Samstag, 31. Dezember 2011

2012 Australian Open: Updated Odds See Novak Djokovic's Shorten

Last weekend I wrote an article that looked at the betting favorites for the 2012 Australian Open men's singles tournament. I would now like to update the odds, highlight the changes, and discuss the news and results that have lead to the changes in the past week.

On Christmas Day, the odds for the "Big Four" were as follows in the betting market for the 2012 Aussie:

  1. Novak Djokovic: +250 (5/2) with Victor Chandler
  2. Roger Federer: +300 (3/1) with Blue Square
  3. Rafael Nadal: +500 (5/1) with Bodog
  4. Andy Murray: +600 (6/1) with Bodog

Those best-prices have changed as the odds on the "Big Four" are now as follows (best prices according to the sportsbooks listed at oddspreview.com):

  1. Djokovic: +162 (13/8) with Coral
  2. Federer: +350 (7/2) with Stan James
  3. Murray: +600 (6/1) with Bodog
  4. Nadal: +600 (6/1) with Ladbrokes

Djokovic's odds have shortened, in no small part due to his exhibition victory in Abu Dhabi over the last few days. The world No. 1 creamed both Federer and David Ferrer at the event to end the 2011 calendar year in style.

By the same brush, Federer's odds lengthened following his straight sets defeat to Djokovic. The Swiss Maestro's last Grand Slam win came at Melbourne Park as he won the 2010 Aussie. The current world No. 3 will have to play better than he did in Abu Dhabi if he is to win back some public confidence.

Nadal is no longer the outright third favorite to win the Australian Open; he is now a co-third favorite along with Andy Murray. Nadal did not have much in his match against David Ferrer in Abu Dhabi from a few days ago and there are increasing talks of a shoulder problem for the world No. 2.

Nadal could be taking time off due to the shoulder problem following the Australian Open. With that out in the open you have to wonder if the Spaniard might be tempted to retire from a match in Melbourne Park if his injury becomes bothersome there.

Murray was idle this week although he will be active in the ATP Brisbane tournament soon. The Scot did recently announce that his full-time coach is now Ivan Lendl however that move alone would probably not win many bets in the Australian Open market.

The peripheral favorites to win at Melbourne Park are Juan Martin Del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, and David Ferrer. Ferrer played so well at last season's Australian Open, where he defeated Nadal, that you have to wonder if he is now a little under-rated in the event.

Betting odds on Ferrer are scattered all over the place. All sportsbooks make the world No. 5  a longshot however the range is significant as Bwin price Ferrer at +2900 (29/1) while Bodog have him at +8000 (80/1).

While most would agree that Ferrer is a peripheral threat to win the Australian Open, surely Bodog currently have the Spaniard under-rated.

The draw for the 2012 Australian Open will be released on January 13th and at this time these are my updated favorites:

  1. Djokovic
  2. Murray
  3. Tsonga
  4. Federer
  5. Ferrer
  6. Nadal

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1005263-2012-australian-open-updated-odds-see-novak-djokovics-shorten

Rasheed Wallace LeBron James Ben Gordon Josh Howard Jason Terry Jason Kidd

Rose growing into league's best point guard

LOS ANGELES -- Derrick Rose is making the point guard debate as tough as … stopping Derrick Rose. Whenever the inevitable question about who’s the best point guard in the NBA came up I used to give myself an out and say that Derrick Rose was the best player at the point guard but Chris Paul was the best point guard. Paul did a better job fulfilling the traditional duties of the job: running the offense and setting up teammates, thus the distinction.

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/34899/rose-growing-into-leagues-best-point-guard

Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates

Friday Bullets

Quickish releases its list of What's Out for 2011 and What's In for 2012. In the cuddly, telegenic collegiate sharpshooter category, Jimmer Fredette gives way to Creighton's Doug McDermott. In the rookie sensation division, Ricky Rubio takes the seat formerly occupied by Blake Griffin. Bethlehem Shoals of GQ on the Mavericks' Christmas Day banner ceremony: "The Mavericks and their fans watched it ascend, bathed in light, a presentation whose religious connotations came almost by reflex.

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/34874/friday-bullets-196

Chris Bosh Mario Chalmers Dwayne Wade Brian Wilson Eli Whiteside Mike Fontenot

Knicks' Stoudemire out with ankle sprain (AP)

Forward Amare Stoudemire did not dress for the New York Knicks on Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings because of a sprained left ankle. Stoudemire, the Knicks' leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, injured his ankle late in Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The veteran forward had treatment and sat out Friday's practice.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/sports/rss/nba/SIG=121p4v7jn/*http%3A//sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ap-knicks-stoudemireout

Boston Celtics Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls Cleveland Cavaliers Dallas Mavericks Denver Nuggets

Penn State Still Nowhere Close to Finding New Coach

Forget all those rumors you’ve heard about who is to be the successor to Joe Paterno at Penn State. Eric Mangini? Nah, not gonna happen. They’re no more closer to finding their new college football coach today than on the day Paterno was fired. Penn State’s acting Athletic Director David Joyner said Thursday during a [...]

Source: http://www.thesportsbank.net/college-fball/penn-state-still-nowhere-close-to-finding-new-coach/

Nate Robinson Paul Fiercer Rasheed Wallace LeBron James Ben Gordon Josh Howard

Friday morning Rangers things

Source: http://www.lonestarball.com/2011/12/30/2670458/friday-morning-rangers-things

Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets Indiana Pacers Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Memphis Grizzlies

Dream Video: Fedor Emelianenko Knocks out Satoshi Ishii

Looking to regain relevance in the heavyweight division, Fedor Emelianenko picked up his second-straight victory Saturday morning at Dream: Fight for Japan. 

Showing much more patience than usual, Emelianenko plodded forward and put Satoshi Ishii away with a straight right hand. The win marked Emelianenko eighth knockout in a 33-win career that once saw the Russian being considered the best fighter in the history of the sport.

After Emelianenko suffered a third-straight loss earlier this year, most began to recognize Anderson Silva as the best mixed martial artist of all time. Unwilling to go out on such a bad note, Emelianenko opted to continue competing and defeated Jeff Monson in November.

Emelianenko may never reclaim his spot atop the heavyweight division, but a few more wins may draw the interest of the UFC. The former Pride champion has never competed inside the Octagon, and it would be a shame if one of the sport's all-time greats went his entire career without fighting in the sport's premier organization.

