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NEW COVER STORY...TGS 2016 NFL DRAFT PREVIEW--PART II

22-HOUSTON TEXANS ...The Texans made one of the big splashes of free agency when stealing QB Brock Osweiler from the Super Bowl champion Broncos. After a slow start in 2015 and somehow qualifying for the playoffs when using four different QBs, so desperate was Houston GM Rick Smith for an upgrade at the position that he acquiesced to every demand of Osweiler agent Jimmy Sexton, who priced his client out of the range John Elway was willing to pay in Denver.We'll see if Osweiler, with only seven NFL starts under his belt, is worth a 4-year, $72 million deal.The Osweiler signing pushes QB to the back burner
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NEW COVER STORY...TGS 2016 NFL DRAFT PREVIEW--PART I

1-LOS ANGELES RAMS (from Titans)... The first winner (as most expected) in the intense return-to-L.A. derby, the Rams embark on a back-to-the-future theme as they temporarily relocate to the historic L.A. Coliseum, which the team abandoned for Anaheim after 1979, while construction begins on their new football palace on the site of the old Hollywood Park race track in Inglewood, set to open in 2019. In this transition year, HC Jeff Fisher has been retained after another losing season in St. Louis, with reported pressure from owner Stan Kroenke to get the team to the playoffs  (or else) this fall. There
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...2016 COLLEGE HOOPS  SUPERLATIVES!

TGS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia ...We vacillated more than usual on this award for 2015-16, and considered making it a shared honor (though we really don't like to resort to co-winners if we can avoid it). In the end, there was simply a bit more consensus for Brogdon than anyone else. Cause for pause was Brogdon's subpar effort (2 for 14 from the floor) in Virginia's elimination game in the Elite Eight against Syracuse, when the Cavs blew a late 15-point lead, completing an underwhelming MidwWest Regional for the Virginia senior. Though Brogdon would not be the only player
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TGS 2016 COLLEGE HOOPS ALL-NEWCOMER TEAM!

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Jamal Murray, Kentucky...After several years of freshmen dominating the scene, 2015-16 truly was the "Year of the Upperclassmen" if not the "Year of the Seniors" in college hoops. A refreshing change, if you ask us, and one we expanded upon in a late-January editorial, when pointing out just a handful of true frosh in the starting lineups, or making any meaningful contributions at all, for top ten teams in the previous week's poll.  Our "All-Newcomer" team for 2015-16 somewhat reflects those developments of the fast-concluding season, as the only one of 
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TGS MLB PREVIEW...PLAY BALL!  2016 AL "FUTURES" TO WATCH!

It was nice to see the Minnesota Twins (78 ½) back in contention last season, as new manager Paul Molitor pushed many of the right buttons despite a succession of stats that belied a spirited run into wild card contention until the last weekend of the season. The Twins were middling statistically in most offensive categories while their team ERA was one of the worst in the league, yet Molitor kept the team in the playoff discussion. Still, the staff was more effective than in previous years, especially 2014 when it ranked bottom-of-the-bigs in ERA (5.06). And the improvement came even with
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TGS MLB PREVIEW...PLAY BALL!  2016 NL "FUTURES" TO WATCH!

It has been a few years since we mentioned "over" and the Philadelphia Phillies (65 1/2) in the same sentence inside one of our NL season previews. Assuming, however, the Phils bottomed out during last year's difficult 63-99 slog, there could be a bit of value on the upside in Philly. The organization has finally culled almost all of the dead weight (including slow-to-react GM Ruben Amaro) it was carrying from the recent glory years; of the players who stayed far beyond their sell-by date, only 1B Ryan Howard remains, and even he figures as no more than a 
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TGS SWEET 16 PREVIEW...PLUS TAR HEELS-HOOSIERS MEMORIES!

After first and second rounds of the Big Dance that suggested all sorts of wild matchup possibilities for the Sweet 16 and beyond, order seems to have been restored-albeit narrowly. The spry upset winners from the first round, and many of the potential rich storylines for the tournament, all would go down to defeat (some in more heartbreaking fashion than others) in the second round. The lowest seeds remaining in the Dance are all college hoops brand names (7 seed Wisconsin in the East, 10th and 11th seeds Syracuse and Gonzaga in the South). Surprisingly, there are a record six Atlantic Coast Conference teams still alive, which makes the
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TGS NCAA HOOPS...INDIANA AND KENTUCKY RENEW HOSTILITIES!


While
we have often found room to complain about the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, as we did with pleasure once again in our previous issue, we do admit to some admiration for the occasional devilish side displayed by the group, and when it plays a de facto matchmaker role for confrontations that have extra elements beyond two quality teams facing one another.  
We recall one such development, during the days when Kentucky would refuse to schedule Louisville in hoops. The selection committee, however, nonetheless tried its darnedest to set up a matchup in the Big
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NEW TGS HOOPS..."OFF" CONFERENCE BIG DANCE RESULTS!


Following
are straight-up and pointspread results for all of the lower-echelon and “off” conferences in NCAA Tournament play since 1994. While straight-up wins are certainly not common for these lower-echelon conference reps in NCAA action, they are not unheard of, either, as the best of this lot has been able to cause real damage in recent years. Some of those who have famously succeeded in sub-regionals over the past decade include Mercer, North Dakota State, and Stephen F. Austin in 2014, Florida Gulf Coast in 2013, plus several others from recent memory including Morehead State, Siena, 
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NEW TGS HOOPS...BUBBLE UPDATE AND TOURNEY PREVIEW!

SEC--Solid... Kentucky, Texas A&M. Looking Good... South Carolina, Vandy.   Bubble... Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Florida. Conference-6th. Notes... Tourney March 11-15 at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN (home of the NHL Predators). Last year...NCAA-5 (Kentucky-Final Four, Arkansas-Second Round, LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia); NIT-3 (Vanderbilt-Quarterfinals, Bama -Second Round, Texas A&M-Second Round). BUBBLE TALK AND TOURNEY PREVIEW...The recent "it" team in the SEC is Vandy, which can move into the "solid" category with a
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TGS HOOPS...EARLY COLLEGE CONFERENCE TOURNEY PREVIEW!

SUMMIT...Tourney March 7-10 at the 2-year-old Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, Sioux Falls, SD (not the home court of nearby, Brookings-based South Dakota State, which plays its home games at Frost Arena, or of nearby, Vermillion-based South Dakota, which plays its home games at the Dakota Dome). The Summit League was formerly known as Mid-Continent Conference. Top contenders-South Dakota State, IPFW, Omaha, North Dakota State. Notes...This wildly-supported event in Sioux Falls takes place for the second year in the still shiny-and-new
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TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT...LATE FEBRUARY BRACKETOLOGY!

4 Duke (20-7, 12) vs. 13 Hawaii (22-3, 78)...Duke has recently rallied itself back into the protected seed discussion. Although the Blue Devils would probably rather be nearby on Tobacco Road at Raleigh for the sub-regional, the Brooklyn venue would be the second choice for Coach K’s team, and the large contingent of Duke alums in the Big Apple. This would not be optimum travel to Brooklyn for Hawaii, six time zones away from home. The Rainbow Warriors might have a case for an at-large, which they might need, since the Big West Tourney is on the mainland, and top
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TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT... COLLEGE TOURNEY LOOK-AHEAD!

ATLANTIC TEN--Solid ...Dayton. Looking Good...Saint Joseph's, VCU, George Washington, St. Bonaventure. Conference-8th. Tourney March 9-13 at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY. Last year...NCAA-3 (Dayton-Second Round, Davidson, Virginia Commonwealth); NIT-3 (Richmond-Quarterfinals, George Washington-Second Round, Rhode Island-Second Round). Notes...Though VCU currently leads the A-10 standings, Dayton's overall accomplishments have it rated slightly higher than the Rams and St. Joe's, though the latter two both appear likely to land NCAA Tourney bids. GWU and St. 
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NEW TGS HOOPS...FALSE ALARMS AGAIN AT NBA TRADE DEADLINE

ATLANTA...After all of the talk about perhaps moving unrestricted free agent-to-be Al Horford and loosening the logjam in the backcourt by dealing away PG Jeff Teague, and perhaps dangling sharpshooter Kyle Korver, the Hawks instead decided to keep their core in tact and hope to rekindle some of last year’s magic their big three provided a season ago. In the end, they did free up some minutes in their backcourt by dealing PG Shelvin Mack to the Jazz, shedding Mack’s salary while adding a 2nd-round draft pick in return.
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TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT...NBA ALL-STAR BREAK REVIEW PART II

Oklahoma City (40-14) ...There's a big difference between now and a year ago for the Thunder, when Kevin Durant battled injuries and played in only 27 games as Ok City would miss the playoffs. More on current status in a moment. But there is perhaps a bigger story within the story this season at The Peake, and it involves Durant and his pending free agency. To their credit, the Thunder have been making moves for the past couple of years designed to upgrade the supporting cast and make Durant believe that he should stay with the Thunder, which is also going
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TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT...NBA ALL-STAR BREAK REVIEW--PART I

Cleveland (38-14)...The Cavs are in a different place than they were at this time a year ago, six games ahead of their 2014-15 pace, and well beyond the roster juggling and personnel moves that continued thru the first half of last season. Cleveland is also now without HC Dave Blatt (released a few days after a blowout loss to the Warriors last month), even with a 30-11 SU record, lending credence to the long-rumored reports of LeBron James never feeling comfy in the Blatt system (or vice versa, as Blatt could never implement the free-flowing offense that worked so well for him in Europe
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TGS SUPER BOWL 50 REVIEW...THIS ONE'S FOR PAT

There was a time in TGS existence when the two laughingstock franchises in pro football were the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos. The Steelers never even made the postseason until 1972, and we all know what happened thereafter. Denver, being one of the original eight AFL franchises, didn't start until much later than the Steelers, but the Broncos never did better than a 7-7 mark in 1962 during the ten-season run of the league. Denver never even finished with a winning record until John Ralston's second Bronco edition in 1973. And the playoffs would have to wait for 1977, when 
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TGS COLLEGE HOOPS...EARLY FEBRUARY BRACKETOLOGY UPDATE!

7 Duke (16-6, 25) vs. 10 VCU (16-5, 31)...It's been a while since we've seeded Duke this low. It's also been a while since the Blue Devils were out of the Top 25, which just happened last week. Times change. A matchup vs. VCU would recall bad memories for Coach K, whose Duke was dumped by the Rams in the sub-regional in 2007, when Eric Maynor (remember him?) was the VCU hero. The current Rams, under first-year HC and Shaka Smart disciple Will Wade, have not lost since Dec. 19 vs. Cincinnati and are currently setting the
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...ALL-TIME SUPER BOWL RANKINGS!

New England 28 - Seattle 24 (at Glendale, AZ)... A back-and-forth game played in fits and spurts that took a while to warm up. But just when the Seahawks seemed to have taken control for good in the second half, Tom Brady would rally the Patriots to a late lead before a wild last two minutes and a much-discussed final sequence that blew up in Seattle's face, when Russell Wilson was picked off by Malcolm Butler at the one-yard line. All after it seemed as if Seattle was about to steal the game following a circus tipped-catch by Jermaine Kearse at the New
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TGS NFL SPECIAL REPORT...THE DAY PRO FOOTBALL CHANGED

This year marks Super Bowl 50, but it is also 47 years after the game that really put the Super Bowl on the map...yet nonetheless remains a bit of mystery. We reprise our recount of the events of January 12, 1969, and Jets-Colts...

