The 2008 season is now in full gear; and with familiar names leading the Top 25. Tonight, USC dealing the Ohio State Buckeyes a big loss (box score). The Pac-10 needed a big W after BYU smashed UCLA today 59-0 (the Bruins worst lose since 1929). For full coverage and rankings visit: Fanbay College Football.
Insights, commentary, and analysis on all other sports besides NBA, NFL, and MLB.
The Sports Report is: college hoops, boxing, nascar, college football, golf, nhl, etc).
· Jim Rome
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· SportsFan Magazine
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· Google NewsSeptember 13
The L.A. Galaxy’s investment in the European soccer superstar is paying off across the board. 300,000 jerseys sold last year– about 4 times more than Kobe jerseys or LeBron jerseys. Read here.
Woods was down 1 stroke heading to the 18th tee. He played the hole poorly but still had a longer-than-it-sounds 12-foot put remaining for a birdie to tie the leader. Before the put, speculators via TradeSports gave Tiger a 24% chance of making it. Moments later, the ball having rolled into the hole, the same traders now give Tiger a 75% chance of beating Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff on Monday. Story.
A new chapter has begun. The long drama of Michelle Wie as the face of women’s golf is now, officially, over. Lorena Ochoa won the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Open today by 5 strokes, and then promptly dived into the water to celebrate– grabbing national (and international) headlines in the process. Story. More. Lorena has here own web site.. in 2 languages here.
Major League Soccer
The MLS kicks off its 13th season (the first MLS Cup was in 1996) one week from today, March 29. For a complete season preview visit here. The 2008 schedule is here. ABC will televise the June 29th contest between David Beckham’s LA Galaxy and the DC United and the November 23, MLS Cup 2008 (The Houston Dynamo beat the New England Revolution in MLS Cup 2007, here). The current 14-team league will be expanded to 18 teams by 2012 (Seattle is coming in 2009, Philadelphia in 2010, and the remaining 2 new teams have yet to be decided). Fanbay.net MLS Soccer coverage.
March Madness has arrived. The tourney starts tomorrow. For full coverage and analysis visit our NCAA Basketball page. Other links here:
· PDF Advance Tourney Picks
· Blank NCAA Bracket
· Tourney Picks with Analysis
· 2008 Predictions: NCAA Tourney Picks · NCAA Tournament Prediction
· Final Total Ranking
Is your bubble team gonna make it? Bubble Teams Tournament Analysis. And, NCAA Basketball page.
With the NCAA Tournament approaching… we have statistics, rankings, and predictions. Main NCAA Basketball page. Total rankings. Bubble Teams Tournament Analysis.
Full coverage of this season at our College Football Centre. Also, we have Bowl Game Predictions. The full bowl game schedule is also here.
For a change of pace, read this instalment of ESPN Page 2. You’ll be glad you did. Link.
It’s been another great year of college football. Appalachian State beating the Michigan Wolverines at Ann Arbor, Michigan. And then there’s this play, now being called “The Mississippi Miracle”.
NASCAR at Indy
It all started in 1994, and today will be NASCAR’s 14th race at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. From day one, it’s been a success. ESPN looks back at the time when the decision was being made- could stock car racing really work at a narrow track designed for open-wheel racing? From day 1 it was a success at Indianapolis, 350,000 people showed up. And for NASCAR, it was the catalyst for nationwide expansion– to Las Vegas, Texas, and Miami. Story.
More Boxing in the Spotlight
If not the biggest name in boxing right now, definitely the buzz of boxing is: Ricky “Hit Man” Hatton. His latest victim, a 4th round knockout of Jose Luis Castillo at the Thomas & Mack Centre in Las Vegas. Hatton is now 43-0. Story. And now, Hatton gets the big-time match he wanted. The other big name in boxing, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who is also undefeated (38-0). Hatton-Mayweather is set for December 8, 2007 in Las Vegas. Story.
That’s what we are saying anyways. Most stories are ‘the end of boxing’ and ‘boxing last big bout’. We say it marks a big return for boxing after a decade in the shadows. Full coverage of Oscar de la Hoya vs Floyd Mayweather Jr at our Boxing Centre.
Kentucky Derby: 133
It’s Derby Day. Official site here and more coverage, including all Triple Crown races, via horse racing.
NASCAR: Jeff Gordon
Fans at Talladega weren’t happy about it at all– but Jeff Gordon continued his strong season by winning the 77th race of his career- passing legendary driver Dale Earnhardt on the all-time list (story).
Just last year, it was the Carolina Hurricanes and the Edmonton Oilers battling for the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup. What a difference a year makes. After battling for the title last year, neither team will even make the playoffs this season. NHL Standings here.
A mega merger now places the UFC in contention as a ‘top level’ sport. The owners of Ultimate Fighting Championship (official site here) have paid $70 million to buy their rival league, Pride (a Japan-based league here). This will set up championship matches between the top fighters in each league. According to one of the owner’s of the UFC, this changes everything for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), “literally creating a sport that could be as big around the world as soccer”. It’s like the NFC and AFC forming the NFL (story).
Full coverage March Madness.
Selection Sunday is coming up, March 11th. Full coverage of the NCAA Tournament.
NCAA Hoops: Duke/UNC
Some thoughts about Tyler Hansbrough’s bloody nose. First, unfortunately, how many times does it need to be said– coaches shouldn’t have their top players in the game with 14 seconds to go with a 14 point spread. Second, why is Tyler Hansbrough trying to power his way to a basket in a blow-out game with 14 seconds left? Third, bloody noses don’t just happen in basketball. Many a game has been played with lots of tough contact, but rarely do we see blood dripping all over the court. Does the quote from Duke’s Gerald Henderson hint at some derogatory feelings “I was not trying to hurt or hit the kid.” Looking at the replay you see 2 things– Henderson flying in looking like he wants to hurt someone and then he kind of pulls in his elbow and turns away which does seem to suggest a lack of intent, and a focus on the ball. But the amount of blood at least justifies the referees decision to suspend Henderson for a game. Does Duke’s image “suffer a black eye”?