 

Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter @SeanSmithMMA.

 

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1004812-dream-video-fedor-emelianenko-knocks-out-satoshi-ishii

Atlanta Braves Chicago Cubs Cincinnati Reds Colorado Rockies Florida Marlins Houston Astros

Penn State Still Nowhere Close to Finding New Coach

Forget all those rumors you’ve heard about who is to be the successor to Joe Paterno at Penn State. Eric Mangini? Nah, not gonna happen. They’re no more closer to finding their new college football coach today than on the day Paterno was fired. Penn State’s acting Athletic Director David Joyner said Thursday during a [...]

Source: http://www.thesportsbank.net/college-fball/penn-state-still-nowhere-close-to-finding-new-coach/

Pat Burrell Jhan Marinez Anibal Sanchez John Baker Brad Davis Logan Morrison

San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams: Injury Reports and Prediction

The outcome of Sunday’s regular-season finale at St. Louis will go a long way in boosting the 49ers’ chances for playoff success. 

A win would guarantee a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the subsequent game. With the blazing hot Saints as a possible opponent, any sort of advantage will be welcomed with open arms.  

A loss could drop them to the No. 3 seed for a likely rematch with the Detroit Lions and Coach Schwartz. As entertaining as another Harbaugh-Schwartz handshake sounds, the 49ers are looking to beat the host Rams

When the two teams met in early December, it was smooth sailing for the 49ers as they shutout the Rams 26-0 in Candlestick Park. This time around may prove to be a little more challenging for the 49ers who are battling through several injuries at key positions. Then again, the Rams are also dinged-up and, with a 2-13 record, look primed for a shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft.    

Injuries will be a decisive factor in Sunday’s result between the NFC West rivals.  

49ers Injury Report

Out:

TE Delanie Walker (jaw)

Questionable:

CB Chris Culliver

WR Ted Ginn (ankle)

FB Bruce Miller (knee)

CB Carlos Rogers (knee)

WR Kyle Williams (concussion)

LB Patrick Willis (hamstring)

Outlook

The 49ers are floss-thin at the wide receiver position with the absence of Ginn, Williams, and Edwards who were released earlier this week. As a result, Brett Swain will slide into the starting spot opposite Michael Crabtree and Joe Hastings will be promoted from the practice squad.

Swain, added to the team after the Josh Morgan injury, has seen the field mostly on special teams and has only one reception for nine yards on the season. Hastings, an un-drafted rookie out of Division II Washburn University, will be making his NFL debut.

Despite the inexperience, the young receivers will need to step up as the Rams’ defense will shift their focus towards playmakers Davis and Crabtree. 

Look for star linebacker Willis to sit another game in hopes of being full strength come playoff time. He will be missed, but Larry Grant has stepped up and made plays for a top-ranked defense. The others on the list have been limited in practice throughout the week but should be ready to contribute on Sunday. 

Rams Injury Report

Doubtful:

QB Sam Bradford (ankle)

QB AJ Feeley (right thumb)

Questionable:

DE Chris Long (ankle)

Probable:

CB Josh Gordy (abdomen)

RB Jerious Norwood (illness)

LB Brady Poppinga (illness)

Outlook

Quarterback Sam Bradford will miss his sixth start in what has been a disastrous season for the former No. 1 pick. A Rams win would save Bradford’s job, but a loss could lead to the team selecting QB Andrew Luck in the upcoming draft. 

With backup AJ Feeley also sidelined, Kellen Clemens should get his second consecutive start. For the Rams to have any chance at a victory, Clemens must improve on last week’s performance that saw him complete 9 of 24 passes for a measly 91 yards and zero touchdowns. 

The Rams will also need defensive end Chris Long to play and continue wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks—13 total sacks on the season and counting. 

Prediction

Injuries aside, the 49ers are the superior team and will prove that this week. It’s never easy to win on the road in the NFL, but this is as close as it gets. Look for the 49ers to jump out to an early lead behind a balanced attack through the air with Alex Smith and on the ground with Frank Gore. The Rams will then have to rely on the arm of Clemens, a recipe for disaster as the 49ers defense is constantly on the prowl for turnovers. 

The 49ers’ New Year’s Eve celebration will continue Sunday as they emerge victorious and the Rams will get a head start in making their New Year’s resolution.

Prediction Within a Prediction

Needing only one sack to tie the NFL rookie record for sacks in a season, Aldon Smith will go the extra mile in gathering two sacks to break the record previously held by Jevon Kearse. 

Final score: San Francisco 27, St. Louis 7

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1004528-san-francisco-49ers-vs-st-louis-rams-injury-reports-and-prediction

Baron Davis Blake Griffin Chris Bosh Mario Chalmers Dwayne Wade Brian Wilson

Manchester United Vs. Blackburn Rovers, 2011 Premier League: Halftime Score, Rovers Have Surprise Lead

Source: http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2011/12/31/2672342/man-utd-vs-blackburn-live-streaming-updates-halftime-score

Miami Heat Milwaukee Bucks Minnesota Timberwolves New Jersey Nets New Orleans Hornets New York Knicks

Crasnick: Pujols deal is backloaded

Source: http://www.lonestarball.com/2011/12/29/2669238/crasnick-pujols-deal-is-backloaded

Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls Cleveland Cavaliers Dallas Mavericks Denver Nuggets Detroit Pistons

UFC 141 Results: Questions Answered and Lessons Learned

The UFC 141 heavyweight showdown is over.

Alistair Overeem smashed Brock Lesnar into retirement in spectacular fashion and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone was out-gunned by a ferocious Nate Diaz. 

There were other fights throughout the night that answered lingering questions or taught the MMA world a valuable lesson or two.

What were they and what was learned? Read and find out!

Begin Slideshow

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1004226-ufc-141-results-questions-answered-and-lessons-learned

Los Angeles Lakers Memphis Grizzlies Miami Heat Milwaukee Bucks Minnesota Timberwolves New Jersey Nets

Freitag, 30. Dezember 2011

The Who? York Knicks

The Knicks are just as disconnected in the locker room as they are on the court. There’s no one voice that speaks for them, just as there’s no player setting the tone, creating a template on either offense or defense that the rest of the team can follow. Consider, in chronological order in which they were said, these quotes from the starting frontcourt after the Knicks lost to the Lakers, 99-82, Thursday night. “With the way this season is, we didn’t get much time to come together and get things said and get an understanding of where we’re going to get our shots.

