Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Watch in-shape Chris Arreola destroy Nagy Aguilera

With his back against the wall, Chris Arreola changed his diet and view on fitness. It paid immediate dividends on Saturday night. The heavyweight prospect, who let himself get woefully out of shape in 2009 and 2010, got back down to his optimum weight. Back down at 234, he destroyed Nagy Aguilera inside of three rounds on the undercard of the Andre Ward victory over Arthur Abraham.

The Mexican-American fighting out of Riverside, Ca., weighed 250.5 and 251 in losses to Tomasz Adamek and Vitali Klitschko. Arreola said losing weight didn't mean losing power.

"There's more zip to your punches," said Arreola (31-2, 27 KOs). "It's like a wet towel, if you snap it right, that [expletive] is gonna hurt."

He also said, there's is no time off. He's headed right back to the gym.

"I'm hungry. I'm hungry and this time it ain't for burritos and pizza and [expletive]. I'm hungry for that title and it's time to get it back," Arreola said.

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2011 NBA Mock Draft: Boston Celtics Continue to Reload on the Fly

The Cleveland Cavaliers hold the first and fourth picks in the 2011 NBA Draft. Hopefully for the city of Cleveland, they make the right moves and get their franchise back on track.

Most drafts in any sport generally have a clear-cut number one player. The 2011 NBA Draft has two players: Derrick Williams and Kyrie Irving. Who will Cleveland end up taking?

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2012 NFL Draft: Andrew Luck and 10 Players Who Could Make a Splash

The 2011 NFL draft is finally in the books, so it's now time to begin looking ahead to next year's draft.

Is it far too early to start speculating? Of course it is.

Do we care? Not at all.

Not a down of football has been played in 2012, and there are already more 2012 mock drafts than you would care to read.

I won't torture you with yet another mock, but here are 10 players who you will want to keep an eye on this season. They will likely make a big splash in the 2012 NFL draft.

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True North unveils Winnipeg’s ‘Drive to 13′ ticket campaign

With the announcement of the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season, it's now time for True North Sports and Entertainment to begin the preparations for the return of NHL hockey.

During this afternoon's press conference, True North president Jim Ludlow announced the team's "Drive to 13,000" ticket sale campaign that the group hopes they can meet before the Board of Governors vote to approve the change of ownership and relocation on June 21.

"True North Sports Entertainment has had a great run of building brands in the City of Winnipeg over the past six years, from the Manitoba Moose to MTS Centre to the recently completed MTS Iceplex," said Jim Ludlow, President & CEO, True North Sports & Entertainment. "This process has led us to today. We have made a commitment to the National Hockey League and to our ownership to sell 13,000 season tickets. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to the support from the Winnipeg community and the successful conclusion of this process."

A pre-sale for existing Manitoba Moose season ticket holders begins tomorrow and runs through Friday. Sales to the general public will begin on Saturday morning. A Twitter account and Facebook page have also been set up to promote the sales drive.

Here's how the ticket pricing tiers break down:

Fans wishing for season tickets will have to enter into a purchasing agreement for either three, four or five years depending on their section. Buyers committing to one of those three options "will be guaranteed their ticket price per game will not increase by more than 3-percent annually."

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman threw the gauntlet down to Winnipeg hockey fans during the press conference saying, "This isn't going to work very well unless this building is sold out every night."

Every night? We imagine Year One will be packed for all 41 home games, but there's bound to be some drop off once the honeymoon period ends and if the team declines and misses the playoffs for a few seasons.

But Winnipeg has clamored for NHL hockey since the day the Jets left town in 1996 and now that their wish has become a reality, the support needs to be there because their attendance figures in a few years, should the team be a middle of the road one, will be scrutinized closely.

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Video: Roger Federer hits tennis balls into sunroof of $100,000 car

Roger Federer's newest viral video doesn't put a human at risk like his last one, only a $110,000 car:

This could have been real. I bet it would take a lot less time for Roger Federer to lob some forehands into a sunroof than it would be to make it look real on Final Cut Pro. As long as you're willing to risk some damage to a car, Federer should have had no problem lobbing a few balls in from a long distance.

But then you look to see who uploaded the video. It's from user mbusa, the YouTube account for Mercedes-Benz USA.

Racquet clap to @jon_wertheim

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Tennis Channel’s ticker ruins the network’s French Open coverage

Tennis fans treat The Tennis Channel like most people do public transportation. They use it a lot and appreciate its existence, but enjoy complaining about all the problems and pointing ways it could be better.

Through two days of French Open coverage, TTC has been both a treasure for tennis fans (who else is going to show matches live at 5 a.m. in the east) and a headache (still with this ticker)? This morning, we look at a few of the highlights and lowlights through the early parts of coverage.

The good

? John McEnroe is back in the booth for the Tennis Channel working with Ted Robinson for matches on Court Phillippe Chatrier and Court One. Mac's a polarizing announcer to some, but if you can get past his ego, he's one of the best in the sport. His breakdown of how Del Potro was staying back after returning Ivo Karlovic's second serve and then taking steps to the net as a decoy was the sort of insight that tends to get glossed over by most analysts.

? The highlight of the coverage is the return to tennis for Mary Carillo, who left ESPN last year after she had issues with the network's coverage. Professional, witty and always a solid interviewer, Carillo is a delight.

? Though the network doesn't jump around as much as some might like, TTC has done a nice job thus far of cutting back and forth between courts. As always, folks will complain that networks focus too much on the stars, but that's a necessary evil. You don't lure in viewers by showing the Thomaz Bellucci first-rounder. As long as TTC cuts away from matches involving Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal when there are close battles going on elsewhere, I don't mind the star focus. It's a long-term investment in their coverage.

The bad

? The score box.

Note: When the font in the IBM ad on the side of the court is twice the size of the font for the score chyron, said score chyron is way too tiny. All the other graphics on TTC are clean and crisp and appropriately-sized. The score box accomplishes two of those three things. Make it bigger.

? Score box warnings.

See what it says over De Bakker's name? Go get a magnifying glass, we'll wait. It says "SET POINT" in the tiniest letters possible. I've got 20/20 vision like I'm Hugh Downs. My TV is pretty big and my apartment is pretty small, so I'm close to the screen. If I'm having trouble reading it, I can only imagine how illegible that is for others. It's set point for Pete (Sampras') sake! Put it in bold or something.

