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MMA Video: Roger Huerta vs. War Machine (Jon Koppenhaver)

I’m sure most of you clicking on this missed the fight. It was a small PPV show on GoFightLive for $9.99. This fight took place this past weekend at Ultimate Warrior Fighting 1. It was a pretty good fight and I had it 1-1 going into the 3rd. Roger was winning that one until that great scramble. Such a shame. He looked to take it 29-28. But he broke a rib somehow and that was pretty much it. He explained the ending of the fight on his Facebook page:

“Hey guys, thx again for the messages. So Yeah, left the hospital earlier this morning and it’s a broken rib. Happened in the scramble when I ended up in half guard late in the 3rd round. Thought I could hold him there but it was to painful. I should of called it off there but I guess my stubbornness in not calling it got the best of me. sorry guys…

You know, I’m not sure what’s going on…I was winning this fight till the rib broke(or at least I felt this). It wasn’t like he punched it and broke it. It just gave out and I couldn’t breath. Weirdest thing. My hats off to him though. It was a good fight all in all. But again thank you guys deeply for the nice messages and for your support. Hope you guys enjoyed the fight either way”

Anyway, check out the fight (sorry, no YouTube video. They keep getting taken down):


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Tiger Woods' Latest Smoke and Mirrors Act at Chevron World Challenge

I know we're at the "end" of pro golf season. To be fair, the pro golf season never really ends. They crank the 2012 PGA season up again on January 6, 2012. It's omnipresent. This week's fare is the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, CA. Still, Tiger's tourney raises a considerable amount of moolah that benefits his foundation and the Tiger Woods Learning Center, both good causes.

Eighteen players will tee it up on Thursday. That's right, eighteen. We have more on Sunday mornings at my muni for a $5.00 blind draw.

These boys are divvying up $5 million. Gotta like like your odds if you scored an invite.  The field typically consists of the four current major champions, the next eleven in the Official World Golf Rankings, and sponsor picks. Evidently not everyone got the email. This year's field has Keegan Bradley as a major winner, Bill Haas, the FedUp Cup champion and a heavily American weighted field with 9 of the world's top 25. In the top ten are Steve Stricker (6), Webb Simpson (9), and Nick Watney (10). Woods himself dodged a bullet just to qualify for his own shindig. He crept into the top 50 at 49 at qualifying time, but has slipped to 52nd in the interim. At least he didn't have to use an exemption. Unfortunately, defending champ, Graeme McDowell is playing in the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City, South Africa along with stalwarts Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, and Martin Kaymer. In related news, someone has seen fit to give John Daly a spot in the USB Hong Kong Open. Bring extra balls.

How things change. Twas a time when everyone checked their mailboxes for a Woods' invite. I'm not sure if it's the global aspect of golf or Woods' declining influence that's turned his tourney into a buddy match. Probably some of both. I'll take a peek at the telly because I'm a golf nut. My trigger finger will be on the NFL though. If Woods intends to break his losing streak, this is his best opportunity in two years.

*Average Golfer aside.....  Quite a coup to have the results from the Sherwood 18 rack up World Ranking Points.

Swing hard, then swing harder.


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Denver Broncos News: Orton Making a Return

You read it here first, Orton is returning to the Denver Broncos, the club announced on Wednesday.  Orton will be joining the practice squad.

No, not that Kyle Orton, the Greg Orton.  Greg joined the NFL as a receiver out of Purdue in 2009.

Singed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent, Orton went on to play in the AFL and UFL for two seasons.  Orton joined the Broncos last August and played in the preseason before being waived prior to the start of the regular season.

At 6-3, 199 pounds, Orton joins the Broncos at the age of 24.  Having never been spent time on an NFL roster during the regular season, Orton is technically considered a rookie and will wear jersey No. 14 for the Broncos.

The Broncos created two free practice squad spots when the team activated linebacker Mike Mohamed and safety Kyle McCarthy to the active roster on Monday, replacing the roster spots formerly held by quarterback Kyle Orton (waived) and cornerback Cassius Vaughn (injured reserve).

The Broncos on Wednesday also signed third year cornerback Tony Carter to the practice squad.  Signed by the Broncos as a college free agent from Florida State University in 2009, Carter bounced back and forth from the practice squad and active roster that season.  After playing in three games in Denver, Carter joined the New England Patriots in 2010 and played in one game last season.

At 5-9, 175 pounds, Carter most recently spent time with the Minnesota Vikings last training camp.  Carter will wear jersey No. 32 with the Broncos.


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MMA Analysis: Is Jon Jones an Arrogant Champion?

Jon Jones: current UFC light heavyweight champion, youngest champion in UFC history, defeated only once in his 15 career fights due to a technicality, impressively dominant in every fight and most importantly let’s not forget – arrogant champion.

