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Bills Today: Benjamin's beautiful TD overturned by controversial call


Sunday’s touchdown that was stripped from Kelvin Benjamin was the latest controversial catch to be overturned. This is happening all around the NFL, and Buffalo was the latest victim against New England.

Bills quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, threw a four-yard pass to wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, that was initially ruled a touchdown on the field. After a lengthy replay, the call was reversed and ruled incomplete.

“When the receiver got confirmed control of the football, he was not able to get both feet down in bounds,” referee Craig Wrolstad said. “So, his back foot was already off the ground and it stepped out of bounds. His firm control did not occur until after he had one foot off the ground.”

The displeasure with the call being overturned was heard throughout the league. FOX Sports NFL and college football rules analyst, Dean Blandino, posted a explaining the controversial play. Blandino served as the league’s VP of officiating from 2013-2016. He was adamant that Benjamin’s TD should have stood.

Blandino’s opinion seemed to be the common consensus throughout the league. Bills head coach, Sean McDermott, wasn’t a fan of the call either.

“I’m at a loss. I’m at a loss really. I saw it as a touchdown,” said McDermott. “Other than that I’m at a loss for how a play like that can get overturned.”

The two-minute offense Buffalo ran to set up that play was exceptional. They marched over 70 yards in under two minutes to get the ball on New England’s four-yard line with six seconds left in the first half.

“I thought it was great in terms of management of the clock and being able to execute at a high level with six seconds left,” said McDermott. “A great throw and what appeared to be a great catch.”

After Benjamin’s TD was ruled incomplete after replay, only two seconds remained in the half. Kicker, Stephen Hauschka, ended up nailing a 23-yard field goal. Though, players on Buffalo’s offense weren’t happy to have six points taken away.

“It’s just crazy, man. You put so much into it and you get robbed like that,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “Come on, that’s a touchdown.”

If upheld, it would’ve marked Benjamin’s second TD since joining the Bills. The receiver let his teammates do the talking, as he handled the situation as good as possible.

“The referee made the call and you have to live with that,” said Benjamin. “We just had to move on and come out in the second half and try to put up some points on the board. You can only control what you can control. You have to keep playing and move on from there.” 

According to ESPN NFL Matchup, Buffalo is sixth in the league with the most pass attempts 20-plus yards downfield.

Quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, was flinging the football around against the Patriots in Week 16. Some of his big gains included: 46, 39, 35, and 33-yard pass plays.

“I thought we had some good drives the first three quarters of the game,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “Particularly right before tTaylor is convinced by the potential of Dwight McNeil.The winger is being tipped for senior England honours.”I’ve said numerous times, I’m his biggest fan,” Taylor told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph“I love playing with him, I know when I give hihe half.”

One of the players responsible for reeling in the big receptions was wide receiver Deonte Thompson. His most notable was a 33-yard play on third-and-two with 33 seconds left in the first half. His longest reception of the day went for 46 yards. Thompson finished the game with four receptions for 91 yards.

Taylor did a good job of hitting his targets, but was unable to find the end zone. His final stat line was 21-for-38 passing, 281 yards, zero touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

Thompson was Buffalo’s leading receiver, but LeSean McCoy and Kelvin Benjamin were right behind him. McCoy had five receptions for 76 yards and his longest gain was for 39 yards. On that play, he just about shook every Patriots defender out of their shoes.

Right behind McCoy was Benjamin, who performed on a high level despite his knee troubles. He finished the game with five receptions for 70 yards.

“I’m just executing the plays that are called,” said Taylor. “K.B. [Benjamin] did a great job of winning his matchups.”

Taylor and company have plenty of positives to take away from Sunday’s passing attack. They’ll look to regroup in Week 17 against the Dolphins, where Taylor has thrown nine touchdowns and zero interceptions since joining the Bills.

former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is under consideration.Aulas is casting a wide net as he seeks to replace Bruno Genesio, who will leave when his contract expires in June.He said, “Juninho, (Laurent) Blanc, Wenger … Have I made my choice? No. I ha on Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.The Cherries have already plucked Lloyd Kelly from Championship club Bristol City this week.Football Insider says the south coast club will continue with their ‘policy of signing rising British stars’ with

He only needed four points, but Hauschka has now recorded 100 points in seven consecutive seasons. He’s tied with Stephen Gostkowski for the longest active streak in the NFL.

He was three-for-four on field goals, hitting from 23, 30, and 41 yards. Hauschka’s miss came from 50 yards out, where he’s been dominant all year. It was a tough spot for Buffalo, as it was fourth-and-one on New England’s 32-yard line. Considering Hauschka’s been money all season, head coach Sean McDermott elected to kick.

“I understand both sides. Of course the aggressive side says go for it, but at the same time you want to score points,” said quarterback Tyrod Taylor. “Hauschka has been very good for us and he’s going to continue to be good for us on field goals. It just didn’t go our way.”

In Buffalo, Hauschka’s set an NFL record for the most consecutive 50-plus yard field goals made. He also set Bills history for the most 50-plus yard field goals made in a season. On Sunday, he added to that impressive list, as he’s now tallied 100 points in each season since 2011.

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April 25, 2013: Bills draft EJ Manuel


Rumor. SpSouness feels for Harry Maguire at Manchester United.Souness said he rates Maguire and doesn’t blame the England defender for United’s poor form, but insisted the Red Devils must improve their midfield. He told The Sunday Times: “Until they fix it, Ueculation. A draft-day trade. A first-round QB. The new face of the franchise in Buffalo.

All of it happened on April 25, 2013 as the Bills from ninth overall, while never losing sight of the intended target.

“With the 16th pick in twere unable to shut out their fierce rivals Everton in midweek, but they did run away with the game with a winning the Europa League will be the best memory he takes from his Old Trafford career.Herrera has announced he’s leaving United at the end of the season.He told “There are a few. But if I had to choose one or two then I’d pick the Eu5-2 win.And given their eight point lead at the top of the Premier League, Van Dijk is not too concerned about the few goals they may concede.”he 2013 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select EJ Manuel, quarterback, Florida State.”


And with those words from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, so began the EJ Manuel era in Buffalo.

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Transcript: GM Buddy Nix Recaps the 2012 Draft


Yeah you know, I’ve said this 100 times, this happens to me more than it doesn’t for some reason, you have to be lucky for things to fall to you that you want. You can’t take those guys just because you got a need in that area. But we were able to fill every one that we set out to fill. We wanted two corners, two tackles, we wanted a wide receiver, we wanted two linebackers, and we were able to get those guys. Our team got bigger and we got faster. I just hope it was in the right spots, and I think it was.

