Oklahoma State Football Under Fire

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The NCAA has another scandal on its hands.  Following in the footsteps of Penn State and Johnny Manziel, Oklahoma State Football could find itself under investigation for numerous infractions under two different coaches, according to a report for Sports Illustrated.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9661263/report-oklahoma-state-cowboys-players-were-embroiled-academic-misconduct

Yesterday Sports Illustrated reported Oklahoma State players received cash payments from people associated with the program while Les Miles (now at LSU) was coach.  Today Sports Illustrated has released a story claiming that academic fraud also occurred not only under Miles but also under current coach Mike Gundy.  The story also states that thirteen former players have admitted to committing some form of academic misconduct from 2000-2011.  Sixteen additional players were named by former players as having received inappropriate assistance.

Several key players have told Sports Illustrated that they either had work done for them or received some other form of academic assistance.  Current Cowboys superstar WR Dez Bryant was also brought up in the story which claims he wouldn’t go to class and had work completed for him.  Bryant has denied receiving any illegal assistance.

Some former players such as Cleveland Browns QB Brandon Weedon have come forward to deny the claims of impropriety.  He feels that no wrong doing was done and the Oklahoma State football program is clean.

If the NCAA decides to launch an official investigation into the claims, Oklahoma State could face significant sanctions if any of the alleged violations are proven true.

PHILLIES FIRE CHARLIE MANUEL

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A move that should surprise very few occurred today.  The Philadelphia Phillies nearing the end of their first losing season since 2002 decided to fire manager Charlie Manuel and replace him on an interim basis with MLB Hall of Famer Ryne Sanberg.

Manuel leaves the Phillies as the winingest manager in franchise history and is one of only two men to deliver a World Series title to Philadelphia.  His termination could be the first of many big moves for a team that is clearly in rebuild mode.

Although the Phillies were not expected to be title contenders this season, many experts didn’t see this level of futility coming.  After entering this years all-star on a hot streak, the team has imploded since then winning only one series since the break.  The team now sits 20.5 games out behind division leader Atlanta in the NL East.

Ryne Sandberg will now have the last few weeks of 2013 season to prove he is ready to manage long term.

MLB Suspends Brewers Ryan Braun For Remainder of 2013 Season

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The first of what will probably be a long list of suspensions has been announced by Major League Baseball.  Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun has been suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season and postseason for violating the leagues drug policy.  Braun will not appeal the suspension.

Braun’s suspension is the result of MLB’s probe into the now defunct Biognesis clinic which apparently supplied as many as 20 players with performance enhancing  drugs.  Further disciplinary action is expected to be taken over the next few weeks against others players who were linked to Biogenesis.

In 2011 Braun was very nearly suspended after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs but he suspension was later overturned on appeal.

The NHL Makes Realignment Official

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Here’s some news to keep you cool, the NHL has finally revealed the division names for the realigned league.  Next season each conference will have two divisions, two eight team divisions in the Eastern Conference and two seven team divisions in the Western Conference.  The biggest change for the league is the Detroit Red Wings shifting for the Western conference to the Eastern Conference.  Also shifting from the West to the East are the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Here are the four divisions and the teams included in them:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Metropolitan Division:

Pittsburgh Penguins

Washington Capitals

Philadelphia Flyers

New York Rangers

New York Islanders

New Jersey Devils

Carolina Hurricanes

Columbus Blue Jackets

Atlantic Division:

Toronto Maple Leafs

Montreal Canadians

Ottowa Senators

Buffalo Sabres

Boston Bruins

Detroit Red Wings

Florida Panthers

Tampa Bay Lightning

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

CENTRAL DIVISION

Chicago Blackhawks

Colorado Avalanche

Dallas Stars

Winnipeg Jets

Minnesota Wild

Nashville Predators

St. Louis Blues

PACIFIC DIVISION

Vancouver Canucks

Calgary Flames

Edmonton Oilers

San Jose Sharks

Los Angeles Kings

Pheonix Coyotes

Anahiem Ducks

The 2013 NHL season starts October 1 with three games including the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks beginning their title defense against the Washington Capitals.

Oakland A’s Yoenis Cespedes wins 2013 MLB Home Run Derby

In what most would consider a surprising result Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes defeated Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper 9-8 in the final round to win the 2013 MLB Home Run Derby.

ImageWith the victory Cespedes became the first player not selected to the All-Star team to win the Derby, he was also the last addition to the field after Detroit Tigers MVP Miguel Carbera turned down a spot due to a sore back.

