2011 College Basketball Preview
extraPoint NOV. 1, 2011
THE NEW SPORTS DICTIONARY SPORTS JOURNALIST CLICHE EDITION
Compiled by people who clearly follow sports too much Now With More Beards (P. 2) and More Booze (P. 7)!
Wait a minute, these waves are mine. I’ve never surfed on the roof of a van. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely would. I just haven’t been afforded the chance. The quote honors the 1985 movie Teen Wolf, a heart-warming tale of how Michael J. Fox becomes a werewolf and high school version of Michael Jordan. A werewolf with amazing basketball skills? You can’t follow up that movie in a million years. (I’d also like to note this will be the only place in the magazine where you will see anything related to Halloween. Let’s be honest, the past three days have been a blur for us all.) Unfortunately, the makers tried again two years later with Teen Wolf Too, starring Jason Bateman as the new wolf. The lesson here is that the second attempt is not always the best. Not everything improves the second time around. Let’s call it “the sequal problem.” We confronted the sequal problem in the production meetings for Issue 1.2. How do we follow up our premiere issue? We feared we would fall into the trap of taking ourselves too seriously. So naturally, we decided to make fun of sports writers like ourselves for a significant part of the issue. The “Sports Dictionary” takes some shots at some utterly stupid phrases in sports reporting and sports conversations like “five-tool.” We also give shoutouts to some terms we’ve been saying at the bar over the last couple of weeks like “Byfuglien’d” (our vain attempt to give the Winnipeg Jets some traction out east). We also made mustaches and beards a focal point of this issue (...and I for one welcome our new facial hair overlords) because you can’t take anything too seriously when it involves goofy-looking facial hair. So kick back and enjoy.
Hey editors, what are 80’s song or CD are you listening to? Editor-in-Chief/Co-Founder
“Take on Me by A-ha. I can’t walk in the milk aisle in a grocery store without thinking of that music video.”
Creative Director/Co-Founder Pete Gegick “You Can Never Hide Your Heart from the movie Footloose. I wish I could dance like Kevin Bacon.” Senior Editor
“The Pixies: Surfer Rosa. I might start carrying my ghetto blaster around so other people can appreciate it.”
“Pat Benatar: Live from Earth. Love really is a battlefield. Thank you, Pat. You’ve taught me so much.”
Special Thanks To Ann Hettinger, Harriet Brown, Melissa Chessher, the Magazine Department of Newhouse, David Baer, and Meredith Popolo This issue is dedicated to Matt Wittman, a great hockey teammate and friend to many. He will be sorely missed. Jeffrey Laboon
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Instant Classic The St. Louis Cardinals dramatically defeat the texas rangers in 7. By Jason Krakower
(Busch Stadium) Flickr/Kanesue, (Colon) Flickr/Keith Allison, (Ram) Flickr/desrunyan,
Sports Dictionary a sports writerâ€™s savior New Wave healers
Professional athletes test the waters with some experimental injury healers. By Sydney McMinn
the puns, cliches, and trite expressions of sports writers. by ep staff
Down on tobacco road why the tar heels are the team to beat in 2011. By lauren dellipoali
end of the Head shot
how brendan shannahan quickly became the most feared man in nhl. by oritt blum
NO SHAVE NO VEMBER Ladies and gentleman, Extra Point would like to officially welcome you to No Shave November. For some, November may mean the end of basbeall season. For others it signals the beginning of the holiday season. But the true meaning of November can be found on the whiskered faces of men from sea to shining sea. While originally just a rouse to raise awareness for prostate cancer, this splendidly hairy month has taken on a life of it’s own. It’s swept the nation and sports world alike, with men sporting those grizzled, unkempt beards for 30 glorious days. So go ahead. Grow out that Brian Wilson beard if you dare. Maybe switch it up with the Abe Lincoln neck beard, a la LeBron. Or for those of you less adventurous, try out the fu Manchu and channel yourself some of the Hulkster. Maybe even try your hand at creating the next great facial-hairstyle. But no matter the reason or the style, throw those razors (and inhibitions) into the wind and let it all grow out. Sure, it may be a little itchy for you and your lady friend to indure. Sure you may look like you woke up on the wring side of a cardboard box. But there’s no denying the magic that comes with sporting a beard. Just ask Brian Wilson. His magical facial-fuzz helped San Francisco win a World Series.
Our strike-zone of the biggest hits and misses in the world of sports Chris Johnson After signing a six-year, $56 million deal with the Titans, Chris Johnsonâ€™s number have dropped severely
NBA Lockout The NBA owners and players are still in a deadlock while more and more of the season is being cancelled
Case Keenum The University of Houston QB threw 9 TDs against Rice while securing the record for Total Career TDs
St. Louis Cardinals The Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers in game seven, winning the 2011 World Series
Johnathan Quick The Los Angeles Kings goalie had a 3-game shut out streak, saving 83 shots that came his way
Troy Polomolu Fine
The NFL fined Polomolu $10,000 for using his cell phone on the sidelines to call his wife to let her know he was okay after suffering concussion-like symptoms in a game
S.E.C. The SECâ€™s Web site prematurely annnounced that Missouri had joined their conference, before Mizzou ever came to an official decision
M .I . S.C .
Moderately Interesting Sporting Competitions
We traveled the globe to find the 5 most ridiculous, ludicrous, entertaining sport-like activities.
By: Harrison Highland
Running of the Nudes Some people like to get their adrenaline fix by running alongside raging 1600 pound bulls down a narrow street in an event that has killed 16 people. The more sensible choose to run alongside a beautiful woman without any clothes on. The Running of the Nudes is proposed by animal rights advocates as an alternative to the Running of the Bulls, which they claim is cruel and inhumane. Motivations aside, it’s just such a better idea! Why would anyone want to risk their life aside a potentially deadly bull when they could instead liberate themselves with a group of gorgeous nudes? Harmless, exhilarating, and beautiful, there might be no obscure sport—nay sport at all—better than the Running of the Nudes.
You know how a movie that says its title in the actual film is guaranteed to be amazing? Well sports work the same way. Developed in American bars in the 80s, dwarf tossing is a simple competition of strength, stamina, and human indecency. Despite safety developments, the sport has been made illegal in most of the world, including the U.S. This has not stopped advocates from fighting for their God-given right to throw other human beings against a wall. In Florida, State Rep. Ritch Workman is campaigning to legalize dwarf tossing. He explains his motivation: “I’m on a quest to seek and destroy unnecessary burdens on the freedom and liberties of people,” Workman said. “This is an example of Big Brother government. All that it does is prevent some dwarfs from getting jobs they would be happy to get.” Whatever the future of dwarf tossing, it’s a weird sport.
Bo-Taoshi This is a large scale sport practiced by cadets at the Military Defense Academy in Japan. An attacking team of 75 men rushes a defending team of the same number who tries to protect a wooden pole that is about 15 feet tall. If the attackers tilt the pole from 90 to 30 degrees, their team wins. There are very few rules, and it’s the only modern sport that comes close to actual warfare. Competitors rip each others’ clothes off and stomp and climb on each other in what amounts to an anything goes melee. It looks like a combination of ants swarming a popsicle stick and an enormous orgy gone horribly wrong.
