Apr 16, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon


College Football Realignment Round-Up: Big East, ACC Opinions

On Saturday morning a lot of Big East fans woke up to the rude awakening of Pitt and Syracuse applying for entrance to the ACC. Our Big East (and UConn) guy Pete Sonski (@PSPRGuy) wrote a little about this on Sunday morning.

Since then there have been differing stories with one of them being UConn also trying to gain entrance into the ACC. I figured now would be a good time to go "around the horn" to our go-to sites for ACC and Big East football and share some of their thoughts from the last couple of days with you:


Pittsburgh- Pitt Script Blog

So someone please explain what Syracuse and Pitt - especially Pitt since they seem to be the ones taking moral thrashing - did that was so unethical? Purposefully led the conference against its own best interests as leaders of an influential committee? Nope. Did the whole deal behind the conference's back? Didn't do that either. They even told everyone that they would look. Not tell Marinatto until a reporter called and told him? Doesn't seem like.

Rather, it seems the Big East is the first organization in the history of capitalism to lie in order to make itself look weaker. They've done a good job controlling the narrative with the precision of a well-oiled political machine. The problem is, that's the first thing the conference has done right in a long time.

Rutgers- On The Banks

Every conceivable sign screams that Rutgers should join the ACC. However, money has its own unique way of changing those equations, and Rutgers just happens to need that money a tad bit more than most other athletic departments; which is why Tim Pernetti joined with Oliver Luck and Steve Pederson to fight John Marinatto's brazen attempt to destroy the Big East. The athletic department's livelihood was literally on the line with this charade. Rutgers was backed into a corner, and acted in self-defense to guard its interests when they were threatened. Now Pernetti and Schiano have Rutgers on the one-yard line in triple overtime, ready to punch the ball in and go home winners. Every action over the past decade - building the Hale Center, Stadium Expansion, and the like, it's all led up to this precise moment. With Tim Pernetti blocking the way, just as he used to on the gridiron, Rutgers supporters can rest safe and secure that the athletic department's future is finally in good hands.

Syracuse- Orange::44

Any "talking" the Big East had with those Big 12 schools wasn't good enough. It's like having the engagement ring in your pocket, seeing the perfect time to propose to your girlfriend, and then just kind of looking at her paralyzed. So, credit to the Presidents/ADs for Syracuse and Pittsburgh for realizing that hey, our league's not doing what it has to do to survive, so we have to look out for ourselves.

UConn- The UConn Blog

What remains of the Big East is an unwieldy, rickety 15-team structure well on its way to collapse. Seven football teams remain, but the Northeastern character of the league (on the football side, at least) is all but gone - just UConn and Rutgers. The endgame appears obvious at this point - the total disintegration of the Big East as a football conference - and now that the game is on, it's time to make moves.

USF- Voodoo Five

Yes, it is an extremely good time to panic. USF's problem isn't that Pittsburgh and Syracuse are leaving the Big East. Any superconference scenario assumed they would be some of the first ones to go. The problem is that they aren't going to the Big 10. And that really puts our dear old alma mater up a creek.


The ACC and SEC Blog

This move towards expansion indicates the ACC wanted to protect itself from other leagues raiding their members as well as secure their place in the new super conference world that is coming (sadly IMO)....Personally, I think college football is losing a little bit of luster going to this super conference alignment. The feel of conference camaraderie is lessened greatly when you have 14 or 16 teams in a league because you cannot play each other enough.

Boston College- BC Interruption

I don't need to tell you that the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC is a BIG, big win for Boston College. Above all else, it validates the school's 2003 decision to leave the Big East. Syracuse was part of the original ACC expansion plan as a way of expanding into the northeast portion of the country. That original plan is now realized with a conference that spans from Chestnut Hill to Miami and picks up two new states and markets between Massachusetts and Maryland.

Clemson- Shakin The Southland

What does it mean for Clemson to add these two? Well they're not good at football. Pitt would be a challenge of course, possibly an annoying gnat like BC. They're both good at basketball, so winning the ACC will become tougher once again. Now, we're even lower in the midpack. It could however improve our basketball recruiting footprint, but we don't even own Atlanta so I'm not very optimistic about that point. In baseball they weaken the conference. 

Virginia Tech- Gobbler Country

I'm excited about the move because it means the ACC is being proactive in expansion. Our Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill, is also excited about the move, saying the Panthers are fortunate to be joining the ACC. Over on the Syracuse side of things, TNIAAM thinks this wouldn't have been done unless West Virginia-to-the-SEC was further along than we thought.

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Erik Morales vs. Pablo Cesar Cano: Round by Round Recap

By Nick Tylwalk 

The second fight on the televised Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz undercard features future Hall of Famer Erik Morales as he continues his comeback against Pablo Cesar Cano. Morales' opponent was supposed to be Lucas Matthysse until he withdrew due to an illness.

Morales is 51-7 with 35 KOs. He lost to Marcos Maidana in a close, thrilling battle in April but looked very good even in defeat. Cano is 22-0-1 and is making his first appearance outside of Mexico.

Michael Buffer gets us ready for a scheduled 12 rounds with the vacant WBC super lightweight title on the line.