? There were as many as 15 matches going on simulteaneously Monday morning at Roland Garros. At best, TTC kept viewers abreast about four of them. True, only the diehards care about the Vesna Dolonts-Anne Keothavong match. But who else do you think is watching French Open coverage at 7:30 a.m. on a Monday morning?

The ugly

It's not that I mind having a scrolling ticker running through the matches, though I'd much prefer a cleaner look and smaller font that doesn't dominate the screen. (Why not make it the same size as the score box?)

The issue is that the ticker provides no value whatsoever to the viewer, other than to promote the fact that the same coverage will be on tomorrow. Here's an example of a routine cycle for the ticker:

1. Seed report

2. tennischannel.com promo

3. NCAA tournament scores (from this weekend)

4. News about the previous day's first-round action and news

5. Wimbledon promo

6. tennischannel.com promo

7. Advertisement for Gamma strings

8. Advertisement for Fidelity

9. Promo for Tuesday's French Open coverage, presented by Longines

10. Adertisement for K-Swiss

11. TTC's 3D coverage promo

12. Advertisement for Longines

13. tennischannel.com promo to integrate Facbeook and Twitter pictures

14. List of order of play for Monday

15. Advertisement for Babolat via tennischannel.com


To recap, the ticker features 11 promotions or advertisements, one seed report, one list of order of play, some 24-hour old news, a string of college scores from Saturday and Sunday and no live updates of scores. None. I'll repeat it: it provides no live updates of scores.*

What's the point of running a ticker if it's not going to provide real-time scoring for the other 14 matches being played at the French Open. The beauty of big tournaments is in the magnitude of the first few days. There's so much going on right now at the French Open. That Dolonts-Keotvahong match doesn't need to be aired, but at least show us who won or the progress of the match. I can sit at my computer and watch updates of who wins each point on 14 courts, but the broadcast network can't throw an update of in-match progress from around the grounds?

TTC does a fine job of updating other marquee matches, so we hear about the Mardy Fish first-rounder while Roger Federer's match is aired, but there's plenty more going on around the grounds to hear about. TTC would rather show you scores from an old college match instead. (I don't mind the advertisements. You gotta do what you gotta do to pay the bills.)

My guess is that TTC isn't able to update the ticker in real-time, which is sort of like saying that I'm writing this blog post will wearing Reebok Pumps and connecting to Prodigy. It can't be that hard to do. How else are you going to get people interested in the lesser matches if you ignore them like a leper?

Either run the ticker with real-time scores or get it off the screen. And while I'm asking for things, let's get Mary Carillo and John McEnroe on screen together more. It'll be like that Pacino-De Niro scene from "Heat."

* Later in the day, the ticker began running live scores. They seemed to be a few minutes behind and weren't displayed as often as, say, ads for Babolat. There are only so many times you can see the 32 mens' seeds before it becomes unnecessary.

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Blasted on Twitter, Pacquiao scraps his account

Boxing's pound-for-pound champ is tough as nails in the ring, but he wilted in the toughest arena in the world -- the Internet.

Congressman Manny Pacquiao's affair with social media was a short one. After dealing with a fake account that sprouted up in January, "Pac-Man" decided to try Twitter with a real account in late February.

Pacquiao quickly found out there's no buffer on Twitter. His� problems began a few days ago as he watched a Filipino Congressional impeachment hearing from afar. Training for his fight with Shane Mosley in May, Pacquiao tried to ease concerns about his absence from Congress during the major vote. From GMA News:

"I vote NO! and I can give my explanation thanks," he [tweeted] emphatically just a few minutes before midnight [on Mar. 21].

That unleashed a hail of criticism from followers, who wondered why Pacquiao wasn't fulfulling his political duties.

"to hell with @congmp. Why the [expletive] did you run for congress when you know you'd barely be present?" said @RAndRat.

According to GMA News, Pacquiao responded with a personal shot�at one tweeter who asked, "Why are you not at the plenary?"

Pacquiao shot back: "@momblogger e di mag reklamo ka doon sa lolo mo hahahaha thanks" (Go tell it to your grandpa!)

More than a few angry Filipinos fired back:

"he shouldn't tweet that way. he is, after all, a billionaire congressman," said @emvisi.

"You may be trying to folksy and humorous, @CongMP, but the matter at hand is too serious to be flippant about," opined @jesterinexile. "because @CongMP is absent, saranggani province has no say in a national issue. that is irresponsible beyond belief," he added.

Pacquiao decided he'd had enough of the people and their unfiltered access. GMA News says @congmp was deleted at 4:20 p.m. on March 23.

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Links! And Caroline Wozniacki showing her keepy-uppy skills!

All the stuff being covered outside the unfriendly confines of the award-winning Dirty Tackle...

Tennis player a Liverpool fan Caroline Wozniacki is in Paris for the French Open and between matches, she's apparently spending her time doing keepy-uppys. [YouTube]

Nike reveals Manchester United's 2011/12 home kit. [The Beautiful Gear]

Premier League managers name their best players of the decade. [The Offside]

Ryan Giggs chooses an unfortunate place to sit. [Kickette]

The Guatemalan Manchester City. [IBWM]

The importance of not believing everything you read about superinjunctions. [Twisted Blood]

Respect The Adu! American Pele! He used to date JoJo! [The Shinguardian]

Serie A team of the season. [Unprofessional Foul]

The thought process of the amateur footballer. [Surreal Football]

Slighted Aston Villa players invade the stands after nonplussed fans fail to come onto pitch. [The Gaffer]

Davey Becks' new underpants line. [Studs Up]

And finally, thank you so, so much to everyone who voted for DT in the EPL Talk awards. We won the Best Blogger and Funniest Football Site categories. And although we missed out on winning the Best Blog category (which we won the last two years in a row), we will still reward your support with some fun stuff and giveaways this summer. Thanks again, everyone! [EPL Talk]

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What We Learned: Old Man Mark Recchi’s astonishing longevity

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

Mark Recchi will play for a Stanley Cup just two days from now.

At 43 years old, he's about to become the second-oldest person to play in the Cup Finals. It's also notable because when that puck drops on Wednesday night, it will be about 20 years and a week since he lifted it for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It happened on May 25, 1991, about eight months before teammate Tyler Seguin was born. And the scary thing is, that was Recchi's third year in the league.