In many ways, the Dunny Derby is as traditional as a sport can be. It’s pure competition between two teams, just a simple chariot race. But there is one critical distinction that makes the Dunny Derby unique: the “chariot” is a throne, a loo, a can, a john, a thunderbox, a “fountain”, a crapper trapper… a.k.a a toilet. Teams of four men must pull a man sitting on a toilet, for which “dunny” is an Australian slang term, and race 250 meters around a track. Though I could be wrong, I do not believe the man on the toilet is actually using it during the race. To make one thing clear, the Dunny Derby is no joke in Australia, which is the only country to practice the sport. Only biannually are the dunnies derbied, but when they are it’s serious business. Odds makers take bets on the race, and over $3000 in prize money is awarded.
Ferret Legging To play this sport there is just one requirement: big balls. Originating in coalmines in the north of England, ferret legging began as a way for peasants to hide their illegal ferrets from the upper class. At some point, desperate necessity developed into dumbass competition, and ferret legging was created. The rules are simple. Competitors trap two ferrets in their pants, and whoever is the last to give up wins. Underwear is prohibited, and a recent trend in the sport has been to wear white pants, which show off the blood drawn from the angry ferret attacks. The world record is five and a half hours. Ferret legging is a male only sport, though a female version, in which contestants stick ferrets down their blouses, is less commonly practiced.
By: Sydney McMinn
nstant gratification is growing increasingly present in the world, and the world of sports is no exception. Athletes constantly seek out ways to gain a competitive edge and recover faster. Sure, Gatorade has its place on the sidelines, but what do athletes do to recuperate off the field?
Looking for instantanious results, athletes are starting to forego proven treatments in favor of newer, unfounded ones. It likely became so popular because it made sense. Or maybe it was the list of professional athletes having had it done. Pittsburgh Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu, who strained his calf, and Wide Reciever Hines Ward, who sprained a ligament in his knee, both had P.R.P, then won a Super Bowl a couple months later.
Growing Trend? These athletes have all opted for these newer treatments: Amar’e Stoudemire Stem Cell Therapy 2005
Manning flew all the way to Europe for the procedure, since it’s not approved in U.S.
R&R may have been an option back in the day, but these days athletes look for creative remedies that will get them back in action sooner. That’s where P.R.P comes in. PlateletRich Plasma is quickly gaining notoriety among athletes as a way to heal injuries quickly and easily. Platelets are the part of the blood that clot together and help heal a cut. If platelets are injected into injured tissue, they help the tissue heal.
That same year, Dodgers pitcher Takashi Saito chose P.R.P as an alternative to surgery that would’ve made him hang up his jersey for about a year. Tiger Woods even reported having P.R.P after knee surgery to speed up the healing process. Peyton Manning, four-time NFL MVP, recently became an advocate of another non-traditional treatment: Stem Cell Therapy. Manning turned to the treatment after three previous surgeries had little to no effect the bulging disk in his neck. The treatment used Manning’s own fat cells to stimulate healing in the nerves in his neck. Adult stem cells can grow and become part of any particular organ or tissue a person needs. But this doesn’t come cheap. Manning flew all the way to Europe for the procedure, since it’s not approved in U.S. Though these athletes experienced positive reactions to their treatments, the effects of both P.R.P. and stem cell therapy are still not proven. But hey, what’s another shot to a guy who makes or takes a thousand hits a week and has money to blow on the best new treatment.
Cliff Lee PRP 2008
Tiger Woods PRP 2009
Troy Polamalu PRP 2009
Bartolo Colon PRP 2010
Peyton Manning is just the latest big-name athlete who has made headlines after opting for an alternative treatment for a neck injury.
Shooter’s McTavern What drink corresponds to your team? Buffalo Bills Irish Coffee
Montreal Canadiens Ward Eight
New Jersey Nets Pabst Blue Ribbon
A high-roller drink that is always good. Year after year after year…
Perfect drink when the day is dark and gloomy, or as it’s known for Bills fans, “Football season”
It’s good, interesting and hasn’t been relevant since the 1950’s
The soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets are going to need this hipster staple
Utah Jazz H2O
Dallas Mavericks Beck’s
Pittsburgh Pirates Eye-Opener
You’re led by a German, so you might as well drink a German brew
A ton of alcohol, so you can forget about last night.
Solid drink after a solid GTL sesh.
San Fransisco Giants White Russian
Cleveland Caveliers Black Velvet
New York Yankees Chancellor Cocktail
Everyone knows alcohol is a no-no in Mormon country
New York Jets Corona and Lime
Miami Heat Pina Colata
Detroit Red Wings Gin and Tonic
It’s a social drink just like going to a Heat game is a social event
The most consistent drink in the world.
Total “Dude” drink. No team has more dudes than the Giants.
Philadelphia Eagles Vera Rush
Oakland Raiders Alcohol Hand Sanitizer
Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati Cocktail
Boston Red Sox Morning After
Dark rum and pineapple juice. Sounds good on paper, right? It isn’t
Raiders fans are as crazy as they come, and need a drink to match
Not only are the team and cocktail from the same city, but they are both boring
The Sox collapse just as hard as you will when you order this drink at the bar
Boston Celtics Old-Fashioned
Would’ve been great by adding one or two things to familiar ingredients
Florida Panthers Empty Glass
San Diego Chargers Rumple Minze
An old drink, but it’s still a good one
The glass is as full as their stands
A deceptively strong drink that always surprises people
Cleveland Browns Boilermaker
New York Knicks Minderaser
Oklahoma City Thunder Prairie Oyster
Milwaukee Brewers Miller
This drink will have you asking, “Isiah who?”
The drink’s ingredients: egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Completely illogical, yet it works.
This is a no-brainer, Miller is brewed in brewtown
Philadelphia Flyers Frank Gehry Cocktail
Tough, bitter ,and hard-to-swallow, just like every major game in Browns history
The essential mourning drink for the essential mourning team
Test your knowledge about baseball movies with this month’s EP Quiz.
What does pitcher Eddie Harris from the movie Major League put on his chest before taking the mound every five days? a) Crisco
b) Cleveland Indians
c) Pittsburgh Pirates
d) Brooklyn Dodgers
Kevin Costner once suited up for the Durham Bulls on film, but which of these Tampa Bay Rays of past and present never played for the Bulls?
a) Carl Crawford
b) David Price
c) Evan Longoria
d) Matt Garza
Ray Liotta played “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in the movie Field of Dreams. Shoeless Joe is banned from MLB, so he is not featured at the National Baseball Museum in Cooperstown.
b) False Answer Key: 1. A, 2. B, 3. C, 4. D, 5. B
d) Eddie Harris doesn’t exist
We all remember the California Angles were the focal point of Angels in the Outfield, but which of these teams was the star of the 1954 original? a) Boston Red Sox
Henry Rowengartner played for the Chicago Cubs in the movie Rookie of the Year, so naturally, most of the ballpark footage was filmed at Wrigley Field.
