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Friday, June 14, 2013

Hypocrisy in NCAA Scheduling

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Hypocrisy in NCAA Scheduling
By Wild on Sports Analyst Bryan Ridall

If you are a fan of college football, you know that it is filled with various hypocrisies and the politics that comes with the multi-billion dollar industry that college football is. However, one of the worst hypocrisies, involves the scheduling process, which is a direct result of the outdated and soon defunct BCS system. Teams in non-BCS conferences have gone undefeated and haven’t been allowed in BCS bowl games because their schedule isn’t tough enough, while teams in BCS-conferences are allowed to schedule four cupcake games against lesser teams and even FCS teams, while hiding behind their “tough” conference schedule.

Don’t get me wrong, every now and then one of the matchups that involve FBS vs. FCS teams can be unbelievably exciting, like the famous 2007 Michigan vs. Appalachian State game, in which App State beat the #5-ranked Wolverines because of blocked field goal at the end of regulation. While these games can boost recruiting and program visibility, the lesser teams are really in it for the money. Appalachian State was offered $400,000 to play at Michigan and in most people’s eyes, be a punching bag to start off the season for the Wolverines. FCS teams are offered around $500,000 to play a major football program, even though the possibility of winning is extremely slim. For these FCS teams, it is an opportunity to get their players prime-time television spots and play in front of crowds of around 100,000, at least double what most of the FCS schools draw for their games. FBS teams are even allowed to schedule their weak opponents when they want, so they can place them a week before a tough matchup, or even between two week in which teams play tougher opponents. For example, this year Alabama will be playing FCS team Chattanooga on November 16th, a week after playing at Mississippi State, and a week before their rivalry Iron Bowl match up with Auburn. While neither team looks to be a national championship contender, both teams play an extremely physical brand of football, and the “rest” in competition between the two teams will allow Alabama to get the rest that they need to beat both teams.

The real hypocrisy comes with conferences like the Mountain West and WAC, who often have teams that finish the year undefeated, but are looked down upon because of the strength of the conference that they play in. While it is true that teams like Boise State play in conferences weaker than BCS conferences, and thus have schedules that are measured as weaker than other teams, that can’t be held against them. Teams that have real national championship aspirations refuse to put teams on their non-conference schedules that could seriously affect those chances, notably Boise State, a team who has gone 84-8 since head coach Chris Peterson took over in 2006, and has won two BCS Bowls in that time. The worst part for teams in non-BCS conferences is that one loss not only knocks them out of championship contention, but in many cases, out of the Top-25 rankings, because the ranking formula is so heavily influenced by strength of schedule. Even if they go undefeated, non-BCS teams can barely get a fair ranking and a chance in BCS bowls, with non-BCS teams making only eight appearances in BCS bowls in the last 15 years, even though many teams have been deserving. Also, six of those eight teams were undefeated and didn’t garner any consideration for the national championship game.

Unfortunately, for non-BCS schools, the new playoff system won’t help them if they stay in their conferences. Teams like TCU and Utah, perennial non-BCS powers, have already converted to BCS conferences in order to hopefully get their chance at better BCS placement and possibly even a spot in the playoff bracket. Unless college football can find a way to force the marquee teams to schedule the better non-BCS teams, their ability to get placement in championship games and bowls will be hindered, and the hypocrisy on college football will continue.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rain Delay at US Open

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Rain Delay at US Open

If you are like many of us and look forward to the few events a year where you can sit back at work and have a major sporting event distract you all day, you are probably pretty disappointed to hear that Thursday first round of the US Open has been suspended due to major thunderstorms. A handful of players in the field got out there for a few hole early, including the likes of Phil Michelson, Steve Stricker, Keegan Bradley and Ian Poulter. Speaking of Poulter, he sits atop the leaderboard at -3 through three holes. There are a few notable names in contention early. The featured group of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Adam Scott have yet to tee off.

2013 US Open Leaderboard

1POULTER, I.-33*-3
T2CLARK, T.-24*-2
T2HOFFMAN, C.-22-2
T6JOHNSON, D.-17*-1
T6MAHAN, H.-15-1
T6STRICKER, S.-15*-1

Puckmania: Warning Fairweather Fans

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Puckmaina: Warning Fairweather Fans
By Wild on Sports Analyst Josh Tarr

A message to all “new” hockey fans:

If you watched the beast that was the triple overtime game last night, you now either have a lot to cheer about, a lot to mope about, or just a lot of sleep to catch up on. But I want to make this following statement as clear as I possibly can…

IF YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HOCKEY (hinting to about 50% of Bostonian’s watching the Stanley Cup Finals, I can’t speak on behalf of the people of Chicago) DO NOT PRETEND THAT THE BRUINS AND/OR BLACKHAWKS ARE YOUR LIFE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