Successful in his first title defense against another former champion and MMA veteran Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Jones was “upset” by his next opponent Rashad Evans (pictured with Jones) entering the cage for the second time (first was when he won the title against Shogun Rua) and “stole his moment”

In the position of champion, everyone is gunning for you. Fighters, promoters, sponsors, etc all looking to jump on the bandwagon to have their name thrown into the moment and honestly, having Evans stand in the cage after winning only helps sell the fight more for the UFC. We know the bad blood between them and will see it come to a head when they meet for the title. Until then, we have moments like post fight meetings to keep the hype moving and make fans interested in purchasing the next PPV.

The constant wanking of people “stealing my moment” are opposite of the humble, thankful image Jones pushes in his interviews and press conferences. Stop portraying that you are here for the moment and willing to accept whatever comes your way, only to get upset when someone who wants your title or tell you to your face they are better than you, when in fact you try to play it off as nothing.

Similar to the star high school athlete, “Bones” has no problem accepting all the accolades and love of those who come to watch you perform but when someone comes to say, ‘I can beat you’ he gets an attitude and throws a fit. Also, with the position he is in, more people are going to find whatever they can of him to tear down, mis-interpret and attempt to get under his skin, trying to throw his focus off for the next fight.

It would seem as talented physically he is inside the cage; he lacks what it is mentally to be the champion this early in his career. Winning the belt as young as he did, in the fashion he did and against another champion (Shogun), his head inflated alongside all the praise that media, fighters and fans were giving him. In order to keep his belt and fan base, Jones will need to adapt to the pressures of being the champ in and out of the cage, taking all mud-slinging and trash talk along the way.

For example, fans will buy a fight featuring guys like Rampage or Chael Sonnen because they can talk the best trash and sell the fight. When their opponent or anyone else tries to detract them, they are able to throw it back full force and at times, defeat them mentally and inside the octagon.

Possessing everything it takes to remain atop of his division for sometime, the sky is the limit for Jon Jones; however, he will need to be changing his mental game and be ready for anyone who is there to throw a stumbling block on his path to greatness.

Picture courtesy of Getty Images

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Get more great MMA news, recaps and analysis over at MMA Valor.


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Big Picture Analysis: Paying Players vs. BCS Bowl Executive Salaries

We’re clinging to the perception of college football as an amateur sport when everybody involved in the game—except the student-athletes—are making some money. Not that I’m saying anything new here. It’s a discussion that we’ve had before and it’s an argument made countless times.

Whether athletes should be compensated to some degree is an on-going debate, but let me add this to the discussion:

If every athlete in the FBS (120 teams, assuming 85 scholarship players per team) were to receive only $140 in impermissible benefits (as the NCAA found that Miami quarterback Jacory Harris had, and suspended him for a game as a result), it would come to a grand total of $1,428,000.

Combined, the CEOs of the four BCS bowl games took home $1,873,455 [i] in total assets in fiscal 2009, according to a report from Playoff PAC [ii], a group dedicated to fighting for the implementation of a playoff in college football. The Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl CEOs alone combined for $1,237,804! And remember, there were still three dozen other bowl games last year.

So that’s 10,200 student-athletes getting $1,428,000.00 between them (hypothetically, remember).

Four (4) bowl executives get $1,873,455 between them (not hypothetically).

When Harris is getting docked a game for receiving illicit benefits totaling $140 and BCS bowl executives are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars for putting on one game a year, it’s pretty hard to argue that the players aren’t getting gamed in the current system whether they should be ‘paid’ or not.

I’m not arguing that $140 be given to every player, nor am I suggesting that if players are ever compensated beyond what they receive with their current athletic scholarships it’ll be in the form of a mere $140 a year. I’m instead pointing out the absurdity in seeing a player suspended over $140 when top bowl executives—who put on one friggin’ game a year—are taking home boatloads.

[i] John Junker, Fiesta Bowl/Insight Bowl CEO: $592,418 in fiscal 2009; Paul Hoolahan, Sugar Bowl CEO: $645,386 in fiscal 2009; Mitch Dorger, Rose Bowl CEO: $277,929; Eric Poms, Orange Bowl CEO: $357,722.

[ii] Playoff PAC. (2010). Public Dollars Serving Private Interests: Tax Irregularities of Bowl Championship Series Organizations. Retrieved from Playoff PAC

Danny Hobrock is our College Football Editor. Danny's writing on College Pigskin has garnered national attention and has been critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @DannyHobrock

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2011 Fantasy Football: Week 4 Waiver Wire Pickups

Add in all Leagues

Daniel Thomas MIA | RB

Thomas looks to be the real deal. He had a solid week 2 and even a better week 3. Not only is Thomas a must add, but he could end up being a top 15 back this year. He got off to a slow start in the preseason, but he has clearly turned things around. (about 70% owned)

Ryan Grant GB | RB

Right when it looks like Starks is going to take over this job, then here comes Grant. Grant had 6 more carries than Starks, and he averaged about 5 yards per carry more. To add insult to injury Starks lost a fumble which could hurt his amount of touches moving forward. (about 70% owned)

