Saturday, August 8, 2009

FOUR ACC SCHOOLS IN PRE-SEASON TOP 20

USA Today Poll
1. Florida (53) 0-0 1,466
2. Texas (4) 0-0 1,386
3. Oklahoma (1) 0-0 1,358
4. USC (1) 0-0 1,321
5. Alabama 0-0 1,134
6. Ohio State 0-0 1,126
7. Virginia Tech 0-0 1,020 – click on the link for a Hokie preview from Rivals.com.
8. Penn State 0-0 988
9. LSU 0-0 917
10. Mississippi 0-0 889
11. Oklahoma State 0-0 861
12. California 0-0 711
13. Georgia 0-0 707
14. Oregon 0-0 694
15. Georgia Tech 0-0 559
16. Boise State 0-0 542
17. TCU 0-0 461
18. Utah 0-0 404
19. Florida State 0-0 371
20. North Carolina 0-0 293
21. Iowa 0-0 257
22. Nebraska 0-0 236
23. Notre Dame 0-0 194
24. Brigham Young 0-0 178
25. Oregon State 0-0 165

Others Receiving Votes: Kansas 138, Michigan State 136, Texas Tech 114, Cincinnati 90, Pittsburgh 64, West Virginia 55, Rutgers 51, Miami (FL) 46, Missouri 44, Illinois 38, Clemson 30, South Carolina 18, UCLA 14, Auburn 12, South Florida 11, Nevada 11, Kentucky 9, North Carolina State 7, Wisconsin 6, Arkansas 6, Northwestern 5, Southern Miss 4, Wake Forest 4, Arizona 3, Boston College 3, Central Michigan 3, East Carolina 3, Colorado 2, Maryland 2, Navy 2, Tennessee 2, Troy 1, Minnesota 1, Michigan 1, Houston 1.

HAPPY APPY QB INJURED BY CRANKY LAWN MOWER

Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards, a three-time All-American, will miss two to four weeks after injuring his right foot mowing the lawn at his off-campus residence Wednesday.

Teammate and roommate Brian Quick transported Edwards, a senior, to Watauga Medical Center in Boone, where he was treated and released.

Medical privacy laws prevent the university from releasing details about the injury, ASU spokesman Mike Flynn said.

Edwards won the Walter Payton Award last season, given to the top offensive player in the NCAA's Football Championship Series (formerly Division I-AA). He passed for 2,902 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushed for 941 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Armanti helped Appalachian State win the FCS championship as a freshman in 2006. He passed for three touchdowns and ran for another in the 2007 opener, a 34-32 upset victory at Michigan. The Mountaineers also were FCS champions in 2007.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

FAST COMPANY. Back in March, Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer talked with driver Jimmie Johnson just before practice for the Saturday Night Special Race after the NASCAR Nationwide Scotts Turf Builder 300 auto race in Bristol, Tenn. Beamer rode along with Johnson for a few laps. Bet Hokie Nation loved that...

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

HEY, DUDES. IT’S NOT THE PREAKNESS. JakeTerenzi of Westchester, N.Y., (left) Dave Huth of Corning,N.Y., (center) and Bill Deep of Troy,N.Y., (right) take turns drinking beer from a "Beer Bong" in the grandstand area of Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

PRINCETON: NOT AS SMART AS YOU MIGHT THINK

The Princeton Review likes to review things. Their latest list “Students That Pack Stadiums” doesn’t necessarily make sense.

The ACC puts up Maryland (#5), Duke (#7), Boston College (#9) and Virginia Tech (#15). We don’t know what the methodology was, but we think it involved glue, gin and party with Michael Phelps.

According to ACC Now (and we believe ‘em), B.C. ranked 57th nationally in football attendance and 99th in basketball in 2008-09 – neither major sport averaged a sellout.

And then there’s Duke at #7 – they pack a whopping 28,727 into Wallace Wade Stadium (78th Nationally), so this must be a love affair with the Cameron Crazies. (Dick Vitale strikes again.)

The top four schools were Penn State, Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame.

Hey, it’s all good as some ACC schools made some other prominent TPR list such as “Students Study The Least” where Maryland comes in at #2 right behind the University of West “By God” Virginia. FSU also made that list at #7 the meat in an LSU/Florida sandwich.