Partly through his longevity and partly because he was an extremely good player in his heyday, Recchi is currently 12th on the all-time scoring list with 1,533 points, and trails only three of the biggest names in hockey's history ?�Howe, Messier and Francis ? in games played at 1,652.

He played in all of the disparate eras the NHL has given us over the past two-plus decades. The high-flying days of the early- and mid-90s, when 100-point seasons seemed the norm for even very good players rather than the exception for the best of them; the late-90s and early-2000s slogfests of defensive ingenuity and offensive futility; and now the odd league-wide celebration of the middle ground, in which 1-0 near-stalemates and 6-5 carnival rides exist within the same playoff series, and somehow within reason.

And while no one would ever have mistaken Mark Recchi for the best player in the league, he has played at a high level and fit in seamlessly in all of them. He once scored 123 points in a single season, and that's still an all-time record for the Flyers.

The three least-successful seasons of his career have been the last three ?�meaning he's been north of 40, when most other guys have been retired for at least a handful of years, for all of them. Of course, when your worst statistical season is a 43-point effort as a 42-year-old man relegated largely to a checking role, that's really quite something.

Obviously, that role hasn't come because Recchi doesn't "have it" any more.

(Coming Up: Tony Gallagher's anti-Colin Campbell conspiracy rant; Crosby concussion update; Alex Ovechkin still dresses like an idiot; hope for Thrashers; Brad Richards and the path out of Dallas; the Ville Leino price; the unreal Ryan Johansen; Ducks' biggest waste of money; in praise of the Kings' farm system; Bryzgalov sets the market; head shot ban; silly scheduling; Ryan Jones signs with Edmonton; there is someone actually named "Joonas Nattinen"; and a trade that would bring Matt Duchene to the Leafs.)

His modest total of 14 goals this year was still better than about three-quarters of the guys who played in the league this year. And that came with the old man smashing bodies around against the top talent in the league (he was partnered with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand for much of the season).

In all, Recchi has played on the same team with 331 different NHL players (according to numbers I looked up on hockey-reference.com). Boston is technically his seventh franchise, but he's earned enough frequent Flyer-and-Penguin points to probably buy either team, having made three stops in Pittsburgh and two in Philly.

A lot of guys stay around because they can. They'll find some team to give between 12 and 15 minutes a night or so and stick around long past their sell-by date to cash another paycheck and their careers and roles diminish to the point you can't quite remember how they were so good in the first place.

Chris Chelios got his name on the Cup despite not playing in the 2008 Finals and somehow milked parts of two more seasons out of the deal, even as he closed in on being half a century old. The less said about Dave Andreychuk's 2005-06 campaign the better. No one wants to see Bobby Orr on the Blackhawks, y'know?

That's not the case with Mark Recchi. Maybe it's because he drank champagne from the Stanley Cup as a 20-year-old (non-alcoholic I hope!) and waited another 15 years to do it again, but he says he'll retire at the end of this season if the Bruins win against the Canucks.

Of course, there's always the vividly real possibility that they don't, and Recchi sticks around another year. If he did, he'd have a chance to pass Francis in games played and Ray Bourque in points.

But if they do, it would be a marvelous bookend to an improbably successful career.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Andy Sutton was named one of the biggest wastes of money in the NHL this year, though with a salary of $2 million, I bet it wasn't that bad. But then, I'm no expert.

Atlanta Thrashers: Another possible buyer for the Thrashers? Yeah, it's a guy with a fake-looking mustache calling himself Tim Talsillie.

Boston Bruins: People used to badmouth Nathan Horton for not showing up when it mattered. Now he's the first player to ever close out two Game 7s in the same playoffs, and they're not doing much badmouthing any more.

Buffalo Sabres: Hey whoa buddy, don't go thinking the Sabres can just buy the Rochester Americans tomorrow. Well they can, but they might not for some reason.

Calgary Flames: The Flames have a lot of work to do in the offseason, but word on the street is they think they can get Alex Tanguay signed. 'Course, they also thought they could make the playoffs the last two seasons and how'd that work out?

Carolina Hurricanes: Hurricanes prospect Oskar Osala has jumped to the KHL and no one cares, really.

Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews said that it wouldn't be the worst thing ever for Winnipeg to get another hockey team, sparking hundreds of pages of fan fiction from Manitoba-based idiots.

Colorado Avalanche: The Avs' owners are buying Arsenal FC of the English Premier League because they are trying to acquire every massively overrated franchise in professional sports.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Oh man oh jeez Ryan Johansen will probably be on the Blue Jackets this year. Watch out for this kid. He's going to be unreal.

Dallas Stars: The basic thrust of this story is that the Stars have no chance at retaining Brad Richards. None.

Detroit Red Wings: Joey MacDonald wants to be back with the Red Wings. The feeling is unlikely to be mutual.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers re-upped Ryan Jones for two more years. His claim to fame in hockey, unfortunately for Edmonton, is having the best hair in the league.

Florida Panthers: Stephen Weiss's season only gets a B-/C+. Being second on the team in goals and first in assists and points just doesn't get you the mileage it used to, eh?

Los Angeles Kings: The Kings were recently named the team with the best farm system in hockey by Hockey's Future, which is a good thing, says the LAist. Being the best at things is good. "The Kings have a loyal fan base and are one of the few teams in Southern California that is on the rise." So sorry to the one other team in Southern California.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild signed prospect Kris Foucault. He was the best player on a very, very bad junior team.

Montreal Canadiens: Speaking of signings, the Habs inked Finnish center and 2009 pick Joonas Nattinen, which is maybe the Finnishest name ever, if you think about it.

Nashville Predators: Jerred Smithson is right when he says the Predators had a great season. They just ran into a buzzsaw. Imagine how good they'll be if/when they move the East.

New Jersey Devils: The Devils think their fourth overall pick in the draft next month will be a no-brainer regardless of who's on the board through three. That's interesting.

New York Islanders: Garth Snow is pretty good at drafting hockey players. But you should have already known that.

New York Rangers: The Rangers are already filling out their European exhibition games, with tilts against Frolunda and Sparta Praha. No word on whether the team is trying to get those to count in the NHL standings so they can soften up the schedule a bit.

Ottawa Senators: Bryan Murray has carefully assessed the Canucks' chances of winning the Cup this year and determined that they are better than the 2007 Senators in every conceivable way.

Philadelphia Flyers: Hey good luck signing Ville Leino. He won't be expensive at all. Oh he will be? My mistake.