I hope so. I mean we did at the positions. You just have to feel like these guys are going to do what they’re expected to do and they are the right kind of people and they’re good enough to play. I mean tlan Rice insists he’s committed to West Ham.Manchester City and United have both been linked with Rice and, while the 20-year-old believes he is good enough to play for a top club, he is happy at West Ham.Rice said, “If you look at the contract I’vhese linemen are huge, and we got some good speed at the skill positions.

Like I say, you’ve have to have some luck, things have to fall. We had a couple of guys that maybe we had targeted two or three and one or two of them were taken before we got to them, but the guys we really had rated the highest we were able to get.

Yeah, and these guys have really been good special teams players.ed with Fiorentina’s 0-0 draw against Juventus.The Viola picked up their first point of the season after defeats to Napoli and Genoa, with the best chances testing Wojciech Szczesny.“I am very happy, as it’s been three months since I played a full (Nigel) Bradham and (Ron) Brooks, those guys are impact players on special teams.

We needed a center. We’ve got Colin Brown playing there, we’d like not to wear him out and we wanted to get another center. This old boy is as big as a house, too. He plays center and guard. He’s 6’6 ¼” and 330 or whatever and really a better player than people think. He’s a smart guy. He should give us some help.

He’s worked there. How much he’s played there, I don’t really know, but I know he worked there in practice.

We had him in here to visit, and we knew we needed some depth at linebacker, and Tank has been a good player for them (TCU). He’s a tough guy, he’s had some shoulder problems. He did when he was a junior. He almost came out when he was a junior and he decided to stay in his senior year and had I think broke his little finger and didn’t tackle as well, but a good player. Can play any spot for us.

He’s a tough guy. He brings that kind of temperament I think to us and we always need that, you like to have those kinds.

We said all along that we like to go by body of work. We don’t want a guy that realizes he’s going to be eligible for the draft and puts more effort in it and it’s not an everyday thing. We want somebody that has been consistent with it.

You know I think he does that pretty good. I think he has to improve the other stuff. He can run with seam routes, you see him do it. He’s got good speed. This guy looks like Tarzan. I mean he’s really cut up. He’s a little bit straight-line and he might be just a fuzz late on some of the reads and the instincts, but he’s really a hitter. He punishes them.

I think it’s a position more than when you take them in the draft. I think you always want a, if it’s a back up you want a back up that can play guard or center. If you don’t, he’s never active. If a guy’s just a center he can’t get him active on game day, if he’s a back up. So you want your back up because you only have seven active offensive linemen, you want a guy that can play both tackle and you want a guy that can play guard and center, and that’s your seven guys. Now at linebacker, the way you’d get on the field is if you’re a good special teams player, but with this 4-3 scheme most everybody can play all three positions.

He’s a guy that, actually he probably went to the wrong school. He got hurt early in his career and he got behind people like (Morris) Claiborne and those guys. They got two or three young guys that are just like Claiborne. They just keep them coming. Once he lost it then he didn’t get it back until somebody else got hurt. I think the little freshman missed three or four games and he started those. When he played he was an impact player. He’s got great speed. We got him in 4.34. That was his work out. He’s really a big time hitter, good blitzer.

Yeah, he can.

According to who he was replacing, he played outside some but he played inside too. He’s a good player I know that.

He can play either side. He started out as a right tackle. (Andrew) Datko was the left tackle. Datko got hurt and they moved him over to the left side and he played left tackle so he’s played both. The good thing about that old boy is he started 51 out of 53 games.

I’m going to tell you why he was there, I think. He had a bad Senior Bowl. He goes to the Senior Bowl. He had tried to lose some weidream come true.Hazard left Chelsea this summer for Real for a fee rising to €150m.He told Corriere dello Sport, “Ever since childhood, I dreamed of one day wearing the Real Madrid jersey. “When Real knock at your door, you can do only one thing:ght and he worked them in at guard and that kind of threw him off. He didn’t have a good Senior Bowl. I think it scared off everybody. It actually scared us some. You couldn’t get it out of your mind. We say that all-star games are not going to move a guy up or down, but once you see it you know it’s hard not remember that. You go back to his body of work he played good and he’s got some of that strength back.

We’re going to get one in free agency. We’re going to bring in a quarter back and we think a good one. We were poised to draft one and he just wasn’t there.

You know our history with injuries. You’ve got to play through them up here and especially the way we’ve been the last couple of years. These guys are consistent and dependable. That is a factor.

It probably is (unique) for us. We did draft a couple that are still in San Diego. This guy, because we like competition everywhere. Don’t be surprised if we don’t bring in a punter just to have. We’re going to make them work to keep their spot. If somebody’s better they’ll beat them out. This guy is a kick off guy. He kicked through the uprights kicking off. And if you can make, if you can kick the ball in the end zone and make them start on the 20 it gives you a much better chance defensively. Then it will be up to Chan (Gailey) to figure out a spot to get him in the 46 so he’s active, but if he can consistently kick it in the end zone then he’s worth that 7th round pick.

I think so. If you could start every time on the 20. The wear and tear on your cover guys is a lot less. We did. We pinned them in there. Every now and then if he pinned one in the middle they started on the 40 and that’s what you’d like to know that you could kick it in the end zone every time. That’s mostly what people did to us.

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Spiller's big day rings hollow in loss


With six games to handle the mantle of feature running back C.J. Spiller has already shown some flashes of the kinds of plays he can deliver with the ball in his hands. On Sunday he flashed early and late and put together the most productive day in his young career. The only problem was he did it in a loss that extended Buffalo’s lengthy losing streak.

“It was a good day, tough losing the game,” said Spiller. “Obviously we really wanted this one. I think we played hard. The first half we really cosays Liverpool are capable of going through the season undefeated.Henry was part of the Gunners team which achieved this feat for the 2003/04 campaign.“I think this team can go without defeats, and the question remains who will be the first to defeuldn’t get anything established on offense; weren’t executing, penalties. We just have to go back and, that’s something we can fix.  See what we did bad, correct it, and see what we did good and learn of it.”

Spiller could learn a lot by what he did after the Bills defense forced a fumble midway through the first quarter. In a scoreless game Buffalo’s offense stuck to the ground early. After ro Lampard was delighted with Mateo Kovacic’s performance for their FA Cup win at Hull City.Lampard is pleased the midfielder is justifying his decision to buy him outright from Real Madrid last summer.The manager reflected: “I think he can do both rollling up 15 yards on his first three carries on the Bills first two possessions, Spiller ripped off an 18-yard run on a 2nd-and-10 down to the Miami 24-yard line. That was followed by a run up the middle that he busted to the near sideline after breaking a tackle, gaining the corner and reaching the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown run.

“I started to make my move early, saw the receiver coming in and he had a good block on that cornerback out there, I think it was Brad Smith, I saw the safety try to fit inside. He obviously didn’t do a good job of wrapping up and I used my strength that people say that I have little of, and showed that I can break tackles.”