I simply cannot fathom the amount of people who are aboard the Bruins bandwagon right now. It took me two hours to be able to go on twitter after Shaw's game winner to avoid cringing at the cries of knowledge-less sports fans. Whether you’re a diehard hockey fan, or just someone with a functioning brain, I’m sure you’ve been able to relate at some point in time. The following are tweets from people that are FAR from an avid Bruins fan following Boston’s 3OT loss:

“And that will conclude Chicago’s wins for the series. #untilnexttimeblackhawks”
“Blackhawks are huge dicks”
“Shut up about the loss, Boston has been and will always be the strongest city known to man, because no matter what teams win, we won in april”

Sidenote: that last tweet is curtiousy of @BruinsFansProbs, literally the biggest bandwagon/pink hat account in the history of mankind, worth following only because of the level of patheticness it exuberates. I highly recommend looking up this account. It’s completely worth the laughs and cringing that follows.

And on Facebook, it doesn’t get much better:

“star star star GO BRUINS star star star”
“Rask = get your s**t together but omg you’re so hot I could die”
“f***********kkkkk thaaaaaaat!!! What a game though yo, trip OT”

Just stop.

Posting meaningless, obnoxious remarks doesn’t juxtapose the fact that you love or hate something unless it’s obvious by nature that you love or hate it. In English, if you don’t follow hockey, don’t make mindless remarks about your team winning or losing. You are making yourself look stupid and humoring simple folk like me who understand what the game is about. Furthermore, you make your fan base look bad, and you make the sport, which is finally earning the spotlight it deserves, look bad. A true Hockey fan realizes how incredible a triple overtime Stanley Cup game is for all of the right reasons, not by who wins the game.

And lastly, bandwagoners, that was only the first game. We are guaranteed at least three more outstanding contests between the best two Hockey teams in the world. Chicago won a game that lasted over 100 minutes and only has a one game lead. A REAL Bruins fan remembers that the Bruins were down 2-0 to Vancouver and won games 6 and 7 to win the cup.

IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD PEOPLE, so if you’re one of those people who freaked out on social media because the Bruins lost one of the longest games in NHL history, sit down and find yourself a hobby.

And for those of you who keep asking me what my predictions on the final is, I'm going Blackhawks in 7. But at first, I predicted the Penguins to beat Boston in 6 games, so who knows.

(If your posts ended up on here, no hard feelings :) )

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

College Football: Big 10 Preview

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College Football: Big 10 Preview
Ohio State and ...
By Wild on Sports Analyst Bryan Ridall

For the past 20 years, Big 10 football has had plenty of peaks, including Michigan and Ohio State winning National Championships, and plenty of lows, which include the Penn State and Ohio State scandals. This year, however, could be the worst football year ever for the Big 10, with only Ohio State even being considered as a National Championship contender. With Maryland and Rutgers joining the conference next year, the current Big 10 teams need to impress on the football field, or this year will sound the same as the last few.

For those of you who want to argue that Ohio State should have been in the National Championship game and would have won it, you are wrong. Ohio State’s out-of-conference schedule was pathetic, like it is every year, and because the Big 10 was awful, Ohio State’s record made it look like they were a better team than they were. Now that the self-imposed sanctions have expired, Ohio State will be a team talked about for a national title, but the records of teams from other divisions will dictate whether or not the Buckeyes will play in the last BCS National Championship game. In Urban Meyer’s second year, the Buckeyes will lean again on Braxton Miller, a Heisman candidate for much of last year, to lead them at quarterback. Miller is an undersized dual-threat quarterback, but proved he can lead the team with both his legs and arm, and is poised for another big season, and possibly another run at the Heisman. Ohio State’s spread offense is filled with athletes at the receiver and running back positions, while still having a big offensive line, long the staple of Big 10 teams. Ohio State’s defense will be even better in Meyer’s second year, and is also filled with a ton of speed allowing their linemen and linebackers to disrupt plays with a very veteran and opportunistic secondary behind them. Ohio State’s schedule again is incredibly weak, with only 1 non-conference game away from home, and only two AP-ranked teams on their schedule. If Ohio State isn’t undefeated going into their late season matchup with rival Michigan, the season should be considered an extreme failure because of the weakness of the Buckeyes’ schedule as well as the fact they won’t play Nebraska or Michigan State, two of the Big 10’s better teams.

