalie in his career, but he skated out a few times on our team, and he has the hardest shot I have ever seen in person. He’s like 250 pounds right now, but he puts all of it in these shots. He can just crank it from the top of the circle in the men’s league. I love him to death. Watch out if he has the puck real close to the net, he’s probably slapping it. Working with him has been good. I worked with St. Charles Capital, which is an investment bank in Denver. He popped up on my Linkedin account and I was like, ‘No way!’ His father worked at University of Denver in town and was my best friend’s goaltending coach. So I knew his dad growing up a little bit. We all knew of John Grahame, but he had left the state well before we all got to know him. So I reached out and was like, ‘Hey man, seeing if you’re doing something working in the business world, want to grab coffee?’ So we met and it has been a mutually beneficial relationship for my industry and making network connections for him and vice-versa. He sits on the board of a company I run in town. He’s amazing. He can open any door here in Denver. I think the Grahames between his mom, his dad and him are kind of the first family of hockey in Denver.
He’s a great guy to know here in hockey circles.
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Can you think of a better way to celebrate a no-hitter than a pajama party?
That's exactly what the Chicago Cubs did following Jake Arrieta's no-no Sunday night at Dodger Stadium.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon has been doing themed road trips with his teams since his days with the Rays, and he's brought the practice over to Chicago. The Cubs were going to fly home clad in pajamas regardless of Sunday's result, Arrieta's first career no-hitter just brought the festivities to another level.
As you can see, the man of the hour was decked out in a mustache-themed onesie when he addressed the media:
He also drank champagne in the clubhouse while wearing his comfortable garb and was joined by his teammates, who wore an assortment of themed pajamas, on the field for a team photo:
We can only imagine how much more fun was had on the plane ride back to Chicago.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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Toledo will be without two starters – running back Kareem Hunt and defensive end Allen Covington – in its first two games.
The program announced Monday morning that the two are suspended for violating team rules.
Hunt, a 6-foot, 225-pound junior, led the MAC in rushing in 2014. His 1,631 rushing yards were good for 10th-best in the nation and second-best for a single season in Toledo history. His 7.96 yards per carry was second in the country. He also added 16 rushing touchdowns and 12 catches for 68 yards.
Covington, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound senior, has played in 30 games for the Rockets over the past three seasons. In 2014, he made 12 starts and registered 29 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack. He also made six starts as a defensive tackle in 2013 and tallied 26 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
The two will miss Thursday’s home opener against Stony Brook and a Sept. 12 road matchup at Arkansas.
Toledo head coach Matt Campbell also announced Monday morning that Alabama transfer Phillip Ely will start at quarterback. Ely suffered a torn ACL in Week 2 last year, but did enough to beat out Logan Woodside for the starting role.
After Ely was injured, Woodside stepped into the starting lineup for the remainder of the 2014 campaign and threw for 2,272 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also had three rushing touchdowns.
The Rockets went 9-4 last season, including a 63-44 win over Arkansas State in the GoDaddy Bowl.
For more Toledo news, visit TheRocketNation.com.
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Another summer series has come and gone, and training camp will soon be upon us.
Thank you to the 33 talented female writers who produced an amazing series. They volunteered their time and creativity for an epic task (just ask those who covered the Original 6). Plus, finding a word that starts with the letter X is not easy.
Treat yo' self by taking a read through all 30 NHL teams from A to Zed:
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As if the NFL didn't have enough controversy 10 days from the 2015 season opener between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, Sony Pictures just released the trailer for "Concussion," a movie based on the true story of the doctor who discovered the link between football and head trauma.
On the same day NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared in court opposite Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Sports Illustrated's Peter King unveiled the two-minute trailer in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column, and it doesn't exactly shine a favorable light on the league.
Based on the 2009 GQ article, "Game Brain," the film chronicles the real-life story of Dr. Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith), the Nigerian-born neuropathologist who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a brain disease brought on by repeated blows to the head — while performing an autopsy on deceased Steelers legend and Hall of Fame center Mike Webster in September 2002.
