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Path: /college-football/west-virginia-making-run-becoming-new-wr-u
Body:

Trends take time to develop and there is no arguing that over the last 20 years schools such as Miami, Ohio State, and Florida State have rightfully earned the moniker Wide Receiver University. But trends change over time and it looks as though recent history is showing there is a new player vying for the title, West Virginia University.

 

Over the last three NFL drafts (2013-15) West Virginia is the only school to have four wide receivers drafted. The Mountaineers are also the only team to have at least two wide receivers go in the first round, Kevin White in 2015 and Tavon Austin in '13.

 

Since 2013 there are three schools who have had three wide receivers taken in the past three drafts — USC, Oklahoma, and LSU. Of these four schools with at least three wideouts drafted since 2013 only WVU and USC have three players that went in the first three rounds. USC had Nelson Agholor drafted in the first round in 2015, Marqise Lee in the second round in 2014, and Robert Woods in the second round in 2013. Along with White and Austin, WVU had Stedman Bailey hear his named called in the third round of the 2013 draft.

 

Many will try to make the correlation between successful wide receivers and quarterbacks. However, in recent history that is simply not the case. Of the four schools listed above each have had only one quarterback drafted since 2013. The only school to have multiple wide receivers and multiple quarterbacks drafted in that time frame is Florida State with two each — Jameis Winston and EJ Manuel at quarterback and Kelvin Benjamin and Rashad Greene at wide receiver. Whether or not Clint Trickett would have been drafted had he remained healthy is up for debate, but his early-season stats in 2014 were leading him to receive a shot somewhere at the next level. Whether that would have been being drafted or signed as a free agent unfortunately will never be known.

 

It is no secret that Dana Holgorsen has a history of developing wide receivers for the NFL. However the string of wide receivers that have come out of WVU in the last three years show a new growing trend in Morgantown, one that has never been seen. The Mountaineers have had a total of 10 wide receivers taken in the NFL draft since 1990, two of those were quarterbacks at WVU — Darren Studstill and Rasheed Marshall. Of the remaining eight wide receivers drafted, four have come in the last three years.

 

While WVU is a long way from catching the likes of Miami, Ohio State, and Florida State, schools that boast dozens of drafted wide receivers since 1990, there is no doubt that this continued trend will eventually garner a changing of the guard and a new school vying for the title WR U.

 

— Written by Jeremy Simon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and editor-in-chief of BlueGoldSports.com, a must visit for any and all West Virginia Mountaineer fans. Follow BlueGoldSports.com on Twitter @Blue_GoldSports.

Teaser:
WVU is the only school to have four wide receivers drafted in the last three years
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 14:30
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-spring-national-championship-odds-2015
Body:

Spring practice is over for all 128 college football teams, which means it’s a long wait until the teams officially hit the field once again in the fall.

 

But there’s no shortage of college football news, as oddsmaker Bovada has released its updated national championship odds for 2015.

 

And it should be no surprise the Buckeyes open as the favorite at 7/2 odds.

 

A look through the odds shows some intriguing numbers, as Auburn – potentially a co-favorite in the SEC West with Alabama – is 12/1, while the Crimson Tide is a 7/1 favorite.

 

Other teams with favorable odds? How about Baylor at 20/1 or Georgia at 25/1?

 

College Football's Post-Spring National Title Odds
TeamNational Title Odds
Ohio State7/2
Alabama7/1
TCU10/1
Auburn12/1
Florida State12/1
USC18/1
Baylor20/1
Notre Dame20/1
Clemson22/1
Oregon22/1
Georgia25/1
Michigan State25/1
Oklahoma25/1
LSU28/1
UCLA28/1
Stanford33/1
Arkansas40/1
Michigan40/1
Ole Miss40/1
Texas A&M40/1
Tennessee50/1
Arizona State66/1
Florida66/1
Mississippi State66/1
Nebraska66/1
Texas66/1
Miami75/1
Wisconsin75/1
Arizona100/1
Georgia Tech100/1
Louisville100/1
Penn State100/1
South Carolina100/1
Utah100/1
Virginia Tech100/1
Washington100/1
Missouri150/1
Boise State200/1
BYU200/1
Kansas State200/1
Texas Tech200/1
West Virginia250/1
North Carolina300/1
Boston College500/1
California500/1
Cincinnati500/1
Duke500/1
Iowa500/1
Marshall500/1
Maryland500/1
Minnesota500/1
Northwestern500/1
Oregon State500/1
Pittsburgh500/1
Rutgers500/1
USF500/1
UCF500/1
  

 

Teaser:
College Football's Post-Spring National Title Odds for 2015
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 14:29
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /nba/nba-releases-awesome-video-steph-curry-and-his-daughter-riley-warriors
Body:

Stephen Curry is being unfairly ridiculed for bringing his daughter to the press conference after Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. 

 

The NBA is in one way or another showing the MVP that the league is behind him. They put together a video of Curry and little Riley with scenes of him talking about being a father. It's also the league's subtle way of saying "shut up, media." We're all glad they did it.

 

 

Classy move by the NBA.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 14:16
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Overtime
Path: /college-football/dedicated-vols-fan-mows-tennessee-logo-lawn
Body:

College football fans are the best.

 

Take this guy for example. Aaron Taylor has been mowing his lawn like this for the past year waiting for Google Maps to update. The epitome of dedication. The Vols fan mowed the Tennessee logo in his lawn to show everyone where his loyalty lies.

 

 

His place is the real Rocky Top.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 13:30
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /nba/towns-okafor-might-both-rather-be-no-2-overall-land-lakers
Body:

Opportunities like this don’t come around too often. The Los Angeles Lakers, perhaps the most storied franchise in all of sports, are usually riding high in the championship picture. Winners of 16 titles and 31 NBA Finals appearances, they’re pretty unseasoned with where they are now: the draft lottery.

 

The last time L.A. had a top-five selection? 1982. That’s when they scooped up James Worthy, who went on to be an integral part of the most famous iteration of the team, next to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

 

It should come as no surprise that this year’s crop of draft prospects—and their agents—understand the rarity of this occasion. The money, notoriety and probably even the winning potential is far greater with the Lakers than it is with any other 2015 lottery team. Bad as they were this past season, the allure of playing for the purple-and-gold is massive. 

Becoming a Lakers star, even when they’re terrible, means global appeal. Just ask Nick Young. Plus, things in the competition department can turn on a dime for them because of their ability to attract elite talent on the free agency market.

 

That might be why Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are both making gestures that aren’t hard to read as meaning “I’d rather be the No. 2 overall pick, not the No. 1, and play for the Lakers instead of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

 

Exhibit #1 is this tweet sent out shortly after the draft order was determined, by never-wrong league insider Adrian Wojnarowski, of Yahoo! Sports:

 

 

Woj is not a speculator, or much of an opinionist. If he posts something like that, it’s likely a sort of subtle message being delivered through complex, trusted channels of the NBA power network.

 

Okafor, for his part, said this to Sports Ilustrated after the lottery: “I don't know that I should go No. 1… I don't care. I just want to go to the right environment for me and the right team. I think the hype about No. 1 is more for the fans.”