The competition this year was fierce, but Cespedes set the pace for the night early when he bashed 17 home runs in Round 1, and eventually hit 32 home runs overall tied for third most all-time during a single derby.

Cespedes was so dominant that he won the competition over Harper with five swings to go.  Last years champion Prince Fielder and NL team captain David Wright were non-factors.  As was AL team captain Robinson Cano and overall home run leader Chris Davis.  Wright received a strong ovation in his home town park Citi Field.

Thanks to the efforts of Cespedes the AL out homered the NL 53-50 and the 103 home runs hit raised $529,000 for charity.

OREGON FOOTBALL PLACED ON PROBATION

Chip Kelly has apparently left Oregon just in time.  The NCAA this morning placed Oregon’s football program on 3 years probation and took away one scholarship for the next three seasons for recruiting violations which occurred while Kelly was in charge.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9424556/oregon-ducks-put-probation-ncaa-lose-scholarship

Kelly left Oregon after this past season to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles who fired Andy Reid. Image

NHL 2013 Season Predictions

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NHL SEASON PREDICTIONS

 

Hockey is back after a lockout that many thought would never end.  Now the questions about actual games can start rolling in.  Here is a look at how the teams will finish this year, and the some of the biggest questions that will need to be answered.

 

Teams within each division are listed in order of finish

Eastern Conference

 

Atlantic                       Northeast       Southeastern

NY Rangers                 Boston             Washington

Pittsburgh                     Buffalo             Florida

Philadelphia                  Ottowa             Carolina

New Jersey                  Toronto            Tampa Bay

NY Islanders                Montreal          Winnipeg

 

Western Conference    

 

Central                        Northwest       Pacific

 

St Louis                        Minnesota        Phoenix

Chicago                        Vancouver        Los Angeles

Nashville                      Colorado          Dallas

Detroit                          Calgary            Anaheim

Columbus                     Edmonton         San Jose

 

Key Questions

 

Can Minnesota’s new pieces lead them to cup glory?

 

Minnesota will look to do what the Kings did last year, come out of nowhere and win the cup.  So far the Wild haven’t been known for glory in the playoffs.  This is not their year, although it may come sooner than people think.

 

Can the NY Rangers bounce back from an early playoff exit to win their first Stanley cup since 1994?

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The Rangers had the talent to win it all last season and added a big piece (Rick Nash) in the offseason.  The pressure is on them this year perhaps more than any team in the NHL.  It won’t be easy but the Rangers should get it done.

 

Can Tuuka Rask carry the load in net now that Tim Thomas is taking the year off?

 

If Boston wants to make a serious playoff run Tuuka Rask has to be the man in the net.  Rask has done it before, starting45 games in 2009-10, and performed well while Tim Thomas was injured.  He finished that year with a 1.97 goals against average.  This season Rask must prove he is ready to be no. 1 and worthy of a long term deal which at this point he doesn’t have.  In this 48 game season he won’t be given much wiggle room, and neither will his team.

 

Was St. Louis winning the Presidents cup last season a fluke?

 

The Blues tallied 109 points despite key injuries throughout the season.  Now virtually the same team returns intent on not falling short in the playoffs.  The Blues are young in many keys areas.  Considering these factors alone, the answer is simple last season was not a fluke.

 

Will Roberto Luongo get dealt?

 

The bigger question could be is Corey Schneider ready to an unquestioned no. 1 goaltender.  Three are several teams that have significant questions in the net (i.e. Philadelphia, Colorado) so the chances are Luongo gets moved at some point.

Will the LA Kings defend repeat as champions?

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The Kings were a buzz saw in the playoffs after barely making it in.  This year they will have a target on their back and several teams made big moves to boost their chances.  Repeating is not easy in any sport, but it hasn’t been done in the NHL since the read Wings (97-98).  The Kings will give their best shot but the competition will be ready this time.

Hall of Famer Stan Musial dies at 92

St. Louis sports icon and MLB Hall of Famer Stan (The Man) Musial has died.  He was 92.  Musial played 22 MLB seasons (all with the Cardinals and had a career total of 475 HR and .321 life time battling average.

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Musial was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame in 1969 after being named on 93.2 percent of ballots.  He is also second all-time in total bases with 6,134.

Halladay To DL

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay has been placed on the DL with a strained right shoulder. He is expected to be out of the rotation for at least 6-8 weeks. Halladay was pulled from Sunday’s start against the New York Mets after just two innings.