Monday, August 29, 2011

Top 10 Heisman Trophy Candidates

With the 2011 college football season set to kickoff on Thursday evening, it's perfect time to take a look at the leading contenders for college football's most prestigious award, the Heisman Trophy.  Most people, including myself, have Andrew Luck as our top contender, but we have to look no further than last year's run away winner Cam Newton to show us all it's possible for a dark horse candidate to come forward and win.


1. Stanford QB Andrew Luck

The buzz: Some have predicted a Stanford decline because of the departure of coach Jim Harbaugh, but the Cardinal has gone from consistent loser to championship contender with Luck at quarterback. If Luck continues to be effective and the Cardinal continue to win, the trophy likely will be his.  Luck must insure Stanford does not suffer a setback in Jim Harbaugh's absence, quarterbacks of 7-5 teams don't win Heisman Trophy's.

2. Oregon TB LaMichael James

The buzz: The Ducks' speedster has rushed for more than 1,500 yards in each of his two seasons. Last season, he led the nation with 1,731 rushing yards despite missing a game. This season, he could make a run at 2,000 yards.Thanks to the Ducks fast paced offense you know James is going to get plenty of reps and opportunities to put up big stats.

3. South Carolina TB Marcus Lattimore
The buzz: So what does he do for an encore? As a true freshman last season Lattimore rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 TDs despite missing one game and getting only one carry in another. In fact, he had fewer than 20 carries in eight games. The bet here is he gets more opportunities this season.  If Lattimore can continue on the pace he set last year, and if the Gamecocks make a strong showing in the SEC, Marcus Lattimore could become a housef hold name.

4. Oklahoma QB Landry Jones
The buzz: OU is the preseason No. 1 team, so Jones is a top contender based on that alone. Five of the past seven Heisman recipients were quarterbacks whose teams played in the national championship game. Yet, Jones has "real" credentials, too. He passed for 4,718 yards and 38 TDs in '10. Now can he finally finish the job that so many in Norman Oklahoma have failed to do?

5. Alabama TB Trent Richardson

The buzz: There are Alabama fans who have been saying that Richardson was better than former Tide tailback Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman recipient. Based on last year's performance I'd agree with them.  Sure, fans can be prone to hyperbole -- especially those in the SEC -- but in this case, they may be right. Richardson has power and explosive speed. He's rushed for 1,451 yards and 14 TDs in two seasons as a backup. Imagine what he can do now that he's the starter.

6. Michigan QB Denard Robinson

The buzz: Last season, his first as a starter, Robinson averaged 328.6 yards of total offense per game -- the second-highest in the country. A capable passer and a big-play threat as a rusher, can Robinson put up the same type of numbers for new coach Brady Hoke, who has scrapped the Wolverines' spread offense?

6. Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon

The buzz: No wide receiver has won the Heisman without also returning kicks, which Blackmon does not do. But times are changing. Until '09, no Alabama player had won it. Until '07, no sophomore had won it -- and there have been three sophomore winners. Blackmon could be another first. Last season, he had 111 receptions for a national-leading 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns despite missing one game.  But it wouldn't hurt if he got himself some more on-the-field exposure and returned a few kicks.

7. Boise State QB Kellen Moore

The buzz: No player from outside the Big Six conferences has won the Heisman since BYU's Ty Detmer in 1990. But Moore has a shot. Last season, he led the nation in passing efficiency. He has passed for more than 3,400 yards in three consecutive seasons. The Broncos are 38-2 with him as their starting quarterback, and he should become the winningest career starting quarterback in FBS history this season. Once again we see why it sucks playing for a Mid-Major Program.

9. West Virginia QB Geno Smith

The buzz: In 2010, Smith passed for 2,763 yards and 24 TDs as a first-year starter. Now, he's directing new coach Dana Holgorsen's high-powered offense. In each of Holgorsen's four seasons as an offensive coordinator, his quarterback has passed for more than 4,000 yards.

10. Houston QB Case Keenum

The buzz: He is one of Holgorsen's former pupils. Keenum finished eighth in the 2009 Heisman voting after passing for 5,671 yards. This season, he's returning from an injury that ruined his 2010 campaign. But Keenum could be first player to pass for 6,000 yards in a season.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kevein Durant, John Wall and Other NBA Players Star in Summer League

The NBA may be in the middle of their own lockout, but that has not stopped plenty of NBA players from taking to basketball courts across the summer in various pick up and summer leagues.  By now we've all seen Kevin Durant drop 66 points in a game at the legendary Rucker Park, and over the weekend he was back up to his old tricks.

