Like most No. 1 overall NFL draft picks, Cam Newton led a charmed life when it came to wins and losses. He was part of two BCS National Championship teams, with a NJCAA Title sandwiched in between. If you count his redshirt season, his college record at Florida, Blinn and Auburn was a combined 47-6. Forgive him for thinking it would take fewer than 39 games across three campaigns to get on the right side of .500 for the first time in his pro career.
These are the uncharted waters the Newton-led Carolina Panthers are sailing toward on Thursday. With a victory against the winless Buccaneers, they will be 4-3.
The last time the fellas from the Queen City were in such a scenario? Their secondary got shredded by Larry Fitzgerald. In the NFC Divisional round. Of the 2008 season. Ten days before the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. The first one, that is.
Let's put this dismal drudge of defeats into even more perspective. Do you know how many players on the current roster have hung around since that Kurt Warner crushing in Charlotte? Try single digits. Nine. Only seven if you discount players not listed as active.
Where was the NFL's reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, Luke Kuechly, the last time the Panthers were plus-.500? Fresh off his completing his senior year of football at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he accumulated 130 tackles, a sack and three forced fumbles. By the way, rivals.com
Coach Jim Boeheim instructs Kris Joseph (32) during the Syracuse vs. NC State game on December 17, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Eight hours, a solid day's worth, of questions and answers. Safe to say, Operation Basketball is exhausting.
That's just from our standpoint, so I cannot even begin to fathom how painstaking the process is for the other half. In 11-to-15 minute intervals, players and coaches get chauffeured around the Ritz-Carlton from one station to another to repeat the chit-chat process.
Start with the local and regional media in one room. Then, hightail it across the hallway to the ACC Network peeps. Then, the Comcast crew. Followed by the ACC Digital Network. Next stop? Fox Sports. After that, Fox Sports again? Nope, Fox Sports 1, different entity, same song and dance. Are we done now? Wait, one more, off to radio row. So, who could blame Leonard Hamilton, Mark Turgeon, Brad Brownell and company if they wanted to make like a tree and get out of Charlotte.
Little surprise as to who the celebrity of Operation Basketball turned out to be. The second-winningest men's Division I college basketball coach of all-time, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim. The hoops mainstay of the "Salt City" isn't exactly a local media darling, as those in Central New York may tell you. He's provided many a memorable press conference during his 37-year stretch, and he's not afraid to drop a few F-bombs. My favorite, of course,
Logan Thomas (3) barks out signals for Va Tech. Virginia Tech travels to East Carolina University on Saturday September 14, 2013. After a tied half at 7 to 7 Va Tech edges ECU with a 10-15 road victory. Photo by CHRIS BAIRD
It was there for the taking, and the Pirates knew it. East Carolina had several chances to knock off Virginia Tech in Greenville for the first in a generation, they just couldn't drive the stake through the Hokies' heart. In what had the potential to be a signature win for head coach Ruffin McNeill and a chance to vault into the AP or USA Today Top 25, ECU came up short in a game that was very "un-ECU-like."
Two weeks after surrendering nearly 500 yards of offense against Old Dominion, the Pirates cracked the whip on defense, containing one of the ACC's top gunslingers in Logan Thomas. Running back Trey Edmunds was a non-factor, averaging only two yards per carry after toting the rock 21 times.
However, the offense was equally as night-and-day as their first two efforts. Shane Carden threw for 638 yards and seven scores against ODU and FAU, but struggled after a promising start. In an aggressive move, ECU won the coin toss, elected to receive, and marched straight down the field, capping a five-play, 75 yard drive with a Carden-to-Bryce Williams touchdown toss. It took only 99 seconds and looked effortless. However, it was far from a harbinger of what the rest of the afternoon had in store. Receivers struggled against Tech's secondary to create much space downfield and as a result, Carden completed only three passes of 10 yards or longer following that opening possession. Justin Hardy had six receptions, but finished
North Carolina State's $64,000 question finally got an answer: Brandon Mitchell is/was Dave Doeren's choice to start under center.