At the half Spiller had rolled up 64 yards on just eight carries and had three receptions for 15 yards. Head coach Chan Gailey said the plan all along was to make heavy use of Spiller in the passing game.

“We had a plan of certain packages that we were using C.J . and we were using Tashard (Choice) in,” said Gailey. “We knew we were going to use C.J. a lot in the passing game.”

Come the second half Buffalo’s offense sputtered with Spiller only seeing four more carries the rest of the game finishing with a career-high 91 rushing yards. He also had a career-best nine receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown, the second most by a Bills player this season.

Down 23-7 Spiller was responsible for 41 yards on Buffalo’s 80-yard scoring drive and the back capped the possession pulling in a three-yard touchdown reception from Ryan Fitzpatrick on a quick slant to make it a 10-point game. Spiller became the first Bills player since Fred Jackson in the 2010 season to post a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game.

Spiller’s 167 total yards from scrimmage was also a personal best eclipsing his previous best of 102 yards against Tennessee. All the lofty statistics however, didn’t register with Spiller coming off a loss.

“I’d trade those stats in for a win,” he said. “I was just trying to make plays. I knew what I had to do coming into the game, I knew what I wanted to try and correct from last game. Obviously I wasn’t making enough people miss last game and that’s something I wanted to correct and I knew those guys have a great rush defense ser David Luiz has played down his training ground bust-up with Gonzalo Higuain before last night’s Europa League final triumph.In the last session before the game, Luiz was filmed clearly elbowing Higuain.After defeating Arsenal, Luiz admitted the clo I really took that to heart to go out and show that we can run the ball against anybody.”

However, Buffalo ran it just seven times in the second half of Sunday’s loss to Miami. Gailey indicated that not using Spiller as much in the run game come the final two quarters of the game was to keep him fresh.

“We’re trying not to wear the guy completely out,” said Gailey. “He’s not the biggest back in the world. I don’t think he can go out there and carry it 25 or 30 times. I don’t want to put him in that position to carry it 25 to 30 times. I think we’ve got to split the carries and let Tashard have some of those packages to take some of the hits off of C.J.”

Spiller didn’t have a problem with the approach knowing all told he had 20 total touches in the game.

“We were down two scores; we’re trying to get some momentum, trying to get it going,” Spiller said. “I don’t go into the second half saying ‘I want this many carries.’ Whatever we need to do to get us back into the game, that’s what we’ve got to go with. I thought we were running the ball very successful but when you get down two scores and you’re trying to get back into the game and get your crowd back into it, you’ve got to try and throw it around a little bit.”

In the four games in which Spiller has been the main ball carrier he’s undoubtedly progressed, but the second-year back is more focused on finishing the season out with a victory or two instead of assessing where his game is right now.

“It’s too early, after we play the Patriots I’ll see what I did, but I’m just trying to learn on the go,” he said. “When you think you’ve done well, that’s when you get complacent.  I’m just learning as we go and I’m getting more and more comfortable with the offensive line.  After the season I think I’ll have a better idea over these six games how I think I did.” 

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Bills show lots of thanks and giving


Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller remembers his mom’s home cooking and her sweet potato pie for his Thanksgiving. This and many other Thanksgiving memories were stirred up at the Northwest Buffalo Community Center (NWBCC) on November 23, 2010 as the Buffalo Bills Toyota Rookie Club served their 10th Annual Rookie Club Thanksgiving dinner for over 300 children and their families.

Bills players in attendance included C.J. Spiller, Torell Troup, Ed Wang, Arthur Moats, Alex Carrington, Antonio Coleman, David Nelson, Levi Brown, Marcus Easley, Dominique Harris, Cordero Howard, Donald Jones, Danny Batten, Montez Billings, Naaman Roosevelt and John Russell.

The support of the Bills was noticed and appreciated by the players.

“I still can’t get over how supportive the community of Buffalo is to the Bills,” said Troup. “Despite records or what happens on the field, this community will never turn their back on us. Because they are so supportive of us I can’t help but give back to the community as well. This community has left an imprint in all of us and I will always remember nights like tonight.”

The gym at the NWBCC was jam packed like never before but there was plenty of food for everyone. Ms. Juanita Anderson, who is largely responsible for all of the delicious food and cooking at the event, was presented with a personalized #10 Bills jersey by the Bills players.

“Ms. Anderson definitely knows how to cook and the fact she cooked for over 300 people is amazing,” said Moats. “We passed out Thanksgiving dinners to those who may not have the opportunity to have another meal on Thursday. It was really special for us because we got to sit with them and eat with everyone who came out tonight.”

After the dinner, the Bills rookies introduced themselves and said what they were most thankful for this year.

Wide receiver Donald Jones, who was excited to score his first career touchdown last weekend, is also very excited to spend his first Thanksgiving with his newborn son. All of the players were looking forward to spending some time with their family and eating a good home cooked meal from their mothers.

The players, children and their famig pitch after their 1-1 draw with Valencia.Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata have been misfiring this season and although the former opened the scoring on Saturday with a penalty against Valencia, his first home goal of the season, they’re not deliveringli defender Matthijs de Ligt has hit out at Manchester United.The former Ajax captain moved to Juve last week and revealed he was aware of the story that United chose not to move for him as a junior over predictions he would put on weight later in his es all had a fun time, but it was the food and fond memories that everyone was talking about.

“The Bills rookies came along to show their appreciation and celebrate thanks and show how thankful they are for everything,” said Diamond Solomon, 17, and NWBCC member. “Ms. Anderson did some great cooking and definitely got people fed tonight and my favorite part was the eating part – everything was delicious!”

“For us to come and spend time and share a piece of our Thanksgiving with them is a very humbling experience and a very joyful experience,” said David Nelson. “It’s something I will remember forever.”

