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1216

 

 

 

Let’s Go Bowling!
The college bowl season kicks off this weekend with four games. Likely the most intriguing matchup, the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl should be a show for fans of either side. With their second interim head coach, several players looking ahead to the NFL, and a new quarterback waiting in the wings, the Trojans will hope to lean on the element of surprise. Derek Carr, quarterback for Fresno St, will look to continue to improve his draft stock. This game should have a little bit of everything, perfect to kick off the college football “postseason”!

Mamba Down and Out
Laker Nation was just getting used to having Kobe Bryant back in the lineup before he went down with yet another injury. This time, the Black Mamba suffered a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. It will keep him sidelined at least six weeks. So, with Bryant out, it will be interesting to see if the Lakers get back to Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense, or if they’ll continue to incorporate more of the half-court sets Bryant prefers.


Thunder vs. Spurs Tops Weekend Matchup
Two of the NBA’s elite will face off this weekend when the Oklahoma City Thunder travel to San Antonio for a date with the Spurs. Both squads have jumped out to impressive records, and display the team cohesiveness that fans have come to expect. With wins in 15 of their last 16 outings, the Thunder will look to continue their momentum with their eighth straight victory. For the Spurs to end that run, they’ll need to continue to utilize their bench, which is best in the NBA and averages 46.6 points per game.

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Jameis Takes Heisman
Despite early brushes with controversy, Jameis Winston would not be denied the most coveted of college football awards. Following an impressive undefeated season, Winston became the runaway winner of the Heisman Trophy. He threw for nearly 4000 years, 38 touchdowns and led his team to lopsided victory in nearly every game. Jameis was the clear cut favorite. Winston’s 668 first place votes and 2,205 total votes were well ahead of second place finisher AJ McCarron, quarterback for Alabama. Winston and the Seminoles have a date with the BCS National Championship Game in a few weeks.

Broner Outclassed by Maidana
Adrien “The Problem” Broner’s tremendous athleticism wasn’t enough to overcome his lack of preparation for Marcos Maidana on Saturday night. Ahead of the fight, Broner played the role of aggressor, unleashing Twitter blow after blow. In the ring, Maidana was far more aggressive. He attacked Broner throughout the match, making him look overwhelmed time and time again. Ultimately, Maidana was handed a unanimous decision, along with the WBA welterweight championship. We can only hope Broner was handed a cup of humility.

Dolphins Serious about Wild Card Chase
All season long, Tom Brady has made easy work of opponents in the fourth quarter. On Sunday, the Dolphins weren’t having it. After another last-minute drive up the field, the Dolphins held their own against Brady, coming up with an interception with two ticks left. The turnover secured their 24-20 victory, and kept them in the AFC Wild Card race. They will need to finish with a better record than the Baltimore Ravens to secure the sixth and final spot.

Cowboys Disappear in Second Half against Packers
The Dallas Cowboys knew they had a golden opportunity when the Philadelphia Eagles dropped a morning matchup against the Vikings. Going into the half against the Packers, Dallas looked like it was going to take advantage of the occasion with a 23-point lead. Instead, Green Bay mounted one of its storied franchise’s greatest comebacks, stacking five consecutive scoring drives together to win 37-36. The epic rally couldn’t be without some help from the Cowboys. Tony Romo audibled from a running to a passing play in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter and it resulted in a Tramon Williams interception, setting the stage for Green Bay’s final score. Not to mention, the Dallas defense allowed 34 points in the second half.


Justin Tucker Kicks Ravens to Victory
Monday Night Football was considered a must win for both teams facing off this week. The Baltimore Ravens must win the remainder of their games (thanks to a push from the Miami Dolphins), and with victories from both Chicago and Green Bay on Sunday, Detroit needed a win to remain in the top spot of the NFC North. Despite an offensive effort that stalled every time a touchdown was in sight, the Ravens came out on top.  Justin Tucker saved the day with six field goals, including a 61-yarder with only 38 seconds left in the game. The 18-16 victory keeps the Ravens in the sixth spot of the playoffs, and knocks Detroit from first to third in the NFC North. 

