Archive for the ‘weekly links’ Category

Figured it was a good time for a Weekly Links post so I will have it on record that I picked the correct winner in the College Football Playoff game between Alabama and Oklahoma.

You say that isn’t hard to do? Try doing it my way.

The No. 1 offensive player on my 2019 NFL draft board plays for Oklahoma. Some people think Kyler Murray will be fine with being just another player on the Oakland Athletics.

Not a chance — you will see him tearing up the NFL someday. But first you will see him roll up the points on Saturday.

That’s right, I’ve got Oklahoma winning the contest.

And the proof is right here in the stellar preview:

Remember, I’m the guy who picked Villanova to beat North Carolina in the 2016 college basketball title game when everybody else was picking the Tar Heels.

Not only that, I almost predicted the exact final score. Villanova won 77-74 on Kris Jenkins’ memorable game-winning shot. I picked Villanova to win 77-73.

That’s about as good as it gets when it comes to predicting college basketball scores.

Anyway, you can find the predicted score inside the preview link but don’t be the least bit surprised when Heisman Trophy winner Murray outduels Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa (wow, just spelled his last name without looking it up for the first time ever).

And you will remember where you heard that the Sooners would prevail.

ROSE BOWL — Ohio State vs. Washington

Urban Meyer’s last game as a college coach. Ummm, sure. He’ll be back, headaches and all. I’ve got him going out a winner against Chris Petersen’s underachieving Washington squad.




Unfortunately, the Chargers are going to the playoffs. Now comes the fun part. Is it better to have them collapse in the opening round or reaching the AFC title game before being sent home? Either way, the Super Bowl is for winners so there is no need for any people named Spanos to be in the building.


Seattle just gave coach Pete Carroll an extension through 2021 while Arizona is likely to fire coach Steve Wilks after one season on the job. You have to be highly overmatched to lose your job after one year so it must be clear to everybody in the front office that Wilks has to go. Even horrible Kevin Gilbride (worst NFL head coach I covered) got 22 games before being fired.




I guess people in the state of Kentucky are excited but seems this game has lot a bit of his luster. Perhaps Rick Pitino can show up and do something stupid. If you see Kentucky freshman guard Ashton Hagans around, guard your stuff. He steals everything in sight and matched the school record of eight thefts in the Wildcats’ last outing.

Oregon-Boise State

Bad deal for the people in Boise as Oregon freshman star Bol Bol will miss the contest with a knee injury. Not much good to see from the Boise State side but at least the Ducks are evening things up with three injured players missing. Oh yeah, asked Manute Bol for some of his time before a CBA game once and he grazed the right side of my body and yelled “Right now, you’re crazy!”



Weekly Links … Pretty sure I will win national Work Ethic of the Year honors for 2018.

I wrote nine previews on Tuesday — one shy of my personal best — in addition to writing seven or eight breaking news stories and editing eight to 10 more articles.

That is more work than many print reporters do all week. Check that, 16 or 17 articles would be a heavy month’s work for some of those dudes.

I can recall how a competitor would whine when his newspaper would ask him to write a second story. Geez, so overworked having to write TWO stories in one day.

Most sportswriters wouldn’t last two weeks in the online world. I can do their job, they can’t do mine.

Of course, one of the drawbacks in my work life is having to occasionally write about the C-word. Yep, drew the Spanos buffoons again this week.

How about the ticket situation for those clowns? Pretty embarrassing that they can’t get fans into their 27,000-seat children’s playground. Of course, nobody in Los Angeles cares that they are around. And nobody ever will.

All their fans are 100 miles away and they are enjoying what a joke the franchise is becoming.

So keep me up for Work Ethic of the Year honors and let’s nominate Dean Spanos for dumbest decision by a sports owner in NFL history.

Here is the stellar preview of Titans vs. Chargers in London —



Oregon-Washington State — The Pac-12 is pretty much a joke of a conference for a second straight season. Oregon somehow is about the best team the conference has to offer. Until the Ducks lose to Washington State and the team coached by nutty Mike Leach is the best. Yeah, not a good year for the Pac-12.