Shaqspeare Shaquille O’Neal is set to release his memoir, Shaq Uncut, Novemeber 15, and it’s sure to be a treat. Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most well-known sports figures ever. He’s given us memorable championships. He’s given us platinum records. He’s given us horrible movies. Now, he’s giving us his memoir. Shaq Uncut gives anecdotes from Shaq’s career, along with some insights from the big-man himself. And if you think you’ve heard everything Shaq has to say, think again. In one section of the book, Shaq gives us his take on why Rajon Rondo hit a huge slump late last season. From the book: In early March some of the guys went to the museum of Fine Arts for a fund-raiser and got to hang with President Barack Obama. Everyone was a little bit in awe. The President turns to Ray, points at Rondo, and says, “Hey, Ray, why don’t you teach this kid how to shoot?” Everyone starts laughing. KG told me he saw the look on Rondo’s face and the kid was devastated, embarrassed. Dissed by the President, even though I’m sure Obama didn’t mean any harm. Rondo smiled and went along with all of it, but KG told me he could see it in his eyes. It bothered Rondo. It killed him. Shaq Uncut looks to be a must read. I guess Shaq isn’t going quietly into retirement.
Biggest NFL Regular-Season Collapses A fan mostly remembers his
If you’re a 49ers or Lions fan, stop reading. team’s playoff successes. The next five entries will make you nervous These are the other until that playoff spot istimes. finally sealed. By Pete Gegick
1994 Philadelphia Eagles Started Season 6-2; Finished Season 7-9
With Randall Cunningham leading the way, the Eagles hopped out to a 7-2 record, battling with the Cowboys for the NFC East crown. They would then drop their next seven games, moving them out of playoff contention.
2 2009 Denver Broncos Started Seaon 6-2; Finished Season 8-8
Kyle Orton seemed to be leading these Broncos to the playoffs, as they started out the year 6-0. But two four game losing streaks, proved too much to overcome.
3 1995 Oakland Raiders Started Season 6-2; Finished Season 8-8
The Raiders rattled off an 8-2 start in this one. But after starter Jeff Hostetler went down, backups Vince Evans and Billy Joe Hobert could not right the ship and the team missed the playoffs.
4 2007 Detroit Lions Started Season 6-2; Finished Season 7-9
The Jon Kitna-led Lions started the year 6-2, surprising most of America. That shock would wear off and the team would proceed to go on a sixgame losing streak, punctuated by a 37-point defeat.
5 1999 New England Patriots Started Season 6-2; Finished Season 8-8
Through the first eight games, the Drew Bledsoe to Terry Glenn combination was on point, with seven games of more than 200 yards through the air. That number dwindeled to two in the second half, and the Pats missed the postseason.
TWeet of the week
This week’s Tweet Gem brought to you by: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City f
This page is not Brian Wilson approved
Facial Hair in Sports
GOOD Rollie Fingers Handlebar Mustache
When their manager offered a $300 incentive for the player who could grow out the best facial hair, Fingers answered with one of the greatest handlebar mustaches ever.
BAD Tom Brady 2004 Playoff Beard
Playoff beards are supposed to be untamed, grizzly, thick, and simply put, badass. But Tom Brady’s manicured, barely there beard doesn’t cut it and has no place on the field.
UGLY Larry McDonald Lip Bush
Not only is this lip-bush unrulely and vomit inducing, but it actually matches the color of his red jersey. This thing is just wrong on so many levels.
The 2011 Sports Dictionary
Letâ€™s be honest. You hear these terms everyday. You might even use them at the bar on occasion. Sports writers and fans formed their own language over the last century. New sports fans can grasp some of these terms immediate, but others need a of clarity. COMPILED BY THE EP STAFF
[ang-ku’l-breyker] (noun/adj) Used to describe a player with impressive lateral quickness and footwork. When the player runs toward the opposition, he jukes his way past defenders, causing them to lose their balance and twist their ankles in unhealthy ways. Not too be mistaken for being blazing fast. Origins in basketball. ex. Dude 1: Did you see Deron Williams last week? He was making fools of Indiana Pacers defenders every time he touched the ball. Dude 2: Yeah, I bet the utah Jazz regret letting go of an ankle breaker like him.
Best Shape Of His Life
(best-sheyp-uhv-hiz-lahyf) (adj) A phrase that describes the physical condition of a superstar player upon his first appearance at the team’s training camp, regardless of whether or not said superstar actually did anything in the offseason. See also: training camp and spring training. Ex: Dude 1: Hey, the newspaper said Peyton Manning showed up to camp in the best shape of his life. Dude 2: Isn’t he 30 pounds overweight with a beer gut? He looks more like your dad than a professional football player. Come on.
Adrian Peterson rushed for 4,045 yards at Oklahoma University from 2004 to 2006. Clearly, he’s been in beast mode for years. Flickr/jeremy scott, altered and cropped
[beest-mohd] (noun/adj) Refers to a state of mind that a player enters that elevates their game to a level far superior to that of the players around them. Usually the result of an adrenaline rush. While in this mode, the player suddenly shows a level of talent and performance that they typically would not be able to reach. ex. Dude 1: Adrian Peterson is great, but when he turns on beast mode, I don’t think there is a player in the NFL that can stop him. Dude 2: Very true. All right well it’s almost midnight and there is a full moon out tonight, so I should probably get going. Dude 1: Why? Dude 2: Because you don’t want to see what happens when I enter my beast mode.
[Bufflihned] (verb) The art of getting decked out, crushed, or scored upon by Dustin Byfuglien. Not to be confused with Oshie’d. See: Every game of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. Ex. During Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Chris Pronger was Byfuglien’d, as he received several hard checks from the former-Chicago Blackhawks forward. Byfuglien would go on to record two goals in the contest.
[buhb-uhl] (noun) An imaginary place where teams and college programs sit if they are not guaranteed a spot in the postseason. The teams have not played up to par with the premier teams in the sport, but they have not underperformed to the extent of the absolutely worst teams. The bubble is the equivalent of sports purgatory: Teams don’t know if they’ll reach the land of milk and honey or fade into the fire that is missing the postseason in college sports or receiving a mid-round draft pick in a professional league. This team most often refers to college basketball teams. Ex. Dude 1: Villanova is totally on the bubble this year. Dude 2: They’re undefeated. Have you even watched them play once? Dude 1: No, I was just trying to make conversation.
[cawt-slee-ping] (adj) Used to describe the lulled state of a player or team. Similar, but not synonymous to not paying attention. Often used to describe a defender who’s been embarrassed in some way. When used to describe a team, references lethargic play. While aptly used across all sports, it is most popular in basketball, often after an opponent falls victim to a crossover. Ex. Dude 1: Man, Chris Paul made that guy look silly. Dude 2: Yeah, he was caught sleeping.
