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NCAA Football

College Football Playoff Sleeper: TCU

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2015 

Under the leadership of Head Coach Gary Patterson, TCU was able to finagle its way through a myriad of injuries to key players and end the season with 11 wins. One of their two losses was a one-point-loss on the road against eventual-playoff-participant Oklahoma, without the Horned Frogs’ Heisman-contending Quarterback Trevone Boykin.

The injuries of the 2015 season helped create depth for their 2016 roster by giving many of their young players valuable experience in games where they otherwise wouldn’t have seen the field.

 

Defense

 Let’s begin by looking at the TCU defense because defense still wins championships, even in the Big 12. They return every Linebacker who played meaningful snaps in 2015. The Horned Frogs lose 2 starters in the secondary, but they return nine Defensive Backs who played in at least 7 games last season. They also get back two DB’s who played in 13 games in 2014, but missed all of 2015 due to injury.

TCU will experience a bit of turnover along the Defensive Line by losing 4 players who appeared in at least 7 games. On the bright side, they return their top two tacklers on the D-Line (DE Josh Carraway and DT Aaron Curry) along with the return of dynamic DE James McFarland (12 TFL & 7 sacks in 2014) who missed all of 2015 due to injury.

TCU’s pass defense was ranked 31st in Bill Connelly’s S&P+ rankings in 2015, and they return two of the best Safeties in the nation (Denzel Johnson: 13.5 TFL, Nick Orr: 9 PBU in ’15) along with all the other returnees listed above which should make this one of the best pass defenses in the nation. Despite a possible lack of depth on the Defensive Line, the front 7 (well, front 6 in TCU’s 4-2-5) should be stout against the run making this a well-balanced defense.

 

Offense

 The Horned Frog offense was able to finish 3rd in the country in yards per game despite three of their biggest playmakers missing significant time due to injury in 2015 (QB Trevone Boykin, WR Josh Doctson, WR Kolby Listenbee). Those three players have exhausted their eligibility and need to be replaced, but their replacements were able to gain experience in their absence last season.

Who replaces Trevone Boykin? This question likely won’t be answered until late August because they have two very strong options. Gary Patterson hasn’t given any clues as to who leads the QB battle, which is between Rivals 3-star Sophomore Foster Sawyer, and Junior Texas A&M transfer, Kenny Hill.

Kenny Hill put up an impressive stat line during his short stint at Texas A&M (66.7% comp, 23 TD to 8 INT), while Foster Sawyer’s performance in Spring practice left Joe Tessitore gushing after his visit to Fort Worth on The Audible podcast.

Whoever wins the job will have plenty of weapons at his disposal to ensure their success beginning with WR KaVontae Turpin, a 5’ 9” 153-pound bottle rocket who provides an extremely explosive chess piece for Offensive Coordinator Doug Meacham as well as in the return game. Including Turpin, TCU returns 8 of their top 10 Wide Receivers from 2015 for their new Quarterback to throw to.

Their running game might take a dip after losing starting RB Aaron Green, but they return 4-star RB Kyle Hicks and RB Trevorris Johnson (6.2 yards per carry in ‘14) with the occasional end-around to the versatile Turpin. The Horned Frogs also recently added Michigan transfer RB Derrick Green who will be eligible for week 1. Green was a 5-star RB coming out of high school in 2013.

The Offensive Line will also experience some turnover in losing 4 starters, including 3 receiving All-Conference honors. Because of TCU’s well-documented injury struggles of the ’15 season, they return 5 Offensive Linemen who have made a start during their career, which should help an O-Line in major transition.

 

Schedule

 We won’t have to wait very long to see how good TCU really is thanks to a week 2 matchup with Arkansas in Fort Worth. The schedule looks to line up favorably for TCU: they get to play Oklahoma at home, their bye weeks fall before a games against Oklahoma State and a trip to West Virginia, and their visit to Baylor looks less daunting than it did a few months ago due to the extenuating circumstances surrounding that football team.

