Games to Watch in September

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

The season is upon us. College Football kicks off today and while there are enough storylines to go around the best part about College Football is the games.

Below is a list of what we think will be solid games to watch in the month of September:

Aug. 29th-Sept. 1st

-North Carolina @ South Carolina (This game should be played every year)

-Georgia @ Clemson (Holy Crap!)

-Miss. St @ Oklahoma St (Ok St is a favorite in the Big 12, big game for the conference)

-Boise St @ Washington (Is this the year that Stark turns the corner in Seattle?)

Sept. 5th-Sept. 7th

-Florida @ Miami (This game isn’t played enough)

-South Carolina @ Georgia (Big game but the loser still has a chance in the SEC East)

-Texas @ BYU (Is this is big test for both teams)

-Notre Dame @ Michigan (‘Nuff said)

Sept. 12th-Sept. 14th (Yard Stick Saturday)

-TCU @ Texas Tech (Can Kingsbury have the Red Raiders ready to go?)

-Stanford @ Army (Noon kickoff on East Coast plus defending the triple option. Tough test for the Tree)

-UCLA @ Nebraska (How good are these teams?)

-Alabama @ Texas A&M (Saban wants revenge…watch out Johnny Football)

-Ohio St @ Cal (East Coast team to the West Coast)

-Vanderbilt @ South Carolina (Game is usually close)

-Maryland @ UCONN (Randy Edsall goes back to UCONN)

-Wisconsin @ Arizona St (This game is a big test for both teams)

Sept. 19th-Sept. 21st

-SMU @ Texas A&M (They might score 100 points in this game)

-Utah St @ USC

-Utah @ BYU (Holy War in Septmeber? Yes please!)

-Michigan St @ Notre Dame (This game is never boring)

Sept. 26th-Sept. 28th

-Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech (Always tough playing a triple option team early in the season)

-LSU @ Georgia

-Oklahoma St @ West Virginia (Again, 100 points could be scored)

-Arizona @ Washington (This could be one of the most important games in the PAC-12 this season)

-Wisconsin @ Ohio St (One of the few tough games Ohio St gets this year)

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The Stretch Run

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

There are about two months left in the MLS regular season. Some teams will make a playoff run while others will begin playing for next season. Some players will rise to the occastion while some coaches will lose their jobs. Either way there are some intriguing match ups and interesting storylines heading into the stretch run for Major League Soccer.

The MLS Stretch Run

Can PorterBall Make the Playoffs? 

Portland has been one of the more consistant teams in the league this season. First year head coach Caleb Porter has been able to get his players to buy into his system. The result, the first ever playoff berth within reach if they can finish the season strong.

That run starts this weekend when they travel to Seattle in what should be the biggest crowd to ever see an MLS match. Some 66,000 will pack into Century Link Field in Seattle on Sunday night for a game with massive playoff implications. They also face Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake two more times, Seattle again, the LA Galaxy, Vancouver and Colorado. In other words, a playoff berth is going to be a battle.

RBNY Makes Another Run

Like Porter in Portland, first year head coach Mike Petke has the Red Bulls believing. The question for this franchise is can the overcome the playoff slump and finally win an MLS Cup?

Like Portland, it won’t be a smooth road. They travel to Houston twice in the final two months and have to make two trips to the West Coast before the season is out. They have all the tools, including some of the most consistent goalkeeping in franchise history thanks to Luis Robles.

Who Gets Fired? 

The biggest surprise disappointment this year has to be DC United. They sit at the bottom of the league table with only 13 points. They have talent but it just hasn’t come together this year and people are frustrated. No one more than head man Ben Olsen.

Olsen and Columbus Crew’s Robert Warzycha are the most noticable managers on the hot seat while disappointing results led to the mid season firings of Frank Yallop in San Jose and Chelis at Chivas USA.

Does Dempsey Make a Difference? 

Seattle is on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. They just signed America’s best player in Clint Dempsey but is that enough to get Seattle back into the playoffs?

Without Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins in the lineup, Dempsey and the Sounders were unable to get a point on the road against Houston. However, when all three are in the lineup, it could be one of the most potent offense in the league.

Dempsey can’t do it all himself. He needs help if the Sounders are to get back into the playoffs.

3 Peat?

Many consider the LA Galaxy to be the best team in the league…when they are at full strength. They are right now and if they can continue to be then they might just be the odds on favorites to walk away with their third MLS Cup.