In the film, Omalu's discovery is met with resistance from the NFL, which correctly viewed his science as damaging to the business of football and allegedly attempted to discredit his work. The conflict of an accomplished man who came to America to pursue his dream, only to be disparaged by those who control the country's most beloved sport, appears to be captured brilliantly by Smith.
The trailer begins with Smith's character saying, "I am the wrong person to have discovered this," and ends with him demanding NFL executives "tell the truth" about a disease believed to be the cause of dementia, memory loss and depression resulting in numerous deaths of football players, including the 2012 suicide of newly inducted Hall of Famer Junior Seau, whose autopsy was also conducted by Omalu.
For anyone who read "Game Brain," the portrayal of the NFL as the film's antagonist should come as no surprise, since Omalu pulled no punches when describing the league's response to his July 2005 study for Neurosurgery entitled "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in a National Football League Player."
"I was naive," the doctor told GQ six years ago. "There are times I wish I never looked at Mike Webster’s brain. It has dragged me into worldly affairs I do not want to be associated with. Human meanness, wickedness, and selfishness. People trying to cover up, to control how information is released. I started this not knowing I was walking into a minefield. That is my only regret."
Really, the only surprising aspect of the trailer is that Goodell is played by Luke Wilson, who is apparently going against type after portraying Joe Bauers, the last beacon of intelligence in the 2006 film "Idiocracy."
As for the conclusions we will draw from a film that also stars Alec Baldwin and Albert Brooks, "Concussion" director Peter Landesman addressed any potential controversy in his Q&A with MMQB.
I have no position on whether or not people should play football or whether they should have their kids play football. To me, this is a story about making adult choices. Once you have the information — and the information has been obscured for a long time, it’s been buried and covered up by people who don’t want to damage the sport — the information is now out there and I hope this movie brings together the information in a way that the general public can metabolize and now make their own decisions. So now that you know that concussions can kill you and playing the sport can kill you, it’s on every parent and it’s on every college player, it’s on every high school player and professional player on whether you are going to let your child play. It’s the same with smoking, drinking and doing drugs. I like to think in some ways that life is an occupational hazard. Something we do in our life is going to kill us; maybe now, maybe  years from now. You have to choose what those things are. We love to drink and be merry and be happy, we know it’s not good for us, but we do it. It’s about making adult choices.
Interestingly, Landesman said he held a private screening for Chris Borland, who recently retired from the NFL at age 24 over concerns about the effects of concussions, and the former San Francisco 49ers linebacker was visibly "shaken and shaking" after watching his worst fears play out on the big screen.
The film is scheduled to be released for the general public in theaters on Christmas Day.
Nothing lasts forever in the NFL, not even Fred Jackson playing running back for the Buffalo Bills.
Jackson, who was with the Bills since 2006 and became a fan favorite, was cut when the team sliced the roster to 75 players, according to Yahoo's Charles Robinson. Jackson just returned from a hamstring injury for the Bills' third preseason game. He had a 41-yard run in what would be his last action with Buffalo.
The Bills had plenty of depth at running back, as they get ready to run Rex Ryan's ground-and-pound plan, and the 34-year-old Jackson didn't fit the plans anymore. Jackson's Bills career ends with 5,646 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns.
Jackson was undrafted out of Coe College, and played in indoor football and NFL Europe before finally getting a shot with the Bills. Given his humble beginnings and his productivity into his 30s, he was very popular in Buffalo.
"Today we had to make the difficult decision to release Fred Jackson," Bills general manager Doug Whaley said in a statement. "He had an incredible career for this organization for the past 10 years. We thank Fred for his hard work, dedication and leadership during his tenure with the Buffalo Bills. Fred has inspired the city of Buffalo in a number of ways. Fred and his family have been dedicated to this community and we can't thank them enough for their contributions through his career."
Jackson now has time to catch on with a new team. He has beat the odds to make it before.
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