NASCAR: Daytona 500
No controversy. Plain and simple. The Monday morning sports writers always need something to talk about. Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick were neck and neck around the final turn as turmoil began behind them. NASCAR let the two drivers finish their race to the finish line and then waved the caution. It would have been completely unjustified to end the race with a caution just seconds before the closest photo finish in memory. The drivers settled it in a full speed race to the finish line. And Harvick won. Case closed. No controversy.
NASCAR: Daytona 500
NASCAR racing is back. The longest season in sports– February 18 to November 18– begins Sunday at the Daytona International Speedway (here) at 2pm Eastern on FOX. The season will appear on 4 different networks (Fox until 6/3; TNT from 6/10 to 7/15; ESPN from 7/29 to 9/2; and ABC for the final 11 races). Tradesports prices (here) indicate bids solid for Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr are the other top picks.
Instead of reporting about the games, Yahoo Sports! writers, like Dan Wetzel, are focused on finding trouble. Is this just witch hunting from journalists with nothing better to do? Illinois got a lot of good recruits which must mean they cheated (latest attempt at making a scandal here). Eventually one is sure to stick. Will your team be next? Funny how Wetzel says “If people have information, they should either step up or shut up. They should either turn it over to the NCAA or let Illinois move forward.” I guess that doesn’t include himself. I guess it’s hard for him to realise he’s the one publishing an article about “ill-gotten gains?” with, self-admitted, apparently no evidence. Perhaps some of these stories by Yahoo! Sports may end up being true; but is the rush to have a story so important that they can’t do the leg work first– and find the e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e. How about some baseball predictions Dan? Or an article predicting the NCAA tournament field?
The media seems to have a story they are pursuing on every angle. They are trying to bring down the USC college football program. It started with Yahoo! Sports looking for attention. Not clear what the motive is now that the Associated Press is working these stories, such as here.
Yahoo! Sports is trying to make a name for themselves– as an investigatory sports news outlet. And they want you to know about it. But its not a scoop on some big trade, or a story about an aspiring or future sports star. Rather, an investigation campaign to bring down Reggie Bush. Here is the latest report from Jason Cole and Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. The problem with these kinds of stories is once the journalists get a whiff of becoming some sort of big name themselves, they find themselves doing things worse than the things they attack. Anyways, Yahoo! Sports wants you to know that the latest story is part of an “ongoing Yahoo! Sports investigation.” Nice. Great way to make a name for yourselves. Read the article and count the multiple mentions of Yahoo! Sports this and that.
They aren’t laughing any more. Just a Wie bit of criticism here, here, and here. “She hasn’t earned this”, “She’s not ready”, “She should just let it go for now”. But it ain’t her– it’s the sponsors. They want her out there. It doesn’t matter how she does. She’s at least good enough to buy some tickets. And if people are buying and watching, it’s good for the game, right? Wie is struggling at the Sony Open (in Hawaii!) here.
It’s official. The corner kick specialist from Europe is on his way to MLS (Major League Soccer). The L.A. Galaxy agreed to an out-of-this-universe salary that just might make him one of the highest paid in the room at any Hollywood gala. New stories about David Beckham coming to America: at Yahoo, and “Beckham signing legitimises MLS” at ESPN, and at Sports Illustrated. So when we all forget about him in a couple months (it is the MLS right? and this won’t change that will it?), at least the initial news got some press play. Although, the x-factor is women. Beckham isn’t just a soccer player.
The BCS National Championship
For 14 seconds it looked like the game would be dominated by the Buckeyes. But the rest of the game was an avalanche the other way. To sum up the Florida Gators 41-14 national championship victory, one word should do it: coaching. Urban Meyer’s (bio) team was prepared. His offence was reminiscent of the misdirection that won the Fiesta Bowl for Boise State. The Gators literally steamrolled the Buckeyes in the first half. And with Ohio State down just 10 points late in the 2nd quarter, Buckeyes head coach Jim Trussle demonstrated just how outmatched his entire team was– by going for it on 4th and 1 from the 29-yard line. Ohio State never recovered. And the offence couldn’t put a point on the board in the 2nd half. In fact, if you take away Ted Ginn Jr’s 93-yard kickoff return (not far-fetched, considering just about any football fan could clearly see the holding), the game was really lopsided. On the other hand, what if? What if Ted Ginn Jr. didn’t leave the game (never to return) on Ohio State’s first drive? Fox Game Trax, SportsLine Glog, ESPN Recap, Box score, Game Notes, and story.
2006-2007 Bowl Games
Results of all games here. And for downloads of games (including the Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl) click here.
2007 Fiesta Bowl
Was the 2007 Fiesta Bowl (box score here) the best college bowl game ever? Oklahoma was DOWN by 8 with under 2 minutes to go, and UP by 7 with under a minute left. Then Boise State drove 72 yards to tie it up. First play in OT, Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson runs in for a TD. Game over again? Nope. Read about it here, here, here, here, and highlights here. It’s also setting off a great debate about what really was the best bowl game of all-time? It might be better to wait a month and see if the sensationalism is still there. Check out this all-time bowl ranking: Pete Fiutak via Fox Sports here (makes a great case for the 1984 Orange Bowl). More reading (and great comments) here.
Best College Sports School
ESPN’s Pat Forde ranks the Top 10 colleges, though he is only looking at College Football and College Basketball. Forde leads into the rankings by noting that “no school has ever won the football and men’s basketball national titles in the same academic year.” The basic message here is that the Florida Gators and the Ohio State Buckeyes both have a very legitimate shot at it this year. His rankings of the Top 10 schools is here. It’s a great read.