It could have been worse, no ACC schools made the top 20 on the “Lots of Hard Liquor” list or the “This Is A Library.” The Noles, however, did score a #7 on “Lots of Beer” while B.C. and Wake Forest found their way onto the “Little Race/Class Interaction” list. N.C. State got whacked at #10 on “Least Beautiful Campus.”

Finally, sorry Wahoos, there is a list called “Party Schools,” and, in spite of Playboy naming you the King of Kings in this revered area some years ago, you didn’t make it. FSU is #9.

Must be the weather.

Hey, Princeton, nice band.

FORMER TAR HEEL HAS D.C. RADIO SPRTS TALK SHOW

Brendan Haywood best known for canning a cold blooded free throw as a freshman to beat Duke, playing for the Wizards, publicly squabbling with former head coach Eddie Jordan and former player Etan Thomas among others and for being really tall, will be hosting his own radio show on 106.7 The Fan.

Of course, the media joke around town is that maybe he can get an interview with the ever illusive Agent Zero.

Haywood has already worked in several forms of media, serving as a studio analyst for Comcast SportsNet's Wizards coverage, as a color analyst for the Mystics and as a blogger for Yardbarker. His radio show will air from 7-10 Friday evening, and will be co-hosted by former WTTG sports guy Lou Holder.

D.C. Sports Blog’s Dan Steinberg interviewed Haywood about his new gig.

FSU AND MIAMI RECRUITING CLARETT?

Sometimes reliable sources tell T.A.H. that Florida State University and their in-state rival Miami, are both actively recruiting former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett. The “somewhat” troubled tailback led the Buckeyes to the 2002 National Championship, and, quite frankly, they haven’t played worth a crap in a BCS Championship Game since they so unkindly removed him from their institution of higher learning.

Recently Clarett, 25, has argued that the sooner he was released, the sooner he could make a comeback, possibly in the NFL. But he sent a letter Monday to the Ohio Parole Board explaining his decision to pursue his final years of college eligibility.

Remember, Clarett left early after being suspended for some “trumped up NCAA violations” and then unsuccessful challenged the NFL age requirement.

Clarett, was sentenced in September 2006 to serve at least 3 1/2 years for a holdup outside a Columbus bar and a separate highway chase earlier that year that ended with police finding loaded guns in his SUV.

“He’s perfect,” said Florida State Athletic Director Randy Spetman. “He’s obviously a very talented running back and he has a complete understanding of our nation’s criminal justice system.”



* items in italics may not be true.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

UNI OF THE DAY. Members of FC Barcelona pose for a picture prior to their international friendly match against the Seattle Sounders FC on August 5, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

CAPITAL OF THE FREE WORLD, BIG LOSERS IN SPELLING. Not long ago, the Washington Nationals embarrassed the great city by playing in jersey’s with their name misspelled on it. Reminds us of when WVU won the N.I.T. a few years back and posed for pictures with an “i” missing from West Virginia.

Now, the Redskins are in on the act.

Mike Marquardt showed up for work the other day after the Skins picked him up for some D-line reinforcement. Marquardt was a good sport about it noting that no one ever spells his name right. Just get it right on the paycheck, Vinnie.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

CHECK OUT THE BIG GUNS ON MARIA. Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a backhand from Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the LA Women's Tennis Championships on August 5, 2009 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

NO ELITE CAMP FOR TAR HEELS

So, as you know, Duke is holding an “elite camp” to help boost their recruiting. Other ACC schools including Maryland and N.C.State use the same tactic (How’s that workin’ out?) as does Florida among others.

Evidently, North Carolina won’t be joining that group. Roy Williams, who is enjoying the offseason after winning his second national title, said he has "zero problems" with other programs holding such camps; he pointed out that one of his former assistants, Mark Turgeon at Texas A&M, has held them in the past. But Williams "probably" won't as he doesn't want to deal with the various interpretations of the NCAA rules.

According to the Raleigh News& Observer, this is WHAT HE SAID: "It's so ambiguous as to what you can do,'' he said. "It's so ambiguous as how to do it. It's so much in the gray area to me .... There's a place for them, and a lot of coaches I talk to have had them. But... you're walking a tightrope with some of the issues and some of the questions, that I'm not comfortable doing that. And please understand, somebody else can do it ... I have zero problems with it. It's just I don't want to fight those questions, fight those issues, fight that step — right, left, fall off the cliff, I don't want to do those types of things.”

WHAT HE MEANT: “If Krzyvbncr4ski is doing it, Roy Williams ain’t doin’ it.”