Ohio State-Purdue — Everyone seems to have forgotten Urban Meyer’s unethical nonsense. Everybody except for the football Gods. You don’t think this Nick Bosa injury and ensuing departure just happened? The Buckeyes aren’t winning the national crown without Bosa and that means the rest of us win.

Alabama-Tennessee — The Crimson Tide seem on their way to another national title. The boring run-based offense of earlier this decade is now a wide-open attack with speedy wideouts everywhere. Give Tennessee credit for showing up on Saturday and then watch the deluge of points from Alabama.

Weekly links …

My research showed me that the Milwaukee Brewers haven’t played in the World Series since 1982.

Then it sinks in — I have co-workers who weren’t alive in 1982.

That doesn’t feel so good. Where the heck did the last 36 years go?

Hopefully the Brewers will return to the World Series this year. Because that will mean that the Dodgers won’t.

Doesn’t seem all that long ago that a powerful Milwaukee offensive team — think Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor, Ben Oglivie, Ted Simmons, Gorman Thomas and Robin Yount — lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in a stellar seven-game  series.

Yikes, that was so long ago that the Brewers were in the American League.

Milwaukee has another great offensive team this season — led by probable MVP Christian Yelich — but the Dodgers probably have a more complete team. Should be a good National League Championship Series.

Here is the stellar preview —



Rams at Broncos — The Los Angeles Rams are fun and exciting and one of two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL. This after being a boring lifeless team just two seasons ago under Jeff Fisher. And even better, “Los Angeles” fits nicely with their team nickname. The Broncos are on their way to a fourth straight loss.

Here is the stellar preview —

Steelers at Bengals — Perhaps they ought to put these two teams in the octagon and let them go wild on one another. Some recent meetings have been more vicious than a UFC bout. Who can forget the way Pittsburgh wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster laid out Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict last season on Monday Night Football? Seems the Steelers always win the game and Cincinnati claims the penalty yards’ title.

Here is the stellar preview —

Chargers at Browns — Who can forget the last time the Chargers visited Cleveland on Christmas Eve during the 2016 season? The lowly Browns defeated the Chargers for their lone win over a two-season span. That was the type of embarrassment owner Dean Spanos deserved on his way out of San Diego. The Browns are much better now so perhaps there will be a repeat.

Here is the stellar preview —


College football

Missouri at Alabama — The Crimson Tide have looked so good you have to wonder if anyone can beat them. The offense has been explosive and the defense keeps scoring touchdowns (four off interceptions). Missouri is one of those programs that might stun a Top 20 program but has little chance to beat a powerful top-ranked team. And yeah, the Tigers are 0-14 all-time against No. 1 teams.

Here is the traditional stellar preview —

Here is the broken into team sections stellar preview —

Minnesota at Ohio State — Urban Meyer feels great now because he no longer is facing questions about his questionable handling of the situation in which assistant coach Zach Smith was accused of domestic violence. He won’t face much distress this Saturday when his team faces Minnesota either. The Golden Gophers have no chance of beating the Buckeyes.

Here is the stellar preview —

Weekly links …

Raiders versus Chargers no longer sounds so fun these days. Oops, I just used the C-word.

Still, the future Las Vegas team against the squad playing in a small soccer stadium doesn’t pack any luster.

Oakland visiting San Diego is a rivalry. Oakland visiting Carson, Calif. means absolutely nothing.

This isn’t Don Coryell’s offense rolling up 55 points on the Raiders and it surely isn’t Ken Stabler to Cliff Branch while picking apart soft Chargers’ defenses.

Both teams have superb quarterbacks — Philip Rivers for the Chargers, Derek Carr for the Raiders — but even a shootout won’t make this feel like an important game.

Not when the Chargers are playing in a miniature stadium with a populace that doesn’t care they are in town.

The Chargers aren’t even the most popular team playing in the StubHub Center. Ever heard of the L.A. Galaxy?

Here is the stellar preview — 

Rams at Seahawks

The Rams are way more popular in Los Angeles than the Chargers and for good reason. The team is way more exciting and is one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL. They also belong in Los Angeles. Now they get a chance to remind the Seattle Seahawks there is a new king in the NFC West. Oh yeah, how did it go last December? Try Rams 42, Seahawks 7.

