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This Former College Football Star Has Some Tough Advice For High School Players

By Curtric “Spiffy” Evans

Football has always been a huge part of my family. I’ve been playing the sport for as long as I can remember so it’s safe to say it’s been my life. I was blessed with the chance to play Division I football at Boston College.

Football gave me the chance to do what I loved and obtain a top-tier education in the process.

When I look back to the recruiting process that took place while I was in high school, it’s a bittersweet feeling.

By the time signing day rolled around in 2011 I had earned over 40 Division I scholarships to schools like Stanford, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Tennessee and even some Ivy Leagues.

With some many schools were  inviting me to join their teams, it made high school interesting.

I recall receiving text messages throughout the days and nights from different coaches from all over the country trying to sway me to make their school my home for the next four to five years.

“Coaches change every year so to choose a school based on people is a big mistake.”

Tons of letters to both of my parents homes and even my grandmother’s house.

I have over 5,000 hand written letters from coaches that I saved to show my son one day.

The most memorable moment came when coach Tim Tyrell (the then coach at Chaminade- Madonna in Hollywood and a former player at Youngstown State) had Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel come to the school and speak with two of my teammates and myself.

A large part of my recruitment started from performing well at the Ohio State camp before my junior season, and that led to big opportunities later.

Competing against the top athletes in my class gave me a deep sense of perspective of my skill level and ultimately showed me I could play at the next level.

If I could do it over I would go to OSU being that they truly wanted the best for me.

Some advice I can offer for any high-school recruits, choose a school on how it best fits you not what they show you.

Coaches change every year so to choose a school based on people is a big mistake.

On your visits be sure to find out all the questions and your biggest advisors will be the guys already on the team.

Don’t shy away from leaving the state if you have a chance because going away definitely broaden my horizons.

And lastly, enjoy it. Once you sign you name and start summer workouts no more of the glamour that you thought would be waiting for you unless you work for it.

The life of a highly recruited high school athlete was one of great times and experiences of my life, while also being one of the most chaotic times as well. Don’t get lost in the chaos.

Who Is Leading The Tom Brady vs. Cam Newton MVP Race?

By Nick Hickman

Last Sunday was disappointing for Carolina and New England fans as both watched their respective teams come up short in divisional games. The pair of losses brought the Panthers to 14-1 and the Patriots to 12-3, although both teams still sit comfortably with a clinched 1st round Playoff bye.

Additionally, both teams wield the two players leading this year’s MVP race in Tom Brady and Cam Newton, neither of which disappointed despite their team’s loss.

Entering the week with 480 passing touchdown in his career, Brady promptly tied Brett Favre’s record for most passing touchdowns for a singular team by connecting with James White in the fourth-quarter of Sunday’s game against the Jets. The 9-yard touchdown sent the game into overtime where the Jets pulled out the victory. Brady completed 22 of 31 passes and ended with one touchdown and an interception.

The Panthers entered last Sunday’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons having put up 194 points in their last five games with an astonishing average of 38.8 per. The Falcons—who lost 38-0 in their week 14 matchup with the Panthers—undoubtedly had redemption in mind as they held the Panthers to only 13 points and a loss.

Still, however, Cam Newton found a way to stand out, which is beginning to seem all too easy for the 6’5”, 245 lb. phenom. On the opening drive of the game, Newton ran in his eighth touchdown rush this year, becoming the first player in NFL history with 30+ passing touchdowns and 8 rushing touchdowns in a season. The run also carried Newton to 41 career rushing touchdowns, tying him with San Francisco great Steve Young.

Tom Brady hopes to be at another one of these pre Super Bowl press scrums in a few weeks. Photo Credit: WEBN-TV/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Tom Brady hopes to be at another one of these pre Super Bowl press scrums in a few weeks. Photo Credit: WEBN-TV/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Breaking records seems like only but a pattern for Cam Newton. In the matchup with the Giants two weeks ago, Newton became the first player in history with 300+ passing yards, five touchdown passes and 100+ rushing yards in a single game. Additionally, the quarterback has been responsible for 61.19% of the Panthers points this season.