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/34843/the-who-york-knicks

Baron Davis Blake Griffin Chris Bosh Mario Chalmers Dwayne Wade Brian Wilson

Manny Ramirez: I'm Playing 2011 With 'a Chip on My Shoulder'

Filed under: ,

It seems that being left hanging for most of the offseason before signing for a relatively paltry $2 million with the Rays has left the legendarily lethargic Manny Ramirez with a little extra gas in his tank.

Ramirez spoke to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune at the Rays' spring training complex on Thursday and outlined the way he's feeling in advance of the 2011 season. He's lost weight in hopes of avoiding the injuries that limited him last season, he doesn't care where he hits in the order and, most of all, he's looking to prove to all his doubters that he can still play the game.

"I want to go and get that feel back that I still got it," Ramirez said. "I just got a chip on my shoulder that I want to be here, I want to get my stuff right and show people I can play."

 

Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Source: http://mlb.fanhouse.com/2011/02/17/manny-ramirez-im-playing-2011-with-a-chip-on-my-shoulder/

Colorado Rockies Florida Marlins Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets

Thursday Bullets

Video evidence that Dwyane Wade is a cheater NBA player development coach and ESPN analyst David Thorpe is going to be on HoopSpeak Live today at 3pm ET. If you miss it, be sure to drop by later for the archived version. Thorpe also has a great Insider post in which he predicts Patrick Patterson will be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Gothic Ginobili is putting together an impressive collection the best basketball writing on the internet.

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/34801/thursday-bullets-224

New Jersey Nets New Orleans Hornets New York Knicks Oklahoma City Thunder Orlando Magic Philadelphia 76ers

UFC 141 Predictions: Brock Lesnar Will Fall Victim to Alistair Overeem Knockout

No matter what happens during tonight's main event at UFC 141, fans are in for quite the treat when Brock Lesnar takes on Alistair Overeem. 

Lesnar, a real polarizing figure in the sport, hasn't fought in the UFC in more than a year. Fans either miss him or miss booing him. Either way, they'll be glad he's back. 

On the other side of the Octagon is Overeem. The big man from Netherlands is fighting his first UFC match, but he's certainly made dents (literally) in other divisions. 

This is more than 500 pounds of sheer muscle clashing with each other, and no matter happens, it's going to be exciting. 

Unfortunately for Lesnar, I think the overall rust will eventually be his downfall in this one. He hasn't fought in a match since Cain Velasquez thoroughly beat him down in October of last year. Overeem, on the other hand, has fought in multiple bouts since that time. 

This won't make a huge difference, but there's no real favorite in this bout. It should be extremely close, and it could be something as small as rust that determines the outcome. 

In order to win this fight, Lesnar will have to move it to the ground. Unfortunately for Lesnar, as he attempts to do that, the Demolition Man is going to catch him with some of his raw power.

If Lesnar thought Velasquez punched hard, he's in for a rude awakening with this behemoth opponent. Whether it's a punch or a well-timed knee, Lesnar is going to be seeing stars once the Reem connects.

It's going to be exciting, it's going to be fast and both guys are going to have a ton of energy. In my mind, that will favor Overeem. 

And honestly, I don't care if I'm wrong, because the real value is simply being able to watch this one. It's a matchup that won't disappoint, and that's all I'm really concerned about. 

Don't look away during this battle, or you'll be disappointed. 

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1004171-brock-lesnar-will-fall-victim-to-an-overeem-knockout

Jerry Stackhouse J.R Smith Kenyon Martin Chauncey Billups Carmelo Anthony Tayshon Prince

Wade game-time decision with sore foot (AP)

Miami Heat star guard Dwyane Wade says he will wait until game time to see if his sore left foot will allow him to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wade tested his foot with a thorough workout at the team's shootaround Friday morning. He tried jumping off it and landing on it on several drives to the basket to see if it was ready for the pounding of a game.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/sports/rss/nba/SIG=1265d7tfd/*http%3A//sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ap-heat-timberwolvesinjuries

Florida Marlins Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies

Iowa vs Oklahoma: Can OU Get Back to the BCS in 2012 If Landry Jones Stays?

Last night was Robert Griffin, and today, the same questions will be asked about Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. Will this be his last game as a college quarterback?

Does he return to school for his senior season, or does he test the waters in the NFL?

For Griffin, it's completely different. He's pretty much done everything he can do for Baylor. And he's won a Heisman trophy and rose his stock as high as it's probably going to get. For him, it was a great season, and he has nothing to be ashamed of.

It's completely different for Jones.

The Sooners opened up the season as national championship favorites, but ended up losing three games, two of which were against teams they really shouldn't have lost to. It was a really disappointing season to go from possible national championship to the Insight Bowl.

Things may have been even worse for Jones, who threw 14 interceptions, including two in the blowout against Oklahoma State. At times, he looked lost and appeared he didn't know what he was doing out there on the field. His draft stock took a major hit as several quarterbacks jumped ahead of him, including Matt Barkley, and of course, Griffin.

Although he has yet to make a decision, he will likely return to Oklahoma.

Now the question is, do the Sooners have a shot to reach the BCS next season?

Oklahoma isn't really losing much on the defensive side of the ball, as nine starters still have at least one year of eligibility left. On the offensive side, they will lose leading receiver Ryan Broyles and tight end James Hanna, but that's about it.

With the recruiting class coming in and the rest of the talent staying on this team, I think they're in good shape.

I can't say the same for the other teams in the Big 12. Oklahoma State will lose Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. Missouri and Texas A&M are heading off to the SEC. Baylor will likely lose their Superman quarterback. The chances Kansas State builds off of their surprise season is very unlikely.

If Jones returns for his senior season, you have no choice but to like the Sooners in the Big 12 next year. Texas will probably be the Sooners' only competition, but they don't have a quarterback they can trust right now. Oklahoma will have to have the edge over them heading into next year.

Due to the talent returning on the Sooners team and all of the talent leaving the other teams, Oklahoma should be able to do next season what they couldn't do this time.