DAMN IT, BRUCE, GIVE ME THE CAR KEYS, WE AREN'T IN BLACKSBURG ANYMORE

On Saturday, Bruce Smith (Virginia Tech), 46, will headline the class enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He'll be joined by defensive back Rod Woodson; guard Randall McDaniel; Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson; wide receiver Bob Hayes, who died in 2002; and fellow pass rusher Derrick Thomas, who died in 2000.

"There have been some sleepless nights because of the anticipation," says Smith, who played 15 of his 19 NFL seasons as a defensive end for the Bills. "This will forever change my life."

Besides his record 200 career sacks, Smith holds the NFL mark for seasons with 10-plus sacks (13). A two-time NFL defensive player of the year (1990, 1996), he was named to 11 Pro Bowls.


"The argument can be made that he was the greatest ever at his position," former Bills coach Marv Levy says. "To do what he did, (primarily) in a 3-4, is unfathomable to me. You can look at his sacks, but … the man made an incredible amount of tackles. Bruce was just as good against the run."

Since retiring after the 2003 season, concluding four campaigns with the Washington Redskins, Smith has made a mark in real estate, engaged in several high-profile developments. And he's remained active with community-service projects.

Unfortunately, Smith has other issues to deal with. He's in the process of appealing a July 9 DUI conviction and has an Aug. 27 court date.

But the DUI conviction — which if upheld will bring a 90-day suspended sentence, $440 in fines and a one-year driver's license suspension — has already cost Smith some well deserved recognition when Virginia Beach officials scrapped plans for a public celebration in the city in which he resides and where the DUI arrest occurred.

Smith beat two previous DUI charges (a 1997 case was dismissed, and he was acquitted in 2003), but amid the countdown to be immortalized as football royalty, he again has drawn attention for a drunken-driving case.

Damn it, Bruce, give up those keys…

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HEATHER

Ah, August. It's so nice to have more than three links to choose from...

*As the conference begins practices this week, Tony Barnhart has five burning questions for the Atlantic Division.

*College football fans in the state of North Carolina are keeping ticket sales alive, despite the tough economy.

*Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner is the ACC's most accurate passer. And yet he's just happy he was ever offered a scholarship.

*Here are five questions to ponder about Maryland's defense before the Terps open fall camp.
*Dueling quarterbacks will be the norm this summer at Clemson, and Kyle Parker and Willy Korn seem to be taking it in stride.

*Clemson isn't the only program with a few major position battles looming this summer. FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett isn't afraid to shake things up in Tally.

*Does Miami really need a go-to receiver? Receivers coach Aubrey Hill says it's not a must.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

NAME THAT SCHOOL. Miami, Maryland, Clemson, Tech (either one), Florida State…?

No, this tattooed head belongs to Texas Tech offensive lineman Brandon Carter.

Nice, Brandon, NICE!

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

HIDE THE DONUTS. Kansas coach Mark Mangino gestures during Big 12 Media Day in Irving, Texas, Tuesday, July 28, 2009.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT, FASTER THAN THE GIRLS IN GREEN. Katelyn Burke (l) and Abby Knight of the USA row during the junior women's double sculls heat 1 during day one of the FISA World Rowing Junior Championships at the Lac du Causse Correzian on August 5, 2009 in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France.

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

Hmmm…

T.A.H. Pop Culture Editor Young A.T. hipped us to this one, and it’s a peach.

Seems as those crazy Russian soccer fans and their fan association has this whole swine flu thing figured out.

According to various sources:

Russian soccer fans have been told to drink whiskey on their trip to Wales for next month's World Cup qualifier to ward off the H1N1 swine flu virus, the head of the country's supporter association (VOB) said Monday.

"We urge our fans to drink a lot of Welsh whiskey as a form of disinfection," VOB head Alexander Shprygin told Reuters.
"That should cure all symptoms of the disease." (Cure? Symptoms? Must be a translation thing?)

Russia's Health Ministry has issued a public warning against traveling to Britain because of the spread of the H1N1 virus but Shprygin said he expected at least several hundred fans would go to Wales for the September 9 qualifier in Cardiff.

"Health officials say this virus is very dangerous but being a fan myself I can tell you that for a real fan nothing is more important than the well-being of the team," said Shprygin, who also sits on the executive board of the Russian FA.

"Russian fans don't fear anything or anybody so this virus will not stand in our way of supporting our team."

The Russian FA also said health issues should not prevent fans from traveling.