Forty-seven 
years later, Jets 16-Colts 7 seems as hard to believe today as it was back on January 12, 1969. And we’re not the only ones who still wonder what happened that afternoon at the Orange Bowl. Not to suggest that something was going on under the table that day in Miami, but the way that game unfolded has always invited some curious speculation
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TGS COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT...THE YEAR OF THE UPPERCLASSMEN!

1-Oklahoma ...Perhaps no team exemplifies this year's trend any better than the Sooners, who start three seniors (Gs Buddy Hield, a top Wooden Award candidate, and Isaiah Cousins, plus F Ryan Spangler). Lon Kruger's team also starts a junior guard, Jordan Woodard, who has been in the starting lineup since his first game as a frosh over two years ago. Thus, Kruger has as much experience on the perimeter as any coach in the country. Sixth-man F Dinijyl Walker, a former juco transfer, is also a senior. The only underclassmen in the starting lineup is soph F Khadeem Lattin, and the lone frosh
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TGS COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT..."LOW" MID-MAJORS UPDATE!

Montana (SUR 12-7) ...The Grizzlies are currently setting the pace in the Sky, but they are not dominating the opposition. In fact, Montana has already won four league games in which it did not cover the pointspread! Montana has also failed to cover its last four games (0-2-2) and is “under” in its last five decisions. Though in 6-8 German import PF Martin Breunig (18.7 ppg; 24 ppg last four), the Griz do own the Sky’s best post threat. Weber State (13-6)...Most regional observers believe HC Randy Rahe’s Wildcats will eventually emerge from the Sky thanks to the league’s best 1-2 scoring punch with G Jeremy Senglin (18.3 ppg) and F Joel Bolomboy (17.9 ppg). WSU
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...NFL CONFERENCE TITLE NOTEBOOK

We at TGS precede the "Super Bowl era" by a full decade, and can recall a time when the pro football season would essentially end after the NFL and AFL championship games, usually contested in late December. (TGS was also in existence for the three seasons between 1957-59 that preceded the existence of the old AFL!) So when the Super Bowl initially arrived for the 1966 season (and yes, it was unofficially referred to as the "Super Bowl" by all media outlets before Pete Rozelle would 
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...THE INJURY MYTH IN THE NBA

Back in 1974, TGS founder Mort Olshan wrote Winning Theories of Sports Handicapping, the first study of the art of handicapping sports contests. In that volume was a chapter entitled “The Injury Myth” in which he laid out the idea that, in general, injuries were vastly overrated in handicapping football. Mort detailed numerous accounts of how rumors of injuries, deceitful coaches, cases of mistaken identity, and miraculous recoveries from bogus hard knocks had done far more to cloud than to clarify the analysis of sporting events. He recounted many instances of teams that were missing key players or had cluster injuries that overcame  those problems and won their
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NEW TGS HOOPS...WEEKEND COLLEGE HOOPS WINNERS & LOSERS 

WINNER: VPI... Sticking with our ACC theme this weekend, it's also time to start taking the Hokies seriously after another win (this one at Georgia Tech) on Saturday. A victory over the Yellow Jackets shouldn't be newsworthy (especially a 1-point win), but any win on the conference road is a good win, especially since VPI hadn't won on the ACC trail since 2013. And VPI has already developed a fortress at Cassell Coliseum, where NC State, Virginia, and Wake Forest have fallen thus far in conference play. Now at 12-6, VPI can begin to think seriously about the postseason, with even a Big Dance bid no longer far-fetched. Moreover, it underlines the quick progress made in
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NEW TGS HOOPS...TGS MID-JANUARY BRACKETOLOGY UPDATE!

5 Duke (14-3, 9) vs. 12 Hawaii (13-2, 97)...Duke's profile is not looking as strong as usual, with not many quality wins (yet) and with another loss this week at Clemson, which caused a lot of spittle to be spewed by Coach K and temporarily dropped the Blue Devils out of protected seed territory. Duke needs C Amile Jefferson to get back in the lineup if it wants to make another deep run in March. We suspect that a lot of Big Dance entries would like to avoid Hawaii, which has emerged as a force under first-year HC Eran Ganot, almost beating Oklahoma at the Diamond Head Classic over Christmas. As
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NEW TGS COVER STORY...NFL DIVISION ROUND NOTEBOOK

While Division Round games have historically been fertile territory for home teams and favorites (almost always one and the same), their dominance has not been especially pronounced recent years. Indeed, since the 2004 postseason, road dogs stand 27-18-1 against the number in these playoff games, including 3-1 last season.

Remember some dynamics worth mentioning that are unique to this round. Since 1990, when the playoffs expanded from 10 teams to 12, all Division
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NEW TGS COVER STORY...NFL SEASON-END REVIEWS PART I

Miami (6-10)...Owner Stephen Ross effectively undermined the season at the end of the preceding 2014 campaign when deciding to bring back overmatched HC Joe Philbin for a fourth year. After three ugly losses in four weeks, Philbin was canned. And while Miami rallied briefly after Dan Campbell’s promotion as interim HC, the only highlight past midseason was a third straight win over the Patriots at Sun Life Stadium on the final weekend, just a few days after GM Dennis Hickey was fired. Ross moved quickly to fill Hickey’s post by promoting scouting director Chris
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...LOOK AHEAD TO 2016 COLLEGE FB HOT SEAT 

Darrell Hazell, Purdue...Some Big Ten sources were wondering if Hazell would survive 2015 if the Boilermakers missed a bowl game for the third straight season on his watch. Not only did Purdue, miss, it didn't come close, regressing to 2-10, putting Hazell at a not-so-robust 6-30 in three years on the job at Ross-Ade Stadium. Failure to land a postseason slot in 2016 would likely prompt a revolt by whatever boosters are remaining in West Lafayette, so Hazell enters next season not only on one of the hottest seats, but also as one of the coaches most likely to walk the plank before the campaign completes
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NEW TGS HOOPS...COLLEGE HOOPS MID-MAJOR UPDATE!

ATLANTIC 10...Often the flagship league of the mid-major ranks, the A-10 appears to have several intriguing entries this term, though at the moment we only view Dayton (12-2) as a can't-miss NCAA Tourney invitee. The Flyers are probably not going to have to sweat out Selection Sunday as they did a year ago, especially after quality non-conference wins vs. Alabama, Iowa, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas. There's enough heft in that collection of victims to offset a potentially-damaging non-league loss to Chattanooga (though the Mocs look to be the clear favorite in the SoCon), and no shame in
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NEW TGS HOOPS...COL HOOPS WEEKEND WINNERS AND LOSERS

WINNER: SOUTH CAROLINA ... The Gamecocks took a 12-0 SU record into January, and much skepticism that a forgiving slate had a lot to do with the spotless mark. Which still might be warranted, but the serious vetting for Carolina began on Saturday, and the Gamecocks passed with flying colors when pulling away from dangerous Memphis to score an 86-76 win. More upcoming tests await as SEC play commences, but for now SC looks like a Big Dance entry for HC Frank Martin, finally with proper pieces in place in his fourth year on the job at Columbia. The question with South
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...TGS NFL WILDCARD NOTEBOOK 

The expansion of the pro football playoffs is one of the fascinating differences from our first year of publishing TGS in 1957 to the present. In the late ‘50s, before there even was an American Football League, there were only twelve professional teams (six in each conference, the Western and Eastern) and one playoff game to decide the NFL title. Almost always those championship games were played before the end of December, too; by comparison, the current 2015 regular
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT..."BLACK MONDAY" LOOMS IN NFL

Mike Pettine, Cleveland ...The Brownies entered the final weekend with a 3-17 mark over their last 20 games and with no indication that things are going to be improving anytime soon. Worse for Pettine is that his supposed defensive expertise has not translated to his team, which ranks near the bottom of NFL stats. Pettine has not been helped by the circus that seems to follow second-year Johnny Manziel, who has hardly looked like a franchise QB and now might have another issue to deal with (a new and apparently damning video during Christmas week) before the regular-
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TGS HOOPS...LATE DECEMBER "BRACKETOLOGY" UPDATE!

4 Duke (9-2) vs. 13 Chattanooga (10-2)...Duke has a lot of ground to cover before it can be rated alongside last year's latest Coach K title winner. In the short-term that journey has become even more bumpy with 6-9 Amile Jefferson, the Blue Devils' best interior defensive presence, temporarily out of action with a foot injury, and a return date unknown. His absence was felt in Saturday's loss vs. Utah and its 7-footer, Jakob Poeltl. By March, however, Duke could be a load if Jefferson is back in the fold and gangly 6-9 frosh Brandon Ingram lives up to the hype (which he has hinted at in the past month). The SoCon
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TGS HOOPS...THE GREAT LAKER 33-GAME STREAK IS IN JEOPARDY

Inexorably, the Golden State Warriors are marching toward one of the most enduring records in American sports. After Friday's win at Boston, the defending champs had won their first 24 games of the 2015-16 season, already the greatest-ever break from the gate in NBA history. Given that the win streak expands even further over two seasons, there are a handful of different interpretations of the streak thru December 10. It could be either be at 28 straight if including the four wins at the conclusion of the 2014-15 regular season, or at 27 in a row if including the three straight wins to close out the NBA 
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...BOWL PREVIEW AND COACHING CAROUSEL

The college football bowl system bounces along its merry way and remarkably continues to grow without any apparent public demand for it to do so. Two new bowl games have been added to the postseason mix in college football after the bowl lineup expanded by three games a year ago.  Predictably, with bowls having added ten more slots since 2013, there are not going to be enough teams with winning, or non-losing, records to be invited to all of the contests, hence a handful of teams with 5-7 records will find themselves bowl participants within the next month! And, given the recent bent 
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TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT...GUY LEWIS TRIBUTE AND AMERICAN UPDATE

When former University of Houston HC Guy Lewis passed away last week at the age of 93, all sorts of memories began to cross our minds from that unforgettable season of 48 years ago. That's because Lewis, and his Houston Cougars, briefly took over the national headlines in the late '60s while transforming a region that had previously viewed basketball as something to do between the football season and spring football. After Lewis and the Cougars burst upon the scene, however, basketball suddenly had its own wider berth in
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...CHECKING IN ON NEW JERSEY

Readers of THE GOLD SHEET can be excused for wondering what has happened with New Jersey's attempt to legalize sports wagering, which has been followed closely on these pages over the past couple of years. This fall, however, much of the media became sidetracked from the New Jersey storyline when focus shifted toward the fantasy sports marketplace, and we at TGS followed along with a three-part editorial  devoted to that same topic earlier this football season. But while the New Jerset sports gaming storyline has been flying under the radar in recent months, rest assured it has
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BEST OF TGS HOOPS...PURDUE DEBUT TO REMEMBER & BIG TEN UPDATE

When debut games are mentioned, we can’t recall any quite as dramatic as the one in which Rick Mount played his first varsity contest on December 2, 1967 for Purdue. In fact, after over five decades of publishing, we dare say Mount’s first varsity game is one of the greatest and most memorable hoop classics we can recall.

Making the night special almost 48 years ago was the fact that the Boilermakers would be hosting, guess who, top-ranked defending national champion UCLA, featuring none other than Lew Alcindor, then beginning his junior
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...RIVALRY WEEK AND THE IRON BOWL!