Sports Pictures of the Year
Sports Illustrated has posted, starting here (with the funniest picture) their 2006 “Most Interesting Pictures”. Of the 41 pictures, here’s a few highlights: #26, from the 42-kilometre (26-mile) “Engadin Skimarathon” (here) in Switzerland; #14, a game of kick volleyball (“Sepak Takraw”– here) at the Asian Games here; and #32, a flashback to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy; and #38, camera happy fans at the start of the 2006 Kentucky Derby.
NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins
Do hockey and casinos mix? It seems big-league politics and hockey mix. It’s a messy story, but interesting one. You can start here and here. Pennsylvania’s Governor killed a casino deal (details of deal here) that would have paid the full $290 million price tag for a new stadium (presumably the Governor killed the deal because that casino isn’t his friend); but instead chooses another casino deal (presumably the casino guys he likes). The problem for the Penguins is that Governor’s deal means the Penguins will have to pay for the stadium. And that’s going to be tough to work out. But, you would think the Governor will have to arrange something soon to save the team and finance a new stadium. Otherwise, on the surface, it would seem he would be responsible for the Penguins leaving Pittsburgh. That’s like the Cleveland Browns moving from Cleveland. It just couldn’t be. But Kansas City, Houston, and Portland wouldn’t mind having Sidney Crosby. The Penguins lease (at their 45-year-old stadium, Mellon Arena) is up in June. More here.
2006 Heisman Trophy
Quarterback Troy Smith became the 6th Ohio State Buckeye to win the prize. It was the 2nd most lopsided Heisman vote in history to O.J. Simpson (1968) (story)..
The story of the year? Poll results here. What about Edmonton making the Stanley Cup Finals as an 8-seed? That would have got plenty of votes. In fact, it might have won. Though, Malkin, and especially the Islanders 15-year deal for Goalie Rick DiPietro (bio) (story) are big stories.
Want to figure out how they select the teams for all the BCS bowl games. Go here for the official policies and procedures. As heavy as the college football reading gets.
Our new Top 16 posted at our college basketball coverage.
Ohio State vs Michigan
It’s #2 Michigan traveling to Columbus to play #1 Ohio State in college football’s marque matchup of the season. The first time these 2 teams played was 1897. Overall, Michigan leads the series 57-39-6. However, they have been evenly matched for the past 50 years (24-24-2). Ohio State took last year’s game 25-21 on the road in Ann Arbor. Regarding national championship implications, keep this in mind: If Michigan loses a close game they may have a stronger case for a rematch, because they beat Notre Dame at South Bend and the loss to Ohio State would be a road loss. If Ohio State loses, despite being #1, we think they wouldn’t be worthy of a rematch, because they have the home field advantage to beat Michigan. Using the polls means the opposite logic (that Ohio State is #1 and Michigan is #2, therefore Ohio State would deserve a rematch but not Michigan).
Thankfully in this year’s case, the computer ranking is not the final word. The computer has Rutgers ranked #2 in the country. With a big shout-out for the Scarlet Knights amazing, undefeated season– they have not earned such a high ranking. BCS Standings here.
Major League Soccer
The MLS is seeking to add a high-profile world-reknown superstar player. So they have added the “Beckham Rule” which bends the salary rules to allow bigger salaries. Now its possible for David Beckham, Ronaldo (see), or Luis Figo to join an MLS team (story).
Its official: the Ohio State vs Michigan winner will play for the national championship. Their opponent? That’s the question. If Michigan were to lose a close game there is some logic to a rematch. If Ohio State loses, it was a home game and they may have lost the opportunity. The other contenders basically will come from a pick of 2 big games. 1) the USC vs Notre Dame winner, or 2) the SEC champ. If Ohio State beats Michigan, the Wolverines still look better than Notre Dame (since they beat ’em). And USC would probably have the upper hand on the SEC champ– having beat Arkansas. Rutgers is an outside possibility– but its better for the Big East to prove itself in one of the other big bowl games by matching them up against one of the best teams that doesn’t get to play for the national championship (such as the Michigan- Ohio State loser).
The AP Preseason Top 25 is out. The Top 3 are the same as USA Today/ESPN: 1. Arizona, 2. North Carolina, 3. Kansas (both polls here). Check out our 2006-2007 college basketball coverage. We will have a weekly “Sweet 16” Ranking until the end of the season.
How long before ‘Bend It’ is in the U.S. playing Major League Soccer (MLS here) for either the New York Red Bulls or the Los Angeles Galaxy? ESPN’s Phil Holland discusses it all here.
New York City Marathon
Lance Armstrong tried something new. The time was phenomenal: 2 hours, 59 minutes and 36 seconds. But, Lance paid a price: “I bit off more than I could chew” (story). The winners of the 26-mile race (official site here): Women: Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia) in 2:25:05 and Men: M. Gomes dos Santos (Brazil) in 2:09:58.
College Football: Bowl Game Speculation
Notre Dame’s chances were hurt big by USC’s loss. A year-end win over USC at USC would only have looked big if only USC had been undefeated. Now, the emphasis is back on Notre Dame’s slugfest, come-from-behind wins at Michigan State and at home vs UCLA.
Therefore, the Michigan-Ohio State loser becomes the front runner for the National Championship. Who else would have a better loss? The other key possibility is the SEC Champ– only if they have just 1 loss. This would definitely be a hard-earned and respectable (if not overdue) choice.
The other options: Texas if they run the table could earn a rematch with Ohio State. But Texas would not be able to play Michigan, since Ohio State beat Texas at Texas. Therefore, the Longhorns need an Ohio State win to even have a chance.
Finally, you have West Virginia, Louisville, or… now… Rutgers. If either of these teams finishes the season undefeated they will have at least earned credit by beating the other 2. Hardcore fans may not approve, but the Mountaineers have stature that shouldn’t be ignored: 1) a rock solid offence, 2) a win last year ‘at’ Georgia in the Sugar Dome, 3) their schedule (the weakest link) looks better now with Louisville and Rutgers both doing so well. California is a big long shot (they need to win out, beat USC, have USC beat Notre Dame, and them beat out everyone else, including the SEC champ).