Phoenix Coyotes: What happens with Ilya Bryzgalov will go a long way toward deciding who gets how much this offseason. With the Coyotes' current budget, he'd probably have to take a hometown discount for them to pay other guys (like Keith Yandle) what they deserve.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby will have a checkup with a concussion specialist soon. Hey remember when everyone had that absurd fantasy that he'd be ready for the playoffs? That was hilarious.

San Jose Sharks: Just a reminder that the Sharks choked and are awful boooooo the Sharks you stink.

St. Louis Blues: The Blues are holding a food drive for the victims of the Joplin tornado. Everyone who donates will get to meet Barrett Jackman, TJ Oshie, Ben Bishop and Tyson Strachan, and also receives a free ticket to a preseason game. Get on it, people who live in St. Louis.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning arrived back in Tampa and were greeted with a fire hose attack by fans who were mad they lost. At least that's what the picture leads me to believe.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Because the Bruins made the Stanley Cup Finals, the Leafs get an extra second-round draft pick out of the Kaberle trade. That Burkie is a genius.

Vancouver Canucks: Y'know, I don't tend to think writers are as hyperreactive to conspiracy stuff as they're portrayed. But the talk of a conspiracy BEFORE a series starts? Get over it.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin showed up at his first part of the summer, and yes, he still dresses like an idiot.

Gold Star Award

Hockey Canada adopted a zero-tolerance rule for headshots. If you're going to be for player safety, you have to be 100 percent for player safety. There's no half-assing this.
Minus of the Weekend

Goddamn NHL schedule makers. Yeah, having five days off between games is a good idea. Great idea. I love the idea.

Play of the Weekend
I would say the only goal of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals qualifies, right?

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week
User "yideboit" gets thoroughly stupid.

[quote]To Toronto:

Matt Duchene
2011 1st (11th overall via St. Louis)
Conditional 2012 pick (4th round if Bozak signed 7th if not signed)

To Colorado:
Nazem Kadri
Jussi Rynnas or Ben Scrivens (Colorado's choice)
Tyler Bozak's rights
2011 1st (24th overall via Philadelphia)
2012 1st (Toronto)
2011 3rd (85th overall via Philadelphia)
Conditional 2012 pick (Based on Duchene's total points - more than 80=2nd rounder 70-79=3rd rounder, 60-69=4th rounder, under 59=5th rounder)[/quote]

You might remember me from such films as "The Greatest Story Ever Hula-ed" and "They Came to Burgle Carnegie Hall."

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness rather infrequently over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
? Jim Tressel resigns from Ohio State | Candidates
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? Wild final-lap crash seals Indy 500
? Novak Djokovic through to semis without fray

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Spin Doctors: Michael Vick vs. Aaron Rodgers

More Spins: Arian Foster vs. Adrian Peterson

In the showdown for top fantasy QB honors, decorated gunslingers Michael Vick and Aaron Rodgers pack plenty of heat. However, pigskin prognosticators Brad Evans and Brandon Funston disagree on who is the best weapon of choice. Peruse. Ponder. And declare a winner below. The docs are in …

Evans screams: What Vick accomplished last year was legendary. Less than two years removed from the pokey, he underwent a career resurrection, seizing the starting job from incumbent Kevin Kolb. Only a rib injury Week 4 against Washington slowed him down. And that was only brief.

Historically speaking, Vick was in a class by himself. His 29.7 per game average in traditional formats outpaced Aaron Rodgers by 5.2 points. More impressively, the mark was the highest output ever by a QB with at least 10 starts. More than Peyton Manning and Daunte Culpepper in 2004. More than Tom Brady in 2007. More than your self-created character in Madden '10. Showcasing increased accuracy, pocket poise, maturity and vintage athleticism, he eclipsed 25 points in 10 of 12 starts, including an unforgettable 52.7-point outburst against rival Washington Week 10 on Monday Night Football. Simply put, the largely undrafted passer had owners rolling in green by year's end.

Naysayers will point to Minnesota's "containment" of the slippery quarterback in Week 16 as reason for avoidance. They will also remind everyone of his injury downside. After all, he's only played a full slate once in his eight-year career. Though the latter concern is legitimate, the former is laughable. The Vikings' blitz barrage did hold Vick in check, if in check means he finished just shy of 30 fantasy points. In a game the entire Eagles offense appeared sluggish, the prodigious passer still managed to throw for 263 yards, run for another 63 and account for two touchdowns (one pass, one rush). Because of his pass/run duality and Andy Reid's air-happy system, he can quickly rack up fantasy points even if the real-life scoreboard isn't decorated with crooked numbers.

Since he inherited duties from Brett Favre three years ago, Rodgers has always had my full support. He's a reliable, consistent scorer in a dynamic spread offense who deserves strong consideration in the early half of Round 2. However, despite the risks involved, Vick's potential for explosive, impossible-to-stop performances is just too tempting to pass up.

If you like collecting virtual trophies, make Vick your top QB pick.

Funston counters: In three seasons as the Packers' starter, Aaron Rodgers has finished no worse than second among QBs in total fantasy points. In his entire career, Michael Vick has never finished in the top 2.

Sure, Vick was the points per game QB king last season, but he missed four games because of a rib injury suffered on one of his typical highlight-reel scrambles. And other than a track record that takes a backseat to what he did last season, the concern with Vick is his ability to stay healthy with his running-enhanced style of play.

You can argue that Rodgers also falls into the hazard zone of mobile quarterbacks, but on a per game basis, Vick ran twice as often as Rodgers last season. In my perfect-world draft, I land a Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady at a bargain price, because they live in the pocket and rarely get touched (so I get to sleep at night). But there's no denying the allure of a multi-threat QB. At least in that regard, Rodgers has missed just one game in three seasons.

In the end, it comes down to a matter of trust. Can Vick stay healthy? Will Andy Reid be content to let Vick run wild if backup Kevin Kolb isn't around? Will he be content to let him run wild if he continues to fumble at a nearly one per game rate (11 in 12 games)? At 31, will he be able to repeat his career-best numbers after teams have had an offseason to break all his '10 film down? I'm not sure I need to roll those dice when I know that the prime-aged, Super Bowl MVP Rodgers is going to deliver no worse than a top-two season if all goes like it has the previous three seasons.

Who cares if the season is in jeopardy. Get in the game on Yahoo! today.


