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Just two days after Pedro Martinez will join fellow Red Sox legends, such as Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, and Carlton Fisk, in the Baseball Hall of Fame, he will also be immortalized next to them at Fenway Park. On July 28, the Boston Red Sox will retire his infamous No. 45 at Fenway Park, becoming the ninth for the team.
Arguably the Boston Red Sox best pitcher of all time, Pedro went to eight All Star Games, won three Cy Young awards, and helped bring Boston its first World Series championship in 86 years. His career 219-100 record, coupled with a 2.93 ERA secured his spot in the Hall of Fame in his first eligible year. One of the greatest in his generations, he dominated in an era known for steroids and power hitters.
Take a look below at one of Pedro's iconic photos:
Benjamin Watson is always at the forefront of social issues.
During the Ferguson protests, the Saints tight end posted a moving speech regarding the situation and it quickly went viral.
"Not everyone who embraced the flag embraced prejudice and supremacy alike," Watson said. He continued into past stories about the flag, and that not all people who want to keep it are bad.
"If we remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol for any reason other than a change in the hearts of South Carolinians, we may as well leave it be. This is not the time for political statements and worrying about national perception. But if we, like my friend Frank, finally listen to the cries and concerns of those we say we care about, soften our hearts, and choose to lay our liberties aside to assuage the pain of our brothers, the only suitable option would be a unanimous decision to remove the flag from the public grounds at the Palmetto State Capitol. The past and it's people, as acclaimed or afflicted as they may be, should always be remembered. But it is difficult to completely "move forward" if painful, divisive icons continue to stand unchallenged."
The full statement is worth a read.
The momentum for the Confederate flag to be taken down in South Carolina is gaining.
After a video of Steve Spurrier in 2007 voicing his displeasure of the flag surfaced, others Gamecocks are making their opinions known. The school's president, Harris Pastides issued a statement on the flag and how it needs to be removed from State House grounds.
Is there not some other place for the Confederate flag? A place that would unify our people rather than divide us. via @HarrisPastides— U of South Carolina (@UofSC) June 22, 2015
Former Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw is in full agreement with the sentiment to stand united and remove the flag.
Any flag that contradicts everything our Country flag represents, it shouldn't fly. We ALL stand united.— Connor Shaw (@cmshaw9) June 22, 2015
On Tuesday, Tom Brady will go before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to plead his appeal on the four-game suspension he was handed for Deflategate. While Goodell will be the one deciding the fate of Brady initially, the NFL now says that Ted Wells will also be at the meeting. The attorney, who crafted the report that found that it was “more probable than not” that Brady knew about the deflated balls, will be present to answer questions from both sides.
Having Wells present seems to better benefit Goodell’s side, as he will look to further support the extensive report he already wrote. Brady will have a difficult appeal process that is set to begin tomorrow and end by Thursday at the latest. The NFLPA and Brady’s lawyer will all be there to attempt to exonerate the four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.
If the body is a work of art, the athletes in ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue have the Mona Lisa.
Up-and-coming wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Nationals star Bryce Harper, and Cavaliers addition Kevin Love will be among those to bare it all for the annual magazine issue.
"I've always wanted to do the Body Issue," Harper told ESPN. "I want to put a baseball there."
Choosing the right athletes is always difficult, as they each have unique bodies.
"Our goal is to continue to evolve the issue year after year," ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com editor-in-chief Chad Millman said. "The ability to capture both the strength and vulnerability of these extraordinary athletes through such powerful images and introspective interviews is incredibly moving."
ESPN THE Magazine Body Issue will hit newsstands July 10.
A lot of people became Cleveland Cavaliers fans when Lebron came back to the team. However, one would think that Dwyane Wade’s father would be a passionate supporter of the Miami Heat, the team his son has spent his entire career with. The confusion comes about after Dwyane Wade Sr. sported a Cavaliers shirt while speaking at a Father’s Day church event.
For most players, this would seem simply like a really strange choice of attire for a father to wear. But for Dwyane Wade, this seems like some type of omen. Wade has been commonly linked to free agency rumors, including teaming up again with Lebron James in Cleveland, although limited cap room makes that unlikely. Every little instance adds to further speculation, so it will be interesting to see if there is any upcoming reason for why his father donned Cavs’ gear.
Take a look below at what he wore:
A photo posted by Christopher Acevedo (@christovedo) on
Pete Rose has been widely known as one of the MLB’s greatest and controversial players. While as a manager for the Cincinnati Reds, the team he spent most of his career with, he bet on baseball games. Gambling on one’s own sport is clearly prohibited and is considered one of the most atrocious crimes in sports. His actions led the MLB to ban him from baseball and the Hall of Fame.
He maintained that he only bet on baseball as a manager and never threw games to make money. However, a new report shows that he actually did bet on baseball as a player, something he adamantly has denied. Documents now provide evidence that during his last playing year in 1986, he bet on MLB games (in addition to other sports), including his own team. With this new information, it seems highly unlikely that Pete Rose will ever be reinstated to the MLB, which he has publicly desired for so long.
See one of the key documents below:
Phil Jackson doesn't coach anymore but that doesn't mean he's at a lost for words when it comes to the game.
During an interview with Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, the Knicks president talks about how the game has changed, and it's not all for the better. Jackson says it's drifted away from being a team sport.
"Four guys stand around watching one guy dribble a basketball," Jackson said.
He then comes after one of the best players in the NBA right now.
"I watch LeBron James, for example," Jackson said. "He might [travel] every other time he catches the basketball if he's off the ball. He catches the ball, moves both his feet. You see it happen all the time. There's no structure, there's no disciple, there's no 'How do we play this game' type of attitude. And it goes all the way through the game. To the poing where not guys don't screen—they push off guys with their hands."
Jackson has never been one to shy away from issuing public comments on the game or its players.
Not so zen for someone with the nickname "The Zen Master."
There have been plenty of successful father-son combos in sports, ranging from Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. to Archie Manning and sons Peyton and Eli. Usually, not much is made of these family ties until the sons reach the pros, or at least college. Yet, Felix Hernandez’s six-year-old son Jeremy already has people ogling at his arm.
As part of a Father’s Day celebration hosted by the Mariners, four children of current players threw out the first pitch before the game. The first three tossed some soft lobs, but Jeremy invoked some of his father’s mannerisms. He took this pitch seriously, highlighted by his focused facial expression and full pitching motion. He rocketed the ball with strong control, gathering a loud cheer from the crowd in awe of King Felix’s son. The pitch sent the elder Hernandez back a few feet, who had to catch the heater. Maybe one day he will follow in his father’s footsteps to the Major Leagues as the heir to the throne.
Just like last year, Athlon Sports' 2015 NFL Preview magazine includes NFL player rankings at every position. The rankings in the magazine are provided by Dan Shonka of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services, a company that's been in the football talent evaluation business for more than three decades.
There is no lack of talent at wide receiver right now, considering Calvin Johnson, who set the single-season record for receiving yards (1,964) in 2012, is fourth on this list. And in case you were curious as to why Green Bay's offense is considered one of the best in the league, look no further than the fact that Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb give the Packers a pair of top 10 wideouts to go with the a top-10 running back and the No. 1 quarterback in the game.
Rankings courtesy of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services
2015 NFL Player Rankings: Wide Receivers
1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
Was voted All-Pro after setting a Steelers single-season record with 1,698 yards and 129 receptions. Brown is dangerous in space with his vision, quickness, and elusiveness.
