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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Knee Jerk Reactions: The Targeting Rule

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Knee Jerk Reactions: The Targeting Rule
By Wild on Sports Analyst Bryan Ridall

The Jadaveon Clowney play might be one of the single greatest defensive efforts ever seen; he broke through the line, met the running back as he got the ball, dislodged the ball and the player’s helmet, and then grabbed the ball with one hand. However, the NCAA is modifying the “targeting rule,” which has been used to penalize players 15 yards for hitting defenseless players above the shoulders, to allow for the ejection of players for such hits.

Both the NCAA and NFL have been taking strides to help improve player safety, especially with the concerns around concussions. Both groups have enforced penalties for contacting defenseless players above the shoulders, often resulting in 15-yard penalties Players will now be automatically ejected for contacting defenseless players above the shoulders, as well as still having a 15-yard penalty enforced on the team. However, if a player is ejected in the second half of the game, they will miss the rest of the half, as well as the first half of the next game. The set up of the penalty is basically the same as the current penalties regarding fighting, which have been modified since some of the brawls a few years ago. The penalty is at the referee’s discretion, but an official can review the consideration for ejection and overturn the call, if applicable. However, like all reviewable plays, the official needs conclusive visual evidence in order to overturn the call on the field. Conference officials will also review the play after the game and can add to, or reduce the suspension.

While the NCAA has taken proper steps to try and enforce the rule as fair as possible, it still requires human judgment, which can differ from referee to referee, and is extremely apparent in regards to the Clowney hit. The officiating coordinator of the ACC recently said that Clowney would be ejected for his hit, while Steve Shaw, the officiating coordinator of the SEC, said that Clowney’s hit would still be legal under the rule. Other than the obvious conference bias, the difference in perspective from referee to referee, in regards to hits, could cause problems for players and coaches. Defensive players will likely have to adjust their style of play in order to accommodate the new penalties, more than the new rules.

By modifying the targeting rule, the NCAA has tried to enforce player safety, but in reality, it is taking away what makes football one of the best spectacles to watch, big hits. Plays, like the one that Jadaveon Clowney made, are reminders of how much talent and physical ability that the players have, while enforcing perfect technique. As Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers player paralyzed in 2010, posted on Twitter “No way #clowneyhit is illegal. Take it from a guy who broke his neck.”

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

MLB Power Rankings - July 31

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MLB Power Rankings
July 31, 2013

Surprise, surprise, the St. Louis Cardinals are once again atop this week's edition of MLB Power Rankings checking in with an MLB best 62-40 record. Despite having more success hitting dugout phones than David Price in two meetings, the Boston Red Sox are hanging tough in the 2 spot again this week. They are in a dog fight atop the AL East with our #3 ranked Tampa Bay Rays. The #4 Pittsburgh Pirates are nipping at the heals of the Cardinals in the NL Central. A three game set to start the week could have major implications in the division race. The Oakland A's are hanging tough in the 5 spot to round out this week's top 5.

Where does your team rank this week?

1. St. Louis Cardinals (62-40, last week No. 1)
2. Boston Red Sox (63-43, last week No. 2)
3. Tampa Bay Rays (62-43, last week No. 3)
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (61-42, last week No. 4)
5. Oakland A's (62-43, last week No. 5)
6. Atlanta Braves (60-45, last week No. 7)
7. Detroit Tigers (59-45, last week No. 10)
8. Cincinnati Reds (59-47, last week No. 8)
9. Baltimore Orioles (58-48, last week No. 6)
10. Los Angeles Dodgers (56-48, last week No. 14)
11. Texas Rangers (56-49, last week No. 9)
12. Cleveland Indians (56-48, last week No. 13)
13. New York Yankees (55-50, last week No. 11)
14. Arizona Diamondbacks (54-51, last week No. 12)
15. Kansas City Royals (51-51, last week No. 19)
16. Washington Nationals (52-54, last week No. 16)
17. Colorado Rockies (51-55, last week No. 17)
18. Seattle Mariners (50-55, last week No. 21)
19. Philadelphia Phillies (49-56, last week No. 15)
20. Los Angeles Angels (48-55, last week No. 18)
21. Chicago Cubs (48-55, last week No. 24)
22. Toronto Blue Jays (48-56, last week No. 22)
23. San Diego Padres (48-58, last week No. 26)
24. New York Mets (46-56, last week No. 23)
25. San Francisco Giants (46-58, last week No. 20)
26. Minnesota Twins (45-57, last week No. 25)
27. Milwaukee Brewers (43-61, last week No. 27)
28. Chicago White Sox (40-62, last week No. 28)
29. Miami Marlins (40-63, last week No. 29)
30. Houston Astros (35-69, last week No. 30)

MLB Trade Deadline Tracker

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MLB Trade Deadline Tracker

A look at the trades as they unfold as we count down to MLB Trade Deadline 2013...

Wednesday, July 31
To LA Dodgers: C Drew Butera  To Twins: PTNL
To Kansas City Royals: OF Justin Maxwell   To Houston Astros RHP Kyle Smith
To Baltimore Orioles: RHP Bud Norris  To Houston Astros: OF L.J. Hoes, LHP Josh Hader
To San Diego Padres: RHP Ian Kennedy  To Arizona Diamondbacks: LHP Joe Thacher, RHP Matt Stites

Tuesday, July 30
Three Team Deal:
To Boston Red Sox: SP Jake Peavy, RHP Brayan Villarreal
To Detroit Tigers: SS Jose Iglesias
To Chicago White Sox: OF Avisail Garcia, 3 Minor Leagers
To Oakland A's: 2B Alberto Callaspo  To LA Angels: 2B Grant Green

Monday, July 29
To Detroit Tigers: RHP Jose Veras  To Houston Astros: OF Danry Vasquez, PTNL
To LA Angels: LHP Scott Downs  To Atlanta Braves: RHP Cory Rasmus
To Tampa Bay Rays:  RHP Jesse Crain   To Chicago White Sox: PTNL

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rise or Fall?

