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extra point sport magazine


meet thestaff

This week, we asked our EP staff who they thought would be the best quarterback in the following five years.

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Melissa Bronson-Tramel editor in chief

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Kyle Basedow

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Audrey Hart

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Marcel Lewis

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features editor

front of book editor

back of book editor

Bryan Rubin web editor

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Ethan Joyce

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asst. web editor

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Matt Rose

marketing & pr

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THE KICKOFF

Welcome back!

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mean that to you the readers, but also to our favorite sports icons. From Peyton Manning reminding us all why he is our favorite regular season quarterback of all time, to Boston who took back their “f***ing city” from horror that occurred last April with a little help from a couple legendary grand slams, to the Cardinals who won the World Series only a couple years ago and are back on the big stage, and the NBA superstars finally hitting the hardwood again (I’m talking to you D.Rose). We’re coming into crunch time and things are getting exciting. The boys are back in town and you better be ready!

Photo courtesy of recruitingcycle.com


the

K-ZONE

Our strike zone of the biggest hits and misses in the world of sports.

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regon red shirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota might be giving Manziel a run for his money in the Heisman race this year. Leader of the Oregon Ducks, Mariota is dealing out performance after performance. He completed a season-high 77.4% of his throws against the Washington Huskie defense that entered the game ranked third in pass defense. Mariota has thrown for 17 touchdowns total this year, rushed for 8 more, and has thrown zero interceptions. And he’s done this in fewer quarters than anyone else. Mariota’s first fourth quarter of 2013 came in week 7, only the fifth time he’s played till the end of the game in all his starts. So what do you think? Will Mariota be the first Duck to hoist the Heisman? If he continue to shred the competition like he has been doing, it’s hard to see why not!

Getty Images/Jonathan Ferrey

THE KICKOFF


THE KICKOFF

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t wasn’t until two months ago, near week two of the preseason, that Peterson became aware that he had a son, Tyrese, living in Sioux Falls, S.D. He made plans with Tyrese’s mother to meet his son. But instead of happy ending he undoubtably hoped for, Peterson met Tyrese for the first time in the hospital, a day before he died in an alleged case of child abuse. Tyrese’s Mother’s boyfriend Joseph Patterson, 27, is being held on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated battery. Meanwhile, Peterson is back on the field, seeking refuge in football like he has since his youth. Peterson tweeted, “The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players. Thank you to my family, my fans and fans of other teams for the support.“ AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt


THE KICKOFF

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ou might hate Boston, despise everything from the voice recorders in the locker room to Paul Pierce whining on the floor. But you are just plain lying if you won’t admit you wanted to be a Boston fan on Sunday, October 13, 2013. Boston is back, courtesy of two the biggest names in New England sports ever. First, Tom Brady launches the perfect ball with less than five seconds on the clock. Rookie Kenbrell Thompkins snagged it to his chest and touchdown. The Patriots beat the Saints, 33-27. Then, mere hours later, Boston found themselves trailing 5-1 to the Detroit Tigers. It’s the 8th inning at Fenway Park and David Oritz steps up to the plate. Bases are loaded and all of a sudden, we’ve travelled back in time and Oritz has ripped a grand slam over the bullpen walls. This grand slam was only the third in playoff baseball history that tied a game. It was the momentum changer, and obviously it worked, because the Sox are off to the World Series.


THE KICKOFF

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ccording to Elias, this is the worst NFC East playoff race in more than a decade. If the one win, struggling Washington Redskins don’t convince you of this, then you need only to look at the 6-1 Giants and it might be clearer. That being said, the last time the NFC had such a disastrous beginning, requiring only one game above .500 to gain sole procession of the league, it was 2001. Not many games have been as painful to watch as the Cowboys vs. Eagles, where only one field goal was scored in the entire first half. At least, the Eagles kept precedent in getting their QB injured and continuing the 9 game home loss streak, the longest since 1936-37. Let’s just end on the fact that I never thought I’d see the day when Eli Manning would have thrown more interceptions than the rest of the NFC East quarterbacks, combined, including all of the Eagle’s backups. Yikes.

