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My Top 25 (Week 3)

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The status quo remains as every team in my top 10 won.  We should find out a lot more about teams this week as there are several intriguing match ups.  Oklahoma travels east to play the Seminoles of Florida State in Tallahassee.  It was no contest last season as the Sooners rolled to a 47-17 victory in Norman.  The Seminoles feel things will be different this time around as they will have the home field advantage over the top ranked Sooners.  Alabama reestablished its national prowess after hammering perennial power Penn State on the road, 27-11.  The Boise State broncos had the week off after beating Georgia in Atlanta two weeks ago.  They will have a tough Friday test as they travel to take on the Toledo Rockets, who gave Ohio State all they could handle in the Horseshoe this past week.  The SEC has a great match up as well.  Mississippi State has a short week home game vs the LSU Tigers on Thursday.  MSU is coming off a heartbreaking 41-34 defeat at Auburn in which they came up inches short of sending the game into overtime.  It was the usual for Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal as they rolled to victory this time at Duke.  Oregon bounced back after their opening week loss to LSU and slaughtered the rebuilding Nevada Wolfpack 69-20 in the Autzen zoo.  Here is my top 25 going into week 3:

1. Oklahoma (1-0) Last week bye, this week: @Florida State

2. Alabama (2-0) Last week @Penn State W 27-11, this week vs North Texas

3. Boise State (1-0) Last week bye, this week @Toledo

4. LSU (2-0) Last week vs Northwestern State, this week @Mississippi State

5. Stanford (2-0) Last week @Duke W 44-14, this week @Arizona

6. Oregon (1-1) Last week vs Nevada W 69-20, this week vs Missouri State

7. Florida State (2-0) Last week vs Charleston Southern W 62-10, this week vs Oklahoma

8. Oklahoma State (2-0) Last week vs Arizona W 37-14, this week @Tulsa

9. Wisconsin (2-0) Last week vs Oregon State W 35-0, this week vs Northern Illinois

10. Texas A&M (1-0) Last week bye, this week vs Idaho

11. Nebraska (2-0) Last week vs Fresno State W 42-29, this week vs Washington

12. South Carolina (2-0) Last week @Georgia W 45-42, this week vs Navy

13. Virginia Tech (2-0) Last week @East Carolina W 17-10, this week vs Arkansas State

14. Arkansas (2-0) Last week vs New Mexico W 52-3, this week vs Troy

15. West Virginia (2-0) Last week vs Norfolk State W 55-12, this week @Maryland

16. Michigan State (2-0) Last week vs Florida Atlantic W 44-0, this week @Notre Dame

17. Florida (2-0) Last week vs UAB W 39-0, this week vs Tennessee

18. South Florida (2-0) Last week vs Ball State W 37-7, this week vs Florida A&M

19. Auburn (2-0) Last week vs Mississippi State W 41-34, this week @Clemson

20. Houston (2-0) Last week @North Texas W 48-23, this week @Louisiana Tech

21. Baylor (1-0) Last week bye, this week vs Stephen F. Austin

22. Ohio State (2-0) Last week vs Toledo W 27-22, this week @Miami, Fl

23. Northwestern (2-0) Last week vs Eastern Illinois W 42-21, this week @Army

24. Mississippi State (1-1) Last week @Auburn L 34-41, this week vs LSU

25. Arizona State (2-0) Last week vs Missouri W 37-30 OT, this week @Illinois

Others receiving votes: Texas (2-0), Penn State (1-1), Central Florida (2-0), Georgia (0-2), TCU (1-1), Maryland (1-0), Navy (2-0), Tennessee (2-0), Temple (2-0), Michigan (2-0), Clemson (2-0), North Carolina (2-0), Pittsburgh (2-0), Iowa State (2-0), Washington State (2-0), Georgia Tech (2-0), Kansas (2-0), Missouri (1-1), San Diego State (2-0), Washington (2-0), Air Force (1-1), Virginia (2-0), BYU (1-1), Florida International (2-0), Hawaii (1-1), Arizona (1-1), Bowling Green (2-0), Utah (1-1)

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Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dead at 23

Anthony DiMoro

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Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who competed in the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home this past Friday due to an apparent suicide, according to an announcement from her father, according to Reuters.