Thanksgiving week is the closest link to the old late-November "rivalry weeks" that used to end every college football regular season with a bang. Until the conference shuffling that began in the 90s, many of the traditional rivalry games took place the weekend before Thanksgiving, with a handful held on the weekend immediately after Turkey Day. Often featured were annual showdowns such as Nebraska vs. Oklahoma from the old Big 8, and Texas vs. Texas A&M from the old Southwest Conference, storied rivalries now on hiatus since the
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...OPENING A PANDORA'S BOX AT MIZZOU--PART II

There are plenty of still-moving pieces in the storyline involving the University of Missouri and the threatened boycott by its football team of the recent game against BYU. Some of those were addressed in the first installment of this piece that ran in the new TGS Football Issue No. 12, and will be revisited more at the end of this piece.  Still, even those who have voiced disappointment at the Mizzou situation must acknowledge that the threatened football boycott played a large
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...OPENING A PANDORA'S BOX AT MIZZOU

Six years ago, when doing research for book projects as well as feature stories that have appeared in past seasons on the pages of TGS Basketball, we were in Indianapolis to chat with Jerry Harkness, a former All-American hoopster and star performer on Loyola-Chicago's 1963 NCAA title winners. Harkness was a fascinating interview for reasons that went beyond basketball, especially for his up-close view of the turbulent 60s and exposure to the leaders of the civil rights movement, which in that era would operate its Chicago Freedom Movement 
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TGS NFL NOTEBOOK...LIONS-PACKERS WEEK AND MEMORIES OF '62

Though the Lions and Packers battled for the NFC North crown at the end of last season, most of their matchups in recent years have have not been very memorable. And, frankly, current form indicates there's nothing to believe we are in store for anything extra special when they square off again Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field, where Detroit has rather remarkably not won since George Bush was in the White House...that's George H.W. Bush in 1991!
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TGS HOOPS PREVIEW...COLLEGE HOOPS PRESEASON TOP 40!

1-WICHITA STATE...They're b-a-a-a-c-k! We're talking about Shocker senior Gs Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, holdovers from the 2013 Final Four team and having flirted with the NBA Draft last spring before deciding to come back for one more go at Koch Arena. As did top-tier HC Gregg Marshall, who continues to resist moves to bigger-name programs (Texas the latest high-profile suitor to be rejected). Baker, VanVleet, hard-nosed senior Evan Wessel, and Kansas transfer Connor Frankamp (eligible mid-December) gives Marshall arguably the top backcourt in the country, and the addition of Cleveland State
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TGS HOOPS...REMEMBERING A LEGEND: MEL DANIELS TRIBUTE


The
most recent shocker, however, came late last week when news that former great Indiana Pacers C Mel Daniels passed away suddenly at the age of 71. We will excuse modern-day hoops aficionados, and those of the ESPN generation, if they draw a blank on Daniels. But even those sorts are likely aware of the old ABA, and they ought to know that the league was more than Julius Erving and flying slam dunks and wild hairdos. There was a blue-collar side to the ABA exemplified by Daniels and his Pacers. And it really wasn’t Erving (who joined the ABA about 
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...FANTASY FACTS AND FICTION--PART THREE

If looking for confirmation about Fantasy Football becoming a truly newsworthy topic, all one had to do was tune in to last week's CNBC GOP Presidential Debate from Boulder, Colorado. Where, among other serious topics discussed, we found out that Jeb Bush's Fantasy FB team was undefeated thru seven weeks of action and featured Rob Gronkowski and Ryan Tannehill. We were also made aware that Chris Christie doesn't give a hill of beans for Fantasy FB, at least as part of the discussion in a presidential debate is concerned.
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TGS HOOPS NBA PREVIEW...2015-16 NBA "FUTURES" TO WATCH!

It has started to dawn upon fans of the Chicago Bulls (49½) that their team might never be fully healthy with a collection of injury-prone key cogs such as Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. The starters missed an average of more than 17 games last season, so we wonder if new HC Fred Hoiberg is going to have the same issues with available bodies as did predecessor Tom Thibodeau in recent years. Still, we do not want to dismiss the Bulls, as Jimmy Butler progressed from defensive specialist to All-Star while Rose has struggled to
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...FANTASY FACTS AND FICTION--PART TWO

Well, we knew we were jumping into a hot topic last week with our part one of “Fantasy Facts and Fiction.” But even Nostradamus might have had problems predicting the sudden tidal wave of fantasy coverage that has recently dominated the news cycle.

How did the tectonic plates beneath the fantasy industry shift over the past week? On Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. and Senator Bob Menendez, both New Jersey Democrats, argued for new safeguards after cheating allegations surfaced against a DraftKings employee. A day later
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...FANTASY FACTS AND FICTION--PART ONE

In the biography Knight, authored with the respected Bob Hammel, legendary basketball coach Bob Knight related a brief discussion he once had with President Gerald Ford shortly after "The General" had come under familiar criticism. Lamenting his fate with the press to the president, Ford reminded Knight that things could be worse. "Bob," said President Ford, "if you think the sports pages are rough, you ought to try the front pages."

Fast-forward nearly forty years, and now the heretofore blissful fantasy sports marketplace is about to get hit with the same warning that Gerald Ford gave to Bob .
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...TGS 2015 MLB PLAYOFF PREVIEW!

The Dodgers have home-field edge in the NLDS vs. the New York Mets (17/5), the league's surprise entry that capitalized upon the collapse of the East and the dysfunctions of the division-favorite Nats. Deadline additions Jose Uribe and especially Yoenis Cespedes added a very sharp edge to the Mets' attack, though it will be up to a young rotation (Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob de Grom, and perhaps rookie Steven Matz) to carry the Mets deep into the postseason in their first playoffs since 2006...when the Mets also eliminated the Dodgers in the NLDS.
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...TGS NOTEBOOK: A TRIBUTE TO TAD

We like to joke that jobs at TGS are much like the US Supreme Court...both are lifetime appointments. But that might not be wholly accurate. In the current lineup of Justices, Antonin Scalia is the longest-serving member, and his appointment to the Court commenced in September of 1986. Meanwhile, six of the full-time employees at TGS pre-date Scalia’s term in the Supreme Court, while among the other eight Justices, only Anthony
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...BIG TEN ON THE FAULT LINES--PART II

Three weeks ago, we spoke of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany’s statements earlier this year regarding a possible resurrection of long-ago eligibility rules that barred freshmen from competing on varsity teams. Within that story we outlined what was really on the mind of Delany and the conference. But that was not the only recent development involving the Big Ten. Such as the case with the recent August ruling from the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) that dismissed an historic March 2014 decision by a regional NLRB director in Chicago who
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT... "CLUMSY -GATE" & PATRIOTS PARANOIA

With the NFL moving quickly toward its 100th anniversary in 2019, we find it amazing how the nation’s sports media  can act with such collective indignation when presented with a story such as ESPN’s recent expose’ on the lengths to which the Patriots might have been bending the rules in recent years. Judging by the reaction of some of the nation’s sportswriters, you would likely assume that such shenanigans began with Bill Belichick’s infamous “Spy-gate” episode in 2007, spilling into more-recent memory with this year’s Tom Brady/deflated football controversy.
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...NFL 2015 SEASON-WIN BEST BETS!

Thank goodness for the Houston Texans (8 1/2 wins)  who enlivened an otherwise desultory NFL preseason as this summer’s spotlighted team on HBO’s Hard Knocks, with second-year HC Bill O’Brien providing unexpected color with his salty language and quick wit. But O’Brien, who earned his coaching spurs as Bill Belichick’s o.c. before keeping a distressed Penn State program afloat, already proved he knows what he’s doing last season when stewarding the Texans’ 7-win improvement over 2013. Offseason roster changes hardly seem 
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TGS 2015 PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE NFC WEST

SEATTLE...Preseason work has exposed a few more cracks in the foundation at Seattle, though nothing that HC Pete Carroll seems particularly worried about. One of the reasons the Hawks struggled and lost two of their first three exhibition games was an ankle injury suffered by backup QB, and usual preseason star, Tarvaris Jackson, forcing former Arena Leaguer RJ Archer to take a lot more snaps than expected. The offense, as could be expected, would suffer. Though in twelve offensive series in the first three games, Wilson and the starting unit did not manage a TD, with seven punts, four FGs, and a 
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TGS 2015 PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE AFC WEST

DENVER...After four years of John Fox (and four straight AFC West titles), three of them with Peyton Manning, GM John Elway decided to make a change. The Broncs’ 43-8 clubbing at the hands of the previous Seahawks in the Super Bowl had plenty to do with his decision. But last season’s 24-13 home loss in the divisional round to Indianapolis made the decision easier. With a dwindling number of years left in the championship window for Manning, Elway chose to try for some new leadership and a new style.  And, as it so often
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...BIG TEN ON THE FAULT LINES--PART ONE

As is often the case in the football offseason, gridiron-oriented news cycles get dominated by superficial issues. Patriots fans might not agree, but the Tom Brady “Deflate-gate” scandal (which will be addressed more in depth on these pages in a few weeks) would probably qualify as such. As would the countless storylines regarding fantasy football projections that seem to be dominating the web these days. (We’ll have some unique observations later this season on
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TGS 2015 PRO FOOTBALL PRVIEW...A LOOK AT THE AFC SOUTH
Call it a “silent dynasty,” perhaps? A look at recent history would suggest as much for the Indianapolis Colts (2014 SUR 13-6, PSR 13-6), especially within the AFC South division in which they have resided since 2002. Fact---the Colts have reached double-digit wins every year save one since 2002, a feat exceeded by no other NFL team (even the Patriots, who last won in the single digits in ‘02). The transition year of 2011 between the Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck eras (2011 was the season missed in entirety by Manning, recovering from neck surgery), when Indy collapsed to 2-14
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TGS 2015 PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE NFC SOUTH

NEW ORLEANS...After missing the playoffs for the first time in five years, the Saints decided to make some major changes while the remarkable Brees (36 years old, virtually 5000 YP each of the last four years) still has a couple of good years left. To help steady last year’s shaky pass protection, GM Mickey Loomis dealt extra-dimension (but sore-shouldered and very expensive) TE Jimmy Graham to Seattle for C Max Unger. The team’s No. 1 draft pick was spent on 6-7, 320 OT Andrus Peat from Stanford. To help restore a missing edge to the
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TGS 2015 PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE AFC NORTH

Arguably, since HC John Harbaugh was hired in 2008, no AFC team (even New England) has accomplished more than the  Baltimore Ravens (2014 SUR 11-7, PSR10-8, U/U 9-9). Harbaugh’s squads have reached the playoffs in six of seven seasons (the same as Bill Belichick’s team), won a Super Bowl, and also won at least one elimination game in every year they qualified for the postseason. A year ago, that was as a wild card, losing out to Pittsburgh for the regular-season North crown and a half-game behind Cincinnati for 
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TGS 2015 PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE NFC NORTH

GREEN BAY...The Packers have found a formula for success that works...for them. For nearly three decades, Green Bay has been strong at QB and WR, competent at RB, and usually at least serviceable on defense. The team is mostly “home grown,” with the majority of players on the team being mostly Packers only. The big money goes to stars such as QB Aaron Rodgers (now in his tenth year), WRs Jordy Nelson & Randall Cobb, and DE/OLB/ILB Clay Matthews. The G.B. front office, ably directed by Ted Thompson, signs few veteran free agents, instead preferring to draft and groom its own young
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TGS 2015 PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE AFC EAST

NEW ENGLAND...We’ll stick with our annual prediction of New England capturing the AFC East, which the Pats have done for the last six years, and 11 of the last 12 (the only exception being 2008, when Brady sustained a torn ACL in the season opener). Under thorough, all-business, yet flexible and creative HC Bill Belichick, the Patriots have otherwise been able to overcome all obstacles to rule over their division. And those obstacles include last Sept. 29's 41-14 demolition by the Chiefs in Kansas City, after which, for the next several days, sportswriters and talking heads throughout the media were 
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TGS 2015 PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE NFC EAST

We know about the four-year cycles in the Olympics, World Cup, and US presidential elections. We also know about the four-year cycle as it relates to the New York Giants (2014 SUR 6-10. PSR 7-9, O/U 10-6), who won the Super, quite unexpectedly, in both the 2007 and 2011 seasons. The similarities between those title runs were almost eerie. Can the four-year cycle repeat in 2015 with the G-Men?