USA Today Sports/Brad Penner


THE KICKOFF

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f a tree falls in the forest, does it make a noise? Who knows the answer to that question, but when the No. 5 Cardinal tree fell to Utah, a lot of people heard that crash. Stanford’s week 7 loss to an unranked team caught everyone by surprise, but they are nowhere near the only major upset. The SEC was riddled with upsets as well, everyone from No. 6 LSU lost to Ole Miss, No. 11 South Carolina lost to a very ambitious Tennessee team, a week after they almost upset Georgia. Georgia might have survived once, but only to lose a week later so similarly unranked Vanderbilt. This is the time in college football where everything is changing, its impossible to predict what’s going to happen next, and we just have to wait an see who survives. USA Today Sports/Spruce Derden


THE KICKOFF

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eyton went home. He returned to Indianapolis on October 20 where the Colts owner is added fuel to the fire, calling for more Superbowl rings from his new franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. Manning is doing his own thing though, and in typical fashion he’s responding with some of the best play of his entire career instead of words. His record setting pace of 25 touchdown passes, 2,565 yards is unmatched for the first seven games in league history. Meanwhile, Luck continues to impress. He had large shoes to fill but has done so as well as anyone could, posting better stats in his first 23 career starts than 1999 Manning did. Plus, Luck won the matchup.

AP Photo/AJ Mast


World Series Quiz It’s that time of year again; the fall classic is captivating our interests and consuming all our thoughts. Let’s see how much you know about its history?

What player played in three straight World Series, in 1986, 1987, and 1988 for three different teams, Red Sox, Twins, and Athletics? Who is the only player to win the World Series MVP for a losing team? The World Series has not occurred in only two MLB seasons, what are they?

By Kristina Callahan and Audrey Hart

Who pitched the only no-hitter in World Series history?

What Yankee legend holds the single-season World Series record for slugging percentage (1.727) and on-base plus slugging percentage (2.433)?

Who recently tied Yankees Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson for the most home runs hit in a single World Series?

Who recently tied Yankees Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson for the most home runs hit in a single World Series?

How many times before have the Red Sox and Cardinals met in the World Series?

Photo courtesy of 49erswebzone.com

Getty Images/Hulton Archive


What Cy Young winner is a longtime Cardinal pitcher, but did not play in the 2004 World Series and will not play this year?

Who is the only Red Sox player today who also participated in the 2004 sweep of the Cardinals? Who is the only current Cardinals player who played in that series?

What position did current Cardinals manager Mike Matheny play for St. Louis in the 2004 season and World Series? How many times has Boston been to the World Series since breaking their 86-year Curse of the Bambino in 2004? Which two teams have never been to the World Series?

How many times have the Cardinals been to the World Series in the last decade?

15.

Who has the most World Series appearances? Who has the most wins?

Means e r o c What Your S

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You are a baseball god. You will probably enjoy a very well paying career for ESPN as the stat guy, or a sabermetrician for the next MLB team who converts to money-balling.

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You are most likely the biggest baseball fan you’ve ever met, but that’s only because you haven’t met the guy who scored 15. Don’t worry, you’re a close second.

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You are a fan, but you are not obsessed. It’s okay to admit you like another sport more, but just not out loud. It’s the World Series, America’s pastime! Get your priorities straight!

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You watch baseball because you’re family, friends, boyfriend, dog, grandma, or somebody does! Its no big deal; I appreciate the effort and will expect more in the future.

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All I’m gonna say is, you might want to watch a little more baseball.

(1) Don Baylor, winner of three silver slugger awards and the MVP in 1979. He won his only championship with the Twins in 1987. (2) Bobby Richardson. The Pirates took home the trophy but Richardson was the most impressive player on the field, batting .367, driving in 12, and hitting a grand slam. (3) 1904 and 1994 – the player’s strike stopped the 1994 Series and a rivalry between the New York Giants and the Boston Pilgrims canceled the 1904 Series. (4) Yankees’ pitcher Don Larsen pitched a perfect game during Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. (5) Lou Gehrig in the 1928 Series. He never struck out that year. (6) Philadelphia’s Chase Utley in the 2009 World Series. (7) Yankees great Mickey Mantle (8) 3; Cardinals won in 1946 and 1967, and the Red Sox won in 2004 (9) David Ortiz for the Red Sox, Yadier Molina for the Cardinals (10) Starting catcher (11) 3: 2004, 2007, 2013 (12) Washington Nationals and the Seattle Mariners (13) 4: 2004, 2006, 2011, 2013 (14) Chris Carpenter, he is sidelined with a nerve-related condition in his pitching arm, same injury as 2004 (15) The Yankees win on both counts, but the Cardinals take second on both too. (Tied with San Francisco Giants for appearances at 19)


EP Catches Up With Brandon Triche By: Alex Hoaglund

Photo courtesy of AP/images


We all know his name. And we will all certainly miss hearing the announcer exclaim a “Swish from Triche!” at the basketball games this season. His persistence, determination, and 13.6 PPG led the SU Men’s Basketball team in a very successful season. Extra Point magazine was lucky enough to catch up with alumnae Brandon Triche.