 

This could all be an incorrect reading of the tea leaves. But if clues like these continue to drop, don’t be surprised if you see this story expand quite a bit.


— John Wilmes
@johnwilmesNBA

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 13:01
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Overtime
Path: /nfl/entourage-cast-practice-russell-wilson-seahawks-seattle-catch-quarterback
Body:

Russell Wilson is making a cameo in the new "Entourage" movie, and now the cast is making an appearance on his field.

 

The Seahawks quarterback gave the "Entourage" cast a lesson in ball handling as they tried to catch tennis balls one-handed. Not an easy thing to do.

 

 

 

Athleticism is truly a gift.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 12:23
Path: /college-football/adoree-jackson-filling-his-trophy-case-2015
Body:

Adoree’ Jackson quite literally jumped, feet first, into what should be a memorable 2015 season for the USC sophomore defensive back.

 

His long jump of 25 feet, 3.5 inches in the Pac-12 Track & Field Championship on May 16 garnered Jackson a conference championship, and the opportunity to win the national title next month.

 

It’s not the only award Jackson plans to pursue this year, either.

 

“That’s one of the things I expect out of myself,” Jackson said following USC’s spring game on April 11, referring to the Heisman Trophy.

 

Related: USC Trojans 2015 Preview and Prediction

 

Jackson already started a nice collection of trophies in 2014, winning Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and earning Freshmen All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America. But the Heisman is at a whole other level, beyond even his Pac-12 long jump title.

 

Despite primarily playing cornerback, Jackson has designs he describes as “serious talk and fun at the same time” on winning college football’s most prestigious, individual honor.

 

Winning the Heisman as a two-sport star would put Jackson in exclusive company with such notable names as Bo Jackson, Jameis Winston and USC’s first Heisman winner, Mike Garrett.

 

Doing so as a defensive player first and foremost would land Jackson in a club that includes just one member: 1997 Heisman winner Charles Woodson, a player USC head coach Steve Sarkisian directly compared Jackson to in December.

 

Like Woodson, Jackson’s road map to New York City and the Heisman presentation is drawn on the ability to excel in all three phases.

 

Sarkisian played Jackson at wide receiver and returner, in addition to the then-freshman’s duties as the Trojans’ shut-down cornerback. Jackson came through with three touchdowns on offense and two on special teams — one of each coming in USC’s Holiday Bowl defeat of Nebraska.

 

It takes a talented player to stand out in all three phases, but talent can only go so far.

 

“Better than his talent is what he brings every day,” Sarkisian said following the bowl game. “As a true freshman, you think about… what he's doing in the return game, on defense, [and] we have him on offense. It's hard.”

 

Just as hard is juggling track & field with football, which Jackson did throughout USC’s 15-date spring practice slate. Much like his transition from cornerback to wide receiver, however, Jackson flowed smoothly from long-jumping into the sand pit, to running down teammate Steven Mitchell in the Trojans' spring game.

 

— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Kensing is publisher of CFBHuddle.com. Follow him on Twitter @kensing45.

Teaser:
Adoree' Jackson Filling His Trophy Case in 2015
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/jj-watt-posts-photo-gruesome-bruise-houston-texans-bills-tweet
Body:

J.J. Watt is not human. There have been many instances that prove that very theory.

 

The Texans star has given us another reason to continue thinking the way we do. Watt tweeted a picture of the bruise he received during a game against the Bills and wow, just wow.

 

 

Knowing Watt he probably just shrugged it off as nothing. 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 10:32
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-12s-offensive-triplets-2015
Body:

The Big 12 is known for its offensive firepower, and the league isn’t short on talent at quarterback, running back or receiver for 2015. Baylor and TCU are the favorites to win the league title this year, and both teams appear at the top of the offensive triplet power rankings. The Bears need to find a new quarterback, but there’s a strong track record of finding the next standout passer under Art Briles. The Horned Frogs return one of the nation’s top quarterbacks (Trevone Boykin) and a solid group of running backs and receivers.

 

To help pick the top offensive triplets in each of the Power 5 leagues, we devised a simple formula. We ranked the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers and assigned a 10 to the No. 1 player, with the point total decreasing to just one point to the No. 10 ranked player at each position. Only one player from each team was ranked per position.

 

Ranking the Big 12’s Offensive Triplets for 2015

 

1. Baylor

Total Points: 27

QB: Seth Russell (3)

RB: Shock Linwood (2)

WR: Corey Coleman (1)
 

Baylor has averaged over 40 points a game in four consecutive seasons. Good luck stopping the Bears in 2015. Even with quarterback Bryce Petty expiring his eligibility, Baylor is loaded with offensive talent. Russell has played well in limited action, and coach Art Briles has a strong track record of developing quarterbacks. Shock Linwood rushed for 1,252 yards and 16 scores last season, while the receiving corps is the nation’s best, headlined by Corey Coleman and KD Cannon.

Related: Baylor's Art Briles is the No. 1 Coach in the Big 12

 

2. TCU

Total Points: 25

QB: Trevone Boykin (1)

RB: Aaron Green (4)

WR: Josh Doctson (3)
 

TCU’s offense showed major improvement under co-coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie in 2014. After averaging only 25.1 points per game in 2013, the Horned Frogs increased that total to 46.5 last season. Boykin also emerged as one of the nation’s most improved quarterbacks and opens 2015 as one of the favorites to win the Heisman. TCU has a solid crop of playmakers in place, including Aaron Green (7.2 ypc in 2014) and Doctson (11 TD catches).

Related: TCU's Trevone Boykin is the No. 1 QB in the Big 12

 

3. Oklahoma

Total Points: 25

QB: Baker Mayfield (5)

RB: Samaje Perine (1)

WR: Sterling Shepard (2)
 

Yes, the Sooners have a new scheme and coordinator (Lincoln Riley), but the offense is still going to rely heavily on one of the nation’s top backfields. Samaje Perine rushed for 1,713 yards and 21 scores as a true freshman in 2014, and he will have plenty of help from Joe Mixon and Alex Ross. Having a healthy Sterling Shepard at receiver should make a difference for new quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Related: Oklahoma Ranks No. 17 in Athlon's 2015 CFB Top 25

 

4. Texas Tech

Total Points: 22

QB: Patrick Mahomes (4)

RB: DeAndre Washington (3)

WR: Jakeem Grant (4)
 

Offense is always a strength for Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders are loaded with talent for 2015. Patrick Mahomes is likely to start over Davis Webb, and the sophomore should improve off a solid stat line as a freshman (1,547 yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs). DeAndre Washington was the first 1,000-yard rusher in Lubbock since 1998. Jakeem Grant led the team in receptions and receiving yards last year.

Related: TTU's De'Andre Washington Ranks No. 3 in Big 12 RB Rankings for 2015

 

5. Oklahoma State

Total Points: 18

QB: Mason Rudolph (2)

RB: Rennie Childs (8)

WR: Brandon Sheperd (5)
 

Oklahoma State’s 27.6 scoring average in 2014 was its first year under 30 points since 2009. The Cowboys should get their offense back on track in 2015, as quarterback Mason Rudolph is one of the rising stars in the Big 12, and there’s no shortage of weapons at receiver. Rennie Childs has the inside track on the starting running back spot. However, junior college recruit Chris Carson is a name to watch.

