Posts Tagged ‘Sports’

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Watch Premiere League Soccer

Written by Jarren Bird on . Posted in Sports

You like soccer right? Well what if, by some crazy means, soccer were actually called football? I know it seems odd to call a game where you ONLY use your feet “football” when there is a perfectly good game where you hardly ever use your feet called “football,” but such is the case in England. Our homeland. The place we come from. We call New York New York because in the UK there is an older place called York. We have New Hampshire because our former country has an older place called Hampshire. Those nutsos are crazy over there and they’re super crazy about football (soccer).

In England there is a league of football called the English Premier League, or EPL. There are 20 teams, most of which are in London (not really, but six teams are located in London which is a fair amount).

fantasy-sports

How to Win at Fantasy Football

Written by Jarren Bird on . Posted in Sports

Welcome sports fans to the wonderful world of Fantasy Football! Now don’t be scared. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. If you are worried about being able to pwn your fellow fantasy cohorts whilst being a “n00b” then look no further. Just for you, I have compiled a step-by-step process on “How to Win at Fantasy Football,” and you can trust me because I’m like a doctor in a lot ways.

Step 1) Make sure you get the guy who will score the most points.

You only have one chance to get the guy who scores the most points. Here’s how you can do it…random luck. If you get the first pick in the draft (if the draft is a regular draft and not an auction draft) then you have a great opportunity to choose the player who will score the most points. If you are participating in an auction draft, then pay the most money to get the best player. If you are in a room with all the other guys in the league who will also be drafting, then you can research ways to blackmail all of them. You can then blackmail the guy who is given the first pick. What he will then do, because he is being blackmailed, is graciously and unsuspiciously turn the first pick over to you and you will then have a great opportunity to pick up the player who will score the most points.

But wait, you are in the middle of saying to me, “What if I have no way of knowing who will score the most points?”

Brandon Davies

Blame BYU for Davies’ Fall

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Sports

Brigham Young University has shot itself in the foot — right in the middle of a race.

The Daily Herald (my daytime employer, though I had nothing to do with the story) broke the news Tuesday night that starting center Brandon Davies will not complete the season because he violated the school’s Honor Code. The news is a big blow. And though I can’t make a decent prediction about the consequences of the news, nothing good can come if it.

But while Davies obviously let down his team and community, an equal share of culpability goes to BYU for its opaque enforcement of a bizarre and arcane set of rules. In other words, Davies screwed up because he broke the rules, but BYU did the same when — by implementing and enforcing those rules — it set the stage for Davies’ failure.

What We Learned From Saturday's NFL Games

Written by Ben Wagner on . Posted in Sports

“Yo, I got this”

Historically the first two weekends of the NFL playoffs are two of my favorite weekends of the year (topped by wild card Saturday — is there a reason this isn’t a national holiday yet?). This year didn’t break that trend as last weekend saw the Jets, Seahawks, Packers and Ravens all win, arguably all upsets except maybe the Ravens. Part of what makes the NFL so exciting is the parity, and at no time is this more apparent than during the playoffs.

In a season that has been all about parity (even the Patriots, the league’s undisputed best team, got beat by the lowly Browns) most experts came into this week’s games with no clue as to what was going to happen. The Ravens and Steelers were meeting for the third time this season and the wild card Packers seemed to be suddenly gaining popularity against the number one-seeded Falcons. At the beginning of the day, NFL fans had lots of questions — and by the end of the day, we had answers. Here’s the top things we learned from today’s games:

The ghost of Matt Millen still haunts the GMs of the NFL

It’s astounding to me that NFL GMs have yet to figure out the wide receiver position. The Ravens came into the season with three top receivers — check that, three former top wide receivers. Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin and T.J Houshmandzadeh were all number one receivers at some point in their careers — Mason with the Titans, Boldin with the Cardinals, and T.J. (no way I’m typing that name again) with the Bengals and later the Seahawks. All three were the top receivers on their teams, but for various reasons their former teams cut ties with them and they all landed in Baltimore.

When teams decide to go their separate ways with a wider receiver, it has historically been a bad sign. These same situations seem to happen every year, and yet GMs continue to throw money at these players. Look at Roy Williams in Dallas, Randy Moss in Minnesota or Terrell Owens on every team he’s ever been on (which at this points seems to be approximately half the teams in the NFL).

Today in their game against the Steelers, the Ravens’ receiving core repeatedly dropped passes, costing them scoring opportunities. This was typified by the Ravens’ last offensive play when, trying to drive and tie the game, Joe Flacco threw an almost perfect pass on 4th and 19 to Houshmandzadeh, who had run a deep curl route. Houshmandzadeh was past the first down line when the ball hit him right in the numbers, and then promptly fell through his hands and hit the ground.