Images courtesy of US Presswire

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Yonus Davis has 67 problems, but football is no longer one

On many professional sports teams, the reaction to a player getting in legal trouble is inversely proportional to the player's importance; bottom-of-the-roster scrubs tend to be dumped instantly, while star players are often kept and defended until the team has no choice but to get rid of them. That doesn't appear to be the case with the B.C. Lions, though. B.C. announced the release of star running back/kick returner Yonus Davis Tuesday, a couple of weeks after it was reported that he was detained by DEA agents with 67 pounds of ecstasy (approximately 40,000 tablets) and charged with possession with intent to distribute, which could lead to a sentence of up to 20 years in jail. Davis was a revelation for the Lions last year, leading the CFL's West Division with 1,642 all-purpose yards despite not playing much early in the season, and he was named as the divisional finalist for the league's outstanding special-teams player award (which went to Toronto's Chad Owens). Now, they're going to move on without him.

From a competitive standpoint, B.C. had plenty of reasons to try and hang on to Davis. His dynamic athleticism and well-rounded skill set allowed him to thrive as a running back, a receiver out of the backfield and a punt and kick returner, and he'd proven that he could make a significant impact at the CFL level. However, his continued employment had the potential to seriously damage the reputation of both the Lions and the league as a whole. The Lions were right to take their time and fully investigate Davis' situation before letting him go, as he has only been charged, not convicted, but from this perspective, they were also right to make the decision to release him. All season long, Davis demonstrated a tremendous ability to elude opponents (such as the Alouettes' Brandon Whitaker, pictured above trying to bring him down in a Sept. 3 game), but these charges weren't going to be as easy to evade.

The CFL's in an interesting position as a sports league, as reputation arguably plays a larger role in its marketing and promotional efforts than it does in other professional leagues. In contrast to the "I am not a role model" approach promoted by Charles Barkley (and many since him), CFL athletes often focus on trying to actively engage with their communities through a variety of team-sponsored and personal charitable efforts. That's not to say that every CFL player is a perfect, upstanding citizen, as that's obviously not the case; the league's had its share of miscreants over the years, from Trevis Smith to Josh Boden. However, there's a lot at stake for the CFL when dealing with players who cross the line; the actions of a few shouldn't necessarily reflect on the character of the many, but continuing to employ players facing serious criminal charges can send all the wrong messages. For example, the Lions do plenty of visits to local high schools, and they've been involved with many anti-drug programs. If they have a player currently on their roster who's been charged with possession with intend to distribute, that significantly hurts their credibility during those community outreach sessions.

To their credit, the Lions' administration definitely recognizes that. Here's what club president Dennis Skulsky and general manager/coach Wally Buono had to say about the situation:

"After careful consideration, we have reached the decision to release Yonus from his contract," Dennis Skulsky, the Lions' president and chief executive officer, said Tuesday.

"It's a tough decision and we certainly weighed the factors. We have an obligation to our fans, to the corporate sponsors and partners, to our team ... and to the CFL to ensure we conduct ourselves with integrity on and off the field."

...Wally Buono, the Lions coach and general manager, said it wasn't a happy day for the club.

"It's a sad day today that we have to take the opportunity away from a young person," said Buono.

Buono said he has spoken with Davis and his agent.

"He was quite sombre," said Buono. "I would be shocked if he wasn't expecting this.

"He appreciated that we were sensitive about trying to make it all work. When you start looking at all the information that is available ... there is no choice."

It's positive that the Lions fully investigated the situation before coming to a conclusion, as charges alone don't make anyone guilty. However, it's also positive that they reacted quickly and decisively after finishing their own investigation. The Edmonton Eskimos finally parted ways with Adam Braidwood in April, almost five months after the first charges (aggravated assault and forcible confinement) and second charges (assault, uttering threats, weapons violations and breaching bail conditions) against him came out. Braidwood also remains innocent until proven guilty in court, but football requires less stringent standards than the criminal justice system (as it should); players can be released for almost any reason at any time, and damaging the reputation of their team (and by extension, the league) is a pretty compelling reason in many cases.

Each situation has to be handled on its own merits, and these releases don't mean Braidwood or Davis couldn't eventually return to the league even if either is eventually found guilty, as long as they serve their debt to society and vow to change (this is pretty hypothetical in the case of Davis, as border issues would likely get in the way). There's always room for second chances and redemptive stories. For now, though, there's no compelling reason for either to be part of the CFL, and that's why the Lions made the right move to cut their ties with Davis. They may be hurting themselves on the field by getting rid of such a promising player (although not necessarily, as they've demonstrated a tremendous ability to find running backs and kick returners lately with the likes of Stefan Logan and Martell Mallett), but they're preserving their solid organizational reputation. In this league, that matters.

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Video: Serena Williams channels Beyonce at karaoke bar

How is Serena Willliams spending her free time away from Paris? If you guessed "singing a decade-old Destiny's Child song at a crowded karaoke bar while wearing a form-fitting red dress," a job well done:

I'd comment on the singing but anybody who's seen me perform "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News knows that I have no room to talk. Let's just say that I won't be pre-ordering Serena's rap album on iTunes. Those dance moves are pretty solid, though.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Jim Tressel Resigns: What People Are Saying About the Exiled Ohio State Football

So the big news in college football this weekend was the story that Tressel resigned from Ohio State.  Tressel who was a great coach and one of the most respected guys in the sport until this incident, is now burdened by this.

This article will contain reaction from different key figures in the college football world along with some random tweets on the subject.

Information from ESPN.com was used in this report.

James Evens serves as a National Featured Columnist for college football and basketball, as well as the FC for the Purdue Boilermakers.  Follow him on Twitter or like him on Facebook.                     

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Rafael Nadal, a sandstorm and his new Nike kit for the French Open

Either they're making a new "Mummy" movie starring Rafael Nadal or Nike has released the world No. 1's kit for the upcoming French Open.

In this four-minute video, the creative director of Nike Tennis describes the elements in Nadal's outfit, including the Moorish designs on the back that extend to the 11th century and reference a previous time that a Spanish warrior tried to go into France to claim a title. (It didn't work out so well for either side in "The Song of Roland.")

The shirt and shorts are basic, but major props to the "�Vamos Rafa!" stitched into the collar of the shirt. It's probably just like his mom used to do when he would go to summer camp!