EP: What is the post-college life like? BT: I am currently playing in Trento, Italy, on a team called Aquila Basket. It's been okay for me. I'm not exactly where I want to be but I'm working my way to my goal, which is the NBA. Playing overseas is an alternate route but I think it’s a necessary route for me. EP: What does your future hold for you? BT: Currently, I'm playing in Italy. We have played 3 games so far with 37 more games to go. We're 2-1 but have a great chance to win a large percentage of our games. Hopefully, I play well this season and work at my weaknesses so the NBA will give me a chance next offseason. EP: What are your goals for the near future?

in the weight room, on the court, and mentally thinking about the game of basketball. Being able to sacrifice, to be disciplined, is the biggest thing. Speaking Italian, I look up phrases everyday that I want to learn and try to say them when it’s appropriate in conversation. EP: Are you still in contact with any players/administration from SU basketball? BT: Yes, through media networks I talk to some of the players when I can. I try to keep up with what James is doing the most though. Online, on ESPN, and syracuse.com I check every week to see what the team is doing and how the players are doing. EP: Do you miss playing college basketball? What parts do you miss the most? BT: I miss college in general. I didn't really take advantage of it like I should have. Basketball, I miss mostly playing in front of my family and the city of Syracuse.

BT: In Italy, I want to help my team win the Italian cup and go far in the Euro tournament/playoffs. I also look to focus on defense and make it a strength in my game. Other than that, I want to learn Italian completely so I can speak it.

EP: What are a few of the best memories from playing at SU?

EP: What have you been doing in the past year to achieve those goals?

EP: Do you plan on coming back to watch a game or two this upcoming season?

BT: I’ve just been working my butt

BT: In February, we have a week long break

BT: The final four, my whole senior year, all of the big east tournaments because we were able to hang in NYC and have fun plus shop!

and I intend on coming home. Hopefully there is a good home game going on around that time. If I can’t make a game I will go to a few practices to stay in shape. EP: What are some of the most interesting parts about playing across the ocean in Italy? BT: The style of play, the energy of the crowds, the loneliness, the traveling. We always take a bus to the games even if they’re 7 hours away. EP: Was it hard adjusting to life in another country? BT: Yes, its tough! It is still tough because it’s my first time leaving Syracuse for an extended period of time. I'm homesick but I am learning to deal with it. Not too many people speak English so its a struggle even just ordering food by myself. Communication is adjustment but I’m thankful a lot of my teammates can speak some English. EP: Are you hoping on playing in the NBA someday? BT: Around this time next, I hope to be rounding up my last few preseason games on a NBA. I don’t care who, I just want a chance and I’m sure I’ll make the best of it!


all HAIL the prince Who is the next big king of the NBA after LeBron James? Andrew Wiggins, that's who. by Alex Carter

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Photo courtesy of ftw. usatoday.com

here’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that LeBron James is the current king of the NBA. He is a freak athlete all around, and is an expert at just about every position on the court. He’s led the Heat to two championships, and will most likely led them to a three-peat this year too. But with every king, comes a reign and his must come to an end sometime. A few players have ever entered the league with the same amount of hype that LeBron did, but there is only one them that may be


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here’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that LeBron James is the current king of the NBA. He is a freak athlete all around, and is an expert at just about every position on the court. He’s led the Heat to two championships, and will most likely led them to a three-peat this year too. But with every king, comes a reign and his must come to an end sometime. A few players have ever entered the league with the same amount of hype that LeBron did, but there is only one them that may be able to match it: Andrew Wiggins. The excitement surrounding the University of Kansas freshman is huge. At the age of 14, Wiggins drew attention to himself from the Canadian national team. Then after his freshman and sophomore years of high school, it became clear to Wiggins and everyone around him that his future was the game of basketball. He reclassified himself after sophomore year into the senior class of 2013, which was his original age class. In doing so, Wiggins became the No. 1 recruit in the nation in the ESPN 100.

knows it.” The real question though is he the next Lebron? Will he be as good as King James? Both players are very similar in style of play and

Photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com explosiveness, especially when comparing the two at a high school level. Stats wise, they are also very similar. Wiggins senior year averages were 23.4 points, 2.5 assists, 11.1 rebounds, 2.4 steals, and 2.6 blocks. Lebron’s senior year averages were 30.4 points, 4.9 assists, 9.7 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 1.9 blocks.

Statistics are not all that that define a phenomenal athlete; there are many other factors. A major one that sticks out is the endorsements. When Lebron entered the NBA, he signed a 13 million dollar deal with the Cavaliers, but what really shocked the world was his 93 million “Regarded as one of the finest athletes in dollar, 7-year endorsement deal from Nike. high school basketball, Wiggins would have At the time, and still today even, this was been the No. 1 player in 2012, 2013 or 2014,” considered a ridiculous deal to be given Dave Telep, ESPN columnist said in an article. right out of high school. And now, the same “He’s the best of the best and everyone scenario is taking place for Andrew Wiggins.


