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NEW COVER STORY...TGS 2014 NBA PLAYOFFS PREVIEW!

WASHINGTON vs. CHICAGO... Upset alert? The Wizards enter the playoffs hot, having won and covered four in a row and leapfrogging Brooklyn into the fifth spot in the East. After learning and growing with the youthful all-SEC backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal and dealing with many injuries all season, Washington looks relatively healthy and a potential menace, especially since the Wizards learned to play together and work on defense for HC Randy Wittman, who must be making mentor Bob Knight proud with his underrated work this season. The returns of Trevor Booker and Nene 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 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...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...NFL UPDATE & DIVISION ROUND NOTES & 2013 REVIEWS

Even for teams that don't make the NFL playoffs, the weeks following the conclusion of the regular season can be newsworthy. Especially for those franchises that have hopped aboard the "coaching carousel" as they look to make changes on the sidelines. The NFL version of carousel has been spinning rapidly over the past week, and more changes are possible.

Meanwhile, speculation also centers upon those teams that didn't qualify for the postseason, and what changes might be in the offing in the coming months. As we usually like to do at this time of January, a quick review of the past  Read more...


TGS SPECIAL REPORT...NFL PLAYOFFS WILDCARD UPDATE!

We have been around so long at TGS that our publishing history (which dates to 1957) precedes the "wildcard" concept that was not officially introduced into pro football until the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The seeds of the wildcard, however, were planted in previous seasons when the occasional conference playoff was necessitated, and when the AFL experimented with an extra round of playoff action in its final season of 1969. But once the wildcard arrived, it was here to stay in the NFL, one of former commissioner Pete Rozelle's many innovations that forever changed the landscape of pro football.

It was perhaps inevitable that an expanded playoff format would materialize, especially after the league began adding expansion teams in the 1960s  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 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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