August 26, 2014

NFL News: Browns’ receiver David Nelson cleared to play

It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see the excitement on David Nelson’s twitter as he’s apparently been cleared to play football. The former Florida Gator and Buffalo Bill was out almost all of last season after tearing a knee ligament in early September.

Nelson is a big receiver at 6′ 5″ and also one of the low risk / high potential reward maneuvers the Browns made this off-season. Nelson was on his way up with the Bills when he hurt his knee a year ago. Prior to injury, Nelson was coming off a 61 catch season with 658 yards receiving and five touchdowns.

As far as the Browns are concerned, they have a lot of unproven players at the position and need any bit of extra depth they can get with Josh Gordon out for the first two games of the year on a suspension.

[Related: Training camp news and notes: Day One in the books]

The Diff: NCAA tournament Sweet 16 odds

Over the month of March, The Diff has been all about college basketball. First, it was the bubble odds, then an update of said bubble odds, and most recently, initial tournament odds. With the Buckeyes tipping off in the Sweet 16 tomorrow night in Los Angeles, I’m back with another round of updates today.

The Diff

On one side of the argument, it was an exciting weekend for upsets and the average college basketball fan. 15 Florida Gulf Coast shocked the world and their jump into the spotlight almost seems like it has to be a Hollywood script. The success of 9 Wichita State, 12 Oregon and 13 La Salle also has been a fun surprise for many, even if their brackets were busted. Which then brings me to the other side of the argument — the success of stat predictions. I warned last week that I’ve never been very good at brackets. And thus far, the stats have been way off. [Read more...]

BCS Update: Kent State smelling Orange Bowl, ineligible Ohio State falls

No one could have seen this year coming for both Kent State and Ohio State football. The Flashes, ye’ of 40 years without a conference championship, appear to be one win away from a historic BCS game. The Buckeyes, who went 6-7 a year ago, managed to go 12-0 with largely the same roster in year one under Urban Meyer.

Just this last weekend, I wrote first about ineligible Ohio State’s rank in an adjusted BCS and then prophetically about Kent State’s possible BCS hopes. Both topics are more timely now than ever.

Kent State benefitted extremely from an incredible nine losses suffered by teams ranked No. 15-25 in last week’s BCS. Thus, after I guessed they’d jump between 2-6 spaces in the standings, they moved up six spots all the way to No. 17, one place away from magic number No. 16. Meanwhile, folks in Buckeye land continue to fantasize about what could have been the BCS result of the sixth undefeated season in school history.

Let’s dig deeper inside both stories for a little Tuesday fun with numbers. [Read more...]

Manti Te’o or Ryan Shazier?

Approximately 2.5 years ago, an undersized linebacker from Plantation, Florida decided to make a commitment to stay in his hometown to play football for the University of Florida. In spite of being somewhat undersized at 205-pounds, he was still a 4-star recruit with an enormous upside because of the intangibles he possessed.

Unquestionably, Ohio State was on the short list of possible schools and was a highly sought after candidate, but home cooking generally wins out. At the time, the coach that he made that commitment to was Urban Meyer. Months later in December of 2010, Urban infamously retired (act 2 of 2) putting a large question mark around the incoming recruit. Only nine days after Urban’s retirement announcement, Ryan Shazier decommitted from the University of Florida notifying The Ohio State University of his verbal acceptance, marking yet another reason for the Urban Meyer love affair.

I haven’t felt so great about being a backup plan since junior prom.

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Young Buckeyes top Gators and pass early season test

It wasn’t a polished performance, there were defensive lapses, offensive holes, and there wasn’t uninterrupted viewing on ESPN2, but what the third ranked Buckeyes did do last night was survive their first true early season test. The Bucks rallied after falling behind by 8 early in the first half to take a 18-point lead in the second half, led by William Buford’s shooting and closed out by Aaron Craft’s toughness, as Ohio State topped #8 Florida 81-74 to move to 2-0 on the season.