Randy Chambers is a B/R Featured Columnist that covers College Football and the NFL. You can contact him @Randy_Chambers or Randy.Chambers7@yahoo.com

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1003785-iowa-vs-oklahoma-can-ou-get-back-to-the-bcs-in-2012-if-landry-jones-stays

Texas Rangers Toronto Blue Jays Atlanta Hawks Boston Celtics Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls

Lakers win ninth straight against Knicks (AP)

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 29:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks is defended by Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center on December 29, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Knicks 99-82. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

After the Lakers roared away from the Knicks in the fourth quarter without even a point from Kobe Bryant, he put his long-standing friendly rivalry with Carmelo Anthony in perspective. "I enjoy going against Melo, because I always win," Bryant said with a grin. Although Bryant was exaggerating about his head-to-head advantage over Anthony, he's absolutely right about Los Angeles'...


Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/sports/rss/nba/SIG=11kjkiu12/*http%3A//sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2011122913

Minnesota Timberwolves New Jersey Nets New Orleans Hornets New York Knicks Oklahoma City Thunder Orlando Magic

The '94 USMNT World Cup Poster is Unofficially Officially Amazing

Source: http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2011/12/30/2670672/the-94-usmnt-world-cup-poster-is-unofficially-officially-amazing

Chris Bosh Mario Chalmers Dwayne Wade Brian Wilson Eli Whiteside Mike Fontenot

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson plans to be active: too little, too late?

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting the following: In short, Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager (GM) Scott Howson stated that the Blue Jackets will be active between now and the NHL?s trading deadline which is slated for February 27, 2012.� Howson further stated that the Blue Jackets are not playing to their expectations, that the team [...]

Source: http://www.thesportsbank.net/hockey/blue-jackets-scott-howson-plans-to-be-active/

Colorado Rockies Florida Marlins Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets

Michael Jordan Engaged: 5 Gift Ideas For MJ's Wedding

The king of basketball has found his queen…again.

Word has spread that Michael Jordan proposed to girlfriend Yvette Prieto on Christmas Day and everybody wants to know more about this mysterious woman.

Well, there isn’t a whole lot to know. She is a Cuban American that has dabbled in modeling in the past. She used to date Julio Iglesias Jr. (Enrique’s brother) and was sitting next to MJ’s mom during his infamous Hall of Fame speech.

That’s about it. So I have no idea what sort of wedding gift she would like. But I do know something about Jordan, the most famous athlete of this generation (still). That’s why I’ve compiled a gift list for suggestions on what to give a guy that has it all:

 

1. A New NBA Team

OK, so this may be a bit difficult, but don’t you think Jordan would love to re-do the team he picked to put millions of dollars in?

The Bobcats have the most vanilla roster in the league and their best player is a 6'0'', 170-pound shooting guard that has two NBA games to his name.

Even the Wizards would have been a better pick.

 

2. Lifetime Supply of Swisher Sweets

What brand of cigars does Jordan smoke? No clue, but who doesn’t love the taste of stale tobacco flooding your taste buds?

The best part of all; it comes in strawberry and grape flavors, too!

 

3. Gift Certificate to Harrah’s Casino

This is a gift you know he’ll use (and lose). One hundred-percent guaranteed.

 

4. A Regular Hat

Have you seen MJ in public lately? He is trying to be a 25-year-old again with his fedora’s and golf hats.

 

Why can’t he just rock the tradition ball cap with the Jordan logo on it? That look never fails and I bet he gets a pretty good deal on it.

Or is it weird to put a logo of yourself on top of your head?

 

5. Golf Lessons From Tiger Woods

At this point in the 48-year-olds life, golf is at the top of his priority list. The most competitive athlete of all time is honing his skills constantly, but needs a lesson from the best in the business if he plans on beating Charles Barkley with any consistency.  

But the lessons have to stay on the golf course. No advice on late night activities from Woods. 

Follow BigLeagueEball on Twitter

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1003128-michael-jordan-engaged-5-gift-ideas-for-mjs-wedding

Colin Curtis Kevin Russo Curtis Granderson Nick Johnson Javier Lopez Alex Hinshaw

Kevin Love and height liars in shoes

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images Kevin Love and Derrick Williams have different listed heights Stumbled across this when I wrote of Dwight Howard as a 6-9 center. Some of you just could not accept the recorded fact that Dwight Howard is six-foot-nine. This, despite a link to evidence of Howard’s barefoot height. I was astounded, perplexed and in search of even more synonyms to describe a state of utter confusion, shock, and befuddlement. We have his pre-draft measurements--his pre-draft measurements!

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/34789/kevin-love-and-height-liars-in-shoes

Dwayne Wade Brian Wilson Eli Whiteside Mike Fontenot Brett Pill Pat Burrell

10 NFL Players to Watch: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

In a pre-playoff, playoff-defining game, 10 key players will take the national stage under the microscope of only the second sell-out game of the season in Cincinnati.

One team has been reborn under the leadership of youth nation; the other has been maligned as under-achieving veterans.

One coach is the former architect of the latter's original defensive foundation.  The other is the upstart older brother of the up-and-coming young coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Be it Lewis on one of the top five defenses in the league or Lewis on the sideline of yet another successful rebuilding project in Cincinnati, there are several key participants to watch on New Year's Day 2012.

Begin Slideshow

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1002706-10-nfl-players-to-watch-baltimore-ravens-at-cincinnati-bengals

Baltimore Orioles Boston Red Sox Chicago White Sox Cleveland Indians Detroit Tigers Kansas City Royals

Donnerstag, 29. Dezember 2011

Colt McCoy Probably Won?t Play Again this Season

Cleveland Browns Quarterback Colt McCoy still isn’t 100% recovered from the brutal concussion he suffered two weeks ago on a head shot from Pittsburgh Steelers defender and brutal killing machine James Harrison. Update 12-29: from the AP Browns quarterback Colt McCoy still can’t practice three weeks after sustaining a concussion. McCoy hasn’t been cleared by [...]

Source: http://www.thesportsbank.net/nfl/cleveland-browns-may-not-get-colt-mccoy-back-this-season/

Pittsburgh Pirates San Diego Padres San Francisco Giants St. Louis Cardinals Washington Nationals San Antonio Spurs

Warriors beat Knicks 92-78 without Curry (AP)

Golden State Warriors ' Monta Ellis , right, celebrates in the final minuteof an NBA basketball game as New York Knicks Steve Novak (16) looks on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011, in Oakland, Calif.

Mark Jackson didn't see much significance in coaching Golden State to a win against his former team. It was the way the Warriors beat the New York Knicks that meant the most to Jackson -- doing it with a defensive focus that hasn't been seen from this franchise on a consistent basis in more than a decade.


Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/sports/rss/nba/SIG=11kime5nh/*http%3A//sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2011122809

Dirk Nowitzki Jerry Stackhouse J.R Smith Kenyon Martin Chauncey Billups Carmelo Anthony

Kevin Love and height liars in shoes

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images Kevin Love and Derrick Williams have different listed heights Stumbled across this when I wrote of Dwight Howard as a 6-9 center. Some of you just could not accept the recorded fact that Dwight Howard is six-foot-nine. This, despite a link to evidence of Howard’s barefoot height. I was astounded, perplexed and in search of even more synonyms to describe a state of utter confusion, shock, and befuddlement. We have his pre-draft measurements--his pre-draft measurements!

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/34789/kevin-love-and-height-liars-in-shoes

Indiana Pacers Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Memphis Grizzlies Miami Heat Milwaukee Bucks

Lions vs. Packers: Why This Is Still a Must-Win Game for Detroit

By the end of the NFL's Week 16, the Detroit Lions had earned a playoff spot.

It wasn't a function of the Lions' weak schedule or their backing in on a technicality because a bunch of other teams lost.

Sure, they had help, but the biggest element in the Lions' playoff run was the three-game winning streak they rolled off against the Vikings, Raiders and Chargers.

And now, with all but one playoff spot spoken for, the Lions enter a divisional game against the Green Bay Packers which appears to mean very little to either team.

The Packers are already guaranteed the top seed in the playoffs, and have all but said they'll be resting most of their key players for the playoff run.

The Lions have a little more at stake. It's not a "win and you're in" situation, that was last week. The Lions won, and now they're in.

But there's more to it than just pride and bragging rights. A win by the Lions this weekend means they don't have to play the New Orleans Saints until the NFC Championship Game at the earliest.

Instead, they'd get the winner of this weekend's Cowboys-Giants contest.

Should they win that game, there is a possibility that they get the San Francisco 49ers in the second round instead of the Packers, which has to be considered an easier matchup, even with the 49ers' stout defense.

Sure, it would involve the Falcons beating the Saints, a reversal of the beatdown on Monday night, but it's possible.

But just for a moment, let's forget about playoff seeding. The Detroit Lions have not left Lambeau Field victorious since Matthew Stafford was a toddler, Barry Sanders was an up-and-coming star and Matt Millen was a linebacker.

Over the last three years, the Detroit Lions have erased the handful of losing streaks that haunted the team.

The 19-game streak that encompassed the 0-16 season in 2008? Gone.

The 26-game road losing streak? Eliminated.

Losing streak at the Metrodome? Taken care of.

Losing streak at Lambeau Field? Still standing, and under assault.

Now, you may have a voice tugging at you that says if the Lions beat the Matt Flynn-led second-string Packers, it doesn't count. And I'll admit that it wouldn't be as special as if they forced Aaron Rodgers into four interceptions and the worst game of his career.

But in the record books, a "W" in Week 17 against the Packers isn't going to have an asterisk next to it saying that Aaron Rodgers didn't play. Historically, nobody is going to talk about it as the game the Packers mailed in to give the Lions the win.

Sure, message boards everywhere will be flooded with Packers fans who (rightfully) claim that the loss didn't matter to them, and that all it means is the Lions are better than the Packers second string.

Fair enough. It also means the Lions have an offseason free from talking about the Lambeau losing streak in the long term, and a more advantageous playoff schedule in the short term.

And if you believe in fate, do you know what else happened in the 1991 season, the last time the Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field?

The Lions finished 12-4, went on to beat the Dallas Cowboys in their first and only playoff win of the last 50 years.

It's not a direct parallel, but a win here would send the Lions to 11-5, and could face them off with the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs again.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe the Lions should put this thing away just in case.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1000932-lions-vs-packers-why-this-is-still-a-must-win-game-for-detroit

Ben Gordon Josh Howard Jason Terry Jason Kidd Dirk Nowitzki Jerry Stackhouse

TMA: Undefeated no more

The Morning After is our semi-daily recap of the night's best basketball action. It remains convinced M83 deserved album of the year. No. 12 Georgetown 71, No. 4 Louisville 68: Raising eyebrows, turning heads -- whatever your preferred phrasing, the Georgetown Hoyas just keep on doing it. The last time Georgetown lost a game came in the Maui Invitational, in a 67-63 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks. Since then, this team has beaten Memphis twice, Alabama at Alabama, and now Louisville at Louisville, and why?

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/43114/tma-undefeated-no-more

Orlando Magic Philadelphia 76ers Phoenix Suns Portland Trail Blazers Sacramento Kings Arizona Diamondbacks

NFL TV Schedule Week 17: Coverage Maps for All CBS and Fox NFL Action

So which NFL games will you be watching on Sunday?

A lot of us don't have a choice, really. When we sit down to watch a little NFL football on Sundays, we watch whichever games the folks at CBS and Fox have decided to show us.

This is all well and good, but it can get confusing as to which games are going to be shown in which markets. That's why, courtesy of the506.com, we have some snazzy coverage maps that tell you everything you need to know about which games are going to be shown where, as well as which announcers are going to be calling the action.

Read on for a full breakdown of the action for Week 17.

 

We'll start with the early action on CBS. Most people will see the New York Jets at the Miami Dolphins, but CBS will also have the Tennessee Titans at the Houston Texans and the Buffalo Bills at the New England Patriots.

Here's the map:

Later on in the day, CBS will be showcasing the Kansas City Chiefs at the Denver Broncos. If you're into the whole Tim Tebow craze, CBS has you covered. 

If you're not into the whole Tim Tebow craze, you might be lucky enough to see the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders or one of the other games CBS is carrying.

Here's the map:

Early on Sunday, Fox is going to be showing a bunch of different games. Most will see the Carolina Panthers at the New Orleans Saints, but a good percentage of the country will see the San Francisco 49ers at the St. Louis Rams.

Here's the map:

Later in the day, Fox will be showing the majority of the country the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Atlanta Falcons, though some will see the Seattle Seahawks at the Arizona Cardinals.

Here's the map:

 

As far as nationally televised games go, the only one in Week 17 is the Sunday night showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants. It's a game that will decide the NFC East, and it will be shown on NBC at 8:20 p.m. ET.