“I’ve got a long way to go before I can be compared to Lebron and Durant. Those are the best players in the world and I’m still in college.” Photo courtesy of kusports.com


And now, the same scenario is taking place for Andrew Wiggins. It’s going to be a battle between Nike and Adidas to sign the young superstar. Also, because Wiggins is attending Kansas, which is an Adidas sponsored university, the company will be able to have direct contact with him and have opportunities to try and settle on a deal. Adidas used this same strategy when they signed Derrick Rose during his rookie season in 2008. Rumors have been circulating that Adidas is willing to make an offer of up to 180 million dollars to get Wiggins. But there’s almost no chance that Nike just sits backs and does nothing. You can be almost certain that whatever Adidas offers, Nike will at least match. Recently, Andrew Wiggins was asked at the Big 12 media day who he compares himself to in the NBA. According to ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf, Wiggins was humble, saying, “I’ve got a long way to go before I can be compared to Lebron and Durant. Those are the best players in the world and I’m still in college. So I think it’s really unfair to compare me to someone of that caliber. Hopefully one day I can be compared to them, but I still have a long way to go before I can be.”

upcoming years. In every generation of basketball there is always one stand out superstar. Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Lebron James are all considered the superstars of their time. There is always a need for a superstar, and Andrew Wiggins is the next best to step onto the NBA stage. Watch out LeBron, your kingdom is in jeopardy.

Even though it may be unfair for us to make these comparisons, it is clear that many similarities can be made. Wiggins is right to admit that he has a long way to go before he can be considered the best in the world, but it will be interesting to watch how his game progresses in the Photo courtesy of blog.eastbay.com


TOP 10 ATHLETES under 25

In the past 10 years there has been a flux in the talent of professional athletes, with athletes getting better and better at a younger age. That being said, here are the top ten athletes under 25.

Gareth Bale – 24 Yrs, Winger, Real Madrid The 24-year-old Real Madrid winger burst onto the soccer scene last season by netting 26 goals in all contests for the Tottenham Hotspurs. It was a breakout year for Bale who spent the first few years of his career plagued with injuries and struggling to keep his spot in the starting eleven. His play last year caught the eyes of Real Madrid who dealt out over 85 million pounds for the Welsh footballer, making him the highest paid soccer player in the world.

Photo courtesy of the Advertiser

Steven Stamkos – 23 Yrs, Center, Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos might not be as well known Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, or Evgeni Malkin, but he’s put up similar numbers and has played as good if not better than these stars. He made his NHL debut in 2008 with the Lightning at the age of 18 and finished his rookie season with 46 points. In his next three seasons he would go on to have 91, 95, and 97 points including 50, 45, and 60 goal seasons. His 97 points in 2011-12 was second only to the Penguins Malkin. Stamkos is without a doubt an exciting part of hockey’s future.

Photo courtesy of DocSports


Victoria Azarenka – 24 Yrs, Tennis Tennis players don’t always get the recognition they deserve, especially considering the athletes they are. Azarenka has been a pro tennis player since she was fourteen years and has spent 51 weeks as women tennis’ number one. She has won the Australian Open twice and has been a runner up of the U.S Open twice as well. Not to leave out that she also won a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics. She is still young, yet she has already established herself as one of the best women tennis players active today.

Photo courtesy of The Telegraph

Mike Trout – 22 Yrs, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Three seasons into his very young career and Mike Trout has put up veteran numbers. It’s no fluke that in his official rookie season that he won both the Rookie of the Year award as well as being the runner-up for the American League MVP. His career batting average thus far is an impressive .314 along with 62 home runs, 258 runs scored, and 86 stolen bases. He has established himself as a leader on a team full of veterans, and a presence in the league. Trout will be very good for a long time with Hall of Fame potential.

Photo courtesy of 4ufm.com

Derrick Rose - 25 Yrs, PG, Chicago Bulls Rose just turned 25 earlier this month as he begins his comeback season to the NBA. This will be Rose’s sixth season in the NBA, and after missing the entire season last year he has a lot to prove. Rose received heavy criticism for taking the whole year off as the Bull’s could have used him in the playoffs. Nevertheless, we aren’t talking about an unproven player here. Rose was the number one pick in the 2008 draft, was named rookie of the year in 2009, and was the 2011 MVP. Rose is averaging 21.0 PPG and 6.8 APG for his career and has been even better in the playoffs. He is a superstar in the NBA and there is no doubt that his presence on the court changes the game entirely.