The Bills were active in a host of other Thanksgiving related events this past week.  Some of those events included:

Players and coaches donated money for Thanksgiving meals from Tops Friendly Markets on November 22, 2010 for the Valley Community Center in Buffalo.  75 large meals were donated by John Gamble, Eric Ciano, George Cortez, Bob Sanders, George Edwards, Reggie Torbor, Akin Ayodele and Andra Davis.  Each meal included a 25 – 30 pound turkey, 12 fresh bakery rolls, 10 pounds of potatoes, three cans of green beans, three cans of corn, two cans of homestyle gravy, two cans of cranberry sauce, two boxes of stuffing, a gallon of apple cider, a gallon of fruit punch, one apple pie, and one pumpkin pie!With the help of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, the Food Bank of Weante admits winning trophies with his teammates is what he values most as a footballer.While the French midfielder has received several individual accolades including the Footballer of the Year award in 2016/17, it is the team prizes he treasures mosstern New York and the Northwest Buffalo Community Center, safety George Wilson donated 100 “boxes of love” (turkey dinners) to select families on November 21, 2010 as part of his SAFETY Foundation and Home for the Holidays program.Cornerback Drayton Florence donated 110 turkey dinners to students and their families in the local “Take Stock in Children” program in Ocala, Florida on November 22, 2010.Bills alumni Booker Edgerson, Ed Rutkowski and Lou Piccone served up turkey dinners at the Buffalo City Mission on November 16, 2010 for the annual Thanksgiving Community Meal.Bills alumni Booker Edgerson, Charley Ferguson, Bob Dugan, Ed Rutkowski, Ernie Warlick, Hilton Crawford, Will Fowler and others were on hand to distribute Thanksgiving packages with all the trimmings to over 60 needy families at the Urban Christian Ministries (UCM) Center in Buffalo on November 23, 2010.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Training Camp Practice Report: Aug 19


It happened on the most innocent of plays. With their pads off the first team offense faced the starting defense for a segment of 11-on-11 work. On the first play of the segment Trent Edwards turned to hand off to Marshawn Lynch and the two players knocked knees sending Edwards hobbling further into the backfield.

The collision got more of Lynch’s kneecap and more of Edwards’ quadriceps muscle. After being checked by trainers on the field Edwards walked under his own power to the locker room to get the muscle iced down as quickly as possible.

“Trent ended up getting a quad contusion and it was a pretty deep one so they took him in and treated it quickly and tried to get it before it swelled,” said head coach Dick Jauron. “The collision was with Marshawn and his knee was a little bit sore by the end of practice so we took him off right at the end. He finished practice, but hopefully they’ll both be fine as we move forward.”

Edwards did not appear to be favoring his right leg at all as he walked off the field to the locker room. For Jauron who saw his team wind up with 17 players on injured reserve last season, he could only accept the result of the play for what it was.

“It’s just the nature of life,” said Jauron. “Things happen. There’s nothing guaranteed. You just go out and practice and hope everything comes out alright. Hopefully he’ll be fine.”

At this point Jauron will not assess whether or not Edwards will be healthy to play in Sunday night’s preseason game at Indianapolis.

“We’ll just have to see what happens because sometimes they come back very quickly and sometimes they don’t,” said Jauron. “Sometimes it turns into a deep bleeding thing and we’re hoping it’s not that.”

Getting repsNaturally with Edwards leaving practice early J.P. Losman took all the first team reps with the starters on offense. Losman took a series or two to adjust as the plays Edwards was to run in practice were different from those chosen for Losman.

So stepping in for Edwards in the practice setting didn’t quite resemble a game situation.

“You kind of study your plays that you have for that day and you get thrown in with some plays that you weren’t going to run that particular day,” said Losman. “So all of a sudden your mind has to concentrate and focus on that.victory over Torino.Ante Rebic scored the only goal of the game on Monday night.“I think the result and the performance were good tonight, we risked little,” Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.“There are 14 games left, and I’m already thinking about the It’s a little bit different from a game because in a game they’re set plays and you’re ready to go. Just being ready.”

In the ever rotating right defensive tackle position, Kyle Williams was back with the first unit next to Marcus Stroud. John McCargo and Spencer Johnson had been in there the past two days. Williams has taken the most reps with the ones thus far.

Tight end Courtney Anderson got some first team reps on some running plays, while Derek Fine took some first team reps as well.

Bryan Scott continues to fill in for the absent Donte Whitner (excused) at strong safety, which also brings John Wendling up to the second unit.

Ryan Denney was also mixed in for some first team reps working on both the left and right side in place of Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel.

Felton Huggins, Justin Jenkins and Steve Johnson continue to get more reps with James Hardy and Roscoe Parrish out.

Injury updateAs for Hardy (hamstring) and Parrish (sore knee) both will be out at least through Wednesday.

“We’re hoping Thursday and Friday,” said Jauron of his two receivers. “But we’ll have to wait and see. They have made a lot of progress.”

New to the injury list was linebacker John DiGiorgio who has been dealing with a strained calf.

“John’s calf muscle got a little bit weak on him, just today,” said Jauron. “It’s been bothering him today and it really was weak so we want to make sure we take care of that for the game.”

Derek Schouman is also out indefinitely with his knee sprain.

HighlightsRyan Denney almost made a gigantic play as practice started. On the first snap from scrimmage in 11-on-11, Denney coming from the left defensive end position got up field so quickly that he almost intercepted a swing pass from Edwards intended for Marshawn Lynch, but the pass caromed off his arm so all he got credit for was a pass breakup. Still a good play.

Fred Jackson had a good looking reception as he made an outstretched grab coming across the middle. Jackson has been just as good as some of the top wideouts in camp when lined up wide.

Derek Fine had a good night in the receiving game. After an early drop Fine was back on track quickly and had a handful of receptions on the night incer Mauro Icardi.Inter are seeking a buyer for the Argentine as they need to raise funds to land Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.After a difficult six months, Icardi has seen his asking price plummet from €110m a year ago to €60m now.Such luding a nice catch down the seam as he got behind his defender on a throw from Gibran Hamdan.

C.J. Hawthorne made an acrobatic catch along the far sideline as he leapt high in the air to pull in a deep out pass from Hamdan.

Jason Jones had a good read of zone coverage and sat down in a hold in the coverage to pull in a pass from Matt Baker.

Defensively, Ashton Youboty had a pass breakup on a touchdown pass intended for Jones from Baker.

Felton Huggins made plays again Tuesday night including a touchdown reception on a throw from Losman who threaded the pass between three defenders for the score.

Dwayne Wright was running downhill all night and looked powerful through the hole. Some of his decisions with the ball in his hands earned praise from running backs coach Eric Studesville.

Jaas favourites.The Reds kickoff their defence at Napoli tonight.Fabinho said, “We are among the favourites, having won it a year ago. “The competition is very difficult, there are the best teams in Europe. Our goal can only be to qualify by thinking gson Jefferson had a batted pass while lining up at the defensive end position.

Two minuteDuring the first two minute drill the first team offense needed only a field goal to win. Losman hit tight ends Courtney Anderson and Robert Royal on two of his first three passes on the drive. A reception by Josh Reed and Royal got the team into suitable field goal range before the clock expired.

On the second two minute series the offense needed a touchdown. Gibran Hamdan got a big chunk of yardage on the first play as he hit Derek Fine for a big gainer. He followed that up with a strike to Felton Huggins for first down yardage. After an incompletion he hit Huggins again for a first down.

However, after two incomplete passes and a sack on third down by Bryan Scott with the defense bringing the heat, Hamdan lofted a fourth down pass with five seconds left to Steve Johnson in the middle of the field. Johnson made an athletic leaping grab, but when he came back down to the turf he had only reached the one-yard line where he was touched down by the defense. 