Round 1

Both fighters try some jabs to feel each other out. Our own Max Parker mentioned that Morales looks a little soft. He puts together the first nice combo of the fight. Cano goes downstairs with a right hand. Morales pops the jab, then another one. Cano doubles the left hook off the jab. He lands two counter shots after a Morales body shot. Two left hooks by Cano close out the round.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Cano

Round 2

Some fireworks break out early in this frame. Cano lands multiple right hands amidst a flurry. Morales lands his own right and is greeted by immediate return fire. Cano's quick hands are serving him well here. Erik comes over the top with a right hand. Left hook by Cano in the closing seconds.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Cano

Round 3

Morales seems to have steadied himself in this round. He's slowed the pace and is tighter with his guard. Nice one-two combos by El Terrible. Cano steps into a nice left hand. Morales lands a right cross that is very sharp. Cano uses some jabs to set up his right hand.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Morales

Round 4

Pretty even first minute until a Morales right hand tilts things in his favor. His jab is still a factor as well. Cano seems to be bleeding near his left eye. Morales settles down and lands some big one-two combos. Both men land shots in the center of the ring. Morales' hands don't look that fast, but his fundamentals are so solid.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Morales

Round 5

Morales jabs while Cano tries to counter. Erik's jab is always there when he needs it. Cano pivots around and tries his own jab. Right hand by Morales coming in; left hook by Cano stepping back. Nice flurry by Cano. He looks a bit more confident after retreating for much of the last two rounds. Cano unleashes a stream of punches that has Morales on the defensive along the ropes. Morales goes on the attack with a right hand over the top. The crowd responds as both men let their hands go.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Cano

Round 6

Morales hunts and finds a home for two right hands. Cano tries to settle behind his jab. Morales shrugs off some shots to land a left hook. Cano is seeing a lot of his punches blocked. His movement is still very good. Cano lands a left hook but Morales answers in kind. Quiet end to a close round.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Morales

Round 7

The blood is flowing more heavily from Morales' left eye. Neither man really get the upper hand in the first half of this round. Cano may be getting some courage because of that cut. Morales keeps looking for the right hand. Cano works the body and head in the corner. He lands a right-left combination in the center of the ring.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Cano

Round 8

Morales tries to make things more of a brawl. He chases Cano, landing as he moves. Cano is very bloody as well, and Morales clocks him with two right hands. Cano tries to get his legs under him and throw back. Good round for El Terrible.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Morales

Round 9

Cano is still moving pretty well. He needs to be as Morales is looing for those overhead rights. Both men have been covering up well. Cano has been busier; Morales has landed the harder punches. Morales lands a nice body shot. He has to dodge like crazy to avoid a final flurry.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Morales

Round 10

Cano tries to pick up the pace early. Morales is conserving his movement for when he really needs to step out of the way. Morales lands a stiff jab and several straight rights that force Cano back. His face is really a bloody mess. The referee stops the action so the doctor can attend to Cano's cuts. The action resumes, but blood is still streaming from near his left eye. Give Cano credit for staying game, but one wonders if the fight should be stopped.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Morales

Cano's corner asks the referee to stop the fight after the tenth round, which seems appropriate considering the state of Cano's face.

The winner by TKO at the end of Round 10, Erik "El Terrible" Morales.

Larry Merchant asks Morales if he was worried early on because he seemed to be having some trouble with the younger fighter. Erik says it took him a while to adjust and gain his confidence. Morales does say he thought Cano got nervous once he started bleeding. 

Get more great boxing news, recaps and analysis over at Boxing Watchers.

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Devin Hester to Have a Big Game vs. Saints?

This past week in my article NFL Week 1: Living in a Backwards & Bizarro World, some of the unbelievable stats I pointed out from Week 1 in the NFL were the amazing offensive special teams performances.

3 kickoff-return touchdowns of at least 100 yards

  • Green Bay’s Randall Cobb (108)

  • Minnesota’s Percy Harvin (103)

  • San Francisco’s Ted Ginn Jr. (102) — marked just the second week in NFL history with three KOR touchdowns of 100-plus and first since 1958.

8 combined kick-return touchdowns (five punt, three kickoff): The most in a single week in NFL history

  • Randall Cobb’s 108-yard return tied the longest kickoff return in NFL history (tying New England’s Ellis Hobbs in the 2007 opener).

  • Tedd Ginn Jr. became the 12th player in NFL history — and first on opening weekend — to return a kickoff and a punt (55 yards) for touchdowns in the same game. He did it just 59 seconds apart, the fastest of the 12 to do so.

Chicago Bears standout returner Devin Hester weighed in on the new kickoff rules this past week telling the Chicago Tribune on Friday that moving kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line would not limit concussions.

“It’s just showing the NFL that moving the line up five yards didn’t budge things a bit,” Hester said. “They got a couple touchbacks but you’ve still got guys bringing it out and at the end of the day that rule is pointless. It’s not going to prevent concussions because guys are bringing it out five to eight yards deep in the end zone. We’re still coming out with it. And that’s taking away from some of the fun in the NFL because guys are going to bring it out regardless.”

“It’s a record but it always happens early in the season,” Hester said. “Special teams are trying to figure out who they have. … You put guys in position and in preseason you can’t really tell. The veterans are on special teams now and some of them didn’t do a whole lot in preseason, so you really can’t tell how good of a special teams player they are…. As the season goes on, the big returns will start slimming down.”

Hester will look to join in on the special teams festivities against the New Orleans Saints today at the Super Dome at 1pm ET.

The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at TheXLog.com. You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.

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Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfonso Gomez: Round by Round Recap

Get more great boxing news, recaps and analysis over at Boxing Watchers.