There remain a handful of pillars from both of those title campaigns, including HC Tom Coughlin and QB Eli Manning. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE GOLD SHEET'S TOP 40!

1-OHIO STATE...As the great Kentucky play-by-play voice Cawood Ledford liked to say, “Write it down.” For if the Buckeyes are the same team in 2015 that we saw for the final three games from last season, they will repeat as FBS champion. Giving hope to the masses, however, is that OSU did not flash that form for much of 2014 and was vulnerable enough at different times of the campaign to actually lose to a modest Virginia Tech and survive narrow escapes at Penn State and Minnesota. Still, hard to find any weak spots, and even 
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE MAC--PART II

NORTHERN ILLINOIS... NIU HC Rod Carey, who like o.c. Bob Cole and d.c. Jay Niemann, arrived in DeKalb when Doeren took over in 2011, returns 15 starters and has done a good job of plugging in new parts the last two seasons. In 2013 and 2014, the team had 14 and 12 returning regulars and went 23-5. This year’s offense has jr. QB Drew Hare back for his second season as the regular triggerman. Hare threw for 2322 yds. and had an 18-2 TD-int. count. Hare’s 2 interceptions (326 throws ) were the fewest among FBS QBs that qualified for the passing efficiency title won by Oregon’s Marcus
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE MAC--PART I

AKRON...Although Terry Bowden is just 11-25 SU in his first three seasons at Akron, there’s no doubt that the team is on track to return to the bowl picture soon, perhaps this season. Bowden inherited a team that was 5-31 from 2009-2011, and he definitely had a plan. Install a first-tier coaching staff, recruit Ohio and Florida with vigor, and fill in the edges by convincing athletes committed to bigger programs who weren’t going to be starters to come and play at Akron. It’s working
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TGS BIG 12 RETROSPECTIVE...THE REAL GAME THAT CHANGED THE GAME!

When the subject of “most important” college games will arise, there are rarely any shortage of candidates for the honor. Regarding college basketball, and with apologies to shallow sorts such as Seth Davis, who wrote an entire book to place the 1979 Michigan State-Indiana State NCAA title game in nomination, we have addressed the question on the pages of TGS Basketball in the past, and have always opted for the epic 1968 UCLA-Houston game at the Astrodome as the unquestioned 
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TGS ATLANTIC COAST RETROSPECTIVE...THE GAMECOCKS SAY "ADIOS" TO THE ACC

At its inception, the ACC was a tidy regional alliance spawned mostly by a defection from the old version of the Southern Conference (a league that still exists today), which banned its members from participating in bowl games. With the postseason football ban as a motivator, seven schools (Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, Maryland, Clemson, and South Carolina) withdrew from the SoCon on May 8, 1953, and created the ACC, making the second conference formed by schools collectively withdrawing from the SoCon after the SEC had formed after doing the same in 1932.  By
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE SUN BELT

APP STATE...Mark down App State as team on the ascent. In their first year in the Sun Belt Conference after 44 in the Southern Conference, the former FCS Mountaineers got off to a a slow start (1-5 overall; 0-2 in league play), but enjoyed a fast finish (6-0). App State (6-2 in the conference) ended third in the Sun Belt, behind only Georgia Southern (8-0) and Louisiana (7-1).

Not to be overlooked, however, was that HC Scott Satterfield (former App State QB, now in his third year) made an “investment” in 2014, filling his lineup with sophs and frosh
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE INDEPENDENTS

NOTRE DAME...This year’s defense should be a formidable group. Star jr. LB Jaylon Smith (team-high 112 tackles LY) will likely go to the NFL if he stays healthy and has similar production in 2015. Jr. S Max Redfield was 2nd with 68 stops, and he showed in spring that he’s ready to take another step forward and correct some of the mistakes he was making last season, thanks in part to new DB coach Todd Lyght. The front four is intact after giving up 4.2 ypc, not bad considering that injuries to jr. NT Jarron Jones and sr. LB Joe Schmidt played a part in the team giving up
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT CONFERENCE USA--PART II

WKU...The collective groan you might have heard in the distance in the offseason was probably opposing C-USA coaches when hearing the news that record-setting Top QB Brandon Doughty would be granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA and would return for one more go this fall. Combined with punishing 235-lb. RB Leon Allen, no QB-RB duo in NCAA history matched their staggering numbers from last seasnm. All Doughty did was lead the nation’s passes with 4830 yards thru the air, and in conjunction with Allen’s 1542 YR gave
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT CONFERENCE USA--PART I

Louisiana Tech...There are also some established supporting weapons on hand from last year’s team that would score a whopping 37.4 ppg (ranking 13th), most notably sr. RB Kenneth Dixon, a spectacular scoring machine in his Bulldog career with a whopping 61 TDs, with 28 of those a year ago when gaining 1299 YR and catching another 30 passes. With Dixon keeping defenses honest out of Tech single-back sets, Driskel also has plenty of seasoned receivers on hand, including sure-handed Trent Taylor (64 catches a year ago), former LSU 
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE BIG 12

TCU...With only five starters back on defense this season, TCU might give up a few more points than last year’s 19 per game (8th in the nation). However, by the end of 2014, HC Gary Patterson could not believe how much his offense had improved. Remember, many last August expected A&M transfer QB Matt Joeckel to win the starting QB job because Patterson had decided to roll the dice on offense, bringing in Sonny Cumbie from Texas Tech and Doug Meachem from Houston to install the “Air Frog” uptempo spread.  But then-junior Trevone Boykin--who twice previously had been moved to WR--took hold of the starting QB spot in the 
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE ATLANTIC COAST--PART II

Clemson...Regardless, the Tigers have the trigger-man they want for the attack in soph QB Deshaun Watson, who burst upon the scene like gangbusters a year ago but would unfortunately miss five full games with a pair of injuries (broken finger and torn ACL). Assuming he can stay in one piece this fall, Clemson might have the most dynamic force in the ACC after Watson shined brightly as a frosh, tossing for 1466 yards and 14 TDP with just 2 picks in essentially just four full games, which included an eye-opening 435-yard, 6 TDP effort vs. a stunned North Carolina. Watson has targets, too, with WRs Mike Williams
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE ATLANTIC COAST-PART I

Georgia Tech...Having the proper option pilot in Justin Thomas was the key to last year’s offensive renaissance that produced a whopping 37.9 ppg (ranked 11th nationally). Thomas, perhaps the fastest-ever QB in a Johnson offense, ignited the option by rushing for over 1000 yards while proving a dangerous pass threat as well, tossing for 18 TD passes (almost Dan Marino-like for a Johnson “O”) last fall. Now a junior, Thomas has generated some peripheral Heisman mention entering the fall, though there is a bit of concern regarding a supporting staff that lost some established firepower to graduation after the Orange Bowl win.
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TGS SEC RETROSPECTIVE..."PUNT BAMA PUNT" AND THE '72 AUBURN AMAZIN'S

Get ready for a new football movie. Although, unless you’re a longtime SEC fan, and an Auburn diehard at that, the subject matter might come as a surprise.

We’re not talking about the Bo Jackson years, Cam Newton, or the unexpected mad dash to the 2013 BCS title game by Gus Malzahn’s first Tiger team, either. Rather, it’s time to get reacquainted with perhaps the most unlikely success story we can ever recall in our near six decades of publishing TGS.  The new movie, still in its production phase
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE SEC--PART II

GEORGIA...As usual, UGA’s 15th-year mentor Mark Richt owns the overall talent level to make a run at the SEC title and the College Football Playoff in 2015. The Bulldogs return a solid nucleus on both sides of the ball, with 12 starters back, plus both kickers. But it’s an unknown at QB, where for the first time in nearly a decade UGA entered the summer without knowing who the starter would be. The defense, which seriously improved under second-year coordinator Jeremy Pruitt last season, should continue its upward trend, aided by another strong recruiting class. To wit:
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE SEC--PART I

ALABAMA...Though Alabama has signed th e nation’s No. 1 recruiting class for the fifth straight season and remains as our team to beat in the loaded West Division, it shapes up as a much tighter race in 2015. The Tide, which is considered to be playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules, has some serious reloading on the offensive side. And to make matters worse, four of Bama’s opponents will enjoy the benefit of a bye week prior to their clash with the defending SEC champs, including three within the
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TGS BIG TEN RETROSPECTIVE...WHEN THE BUCKEYES BUCKED THE ROSE BOWL!

Imagine, a Big Ten school, on the cusp of winning the national championship, declining an invitation to the Rose Bowl? Then, imagine that school being...Ohio State?

We know, the hordes of modern-day Buckeye backers who might not even know of Matt Snell or Paul Warfield, or even Woody Hayes, could probably not comprehend. Especially since there is no more football-crazed and mesmerized locale outside of the SEC than Columbus. But during our publishing history at TGS, which dates back to 1957, the above scenario actually occurred...as unbelievable as it sounds today.
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE BIG TEN--PART I

OHIO STATE...No two ways about it, Urban Meyer’s defending national champs are loaded. The Buckeyes have to be considered the consensus No. 1 to start the season, as they return 14 starters, both kickers, are riding a 13-game winning streak, and will be reinforced by a recruiting program that has gone through the roof under Meyer’s guidance.  Let’s start with a QB situation that could be the most talented threesome in history if all three regain full health. Both Braxton Miller (now likwly to play at WR) and J.T. Barrett were held out of spring contact recovering from
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FB PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE BIG TEN--PART II

WISCONSIN...Paul Chryst is the new/old face in Madison. Chryst takes over as HC for Gary Andersen, who bolted for Oregon State last December after going 19-7 in two seasons at Wisconsin. Chryst is a native of Madison and played QB for the Badgers from 1986-88. He served as co-offensive coordinator in Barry Alvarez’ last season as head coach in Madison and then was Brett Bielema’s o.c. from 2006-11 before spending the last 3 seasons as head coach at Pitt. Have to expect the “new” Badgers to look a lot like the old Badgers. That means running the ball brutally, effectively, and relentlessly and playing rock ‘em, sock ‘em
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TGS AMERICAN RETROSPECTIVE...NIPPERT MEMORIES AND THE CINCY COMET

Rest easy, college football historians, Cincinnati is going to be re-opening Nippert Stadium this fall. After nearly $100 million worth of renovations, the Bearcats return to their traditional home surroundings this fall after spending a season on the riverfront at the NFL Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium.