Neymar – 21 Yrs, Forward/Winger, F.C Barcelona This Brazilian star is the youngest athlete on this list, but has already done so much. His abilities have been heralded for past four years as his legend grew in the Brazilian League. At 21, he is playing for Barcelona, which is historically known for its success and carrying only top flight players (He is also already one of the world’s top ten wealthiest footballers!). He essentially is the face of Brazil, who look to him to lead their international team to a World Cup victory as the host country. He was the Confederations Cup best player, and has scored 27 times in 44 international appearances. He will have all eyes on him this summer in the 2014 World Cup.

James Harden – 24 Yrs, SG, Houston Rockets Deep down, the Thunder know they made a huge mistake when they traded Harden to Houston. The NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2012 became the Rocket’s number one man and played with a mission. He averaged 25.9 PPG and 5.8 APG in his first season as a starter finishing top 10 in the league in many statistical categories. As the centerpiece of the Houston franchise, Harden now has Dwight Howard to work with. Will Harden and Co. win a title before his former team? Only time will tell.

Andrew Luck – 24 Yrs, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck has thus far lived up to all the hype. The Colts drafted the closest thing they could have gotten to Peyton Manning. His rookie campaign included bringing the Colts back to the playoffs by throwing for a rookie record 4,374 yards with 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. It doesn’t seem like he believes in a sophomore slump either because he is off to another great start this year. With a little bit of Luck the Colts have the ability to create a lot of havoc in the league for years to come.


Clayton Kershaw – 25 Yrs, Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers

This young ace entered the league in 2008, and at the time was the youngest player in the league at 20 years old. By 2011 he was the league’s best pitcher winning the NL Cy Young award as well as the pitching triple crown. He has led the league in strikeouts twice and ERA three times. Just how dominate is he? His career ERA is 2.60 good enough to be the best in live ball era with a minimum of 1000 innings pitched. We can also add that he could win another Cy Young for this season, and he is just 25 years old. His talent and on-field prowess speaks for itself.

Kevin Durant – 25 Yrs, Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder

I think the best question here is what hasn’t Kevin Durant done to deserve the number one spot? He was the second overall pick in 2007, Rookie of the Year in 2008, 3 time NBA Scoring Champ, 4 All Star games, an Olympic Gold medal, and 3 time runner-up for MVP. He has done all this in just SIX seasons while NEVER MISSING A SINGLE GAME. He has been a huge part of the recent success of the Thunder, leading them to the Finals in 2012. He is a leader on the court as well as in the community and that’s just something you cannot teach.


21 CENTURY AMERI st


by Kevin Reese

ICA’S TEAM

of America’s Team? The 21st century may have seen a changing of the guard. In a league controlled by a multi-billion dollar revenue, eccentric owners, and players who occasionally come across as divas, the NFL is still driven by the “average Joe”: the fans. The NFL has enthusiasts in every part of the country, and their continued support and loyalty has turned it into America’s pastime. So shouldn’t the team owned by the everyday person, instead of the Jerry Jones’ of the world, be considered America’s Team? That is exactly who In 1979, Bob Ryan was assigned to do a recap of the Green Bay Packers are. They represent everything the Dallas Cowboys previous season. He needed a that’s good about sports. The Packers are a publicly hook, something lyrically appealing, so he dubbed owned non-profit organization. A total of 364,122 the Cowboys “America’s Team” for the first time. people, ultimately representing 5,014,545 shares, own Not much came of the name at the time, but a few the Packers. The Packers, in the smallest market in the months later the Cowboys’ public address announcer league, amazingly are able to stay competitive, in a league introduced the team as “America’s Team” during their where high priced free agents thrive. Green Bay has first preseason game the following season. The name followed a unique business model throughout its’ history. seemed to stick, and the rest is history. However, with Through the sale of stocks in 1923, 1935, 1950, 1997 a team whose owner’s personal ego overshadows the and 2011, the Packers have been able to fund the team. team at all playing levels and only one playoff win in the The Packers bring a small town team mentality to a big past 16 seasons, should the Cowboys really own the title

