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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 bring it up again). The football tradition on The Farm is a rich one, much of it long before Elway (who never took Stanford to a bowl, by the way) stepped on campus in the fall of 1979. The names associated with Stanford football roll off the tongue like a who's Read more...


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 Read more...


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 Read more...


TGS 2015 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW...A LOOK AT THE MOUNTAIN WEST-PART II

BOISE STATE (2014 SUR 12-2, PSR 8-6)...When the smoke finally cleared last season, the Broncos hit double-digit wins for what would be the thirteenth time in sixteen seasons. Once more Boise State would win a bowl game, its tenth since 1999. And again the Broncos would succeed in the high-profile Fiesta Bowl, for the third time without a loss, in nine seasons. Boise State also did it with its fourth different head coach during its glory era. Much as Dirk Koetter, Dangerous Dan Hawkins, and Chris Petersen, Bryan Harsin stepped in and the Broncos did not skip a beat. The formula for replacing coaches also stayed somewhat the Read more...


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. Read more...


TGS MOUNTAIN WEST RETROSPECTIVE...AIR CORYELL TAKES OFF AT SDSU!

EDITOR'S NOTE: 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. Read more...


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 Read more...


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  Read more...


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 Read more...


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 Read more...


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  Read more...


NEW TGS COVER STORY...PLAY BALL! 2015 AL "FUTURES" TO WATCH!

The Minnesota Twins (72 1/2) 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 Read more...


NEW TGS COVER STORY...PLAY BALL! 2015 NL "FUTURES" TO WATCH!

The Cincinnati Reds (77 1/2) 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  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 Read more...


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  Read more...


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 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 Read more...


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 Read more...


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...


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 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...


BASEBALL PLAYOFF MATCHUPS!

Current Scheduled Teams' Pitching Stats... And More!












TGS THANKS FOR A GREAT SEASON...MLB RETURNS NEXT SPRING!!


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
 Read more...


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 1/2) 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 1/2), 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.
 Read more...


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
 Read more...


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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