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Most Exciting Play in Baseball Going Extinct?
Baseball purists have a lot to discuss this weekend as debate argue over whether or not “plays at the plate” should be eliminated from the game. Owners at winter meetings have presented a case to eliminate any and all physicality at home plate as a means to better protect catchers. The move still needs MLBPA approval, but in all likelihood, a major change is underway. The proposal has erupted fan debate, with critics speculating the removal could decrease fan following. Opposition also argues the chance will be nearly impossible to implement in a fast-paced situation, and that it may not end up actually making plays any safer. Though the rule likely won’t take effect until 2015, it certainly gives prognosticators plenty to talk about in 2014.

 

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Dark Horse No More! Auburn in National Championship

Thanks to a little help from Michigan State, the Auburn Tigers continued their run as college football darlings. With the Spartan upset over Ohio State, the stage was set for Auburn. The Tigers pulled away from Missouri late in the SEC Championship and secured a spot in the BCS Championship vs. Florida State. Auburn has continued to lean on their rushing attack, and will look to control the tempo come January 7.

Cano Signs with Mariners
In a signing that sets the tone for free agency, Robinson Cano has agreed to a deal that will send him to the Seattle Mariners. The 10-year, $240 million contract is the third largest signing in baseball history, behind recent Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez contracts. The Mariners continue to attempt to improve a lineup that was 20 games under .500 last season and lacked the star power to compete in the AL West. 

Kobe Returns in Underwhelming Fashion
A recuperated Kobe Bryant made his return to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Bryant logged 28 minutes, amassing nine points (on 2-of-9 shooting), eight rebounds and eight turnovers. Kobe struggled to get in any kind of rhythm, was noticeably slower than usual and stifled a Lakers offense who looked confused whenever Bryant was on the floor. It is still too early to determine if Kobe can get back to elite form. But if he’s going to do so, the Lakers will need to make some dramatic changes.

Snow Games the Main Attraction on Sunday
Snow storms rippled through the Eastern United States this weekend, affecting a number of football games. Most notable was the matchup between the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles, where a lack of visibility and the bitter cold led to no PATs. This odd occurrence was the first of its kind since the NFL / AFL merger in 1970. After going scoreless in the first half, the Eagles found their rhythm and posted 28 points in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia went on to win the game 34-20 and take sole possession of the NFC East.

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Are you ready for some MACtion?
Let’s face it, without the Mid-American Conference, Tuesdays and Wednesdays would be unbearable. This time of year the NBA season isn’t yet in full bloom, the NFL takes two of its four days off in the middle of the week and college football’s powerhouse schools don’t play until Saturdays. Cue the MAC. The not-quite-elite face-off during our midweek football desert, and we love it. This Friday, the MAC Championship game pits undefeated Northern Illinois vs. Bowling Green, and the game shouldn’t disappoint. Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch will take his undefeated Huskies against a very good Bowling Green defense. Enjoy some Friday night MACtion!

Seminoles Move Forward with Distractions Behind Them
It’s finally back to football in Tallahassee. Thursday, Florida State (and college football fans nationwide) learned that quarterback Jameis Winston would not be charged with sexual assault. The Seminoles square off in the ACC Championship game against a Duke football program that has quickly gone from laughing stock to division title contender. Don’t mind the 29-point spread. This title game is not a done deal. And although the Blue Devil defense has been inconsistent as of late, their stingy defense intends to keep this game close.

 

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Greatest Finish Ever?
Over the last six years, one thing has been constant in Alabama. It’s incredibly difficult to outsmart Nick Saban. Tide fans have celebrated three national titles, and twice have been a game away from the title. This time around, first-year Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn got the best of Saban. As time expired in a 28-28 tie, Alabama lined up to kick a 57-yard field goal. As the kick fell short of the goal post, Auburn special-teamer Chris Davis returned the kick 109 yards in the opposite direction for a touchdown. The play is already regarded as one of the greatest endings to a sporting event of all time.