Bernard Scott CIN | RB

With Benson potentially having to serve a 3 game suspension, this could open the door for Scott to get some carries. He has always been productive when given the chance, but the Bengals always seem to want to limit his touches. If Benson is out this may force the Bengals to see if Scott can handle the load. If Scott plays well there is even a chance he gets an expanded role in the Bengals offense. (about 15% owned)

Stevan Ridley NE | RB

It might be a little early to be calling Ridley a must add, but I really like his upside. He was impressive during the preseason, and he was clearly the most productive back week 3 for the Patriots. Ridley is a gamble, but he is the perfect guy to stash on your bench and just see what happens. (about 5% owned)

Eric Decker DEN | WR

Decker is quickly becoming one of Orton’s favorite targets, and Royal might be out of a job when he comes back from his injury. Decker was targeted 12 times week 3, and he hauled in 7 catches for 48 yards. In a standard league I don’t think he has a ton of value, but he is worth a look in all PPR leagues. (about 75% owned)

Kendall Hunter SF | RB

I love it that I get to talk about Hunter and it’s only week 4. Gore hasn’t looked that good this year, and now he is battling an ankle injury. Hunter might get a chance to start if Gore misses any time, and I think Hunter has potential to put up huge fantasy numbers. Gore is only averaging about 2.5 yards per carry, and so far this year he hasn’t looked like the Gore we are used too. (about 10% owned)

  David Nelson BUF | WR

Even after all the hype that Nelson got last week he is still only owned in about half the leagues. Nelson didn’t disappoint week 3, he caught 6 balls for 84 yards, and I love his potential moving forward. Fitzpatrick continues to impress, and it looks like Nelson is one of his favorite targets. (about 50% owned)

Add in Deeper Leagues

Torrey Smith BAL | WR

Smith had is national breakout party week 3 and he is going to get picked up in a ton of leagues. There are however a couple things to consider before you run out and snag him. He was filling in for Lee Evans, so there is no guaranteed playing time in his future once Evans is healthy. Also, Smith suffered a hamstring injury late in the game that might play a factor week 4. He is an exciting young receiver, but there are still too many question marks around him for me to consider him a must add. (about 10% owned)

Tampa Bay TB | DEF

Tampa has been ok on defense up to this point, but they have a good chance to put up some fantasy points against the Colts. The Manningless Colts played pretty well against the Steelers, but they scored most of their points on turnovers. I think the Bucs D is a solid pickup and play for week 4 if you don’t like your defensive matchup. (about 10% owned)

Denarius Moore OAK | WR

The Raiders expect Ford to come back next week, which could limit how much time Moore is on the field even further. Moore has proven however that he needs to have the ball in his hands. I still think he has limited value with everyone healthy, but it looks like the Raiders are going to find ways to get him involved. (about 55% owned)

Nate Washington TEN | WR

Another big name bites the dust. With Britt out for the year Washington is going to be asked to do a lot more for the Titans. He had a great week 3, and he should get a lot of targets moving forward. It seems like Washington has been around forever, but he is still only 28, and he should be a serviceable fantasy receiver for the rest of the year. (about 30% owned)

Brandon Gibson STL | WR

The Rams passing game has been a bit of a mess so far this year, but Gibson could emerge with some fantasy value. This his is 3rd year in the league and the breakout potential is there. If you are desperate for a wide receiver then Gibson could be a decent gamble. (about 10% owned)

Antonio Brown PIT | WR

In leagues that count return yards I think Brown needs to start getting some attention. He as proven to be fairly consistent in the passing game, and he handles all of the return duties for the Steelers. Brown has big play potential, and I think the ball will be in his hands enough to give him value in some leagues. (about 20% owned)

Andre Caldwell CIN | WR

The status of Jerome Simpson is currently up in the air, and if he were to miss any time then Caldwell would be the beneficiary. He will not have a ton of value, but could be a decent plug in once bye weeks roll around. (about 5% owned)

Brian Hartline MIA | WR

Hartline continues to get no love in the fantasy world, but he is currently a top 35 fantasy receiver. He is one of the most consistent WRs in the league, and is worth a look in deeper PPR leagues. I am not expecting huge things from Hartline, but I don’t think 75 catches and close to 1,000 yards is out of the question. (about 5% owned)

Mike Kafka/Vince Young PHI | QB

With Vick banged up it looks like there is a good chance he will be out week 4. If you are in a deeper league or a 2 QB league then you need to consider picking up Kafka or Young. If Young is health enough to go then he will probably get the nod, but it’s too early to tell at this point. (about 5% owned)

Keep an Eye on

Victor Cruz NYG | WR

Cruz looked amazing filling in for Manningham week 3, but at this point I don’t recommend using a roster spot on him. He should be good for some big plays here and there, but if Manningham and Nicks are both healthy then we just don’t see Cruz getting enough targets. (about 5% owned)\

Waiver Wire is our weekly look at players available in many leagues that could have an immediate impact on your fantasy roster, or simply just players to keep on your radar. We’ll be here all season to let you know which players to watch, who to ignore, and most importantly, who to pick up. If you have any waiver wire questions, feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.