It's the last regular season week of the year, folks. Don't miss a thing.

 

Follow zachrymer on Twitter

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1002458-nfl-tv-schedule-week-17-coverage-maps-for-all-cbs-and-fox-nfl-action

Los Angeles Lakers Memphis Grizzlies Miami Heat Milwaukee Bucks Minnesota Timberwolves New Jersey Nets

NHL Winter Classic 2012: 5 Keys to a Philadelphia Flyers Win

The Winter Classic is taking North America by storm.

The 24/7 HBO series exacerbates the drama going into the game.

All the chatter of an outdoor regular season NHL game has me, like a lot of other people, not even worried about the NFL playoffs about to start. Who is in the playoffs, anyway?

Oh well, moving right along. According to some writers, winning this game punches the victor's ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals in June.

I beg to differ, considering how the Philadelphia Flyers themselves got within two games of a championship in 2010 after a historic playoff run and a Winter Classic defeat.

Sure, first place in the conference could be on the line come Jan. 2. Tell me something—how well do all these top-seeded Eastern Conference teams fare in the postseason?

If you need the Flyers to win this glorified outdoor game, for which Lord in heaven only knows what the weather will be come that day, then allow me to present the five keys to a Flyers victory.

Begin Slideshow

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1002052-nhl-winterclassic-2012-5-keys-to-a-philadelphia-flyers-win

Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Memphis Grizzlies Miami Heat Milwaukee Bucks Minnesota Timberwolves

NFL Week 17: Minnesota Vikings' Jim Kleinsasser To Play His Last Game

For as long as I can remember, I've been watching tight end Jim Kleinsasser rumbling down the field and making great plays for the Vikings. However, that era is drawing to a close.

Kleinsasser found himself a second-round draft pick (44th overall) in 1999. The North Dakota native has started every game in his 13 seasons in purple and gold, and fans are sad to see him hang up his helmet.

Although Kleinsasser would have been a free agent following this season, he had the opportunity to return for season No. 14 with Minnesota. Anyone will testify that the 34-year-old can still play football.  However, he's made this decision confidently.

"I'm walking away with two legs that work great and my head is still intact," Kleinsasser said. "I think I feel good about leaving the game right now and just kind of moving on."

Despite Minnesota struggling this season, fans hope the team gives Kleinsasser a game he can be proud to talk away from on Sunday. The Vikings will host the Chicago Bears at 12 p.m., and head coach Leslie Frazier wasn't shy about his intentions to honor the veteran:

"I'm not letting out any secrets there. If we get down to the 1 [yard line], Chicago, you better stop number 40. We're going to find a way to try to get him into the end zone if we can."

Frazier expressed accolades for Kleinsasser in a recent Star Tribune article:

He's someone you can always count on. You know he's going to come to work prepared, ready to do his job. He's a tremendous example for any young player coming into the league with his work ethic and the way he approaches things.

Kleinsasser walks away from the game of football as a class act, and he will certainly succeed in the next chapter of his life, as well. He says he looks forward to focusing more time on his wife and two children, ages two and four.

Good luck, No. 40.

And thank you.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter @lilshortie2712

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1001983-nfl-week-17-predictions-minnesota-vikings-jim-kleinsasser-to-play-his-last-game

Jason Terry Jason Kidd Dirk Nowitzki Jerry Stackhouse J.R Smith Kenyon Martin

Soccer Player Hotter than Alex Morgan and Hope Solo: Sweden?s Josefine Oqvist

Hard to believe there’s a female soccer player out there who’s hotter than Alex Morgan and Hope Solo, but we found her in Sweden. Her name is Josefine Oqvist and she plays for Tyres� FF and the Swedish national team. Oqvits scored a key goal in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals against Canada [...]

Source: http://www.thesportsbank.net/sidelineprincesses/soccer-player-hotter-than-alex-morgan-and-hope-solo-swedens-josefine-oqvist/

Detroit Tigers Kansas City Royals Los Angeles Dodgers Minnesota Twins New York Yankees Oakland Athletics

Rapid Reaction: Baylor 54, Miss. State 52

DALLAS -- Here are a few quick observations from Baylor's 54-52 victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. Overview: Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson scored a team-high 14 points -- including the game-winning layup with 22 seconds remaining. Quincy Miller added 12 points for the Bears, who are off to their best start ever at 13-0. Baylor trailed for nearly all of the second half -- but never by more than four points.

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/43059/rapid-reaction-baylor-54-mississippi-state-42

Kevin Garnett Ray allen kendrick Perkins Rajon Rondo Glen Davis Nate Robinson

Fantasy Football: A Man's 5-Step Guide to Turning His Wife from Hater to Player

OK, ladies, you can stop reading right now. This article is strictly for the fellas.

If you're a chick and your boyfriend or husband doesn't like the fact that you play fantasy football, you have bigger (and much more expensive) problems than anything I can help you with. Seek help elsewhere.

Guys, how many of you have a wife or girlfriend that simply despises the fact that you play fantasy football? Yeah, I thought so.

Well, I'm here to help put an end to the endless eye-rolls and crossed-arm stances that your wife shoots your way every Sunday while you stare at the computer screen.

If you follow my advice, your woman will stop loathing fantasy football and start loving it. Well, maybe not loving it. But she will accept it and, if done correctly, will become a part of it.

For 130 days, just about every wife and girlfriend clung to dreams of making it through fall without a single snap occurring on their television. They had hope.

Hope that Sundays would be family days, shopping at Home Depot for flowers to expand their gardens, or that you would actually fix the clogged drain.

Then it happened. July 25, 2011; a day that will haunt girlfriends for an eternity. The NFL lockout ended.

In every corner of the world, wives wept collectively. For them, the start-up of the NFL season meant months of Sundays, Mondays, sometimes Thursdays and sometimes Saturdays filled with noisy televisions, beer-bellied husbands with old NFL jerseys on, checking their fantasy football team every 30 seconds. 

The look of wrath replaced the inner glow they had during the lockout.

It all ends here. I have a plan, that if followed correctly, will have your wife actually helping you with your fantasy team, rather than spending Sundays glaring at you while you check your score.

 

Step One—Keeping up with the Kardashians

First, use the Kardashians. Instead of telling your wife about Reggie Bush's amazing run (trust me, she couldn't care less about Reggie), you need to tell her something like, "I can't believe Reggie Bush is getting back with Kim Kardashian."