Heisman a Done Deal?
Despite being left off of nearly 20 percent of submitted ballots, it appears that Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston will win the Heisman Trophy. His Seminoles are a win away from a national championship, and his numbers are heads and shoulders above his competition for the honors. While a ruling on his sexual assault allegations looms, it appears the December 9 voting deadline will come and go before the public will know if he’ll be suspended or not. Taking everything into consideration, it would take a disastrous performance against Duke in the ACC Championship to sway votes away from Winston.

UCLA Holds On To Bragging Rights
The Victory Bell will stay painted blue for another year. The annual prize for victory between UCLA and USC was never in doubt as the Bruins marched to a 35-14 victory, Westwood’s largest margin against the Trojans since 1970. UCLA’s stingy defense kept the USC air assault at bay, and its balanced offense made a thin Trojan defense looked tired throughout.

Sarkisian In, Coach O Out
Ed Orgeron will not be the head coach for USC’s football team next year. In fact, he won’t be anywhere near USC next year. After receiving word that Pat Haden and the Athletic administration had offered the gig to then Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian, Coach “O” promptly gave his resignation, and began applying to a pair of schools in the East. For Sarkisian, the hire marks a return to Southern California. Sarkisian was a member of Pete Carroll’s championship staff, and his most recent stint at Washington should be noted as a success given the program he inherited upon his arrival. SC fans have already voiced displeasure with the hire, drawing comparisons to the Lane Kiffin hire that obviously did not work out.

Seattle’s Best: Seahawks Looking For Home Field Throughout

Yesterday’s Monday Night Football matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks was supposed to be a clash of the elite – putting home field advantage on the line. Instead, Seattle showed how dangerous they really are with that home field advantage. The Seahawks jumped out to a 17-0 lead, spearheaded by a spirited defense and help from the loudest crowd in the league. Drew Brees and the high powered Saints offense were dismal, putting up their lowest point total and least amount of yardage during the Sean Payton era. Seattle now sits at 11-1 and controls their destiny for best record in the NFC. 

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Pacquiao Dominant over Rios
Despite some noise that Manny Pacquiao was incapable of returning to glory, he fought a near-perfect bout over the weekend to defeat Brandon Rios. Rios, well known for his aggressive offensive attack, was held at bay the duration of the match, never able to mount his usual barrage. In the end, Pacquiao left his opponent bruised and bloodied, and easily took the unanimous decision in China.

Baylor’s National Championship Hopes Dashed by Oklahoma State
When opportunity came knocking on Baylor’s door, no one was home. The Bears found themselves with a chance to defeat a Top 15 school and help their case that they belonged in the National Championship game. Instead, Oklahoma State scored 21 unanswered points to open the second half and cruised to a 49-17 win in Stillwater. Not only did Baylor fall out of the Top 5, but likely ended any hope that starting quarterback Bryce Petty could steal the Heisman Trophy.

 

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Can Johnny Football Make a Late Heisman Push?
Due to the ongoing scandal in Tallahassee, the biggest beneficiary may be someone used to negative attention. Johnny “Football” Manziel will have a chance to make his biggest case for Heisman this Saturday when Texas A&M heads to Death Valley to take on LSU. In a week where many contenders have weak matchups, Manziel will be taking on a Top 25 squad. A big game might come at the perfect time to thrust him into the lead for College Football’s biggest individual honor. 

Can Florida St. Survive the Distractions?
If there’s one thing college football fans should have learned this season, it’s that Florida St. is much more than a superstar quarterback. They find themselves at No.2 in the nation, with a legitimate shot at the national title. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, their offensive leader, Jameis Winston might also be their undoing. A case is starting to pile up, and despite a matchup against lowly Idaho, the Seminoles might face their biggest challenge yet. Can they overcome distraction and prove to the nation they belong at the top?