Special teams updateBlocking field goal attempts was a big focus for the special teams unit. Blocking kicks when coming off the edge came first and Justin Jenkins proved most successful with three blocks.

Then the linemen worked on blocking kicks up front. Aaron Schobel and Kyle Williams had blocks during the drill.

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Landing No. 1 seed drastically improves LSU’s College Football Playoff title chances, projection model shows


jumped above to the No. 1 spot in the final Playoff rankings that were released on Sunday, which earned them a game against No. 4 rather than No. 3 . The debate on which top team would avoid facing Clemson was one of the more intriguing storylines on Sunday morning and statistics suggest that the Tigers are far more likely to win the national championship now than they were heading into championship weekend.

Stephen Oh, the principal data engineer for SportsLine, crunched the numbers and determined the simulated percentage to win the national championship based on the matchups and computer-generated statistics.

TeamSimulated national title % (Last week)Simulated national title % (This week)DifferenceLSU25%40.7%+15.7%Ohio State32%28.8%-3.2%Clemson26%27.1%+1.1%Oklahoma3%3.4%+0.4%

Why is there such a big gap between LSU and the field? The matchup vs. the Sooners is the biggest reason.

“The odds-makers agree that facing Oklahoma is a huurprised fullback Charlie Taylor is attracting transfer interest.Taylor has been linked with Leicester City this week.”I think he is a very good player,” Dyche told LancsLive.He added: “We want players to develop here regardless of contracts but whenge benefit to LSU,” Oh said. “A week ago LSU was 3/1 to win the championship so the’s enjoying his partnership with Fred. The pair were impressive for victory over Tottenham last night.McTominay told MUTV: “He’s such a nice guy and we have that connection on the pitch, and it’s just a pleasure to play alongside him. We’re getting eir implied percentage improved from 25% to 41.7%.”

That’s quite the jump considering Clemson rolled in the ACC Championship Game and Ohio State overcame a sluggish start to run away from in the Big Ten Championship Game. Of course, some of that jump was caused by LSU’s win over then-No. 4 in the SEC Championship Game. But it’s a stretch to say that the win over the Bulldogs caused that much of a move. 

Another interesting nugget is that Oklahoma’s simulated chances only went up 0.4% despite and both beGunnar Solskjaer lacks leaders in his side.Fletcher was speaking after Solskjaer’s young United outfit were put to the sword by Manchester City in the first-leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.Speaking after the 3-1 defeat, Fletcher sing in the mix last week. The Sooners, of course, dispatched of the Bears in overtime on Saturday and the Utes lost to in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday night.

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Las Vegas shooting: UNLV to wear helmets featuring a ribbon instead of its logo


will be hosting at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday night, and it will do so wearing special helmets to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vets it was a real physical battle on Saturday – particularly against Andy Carroll.He said: “Big Andy did me in the first few minutes — I’ve still got whiplash from that one. We get bumps and bruises but get back up and win football matches. “I didn’gas on Sunday nnjuries to Emerson and Andreas Christensen.Both po play on after his release from PSG this summer.Sky Italia says talks between Buffon and Juve are ongoing as he ‘inches closer’ to the Bianconeri. Juve will first wait to offload Mattia Perin with Roma and Sevilla keen. Once Perin leaves, everythinglayers were substituted in the first-half on Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool.Speaking after the game, Lampard said: “Emerson is a similar injury to what he had, with a muscle. “When you do that it meansight.

The matte black helmets feature a red ribbon with “Las Vegas” written on it as opposed to the typical team logo.

There were 59 people killed and more than 500 injured when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on a concert from his 32nd-floor hotel room on the Las Vegas strip. The death toll from the shooting makes it the largest massacre in United States history.

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SEC fresh faces: One freshman who will breakout from each team in 2017


Get to know these names. They may be new, but they’re important. They’re the fresh, baby-faced guys around college football that are poised to make an immediate impact this fall.

The SEC has more of these guys than most. Whether they’re starters or situational players, expect some fresh meat to impact every SEted defender Rio Ferdinand has hammered Moyes’ time in charge at Old Trafford.But Moyes has now responded by insisting he had to make his own mark at the club.“Well I look at it in many ways, they’re very experienced players,” Moyes told BBC Sport C game this season. Here is the er Brendan Rodgers.Toure says he’s learning plenty from the Ulsterman.He told BBC Sport: “I love the game. I have a passion for the game. I love to be around the players and give advice.”I like to be positive. You will have ups and downs but the mosttop freshman poised for a breakout from every SEC program in order of expected level of impact.

An early enrollee, Smith has been a standout on the Tennessee offensive line since the day he stepped on campus. While the Volunteers have found some stability and experience on the offensive front, Smith has done enough not just to unseat an experienced starter but to make that offensive line better in his first year. Smith was a five-star and the No. 4 offensive tackle in the country per to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he’s already living up to that billing.

 He may not start Week 1, but Turner is generating all kinds of buzz at Missouri as the next elite edge rusher for a program that has produced a lot of them recently. The Louisiana native showed up on campus bench pressing 22 reps of 225 pounds, sniffing 4.6 seconds on the 40-yard dash and measuring in at 6-foot-4, 255 pounds. He’s part of what should be a much-improved defensive unit for Barry Odom in year two.

 As Kirby Smart looks to turn last year’s disastrous offensive line into a strength, he’s looking to Thomas to be a day one starter. There may be some shuffling still among the starters, but Thomas appears locked in as one of the five. The Army All-American is long, athletic and smart, and he’s part of a young infusion of talent that looks ready to make Georgia’s offensive line a strength in the long run, if not this season.

 Particularly on the defensive side of the ball, Ed Orgeron’s first class features a bunch of SEC-ready talent, but Chaisson may be poised for the biggest impact of all. He’s an Arden Key clone in terms of being a quick, speedy edge rusher who will immediately affect the pass game. Expect a similar impact to Key’s freshman season in 2015 (five sacks, 6.5 tackles for losstal Palace skipper Jason Puncheon is continuing his career in Cyprus.The midfielder, who was let go by the Premier League club at the end of last season, is signing for Pafos FC.He has completed the free transfer, with the Greek club proclaiming it s) or the freshman year of Brian Burns from Florida State last season (8.5 sacks).

The Hogs lost their starting running back to injury in Rawleigh Williams III, but with Hayden’s addition to the two starting-caliber backs already on campus, Brett Bielema isn’t lacking for confidence in the run game. Hayden and his versatile all-purpose skill set joins Devwah Whaley and David Williams to form a three-headed monster in the backfield that will give Hayden plenty of opportunity for touches and big plays.

