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Sports Then and Now

Favorite Iconic Sports Sayings

Posted on November 16, 2015 by Mike Raffone

Chris BermanToday’s Sports Then and Now blog highlights some of my favorite iconic sports sayings.

They’re timeless expressions that we’ve all used at some point while describing a game or in a simple conversation.

Julius Caesar’s “Vedi Vidi Vici” (Latin for I came, I saw, I conquered), Jesus’ Golden Rule “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and the poet Horace’s adage “Carpe Diem” (seize the day) are as nearly well known today as they were in centuries past.

In the world of sports, expressions, clichés and iconic sayings have also been memorialized.

Some are just as popular now as they were back then.

Sports fans learn these iconic sayings at an early age and repeat them regularly throughout their lives. They apply them not only to sports games they watch, but even to the everyday problems they face.

In this case, these iconic sports sayings fit nicely into today’s blog.

Here ya go…

Whenever we don the name of a certain company’s athletic apparel, we’re reminded to “Just do it!” as Nike’s marketing campaign suggests, whether on the playing field or strategizing in the boardroom. Read the rest of this entry →

Can the Houston Cougars Stay Undefeated?

Posted on November 13, 2015 by Jim Hurley
Greg Ward Jr. has led Houston to a perfect record both by passing and running.

Greg Ward Jr. has led Houston to a perfect record both by passing and running.

The Houston Cougars have quietly kept winning games all year long. They’re now 9-0 and poised to make a move at the getting an automatic bid to one of the six major bowl games played on December 31-January 1. From the perspective of sports bettors, Houston has been good to us, covering the spread in six of their nine games. Now they get to play some spotlight games that will be fun to watch and fun to wager on. The first one is Saturday night at home against Memphis (7 PM ET, ESPN2).

Houston has flirted with some national prominence in the past, and always on the strength of a prolific quarterback and a high-scoring offense akin to what we say in the Big 12. In recent years we’ve seen it with Case Keenum. Some of us can turn back the clock and remember when it was David Klingler or Heisman Trophy-winning Andre Ware blowing out the scoreboard lights. But this Cougar team is different.

Now it’s about running the football in Houston and both quarterback Greg Ward Jr. and running back Kenneth Farrow are adept carrying the ball. The Cougars have consistently dominated rushing yardage totals throughout the season. Their first big win, a 34-31 upset at Louisville on September 12 as a (+13) underdog was keyed by a 226-70 advantage on the ground.

The pattern has held throughout this magical season under first-year head coach Tom Herman. Houston rolls up the yardage on the ground and for the most part, they’ve done good job defending the run. There have been some trouble spots—SMU got them for 151 yards, but the Cougars control the trenches.

A byproduct of this is that Houston consistently wins the turnover battle. Running the ball is the safest way to travel, and when you can do it while your opponents can’t, it stands to reason that they’ll be the ones making the most mistakes.

This emphasis on the run doesn’t mean the Cougars can’t throw the ball though. Ward has a 70 percent completion rate and that has not come at the expense of big plays. The Houston quarterback generates an outstanding 9.1 yards-per-attempt, with his primary target of wide receiver Demarcus Ayers. This is going to be an important part of Houston’s game going forward. In two weeks they play Navy on Black Friday, and no one is going to beat the Midshipmen in a battle of ground games. The Cougars can bring some versatility to the table.

Houston’s ability to run and stop the run while still keeping an open offense has led to them not only being a good ATS bet, but being outstanding on the road. The Cougars have played four road games and covered all of them. That includes games like Louisville where they were a hefty underdog. It includes games like Tulane and Central Florida when the Cougars gave three touchdowns. You name the ATS situation, they’ve met the challenge. Read the rest of this entry →

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History of Notre Dame Football’s Touchdown Jesus

Posted on November 09, 2015 by Mike Raffone

Touchdown JesusAlong with the beautiful 218 foot tall bell tower of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the gleaming 187 foot tall gold dome of the school’s administration building, the 210 foot tall Hesburgh Library forms the skyline of America’s most recognized Catholic university.

A gorgeous mosaic named the Word of Life adorns the south side of the entire Hesburgh Library and towers over the north end zone scoreboard of the University of Notre Dame’s 80,795 seat football stadium in South Bend, Indiana.

This famous mosaic showcases Christ the Teacher. He’s reaching out to others, and with his raised arms, appears to mimic a football official signaling a touch down. It’s obvious to onlookers that he’s presiding over the action from on high.

Known universally throughout the college football world as Touchdown Jesus, this Word of Life mosaic doesn’t need a Hail Mary Pass or an Immaculate Reception to ascend into today’s Sports Then and Now blog.

Though unintentional, Touchdown Jesus quickly found its way into football lore when fans of all religious beliefs recognized Jesus’ innocent, but obvious, pose on this monstrous mural. Read the rest of this entry →

The Season Starts Now For The Big 12

Posted on November 05, 2015 by Jim Hurley
The next month will determine if Gary Patterson and TCU are playoff bound or left out as they were in 2014.

The next month will determine if Gary Patterson and TCU are playoff bound or left out as they were in 2014.