2. Demaryius Thomas, Denver
The big, explosive receiver has the strength to beat bump coverage and the burst to get up the field and separate. Also has the size to run all the inside routes.
3. Dez Bryant, Dallas
Was voted first-team All-Pro and is a big play waiting to happen. The mercurial receiver averaged 15.0 yards per catch and 82.5 yards per game. Productive with 88 catches, 1,320 yards and a league-high 16 TD receptions.
4. Calvin Johnson, Detroit
For the sixth time in the last seven seasons, Megatron caught at least 70 passes and had at least 1,000 yards receiving.
5. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay
Nelson has soft, suction-cup-type hands. The competitive receiver is particularly productive between the hash marks. Has topped 1,000 yards in three of the last four seasons.
6. Julio Jones, Atlanta
After missing 11 games in 2013 with injuries, the ex-Alabama receiver reminded opponents they must account for him.
7. Odell Beckham Jr., N.Y. Giants
The reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year started out slowly due to injuries, but more than got up to speed from Weeks 5 through 16, catching 91 balls for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns.
8. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver
Highly productive in the Broncos’ time-share offense. The hand catcher runs crisp and sharp routes. Excels tracking and adjusting to Peyton Manning’s deep passes.
9. Randall Cobb, Green Bay
Re-signed in the offseason with the Packers after catching 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 TDs in 2014. He played in only six games the previous year but made his contract year count.
10. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis
Became the sixth player in NFL history to record 10 100-yard receiving games in the first two seasons of a career. Hilton’s 2014 numbers: 82 receptions, 1,345 yards, 16.4 yards per catch and seven TDs.
11. A.J. Green, Cincinnati
12. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago
13. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston
14. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay
15. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City
16. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina
17. Julian Edelman, New England
18. Golden Tate, Detroit
19. Andre Johnson, Indianapolis
20. Rueben Randle, N.Y. Giants
21. Jarvis Landry, Miami
22. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco
23. Doug Baldwin, Seattle
24. Keenan Allen, San Diego
25. Eric Decker, N.Y. Jets
26. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay
27. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo
28. Brandon Marshall, N.Y. Jets
29. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
30. Steve Smith, Baltimore
The NFL has dealt with too many off the field issues recently, especially involving assault. Now, another incident has evolved, this time with Saints linebacker Junior Galette, who allegedly attacked a dancer earlier in the year. Those charges were dismissed, but a video from 2013 has surfaced that seems to show him whipping a woman with a belt on a Miami beach.
The video appears to display a group fight between several men and women that shows many vicious punches and kicks. Galette’s lawyer has spoken out against the video, claiming that it is not actually his client in that video. Yet, the Saints have been made aware of this video and sent it to the NFL to review. Coincidentally, Galette is expected to learn his fate this week during a meeting with the NFL about the earlier 2015 incident.
Denver has won four straight AFC West titles and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon with Peyton Manning at the helm. However, just two seasons ago, three teams from the division made the playoffs, and Kansas City and San Diego could get back there in 2015. Oakland still appears to have a long way to go, but this division may be in position to potentially repeat its 2013 success.
Take a look at some of the key AFC West players that could be pivotal to their respective team's success this season:
Ty Sambrailo, Left Tackle, Denver
Broncos (1st place, 12-4)
There may not be a more pressured position than the one rookie Sambrailo has been put in, as four-time Pro Bowler Ryan Clady’s season ended following a torn ACL suffered during OTAs. Now, the second-round pick from Colorado State could be tasked with protecting the blindside of a future Hall of Famer. With a newly implemented zone-blocking scheme and a 39-year-old quarterback, Sambrailo will have to be excellent in pass protection. Losing the injury-ridden Clady is a crushing blow, and there should be some concern about filling the most critical spot on the offensive line.
Another player to watch: running back C.J. Anderson
Jeremy Maclin/Albert Wilson,
Wide Receivers, Kansas City
Chiefs (2nd place, 9-7)
Yes, Maclin is a Pro Bowler and coming off of his best season, but his selection here is more about the Chiefs' struggle at wide receiver last year. They finished the season with no touchdowns from their wideouts and were 29th in passing offense. Alex Smith is no slouch at quarterback and even with a punchless passing game, Kansas City managed to win nine games and just missed making the playoffs. Thus, Maclin needs to continue his strong play, and Wilson, the second-year target who emerged late in 2014, will certainly be needed to complement the Chiefs' new No. 1 wide receiver.
Another player to watch: cornerback Phillip Gaines
Linebacker Manti Te’o, San
Diego Chargers (3rd place, 9-7)
The embattled linebacker whose off the field issues once overshadowed his football career looks to continue his development as a pro. The Chargers' rushing defense ranked near the very bottom of the league last season, so they need to clean that up. He was strong in coverage for them last year, but he must do more to help stop the run. Like Kansas City, San Diego appears to be on the verge of getting back to the postseason, and Te’o could potentially be a difference-maker.
Another player to watch: running back Melvin Gordon
Running back Latavius Murray,
Oakland Raiders (4th place, 3-13)
Oakland was last in rushing offense last season, and that played a role in another forgettable season. Their leading rusher, Darren McFadden, is now gone, although that really isn’t much of a blow to this team. His limited production won’t be forgotten, but that puts the load on Murray to help jumpstart the team’s running game. He had a few big runs last season, but overall he wasn’t very effective either. But as the full-time starter now, he’ll get more carries, and the Raiders need him to produce, in addition to do his part in protecting Derek Carr.
Other players to watch: cornerbacks D.J. Hayden, Ketih McGill, and T.J. Carrie
The Tom Brady jokes never stop. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is the latest to try his hand at one.
Newton was just throwing around the old pigskin and someone gave him a ball that may have been deflated. Uh oh.
"What is that, Tom Brady?" Newton joked.
Jordan Spieth won the US Open and seemed to be destined to win it. He played extremely well on the difficult course, and it appeared as if everybody in attendance wanted the 21-year old to win his second career major. With a small lead, Spieth double bogeyed on the 17th hole, which then led to a tie with Dustin Johnson, who was playing just behind him. A strong 18th hole, however, gave him an eagle chance. He ended up settling on a birdie, giving him a one-stroke advantage.
Then, Dustin Johnson, best known for his off-the-course issues, approached the 18th hole green in only two shots, also giving him opportunities at eagle and the US Open title. He narrowly missed the shot, but he was still in a strong position to tie and force an 18-hole playoff. On his birdie shot, he gently nudged the ball towards the hole. The ball caressed the edge of the cup, but moved past it, giving Spieth the dramatic victory.
Look below to see just how close Dustin Johnson's putts were:
The terms “on the hot seat” or “under pressure” usually apply to quarterbacks and head coaches. After all, there’s an enormous amount of pressure on quarterbacks and coaches for any college football team. And needless to say, it’s difficult to challenge for a conference championship or national title if the quarterback play is an issue all year or if the coaching staff’s status is uncertain after a slow start.
Despite most of the preseason focus on other positions, the battles in the trenches, at linebacker, cornerback or in the receiving corps are just as important to any team’s success in 2015.
With that in mind, let’s set aside the quarterbacks and head coaches for a moment and examine some of the other positions that must produce in 2015.