A toasty Carter-Finley Stadium saw quite a few unexpected twists. North Carolina State's $64,000 question finally got an answer: Brandon Mitchell is/was Dave Doeren's choice to start under center. So, go figure that after weeks and months of the Pack's quarterback carousel sailing 'round and 'round, Doeren's decision, lasts all of three series. Not of his own accord, of course. Mitchell suffered a foot injury to his fifth metatarsal in the first quarter and spent the rest of the game non-pads. How did the first-year head coach find out about the severity of the injury? Social media nonetheless, or as he put it in his postgame press conference, "the tweet guy." If that's not a Grandpa Simpson-esque reference, I don't know what is:
Hence, for the next 4-6 weeks, the Wolfpack's quarterback carousel will cease to spin. Pete Thomas is the man under center, no what if's, and's, or but's about it. The junior transfer from Colorado State didn't put up Johnny Manziel-type numbers, but the beauty of it being, he's not expected to. Doeren's persisted for weeks now that whomever got the nod would be more game-manager and less game-breaker. And he managed a heckuva game. 15-of-27, 212 yards passing, and one defensive fumble recovery (cast your defensive player
WRAL's Jason Jennings profiles Ronnie Smith, a 55-year old bodybuilder that knows age is just a number
It may be the down time of the year; too late for beach body training, and too early for the New Year's "Resolutioners" as I like to dub them, to clog up the weight-room, but seriously, gym etiquette should always be in season.
First off, I don't consider myself a "meathead" by any stretch of the imagination, I think of myself as pound-for-pound, moderately strong for a 5'9" (5'10" on a good day!) 200 pound guy. By the way, If you're unfamiliar with the term "meathead," think Ogre from "Revenge of the Nerds."
Yeah, don't be that guy. And don't be "that guy" at your local YMCA, Planet Fitness, Gold's Gym, or whatever joint you choose to pick things up and put them down. "That guy" comes in all shapes and sizes. "That guy" seems to be oblivious to the fact that, indeed, other people occupy the same workout space. Here are a few of my least favorite mannerisms of "That guy."
- "That guy" who circuit trains every piece of equipment in the main and auxillary rooms. Admittingly, I'm not into circuit training, I prefer to do one exercise at a time before moving onward. I certainly won't fault someone for switching it up, however, don't give me the stink eye if someone wants to work in or dares to take the bench you haven't sat on for the last 30 minutes while on your rotation.
Let me preface these ruminations with this: I grew up a fan of the New England Patriots.
Three years ago, I was pretty steamed when Bob Kraft and company selected Rob Gronkowski in the second round of the NFL Draft ahead of the guy who I thought would be the best addition to their tight end corps. Two rounds later, seemingly a bargain, they got him anyway.
I’ve enjoyed watching Aaron Hernandez torch the turf in three years with my favorite NFL team. I liked his willingness to line up in the backfield and carry the ball two seasons ago with a rushing attack on life support. Heck, I’m a sucker for touchdown celebrations, and I loved his ridiculous version of making it rain. Sometimes, he cracked the combination of a safe, sometimes he used a shovel.
Apparently, fake dollar bills aren’t the only things Hernandez has buried from the rest of the world. By now, I’m sure everyone’s heard about his recent criminal investigations. Whether or not Hernandez is guilty in the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd is not for me, or the rest of us, to decide. I’ll let a jury handle that. It is the judicial process our country is based on. However, the rest of the free world who will not be sitting in a jury box can speculate or play the blame game. This is the slippery slope, I’ll
As photographers, rarely do we ever want to miss a shot. That chance to catch real, raw human emotion on tape. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've wanted to duck out, camera-in-tow, unseen.