Here is the stellar preview — 

Packers at Lions

Aaron Rodgers takes shots at coach Mike McCarthy after his team won by 22 points. Who is he taking advice from — Danica Patrick? Hey, I wonder if Rodgers’ family is on speaking terms with him again now that he has a new girlfriend. The Lions will try to silence Rodgers this weekend.

Here is the stellar preview —



Washington at UCLA

Something has to give here — Washington hasn’t won at the Rose Bowl since 1995 and Chip Kelly has a horrible team. Check out UCLA’s schedule and see if you find two wins. May turn out to be zero. The Huskies shouldn’t encounter much difficult winning in Pasadena for the first time in 23 years.

Here is the stellar preview —


Nick Saban complained that the student section was lackluster for last week’s drubbing against Louisiana. Um yeah, then don’t schedule a lackluster opponent. Sounds like Alabama students are pretty smart by not showing up. As for this week, there is zero chance of Arkansas pulling an upset.

Here is the stellar preview — 

Indiana-Ohio State

Ohio State is now the third-ranked team in the country and everybody has forgotten Urban Meyer’s embarrassing antics when it came to former assistant coach Zach Smith using his wife as a punching bag. That is exactly what the school administration was hoping. Hopefully, there are two losses to come to keep the school out of the College Football Playoff. Not seeing the Hoosiers delivering one of those setback.

Here is the stellar preview —



Yankees-Red Sox, Game 2

Don’t usually include baseball due to the short shelf life of a preview but this one needs to be included. Boston left-hander David Price is 0-8 in nine postseason starts and it will be fun to see that zero in the win column remain. Can he break the drought Saturday? Perhaps, but know this: He went 0-3 with a 10.34 ERA in four starts against the Yankees this season.

Here is the stellar preview —

Weekly links …

Sometimes I have to write about the “C word.”

There is just no avoiding it unless I want to get a boring, mundane job doing something else.

Objectivity always wins out since I am paid well to be a professional.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this tweet that came across my Twitter feed.

Oh yeah, the C word. … Chargers.

What a C word it is. A poor one when San Diego isn’t in front of the team name.

The Chargers are 1-2 but get the good fortune of facing C.J. Beathard at quarterback this Sunday after the San Francisco 49ers lost starter Jimmy Garoppolo last week. But hey, we all know how often that franchise has lost games it should win over the years.

Tight end Antonio Gates says they don’t select Super Bowl teams in the first four weeks of the season. True. They select them in mid-January.

And think, the Chargers were selected all of ONE time. And certainly won’t be this season either.

So yeah, let’s talk about the “C word.”

Here is the stellar preview —

Seahawks at Cardinals — Josh Rosen has done a lot of bragging about how he is the best quarterback of the 2018 draft class. Only time and results determine that, not someone’s mouth. But know this — the Cardinals have scored 20 total points in three games. Rosen can’t be worse than Sam Bradford. Here is the stellar preview —

Lions at Cowboys — Ezekiel Elliott wants more carries. Hard to argue when he is getting only 16 per game but is tied for the NFL rushing lead with 274 yards. Plus, quarterback Dak Prescott isn’t as good as his strong start to his NFL career. Hasn’t reached 200 yards this season and has cracked the mark just twice in the past 11 games. Here is the stellar preview —



Louisiana-Alabama — The Crimson Tide are once again playing the biggest cupcake available. The only suspense is whether coach Nick Saban calls off the dogs when his team leads by six touchdowns or waits until the advantage moves over 50. The coach at Louisiana — Billy Napier — used to be the receivers coach at Alabama so you can see the payday favor is in play. No other reason the Ragin’ Cajuns would show up. Here is the stellar preview —

Or if you prefer the type of preview that breaks it down into team forms, here is your stellar preview —

Boise State at Wyoming — It was pretty humorous Wednesday afternoon when I was out getting exercise that Boise State was pumping crowd noise into practice. Even more hilarious when I got back in the area 75 minutes later and it was still going on. Thought they must have been playing an opponent with an 80,000-seat stadium. Nope, playing at Wyoming and its cozy 29,181-seat stadium. I covered five games at Wyoming and only once was the attendance more than 20,000. The lowest three were 15,661, 14,012 and 13,757. Sorry, crowd noise isn’t deciding this game. Here is the stellar preview —


Weekly links …

Going to be hard-pressed to write a sadder story all year long.