 

6. West Virginia

Total Points: 14

QB: Skyler Howard (6)

RB: Rushel Shell (6)

WR: Jordan Thompson (7)
 

It’s a safe bet to assume Dana Holgorsen will find the right answers for West Virginia’s offense in 2015. Skyler Howard started the final two games of 2014 and threw for six touchdowns and 631 yards in that span. Although Howard showed promise, he also has to raise his completion percentage after recording a 50.9 mark in 2014. Kevin White will be tough to replace at receiver, and Daikiel Shorts, Thompson and Shelton Gibson are the frontrunners to lead the team in receiving. The running back position is a strength after Rushel Shell rushed for 788 yards in 12 games last year.

 

7. Texas

Total Points: 13

QB: Tyrone Swoopes (7)

RB: Johnathan Gray (5)

WR: Marcus Johnson (8)
 

Don’t expect Texas to rank near the bottom of Big 12 in offense for long. The Longhorns will have more growing pains in 2015, but coach Charlie Strong and coordinator Shawn Watson have this group trending in the right direction. Swoopes and Jerrod Heard are locked into a tight battle for the quarterback job, and regardless of who starts under center, Texas needs to develop a few options at receiver. Johnathan Gray rushed for 636 yards last season and should be better a full year removed from a torn Achilles.

Related: Austin is the No. 1 college town in the Big 12

 

8. Iowa State

Total Points: 9

QB: Sam Richardson (8)

RB: Tyler Brown (10)

WR: Allen Lazard (6)
 

The Cyclones have potential to climb this list by the end of 2015. Sam Richardson was steady in his first year under coordinator Mark Mangino (2,669 yards, 18 TDs), while Allen Lazard or Quenton Bundrage (back from a torn ACL) provide big-play ability at receiver. Running back is the biggest uncertainty, but there’s potential with Tyler Brown or Mike Warren.

 

9. Kansas State

Total Points: 6

QB: Joe Hubener (9)

RB: Charles Jones (9)

WR: Kody Cook (9)
 

It’s tough to count out coach Bill Snyder’s team in the Big 12 title picture, but the Wildcats lost two key offensive standouts in quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett. Hubener did not start a game at quarterback in high school and will be pushed by true freshman Alex Delton and Jesse Ertz for snaps in 2015.

 

10. Kansas

Total Points: 6

QB: Michael Cummings (10)

RB: Corey Avery (7)

WR: Rodriguez Coleman (10)
 

It’s going to be a long year for new coach David Beaty. Out of the three names mentioned above, it’s uncertain if any will actually play for the Jayhawks in 2015. Cummings suffered a knee injury in the spring game, and Avery and Coleman were both suspended indefinitely. 

Teaser:
Ranking the Big 12's Offensive Triplets for 2015
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/donovan-mcnabb-rips-syracuse-unretiring-no-44-jim-brown-ernie-davis-floyd-little
Body:

The retiring of number is an honor. When three iconic players wear the same number, some believe that number should be off limits forever. Donovan McNabb is one of those people.

 

The former Syracuse quarterback took to Twitter and expressed his displeasure of his school's decision to unretire No. 44. The famous number worn by football greats Jim Brown, Floyd Little, and Ernie Davis is now up for grabs. Of course the school got permission from Little and Brown, but that doesn't make a difference to some.

 

 

 

 

 

 

McNabb does have a point that the number should remain untouchable but if the owners of the number are okay with it, he could try to respect their decision.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Overtime
Path: /nfl/peyton-manning-takes-part-david-lettermans-final-top-10-list-late-show-broncos
Body:

Peyton Manning is one of the funnier players in the NFL.

 

The Broncos quarterback took part in the the last "Late Show with David Letterman" and said something he's always wanted to say to the iconic host. The Top 10 was read by a bunch of hilarious people, and given Manning's history with the show, it was only right he join in and represent for the sports population.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 08:23
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /nba/nba-releases-lessons-storytelling-commercial-ahead-finals
Body:

The NBA is pretty much known for the powerful commercials they release each year. This year is no different.

 

Narrated by NBA superfan, Common, the finals commercial doesn't disappoint. Clips of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, among others are featured in the commercial. Who will be the next champion to add to future commercials? 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 15:46
All taxonomy terms: NASCAR, News
Path: /nascar/how-nascar-might-be-turning-18-34-crowd-away
Body:

This past week, much has been made of an All-Star Race that was more of an All-Star Snooze for what few fans stuck around to watch the entire event. For the sixth straight year, there wasn’t a single pass for the lead in the final “no guts, no glory” 10-lap segment. Denny Hamlin used clean air to cruise to a $1 million dollar victory that looked less enticing than the fireworks display following the event.

 

This week, NASCAR talked about “starting the All-Star Race at an earlier time” seeing as the green flag didn’t happen until 9:42 ET on a Saturday. But as a member of the 18-to-34 male generation the sport is so desperately trying to attract, its problems run deeper than a start time. I can’t speak for everyone, but here’s how you send this age group running for the hills…

 

*You have a race that happens on a Saturday night. With the variety of entertainment options these days, how many people in that generation are going to stay in, gather around a television and watch an event that starts at 9:30? It’s no surprise all of NASCAR’s lowest-rated Nielsen numbers, this year and in years past, have happened on Saturday nights. There’s a reason weekly NFL games happen on a Sunday…

 

*You have an analyst in the broadcast booth that starts a race by going, “Boogity! Boogity! Boogity!” And, as much as I love the trio of Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry McReynolds, they are increasingly disconnected from the “next generation” of stock car racing fans every passing year. Talking about racing from “back in the day” is increasingly difficult when newer fans don’t know the combatants you’re talking about. The good old days of the All-Star Race, like the 1992 event was when many 20-somethings weren’t born or too young to understand. We need to hype up the present competition instead of trying to get new people to love the past. It’s gone.

 

*Driver introductions, almost as long as the All-Star Race itself contained all the personality of a local library. For those who didn’t see it, Sprint set up a stage (as it always does) with fans set up all around in a mosh pit environment. One by one, the drivers would come out with their crews as the announcers would loudly introduce their arrival to the sport’s biggest event. Here’s the problem: each one responded like they were walking down the street, hurrying to get to their financial analyst instead of connecting to the fan base in front of them. A limp handshake and a small wave doesn’t do it, guys in this age of six-second Vines going viral. Give the kids something to talk about; for those who watched, do you even remember anything from those intros?

 

*I’m a firm believer competition, not crashes, put fans in the seats. But there wasn’t a single wreck in the All-Star Race, barely a minor glitch in an event where everyone was supposed to be giving 110 percent. After the race, Hamlin was talking about how he’d invest his money, talking like a CNBC anchor instead of an athlete fans should be jumping up and supporting. Where’s the intensity? Where’s the rivalries? People gave each other more room than I do driving down the highway. If this All-Star Race doesn’t give drivers a sense of urgency, an exhibition where there’s no championship points on the line, it’s a serious problem.