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NFL Week 2 Previews: Breaking Down Every Game

Easy Like Sunday Morning is a quick hit post that looks at the games to be played later in the day where I give you a little insight on each matchup and what I’m watching for. It’s a light hearted way to blend comedy with America’s true, favorite pastime. So crack you a cold one, fire up the computer and let me guide your way to the day’s games ahead. Six days a week you may dread, but today I give you football knowledge that’s easy like Sunday morning.

I’ll also give my pick for each game with my “comfort level”. Usually when I give people my picks, they ask me how comfortable should they be with them and I always reply with a real life situation. For instance, if I was to say “riding in a car with Kenny Britt and the cops pull us over,” then I’m not too confident in the pick. But if I tell you that I’m “lying in the hammock with one sock on, wearing boxers and a pair of Blu Blockers,” then it’s a safe bet.

Arizona Cardinals (1-0-0) vs. Washington Redskins (1-0-0): Rex Grossman passed for over 300 yards last week against a beat up Giants’ secondary. The Cardinals gave up over 400 to a rookie quarterback. This could be the first time Grossman had back to back to back 300 yard performances since Mike Shanahan’s first teeth bleaching. Tim Hightower will have a point to prove in this game and carry a huge workload. Kevin Kolb is familiar with the Redskins defense from his time in Philly and will look to take advantage of his Larry Fitzgerald matchups this week.

Rookie Watch

(WAS) Ryan Kerrigan had a knack of getting to the quarterback at Purdue and forcing fumbles.

(ARI) Patrick Peterson will get better each week. When you’re part of a defensive group that gets beat more than Tina Turner, the time to better yourself is NOW!

Pick: Arizona

Comfort Level: In-Laws in town and having sex in the next room!

Baltimore Ravens (1-0-0) vs. Tennessee Titans (0-1-0): Joe Flacco’s last name translates to skinny in Spanish. That’s about the same meaning of the Titans’ chances in this game. Ray Rice will toy with this Tennessee defense. Matt Hasselbeck will struggle to escape this Ravens’ defense and hold on to the football while moving around in the pocket with his walker. He should at least try to get Jared Cook more involved this week. The question surrounding Chris Johnson is if he can rebound from his amazing 24 yard performance. I’m more concerned if he will come out of this game healthy.

Rookie Watch

(BALT) Jimmy Smith was brought in the strengthen the biggest weakness on this Ravens defense last season, the secondary.

(TENN) Akeem Ayers had his stock fall when coming out of college due to his lack of speed. His game speed and playmaking ability is something completely different.

Pick: Baltimore

Comfort Level: If me and Andre Johnson were fighting Cortland Finnegan and Elvis’ corpse.

Seattle Seahawks (0-1-0) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-0): Poor, poor Seahawks. Of all weeks to draw the Steelers, this isn’t the one. This is like someone slapped your mother then you run into that someone’s smaller, more pathetic, possibly retarded, younger brother…then you beat the crap out of them. An athletic quarterback like Tarvaris Jackson usually doesn’t fair too well against a veteran defense that covers the edges. Rashard Mendenhall will treat the defense like people who like to kill terrorist. Ben Roethlisberger will attack the Seahawks like a college student. James Harrison will come after the offense like it was his girlfriend at a restaurant (you may have forgot that this Steeler assaulted his lady while out to dinner a few years ago). Seattle can only hope that this game doesn’t come down to offense, defense, or special teams…or arrests.

Rookie Watch

(SEA) James Carpenter was the force on the offensive line at Alabama and now hopes to make his name known at right tackle for the Seahawks.

(PIT) Marcus Gilbert wasn’t the Florida Gator that most Steelers fans wanted to add to the offensive line this year, after selecting Maurkice Pouncey last season but he’s playing a key role at right tackle as well.

Pick: Pittsburgh

Comfort Level: As comfortable as Big Ben ever facing jail time.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0-0) vs. New York Jets (1-0-0): Games are won in the trenches. So, why even play this game? The Jets will dominate in both matchups of O-line vs D-Line. The Jags can’t feel too comfortable with their receivers facing the Jets corners either. On the flip side of that, New York should have a field day with Derrick Mason, Plaxico Burress, and Santonio Holmes. Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t the same back that he once was and being the only option for Jacksonville will be too much weight on his back. Shonn Greene needs a big game. A few more weeks like last week and the rookie Bilal Powell will start getting some looks. By halftime of this game Mark Sanchez could probably leave and do another very masculine photo shoot and the Jets would still win.

Rookie Watch

(JAX) Cecil Shorts could easily become a premier name in this offense. Partly because of his talent and partly because he’s playing with receivers that are as shifty as the players on the electronic football game from the 80′s.

(JETS) Jeremy Kerley is a threat in the return game but against this secondary, if he’s given the touches he has added value.  I could easily see him on a replay loop this weekend with Rashaen Mathis slowly running after him like a dog with a wounded leg chasing a lambo.

Pick: Jets

Comfort Level:  As comfortable as Mark Sanchez at the Pink Pony sipping something fruity.

Chicago Bears (1-0-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (0-1-0): I’m excited for this game but it’s a tough game to pick. On both teams best day, the Bears are the better team, but you never know when Jay Cutler is going to have a good day. He’s a reliable as Pookie from New Jack City and this week he visits “The Carter”. The Saints have their backs up against the wall but this defense isn’t what you would call reliable. Even with the offseason changes, they’ve given up an average of 41.5 points over their last two games, going back to the playoff lost to the 7-9 Seahawks in January. It’s going to be a pay-per-view type of return game with Darren Sproles and Devin Hester.