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Rise or Fall?
By Wild on Sports Analyst Jared Newcomb

As training camp for many teams get underway we look at probably the two most critically viewed positions on any team. The quarterback and head coach. The success of both is directly tied to how the team performs. For the Philadelphia Eagles we had Reid for 14 years, much longer than many would've liked but because of his past success he was given a pass for many years with the hope that he would return the team deep into the playoffs. The same can be said for Donavan McNabb. He never won the big game, was he the best QB the Eagles have ever had? Yes. But that can only take you so far. The average players career is about 3.5 years and the same can be said for coaches. Both are tied to each other. But this coming football season is a fulcrum for which some will fall and others will rise. Here are some coaches and quarterbacks that will decide their fate this season.

Coaches on the hot seat

Jason Garrett - He hasn't done much since being names interim head coach after Wade was let go. Losing in November doesn't bode well especially when they are against teams in the division. He role as head coach is also becoming more limited. He now is no longer calling the offensive shots. We will wait and see how Jones handles the situation but as one who isn't of a football mind it is truly up in the air.

Rex Ryan
- I got to tell you he really bothers me. He talks a big talk but never delivers. The only thing that can save him is he starts Geno Smith and has a horrible season, but that could go back to bite him if he made the call to draft Geno and it doesn't work as planned. Or will he stay loyal to Mark and go down with the ship?

Jim Schwartz - He has returned the Lions roar but hasn't made the playoffs after a promising start. Furthermore, the offense is lagging a little bit. Even so I don't foresee a meltdown in Detroit this season but if the performance isn't there then neither will Jim.

NFL Quarterbacks in a make or break year


Mark Sanchez - He is the obvious one and maybe of the highest profile. His career got off to a great start, two AFC Championship games, but since then he along with the team have fallen off. Alot here is to blame; the coach, the line, and the quarterback. Additionally Mark has another battle to face in training camp with Geno Smith and he fate with the team may be decided before the season even starts. He is another reason why I struggle to trust USC quarterbacks.

Blaine Gabbert - Chad Henne is breathing down Gabberts neck and for good reason, he played extremely well while Blaine was injured. It is up to Blaine to convince his coach and GM that he is the QB for the future for the Jaguars.

Josh Freeman - He was drafted in 2009 after Sanchez and Stafford and has managed to play with the same performance as them if not better. He now has a a big target on the field for him to throw which should only help in his second year with Jackson and with the new contract extension given to Williams Josh has many opportunities to prove his worth. However, with a new coach in Tampa, Greg might not be so lenient toward Josh this year if his performance is sub-par.

Phillip Rivers - He is a Fantasy footballers worst nightmare. He is incredibly hard to predict each season. With a new coach, however, he may feel a new sense of urgency but with the type of weapons he has had over the years and his level of play he isn't what I would call a safe bet. If they struggle during the season with Phillip they may get a high enough draft pick to select a quarterback like Johnny Manziel.

Sam Bradford
- He was given a huge rookie contract, little weapons and a horrible team. Now it looks like he is starting to turn around and become the quarterback that the Rams drafted in 2008 but he will need to build upon his last year to quiet the critics.

Brandon Weeden
- Every teams struggles with obtaining good talent at some position but this is ridiculous. Brandon Weeden will be in the mix for a starting job but once again I have little hope for any improvement from any signal caller on that roster.

Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Never really has had a big breakout season but got a contract that would signal such. He is in a make or break year with the Bills. I do think he will beat out EJ Manuel to start the season but after that EJ could break in as the starter. The first few games are critical for Ryan.

Kevin Kolb
- Th Arizona Cardinals have talent but lack it at a key position - Quarterback. Kevin Kolb was traded from the Eagles to the Cards several years back and ever since has been either injured or in a battle with a slew of other Quarterbacks. Kevin Kolb shouldn't receive much of a chance this season and if he does he probably won't make much of it.

The Sad State of PED's

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The Sad State of PED's
By Wild on Sports Analyst Jared Newcomb

Recently, Former American hero and icon for cancer survivors and cyclists around the world admitted to the ultimate evil of any pro athlete. Taking PED's. Like any athlete or individual in a competitive field they seek to gain an edge whatever the cost or consequences. With little concern of it's ramifications or the people that they may hurt in the process of personal gain. Lance's 7 Tour de' France wins have since been vacated along with his bronze Olympic medal,additionally, he has been banned for life from competitive cycling. So we ask the question; "How can someone do something so inherently wrong and bad, yet at that same time do the seemingly saintly thing of contributing millions of dollars for cancer research and starting his own Livestrong foundation"? His organization raised millions and funded, and supported people with cancer, However, in this Jekyll and Hyde persona ,he was in the process of deceiving, degrading and humiliating people that dare question him while also stripping away the integrity of the game. Lance told Oprah that without taking PED's he doubts that he would've won any of his Tours. Armstrong is yet another athlete added to the long list of professionals that has jeopardized our hope in a moral role model that we could look up too. It is becoming an unfortunate reality; when someone is successful or superior than others in talent we are regulated to cast a skeptical eye and ask if it is natural or PED's. We can only hope that Lance and others before him have learned their lesson, but we are kidding ourselves if we are to think that he is the last to cheat a game, a sport and the people that watch. With bloated egos and similarly sized paychecks it is hard to believe that Lance Armstrong truly feels any deep remorse for his actions.

Read more of Jared's work at  http://instantre.blogspot.com/

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