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Published: Thursday, November 02, 2017 @ 9:54 AM
— I’m sure we’ll have time to dig deeper into this later, but off the cuff there’s a fact about the Houston Astros’ 2017 World Series run we could spin either way when it comes to the Cincinnati Reds.
The Astros beat the two teams with the highest payrolls in baseball to claim their first championship.
So… does that signal to the Reds it can be done, or is it a reminder of how the deck is stacked against them?
I guess it could be both if that doesn’t break any sort of internet laws.
At any rate, the Astros are in a much larger television market than the Reds but were right under the league average in payroll with a roster I believe was largely homegrown.
For what it’s worth, the last time the Reds made the postseason they were spending about the same kind of money relatively speaking and had a mostly homegrown team, too.
The 2015 World Series Champion Royals were also a small-market team while last year’s Cubs were let’s say a hybrid model. Chicago tore their big-league club down to the foundation and endured five terrible seasons while building it back up through the draft, but some high-priced additions pushed it over the top last year.
What was your takeaway from this great World Series?
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Interesting day in Cincinnati as A.J. McCarron dealt with the fallout from the Bengals’ failed attempt to trade him to Cleveland.
I’d say the former Alabama quarterback handled this as well as possible.
It’s hard to come across genuine in this situation, but McCarron managed to walk the line between ambition and selflessness, as he did when Andy Dalton was under fire early in the season.
I think the consensus is the only loser in this situation was the Bengals, who obviously value McCarron but also view him as expendable.
Will they ever be able to get this type of compensation for McCarron now?
The Browns look foolish and inept, both unable to carry out league business while appearing to give up on the quarterback (DeShone Kizer) they chose in the second round last spring.
McCarron has to wait another season to get a starting opportunity, but at least it won’t be with the Browns….
As for the game on Sunday, this is one of the games I would have penciled in as a win before the season but that now is definitely a tossup.
The Jaguars are first in the league in rushing and last in stopping the run.
Jacksonville also leads the league in scoring defense and passing defense (yards).
They are third in the NFL in turnover margin while the Bengals are 30th.
If you’re keeping score at home, the Bengals can’t run the ball and their run defense is sub-par, but their secondary is good.
Jacksonville’s quarterback generally is not regarded as worthy of being a starter in the NFL, but Blake Bortles’ QB rating so far this season is just a tad worse than Dalton’s.
Noticing a trend here?…
These are happier times in Columbus as Ohio State is still basking in the win over Penn State.
There was plenty of Iowa talk in the capital city Wednesday, too.
The Hawkeyes aren’t having a great season, but like Nebraska their brand brings a certain amount of built-in respect.
Urban Meyer says the key to avoiding a letdown is leadership, and he believes he’s got plenty of that this season.
I would say that was on display in the workmanlike way Ohio State blew out everyone in the weeks leading up to Penn State and again in how the Buckeyes stayed engaged when the bad stuff was piling up early against the Nittany Lions.
The continuing evolution of the offense was also a topic of conversation Wednesday night as J.T. Barrett and Kevin Wilson admitted Penn State managed to outwit them at times defensively, but the Buckeyes powered through it.
By that I mean Barrett got his reads confused a few times (in case you were wondering if they threw too many screens that seemed DOA), but Wilson was OK with it because some mistakes are to be expected when playing at a fast pace.
I suppose they figure speeding the defense up pays dividends overall as the game plays out…
I guess the changes to Ohio State’s offense were good enough for Penn State https://t.co/e7BAGT1NED— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) November 1, 2017
College basketball season is one day closer, and the release of the preseason Associated Press poll gives us something else to talk about.
I’m surprised Dayton was included in anyone’s ballot, though filling those things out really becomes more of a crapshoot as you go farther down the line.
Anthony Grant’s first Flyers team has a lot of potential, but the floor might be pretty low, too.
RELATED: Dayton receives vote in top 25 poll
Last year with a much more veteran team, Dayton started the season just outside the top 25 at No. 26.
I guess it never hurts to get respect from outsiders when you’re trying to make that climb up the ladder.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 1:05 AM
LSU gymnastics visits the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga., on Friday. Follow below for information on how to watch, listen to and stream the event.
For the first time in school history, LSU is coming off back-to-back meets with a score of 198.000 or better, both of which came last weekend. At a high point in the season, LSU has a chance to clinch at least a share of the SEC regular season championship this weekend with a win. If No. 5 Florida loses to No. 11 Arkansas, LSU earns the regular season championship outright.
— LSU Gymnastics (@LSUgym) February 18, 2018
This meet is something of a homecoming for two of LSU gymnastics’ biggest contributors. Freshman Sami Durante, who leads off on bars, was committed to Georgia for most of her recruitment as her mom was the head coach there. When her mom was fired, Durante flipped her allegiance to LSU. And assistant coach Jay Clark was Georgia’s head coach from 2009-12 and worked as an assistant there from 1990-2009, helping the GymDogs win eight national championships.