That will get her attention. And no, you don't care about the Kardashians; you care about playing what I like to call, grief-free fantasy football. 

When you start talking about Kim Kardashian, and then slip in the Reggie Bush comment, it plants a seed. Next time she hears Reggie's name, she'll think about Kardashian. The NFL dating scene seed is planted. Now it's time to water it. 

It's important to keep up with the dating/divorce/dumping that's going on in the NFL.

For example, you should know that Tim Tebow is causing Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn's divorce. That little nugget will interest your wife. Now she knows who Tebow is from a point-of-view that she cares about. Because as far as just calling him the Fourth Quarter Messiah, that won't work.

Okay, now you know how to spin the dating scene into an advantage for playing grief-free fantasy football. Good start, guys. 

 


Step Two—Every Wife Has a Secret Crush

It's time to get to know your wife's crushes. Every wife has a crush, secret or not, on a football player. You have to identify that crush.

You can take a look at Bleacher Report's Tiffany Anton's list of the top 10 sexiest NFL players and say you can understand how Peyton Manning made the list; he looks like a horse that got hit with a frying pan. 

Be prepared for two things after showing her the article. First, you'll have to explain what you are doing looking at that list of sexiest men. And second, and this is the important part—you'll hear what she says as she goes through the list.

If you get nothing, click on Bleacher Report's Nyhlaa Black's sexiest NFL list and see what the wifey says. She'll give you something. 

Then turn your focus on that player that she's crushing on—say, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers—and proceed to step three.
 


Step Three—Start a Friends-and-Family Fantasy Football League

I admit, this one is a biggie. But in order to get to playing grief-free fantasy football, starting a fantasy football league with family and family friends is not optional. 

You obviously need to include her in the league and make sure she lands one of those guys that she may have a crush on or thinks is hot. It will take time, but little by little, she will ask you, "How did my team do?"

Trust me, she'll love owning Tom Brady. She already thinks about it, now she can actually—well, virtually—own him. She'll like it.
 


Step Four—Her Jealousy Is Your Friend

Now step four is a must to get your girlfriend not only interested in fantasy football, but invested in it.

When you start the friends and family league, make sure you have another female in the league who your wife is jealous of, or competitive with—it's a must. If you can add the jealousy factor, you're in.

Even if you fail at getting her to join a friends-and-family league, but you get another female (preferably a female friend—think co-worker) to join the league, your wife will take a sudden interest in that league. But you have to stoke that green monster.

Make some off-the-cuff comments about how good Tiffany is doing in the league, or how you want to do a trade with Ashley. Then sit back and watch your wife's ears perk up.

Never underestimate the competition between women. A woman's jealousy will cause her to do just about anything, including join a fantasy league. 

The next thing you know, she will be screaming at the television right along with you on Sundays. 


Step Five—Patience Is Key

Fellas, don't push against her dislike of the NFL: it's an immovable force.

Instead, bring her walls down, one season at a time by including her in a way that bends to her personality. Just make sure she doesn't think you're doing it for a selfish reason or all bets are off. 

And yes, I know Reggie is getting back with Kim because I'm keeping my wife involved in any way I can.

Now, if I see you in the street with your main squeeze and she asks if I helped you with this Mission: Impossible, I will neither confirm nor deny my involvement.

And as always, should you or any of your friends be caught reading my article, the fantasy community will disavow any knowledge of your actions. 

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1001746-fantasy-football-a-mans-5-step-guide-to-turning-his-wife-from-hater-to-player

Derek Fisher Pau Gasol Lamar Odom Baron Davis Blake Griffin Chris Bosh

Got $250? Green Bay Packers Selling More Ownership Stock Shares

Want to be a balla, shot-calla, 20″ rims on your Impala? Well I can’t promise you a way to that, but if you go packersowner.com and you have $250 to burn (plus the $25 handling fee) you can become a bonafide NFL owner. That’s right, you’d own a share of the Green Bay Packers, the [...]

Source: http://www.thesportsbank.net/nfl/got-250-green-bay-packers-selling-more-ownership-stock-shares/

Kansas City Royals Los Angeles Dodgers Minnesota Twins New York Yankees Oakland Athletics Seattle Mariners

Mittwoch, 28. Dezember 2011

Got $250? Green Bay Packers Selling More Ownership Stock Shares

Want to be a balla, shot-calla, 20″ rims on your Impala? Well I can’t promise you a way to that, but if you go packersowner.com and you have $250 to burn (plus the $25 handling fee) you can become a bonafide NFL owner. That’s right, you’d own a share of the Green Bay Packers, the [...]

Source: http://www.thesportsbank.net/nfl/got-250-green-bay-packers-selling-more-ownership-stock-shares/

Brett Pill Pat Burrell Jhan Marinez Anibal Sanchez John Baker Brad Davis

Heat, Westbrook struggle, but win anyway

The Miami Heat stayed perfect the hard way. How difficult is it to win a game in which you get outrebounded by 23, as the Heat were on Wednesday in their comeback victory over the Charlotte Bobcats? Since the start of the 2005-06 season, NBA teams entered Wednesday with a 9-95 record when being beaten on the boards by at least that significant a margin. It was the first time in team history that the Heat won a game in which they were outrebounded by at least 20 (they are 1-23 in such games).

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/34766/heat-westbrook-struggle-but-win-anyway

Toronto Blue Jays Atlanta Hawks Boston Celtics Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls Cleveland Cavaliers

We made LeBron boring

I’ll certainly enjoy Tuesday’s Boston Celtics-Miami Heat game, but it won’t have the deed to my attention span. Last season’s Celtics-Heat opener owned my anticipation, attention and, later, my ruminations. I sat bolt-upright in a musty, saw-dusted sports bar, eyes bulging toward the TV. I interrogated the game for some kind of predictive meaning. I interrogated bar patrons for how they felt about LeBron. LeBron, the interest generator.

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/34667/we-made-lebron-boring

Toronto Blue Jays Atlanta Hawks Boston Celtics Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls Cleveland Cavaliers

Boston acquires Andrew Bailey from Oakland

Source: http://www.lonestarball.com/2011/12/28/2666743/boston-acquires-andrew-bailey-from-oakland

Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates San Diego Padres San Francisco Giants St. Louis Cardinals Washington Nationals

Dez Bryant Facing Another Lawsuit For Unpaid Debt

Source: http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2011/12/28/2666898/dez-bryant-lawsuit-sued-dallas-cowboys

Minnesota Timberwolves New Jersey Nets New Orleans Hornets New York Knicks Oklahoma City Thunder Orlando Magic

DeMarcus Cousins: Eventually the Best Center Not Named Dwight Howard?

