HOOVER, Ala. — No significant changes are on the horizon for the College Football Playoff, the four-team tournament that determines college football’s national champion. “Our model works — 13 high-integrity people, football experts (who are) evaluating, studying, debating, frankly working their tails off during the season and producing a ranking that, while someone will always be…
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The Major League Baseball regular season is about a week away from wrapping up. With just a few regular season games left before the playoffs start, certain players look to end the season in strong fashion as they make their final statements in order to be recognized as the most deserving players for the season awards.
These awards include the Most Valuable Player Award for each league, Cy Young Award which is given to one pitcher of each league, and the Rookie Of The Year Award for each league.
Here’s our best guess as to who will win the top awards:
American League Most Valuable Player (MVP): Josh Donaldson
In his first season with the Toronto Blue Jays, since being traded by the Oakland A’s, Josh Donaldson has been arguably the best player in the American League since the beginning of the season. Donaldson and the Blue Jays are in first place in the American League East, and he has been the leader of the MLB’s top offense. He has a batting average of .299 and has slugged 41 home runs, which is good for third in the American League. The third baseman also leads the American League with 122 runs batted in. Donaldson made the All Star team this season and has been the one player who has consistently been the most valuable for his team. The two time All Star should be a lock to win the AL MVP Award and he has already won it in the hearts of many fans.
National League Most Valuable Player (MVP): Bryce Harper
The Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper is only 22 years old and has had one of the best seasons ever by a player of his age. Harper, who was an All Star this season, leads the National League in the chase for the batting title, which is given to the player with the league’s highest batting average. The young star has a batting average of .336. He is tied for first in the National League in home runs with 41 and has 96 RBI’s which is fifth in the league. Although his team has fallen to second place in the National League East, Harper is the main reason the Nats stayed in the hunt for the playoffs late into the season. Although his team will not make the playoffs, it is very likely that Harper will win the NL MVP Award.
American League Cy Young Award: David Price
The 2012 Cy Young Award winner David Price has a good chance of winning the award for the second time in his career. Price, who began the season as the ace for the Detroit Tigers, has since become the ace for the first place Toronto Blue Jays after being acquired in a trade. The hard throwing lefty has a record of 18 wins and only 5 losses. The 18 wins put him second in the American League. Price leads the AL starting pitchers with an earned run average (era) of 2.45. He is also fourth in the league in strikeouts with 225. Since being acquired by the Blue Jays at the trade deadline Price has 9 wins and only 1 loss with an era. of 2.30. He has been everything that the Blue Jays hoped he would be when they traded for him.
National League Cy Young Award: Zack Greinke
In 2009 Zack Greinke was the Cy Young Award winner in the American League for the Kansas City Royals. In 2015 the Los Angeles Dodger’s star should win the Cy Young Award, but this time in the National League. Greinke has had an overall better season this year than he had in 2009. He has 18 wins and only 3 losses. His 18 wins this season is good for second place in the National League. The All Star righty leads all starting pitchers in the MLB with a 1.65 era. Greinke has pitched over 200 innings this season for the Dodgers and has struck out 185 batters. He has been the most consistent Dodger’s starting pitcher all year and has helped the team maintain a first place lead in the National League West throughout the season. This season for Greinke has been a pretty historic one for a starting pitcher, which is why he should be the NL Cy Young Award winner when the season comes to an end.
American League Rookie Of The Year: Carlos Correa
As a 20-year-old this season, Carlos Correa was promoted to the MLB by the Houston Astros. The rookie shortstop has since turned 21 years of age and has been a huge factor in the success of the Astros this season. He is one of the keys of why the Astros could in fact make the playoffs this season in the American League. Correa is batting .282 with 21 home runs and 61 rbi in just 93 games played this season. His 21 home runs lead all rookies in the American League. His 61 rbi is good enough for second place among all rookies in the American League. He plays the most important position on the field, and the impact that he’s made on his team’s success should be the reason why he wins the American League Rookie Of The Year Award.
National League Rookie Of The Year: Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs has been one of the more popular players talked about throughout the 2015 season. As a rookie this season, Bryant was selected as a reserve to his first All Star Game. The rookie sensation has been a big reason for the Chicago Cubs resurgence in 2015. He is hitting .282 with 26 home runs and 99 rbi. His 26 home runs put him first among all Major League rookies. His 99 rbi leads all Major League rookies as well. He’s helped the Chicago Cubs make it back to the playoffs after years of disappointment. The overall good season that the All Star has had should be good enough for him to win the NL Rookie Of The Year Award.
The 2015 MLB season has been a very exciting one. A lot of players have made a positive impact for their teams this season, but only a few guys have made a big enough impact to be considered for these awards.
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By David Brown
As the Carolina Panthers continue to extend a somewhat improbable undefeated season, the team has already clinched a playoff spot in the NFC with three weeks left to play and sit at number one in the power rankings.
After making the playoffs in a weak division in the 2014-2015 season, the Panthers went 7-8-1 where they lost in the second round to the Seattle Seahawks. Low expectations stuck with the Panthers through the offseason as sport analysts and writers doubted their legitimacy as real contenders.
The players and coaches responded accordingly.