Rookie Watch

(CHI) Gabe Carimi will play the role of Ice-T in this real life version of New Jack City. If he can keep Pookie from relapsing, the Bears are the favorite but if he lets him take a hit (see what I did there) then….

(NO) Mark Ingram kind of had a big play last week, you may have seen it. Sean Payton set him up for failure and know he needs to pick him up. The best thing Payton can do for Ingram, is to get him involved early and often and allow him to get that play out of his head.

Pick: Saints

Comfort Level:  As comfortable as watching TV with your kids, parents, and friends when a couple of old people come on the TV talking about the right moment in a Cialis commercial.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1-0) vs. Minnesota Vikings (0-1-0): Adrian Peterson only needs to beat his single game rushing record for the Vikings to have a chance in this game. Tampa Bay will look to get LeGarrette Blount more involved early and if they need to go to the air, I don’t think they’ll be concerned with if Josh Freeman can hang with Donovan McNabb. The wide receiver group they got to follow up the departure of Sidney Rice was as disappointing as “The Godfather III” following I & II. Ironically, watching this Minnesota team play makes me wish that Michael Corleone would invite me on a finishing trip right before kickoff.

Rookie Watch

(TB) Mason Foster has been impressive with the way he’s come in and taken control of the middle linebacker spot as a rookie in a lockout shorten offseason.

(MIN) Christian Ponder should get some snaps if McNabb is pacing sub 100 passing yards again at halftime.  What’s the point of a veteran if he doesn’t give you a chance to win?

Pick: Bucs

Comfort Level:  As comfortable as a Talib at a family reunion when a gun fight starts.

Cleveland Browns (0-1-0) vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-1-0): The Browns need Peyton Hillis to abuse the young defensive tackles of Indy.  The Cleveland defensive line should make Kerry Collins look like…Kerry Collins from last week. I’m trying to find something positive to say about the Colts…umm, Peyton Manning is still kind of humorous in those 600 commercials that he does. Seriously, Dwight Freeney is the only positive that this team has and he even struggled last week with the Texans using a lot of play action and running away from him. Cleveland should be able to win this unless they decide to quit playing defense in the last 5 minutes of the 4th quarter, which is highly likely based on last week.

Rookie Watch

(CLE) Phil Taylor will be the next legendary 350 pound big man. It’s rare to find an agile athlete this size.  He’s basically Professor Klump with Buddy’s athletic ability and he’ll have the dog pound barking, Hercules for years to come.

(IND) Delone Carter needs to be given the rock.  The earlier that this team realizes Joseph Addai isn’t ever going to be the same guy that he was as a rookie, the quicker they start to move the ball.

Pick:  Browns

Comfort Level:  Asking a women if it’s a boy or girl and she’s not pregnant.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-1-0) vs. Detroit Lions (1-0-0): When Charlie Weis left KC he took two things with him, all of the GD snacks and the offense. I’ve been saying that Matt Cassel will struggle in the offense without Weis and I don’t plan on changing my opinion now. Jamaal Charles is being punished for being on a team where “Slingblade” is the Head Coach. How else do you explain giving one of the NFL’s top 5 running backs, 15 combined touches. Matt Stafford to Calvin Johnson is probably the most exciting duo to watch in the NFL. They have such great chemistry together. When Nick Fairley is healthy, the duo of Ndamukong Suh and him will make the Lions a game  a must watch each week. The Lions defense is like a group of attractive females, all your friends want to go talk to them but then when you get up on them, you see the ugly friend and that ugly friends name is Secondary. This is where Detroit could get exploited but not this week, KC doesn’t have the QB to take advantage of the ugly chick.

Rookie Watch

(KC) Justin Houston was drafted to be the force opposite of Tamba Hali and he’ll need to be if they want to stay in games this year.

(DET) Titus Young hasn’t lived up to the draft value that Jim Schwartz had envisioned. The Lions need him to be that guy but I don’t see it in him.

Pick: Lions

Comfort Level:  Snuggie on, A/C set to 70 degrees, and it’s raining outside.

Green Bay Packers (1-0-0) vs. Carolina Panthers (0-1-0): If Cam Newton wants to impress me he doesn’t need to throw for 400 yards vs Arizona’s baby cornerbacks, all he has to do is throw for 250 against Green Bay at home and not have 3 turnovers. If he does that then I’m a believer. Forget Steve Smith, Greg Olsen will be the most valuable target in this game for Cam. Aaron Rodgers will be able to pick apart this defense like BJ Raji picking apart a whole pig for a snack. But he won’t have too, the defense will have their way with the rookie quarterback and the offense can just run all day on the two rookie defensive tackles of Carolina. This will be an iconic game for Newton and the only thing that will be close about this game, is his turnovers and third person references.

Rookie Watch

(GB) Randall Cobb had a stellar first game as well. He will actually follow that up with another highlight laden performance.

(CAR) Sione Fua will need to clog the middle for the Panthers to have any cha….ah forget it, it doesn’t matter what he does, this is a lost cause.

Pick: Packers

Comfort Level:  Have to prove I’m not crazy and they’re comparing me to Les Miles and the guys who make the Old Spice commercials.

Oakland Raiders (1-0-0) vs. Buffalo Bills (1-0-0): Ryan Fitzpatrick has proven his worth in this offense. I like the young receivers but I’m not in love with the offensive line. The Raiders front four could make this a one-dimensional game. Buffalo’s defense will be tested but they’re better than what most people realize. I can’t see anyone shutting down Darren McFadden. The injuries at receiver for the Raiders could be the determining factor in this game. This should be a close one as they’re evenly matched due to the injuries. If a track race breaks out, my money is on the Raiders in the 4 man relay.