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he overall passion and loyalty from the fans referred to as “Cheeseheads” is unparalleled. Want season tickets to see one of the best teams in the NFL? Well get in line. The Packers hold a waiting list of about 80,000 or more then Lambeau Field can hold. That equates to an estimated 30 years of waiting. This unbelievable fan loyalty has resulted in an unbelievable streak. The Packers have sold out every game at Lambeau since 1960. The Packers have also enjoyed success during the 21st century. They have a 143-75 record (.656 win percentage) with 9 playoff appearances. The modern era can be divided into two periods: the Brett Favre and the Aaron Rodgers periods. Brett Favre was a mainstay on the Packers from 1992 to 2007, winning three NFL Most Valuable Players awards. He seemed to embody what the Packers were

about. The team owned by the bluecollar community, was led by a bluecollar quarterback. It furthered the notion that the Packers followed the blue-collar, everyday person mentality. Following the Favre era, Aaron Rodgers stepped in and eventually led the team to a Super Bowl win in 2010. Rodgers is already considered one of the best quarterbacks in the game today and is continually getting better. So when you combine a passion and tradition unlike any other franchise and success on the field during this 21st century, the Green Bay Packers could be seen as America’s Team. The second candidate for America’s Team brings something to the table that few other franchises can boast: a relation to patriotism. What team name is more American in professional sports than the New England Patriots? The name originated when Boston business executive Billy Sullivan was awarded the eighth franchise in the American Football League. The team was originally located in Boston, therefore locals voted to name the team the Patriots, given the city’s role in early American history. The Patriots are also one of only five teams in the league to use red, white, and blue as their primary colors. The team simply is patriotic. However, a name and some colors aren’t enough to be in the running for America’s team. The Patriots of the 21st century are also a dynasty. The Patriots have posted an NFL best 151-57 (.726 win percentage) record since 2000. They have appeared in the playoffs ten times. Even more important, the Patriots successfully carried their regular season success into the postseason, appearing in the Super Bowl five times, an NFL best, ultimately winning three, another best in the league. The


appearing in the Super Bowl five times, an NFL best, ultimately winning three, another best in the league. The Patriots also had the most members selected to the all-decade team for the 2000’s, with five players and one coach. Highlighting the list are the two faces of the Patriots franchise: quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick. The two have been the two mainstays on a team which has changed so much over the course of this century. Tom Brady, often times referred to as the NFL’s “Golden Boy”, has been arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in the 2000’s. He has set numerous NFL records along the way, while winning Super Bowl MVP in two out of three Super Bowls that he won. In 2007, Brady was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, marking the first time an NFL player received the award since Joe Montana in 1990. Brady has also paired on-field success with exceptional off-field likeability. Brady has appeared on Saturday Night Live as a host, as well as appearing as a cartoon on episodes of hit TV shows The Simpsons and Family Guy. Brady truly does live up to the “Golden Boy” title, ultimately staying out of trouble off the field, while performing at an unprecedented level on it. The 21st century edition of the New England Patriots boast a patriotic name and colors, an unrivaled ability to win, and an iconic quarterback and face of the franchise, but does it make them America’s Team? Maybe to find the 21st century’s America’s Team we don’t need to look further than the original. Perhaps the Dallas Cowboys have, and always will be, America’s Team. The Cowboys certainly aren’t winning like they used to, however, data shows that it doesn’t matter to the fans. Polls

conducted by ESPN and Harris last year both found that the Cowboys are the most popular team in the NFL. Also, the ESPN Poll shows that the Cowboys are the most popular team in all of pro sports among women. The Cowboys certainly have no shortage of proof that the nation still supports them as America’s Team to this day. Ed Goren, the Fox Sports vice chairman who was vital in Fox securing the station’s rights to NFC games, believes that the Cowboys are here to stay as America’s Team. “Win or lose, they’re a lightning rod” said Goren. Since 2009, when AT&T Stadium opened, the Cowboys have led the league in attendance each year, consistently drawing about 5,000 more fans then the second place team. This is truly remarkable considering the Cowboys are one of only five teams whose average ticket cost is more than $100. The average price for a family of four to attend a Cowboys game at “Jerry World” is $634.78, which is highest in the league, according to Team Marketing Report. Despite virtually no success in the 21st century and the league’s highest prices, the Cowboys continue to set records in terms of attendance, which can only be attributed to their unmatched following. So is there a team that can be truly given the honor of being America’s Team? Is it the “Cheeseheads” from the small market, owned by their fans, with a season ticket waiting list larger than the stadium they play in? Is it the team which bleeds patriotism, pairing it with unequaled success in this century and an indisputable face of the franchise? Or might it be the originator of the name, the team that will always have a following, win or lose? The debate will rage on. Teams will come and go in the race for America’s Team. However, when the dust settles will there be a clear winner on top? That’s for America to decide.


CFB: PLAYOFF ON


N THE HORIZON WHY THE NEW POSTSEASON SYSTEM WILL BENEFIT COLLEGE FOOTBALL

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by Russ Reed

or some fans, the end to the BCS era can’t come soon enough. The death bell will officially toll on January 6, 2014 in Pasadena, and a new era of postseason play will be ushered into college football.