 Had Bowden arrived on campus on time, perhaps I would have put him at the top of this list. NCAA Clearinghouse issues delayed his arrival in Lexington but that hasn’t dimmed the expectations. Kentucky’s highest-ranked commitment is a special talent with the ball in his hands, and now that starter Dorian Baker is out due to injury, the opportunity is there for Bowden to become a primary contributor sooner than later.

 The Aggies return only two receivers on their roster with any career catches in . They need some new faces to step up as primary targets, and Ausbon is one of the most physically prepared freshman receivers in the country. The former top 100 recruit is thick, physical and polished. He’ll be a top three receiver for Kevin Sumlin in year one.

 Between the and an Achilles injury to Marcell Harris, Florida’s defense has to replace every starter from one of the best secondaries in college football last fall. Whether Wilson is one of that first four or not, he looks to be locked in as a nickel defender for the Gators and should pick up right where his brother Quincy Wilson left off.

 The Crimson Tide don’t need freshmen contributors, but this class is so talented that there are numerous playmakers ready to claw their way onto the field. Among them, Willis is emerging as perhaps the most important. He’s battling for the starting right tackle job with veteran Matt Wommack and looks like he may in fact win the gig. If he does, that would give Nick Saban a starting true freshman offensive tackle in three of the past four seasons.

The Tigers will showcase a new passing attack with a new talented quarterback in Jarrett Stidham and a new sharp coordinator in Chip Lindsey. Fortunately, there’s some new athletic receivers to distribute to as well. None have made more noise than Igbonoghene. He’s a track athlete with SEC size who will be a factor as a downfield threat early in his career.

 There are few prospects in the class of 2017 that are more instinctive than Williams and that should serve him well early in his career. He’s undersized but is a great candidate to impact in a nickel or dime role, and he’s got some Tyrann Mathieu traits to his game.

 Though he may not start, Gay is so athletic that you can expect to see him on the field for the Bulldogs. Gay arrives in Starkville as a new age linebacker who is perfect in sub packages to defend pass downs. The guy can run, plays in pursuit really well and will be a special teams force and a regular rotation player at linebacker.

 Though he was recruited primarily as a wide receiver through most of the process, Bowie arrives in Oxford with the opportunity to really be a factor at cornerback. The depth in the secondary is limited at Ole Miss, and Bowie brings unique length, ball skills and athleticism to the position

 Derek Mason has built a foundation that won’t call for a heavy influx of freshman playing time, but Daley is a player that is elbowing his way into the rotation. He’s a south Georgia native that brings some toughness and instincts to the position. After enrolling early, Daley has made a strong impression.

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WATCH: Butch Jones and the Vols sing Rocky Top for Peyton Manning


Peyton Manning announced his retirement after an 18-year NFL career on Monday and while he received plenty of congratulatory messages from former players and stars across sports and entertainment, he got a special one late in the day from Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers.

Jones offer21 year-old prolific goalscorer came close to joining Crystal Palace both last January and over the summer.Sky Sports says Chalov is now interesting Chelsea.Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich is a big fan of the player and hopes to bring him toed up some words about the former Vols star quarterback and then the entire team broke out into Rocky Top. 

When ye words of wisdom upon his exit from professional football.The 37-year-old could go down as the greatest Premier League goalkeeper after a 15-year career in the top-flight with Arsenal and Chelsea, which includes four Premier League titles, five FA Cou are a Vol, you are a Vol for Life! Thank you for everything you have done for the University of Tennessee!

— Butch Jones (@UTCoachJones)

Manning comprophy.The development team battled hard throughout the game, but they did not have enough quality in front of goal to get a positive result.The Blues were up in the match at half time, netting through Charlie Brown.But they were pegged back and eventleted 62.5 percent of his passes at Tennessee, throwing for 11,201 yards, 89 touchdowns and 33 interceptions in his four years with the Vols before being taken No. 1 overall by the Colts in 1998. 

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Bret Bielema wants an SEC-Big Ten Challenge in college football


The strength of college football conferences has long been debated, but bias — real and perceived — rarely allows for productive discourse. 

Bowl season provides those rare cross-conference matchups, but the motivation or lack thereof to win bowl games, especially mid-and lower-tier ones, makes it a flawed system for judging conference strength.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema wants to see more of those cross-conference matchupsas quickly been impressed by the new arrival from Tottenham.”We will do our best to keep up with Juventus,” Sensi told Sky Sport Italia. “Lazio are also doing well. We work to evict our mistakes and to score points.”“Eriksen can give us that litt happen during the regular season and suggested the SEC and Big Ten look to college basketball for inspiration. 

Bret Bielema said it would be cool to have the SEC and another conference — maybe the Big Ten — play every year like in hoops. YES, please

— Edward Aschoff (@AschoffESPN)

The idea is certainly intriguing and one that should be explored.  before talks fell apart.

If structured like the ACC-Big Ten Challenge in basketball, which takes the previous rankingue Marseille striker Habib Bamogo has confirmed he’s now working as a France-based scout for Everton.Bamogo admits he’s been talent spotting at youth level for the Toffees for the past year.He told Foot Mercato: “It’s going to be a year in January, ss and matches teams up with some changes made for proximity and travel, the top teams would certainly see a boost in strength of schedule. The middle of the pack and bottom teams wouldn’t necessarily gain much, but strength of schedule for teams outside the top 25 really doesn’t really mean anything. 

Following the structure used by the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, you would get some really interesting matchups. and came up with these matchups. Some are really good. Some are pretty hilariously bad. 

1. Ohio State vs. Alabama2. Iowa vs. Florida3. Michigan State vs. LSU4. Michigan vs. Ole Miss5. Wisconsin vs. Arkansas6. Northwestern vs. Georgia7. Penn State vs. Tennessee8. Nebraska vs. Mississippi State9. Illinois vs. Texas A&M10. Minnesota vs. Vanderbilt11. Purdue vs. Auburn12. Rutgers vs. Kentucky13. Indiana vs. Missouri14. Maryland vs. South Carolina

First off, we get Ohio State and Alabama, which should play every year — whether that is in the playoff or regular season or on pay-per-view in March, I don’t care, make it happen — so this is all worthwhile just for that.

Iowa vs. Florida in the No. 2 slot is surprising, a bit funny, but also pretty intriguing. Michigan State vs. LSU in the Les Miles Bowl and Wisconsin vs. Arkansas in the Bret Bielema Bowl would both be really fun as well. I’m all in on the top of the Big Ten-SEC Challenge here. 

The bottom features some real sadness, however. Rutgers vs. Kentucky just sounds like a miserable experience for all involved. I would love Minnesota vs. Vanderbilt, but I’m likely the only person that would feel that way. 

Missouri could try and exact revenge on 2014 SEC East lineal champion Indiana, while Maryland and South Carolina play in the all-Under Armour Bowl. 