The real question surrounding the Big 10 is who else will be competitive toward the end of the year and into Bowl Season. Teams like Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin have all been strong in the past, but all have major questions surrounding them moving forward. Michigan has lost QB Denard Robinson, the electric playmaker that kept defensive coordinators awake at night. Replacing him will be receiver-converted-quarterback Devon Gardner, who has a big body and big arm and is capable of leading Michigan to a conference title if surrounded by the right talent. State lost starting running back Leveon Bell, and will have to replace his production in order for their offense to be productive. State will have a competition to determine their starting quarterback, between last year’s starter Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook, who may have the inside track because he led the team to victory against TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Wisconsin is in an interesting position because of the coaching change that occurred in the offseason, with coach Brett Bielma leaving for Arkansas, and Wisconsin hiring Gary Anderson. Wisconsin also lost RB Montee Ball who set the NCAA record for rushing touchdowns as well as total touchdowns in a career, and will need to find someone to take his place, since Anderson has a power-running mentality to his offense.

Believe it or not Nebraska and Northwestern may be the teams with the best opportunity to take the Big 10 from Ohio State. With the Legends and Leaders divisions still intact for one more year, Nebraska would only get the opportunity to play Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship game. Quarterback Taylor Martinez is entering his senior year and has shown flashes of greatness, but needs to put together a consistent season if he wants to be considered as an NFL prospect. Bo Pellini is a talented coach who needs to identify talent to put around Martinez as well as change the offensive schemes to allow TMart to use his legs (this is what happens when he does http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaciycdzhXo). Northwestern might be the most unique team in the Big 10 because of their implementation of a classic two-quarterback system since Dan Persa graduated. Both Christian Siemian and Kain Colter split playing time last year, and coach Pat Fitzgerald has shown no sign of opting for one over the other. Northwestern’s program has been one on the rise, and with the talent of their roster as well as their opportunity against the Big 10’s best, Northwestern could be the biggest surprise in both the Big 10 and college football.

The Big 10 needs to have a strong year this year or else risk holding their place as one of the punching bags of college football and its pundits. In order for any Big 10 team to be considered for the national championship game, they will need to go undefeated, as well as get help from other teams suffering bad losses. Unless two teams can have impressive seasons, it is likely that only the Big 10 champion will be in a BCS bowl game in 2014.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wild on Sports Weekly Podcast -Week of 6/10/2013

Wild on Sports Weekly Podcast!

Our weekly podcast is now up and available on iTunes!  

On the Agenda this week...
 NHL Finals
NBA Finals
Tebow to New England
MLB Steroids Scandle
much, much more!

An Ice Life: Cup Finals

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An Ice Life: Cup Finals
By Wild on Sports Analyst Brian Pierce

Cup Finals -- Alright quick recap and predictions, you know the drill.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Boston Bruins 

Blackhawks dominated the first round, barely made it through the second, and dominated the Western Conference finals. They did this largely on the back of the goaltender Crawford, who is a front runner for the Conn Smythe. 

The Bruins barely made it through the first round, dominated the second, dominated the third. They did this largely on the back of Tuukka Rask, who is a front runner for the Conn Smythe.

Something has got to give. 

I have to say that Crawford has been extremely consistant, and Rask has been brilliant. You get a few bad games out of Rask that you haven’t seen out of Crawford, but it feels like Rask can outshine Crawford on any given game. Who is the better goaltender, like the entire playoffs thus far, will determine the winner. Unless something drastic happens, the goaltender that raises the cup will be the MVP of the playoffs. 

Both teams are very deep, and they have skill to burn. That is where the similarities end.
Bruins are grittier, stronger defensively, and do not have the same type of top end talent. Their forwards are better leaders who might not score as much as the Blackhawks but will be clutch and as a whole play better defensively. Another way to say this is that the Hawks have better star power, but the Bruins have more team players. This is a big reason to give the edge to the Bruins, and is why they ripped apart the Penguins. 

I am going to keep this short, I picked the Bruins back in April and I am not going to bail on them, especially after they ruthlessly dispatched the Penguins in a way I didn’t even see coming. I will say I am upset that LA didn’t make it because now there is a villain that could win the Cup. I really hope the Bruins win. Bruins in six.

2013 US Open Preview

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2013 US Open Preview

The best players in the world descend on Merion East, just outside of Philadelphia, PA for the 2013 US Open. The usual cast of contenders will all be on hand but this will not be your traditional US Open. In recent years the best of the best have struggled just to break par on some of the longest courses, thickest rough and toughest greens. This year little old Merion checks in under 7000 yards -- the shortest in recent memory -- ripe for the taking. Birdies will be there for the taking but it will be by a different type of player than in years past. A premium will be put on ball striking and accuracy off the tee. The playing field will be leveled a bit for some of the shorter hitters. It will be a thinking man's game.

So who are some of the players to watch this week?