With the team on the rise, head coach Ron Rivera is now a legitimate contender for coach of the year after the teams longest win streak in franchise history. Rivera’s offense has been deadly to opposing teams this year sitting at number one in points per game with 31.
Cam Newton’s play has been a determining factor in Carolinas undefeated season as he has stepped up significantly as a leader on and off the field. Newton is sixth in touchdowns thrown this year and is tied for sixth with seven rushing touchdowns.
Being nearly impossible to defend in the red zone, Newton has proven to be more than reliable this season in the passing game. The progress made has earned him a contending spot for MVP, although his stats aren’t at the top of the league, he has still been a clutch playmaker that has led his team to thirteen straight wins. Pretty hard to argue against those results.
As the offense is dabbing on the sidelines, the Carolina defense has shown elite status on the field as well.
Jonathan Stewart has also been a key contributor in the Panthers high scoring offense. Stewart is third in the league with 989 rushing yards and is second in the league with 242 attempts. Stewart has racked up five touchdowns and averages 79.2 yards per game and has continued to be a workhorse for this offense. It is worth noting that Stewart was injured last week with a sprained foot. He’ll miss the game this Sunday against the Giants but is expected to be fine for the playoffs.
Greg Olsen, one of the top tight ends in the NFL, leads the Panthers and all NFL tight ends in targets, being thrown the ball 107 times. Olsen leads the team in receiving yards with 969 and has pulled in six receiving touchdowns, second in the league among tight ends.
Throughout these 13 games the Panthers are first in the league in points per game and are second in the league for most rushing yards per game.
As the offense is dabbing on the sidelines, the Carolina defense has shown elite status on the field as well. Carolina’s D is third among yards per game and fourth in rushing yards per game. This defense is most dangerous in its turnover ratios.
The Panthers lead the league in takeaways with 33 total. With one of the top linebacker cores in the NFL, Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly lead the team with a combined 119 tackles and 17 turnovers. Both with high expectations to make the Pro Bowl. This defense only gives up an average of eighteen points per game, the lowest in the league.
This Carolina team’s surprise breakout year has led many to believe the squad as Super Bowl material. They seem to have all the components to be considered a Super bowl team and have proved that through their undefeated season.
As the season wraps up this team’s future is still a debate and it will be interesting to see them in the playoffs. Will the Panthers go undefeated? Could this be Carolina’s time to bring home the Lombardi trophy? Has Cam done enough to earn the MVP award? The Carolina Panthers proved everyone wrong, and yet, have so much more to prove.
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By Ikeem Boyd
As a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, Kobe Bryant’s decision to retire from the game of basketball is bittersweet.
He’s my favorite player of all time and played a huge role in raising five championship banners.
Kobe is the Lakers; the Lakers are Kobe’s team. That’s just the way that it’s always been for the entirety of my fandom and most of my life.
I’ve grown up with Kobe, and I can’t fathom an NBA season without him. Like every other Laker fan, and basketball fan for that matter, I’ll be sad that he’s gone. But at the same time, Bryant has left us all with great memories and he deserves to be celebrated for the remainder of the 2015-16 season.
The current version of Kobe Bryant is hard to watch. Seeing Bryant shoot 30 percent from the field on a nightly basis is tough.
His decision to retire is the right one. It’s not only best for Bryant as an individual, but it’s also best for the Lakers as franchise.
The Lakers can now focus on re-building the team around their young core of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle.
There’s always been this great debate about who’s the greatest basketball player of all-time. Let me preface what I’m about to say, by stating that I was born in 1992.
When Michael Jordan was dominating the NBA and winning championships with the Chicago Bulls, I was a young kid. I didn’t follow or fully understand the game of basketball then.
Even though I didn’t witness the Jordan era, I’m aware of his greatness, what he accomplished and what he did on a global scale for the NBA and game of basketball.
With all that being said, Kobe Bryant is the closest thing to Michael Jordan; he’s the best basketball player of my generation and the best basketball player that I have ever witnessed live.
I don’t really enjoy ranking the all-time greats because each is great in their own way and they each brought something unique to the table.
Besides, I haven’t been around long enough to have seen all of them live. It’s tough to make rankings off of highlight packages, vintage games on ESPN Classic and on statistics. I do know the greats of my generation, though, and who I got to see growing up.
The great players of my generation include: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and a few others that are escaping me at the moment. Out of that bunch, there’s only one player that you can argue has had a better career than Bryant and that is Duncan. Bryant’s resume speaks for itself.
Where does that rank Bryant amongst the all-time greats? I can’t tell you. Everyone that you talk to will give you a different list. What I can tell you is that regardless of where you believe Bryant ranks on the list of all-time greats, he’ll always be in the discussion.
Although this season is looking like it’s going be another lost one for the Lakers, I’m excited to see how Kobe goes out. It’ll also be cool to see how the NBA, its players, coaches, and fans show their appreciation for Bryant and all that he’s done.
I’m hoping that during my next visit to Los Angeles, I’ll be able to catch a Lakers game. I have to witness greatness in person…one last time.
Thank you for a wonderful 20-year journey, Kobe. Basketball won’t be the same without you.
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