14 SEC Position Groups Under Pressure in 2015
Alabama Defensive Backs
The receiving corps also deserves a mention here, but Alabama’s defense has to do a better job against the pass if this team wants to win the national title in 2015. Two starters return in the secondary in senior Cyrus Jones and junior Eddie Jackson. However, there’s a glaring void at safety with Landon Collins off to the NFL. Replacing Collins is expected to be senior Geno Smith or sophomore Hootie Jones, while sophomore Tony Brown and redshirt freshman Marlon Humphrey need to step up in the battle to start opposite of Cyrus Jones at cornerback. True freshmen Kendall Sheffield or Minkah Fitzpatrick may also factor in the mix. After giving up 19 pass plays of 30 yards or more last year, the Crimson Tide need better play from this unit.
Related: SEC Football 2015 Predictions
Arkansas Wide Receivers
It’s a tossup between wide receiver or defensive end for Arkansas. The Razorbacks may not have a standout end like Trey Flowers, but the overall depth has improved to alleviate some of the pass rush concerns. At receiver, Keon Hatcher is back after catching 43 passes for 558 yards and six scores last year. And tight end Hunter Henry is poised for another solid season after grabbing 37 passes for 513 yards in 2014. But who will emerge as consistent No. 3 or No. 4 options for quarterback Brandon Allen? Is it sophomore Jared Cornelius? Or will juniors Cody Hollister or Drew Morgan fill that void?
Auburn Defensive Backs
With Will Muschamp calling the defensive signals, and end Carl Lawson back from injury, Auburn should show improvement after giving up 26.7 points per game in 2014. Getting Lawson and the performance of the defensive line on track is a key priority for Muschamp, but the secondary also needs attention after giving up 22 passing scores last year. Senior corner Jonathan Jones and junior safety Johnathan Ford are candidates for All-SEC honors, while additional help is expected to come in the form of transfers Tray Matthews (Georgia) and Blake Countess (Michigan). Depth is a concern here.
Florida Offensive Line
While the uncertainty at quarterback is a concern for Jim McElwain, the offensive line is probably the group keeping the first-year coach up at night. The Gators return only one starter (Trip Thurman), and depth is a major issue. This unit showed improvement under the direction of Mike Summers last season, and the veteran coach was retained by McElwain. Summers does have talent to build around, including sophomore David Sharpe at left tackle and five-star recruit Martez Ivey. Fordham graduate transfer Mason Halter is also expected to factor in the mix.
Georgia Wide Receivers
As we mentioned above, there’s no doubt quarterback play is the No. 1 concern on any roster. Georgia enters fall camp with uncertainty under center, as Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta are locked into a tight battle for the top spot. But regardless of which player starts, the Bulldogs will be looking for improved play at receiver. Chris Conley and Michael Bennett expired their eligibility, leaving tight end Jeb Blazevich and receiver Malcolm Mitchell as the top targets. Will Mitchell stay healthy? And who steps up outside of Mitchell this year? Those are two key questions to watch in Athens.
Related: SEC Football 2015 Predictions
Kentucky Defensive End/Rush Linebackers
There’s no doubt Kentucky will miss Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith as the defense’s top edge rushers. Dupree played the hybrid rush end position under coach Mark Stoops, while Smith was the Wildcats’ top defensive end. This duo combined for 12 of Kentucky’s 27 sacks last year. Who will replace that production off a defense that struggled (31.3 points per game) in 2014? Junior Jason Hatcher is one answer at edge rusher, while seniors Farrington Huguenin and Cory Johnson will be tasked with replacing Smith’s production.
LSU Defensive Ends
Make no mistake: Talent is not an issue for LSU in the trenches. The Tigers are anchored on the interior by junior Christian LaCouture and rising star in sophomore Davon Godchaux. But the pass rush is a concern for new coordinator Kevin Steele. Since LSU led the SEC with 38 sacks in 2011, the Tigers have watched their sack total decline for three consecutive seasons. Last year, LSU managed only 19 sacks in 13 games, with Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter (combined for 5.5 sacks) off to the NFL. Steele plans on incorporating more 3-4 looks, which adds to the uncertainty of the end/linebacker position. Juniors Tashawn Bower and Lewis Neal and sophomore Deondre Clark are three names to watch off the edge, along with true freshman Arden Key (assuming he makes it to campus).
Mississippi State Offensive Line
A number of positions could be listed here for the Bulldogs. But on the bright side, coach Dan Mullen has upgraded the talent through recruiting in recent years. Only two starters return up front for Mississippi State, with left tackle Blaine Clausell, center Dillon Day and guard Ben Beckwith expiring their eligibility. Junior Justin Senior may switch to left tackle to replace Clausell or that job could fall to senior Rufus Warren. Guard Justin Malone should be among the best in the SEC. How quickly will the Bulldogs find the right mix at the other three spots? Will junior college recruit Martinas Rankin claim a starting job this fall?
Missouri Wide Receivers
Defensive end also deserves a mention in this space after Missouri loses Shane Ray and Markus Golden, but the Tigers have reloaded there in recent years without much trouble. The same could be said for Missouri’s recent history at receiver, and there is talent to work with for quarterback Maty Mauk. However, the Tigers must replace their top four leading receivers from last season, with Nate Brown (five) and Wesley Leftwich (three) returning as the top options on the outside.
Ole Miss Offensive Line
There are few areas of concern for coach Hugh Freeze in 2015. However, the two biggest problem spots – quarterback and offensive line – are enough to prevent this team from winning the SEC West. In 13 games last season, the Rebels allowed 31 sacks and generated just 3.9 yards per carry in conference play. With all five starters back in the trenches, Freeze should expect better play up front. The anchor is junior Laremy Tunsil, but he is recovering from a leg injury suffered in the Peach Bowl loss against TCU. Depth and overall talent in this group has improved. Will the performance and improvement show on the field this year?
South Carolina Defensive Line
After giving up 30.4 points per game last year, it’s fair to say every unit on South Carolina’s defense must improve. Getting the defense back on track has to start up front. The Gamecocks addressed this unit through recruiting, adding junior college recruit Marquavius Lewis and talented freshman Dexter Wideman. Both players, along with Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon Jr. are critical pieces for a unit that generated only 14 sacks and gave up 212.2 rushing yards per game in 2014.
Tennessee Offensive Line
The Volunteers had to replace all five starters from its 2013 unit last season. And it was no surprise this group had its share of struggles, allowing 43 sacks in 13 games and generating only 3.6 yards per carry. The inconsistency and development of this group last year should pay dividends for 2015. Tennessee returns four starters this season, and the depth has improved with the addition of talented freshmen Drew Richmond and Jack Jones. If this group takes a step forward in its development, the Volunteers should have one of the SEC’s top offenses.
Related: SEC Football 2015 Predictions
Texas A&M Linebackers
With John Chavis calling the defensive signals for Texas A&M, improvement should be noticeable in 2015. Personnel concerns still exist at each level, including linebacker where the Aggies struggled with injuries and overall performance last year. But there’s hope for quick improvement in 2015, as sophomore Otaro Alaka is one of the SEC’s breakout players this year, and junior A.J. Hilliard is back from a leg injury that sidelined him nearly all of 2014. Junior college recruit Claude George is also pushing for snaps, while the Aggies expect sophomore (and former four-star prospect) Josh Walker to take a step forward this season.