“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” her father, Mark Catlin said, according to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”

Catlin, 23, took the silver medal in Rio and was part of the teams who took home the gold in 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Championships.

Catlin had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past and her sister, Christine Catlin, said that Catlin was “a really special person – kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did, per the Washington Post. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”

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Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl

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It’s Championship Sunday and one of the NFL staples remain atop the league. The New England Patriots are appearing in their record 8th AFC title game in hopes of competing for a sixth title.

A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.

Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic ,  As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.

The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.

In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”.  Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?

I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.

Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.

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An Agency Changing the Sponsorship Game for Athletes

Anthony DiMoro

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The following is an official press release from Eight Seven Media

Sponsorships and endorsements have changed significantly over the past few years. Historically, we know them as mainstream commercials and endorsements by top apparel and shoe brands with professional athletes and celebrities at the forefront. Until recently, the huge rise of influencer marketing has changed brands perspective and they have gravitated towards using social media stars as their advocates. Influencers are compensated with hundreds of thousands of dollars and brands have turned away from the traditional celebrity or professional athlete. Eight Seven Media is looking to turn that model on its head and bring sponsorship dollars back to professional athletes.

Founded by Dylan Scance and Derek Flodmand, Eight Seven Media creates social media content for professional athletes. Working on the talent buying side, they noticed that brands were only picking talent based on either their audience or their content. When they would pitch athletes to certain brands, they knew they were a perfect fit for the brand from a personality and lifestyle perspective, but the athletes had a tough time getting deals from brands. Aside from the lack of resources these agencies provided, the number one reason was their lack of content. Most athletes understand that having a social media presence is crucial in today’s market, but they don’t necessarily understand exactly how to leverage their channels to their maximum potential.

We’ve outlined Eight Seven’s process below:

Step 1: Identification

Along with a data-backed strategy, their team works hand-in-hand with both the athlete and agent to understand what types of brands they are interested in partnering with.

Step 2: Content Creation

Their team then works directly with the athlete to create rich, bespoke lifestyle social media content, specific to the verticals they have identified. They will meet directly with the athlete to bring this content to life.

Step 3: Amplification

As the athlete pushes out bespoke content via their social channels, their team leverages a specialized software called Social Ads to amplify top-performing content to target audience(s) based on the verticals we have identified. This provides the athlete with increased reach and exposure within the right audience segments- thus increasing their potential value to identified brands.

Step 4: Reporting

Via the Social Ads software, their team provides intuitive reporting on content performance, inclusive of demographic and geographic data which highlights the extended audience that has been exposed to the athlete’s content.

Athletes are a perfect fit for brands for many reasons. They have a highly engaged audience that’s not filled with bot accounts (something that’s been plaguing the influencer industry for years). They are inspirational, motivational, and have overcome many challenges and hardships in life that inspire generations of fans. They are the perfect example of a true “influencer”, but they are still getting overlooked for sponsorship deals.

Eight Seven Media also offers their “Athlete Incubator”, a service where they work with newly signed athletes that are being developed by agents and teams and completely rebrand their social channels out of college. These athletes go through a 12-month process with Eight Seven where they advise them on best practices for their social channels, how to create and leverage high-quality content on their own, what brands look for from a social media perspective, and how to engage with their audience. Along with content creation, Eight Seven Media provides its clients with an analysis of how well their athletes social channels are performing.

The content being created is leveraged by agents when they’re pitching an athlete for sponsorships or endorsements. With the huge rise in lifestyle and fashion brands, non-traditional endorsements are something that’s taking the industry by storm. Kyle Kuzma signing with the GOAT app is a perfect example of how optimizing your content to fit the brands you want to work with pays off in the long-term. Brands not only want to partner with athletes that they can trust to produce high-quality content, but they want to ensure that this can be pushed out to their brands owned and operated social channels by repurposing these assets.

Learn more about Eight Seven Media here or reach out to dylan@eightsevenmedia.com.

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