 

*New fans need new faces to hold onto. What new face was in the All-Star Race? There was a celebration of Jeff Gordon’s career, as there should have been since the four-time champ is retiring this season at the age of 44. Instead, we had the same old teams and drivers running up front, tired stories in an age where the rules and entrenched organizations make it near-impossible for new ones to appear. NASCAR needs a name to catch fire just like golf once had Tiger Woods enthrall a generation. But who will it be? Chase Elliott? Kyle Larson? Austin Dillon? Can any of them catch on when they’re put in politically correct teams and plugged into top-tier rides like a factory? Will fans believe they had to fight for everything they’ve got? It’s the “Jimmie Johnson” problem for a new generation.

 

Note we haven’t even talked about the competition side of this equation, “clean air” that’s dirtying the waters of quality racing. But that’s what going Through The Gears is for.

 

FIRST GEAR: NASCAR’s Aerodynamics Gone Awry

 

In just a few months, the sport has backtracked from testing its 2016 rules package in the All-Star Race to perhaps nixing any changes altogether. Owners are complaining about the cost to redo cars, engines, and chassis designs in such a short period of time. But there’s also a different cost to be weighed, as both the audience for the sport and television ratings plummet to all-time lows.

 

The bottom line is single-file competition, the type we saw at Charlotte isn’t doing the world of racing any favors. Double-file restarts have even lost their flavor as fans know after a minute or two of side-by-side action their driver will be “stuck” in whatever place they end up. Bob Pockrass of ESPN.com has a great piece on what part of the problem is, corner speeds up significantly to the point drivers can go close to wide open on intermediate tracks like Charlotte. That takes driver skill out of the equation, makes passing more difficult and induces fear in a group of athletes raised on “safety, safety, safety” and scared of the type of serious injury Kyle Busch suffered back in February.

 

What’s the fix? Well, you can’t have an answer if you don’t try experimenting. This area is where NASCAR really needs to step up with the large amount of TV funding they’re pouring in each season. Give the teams who have attempted every race this season money to supplement the costs of a new package. Hold several NASCAR-sanctioned tests where people smarter than writers (i.e. – engineers) work on creating better racing. Right now, the value cost for the owners isn’t there to do it. You’re asking them to spend money on changing a package where new rules could make the top teams fall further behind. Long-term, that would cost them financially and potentially allow new people to enter the sport and challenge them. So why do it?

 

NASCAR has to give them a reason. Paying for fixing their own sport is a good start.

 

SECOND GEAR: How to Beat Hendrick and Stewart-Haas Racing

 

Hamlin, in his All-Star Race win, lived up to comments he made a month ago about the current state of Toyota drivers on intermediate tracks. To beat the top teams of Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch, all of whom are running Hendrick chassis and engines, Hamlin said every little thing has to go their way.

 

Saturday night, all the stars aligned. Hamlin, through a unique NASCAR qualifying procedure applied in the All-Star Race, used the speed of his pit crew to snatch the pole. He then kept track position through most of the evening, capping it off with a 10.4-second pit stop that put him up front for the final segment. Earning clean air through strategy and pit road gave Hamlin enough of a cushion in a short stint to hold off Harvick.

 

In the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend, I’d expect that trio, not Hamlin to charge to the front. But at least JGR now has a blueprint on how to “steal one” if they’re still this far behind Hendrick equipment in this fall’s postseason Chase.

 

THIRD GEAR: Kasey at the Bat

 

While Kasey Kahne didn’t win the All-Star Race Saturday night he made his presence felt in the first segment, making a rare pass for the lead under green. Fighting by Hamlin, Kahne eventually fell back in the pack through pit stops but the muscle he flexed should be there in next week’s 600.

 

Kahne, who is often overshadowed by teammates Johnson, Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., now has a chance to make a statement this weekend. After a few years of tough luck driving the No. 5 car, he’s quietly collected a handful of consistent finishes while gelling with new crew chief Keith Rodden. Charlotte is one of his best tracks and a win would seal the deal on a Chase bid, producing a sigh of postseason relief he hasn’t often had. Keep in mind five of 10 Chase races are the type of 1.5-mile tracks Kahne eats for breakfast when running on all eight cylinders. One of these years, he’s going to peak at the right time and use that strength to his advantage… is 2015 the year?

 

FOURTH GEAR: Tough Break for All-Star Hopefuls

 

Martin Truex Jr. has had an outstanding season. While not winning a race, he’s been second in points for the majority of the year’s first 11 races. But after failing to advance through the preliminary events, along with losing this year’s “Fan Vote” he failed to make the All-Star field. In comparison, Aric Almirola, a driver who has finished no better than 11th in 2015, earned a spot through his victory at Daytona last July.

 

It’s rare the sport has such a blatant example of an All-Star “slight,” but it might be time for NASCAR to take a look at its policy. Currently, the stance of “2014 and 2015” victories putting a driver in the field is like rewarding a MLB player for what he did last August and September. Certainly, that won’t put him into the sport’s All-Star Game in mid-July of the following year and you wonder if NASCAR should be the same way. Should you be an All-Star for what you’ve done lately or what you’ve done over the course of a longer period of time (i.e. – the rule to let past All-Star winners in the field)? It’s open to debate.

 

OVERDRIVE

 

Kahne, driving in the Camping World Truck Series for JR Motorsports, edged out Erik Jones for a victory only for his No. 00 Chevrolet to fail post-race inspection. It was a great opportunity for the sport to make a serious statement, punishing a part-time team for violating the rules that could have earned them that slight edge. Instead? They got a slap on the wrist this week. Disappointing… This year, no NASCAR driver is attempting the 1,100-mile double of both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, held on the same day. I thought both sports benefitted from Kurt Busch’s attempt last year and remain baffled why they won’t work together to make sure someone keeps doing it. Both series are struggling to keep their fan bases; why not work together toward a common goal?

 

— Written by Tom Bowles, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and the Majority Owner of NASCAR Web site Frontstretch.com. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NASCARBowles.

 

Photos by Action Sports, Inc.

Teaser:
How NASCAR Might Be Turning The 18-34 Crowd Away
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 15:00
Path: /college-football/sec-acc-have-no-right-hate-big-ten-satellite-camps
Body:

The SEC has only itself to blame. You too, ACC.

 

Coaches (and fans) from both leagues have some serious diaper rash when it comes to "satellite camps."

 

But the SEC and ACC power brokers are directing their anger in the wrong direction. They have no right to get angry at the Big Ten or Urban Meyer or James Franklin.

 

Penn State's Franklin immediately began the Big Ten's hottest new recruiting philosophy as soon as he arrived in Happy Valley and it's totally legal. In the Big Ten, at least.

 

It has quickly caught on in the population-challenged Big Ten footprint as a way to get their brands in front of the best players from the South.