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Pacquiao involved in minor fender bender, but will still fight tonight

Manny Pacquiao's a guy who thrives on chaos, but even he didn't enjoy this morning's wild ride in Las Vegas just hours before his showdown with Shane Mosley.

"Sources close to Pacquiao tell TMZ he was traveling in a fleet of cars after church today, when one of Manny's security vehicles collided with the car carrying Manny.

We're told Pacquiao is back at his hotel now, where his trainer, Freddie Roach, checked him out. According to our source, Pacquiao is just a little shaken up … but he's okay to go for tonight."

The L.A. Times said a Pacman publicist called the accident a tap.

Las Vegas is fired up for the Pacquiao-Mosley fight. Over 6,000 attended the weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden arena, with several hundred more fans turned away.

Pacman can't go anywhere without being noticed. Freddie Roach told ESPN1100 in Las Vegas that Pacquiao went for a secret run on Thursday at a track on the campus of UNLV and a few hundred fans showed up.

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Filipinos and boxing fans go wild as Pacquiao arrives in Vegas

Fight week is officially underway in Las Vegas with Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley making their ceremonial entrances at the MGM Grand on Tuesday. Hundreds of fans crowded the hotel's lobby to get a glimpse of the fighters.

Bob Arum, who's brought Pacman back to Sin City after two fights in Dallas, said big fights belong in what some people call the Fight Capital of the World.

[Order Pacquiao-Mosley fight]

The turn was impressive but it was a bit one-sided. See if you can find the lone Mosley fan in the photo below.

Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
? Fans rush to get Pacquiao's song release
? Tony Romo's swanky wedding plans revealed
? Stunning physical transformations of recruits to NFL picks

You can watch the Pacquiao-Mosley pay-per-view right here on Yahoo! Sports.

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TSN Radio launches with plenty of CFL/Argonauts content

Observers of the Canadian sports media scene will have noticed by now that there's a new big-name outlet out there; specifically, TSN Radio, which launched on Toronto's 1050 AM frequency Wednesday (and can be listened to anywhere on the web here). They already have plenty of prominent personalities in the lineup, including Mike Richards, Bryan Hayes, James Cybulski, Gareth Wheeler, Dave Naylor, Bruce Arthur and Dave Feschuk, and it's going to be interesting to see what kind of content they turn out. What takes this from a sports media story to a CFL story is the amount of three-down football content they've had so far, though, and what they're planning to do in the future.

The CFL was a big part of the station's launch Wednesday, and that's particularly notable considering that we're not only in the middle of the offseason, but also that it was the first day of the NHL playoffs and that David Beckham was in town with the L.A. Galaxy to play Toronto FC (and make controversial comments about refs). All of those other subjects got plenty of attention on TSN Radio, but so did the CFL, which doesn't always receive high billing in Toronto sports circles, especially while it's the offseason. Argonauts' head coach/general manager Jim Barker was in studio with Mike Richards for an hour on the morning show, and league commissioner Mark Cohon dropped in to the afternoon show with Argonauts Rob Murphy and Ricky Foley (Murphy was as funny as usual, and mentioned to me that he's already been invited back). This morning saw Cohon, TSN's Brian Williams and former Argonaut/current NFL Network analyst Joe Theismann make appearances. The station's also going to be broadcasting every Argonauts game this year, and acting programming director Robert Gray told me via e-mail today that the CFL's going to be an important part of their lineup going forward:

"Much like TSN on the television side, the plan is to feature CFL content on all of our shows across the week, plus a 1 hour all-Argos show, and extensive training camp coverage for the Argos - taking a couple of our shows live on-location during camp for in depth coverage," Gray wrote. "[We'll have] coach & player segments, plus lots of content from TSN's roster of CFL & football experts."

Increased CFL coverage obviously isn't going to please everyone. This is Canada, after all, and plenty of people in Toronto in particular only care about the Leafs; of the group that do have wider interests, some of them are only into hockey generally, while others only care about the Jays, Raptors or Toronto FC. In fact, the CFL coverage served as one of the prime complaints in this Toronto Sports Media post on the TSN Radio launch:

I know that TSN is covering the Argos, but was Jim Barker for a whole hour really the way to go? I mean Mccown used to do all Argos all the time when his buddies owned them and it was as popular as Watters talking the Rock when sunny boy was running them. I am not bashing the Argos or the CFL, but really is that the best they could do on launch day? Personally, I would rather have heard the head hauncho of TSN on the radio.


As one of you pointed out, I think they need to lose the ‘voice of the Argos' as they're primary promo line. I'm not sure what their obligations to the CFL were in terms of getting the Argos on the radio but TSN has to have more clout then this. This isn't Saskatchewan. Too many people pinged me today asking why there was so much CFL coverage on their launch day. I assume it will ease off a bit.

As that piece alludes to, in one respect, it does serves TSN's interests to have CFL content on their platforms. They broadcast CFL games both on TV and the radio now, and more interest in the league as a whole and the Argonauts in particular is likely to translate into better ratings for them. Before crying foul, though, it's worth remembering that every sports media outlet tends to have conflicts of interest. Just in Toronto, for example, the FAN 590 broadcasts the Jays, Raptors and TFC (and they're part of Sportsnet, which also has a lot of Jays programming), and AM 640 broadcasts Leafs games. That doesn't mean you can jump to the conclusion that every talk programming decision revolves around what sports are carried by the station, as all of those stations tend to talk about sports that are carried on other networks as well (and their talk shows would likely lose listeners if they didn't).

Also, I don't see how the previous piece jumps to the conclusion that talking about the Argonauts is somehow irrelevant because "this isn't Saskatchewan". They are a Toronto team, and they've got a substantial fan following, so from this perspective it's perfectly legitimate for a Toronto sports station to be talking about them (and league-wide issues, such as player safety and concussions); perhaps the CFL coverage only stood out on TSN Radio because of other stations' programming decisions that didn't include it. There's a balancing act involved in any sports media outlet's programming decisions, and from this corner, TSN Radio's done that rather well so far. The CFL hasn't always received all that much attention in Toronto, so it's nice to see a new station making the league an important part of their coverage.