The possible Scenarios:
· 30%: Ohio St. vs SEC Champ (with only one loss) or Texas/Michigan (the one with the better loss to Ohio State)
· 30%: Michigan vs SEC Champ (with only 1 loss) or Ohio St.
· 25%: Ohio St./Michigan winner vs. West Virginia/Louisville/Rutgers (if any of them finish undefeated)
· 10%: Ohio St./Michigan winner vs USC/Notre Dame winner (must finish with only 1 loss)
· 5%: Ohio St./Michigan winner vs California (would be tough to justify over an SEC champ with only 1 loss because of Cal’s rout at Tennessee)
The 2006 Breeder’s Cup (official site) is Saturday November 4, 2006 at Churchill Downs. The signature event is the Breeder’s Cup Classic: The best 3+ year olds running 1 1/4 mile for $5 million. Bernardini is the heavy favourite; Lava Man is the closest competition. Racing begins at 11:15 AM ET. For more information, visit Horse Racing Coverage.
This year, we have started weekly NCAA Football Rankings. Visit our College Football Coverage. The site also lists the best games this year– past and upcoming.
We have updated our college basketball page for the start of the 2006-2007 season. Now we will have a weekly “Sweet 16” Ranking until the end of the season. College Basketball.
The F.A. Premier League– Britain’s ‘football’ league that includes the Manchester United (link)– is getting some attention for its Barclays Premiership. Visit here.
NHL – Hockey
The 2006-2007 Season is underway. NHL Coverage. Scores, schedule, predictions, preview, standings, and team-by-team outlooks.
We have Top NCAA Championship contenders ranked every week– Top 10 College Football.
First, kudos to the Pac-10 Conference for calling a spade a spade. So often, these types of things are addressed with carefully crafted balanced language that never gets to the issue. But, the Pac-10 understands what college football fans saw on TV– the Oklahoma Sooners got screwed. Clearly and unequivocally– twice in just less than a minute. On 2 plays that were reviewed by instant replay! Suspending the officials for one game isn’t really enough (story). Plus, read this article, maybe the instant replay guy should hang it up. The game has potentially huge consequences. With the best running back in the nation, and a big game coming up against Texas, it was possible that the Sooners could have been a national championship contender this season (though that kind of reminds us that the ball has bounced OU’s way before– with trips to the national championship when other teams could have been chosen). Still, unlike Pat Forde of ESPN here, we don’t think the University of Oklahoma is overreacting, at all. So, will the Sooners bag the game against Washington? We won’t blame them if they do (story).
Check out our college football coverage– where we rank the top teams each week in the top left column and give you a list of the best upcoming games.
Steroids in Sports
Barry Bonds is proving to be the beginning– not the end of steroids in sports. The Charlotte Observer reports 6 players on the 2003 NFC champion Carolina Panthers were using steroids. Story.
College Football 2006
Our Top 10 rankings (first ever and continuing through the season) are posted at our main College Football page. Also, all major games this season are listed. The early games of the most significance are: Ohio State at Texas on September 9th, and LSU at Auburn the next weekend. Those games will set up the winners for a nice run. The weekend of September 16th is setting up as the best week of the college football season with several big games including Miami(FL) at Louisville and Oklahoma at Oregon. And, in the evening, Nebraska is at USC and Clemson at Florida State. SI.com has a breakdown of the 15 biggest games of the season in pictures here. They pick the November 25th rematch of last year’s best game (and in our opinion the best game in the history of college football): Notre Dame and USC.
Not everyday you hear that name. But, Yusaku Miyazato made history on Friday August 25th. He became the first golfer ever to make 2 holes-in-one (the 7th hole and 12th hole at Montreux in Reno-Tahoe). on the same day in a PGA Tour event (story). The 26-year old from Japan has scored winnings in only one PGA event (the Sony Open in Hawaii in January 2003); and his 72nd place finish earned $8,775 (career stats here).
College Football 2006
The AP Top 25 is out (see it at ESPN here): 1. Ohio State, 2. Notre Dame, 3. Texas. So far all the voters are hedging their bets placing Texas and Ohio State near the top. One is going to lose on September 9th. We say this time it’s the opposite of last year– the Buckeyes win on the road. The other interesting ranking is TCU at #22. Does this mean TCU just creeps out all year as they beat everyone on their schedule? We rank them #7 just because at the end of the season, with 1 or 2 losses, that’s where they will be. See our rankings at Fanbay.net Sports College Football.
Surprise upset: Roger Federer’s 55-match winning streak ended in Ohio (story). Federer also ended a streak of reaching the final in 17 straight tournament appearances (going back to June 2005). This was just one shy of the all-time record of 18, by Ivan Lendl back in 1981-82. Federer indicated he was a victim of his own success– playing so many matches: “Two Masters Series back-to-back — 12 matches in 13 days — it’s something of the impossible”. Federer’s official website and results here.
FIBA World Championships
Team USA will be off and running August 19th (in Japan) vs. Puerto Rico. The World Championship game is September 3. Rosters and news for Team USA here and here. Official web site here. No surprise, U.S. is the huge favourite (70 bid) at TradeSports– prices here.
“One of the more exciting heavyweight title fights in years.” Great story here. Oleg Maskaev (who lives in Staten Island and is a native of Kazakhstan) knocked down (TKO) Hasim Rahman in the 12th round.
College Football 2006
Full coverage via Fanbay.net Sports College Football. The Coaches (USA Today) poll is out with full analysis, team capsules here. 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Notre Dame and USC, 5. Oklahoma. Everyone is wondering whether Oklahoma still deserves a #5 ranking after dismissing QB Rhett Bomar, requiring the ‘return’ of Paul Thompson (profile). Some reports seem to indicate the Sooners will adjust, use “A.D.” (All Day, Adrian Peterson) more (including out of the backfield) and be fine: here and here. As for Bomar, he’s getting lots of attention (story).