Outside of Oklahoma in Week 5, I think their toughest game will be against the Texas Longhorns on a Friday in Austin on November 25th. Texas’ young, talented roster will have had time to gain some experience, and they might have actually figured out who their Quarterback is by then.

Getting Oklahoma and Arkansas at home, along with a talented, now experienced, roster gives the Horned Frogs a good chance to run the table in 2016, which could catapult into the College Football Playoff as champions of the Big 12.

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NCAA Football

Ex-Oregon Duck Doug Brenner Sues Willie Taggart, NCAA, University for $11.5 Million

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Former Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Doug Brenner has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, University of Oregon, former Ducks’ head coach Willie Taggart, and former Ducks’ strength coach Irele Oderinde, for $11.5 million in alleged damages, according to The Oregonian’s James Crepea.

Per the report:

“Brenner’s attorneys allege the University of Oregon was negligent for failing to prohibit, regulate or supervise the workouts, which they describe as ‘physical punishment regimens.’ The lawsuit also alleges that Taggart and Oderinde, both now at Florida State, were negligent in imposing and carrying out the workouts, and that the NCAA has failed to regulate such practices by coaches of its member institutions.”

Brenner was hospitalized last year, January 2017, with “rhabdomyolysis and subsequent injuries” after a series of intense offseason workouts, and is seeking damages for the medical bills he accrued due to the workouts, along with the “severe injuries, some of which are permanent, permanent renal injury, a shortening of his life span by upwards of 10 years, increased susceptibility of kidney failure, kidney disease, and death, severe physical and emotional pain, [and premature death] and an impaired opportunity to play football in college and thereafter.”

The report goes on to say that offensive lineman Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick were also hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, but neither player has been named as being a part of the lawsuit.

Taggart is now the head coach, and Oderinde is currently the strength and conditioning coach for the Florida State Seminoles.

One of the lawyers representing Brenner, Mark McDougal, said the following about the workouts referred to in the lawsuit:

“The drills were done in unison, and whenever a player faltered, vomited, or fainted, his teammates were immediately punished with additional repetitions. A key goal of this lawsuit is to force the NCAA to ban these kinds of punishing, abusive workouts. These workouts are contrary to NCAA guidelines for protecting players from injury and death. The NCAA needs to enact and enforce regulations that outlaw these practices.”

 

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MLB

Hurricane Florence Could Impact A Number of Games

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Hurricane Florence could threaten a number of games scheduled this week as the major storm system continues to threaten the United States Eastern Coast.

According to USA Today Sports, here are the games that could be impacted by the pending storm:

NFL

Sunday, Sept. 16

Carolina at Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Indianapolis at Washington, 1 p.m.
New England at Jacksonville, 4:25 p.m.

College football

Wednesday, Sept. 12

Campbell at Coastal Carolina, 2:00 (rescheduled from Saturday)

Thursday, Sept. 13

Boston College at Wake Forest, 7:30

Saturday, Sept. 15 

Georgia Southern at No. 2 Clemson, 3:30
Middle Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia, 7:15
No. 13 LSU at No. 7 Auburn, 3:30
East Carolina at No. 11 Virginia Tech, 12:20
No. 15 West Virginia at North Carolina State, 3:30
No. 18 Central Florida at North Carolina, 12:00
Ohio at Virginia, 3:00
Southern Miss at Appalachian State, 3:30
Colorado State at Florida, 4:00
Old Dominion at Charlotte, 6:00
Norfolk State at Liberty, 6:00
Marshall at South Carolina, 7:30

MLB

Wednesday, Sept. 12

Miami at N.Y. Mets, 4:10, Game 2 TBA
Oakland at Baltimore*, 7:05
Washington at Philadelphia*, 7:05
Toronto at Boston, 7:10

Thursday, Sept. 13

Chicago Cubs at Washington*, 4:05
Oakland at Baltimore*, 7:05
Miami at N.Y. Mets, 7:10
Toronto at Boston, 7:10

Friday, Sept. 14

Chic. White Sox at Baltimore, 7:05
Miami at Philadelphia*, 7:05
Toronto at N.Y. Yankees*, 7:05
N.Y. Mets at Boston, 7:10
Washington at Atlanta*, 7:35