Things did not go OSU’s way at the outset. Gator junior forward Erik Murphy drilled three early three pointers and behind that effort, Florida led 14-6 six minutes in. The Bucks gave up 6 first half trey balls in all as their bigger lineup with either starter Deshaun Thomas or reserve Evan Ravenel had trouble closing out on shooters, allowing open looks.

On offense, the Buckeyes looked impatient and flustered. Ironically, no one played that part more at the outset than the lone senior Buford. At the same time, Buford both kept Ohio State in the game with his made jumpers and held them back from generating a true offensive flow to pull away from Florida. In my view, there’s almost no excuse for Sullinger not to touch the ball on every possession. When Buford gets it on the wing, he rarely find an open man and has the shoot-first mentality. However, Buford was the catalyst of the Buckeye run in the second half, scoring 9 points in less than four minutes and helping to extend the lead to its largest margin (18). William finished as the leading scorer with 21 points on 7-of-15 from the field, adding 6 boards and 3 assists. Ravenel added five straight points in that 27-14 run as well.

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Joe Haden Rookie Highlights

In honor of the fact that Joe Haden was selected as a finalist for Rookie of the Year, I thought I would hunt down some of the season highlights to send us off into the weekend with happy thoughts.  Haden is far from a finished product, but he is also far from “too slow” as Michael Lombardi reported earlier in 2010.  For the season, Haden finishes with 64 tackles 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 6 interceptions.  Here is the video evidence.

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What’s Gotten into Matt LaPorta?

The best hitter on the Cleveland Indians not named Choo may only have one at-bat above the five-hole this season.  After a weekend series where he went 6-for-11 with two home runs (one of which was a monster shot to left field) and four RBI, Matt LaPorta’s bat may finally be paying the dividends Mark Shapiro anticipated when acquiring him for the Cy Young-winning CC Sabathia three seasons ago.

The 25-year-old LaPorta has had a roller coaster of a career since being dealt by the Brewers.  Passed over for players like David Dellucci and Jason Michaels, the hard-swinging outfielder-turned-first baseman may have finally cemented his role with the Indians for the foreseeable future. 

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NFL Draft Rumors: Browns to Hold Workout with Tim Tebow

Yesterday’s WWW featured a link regarding former Florida Gator quarterback Tim Tebow and his media festival of a Pro Day.  While all NFL teams were represented in Gainsville (with several potential players running through drills), Tebow had the eye of only a handful of teams that are looking to add a quarterback this off-season – one of which was the Cleveland Browns.

It is now being reported by Matt Hayes of Sporting News that the Browns will be one of five teams to hold a private workout with the Heisman winner. 

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Urban Meyer’s Sudden Retirement Could Affect Ohio State’s Recruiting

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The sudden and tragic announcement that 45-year-old Florida head coach Urban Meyer is stepping down after this season has to be one of the saddest news stories of the year. Citing various health concerns, Meyer shockingly announced to the public Saturday evening that the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati will be his final game as head coach.

An Ohio native, former Bowling Green coach and Ohio State graduate assistant, Meyer has various local connections in the sports world. On another relative matter, it is not yet known what some recruits will do who had previously committed to his Gators football team. Several high school players, including corner back Joshua Shaw of California, recently made their final decision to attend Florida just over Ohio State. Other top tier-prospects such as Palm Beach athlete Matt Elam, brother of Browns safety Abe Elam, could also reconsider their decision because of his impending departure.
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While We’re Waiting… Letters to Lerner, Chris Bosh Unhappy, and Embracing Delonte West

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Phil Savage and Randy LernerDear, Randy… “I know you were given everything in your life and never had to work for anything, thanks to your father, Al. But I have to believe that you at least picked up some semblance of business savvy. Turns out you didn’t. You had Holmgren in town for two days and you did … what? You let him walk out the door with a handshake and your business card. Since business sense seems to elude you, let me put this in a context that will make sense, a quick session in “Sales 101″ if you will.” [No Logo Needed

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OSU Lands Four-Star Floridian WR James Louis

jameslouis-300x216Jim Tressel’s lock on the top area recruits has been met with plenty of applause.  However, his lack of recruiting in the south has tended to draw the ire of many fans, more so during BCS Bowl season as the Buckeyes have had their fair share of losses to SEC teams.