[klas-act] (noun) Someone or something that displays distinctive and superior qualities. In sports, describes an athlete who exhibits professionalism and excellence both on and off their respective field of play. Refers to said athlete’s skill in game situations and their quality attitude toward other athletes, the media, and the fan base. Ex. Dude 1: Calvin Johnson is such a class act. His combination of freakish talent and humble personality is something all athletes should emulate. Dude 2: Your ability to properly use the word emulate in a sentence makes you a class act. Many players are caught sleeping around Chris Paul, aka CP3. The point guard for the New Orleans Hornets led the league in steals in four of the past six seasons. Flickr/Eric Kilby, altered and cropped
East Coast Bias
[eest-kohst-bahy-uh’s] (noun) The perception that sports media coverage focuses the bulk of its attention on teams and universities in the East. One reason behind this is the time difference between games on the respective coasts. When the San Jose Sharks take the ice for the second period, for example, a lot of fans in the Atlantic Time Zone are already preparing for bed. It’s important to note that five of the largest 10 television markets according to Nielsen are located in Atlantic cities. Ex. Dude 1: Dude, I don’t want to go to the bar to watch the Yankees-Red Sox game. Why are they on TV again? A New York game is on every night. Why not a Giants game? The media has such an east coast bias. Dude 2: Quit your complaining. You’re from Baltimore, which is on the east coast. Let’s go get drunk and watch the game.
[dan-dee] (noun/adj) Used to describe a specific play, person or achievement of athletic significance. Often used by older announcers, such as Dick Vitale and Brent Musburger. See also: Diaper dandy Ex. Musburger: Let me tell you folks, No. 5 for the Wisconsin Badgers is going to be a dandy. He’s one of the best running backs I’ve seen in a long time.
[fahyv-tool] (adj) Used by scouts and player evaluators to describe a mythical athlete who can do anything and everything in his or her respective sport. The term is especially popular in baseball by scouts who were alive during the Theodore Roosevelt administration. The tools in question are hitting for average, hitting for power, baserunning and speed, throwing strength, and fielding. Needless to say, numerous five-tool athletes turned out to be busts. Scouting, however, is very much like fishing. You need to send out a few lines and hope to get at least one solid bite. Ex. Dude 1: Smith has the makings of a five-tool player. He’s putting up video game numbers in Single-A. Dude 2: I’m not sure. Dude 3: I, too, agree. Dude 4: I concur. Dude 5: Yep, same. Dude 6: Dude 1 is so right. Dude 2: Clearly, I am surrounded by five tools right now.
[grit] (noun/adj) Used to describe a player with a tremendous amount of passion, toughness, and hardiness. An all-around badass. Used when a player has a lot of perseverance, often overcoming injury or other setbacks. Most often used in football. See NFL players from the mid-70s. See also: Grinder Ex. Dude 1: Greg Oden is such a gritty player. Dude 2: Dude, he’s hurt like every season. He never even plays. Have you ever watched a basketball game before?
(man pozesd) (noun) Used to describe a player who is playing extremely well for a specific amount of time, often due to a perceived increase in energy. As if said player goes into a zone in another realm that causes them ooze greatness. The time period can last anywhere from a part of a single game to an entire season. The term can be used across any sport. Not to be confused with actual demon possession. Ex. Dude 1: Did you hear Lance Berkman is possessed? Dude 2: Dude, he’s not possessed. He’s playing extremely well, like a man possessed. Get it right. You’re so stoopid (sic.).
Man Amongst Boys
[man-uh-muhngst-bois] (noun) Used to describe the sheer dominance of a certain player. Said player is said to be so dominate, it’s equivalent to a man playing amongst school children. Similar to the dodgeball scene from the movie Billy Madison. The term is most popular in football and basketball, and is most often applied to post and interior players in basketball. Ex. Dude 1: Dwight Howard is like a man amongst boys. No one can stop him. Dude 2: He’s 6’11” and 265 pounds. What else would you expect to happen?
Joe DiMaggio is the quintessential man possessed for his 56-game hitting streak from May 15 to July 16 in 1941. Public Domain, altered
[moh-men-tuh’m-shift] (noun) Describes the point in a game where high morale is transferred from one team to the other. Typically results in a higher level of play from the team that benefited from the shift. A momentum shift can happen in a variety of ways, such as: -A big play from an individual or a group of individuals -An injury to a star player -A series of plays that results in a score -Costly penalties at crucial times of a game Ex. Dude 1: Did you see that grand slam? It seems the momentum has now shifted in their favor. Dude 2: No, I did not see that play. Now would you mind shifting your momentum out of the way so I can actually see the television screen?
[pey-per-cham-pee-uh n] (noun) Used to describe teams who posses all of the talents on paper to win their respective league, but have actually no merit or right to be considered World Champions. Each season, one or two teams or college programs are marked as the “it” teams for that season. Though these teams can sometimes include the defending champions, they have not won a single postseason game that season. The term originated in 2001 when Lee Flowers of the Pittsburgh Steelers called the Tampa Bay Buccaneers paper champions because they carried themselves as though they won the Super Bowl. Flowers lashed out at the Bucs after he and the Steelers defeated them, 17-3. The Steelers lost in the AFC Championship that season. The Bucs lost in the NFC Wildcard round, but would go on to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history the following season. Ex. Dude 1: The New York Jets are such paper champions. They haven’t won anything. Dude 2: But don’t you think they’re due to?
Noun [poiz] A state of comfortability and self-assurance that few athletes possess. An athlete with poise can lead his or her team to victory in even the most insurmountable of situations. These stars rise to the occasion when needed the most. The term is most often used for quarterbacks in the pocket. A quarterback who exhumes confidence in the pocket is considered to have poise while one who likes to scramble when pressured or seems unsure of himself does not. Not to be confused with swagger. Ex. Dude 1: Peyton Manning has so much poise. It’s amazing. Just look at him. He is in control of this game. Dude 2: Manning is hurt. He’s holding a clipboard. I didn’t realize you could have poise standing on the sidelines.
Standing On His Head
[stan-ding-awn-hiz-hed) (verb/adj) When a particular athlete, usually a goaltender, as in hockey or European football, makes multiple plays to allow his team a chance at victory that it normally should never have. See also: Keeping them in the game. Ex. Craig Anderson stood on his head so far this game. Fifty saves later, his Colorado Avalanche are still tied with the San Jose Sharks.
Student of the Game
[stood-nt-uhv-th’e-geym] (noun) An athlete who devotes much of his time towards perfecting his craft. Typically done through long hours of analyzing game tape and working one-on-one with coaches. Often done by a player who is limited physically, as hard work and dedication will give them an edge over a more physically-gifted opponents. The more willing a player is to devote time towards his game directly relates to how hungry they are to succeed. Ex. Dude 1: I heard Christian Ponder spent hours reviewing film and improving his technique in preparation for last week’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Talk about being a student of the game. Dude 2: Too bad they still lost.