Vanderbilt Offensive Line
Quarterback play is easily the biggest concern for new coordinator Andy Ludwig. But regardless of which player takes the first snap, the offensive line has to improve its protection and run blocking. The Commodores featured four returning starters last season, yet this unit allowed 21 sacks and rushers averaged only 3.4 yards per carry. A year later, the same storyline is set to unfold. Four starters are back, and the starting group is expected to feature three juniors and one senior. That’s the type of experience that usually translates to improved production.
Conference USA's West Division isn't as talented as its East brethren, which means this is a wide-open race. Louisiana Tech and Rice figure to lead the way with Southern Miss and UTEP as potential wild cards.
There are six teams in Conference USA's West Division. This article will apply the win totals from one online sportsbook and discuss if there is any value in these numbers. A selection is made based on the team's schedule, in which the games are broken down into three categories - easy wins, toss-ups and certain losses. Most conference games are in the toss-up category unless there is a clear difference in talent.
Note: Over/under odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook
Conference USA West Division
(Over 8 wins -115...Under 8 wins -125)
Record Last Year: 9-5, 7-1
Returning Starters: 13 (7 on offense, 6 on defense)
Offense: Everything on this side of the ball starts with Kenneth Dixon carrying the football. Last year he had 28 touchdowns with 22 of them coming on the ground. Florida graduate transfer Jeff Driskel figures to win the starting quarterback job and if he does, he'll have three returning wide receivers to throw to. The front line also is strong so the offense could be just as productive as last year's (37.4 ppg).
Defense: The Bulldogs were 17th in the country against the run, holding opponents to just 118.2 ypg. Xavier Woods and Kentrell Brice are both playmakers in the secondary while the front line returns several starters. The potential problems occur at linebacker where reshuffling will occur.
Schedule: Louisiana Tech has a home game against Southern before it plays five of the next eight on the road. The Bulldogs travel to Kansas State and Mississippi State out of conference. The final non C-USA game is at home against the Sun Belt's UL Lafayette.
Selection: Small lean to the under for Louisiana Tech, who may be a bit road weary to start the year out. The non-conference slate should give the Bulldogs two wins, but they have some swing games later on in November. Coordinator Manny Diaz's departure will hurt this defense.
(Over 5 wins -120...Under 5 wins -120)
Record Last Year: 4-8, 2-6
Returning Starters: 9 (4 on offense, 5 on defense)
Offense: This was one of the worst passing attacks in the country last year. North Texas brings back Andrew McNulty under center, but he threw seven interceptions compared to just six touchdowns in six games. He's got a few weapons in seniors Marcus Smith and Carlos Harris. The Problem is that the offensive line is going to be young. This unit could struggle.
Defense: Chad Polk leads the returnees with 5.5 sacks. He has help in Austin Orr and Sir Calvin Wallace up front. The rest of the defense is going to be pretty young and may struggle to start the season out.
Schedule: Yikes. The Mean Green play at SMU, Iowa and Tennessee out of conference. They do have one home game against Portland State. Three of the first four and three of the last four contests are all on the road.
Selection: Big-time lean to the under for the Mean Green. The youth on this team will struggle big time with the massive road stretches. The offense doesn't have too many pieces and the defense is in rebuilding mode. It could be a long year in Denton.
(Over 7.5 wins -115...Under 7.5 wins -125)
Record Last Year: 8-5, 5-3
Returning Starters: 7 (5 on offense, 2 on defense)
Offense: If Driphus Jackson can get healthy, then this unit should be able to produce some points. Jackson had 24 touchdowns for the Owls last year and he'll have Jowan Davis and Darik Dillard back to keep defenses honest on the ground. The receiving corps needs some work after losing Jordan Taylor.
Defense: Rice returns just two starters from last year's defense. The front line lost two big pieces and will have to rely on some younger players. Alex Lyons led the team in tackles last year and will be counted on once again this season.
Schedule: Wagner kicks things off in before three straight road games including tilts at Baylor and Texas. The last non-conference game is Army in October when the Owls play three of four at home.
Selection: Slight lean to the under. While the offense should click early, the defensive issues could hold Rice back. Road games against Big 12 opponents as well as Florida Atlantic will prove problematic. I'm not as optimistic as Vegas on this team.
(Over 4.5 wins +115...Under 4.5 wins -155)
Record Last Year: 3-9, 1-7
Returning Starters: 10 (7 on offense, 3 on defense)
Offense: Another long year could be coming for this unit. Nick Mullens and Tyler Matthews are potential signal-callers and they'll have a veteran offensive line to work with. Running back Ito Smith is just 5-9 and led the team with 536 rushing yards last year. Southern Miss will need more from the ground game this season if it hopes to move the ball with any success.
Defense: The Golden Eagles ranked 109th in the country last year at 35.4 points per game allowed. This year's unit may be just as rough with just three returning starters. Picasso Nelson hopes to paint a masterpiece from the secondary.
Schedule: Southern Miss welcomes Mississippi State to Hattiesburg to open up the year. After that probable loss the Golden Eagles host Austin Peay before road games at Texas State and Nebraska. They have tough road games at Marshall, Rice and Louisiana Tech in conference.
Selection: The money move towards the under is the correct side. This is another team that will struggle to slow anyone down defensively. Much like last year, the offense will be a problem and Todd Monken's seat will get even hotter.
(Over 6 wins -120...Under 6 wins -120)
Record Last Year: 7-6, 5-3
Returning Starters: 11 (6 on offense, 5 on defense)
Offense: Quarterback Jameill Showers is gone after a solid 2014 campaign. Mack Leftwich will be under center and will be glad to have running back Aaron Jones to hand off to. The junior accounted for over 1,500 yards last year and should be able to find holes behind one of the best offensive lines in the conference.
Defense: The Miners run a solid 4-2-5 defense and were one of the best against the pass last year, holding opponents to under 200 yards passing per game. This is an underrated group that could get pressure with Nick Usher and Roy Robertson-Harris up front.
Schedule: Three straight on the road start things off for the Miners. Included in that stretch are games at Arkansas and Texas Tech. The other two non-conference games are Incarnate Word and New Mexico State. Starting in October, UTEP alternates home and road games in conference.
Selection: The under is the play here but it's close. UTEP could go 0-3 before its first home game on Sept. 26. Getting FAU, Rice and Louisiana Tech at home will help, although each team presents their own challenges.
(Over 2.5 wins -170...Under 2.5 wins +130)
Record Last Year: 4-8, 3-5
Returning Starters: 3 (0 on offense, 3 on defense)
Offense: Last year's veteran team has turned into a ton of youth this year. UTSA struggled down the stretch, losing four of its last six and mustering just 80 points in those games. It's rare to find a unit on either side of the ball that returns no one from last year. Such are the perils of being a relatively new program.
Defense: The defense returns just three starters. Drew Douglas leads the way after making 72 tackles last year. The Roadrunners held four opponents to 20 points or less last year.
Schedule: Larry Coker's bunch will be tested with road games at Arizona and Oklahoma State to go with home contests against Kansas State and Colorado State. Three of four tilts in October are on the road before three of four home games in November.
Selection: I tried real hard to take the under. The lack of returnees is highly concerning, plus the real rough start in September. Normally I'd have no problems with the under, but Coker's presence may be a help. He's 23-23 in four years at the school. I wouldn't be mad if you took the under especially at the value 5Dimes is offering.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.
In 2007 South Carolina's most recognizable figure, Steve Spurrier, spoke about how the flag is an embarrassment and should be taken down.