It seems too that we’ve now become burdened with finding new records for Cam Newton to break. Before losing to the Falcons, Newton was the first player to hold an undefeated 14-0 record in both college and the NFL. Heading into the playoffs in the month of December, Newton boasts a record of 17-4. It’s about time we finally start recognizing the level of greatness in front of us.

And true, there’s no denying the greatness of number 12 in New England. After winning and being awarded the MVP of Super Bowl XLIX, Brady entered a several month-long legal dispute with the NFL—and while it’s worth noting that Brady largely won the battle after having his suspension nullified, the rest of the details only lead to a migraine.

But without a suspension in place, the only reminisce of the Deflategate scandal is the fire in Brady’s belly that has helped lead his team to the best record in the AFC. After this Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots will start the 2016 Playoffs with a bye and will likely threaten another Super Bowl run.

However, just as likely is the reality that Newton’s Panthers will meet them there.

This is a setup far different from last years playoff picture in which the Panthers held a 7-8 record entering the postseason. Their season ended in a 31-17 loss against Seattle in the divisional round. This season, however, the Panther’s have already doubled their wins from last year.

When you watch him on the field it’s undeniable that Newton often resembles a man among boys, it’s the reason we call him Superman. In only his fifth NFL season, Newton is the only player to total five straight seasons with 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards. He averages 5.4 yards per rush, a feat desired by many NFL running backs.

Unlike many of his scrambling counterparts of the past, however, Newton has an impeccable ability to pass from the pocket and is second in the NFL in passing touchdowns with 33. It’s the combination of these two threats that make him so lethal.

“WHEN YOU WATCH HIM ON THE FIELD IT’S UNDENIABLE THAT NEWTON OFTEN RESEMBLES A MAN AMONG BOYS, IT’S THE REASON WE CALL HIM SUPERMAN.”

If you bring too much pressure on defense, Newton has the ability to pick your secondary apart. If you favor the passing and coverage game, you leave him the frightening possibility to run and make plays. He will beat you however he needs to.

With the best record in the NFL, there is no team that doesn’t take the Panthers seriously. It’s about time for us as fans, however, to attribute the Panthers and their quarterback the same level of respect. Newton is of a new breed. We have never seen such a combination of speed, strength, athleticism, skill and ability.

He’s taken his Panthers from a 7-8 record to a record of 14-1 and first place in the NFC. The man embodies the iconic image of a superstar and reminds us of so every time he selects a kid in the crowd and hands him his touchdown ball.

The race for NFL MVP is now nearing a finish line. Many more conversations and debates will be had, but nothing can take away from what we’ve already seen. The 2015 NFL season has given us many feats of excellence and excitement, including contributions from Brady.

However, the marathon that has already lasted 15 weeks has a clear frontrunner, and his name is Cam Newton.

Cover Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck/Flickr (CC by-SA 2.0).

Are the Philadelphia 76ers the Worst NBA Team of All-Time?

For fans of the Philadelphia 76ers (such as myself), the 2015-2016 season has been a continuous nightmare.

Currently, the boys from the City of Brotherly Love have a record of 2-31, and with the exception of the equally-listless Lakers on New Year’s Day, the possibilities for wins are are few and far between.

The stats alone spell out a lot of woes. The team is last in PPG (92.0), last in point differential (-12.4), and 24th in points allowed (104.4).

On top of that, they have the youngest roster in the NBA at 22.9 years of age. They have only played one man over 30 (Carl Landry) and their leading scorer is a 20-year-old rookie.

I highly doubt any team could win boasting those figures.

But it’s not enough for the Sixers to just be seasonally bad. They are historically bad.

The phrase “worst team” is, admittedly, subjective. However, if you look at history, the case for the current iteration of the Sixers to hold that dubious title is strong.