X Games 12: Travis Pastrana
The highlight of the X Games 12: Travis Pastrana taking the Moto X best trick gold with a history-making, first-ever double backflip (story and you have to watch the video “Moto X Best Trick Gold: Pastrana Makes History”) earning a ridiculous 98.6 (scores). And a cool picture of Mike Mason hands-free here.
The world’s biggest name in soccer, ‘Bend it Like Beckham’, is a step closer to making a break for the MLS. England is changing things and Beckham’s no longer on the national squad (story). The 31-year old Midfielder still has his gig with Real Madrid (profile here). But, what’s the over/under on playing in the U.S.? Another year (more)?
Heavyweight Boxing: Rahman vs Maskaev
Fanbay.net Boxing Coverage: Hasim Rahman vs. Oleg Maskaev (Heavyweight Title Fight): “America’s Last Line of Defence” on Saturday, August 12, 2006 live on HBO pay-per-view 9 ET/6 PT here. Rahman is the current WBC champion, but this fight is a rematch from 1999 when Maskaev sent Rahman through the ropes… seriously. Check out the video here. Rahman, a native of Baltimore, MD, enters the fight 41-5-2 (with 33 KOs). Everything about Rahman here. Maskaev is 32-5-0 (with 25 KO’s)– career log here. This will be one of Maskaev’s biggest fights of his career; whereas Rahman (career log here) had major fights vs Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield in 2001 and 2002. Vegas odds here.
Another Positive for Landis
Tour de France Director: “(It goes without saying that for us) Floyd Landis is no longer the winner of the 2006 Tour de France.” (story). However, no official declaration of a new winner has been made. And, Landis is digging in to contest the test results: “I have never taken any banned substance, including testosterone” (story).
The 12th Summer X Games (originally called “Extreme Games” in 1995): Coverage.
Lance on Landis
No stranger to controversy himself, Lance Armstrong opened up and offered advice for Floyd Landis regarding his high testosterone results after winning the Tour de France: “You’ve got to fight back and you’ve got to answer the questions” (story).
Security at Sports Events
A judge in Florida rules- no more “pat downs” (story). We’re not really sure what would drive someone to file a lawsuit to stop security at games. When several thousand people are gathering at a high-profile event it seems more than prudent that stadiums would want to ensure a safe environment– especially in a post 9/11 environment. Is it a hassle? Yes. Does it cause delay? Yes. Is it a bother having to wait a couple extra seconds or minutes to enter a stadium? Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it is. Still, the alternative is much worse. How does our freedom get inhibited by a little extra security? It seems it actually ensures our freedom.. and our safety.
The 2006 British Open was a reminder that, besides the competition, people love sports because of the emotion too. Perhaps this will go down as one of the most memorable Major wins for Tiger. The pictures tell so much to us all about life. Great picture here. And a gallery of all of Tiger’s wins in Majors here.
She’s just the centre of attention– and keeping a spotlight on tennis (story): “Hey, you guys wanted some entertainment during a women’s match — you got some.”
It’s all Europe in the 2006 World Cup. Gone are the top contenders from South America: Brazil and Argentina. Was it the ‘home’ advantage? Or, is Europe, likes its powerful pro leagues, the centre of the soccer universe? But, maybe the bigger story is that even with 4 teams from Europe in the semifinals, England is not one of the them. David Beckham takes the blame.
Another tournament, and another disappointment for the state of U.S. tennis. They are down to the quarterfinals (top 8) at Wimbledon, and there are no Americans left in the bracket– men or women (story). Wimbledon site here.
At the end of the day, the coach is basically right here. Naturally, the MLS needs to stand up for itself and blast Bruce Arena. But the general premise is clearly correct. In baseball and basketball the foreign stars come to the U.S. to play in the world’s most competitive leagues. And when it comes time for the Olympics, etc they play for their home country. But the point is that the best players around the world play in the best league. If the U.S. wants to compete in soccer, the European leagues are currently the best in the world. Either MLS needs to up its competitive level. Or, to compete on the global level, the U.S. does need some of its best talent competing in Europe all year.
A rare miss (story) for Woods. And an excellent column here that captures where Tiger is at, in life– and on the course. Tiger will no doubt return to the top of golf’s ranks, its just a matter of whether it takes weeks, or a couple of years.
Whatever you call it: Football or soccer; it’s back. The first games are Friday June 9th (schedule here). The 2006 FIFA World Cup begins in Germany on June 9th. Every four years, the entire world (minus the U.S.) goes crazy for soccer. In 2002, Brazil beat Germany, winning the World Cup for the 5th time. Brazil is the favourite again (Vegas Odds), even though their best player, Ronaldo (and the best in the world), has nagging blisters (story). 2006 FIFA World Cup links and analysis. Official Site.
The Stanley Cup is back, after a year off, beginning tonight. But in a near repeat of the last Stanley Cup it is a small-market team from Western Canada vs. a new, small-market team from the U.S. Southeast. In 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightening beat the Calgary Flames. This year, the Edmonton Oilers take on the Carolina Hurricanes. The Oilers started the playoffs as the 8th (lowest) seed in the Western Conference but upset the Detroit Red Wings to begin a cinderella run. They remain the underdog (TradeSports prices here), partly because Carolina has the home ice advantage (full Stanley Cup schedule here).
Just one American left (men or women) at the French Open Quarterfinals: Venus Williams. Is this a low point for U.S. tennis? It was almost the first time in the 38-year Open era that no American would have made it to the quarterfinals (story). But then Venus Williams rallied fora 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win.
The Indy 500 (official site) is 1 pm on Sunday, May 28th. Castroneves (bio), Sam Hornish Jr, and Dan Wheldon are the favourites (via Tradesports here). Female driver, Danica Patrick (bio), is back again. The Indy 500 is still recovering from fan disappointment though (story).