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NFL Analysis: Stanford's Andrew Luck Heading to Indianapolis?

The Indianapolis Colts’ fan base has been spoiled since they drafted Peyton Manning as the #1 draft pick back in 1998. Manning has had one of the most storied NFL careers of all-time. Having his consecutive game streak end in Week 1 of the 2011 season has left the fans in Indy in an odd position, one they are not accustomed to. Under Peyton Manning’s umbrella of success, the Colts have had 11 double digit winning seasons and only two losing seasons. Now, while Peyton Manning watches from a bird’s eye view, the Colts start the 2011 season off 0-3…and it may be the best season since their most recent Super Bowl championship.


Did I lose you there with the last sentence? How could an 0-3 start possibly be Indianapolis’ best season with all of the success they’ve had over the last 14 years? Well, Peyton like only he can do has his mythical powers work perfectly for the fans of Indianapolis. There hasn’t been a more coveted quarterback prospect coming out of college since Andrew Luck than John Elway or maybe Peyton Manning himself. Luck is as sure of a “can’t miss prospect” as there has ever been. So of course Manning would miss his first game and possibly the season on the year that Luck decides to go back to school lining the Colts up for what appears to be a crash course with the eventual #1 overall pick in next year’s draft, Andrew Luck.


Manning comes from NFL bloodlines as well all know, his dad Archie was a former quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. Andrew Luck also has a father, who played in the league, Oliver; he played for the Houston Oilers. Peyton and Andrew both stand at around 6’4 / 6’5 range and between 235 -250 pounds.  Luck is more mobile but both are in the pocket passers that can dissect a defense at will. Now time for the scary part….


As good as Andrew Luck can be in the NFL, he would fall into a perfect situation in Indy. In every other city that could look to draft him, he would undoubtedly start from week one, whether it be Kansas City, Seattle, Minnesota, Jacksonville, or Denver. As a Colt however, not only would he get a couple of years to learn and develop, he would do so behind one of the greatest on field coaches and mentors in Peyton Manning. Think Aaron Rodgers developing behind Brett Favre in Green Bay but without all of the bad habits and penis pics.


As I’m sure the thought of finishing with the worst record would sour the fans of Indy right now, come April 2012 and for the next 15 years, it will be the other 31 fan bases that regret the one horrific season Indianapolis had in 2011. Lastly, no cities would hate the outcome more than Jacksonville, Nashville, and Houston, who have suffered at the hands of the perennial AFC South power for 14 years and would get only a one year break before heading into two more yearly beatings from the Colts and the next Peyton Manning.


If you’re not buying the Andrew Luck hype, consider this. Never before have teams been accused of tanking the year for a draft pick before the preseason was over. Never before have fans started campaigns like “Suck for Luck” before their teams lost their first game of the year. One bad season is a small price to pay for another NFL generation of winning. Ask Miami (Dan Marino) and Denver (John Elway) how hard it is to replace a legend at quarterback. If I was a fan of the Colts, I would pull for an 0-16 season and that MacGruber (Curtis Painter) misses every open receiver like he did with Pierre Garcon on Sunday night. Kill the bird in the hand and go for the two in the bush.




Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock


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College Football Power Rankings: LSU, Wisconsin, Nebraska and More

Although there wasn't much movement this week, look for Saturday's battle between the Wisconsin Badgers and Nebraska Cornhuskers to have a serious impact on how the Week 5 power rankings look.

1 – LSU Tigers: After their week four performance against the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown, LSU has unseeded Oklahoma as the number one team in the country. The 47-21 victory is the Tigers’ third this season against a top 25 opponent having defeated then-third ranked Oregon in the season opener and then-25th ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs. All three wins were on the road and by double digits. LSU mounted a 27-7 lead at halftime and withstood a 14 point third quarter by West Virginia by scoring a touchdown of their own late in the quarter. A failed two-point conversion netted them 13 point is in the fourth as the defense held the Mountaineers scoreless. Despite what the game stats reflect, LSU is running on all cylinders; the running game gained 186 yards on 41 combined attempts and three touchdowns, QB Jarrett Lee was 16-of-28 for 180 and 3 TDs, and the defense grabbed two interceptions and recovered two fumbles. The Tigers will host the Kentucky Wildcats this week and the 12th ranked Florida Gators October 8th. – Dory LeBlanc

AP Rank: 1; Next Game: 10/1 vs. Kentucky

2 – Oklahoma Sooners: The Sooners marched into Tallahassee and defeated the fifth ranked Florida State Seminoles 23-13 Saturday night to retain number one team in the country status. They didn’t look pretty at times facing one of the most athletic and talented defenses in the nation, and struggled both on the ground and in the air. Heisman contender QB Landry Jones wasn’t stellar Saturday night throwing 18-for-27 for 199 yards with two interceptions, but became Oklahoma’s passing leader in the process, surpassing 2008 Heisman winner Sam Bradford.  The impressive part about Oklahoma was despite how well the Seminoles defense played, they still came away with the victory. The Sooner defense again outshined the offense, holding Florida State to 246 total yards total offense, and only allowing one touchdown that came in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma will host Missouri in a primetime Big 12 matchup Saturday night. – Dory LeBlanc