The worst team in NBA history by winning percentage was the 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats (.106). However, that was in a strike-shortened season. For a full 82-game season, the record low is held by the 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers (.110).

Those Sixers won a paltry nine games. The current roster is projected to win fewer than five contests, which for the record would be a winning percentage of .061.

That sound you just heard was a collective groan coming from the vicinity of Constitution Hall.

I believe it is safe to say that the argument for the 2015-2016 76ers being the worst team of all time is cemented.

With that in mind, let’s take a minute to talk about the franchise as a whole.

General Manager Sam Hinkie is in the running for worst GM of all time in any sport. The news site FiveThirtyEight, summed this up pretty nicely.

And when other owners are petitioning the league to step in, you know you’re in trouble.

Hiring Jerry Colangelo as Chairman of Basketball Operations? Excellent.

Hiring Mike D’Antoni as an Associate Coach and sort-of Offensive Coordinator? The fanbase collectively facepalms.

Long story short, unless Colangelo takes over the GM duties, this team will go nowhere this season. And while theoretically they could only go up from here, that’s what was said at the end of last season too.

Cover Photo Credit: Doug Kerr/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Is Peyton Manning Just A Backup Quarterback Now?

Full disclosure: I am a diehard Bronco fan.

I grew up in Denver and there are two rules to living in Colorado: go to the mountains as much as possible, and place your emotional wellbeing in the hands of the Denver Broncos.

Denver is a great sports town with four professional teams, but the Broncos have been nearest and dearest to our hearts for the longest. If Coloradans had the option to get rid of the Broncos or to ax the Avalanche, Rockies, and Nuggets, I have no doubt that we’d still be showing up at Mile High on Sundays.

Hell, Tim Tebow is more beloved than nearly every Avalanche, Rockies, and Nuggets player ever. Football is the subtext of our state.

Other than the Carolina Panthers’ run at perfection, the biggest story in the NFL right now surrounds the future of Peyton Manning.

NFL.com reporter Ian Rapoport reported last Sunday that Manning would not be happy as the Broncos’ backup quarterback, which was quickly rebuked by Denver’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, and unofficial Governor of Colorado, John Elway.

Later that day, the Broncos lost a heart-wrenching game in Pittsburgh where Peyton’s backup, Brock Osweiler, carved up the Steeler defense to the tune of 15/19 for 238 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown in the 1st half. In the 2nd half, the Broncos didn’t cross the 50 yard line until 2:58 left in the 4th, running 32 plays that gained only 71 yards.

After the game, Peyton called Rapoport’s report “bullshit” and “insulting.”

Rapoport isn’t some random guy spouting nonsense on the internet; he’s a seasoned sports journalist, having been a beat reporter for Mississippi State, Alabama, and the New England Patriots.

Rapoport has covered the NFL as a whole since 2009, so it’s safe to say that this report was not plucked out of thin air.

The crux of the issue with the 2015 Broncos is that the offense Peyton has come to embody is fundamentally different from the one that new head coach Gary Kubiak wants to install.

Kubiak is a Bill Walsh disciple, and plugged Terrell Davis into his version of the West Coast offense en route to back to back Super Bowl titles as the Broncos offensive coordinator in the late 90’s. The Tom Moore offense that Manning ran in Indianapolis is primarily rooted in the passing game.

This is why the Osweiler vs Manning debate is less about each particular quarterback, and should be more focused on how their talents fit into the greater offense.

The Broncos are built to run the ball.

In short, Peyton wants to play fast and isolate certain matchups over and over again, while Kubiak wants to keep defenses guessing and chew up the clock with short passes and runs to set up a rolling play action that takes shots down field (If you want a terrific and more detailed breakdown of the difference between these offenses, read this piece from Mile High Report).

With Manning’s litany of injuries right now, he simply doesn’t have the mobility to run the kinds of plays that are integral to a Kubiak offense.

No sport is more dependent upon the system that the players play within than football.