It was an emotional day at the Preakness. Barbaro’s injury, very early in the race, was a shock. The heavy favourite, triple crown hopeful, had drawn a record crowd to Pimlico race track. At first glance it seemed like a huge step backward for a sport to suffer tragedy at one of its most cherished events. However, perhaps, it may have the opposite effect. Because the injury also showed the emotional, human-element of horse racing. Upon reflection, Barbaro was the ultimate competitor, suffering a tough injury in a big ‘game’. And for that, the Preakness is just like any other sport. Sometimes the best suffer an injury in action. For horses, the injuries are still so tragic because of their inability to lie down to recover. But, Barbaro was living the way he wanted to live– trying to outrun his peers. Latest on the recovery here. And, more opinion/commentary from Pat Forde at ESPN here.
World Cup 2006
2006 FIFA World Cup links and analysis.
College Football 2006
Buckeye fans are not surprised to find Ohio State atop this ESPN spring Top 25 here. Makes for excitement for the upcoming season, except that, once again, everything will ride on an early game with Texas. At Texas. September 9th, night game. Buckeyes 2006 schedule here.
The next stop in the Triple Crown is Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Maryland. Barbaro, an easy winner of the Kentucky Derby, is an early 3-1 favourite for the Saturday race (story).
It took 5 days to figure out the official finish time of the race? The answer, rounding up from 9.766 to 9.77, makes sense. However, if that’s the rule, that could have been easily been stated immediately after the race. Justin Gatlin has been a real good sport about this strange twist of events (story). However, it may not be as easy as Gatlin hopes to really set the record straight (story). His previous best was 9.85.
Soccer’s (football) biggest moment, the 2006 FIFA World Cup begins in Germany on June 9th. The tile is July 9th in Berlin. Calendar view here. For 2 weeks, until Friday June 23rd, the group interplay occurs (this is called Stage 1, schedule). The top 2 teams from each of the 8 groups (here) advance to a 16-team “Stage 2” tournament to decide the winner (Stage 2 bracket here).
Team USA Soccer
The U.S. could make it out of their group, E, which could set up a match against the favourite, Brazil, on Monday June 27th. However, Team USA will have to come out of the group ahead of either Italy or the Czech Republic, neither of which will be too easy. Here is the Team USA roster and the official site for US Soccer.
The 2006 World Cup official site here. There are 32 countries competing in 8 groups here. And, here are the favourites according to TradeSports. Brazil is the big favourite. Argentina, Germany, England, Italy, and France are in the mix; Vegas odds here. Holland, Spain, and Portugal are outside shots.
Sports Illustrated celebrates Mother’s Day with a 15-photo gallery of top athletes and their moms here.
The 16-year old made the cut in a men’s tournament… in the Asia Tour’s SK Telecom Open in South Korea (‘her ancestral homeland’)– in a non-PGA event. A woman making the cut in a PGA Tour event did occur back in 1945 (story).
The BCS is discussing the possibility of some changes here.
For all intents and purposes the 2005-2006 NHL was a success. The game is back. The league is in a better financial position. Fans came back to the stadiums. In fact, the league set a new all-time high attendance record, led by all sell-outs for the Montreal Canadians (story). And the new rules were a hit. 12% of the games ended in a shootout and the total number of goals scored increased 18% to 6.1 goals per game. And five players had over 50 goals: Cheechoo, Jagr, Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, and Heatley (story). The chase for the Stanley Cup begins Friday– playoff story here.
The first National Hockey League playoffs in 2 years is two weeks away. Current NHL standings here. The rebound year has turned out to be not so bad– attendance (figures) is down about 2% overall from the 2003-2004 season.
Golf: The Masters
March Madness is over and so comes The Masters. Who will win? Check TradeSports prices here. We have Golf Coverage and you can head straight to the Masters and Augusta web sites here and here. Play begins Thursday at 8am ET. Memorable Masters moments here. Last year, Tiger Woods beat Chris DiMarco in a playoff. No one else was close. 2005 results here. In 2004, Phil finally got a major.
2006 NCAA Tournament Recap
Best tournament ever? Well, the hype leading up to the Final Four maybe caused some analysts to get a little ahead of themselves. Nevertheless, this was a pretty amazing tournament. It produced a lot of surprises. There were early exits (Duke, Tennessee). There were several last-second game-winners (Paulino for Texas; Tennessee just to survive the 1st round; UConn to get to OT vs George Mason; Northwestern State to down Iowa). There were monster comebacks (George Washington erasing every point of an 18-point deficit in 4 minutes; UCLA’s shocking comeback against Adam Morrison and Gonzaga). There was a cinderella (George Mason) that danced all the way to Indianapolis. And, then there was one amazing team left standing at the end of it all: Florida. The Gators steamrolled their final 3 opponents and definitely earned the respect as best team. But best ever? At least until next year. Really its hard to try and trump current memories by digging back in the head for others. Last year was actually pretty good including the Fighting Illini’s roof-shaking comeback at AllState Arena. But, what about 1990? That was the year of Kenny Anderson’s late buzzer beater, Loyola Marymount’s high-scoring run to the Elite 8 just days after Hank Gathers died during a game (story), and Jerry Tarkanian and UNLV’s 30-point win over Duke in the championship (1990 recap) a week after Duke knocked out UConn with a Laettner OT game winner just days after UConn hit a miracle game winner at the Meadowlands to beat Clemson. And, what about 1985 with Villanova-Georgetown?
Florida-UCLA: Two red-hot teams arrive in the NCAA title game. UCLA has won 12 straight (schedule) including the PAC-10 title. And Florida has won 10-straight including the SEC title (schedule). Can UCLA win another title (NCAA Final Four Statistics)? Or can Florida get its first (story)?
Final Four: UCLA-LSU
Which UCLA will show up? The ‘2nd half vs Gonzaga’ team, or, the ‘Memphis Regional Final’ team? Probably, closer to the later. LSU will put their defensive master on the engine of UCLA’s offence, Farmar. It becomes a slugfest between Big Baby and Hollins in the paint. So, two things end up deciding the game. 1) The winner between Davis/Hollins; and 2) The team that gets 2 or 3 three-point baskets to fall in during the right stretch of the game. Match-up: here.