Tiger Woods
Umm...yeah, no brainier here. The best player in the world has been just that this season with four victories in seven tournaments. Sure, he struggled a week ago at the Memorial but that was more of a fluke than a cause for concern. It may not be the days of old where it was Tiger vs. the field, 99% of people taking Tiger. He is still the most dynamic player in the world and would surprise no one if he won and won with ease.

Brandt Snedeker
The defending tour champion has been right there in just about every major the past couple of seasons. He is in the top 10 in both driving accuracy and putting, two absolutely critical statistics this weekend. He has a win already this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He appears to be completely healthy again after an off-season rib injury. Like Tiger, Snedecker had a Memorial tournament to forget a week ago but should be right there when it is all said and done on Sunday.

Graeme McDowell
Last year's runner up already has a win this season at the RBC Heritage Classic which was played on a course with very similar characteristics to Merion. He has also won a US Open before (2010 at Pebble Beach). The Northern Ireland native is a fan favorite and a strong pick to contend again this week.

Matt Kuchar
Kuchar arrives at the US Open as the hottest player on tour. He won last week at Memorial making him the only player not named Tiger Woods to have multiple wins on tour this season. He has 6 top 10's this season and 9 top 25's making him one of the most consistent players in the game this year. If you like to ride a hot hand, Kuchar is your guy.

Dustin Johnson
Is this the tournament where he finally breaks through? Johnson is probably the best active player in the world yet to have won a Major Championship. Under typical US Open conditions he would be a strong favorite due to his length. At Merion his accuracy will be tested. He is 2nd on the tour in driving distance but just 180th in accuracy. The statistics point against him but who knows, maybe this is the week?

NHL Finals Preview: Boston vs. Chicago

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NHL Finals Preview: 
Boston Bruins vs. Chicago Blackhawks
By Wild on Sports Analyst Jason Gillson

My, my...where to begin?

This has got to be one of the better Stanley Cup Final match-ups, on paper, that we have seen since Detroit-Pittsburgh back in 2008. All the story line are there -- two original six teams (first time since 1979), two of the hottest goalies in the world at the moment, two high charged fan bases and two teams that have been there before, recently, and will not succumb to the emotional roller-coaster that is the NHL Finals.

I suppose instead of talking about all the similarities and things they do well (there are enough to fill ten pages about) lets shift our attention to what each team has to do to win. To me, they are very clear cut.

Why Boston Will Win...

Tukka Rask - Rask stopped a ridiculous 134 of 136 shots in the Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins and arguably the best offensive attack in recent NHL history. That's a .985 save percentage for those of you keeping track at home...WOW. History has proven that the team that gets the hot goaltender at the right time usually has the best chance of winning. Bruins fans saw first hand what Tim Thomas was able to do in the 2011 playoffs, carrying the entire city on his back en route to the Cup. As good as Thomas was in 2011, Rask has been better in 2013. Sure, Thomas made the flashy saves, but what Rask brings to the table is probably one of the most technically sound butterfly styles in the NHL today. He is always in position and because of that makes it look easy -- pucks just hit him. If he continues his historic play they are going to start carving not only the Stanley Cup but the Conn Smythe as well.

Shut Down Match-ups - Bruins coach Claude Jullien loves defensive match-ups and has the horses to really shut down two entire lines. Offensively the Blackhawks are very good, but may not have the same depth that Pittsburgh had, up front at least. This will play huge to the advantage of the Bruins. Expect the d-combo of Zedeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg going up against the Jonnathan Towes line. This pairing typically sees the opposing team's top forward. With the exception of game 7 of the West Finals when Patrick Kane went off for a hat trick, Towes has undoubtedly been the Blackhawks best and most important player on the ice. Really the success and mood of the team starts and ends with him. Detroit was able to get to him a little bit in the early stages of the conference semi's and that, as much as anything, was the reason the series went 7 games. Towes spent the first two games frustrated and in the penalty box. Expect Boston to try copy that blueprint with the combo of Lucic on offense and Chara on the back end when the Towes line is on the ice. As for the afore mentioned Kane, he will likely draw the odds on favorite to defend his Selke title in Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron can hang with Kane stride for stride. If he was able to shut down the best player int he world last series, he should have no problem with Kane.

Fate - Boston seems to be a team of destiny following the Boston Marathon attacks. Boston Strong, and strong they are. The Bruins will likely have fans across the country rooting for the city, not just the team. That momentum alone may be enough.

Why Chicago Will Win...