 

It's perfectly within the rules to "host" a football camp for elite prospects at small colleges throughout the rich fertile recruiting territory that is the Southeast for teams from the B1G. Just because the SEC doesn't allow it or, more importantly, doesn't need it has nothing to do with Franklin.

 

The SEC won't ever have the desire to run a satellite camp in Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota or Indiana. It doesn't need those players to survive. The Big Ten needs Southern talent to survive.

 

Related: 5 Things We'd Change About the College Football Playoff

 

The NCAA currently has no issue with the innovative recruiting practice and it shouldn't ever change the rule — especially not for the Big Ten. The SEC and ACC have voted on their own not to allow such practices. If your coaches don't like it, take it up with Mike Slive (or Greg Sankey after July 31) and John Swofford.

 

Because if there is one league that needs any advantage it can get when it comes to recruiting, it's the Big Ten.

 

Four- and five-star recruits aren't coming from the Big Ten footprint like they used to and, frankly, there are many natural disadvantages the Big Ten must overcome in order to compete with the Southern leagues.

 

For example, the SEC and ACC will never vote to allow official visits in the summer months because that would allow the Big Ten to showcase the gorgeous campuses that reside in places like Madison, Ann Arbor, Happy Valley or Columbus during the best time of the year.

 

No, the powers that be down South will always vote against moving official visits because visiting Gainesville in December is much more pleasant than visiting Minneapolis. But in July or August, I'd rather be in Madison.

 

Related: 10 Biggest Wildcard Teams in College Football in 2015

 

What's hilarious about the SEC/ACC outrage over satellite camps is the hypocrisy. The SEC has been bending recruiting rules for decades in an effort to win big — and it's worked — more than any other conference. The Big Ten or Pac-12 have rarely resorted to the ruthless tactics of the deep South.

 

That all changed with Meyer and Franklin, two former SEC coaching alums, who came home to roost in the Midwest. Be it recruiting committed athletes (which is commonplace in the SEC but ruffled Big Ten feathers at the time) or satellite camps, the duo has forced the rest of the Big Ten to elevate itself to a certain level on the recruiting trail. 

 

The result will be better athletes creating more competitive football teams for the entire conference.

 

Hate satellite camps all you want, Southern Man, but the fact of the matter is the SEC and ACC voted against their own best interests when each conference decided not to allow them. Not the Big Ten. Not the NCAA. Not Urban Meyer.

 

Don't blame James Franklin for simply doing what's in the best interests of his program.

Teaser:
SEC, ACC have no right to hate Big Ten for Satellite Camps
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /nba/brian-windhorst-first-take-espn-skip-bayless-steph-currys-daughter-sparks-media-discussion-children-post-game-conferences
Body:

Steph Curry is the most-well received player in the NBA. The one time he brings his daughter to the post game press conference, that all seems to change.

 

Riley Curry was undoubtedly the star of the show after the game. Players from Chris Paul to Derrick Rose have brought their children to have them sit on their laps after the game. No big deal. 

 

Brian Windhorst went on ESPN's "First Take" to talk about why bringing Riley was wrong. Windhorst claims he can't ask the questions he wants to if a child is there. What questions those are, he never mentions. Skip Bayless, of course, agrees.

 

 

The Warriors tweeted out the perfect response.

 

 

Some media members could benefit from lightening up a little. Especially when the conference is full of the media asking the same questions all the time. The ground-breaking stories from these "special questions" aren't made in the quotes that everyone in the room gets.

 

Steph's father Dell Curry told FTW that press will learn get over it, and his son was still able to do his job.

 

"They'll get over it," Curry said. "He was still able to do his interview. She didn't stop that at all."

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 13:39
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-spring-heisman-2015-odds
Body:

The 2015 college football season doesn’t begin until September, but there’s no shortage of news to keep the conversation moving until kickoff.

 

With Everett Golson transferring to Florida State, oddsmakers have shifted the outlook for the Heisman race.

 

Bovada updated its Heisman odds on Wednesday morning to reflect Golson’s transfer, and the former Notre Dame passer is listed at 14/1.

 

Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott tops the list at 6/1, while LSU’s Leonard Fournette checks in at 15/2.

 

Below are the complete list of odds by Bovada (updated after Golson’s transfer), and three names we like that are good buy-low options:

 

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Talented sophomore takes control of Clemson’s high-powered offense.

 

Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn

Auburn is a dark-horse national title contender in 2015.

 

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Should be an All-American in 2015 after an impressive freshman campaign last year.

 

Post-Spring Heisman Odds from Bovada (updated May 20)
Player/Position/TeamOdds
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State6/1
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU15/2
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State8/1
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia8/1
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU8/1
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State12/1
Cody Kessler, QB, USC12/1
Everett Golson, QB, Florida State14/1
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama16/1
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA18/1
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State20/1
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson20/1
Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn20/1
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma20/1
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State25/1
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State28/1
Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin33/1
Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech33/1
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon33/1
Seth Russell, QB, Baylor33/1
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami40/1
D.J. Foster, RB/WR, Arizona State40/1
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State40/1
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh40/1
Malik Zaire, QB, Notre Dame40/1
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State40/1
Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona40/1
Taysom Hill, QB, BYU40/1
Jared Goff, QB, California50/1
Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State66/1
Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee66/1
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss66/1
Marquise Williams, QB, North Carolina66/1
Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona66/1

 

Teaser:
College Football's Post-Spring Heisman 2015 Odds
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 13:04
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Overtime
Path: /college-football/butch-jones-goes-ballistic-when-sweet-home-alabama-played-vols-practice
Body:

Pro tip No. 1: Never play "Sweet Home Alabama" at Tennessee.

 

During a Vols practice, the iconic Lynyrd Skynyrd song was heard blasting from possibly the baseball field. Tennessee heach coach Butch Jones was having none of that.

 

"We're at Tennessee, that don't play here," Jones said.

 

 

I wonder how he feels about "Georgia on My Mind"?

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 12:57
Path: /college-football/nebraska-or-michigan-which-team-has-better-chance-finish-top-25-2015
Body:

Nebraska and Michigan are two of the Big Ten’s most intriguing teams to watch in 2015. Both programs have new coaches guiding the program, as former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh has returned to Ann Arbor, while Mike Riley was hired to replace Bo Pelini in Lincoln.

 

With the coaching changes at both programs, combined with an intriguing core of talent, the Cornhuskers and Wolverines have potential to finish among the nation’s top 25 teams this season.

 

But which program is more likely to do so? Athlon Sports continues its look at some of the top preseason storylines with a look at Nebraska or Michigan and which is more likely to finish in the top 25. 

 

Nebraska or Michigan: Which Team has a Better Chance to Finish in the Top 25 in 2015?

 

Brent Yarina, (@BTNBrentYarina), BTN.com Senior Editor

Nebraska is my pick. Actually, I’m not sure either will find itself in the top 25 by season’s end, but, if forced to pick one, the Cornhuskers are the safer pick. Being ranked at the bottom of the poll is all about getting to the eight-, nine-win mark, and Nebraska has the talent and schedule to get there. Personnel-wise, I trust Tommy Armstrong, De’Mornay Pierson-El (breakout player alert!), Jordan Westerkamp and the running back committee far more than what Michigan is rolling out there. Also, its Big Ten road games (Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue & Rutgers) are beyond manageable. The home games (Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan State & Iowa) are far more challenging, but Nebraska is 12-4 in Big Ten home games since joining the conference.