LSU comes into this meet ranked second in the nation on bars and floor and third in the nation on vault and beam. Georgia ranks No. 18 on beam, No. 12 on bars, No. 15 on beam and No. 14 on floor.
Who: No. 2 LSU (11-1, 5-0 SEC) versus No. 15 Georgia (3-4, 3-3 SEC)
When: Friday Feb. 23, 6:00 p.m. CT
Where: Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.
The meet will be televised on the SEC Network. Bart Conner, Kathy Johnson Clarke and Laura Rutledge will be the commentary team for the meet.
This meet will not be broadcast on LSU radio.
The meet will be available to watch via stream through the SEC Network+ on WatchESPN. Mobile users can access the stream on their wireless-enabled devices by using the Watch ESPN App.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 1:00 AM
Ohio State football is the No. 1 topic in Wake Up every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.
Urban Meyer is getting a new contract. It’s not official yet (that’s expected in April), but just the talk about it from Meyer means a lot, Land of 10’s Austin Ward says. The new deal is expected to keep Meyer on the Buckeyes’ sideline at least through the 2022 season. With some negative recruiting surrounding the 53-year-old Meyer and speculation about his possible retirement, the news of the extension comes at a great time.
From Ward’s column:
That’s probably not going to end the debates about just how long the Buckeyes will have Meyer patrolling the sideline in the Horseshoe, but it feels as if he’s earned a break from the questions for at least a couple of years. For somebody so intensely private about his future plans to come out and announce his own extension should be the strongest signal yet that Meyer isn’t going away any time soon.
Ohio State’s regular season wraps up Friday in Bloomington, Ind., against the Hoosiers (8 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). The Buckeyes must win to keep any hopes alive of a co-Big Ten championship with Michigan State. Ohio State enters the game at 23-7 overall and 14-3 in the Big Ten after beating Rutgers on Tuesday and can hit the 15-win mark in the Big Ten for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
“We have work to do. We have a lot of challenges and fun stuff in front of us,” Chris Holtmann told reporters Thursday. “It’s been wildly successful, but we’re hungry to do more. We have to do a better job and that’s our focus.”
— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) February 22, 2018
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Ohio State will be going to its first NCAA Tournament since 2015. So where will the Buckeyes land March 11 on Selection Sunday? ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi placed Ohio State as a No. 5 seed in the South Region in his latest bracket projection. The Buckeyes were placed against Louisiana in Boise in Lunardi’s prediction.
Get ready to see a little bit more of Kirk Herbstreit on your televisions this spring. Herbstreit will be part of ESPN’s first-round NFL draft coverage on April 26, the network announced Thursday. Herbstreit — the longtime ESPN college football analyst — will take over the role of Jon Gruden, now the Oakland Raiders coach.
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Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 1:00 AM
Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.
South Carolina is among the latest to offer 2020 cornerback Jalen Huff .
The rising junior at Buford (Ga.) High School is the cousin of Gamecocks sophomore defensive back Jamyest Williams.
“It meant a lot, not only because of the family there, but when I was down there, it really felt like it was home,” Huff said of South Carolina. “Everybody treated me right. The coaching staff was really nice. For my first time being there, I felt like I knew the staff, knew everybody. It means a lot.”
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound prospect already has offers from Arkansas State, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Ole Miss and Syracuse.
The progress South Carolina has made over the last few seasons is one factor keeping the Gamecocks in the running for 2019 quarterback Garrett Shrader.
“Coach [Will] Muschamp’s done a great job, a nine-win season last year, won a bowl game,” the Charlotte, N.C., native told The State’s Matt Connolly . “From where they were under coach [Steve] Spurrier during the last part of that staff, he’s done a great job.”
The Charlotte Christian standout is rated as the No. 13 overall dual-threat quarterback for 2019, according to the 247Sports composite.
The SEC on Thursday unveiled the schedule for its annual football media days .
Muschamp is set for the event’s final day, Thursday, July 19.
This will be Muschamp’s third media days appearance with South Carolina and his seventh overall, having previously attended four times during his tenure at Florida (2011-14).
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South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley has filed a defamation lawsuit against Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk , according to WIS News 10 in Columbia .
“Staley, who filed the suit on Thursday in Richland County, cites the ‘defendant’s tortious and defamatory statements,’ as the reason for the suit, which also requests a jury trial. The lawsuit also outlines a provision that each party must file an alternate dispute resolution within 210 days of the suit’s filing before it goes to court,” WIS’ Tanita Gaither wrote.
The controversy began following South Carolina’s 64-54 win over Missouri on Jan. 28. During the game, there was an incident in which two opposing players collided and their respective teammates rushed the court.
Following the news of the lawsuit and Sterk being fined $25,000 by the SEC, the Missouri president and chancellor released a statement on Thursday night backing their athletic director .