Not long ago, Nippert’s future was in some doubt, as some influential Cincy alums were pushing the school to emulate the University of Pittsburgh, which moved to the NFL Steelers’ Heinz Field over a decade ago after its longtime on-campus Pitt Stadium was demolished to make room for the  
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE AMERICAN--PART I

CINCINNATI--LY’s high-octane aerial assault attack (34.0 ppg) should continue to shine brightly in 2015. Strong-armed 6-4 jr. QB Gunner Kiel (3,254 YP LY), who began his career at Notre Dame, finished with 31 TD passes to tie the school’s single-season record. The Bearcats return their top seven receivers, led by speedy 5-9 Shaq Washington, who had 66 catches and 4 TDs. Mekale McKay & Chris Moore (8 TD catches apiece LY) are the deep threats in UC’s wide-open, four-WR offense. LY’s inconsistent ground assault (only 72nd nationally) should be steadier this campaign with the
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE AMERICAN--PART II

HOUSTON...The Tom Herman Era begins in Houston after the somewhat surprising firing of third-year HC Tony Levine following LY’s 8-5 campaign. Highly-respected Herman, who brings credibility after winning the national title as the offensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2014, has spent the first several months on the job instilling a toughness that had been lacking the past couple years under mild-mannered Levine. And it appears that the players were ready for a change in the culture, according to Herman, who says, “The really neat thing that I’ve found is there really wasn’t a lot of pushback from
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TGS PAC-12 RETROSPECTIVE...THUNDER CHICKENS ON THE FARM!

Modern-day football fans and the new-wave ESPN crowd who have become used to the current David Shaw corporate model at Stanford probably have no idea what a colorful and personality-rich football history exists on The Farm. Indeed, there is a long and illustrious gridiron background in Palo Alto aside from John Elway and the band and being on the wrong end of "The Play" at the end of the 1982 Cal game (Stanford folk don't like to talk about that game, so we won't ing it up again). The football tradition on The Farm is a rich one, much of it long before Elway
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE PACIFIC 12-PART II

ARIZONA STATE... Now that Arizona State has achieved double-digit victories two straight years (10-4 and 10-3), third-year coach Todd Graham is thinking of the next upward steps for his program. Among those are to become more gnarly road warriors and thus a factor on the national scene. In the last two seasons, Graham’s Sun Devils are 12-2 SU in Tempe (one loss to Stanford in the 2013 Pac-12 title game; the other loss to UCLA last season when starting QB Taylor Kelly was out with a foot injury). Over those same two years, ASU is only 8-5 SU away from home (5-8 vs. the spread). If the Sun Devils are
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE PACIFIC 12-PART I

STANFORD might have a different look to it this season than the recent rugged Cardinal outfits that have produced victory totals of 12, 11, 12, 11 in the four previous seasons before last year’s 8-5. In fact, even with 2014's season-closing routs of Cal, UCLA and Maryland, it was clear such a change was underway. With more of it likely to come in 2015.

Evidence of the transition from a physically-dominating power bunch was apparent last season, when the Cardinal lost to every high-quality team they faced, except to UCLA in its regular-season finale (after the Bruins had enjoyed a
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TGS MOUNTAIN WEST RETROSPECTIVE...THE DAYS OF AIR CORYELL AT SDSU!

As we have done the past two years, along with our summer College FB conference previews, we'll be providing corresponding retrospective pieces on all of the leagues as we honor the 59th publishing season of TGS, set to commence this fall! Preceding our upcoming Mountain West 2015 preview is a look back to long-ago "Air Coryell" days at San Diego State. Conference previews begin in later June!

When Don Coryell arrived at SDSU, the Aztecs had won just seven games in the previous four seasons.  But SDSU would
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TGS 2015 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE MOUNTAIN WEST-PART I

SAN DIEGO STATE (2014 SUR 7-6, PSR 7-6)...When last seen, SDSU was infuriating its backers in December’s Poinsettia Bowl against Navy. Nursing a slim 16-14 lead with 6:30 to play in the fourth quarter, the Aztecs had moved to within easy field goal range at the Mids’ 12-yard line with a chance to extend their advantage to five points (and also beyond the posted 3-point spread for the game). Inexplicably, however, HC Rocky Long would eschew the try for three points on a 4th down and 6 to go for the first down, which failed, opening the door for the Midshipmen to win the game with a mere field goal instead of a touchdown.
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TGS TRIPLE CROWN BONUS...THERE'S NOTHING LIKE THE BELMONT!

We'll be making the trek back to New York for the Belmont Stakes on June 6. After all, we've been there for the last four chances (Funny Cide in 2003, Smarty Jones in 2004, Big Brown in 2008, and California Chrome last year) at the Triple Crown, so we owe it to American Pharoah to see if he can achieve what those three champions and countless others couldn't.

For us, the electricity at Belmont Park with a Triple Crown on the line is like no other sporting event we have witnessed in person. Super Bowl, Rose Bowl, Kentucky Derby, you name it.

Unlike the Kentucky Derby, where average race fans have almost no chance to show up on Derby Day at Churchill Downs and actually see the race, or Pimlico
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THE BEST OF TGS...CFB SURPRISES, DISAPPOINTMENTS...AND SCANDALS?

In light of the recent investiagtive report on ESPN's OTL that fingered several major college programs, Florida State in particular, for athletes avoiding prosecution when suspected in crimes, we are reminded of a story we penned last October regarding the very same subject... about eight motnhs before OTL suggested the same thing.

Here we thought the NFL was the place this fall for scandal and controversy! It turns out that college football is hardly immune to such developments, either, thanks to a couple of late-week storylines that include enough intrigue to
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NEW COVER STORY...TGS NFL DRAFT PREVIEW--PART II

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS...There are plenty of moving parts in San Diego, which might include the team, now upping the ante on local municipalities to either make significant upgrades to Qualcomm Stadium or, preferably, build a new facility, where locales from Oceanside all of the way down to National City, by the border, have been discussed. The Bolts also believe they have a new bargaining chip with a proposed shared facility with the Raiders in the L.A. area (Carson), although the Spanos' have not indicated they are willing to carry the bulk of the financial burden on any new stadium venture. We mention all of this because it has
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NEW COVER STORY...TGS NFL DRAFT PREVIEW--PART ONE

TAMPA BAY BUCS ...Lovie Smith was not hired last year to oversee an extensive rebuild at Tampa Bay. But that’s what is happening off of Dale Mabry Highway, as despite Lovie restoring some order within the Buc organization, the on-field product regressed, with both the offense and defense ranking among the league’s worst in most stat categories. Upgrades are needed almost everywhere. But Lovie and GM Jason Licht have telegraphed their plan of attack atop the first round by letting QB Josh McCown loose, almost insuring that Florida State’s Jameis Winston will be the initial selection. In later rounds the Bucs will be
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NEW COVER STORY...TGS 2014-15 COLLEGE HOOPS SUPERLATIVES

MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Seth Tuttle, 6-8 Sr., Northern Iowa...The versatile Tuttle was the focal point of a UNI team that battled well-regarded Wichita State all season and would enter the Dance as the automatic qualifier out of the Missouri Valley after winning "Arch Madness" in St. Louis. No Panther was more instrumental than the versatile Tuttle, a superb athlete (and multi-sport high school star) through whom the UNI offense would often run as an effective "point forward." Surrounded by shooters, Tuttle was the center-piece of Ben Jacobson's offense that
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NEW TGS COVER STORY...PLAY BALL! 2015 AL "FUTURES" TO WATCH!

The Minnesota Twins (72 ½) had another tough go last season and finally cut the cord with manager Ron Gardenhire after a fourth straight season with 92 or more losses. The bar is thus set rather low for new skipper Paul Molitor, but there is evidence the Twins might finally be ready to make a move. It won't happen if the staff continues to be as bad as it has been in recent campaigns, especially after the starters have had the worst ERA in the bigs each of the past two years (including a woeful 5.06 mark in 2014) after ranking 29th in 2012. But adding righty Ervin Santana (a 14-game winner in Atlanta last
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NEW TGS COVER STORY...PLAY BALL! 2015 NL "FUTURES" TO WATCH!

The Cincinnati Reds (77 ½) had some valid reasons for falling out of contention around the All-Star break last season, with key bats 1B Joey Votto and RF Jay Bruce either sidelined or limited by injuries. But unless both bounce back in a big way, we're not sure where this season is going at Great American Ballpark after the Reds failed to score 600 runs in a season for the first time in more than 30 years. In a best-case offensive scenario, with a healthy Votto and Bruce, plus top offseason addition LF Marlon Byrd, and CF Billy Hamilton (56 SB in 2014) with the potential to lead the NL in steals, maybe the offense will
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NEW TGS COVER STORY...NFL SEASON REVIEWS AND DIV. ROUND NOTEBOOK

Cleveland (7-9)... After an early-November Thursday beatdown of the Bengals in Cincinnati, the Browns led the AFC North and were briefly the talk of the NFL. But things fell apart shortly thereafter to the point where HC Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer nearly lost their jobs, as impatient owner Jimmy Haslam toyed with the idea of a fourth Cleveland HC and GM in as many seasons. The steps backward in December have put the Brownies in a familiar place, on the ropes, still with significant questions at QB with Brian Hoyer certain to test the FA waters and Johnny Manziel's maturity issues jeopardizing his future in C-Town Read more...


NEW TGS HOOPS...2014-15 ALL-NEWCOMER AND RECALLING THE MIAMI GREYHOUND

Well we think we’ve come to one of those special situations involving our top Newcomer pick for 2015. For if NBA scouts are mostly divided upon whether Kentucky’s Towns or Duke’s Okafor would be the first overall pick in the upcoming draft (should each declare, which most believe is a fait accompli), then we might as well split our top Newcomer vote, too.

Both turned the college basketball world inside-out this season. Though each was surrounded by prime talent, it was easy to note the special qualities of each. At this stage, Okafor is a more refined offensive force; indeed, many already
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TGS SWEET 16 PREVIEW...AND CHASING PERFECTION AT KENTUCKY

We've been publishing TGS since 1957, and have seen lots of legendary college basketball powerhouses for the past six decades. But it's been a while since we've seen a team with such a legitimate shot at finishing a college hoops season unbeaten as this year's Kentucky Wildcats, who take a 36-0 record into this week's Midwest Regional in Cleveland. Coming to mind immediately as the most recent of those would be Jerry Tarkanian's 1991 UNLV Runnin' Rebels, whose undefeated run lasted all the way into the Final Four at Indianapolis before being upset
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NEW TGS HOOPS...SUB-REGIONAL UPDATE AND MARCH MEMORIES

In the end, it was one of the wackiest days in NCAA Tourney history. We're talking about Thursday, when a Big Dance-record five games were decided by exactly one point! It was also the first time since 1995 when a pair of 14 seeds (UAB and Georgia State) would advance to the Round of 32. The teams victimized by the Blazers and Panthers, Iowa State and Baylor, respectively, marked two of three Big 12 losers, the first time that loop had ever seen a trio of its teams KO'd on the same day of the Dance.

Moreover, there was another game decided by 2 points, two more decided by 3 points, and another settled
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TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT...KEEPING AN EYE ON THE IVIES

Look out for the ... Ivy League?

While we are not expecting the Ivies to end what will almost surely become a 36-year drought of missing the Final Four, the 2014-15 campaign nonetheless looks like it could feature the best collection of Ivy reps in many moons. The latest indicator came on Wednesday night in Lexington, when all-powerful, top-ranked Kentucky found itself down 11-0 before it knew what hit it, and was still behind President Obama's alma mater Columbia, 25-23, at halftime. Yes, the Wildcats would eventually gain control in the second half, and the Lions are still winless vs. SEC foes (against whom Read more...


TGS HOOPS COVER STORY...BIG DANCE PREVIEW AND TEAMS TO WATCH!

