September 27th, 2012
Four weeks into the young 2012 college football season, it is clear that the Alabama Crimson Tide are the nation’s best team. But are there any sleepers out there? Is there a team that may be able to sneak up the polls and contend for a shot at–the very least a BCS bowl bid–the BCS title? Here’s a look at the best prospects after four weeks.
1. Kansas State Wildcats (4-0)
The Wildcats are usually quiet year in and year out, and you can never count out a Bill Snyder-coached team. KSU has a senior dual-threat QB in Collin Klein who can beat you with his arm and his legs, but most importantly, his head. Snyder’s defenses are always sound, this year is no exception, and they play solid special teams. The drawback? A brutal Big 12 schedule. KSU beat No. 6 Oklahoma a week ago and faces five more ranked opponents.
2. Stanford Cardinals (3-0)
After their 21-14 win over a USC team that everyone thought would challenge the SEC dominance of the BCS championship trophy, the Cardinal are a legitimate contender. Tough defense…check. Powerful run game…check. Sound special teams…check. Can they get through the Pac-12 schedule and, more importantly, beat Oregon?
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0)
The Irish are 4-0 for the first time in a decade and with convincing wins over both Michigan and Michigan State are in a position they have not been in for quite some time. And, minus an Oct. 13th date with Stanford and the season-ending clash with USC, the schedule gods look favorably upon the Irish. Should ND get through the balance of its schedule, coach Brian Kelly’s squad will be in the BCS picture.
4. Texas Longhorns (3-0)
The Longhorns took a few years off it seems after their BCS championship appearance in 2009. Head coach Mack Brown has his team back to the level of play Texas fans had become accustomed to–tough defense, powerful ground game, great QB play. Are they a contender? The biggest drawback is the Big 12 schedule. The Longhorns will play no less than five ranked league opponents. If they truly belong in the BCS picture, they will come out of league play unscathed.
5. TCU Horned Frogs (3-0)
It seems like each year the college football world is talking about TCU being a BCS-buster. Well, no more. Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs are now part of the very talented Big 12 and won’t have to “bust” into the BCS anymore. That is, if they can somehow fight the same battle as Kansas State and Texas–Big 12 schedule–and win. Since 2005, TCU has won at least eleven games in every season but one. If they do it again, they may be playing for a national title.
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September 18th, 2012
Can Anyone Beat Alabama?
Just three weeks into the season and already the questions are buzzing around. How good are the Alabama Crimson Tide? Can they be beaten? Head coach Nick Saban is the master of minimizing the probability of losing. It’s very simple, really. Don’t turn the ball over, force turnovers on defense, run the football aggressively using zone and power run schemes, and pass out of play action, which are safer throws for the quarterback.
Is there anyone on the schedule that can defeat the Crimson Tide? Well, they all have the opportunity to beat them, but talking and doing are two very different things. How in the world can anyone win against Alabama?
Alabama has a far superior defense (giving up just 4.6 points and 58 rushing yards per game) than most. To beat it, a team will have to find an advantage that slows ‘Bama down play after play. Western Kentucky, for example, used a variety of shifts and motions to get some type of advantage by formation (didn’t work that well as they were crushed 35-0 by the Tide in week two).
An opponent must play within their system to beat Alabama. If you are a power running football team, you must stick to it and not try and become a spread offense in a week. It won’t work. And, while you’re at it, do not turn the ball over. One turnover and Saban’s troops will make you pay.
The Alabama offense is notorious for its power running game that uses zone and power runs. The offensive line is big, fast, and just plain good. And, ‘Bama has a slew of running backs that will just keep pounding on a defense. The running game sets up a very good play-action passing game where QB A.J. McCarron is very effective at making all the necessary throws. In order to beat this offense, an opponent’s defense has to sell out and take away what the offense does best. In this case, do whatever it takes to stop the run! Then you pray that the passing game doesn’t beat you.
A ‘Bama opponent can gain some knowledge by looking at some of the Tide’s past failures. For example, in wins over Florida and Tennessee last year, Saban was livid late in those games when both the Florida Gators and the Vols used a two-tight end formation and his defense could not get aligned correctly. The result? Florida and Tennessee were able to move the ball against the Tide, albeit versus mostly second- and third-teamers. Interestingly, both Florida head coach Will Muschamp and Tennessee head man Derek Dooley coached under Saban at some point.
If you plan on beating Alabama, you must have a head coach who is well-schooled in the art of JEDI mind tricks. You know, the type of narrative that Lou Holtz would deliver before his Fighting Irish would take on Navy or Rice. “I just don’t know how we’re going to beat them,” Holtz would say to reporters. If your coach can encourage that the team is outmanned and there is no way that it can win, you may have a shot.