 

Joshua Henschke, (@JoshuaHenschke), MaizenBrew.com

I think it all depends on who can get the quarterbacks performing up to snuff the fastest. Both have new offensive schemes with new head coaches. Michigan needs to find an answer at quarterback, wide receiver and running back while Nebraska has Tommy Armstrong but needs a replacement for Ameer Abdullah's absence.

 

I think schedule alone gives the nod to Nebraska, it appears, on paper at least, to be easier. Michigan will need to finish with a strong finish to the season in order to achieve any type of Top 25 standing. Is it possible? Sure, but Michigan has a long way to go. I will have to give the nod to Nebraska right now, Michigan has too many questions that need immediate answers.

 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)

This is a tough one, as I think both teams have a good shot to finish in the top 25. But if I have to pick one, I would take Nebraska over Michigan. The Wolverines have a tougher path in the East Division with two top-10 teams in Ohio State and Michigan State, along with an improving Penn State squad. Jim Harbaugh is the nation’s top coaching hire for 2015, and Jake Rudock should provide stability at quarterback. But Nebraska’s path to a spot in the final top 25 poll is much easier. The Cornhuskers catch the Spartans in crossover play, but the other game (at Rutgers) in play against the East Division is very manageable. And Nebraska hosts Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa this year – three potential swing games in the West. Sure, there will be a transition period for Nebraska in coach Mike Riley’s first year. However, there’s also a lot to like about this team. If quarterback Tommy Armstrong settles into the new offensive attack, and the defense fills a few voids in the front seven, challenging for the West Division title isn’t out of reach. There’s no doubt Harbaugh is going to have Michigan playing better in 2015. But I like Nebraska to edge the Wolverines in the final rankings and push for a top-25 finish.

Related: Ranking the Big Ten's Coaches for 2015

 

Sammy Jacobs, (@Hoosier_Huddle), HoosierHuddle.com

The Michigan Wolverines and the Nebraska Cornhuskers are two big-time names in the Big Ten who are facing similar circumstances. Both teams will have new head coaches (Jim Harbaugh and Mike Riley) and will have to replace big-time pieces on their offense, for Michigan it is Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess, while Nebraska has to fill the shoes of Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell. So who has the better chance at finishing the 2015 season in the Top 25? Well, that would have to be the Cornhuskers. Let me tell you why. I figure it would take either team at least nine wins to crack the Top-25 based on the records of the teams in last year’s final poll. First, let’s look at the schedules. Michigan plays a much tougher non-conference schedule and is in the much harder Big Ten East and plays Ohio State and Michigan State, while Nebraska gets to play both Purdue and Illinois. Michigan will be hard pressed to break the seven win mark as they try and break in a new quarterback Jake Ruddock - assuming he is the starter - and will have to replace a ton of talent on an already struggling offense. It could be difficult for the Huskers to sneak into the top-25 as well, but they do have the better opportunity for that to happen.

 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

Can I say both? I'd definitely lean Nebraska over Michigan if I had to pick one, but I think both are really good picks to overachieve their preseason rankings. Both rosters have talent, in particular, on defense. The two biggest differences on the field are the edge Nebraska gets in the scheduling department and in the offensive backfield. Mike Riley should be excellent on the ground with a two-headed rushing attack while Michigan may have not find its rushing identity right away. The Huskers play a significantly easier schedule within the Big Ten. Both play a tough road non-conference game and BYU at home outside of the Big Ten, but the Wolverines league slate is significantly more difficult. That alone gives Nebraska a really good shot at landing in the Big Ten title game while even a great year for Jim Harbaugh likely leads to a second- or third-place finish in the Big Ten East.

Related: Ranking the Big Ten's Quarterbacks for 2015

 

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), CollegeFootballTalk.comNo 2-Minute Warning 

Michigan fans have every right to be excited about the future of the program with Jim Harbaugh taking control of the Wolverines, but expectations should be slightly scaled back in 2015. A schedule that opens on the road against Utah and includes BYU in non-conference play and later sees a late-season road game at Penn State followed by big, bad Ohio State the following week is not easy, and I did not even mention Michigan State visiting Ann Arbor. The Spartans have owned Michigan in the in-state rivalry lately, and they still seem to have the more well-rounded team heading into the new season.

 

Nebraska must play the Spartans as well, but Nebraska skips Ohio State this year. New head coach Mike Riley also has challenging non-conference match-ups against BYU and at Miami to deal with, but the schedule seems to be more favorable to the Huskers. Nebraska also has a solidified quarterback situation and a returning cast of receivers to keep the offense going while the defense brings back eight starters. Nebraska can afford a slow start more than Harbaugh and the Wolverines can this year.

 

J.P. Scott (@TheJPScott), Athlon Sports Contributor Network

There isn’t much on Michigan's roster that would keep me up at night as an opposing coordinator. They simply don't have the horses to hang with Michigan State or Ohio State and will open as underdogs at Utah.

 

Iowa transfer Jake Rudock provides senior leadership at quarterback, but it’ll be a rebuilding effort for Jim Harbaugh during his first season.

 

On the other hand, Mike Riley inherits the core of a Nebraska team that was two plays from winning 11 games last year. His staff is talented enough to mold the Huskers into his vision quickly. Having arguably the best group of receivers in the Big Ten won’t hurt.

 

The Huskers are good enough to beat every team on their schedule and they’ll likely reach double-digit wins.

 

I’ll take Nebraska.

 

Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)

Jim Harbaugh was a home-run hire for Michigan, make no mistake about it, but I actually think first-year Nebraska coach Mike Riley is positioned for more success in Year 1 at his new school. Riley inherits a team that won nine games last season and returns its starting quarterback, along with several other key pieces on both side of the ball. Harbaugh, on the other hand, is in many ways starting over, not only instilling his philosophies and his way of doing things into the program, but also in terms of personnel, especially on offense.

 

Both fanbases should be pretty happy with the new direction their respective programs are heading, but in my opinion the Cornhuskers have the look of a potential top-25 team, while the Wolverines still seem a year away. Don’t forget that defending national champion Ohio State and an extremely talented and well-coached Michigan State team also reside in Michigan’s division, making Harbaugh’s job this season that much tougher.

Teaser:
Nebraska or Michigan: Which Team has a Better Chance to Finish in the Top 25 in 2015?
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /nba/wolves-lakers-sixers-win-big-nba-draft-lottery
Body:

It wasn’t a terrific night for the New York Knicks. The NBA’s saddest big-market franchise lost 65 games last season, and the light at the end of their tunnel of failure was always the chance at a No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft.

 

 

The Knicks, instead, landed at fourth overall during last night’s lottery. In a draft class that’s better than okay, this is still a strong position. Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns are likely to go first and second, so New York will have—at the very least—a choice between two elite point guard prospects in D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay, or March Madness standout Justise Winslow, a skilled and powerful wingman.