Maybe now Ravens’ GM Ozzie Newsome can see why Seattle (who, by the way, isn’t exactly fielding the ’01 Rams receiving core out there) chose to cut him, knowing they would still have to pay him $7 million, rather then have him on their team. Think about that — they paid him 7 million dollars to go away. Sound like a guy you want on your team? Apparently Ozzie Newsome thought it sounded awesome, and for that reason he’ll be watching the AFC championship game on his couch.

Ben Roethlisberger is always a threat to score

Look, I know Big Ben has had his off-field issues — a motorcycle crash, repeated drunkenness, an appearance on Shaq Vs. and the fact that he’s a complete pervert have all greatly hurt his public image. In all that, we may have lost the fact the guy has won two Super Bowls, and is one of the most clutch quarterbacks we’ve seen — maybe ever.

The guy just wins. He’s got that last-minute greatness DNA that Peyton would kill the third Manning brother for. Today, with the game tied and just over two minutes remaining, the Steelers were looking at 3rd and 19 and, if they failed to convert, they would be giving the ball back to the Ravens with enough time remaining to put together a drive and win the game with a field goal.

In this situation most quarterbacks are looking for that pass that just gets them the first down, because the defense is trying to prevent a 20-yard play. Oftentimes quarterbacks will check down to someone on a short route, hoping they can break some tackles and fight for a first down. Not Big Ben. He set himself up in the shotgun, received the ball, took five steps back, calmly looked at his options, and then flung the ball 55 yards down the right sideline. The ball was perfectly on target to a streaking Antonio Brown who caught the ball and stepped out of bounds setting the Steelers up close to the goal for a game-winning touchdown.

If you go back and watch that play again, Roethlisberger throws the ball long before Brown is past the defense — in fact, to anyone else watching it doesn’t even seem clear that Brown will be open. The fact that Roethlisberger was able to anticipate where his receiver would be in that situation, and then throw the ball with such precision 55 yards downfield, is absolutely incredible.

If you haven’t seen the play again, go back and watch it from all the angles. In that situation, I’m not sure there’s another quarterback who makes that throw. The fact is, despite his obvious character flaws, Roethlisberger is a born winner — and if I was a coach I would want him on my team.

Aaron Rodgers has made Green Bay forget about the quarterbacks from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’00s — or, in other words, Brett Favre

I’ve been on the Aaron Rodgers bandwagon for awhile. I had him on my fantasy team last year and was really impressed by the numbers he put up week in and week out. This year I’ve been impressed with his toughness, fighting back from two concussions.

What he did against the Falcons tonight was an absolute clinic. He diced up their secondary with amazing precision, he escaped their rushers with surprising speed and agility, and he led the Packers with all the intangibles you want to see from your starting quarterback. His mechanics, accuracy, arm strength, mobility, reads, leadership and guts were all of the highest caliber.

Let’s put it this way: Of all the NFL games I’ve seen this year, if I had to pick one game to show a young quarterback to say, “This is the way you play the position,” I think it would be this game against the Falcons.

In his post-season career, Rodgers now has a 10:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He beat the Eagles (many experts’ pick to win the NFC) on the road last week, and he beat the number one-seeded Falcons this week. After what we’ve seen the last two seasons and (in particular) this post-season, I think it’s time we officially move him into the “Top Three QBs In The League” discussion. Considering the truly lackluster efforts of Manning, Brees and Vick this post-season, can we say Aaron Rodgers might be the best quarterback not named Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger? Right now, if I had one game to win, I would pick Brady, then Rothelisberger, but after that I’m pretty sure I would take Aaron Rodgers. He’s that good, and a seemingly decent guy to boot.

Rodgers spent three years patiently waiting in the wings for Brett Favre to take his texting talents elsewhere, and then the next three years flying under the radar in Green Bay. Hey Aaron, you’re on everyone’s radar now — pretty soon you may even have Rachel Nichols camping out on your lawn.

FIFA's Big Blatter

Written by Ben Wagner on . Posted in Uncategorized

Over the past few weeks, England has been torn apart and sharply divided by political unrest. Prime Minister David Cameron’s aggressively conservative budget cuts and attempts to reduce the country’s deficit have led to thousands of students protesting (sometimes violently) throughout the streets of London. However, this past Thursday, the country stopped its political infighting to unite against a common enemy, one more dreadful to the English then even the prospect of tax hikes — Sepp Blatter.

