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NCAA Football

Big Ten West Preview

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We stay in the Midwest as this division features a team that was very close to a berth in the College Football Playoff last season, one team that could surprise, one that hopes to take the next step and another now being led by a former NFL head coach. This is the Big Ten West.

Iowa Hawkeyes:

First stop, Iowa City, where the Hawkeyes surprised many going 12-2 last season. Quarterback C.J. Beathard must stay healthy if he wants to match last season’s performance, throwing for just over 2,800 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Hawkeyes’ stellar rushing attack is led by LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley, who combined for over 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. Receiver Matt VandeBerg, who led the team in catches and receiving yards last season is also back.

Eight starters return on a terrific defense led by preseason All-American cornerback Desmond King, who was number two in the nation in interceptions last year. Defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson is a rising star. Second-team All-Big Ten linebacker Josey Jewell led the team in tackles.

They host Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, and Nebraska. They go on the road and face Minnesota and Penn State.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Off to Lincoln, as the Cornhuskers’ 6-7 record last season was a bit deceiving, considering six of those losses were by eight points or less. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for over 3,000 yards but had 16 interceptions. He’ll have a stacked group of receivers to throw to including Jordan Westerkamp, Alonzo Morro, and Brandon Reilly. The backfield is led by Terrell Newby and Devine Ozigbo. Lineman Jerald Foster is out for the year with a torn knee ligament.

The defense is led by linebackers Josh Banderas and Michael Rose-Ivey. The Huskers must reload up front. They also ranked near the bottom nationally in passing yards allowed.

Tragedy struck the Huskers as punter Sam Foltz was killed in a tragic car accident in late July.

They play Oregon and Minnesota. They face Northwestern, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa on the road.

Wisconsin Badgers

Madison is our next stop, where Badgers head coach Paul Chryst will have to replace quarterback Joel Stave. They also must replace top receiver Alex Erickson.  Preseason All-Big Ten running back Corey Clement must stay healthy if the Badgers want to compete in the division.

As for the defense, they led the nation in scoring defense and were number two in the nation in total defense. Coordinator Dave Aranda left for LSU and Justin Wilcox takes over. Although some key pieces are gone, linebacker Vince Beigel and cornerback Derrick Trindal lead a talented and experienced group.

The Badgers have one of the toughest schedules in the country starting the season by going on the road to face LSU. They also play Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Northwestern on the road. They host Ohio State, Nebraska and Minnesota.

The Rest of the Big Ten West

In Evanston, the Northwestern Wildcats impressed with a ten-win season last year. Their defense led the nation with the fewest touchdowns allowed. The core of that defense is back, led by preseason All-American linebacker Anthony Walker Jr., as well as cornerback Matthew Harris and safety Godwin Igwebuike. Preseason all-Big Ten running back Justin Jackson leads a solid rushing attack. Quarterback Clayton Thorston should be more comfortable under center, but he needs to depend on his receivers, who had the case of the dropsies last season.

In Minneapolis, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys takes over as head coach full-time. He has a lot of talent coming back on offense, and the experience should help, considering they were next to last in the conference in points scored last season. The running back tandem of Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith combined for over 1,300 yards last year. Claeys wants the receiving corps to step up to help carry the load. Linebacker Jack Lynn and cornerback Jalen Myrick lead a veteran defense. Gophers’ fans feel that they could be a sleeper in the division.

In Champaign, veteran NFL head coach Lovie Smith brings respectability and more importantly stability to the Illinois Fighting Illini program. He’ll have a veteran squad this year, as quarterback Wes Lunt is back. He only threw nine interceptions last year. Running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn could become a breakout star in the conference. Receivers Desmond Cain and Malik Turner must step up as Mike Dubek tore his right ACL during spring practice, the same injury he suffered last season. Defensive end Dawuane Smoot, safety Taylor Barton and graduate transfer linebacker Hardy Nickerson lead a defense that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

And in West Lafayette, the Purdue Boilermakers won just two games last season, one of the worst records among power 5 teams. Head coach Darrell Hazell is on the hot seat. The Boilermakers do return 16 starters and fans are trying to be optimistic. Running back Markell Jones leads the backfield. DeAngelo Yancey and Cameron Posey are part of a veteran receiving corps. Tackle Jake Replogle and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley lead a defense that was ranked near the bottom of the conference in many categories.

That’s it for the Big Ten, next we go to the ACC Atlantic division.

 

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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