AP Rank: 2; Next Game: 10/1 vs. Ball State

3 – Alabama Crimson Tide:

The battle of the best offense against the best defense in the SEC ended with the Tide’s defense and special teams the victors in a 38-14 rout of the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday. Alabama’s defense intercepted both Arkansas quarterbacks, Tyler Wilson and Brandon Mitchell, scoring a 25 yard return for a TD in the second quarter off a Wilson pass. Marquis Maze returned a punt 83 yards for a score after the first Razorback possession of the second half to put Alabama up 24-7. RB Trent Richardson scored on a 61 yard pass from AJ McCarron before the Hogs would add another seven points with just less than nine minutes in the third. The final points went up on the scoreboard at the end of the quarter on a four yard run by Eddie Lacy; neither team would score in the fourth. McCarron ended the game throwing 15-for-20 for 200 yards and two touchdowns and Richardson would yield 211 total yards, 126 rushing and 85 receiving. The defense held Arkansas to 17 yards on the ground, and 226 total yards of offense. The Tide head to Gainesville this week as Nick Saban takes on his former protégé, Florida’s new head coach, Will Muschamp. – Dory LeBlanc

AP Rank: 3; Next Game: 10/1 @ Florida

4 – Boise State Broncos: Kellen Moore is playing as well as anybody in the country, and Boise State keeps doing what it does best: winning. They fall a spot in our rankings with LSU ascending to the top this week. – Danny Hobrock

AP Rank: 4; Next Game: 10/1 vs. Nevada

5 – Stanford Cardinal: The Cardinal was off this week and they’ll get UCLA on Saturday. When you have Andrew Luck under center you have a chance to win every week. But the rest of the Standard roster is what allows the Cardinal to be mentioned in the national title discussion, which is exactly where they belong. Losing Shayne Skov is a huge blow to the defense, though. – Danny Hobrock

AP Rank: 6; Next Game: 10/1 vs. UCLA

6 – Wisconsin Badgers: Wisconsin routed their final non-conference opponent, South Dakota, 59-10 at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday. The Badgers racked up 612 yards of total offense on the Coyotes, 345 in the air and 267 on the ground. QB Russell Wilson went 19-for-25 with two of his three touchdowns caught by Nick Toon, who ended the day with a career-high 155 yards on seven receptions. The outstanding tandem of running backs James White and Montee Ball combined for 183 yards and three touchdowns. The Badger defense held South Dakota to 173 total yards, the first time this season an opponent has been held to under 200 total yards of offense. Wisconsin allowed only 49 yards passing and intercepted Coyote QB Dante Warren twice. Wisconsin will open their Big 10 schedule in a highly anticipated match up against the eighth-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers this week in Madison as both teams vie for the conference crown. – Dory LeBlanc

AP Rank: 7; Next Game: 10/1 vs. Nebraska

7 – Oklahoma State Cowboys: If the Cowboys ever earned a win, it was Saturday against Texas A&M when they made up a 17-point halftime deficit by scoring 27 straight points. This Big 12 conference race is going to keep getting more and more interesting as the season goes on. – Danny Hobrock

AP Rank: 5; Next Game: 10/8 vs. Kansas

8 – Nebraska Cornhuskers: Wyoming played the Huskers tough early, narrowing the gap to 14-7 by the half. But Nebraska’s talent won out in the end as running back Rex Burkhead scored twice and rushed for 170 yards on the night. Now comes the big one in Madison. Late in the season we could look back on this upcoming matchup as the one that sent the Huskers or Badgers soaring. – Danny Hobrock

AP Rank: 8; Next Game: 10/1 @ Wisconsin

9 – Oregon Ducks: We haven’t heard much from Oregon since their loss to LSU in the opener, but they’ve been winning big with three consecutive 55+ point performances. LaMichael James is now the country’s leading rusher with 613 yards on 65 carries. He’s just two yards ahead of South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, who’s carried 107 times. Something tells me we’ll be hearing from the Ducks again. – Danny Hobrock

AP Rank: 9; Next Game: 10/6 vs. Cal

10 – South Carolina Gamecocks: South Carolina is 4-0 for the first time in Steve Spurrier’s seven years in Columbia as the head coach. Until the Vanderbilt game, the wins have been highlighted by a strong running game by Heisman hopeful Marcus Lattimore. Saturday, Lattimore rushed for only 77 yards and a score and QB Stephen Garcia went 16-of-30 for 228 with a touchdown and four interceptions. Against the Commodores, the defense was the star, holding Vandy to 77 yards of total offense (four yards rushing) and five first downs. Freshman DL Jadeveon Clowney forced two fumbles that were both recovered by the Gamecocks and sacked the Vanderbilt QBs six times. This Saturday, South Carolina will host a one-loss Auburn team, who are coming off a 30-14 victory over FAU. – Dory LeBlanc

AP Rank: 10; Next Game: 10/1 vs Auburn

Danny Hobrock is our College Football Editor. Danny's writing on College Pigskin has garnered national attention and has been critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @DannyHobrock


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College Football Realignment: How to Fix the Big East

The Big East was sacked last weekend when Pittsburgh and Syracuse applied to the ACC. This week it was UConn and West Virginia (and probably more teams) looking elsewhere. The Big East football conference is down to six teams (although Syracuse and Pitt look like they will be made to honor their Big East contract for a couple more years). TCU would make seven if they stay with the conference. So what does the Big East do know?