Rookie Watch

(OAK) Denarius Moore has looked NFL ready and he may get the chance to prove it if the banged up receiving corps can’t go.

(BUF) Marcell Dareus needs to show why the Bills drafted him so high.  He needs to prove that he can help contain RUN DMC and make Jason Campbell have a long day.

Pick: Oakland

Comfort Level:  Sitting with Ray Lewis in a library carrying on a conversation.

Dallas Cowboys (0-1-0) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-0-0): Miles Austin and Dez Bryant are banged up. Tony Romo is a moron. Jerry Jones is making the decisions. It’s hard to have faith in a team with those issues, until you consider the opponents. San Francisco has a third coach that wants to give Alex Smith a chance to prove he’s a quality NFL starter. I trust Alex Smith about as much as I trust a chef to make my food at a restaurant that I’m attending with his ex-girlfriend, who’s name just happens to be tattooed across his face a la Mike Tyson.

Rookie Watch

(DAL) Dwayne Harris may be the last man standing.  If Dez and Miles aren’t full go, then Dwayne will get more opportunities to prove himself.

(SF) Aldon Smith was drafted in hopes to be a DeMarcus Ware type. He’ll need to perform on that level for the 49ers to keep their offense in this game.

Pick: Cowboys

Comfort Level: PacMan Jones’ bounty hunter camping outside of a strip club hoping he’ll show so I can get a huge payday.

San Diego Chargers (1-0-0) vs. New England Patriots (1-0-0): I think it’s safe to say Tom Brady will have less passing yards this week than last. That may not be indicative of a great performance by the Chargers defense though, seeing how 450 yards would be a decline. San Diego is the better, complete team but they start the season slow, as seen last week. The Patriots defense didn’t look stellar last week and will have a bigger test with San Diego.  Hopefully Chad Johnson doesn’t say anything nice about his quarterback after this game or Tedy Bruschi may have a heart attack.

Rookie Watch

(SD) Corey Liuget will have need to make the offensive line uncomfortable or Brady will be able to pick apart the defense like he did in Miami.

(NE) Ras-I Dowling has a lot to live up to in comparison of a rookie cornerback.  Last year, teammate Devin McCourty set the bar high for what the Patriots expect out of rookie corners.

Pick: Chargers

Comfort Level:  Coming home and seeing a used pregnancy test and not knowing what the symbols mean.

Houston Texans (1-0-0) vs. Miami Dolphins (0-1-0): Miami has a competitive advantage that no one is talking about. They get to have two #1 wideouts on the field at one time and two starting quarterbacks. How you may ask? Well, Brandon Marshall is allowed to play on the field with both of his personalities and this could cause matchup problems for any cornerback. Also, Chad Henne gets to play and according to one of Marshall’s personalities, he’s bringing white Mike Vick with him. That’s hard to game plan for.  New England didn’t bring a lot of pressure last week, so it’ll be interesting to see how Henne or Wvick will deal with the pressure. Also intrigued to see this Texans’ secondary to get it’s for test of 2011. Arian Foster should be back with the most talked about hamstring, since the pilgrims baked the first ham (this is probably historically incorrect, seeing how I was horrible at history and cooking).

Rookie Watch

(HOU) JJ Watt could be one of the key pieces to make sure Chad Henne doesn’t have the time he did last week and also not allow Reggie Bush to bounce outside to get to the open field.

(MIA) Clyde Gates has big play ability.  His current value comes mostly in the return game but could cause matchup problems if given the reps.

Pick: Texans

Comfort Level:  Placing a bet on Brandon Marshall to be in the news again for something other then football.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-0-0) vs. Denver Broncos (0-1-0): Do I have to talk about this game? It’s like talking about George Foreman fighting Larry Holmes in 2012. They were good at some point but nobody wants to watch this crap now. For those wanting to know if John Fox will play Tim Tebow, remember this is the guy that gave Jake Delhomme a contract extension after 5 turnovers in the first half of a playoff game. Then they cut him the next year and had to continue to pay him while he was on another roster. Sorry, Kyle Orton will be the Broncos quarterback until 2018 or until the Tebowites over throw the Broncos management. Cincinnati will struggle to keep their win streak going unless Denver runs the Bengals best defensive play, in which they continue to talk in the huddle while AJ Green briskly walks to the endzone with the football. Denver gets injured more than a bunch of dramatic high school girls loosing the love of their live every other week.

Rookie Watch

(CIN) Andy Dalton will start if he’s healthy. A lot of complaints have been following the release of this statement but I like it. The Bengals aren’t going to the playoffs this year, so let the rookie take his lumps and prepare him for next year.

(DEN) Von Miller had a very pedestrian night in his first regular season game. Elvis Dumervil got injured early and it makes me wonder if his stellar preseason play had a lot to do with feeding off of Doom.

Pick: Bengals

Comfort Level:  Walking down a dark alley with a “Tim TeBlows” shirt on in Denver, Florida, or pass those dramatic high school girls…#TeamTebow ForReals.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0-0) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-1-0): Look I could do some dog jokes but that’s just lazy. With white Mike Vick in Miami and black Mike Vick only one state away in Georgia, it’s worth asking, what happens if they appear in the same place at once and then occupy the same space. We may need to get a flux capacitor just to be safe. Matt Ryan comes back home after a tortuous road game, in a game he must have. The bad news is the game could have an away game feel to it. I don’t care what you personally believe but I know Atlanta and that stadium will be just as much Pro-Vick as it is against him. The Falcons need to score early and control the clock to keep the emotions of the crowd out of the game. If Vick stays on the field and shines, the fans of Atlanta that are on the fence about Vick will start to lean towards support of Vick and against Matt Ryan’s Falcons that would be on the verge of starting 0-2.