Take Over a Game
(Tak Over a Gaym) (adj) Used to describe a player who single-handedly leads his or her team to victory. Often used when a team who trailed a majority of the game comes back to win it on the performance by a specific player. Reggie Miller took Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Knicks, scoreing eight points in eight seconds to lead the Indiana Pacers to a win. Ex. Dude 1: Albert Pujols totally took over that game. Dude 2: What are you talking about? The Cardinals lost.
[th’ee-prom-is] (noun) Referring to a declaration made by one Tim Tebow to the media after the Florida Gators lost an SEC game to Ole Miss. In said speech, Tebow stated that he was particularly sorry for the loss, especially for the fans. Tebow would also state that no person would outplay or outwork himself or his team. The Gators would go on to win the National Championship that season. Ex. The Promise is the most legendary moment in Florida football history. Who else guarantees the work ethic, then backs it up?
FLICKR/Barbara moore (altered)
Gateway to 11 Even if no one could have predicted it, the Cardinals and Rangers provided one of the best World Series in years. BY JASON KRAKOWER
f there’s one thing that the 2011 World Series taught us, it’s that you can’t hand any team a trophy based on what they accomplished during the regular season. Fans should have learned a long time ago that you can’t crown a champ before the playoffs. But everyone (including experts) still seemed to be planning for a Phillies-Yankees World Series before Roy Halladay and C.C. Sabathia took the ball for Game 1 of their division series. That’s what the fans expected and wanted. So sure, the fans may have initially been disappointed at the seemingly uninteresting Cardinals-Rangers matchup. But before that disappointment could settle in, something funny happened. The fans were treated to one of the best World Series of the past decade. Before Game 1, it didn’t seem like it would be a potentially great series. After all, there didn’t seem to be too much under the surface of the Cardinals and Rangers. The country agreed, as nearly 14 million people watched the Rangers’ C.J. Wilson take on the Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter (one of the all-time lowest rated telecasts for Game 1 of the World Series). But when all was said and done and the Cardinals hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy for the 11th time in franchise history, America realized it had a great World Series on its hands. Game 7 was the most-watched baseball game since 2004, when the Red Sox won their first championship in 86 years. One of the major draws of the 2011 World Series was the Cardinals’ improbable and incredible run to the championship. Everyone loves the underdog (except Yankees fans), and coming back from a 10.5 game deficit near the end of August to make the playoffs represents that perfectly. No one expected them to even reach the playoffs, and then they kept winning…and winning…and winning… until they left the Braves, Phillies, Brewers, and Rangers in their dust. That’s one reason sports fans should have been watching the Series from the beginning, and definitely one reason to consider this championship one of the most remarkable in recent history. One thing that most fans expect from a World Series is great pitching, and that was something that these teams definitely lacked
Best of the rest Best Single Game Pitching Performance: Chris Carpenter (NLDS Gm. 5) The decisive game that started the Cardinals World Series run came in a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, when Carpenter went the distance with a threehit shutout.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t give some love to the highlights of this October. So let’s give out some postseason awards.
Best Game: World Series Game 6 No further explanation necessary, but here you go: Beltre, Cruz, Freese, Hamilton, Berkman, and Freese again. Boom.
Best Single-Game Batting Performance: Albert Pujols (WS Gm. 3) There should be no question about this, as the best current baseball player joined the company of some of the best former players in the record books. On the down side, Pujols didn’t record any more homers or RBIs for the rest of the series.
Tough-As-Nails Award: Josh Hamilton Hamilton played through an undiagnosed injury (which was thought to be a sports hernia), but the kicker is that he couldn’t take painkillers because of his substance abuse history. Mental and physical toughness paved the way for his 10th inning Game 6 home run, but it couldn’t seal the deal for Texas.
at times during the season and playoffs. Excluding Carpenter, neither the Cardinals nor Rangers have any “stud” pitchers that can be counted on to shut down a team on any given day. Wilson, who could be considered the Rangers’ ace, recorded a loss in every playoff series that the team played in this postseason. However, both teams surprised with support from their pitching staffs. The losing squad was held to two runs or fewer in five of the seven World Series games, with particularly great performances from Texas’ Derek Holland in Game 4 (two hits in 8 1/3 shutout innings) and St. Louis’ Jaime Garcia in Game 2 (three hits in 7 shutout innings). Plus, who could have solid pitching against these successful and intimidating lineups? With Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday, the Cardinals had one of the most dangerous 3-4-5 combos of any team in the league. Any team with Albert “The Machine (but not Brian Wilson’s Machine)” Pujols automatically has one of the best 3-4-5 combos in the league. The guy’s been the best player in the league for 10 years. Don’t forget that the Rangers have the most talented and balanced lineup the MLB. You can put Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, David Murphy and Mitch Moreland against any lineup in the league and you’ll be hard pressed to not take Texas. The offensive firepower of both teams was on display in Game 3 (when the Cardinals won 16-7) and Game 6 (the signature game of the series, when the Cardinals won 10-9).
The World Series wasn’t just a juggernaut matchup of high-profile names and talented batters, though. It was also a vehicle for some incredible performances all the way through the decisive seventh game Friday night. Cardinals’ outfielder Lance Berkman hit .423 and slugged .577 for the series. Rangers’ catcher Mike Napoli hit .350 with two home runs and 10 RBIs, playing injured after badly twisting his ankle in Game 6. In Game 3, Pujols went 5-for-6 with three home runs and six RBIs, tying some decent ballplayers (Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson) for the most home runs in a single World Series game. Last, but certainly not least, third baseman and World Series Most Valuable Player David Freese hit .348 with seven RBIs, and delivered one very big home run for his hometown Cardinals. That home run brings us to Game 6. Let’s go out on a limb and say that Game 6 of the 2011 World Series was not only the greatest playoff game in recent memory, but also one of the greatest and most thrilling playoff games in baseball history. It was a microcosm of the whole series in that momentum swung back-and-forth and it was close all the way until the end. Plus, it symbolized the “never say die” attitude of both ball clubs. The fight the Cards and Rangers showed should also show why baseball is still great. And if it doesn’t show them anything, it should at least give them an excuse to watch something entertaining instead of studying for a midterm (hypothetically). This one game represented what is so great about the WS and the entire sport.