For those of you who don’t know, Sepp Blatter is the president of FIFA, the international governing body of soccer and the organization responsible for hosting the world’s premier sporting event, the World Cup. This week, the organization voted on which countries would have the privilege of hosting the 2018 and 2022 cups. England sent a delegation to lobby for the 2018 cup that included Prince William and David Beckham. The Unites States sent a similar delegation to fight for the right to host the 2022 cup, a delegation that included Morgan Freeman and former president Bill Clinton. Both England and the Unites States were the favorites to win their respective bids. Then the news hit Thursday that neither country had been successful — and that Russia had won the 2018 bid and some place called Qatar had won the 2022 bid.

Even before the vote and announcement, allegations of vote fixing began to arise. The politics of how FIFA chooses these event locations is messy at best. FIFA’s 24-man executive committee votes on the proposed sites in a multi-round format. However, allegations of committee members selling their votes caused FIFA to suspend two members of the committee, leaving only 22. During each round of voting, the country with the lowest amount of votes is eliminated until one country holds a majority. Russia won a majority in the first round of voting and was immediately selected. It took 4 rounds for Qatar to win the bid, and it beat out the Unites States in the fourth round of voting 14-8.

Whether or not the vote was fixed is up for debate — and with Vladimir Putin involved anything is possible. What is clear, though, is that there are serious flaws in this election system. FIFA is an organization compromised of over 208 countries, yet only 22 have a voice in selecting the site for the World Cup. Not only is this an unfair system, but it makes it far too easy for vote-fixing to occur, as only a few committee members need to be bought off before a majority is held. Furthermore, Blatter’s personal preference appears to hold too much sway over the committee, as it was common knowledge before the voting that he supported Russia and Qatar’s bid. FIFA needs to review its selection process and work out a system that is fair and less susceptible to fraud.

But the choices have been made and now the world has to deal with them. In some ways, Russia is not an illogical choice to host the cup. England will always love soccer, whether or not it hosts the World Cup. However, Russia hosting the cup will boost the soccer infrastructure in the country by creating new facilities and stadiums. It will help FIFA tap into the country’s vast talent pool and will help establish FIFA as a media entity. Politically, the move shows confidence in the former Soviet Union, and this cup will mark the first time the World Cup will be hosted by an Eastern European country.

However, having the cup in Qatar is, in short, a big mistake. The country has a population of just over 1.6 million people, no soccer stadiums big enough to host a World Cup game, and in late June (the time of year the cup normally starts) boasts an average temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The country does not at the moment have enough hotel space, any public forms of transportation, or an airport big enough to support the huge influx of foreign visitors that will invade the country during the month long tournament.

Furthermore, concerns have arisen as to what the effect of having 400,000 drunken foreign visitors will be to a country that is still a relatively closed-off Islamic nation. Politically, the move may make sense — the entire Arab world (and all of its oil money) was behind the bid to host the cup in Qatar — as it will mark the first time an Arab nation will host a World Cup. In the long term, Blatter is hoping the 2022 cup will open up further opportunities for FIFA in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, the Unites States should not have been forgotten in the equation. There are over 300 million people in the Unites States, most of which is still an untapped soccer market. The sport’s popularity is growing by leaps and bounds, MLS attendance and TV ratings continue to rise, and the U.S. national team continues to be successful in trying to establish itself as one of the elite national teams. The country’s premier sports leagues, the NBA and NFL, are both set to go into lockouts and there will be a huge opportunity for soccer to fill the void they leave. By having the Unites States host the cup, FIFA would boost enthusiasm and investment in soccer in America.

FIFA passed on a real opportunity to give the Unites States Soccer Federation the final weapon it needed in its attempt to cement soccer as a premier sport in America. Blatter and his cronies decided to take a huge risk with Qatar, instead of what was a sure return on investment in America. In 2022, the future of international soccer will still be in the United States — unfortunately, the soccer world will be melting in the hot sun of Qatar, still trying to find a hotel room.

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Fantasy ‘Bachelor Pad’ Will Change Your Life!

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in TV

If you haven’t watched The Bachelor Pad yet, you’re missing out. It’s easily the greatest television show of the last 10 years, if not of all time. Is it dumb? Yes. Is it trashy? Certainly. But that’s what makes it so great!

If you’re not watching the show, start now — your Monday nights will be infinitely more entertaining. If you’re already watching, amplify your experience by trying out some Fantasy Bachelor Pad — featuring rules and regulations by Rhombus’ very own Preston Johnson (listed below). Throw your inhibitions out the window and try it out — you won’t be disappointed.   — Steve Pierce

SPORT: Podcast: The Masters, MLB, NBA Playoffs

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Sports

Tiger’s semi-triumphant Masters return, the brand new Major League Baseball season, the impending NBA playoffs and, of course, the BYU quarterback controversy — all that and more on the newest episode of The PB&J Report below!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 014 — The PB&J Report (April 13th)