Corey Crawford - Crawford has been the unsung hero of the Blackhawks, at least in the eyes on many on the East coast. He has been over shadowed a bit by the play of Rask but his numbers thus far are equally impressive -- 1.94 GGA, .926 SV%  vs. 1.95 GAA, .943 SV%. This will mark the first time these playoffs that the Bruins will face a goalie who is peaking going into the series (James Reimer, Henrick Lundquist, Tomas Volcun being the others). Crawford is a big body who really fills the net well. Like Rask, he is a technical butterfly style goaltender who when sharp makes all the saves look easy. The Bruins struggled at times during the regular season finding the back of the net. That has not been the case so far in the playoffs, but then again they have yet to face a goaltender playing to Crawford's caliber. If Crawford is on his game he very well could be the difference maker.

Skilled Scoring -The Blackhawks have three players -- Towes, Kane, and Marrian Hossa -- who would each be the most talented offensive player if on the Bruins. Outside of Tyler Segin, who has been ice cold thus far, the Bruins have no real player with a nose for the net. Huge advantage here if Towes & co. can find a couple chinks in Tukka armor. The Blackhawks would love to be able to do what the Penguins failed to do -- turn games into high scoring shootout type affairs. Boston is not built for that style of hockey. Score 4 or 5 goals in a game and there is a near certainty that you will win.

Mirror B's - Chicago might be the first team the Bruins will play this postseason that can take the Boston style of play and shove it right back in their face. Guys like Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith can all really throw the body around. The Rangers and Penguins both tried to play Boston's style but had to change their own games to do so; the Blackhawks need no such change. If they are able to get in the faces of guys like Milan Lucic and Brad Marchant, goating them into stupid penalties, they have a very high likelihood of success.

What Does Vegas Think?
Vegas has the odds at Chicago 2-3 to win while the Bruins are at 13-10. Given the Blackhawks dominance during the regular season there really is little surprise there. It is interesting to note that they have the best odds for the series outcome at Blackhawks in five games, going off at 4-1. The worst odds are for a second consecutive Bruins sweep, going off at 14-1. That is a bit surprising. Experts everywhere have this series going deep (6/7 games). Then again, everyone said that about the Conference Finals for each side and those went just 4 and 5 games.

All things considered, I think the Bruins have a great plan in place from the Pittsburgh series to shutdown high scoring offenses. The goaltending match-up will be an interesting one. Expect a very low scoring, hard fought battle throughout. With that being the case, Bruins in 7.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bury or Buyout? That is the Question

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Detroit Red Wings: 
Bury or Buyout? That is the Question
By Wild on Sports Analyst Brian Pierce

I was reading an Mlive article and poll about who the Wings might use their two compliance buyouts on. They talked about maybe Bertuzzi, Sammuelson, and perhaps Tootoo as they didn't get playoff time and their contracts are pretty awful.

I started to look into it, because I was thinking that they could bury the contracts in the AHL with better results. I was right about that, but found something which surprised me and made the Mlive article moot.

Cap hits of a compliance buyout MUST be 3 million or more! This means Bertuzzi and Tootoo would not be eligible for it. In fact only Zetter, Pavel, Franzen, Quincey, Ericsson, Kronner, Sammuelson, and Howard would be eligible for it. The others could go through normal buyout procedure but they would count against the cap.

Obviously Zetter, Pavel, Franzen, Kronner, and Howard aren't going to be bought out. Only Sammy is realistic in my mind. Doing this research I think they definitely will buy him out with a compliance. They have to because I went through and put together a cap roster that has what I consider to be high end realistic cap numbers for the RFA players. Some of these players could realistically get more, including Brunner who might go to another team for bigger money. I also used the cheapest methods to clear the older parts that might not contriubte to the team. This gave me a 22-man roster that doesn't Include Val or Cleary.

My Best Guess
Justin Abdelkader ($1.800m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Johan Franzen ($3.955m)
Gustav Nyquist ($3.000m) / Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Damien Brunner ($4.000m)
Tomas Tatar ($0.840m) / Darren Helm ($2.125m) / Patrick Eaves ($1.200m)
Cory Emmerton ($0.533m) / Joakim Andersson ($1.200m) / Drew Miller ($1.200m)
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Danny DeKeyser ($1.350m)
Jakub Kindl ($3.250m) / Jonathan Ericsson ($3.250m)
Kyle Quincey ($3.775m) / Brendan Smith ($3.000m)
Brian Lashoff ($0.725m) / Carlo Colaiacovo ($2.500m)
Jimmy Howard ($5.292m)
Jonas Gustavsson ($1.500m)
Buyout: Mikael Samuelsson ($0.000m)
Buried: Todd Bertuzzi ($1.150m)
Buyout: Jordin Tootoo ($0.567m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $63,744,545; BONUSES: $1,010,000
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $1,565,455

The most notable thing is that this only leaves 1.565 Million in cap space... with Pavel due a massive raise the following year along with others. I cannot see how to keep Tootoo (not that I want to keep him, I hate him) or Val. There could be trades to thin out the Defense in exchange for more cap space, but I do not think the Wings are going to bail on Quincey after the first round pick, Smith is too young to decide on, and you need all the rest of the guys just to be okay.