Best Non-World Series Clutch Moments: Nyjer Morgan (NLDS Gm. 5), Honorable Mention: Nelson Cruz (ALCS Gm. 2) In the decisive game of the division series between the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks, eccentric Milwaukee outfielder Nyjer Morgan (a.k.a. Tony Plush) delivered a walk-off single in the 10th to send his team to the NLCS. Then, TBS wished they bleeped his response to the crowd. Best Facial Hair: John Axford, MIL The Brewers closer has a Fu Manchu. With Movember coming up, he has to be on here somewhere. Come on. Let’s look at the game summary on the surface. The Rangers score early. The Cardinals score two in the bottom of the first to take the lead. Texas ties it up in the second, eventually taking the lead in the top of the fourth. The Cards tie it up in the bottom half of the inning, before Texas takes the lead again in the fifth. Then St. Louis ties it up again in the sixth, before things really started to get interesting. The Rangers score three runs in the seventh inning (in part because of back-toback home runs by Beltre and Cruz) and the Cardinals only score one in the eight. One strike away from World Series death, David Freese hits a two-run triple to tie the game up again and send it to extra innings. Cue Josh Hamilton, as he hits a two-run homer to give the Rangers the lead in the 10th inning….but the Cardinals cut the lead to one on a fielder’s choice. One strike from death again, Berkman bloops a single into center field to tie the game. After shutting down the Rangers in the top of the 11th, Freese steps to the plate and launches a walk-off homer to win the game and send the series to a clinching seventh game. It was exciting just to type that out. As anyone who was watching the game could tell you how incredible it was to witness. In a span of just three innings, the homegrown hitter (Freese) saves his team, the feel-good story (Hamilton) fires back, the aging veteran (Berkman) saves his team, before the homegrown hitter finishes it. It played out like a movie script, but without the good vs. evil concept. In this series, there was no hero or villain. Just entertaining baseball from two teams that both deserved to be there. EP
Raise Up: 2011 College Basketball Preview
The college basketball season looms ahead and weâ€™ve got an early glimpse at the teams to scout so you can pick the perfect bracket this March. BY LAUREN DELLIPOALI
(Image, FLICKR/y-its-mom) EP 11/1/11 15 17
ow that Midnight Madness has come and gone, it is time for the real madness to begin. There are numerous questions about this 2011-12 season, but the most important question is, “Who is going to win it all?” Sure, we are a long way from the Final Four on March 31st and the finals on April 2nd in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but it’s always good to have an idea on who will be dancing this season. Teams like UConn look to prove last year was not a shot in the dark, while teams like UNC and Michigan State look to rebound from subpar seasons. Teams like Duke and Kansas look to replace their departed veteran leadership, while teams like Kentucky and Syracuse look to build on their top recruiting classes. Plus, you can’t forget teams like Memphis and Vanderbilt who look to sneak up on people and make a title run this season. Either way, this season is primed to be as exciting as ever, and with the NBA on hiatus, college basketball will reign supreme over the less crowded basketball airwaves. Here are the top 16 teams in the country for this upcoming season.
1. North Carolina (29-8), ACC The Tar Heels have three of their best players returning in Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and John Henson. Barnes hit his stride in the second half of the season and proved he is a forced to be reckoned with. After a slow start, which included an embarrassing loss to in-state rival Duke after blowing a 16-point lead, UNC rebounded nicely and got some payback on the Blue Devils, defeating them by 14 and claiming the ACC regular season championship in the process. If this team lives up to the hype, there’s no reason why the title won’t return to Chapel Hill.
2. Kentucky (29-9), SEC Coach John Calipari seems to always attract the top recruits, and this year is no different, as he brings in the top recruiting class in the nation. He combines these newcomers with Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, who are looking for breakout seasons. Unfortunately, Calipari’s teams seem to falter in the clutch, as they always have problems hitting their free throws at the end of games. For a coach that continues to produce NBA stars, it’s about time he produces a National Championship. This may be the year that he does just that.
3. Ohio State (33-3), Big Ten The Buckeyes return the early season favorite for the Player of the Year in Jared Sullinger, along with William Buford and Aaron Craft. Sullinger averaged a double-double as a freshman (!!!), and he is only going to get better. With a good supporting cast around him, there will be
no stopping this team. Head coach Thad Matta had stars in Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., and wasn’t able to win it all with them (granted they were both oneand-done), but with this group of players returning, the Buckeyes certainty have a great shot at winning in 2012.
4. Duke (32-5), ACC Leadership will be the key with this team after losing two of the winningest players in Duke history in Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has a team that can shoot the ball better than any other team in the country with guys like Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, and freshman Austin Rivers. The biggest questions in Durham will be how their big men (the three Plumlee brothers and Ryan Kelly) play and whether Rivers can be as effective as advertised. With one senior on this team, one of the deepest in the Coach K era, it will be up to the younger guys to drive the ship.
5. Syracuse (27-8), Big East This team seems to overachieve in the regular season, and then falls face-first in the postseason. They have not made a Final Four since 2003, when the Orange won the first and only National Championship in program history, and one has to wonder if their time may be running out. With the program’s impending move to the ACC, and head coach Jim Boeheim’s subtle hints at retirement, this team needs to win soon. Given returning starters like Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine combined with a stellar recruiting class that includes Rakeem Christmas, consistency will need to be key for the Orange to succeed.
6. UConn (32-9), Big East Yes, this team did lose one of the best and most clutch players in college basketball in Kemba Walker, but their roster is still stacked with talent, including Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi, and highly-acclaimed freshman Andre Drummond. This team put together an incredible run to end last season and played one of the best defensive games in recent memory in the National Title game. Head coach Jim Calhoun brings back an experienced bunch that loves to play defense, and as we all know, defense wins championships.
7. Pittsburgh (28-6), Big East Jamie Dixon’s teams always seem to get close, but never can get the ultimate prize. Pitt returns the Preseason Big East Player of the Year in Ashton Gibbs, who will be joined by top-10 recruit Khem Birch. Pitt is primed to battle UConn and Syracuse for the top spot in the Big East, and having Gibbs back for his senior season is a big plus for this rather young team.
8. Memphis (25-10), Conf. USA This team has not gotten much attention since John Calipari left, but Josh Pastner has quietly put together a solid team. This year’s squad returns their entire starting roster from last season, which includes Will Barton and Joe Jackson. Barton will be the leader of one of the nation’s best sophomore classes, and, hopefully, people in Tennessee will start talking more and more about the Tigers.
13. Villanova (21-12), Big East
The Dean’s List
After foregoing sleep and clas to watch game film for two weeks straight, the staff pf EP compiled its rotation of the best of the best in the nation. These are your can’t miss talents and the players we’d want to build our program around in 2011-12. Consider this the first Preseason All-EP Team.
Jared Sullinger Ohio State, G
17.2 PPG 10.1 RPG 1.3 APG
Kris Joseph Syracuse, G 14.4 PPG 5.0 RPG 2.1 APG
Terrence Jones Kentucky, F 16.5 PPG 8.9 RPG 1.7 APG
13.9 PPG 7.2 RPG 1.2 APG
Perry Jones III Baylor, C
Harrison Barnes North Carolina, F 15.5 PPG 5.5 RPG 1.4 APG
9. Vanderbilt (23-11), SEC
11. Michigan State (19-15), Big Ten
But Memphis isn’t far and away the best in the Volunteer State. With one of their best players, Festus Ezeli, out for six games due to a suspension, it would be easy to write this team off. But with a talented roster, highlighted by John Jenkins, and all five starters returning, head coach Kevin Stallings should have no worries about his team’s performance until Ezeli returns. The ’Dores have the potential to sneak up on people as they play the underdog role in a major conference.