Final Four: Florida-George Mason
George Mason isn’t going to fool Florida. They won’t be able to run their usual offensive set-up as smoothly as they did vs. UCONN. If defence wins the game for Mason it will be because of Tony Skinn. But the true X-factor for the Patriots will be Folarin Campbell. This guy is the one likely future NBA-er in the bunch. He’s just a sophomore, but he’s capable of lighting it up (he scored 51 in a big high school game and he was 2-time first team all-met in Washington, DC area– profile). If George Mason advances to the championship, we believe it will be because of a big performance from Campbell. Match-up here.
The secret to George Mason’s success: Coach Jim Larranaga’s starting line-up includes a few high school state/city champions– winning is “contagious” (story).
Complete NCAA Tournament coverage, including facts, stats, and commentary.
Regarding UConn’s staggering amount of free throws vs Washington, Dennis Dodd basically says, turnabout is ‘fair’ play– pointing out that Washington got past the Fighting Illini by piling up trips to the line (story).
Following UConn’s victory over Washington, Greg Gumbel says “You can’t script this stuff. This isn’t wrestling.” Absolutely. UCLA’s monster comeback; Pittsnogle’s triple trumped 5 seconds later by a Texas buzzerbeater; Anderson’s double dose of three’s in the last minute vs Washington. Then again, down the stretch of the Huskies-Huskies match-up, the CBS commentators were wondering why 5 players fouled out in Washington’s OT loss and UConn had 47 free throw attempts vs 23 for Washington (box score here). UW Huskie fans rap the game here.
Reddick vs Morrison
Dan Wetzel (Yahoo Sports columnist who we always seem to disagree with) says the college basketball player of the year should be Morrison– no question (column). To determine this, Wetzel conducts a mock NBA draft. Wetzel’s column would be best written a day before the NBA draft. To determine the best college basketball player this year, Wetzel should be asking coaches and players who went up against these guys on the court, this year. Why not ask Maryland’s Gary Williams– who faced both. Or Memphis coach John Calipari. Or Virginia’s players. Or compare their stats vs these common opponents. The answer might be the same, but you have to be asking the appropriate people about the question at hand (player of the year, not first pick in the NBA draft).
Second round NCAA tourney picks. As a reminder full coverage: March Madness.
A great article about the legendary NCAA basketball coach.
NCAA game-by-game predictions are posted at NCAA tournament picks and our “total rankings” are up at NCAA Computer Rankings. Picks will be updated continually. As a reminder full coverage: March Madness.
You’ve got full coverage available from us, including talking points, picks, stats, and rankings: March Madness. And, visit Sportsline, EPSN, and USA Today.
World Series of Poker
Ever wonder who plays in these events? How you get in them? Well, it could be you. It’s really not all that complicated. Well, at least that’s the case at Binion’s (official site)) with the “American Poker Player Championship.” From May 10-24th there are several different events with all levels of buy-ins (full schedule here). But Binion’s no longer owns the signature, trademarked “World Series of Poker.” The WSOP is owned by Harrah’s and run at Rio. The main event is July 28 to August 10. There are smaller events beginning June 25, 2006 all the way up to the beginning of the world championship event. Everything you need to know about the 2006 WSOP is here. It’s at the Rio, here.
When North Carolina beat Illinois to grab the NCAA Championship last year it was no surprise. Roy Williams was expected to win with Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Shawn May, and Rashad McCants. This year is different. Roy basically started over and some thought it was back to square one for UNC. Last night, by easily beating Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Roy Williams has officially put UNC back on top of the college basketball world.
He’s got a gold medal in the snowboarding half pipe and a wish for a date with figure skater Sasha Cohen. Cohen hasn’t met Shaun, but she left him an opening, saying: “I do like gold medals” (story). Fanbay.net Sports Olympic Coverage.
Yeah, she fell. She had the gold medal all wrapped up and just seconds away from the finish line she tries to put on a show, she falls, and ends up finishing 2nd. Big deal? Well, no doubt, it was one of the most intriguing (entertaining) moments in Winter Olympics television history. But, for Lindsey, its’ not that big of a deal. Really. She finished 2nd in the world. Jacobellis is taking home a Silver medal (what happened? the story). But she’s had the right attitude about it from the first seconds she’s been questioned about it. And, her sport is a little different. It’s snowboarding. The race (women’s snowboard cross) is a brand new olympic event. When most people think snowboarding, they think “backside method grab”. Actually, they don’t think that, because we’re all trying to figure out why those three words are placed together for any reason. Method? But, the point is that snowboarding is about flashy jumps and showboating. And who can blame Lindsey for momentarily lapsing to her roots. Had she been born a racer that’s one thing. Take that silver and smile.
College Football: 2006 Season
The best rankings for recruiting are at Rivals.com, link here. The top five, at this point, in order are: USC, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, and Texas. Individual prospects are ranked here. And, here is another ranking of top individual recruits. So, who will win the national championship next season. Fox Sports has a preseason poll out here. And Rivals has their 2006 college football “first look” rankings here. Rivals has Ohio State #1 (Fox has them #5). Fox places Texas at #1 (Rivals has them #6).
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
There are big plans for LVMS (official site) says track owner Bruton Smith. The track runs one NASCAR race a year right now, this year’s will be March 12th (the UAW-DaimlerChrsyler 400). LVMS is upgrading facilities, partly in hopes of landing another NASCAR race, but also because Smith wants to create the ‘Taj Mahal of the racing world’ (story). He wants the National Hot Rod Association (visit) headquartered in Vegas (drag racing is for real– see here) and he wants the Indy Racing League at his track too. For more on racing, visit Fanbay.net Sports Nascar Nextel Cup coverage.