Sunday was one of those instances. In a matter of 27 minutes, I witnessed a party transform into a wake. The most celebrated season in Campbell University baseball history had just come to an unexpected end as the NCAA Selection Committee shoveled dirt on a team that should be alive and fighting alongside 63 other Division I teams. And all I could think of was, 'If I moved very slowly, slinking away in the midst of stunned silence, would anyone notice me exiting the Lillington Sports Zone banquet room?' Kind of like how Tyrannosaurus Rex vision works?
It wasn't the conclusion the Camels had envisioned. In their minds, they had at least two more games left, two more shots at cracking a milestone once believed to be impossible in Buies Creek, a 50-win season. They were ready to pack their bags for a short trip to Chapel Hill or Raleigh. They were ready to load up for the West Coast and Eugene, Oregon. They
Oh no, it's a blog about boxing. I'm sure I've lost about half of you already, and I'm willing to bet those who've stuck around are probably about as disillusioned as I am with the sport.
Quick, name the last worthwhile heavyweight championship match? Was it this?
Next month, that match is ten years old. Think about that. Sadly, Lennox Lewis rode off into the sunset and essentially took the heavyweight division with him. Not that Lewis was some grand loss, his fights weren't exactly knockdown drag out, especially by the end, when that cut opened up on Vitali's eye and the Brit seemed content to play defense until the end of his career. What'd he leave behind? A weight class "dominated" for the last decade by the Klitschkos. But let's face it, Vitali's drawing power was already suspect before taking four years off and Wladimir's mystique came crashing to a halt during an inexplicable second round smashing by Corrie Sanders.
The only heavyweight with a little bit of a "wow" factor right now? Deontay Wilder:
The "Bronze Bomber" hasn't had a fight go past the
UNC's Kent Emanuel limited Duke to two hits as No. 1 North Carolina defeated the Blue Devils 7-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Boshamer Stadium.
I know, a Fall Out Boy reference as a column headline isn't a good start, but their new song isn't bad, so bear with me.
Across the board, the Tar Heels are top dogs in terms of college baseball at the moment. Numero uno according to USA Today Coaches Poll, Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, and NCBWA. Cracking the case of Carolina's success isn't exactly a job for Jessica Fletcher, even though that sweet Angela Lansbury did become the absolute master of the 80's freeze-frame laugh to close the show:
It's an arms race in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels pitching staff is straight up stifling. Third in the nation in ERA at 2.16. Fourth In terms of hits allowed per nine innings. Seven shutouts on the season. Kent Emanuel's been even better than advertised. In nine outings, the Junior's racked up a 8-1 mark with an incredible earned run average of 1.82 while only surrendering seven extra basehits.
Benton Moss is a K machine. 7-and-0 on the mound, in 57 and two-thirds innings of work, he's struck out 67.
Then there's the Heels' do-it-all, Trent Thornton, who's posted some downright filthy stats. 8-0 record, 39 strikeouts, 3 saves while allowing two extra basehits in 49-plus innings of work.
The college basketball season is effectively done with for the Triangle. For the third straight year, none of the ACC's "Big Four" from North Carolina made it to the grandest hoops stage the NCAA offers. Not much to talk about until fall practices open up in six months, right? Save for one very important "decision," and I hesitate calling it a "decision," because that just springs images of this ego trip:
High school basketball's top free agent, Andrew Wiggins has narrowed the field down to four: North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, and Florida State. The odd-man out appears to be FSU, but his parents attended school there, so most people assume he's just keeping them in the running for show. While most major recruits have already signed the line, the consensus No. rated prospect and Gatorade Player of the Year continues to milk every second before putting pen to National Letter of Intent paper. By all accounts, he's not doing it for show, either.
From what my former colleagues in West Virginia, who cover his insanely talented team, and my friend, Wiggins' current head coach of Huntington Prep School, Rob Fulford tell me, it's quite the opposite.
Wiggins is, by nature, a very quiet, shy, humble, kid. He's not braggadocious. He doesn't mug for the camera. By all accounts, when