Don’t expect Tom Izzo to allow the program to repeat 2010-11. Last season, speculation surrounded MSU about Izzo possibly leaving to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. That certainly played a factor in the Spartans poor play. This year, though, a fully committed Izzo returns key players like Draymond Green, Derrick Nix, and Keith Appling. The Spartans open the season with probably the toughest two games, UNC (on a boat!) and Duke at Madison Square Garden (not on a boat). If Sparty can stay confident through those two games, the rest of their non-conference schedule should be a cakewalk.
10. Louisville (25-10), Big East Rick Pitino returns a talented group to the KFC YUM Center in Louisville, and he has possibly one of the most underrated guards in the country in Peyton Siva. Also returning is Jared Swopshire, who spent last season dealing with a groin injury. With Swopshire, the Cards return three starters from last year’s team. Having to compete for attention with John Calipari’s Kentucky team seems to have gotten under Pitino’s skin, and for Cards fans, this could be year they outplay their rivals.
12. Kansas (35-3), Big 12 Bill Self returns with a team that lost four starters, and will have to rely on its solid bench play. Self will put his faith in Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, who will be the anchors on a young and inexperienced roster that hopes to stay atop the Big 12 Conference It’s not easy to replace four starters, but Self has proven that he is more than capable of replenishing the talent in Lawrence each season.
Jay Wright’s team will be the best dressed team the dark horse in the Big East for the first time in recent memory. Though the team closed last year with six straight losses and graduated three of their top four scorers, Wright has proven he knows how to get players to play above and beyond their talent. Maalik Wayns will be the Wildcats go-to guy, and from all accounts he is willing and able to accept that role. With many people writing them off, ’Nova has the ability to surprise some teams in 2012.
14. Florida (29-8), SEC Billy Donovan lost the SEC Player of the Year in Chandler Parsons, but the young talent on this team will have no problems filling the voids left by the departing seniors. Guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton will hold down the backcourt, while sophomore Patric Young, who averaged 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds at the U-19 FIBA games, will provide a balance of shut down defense and offensive playmaking for this young Gator team.
15. UCLA (23-11), Pac-12 Questions abound when it comes to the Bruins’ backcourt, making the frontcourt’s performance vital to their success. Forward Reeves Nelson averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds last year. He and center Joshua Smith will be the anchors of the team this season. If they can get solid production from their backcourt, UCLA should be the top dog in the Pac-12, which outside of the Arizona Wildcats, won’t provide too much competition.
16. Wisconsin (25-9), Big Ten Jordan Taylor will be key for head coach Bo Ryan and the Badgers if they want to have any success this year. Taylor put up monster numbers last season, averaging 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. It’s his job to carry a new cast of Badgers back to the tournament while keeping up his consistent and clutch play. This is Taylor’s team, and the pressure will be on him to help them succeed. EP
Punt and Grunt
In This Issue... NFL: A Crucial Catch CFB: Heated Rivalries NHL: New Suspension Policy
A Crucial Catch
By: Danielle Berman
The National Football League has produced some pretty exciting catches so far this season. But the most important catch of the year has nothing to do with team records, division standings, or fantasy stats. The NFL’s “A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives” partnership with the American Cancer Society gives everyone something to talk about. October is not only the meat of the NFL season, but it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The NFL and American Cancer Society are working together to make everyone aware of the disease and encourage women, especially those over 40, to get yearly mammograms. The NFL started its pink partnership with the American Cancer Society during the 2009 season and has raised a significant amount of money for Breast Cancer research. Last season, the NFL raised over $1 million for breast cancer research. Pink skull caps, chin straps, gloves, cleats, mouth guards, towels, helmets with pink decals, pink hats, footballs with pink ribbons, pink game coins, and more have now popped up on Sundays. The league has not only added pink to the uniform, but also auctions these game-worn accessories online at NFL.com/auction to raise money for the cause. NFL Shop created an exclusive line focused on breast cancer awareness including jackets, t-shirts, hats, footballs, gloves, tumblers, key chains, jewelry, shoes and more. NFL sponsors are also doing their part in supporting the cause. Barclay’s, P & G, PepsiCo, EA, and all of the NFL official licensees have started their own campaigns, changed packaging, and altered branding to help the league’s efforts. Players have also joined the fight. Spokesperson and Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald lost his mother to breast cancer and helps raise money for research through his many charity efforts. New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez and New York Giants QB Eli Manning have joined forces to spread the message. On the management side, Tanya Synder (wife of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder) and Susie Spanos (wife of San Diego Chargers President Dean Spanos) are both breast cancer survivors and work actively to raise money for a cure. The Hasselback family has started NFL “Do Something Beautiful” in conjunction with “A Crucial Catch” to further encourage women to get tested. The NFL explains in a league statement, “This is an issue that has directly touched the lives of so many in the NFL family, and we are committed to helping make a difference in breast cancer prevention.” Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the U.S. and America’s favorite sport is joining the fight to defeat it.
By: Jon Krouner
Time to take your chances and cast your lure into the free agent pool to see if there is anything worth reeling in.
-Jackie Battle (KC, RB)
- Demariyus Thomas (DEN, WR) - Torrey Smth (BAL, WR) - Fred Davis (WAS, TE)
Cut Bait: Catch and release these guys
- Chad Ochocinco (NE, WR)
- Plaxico Burress (NYJ, WR) - Josh Freeman (TB, QB)
(AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)
Hook: Find the next Demarco Murray
Most Heated Rivalries By: Sam Knehans
Auburn v. Alabama The Iron Bowl
This in-state rivalry, which was initially played at a neutral site in Birmingham, Alabama, was dubbed the Iron Bowl because of Birminghamâ€™s historic role in the steel industry. The game is traditionally played on Thanksgiving weekend, a prime football time for any serious fan. The rivalry began on February 22, 1893 when Auburn was still called the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. Alabama leads the overall series 40-34-1, with the lone tie coming in 1907. Auburn, though, captured eight of the past eleven Iron Bowls, dating back to 2000. This rivalry has been incredibly notable over the past two seasons, as the winner of the Iron Bowl also won the SEC Championship, the BCS National Championship, and the Heisman Trophy, the highest individual award in college football.
Ohio State v. Michigan The Game
Michigan and Ohio State is a classic border war rivalry. Over the years, it has attracted significant national media attention as it has often determined the Big Ten Conference Title, the Rose Bowl matchup, and occasionally the national championship. In 2000, ESPN ranked Michigan v. Ohio State football as the greatest North American sports rivalry. The teams first met on October 17, 1897, a game in which Michigan shut out Ohio State 34-0. Michigan leads the overall series 57-44-6 and holds the largest margin of victory with an 86-0 shutout in 1902. Ohio State has dominated the rivalry of late, though, winning nine of the past 11 meetings. Over the course of this rivalry, Michigan and Ohio State have combined for 77 Big Ten titles, 82 bowl appearances, and 18 national championships and have produced 256 All-Americans and 10 Heisman trophy winners.
