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NCAA Football

Big 12 Preview

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We go to the Heartland next, as there are one maybe two favorites, a coach on the hot seat, and one team that could have a breakthrough season, here’s my breakdown of the Big 12.

Oklahoma Sooners:

First stop is Norman, where the Oklahoma Sooners are the favorite to win the conference and perhaps make another run at the College Football Playoff. Quarterback Baker Mayfield went from walking-on after transferring from Texas Tech to a preseason All-American and Heisman candidate. He threw for 36 touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns. He only had seven interceptions last season but two were in a loss to the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl. Mayfield has to minimize those mistakes.

Mayfield will have one of (if not, the) best backfield duo behind him in preseason All-American Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. The Sooners have an unproven but capable receiving corps led by preseason all-Big 12 tight end Mark Andrews. The offensive line must help out as well.

The defense lost four all-conference players but there’s no shortage of talent. Defensive end Charles Walker, linebacker Jordan Evans, safety Ahmad Thomas and cornerback Jordan Thomas made the preseason All-Big 12. They need to make big plays if the Sooners want a chance to go all the way.

They play upstart Houston in Houston to start the season. They host Ohio State, Kansas State, Baylor and in-state rival Oklahoma State. Their usual Red-River shootout against Texas. They must go to TCU, Texas Tech, and West Virginia.

TCU Horned Frogs

To Fort Worth next, where injuries plagued the Horned Frogs from making a run at the conference title as well as the playoff. The Horned Frogs had one of the best offenses in the nation last year but quarterback Trevone Boykin and wide receiver Josh Doctson are gone. Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill will compete to replace Boykin. Receivers Ty Slanina and Deante’ Grey are returning from injury and lead a young but capable corps.

The defense changed scheme mid-season, and it’s paying dividends. Preseason all-Big 12 defensive ends Josh Carraway and James McFarland, who’s coming off a toe injury, lead a potentially dangerous defense. Tackles Travin Howard and Ty Summers were in the top three on the team in tackles last season.

The Horned Frogs host Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. They face West Virginia, Baylor and Texas on the road.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

To Stillwater next, as the Cowboys will try to match their win total of ten from last season. Nine starters return on offense, including preseason All-American and last year’s leading returning receiver James Washington. Washington leads a talented corps and is a legit deep threat, so he’ll give secondaries nightmares. Quarterback Mason Randolph will have his pick of targets.

Junior college All-American offensive lineman Larry Williams will beef up the line. Running back Chris Carson and Stanford graduate transfer Barry J. Sanders (son of legendary Cowboys and Hall of Famer Barry) hope to be a solid rushing attack.

Injuries and fatigue troubled the Cowboys late last season. All-American defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah is gone. Need not worry, Cowboys fans, first team All-Big 12s safety Jordan Sterns and linebacker Jordan Burton as well as preseason All-Big 12 lineman Vincent Taylor lead a potentially explosive group.

They host Pittsburgh, Texas and West Virginia. The face Baylor, Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma on the road.

Baylor Bears

In Waco, the result of an independent investigation into the school’s response (or lack of) to sexual assault allegations led to the dismissal of head coach Art Briles in May. Veteran head coach Jim Grobe takes over in the interim as he tries to shift the focus to football amid all of the uncertainty.

There have been some departures though as quarterback Jared Stidham was granted a release to transfer. Seth Russell, who’s returning from a season-ending neck injury will now start. The Bears have the most dynamic backfield in all of college football, with Shock Linwood and Johnny Jefferson both coming off of 1,000 yard seasons last year. All-American wide receiver Corey Coleman’s now in the NFL, preseason All-American KD Cannon must pick up the load.

Linebacker Taylor Young, versatile K.J. Smith and tackle Byron Bonds lead a defense that has improve little by little each season.

They host Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas State and Texas Tech. They face Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia on the road.

Texas Longhorns

To Austin next, where let’s be honest, the Longhorns’ surprising win over Oklahoma last season essentially saved head coach Charlie Strong’s job. His seat will be warm once again. There’s reason to hope, true freshman Shane Buechele and his arm could beat out Tyrone Swoopes and Jerron Heard as starting quarterback. Heard has also been practicing at wide receiver.

Receivers John Burt and Collin Johnson lead a talented corps. The “Thunderstorm” backfield combo of Chris Warren III and D’Onta Forman could wear out defenses.

Linebacker Malik Jefferson, who was a Freshman All-American last season, preseason All-Big 12 cornerback Davante Davis and four-star tackle Jordan Elliot lead a defense where there’s a lot of youth and inexperienced but not short on talent.

They host Notre Dame to kick off the season. They also host Baylor, West Virginia and TCU. They face Oklahoma in their annual Red-River shootout. They must face California, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas Tech on the road.

The Rest of the Big 12

In Lubbock, Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes II will try to continue to expand his highlight reel with his arm and his feet. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury will have to replace many seniors including top receiver Jakeem Grant and running back DeAndre Washington. The Red Raiders defense is a year older, and hopefully wiser as they’ll try to improve from setting a school record for giving up the most points last season.

In Morgantown, some folks are wondering if West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen is on the hot seat. The Mountaineers have eight starters returning from last season on offense. Quarterback Skyler Howard finished strong. Though they’ll have to replace running back Wendell Smallwood. They must replace eight starters on defense.

In Manhattan, Kansas that is, you never count a Bill Snyder coach Kansas State team. Both of their quarterbacks as Jesse Ertz and Alex Dalton are returning from season-ending knee injuries. They’ll have a promising group of playmakers from running back Charles Jones and wide receiver Byron Pringle. Linebacker Elijah Lee leads a solid defensive group.

Over at Ames, new Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell wants to run the football. Running back Mike Warren had more yards rushing than any other freshman last year. Wide receiver Allen Lazard leads an experienced corps. The defense returns eight starters led by last year’s Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year, tackle Demond Tucker.

Finally in Lawrence, where the Kansas Jayhawks were 0-12 last season. They return 12 starters including running back Ke’aun Kinner and safety Fish Smithson. Yes, the Jayhawks are a long way away from being a bowl team, but as long as they win one game, they would be making progress.

That’s all for the Big 12, next we’ll preview the Big Ten East.

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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