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Kito Poblah's eligibility helps Bombers, raises questions

TSN analyst Duane Forde broke some of the most surprising news of the CFL offseason Friday with a tweet that hotly-coveted Central Michigan receiver Kito Poblah will apparently be available for next Friday's CFL supplemental draft after all. Forde wrote back in April that he expected Poblah to be granted non-import status in the next few weeks, but that possibility seemed to be knocked out later thanks to paperwork issues. That may have altered multiple teams' strategies for the regular draft, as Poblah was considered one of the top receivers in this class; if it had been known that he was going to be available in the supplemental draft, we might not have seen as much of an early run on receivers we did, with four of the first eight picks being receivers.

In particular, news of this decision may have altered Winnipeg's draft philosophy. In addition to holding the first and fourth picks in this year's regular draft, the Bombers' league-worst record last season gave them first choice in the supplemental draft (where a bidding process allows teams to offer a 2012 selection; whoever turns in the highest offer forfeits the pick and gets the player). It's not entirely clear how that works if the picks offered are in the same round, as the official 2012 draft order hasn't been set yet and there's very little supplemental draft information on the league website. However, it's been widely reported that the Bombers would have first crack at Poblah (pictured above making a spectacular grab in the 2009 Mid-American Conference championship game over Ohio University's Idris Lawrence; the CMU Chippewas went on to beat Ohio 20-10 and claim the MAC championship) in the supplemental draft, so I'd presume that means ties (i.e. two teams bidding 2012 first-rounders) are broken by the 2011 draft order.

(Update: I presumed wrong. A CFL source pointed me to this excellent 2009 article explaining the supplemental draft, which curiously doesn't show up in a "supplemental draft" search. Order of bidding in the supplemental draft does go in the same order as the regular draft, but ties are broken by waiver priority, not draft order. It doesn't matter all that much in this case, as Winnipeg has both the top waiver priority and the top draft order position.)

Thus, if Winnipeg had known they'd be able to get Poblah in the supplemental draft, would they still have made the surprising move to select Saskatchewan Huskies receiver Jade Etienne with the fourth-overall pick, or would they have focused on shoring up their offensive or defensive line?

The Poblah situation could also affect the Toronto Argonauts. It was clear Poblah wanted to play in the CFL this coming year; if he wasn't able to be classified as a non-import, that would make him an import player. There's no import draft, so he would probably come in as a free agent, subject to the negotiation list process. Each team has a list of import players they have exclusive rights to negotiate with; some are rather unlikely to head north, such as top NFL pick Cam Newton or second-rounder Colin Kaepernick, while others like Taylor Potts or Tyrod Taylor may be more realistic prospects. After the early-May reports that Poblah would not be available in the supplemental draft, the Argonauts reportedly placed him on their negotiation list as a non-import; now that he's been declared a non-import, it doesn't seem likely they'll get him. That isn't necessarily a huge deal, as they didn't have to expend anything tangible (like a draft pick or a player) on him with no return, but he did occupy one of their limited negotiation list spots for nearly a month. That may have prevented them from adding other players, and those players may have since been snapped up by other CFL teams.

The belief that they held Poblah's CFL rights may also have affected the Argonauts' draft strategy; they did take three receivers (Djems Kouame, Jedd Gardner and Julian Feoli-Gudino) in rounds three through five, but spent their first-round pick on NCAA offensive lineman Tyler Holmes, who won't be available for at least a year. It's unclear if they would have done the same if they knew they wouldn't land Poblah; Holmes was a highly-touted prospect, and no receivers were taken by anyone between B.C.'s pick of Marco Iannuzzi at the sixth slot (one ahead of the Argos' first-round slot) and Toronto's 18th-overall selection of Kouame. They might have gone with someone at another position who would be available this year, though. Regardless of if it actually affected them, the Argonauts were forced to operate on inaccurate information, and that's not a particularly good thing.

The import/non-import classification isn't all that simple, and by and large, I think the CFL gets it right. They don't go simply by citizenship, but rather by where players grew up: "A player who was physically resident in Canada for an aggregate period of seven years prior to attaining the age of fifteen years qualifies as a non-import player." That's why an American-born player like Ben Cahoon (who spent much of his childhood in Alberta) can become one of the most legendary non-imports out there. It may seem a little silly on the surface, but it's crucial to remember that Canada is a country with a lot of immigrants, many of whom arrive with young kids. If a kid arrives as a one- or two-year-old, grows up in Canada and gets their football start here, it makes sense to me to classify them as a non-import. It's also worth pointing out that switching either to a birth certificate or passport-based system would carry plenty of problems, although it might reduce the complexity of the paperwork involved; a birth certificate-based system would mean people born in Canada whose families immediately moved to the U.S. would count, while people born outside but growing up in Canada wouldn't, while a passport-based system would turn non-import status into a free-for-all with every prospective player trying to get one. The current system isn't perfect, but it does a reasonable job in the majority of cases.

Poblah appears to be a bit of an exception here, and the reason why is his education. One typical source for documentation of a player's residency in Canada during his formative years is school records, and those generally work well; they're formal government documents that show the kid living in a certain area for a certain period of time. Poblah was home-schooled, though, and that appears to be one of the complications that caused the delay over his status. As he told Central Michigan Life, that made his application for non-import status quite difficult:

"It's frustrating because everybody knows I'm Canadian, I'm able work in Canada," he said. "But if they cannot prove it, I'll leave it in God's hands. I'm just doing what I can do and I'm going to keep on moving."

... "I'm still trying to send paperwork to the CFL because they're asking for more stuff," he said. "I've sent as much as I could. We've been trying to solve this for the past two months, but for some reason it's still an issue."

Proving residency without school records probably isn't the easiest thing to do, and it's understandable why the CFL has to be careful and deliberate here. The import/non-import distinction is huge from a roster point of view, as teams' active rosters have to contain 20 non-imports, 19 imports and three quarterbacks of any nationality. Although many Canadian players have proven to be just as effective as imports (see Saskatchewan's Canadian Air Force, which included last year's league-leading receiver Andy Fantuz, or Jesse Lumsden's trailblazing for Canadian running backs), the supply of potential import stars is much deeper given the U.S.'s vastly greater population, the more widespread interest in football there and the sheer numbers of both athletes and football-playing institutions they have. Thus, many import players can be replaced relatively easily; good non-import players are harder to find and thus have more value even if talent is equal. That means the CFL can't just go out handing out non-import status to everyone who might have some claim to it; it's got to be a formal, rules-governed process, and the process they have generally works well.