Saturday, Sept. 15

Washington at Atlanta*, 1:05
N.Y. Mets at Boston, 4:05
Toronto at N.Y. Yankees*, 4:05
Chicago White Sox at Baltimore, 7:05
Miami at Philadelphia*, 7:05

Sunday, Sept. 16

Chicago White Sox at Baltimore, 1:05
N.Y. Mets at Boston, 1:05
Toronto at N.Y. Yankees*, 1:05
Miami at Philadelphia*, 1:35
Washington at Atlanta*, 1:35

*- games with playoff implications

Minor League Baseball

Wednesday, Sept. 12
Carolina League: Potomac (Va.) at Buies Creek (N.C.), 1:05

Thursday, Sept. 13
Carolina League: Buies Creek (N.C.) at Potomac (Va.). 7:05
International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) at Durham (N.C.), 7:05

Friday, Sept. 14
Carolina League: Buies Creek (N.C.) at Potomac (Va.), 7:05
International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) at Durham (N.C.) 7:05

Saturday, Sept. 15
Carolina League: Buies Creek (N.C.) at Potomac (Va.), 6:35
International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) at Durham (N.C.), 7:05

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NCAA Football

Braylon Edwards Apologizes for University of Miami Tweets, Stand by his Stance

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Former NFL wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who currently works for the Big Ten Network, has been suspended by the Big Ten Network for tweets he made on Saturday night after the Wolverines lost 24-17 to Notre Dame.3

Edwards, a former All-America wide receiver at the University of Michigan, heavily criticized Wolverines’ offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz, calling him “weak,” and called Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson “scared.”

Edwards played wide receiver for Michigan from 2001 to 2004, and then was drafted to the NFL.

Edwards then went on to target the Michigan team as a whole, tweeting  “f—ing Michigan offense so predictable … Michigan football is sadly one thing … Trash.”

Edwards was criticized by Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday for his tweets and then was officially suspended indefinitely by the Big Ten Network.

“Effective as of Sunday, Sept. 2, Braylon Edwards has been suspended indefinitely from his role at the Big Ten Network due to a violation of the network’s social media guidelines”, the Big Ten Network wrote in a since deleted tweet, according to Chris Vannini of The Athletic.

“No. 1, first of all, it’s not true. It’s not factual,” Harbaugh said of the comments. “There’s nobody in our program who thinks those things about any player on our team, let alone the two players he describes. On the other level, I was disappointed a member of the Big Ten Network would choose to attack the character of two of our players. That’s disappointing.

“We’ll handle things within the program,” Harbaugh said. “That’s all we control.”

“And, I would say, if somebody wants to attack the character of anybody on the ballclub, then come after me. I don’t think it’s right. It’s not true. And nobody in the program thinks that about any player on our team. Just so you know that’s not coming from anybody inside the program.”

While Edwards admits that his tweets were “excessive”, he stands by his criticism of the Wolverines, and says that he plans to reach out to Ruiz and Patterson through his brother, Berkley Edwards, who is a running back for Michigan.

Edwards added that former Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr “called me out in the media” and he realizes now he shouldn’t have done the same to Ruiz and Patterson.

“I admit I was excessive and emotional and inebriated. Mix those together. But the focus of my tweets remains intact. I stand by that. I was over-excessive Saturday night at 10:29, but I don’t back down on my overall stance as an alum and a fan. I’ve always defended Michigan. Even this year, I was high on Michigan,” Edwards said according to the Detroit News.

“I’m a man. We make mistakes. I’m sorry. I should not have gone that way. I still agree with the overall message — what do we do now (as a program)? But I apologize — shouldn’t name individual players. They’re still kids. That’s what I apologize for,” Edwards told the media outlet.

Now that there is Legal sports betting in the USA it will be interesting to see what happens when Edwards returns. Some sportsbooks have started taking wagers on whether or not he will keep his job in the end and for how long.

For now, Edwards has a lot of time to sit at home and reflect before his return to the Big Ten Network.

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