"I realize I'm not supposed to get in the political arena as a football coach," Spurrier said. "But if anybody were ever to ask me about that damn Confederate flag, I would say we need to get rid of it. I've been told not to talk about that. But if anyone were ever to ask me about it, I certainly wish we could get rid of it."
Spurrier most likely feels even stronger about the subject based on what has happened recently. South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner seems to be in agreement.
Transfers are a huge part of any college football season. Whether it’s a graduate transfer eligible right away or a player that sat out the previous year due to NCAA rules, impact players are available in the transfer ranks every year.
Quarterbacks are always under the microscope in the transfer ranks, and there’s no shortage of intriguing moves for 2015. Everett Golson left Notre Dame for Florida State, and Vernon Adams is transferring from Eastern Washington to Oregon.
Here’s a look at 25 key transfers to watch this year:
25 Impact College Football Transfers for 2015
1. The Quarterbacks
Several quarterbacks are slated to make an impact at a new program in 2015. Vernon Adams (Oregon), Everett Golson (Florida State), Jake Rudock (Michigan), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Jeff Driskel (Louisiana Tech) and Max Wittek (Hawaii) are just a few of the key quarterback transfers to watch this year.
2. Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana (from UAB)
Howard is eligible immediately after UAB disbanded its football program in December. The junior rushed for 2,468 yards and 15 scores in two years with the Blazers. Tevin Coleman leaves big shoes to fill, but Howard is capable of being an All-Big Ten running back.
Related: Big Ten 2015 Predictions
3. Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville (from Georgia)
Even though Louisville’s secondary must replace all four starters from last season, the pass defense won’t suffer too big of a drop with two Georgia transfers stepping into the lineup. Harvey-Clemons was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and made 11 starts for the Bulldogs in 2013.
Related: ACC 2015 Predictions
4. Blake Countess, CB, Auburn (from Michigan)
Auburn’s secondary has to improve after giving up 44 pass plays of 20 yards or more last year. The Tigers have lost a few players here via transfer, but the addition of Countess should help at corner. The Maryland native played in 38 games for the Wolverines, recorded 114 tackles and six interceptions. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2013.
Related: SEC 2015 Predictions
5. Austin Golson, C, Auburn (from Ole Miss)
Golson is making the rare move of transferring within the SEC West, as the Alabama native left Ole Miss after playing in 12 games with the Rebels in 2013. Golson is considered the frontrunner to start at center and replace Reese Dismukes for a talented Auburn offensive line.
6. Matt Hegarty, OL, Oregon (from Notre Dame)
Oregon’s offensive line loses stalwarts in left tackle Jake Fisher and center Hroniss Grasu, but a solid foundation remains intact with three other returning starters. Hegarty started 11 games for the Fighting Irish last season and will push for starting spot at guard or center.
Related: Pac-12 2015 Predictions
7. Devin Lucien, WR, Arizona State (from UCLA)
With the departure of Jaelen Strong to the NFL, Arizona State’s offense is in need of a receiver (or two) to emerge. But the answers are falling into place for coach Todd Graham, as running back D.J. Foster is shifting to receiver, and Lucien is eligible immediately after transferring from UCLA. The California native averaged 12.9 yards per catch in three years with the Bruins.
8. Wayne Lyons, CB, Michigan (from Stanford)
Michigan lost cornerback Blake Countess in a transfer to Auburn but gained a starter in Lyons. The Florida native is a good fit for the Wolverines’ defensive scheme in press coverage and was recruited to Stanford by Jim Harbaugh. Lyons recorded 30 tackles in 13 games with the Cardinal in 2014.
9. Tray Matthews, S, Auburn (from Georgia)
Auburn’s defense should be among the most improved groups in the SEC this season. The addition of Will Muschamp at coordinator will help to turn around a unit that allowed 26.7 points per game in 2014. Matthews is the second defensive back transfer for Auburn to make this list, as the sophomore is likely to start at safety after transferring from Georgia. The sophomore played in eight games for the Bulldogs in 2013 and recorded 36 tackles.
10. Ty Isaac, RB, Michigan (from USC)
Jim Harbaugh loves to establish the run, and the Wolverines are due for improvement in this area after generating only 162.8 yards per game in 2014. Getting junior Derrick Green back to full strength after a broken clavicle last year will help, and Isaac is ready to contribute after sitting out a season due to transfer rules. Isaac was a five-star recruit out of high school and rushed for 236 yards and two scores in 14 games with the Trojans in 2013.
11. Freddie Tagaloa, OT, Arizona (from California)
Rich Rodriguez’s high-powered Arizona offense will be breaking in three new starters on the line this season. Tagaloa should help to ease some of the transition up front, as the California native has starting experience from his two-year stint in Berkeley. The junior is expected to start at left tackle in 2015.
12. Victor Salako, OT, Oklahoma State (from UAB)
Oklahoma State’s offensive line struggled last season, but this unit showed improvement late in the year. Salako transferred to Stillwater after UAB disbanded its football program in December, and the Alabama native is expected to start at left tackle after making 23 starts with the Blazers.
13. Mike Mitchell, LB, Texas Tech (from Ohio State)
It’s no secret Texas Tech’s defense is in need of repair. Coach Kliff Kingsbury took a major step forward in addressing the defensive woes by hiring David Gibbs away from Houston, while the talent on the field is bolstered by the addition of Mitchell. The five-star recruit never played at Ohio State and redshirted in his only season with the Buckeyes.
Related: Big 12 2015 Predictions
14. Shaq Wiggins, CB, Louisville (from Georgia)
Wiggins is the second Georgia transfer to Louisville in this article. Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons is expected to join Wiggins as starters in the secondary for coordinator Todd Grantham. Wiggins started eight games for the Bulldogs in 2013, recording 19 tackles and two interceptions.
15. Brennan Scarlett, DE, Stanford (from California)
Scarlett’s decision to transfer from California to Stanford certainly raised some eyebrows around the Pac-12, but the senior is a solid pickup for the Cardinal defense. Injuries marred Scarlett’s tenure at California, as he never played in a full season and was limited to 17 appearances in four years. Stanford is thin on depth up front, which should allow Scarlett to carve out a role in the trenches this season.
16. Ja’Quay Savage, WR, Louisville (from Texas A&M)
Louisville has some big shoes to fill in the receiving corps with the departure of receivers DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers and tight end Gerald Christian. But the Cardinals aren’t hurting for talent on the outside, as UAB transfer Jamari Staples, junior James Quick and Savage will be a trio of capable targets. Savage (formerly Ja’Quay Williams) transferred to Louisville after one year at Texas A&M. The Georgia native caught four passes with the Aggies in 2013.
17. Isaiah Johnson, S, South Carolina (from Kansas)
South Carolina’s defense struggled mightily last year, giving up 30.4 points per game and 6.2 yards per play. Coach Steve Spurrier hopes the addition of new co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke helps to turn around this unit, along with addition of a few new faces and more experience from the underclassmen. Johnson was one of the few bright spots on a struggling Kansas team last year, recording 75 tackles and one interception. Johnson should push for a starting spot at safety.
18. Richard Mullaney, WR, Alabama (from Oregon State)
Amari Cooper leaves big shoes to fill after catching 124 of Alabama’s 290 passes last year. And Cooper isn’t the only loss for coordinator Lane Kiffin as No. 2 target DeAndrew White and No. 3 receiver Christion Jones have expired their eligibility. Mullaney is a post-spring pickup for coach Nick Saban, and the Oregon State graduate transfer should be a valuable pickup for an inexperienced receiving corps. Mullaney caught 52 passes in 2013 but was limited by injury in 2014.