Another March, another Selection Sunday. By now we have stopped trying to analyze, at least too much, the machinations of the NCAA Selection Committee. In the end, irrespective of seeding arguments, as long as the proper 68 teams are in the field, complaints should be few. And, with the exception of some angry Colorado State and Temple fans, we suspect there were not many around the country who were too upset with the composition of the brackets when they were announced by Greg Gumbel this past Sunday on CBS. (Seeding questions, however, were another matter; something we will discuss in a moment.) If we have a problem, however, it's the slant once again back toward the power
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NEW TGS HOOPS...REMEMBERING THE '72-73 SIXERS, AND NBA TROUBLE SPOTS

Well, it was only a matter of time before somebody would write a book about the unforgettable 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, the “losing-est” NBA team of all-time when they posted a dismal 9-73 record forty-one plus years ago. It could have been us writing the book, as the thought had crossed out minds numerous times over the years when regularly mentioning those long-ago Sixers whenever noteworthy marks of futility were noted in our NBA forecast. (Technically, the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats had a worse winning percentage, .106, than ‘72-73 Philly’s .110, but Charlotte’s 7-59 mark
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...CHANGING POLEMICS IN SPORTS WAGERING DEBATE

As Alex Trebek (or, for oldtimers, Art Fleming) might have offered as an answer in the “What is now in the rear-view-mirror” category on Jeopardy, we can apparently include the days of professional sports leagues and the NCAA basing any opposition to sports wagering around the supposed evils of the endeavor. And for that we can probably thank NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

Silver’s well-publicized recent op-ed piece in the New York Times set in motion a change in the framework of the sports betting debate that has been centered recently Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...ANOTHER ROADBLOCK FOR NEW JERSEY

Is this the end of the road for New Jersey and its attempt to legalize sports wagering in the state?

Don't bet on it.

Though it would be reasonable to assume as much after the Garden State's latest challenge to PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act), a 1992 law which allowed Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana, but not New Jersey, to be effectively "grandfathered" by the feds to accept sports wagers) was dealt yet another blow in Federal District Court last week by Judge Michael Shipp. The judge stayed consistent with his previous pattern of ruling against the state and in favor Read more...


TGS HOOPS COVER STORY...THE SIXERS AND HOOP ANALYTICS UPDATE

Watching a practice session of the 1984 Olympics team he was coaching, Bob Knight was sitting in the stands with Stu Inman, an old friend and then the GM of the Portland Trail Blazers. The NBA Draft was to be held in a few days, and Inman's Blazers were picking second. It was general knowledge that the Houston Rockets, picking first, would take U of Houston center Akeem (before he added the "H") Olajuwon.

Following, courtesy of the excellent biography entitled Knight, by Bob Hammel, is Knight's recounting of the brief discussion that Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...MORE TWISTS AND TURNS IN NEW JERSEY

Talk about the story that never ends! The Garden State’s ongoing attempts to legalize sports wagering have begun to remind of one of those seemingly endless, tedious treks on the New Jersey Turnpike. We at TGS feel like we’ve been on this sports gaming ride all of the way north from the Delaware Memorial Bridge...and we haven’t even reached the Vince Lombardi Travel Plaza on Exit 17. But it has been a compelling and important storyline that has demanded our attention over several editorials the past two years.

Developments, however, are hardly abating as this story has now morphed into something even bigger than Read more...


NEW TGS HOOPS...DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION AT STAPLES CENTER

Rewind to the summer of 1973. The basketball world was stunned by Wilt Chamberlain's announcement that he was jumping from the L.A. Lakers to the ABA's San Diego Conquistadors as player-coach. The Lakers would sue, claiming Wilt still owed them the option year of his contract. But the Lakers were just partly successful in their legal challenge, as Chamberlain was only barred from playing for the Qs...not coaching the ABA team. So, Wilt, to the disbelief of many, became a head coach, albeit in the ABA.

Basketball insiders were startled.Including the great Jerry West, Wilt's teammate with the Lakers Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...SHOWDOWN MEMORIES IN THE BIG TEN

From this point forward, every Saturday is effectively a “Shakedown Saturday” in college football. The upcoming week is no exception, with a few very high-profile battles effectively serving as elimination games and likely having significant implications for the “Final Four” to be announced in early December.

For us at TGS, however, it’s not this week’s SEC LSU-Alabama SEC or Big 12 TCU-Kansas State shootouts, but rather Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan State Big Ten showdown, that gives us an opportunity to put in better context one of the great college football seasons from the past...specifically Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...TURN BACK THE CLOCK IN BATON ROUGE

Among our favorite exercises each year at TGS are the well-received “Retrospective” pieces we run each summer in conjunction with our website college football conference previews. Having been publishing since 1957, we have nearly six decades worth of memories to draw upon and catalog as we deem appropriate, and the “Retrospectives” allow us the opportunity to indulge upon the best of those recollections.

Somewhat coincidentally, the 2014 gridiron revival in the Magnolia State immediately brings to mind Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...MEANWHILE, IN THE GARDEN STATE--PART II

Well, if they’ve waited this long in New Jersey to come to some resolution in the state’s never-ending sports betting case, what’s a few more weeks?

Appropriately, perhaps, oral arguments in the Garden State’s landmark challenge to legalize sports wagering within its boundaries have been pushed back from this Monday, October 6, to October 31--yes, Halloween--in Trenton. US District Court Judge Michael Shipp has granted a request from attorneys in the case for additional time, although reply briefs from the state are still Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT: MEANWHILE, IN THE GARDEN STATE...

Here we go... again?

While the NFL and Roger Goodell have been occupied on several battle fronts regarding Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and various abuse-related storylines over the past two weeks, New Jersey and Gov. Chris Christie have mounted another less-publicized assault, with plenty of implications for the league...even if the national media have overlooked this re-emerging storyline as they remain preoccupied with other recent developments.

For those overwhelmed with the recent Goodell-related specifics, or unable to find coverage of anything else on the front page of the USA TODAY sports section Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...SYMBOLISM AND THE SPORTS MEDIA

While seeking an editorial beacon of sorts to help us draw our intended analogy to recent events, we came across a passage in the thought-provoking best-selling book, Breach of Trust, authored in 2013 by Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston U who earlier served 23 years as an officer in the U.S. Army. Bacevich is also a renowned military scholar who has rattled the cages of many conventional thinkers regarding not only the role of the modern armed forces, but a blunt observation of its present-day embrace by American society. More specifically, Bacevich believes that the public has, for the most part Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...KEEP AN EYE ON THE COLLEGE HOT SEAT!

Brady Hoke, Michigan... Big Ten sources almost unanimously acknowledged that Hoke was under the gun entering 2014. Hoke’s actions confirmed as much in the offseason, throwing o.c. Al Borges under the bus and replacing him with Alabama’s Doug Nussmeier, who was tasked with revitalizing a Wolverine running game that had gone mostly dormant in 2013, when Michigan ranked 102nd nationally in rushing. While the opening win over App State was encouraging, it was the second game vs. Notre Dame that figured to be the first real barometer of the new Nussmeier offense. Unfortunately Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...MEET THE "BAG MEN" OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Every once in a while, we experience an “Abe Ribicoff moment” at TGS. Ribicoff, if you recall, was the U.S. Senator from Connecticut who famously, and forcefully, told the assembled masses at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago what many of them didn’t want to hear. Specifically, Ribicoff bravely, or perhaps brazenly, went off script and upbraided Mayor Richard Daley and his Chicago political machine to their faces, right in their backyard of the old International Amphitheater, for the behavior of their police force against protestors nearby at Grant Park and on Read more...


TGS INDIES RETROSPECTIVE...EARLY TGS DAYS, WHEN FOOTBALL WAS FUN AT NAVY!

It was a different era in college football when TGS began to publish in 1957. No kidding! Although a quick look at the final rankings that season would be reminiscent of polls in later decades (national champ Auburn, Ohio State, and Michigan State finished 1-2-3 in the final AP poll, with Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Notre Dame also in the top ten), the major bowl lineup that year would also feature the likes of Duke (Orange), Rice (Cotton), and Navy (Cotton). Indeed, the faceoff between the Owls and Middies would be the only matchup of top ten teams in that postseason. To further confirm it was a different era, however, all we have to do is Read more...


TGS MID-AMERICAN RETROSPECTIVE...WHEN THE WHEELS CAME OFF IN YPSILANTI

Not many college stadiums have doubled as homes for pro football teams in their histories. And the MAC certainly doesn’t come to mind when recalling some of those rare examples. But an archaeological dig into the gridiron sub-surface will reveal a time when the MAC and pro football did converge at a most unlikely locale... Eastern Michigan’s Rynearson Stadium.

That’s right. The EMU Eagles are the only MAC program to ever share their home field with a pro football team. Now, if you can remember that team, you should probably be due some sort of added bonus Read more...


TGS AMERICAN RETROSPECTIVE...BLAZING A HISTORIC TRAIL AT SMU

The football history of the American is obviously an abbreviated one, as the league has been in existence for only a year. Effectively an extension of the football-playing portion of the old Big East, now augmented by various Conference USA refugees, the conference itself has little background, although many of the programs in its midst have a rich football tradition that dates back several decades.

Indeed, some of the more important tales in college football lore have been told by American members in the past. And among many markers in college football history, AAC member SMU Read more...


TGS CONFERENCE USA RETROSPECTIVE...A CLASSIC UPSET FOR THE AGES!

Relatively speaking, there isn’t a lot of football history in Conference USA, which began to formally compete on the gridiron in the 1996 season. But many of the programs that comprise the league have football storylines that date from decades earlier. Including Southern Miss, which has fielded football teams since 1912 (interrupted only when not fielding squads during World War I between 1917-19, and World War II between 1943-45).

And since Southern is the only league member that remains from its original collection of schools almost Read more...


TGS BIG 12 RETROSPECTIVE...NIXON AND SCHENKEL, HORNS AND HOGS!

We at TGS have been known to offer impromptu sports movie and book reviews on occasion, but we have never done one of those before the fact. Or, in this case, before a movie has been released...or even completed. So, instead, we’re just making a prediction that we will be doing a movie review at some time in the future about the in-production flick entitled My All American, which might not hit the theaters until 2015, or maybe 2016. The film marks the directorial debut of Angelo Pizzo, who also wrote My All American. If you don’t know the name, you know the work: Pizzo’s credits include Hoosiers and Rudy. The subject matter of the new movie is the story of former University of Texas safety Read more...


TGS SEC RETROSPECTIVE...THE HEARTBEAT (AND ECHOES) OF A MOST BITTER RIVALRY!

Forgive those from elsewhere who might not think of SEC rivalries beyond the grudge match du jour that is the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama, which has reached new heights in the stratosphere after last season’s instant classic. Most also know about Florida vs. Georgia and what used to be called the "World’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party" in Jacksonville. Trust us, however, there are more.

Just beneath the surface beats the heart of another rivalry that could erupt in Mount Vesuvius-like fashion at any time.

Rivalries, oh 'lawdy, does the SEC have some rivalries! And when you talk about a bucket of hate, stirring it up, and getting napalm, we'll stack up LSU and Ole Miss Read more...


TGS BIG TEN RETROSPECTIVE...THE 10-YEAR WAR OF OHIO STATE & MICHIGAN!

When Michigan and Ohio State talk about war, they really mean it. After all, how many other states/territories in the USA (outside of Civil War references) can actually say that they were once at war with another?

Michigan, Ohio, and antagonism have a long history even before the Wolverines and Buckeyes starting to put on their football pads. Although the chapters between gridiron battles between the latter two can fill books of college football history. Specifically, the “10-Year War” between 1968 and 1978 when the traditional season-ending games between the giants had Rose Bowl, and often national title, ramifications for one or both teams. Read more...