Hang on soccer fans, this is about to get interesting.

The NCAA Stikes Again

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

The NCAA has turned into the gang that can’t shoot straight. As many of you may have heard the NCAA reversed it’s position and granted eligabilty to a former Marine so that he may be able to play at Middle Tennessee. Previously it had stated that he, Steven Rhodes, was ineligable for the season because he played in an intermural football league while in the Marine Corps that had uniforms and referees.

Seriously.

After an unknown amount of tweets, Facebook posts, and general ‘are you kidding me?’ reactions the NCAA decided to grant Rhodes eligability. Previously it said that he had to forefit two years of eligablity.

Add this little PR disaster to the list of recent screw up’s (Miami investigation and the on going Johnny Manziel investigation) and one has to wonder how anyone can take the NCAA seriuosuly.

What’s next? Outlawing fans in the stadium?

 

Does The NCAA Need A New Leader?

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

With the opening of fall camp for college football the talk seems to be on everything off the field rather than what’s going on on the field. The main focus of the media attention, and the NCAA, has been on Johnny Manziel (aka Johnny Football) and to some extent Jadeveon Clowney. The attention is warrented since they are the two biggest names in college football right now however the NCAA is in a horrible position as far as investigating any wrong doing by either player.

Did they or did they not take money for signing autographs?‘ This seems to be the main point that the NCAA is looking into as far as Manziel and Clowney are concerned. The NCAA is still reeling from a botched investigation of the University of Miami and has had an apparent “brain drain” when it comes to investigators. The NCAA also does not have subpoena power outside of it’s jurisdiction. Meaning that someone outside of the NCAA (buisness owner, fan, family member) does not have to talk to the NCAA or turn over any documentation.

NCAA INVESTIGATIONS

While member schools attempt to abide by the NCAA rules, the NCAA is quickly losing credability with universities, athletes and fans.

Is it time for a change at the top?

MARK EMMERT

Mark Emmert has been in charge for a little over three years now and has been by far the most visible President in NCAA history. However he may not be the person to take the NCAA into the 21st century.

Recently Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos purchased the iconic newspaper The Washington Post. While this is making big headlines no one really knows what its going to mean for the paper. Most seem to agree that a tech titan like Bezos with his bottomless checkbook and business track record could be the one to turn the Post, and the print journalism industry as whole for that matter, once again into a profit center.

JEFF BEZOS

Should the NCAA look into someone similar to lead them on their road back to credability? Maybe a more forward thinking person who will embrace the new challenges in this every changing world? Someone with experience implementing change in such a large organization and a track round outside of academia? Someone who can see into the future a little better, make adjustments, and still enforce rules?

Someone like a former General Stanley McChrystal. Here is a former General who led combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Someone who had to adapt to a new enemy and implement change in an organization that is very slow to recognize it.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal

With or whithout change at the top the NCAA has a credability issue. It botched a major investigation, got caught being hypocritical, and is doing a poor job of listening to the public and the universities they oversee. Change better come soon or we could soon see the industry run over the regulator.

Should They Call It A Career?

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Previously in on this site we talked about pro players retiring. Some on their own terms and some because they really had nothing left to prove. Now we’re presented with two more cases. Two players who are possibly staring at the end of their careers because of injury and looming suspensions.

Some people like the New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and others don’t. He is currently caught up in a performance enhancing drug scandal and has admitted to using steroids in the past. He does have however a couple of MVP’s, a World Series Ring, and pretty much Hall of Fame numbers too. But he’s had hip surgery twice in the last four years. Come next week he may be suspended by Major League Baseball for the remainder of the 2013 season.

Facing Retirement?

Stuart Holden on the other hand does not have a list of accomplishments like Rodriguez. While he has shown some skill that makes you wonder what could have been if he hadn’t suffered yet another serious knee injury. In fact it’s his third since 2011.

While Holden is only 27 you have to wonder how much is too much. Even for a 27 year old, another six plus months of rehab is a tough thing to stare in the face.

While Rodriguez’s career may come to end he did put in almost 20 years at the Major League level. Holden didn’t get that chance. He made it to one of the top flight leagues in the soccer world, the English Premier League, has had 25 caps with the US Men’s National Team and has even won an MLS Cup with Houston. But most people would say that if he hadn’t been injured he have done a whole lot more.

Are the injuries fair? No. Would both players like to go out on much better terms? Yes. Is retirement a realistic possibility for both? Absolutely.