The murder of Celia Barquin Arozamena while she was playing a round of golf in Ames, Iowa is one of the most irritating things that can occur. The 22-year-old loved being on the golf course more than anywhere else and a homeless clown decided to stab her to death and dump her in the pond near the ninth hole.

I should have been writing her name at some point during my career. But it should have been for her golf exploits, and not because she was victim of a heinous crime.

Barquin Arozamena played in the most recent U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek, missing the cut by three strokes. She was the Big 12 champion and Iowa State’s female athlete of the year.

The native of Spain appeared to have a real promising future. But one moron has left that chapter unwritten.

Here is the stellar article (accurate through Tuesday) —



Steelers at Buccaneers — FitzMagic is everywhere and a lot of people near Tampa hope Ryan Fitzpatrick’s roll will continue. That would mean Uber crotch grabber Jameis Winston would be on the sidelines watching. And what is with Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown? Can someone get him a pacifier? Here is the stellar preview —

Cowboys at Seahawks — How great would it be to see Seattle start 0-3 for the first time since 2002? Around where I live, those bandwagoners who were suddenly Seattle fans when the team made the Super Bowl will be shedding their gear soon. Then again, who wants to see Dallas win? Here is the stellar preview —

Bills at Vikings — Cornerback Vontae Davis quit football at halftime of the Bills’ last game and I think that means he suddenly realized he had signed with Buffalo. Minnesota safety Andrew Sendejo got fined $53,482 for a hit in last week’s game against Green Bay. I hear there are people who don’t make that much money in a year. Here is the stellar preview —


College football

Texas A&M at Alabama — Nick Saban is 12-0 against former assistants and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher is going to try to end this streak. He wasn’t able to do it last year when he was at Florida State and I surely don’t give him much chance this season against an Alabama team that looks like it can go undefeated. Here is the stellar preview —

Arizona State at Washington — How silly is it that the Sun Devils have won 11 of their past 12 meetings with the Huskies? Perhaps Washington coach Chris Petersen should spend less time engaging in his silly feud with the ESPN (silly on ESPN’s part too) and prepare his team a little better. Washington was supposed to trample Arizona State last season and scored seven measly points. Here is the stellar preview —

Tulane at Ohio State — Urban Meyer is back coaching and that means it is time for a lightweight opponent. The Buckeyes sure didn’t miss the Urban Liar while routing their first three game opponents. And now that we know he has a faulty memory, it is 50-50 that he knows how to find the stadium. Here is the stellar preview —

Penn State at Illinois — The Nittany Lions have a showdown with Ohio State next week so maybe they come out sluggish against Illinois. Actually, the Fighting Illini will fold at some point regardless of Penn State’s effort. How about giving up 18 straight fourth-quarter points to lose to South Florida? Bad stuff. Here is the stellar preview —

Boston College at Purdue — Boston College is ranked for the first time in 10 years. Almost makes you think college football on the whole is in decline mode for that to happen. Purdue quarterback David Blough passed for 572 yards last week. Not even school legend Drew Brees did that. Here is the stellar preview —

Weekly links is here …

Jalen Ramsey is part of a defense that allowed two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in last season’s AFC Championship Game to watch a Super Bowl berth evaporate.

He apparently isn’t the least bit embarrassed that his Jacksonville Jaguars sank like the Titanic with such a huge accomplishment on the line.

The Jaguars and New England Patriots meet Sunday in the rematch and there figures to be plenty of tension in the stadium. A lot of it stemming from Ramsey, whose most recent verbal shots at the Patriots included his declaration that all-everything tight end Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots isn’t all that good.

Yeah, OK Jalen.

Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash doesn’t agree with the assessment and said anyone that thinks Gronkowski is overrated is crazy.