I also considered buying out Gustavsson, which would still count against the cap... so burying the contract is a better option as he is over 26 and by rule 1/3 of his contract would count against the cap this year and 1/3 would count next year. Sending him down to back up Mrazek would save 925k of cap space which would up the cap to 2.49 Million but then you would either need to bring Mrazek up, which I don't see them doing yet, or sign someone else. They might possibly even sign McCollum to a 1 year deal at minimum which is 550k or more for a vet, and not play him often. This would deduct the cap space spent on a backup from 1.5 million to 1.05 million, saving only 450k. A buyout would cost the Wings 500k this year and 500k next year, which could be crucial. Clearly if they are going to get rid of him, it will be via sending him down... which could create troubles if they need to call someone up. Will the Wings be that desperate for money?

The funny thing is there was a Freep list of potential targets in free agency. Even if all the players listed were signed for much less, I still don't see it possible for them to go and add people. At the very best I could see them adding someone for 2 million or upwards of 5 million if they short others SEVERELY. I do not see anyone that could help the team enough to be had in that range. They will likely sit on the money, add just one depth guy, or maybe bring back Cleary for depth on the cheap. They might short the RFAs 400k collectively and keep Tootoo, but I hope not. If they do, it will be extremely tight and they might even lose Pavel the following year. Though they would likely lose someone else.

Here is the current cap situation without any signings or buyouts.

Before any moves.
Johan Franzen ($3.955m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Mikael Samuelsson ($3.000m)
Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Todd Bertuzzi ($2.075m)
Darren Helm ($2.125m) / Jordin Tootoo ($1.900m)
Cory Emmerton ($0.533m) / Justin Abdelkader ($1.800m)
Patrick Eaves ($1.200m)
Tomas Tatar ($0.840m)
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Kyle Quincey ($3.775m)
Jonathan Ericsson ($3.250m) / Carlo Colaiacovo ($2.500m)
Danny DeKeyser ($1.350m) / Brian Lashoff ($0.725m)
Jimmy Howard ($5.292m)
Jonas Gustavsson ($1.500m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $53,352,879; BONUSES: $1,010,000
CAP SPACE (19-man roster): $11,957,121

I wrote this whole thing for one reason, to illustrate that with a weak market and the cap restriction, the Wings might have to make tough choices and not add anyone for two years minimum without clearing much more space.

I do not pretend to know what they are going to do but it seems very likely that they are going to have to buyout Sammy.

Finally, it might be the Wings MO to do right by the players and not bury them in the AHL. If that is the case, then Bertuzzi will most likely be bought out and cost 1 million against the cap this year and next, out of principle. Tootoo might cost them 950k over the next four years. The Monster, who was awful, could cost them 750k over the next two years against the cap. This is why I screamed my head off when they signed these contracts. This is why I am worried our progress will be 100% farm based for the next few years. Not that this is a bad thing, just wanted to make this established in our minds, as I haven't seen any journalists who cover the Wings properly paint this picture.

At least they didn't give up a 6th rounder and 4 million for Sergei Gonchar... Maybe there is more reason to keep trusting in Holland.

Patriots Sign Tim Tebow

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Patriots Sign Tim Tebow

In a surprise move the New England Patriots signed former Jets quarterback Tim Tebow on Thursday. The very popular but highly controversial star had drawn significant interest from teams outside of the NFL, most notably the Canadian (Arena) Football League.

More to come as information is made available. Be sure to tune in to the Wild on Sports Weekly Podcast for our takes on the signing.

Alabama Three-Peat?

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Alabama Three-Peat?
By Wild on Sports Analyst Bryan Ridall

Alabama has a chance to close a chapter in college football history by not only cementing themselves as one of the greatest programs in college football, but continuing the SEC’s dominance in the BCS National Championship game, having won the last eight. If Alabama wins, it would give them four crystal balls in the last five years, and also give head coach Nick Saban his fifth national championship, Saban is already the first coach to win four national championships in ten years; however, winning four in five years, would cement his as the greatest modern-era coach of all time, and cement quarterback A.J. McCarron’s legacy as the most successful college quarterback of all time, even if he never wins the Heisman.