The new four-team College Football Playoff will debut next season, and will feature two semifinal games on New Year’s 2015 and a national championship game on January 12. The sites of the two semifinal games will rotate between six bowls: the Sugar, Rose, Orange,


Ten champions if they aren’t selected for the four-team playoff. The four teams for the College Football Playoff will be selected by a 13-member committee. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will choose who will compete in the playoff based on strength of schedule, headto-head results, whether the team won a conference championship, and a few other factors. The committee features those with experience as a coach, student-athlete, administrator, journalist, or athletic director. It is headed by current Arkansas AD Jeff Long, and features names like Archie Manning, Tom Osborne, and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. I believe the College Football Playoff will ultimately be a benefit to the college football, especially given all of the controversy the BCS has created over the years. After the BCS started in the 1998-99 season, there have

been many seasons where a number of teams that deserved a shot at the national championship. There were three seasons in particular where a four-team playoff was needed to settle the debate as to who the best team in the country was. The first is 2003-04, where the top three schools finished with one loss each: Oklahoma, LSU, and USC. USC was number one in both human polls but had a very weak computer ranking, which put Oklahoma and LSU in the National Championship Game. The Tigers beat the Sooners and claimed No.1 in the Coaches’ Poll, while the Trojans finished first in the AP Poll. Thus, there was a split for the national championship. The second was the very next season, where there were five undefeated teams: USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Utah, and Boise State. USC and Oklahoma ended up playing in the title game, while Auburn settled for the Sugar Bowl, Utah became the first non-AQ school to make a BCS Bowl, and Boise State was left out of the BCS completely. I would bet that Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown, and the rest of that Auburn Tigers team would have loved to take a crack at


the Trojans or Sooners in a playoff scenario. The final instance was two seasons ago, where one-loss Alabama exacted revenge on undefeated LSU to win the 2011-12 National Championship. ‘Bama lost to the Bayou Bengals 9-6 in overtime on Nov.5, but the Crimson Tide got the nod over an Oklahoma State team whose only blemish came on the road to Iowa State late in the season. That year the Cowboys had one of the top offenses in college football, especially in the passing game with Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. But unfortunately, they had to settle for the Fiesta Bowl, where they beat an Andrew Luck-led Stanford team 41-38 in overtime. I think they’re offensive firepower could have tested both SEC powerhouses. However, there is a legitimate argument that there will always be a

team, two, or maybe three that claim they could deserve to be one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff. This puts a lot of pressure on the selection committee and since there are active athletic directors and administrators on it, every decision will be dissected to find even a shred of bias. In addition, there is a strong belief that a playoff expansion will diminish the regular season since some teams won’t have to go undefeated to get a crack at the national championship. But I would argue that it won’t be the case for a number of teams. For example, if an ACC, Big Ten, or Big 12 team doesn’t go undefeated, the selection may not give them as much leeway as a one-loss SEC or Pac-12 team based on strength of schedule. Thus, teams from weaker conferences should have the mentality that they must go undefeated in order to have a shot of making the College Football Playoff. So if the selection committee remains unbiased like they say they will and if my theory on strength of schedule holds true, then the argument against the College Football Playoff is very weak. The BCS was a major improvement over the previous system of ranking teams after bowl games based solely on conference tie-ins. The College Football Playoff will be as equal an improvement over the BCS that the BCS once was for the old bowl


Saying Goodbye To Bud

Saying Goobye to Bud After Bud Selig retires next season, where does baseball go from here?


B

ud Selig never really had a chance.

Replacing Fay Vincent as MLB commissioner in 1992, the former Milwaukee Brewers owner was inevitably stepping into a buzz saw. Sports commissioner is a brutally difficult job, and one that’s judged more on style than substance, aura over achievement. Bud was never comfortable in front of a microphone or a camera, and so in the age of rapid reactions and Internet snark, we pounced on the diminutive man presiding over an antiquated game. But that isn’t the proper way to define a legacy, of course. Bud Selig deserves better, no matter how often we jeer. He deserves to be defined by what he did for the game he loved, and if you can get past the bumbling reputation — past all the confused uncomfortable looks, past the AllStar Game fiascos — it turns out that baseball may miss Bud Selig more than we think. Commissioners are judged by a simple criterion: Is the game better off when you left than when you started? And as much as we may be loath to admit it, the answer to that question for Bud Selig is probably yes. Rarely have more seismic changes occurred over just a two-decade span, and baseball has emerged stronger for it. The game sets attendance records seemingly every year, fans flocking to the tens of sparkling new ballparks constructed during the Selig era. And though it will never compete with the ratings behemoth that is the NFL, this postseason has shown that people do, in fact, watch baseball — 12.5 million viewers tuned in to Game 3 of the World Series, up 19 percent from last year, despite a full slate of college football.

criticisms are more than valid — Selig looked the other way for far too long, and the discipline he’s handed down has been far too arbitrary and piecemeal, and he deserves that stain on his legacy.