Ramsey is a fantastic cornerback but the evidence is starting to grow — he’s truly crazy.

Here is the stellar preview —

Texans at Titans — Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson helped Houston roll up 57 points in his lone outing against Tennessee last season. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is bothered by a sore throwing elbow, which means Blaine Gabbert might need to play. You never want to see Gabbert in the game if you are trying to win.

Here is the stellar preview —

Vikings at Packers — Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers delivered a superb opening performance when he injured his left knee in the first half and returned at the start of the second half to rally Green Bay past the Chicago Bears. The Vikings are expecting Rodgers to play no matter how often the Packers say that he might not. And hey, isn’t Minnesota’s Harrison Smith a great safety?

Here is the stellar preview —

Lions at 49ers — The Detroit coaching debut of Matt Patricia was an outright disaster. Look, he got the gig because of the New England stint (Lions general manager Bob Quinn is a former Patriots executive). If he had been a Buffalo Bills assistant, he wouldn’t be a head coach.

Here is the stellar preview —



Boise State at Oklahoma State — Playing a Big 12 team rates as a big deal for the Broncos — sure beats playing Miami (Ohio) or Idaho State — and a victory in Stillwater would make Boise State the favorite to earn a New Year’s Six bowl. Nobody truly knows if Oklahoma State is any good or will end up being a four-loss team.

Here is the stellar preview —

Ohio State vs. TCU — Thought it was a typo — Ohio State is actually playing a tough team outside Columbus, Ohio. Yes, they really are playing the Horned Frogs. Guessing Urban Meyer’s faulty memory is at play — he probably said “schedule VCU” and didn’t realize that school doesn’t field a program, just a club team.

Here is the stellar preview —

Alabama at Ole Miss — Nick Saban says the real season starts when his powerful Alabama squad opens SEC play against Ole Miss. Makes me wonder why the SEC doesn’t play nine conference games if the nonconference games aren’t “real.” And yeah, makes me laugh even more that The Citadel is on the schedule in November.

Washington at Utah — The Huskies scored 10 points in the final 58 seconds to steal last season’s game against the Utes. That was the game when Kyle Whittingham displayed that your local pharmacist might be better at clock management than him. Utah is just 1-10 all-time against Washington.

Kent State at Penn State — The coach at Kent State is 32 years old. Youngest in FBS. That is the only thing remotely interesting about this matchup. The 40-point win will create more happiness in Happy Valley.

Weekly Links sees someone familiar heading to the field. Could it be … yeah, it might be … it is.

Hey Andrew Luck, where you been?

One of the bigger NFL storylines for Week 1 is the return of Luck after he missed all of the 2017 season after shoulder surgery.

The Indianapolis Colts bottomed out without their star quarterback and are looking to turn things around under new coach Frank Reich.

As for Luck, it has been 20 months since he last played in an NFL game. He’s back Sunday when the Colts play the Cincinnati Bengals.

Here is the stellar preview:


Here are the college links: 

Washington-North Dakota … Kind of odd to hear the Huskies’ championship hopes are over because they lost their opener to Auburn. Something tells me they plan to ring up a lot of points on FCS program North Dakota.

Arkansas State-Alabama … Now that we know Tua Tagoviloa is really, really good and the Crimson Tide have made him their starter, you have to wonder if anyone can beat Alabama this year. Not much wondering this week. Arkansas State can’t.

Rutgers-Ohio State … Urban Meyer gets to prepare the Buckeyes all week but he still can’t coach. Heck, you could have a Columbus welder prepare the team this week and still beat Rutgers by 50 or more points. 

Connecticut-Boise State … Brett Rypien is just one of two quarterback to top 10,000 career yards in Boise State history. Having your name linked with Kellen Moore at that school is never a bad thing.

TCU-SMU … Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson says he likes to play SMU because of the close proximity (40 miles). That may be true but he really loves to play them because it is an easy victory.

Week 1 of the college football season means it is time for the return of Weekly Links.

Our opening-week assignments included Alabama, Ohio State, Washington-Auburn, San Diego State-Stanford and Boise State.

Sorry, no baseball previews for you. Short shelf life. But hey, I can probably dig up an MLS preview.