Alabama has been a factory for NFL-caliber players since Saban has taken over, and this year will be no different. Alabama lost three offensive linemen this year in the draft, but will be looking to reload with many young, prized recruits. Eddie Lacy also left for the NFL after a thrilling National Championship Game performance, but T.J. Yeldon is ready to be the feature back behind the powerful offensive line, with Trey Roberts and Kenyan Drake fighting for playing time. The defense is the strength of the Crimson Tide, and while they lost CB Dee Milliner, LB Nico Johnson, DT Jesse Williams, and DE Quinton Dial, the Tide defense is going to be as ferocious as ever this year. Alabama’s front seven is littered with players looking to take that next step, as well as young players looking to make an impact on the coaching staff. The advantage of having such a deep front seven is Alabama’s ability to employ steady rotations of their linemen and linebackers, keeping all of their players fresh, and allowing the players to tire out opposing offenses. Alabama also has the benefit this year of a veteran secondary, which only improves a strong defensive line and linebacking corps. While Alabama is always defined by their defense, this year’s team will be led to success by senior quarterback A.J. McCarron. McCarron was spectacular last year, passing for almost 3000 yards and 30 touchdowns while leading Alabama to a 13-1 record, and a second straight national championship. McCarron has been able to utilize his strong offensive line and running game to set up his play action pass, and his attention to detail continues to allow him to improve. McCarron will have a relatively veteran receiving corps along with highly recruited freshman Raheem Falkins. This year could be McCarron’s year to finally break through and win the Heisman while leading the Tide to another championship.

The thing that may determine whether or not the Crimson Tide make it to the National Championship game, more so than their coaching or players, is the relatively easy schedule that they will play, especially in the SEC. Alabama starts the year in Atlanta against Virginia Tech, a team who has greatly underperformed in the last few years, and ‘Bama is already a 22 point favorite. Alabama then gets a bye, and will look to avenge their only loss of last year against Johnny Maziel and Texas A&M, at College Station. The bye week will allow Alabama a full two weeks to prepare for Manziel, a gift from the scheduling committee. Alabama then plays games against Colorado State, Ole Miss, Georgia State, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee. None of these teams will be a real threat to Alabama, and they will only play one of those games away from Tuscaloosa. Once the stretch of easy games is over, Alabama will face LSU, once again at Tuscaloosa, giving Alabama an important advantage. Alabama closes the year at Mississippi State, home against Chattanooga, and at Auburn in the Iron Bowl. In all likelihood, there are three games that could trip up the Tide, the first being the rematch with A&M. LSU will pose a threat to Bama, but because they are home, the Tide should be able to take care of business in front of their home crowd. The game that could end up tripping up Alabama is November 16th at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs started the season 7-0 before a loss to Alabama derailed their season. The Bulldogs will be looking for revenge, and Alabama will be coming off a tough game against LSU and could trip up against the Bulldogs.

It is likely that if Alabama finishes the year with only one loss, they will compete in the last BCS National Championship, for their fourth time in five years. With an extremely easy conference schedule that excludes Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, and includes only four games outside of Tuscaloosa, A.J. McCarron will be looking to not only be the first quarterback to lead his team to three national championship games, but also win his first Heisman ever. On August 31st, all eyes will be on ‘Bama as they start their quest for the last BCS National Championship.

MLB Weekly Walk-Off

Wild on Sports
MLB Weekly Walk-Off
By Wild on Sports Analyst Kyle Kargel

Weekly Walk-off - Week of 6/10/2013

All the Dodgers fans around the world are all chanting one phrase now. Viva Puig! Yasiel Puig has made his introduction into the MLB and boy has he made an impact. Puig was expected to be called up later this year at some point, but now were near this early. With injuries to Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp though the Dodgers knew this was their shot to see if Puig can produce under high pressure situations, and Dodgers fans know that every game is a pressure situation until they find themselves in the top half of the division. He may have saved Don Mattingly career with the Dodgers as well as the Dodgers season as a whole. In his first five games Puig is batting .421 with four homeruns and ten RBIs. Puig should come back to reality eventually, but for now the Dodgers will take all they can get from him while he’s still smoking. Also, it wouldn’t hurt if this momentum carried into when Crawford and Kemp come off the DL. Speaking of smoking hot, the Astros have surprisingly gone 7-3 their last ten games. Now they still have the AL’s worst record, but the Angels are only five games up on them in the standings. They have done it with the homerun power of Chris Carter, and the pitching of Bud Norris. If their star Jose Altuve can continue to gain support from his teammates, they may not finish as bad as everyone thinks. The Astros deserve credit for the situation that they’re in, especially for having a payroll that’s less than what Alex Rodriguez is making this year.