Washington DC is a basketball town.  You may not be able to tell by the play of the Washington Wizards, but Washington DC loves it's basketball, and on Saturday the Drew League Vs. Goodman League All Star game featured some of today's hottest NBA stars. Check out some highlights.

Amazing Triple Play

Sometimes you're good, and sometimes you're lucky.  For Nashville Sounders manager Don Money his team was lucky, and that's good enough for him. 

In the bottom of the third inning with runners on first and second,  outfielder Logan Schafer misread a line drive hit into center field, by moving forward instead of retreating back. The blast hit by Omaha's Clint Robinson.  appeared to be headed over Schafer's head, but he changed course quickly and started to run back, at least giving himself a chance to make a play on the ball.

And make a play he did...

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Walker Sports Pre-Season College Football Poll

The NFL labor lockout is over, and the NFL pre-season is just around the corner, but who cares. It’s August and college football teams around the country are reporting to pre-season training, and we are less than 30 days from the kickoff of the 2011 college football season. Sure we all love NFL, but at Walker Sports College Football reigns supreme. As for those of you wondering why we’ve been so slow getting out our conference previews, you can blame all the sanctions and coaches retiring for slowing our previews. Nonetheless we are here covering the 2011 NCAA football season, and we will have all your college football odds and picks. Let’s get things started by looking at the Walker Sports Pre-Season College Football Poll.

1) Oklahoma Sooners: The Sooners are loaded on offense, and they are led by Landry Jones who has to be at the top of most peoples list for the Heisman Trophy. A week two trip to Tallahassee could tell us everything we need to know about the Sooners.

2)LSU Tigers: Les Miles managed to navigate his teams through treacherous waters last season, and racked up another top 10 finish for his effort. This year LSU is the most experienced team in the SEC. However, they face a brutal schedule a neutral site season opener against Oregon could be enough to derail their season before it begins.

3)Oregon Ducks: I love my Ducks. Back again and most likely faster than ever the Oregon Ducks are looking to improve on last year’s loss in the National Title game. While Oregon faces a difficult schedule off the field sanctions could sink the dream season before it even begins.

4)Alabama Crimson Tide: Nick Saban is a helluva coach, and he consistently coaches one of the best defensive units in the country. Look no further than the way he bottled up Cam Newton for the first half of their game. The support pieces are in place for Alabama, but the question is who will step up and lead the way on the field.

5)Florida State Seminoles: It did not take long for the Florida State Seminoles to climb back into the national spotlight. A big shout out is in order to Jimbo Fisher for stepping in and putting his stamp on this program right away. A win over top ranked Oklahoma in week two could be the Welcome Home party that the Seminole Nation has been waiting for.

6)Boise State Broncos: So close and yet so far last year. A missed/made field goal depending on the angle who saw, and the Broncos could have played for the National Championship. Now Chris Peterson’s bunch has to shake off last year, and play 2011. The new conference (Mountain West) will provide new challenges, and a much tougher schedule than Boise State is used to. If the Broncos can manage another undefeated season, it will be tough to deny them a chance to play in the BCS Championship Game.

7)Oklahoma State Cowboys: This could be the year for Mike Gundy. The Cowboys are loaded with talented from top to bottom. Once again they feature amazing playmakers on the outside, who will look to use the Air Raid offense to their advantage.

8)Stanford Cardinals: Andrew Luck is back and that’s why the Cardinals remain in the top 10. However, the loss of Jim Harbaugh cannot be overlooked. Stanford is a team that could drop fast.

9Wisconsin Badgers: The addition of Russell Wilson will be felt immediately. Combine that punishing rushing game that the Badgers have become known for, and you have the potential for a dominating offense. The big question is will Wisconsin unleash their new weapon?

10)Texas A&M Aggies: Texas A&M could be a sneaky team this season, that takes the newly reformed Big 12 by storm. However, within Aggie nation the expectations will be extremely high.