Rookie Watch

(PHI) Dion Lewis is a shifty back that moves like Barry Sanders. I haven’t seen a running back with a low center of gravity anywhere close to Barry, until I watched Dion at PITT. I get my popcorn ready on every return and I enjoy every rep he gets in the running game.  Must watch TV.

(ATL) Julio Jones is the rookie you have to talk about. When a team gives up 100 picks for a player, you know he has to be special and Julio is every that was advertised.  Ryan has a relationship with Roddy White but he’ll need to quit zeroing in on him so much if they want to beat Philly.

Pick: Falcons

Comfort Level:  Standing at public urinal and the guy starts up conversation next to me. This is a scary pick, it’s anybody’s game, so I have to go worse. The guy is in the next stall and slides a piece a toilet paper underneath with a tic tac toe board and says, “want to play while we’re both in here for a while”. Worst part, I lose, how the hell did I not start off in the middle of the board. UNCOMFORTABLE!

I hope I was able to make you smile on this Sunday morning. Now, sit back, enjoy the pregame, and realize that it doesn’t get any better than this. 365 days in a year, only 52 Sundays and less than half are filled with NFL action. This is one of the good ones. This is one of the easy ones…..

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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Assigning Blame: Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz

In the charged atmosphere that existed in the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather's fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz, the most inane question that was asked of anyone was regarding who was the winner. Even Jim Lampley, no stranger to nonsensical queries and outbursts from time to time, seemed to chuckle a bit at that one.

Mayweather was the absolute winner. The booing fans didn't change that - a majority of them were rooting against him anyway. Neither did the perfectly legal yet ethically questionable nature of his knockout.

Floyd managed to stop a younger, (much) bigger opponent in just four rounds, albeit with two punches launched when said opponent wasn't looking. Mayweather will conveniently omit that last part in italics when talking about the fight, but that doesn't change any of the facts.

So the winner was never in doubt. What hasn't been discussed as much is who ended up as the losers: Boxing fans. Again. If that fight goes the distance, chances are Mayweather wins by comfortable decision because, hey, that's what he does. He's the best boxer in the world.

But at least Ortiz offered the promise of some moments of excitement along the way, certainly more than we saw from Shane Mosley or Juan Manuel Marquez. Unless you were a big Mayweather fan and enjoyed that weird KO, you didn't get much bang for your viewing buck.

Who's at fault for this outcome? Glad you asked. Tell Kanye and John Legend to fire up the "Blame Game," because there's plenty to go around:

Victor Ortiz

Be mad at Mayweather's opportunistic streak if you want, but we never get to that point if Ortiz doesn't head butt Mayweather while they were battling in the corner in the final minute of Round Four. He claimed in the post-fight interview that it was accidental, but the slow-motion replay sure didn't back up that story. It looked like Ortiz was getting his first taste of success in the fight, got frustrated because both arms were pinned and decided to use the one free weapon he had.

At least Ortiz could have the decency to man up after the fight to admit it. But he stuck to his guns, making it hard to feel sorry for him. He's becoming his own worst enemy in that regard, in the sense that he seems like a likable guy but gets less and less so the longer he talks.

And as far as taking his eyes off Mayweather? Let's just say there's a reason "PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES" (in all caps!) became a trending topic on Twitter for a while last night.

Floyd Mayweather

I'm not even going to talk about the knockout, because it was clearly within the rules of boxing. It's not Mayweather's fault that Ortiz was confused, and if you think he's a jerk for taking advantage of an unaware foe, he really doesn't care. He'd rather play the villain anyway.

The thing that bothered me after the fight was that when initially asked about the punches that ended the fight, the first thing that Mayweather brought up was that he had just been hit with a dirty blow (the head butt, that is). That's significant, because it implies that Floyd may not have gone for the surprise KO had he not just been fouled. It's not quite "two wrongs don't make a right," but it is awfully close to "a wrong and a questionable right don't make a right."

Floyd's profanity-laced tirade against Larry Merchant was just silly posturing, even by his standards. After the way the fight ended, what exactly did he think he was going to get asked about?

Joe Cortez

Though he's an excellent referee with tons of experience under his belt, Cortez still deserves to take the blame when he messes up. And I think he messed up big time last night, probably more than people are pointing out (except for Dana White, but he's hardly a neutral observer when it comes to boxing).

The replays clearly showed that Cortez was not looking when Ortiz and Mayweather touched gloves and probably didn't see the left hook that Floyd landed. If he had called for the fight to resume, which he apparently did, why would he not be, you know, watching the fight? This is especially unforgivable considering the fact that the head butt had just occurred, meaning the action could have quickly spiraled out of control.

Ortiz should never have turned his head, but maybe he wouldn't have needed to if Cortez was paying attention. Sadly, we'll never know.

If you are of the mind that any publicity is good publicity, then Mayweather actually wasn't the only winner. The sport of boxing was too, because the end of the fight created a ton of buzz, got people talking and made it the lead sports story of the night.

Somehow, though, I think when both boxers look unsportsmanlike, one forgets one of the most basic tenets of the sport and the official appears incompetent, it's actually not good that the public is talking about it.  If you love boxing, no matter how you feel about the outcome of last night's fight, that's not a pleasant thought.