But thus far in the 2010 recruiting efforts, not only has Tressel received 10 verbal commitments, but he has also managed to have one of said verbals be from four-star (per Rivals.com) wide receiver James Louis.  The reason this is worth the mention is not only because Louis is a native of Delray Beach, Florida, but he also gave the commitment to Ohio State while turning down offers from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, and Tennessee among others.  This commitment marks the second straight year where Tressel has been able to nab a wide receiver out of Florida, with Duron Carter (four-star, top 11 WR out of Ft. Lauderdale) joining the Buckeyes this season.

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OSU Football: So You’re Saying There’s a Chance

buckeyes-football-2009Looking over the latest odds to win the 2010 BCS National Championship, I have noticed a few tiers.  The Florida Gators are currently alone at the top.  Following Tim Tebow and Company is the group of Oklahoma, Texas and the USC Trojans.

Then, enter the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Scarlet and Gray are currently at a 12/1, meaning that there is about a seven percent chance that the Buckeyes are holding up that coveted Coaches Trophy when it is all said and done.

The over-under in terms of wins for the Terrelle Pryor show is set at 9.5 games.  If DP’s assertion of a USC win is correct, that allows for minimal slippage the rest of the way.  The Buckeyes travel to Happy Valley this year, which looks to be our toughest conference bout on paper.  They’ll host Wisconsin, then travel to Purdue, which has proven to be historically rough on the Big Ten teams.  Others feel that Iowa could surprise as well.  Without Beanie and the Brians (which could be a killer barbershop trio in about 20 years), are the Bucks primed to drop a game to one of the others?

(h/t TBL)

While We’re Waiting… Magic Fall to 0-2, Florida Gator Arrests, and more Cavs Free Agent Rumors

While We’re Waiting aims to be the round-up of the recent WFNY-esque information for your morning viewing. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email in the sidebar.

courtney-lee-magic-lakers-game-2 

Mean reversion, two weeks too late: “Now the Magic are playing true to form. They look like they don’t belong. They look like they can’t handle the heat of Hollywood’s klieg lights, which was a concern, one Magic assistant coach confided in me before the game. That, he said, was what tripped them up out of the gates in the opener, more so than Kobe’s 40 points. In Game 2, they fell over their own feet. They were tagged with 20 turnovers. Howard, aka Superman, tied with Kobe for a game-high seven turnovers. The difference was Superman’s faux pas came on fewer touches than Kobe’s and his often resulted in more horrific results.” [Kevin Blackistone/FanHouse]

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Your Transitive 2008 NCAA Champions…

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So…You’re Sayin’ There’s a Chance

It happened almost five days ago, and most of us are all still in disbelief about the absolute dismantling that took place at the hands of the Southern California Trojans.  No, we were not favored.  But even the most pessimistic Buckeye fan did not imagine that the Scarlet and Gray would fail to score a touchdown.  Not one.  Senseless penalties, questionable play-calling, and downright lifelessness all lead to the debacle in Los Angeles, California.

The result?  Well, you have a slew of opinions from fans, as well as those who were waiting for the Buckeyes to fail.  Take your pick…We have the comments from our open blog.  We even have the take from our friends over at Eleven Warriors.  And then there are the others

All in all, the consensus among journalists, bloggers and fans of college football: The Buckeyes’ hopes of a National Championship are done.  Kaput.  Finished.  And more often than not, you have a splash of “We told you so.”  Alas, the polls took us down a few rungs as the Associated Press has Ohio State 13th, USA Today places them 14th, and the Coaches Poll is 11th.  Regardless, there are about a dozen teams ahead of Ohio State, and this is all before the BCS even releases their initial take on matters.

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Ohio State Football: SI Cover Jinx?

I’m typically not one to harp on the superstitions of the whole SI cover.  Madden cover, sure.  Just ask Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb.  But SI?  Not at all.  The Browns’ Jamal Lewis made the cover last year and the Browns put up one of the more memorable seasons in recent history.  But how often does the #2 team make the cover, with one, three and four being on the inside flap?  Not that I’m complaning… [Read more...]