19. Rodney Coe, DT, Akron (from Iowa State)
Akron’s starting defense could feature five transfers from Power 5 programs. Linebacker Darryl Monroe is a name to watch, but Coe could be the biggest impact transfer for coach Terry Bowden. The 305-pound tackle recorded 37 tackles at Iowa State in 2013 and will anchor the interior of Akron’s defensive front this year.
20. Kelsey Young, RB, Boise State (from Stanford)
With Jay Ajayi moving onto the NFL, uncertainty surrounds the Boise State backfield. Jeremy McNichols and Cory Young are the favorites to replace Ajayi’s production, but Kelsey Young (Cory’s brother) adds to the competition after transferring to Boise for his final year. He rushed for 331 yards on 66 attempts with Stanford in 2014.
21. Kaiwan Lewis, LB, Rutgers (from South Carolina)
Rutgers’ Big Ten debut was a success, but coach Kyle Flood has some work to do in order to get the Scarlet Knights back in the postseason in 2015. Upgrading the performance on defense is a must, and Lewis – a graduate transfer from South Carolina – is slated to compete for the starting job at middle linebacker. Lewis regarded 20 tackles for the Gamecocks last year but made 10 starts in 2013.
22. Mason Halter, OL, Florida (from Fordham)
Florida taking a graduate transfer from Fordham isn’t going to be a common occurrence, but the Gators desperately need offensive line help, and Halter is a good pickup to bolster the available talent. The senior started 33 games at Fordham and was one of the top linemen at the FCS level. With the Gators short on talent and depth, Halter figures to make an impact in his only year in Gainesville.
23. Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR, Ole Miss (from Washington)
Stringfellow certainly has the talent to be an impact receiver for Ole Miss, but coach Hugh Freeze indicated the Washington transfer needs to show more consistency to earn playing time in 2015. In his only season with the Huskies, Stringfellow caught 20 passes for 259 yards and one score.
24. Jake Ganus, LB, Georgia (from UAB)
The Bulldogs are loaded with talent on the outside in the linebacking corps, featuring All-SEC candidates in Lorenzo Carter, Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd. The interior spots in this group are up for grabs, and Ganus could push Reggie Carter or Tim Kimbrough for a starting job. Ganus led UAB in tackles in 2013-14 and was a second-team All-Conference USA selection last year.
25. Kyle Bosch, OL, West Virginia (from Michigan)
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen received good news in late May when Bosch was declared eligible for the 2015 season. The Illinois native played in one game for Michigan in 2014 but started three in 2013. He should push for time at guard in 2015.
Other Transfers to Watch
RB Ralph David Abernathy IV, Cincinnati to Tennessee
RB Andrew Buie, West Virginia to Charlotte
RB Donnell Alexander, Colorado State to Akron
RB Dalyn Dawkins, Purdue to Colorado State
RB Justice Hayes, Michigan to Southern Miss
RB Malin Jones, Northwestern to Louisville
RB Demarcus Kirk, UAB to Georgia State
RB Albert Reid, Maryland to Virginia
RB Patrick Skov, Stanford to Georgia Tech
RB Donovan Wilson, Georgia Tech to Bowling Green
RB/WR D.J. Vinson, UAB to South Alabama
WR Chance Allen, Oregon to Houston
WR K.J. Brent, South Carolina to Wake Forest
WR Dylan Collie, BYU to Hawaii
WR Kenny Golladay, North Dakota to Northern ILlinois
WR Marqui Hawkins, UAB to Indiana
WR Nyiakki Height, UAB to Georgia State
WR A.J. Legree, Kentucky to South Florida
WR Uriah Lemay, Georgia to Charlotte
WR Collin Lisa, UAB to Buffalo
WR Quincy Perdue, UAB to Kansas
WR Robbie Rhodes, Baylor to Bowling Green
WR Jamari Staples, UAB to Louisville
WR T.J. Thorpe, North Carolina to Virginia
WR Andrew Rodriguez, Houston to Utah State
TE Gerald Everett, UAB to South Alabama
TE M.J. McFarland, Texas to UTEP
TE Taylor McNamara, Oklahoma to USC
TE Mitch Parsons, Vanderbilt to Colorado State
TE Kent Taylor, Florida to Kansas
OL Cameron Blankenship, UAB to South Alabama
OL Roscoe Byrd, UAB to Georgia Southern
OL Ruben Carter, Florida State to Toledo
OL Lee Dufour, UAB to South Alabama
OL Derek Edinburgh Jr., LSU to Louisiana Tech
OL Kelepi Folau, UAB to Georgia State
OL Tim Gardner, Ohio State to Indiana
OL Reilly Gibbons, Stanford to USF
OL Rami Hammad, Texas to Baylor
OL Taylor Hindy, Washington to Syracuse
OL Ryan Mack, Louisville to Memphis
OL Kyle Marrs, Oklahoma to Houston
OL T.J. McCoy, NC State to Florida
OL Emeka Okafor, Houston to Texas Tech
OL Kevin Reihner, Stanford to Penn State
OL Sam Rice, SMU to North Texas
OL Ben Wysocki, UCLA to Utah State
DL Justin Akins, Georgia Tech to MTSU
DL Aaron Curry, Nebraska to TCU
DL Kylie Fitts, UCLA to Utah
DL Nick Internicola, Rutgers to FAU
DT Mickey Johnson, LSU to Louisiana Tech
DL Evan Kelly, Richmond to Boston College
DL James Looney, Wake Forest to California
DE Jamal Marcus, Ohio State to Akron
DT Suleiman Masumbuko, Baylor to Tulsa
DL Kevin McReynolds, UCLA to Nevada
DL Robert Mondie, UAB to Arkansas State
DT Jontavious Morris, UAB to WKU
DL Joshua Posley, Cincinnati to Ball State
DL Mark Scarpinto, Michigan State to Pittsburgh
LB Jefferson Ashiru, UConn to Maryland
LB Blake Dees, Texas Tech to South Alabama
LB Samson Faifili, Kansas to Utah State
LB Anthony Harrell, Georgia Tech to Florida
LB Davonte James, West Virginia to Kent State
LB Makani Kema-Kaleiwahe, Arizona to Hawaii
LB TJ McCollum, UAB to WKU
LB Alonzo McGee, UAB to Georgia State
LB Daryl Monroe, Washington State to Akron
LB Otha Peters, Arkansas to UL Lafayette
LB Shawn Petty, Maryland to Marshall
LB Marquise Roberts, South Carolina to Kansas
LB Chad Whitener, California to Oklahoma State
CB Derek Babiash, Arizona to San Diego State
DB Bobby Baker, UAB to Georgia State
DB Kelton Brackett, UAB to UMass
CB Ahmad Christian, South Carolina to Utah
DB Jordan Collier, UAB to Buffalo
DB Zach Dancel, Maryland to Wake Forest
CB Demarco Davis, UAB to Georgia State
CB Lamarcus Farmer, UAB to Troy
DB Travis Green, Kansas State to New Mexico
DB Bryant Gross-Armiento, Rutgers to Wake Forest
DB Eilar Hardy, Notre Dame to Bowling Green
DB Kiy Hester, Miami to Rutgers
CB Larry Hope, Miami to Akron
CB Michael Hunter, Indiana to Oklahoma State
DB Kalen Jackson, UAB to South Alabama
DB Rashad Jackson, New Mexico to North Texas
DB Vershad Jackson, New Mexico to North Texas
DB Rolan Milligan, UAB to Toledo
CB Chris Murphy, Arkansas to Cincinnati
S Avery Sebastian, California to Notre Dame
CB Trenton Trammell, BYU to UTEP
P Blake O’Neill, Weber State to Michigan
P Nathan Renfro, Maryland to Tennessee
Both music and sports are unquestionably a huge part of American culture. So Athlon Sports has decided to combine two of our favorite things — rock and roll with college football.