Studs of the Past Week

1. Yasiel Puig OF LAD- Did you expect anything different here? Puig is looking to outperform Bryce Harper and Mike Trout’s rookie campaigns from last year. Due to injuries Puig is getting his spot in the limelight, and he wants to keep his spot in the lineup, even when Kemp and Crawford return from the DL. He is already getting intentionally walked in favor of a colder bat in the Dodger’s lineup. He only has 19 at bats this season, but he is already getting in the heads of opposing managers.

2. Everth Cabrera 2B SD- Why not show a little love for the speedsters on the base paths? Cabrera won’t go deep that often, but he is always a threat if he gets on base. The past week has seen Cabrera net seven steals while batting .500 in 32 at bats. He currently has a five game streak in which he has more than one hit in each game. Cabrera is used to only batting around .250, but his average is hovering around the .300 mark as of today. He is a threat to steal 50 bases, but the amount of runs he scores may be limited due to the team he is on.

3. Francisco Liriano SP Pitt- Liriano does have a loss in his past two starts, but he has only allowed one run while striking out 19 over those games. His ERA has dropped to a slim 1.75 and he looks to have found his stride in Pittsburgh. It was hard for him to produce in the AL as his ERA was over five in his past three seasons before this. The Pirates are cruising right now, and there is now reason why Liriano should be slowing down.

Duds of the Past Week

1. Ryan Braun OF Mil- It’s been a tough week for Braun whose name is getting brought up once again in illegal steroid talks. Braun only has five hits in the past week with none of them accounting for homeruns or RBIs. In fact, Braun’s last RBI came on May 30. The Brewers are treading in the bottom half of the division, and if Braun’s name continues to be brought up in negative light it may affect him on the baseball field in the same matter.

2. Robinson Cano 2B NYY- Thankfully for Cano, his struggles the past week hasn’t effected the Yankees’ position in the standings. If the Yankees do want to keep their first or second place standing in the AL East he does need to pick it back up. He does have a homerun in the past week, but his average is dipping into the .270s. His career average is .307 so hopefully for Yankee fans Cano can lift his average back up to where he’s used to hitting.

3. Adam Jones OF Bal- Jones is still batting .300 on the year, but that’s lower than the .320 he was batting just a couple weeks ago. Jones has gone three for his past 25, and that includes a four strike out game he had against the Tigers on Jun. 2. He should pick up the pace as a threat to hit a homerun or to steal a base when he’s on. Jones is on pace for the 32 homeruns he had last year so owners of him in fantasy leagues shouldn’t be too worried.

Pickups for Next Week

1. Kyle Blanks 1B SD- Since starting first baseman Yonder Alonso has gone on the DL, Blanks has been getting the majority of starts for him. He was supposed to be just a fill in until Alonso returned, but has surprised many Padres fans with his bat hitting a couple homeruns in his past four starts. Alonso will be out another month so expect Blanks to stay in the Padres starting lineup.

2. Jose Iglesias SS Bos- In 62 at bats this season Iglesias is batting a cool .435 and is in the midst of a ten game hitting streak. He might not be the biggest power threat, but he’s good for getting on base and scoring runs, and that’s all the Red Sox can ask of him at this point in the season. With a hot bat he will continue to get the majority of starts at shortstop. His average will drop, but probably keep it at a steady .310 or .320 by seasons end. Still, not bad if you’re looking to upgrade at shortstop on your fantasy team.

3. Bud Norris SP Hou- More Astros love on the Weekly Walk-off as Norris has impressed many over the past week. In his last 13 innings pitched he’s allowed three runs while striking out 13. Granted he is only 5-5 on the year, but that’s relatively good for a team that some experts predicted to challenge for the worst record ever by an MLB team. Norris’ ERA this season is 3.43 which is almost a whole run better than his career ERA of 4.31.

Top Match-ups Next Week

1. Yankees vs. A’s
- In an epic pitching duel on Tuesday, CC Sabathia will face off against former Yankee Bartolo Colon. The Yankees have actually fallen a couple games back of the Red Sox in the AL East, but can prove themselves by taking a series out west. The A’s are still atop the AL West, but are trading that spot with the Rangers on a daily basis.

2. Dodgers vs. Pirates- We have to mention Puig one more time before I wrap up the Weekly Walk-off. This matches the hottest hitter in the game currently with one of the hottest teams. The Pirates hot pitching staff will look to cool down Puig which has been a tough task thus far.

3. Nationals vs. Indians-
The Nationals are missing their identity with Harper and Strasburg on the DL, but they are still hovering around the .500 mark as well as the Indians. The Indians are closer to their division lead though than the Nationals which can give them an extra boost of confidence. Both these middle tier teams have a lot to prove still, but each are capable of proving it. It’s the best interleague matchup of the next week, as the rolling interleague schedule continue

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