Finally, what team has ever won without believing it could? To beat the best, which Alabama can surely lay claim to, you must believe that you can (whether you can or not). There weren’t many who believed that a bunch of amateurs could beat the world’s best in Olympic ice hockey back in 1980. But a group of young Americans and their coach believed…and they won, defeating the powerful Russian team on their way to a gold medal.
Looking at the Tide’s schedule, there is really only one opponent that has what it takes to defeat Alabama. Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are not on the schedule this year and while Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas A&M are improving, they are not yet ready to compete with Alabama. And there will be the big rivalry game with Auburn on Thanksgiving weekend, but the Tigers have struggled in the first three weeks of the season.
Only the LSU Tigers, which was Alabama’s only blemish in the national championship run a year ago, has what it takes to beat the Tide. The Tigers have a defense capable of taking away ‘Bama’s running game. They will find advantages and benefit from past Alabama failures, and they will believe they can win…they’ve done it before. LSU will not attempt any drastic changes and coach Les Miles will stick to what he does best. Plus, Miles will work wonders in the media as he and Saban offer up their best versions of the JEDI mind tricks.
Can anyone beat Alabama? It remains to be seen. The Tide have another “tune-up” game with Florida Atlantic before getting into the SEC schedule. November 3rd is the date with the LSU and Saban’s squad will have to travel to Baton Rouge. If anyone can beat Alabama, LSU will have the best shot on the first Saturday night in November.
September 18th, 2012
Lady Gaga Born This Way Ball Staples center
Lady Gaga has unveiled the first North American leg of her “Born This Way Ball” trek, which has spent all of 2012 overseas.
The pop diva’s North American outing, which she announced Wednesday (9/5) via a Twitter link to her Little Monsters fan site, gets underway Jan. 11 in Vancouver.
Lady Gaga will be playing the Los Angeles Staples Center on Jan 20th 2013 Tickets are onsale NOW.
11 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Rogers Arena
14 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
17 – San Jose, CA – HP Pavilion
20 – Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center
23 – Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
25 – Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena
29 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
31 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
2 – St. Louis, MO – Scottrade Center
4 – Kansas City, MO- Sprint Center
6 – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center
8 – Toronto, Ontario – Air Canada Centre
11 – Montreal, Quebec – Bell Centre
13 – Chicago, IL – United Center
16 – Auburn Hills, MI- Palace of Auburn Hills
19 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
22 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
25 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
27 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
2 – Atlantic City, NJ – Boardwalk Hall
6 – Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
10 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
11 – Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
13 – Tampa, FL – Tampa Bay Times Forum
15 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – BankAtlantic Center
16 – Miami, FL – American Airlines Arena
September 18th, 2012
Big Blue Bus Teams up with Dodgers, Barrys Tickets and AM570
AM570 FOX Sports LA has teamed up with the Barry’s Tickets and the Big Blue Bus company to feature our Dodgers creative on over 250 moving billboards. The specific Dodger creative is highlighted on the side and rolled out yesterday. The generic creative featuring Dodgers, NFL , Kings, NFL and UCLA is placed on the back and debuted last week.
Let us know when you spot them on the West Side
Big Blue Bus and Barrys Tickets
Big Blue Bus, AM570, Los Angeles Dodgers & Barrys Tickets
September 17th, 2012
Notre Dame moves to ACC
With the recent announcement that Notre Dame will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports but football, college football fans are left wondering about the landscape of their sacred game. And with all of the conference realignments and possible future conference shifts, how does Notre Dame’s move impact college football?
Well, Notre Dame still remains an independent in football, but the agreement with the ACC will allow the Fighting Irish to schedule five games against ACC opponents every year. The plus? Notre Dame can renew old rivalries with the likes of Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles, both of which played some very meaningful games against ND in the 1990s.
The negatives? Some of the Irish’s traditional rivalries, like the “battle of the Catholics” (Boston College Eagles), will likely end. Some rivalries will continue and the university has announced that it will keep its annual contests with Navy Midshipmen, USC Trojans, and Stanford Cardinals. Years ago, it was Navy that bailed Notre Dame out of a financial crisis and the Irish will never forget the gesture.
With the current 12-game schedule allowed by the NCAA, Notre Dame will play the five ACC opponents, Navy, USC, and Stanford, and still have room for four more games each year. Traditional opponents Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, and Purdue, all of the Big Ten, will likely remain on the schedule, though not yearly. Pittsburgh Panthers, which ND has played every year since 1982, is moving to the ACC and will continue to be on the schedule, though the Panthers may not be a yearly opponent either.