For example, Demarcus Ware played outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense in Dallas and tore offensive linemen to shreds for a decade, reserving himself a spot in the Hall of Fame. He played last season as a 4-3 defensive end in Jack del Rio’s defense in Denver and was still good, but not the monster we had come to expect. He finished with 10 sacks, his lowest career output, save for his rookie season and his last injury plagued campaign in Dallas.

This year, until he hurt his back, Ware was arguably the best defensive player in the league, winning his first career defensive player of the month award in October. A big reason for this improvement? New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips replaced del Rio’s 4-3 with his aggressive 3-4 scheme.

This is why the Osweiler vs Manning debate is less about each particular quarterback, and should be more focused on how their talents fit into the greater offense. The Broncos are built to run the ball.

Both CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman are good running backs with complimentary skillsets, and their underwhelming offensive line is down to both their 2nd string tackles, which has led to some pretty ugly showings against good pass rushes (Khalil Mack single handedly destroying their offense most comes to mind).

Since Peyton likes to play out of the shotgun, the only way to meld Kubiak’s offense to what Manning is most comfortable with is to run the base formation out of the pistol, where the running back lines up around 7 yards off the line of scrimmage.

Basic logic dictates that the closer you are to the line of scrimmage, the easier it is to run the ball, and the Broncos have looked like a much more dangerous offense with Osweiler under center, executing the scheme Kubiak was hired to install instead of the awkward hybrid that Manning ran earlier this season.

That said, each players’ respective talents still matter quite a bit at the game’s most important position, and even though Osweiler is a demonstrably better fit for the Denver offense than Peyton is, he has not done enough to convince this partisan that he is a better QB than Manning at this moment.

Osweiler just doesn’t make enough big plays, as evidenced by his 6.71 yards per attempt, ranking him 30th in the NFL (to prove how weird this year has been, the three guys ahead of him? Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers).

Photo Credit: Jullo Enriquez/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Photo Credit: Jullo Enriquez/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Osweiler has done more than enough to secure the starting gig next year, but if Peyton has recovered from his injuries (as much as he can, plantar fascia doesn’t go away quickly), and can run Gary Kubiak’s offense (the biggest question mark in all of this), he should be the starting quarterback.

Of course Peyton Manning wouldn’t be happy as a backup, he’s Peyton Freaking Manning!

But the implication in a report like Rapoport’s is his unhappiness will be disruptive, and given Manning’s reputation as the consummate professional, that isn’t likely to happen. Media-generated hysteria is what’s disruptive.

It’s why Tim Tebow can never be a backup QB.

Where this all seems to be headed is an amicable parting of the ways between Manning and the Broncos in the offseason, with Peyton either retiring or signing with a QB needy win-now team like the Texans or the Jets. If he does return, it will probably be at a dramatically reduced salary.

Denver has three of its most important defensive players entering their first free agency this offseason, and Malik Jackson, Derek Wolfe, and Von Miller won’t come cheap.

There is virtually no scenario where Peyton’s current contract stays on the books and all three of those guys return.

John Elway brought Peyton to Denver in order to win a Super Bowl and end his career much like Elway did, riding off into the sunset baked in blue and orange, but the closest this team has come to reaching that goal is being on the business end of a historic Super Bowl beatdown against the Legion of Boom (which this writer was present for, the Broncos performance forcing him to get drunk off of $14 beers).

RISE NEWS writer Jacob Weindling (L) at Super Bowl XLVIII in New York City in 2014. Photo Credit: Jacob Weindling

RISE NEWS writer Jacob Weindling (L) at Super Bowl XLVIII in New York City in 2014. Photo Credit: Jacob Weindling

 

This is Peyton’s last shot in Denver, and just because the quarterback of the future has looked adequate to good in his first few starts does not mean that a healthy and able living legend should be sitting on the bench.

Have a news tip? Send it to editor@risenews.net. Like to write? You can become a RISE NEWS contributor.  