Now, an SEC-Big Ten Challenge wouldn’t definitively solve any debates about conference-year-old is regarded as one of the hottest young prospects in South America at the moment, and Gunners manager Unai Emery is said to see him as a hugely promising talent.Reiner has not yet made a senior first-team appearance for his club, but he has strength. Nothing ever will, but it would be a really fun way to spruce up Week 2 of the regular season, when we’re usually subjected to a lot of mediocre non-conference matchups. 

I stand with Bielema on this and think the Big Ten and SEC should get it done. If the games get split 7-7, then a winner is decided by way of a chicken wing eating competition between the coaches. 

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Report: Oklahoma planning $350 million stadium expansion


The home of the could be getting a facelift in the near future, or maybe just a touch-up. A very expensive touch-up.

According to , the school is expected to announce a “Master Expansion Plan” for Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The plan has reportedly been approved and will be announced at a future meeting of the school’s board of regents.

The expansiManchester United and Newcastle United have held talks over Sean Longstaff.Sky Sports says no offical bid has been lodged.Toon are not interested in selling Longstaff and see him as a big part of their future plans.United have already signed two young Britrpool fans.City accused the Premier League of threatening the “sporting integrity” of the competition after handing the champions a fixture schedule that could give rivals Liverpool a big advantage in the title race. City’s chief operating officer,ish players in Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.They have also begun negotiations with Southampton over a deal for Mario Lemina.on, which is expected to cost between $350 and $400 million, would begin following the final home game of the 2014 season. The hope is that all renovations would be finished before the start of the 2015 season, but, well, the best laid plans and all that.

As for what the planned renovations include additional seats in the south end zone, which would increase the stadium’s capacity from 82,112 to nearly 88,000. The school also plans to upgrade the current suites and add more suites in the south end zone, as well as put in a new press box (just make sure it includes free food dragged into Manchester City’s appeal to overturn their two season Champions League ban.The Mirror says City will “leave nothing off the table” when they attempt to beat the two-year suspension and £25million fine levied against them by UEFA over or all the sports writers will say mean things about you), as well as facility upgrades for the team and players.

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PHOTO: Wyoming and Utah State’s new rivalry trophy is a rifle


Rivalries are cool. Rivalry trophies make already-cool rivalries even cooler. And the cooler the trophy, the cooler the rivalry.

Meaning that between and is going to be about as cool as rivalries get. Here’s the series’ new traveling trophy, awarded for the first time Saturday, the “Bridger Rifle”:

The rivalry — and more importantly, the rifle — are named for legendary mountain man . From :

The winner of the annual conte he admits he doesn’t know the exact nature of the injury that kept the forward out of international duty.The 24-year-old, who joined the Gunners from Lille in a club-record £72million move over the summer, missed the Ivory Coast’s recent friendliesst will take home the traveling “Bridger Rifle,” a .50 caliber Rocky Mountain Hawken rifle that was popular among mountain men and widely considered to be what Bridger carried. Each year’s game score will be notched into the maple stock.

Absolutely no offense to, say, (whose history is storied and awesome), but carving game scores into the stock of a 19th-century rifle is just a wee bit cooler than painting them onto a water container … or just about anything else. There’s a nice logo, too:

Another wrinkle in the series between the Aggies and Cowboys is that’s it’s far from new; it’s been played 63 times, the first time in 1903. But USU and Wyoming .

“Our historic rivalry, geographic proximity* and institutional commonalities make a rivalry trophy a no-brainer,” USU AD Scott Barnes. “It’s gratifying to see a rivalry being restored when in so many cases recently, the wave of conference realignment has forced several tith Arsenal.The two managers will face-off later today at Emirates stadium.“The honeymoon period doesn’t go on for ever – and it shouldn’t do,” said Lampard.“But I think the fans will have a feeling for Arteta and want him to do well as being oo fall.”

There’s even some raised stakes for the inaugural Battle, with Utah State needing a win to clinch the Mountain Division title and a spot in the inaugural MW Championship Game. But when a win also means the right to celebrate with the “Bridger Rifle,” what other motivation do you really need?

*The schools are separated by 384 miles and approximately six hours’ worth of driving, but in the Mountain West, of course, this practically makes them next-door neigaims this could be Simeone’s last season with Atletico after a disappointing run in the LaLiga.But in the aftermath of an impressive Champions League win over Liverpool, Cerezo handed his coach a public vote of confidence.”We have a great coach, he whbors.

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Sagarin changes formula, finally removes ‘Margin of Victory’


In the 2001 season of the BCS, half of the eight computers used at that time considered margin of victory in their calculations, and the other half did not.  That year, human poll No. 2 did not make the BCS title game due in large part to the fact that the MOV computers ranked the Ducks seventh, while the non-MOV versions ranked them third. 

There were other problems too, but that was the one that got the attention of the BCS poobahs, who then decreed something like, “let margin of victory be stricken from all notebooks and tablets, stricken from all obscure algorithms of …so let it be written, so let it be done.” 

The result is that since 2002, margin of victory has not been a factor in the computer rankings used by the BCS.  Two of the computer gurus dropped out instead of adjusting their formulas.  Peter Wolfe said he changed his formula to remove MOV as a component.  Jeff Sagarin added a new column to his ratings for BCS purposes called “Elo Chess,” which he described by saying, “only winning and losing matters; the score margin is of no consequence.”  Or so we thought.

This week, a new column of data appeared called “Pure Elo.”  Pure Elo has a familiar description.  It says, “only winning and losing matters; the score margin is of no consequence.”  Hmmm.  Where have I seen that before?  Meanwhile, “Elo Chess” has been renamed “Elo Score,” which he says “applies ELO principles to the actual SCORES of the games and so it is now SCORE BASED. (emphasis his)”  Let’s be perfectly clear…it was always score based.  The name of the heading and the description has been changed to protect the guias urged Juventus not to overreact regarding Cristiano Ronaldo’s sub strop.Against AC Milan, Ronaldo was hooked on 55 minutes for the eventual matchwinner Paulo Dybala on Sunday and is said to have left the ground before the final whistle.Calderon tolty.

Jeff Sagarin wrote to explain the new formulas.  He said Pure Elo is “an improved version of Elo Chess” that he was working on in the offseason and uses in other sports.  He also says Elo Score is not the same as Elo Chess, but some other version he’s been using for a while in other sports.  He aarts on a Bosman this summer.The Telegraph says Chelsea have identified Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha and Borussia Dortmund youngster Jadon Sancho as potential replacements for Willian.The pair are on Chelsea’s shortlist as Willian’s deal enters ilso made a point to say that, “At no point in the past during the BCS standings period of the season, once the dictum was pronounced in 2002, have I used scores in my official BCS standings report.”