"We don't want our team to be without any support for such an important match so we urge our fans to go to Wales despite the health warning," a spokesman said.

Germany lead European Group Four with 16 points from six games, one ahead of Russia, with Wales in fourth place on nine points from seven matches.

VIRGINIA'S TOP RACEHORSE BACK ON TRACK

It didn't look like a track record, but it was...

And just when it appeared there wasn't a three-year-old in the country who could run with super-filly Rachel Alexandra, Edward P. Evans' Virginia-bred Quality Road returned from a four-month hiatus to register a record-setting 2 1/4-length victory over Capt. Candyman Can in Monday's $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes Gr.II at Saratoga.

Quality Road, the likely favorite in this year's Kentucky Derby before being sidelined by reoccurring quarter cracks, covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:13.45.

The timer stopped him at 1:07.22 for six furlongs, a time so fast that folks had to wonder if it was correct. The track record for six furlongs at Saratoga is a long-standing 1:08 by Virginia-connected Spanish Riddle. The officials went back and hand timed the race and confirmed the time.

His final time shattered the course record set by Topsider in 1979 by nearly a full second. Quality Road, by Elusive Quality out Kobla by Strawberry Road, who was transferred from trainer Jimmy Jerkens to Todd Pletcher's barn, set the record despite stumbling at the start and racing wide throughout the race.

Simply put, Quality Road, who is a very cool customer pre-race, is so fast he doesn't look fast.
"Any time you run a horse for the first time with his potential, you want everything to go well, and we were hoping he'd run just as well for us as he had for Jimmy," said Pletcher. "He stumbled at the start and it took him a while to recover and get the position we'd hoped he'd be in. From there, he got the trip.

"Racing wide was not a concern," Pletcher added, "because with a big horse and the long stride he has, you want to let him do his thing and not have anything get in his way."
Pletcher has said all along that he was using the Amsterdam as a stepping-stone to the Grade 1 Travers, and a potential matchup with Rachel Alexandra.

"I have tremendous respect for the filly, she's a phenomenon," said Pletcher, whose colt Munnings finished third to Rachel Alexandra the previous afternoon in the Haskell. "With a stable our size, chances are we're going to run into her somewhere along the line, and if we do, we'd like it to be with our best horse."

Click on the chart for a better look.

MONDAY’S MENU FROM CHEZ DINICH’S LUNCHTIME LINKS

Happy August, ACC fans. Here we go:

*Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich can see himself playing football again in 2010, and he's got reason to believe.

*BC quarterback Dave Shinskie has already heard most of the old-timer jokes, but he's taking it all in with a smile and a laugh. Adjusting to college, though, has been a bit of a shock to his system.

*Ask Paul Johnson what Georgia Tech has done under his watch, and aside from beating Georgia, he'll tell you "nothing." The Jackets still have some unresolved issues to address this summer, and it starts today.

*Here are five questions to ponder as summer camps begin in the ACC.

*Tom O'Brien and Butch Davis get along much better than their predecessors did, but which program really has the edge? NC State does, if you're strictly speaking quarterbacks. Bobby Bowden said Russell Wilson might be the most dangerous quarterback in the country. It's true. But can he stay healthy?

*Here are five newcomers who could have an immediate impact for Clemson.

*Just when it looked like FSU's tight ends might be free to help out more in the passing game than in the blocking, one of them might have to slide into the fullback role.

*Can Virginia ever be a powerhouse in football? AD Craig Littlepage says there can be a "sustained level of success" in all of the Cavaliers' programs.

*Wake Forest scored another recruit from Pahokee. The Deacs will be looking for a little more balance offensively this fall, and they've got the players to do it.

MICHAEL VICK’S WELCOME HOME PARTY POSTPONED…WHAT NEXT, TAXES, DEATH?

Seriously, some bunch of knuckleheads are going to throw a party for Michael Vick. Rumor has it there was going to be a parade of injured dogs – just kidding.

But seriously, we aren't calling the Southern Christian Leadership Conference "knuckleheads" in a general way, just "knuckleheaded" about this. Like them, we support the notion that Vick deserves a second chance and has a right to work. After all, a number of NFL players have done worse to actual people (including themselves!), and they are given a chance to reform and earn a living.

However, this rally, while intended to be a show of support reinforcing those concepts, will ultimately only bring on additional unwanted publicity. Remember, P.E.T.A.'s headquarters are in Norfolk, VA about 20 minutes from Newport News. We call that "asking for trouble."