“We remain confident in University of Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk. Since he came here in August 2016, Jim has exhibited a passion for our student athletes and their success and safety both on and off the court. He has proven himself to be an excellent administrator,” the statement read.
According to The State’s Ben Breiner , SEC commissioner Greg Sankey levied the fine against Sterk for violating SEC Bylaw 10.5.1, which states, “Coaches and administrators shall refrain from public criticism of other member institutions, their staff or players.”
Off-court happenings aside, No. 7 South Carolina (23-5 overall, 12-3 SEC) celebrated senior night during its women’s basketball home finale against No. 24 LSU on Thursday night.
Gamecocks forward A’ja Wilson was sensational in her team’s 57-48 win against the Tigers, scoring 27 points and grabbing 24 rebounds.
“She obviously wanted to win on senior night. She wanted to win because we want to secure a top 4 seed in the SEC Tournament. And she wanted to leave on a great note in front of the fans who really have supported her for four years. They have poured into this gym to watch her play. I can say the people coming to watch her play each game have helped her become an even better player,” Staley said of Wilson .
The All-America forward has averaged 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.4 assists per game in four years in Columbia.
What has caused the South Carolina men’s basketball team’s (15-13, 6-9) improved play as of late? According to Gamecocks coach Frank Martin, the answer is easy to see.
“The reason we’re playing better is real simple: Those two guys,” Martin said of point guards Hassani Gravett and Wesley Myers, via The Big Spur’s John Del Bianco . “There is no other way to explain it. Those two guys are playing a lot better. When your point guards play better, your team plays better.”
In the Gamecocks’ last two wins, Gravett and Myers have averaged a combined 22.5 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Craving more Chicken & Waffles? Get your fix with previous versions here.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 1:00 AM
Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.
Hate to be that way about it, but it’s going to happen. Oh, sure, Arkansas and the player will amicably part ways. It will be like when a coach resigns, but everyone and their mother knows that coach was fired. Chad Morris, or someone on the Arkansas football staff, is going to have a conversation — or has already had a conversation — with a player suggesting, perhaps, it’s best if that player looks for other opportunities.
Think: What happened with Robb Smith when he left Arkansas as defensive coordinator a couple of years ago?
Morris and Co. simply have too many players. It seems like a good problem to have, and under normal circumstances, it is. But the Bret Bielema regime missed on so many players (note: many of whom it was not a bad recruitment, simply a player who did not pan out), the new staff has to — and this term is being used on purpose — cut dead weight.
Arkansas simply has too many players on its roster who will not have a real effect on wins and losses through the season. Morris won’t get rid of anyone’s scholarship, nor should he. That player earned it and college sports are not, in that sense, demerit-based. However, as said, it can be hinted at, if not outright stated.
“Listen, son, I love ya, but I have to be honest. You’re probably not going to get much time.”
It doesn’t have to happen with every player. It will happen with some. Expect some transfers to come to light in the next several weeks.
My job is to write things about the University of Arkansas. Plain and simple. Anyone can tell the happy, easy stories. The ones that paint U of A in a negative light, lots of folks aren’t writing those. Such an approach has won me a certain bit of infamy among the fan base.
That’s wholly ironic considering when I write things like Mike Anderson being an excellent basketball coach and the Razorbacks are in cushy shape for the NCAA Tournament, some of those same people who despise me for the so-called negativity, then despise me for the opposite.
That means I’m doing my job well. It doesn’t matter if you like it. It’s living in reality. And the reality of the situation is, as of Thursday night, Anderson has Arkansas in a perfectly fine position for the NCAA Tournament. He need not be fired. Arkansas need not go in another direction.
It’s maddening that people suggest as much. The common refrain heard after publishing this piece, about Arkansas being an easy “in” for the NCAA Tournament was, “Not after they lose their next three games!”
Who has said otherwise? The piece paints a picture of the now, not of the future. You want future predictions? Read this one, instead, which, indeed, suggests Arkansas is going to have difficulty over the last three games of the year.
Or, you know what, just be angry instead. Your call.
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Billy Graham had a connection to Arkansas. Interesting.
#ThrowbackThursday: Billy Graham, who died yesterday, was at "The Big Shootout" in 1969. The late Frank Broyles once told @GeorgeSchroeder that an incident with his son cost the Hogs the game. https://t.co/gmoQ3PLK43
— Andrew Hutchinson (@NWAHutch) February 22, 2018
Anyone notice anything about this photograph?
— Razorback Foundation (@RazorFoundation) February 22, 2018
Athletic director Hunter Yurachek doesn’t tweet as much as his predecessor. He did give some dap to some of his non-revenue sports, though.
Proud to see so many @ArkRazorbacks teams in national rankings this week; @RazorbackTF (Women #1, Men #3) @RazorbackWG #3, @RazobackBSB #4, @RazorbackGym #11, @RazorbackMGolf #19, @RazorbackMBK #29, @RazorbackSB #29. #WPS
— Hunter Yurachek (@HunterYurachek) February 22, 2018