What if our favorite football programs were rock and roll bands? Below you will find a musical match for every team in Athlon Sports' Preseason Top 25. This same exercise was applied to every Power 5 team as well, so if your favorite band or school isn't in the top 25, just keep digging.
1. Ohio State: The Black Keys
The pride of Akron, Ohio, the Black Keys are the biggest and best rock band going today. They are No. 1 in the nation, the reigning arena tour of the current landscape. They are loaded with elite talent and led by a guy who doesn’t care what you think. He’s going to do whatever he wants, do it well and then laugh at the smoldering rubble he leaves in his wake. One of their biggest rivals is Jack White (Penn State).
2. Alabama: Metallica
One of the most powerful bands of its time, which has been extremely successful and popular for a long period of time. They are big, loud, extremely talented but also obnoxious and whiny at times. Hall of Famers but really, really like to get their way.
3. Baylor: Justin Timberlake
The early work leaves a lot to be ashamed of — be it on television as a youngster or in a boy band. But over time, his extraordinary talent single-handedly began to dominate an entire industry with big highlights and cool style. Now, he’s one of the hottest things in the world and generally beloved by almost everyone (except maybe some of those former boy band members).
4. Auburn: Johnny Cash
When it’s good, it is revolutionary, earth-shattering, industry-changing brilliance — even if a little dark at times. When it’s bad, it’s arrested, divorced, thrown in jail or rehab and generally upset at the more powerful and successful industry power (Alabama/Columbia Records).
5. TCU: Taylor Swift
She dominated her genre to near unprecedented levels and decided to make a big switch to a new place. In short order, she has managed to shift her style by adding lots of production value/new facilities and still produces in a big way. A little crazy but does her own writing and that gives her respect among experts and fans.
6. USC: Led Zeppelin
Possibly under appreciated on the East Coast (especially during their height) but beloved on the West Coast. Generally, this team is led by a heartthrob superstar who dominated his industry while on the team but never reached the same levels of success in the next phase of his career (and the most gifted architect of the team was always someone else — Troy Polamalu, Mike Patterson, Reggie Bush). Slightly self-destructive, extremely elite and powerful and somewhat misunderstood during its time.
7. Michigan State: Bruce Springsteen
Is there a more blue-collar program in the country that has been more successful riding the work ethic train more than the Spartans? This has been a quality product in many different decades and appeals to the hard-working, middle class. And both have produced some serious Hall of Fame tracks.
8. Oregon: David Bowie
Flashy, experimental and big on wardrobe changes makes David Bowie a perfect fit in Eugene. Extremely well respected but a little weird and far-out most of the time and never won the national title of the music industry despite being somewhat ahead of his time. He’s been around a long time and loves to try new things and act a little crazy, earning critical acclaim in the process.
9. Florida State: Justin Bieber
No one has a more rabid and vocal following — especially on Twitter — than the Beebs and the Noles. The fans are crazy passionate and will do anything to support their guys. Both are astronomically successful but so easy to hate from the outside.
10. Georgia: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Even the name Heartbreakers fits (SEE: SEC Championship Games). This is a really solid, consistently good quality product over a long period of time that got a ton of talent from Florida.
11. Ole Miss: KISS
How they look and dress is extremely impressive and important. The loud and awesome party pretty much overshadows everything else — like the play on the field. Very important in history for a variety of reasons but never really one of the best musical talents of their time.
12. Notre Dame: Elton John
They are sophisticated, classy and educated — and will tell you about it as much as possible. The presentation is glitzy and glamorous and mostly elite in the 70s and 80s — with a slight one-hit resurgence in the modern era.
13. Arizona State: Daft Punk
No one can really name anyone who plays on the team but no one misses the party. The kings of the club scene, they dominate the charts once every eight years with electric and innovative play-calling and a high level of talent. There is no better place to hang out than when they are on the big stage.
14. Clemson: Kings of Leon
Both have been downright unstoppable at times but consistently get in their own way. You think they are really good but you’re never really sure. Both are led by outspoken and occasionally intense and controversial leaders.
15. LSU: Black Sabbath
A very successful program with an extremely rabid fanbase that goes over the top to celebrate their favorite people, including a leader who is a little strange. Which football program is most likely to bite the head off a bat, do a line of ants and be involved in the dark arts?
16. Arkansas: Allman Brothers Band
True southern, classic, kickass rock and roll with some historically elite songs. However, they were at their best a long time ago and both had a meteoric rise to power halted by a tragic motorcycle accident.
17. Oklahoma: The Rolling Stones
On the surface, The Stones are bitter rivals with The Beatles (Texas) — despite plenty of overlap between Keith Richards and John Lennon. The Stones are the gruff, more abrasive side of the rivalry that has been successful for a much longer period of time. The highs maybe weren’t as high as The Beatles' but there were a lot more of them. Texas is pop and Oklahoma is the blues.
18. Georgia Tech: Pink Floyd
Slow, methodical and precise. The structures are complex, layered and intentionally hard to follow. Yet, somehow it’s just beautiful to behold and consistently solid over a long period of time in a variety of locations.
19. Wisconsin: Foo Fighters
Extremely consistent since their early 1990s emergence. They are catchy, tough to beat, classic rock and roll that hasn't ever been bad for more than two decades. But this group has never really been capable of winning a national title despite plenty of conference championships.
20. Texas A&M: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Southern rock in its truest form with the most rabid followers who don’t take no for an answer. However, they are extremely self-destructive and never considered the best at what they do. Both were at their best when playing something related to Alabama despite being from a different conference originally.
21. Mississippi State: Blue Oyster Cult
A one-hit wonder that is loaded with cowbell. To be fair, that one-hit wonder (Dak Prescott) is as beloved, popular and influential as any song of its time. And it spawned this.
22. Tennessee: Pearl Jam
They were at their best in the 1990s when they were grungy and a little rough around the edges. The entire program will always be slightly overshadowed by one elite superstar. However, the band has been largely boring and absent since the turn of the century despite the large fanbase and respected history.
23. UCLA: Coldplay
One of the best light shows in the business belongs in the City of Lights. This is a big band with big budgets, tons of record sales and a high-profile name. However, the substance has been severely lacking for most of its existence and has never really been better than 8-4. And like UCLA basketball, Chris Martin’s spouse is more well-known.
24. Stanford: Neil Young
One of the most creative, intelligent and forward-thinking individuals in the history of music. He’s had a long and incredibly decorated career with major (yet possibly) underrated successes over a 50-year period of time. The Silicon Valley of music (he holds numerous U.S. patents) has impacted nearly every angle of the industry.
25. Boise State: Arcade Fire
This is a North of the border group that has risen quickly from obscurity to national prominence in just a decade. No one can really tell what genre they belong to, be it the WAC, Big East, Mountain West or even the Big 12. And the city of Boise is pretty much located in Canada.