On Monday, the organizers of the gig in Newport News, VA said the hometown celebration was “postponed” due to a conflict. The “Michael Vick Community Celebration” scheduled for Saturday will be held later because the job-hunting former NFL quarterback has an event that day in Atlanta with the Humane Society of the United States.

Vick has been conditionally reinstated in the NFL after completing a 23-month federal sentence for running a dogfighting ring. The Newport News celebration was to be his first announced public event since his freedom.

Andrew Shannon, president of the Peninsula chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said organizers were committed to celebrating Vick’s return to the community and would not be swayed by negative public opinion.
After the event was publicized late Friday, Shannon said he received calls early Saturday from supporters and “from people who love animals” who were critical of the celebration.

“We want to say as an organization we’re not intimidated and we won’t waver in our support of Michael Vick,” Shannon said. “We believe in forgiveness and we believe in redemption so we believe that Mr. Vick should be able to move forward with his life and make a livelihood.”

Twenty-six NFL teams have said they’re not interested in signing the 29-year-old, with the remaining six declining to comment or not ruling him out.

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

TOUR DE CHEESE HEADS. Football season is almost here as indicated by scenes like these that play out every August.




Dean Muhtadi #64, Jarrett Bush #24 and Korey Hall #35 of the Green Bay Packers ride bicycles to practice at summer training camp on August 3, 2009 at the Ray Nitschke Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.




Below, Anthony Toribio #93 of the Green Bay Packers rides a bicycle to practice and is followed by a fan carrying his helmet.

Dude, get a bigger bike.



(Photos by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Monday, August 3, 2009

FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL SHUT OF ACC ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD

N.C. State golfer Matt Hill and North Carolina women's soccer player Casey Nogueira were named the ACC's male and female athletes of the year, the conference announced last week.

Hill was the 2009 individual champion and won eight tournaments in the past year, easily eclipsing the previous ACC record of five. A junior, Hill will receive the Anthony J. McKevlin Award, named in honor of a former sports editor of the News & Observer. He is the first golfer ever to win the award.

He is the second golfer in NCAA history to win conference, regional and national titles in the same year. Tiger Woods was the other, in 1996.

Nogueira led her team to an NCAA title and was named national player of the year. She is a senior from Raleigh and will receive the Mary Garber Award, named for the Winston-Salem Journal reporter who was a pioneer for female sports journalists. Nogueira led the nation with 25 goals, including both of the Tar Heels' goals in their 2-1 defeat of Notre Dame in the NCAA championship match.

The awards were determined by voting of 49 members of the Atlantic Sports Media Association. Each school in the conference nominated one male and one female athlete for consideration.

DUKE HOPES "ELITE" CAMP WILL STOP RECRUITING SLIDE

By Robbi Pickeral/Charlotte Observer-Raleigh News & Observer

Duke has had trouble sealing the deal with top recruits the past several seasons. It hopes to do better by holding its first “elite” camp this month.

The two-day event is a new-but-scrutinized tool for Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, who until now has avoided hosting the on-campus sweat-fests that usually include the top two dozen or so invited prospects a program is recruiting.

The camps are a legal way to get prospects on campus for unofficial visits. But as reported by CBSSports.com last summer, they also allow for several loopholes to NCAA rules – such as paying prospects' influential AAU coaches to work at the event and allowing surprisingly low camp tuition.

A team spokesman said that Duke, which is charging $100 for overnight campers, will not be using AAU coaches at its High-Performance Basketball Camp Aug. 22-23. He also said that all other aspects of the camp, including the cost of rooms and meals, were cleared through the school's compliance office.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

PRE-SEASON ALL-CONFRENCE TEAMS ARE…WELL…MEANINGLESS

The Tim Tebow-Steve Spurrier idiotic controversy recently when the Old Ball Coach left the damn-near-walks-on-water-superstar quarterback off the S.E.C. pre-season all conference team should have been a lesson about how meaningless these list really are.

