Athlon's Essential 11 Links of the Day

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<p> The best sports links from the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR and the world of entertainment.</p>

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for January 18.

• The NFL's Final Four are set to do battle on Conference Championship Sunday. These elite teams also have elite cheerleading squads. Here's the photographic evidence.

ESPN offers a nice deconstruction of Lance Armstrong's mea culpa with Oprah. Bottom line: Lance is still trying to control the narrative. Here's a reaction from the cycling world.

• One of the people Armstrong admitted to steamrolling is not going to go quietly. She speaks her mind to Sports Illustrated.

• The Te'o plot thickens. Seems as if the supposed mastermind of the hoax has been chasing fame for a while now. He even auditioned for The Voice. It's also pretty clear that even if he was the victim of a hoax, Te'o continued to talk about his dead girlfriend after he knew she didn't exist. Finally, to prove that the Internet was invented for stories like this, here's a compilation of the funniest Te'o photos, GIFs and Tweets.

• With athletes in confessional mode, here's a list of the most shocking mea culpas in sports history. And here's a rundown of notable sports hoaxes.

• The Nike-Rory McIlroy marriage is off to a flying start. Rory missed the cut in Abu Dhabi in his first tournament with the new gear and the new multimillion-dollar contract. His Nike cohort Tiger Woods missed the cut too after a penalty for an illegal drop.

• In case you missed it, Colts Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne appeared on this week's episode of Parks and Rec. Not bad, although they should stick to their day jobs.

 

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


January 17

• In keeping with today's theme of fictional women, here's a countdown of the hottest Bond girls, including Teri Hatcher. They may be fictional, but the actresses are real and spectacular.

• This could be an all-Manti Te'o edition of Eleven Links, but I'll try to limit it to a few key ones. Leave it to Clay Travis to really dig his teeth into the Te'o kerfuffle. Travis gives a good rundown of what we know and throws in some blindly irresponsible speculation for good measure.

• Meanwhile, Pro Football Talk delves into what's really important about the Te'o story.

• You've heard of Tebowing, and Kaepernicking, and planking. Those are so last week, or last year. Now, there's Te'oing. Anyone can do it.

• One by-product of this bizarre episode: Deadspin is now the most trusted name in sports journalism. Tim Burke, one of the blockbuster story's authors, shares the basic investigative journalism that went into the piece — too basic, apparently, for mainstream journalists.

Here's a Notre Dame student's take on Te'o. Worth a read.

• In reading the Te'o story, I couldn't help but be reminded of the kid who faked his own recruitment.

• While you were obsessing over Te'o, the games went on as usual. There was even a buzzer-beater.

• Continuing the theme of disgraced athletes, Tiger Woods apparently wants Elin back. Can you blame him? A guy can only eat at Perkins so many times.

• Remember boxer Kevin McBride? No? Us either. The guys at Mandatory bring us up to speed on the guy who beat Mike Tyson, then dropped out of sight.

• The other sports liar of the moment, Lance Armstrong, once filmed an anti-doping ad for Nike.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


January 16

• SEC basketball is lagging behind the rest of the nation this season, but the cheerleaders still lead the pack. Here's a gallery of the SEC's finest.

The Bears finally have a coach. Marc Trestman is either a home run, or a swing and a miss. Just like every other coaching hire, in other words. For what it's worth, Brandon Marshall approves.

New York Post readers picked the all-time worst lying liars. There are three sports figures in the top 10.

• Last night in buzzer-beaters: Ole Miss' Marshall Henderson, a guy fans are learning to hate, broke Commodore hearts with a regulation prayer that forced overtime.

• Don't fret, Vandy fans — football season will be here before you know it. James Franklin is recruiting at an unprecedented level, thanks in part to business cards that look like they're made of metal.

• Uh-oh — Johnny Football and his WAG were sitting courtside at an NBA game. How can an amateur athlete afford courtside seats? Alert the council of elders at the NCAA.

• My last Brent Musberger post of the week: Brent gives ESPN a big FU via TMZ. Got it?

• I don't read German. Is this story implying that Tiger Woods and skier Lindsey Vonn are an item? English-speaking minds want to know.

• Shocking news — Missy Franklin is dominating her high school opponents.

• This is cool — Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 allows you to play Augusta National as it was in 1934.

• Who doesn't love those bad lip-reading videos? Finally, the NFL has joined the fun.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


January 15

• There's a major tennis tournament going on. We won't bore you with the results; instead, we'll link to a slideshow of Victoria Azarenka and the other lovely ladies of the Australian Open.

This story of Jason Taylor's private pain is a sobering reminder of the way our gladiators suffer for our entertainment.

ESPN claims that Brent Musberger said the word "it," and that he didn't make a sexist remark about Holly Rowe. I'm having a Clinton-era flashback.

• In linking to these photos of Mike Trout reeling in a humongous grouper, I'll avoid the obvious fish puns and just wonder if there's anything the kid can't do.

• Along those same lines (no pun intended), here's an entire slideshow devoted to athletes fishing.

Nyjer Morgan either confessed to the world via Twitter that he cheated on his girlfriend, or he was the victim of an elaborate prank.

Today's headline of the day. Were those heads in a duffel bag?

• This may be a brazen attempt at boosting ratings for the broadcast of her interview, but Oprah says that Lance Armstrong "didn't come clean in the manner I expected."

• Pro wrestling may be fake, but suffering and death are real. Mandatory presents 10 shocking pro wrestler deaths.

ESPN personality Stuart Scott is battling cancer again. The guy's a frequent punching bag, but we wish him well in his struggle.

• Speaking of ESPN, Athlon has ranked the top SportsCenter anchors of all time.

• Today's video: an instant classic courtesy of the underrated comedy stylings of Key & Peele.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


January 14

• The Packers' season is over, thanks to the 49ers. To console Green Bay fans, we present one last look at Laura, the hottest Packers fan on the planet.

• College football may be over, but the sports world marches on unchecked. A weekend round-up from our friends at Grantland.

The NFL weekend in GIF form. Prepare for plenty of Manningface.

Brendon Ayanbadejo has singlehandedly dialed up the intensity for this weekend's Ravens-Patriots AFC Championship game, 140 characters at a time.

• We knew this was coming, but it's still a pretty big deal: Nike's got Rory McIlroy. Kind of explains the Tiger-Rory bromance that blossomed last year, doesn't it?

• The two greatest quarterbacks of our era remain separated by their relative postseason success. Eleven years after Tom Brady benefited from the Tuck Rule, Peyton Manning didn't.

Is today the day Lance Armstrong comes clean? Can genuflecting before her Oprah-ness salvage his reputation?

Colin Kaepernick has brought the read option to the NFL. Money quote: "Kaepernick is everything Vince Young was supposed to be."

• Speaking of Kaepernick: Move over, Tebowing — make room for Kaepernicking.

The catch of the day comes from the mysterious world of cricket. Rule one: Protect the concessions.

An interesting post-mortem on Tim Tebow's career (if it is in fact over). Tebow has met the enemy, and it is us.

• In today's video, Tiger and Rory go mano-a-mano for Nike, Bird-Jordan style.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

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