San Antonio Rodeo
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo (official site here) gets under way February 3rd and runs through the 19th. SALE, as it is known, has grown from its kick-off in 1950. ESPN provides rodeo coverage here. And the final 2005 Jack Daniel’s World Standings are here. The main event in rodeo is not SALE, that’s really the National Finals Rodeo which is held in December (recap). The 2006 Wrangler ProRodeo Tour schedule is here. The reason for the fuss about rodeos? SALE sends the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs on a long road trip every February (story here).
College Basketball: Missouri Valley Conference
Well, maybe the fact that the Missouri Valley Conference is ranked fifth among conferences isn’t that big of a deal. The RPI of ‘lower-tier’ teams tends to be ranked higher heading into conference play. For the rest of the season, the top conferences teams RPI’s all start trending higher because they are playing each other. But, the MVC (conference home page here) is currently ranked ahead of both the Big 12 and the Pac 10, and that seems to say at least something (see RPI conference rankings at bottom of the page here). No MVC team is currently ranked, but Northern Iowa (UNI) and Witchita State are arguably worth a bigger look (standings).
Two things: 1) The creation of the enormous Big East conference has actually been interesting so far because there are so many new rivalries and great match-ups that have been created. Having historically great basketball programs like Cincinnati, Louisville, DePaul, and Marquette rolling with ‘Nova, UConn, G’town, and ‘Cuse is the real deal. 2) Today, three of the biggest men’s hoops programs in college basketball history (Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina) all lost home conference games. Rare.
2005-2006 Bowl Game Season
Some sports writers think there are too many games (so many 6-5 teams playing at the end of December). Maybe. But it would be hard to argue with the claim that this was the best college football bowl season.. ever. Full scoreboard. Even before the new year there was Nevada vs Central Florida, Arizona State vs Rutgers, and the Michigan-Nebraska matchups. And, actually, all of that was followed on 12/30 by Virginia’s tight win over Minnesota, Mizzou’s comeback over Lou Holtz’ Gamecocks, LSU’s rout of Miami, and UCLA’s shootout with Northwestern. On January 2nd, the biggest fans took a spot on the coach to zero in on Alabama (one of the game’s best defences) just about shut down Texas Tech’s high powered offence, but then needed a last-second, line-drive 45-yard field goal to win the Cotton Bowl 13-10 (story. And, then, out of nowhere, the Hokies scored 22 unanswered in the 4th quarter to take the Gator Bowl. Enough time left to grab a cold one before Notre Dame jumped out in front in the Rose Bowl before losing to the Buckeyes (story). Could it get any better? Who knew it was just starting. It was hard to keep an interest in the Sugar Bowl after West Virginia took a 28-0 lead, but yet the game never seemed over. And it wasn’t. Plus, even if it had never been close, the performance by Steve Slaton was one for the ages (story. The next night, in the Orange Bowl, 76-year old Bobby Bowden’s FSU Seminoles squared off against 79-year old Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions. Fittingly, the game took 3 OT’s before Penn State pulled it out. It was an in-the-trenches war on the field on every single play. Story. And then you had the Rose Bowl…
2006 National Championship
Even some Buckeye fans will tell you… the 2006 Rose Bowl was the best college football national championship game ever. And that’s saying a lot, because Ohio State took the 2003 Fiesta Bowl (story) over Miami in double overtime. That win ended the Hurricane’s 34-game win streak. But, the 2006 Rose Bowl also went down to the game’s final plays and it also snapped a 34-game win streak. Before Vince Young’s final two super drives, the storyline would have been the 2nd half near-perfect passing from Matt Leinart, the impressive receptions of Jarrett, the flashy sideline TD by Reggie Bush, and the steady truck-like running from LenDale White. All of that changed when USC’s high powered offence was trumped by 3 points by an unstoppable performance from a player, Vince Young, who could (should) go down as the best player in college football history. And so where do we go from here… Stewart Mandel (CNNSI) has some thoughts.
Vince Young’s performance in the 2006 Rose Bowl left viewers in awe. It “can’t be topped”. What did we just see? Basically, the best comparison is Michael Jordan. Vince Young literally just took over the game in the final 6 1/2 minutes. He made the field look so small. As the final seconds ticked down, looking at Young, and looking at the field, you had the impression– how will he not score? Eight yards looked like inches. How would USC be able to pull him down with just 8 yards between Young and the end zone. And it is this sensation that seems to make Vince Young the Michael Jordan of football. Matt Leinart is the real deal. Reggie Bush is amazing. Vince Young– well, he might just be the best football player to ever play the game. If nothing else, he has a clutch ability to turn it up when it’s really needed.
To punt or not to punt…
Rose Bowl Round-up: Giving Vince Young the ball near the 50 yard line instead of backing him up to the 20 or better was not the world’s best decision. But who’s to 2nd guess Pete Carroll? Well, then a time-out ahead of a 2-pt conversion? Let the 2nd guessing begin. As for Vince Young– could he be the real Michael Vick? It would be hard not to pick him #1 after tonight’s performance.
2006 Winter Olympics XX
The 2006 Winter Olympics begin February 10th in Turin (Torino), Italy. This is the 20th Winter Games (official site and schedule here). Also visit the Fanbay.net Sports Winter Olympics page. The latest news involves injured figure skater Michelle Kwan who has petitioned for an exemption to qualify for the U.S. team. Kwan has been in the opposite position– trumped by Nancy Kerrigan in 1992 (story).
2006 Rose Bowl
Texas vs USC
Television coverage begins at 8PM ET tonight. All comparative statistics are here. We also have stats, charts, and a prediction. See our Rose Bowl pick page. Vegas has USC favoured by 7.5 with an Over/Under of 70 points. Our computer spit out Texas as a 3.5 point favourite (not including any home advantage adjustment even though the game is in USC’s back yard). Our computer O/U is 63.8 points. As for interest facts– don’t forget that Texas is no stranger to the Rose Bowl– they played in the Rose Bowl last year– and beat Michigan.