It looks like the Big 12 is going to try and stick together so they (or the ACC) could try to poach another Big East team or two. The Big East needs to make their move now and attempt to strengthen it's conference so that they can keep their BCS status going forward. Our Big East guy, Pete Sonski, wrote an article earlier today that got me thinking on who should be added to the Big East so I decided to do some research and see which teams I thought would be the best fit.


Let's take a look at some teams and what they might offer the Big East. Some of these have been mentioned as possible Big East targets, others make sense regionally and some I was just intrigued about. For the purpose of this article (and since we are a college football blog) we are mainly going to focus on college football and not really on the rest of the sports and how they might fit in the Big East:


THE CANDIDATES


EAST CAROLINA PIRATES


Location: Greenville, North Carolina


Conference Affiliation: Conference USA


Students: 27,816 (in comparison Syracuse has 20,407 and Pitt has 28,823)


Rivals: NC State, Southern Miss, UNC


2010 Football Attendance: 49,665 per home game


Had 8th highest attendance increase in FBS from 2009 to 2010


Had 99.13% capacity on attendance in 2010


Stadium Capacity: 50,000


Attendance was higher than Arizona State, Colorado, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Indiana, TCU, USF, Purdue, Maryland and Iowa State


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $29 Million (76th out of 118)- in comparison Cincinnati was the lowest revenue Big East team at 67th


HOUSTON COUGARS


Location: Houston, Texas


Conference Affiliation: Conference USA


Students: 38,752


Rivals: Rice


2010 Football Attendance: 31,728


Had 11th highest attendance increase in FBS from 2009 to 2010


Had 99.15% capacity on attendance in 2010


Stadium Capacity: 32,000


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $30 M (73rd out of 118)


MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD


Location: Huntington, West Virginia


Conference Affiliation: Conference USA


Students: 9,692


Rivals: East Carolina, Ohio, UCF, West Virginia


2010 Football Attendance: 27,046


Stadium Capacity: 38,019


Had 14th highest attendance increase in FBS from 2009 to 2010


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $21 M (92nd out of 118)


SMU MUSTANGS


Location: Dallas, Texas


Conference Affiliation: Conference USA


Students: 7,000


2010 Football Attendance: 23,515


Stadium Capacity: 32,000


Had 30th highest attendance increase in FBS from 2009 to 2010


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $33 M (69th out of 118)


SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI GOLDEN EAGLES


Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi


Conference Affiliation: Conference USA


Students: 18,029


Rivals: Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Tulane


2010 Football Attendance: 29,400


Stadium Capacity: 36,000


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $14 M (111th out of 118)


Was the lowest Conference USA team in revene for that time period


TEMPLE OWLS


Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Conference Affiliation: MAC


Students: 37,696


Rivals: Buffalo, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Villanova


2010 Football Attendance: 20,515


Had 22nd highest attendance increase in FBS from 2009 to 2010 


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $29 M (79th out of 118)


UCF KNIGHTS


Location: Orlando, Florida


Conference Affiliation: Conference USA


Students: 56,337


Rivals: East Carolina, Marshall, Tulsa, USF


2010 Football Attendance: 39,614


Attendance was higher than Boston College, Cincinnati, Northwestern, UConn, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Washington State


Stadium Capacity: 45,301


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $28 M (78th out of 118)


VILLANOVA WILDCATS


Location: Villanova, Pennsylvania


Conference Affiliation: CAA (FCS)


Rivals: Delaware, Temple


2010 Football Attendance: 8,573


Stadium Capacity: 12,500


THEY WOULDN'T, WOULD THEY?:


APPALACHIAN STATE MOUNTAINEERS


Location: Boone, North Carolina


Conference Affiliation: Southern (FCS)


Students: 17,222


Rivals: Furman, Georgia Southern, Western Carolina


2010 Football Attendance: 25,715 (largest in FCS)


AIR FORCE FALCONS


Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado


Conference Affiliation: MWC


Students: 4,417


Rivals: Army, Navy, Colorado State


2010 Football Attendance: 40,093


Stadium Capacity: 52,480


Had 15th highest attendance increase in FBS from 2009 to 2010


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $30 M (74th out of 118)


ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS


Location: West Point, New York


Conference Affiliation: Independent


Students: 4,487


Rivals, Army, Navy, Notre Dame, Rutgers


2010 Football Attendance: 31,667


Stadium Capacity: 40,000


Had 20th highest attendance increase in FBS from 2009 to 2010


GEORGIA STATE PANTHERS


Location: Atlanta, Georgia


Conference Affiliation: FCS Independent


Students: 31,533 


2010 Football Attendance: 17,094


Stadium Capacity: 71,228


Football team has only been in existence since 2010 


MEMPHIS TIGERS


Location: Memphis, Tennessee


Conference Affiliation: Conference USA


Students: 23,031


2010 Football Attendance: 23,918


Stadium Capacity: 62,380


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $33 M (68th out of 118)


Was the highest Conference USA team in revenue for that time period


NAVY MIDSHIPMEN


Location: Annapolis, Maryland


Conference Affiliation: Independent


Students: 5,760


Rivals: Air Force, Army, Maryland, Notre Dame, Rutgers


2010 Football Attendance: 32,653


Stadium Capacity: 34,000


RICE OWLS


Location: Houston, Tennessee


Conference Affiliation: Conference USA


Students: 5,760


2010 Football Attendance: 25,571


Stadium Capacity: 70,000


Had 3rd highest attendance increase in FBS from 2009 to 2010


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $26 M (81st out of 118)


TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANES


Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma


Conference Affiliation: Conference USA


Students: 4,165


2010 Football Attendance: 20,379


Stadium Capacity: 30,000


2007/2008 Football Revenue: $25 M (83rd out of 118)


UMASS MINUTEMEN


Location: Amherst, Massachusetts


Conference Affiliation: CAA (FCS)- joining MAC (FBS) in 2013


Students: 68,315 (over 5 campuses); Amherst has 27,269


Rivals: New Hampshire, Rhode Island


2010 Football Attendance: 13,005


Stadium Capacity: 17,000


THE OPTIONS:


THE SERVICE ADADEMIES


One hot rumor is the Big East adding the two unaffiliated service academies, Army and Navy, as football members only. If this was done it would bring the conference to nine teams and somewhat stabilize it. This might be doable if one to three other teams were plucked to go with them. Overall though, I'm not a huge fan of bringing the service academies to the Big East. I like them as independents and it further complicates the separation of sports in the Big East and just creates more confusion.


GO BIG WITH TEXAS TEAMS


I haven't really heard this theory but since they already have TCU why not add three more Texas teams like Houston, SMU and Rice? Houston is by far the most desired of these three but creating a hub in Texas would help with many things including travel costs for TCU having to go half-way across the country for various sports. I like the idea of a hub but I don't think that SMU and Rice bring enough to the table to bring them into an AQ conference.


GO NORTHEAST HEAVY


Another option is to try and stay with the Big East's Northeast roots and gobble up the NE teams (or somewhat northest) like Temple, Villanova and Marshall to bring the conference to 10 teams.


EXPAND SOUTH ALONG THE COAST


USF looks awful lonely down south and adding UCF and East Carolina are probably the best two options for the Big East if they are looking for schools that will bring attedance, fans and revenue to the mix (I know it's not a lot but it's more than the other candidates in a lot of cases). Add them and Memphis and you add some southern flavor and you might have your best 10.


MY PLAN:


After looking over the data I've compiled and assuming that TCU keeps their commitment to the Big East here is who I would add:


Team #8: East Carolina- Their attendance is already higher than Cincinnati, TCU and UConn and they will only get more popular and better recognition with the move to the Big East (much like USF and others have before them). I think they would be a good football fit for the Big East.


Team #9: UCF- They are a large University with solid football attendance and they would provide a natural rival for USF. They have had some controversy lately but they look like a school on the rise and could come in and compete with many in the Big East right now in football.


Team #10: Houston- They are one of the highest revenue generating teams based on the report I used, they are located in a major city (much like UCF), they have solid attendance which improved last year in a down year and they would provide a natural rival for TCU.


Team #11: Memphis- This is where you think I fell off my rocker but I'm thinking revenue opportunities as well as a basketball/football natural rivalry with Louisville. I know the football team sucks but eventually it will be better and maybe that booster that was offerring cash to get them into a conference is still out there. Memphis makes a lot of sense to me if you don't just look at actual W-L records on the football field.


Team #12: Temple or Appalachian State- I would take a long, long look at App State if I was the Big East. I know it sounds crazy but they had the highest attendance in all of the FCS last year. They have recently renovated their stadium to make it bigger but they would need to again if they made the jump to the Big East or build a new one. Back in August a committe at App State said the football team should make the jump to FBS. I'm not sure where they are at now but they would be an interesting addition once Pitt and Syracuse have gone to the ACC. As one of the strongest teams in the conference App State would make no sense but if you tell me that they are the 12th best team in the conference and have a chance to grow into something in the future then it makes sense.


If the Big East doesn't want to take the leap with Appalachian State then they should default to Temple as the #12 team. They make sense from a basketball/football standpoint and from a geographic standpoint.