Pacquiao v. Rios – Worth the PPV Price?
Opposing boxing scamps in a scuffle ahead of a Pay Per View fight? Not so shocking. What might be more of a surprise however, is how good this fight is going to be. This fight will lead to one of two things: a return to glory for Pacquiao, or the end of his career altogether. Don’t be mistaken, Brandon Rios could be a special fighter, and he intends on testing Manny throughout the battle. Rios won’t defend, but instead will unleash a barrage of punches. Pacquiao’s ability to withstand the assault will determine the outcome of this fight. So go ahead, get your friends (and their cash) together for this one.


NBA Game of the Weekend – Bulls vs. Clippers
Let’s face it. The East is weak this year, really weak. Other than Chicago, Miami, and Indy, no one is going to challenge for the Larry O’brien Trophy. As a result, the aforementioned squads should waltz into the playoffs, be more rested than the teams out West, and be ready to win it all. That’s why this matchup is so important for the Bulls. They need these games to stay sharp. So, fans can expect a treat against one of the better teams out West.

Something’s Got to Give – Expect the NFC East Standings to Shake Up
While Week 12 in the NFL doesn’t command a ton of headlines, a couple of games should capture fan interest. While Peyton and Brady will square off at night, the afternoon game with the biggest implications takes place in New York, when the Giants welcome the Cowboys. Despite an 0-6 start, the Giants can still win the division, and a win against Dallas would make an incredible statement. Look for the New York secondary to be the difference in this one. If they can keep Dez Bryant out of the end-zone, they’ll end up in the W column. 

 

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Auburn Shocks Georgia
It took a miracle Hail Mary catch for the Auburn Tigers to beat the Georgia Bulldogs and keep their outside BCS Championship hopes alive Saturday. But, it worked. After squandering a 27-7 second half lead, the Tigers needed some help from the Bulldogs secondary. On 4th and 18, Auburn QB Nick Marshall heaved a prayer just short of a streaking Ricardo Louis. The ball tipped off of two Georgia defenders, and landed right in front of Louis, who secured the gift and set the stage for a winner take-all Iron Bowl vs. Alabama on November 30.

USC’s 12th Man the Difference vs. Stanford
A streaky USC figured it had a chance to upset No. 4 Stanford Saturday night. However, before the game, players received word that the Los Angeles Coliseum would be sold out for the first time all season. The capacity crowd got loud, and stayed loud throughout the contest. The result was a shocking 20-17 victory for the Trojans. USC’s defense, despite playing only two substitutes all game, held its own against an offensive line known for bullying teams deep into games, and it proved to be the difference. The Trojans will need to win the rest of their games, and hope Arizona St. loses the rest of their games to have a chance at the Pac-12 South title.

Does Anyone Want the AFC Wild Card?
It appears that 8-8 just might be good enough to take the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC this season. Despite an embarrassing loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the New York Jets remained in possession of the last postseason position while a number of teams squandered golden opportunities. The one team heading in the right direction following this weekend’s games are the now 5-5 Miami Dolphins, who defeated the Chargers and are a tiebreaker away from the Jets in the standings.

Broncos Assert Dominance in the West
Thanks to the NFL’s “flex” schedule, football fans were treated to a clash of the AFC’s top teams to finish their Sunday, as the Kansas City Chiefs put their perfect record on the line against the Denver Broncos. Despite a spirited effort against Peyton Manning, the Chiefs’ defensive unit simply couldn’t do enough and the last of the undefeated fell, 17-27. While the game resulted in a loss for Kansas City, their ability to go on the road and stay tough against an elite team kept the squad in Super Bowl talks. The two teams will face off in Kansas City in two weeks.

Bulls Hand Pacers First Loss
The NBA also lost its lone undefeated squad when the Indiana Pacers dropped their first to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. The Bulls jumped out to an early halftime lead behind good ball movement and Derrick Rose’s lights out shooting from beyond the arc. The matchup promises to be competitive as these two will see each other again prior to the playoffs.

 

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Stanford Visits USC – Could We See An Upset?