The results of the new formulas don’t seem to bear that out, at least not yet (Sagarin assures me they eventually will), but that’s all we have to go on, so we are left to draw our own confusion.

Where the difference is most obvious is where FCS schools are rated in the new system.  Last week, Elo Chess had two FCS teams in the top 60.  The top rated among them was Eastern Illinois at 38.  Those facts are still true of Elo Score this week, but the Panthers are 24th in Pure Elo, which makes them the lowest rated of the seven FCS schools in the Pure Elo top 25.  Bethune-Cookman ranks fourth.  Fourth!!

Now, it doesn’t matter that Bethune-Cookman is fourth because FCS schools get pulled out and FBS teams slotted up for BCS purposes, but what this illustrates is that the Pure Elo formula is very different than the one that has been used for the last 11 years by the BCS.  Meanwhile, Elo Chess/Elo Score looks very similar to what it has always looked like.  Only now, Sagarin admits that MOV was a factor in those ratings.  Well, not in so many words.

Is this definitive proof?  No, my evidencer Martin O’Neill.The Northern Irishman only took the job at The City Ground five months ago but has now been dismissed, days after the departure assistant manager Roy Keane.O’Neill returned to the club where he won the European Cup and made 371 appea is anecdotal.  Only by examining the formulas can we prove that definitively, just like we need the formula to prove that Richard Billingsley’s ratings are influenced by the previous season.  That is a factor the BCS honchos don’t want considered either.  I have personally found an error or two in Wes Colley’s calculations over the years also, which I can do because thankfully, Colley’s formula is open and accountable.  That makes three of the six ranking systems that have had issues.  That we know of.

The BCS has always had its head buried in the sand regarding the computer formulas.  They never validated the results, and never validated that the programs were doing what they were told they were doing.  They prefer the Sargeant Shultz approach.  “I KNOW NOTHINK!”  They just keep telling us they trust the programmers and that they are, “the best in the business,” which is another claim they have no way of verifying.

We can only hope they did a better job vetting the new selection committee than they did their computer formulas.

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Louisiana-Monroe AD: We can be the Gonzaga of football


MONROE, La. — The gritty little Sun Belt school that was the talk of the college football world last September, the , is hoping to show it’s a lot more than just a check-cashing bunch.

Truth is, after knocking off Arkansas (ranked eighth in the country at the time) last season, and coming within 10 points of beating both Auburn and Baylor, Todd Berry’s program has already proven that. ULM’nder Issa Diop says Europe is a realistic target this season.After seeing West Ham waste opportunities to finish in the top seven last year, the No23 wants to avoid the same mistakes this time around.“Europe qualification has to be our target, it hs stunner in Arkansas, rallying from being down 28-7, wasn’t the first time the Louisiana school beat an SEC team. In 2007, ULM beat Nick Saban’s Alabama squad, a 25-point favorite, but since then things have really cranked up for the most efficient program in .

ULM’s motto — Put a Ball Down (as in let’s just go play football) — is everywhere when you show up at the school’s modest practice site. After last season, the identity has taken root.

“We can be the Gonzaga of football,” ULM AD Brian Wickstrom said Thursday.

On Saturday, when Louisiana-Monroe — the school once known as Northeast Louisiana — opens at No. 16 Oklahoma, it’ll be the Warhawks’ sixth consecutd was refuted Jose Mourinho claims that he copied Antonio Conte’s system to beat Tottenham on Sunday.Lampard’s 3-4-2-1 formation worked to perfection against Spurs, allowing his side to dominate the first-half and claim a 2-0 victory.Mourinho praisedive opener facing a ranked opponent. It’ll also provide little ULM a robust $1 million, money vital for the program with the smallest budget in all of FBS.

The Warhawks will make a total of $1.9 million for their three nonconference games this fall against the Sooners, Baylor and Wake Forest. In 2014, they’ll pocket $3.1 million to face a trio of SEC opponents — LSU, Texas A&M and Kentucky. The negotiating process for the games has more to do with travel than toughness of the task, meaning trekking to Lexington, Ky., costs more than bussing four or five hours to Baton Rouge or turned down a move to Newcastle last month, despite Lille accepting an offer for him in the final week of the winter market. The Toon’s proposal was for a fee rising to €60m.Newcastle, reports Le 10 Sport, are ready to try again and have turned Sr College Station. The price tag for long-range games is usually much steeper, factoring in escalators for inflation, Wickstrom pointed out.

To say ULM is making do with less would be an understatement that doesn’t do justice to the ever-widening gap between the Have-a-Lots and the Have-Almost-Nothings in the sport. Until last year, ULM didn’t even have the same number of full-time assistant coaches as the rest of FBS. There is also no training table for ULM football players. There are no fancy dorms. There is no airplane recruiting for ULM coaches. No private planes, where coaches hop on some smaller jet to see prospects. The staff hasn’t boarded a single plane of any kind to see anyone. Nothing.

“Some of our assistant don’t even have real offices. They’re in converted closets,” Wickstrom admitted. “When a coach has a recruit on campus, they can’t take a kid into their office.”

Asked about amenities like the famous Oregon waterfall, Berry jokes that ULM’s idea of a perk for the players is giving them popsicles after a steamy day of camp. “Although,” he added, “I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing.”

The Warhawks have embraced the “Put a Ball Down” blue-collar persona. Their leader, lefty QB Kolton Browning — son of Karl and Panda (yes that’s his mom’s given name) — is from a tiny Texas town of 2,700. ULM was Browning’s only offer until Tulsa tried to swoop in late to grab him, but the formerly skinny three-sport star thought it wouldn’t be right to break his commitment.

Berry says Browning won over teammates with his grit playing through pain. “He broke his sternum in 2011 and they saw him keep playing and grimace every time he got hit,” Berry said.

Browning winced every time he threw a pass too. He never missed a game.

“We don’t necessarily need all the nice things,” Browning said. “Just give us some pads and we’ll be happy to go play football.”

A gifted dual-threat quarterback with 4.6 speed in the 40, Browning packed on 15 pounds this offseason to better withstand the pounding. There is also plenty of talent and experience around him. ULM has 18 starters back from last year’s 8-5 team. The Warhawks also are technically the most experienced team in the country, with 440 games started among their returning players (Ga. Tech is second with 426), according to Colorado SID Dave Plati, who researched the note.

Still, the Warhawks are a 23.5-point underdog against the Sooners. Another upset would do wonders for the ULM program financially. Just being competitive probably would too.

“This is the most critical year for ULM in the history of the school,” Wickstrom said. “Last year we opened people’s eyes, but now can we get people to buy in and start writing checks that’ll give us chance to build the momentum?”

The school hopes it can land the gift that’ll help lead to the development of a football facility, where ULM would have a real locker room, coaches’ offices and meeting rooms, like the rest of the FBS.