 

But what the Knicks fanbase wanted is what many fanbases yearn for on lottery night: A pick so good that even their questionable front office can’t mess it up. That’s what the Minnesota Timberwolves got, with the ping pong balls taking them to the top selection, where it would shock the league if they didn’t choose between Okafor and Towns. The Los Angeles Lakers, at No. 2, will probably take whichever of the two fantastic young big men Minnesota passes on.

 

In the third slot are the Philadelphia 76ers. For all the moralizing soreness over Philly’s tanking ways, their war chest of assets and young talent is starting to look incredibly impressive, and the dawn of a winning day is starting to seem more imminent for the Sixers.

 

Behind the top four is a collections of teams who are either, like the Knicks, in need of nothing short of a Godsend with their shaky decision-makers up top (the Sacramento Kings at No. 6, the Denver Nuggets at No. 7, the Charlotte Hornets at No. 9) or who are on the verge of contending again, in need of nothing more than more internal improvement and extra piece of talent (the Orlando Magic at No. 5, the Detroit Pistons at No. 8, the Miami Heat at No. 10).

 

Here’s the full lottery board:

1. Minnesota Timberwolves

2. Los Angeles Lakers

3. Philadelphia 76ers

4. New York Knicks

5. Orlando Magic

6. Sacramento Kings

7. Denver Nuggets

8. Detroit Pistons

9. Charlotte Hornets

10. Miami Heat

11. Indiana Pacers

12. Utah Jazz

13. Phoenix Suns

14. Oklahoma City Thunder

 

— John Wilmes
@johnwilmesNBA

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 11:54
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime
Path: /nba/jamie-foxx-does-hilarious-impression-doc-rivers-clippers-coach-jimmy-fallon
Body:

Jamie Foxx is a man of many talents.

 

While on the "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," the comedian participated in the "Wheel of Musical Impressions." The best part comes around the 5:40 mark when Foxx breaks into his Doc Rivers impression for no reason. He's got the raspy-voiced coach down to a tee.

 

 

Also worth noting, Foxx's John Legend impression is pretty good too.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 10:52
All taxonomy terms: Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA
Path: /nba/nba-eastern-conference-finals-preview-and-prediction
Body:

LeBron JamesLeBron James is still the king of the NBA. Right?

 

His Cleveland Cavaliers took down the Chicago Bulls 4-2 in their last playoff series, despite Kevin Love being out for the season and Kyrie Irving’s injuries turning him into a hobbled, almost ineffectual version of himself. Derrick Rose and Co. were meant to be the biggest threat to James’ throne, but he ultimately looked fairly comfortable pushing them off of it.

 

Up next in LeBron’s challenge to prove he’s still the world’s alpha baller is the Atlanta Hawks, a team who made mutton of the Cavs all season and lit up the league with 60 wins and four All-Star appearances. Atlanta needed six games to thwart the malaise-struck Brooklyn Nets in the first round, however, and six more to beat the Washington Wizards despite a serious injury to John Wall.

 

While the Hawks are not facing any injury issues as damning as losing Love for the year, they have been slowed by body hurts and fatigue. None of their starters have operated with close to the same kind of efficiency as they did in the regular season, with point guard Jeff Teague having some especially noticeable struggles. There’s a lengthy debate to be had about whether the Hawks expelled too much of their batteries in the regular season, and don’t have enough left to prove themselves when it really matters.

 

Atlanta also comes into the series without Thabo Sefolosha, who’s out for the year with a broken fibula. Sefolosha is a seldom noticed reserve, but he happens to have guarded LeBron on the biggest stage possible before—in the NBA Finals, as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012—and to have done it fairly well. That task will fall largely on DeMarre Carroll’s shoulders with Thabo out.

 

In order to beat the Cavs, who should be riding a formidable emotional train after their surprisingly authoritative putdown of the Bulls, Atlanta has to be a team they haven’t been in several weeks. Maybe they can be, but it’ll come as a surprise that you might not want to put your money on.

 

Prediction: Cavaliers in 6

 

— John Wilmes
@johnwilmesNBA

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 10:31
Path: /college-football/ranking-accs-offensive-triplets-2015
Body:

The ACC is losing some offensive star power with the departure of Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Miami’s Duke Johnson to the NFL. But there’s a talented group of young players ready to step up this season, starting with Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. The sophomore takes control of the Tigers’ high-powered attack and should keep coach Dabo Swinney’s team in the mix to win the ACC. Pittsburgh running back James Conner and receiver Tyler Boyd are two of the best in the nation and will continue to carry the Panthers’ offense in 2015.

 

To help pick the top offensive triplets in each of the Power 5 leagues, we devised a simple formula. We ranked the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers and assigned a 14 to the No. 1 player, with the point total decreasing to just one point to the No. 14 ranked player at each position. Only one player from each team was ranked per position.

 

Ranking the ACC’s Offensive Triplets for 2015

 

1. Clemson

Total Points: 36

QB: Deshaun Watson (1)

RB: Wayne Gallman (6)

WR: Artavis Scott (2)
 

Chad Morris will be missed as Clemson’s play-caller, but the Tigers should still have one of the ACC’s top offenses. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the nation’s rising stars and will be at full strength from a torn ACL by this fall. Scott and Gallman showed promise as freshmen last season and depth is plentiful at running back and receiver.

Related: No. 14 Clemson Tigers 2015 Preview and Prediction
 

2. Pittsburgh

Total Points: 36

QB: Chad Voytik (7)

RB: James Conner (1)

WR: Tyler Boyd (1)
 

Pat Narduzzi is known for his defensive acumen, but the first-year coach inherits some of the ACC’s top offensive talent. James Conner (RB) and Tyler Boyd (WR) are two of the nation’s top playmakers at their respective positions. Quarterback Chad Voytik played better in the second half of 2014 by tossing only one interception in his final six games.

Related: Pittsburgh's James Conner Ranks as the ACC's No. 1 RB

 

3. Florida State

Total Points: 34

QB: Everett Golson (6)

RB: Dalvin Cook (2)

WR: Travis Rudolph (3)
 

Jameis Winston leaves big shoes to fill, but coach Jimbo Fisher is one of the nation’s best quarterback coaches. Sean Maguire started one game last season (Clemson) and finished 2014 with 339 passing yards on 25 completions. However, Everett Golson is transferring to Florida State and is considered by many to be the favorite to take the first snap of 2015. Cook averaged 141.3 rushing yards over the final three games of 2014, while Rudolph caught 38 passes as a true freshman.

Related: Florida State's Jimbo Fisher Ranks as the ACC's No. 1 Coach

 

4. Miami

Total Points: 30

QB: Brad Kaaya (2)

RB: Joseph Yearby (4)

WR: Stacy Coley (9)
 

After an impressive freshman season, Kaaya returns as one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks in 2015. Kaaya led the ACC with a 145.9 quarterback rating last year and tossed 26 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. With Duke Johnson off to the NFL, the Hurricanes need a few skill players to emerge to help Kaaya. Joseph Yearby will share time with Gus Edwards at running back, but Yearby is likely to be the starter after averaging 5.9 yards per carry last year. Miami needs Stacy Coley to regain his freshman form after averaging only eight yards per catch in 2014.