TGS ACC RETROSPECTIVE...DAYS OF THE MATADOR AND MAD STORK AT MIAMI

A few years ago, when discussing college football’s impact on the Sunshine State, one of our longtime scouts, who was raised in the Miami area, provided us with a peek into the origin of the support bases for Florida’s (at the time) three major football programs.

“In Miami,” our friend said, “it was pretty easy to determine which people would follow which school. The traditional Southerners would gravitate toward the Gators. The young and hip crowd seemed to like Florida State. Miami? It had a base of fans, people from the Keys and Read more...


TGS PACIFIC 12 RETROSPECTIVE...DAYS OF GREAT PUMPKINS AND GIANT KILLERS!

Great Pumpkins and Giant Killers? Sounds more like some kind of a storybook tale than a college football reference, doesn’t it?

But for a short and glorious while at Oregon State in the late ‘60s, the two terms were synonymous for one of the more riveting, albeit brief, chapters of gridiron history during our nearly 60 years of publishing TGS.

Moreover, those Beavers began to represent more to their fan base than a simple storyline from years gone by. Indeed, “Great Pumpkins and Giant Killers” would fuel hope
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TGS MOUNTAIN WEST RETROSPECTIVE...A DEBUT FOR THE AGES AT AIR FORCE!

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we did last year, along with our summer College FB conference previews, we’ll be providing corresponding retrospective pieces on all of the leagues as we honor the 58th publishing season of THE GOLD SHEET, set to commence this fall! Preceding our Mountain West 2014 preview is a look back at when a current MWC league member provided an unforgettable storyline in the earliest days of TGS...

Much like expansion teams in pro sports, fledgling college football programs rarely make a splash on the national scene. The “learning curve” is Read more...


NEW COVER STORY...IT'S MEL KIPER, JR TIME! TGS NFL DRAFT PREVIEW!

The NFL Draft always brings back plenty of memories. Especially for this writer, who recalls the days long before the draft became an industry unto itself, and who worked on rudimentary draft previews for the heck of it. We recall the days when the draft festivities would take place almost at the conclusion of the regular season, and then when it would be conducted in late January during the years immediately following the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

Before the advent of ESPN, keeping track of the draft meant waiting for the evening newspaper (remember those?), which would provide info on first-round selections Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...2014 TGS COLLEGE HOOPS SUPERLATIVES!

TGS COACH OF THE YEAR: Bo Ryan, Wisconsin... Several years ago, while still at Kentucky, Rick Pitino lamented the Wildcats', and his own, first-round coaching dilemma in the NCAA Tourney against the College of Charleston. "Nobody outcoaches (Cougar HC) John Kresse," said Pitino. The same could be said today about Wisconsin's Ryan, overdue for this award from us after a hard-to-believe string of excellence with the Badgers that includes 13 straight Big Dance trips since taking over from Dick Bennett in 2001, capped by a Final Four appearance this season. In truth, we would be justified in giving this award to Ryan almost every year. Although we admit Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...REMATCH MEMORIES FROM THE FINAL FOUR!

Final Four rematches are nothing new. Indeed, we're on the cusp of a fourth meeting between Florida and Kentucky if those two SEC entrants advance to the Monday night championship game. Which would not be the first time for such a matchup in the title clash. Remember 1985, and underdog Villanova against Georgetown? The Hoyas pulled the hat trick in three previous meetings, including at the Big East Tournament that year, but the last game was the one that counted: Villanova, 66-64. UK fans can thus take heart this weekend in "North Texas" (why the NCAA is using that Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...2014 TGS COLLEGE HOOPS ALL-NEWCOMER TEAM!

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Jabari Parker, Duke...By us, the most NBA-ready player is Duke's Parker, who did not have the benefit of quite the supporting cast that the Kentucky freshman could lean upon. The Blue Devils, by past Mike Krzyzewski standards, at least, were an incomplete team this season, lacking their normal rim protector, and ineffective in slowing dribble penetration on the stop end. But Parker was a full-season highlight reel while demonstrating the most LeBron-esque style we have seen since, well, LeBron made the jump right from high school to the NBA in 2003. In the end Parker could not lift Duke as high as the Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...PLAY BALL! 2014 AL "FUTURES" TO WATCH!

Apparently the oddsmakers were none too impressed by the Cleveland Indians (80 ½) and their return to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2007, projecting a drop of almost 12 wins from a 92-70 breakthrough for then-new manager Terry Franciona. While some in the media might lament the recent inability to ink staff ace Justin Masterson to a long-term deal, the Tribe probably can't afford the price tag Masterson will command. And before Masterson walks after this season, we suspect team prexy Mark Shapiro and GM Chris Antonetti will be better served getting a combo of serviceable vets and/or solid prospects at the trade deadline (Cleveland could use another couple of young Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...PLAY BALL! 2014 NL "FUTURES" TO WATCH!

Flying well under the radar lately have been the New York Mets (73 ½), who have become almost unthinkably irrelevant in recent seasons, and whose only national headlines seem to be generated by news relating to owner Fred Wilpon's financial issues. We don't think the Mets are any closer to a playoff berth this season, but they have set the bar pretty low in Queens, and manager Terry Collins has proven himself a sort-of modern-day Gene Mauch, astute enough to get the Mets to avoid 90 losses. Even without injured staff ace Matt Harvey, who will miss all of 2014 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery after starting for the NL Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...PART III-SAVE THIS SPOT ON MOUNT RUSHMORE OF HOOPS!

Boston winning NBA championships wasn't anything new, but the manner in which the Celtics overcame the odds to win the 1967-68 title, rallying from a 3-games-to-1 deficit vs. the powerhouse Wilt Chamberlain 76ers, reverberated beyond the Finals series between the Celtics and Lakers. The earth would shake further that summer when Chamberlain wanted out of Philadelphia.

The specifics of Wilt's departure were outlined in a 2004 book penned by Dr.
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TGS SPECIAL REPORT...PART II-SAVE THIS SPOT ON MOUNT RUSHMORE OF HOOPS!

The late '60s version of the Celtics had a somewhat different look than the championship editions of the late '50s and early '60s. HC Red Auerbach had moved full-time to the front office after the 1965-66 championship, with Russell assuming the role of player-coach. "Russ" was not the only familiar face still in the lineup, as G Sam Jones remained from the outset of the dynasty, which had added another key piece, Ohio State's non-stop John Havlicek, earlier in the '60s. Along with several other supporting cast members including Havlicek's college teammate, G Larry Siegfried, F Don Nelson (via Iowa, the Chicago Zephyrs, and L.A. Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...SAVE THIS SPOT ON MOUNT RUSHMORE OF HOOPS

Even though it had nothing to do with a sudden curiosity about the Black Hills of South Dakota, we were nonetheless glad that Mount Rushmore was mentioned in mainline sports discussions over the past couple of weeks. After all, just hearing LeBron James and Steve Smith make reference to the storied national memorial in their recent TNT interview might prompt some young hoops fans to perhaps put down their cell phones, temporarily stop their texting and Twitter-ing, and take a moment to learn more about the four presidents whose images are carved into the granite face of the famous mountain. Of course, the reference to Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT: THE DAYS OF ST. BONA & BIG BOB, PLUS BRACKETOLOGY

Having been publishing since 1957, we at THE GOLD SHEET are continually reminding ourselves of seasons, teams, and players of times gone by. Which is an inevitable by-product of following sport and analyzing the teams as we have done for more than five decades.

Of all of the sports we cover at TGS, however, it is perhaps the college basketball season that jogs our memories the most. Maybe because there have been such a different collection of schools that have excelled, some over very brief periods of time, throughout our existence. And every Read more...


TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT...RECALLING A LEGEND PLUS WINNERS & LOSERS

While the attention of the sporting public this past weekend was devoted to Super Bowl hype, outdoor hockey, and a rematch of last June’s NBA Finals between the Spurs and Heat (notice that we omitted the NFL Pro Bowl’s Team Rice vs. Team Sanders exhibition in Honolulu...no accident on our part!), a sad note passed across the sports wires that was likely overlooked in many locales, especially those outside of Philadelphia.

The passing of the legendary Tom Gola at the age of 81, however, ought to be acknowledged by any hoops fan, even those whose memories Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...BRONCOS-SEAHAWKS & RANKING THE SUPER BOWLS!

It seems as if everyone has their favorite Super Bowl memories. For us at THE GOLD SHEET and others who also remember the “Supe” from its beginnings in January of 1967, however, the event takes on extra meaning. That’s because we’re part of a generation that can recall the entirety of the Super Bowl history, and one reason we believe this particular event holds such a special place in the hearts of the American sporting public beyond the simple fact it is the ultimate game of the nation’s most popular spectator sport. But unlike the Rose Bowl, World Series, Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, Olympics Read more...


NEW TGS HOOPS...HOLY TOLEDO! AND NBA RUMOR MILL UPDATE

Every once in a while, we pleasantly surprise ourselves when walking through the local bookstore and come across a new release that we were not expecting to see. So it was earlier this week at the local Barnes & Noble in Henderson, Nevada when stumbling into a gem of a new book recalling one of the most interesting announcers in sports history, the late Bill King. And, if some are to be believed, the best basketball play-by-play man of them all.

We cannot recommend highly enough the new book from Wellstone Press entitled Holy Toledo...Lessons
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NEW TGS HOOPS COVER STORY: WILT, 1962...PLUS TEAM TRENDS UPDATE!

We’re just past Christmas, but it’s never too late to pick up a worthy book for a gift or personal enjoyment. And once in a while, we at TGS are so moved by one of these literary works that we are compelled to make mention of it to our audience for special occasions.

Such is the case with Wilt, 1962 by Gary Pomerantz, the definitive narrative of the night Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points for the old Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962 against the New York Knicks.

To this day, Wilt’s 100-point game remains the subject of awe and disbelief among basketball aficionados. Although the hoops followers who remain least surprised Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...THE CLOSING CHAPTER OF THE BCS

Now that the Bowl Championship Series is about to disappear forever, we have to wonder if perhaps the concept was spawned in an unknown Ian Fleming novel from more than a half-century ago. After all, only Fleming’s James Bond seemed to have as many last-minute escapes as the BCS over the past fifteen years. Though it has often taken a circuitous route to get there, the BCS usually delivered a satisfying 1-2 matchup in its title game, like Bond narrowly averting potentially disastrous consequences and controversies on an almost annual basis.

Such as this season almost became, when a win by Ohio State in the Big Ten title game last Saturday vs. Read more...


TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT...ABA RECOLLECTIONS & NBA EAST UPDATE

As the 2013-14 NBA season swings into the clubhouse turn, there are a handful of hard-to-ignore developments, mostly in the Eastern Conference, that demand a bit more attention. And we'll get to those updates in a moment.

In the meantime, however, every so often on these pages and those of TGS Football, we like to assume the role of reviewer if a certain book merits attention, as we are for this issue. While our featured book has been around for a good while, it remains as good of a read as it was when first published over 20 years ago.

And it remains a must for any pro basketball fan
Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...GARDEN STATE UPDATE PART III: "FAUX MORALITY" OF NFL

Almost thirty years ago, Sports Illustrated published an extensive and rather exhaustive editorial study devoted to the subject of sports gaming. We at TGS remember it well because an issue of our flagship publication was the centerpiece of the cover of that SI issue dated March 10, 1986.

The SI presentation was a comprehensive bit of work, as publisher Donald Barr and writers John Underwood and Robert H. Boyle, among others, all contributed to various pieces that appeared throughout the issue. A common theme throughout the stories was a no-holds-barred approach to the Read more...


TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT...COMETS ACROSS THE COLLEGE SKY

Every once in a while we are reminded why we so enjoy sport, and college basketball in particular. Whereas many of the same sides predictably dominate, unlike college football, there is always a chance a comet-like squad will come flying out of the night sky and briefly into prominence.

And, therein, we believe, has always rested the real romance of college hoops.

Over the years we at TGS have been witness to a handful of such entries, most recently last season when unheralded Florida Gulf Coast appeared out of nowhere and streaked into the Sweet 16. But Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...GARDEN STATE UPDATE PART II: CHRISTIE & SCOTUS

Well, that didn’t take long.

After losing his latest round in court as he attempts to legalize sports betting in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie waited about as long as it takes an NJ Transit train to get from Trenton to Newark to begin the process of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the matter.

Let us digress for a moment. Last week, we refreshed everyone’s memory about the timeline of Christie’s challenge and what has transpired to date. To summarize, New Jersey has already lost three rounds in court as it seeks to overturn the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...GARDEN STATE UPDATE PART I: RUMBLINGS TO THE NORTH

It seems like we can’t escape from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie these days. He’s hard to miss...and he's everywhere, isn't he? (For a moment, we even thought we saw him on the Michigan sideline last week at Northwestern...until realizing it was Wolverine HC Brady Hoke instead.) Certainly, Christie has been in the public eye a lot lately, romping as he did to re-election in the Garden State on November 5, and more than ever featured prominently on almost all of the news channels (and occasional late-night talk-show TV clips).

But the “Big Man” has not been on a winning streak lately in federal court, at least as it pertains to his quest to begin legalized, Las Vegas-style sports wagering Read more...


TGS HOOPS SPECIAL REPORT...MAKING SENSE OF BASKETBALL ANALYTICS

Watching a practice session of the 1984 Olympics team he was coaching, Bob Knight was sitting in the stands with Stu Inman, an old friend and then the GM of the Portland Trail Blazers. The NBA Draft was to be held in a few days, and Inman's Blazers were picking second. It was general knowledge that the Houston Rockets, picking first, would take U of Houston center Akeem (before he added the "H") Olajuwon.

Following, courtesy of the excellent biography entitled Knight, by Bob Hammel, is Knight's recounting of the brief discussion that followed with Inman, who had just told Knight that the Blazers were leaning toward taking Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...A MILE-HIGH NUMBER IN DENVER

Much like the handful of vegetarians among the thousands who tune into the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island every 4th of July, just to see how many franks can actually be devoured by Joey Chestnut, even football fans who don’t wager seem to be curious about the most-extreme of pointspreads. Such as this week’s sky-high, er, mile high, number for Sunday’s Jacksonville at Denver game. We’ve already fielded numerous calls and inquiries for information from a variety of interested parties, including some national media sources, all asking basically the same questions. Namely, how high will the Jags-Broncos number be posted? Read more...


THE GOLD SHEET SPECIAL REPORT...NOTHING TO SEE HERE?

Strong personalities exerting undue influence over the sports media is not a recent development. Readers overseas, those familiar with English soccer in particular, especially know of what we are speaking. As outlined in a couple of in-depth chapters in Michael Crick’s explosive biography entitled The Boss: The Many Sides of Alex Ferguson, the author details how the now-retired Manchester United manager perfected a form of media manipulation that might have been better-served in Cold War Eastern Europe or Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. And it wasn’t just the sporting press that was Read more...


TGS COLLEGE FB SPECIAL REPORT...THE BIGGEST GAME OF THEM ALL

Occasionally on these pages, we at TGS like to assume the role of reviewer if a certain book merits attention. And it just so happens that this upcoming week’s gridiron schedule, featuring another renewal of the Notre Dame-Michigan State rivalry, has reminded us of one of the most in-depth college football literary classics that has gone mostly unmentioned by major media sources since it was first published in 1992. It’s time, however, to give this book the acclaim it Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S NEW FRONTIER-PART II

This is the conclusion to our two-part “College Football’s New Frontier” story after the first installment from our issue No. 1. Following thereafter is a brief excerpt of our new weekly online “Gridiron Update” feature.

The holy grail for the new conference- specific sports enterprises remains The Big Ten Network, which as we mentioned in part one has a valuable partner in Fox for its venture. Though it took a couple of years for the BTN to gain traction, it has since become the model for all such operations to emulate.

The main reason? The BTN has secured clearance on most “basic” cable TV providers in states in which Read more...


NEW TGS COVER STORY...COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S NEW FRONTIER-PART I

Rewind to January 1, 1965. After acquiring the rights to televise the Orange Bowl, NBC, along with the directors of the Miami event, had decided to break with tradition and move the annual New Year’s Day classic to nighttime and prime-time TV. College football fans could not believe their luck, as the New Year’s bowl lineup would now eliminate a usual early logjam involving the Orange (through 1964 an ABC property), Sugar (in those days telecast by NBC), and Cotton (a long-time CBS property until recent years) Bowls that would all take Read more...


TGS INDIES RETROSPECTIVE...WHEN NOTRE DAME (FINALLY!) SAW THE LIGHT

Having published since 1957, TGS has spanned several eras and generations in college football. Including long-ago times when there were only a handful of bowl games. And even those were not necessarily regarded as a reward for a good season. In some cases, they were even a punishment of sorts.

Draconian policies regarding bowls extended well into our publishing lifetime, all of the way into the mid ‘70s, when the Big Ten and then-called Pac-8 finally relented and allowed teams other than their conference champions to participate in the postseason. In the case of the Read more...


TGS AMERICAN RETROSPECTIVE...THE HOUSTON VEER AND MEMORIES OF 100-6

As the "American" (or officially the American Athletic Conference) sets for its debut this fall, the league is hardly without any gridiron history. Indeed, many of the members of the new alliance, mostly cobbled together from the old Big East and defectiors from Conference USA, have some real football tradition.

And, at least in terms of color, few in the nation can match the history of the University of Houston, considered one of the potential flagship programs of the newly-christened American. That colorful past holds especially true of the Cougars' glory era of the '60, '70s, and even into the '80s under Read more...


TGS PAC-12 RETROSEPCTIVE...THE YEAR OF THE "CARDIAC KIDS" AT USC

It’s easy to identify special seasons from the past at many college football programs... especially those without too many of those memorable campaigns. When it comes to the traditional powerhouses, however, selecting specific outstanding teams from the past becomes a bit of a chore, simply because there is so much from which to choose.After all, which Notre Dame, Alabama, Texas, or Ohio State sides does one select to highlight?

On the Pacific Coast, the same dilemma presents college gridiron historians who want to examine Read more...


TGS CONFERENCE USA RETROSPECTIVE...A (GOLDEN) HURRICANE AT TULSA!

Sometimes, even we at TGS have to marvel at all of the changes that have taken place in college football since we began publishing in 1957. Many of the differences between those days of yore and the modern version of the game would shock a new generation of college fans who might have trouble recalling a world without ESPN.

Some of the contrasts are so stark, however, that even we have to step back and remind ourselves that, yes, our publishing timeline at TGS dates back to a kong-ago era when they were doing...what? Read more...


TGS MAC RETROSPECTIVE...AND A CALL TO ACTION IN THE MIDWEST!

We see them sometimes in Las Vegas, the new breed of college football “experts” who follow the Mid-American Conference closely. And since the MAC’s games have been listed on most of the “big boards” since 1985, it’s no surprise that the league would have some devoted followers at the sports books.

For the most part, however, the idea of MAC football tradition for these modern-day aficionados is limited to which teams qualified for recent Little Caesar’s or GoDaddy.Com Bowl appearances. Or expertise in knowing the locales of the Read more...


TGS SEC RETROSPECTIVE...THE RETURN OF THE SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

Amid all of the distastefulness in pro and college sports today, there is always room for someone who radiates class and integrity. The sort of fellow who, upon being forced out of a high-profile coaching job in which he never recorded a losing record in seven seasons, could still be humble and gracious in his goodbye comments.

"Class is, when they run you out of town, to look like you're leading the parade."

We'll tell you more about this chap in just a Read more...


TGS BIG 12 RETROSPECTIVE...THE KINGS OF THE WISHBONE T

Thank goodness for the Big 12! (Never mind that its membership counts only ten schools these days...heck, numbers have been meaningless in conference names for many years.) Even though its foundation dates only to 1996, when it welded members of the old Big Eight and four refugees (Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech) from the dissolving Southwest Conference. The alignment made sense, shaped largely by their shared location on the Plains. After all, Oklahoma (old Big 8) and Texas (old Southwest) was already one of the sport's most revered rivalries, and now they would be in the same league. There was also a synergistic tradition of excellence Read more...


TGS ACC RETROSPECTIVE...CLEMSON AND THE MAGICAL YEAR OF 1981

Can it really by 32 years since Clemson claimed the national title under Danny Ford in 1981? To many Tiger fans, the thrill of that campaign endures. Although it is not lost upon most of them that those memories are probably clear only to those who are in their 40s now.

Nonetheless, the mention of Clemson and 1981 warms our collective hearts at TGS. That’s because, alongside 1967 (chronicled in part by our Big Ten retrospective focused upon Indiana’s miracle Rose Bowl run that year) and 1973 (as we detailed in length in our bowl preview feature Read more...


TGS BIG TEN RETROSPECTIVE...THE OTHER "HOOSIERS" YOU OUGHT TO KNOW

It’s hard for any modern-day football fan of the ESPN generation to believe there ever existed a Big Ten where neither Ohio State nor Michigan were factors in the league race...or when there were actually ten schools in the loop. But there was such an age, including a fleeting one in which a long-time gridiron non-entity from the league was the talk of the college football world.

Indeed, they’ve yet to make a sequel to the real version of Hoosiers. And no, we're not talking about the movie starring Gene Hackman Read more...


TGS MOUNTAIN WEST RETROSPECTIVE...THE WILD OLD DAYS AT WYO

EDITOR’S NOTE: Along with our summer College FB conference previews, we’ll be providing some corresponding retrospective pieces on all of the leagues as we honor the 57th publishing season of THE GOLD SHEET, set to commence this fall! Accompanying our Mountain West 2013 preview is a look back at the days when many of the current conference members performed in the old WAC, and a particular program with a much more colorful history than modern-day fans might realize...

Although the WAC ceased to exist as a football conference after last season, most Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...STRIKE ONE FOR NEW JERSEY

Right about this time of year near the end of the 1984 NFL regular season, news broke from Philadelphia that Eagles owner Leonard Tose was close to moving the Birds to Phoenix. Tose, of course, was a well-known inveterate gambler who frequented the Atlantic City casinos. Still, no fans in Philadelphia were expecting that he would be willing to move their beloved franchise several time zones away to help cover his mounting debts. Quickly, the city mobilized and restructured the Eagles’ lease terms at Veterans Stadium; the Vet would get 50-plus penthouse suites, to be built at the top of the 700 level, by the 1986 season; all revenue would go to the team
Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...THE GARDEN STATE TIMES

Hmmm. It’s been a while since we’ve talked about the sports wagering landscape on these pages. More specifically, about any attempts to legalize the exercise in locales other than Nevada and, to a lesser extent, the weekly NFL parlay cards available in select Delaware and Oregon locations.

But times are changing. Which is why everyone in the sports wagering industry is paying very close attention to developments in New Jersey, all thanks to some bold thinking championed by none other than Gov. Chris Christie, who has stepped to the plate on the subject like no Read more...



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