The Big 12 football season is finally ready to start for real. The conference has four teams ranked in the top 15 by the College Football Playoff selection committee and none of them have played each other. Baylor (#6), TCU (#8) and Oklahoma State (#14) are all undefeated. Oklahoma (#15) only has one loss. The conference backloaded its schedule to have all the biggest games in November, and it starts on Saturday with TCU-Oklahoma State (3:30 PM ET, Fox). Here’s a primer on how to bet the Big 12’s best teams…

BAYLOR: Even with their undefeated record, the Bears are only 4-3 ATS, suggesting that oddsmakers had caught up with them. Even though Baylor has yet to be challenged and scored at least eight touchdowns in six of their seven games, the prohibitive pointspreads have served their purpose and made each game a more or less even betting proposition.

But that hasn’t been true for the Over/Under. Even as linesmakers jack the totals up on Baylor’s game to unprecedented levels—witness the total of 89 posted for the October 3 game with Texas Tech—and it still doesn’t matter. The Bears and Red Raiders went over in that game, a 63-35 final and Baylor is 5-2 to the Over so far this season.

Now comes the injury to quarterback Seth Russell that throws a monkey wrench into everything. Baylor is still a (-17) favorite at Kansas State on Thursday night. Stiff, to be sure, but the Wildcats have yet to win a league game. And what if freshman QB Jarrett Stidham comes through? We’ve seen Ohio State last year and Notre Dame this year absorb injuries to starting quarterbacks and move on as though nothing had changed.

The Baylor program itself has smoothly transitioned from RG3 to Bryce Petty and then to Russell in recent years. If the same sort of transition happens with Stidham, the Bears are suddenly offering value—they’ve already won every game this season by more than 17 points. And the totals line for the Kansas State game is at 67.5, the lowest on any Baylor game this season. Read the rest of this entry →

Three Georgetown Bulldogs Have Made A Big Impact On The NFL

Posted on November 04, 2015 by Todd Green
Paul Tagliabue spent 17 years as the NFL Commissioner.

Paul Tagliabue spent 17 years as the NFL Commissioner.

Georgetown University alumni have played important roles in making the NFL what it is today. Some have contributed to professional football as coaches, owners, and leaders. These three Bulldogs have left important marks on their teams and the NFL.

Paul Tagliabue, NFL Commissioner

Paul Tagliabue attended Georgetown in the early 1960s on a basketball scholarship. His athleticism helped him become captain of the 1961-1962 team. It was his commitment to scholastics that ultimately led to his becoming the NFL Commissioner from 1989 to 2006.

Tagliabue’s hard work made him a Rhodes Scholar finalist and president of his graduating class. After completing his undergraduate degree, he went to New York University School of Law.

Given his interest in sports, it’s not surprising that Tagliabue became a lawyer for the NFL, which helped him get the Commissioner’s position.

While serving as the NFL Commissioner, Tagliabue added four new teams to the league, expanding it from 28 to 32 teams. That alone makes him an incredibly influential person within the organization.

Other important moments in his career as Commissioner include moving the Super Bowl from Arizona to California after Arizona refused to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and encouraging the Saints to return to New Orleans to bolster morale after Hurricane Katrina. Read the rest of this entry →

For the Pease Brothers: 2015 New York City Marathon – Not Just Another Walk in the Park

Posted on November 03, 2015 by Todd Civin
The adventure of Kyle and Brent Pease during the New York City Marathon was anything but typical.

The adventure of Kyle and Brent Pease during the New York City Marathon was anything but typical.

If every picture tells a story, the tale of the photo to the left would go something like this…”Kyle and Brent Pease, a pair of brothers from Atlanta, Georgia traveled north to the Big Apple to compete in the 2015 New York City Marathon. What makes their story unique is that Kyle was born thirty years ago with Cerebral Palsy and he will be pushed all 26.2 miles by his older brother, Brent.”

We’ve heard the story before and yet it never gets old. Disabled inspiration in a wheelchair pushed by Dad, Mom, brother, sister, friend so they are able to enjoy the experience of athletic competition. Forever inspirational and never gets old. But a funny thing happened on the way to the history book, when the Pease Brother’s right rear tire disintegrated at mile 12.

For many that would mark the end of the day and though they wouldn’t be able to finish what they had set out to, they had a pretty good excuse to hide behind. “Couldn’t do it. My wheel broke.” The Pease Brothers however live by the motto, “Where There’s a Wheel, There’s a Way” and despite the fact that they were minus one, they still found a way.

Instead of packing it up and calling it a day, they decided to find a way to carry on. Their reinvented journey began with Brent carrying Kyle up the bridge as hoped to “simply” walk the remaining half marathon. They quickly realized that this would be too much for mere mortals, so they detoured to the medical tent at mile 12.5 to formulate their plan to continue and finish.

The NYPD escorted them to a local bike shop, who worked with the medical staff to rig up a solution to their slight engineering dilemma. The left axle was tied to Brent’s shoulder in an effort to steady the chair and allow him to push on the two remaining wheels. Merely a half mile in, however, they realized it was impossible to turn and steady the chair. Read the rest of this entry →

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