11)Nebraska Cornhuskers: A lot of people have the Huskers earmarked as winners of the new B1G conference, but that may be jumping the gun. As of right now Nebraska is a good team, but the B1G will prove to be much tougher than Husker nation is willing to admit at this point.

12)South Carolina Gamecocks: This could be the year that the Gamecocks finally break through and Steve Spurrier climbs his way back to the top of the college football world. Perhaps the best RB in the country in their backfield and an athletic, quarterback guiding a high powered offense. If Garcia can keep himself out of trouble, South Carolina should have a direct path to the SEC Championship Game.

13)TCU Horned Frogs: Replacing Andy Dalton will not be easy, but it is doable. At this point TCU has an established system in place that allows them to reload rather than rebuild. This season will put that theory to the test.

14)Virginia Tech Hokies: If nothing else an extremely weak ACC Coastal Conference will keep Virginia Tech relevant all season. Replacing Tyrod Taylor will not be easy, but the Hokies will turn to their power running game to protect themselves.

15)Arkansas Razorbacks: It’s not often you can lose one of the best quarterbacks in school history, and actually improve but Arkansas has done exactly that. The Razorbacks feature arguably the best receiving core in the country, and they will give teams fits. The questions is can they get these playmakers the ball?

16)Ohio State Buckeyes:
If we made this poll in May the Buckeyes would have been at the top of the poll, but a lot has changed over the summer for Ohio State, and most of the changes have been for the worse. An altered B1G could help the Buckeyes, but this could prove to be the worse season that Buckeye nation has seen in a long time.

17)Michigan State Spartans: Old Sparty has been knocking on the door of greatness for a few seasons now, but they never seem to be able to break through the glass ceiling. This year Michigan State will see more of the same. Inconsistent play at the quarterback position will continue to plague the Spartans.

18)Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Doesn’t it feel like the Notre Dame manages to make the pre-season poll every season? Once again Notre Dame is facing a difficult schedule, and to be honest I’m not sold on Brian Kelly’s new age Fun & Gun system.

19)Auburn Tigers: The defending national champs lost one obvious key piece in Cam Newton. However, the biggest loss of all may have come on the defensive line with Nick Fairley moving to play next to Suh with the Detroit Lions. That being said, there’s still a lot of talent in the coffers down in Auburn, and look for the Tigers to play the spoiler roll in the SEC.

20)Georgia Bulldogs: It’s time to put up or get out of town for Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt. Not that he’s done anything wrong, but repeated mediocrity will not be accepted between the hedges.

21)Mississippi State Bulldogs:
Hoping the can sneak up on a few teams, the Bulldogs are looking to make a statement in the SEC this season, and land in a major bowl game.

22)Florida Gators: New coach, new system same results. That means the Gators will not be sitting in the lower half of this poll when the season is complete. In the wake of the Urban Meyer era, Will Muschamp may be the welcome voice of change that the Gators are looking for.

23)Missouri Tigers: Blaine Gabbert may be gone, but there’s still plenty of firepower left on offense. Throw in an aggressive defense and the Tigers could be in for a big season.

24)Texas Longhorns: Last year was the exception, not the rule for the Longhorns. This year anyone who steps on the field for Texas will earn that Longhorn on their helmet. Look for Texas to attack the season with a new vigor, and expect better results on the field. If they don’t improve Mack Brown could be looking for new employment.

25)Penn State Nitney Lions: Is this Joe Pa’s last season? If so can he go out with one final B1G title? It will not be easy, but Penn State will surprise some teams in the B1G and a Rose Bowl appearance should not be overlooked.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Kevin Durant Scores 66 Points AT Rucker Park Pick up

The NBA lockout may be in full swing, but that's not stopping players from finding new places to play basketball.  Sure we've heard the rumors about guys traveling overseas for semi-lucrative deals.  Rising NBA Star Kevin Durant decided to stay local to find a new place to play.  Durant landed in legendary Rucker Park where streetball and NBA legends alike have traveled to showoff their skills.  One thing is for sure, the fans in attendance got to see one of the great performances at Rucker Park, when Durant went off for 66 points.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Crazy Greco-Roman Wrestling Pin

Its not often we talk about Greco-Roman wrestling on this site, especially when it's in the junior ranks. But American junior wrestling Ellis Coleman put on a show this past week, that we had to show everyone.  Check out this move, that Coleman likes to call the "flying squirrel."