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Sports Then and Now



Surprises Abound During First Month of College Football Season 1

Posted on October 07, 2015 by Brooke Chaplan
Leonard Fournette has been the most dominant player during the first month of the college football season.

Leonard Fournette has been the most dominant player during the first month of the college football season.

As college football moves into the second month of the season, there have already been many surprises. As defending national champion Ohio State has struggled against Virginia Tech and barely managed a win against Indiana. While working out the kinks of its two-quarterback system and showing weaknesses in turn overs and fumbles, other teams such as Michigan State and SEC powerhouse LSU have emerged as national championship contenders. With many weeks still to go before the playoff begins, there are still many questions left to be answered.

Pac-12 Conference
While many college football fans tend to focus on the Southeastern Conference and its usual arsenal of powerhouse teams such as Alabama and Auburn, more and more people are turning their attention to the Pac-12 conference. Although Oregon appears to be on a decline after losing 62-20 to Utah, other teams such as USC and Utah appear to be on the verge of having what may be a very special season. With five teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25, the conference appears to be well on its way to breaking the so-called “East Coast bias” that supposedly plagues it annually.

Big Ten Conference
Despite its struggles, Ohio State still remains the top-ranked team in the nation. However, the Spartans of Michigan State are hot on their heels at number two. Add to the mix traditional powers such as Wisconsin and surprise teams like Northwestern and Michigan, and fans have the ingredients for what promises to be a return to prominence for teams in the Midwest. For those who possess an online sports management degree, working in the athletic departments with the likes of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh could prove to make each day an exciting one indeed. Read the rest of this entry →

What Are The Odds? Looking at the Top Preseason Contenders for the College Football Playoffs 0

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Jim Hurley
Ohio State has been anointed as the favorite to again raise the College Football National Championship trophy.

Ohio State has been anointed as the favorite to again raise the College Football National Championship trophy.

The anointing of Ohio State for a repeat national championship has begun—the Buckeyes were the first unanimous preseason #1 in the history of the AP poll when that venerable organization released its voting results earlier this week. Las Vegas is no less bullish on the Bucks, slotting Ohio State is a decisive 2-1 favorite to win it all in Glendale on January 11. There’s no question Urban Meyer has a terrific team. But does that make them a terrific bet?

Ohio State is not a perfect team. They have youth on the offensive line, with two sophomores in starting roles. They have to replace a pair of defensive lineman, something that can’t be overlooked in the run-heavy Big Ten.

While Meyer has a well-documented embarrassment of riches at quarterback, even that comes with its own challenges—he can’t afford to have the locker room split between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, even if Braxton Miller made everyone’s life easier by agreeing to switch to wide receiver.

Then there’s the suspensions. Four players will miss the season opener on Labor Day Night at Virginia Tech, including All-American defensive end Joey Bosa. If Ohio State gets through this game, which they remain favored to do, then that issue is past them. But it’s one more fly in the ointment.

None of this is to suggest that the Buckeyes are uniquely vulnerable or that they shouldn’t be ranked #1. What I am suggesting is that 2-1 is a very short price when the season is just beginning. You can likely wait until the beginning of the Playoff and get close to the same price, but without any lingering questions.

Public handicappers have to look elsewhere for value. Here’s a brief rundown of how the challengers to Ohio State are viewed in Las Vegas, and some pertinent thoughts on each group of teams:

THE PRIME CHALLENGERS: TCU (6-1), Alabama (13-2): This is rarefied air for the Horned Frogs, with their #2 preseason ranking in the AP poll being the highest in their history. The Crimson Tide are more interesting. It’s a short price, but about as good as anyone will get with a Nick Saban-coached team. If early games, like the September 5 prime-time affair with Wisconsin at Cowboys Stadium show an improved ‘Bama defense, the Tide are worth a serious look. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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