In scheduling opponents, it is important to the university to maintain a national awareness of the Notre Dame brand. Keeping USC and Stanford brings the West Coast, ND is already a fixture in the Midwest, and now with the ACC gig, the Irish will be able to have a presence in the largest media markets in the United States.
In the grand scheme of college football, Notre Dame’s move to the ACC really doesn’t change anything. The Irish will not be a full-fledged member of the conference and, other than facing a few new opponents each year, the schedule will not change that much. They may get a few extra wins per year playing the Marylands and Dukes of the league, but get a chance to renew some old rivalries (Miami and Florida State) and keep another (Pitt).
September 13th, 2012
When the NCAA announced its rules changes for the 2012 college football season, it was the kickoff adjustments that were creating the most uproar. Now two weeks into the new season, it’s the helmet rule that has coaches, players, and fans questioning its merit.
The NCAA’s new “Helmet Rule” requires a player who loses his helmet during play to leave the game for one play (unless the helmet was removed as the result of a penalty), much like what occurs when a player is injured and cannot leave the field immediately following a play. The player who loses his helmet is also barred from further participation during that play. If he continues to play without the helmet, he will be penalized 15 yards for a personal foul.
No one questions the intent or spirit of the rule. Clearly, the helmet rule was implemented for player safety, but the rule has created some interesting results. The new rule promotes and rewards tackling high since the removal of the headgear will mean that player must leave the field for a play. It also creates a situation where players may be wearing helmets that are fitted improperly. Equipment managers may over-tighten helmets to make sure they stay on defeating the purpose of the helmet.
Fans noted the impact of the rule during Week One in two nationally televised games. Clemson Tigers QB Tajh Boyd lost his helmet three times during their game with Auburn Tigers and his backup, Cole Stoudt, was forced into the game in his place. “I understand the rule, but for us it’s a little bit of a challenge when you run your quarterback, he gets hit and sometimes he gets in some piles, and sometimes helmets find their way from getting off their head,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
Swinney wasn’t the only coach expressing concern about the new helmet rule. In Georgia Tech’s Labor Day match-up with Virginia Tech, GT quarterback Tevin Washington lost his helmet prior to a crucial third-and-eight play from the Hokies’ 21-yard line. Washington’s backup, Synjyn Days, entered the game, ran for four yards and the Yellow Jackets kicked a field goal.
Johnson commented, “Well, clearly you don’t want to lose your starting quarterback on third down but that’s the rule. It looked like the helmet came off when he was on the ground. … It’s just one of those things.”
It will be interesting to see how the helmet rule plays out. Sooner or later, though, this rule change is going to affect the outcome of a game. Think about it. With under two minutes remaining in a game and facing a third-and-goal from inside the 10-yard line, your team’s quarterback is on the sideline because a defender ripped his helmet off on the previous play. Definitely not the intent of the rule, plays like that (deliberately removing headgear) are an unfortunate result.
September 5th, 2012
World Class Venue the Staples Center
With seating at just under 20,000 people, it’s quite rare for attendees of a basketball game to have a good view of the action. The design of the Staples Center
makes sure that just about every seat has a good view of the floor. The Staples Center is a world-class facility and even in the cheap seats people can be is assured that they will get a fair view of the action.
In many cases this is a good thing because seating at some Lakers games and Clippers games and Kings games can be extremely expensive for some people. Getting last-minute tickets or picking up tickets in the upper rows can be the only way that some people can enjoy this great venue. Even with some of the great acts that have graced the stage at the Staples Center, such as Justin Bieber, have led to some competitive prices on tickets as well as great views even from the upper levels.
With this great view there are also some fairly steep steps which can be sort of tough to manage for concerts and large events. Although the building is accessible, it may not be wise for seniors who are ill advised to climb stairs or have troubles with balance, to sit in the upper rows. The seats are quite steep and can be quite treacherous. There is plenty of security around and an excellent medical staff on-site in the event of an emergency. If you ever find yourself lost or in trouble within the Staples Center, there is always an employee or security officer close by to ensure that you’re safe. The friendly security staff is always around to help and direct you around the facility. Taking in a show or a sporting event at the Staples Center is extremely safe as a result of this great security staff.
Prices on food and beer are a little bit expensive but there are plenty of different venues to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for a full meal and a show or a small snack, there are plenty of venues to choose from at the Staples Center and reasonable lineups because of the amount of venues.