Cover Photo Credit: Craig Hawkins/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Previewing The Warriors/Cavs Finals Rematch On Christmas Day

By Nick Hickman

Once again it seems that the NBA has assumed the roll of Ol’ Saint Nick this holiday season. The league is scheduled to deliver five premier matchups split between ESPN and ABC. Highlighting the showcase this year will be the game at Oakland’s Oracle Arena in which LeBron James and his finally healthy squad seek revenge.

The game at 5 p.m. ET on ABC is the first rematch of the Cavaliers and Warriors since last year’s NBA Finals, a series that ended in a 4-2 Warriors victory.

WATCH: A recap of the 2015 NBA finals

It was also a series heavily plagued with injuries. The ‘Big 3’ that was formed only months earlier first lost Kevin Love in a series against the Celtics and then Kyrie Irving in Game 1 of the Finals. The blows only served to heighten the workload for LeBron James, a factor that became increasingly apparent as the series wore on. LeBron averaged 35.8 points and 8.8 assists but it wasn’t enough against the high-powered and fast paced Golden State Warriors.

This year’s matchup promises dynamics far different. While Kevin Love has steadily averaged 23 points per game this season, last Sunday marked the highly anticipated return of Kyrie Irving in a 108-86 win against the 76ers- which is nothing really to boast about. Still, it would appear that the Cavalier machine that we’ve all been waiting for is finally back, oiled up and ready to go.

Eagerly awaiting them at Oracle Arena will be the team that hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy last year, the Golden State Warriors, a 26-1 team who also wields the leagues reigning MVP in Steph Curry. While the Cavaliers have been focused on getting healthy and restoring their roster, Curry hasn’t missed a beat.

Instead, the sharp shooter is making an enticing argument for this year’s MVP while leading the league in scoring at 31.8 per game. Additionally, the Warriors have watched as forward Draymond Green has propelled himself into the conversations of the league’s elite. Green is averaging a near triple double this season with 14.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game.

However, while Cleveland has illustrated the types of struggles associated with injuries, this time around it may actually be Golden State who is burdened by the injury bug. Warriors forward Harrison Barnes has been out with a sprained ankle since November 27 and will not play on Christmas.

Golden State will miss Barnes who up until his injury had been averaging 13.4 points and 5 rebounds a game. More importantly, however, is the reality that Barnes averaged 30.1 minuets for the Warriors and was a key staple on the defensive side of the floor. The injury will force Golden State to make adjustments, in turn exposing potential opportunities to the Cavaliers.

Regardless of whatever circumstances are at play, the Warriors and Cavaliers are sure to offer up a Christmas treat. Despite injuries, the Warriors have eleven players that have played in at least twenty games already this season and will have no problem with mixing and matching to find the right formula.

On the other side sits James and a Cavalier team that wants nothing more than to assert their dominance on the hottest team in sports. The result will be a showdown appropriate for next year’s wish list.

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Charles Woodson Announces Retirement After 18 Years Of Dominance

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Charles Woodson announced his retirement Monday from the NFL and his 18-year career will end with the Raiders final two games this season. “I’ve had an incredible career,” Woodson said. “It goes beyond words. I never intended on playing as long as I have, but this is the way it’s happened and I’m… Read More

Here’s A Guide To Today’s College Football Bowl Games

By Max Littman

The 2015 College Bowl Season kicks off on Saturday, December 19th.

Here’s a preview of every bowl game today so you know what to watch and what to expect.

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl

Atlanta, Georgia 12:00 EST December 19th, 2015.

Alcorn State (9-3) vs.

North Carolina A&T (9-2)

This year marks the inaugural year of the Celebration Bowl and pits two premier FCS teams against each other. Alcorn State, the Southwestern Athletic Conference Champions, will face off against North Carolina A&T, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champions.

Although both relatively unknown teams, both have performed admirably year and figure to be around the same skill level.