This week, Vegas listed the opening point spread for the USC / Stanford matchup at -3.5 (Stanford). Even the most novice of betters will say something seems fishy about such a close line. After all, USC isn’t even ranked, while Stanford is a Utah loss away from competing for a National Championship. What do the sports books know that we don’t?

 

Tigers Still in the Hunt

If there’s one team flying under the radar this season, it’s Auburn. Just a year removed from not winning a single SEC game, the Tigers find themselves with an opportunity to make a run at the national title. This week they host Georgia at home, and if they pull out a victory, the stage will be set for a clash of the SEC titans, when they host Alabama on November 20th

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Tavon Austin Throws a Coming out Party in Indy

When Tavon Austin was drafted out of West Virginia, NFL pundits predicted he’d be an electrifying talent the likes of which football fans hadn’t seen since Percy Harvin. Despite a slow start, Austin made good on those predictions Sunday against the Colts. Austin put together a full performance returning a 98-yard punt return, as well as two receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns.


Martin / Incognito Scandal Survives Another Weekend

Despite minimal new developments, the NFL’s biggest story is still out of Miami – with the Jonathan Martin / Richie Incognito bullying scandal. Rumors continue to swirl around fault, player allegiances and locker room culture. Richie Incognito recently came out to share his side of the story regarding the numerous voicemails and texts messages. Reports on Monday indicate neither Martin nor Incognito will return to the team anytime soon.
 
No BCS Debate – Two Clear Cut Favorites

The BCS Rankings now have clear-cut no. 1 and 2 as Oregon fell to Stanford Thursday night in Palo Alto. Alabama remained no. 1 overall and Florida St. solidified their spot as a potential national championship participant. The general consensus is the two squads are most deserving of those spots, with Ohio State, Stanford, and Baylor rounding out the top 5.

Eagles Soaring into Division Debate

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The two biggest storylines of the weekend may have played out off the field, in Houston and Miami. Let’s take a look at these stories as well as a few others. 

Florida State back in the 2 Spot
On Saturday, the Seminoles convinced the nation they’re a lot more than just a Heisman headliner in their dismantling of formerly un-defeated Miami. In their 41-14 thrashing of the Hurricanes, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was an underwhelming 21-for-29 with 2 interceptions and only one touchdown. Despite his lackluster effort, the No. 2 team in the BCS came up with big defense and a bevy of decent rushers to win. . . convincingly.

NBA Season Underway
Now that the World Series is sorted out, football fans looking for a break in the action can follow the bouncing ball to a new NBA season. The Lakers have already stunned the Clips, then fallen back to earth against every other opponent, the Heat have come to the realization no one will take them lightly in their campaign for a third consecutive title, and perhaps the biggest the surprise of all, the left-for-dead Philadelphia 76ers are 3-0. When new 6ers Coach Brett Brown announced prior to the start of the season that first overall draft pick Nerlens Noel would likely miss the entire season, rumors swirled. Why wouldn’t the squad intentionally tank games and secure the best position ahead of one of the most talent-rich NBA drafts in recent memory? Well, the memo didn’t get to Michael Carter-Williams, or the rest of this upstart squad, and their early, undefeated record is enough to keep the storylines coming!

Coach Kubiak Goes Down at Halftime
Perhaps the scariest moment of the sports weekend came as teams were exiting the field for halftime in last night’s Texans v. Colts matchup. Houston Head Coach Gary Kubiak left the stadium on a stretcher and was quickly raced to a local hospital after sustaining an un-identified health issue. Kubiak spent the night in the hospital as his team squandered a 21-3 lead vs. Indianapolis (ultimately falling 27-24 late in the game). It appears with limited information that Coach will be okay, but his return to the team is up in the air.

Is Bullying an Issue in the NFL?
A recent development that will continue to gain steam throughout this week was Miami’s dismissal of offensive lineman Richie Incognito. The starting guard has been implicated in some disturbing voicemails and Twitter posts that tread into delicate territory. During several threatening exchanges, Incognito targeted teammate Jonathan Martin and his family with racism and poignant insults. The attacks were enough for Martin to leave the team and the Miami Dolphins to dismiss Incognito indefinitely. The team also asked the NFL to launch an investigation. The story not only sheds a negative light on the Miami locker room, but prompts a debate on rookie hazing and bullying, among other issues within the NFL.