So here's my Big East (once Pitt and Syracuse go bye bye). I'm going with App State over Temple just because Temple has already had their shot:


NORTH


Cincinnati


Memphis


Louisville


Rutgers


UConn


West Virginia


SOUTH


Appalachain State


East Carolina


Houston


TCU


UCF


USF


OR


EAST


Appalachian State


Cincinnati


East Carolina


Rutgers


UConn


West Virginia


WEST


Houston


Louisville


Memphis


TCU


UCF


USF


Thoughts?


Here are a couple of links that I used for the data in this article (in addition to Wikipedia):


2010 NCAA Attendance Figures


Harvard Sports Attendance Analysis


Orlando Sentinel: Revenue Figures


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College Football Week 4: UCF, Notre Dame, Georgia and More

We’ve seen a lot of scary hits and injuries this year that make you hold your breath. Maybe we’re just more aware of those nasty hits these days, but players keep getting stronger and faster and such injuries are inevitable in today’s game no matter how advanced the safety equipment. I can’t say that I agree with either extreme argument—the one that argues that danger is built into the game and nothing can or should be done about it, nor the one that argues drastic measures should be taken to protect player safety.


I’m not sure what drastic measures you could take to protect the players without rewriting the whole rulebook, but at the same time what we’re watching on television is, at the end of the day, a game. No player should not be able to walk off the field when the final whistle blows—even if ‘they know the risks when they step onto the field.’ It’s a thought without pointing out a solution (and for which no easy answer exists), but it’s nonetheless a thought worth having.


Recapping the week in 500 words or less, this is what we learned about the season:


Cincinnati was simply more aggressive in their takedown of NC State Thursday night. The Wolfpack made too many bonehead mistakes to keep it manageable as the Bearcats capitalized.


So much for UCF as a BCS buster this year. The Knights are 2-2, and that status as Florida’s top team went out the window with the loss to FIU last week.


Notre Dame is such a talented team, but they cannot seem to avoid keeping themselves from realizing their potential. They’re tied for last in the country with 15 turnovers this year.


Georgia is another team who can’t seem to realize its potential. They have the skill position players to put up more than 27 on Ole Miss.


Refs admitted a blown call on an extra point that was clearly evident by instant replay. Sadly, it affected the game as Toledo would have likely won on their last minute field goal rather than merely tying it. What a journey to 1-3 for the Rockets.


Temple making some noise by stomping Maryland. Haven’t heard their name much in this expansion mess.


Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy are averaging 7.7 yards per carry for Alabama this year. Another big test for the Tide next weekend against Florida, but the way they handled Arkansas has me thinking it’s not going to be as close as some think. We’ll see.


The Miami defense just couldn’t figure out the Kansas State offense Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats did a good job of answering any momentum Miami grabbed in the second half.


Clemson’s win over Florida State was more indicative of their being a very good football team; not of FSU being a bad one. Still, the Seminoles failed to meet their preseason top-ten hype, and the Atlantic is far from a lock.


South Carolina is going to face a huge test against Auburn next week and they have to figure out the turnover problem. They’re tied for 111th with 11 turnovers this year, and they won’t win the East if they keep that up.


The Big 12 is challenging the SEC for the most intriguing conference battle this year with Texas A&M and Oklahoma State looking like they can play with the Sooners. Good news is we won’t have to leave it up to our perception to make the call. Wish we could say the same about the postseason.


I didn’t like the short pass call on third-and-long on the Mountaineers opening drive. Points are hard to come by against LSU, and you play aggressively early to grab momentum at home and put yourself in that mindset. But hey, I’m not a coach.


And yeah, I’ll drink the LSU Kool-Aid.


When do we start talking about Oregon again? The offense is clicking like it did last year with 50+ points in the last three games.


Credit Arizona State’s bounce-back. They’re in good shape in the Pac-12 South with the USC win.



This weekend’s Player Who Proved He’s Worth The Hype is LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. He did it all against West Virginia Saturday night, coming away with six tackles, an interception, a big special teams play to pin the Mountaineers on their own three-yard line and forced a fumble.  He makes a difference for the Tigers no matter what’s asked of him, and isn’t that what the Heisman Trophy is all about? More on that later…


I’m splitting the New Household Name recognition between two more Tigers: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins.


Boyd and Watkins were instrumental in the win over the 11th-ranked Seminoles as Boyd passed for 344 yards with three touchdown passes, and Watkins hauled in 141 of those yards and two of those touchdowns on eight receptions.


Watkins, a true freshman, has made his presence known all year for the Tigers. He’s eclipsed 100 yards receiving in the last two games (10 receptions, 155 yards, 2 TDs vs. Auburn) and already has 29 receptions on the year for 433 yards with six touchdowns. Boyd, meanwhile, has done a fantastic job taking over as the starter. He has thrown for over 250 yards in all four games with at least three touchdowns. He’s completed 65.9% of his passes this year and has 1,255 yards on the season (fifth in the country). His 13 touchdown passes are tied for second in the nation.


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