Both lost to ranked FBS teams by large margins at the beginning of the season with North Carolina A&T dropping to then #10 North Carolina 53-14 and Alcorn State dropping to then #16 Georgia Tech 69-6.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Albuquerque, New Mexico 2pm EST December 19th, 2015.

Arizona (6-6) vs.

New Mexico (7-5)

Arizona, coming off a grueling Pac-12 schedule, is favored to take this game against the home-town team, the New Mexico Lobos. Arizona is coming off a season where they lost against 2 top-25 teams, UCLA and Stanford, while also dropping to 4 other Pac-12 teams. The brightest spot for Arizona was their defeat of then #10 Utah at home 37-30.

The Wildcats are led by the return of junior linebacker, and All-American, Scooby Wright III who missed most of this past season with various injuries. He’ll be looking to stop New Mexico’s explosive tandem of running backs Teryion Gipson and Jhurell Pressley and quarterback Lamar Jordan who all very successfully ran New Mexico’s triple option offense.

The trio and the rest of New Mexico’s offense averaged a respectable 29 points a game, albeit against a schedule consisting of only one Power-5 team, Arizona State, which resulted in a 34-10 loss. New Mexico does have home-field advantage, which could help them pull of the upset.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

Las Vegas, Nevada 3:30pm EST December 19th, 2015.

BYU (9-3) vs.

Utah (9-3)

The Utes and the Cougars had very similar 2015 seasons, which each finding success through stretches of the season but struggling at times. After losing to then #10 UCLA and Michigan, BYU won 7 of their last 8 games to finish as the second best independent football team in the FBS.

Utah on the other hand started out hot, beating a very good Michigan team, and went on to win 8 of their 9 first games.

The team though seemed to collapse near the end of the season, losing to UCLA and Arizona, before finally finishing off their season with a win against Colorado. Although on paper it’s a very evenly matched game, BYU may be in disarray during the game because it will be their coach, Bronco Mendenhall’s final game with BYU before he leaves to take the head coaching job at Virginia.

Adding intrigue to this game is the in-state rivalry between the two teams.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Montgomery, Alabama 5:30pm EST December 19th, 2015.

Ohio (8-4) vs.

Appalachian State (10-2)

This year’s Camellia bowl pits two relatively under-the-radar, yet potentially explosive teams against each other. Appalachian State is led by their excellent running game, 6th in the nation with 268 yards per game- and will look to match-up very favorably against a weaker Ohio defense. Appalachian State’s only losses came against Clemson and a disappointing loss to Arkansas St.

Without the loss to Arkansas State this team could have been an outside choice for a New Year’s 6 bowl game. Regardless their excellent run game and defense could be too much to handle for Ohio, who after a rough middle of the season looks to be on their way back.

Ohio finished second in the Eastern Division of the Mid-American Conference after a bumpy middle of the season capitalized by a blowout loss 62-24 to eventual MAC champions, Bowling Green St. Despite being heavy underdogs in this game they will rely on their quarterback Derrius Vick and their excellent wide receiver Sebastian Smith to lead them to an upset victory.

The AutoNation Cure Bowl

Orlando, Florida 7:00pm EST December 19th, 2015.

San Jose State (5-7) vs.

Georgia State (6-6)

The Cure Bowl this year features two lower caliber teams.

San Jose State is even lucky to be even going bowling after they only won 5 games in the 2015 campaign. Due to a massive amount of bowls and too few 6 win bowl-eligible teams this year, San Jose State was awarded a bowl bid due to their academic performance rating.

With their wins coming against New Hampshire, Fresno State, UNLV, New Mexico, and Hawaii they look to be one of the weakest teams in a bowl game this year. One of their few bright spots though is their running back, Tyler Ervin, who has 1,469 yards and and 13 td’s this year in an excellent showing.

San Jose State will be going up against a Georgia State team who became bowl eligible after winning their last four games behind their fantastic passing game. Their quarterback, Nick Arbuckle, is ranked 6th in the country for passing yards, amassing a very formidable 4,160 through the air this season.