Anyway, here we go with Weekly Links: 

Nick Saban can’t figure out who should quarterback Alabama between holdover Jalen Hurts (26-2 record) and Tua Tagovailoa (hero of last season’s title game) so both guys are listed as co-No. 1 on the depth chart. I say he could start an offensive guard at QB for the fun of it and still beat a Louisville team trying to regroup after the departure of former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.

Here is the stellar preview —

If you prefer a preview with team formats, here is this stellar preview —

Stanford running back Bryce Love was the runner-up for the Heisman last season and he will look to get off to a good start against the Aztecs. Love was the nation’s second-leading rusher last season. The leader was former San Diego State star Rashaad Penny. Now the Aztecs will see if Juwan Washington can keep up the school’s recent trend of big yardage campaigns.

Here is the stellar preview —

Ohio State’s program has been a mess leading up to the season so Urban Meyer won’t be on the field for the opener against Oregon State, the first of his three-game suspension for his less-than-stellar handling of the Zach Smith situation (coach accused of beating his ex-wife). Funny that Meyer can’t always remember important things due to a faulty memory. Hmmmm, wonder if he recalls Iowa putting up 55 points on the Buckeyes last season?

Here is the stellar preview —

Washington and Auburn are both ranked in the Top 10 and their matchup is the best of the week. But isn’t it weird that the national experts (term used super loosely) say Washington has to win to have any chance of reaching the College Football Playoff? What happened to that saying that “every week matters?” If the Huskies’ season is over because they started 0-1, then 85 percent of the teams can join Washington on the sidelines. Funny that Auburn’s playoff hopes can continue with a loss.

Here is the stellar preview —

Speaking of the poor system in college football, Boise State hopes to be in a New Year’s Six bowl at the conclusion of the season. Remember the not-too-distant past when a team could at least dream of being in the national title game? The big schools have closed the door on the minor conferences.

Here is the stellar preview —

And last but not least. If you can write MLS previews, you can write about ANYTHING. Even WNBA games (oh, yeah, I’ve done that too). So enjoy all you need to know about the Portland Timbers visiting the New England Revolution … where Tom Brady plays in Foxborough!

Here is the stellar preview —

The return of Weekly Links is about to arrive with the football season due to commence.

But how about if we get started a few weeks early with one link — my work landing in the New York Times.

Decided to check to see how a story I wrote on women’s golfer Lexi Thompson read and I was surprised at where the Google search took me.

The story was on the New York Times website —

You may remember from last fall that I don’t get excited about my stories landing on ESPN (at least 300 previews in 2016-17) or any of the other leading sports websites. But it is a different feel when you see your work on the New York Times.

Doesn’t matter to me that my name isn’t on the top of the story. In this case, one of the companies that distributes content to hundreds of places is listed in the byline field.

Works for me.

I hadn’t bothered to check for any of my work on the New York Times website since moving to my current company at the start of 2018. Honestly, I was just glad I was ahead of the curve and prevented myself from taking a major pay hit. The fact I have maintained and increased my income level was more important than where the stories land.

But hey, great thing to know as the football season kicks into gear. Would rather link previews from the NY Times than from some newspaper website that about 42 people visit all day.

As for Lexi Thompson, that story — which took all of 25 minutes to research and write as one of 11 stories I wrote that day — was intriguing as most sports fans don’t think of athletes as humans with human problems.

That she was having trouble coping with life at age 23 — her mother battled uterine cancer last year — is no major sin. The fact she sought out therapy to help her figure things out is something most people in her age group wouldn’t do.

As Thompson says, “ I’m not just a robot out there. I need to have a life.”

People don’t realize what a golfer’s life is like. One tournament ends Sunday and they are typically flying to the next one on Monday. Pretty sure Lexi hears about her friends out dancing or going to the movies on Friday and Saturday nights while she is trying to get to bed in a timely manner in some hotel room or guest house for the next morning’s tee time.

Seems like her short hiatus was prompted by the fact that she began to realize that there is more to life than knocking down putts.

So yeah, Weekly Link this time … Weekly Links when football season begins.