7th Heaven! Foles Ties All-Time Mark in Rout of Raiders
The quarterback carousel in Philly may finally be coming to a halt. Nick Foles unleashed a record-tying assault of seven touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders this Sunday. Foles only missed on six throws and tied the all-time mark for touchdown passes in an NFL game.  The mark is shared by some of the greatest quarterbacks in history, including Y.A Tittle and Peyton Manning. With an oft-injured Michael Vick and completely lost Matt Barkley in the wings, it appears rookie Head Coach Chip Kelly may have finally found the right slinger for his fast paced offense. 

 

--Richard Lemmo on behalf of Mancave Sports Talk

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Upset State in College Football
For the first time this season, the college football rankings were shaken up (outside of the top four) as four top 20 teams dropped games. Stanford, Georgia, Florida, and Oklahoma all added to the loss column on Saturday – sending a familiar reminder that even the best of teams can’t waltz into National Championship contention. It also shines an even brighter light on the top four schools, Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, and Ohio State. Are these teams for real? Can they handle the pressure of being Public Enemy No. 1-4 to the rest of the nation? This is where College Football finally heats up!

The Magic is Back in Boston
Tail lights heading out of Gillette Stadium when Tom Brady is down by less than seven? Only on a night like Sunday in the Greater Boston Area. When fans hurried out of the Pats game Sunday, there was still a possibility (and hope, no matter how slim) of Tom Brady doing the improbable yet again. There was a similar hope a few hours later, when Big Papi drove out a game tying grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS at Fenway. Boston sports fans were treated to not one, but two amazing comebacks as both the Patriots and the Red Sox won marquee games when trailing late. It makes you wonder, can Boston sprinkle some good luck throughout the cities of Cleveland and Detroit? Spare them any further heartbreak!

Happy 10th Anniversary Steve Bartman!
Speaking of heartbreak, there may be none deeper than what Chicago Cubs fans are feeling today. After all, it was on October 14, 2003 when Steve Bartman interfered with Moises Alou as the hometown Chicago Cubs blew their closest chance at a World Series birth in years. Thank you Bartman and your headphones for being at the wrong place, at the worst of times. Steve Bartman did what anyone would likely do, try and catch the fly ball headed right toward him. Wrigley Field hasn’t been the same since, and neither has the life of Mr. Bartman. He’s been the subject of comedy skits, death threats and numerous interview inquiries. He’s kept his silence to this day, but we still haven’t forgotten. Sorry Steve, it’s not safe to come out yet!

The NFL Elite?
The NFL now has only two squads seeking “perfection”. With victories for both the Broncos and Chiefs, the question must be raised – are these the top two squads in the league? For the Broncos, the answer is a resounding YES. Peyton Manning is playing as well as anyone, ever. His second-to-none receiving corps is complemented by an excellent cast of running backs, and the Broncos defense will only get better with superstar Von Miller slated to return from suspension next week. As for the Chiefs, the defense looks great, but there are still some question marks on the offensive end. Alex Smith has done a great job of managing games and not making too many mistakes, but what is going to happen when this team goes down early? Kansas City is on its third-string tight end, and stellar wide-out Dwayne Bowe is struggling against double coverage. The running game is legit, but it’s simply not enough. When compared to the aforementioned Broncos, one thing is very clear. The Chiefs are good, but not great. When it comes to ranking the top teams in the NFL, make sure your list starts with Denver.