Arbuckle’s favorite target is wide receiver Penny Hart. Hart has also excelled this year and is currently 22nd in the country with 1,095 yards on 71 receptions. This high-powered offense will be looking to blow away San Jose State’s defense in what could be a blowout game.

R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

New Orleans, LA 9:00pm EST December 19th, 2015.

Louisiana Tech (8-4) vs.

Arkansas State (9-3)

The home-state favorites Louisiana Tech look to prove themselves in this year’s New Orleans bowl against Sunbelt Conference Champions Arkansas State.

Louisiana Tech is led by former Florida quarterback, senior Jeff Driskel.

Driskel and his best receiver, Trent Taylor, have had a terrific year and lead the 15th best passing game in the nation. The Bulldogs’ defense though will almost assuredly have their hands full with a high powered Arkansas State squad who averages a very high 41 points per game.

Much of Arkansas State’s offensive production comes behind a very formidable rushing attack led by, Michael Gordon.

Arkansas State captured their conference with a big win over Appalachian State, and all three of their losses have come against teams who have been ranked at some point this season in USC, Mizzou, and Toledo. Since their loss to Toledo, they have won 8 games straight and finished undefeated in Sunbelt Conference play.

Louisiana Tech on the other hand has played a much lighter schedule and lost their season finale 58-24 to Southern Mississippi. The home-state team will have a lot to prove in what should be an offensive shootout in the swamp.

Cover Photo Credit: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl/Facebook (CC By 2.0)

History: Putting The Golden State Warriors Winning Streak In Historic Context

By Eric Quinones

Last Saturday, the defending champions of the NBA, the Golden State Warriors tasted defeat in a regular season game for the first time in 29 games. This amazing winning run dates back to the last four regular season games of last season. The Warriors also started this season 24 and 0 which is the best start for any NBA franchise in the history of the league.

During the streak, the Warriors passed the previous second-best streak, which was held by the Miami Heat who won 27 games in a row during the 2012-13 campaign. The Warriors came up 5 games short of tying the all-time winning streak record held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers who won 33 games in a row.

Despite the loss, the Warriors also have a chance to surpass the best regular season team record of all time held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who went 72 – 10.

WATCH: Top 24 plays of the Warriors season so far.

Stephen Curry has led the onslaught of the Bay Area squad. He once again is the early favorite to be the MVP this season as he’s averaging 32.3 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, along with 6 assists. His 32.3 points per game is leading the league, and right now he is playing as if he’s the best player on the planet.

But this streak didn’t just happen because of one player; it was a collective group effort night in and night out. The Warriors lead the league in scoring, averaging 115.3 points per game.

They are 4th in the league in rebounds per game and they are 1st in the league in assists as a team.

Their defense isn’t the best, but they get the timely stops when needed- led by Draymond Green who was on the All NBA Defensive first team last season. And let’s be real here, to beat the Warriors you have to bring your A+ game, and on most nights you have to score 115 points to do so which most teams don’t have the ability to do.

WATCH: Inside the Warriors Ground.

The streak is over, but the team undoubtedly does have its eye on the 72 win mark that the 1995-96 Bulls own. The Warriors are 25 – 1 and have 56 games remaining on their regular season schedule. If they want to surpass the 72 win mark, they would have to go 48 – 8 for the rest of the season.

While the streak is over, you would have to be crazy to not watch this team play.

The Golden State Warriors are on a special run. I suggest that every basketball fan enjoys it while it’s here. It’s a rare but amazing run that might not be seen for another decade.

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

UK Government Open To Criminalizing Blood Doping

The U.K. government would be open to the criminalisation of doping, according to Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, potentially putting it on a collision course with UK Anti-Doping that is opposed to such measures. “We actually have very strong anti-doping procedures in place, and that’s what makes the UK Anti-Doping agency one of the best in the… Read More

Breaking Down How The Undefeated Carolina Panthers Have Gone 13-0

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.

Cover Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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