For all of the PR gaffes, the awkward press conferences steroid scandals, Bud Selig was undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport, and he’s walking out the door in 2015. So as much as we’d love to dance on his grave, it needs to be asked: Where exactly does baseball go from here? Perhaps the most likely candidate at the moment is Rob Manfred, the executive VP of economics and league affairs. If you started yawning at that title already, consider this: MLB has experienced almost two decades of uninterrupted labor peace while their major sports brethren go through lockout after lockout (and in the NHL’s case, lockout after lockout after lockout after lockout). Manfred is one of the men most responsible for those collective bargaining deals — which have touched on everything from steroid crises to revenue sharing. Think of the five biggest issues of Selig’s tenure, and Manfred has been in the middle of all of them, putting out fires behind the scenes.

But there will always be an elephant in the room when Selig’s name is mentioned

Selig also ushered the Wild Card and interleague play into existence, and though both were met with resistance from some purists, both moves have been vindicated as unequivocal successes — particularly the Wild Card, which has added exponentially to the excitement of September pennant races. But there will always be an elephant in the room when Selig’s name is mentioned, a black cloud that will loom over his name long after he leaves baseball behind. Yes, Selig was woefully negligent as PEDs ran rampant in the 90s, and a lot of digital ink has been spilled bemoaning his massive oversight (it should be mentioned that the media responsible for that self-righteous hand-wringing was itself complicit in that oversight, but I digress). Those

There are certainly other candidates whose names will be batted around on SportsCenter between now and 2015 — Bob Bowman, the media whiz behind baseball’s wildly successful move into digital marketing, could be a dark horse — but whoever ends up as the next man for the job will have to deal with some major issues that Selig leaves behind. Most prominently among them is instant replay, which has come under the spotlight again as another postseason leaves controversy in its wake. Expanded replay next season should help, but issues surrounding ball/strike calls and umpire grandstanding (here’s looking at you, Jerry West) need to be resolved. Perhaps paying minor league umpires, creating a sort of recruiting pipeline to the big leagues, is a viable option. And then there’s that ever-present steroid question, which doesn’t seem like it’s going away any time soon, no matter how much Selig may want it to. Selig has embroiled his office in the Alex Rodriguez case, long past the point of no return after handing down a year-long suspension, and whoever succeeds him as commissioner is going to have to navigate some very troubled waters. But these are questions for another day. For now, it’s worth repeating that no matter how much pleasure we derived from turning Bud Selig into punching bag, he’s left the game


NHL

RETROSPECTIVE No fan likes to see their favorite sport going through a lockout. Suffering through an offseason is hard enough, but enduring a whole year without activity can be painful. Many wondered how big of a hit the NHL brand would take after 2011-2012 lockout.


No fan likes to see their favorite sport going through a lockout. Suffering through an offseason is hard enough, but enduring a whole year without activity can be painful. Many wondered how big of a hit the NHL brand would take after 2011-2012 lockout. The 2013 NHL season ended with the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks captivated NHL fans with a playoff run completed with many thrilling finishes. The Stanley Cups Finals with the Boston Bruins was one of the better championships in recent memory. This was the Blackhawks second championship in the last four years. With a young and experienced core of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Patrick Sharpe, the Blackhawks will be favorites to repeat as the Stanley Cup Champions. The 2013 season will also mark the return of a healthy of Sidney Crosby. Sidney Crosby, in many circles, is considered the face of hockey. The last two seasons Crosby has been marred by numerous injuries most notably concussion issues. This season, we will hopefully see him return back to MVP form. If “Sid the Kid” regains his form, there is no reason why the Penguins cannot compete for the Stanley Cup this year. The NHL is also flushed with young talent ready to take the league by storm. Florida Panthers forward and Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau, Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad and Montreal

Canadians Brendan Gallagher took the league by storm as rookies last year, and they look poised to take the league by storm for years to come. This year’s rookie class is not short of very talented players ready to showcase their skills to the world. Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins is poised to become a top defensemen in the league after having a breakout playoff performance for the defending Eastern Conference Champions. Now that Krug has a full season under his belt, the sky is the limit for the young man. Nathan Mackinnon of the Colorado Avalanche is looking to become the next Mackinnon phenom after being drafted first overall in this year’s draft. The Avalanche expects Mackinnon to contribute right away. A few other rookies to keep eye on are Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers), Ryan Murray (Columbus Blue Jackets), and Jonathan Drouin (Tampa Bay Lightning). The NHL is flush with young talent and, after a very entertaining NHL playoffs, many fans are beginning to forget the NHL lockout even took place.


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