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NCAA Football

Big Ten East Preview

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This division is where not one but two teams could potentially challenge for a spot on the College Football Playoff. Here’s my breakdown of the Big Ten East.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Our first stop is Columbus, where for some programs when you lose guys like your number two leading rusher, Ezekiel Elliott, all-time leader in offense, quarterback turned wide receiver Braxton Miller, a couple of other receiving stand-outs and an All-American offensive tackle, you would panic, not the Buckeyes.

Head coach Urban Meyer has a boatload of talent back led by preseason All-Big Ten quarterback J.T. Barrett. The rest of the offense is in question though, Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel lead a solid backfield. There’s youth and depth at wide receiver, led by Noah Brown and Corey Smith, both coming off of season ending injuries.

The defense returns only three starters. One of them is preseason All-American linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who had a team-high 119 tackles last season. And though Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington are now in the NFL, defensive ends, preseason All-American Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard could provide the monster pass rush that was one of the Buckeyes’ strengths last season.

They host Northwestern, Nebraska, and Michigan. They must play Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan State on the road.

Michigan Wolverines

We go to Ann Arbor next, say what you want about head coach Jim Harbaugh, but he led his alma-mater to an impressive nine win season last year. Now buzz in Ann Arbor is that this year’s team can make a play not just for the division but also a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Preseason All-Americans tight end Jake Butt and wide receiver Jehu Chesson lead an incredibly dynamic corps. Who will throw to them though, is a big question. The Wolverines will also look to shore up their running game.

Michigan was able to lure Don Brown away from Boston College to become the new defensive coordinator. Brown helped the Eagles become the number one overall defense last season. Preseason All-American Jabril Peppers will shift from safety to linebacker under Brown’s scheme. Peppers also leads a veteran front seven.  All-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis is back and leads a terrific secondary.

They host Colorado, Penn State and Wisconsin. They face Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State on the road.

Michigan State Spartans

We take the trek two hours northeast to East Lansing, where Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio will have to replace key pieces from last year’s conference title team. Running back LJ Scott is back and leads a speedy backfield. R.J. Shelton leads a talented but unproven receiving corps.

Preseason All-American versatile defensive tackle Malik McDowell has the quickness up front to stop the run, which has been the Spartans’ mantra on defense. Linebacker Riley Bullough led the team in tackles last season. Safeties Montae Nicholson and Demetrious Cox could be the best safety duo in the Big Ten.

They host Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, and Ohio State. They face Notre Dame and Penn State on the road.

The Rest of the Big Ten East

In State College, there’s depth and talent for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Former Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead is the new offensive coordinator. He will install a new no-huddle style offense. Preseason All-Big Ten running back Saquon Bailey was third in the conference in rushing last season. Wide Receiver Chris Godwin was second in receiving yards. Both could shine in Moorhead’s new offense. With Christian Hackenberg gone, the Lions must find a new quarterback. While the defense will have to be rebuild but has experience in the secondary.

Off to Bloomington, where head coach Kevin Wilson led the Indiana Hoosiers to a bowl game last season. No doubt Hoosier fans want him to do it, again but it will be a bit harder. Quarterback Nate Sudfield (who set multiple school records), running back Jordan Howard (who rushed for over 1,200 yards) and tackle Jason Spriggs are gone. Preseason All-American guard Dan Feeney could play on Sundays. Linebackers Marcus Oliver and T.J. Simmons lead an unproven defense.

In College Park, new Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin is a defense-minded guy, but has to build the offense if he wants to keep up in the East. Quarterback Perry Hills and running back Wes Brown, two of their top five rushers from last season are back. Receiver D.J. Moore could have a breakout season. End Roman Braglio and linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. lead the defense.

Finally in Piscataway, former Ohio State assistant coach Chris Ash has been tasked to try and turn Rutgers around. The Scarlet Knights’ new offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer is installing a more up-tempo spread offensive attack, problem, he doesn’t have the athletes to run it at the moment. Defensive tackle Darius Hamilton, who’s coming back from injury, is the leader on defense.

That’s it for the Big Ten East, next we’ll preview the Big Ten West

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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