There looks to be some excellent VIP seating options as well which, in the form of full VIP suites. The prices for these tickets go up dramatically but it looks as though these types of seating involves getting specialized service as well as more comfortable seating arrangements with a good view of the action.
One common gripe about the Staples Center is that the parking is pretty confusing. Many people find it difficult to find parking around the Staples Center and are forced to take the bus in or even park around the venue a block or two away. Parking surrounding the venue can get quite expensive so it may be better to walk or potentially take the bus in from further out. Getting out of the Staples Center after a large show can also be quite difficult as the parking surrounding the venue is quite closed in. Do yourself a favor and at least carpool if you plan on parking close to the Staples Center.
September 4th, 2012
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama Crimson Tide are the new No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, moving past Southern California after its resounding victory against Michigan.
The Crimson Tide swayed more than enough voters with its 41-14 win Saturday night in Texas to overtake the preseason No. 1 Trojans, who beat Hawaii 49-10. USC entered that game a 40-point favorite at home.
September 4th, 2012
Alex Smith San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are coming off one of the best turn around seasons under a new head coach that any team could have done. Last year new head coach Jim Harbaugh lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship game against the New York Giants. The Giants wound up winning that game due to bad special teams play the 49ers.
Alex Smith had the best season of his career throwing for 3144 yards with 17 touchdowns while only turning the ball over 5 times on interceptions. Smith had his best performance of the season in week 13 against the St. Louis Rams where he completed 73.9 percent of his passes for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns. Smith will have to put up bigger numbers in 2012 while continuing to not turn the ball over.
The 49ers went out to help the passing game out by picking up free agents Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. These 2 receivers should compliment Michael Crabtree and tight-end Vernon Davis to give Smith more weapons through the air. While the team also drafted A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James to give them more weapons on offense.
As far as defense the 49ers were one of best overall in the entire league in most categories including second in fewest points with 14.3 points per game and also third in interceptions with 23. One of the best defensive performances came in week 15 against the Pittsburgh Steelers where the defense picked off 3 passes and recovered a fumble to help lead the team to a 20-3 win. The team will look for the veteran Patrick Willis to anchor the defense in 2012.
The 49ers should win the NFC West easily over the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams. All three of those teams have a lot of concerns on both sides of the ball.
September 4th, 2012
Pay for Play in College Football
Savannah State traveled to Stillman, Oklahoma, last Saturday only to be shellacked by 19th-ranked Oklahoma State, 84-0, in a virtually meaningless college football game. And next week, the Tigers will likely face another drubbing at the hands of another ranked FBS school, Florida State.
In the world of college football, what seems like a meaningless tussle between two schools at opposing ends of the spectrum, is really what the game has become–a business deal. For schools like Savannah State, an FCS school, and those like San Jose State and San Diego State–both FBS schools but not in BCS conferences–the cold reality of college football is that they must schedule games against more talented FBS schools to pay the bills.
These “payday” games have been around for years. A “lesser” opponent will agree to travel to a “greater” opponent in return for an agreed upon amount of cash. The result is usually a drubbing on the football field, but the payday can help fund a football program or, in some cases, an entire athletic department.
Take San Jose State, for example, who in 2010 made $1.825 million by playing Alabama and Wisconsin on back-to-back Saturdays. They “won” at the bank despite getting beat on the field by a combined score of 75-17. San Diego State has played 23 “payday” games since 2000. Their record in those games–0-23. Last year, the Aztecs received a little over a million dollars to play at Michigan. That equates to ticket sales for an entire season at SDSU.
Schools cannot make huge increases in ticket prices nor can they force more people to buy tickets in order to generate higher revenues. A school can only sell so many t-shirts and other apparel items and schools cannot force donors to write big checks. So, with 12-game schedules the norm now, it only makes good business sense to take a few lumps on the field, cash in, and then continue on with the remaining league games.
The Southland Conference, made up of FCS schools, typically plays several “payday” games every season in order to finance its schools’ athletic budgets. Nicholls State, for example, will play Oregon State, South Alabama, and Tulsa this year. The games will be a good test against better competition and help prepare Nicholls for league play and ultimately, a spot in the 24-team FCS playoffs.
Payday games will continue as the major BCS schools look for additional games that can be used as a “tune-up” for the rest of their schedules. What all the schools involved hope to avoid are injuries that can affect play later on in a season. And, for the big BCS schools, they surely will want to avoid a shocker like 2007’s Michigan upset by Appalachian State. Regardless of what happens on the field, though, as long as there are bills to pay, schools will agree to play for pay.