Tough Weekend for the Boys in Blue
If the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to have a Hollywood ending to their blockbuster season, they need to start editing their current script. With aces Zach Greinke and Clayton Kershaw taking losses in Games 1 and 2, they’ll have to rely on rookie Hyun Jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco to pitch the games of their lives over the next 48 hours. Even more pressing, is the batting lineup’s need to keep the LOB statistic as low as possible. Despite out-hitting the Cardinals in both matchups, the Dodgers simply couldn’t take advantage of scoring situations. With Matt Kemp out, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier listed as game-time decisions, and St. Louis’ commitment to pitching around Adrian Gonzalez, someone else is going to have to be the hero in this storyline. Of course, if you’re a Dodgers fan, that leaves one spotlight on rookie sensation, Yasiel Puig. Will he continue to struggle at the plate, or is he ready to propel himself into a lead role?

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Boston Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers has found himself featured within the pages of iFolloSports.com on numerous occasions, and without fail, the 2008 NBA World Champion sideline man presents himself with as much class as any high profile figure in the world of professional sports. Rivers not only offers a tremendous level of respect for his sport’s paying customer, he also provides these fans with an above and beyond amount of effort, when accommodating seemingly every autograph and photo request thrown his way. Even when time is limited, Rivers will always acknowledge an assembled group of admirers.  

In late December, per the above iFolloSports.com original video clip, Rivers was at it again, when showing of his charms to the fans stationed outside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills (CA). During both regular season and postseason play, this legendary venue serves as the Celtics home, when visiting the Los Angeles Clippers and/or Lakers.

On this day, the 51-year-old former NBA point guard made a trip to the Starbucks on Beverly Drive (two blocks east of the hotel), before making his way up El Camino Drive (past William Morris Endeavor Entertainment) and into the awaiting throng of fans. At this point, Rivers performed his normal routine of class and charisma, when providing a thrill for a whole lot of rival NBA fans.

No matter the setting or situation, the Rivers' family certainly knows where their ample bread is buttered.

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Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant possesses a whole host of very noteworthy attributes. The three-time defending NBA scoring champion can shoot, pass, handle the ball and get up and down the court with ease. Oh, and one more thing, the man from Washington D.C. is one heck of a nice guy. 

 

The latest example of this undisputed fact took place, when per his usual routine, the four-time All-Star patiently and politely provided autographs for a bevy of interested fans, outside the Casa Del Mar hotel in Santa Monica, California. This scene occurred in the hours prior to OKC’s recent 108-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, at Staples Center. 

 

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Thursday, legendary Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax concluded his much talked about 10-day stint as a spring training special advisor for the only major league team he ever played for. Koufax’s presence at Camelback Ranch (Dodgers Cactus League facility in Glendale, AZ) had an electrifying impact on both the Dodgers organization, as well as its large legion of fans.

 

The demand for Koufax’s signature was so strong, an initial makeshift barrier was knocked over, courtesy of a group of stampeding autograph seekers. Sadly, the 77-year-old Koufax even had to endure a pen to the eye, as a result of the unbelievable desire to share a moment with one of baseball’s all-time greats.

 

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The Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award in college football, brings recognition to college football’s top regular season performers. It also opens the door for these athletes to prove their ability, grit and nominations during a deep and competitive bowl season.

Heisman

(Notre Dame's Manti Te'o left, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel right; photo courtesy of Kelly Kline, Getty Images)

 

As expected, this year’s bowl schedule yielded memorable performances from two of the most prolific athletes in college sports. However, only one came from this year's pool of candidates.

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Despite an impressive finish (18-9 in September) and resurgence in fan confidence, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim again fell short of the playoffs in 2012. However, in his first complete season, the 25th overall pick in the 2009 draft provided fans a sigh of relief and loaned validity to the adage, “There’s always next year.”

 

Angels fans first saw flashes of Mike Trout’s ability during his up-and-down debut last season. However, they were encouraged by a picturesque catch in late June of this year, a play since termed “The Catch.” Since then, Halos fans witnessed Trout take over a number of contests with his ability to hit, defend, run, and inspire. 

 

Trout finished the season 2nd in the AL in batting average (.326), 1st in the AL in runs (129), 1st in the AL in stolen bases (49) and 3rd in the AL in slugging percentage (.564). Trout also became the first rookie to amass more than 30 home runs and 40 stolen bases and the first player since 2010 to rob three or more home runs.

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