Get more great boxing news, recaps and analysis over at Boxing Watchers.

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College Football Realignment: Syracuse, Pittsburgh Stun Big East

Big East fans received a rude awakening this weekend when they learned that two long-time football and basketball powers in their conference – Pittsburgh and Syracuse – secretly had submitted applications to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Given the fluid situation in NCAA football, with Texas A&M planning – and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State seeking – new conference affiliations, a major realignment is a foreseeable and it is reasonable that schools are assessing their conference status and lining up contingencies. School administrators would be negligent to do otherwise.

Responsible planning considers the options that best serve the needs of each institution. If such action results in a disadvantage for allied institutions, that’s the nature of business – and collegiate athletics is big business. Each team must contend with its circumstances to its best advantage.

Texas A&M, unhappy with the manner in which Texas altered the landscape of the Big 12 with its new Longhorn Network, openly expressed its dissatisfaction and went new conference shopping. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State soon followed suit. Although the actions of these three schools have created instability in the Big 12 Conference, to their credit, A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have been public about their concerns, intentions and actions.

In the Big East however, Pittsburgh and Syracuse acted with duplicity. These schools were secretive in their maneuvering and particularly in submitting applications to switch conferences. Whether acting independently or collaboratively, Pittsburgh and Syracuse could not mistake the detrimental impact of their actions on their fellow Big East schools. The manner in which these two schools acted was deceitful and reprehensible.

As a result of being blindsided, the welfare of the entire Big East Conference – institutions, players, students and fans – has been jeopardized unfairly. It speaks volumes, too, that the ACC would accept these applications in the same furtive manner in which they were submitted.

If Pittsburgh and Syracuse wanted to wager on a brighter future in the ACC, that’s their prerogative. But the move should have been done above board. As developments continued to pour in throughout the day, it was revealed that Big East Commissioner John Marinatto learned of the news in the Byrd Stadium press box before the noon kickoff of the Maryland – West Virginia game.

Hopefully, Marinatto’s first action was to call the remaining Big East football programs – Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida, West Virginia and incoming Texas Christian – to elicit a pledge of unity. His next move should have been to Texas, and the remaining Big 12 teams – Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Texas Tech – asking them to rally around the idea of combining the two conferences.

In time there will likely emerge four 16-team superconferences. The Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC are predictably three of them. The race officially is on to assemble the fourth.

As the process moves ahead, there will be winners and losers. That is unavoidable. The manner in which transactions take place, however, is completely in the control of conference and school administrations, and should be conducted with openness and evenhandedness.

There is a place for deception in collegiate athletics. On the playing field, conference rivals will employ gamesmanship in an attempt to trick or mislead their opponents to gain competitive advantage – always within the rules though, and in keeping with the larger spirit of fair play.

Off the field however, these conference teams are a business alliance. In the board rooms and offices, transparency and integrity in dealings with one another are to be expected.

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Complete Results, Recap: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Victor Ortiz

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Boxing Previews, Predictions: Mayweather-Ortiz, Alvarez-Gomez and More

For all the justifiable hype over Floyd Mayweather as he returns to the ring tonight and the very real props he deserves for taking on a hungry, powerful young opponent who is probably still improving, any real attempt to break down his odds of beating Victor Ortiz really hinges on the answer to two questions: Is Mayweather rusty after (another) lengthy layoff? And at age 34, does he still retain all of his top notch quickness and reflexes?

If the answer to both questions is yes, then Ortiz will need to hurt Mayweather with something early to have any chance. That's because it rarely takes Floyd long to figure people out. Just ask Shane Mosley, who staggered Mayweather in the second round when they tangled and barely had another proud moment over the next ten rounds.

Yes, Ortiz is a lot more dangerous than the aging Mosley, and he's a southpaw, which might buy him a little more time. He also got tagged plenty of times by Marcos Maidana and Andre Berto, and neither of those men have anywhere near the precision and timing of Mayweather.

Things get a little more interesting if Money shows any signs of ring rust or aging. The guess here is that if he does, the perpetually confident Ortiz will be emboldened to force the action into more places Floyd would rather not be. If that happens, all bets are off.

Mayweather has never shown any negative effects of taking time away from the sport before, so it seems silly to forecast that this time. As for getting old, we won't know that until it happens. I'm also open to the idea that Ortiz is simply better than we think he is, especially because he's young enough that we could be seeing the best version of him every time out.

That leaves me exactly where I thought I'd end up, with the feeling that I simply can't pick against Mayweather until he gives me just cause. Even with the real risk involved in fighting Ortiz, I don't see that yet. Mayweather wins by unanimous decision, keeping the unblemished record that means so much to him.

The co-feature of the Star Power card is interesting in its own right, with burgeoning superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez tangling with Alfonso Gomez, best known for his run on The Contender and/or retiring the late Arturo Gatti. It's a twist on the usual youth versus experience theme we see so much in the sweet science because Alvarez has boxed many more professional rounds than Gomez despite being nine years his junior.

Canelo certainly appears to have all the tools, yet his performances often feel more workmanlike than sensational. What he could use to advance to the next step in his career is not just a win, but a scintillating stoppage.

There's some precedent for that, as Gomez was absolutely pummeled by Miguel Cotto back in 2008. He's solid in many areas but just doesn't have the quality (to steal a soccer term) of other world class fighters.

We don't know if Alvarez belongs in that category yet, but he's not far off if he keeps winning. I like Canelo by late round stoppage, continuing his ascent.