Related: Miami Hurricanes 2015 Schedule and Analysis

 

5. North Carolina

Total Points: 27

QB: Marquise Williams (4)

RB: T.J. Logan (10)

WR: Ryan Switzer (4)
 

Under Larry Fedora’s watch, scoring points hasn’t been a problem for North Carolina. The Tar Heels have averaged at least 30 points per game in three consecutive seasons and should easily hit that mark in 2015. Marquise Williams ranked second in the ACC last year by averaging 296.6 total yards per game. Logan averaged 4.9 yards per carry in 2014, while Switzer led the team with 61 receptions.

Related: Can Gene Chizik Save the North Carolina Defense?

 

6. NC State

Total Points: 23

QB: Jacoby Brissett (5)

RB: Shadrach Thornton (5)

WR: Bra’Lon Cherry (12)
 

Jacoby Brissett shined in his first season at NC State, throwing for 2,606 yards and 23 scores. The senior should be better in his second year and will push for All-ACC honors. The Wolfpack has to develop a few targets at receiver after Bo Hines decided to transfer after the 2014 season. Shadrach Thornton headlines one of the ACC’s deepest backfields.

 

7. Louisville

Total Points: 23

QB: Reggie Bonnafon (8)

RB: Brandon Radcliff (8)

WR: James Quick (6)
 

If Bonnafon settles into the starting job, Louisville’s offense could improve off last year’s scoring average (31.2). Bonnafon finished spring ahead of Kyle Bolin, Will Gardner and Tyler Ferguson, and the sophomore’s mobility is a huge asset with uncertainty on the offensive line. Radcliff will share carries with Jeremy Smith and L.J. Scott, and Quick is slated to move into the No. 1 receiver role after the departure of DeVante Parker.

 

8. Virginia Tech

Total Points: 22

QB: Michael Brewer (9)

RB: J.C. Coleman (9)

WR: Isaiah Ford (5)
 

It’s no secret the strength of Virginia Tech is its defense. But the Hokies should show some improvement on this side of the ball after averaging only 19.4 points per game in ACC contests in 2014. Michael Brewer tossed 15 interceptions last season and cutting that number in half would help the offense take a step forward. Isaiah Ford is primed for a breakout season after catching 56 passes in 2014, while J.C. Coleman headlines the ground attack after recording at least 95 yards in each of his final four games.

 

9. Boston College

Total Points: 20

QB: Darius Wade (14)

RB: Jon Hilliman (3)

WR: Sherman Alston (8)
 

The Eagles could climb this list by a few spots if Darius Wade quickly settles in at quarterback. Wade completed 3 of 8 passes for 23 yards and rushed for 12 yards as a freshman last year. The receiving corps doesn’t have a plethora of proven options, but Alston is an all-purpose threat. Hilliman rushed for 860 yards as a true freshman last season.

 

10. Virginia

Total Points: 19

QB: Matt Johns (12)

RB: Taquan Mizzell (7)

WR: Caanan Severin (7)
 

With Greyson Lambert transferring out of Charlottesville, Johns has a firm grip on the starting quarterback job. Getting more production out of the quarterback spot is a priority for coach Mike London this season, and Johns won’t have to look over his shoulder with Lambert out of the mix. Mizzell is a breakout candidate, and Severin returns after leading the team with 42 catches in 2014.

 

11. Georgia Tech

Total Points: 16

QB: Justin Thomas (3)

RB: Broderick Snoddy (12)

WR: Ricky Jeune (14)
 

Uncertainty remains for the Yellow Jackets’ offense at running back and receiver. Quarterback Justin Thomas should be among the ACC’s top playmakers this season, but the junior needs help from the supporting cast. Snoddy averaged 10.1 yards per carry in 2014 and is expected to be at full strength after missing the final four games of last year with a leg injury. Jeune is a promising 6-foot-3 target looking for his first career catch in 2015.

Related: No. 18 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2015 Preview and Prediction

 

12. Duke

Total Points: 14

QB: Thomas Sirk (10)

RB: Shaquille Powell (11)

WR: Max McCaffrey (10)
 

Knowing coach David Cutcliffe’s track record at Duke, ranking the Blue Devils at No. 12 here is probably too low. Thomas Sirk showed promise in limited action last season, rushing for 238 yards and eight scores and completing 10 of 14 passes for 67 yards. Powell is expected to lead the team in rushing yardage, but he will have help from Shaun Wilson and Jela Duncan. McCaffrey should see more catches with the departure of Jamison Crowder to the NFL.

Related: Duke's David Cutcliffe Ranks No. 3 Among ACC Coaches for 2015

 

13. Syracuse

Total Points: 10

QB: Terrel Hunt (11)

RB: Devante McFarlane (13)

WR: Steve Ishmael (11)
 

Having a healthy (and full) year from Terrel Hunt should help Syracuse’s offense find a spark after scoring only 17.1 points per game in 2014. McFarlane slides into the No. 1 role in the backfield after averaging six yards per carry on 28 attempts last season. Ishmael is a promising receiver for coordinator Tim Lester after he grabbed 27 receptions for 415 yards and three touchdowns in 2014.

 

14. Wake Forest

Total Points: 5

QB: John Wolford (13)

RB: Dezmond Wortham (14)

WR: Jared Crump (13)
 

The biggest question mark on Wake Forest’s roster isn’t any of the three positions listed above. Rather, it’s an offensive line that allowed 48 sacks in 2014 and enters 2015 with plenty of question marks. If that group improves, so should the production from Wolford, Wortham and Crump. Wolford completed 214 of 367 passes for 2,037 yards and 12 scores as a true freshman last year.

Teaser:
Ranking the ACC's Offensive Triplets for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/stephen-colbert-delivers-memorable-graduation-speech-wake-forest-duke-sucks
Body:

Stephen Colbert is everyone's favorite funny man so when it was time for him to deliver a graduation speech, he stayed true to himself.

 

Colbert gave a speech to Wake Forest's class of 2015. During the speech, he said what every student there wanted to hear... "Duke sucks."

 

 

Catch the full video below.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 09:56
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /steph-curry-daughter-riley-warriors-conference-rockets-western-conference-finals
Body:

Everyone loves when an NBA player brings his child to the press conference. It always makes for an interesting sound bite.

 

Steph Curry brought his daughter, Riley, to the post game conference following the Warriors win over the Rockets. Of course little Riley stole the show. She even told Curry to be quiet because he was too loud. Cute.

 

 

It should be a requirement that kids must attend press conferences, it makes for good television.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 09:13
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Overtime
Path: /college-football/baylor-de-shawn-oakman-freak-nature-box-jumps-weights
Body:

Shawn Oakman is a very scary football player. This video only further proves that theory.

 

Remember this?

 

 

Well now he's doing weighted box jumps. Yes, you read that right. Forty-inch box jumps with 70-pound weights. The scariest college football player just got scarier.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 17:33

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