Done entirely for promotion of the league and its players, the pre-season all conference teams sometimes miss the mark completely. Remember 2008 and Clemson QB Cullen Harper?
Having said that, here’s the 2009 squad:

OFFENSE
Position-Player-School-Votes-Notes
QB Russell Wilson, NC State, 31, 2008 1st-team All-ACC, ACC Rookie of the Year
RB Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech, 41, 2008 ACC Player of the Year,2009 Preseason Player of the Year
RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson, 38, Needs 921 all-purpose yards for ACC record
WR Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech, 15, Had more than half of Tech's catches
WR Jacoby Ford, Clemson, 31, 2nd among active ACC players in yds, catches
TE Greg Boone, Virginia Tech, 32, 22 catches for 278 yards
OT Jason Fox, Miami, 32, Graded out at 97% for the year
OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, 26, 2008 second-team All-ACC
OG Sergio Render, Virginia Tech, 25, 2008 second-team All-ACC, 39 career starts
OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State, 32, Named to 2009 Lombardi Trophy watch list
C Matt Tennant, Boston College, 23, On 2009 watch list for Rimington Trophy
PK Matt Bosher, Miami, 34, Made 18-of-20 FGAs; 2008 2nd Team All-ACC

DEFENSE

DE Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech, 25, Recorded 18.5 tackles for loss, 2008 2nd-team All-ACC
DE Willie Young, NC State, 21, Credited with 65 QB pressures in his career
DT Vince Oghobaase, Duke, 34, Lott Trophy finalist has started 36 straight games
DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina, 25, Interception return for a TD and blocked PAT
LB Dekoda Watson*, Florida State, 34, 28 tackles in final four regular-season games
LB Quan Sturdivant*, North Carolina, 28, Led the nation in unassisted tackles (87)
LB Alex Wujciak*, Maryland, 18, 13th nationally in total tackles (10.2 per game)
CB Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, 21, T-11 nationally in passes defended per game (1.27)
CB Kendric Burney, North Carolina, 13, Credited with 78 tackles
S Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech, 34, Preseason All-American by 3 sources
S Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech, 31, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 INT
P Travis Baltz, Maryland, 38, Led ACC in punting average (41.1)
Specialist: C.J. Spiller, Clemson

*Doesn’t have cancer. Simply put, if Boston College’s Mark Herzlich isn’t fighting cancer, one of these guys doesn’t make the list.

GIRLS RULE, BOYS DROOL

Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra made easy work of the boys again winning the $1.25 million Haskell Invitational by a widening six lengths. About 24 hours earlier, Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird came up short again in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby Gr.II finishing third to Soul Warrior and Big Drama.

If you want to see how good she is just watch the video. When her jock asks her to really run at the head of the lane, it’s like Rachel has a rocket booster – she simply runs away from the boys making it look very…VERY…very easy. Is she the best racehorse we've seen in a long while? Simply put, yes.

Although pouring rain turned Monmouth Park’s main track into slop, it did not deter Rachel against six colts in the $1.25 million race. With Calvin Borel aboard, the 3-year-old sensation swept past the leader Munnings around the far turn and finished a length short of the Haskell record margin of seven lengths set by Bluegrass Cat in 2006.

As Rachel crossed the finish line, Borel saluted the crowd.

“This filly is just unbelievable. I can’t say how good she is,” said the jockey who has been aboard Rachel during her eight-race winning streak. “I gave her a few taps at the 16th-pole, that’s it. I just wanted to keep her focused with a couple of taps. She started looking around at the crowd, so I just wanted to keep her busy.”

Jockey Mike Smith, took Mine That Bird back as Big Drama opened a ten length lead going down the backstretch. Concerned that front runner was poised to steal the race, Smith moved the late closing gelding a bit earlier than usual and he didn’t have quite enough left to catch the tiring Big Drama and the closing Soul Warrior.

Both horses are tentatively scheduled to run next in the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga later this month.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

MARYLAND MAJOR. Former Terp golf coach Fred Funk won the U.S. Senior Open adding to the ACC golf luster not long after former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Stewart Cink won the British Open.

Here, Funk reacts after just missing a putt on the 16th hole at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana.


(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

LAST SHOT? Tiger Woods cruised to his easiest victory of the year, getting away with an awful round to open the Buick Open and an average one to hold off a weak field.

Woods shot a 3-under 69 and coasted to a three-shot victory with a 20-under 268 total at Warwick Hills, which hosted its first Buick Open in 1958 and seemed to stage its final one Sunday at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club on August 2, 2009 in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Woods won the tournament with a final score of 20 under par.

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

NICE CATCH? England fielder Alastair Cook (l) reaches to catch a ball off the bat of Australia's Mike Hussey (r) on the fifth day of the third Ashes cricket test between England and Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England on August 3, 2009.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

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