Poblah was obviously going to get a chance to play in the CFL this year as either a non-import or an import, but it's much better for both him and the team that winds up with him if he's a non-import. Seeing as he does appear to have legitimate claims to non-import status, it's tough to say that he should be considered an import just because the league couldn't verify those claims before the regular draft. His non-import status should make him a hotly-targeted prospect, and it looks like he's set to join his cousin, Winnipeg fifth-round pick and former CMU teammate Carl Volny, on the Bombers, who also have a host of other former MAC alumni. The Bombers should be a great situation for Poblah as well, as the team has some holes in the Canadian receiving ranks. All in all, this didn't work out too badly for either Poblah or Winnipeg.

With that said, though, Poblah's situation does bring up some significant questions for the league: why did it take so long to verify his status? Did the CFL have adequate alternatives to school records in place to verify residency of home-schooled athletes? If not, do they have those alternatives in place now? Would the draft have gone differently if teams had known Poblah's supplemental draft availability sooner? What about the Argos' free-agent negotiations, and should they be compensated in any way? I'm not sure there are any easy answers, but it's certainly worth talking about the issues Poblah's situation raises and what will happen if those issues come up again with another player in the future. Hopefully, if they do, they'll be resolved sooner in a way that's fair to all teams.

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Jim Tressel Resigns: Broken NCAA System Claims Another Coaching Victim

On the heels of Jim Tressel's resignation as the coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, there is no doubt that his departure was all his own fault.

He lied and covered up information, but is his crime that bad anywhere else but college sports?

The reason why he had to lie and the resulting punishments are only crimes in the eyes of the NCAA.

College sports are essentially an extended form of indentured servitude, as Wednesday's South Park episode demonstrated and made plain as day.

The reason why they can't let players make money makes sense, because if one person gets it, then everyone has to, especially due to Title IX.

But is it so wrong for players to have any money?

I've been a college student for the past four years, so I personally know how tight money is for students.

But if they're not allowed to sell their gear, then shouldn't the schools provide more resources to help student-athletes off the field?

These kids barely have enough money to get by, and some come from less fortunate families where the only way a kid will go to school is on a full-ride athletic scholarship.

But a "full" scholarship still does not cover all the expenses of a student-athlete.

The worst part is based on the rules that are in place, students have to just take what they're given and be happy with it.

The cost of living for a student is much higher than it has ever been, and the increasing gas and food prices do nothing to help matters.

At some point, the NCAA or the schools need to help the students out a little bit instead of taking their money away and expecting things to go as they should.

It's because of those rules that the whole tattoo situation happened, and the escalation and cover-up of such news cost Jim Tressel his job.

Is he guilty? Absolutely. But would he be guilty if he did the same thing in any other field besides college sports?

That said, under the context of the rules, he deserved the ending to the career he did for whatever reason he decided to do it, whether he felt he needed to bolster his legacy or if he was covering for his players.

But if you take away the events of the last several months, college football lost a true ambassador.

Jim Tressel will be missed by Buckeye fans and certainly can hold a candle to Woody Hayes as far as the most prestigious coaches at Ohio State.

But he had no choice but to resign, and again, that's a result of the broken system that college football has to subject itself to.

It's time for the NCAA to fix itself, because it's getting to the point where student-athletes are living essentially like slaves, and that's more immoral conduct than any situation done in the last 20 or so years, except for what happened at SMU.

It's not the 1990s anymore. Kids need some help.

And the NCAA's broken system made Tressel's crime akin to some of the most severe we can imagine.

Regardless, Tressel did pave the way for his own exit, and as of now we don't know if he just got off the ship before it sank.

But the NCAA is the real villain in all of this. 

If the NCAA doesn't fix its problems, college football might exist as an entirely separate entity from the NCAA.

If the NCAA truly follows the money, it will recognize that football is the ultimate moneymaker and is the sport that holds all the cards.


For more college football news and updates, visit The BCS Blitz and follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim.

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Why didn’t NASCAR throw a caution flag with two laps to go?

With Dale Earnhardt Jr. restarting on the front row with Kasey Kahne for a green-white-checker finish in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, Kahne ran out of fuel as the two led the field to the green flag with two laps to go.

Kahne's abrupt halt caused the rest of the field to accordion behind him, with Brad Keselowski, Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards all being collected and Burton sliding down the track to the infield.

Time for a caution and green-white-checker attempt number two, right? Wrong. The race stayed green until the end, when Junior ran out of gas in Turns 3 and 4 and Kevin Harvick passed him for the race win.

There's no sense in beating around the bush, so I'll ask the question that's undoubtedly the first that comes to mind for many who watched the race: was no caution thrown�because it was Junior�in the lead and potentially poised to break his winless streak?

After all, this was the same race that saw a caution thrown for a "beverage" can earlier.

When the contact occurred, Junior had sprinted out to a sizable advantage over Harvick. Keselowski was spewing debris and smoke as his car motored down the backstretch. This incident was slightly more than a mere beverage can.

Keselowski did keep going, and the damage to Burton's car wasn't severe and he was able to get pointed in the right direction fairly early. Plus, NASCAR said its spotters reported that the track was clear of debris.

Now I'm not claiming that NASCAR was attempting to fix the race for Junior. NASCAR has made a point to attempt to finish as many races under green with as few GWC attempts as possible. It's not unheard of, especially at a restrictor plate track, to have a crash happen behind the leaders and not have the caution flag fly.

If that was truly the case, as USA Today's Nate Ryan astutely observed after the race, NASCAR could have thrown the caution flag after Junior took the white flag and headed into Turn 1, the site of the crash, and Junior would have been the winner. (Once the leader takes the white flag, a caution flag after that point means the race is over. And given the multitude of fuel strategies that drivers were on towards the end of the race, another attempt at a GWC would have probably meant more carnage as — in hindsight — Junior and other drivers would have run out of gas.)

However, the direct contrast in caution criteria throughout the 600 miles is contradicting. (Remember Denny Hamlin's comments on Twitter last year?) Yes, there's a human element to sports and how we deal with potential consequences — it's the basis for the fantastic book Scorecasting — but isn't consistent officiating what every sports fan wants? If a beverage can necessitates a caution when Matt Kenseth is running away from the field, doesn't a crash definitely mean a caution on Lap 401, no matter that there are�less than two laps to go?

Did NASCAR make the right call keeping the race green, or should they have thrown another caution immediately and attempted another restart? Drop us a line in the comments.

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