The Golden State Warriors are NBA champions and the happiest person that's not on the team is probably Marshawn Lynch.
The Seahawks running back joined Draymond Green on his float for the Warriors parade and he was surely grateful.
Marshawn Lynch hugs Draymond Green's mom at the Warriors' parade...which also featured Hammer & Nancy Pelosi pic.twitter.com/Ow8HfXiuDR— J.A. Adande (@jadande) June 19, 2015
Riley Curry was there, being her awesome self and collecting confetti.
Oh and Green got a little, um, too into the parade shall we say.
Andre Iguodala and Andre Iguodala Jr. seem to be happy to be there as well.
A photo posted by Andre Iguodala (@andre) on
It was a great day in The Bay.
No one is more excited about the Clippers new logo than ultimate hypeman and owner, Steve Ballmer.
Some like it, some don't but he went through a lot to find just the right one. In a video for FunnyOrDie.com, Ballmer gets help from Blake Griffin on how to make the logo unique.
Logos for any sports franchise or league are a critical part of identification and merchandise. And tweaking a logo is one way to drive up a little revenue.
But the internet has succeeded in creating awesome redesigned or tweaked logos. At Uproxx, the question was posed: What if NFL logos were Canadian.
As you can imagine, the results were terrific.
A few of our favorites are below. Click here to view all of the redesigned logos.
It's so secret Tiger Woods isn't what he used to be.
On ESPN's "First Take" Skip Bayless talked about how difficult it is to see Woods fall from the heights he was at once.
"I have never seen the greatest player in a sport lose it the way Tiger Woods has completely and utterly lost it," Bayless said. "It is a disgrace to me to see a man with this much talent, who dominated this sport like nobody will ever dominate again, lose it this badly. And what happened last night ... with trains constantly passing by Chambers Bay golf course, we saw the golfing train wreck that is Tiger Woods."
Forget satellite camps. Jim Mora is satellite scheduling.
Look at a map showing the states from which the most college football recruits emanate. These are the states in which UCLA is choosing to play its non-conference games for the next decade.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero announced three new non-conference dates on Wednesday, two of which are home-and-home series against Cincinnati and Georgia. It's no coincidence that Ohio and Georgia are two of the top states when it comes to producing college football talent.
UCLA is one of just three Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) members to have never played a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent, and Mora's advocated marquee games in his collegiate tenure. Certainly the next 10 years of non-conference dates UCLA has lined up speak to a desire to test itself against high-quality competition, but who exactly the Bruins are scheduled to play also speak to a strategic purpose.
Mora's recruiting strategy at UCLA since taking over in the 2012 offseason placed emphasis on establishing Bruins football nationwide. The program's non-conference barnstorming from Texas to Ohio to Georgia in the coming decade is a sort of recruiting manifest destiny, planting blue-and-gold flags throughout the highest priority areas in our nation.
Last season's date with Texas in AT&T Stadium gave the Bruins a physical presence in the Lone Star State — a state Mora and his staff have recruited aggressively.
UCLA is headed back to Texas in 2016 for the first half of a series with Texas A&M, adding to the Bruins' exposure in a state from which current players Jake Brendel, Eldridge Massington, Deon Hollins, Caleb Benenoch, Soso Jamabo and Will Lockett all hail.
Of course, UCLA is located smack-dab in the middle of one of the nation's richest talent pools. And indeed, Southern California has been the most fruitful and greatest focus pipeline for the Bruins.
But every Bruins signing class since 2012 featured high-profile prospects from the country's other talent-rich areas.
In the 2012 class, Mora's first at UCLA, wide receiver Devin Fuller came from Westwood, New Jersey — the Bruins play a home-and-home series against Rutgers in 2020 and '21.
The 2014 signing class included Louisiana linebacker Kenny Young; UCLA travels to LSU and Death Valley in 2024.
UCLA isn't just focusing on the top-tier of talent-producing states, either. This year's tilt against BYU will be repaid next season in Provo, Utah, a homecoming for Bruins 2015 signee and Herriman offensive line product Andre James. His fellow offensive line freshman, Josh Wariboko, returns to his Oklahoma home in 2018 when the Bruins face the Sooners at Gaylord Memorial Stadium.
Some of these dates are so far in the future, there's hardly any guarantee the landscape of college football will look at all similar, say nothing for the UCLA program itself. Games and series can and will be bought out or altered for any number of reasons.
Nevertheless, this bold scheduling strategy and Mora's continued efforts to expand UCLA's reach nationally is a long-term play that could keep the Bruins in the national recruiting spotlight throughout the decade to come, all the way to the first half of the announced series with Georgia.
The NFC West managed to be a strong division last year, even with the 49ers disappointing and only going 8-8. This division has many strengths, however, with plenty of potential to send multiple teams to the playoffs once again. There should definitely be some late-season drama as teams jockey for postseason positioning.
Here are some NFC West players who could make a major difference for their respective team this season:
Lemuel Jeanpierre, Center, Seattle
Seahawks (1st place, 12-4)
It’s hard to find areas of improvement on a team that’s played in two consecutive Super Bowls and should have won them both. However, they did trade away Max Unger, who was a two-time Pro Bowler and integral part of the past few years’ success. This will be Jeanpierre’s sixth season, and he has only seen limited playing time. As the team’s center, he will have to take on a strong leadership role along the line and must be able to at least be decent at blocking. Pete Caroll and the Seahawks shouldn’t be hurting too much though despite the personnel changes at several key positions.
Another player to watch: cornerback Cary Williams
Jerraud Powers, Cornerback, Arizona Cardinals (2nd place, 11-5)
The Cardinals were an interesting team last year — they gave up a lot of yards and didn’t gain many, yet still found ways to win a bunch of games. Their pass defense was rough, although they have an elite corner in Patrick Peterson. Powers put up his best season last year mostly in the nickel, but he may be moving back to a larger role on the outside. Thus, he will need to improve in that area to help limit opponents’ passing attacks. The Cardinals, however, do have depth at the cornerback position now.
Another player to watch: running back Andre Ellington
Tramaine Brock, Cornerback,
San Francisco 49ers (3rd place, 8-8)
The 49ers had one of the roughest offseasons, highlighted by several high-profile retirements. They also lost two of their top four wide receivers, No. 1 running back, and two starting cornerbacks. The latter seems to be the issue of most concern right now because of the ambiguity at the position, with several players fighting for their spot on the cornerback depth chart. Brock figures to be one of the starters, but he has to stay healthy, after only playing three games last season. The 49ers have plenty of cornerbacks, but they don’t seem to have two clear-cut starters right now.
Another player to watch: running back Carlos Hyde
Nick Foles, Quarterback,
St. Louis Rams (4th place, 6-10)
The Rams finally gave up on Sam Bradford, and they hope Foles can be the answer at quarterback. He’s going to need some help though, especially from wide receivers Brian Quick and Kenny Britt, as well as Tre Mason and first-round pick Todd Gurley in the backfield. Foles figures to have very good upside, but whether or not his supporting cast can help him out will be seen during the season. The Rams also hope to get some better production out of Tavon Austin, the No. 8 overall pick in 2013.
Other players to watch: centers Tim Barnes/Barrett Jones/Demetrius Rhaney
(Nick Foles photo at top courtesy of St. Louis Rams)