In the 1990s, perhaps the best decade of NBA hoops, there was a smorgasbord of big name centers across the league.  

All-Stars Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo all played at the same time.

Nowadays, things are a lot different. Center is absolutely the weakest position in the game today. 

Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard is hands-down the league's top center right now. However, after him, there's not many players at the position that have future Hall of Famer written all over them.

DeMarcus Cousins has the potential to give Howard some competition at the five spot, though. The second-year pro for the Sacramento Kings doesn't have the defensive skills that Howard has, but he could indeed develop into a much better scorer than "Superman."  

After being selected by Sacramento at the fifth overall spot in the 2010 NBA draft, Cousins would put together a nice rookie campaign. The 6'11", 270-pounder out of Kentucky averaged 14.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest and earned a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

He also finished third in Rookie of the Year voting behind All-Star Blake Griffin and former Kentucky teammate John Wall.

At times, Cousins has looked unstoppable in the low post and has proven he could stick the 15-foot jumper like former King Chris Webber used to do. Also like Webber, Cousins has displayed his unselfishness by using his outstanding passing ability.

Cousins could certainly blossom into one of the league's most dangerous scorers and rebounders down the road. The only thing that could stop him from morphing into a superstar big man is his attitude.

As a rookie, Cousins constantly argued with refs and threw numerous temper tantrums. Let's hope he can start to keep his cool, improve his game and ultimately reach his sky-high potential.

In order to become the league's best center behind Howard, Cousins is going to have to surpass guys like Andrew Bynum, Al Horford, Brook Lopez and Joakim Noah. However, that shouldn't be too difficult of a task if Cousins continues to get better as many believe he can.

Not long from now, don't be surprised to see his name up there with Howard's when fans and pundits rank the NBA's top big men.  

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/998043-demarcus-cousins-eventually-the-best-center-not-named-dwight-howard

Rasheed Wallace LeBron James Ben Gordon Josh Howard Jason Terry Jason Kidd

Pro Bowl 2012: Most Surprising Players Invited to Hawaii

When any sort of All-Star rosters are announced, we always focus on the players who should be there but aren't. On the day of the announcement, the snubs are always the hot topic.

The NFL is no different and much has already been made of players like Victor Cruz, Tony Romo, Cam Newton and Joe Haden not receiving recognition.

The players who made it over them, and others like them, are the question marks of the Pro Bowl.

Here are some of the most surprising invites.

 

Eli Manning, QB, GiantsYou can argue all you want about statistics, but Eli Manning is on the Pro Bowl roster because he's done the most with the least.

Big Blue is the league's worst rushing attack and Eli has carried this team on his back time and time again. Romo, Matt Stafford and Newton all have more impressive statistics in some form or other (Romo and Stafford traditionally; Newton as an all-around player), but Eli is the No. 3 quarterback.

 

D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Jets

Another Big Apple player, Ferguson turned in arguably his most inconsistent season. He, and the rest of his offensive line, are a large factor in why the Jets are the 27th-ranked offense this season.

They didn't effectively protect Mark Sanchez and their run game was nothing like years past.

Ferguson is still a very good player, but being named to the initial Pro Bowl roster has more to do with his name than anything else.

 

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers

The San Diego signal-caller turned in his worst season since 2007. He's thrown a ton of interceptions, led his team out of the playoffs and has been more of a problem than a help.

Matt Moore, who has played in less games, has put up comparable-to-better numbers and rookie Andy Dalton has been better than both.

 

A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

The rookie wide receiver deserves to be in Hawaii, but it was a big surprise to see him get the initial nod.

Green has missed some time with injury and is 12th in the AFC in receptions, seventh in yards, eighth in touchdowns and fifth in plays over 20 yards. He does lead the league in plays of 35-plus yards or more, though.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1000723-pro-bowl-roster-2012-most-surprising-players-invited-to-hawaii

Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets Indiana Pacers Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Memphis Grizzlies

2011 Texas Rangers Timeline: October

Source: http://www.lonestarball.com/2011/12/27/2659999/2011-texas-rangers-timeline-october

Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates

2011 Bowl Predictions: Which Teams Will Pull Monster Upsets?

The heart of the 2011-12 bowl season is upon us, and it’s time to examine which teams are on upset alert and which will be the ones doing the upsetting.

Teams like Texas, Auburn and Oklahoma had mediocre seasons and will be exposed as the frauds they really are when their opponents embarrass them on a national stage.

All of the following teams will win their bowls and embarrass the perennial powerhouses they are playing.

 

Iowa—The Iowa Hawkeyes are better than they receive credit for being and they will prove it to the nation when they stun the Oklahoma Sooners in the Insight Bowl.

Besides the fact that Oklahoma is ranked No. 14 in the nation, there is nothing that says that Iowa should be afraid of a team that doesn’t play defense.

Iowa has a stellar defense that can stifle Landry Jones and make the offense run slow, leaving the Hawkeyes enough space to sneak out a late victory and the upset of the bowl season.

 

California—The California Golden Bears will walk into a stadium against the Texas Longhorns and be the underdog in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. That’s where the fun starts.

While Longhorn nation won’t like this, good ol’ Texas will be trounced by a California team trying to prove its worth to the BCS.

Texas lacks the urgency needed to be a great Team I college football, and Cal will walk all over them on its way to one of the biggest surprises of this college football season.

 

Virginia—While Texas and Oklahoma are obvious frauds, there may be no bigger fraud in college football history than the Auburn Tigers this season.

The final nail in the coffin for Auburn will be a loss to the Virginia Cavaliers in what could be the worst Chick-fil-A Bowl in college football history.

With Auburn struggling in all aspects of the game, Virginia will dismantle the Tigers and show the BCS that the way they do things is as wrong as anything could possibly be.

 

Check back for more on the NCAA Football as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s College Football Page to get your fill of College Football.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1000361-2011-bowl-predictions-which-teams-will-pull-monster-upsets

Kobe Braynt Andrew Bynum Jordan Farmar Derek Fisher Pau Gasol Lamar Odom