Texas v. Oklahoma The Red River Shootout
Oklahoma and Texas is another historic border war rivalry. This game is commonly referred to as the Red River Shootout or the Red River Rivalry, named for the Red River that forms part of the border between the states of Texas and Oklahoma. The rivalry began in 1900. Since 1912, it has largely been played at a neutral site in Dallas, situated approximately halfway between the Austin, Texas and Norman, Oklahomaâ€”the locations of the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma, respectively. Texas leads the series 59-42-5, but Oklahoma has won eight of the last 12 matchups. Six of these games featured a future BCS National Championship Game participant, including national title winners from Oklahoma in 2000 and Texas in 2005.
Must-watch Game By: Alex Onushco
Kansas State at Oklahoma State (AP Photo/Jeff Tuttle)
In this clash of the titans, multi-purpose quarterback Collin Klein and his Wildcats face off against the arm of Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. Expects plenty of points to be scored.
Hard-hitting Approach to Suspensions
Hockey has always been a physical game; it’s part of the reason players and fans love the sport. But following a season filled with long-term injuries sustained from boarding and hard hits to the head, the NHL decided to crack down. Brendan “Shanny” Shanahan, new NHL Senior VP of Player Safety, is now in charge of disciplining players, and so far he’s shown he’s taking his position very seriously. At the start of this preseason, Shanny and Mathieu Schneider of the NHLPA released a video, which broke down the rule changes for the 2011-2012 season. Most of the changes revolved around penalties for boarding and hits to the head. Prior to this season, the league permitted head-shots so long as the player stayed on his feet and didn’t lead with an elbow or hit from the blind side. Now, a player will be punished for any hit in which the opponent’s head is the primary point of contact. Throughout the course of the NHL preseason, Shanny delivered eight players suspensions for shots to the head. His approach is gaining attention for another reason: following each disciplinary action, he releases a video explaining how and why the decision was reached. Under the terms of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), players who are deemed “repeat offenders” must receive lengthier punishments. Shanahan exemplified this by suspending James Wisniewkis of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the rest of the preseason and the first eight regular season games. Wisniewski was suspended for a number of games last season.
By: Oritt Blum
Brendan Shanahan addresses the media about his strict attitude toward player safety. (pucksoup.com)
Players, coaches, and fans have had mixed reactions to Shanahan’s strict enforcement of policies. Some, like Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs, are worried the policies aren’t clear enough and are leaving the players confused as to which hits are legal and which are not. Some are shocked at how harshly Shanny’s been punishing players. Rookie Brendan Smith of the Detroit Red Wings had an unintentional hit on the head of Chicago Blackhawks’ Ben Smith. After reviewing the play, Shanny suspended Detroit’s Smith for the last three games of the preseason and the first five games of the regular season. Smith, who is expecting to receive an AHL
salary, will lose over $23,000 because of the suspension. Some people hope Shanahan’s serious attitude will deter players from hard hits, and less people will get injured. It is true that many people have had their athletic careers cut short by the exact hits Shanahan is trying to prevent. He was brought in by the NHL as a fresh voice for the justice system, and a character that knows the current game inside and out. But for someone now dubbed the “new most hated man in hockey”, he sure does seem to proudly embrace it.
11) Vancouver Canucks 12) Toronto Maple leafs 13) St. Louis Blues 14) New Jersey Devils 15) Anaheim Ducks 16) Florida Panthers 17) Minnesota Wild 18) Tampa Bay Lightning 19) New York Islanders 20) Boston Bruins 21) New York Rangers 22) Phoenix Coyotes 23) Nashville Predators
24) Carolina Hurricanes 25) Edmonton Oilers 26) Calgary Flames 27) Ottawa Senators 28) Winnipeg Jets 29) Montreal Canadiens 30) Columbus Blue Jackets
Power Rankings 1) Washington Capitals 2) Detroit Red Wings 3) Los Angeles Kings 4) Colorado Avalanche 5) Dallas Stars 6) Chicago Blackhawks 7) Buffalo Sabres 8) Philadelphia Flyers 9) Pittsburgh Penguins 10) San Jose Sharks
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez), (AP Photo/Alan Mothner). Faded both images together.
When I think of the epitome of a superstar athlete, my mind automatically goes to Michael Jordan. While there may be some dispute as to whether or not Jordan was the greatest of all time, there’s no disputing he was the greatest during the 90’s. Jordan owned the decade. Six rings in a single decade. Six finals MVPs. He was unstoppable. He was admired by all. He was the face of the league. But the thing about Jordan is that he let his game do the talking for him. And, by God, did it speak volumes. You see, Jordan didn’t make headlines for talking trash in the media. He didn’t make headlines for publicly calling out teammates. He was never demanding trades in the press. He never called out opponents off the floor. Jordan knew he was better than anyone, and proved so on the court. He epitomized the purity of basketball. He loved the game for the game. Plain and simple. A player like this is an extreme rarity in the NBA. Nowadays, players want to be superstars on and, even more so, off the court. Our “superstars” today are constantly making headlines for all the wrong reasons. They’re calling out the media, teammates, and opponents alike. They’re demanding trades out in the open. They’re dating famous celebrities and starring in their own
A Humble Star
reality shows. They’re looking to be the center of attention 24/7. And frankly, it’s hurting the purity of the game. This is why Kevin Durant needs to be the
By: Scott Simone
every night? Going to parties? Not Durant. Durant was in the gym all night, trying to perfect his game. In fact, Durant only went to one party while at Texas. “My whole time at school, I went to one party. I was in basketball shorts and shoes. I didn’t like it. It was out of my realm,” Durant told ESPN. And that humbleness and drive has carried over into the NBA. When he first arrived in Seattle, he was regarded as too quiet, devoid of the personality required to lead a franchise. Durant shrugged off the criticism, choosing instead to work harder. The work showed. He was named Rookie of the Year. Received two scoring titles. Made it to the Western Conference semifinals in 2011. He’s a bona fide star, with the humbleness of a commoner. Durant isn’t preoccupied with his “brand.” When some other players were announcing where they’d be taking their talents, Durant announced his contract extension (5 years, $86 million) via Tweet. He embodies meekness. “I wanted to make it to the pros for my mother, brother, godfather, grandmother. If it all ended tomorrow, I’d be okay. Because my life now? It’s all bonus,” he told ESPN. Just like Jordan, Durant let’s his game do the talking for him. He’s quiet. Humble. Respectful of the game. A superstar. And in the world of the over-inflated ego and selfbranding run rampant, the NBA needs this baby-faced, lanky kid to be the face of the league. Otherwise we’ll get another generation that is more worried about image than skill, and the only thing that will suffer then is the game itself.
“Just like Jordan, Durant let’s his game do the talking for him.” face of the NBA. He’s humble. He’s quiet. And more than anything, he can ball. I remember reading about Durant when he was still in college at Texas. It was inspiring. It wasn’t another article about a star player being suspended. It wasn’t about him making headlines for jumping out of a frat house into a pool. It was about how committed he was to the game. Going to bars