The remainder of the undercard lost much of its sizzle when Lucas Matthysse dropped out. Now we'll get Erik Morales versus Pablo Cesar Cano instead, which takes some of the starch out of El Terrible's comeback.

Cano is undefeated but is making a huge step up in terms of competition, while Morales proved earlier this year against Maidana that he still has much of what made him great. Unless Father Time only granted Morales a one-night stay, there's no reason to doubt him here. Cano's youth gets him the distance but not the win, and Morales wins by decision.

Get more great boxing news, recaps and analysis over at Boxing Watchers.

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Complete Fight Preview: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Victor Ortiz

By Nick Tylwalk

Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr.

Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Resides: Las Vegas, Nevada
Age: 34
Height: 5' 8"
Reach: 72"
Current World Titles Held: None
Former World Titles Held: WBC Super Featherweight (130 lbs.), Ring Magazine, WBC Lightweight (135 lbs.), WBC Light Welterweight (140 lbs.), Ring Magazine, WBC, IBF Welterweight (147 lbs.), WBC Light Middleweight (154 lbs.)
Professional Record: 41-0, 25 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 18-0, 9 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 11-0
Record at Welterweight: 6-0, 2 KOs

Notable Wins: UD12 Juan Manuel Marquez, SD12 Oscar De La Hoya, TKO10 Diego Corrales

"Vicious" Victor Ortiz

Birthplace: Garden City, Kansas
Resides: Oxnard, California
Age: 24
Height: 5' 9"
Reach: 70"
Current World Titles Held: WBC Welterweight
Former World Titles Held: None
Professional Record: 29-2-2, 22 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 1-1
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 1-0
Record at Welterweight: 8-0, 7 KOs

Notable Wins: UD12 Andre Berto, KO3 Vivian Harris, TKO2 Mike Arnaoutis
Notable Losses: Marcos Maidana TKO6, Corey Alarcon DQ1


Unless you've only become a boxing fan during the last 16 months, you've seen Floyd Mayweather triumph over all comers. Yet even if you've watched every televised fight of his undefeated career, you're still going to see something you've never witnessed before come Saturday night.

That's because when Mayweather steps into the ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, he'll be taking on a young champion whose best days may still lay ahead of him in the form of WBC welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz. Not since Floyd beat Diego Corrales in 2001 has he faced a similar type of challenge.

Even then the comparison falls apart, because Mayweather was only 23 when he battled Corrales. Now 34, he'll try to fend off a man who is ten years younger and equipped with equal parts ferocious power and boundless confidence.

Not that his self-assurance came easy. Ortiz had his heart and willpower questioned during a 2009 stoppage loss to Marcos Maidana, a defeat that made it appear he simply gave up. But he's come on with a vengeance since then, most recently displaying a granite chin to go with his offensive gifts during a thrilling slugfest with Andre Berto.

Mayweather, of course, is rarely mentioned alongside the word slugfest, because he doesn't have to be. The premier boxer of his era, especially on the defensive side, Floyd has scarcely dropped a round over his last three fights, though they came spread out over nearly four years.

Ring rust and advancing age haven't had any affect on Mayweather's skills so far, and it's expected that he'll use those and his vast edge in experience to dictate the spacing and tempo of the fight. It seems nearly impossible to beat him on points, so Ortiz likely won't try, instead attempting to impose his strength and punching power.

Will Mayweather look as sharp as he ever has and put on a boxing clinic? Or will the explosiveness and continuing development of Ortiz prove too much? Whichever man can find a more satisfactory answer to those questions is likely to have his hand raised in victory in Vegas.

Mayweather's Winning Strategy: Box... Then Box Some More

We stole this advice from renowned trainer Freddie Roach, who gave just the first word when asked what he thought Floyd needed to do to win. We added the rest because it's likely that Mayweather will need to keep it up for 12 rounds to win.

Mayweather has no peers when it comes to defense, counter-punching ability and timing. His fast hands and superior reflexes don't hurt either.

He's proven more than willing to let those advantages play out for 12 rounds, occasionally frustrating those who would rather see him go for the kill. That's actually smart in this case, as Ortiz showed against Berto that he can shrug off some serious bombs.

Mayweather was also stunned in the second round of his otherwise dominant victory over Shane Mosley in his last fight. Fortunately, Mosley was too old and stiff to follow up, but Ortiz won't have that problem. If Mayweather shows that he's hurt at any time on Saturday, he's likely to have a storm of knockout shots he'll have to weather.

The best way to avoid that is not to get hurt in the first place. No one does that better than Mayweather, and he's well equipped to box his way to a points win against Ortiz.

Ortiz's Winning Strategy: Never Stop Hustling

It's beyond foolish to think that Ortiz can win by out-working Mayweather in the traditional sense. Still, he'll have to be willing to keep moving, keep throwing and generally stay extremely busy to make his foe uncomfortable.

It may mean walking through some shots to get in close. It's also probably going to involve some stretches where he's much less accurate than usual.

That's normal when fighting someone as elusive and crafty as Mayweather. Ortiz can't be frustrated - he needs to display the same bravado in the ring that he's shown during the build-up to the fight.

If Ortiz can wear Mayweather down (body punches may help here) or get him thinking too much, it may leave the same kind of opening that Mosley found. And if that happens, Ortiz needs to seize the opportunity, unleashing the power that he has in both hands.

Most importantly, Ortiz needs to be mentally prepared to hustle for 36 minutes of action. He may need all of them to get one chance at a career-defining upset.

Get more great boxing news, recaps and analysis over at Boxing Watchers.

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