Bruin football gathers steam

first_imgThink about it for a moment. In all sincerity, do you, at present, feel comfortable with the state of USC’s football program? Are you confident its trajectory points upward? Do its best days, in fact, lie ahead?Are you absolutely confident in a head coach that flirts with the ethical line for the sake of maintaining a so-called competitive advantage? Are you confident NCAA sanctions won’t leave more than a scratch on the windshield?Don’t answer yet. Sit. Think about it all for at least another minute or two.Now again, do you, in all honesty, view this season as the stepping stone to something higher?It’s rivalry week in Los Angeles, where the annual crosstown showdown pits the city’s two premier college football programs against each other on the gridiron. USC and UCLA square off at the Rose Bowl on Saturday afternoon in a nationally televised showdown. So we ask ourselves these questions as a State-of-the-Union-like examination. And perhaps, ever since UCLA forecasted five years ago the end of Los Angeles’ football monopoly with the now-infamous poster of former coach Rick Neuheisel, we look at this same old topic all the more intently. Who has the upper hand? Is Los Angeles cardinal, or is it blue?Recent results illustrate the obvious. It’s been an ’SC town, at least lately. The Trojans have won 12 of the last 13 games against UCLA and have been serious contenders for the conference and national title for much of the last decade. Arguing otherwise — especially in the wake of last season’s 50-0 shellacking at the Coliseum — seems pointless.But mind you, this marks the first time since 2001 that UCLA, No. 17, is ranked higher than USC, No. 18. And the Bruins sport the better record to boot at 8-2 overall.“He’s ranked ahead of us in his first year,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said of the Bruins’ freshman head coach, Jim Mora, during Sunday night’s teleconference with reporters. “He’s doing really well over there.”The records to this point don’t suggest too much, but they do highlight a rather evident trend: These two teams are as close as they’ve been in recent memory.For years we’ve been wondering if UCLA would ever gain some sort of an upper hand in a rivalry that’s stayed particularly one-sided since the turn of the century. Now that the Bruins hold the advantage in the national rankings, we must recognize the significance of what a UCLA win over USC would be come Saturday: It would tip the scale in the direction of Westwood. It’d serve as a springboard for Mora and Co., while marking an irreparably disappointing 2012 season for Kiffin’s bunch.Kiffin, during his short tenure at USC, has been hampered by one controversy and one road block after another. Less than six months on the job, the program was hit with sanctions, then he was the target of a lawsuit filed by the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. In year two, an assistant coach resigned following ties to street agent Willie Lyles, the center of an NCAA probe. And in year three, the year the program was expected to take the defining leap, too much attention has been wasted on off-the-field distractions such as Kiffin storming out of a press conference, the jersey switching and the scolding for deflating game balls.If anything, UCLA seems to have karma working in its favor.On this side of town, the Trojans are also set to face some pressing challenges in the next couple years. Their next two recruiting classes will be smaller by a combined 20 fewer players, leaving those players free to enroll elsewhere — say, at UCLA.And many of the apparent on-the-field problems during Kiffin’s tenure have only lingered: poor tackling, poor game management and an inability to contain spread offenses still plague the team.These are real challenges USC faces in the final stretch of 2012, and heading into next year, these same challenges won’t disappear. At some point, they’ll need to be tackled, but it doesn’t bode well considering they’ve only been accentuated in recent months and seemingly made worse.The fact of the matter remains: USC, which carries just one victory over a team with a winning record after 10 games, has underachieved. UCLA, meanwhile, with Mora at the helm, has found a new dynamic quarterback in redshirt freshman Brett Hundley and has moved within grasp of a 10-win season, while using many of the same players that were a part of last season’s debacle versus USC. So yeah, by comparison, the Bruins have overachieved.There is plenty at stake: Whoever wins Saturday clinches a spot in the Pac-12 title game as the South representative. There is plenty that can change the flavor of the rivalry. There is plenty to suggest the programs are walking in different directions.Streaks don’t last forever. “The 19th Hole” runs Tuesdays. If you would like to comment on this story, visit or email Joey at read more

Liverpool to take on Stoke later

first_imgThey play the first leg of the tie – with Jurgen Klopp’s visitors still missing Daniel Sturridge and captain Jordan Henderson.Stoke have only lost once in their last six home games.Tomorrow, Everton welcome Manchester City.last_img

Busy day of intercounty action to come

first_imgThere’s also an Ulster Hurling Championship semi-final double header at the Athletic Grounds.Derry face Antrim at 5pm while Down go up against Armagh at 7pm.Tyrone and Cavan will be aiming to book their place in the Ulster Football Championship final.They go head to head in their semi-final in Clones from 2pm.They meet in the championship for the first time since 2005 when Tyrone won an Ulster semi-final replay after the sides had drawn six days earlier.In Round 1A of the football qualifiers, Leitrim face Waterford at Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada at 2pm.They meet in the championship for the first time. Offaly and Galway will lock horns in their semi-final at O’Moore Park at 3:30pm.Galway are bidding to reach the Leinster final for the fifth time since joining the province in 2009.Offaly last reached the final in 2004.last_img read more

Second place is at stake for Liverpool tonight

first_imgLiverpool can move within six points of Premier League leaders Chelsea with a win over Merseyside rivals Everton tonight. Victory at Goodison Park would take Jurgen Klopp’s side up to second in the table. The Liverpool boss says a derby such as this one can’t really be played down. Kick-off is at 8pm.Meanwhile, Leicester City say they’ll appeal Jamie Vardy’s sending off during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Stoke.last_img

Betsafe unveils Manchester City versus Saracens challenges

first_img Premier League looks to broadcast every behind-closed-door fixture August 28, 2020 Spotlight ups matchday commentary reach and capacity for new EPL Season August 21, 2020 Share Submit Share StumbleUpon Related Articles Successful summer leaves Leadstar positive over industry’s recovery August 18, 2020 It’s being billed as the “battle of the English sporting giants,” as leading players from Football and Rugby Union go head to head.Manchester City and Saracens are set to compete in the ‘Overcome the Odds’ series, which has been created by Betsafe, who sponsor both of the sides.Taking part for the runaway Premier League leaders are Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho, Danilo and Nicolas Otamendi, while Jamie George, Richard Barrington, Schalk Burger and Ben Spencer participate for the current European Rugby champions.Two former stars return to captain the two sides, with ex Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given and ex Saracens forward Jim Hamilton taking charge respectively.Nicola Fitton, Managing Director for Betsafe UK, Ireland and ROW, said: “Football vs Rugby is a debate that is had throughout the UK. “As Manchester City and Saracens are both at the top of their respective sports, we wanted to push them both as far as we could to find out if they have what it takes to Overcome The Odds in a series of fun and engaging situations, which will be unveiled across the next few weeks. Betsafe are immensely proud of our association with both clubs.”Part one of the series is titled ‘The Drop,’ and sees Man City players tasked with controlling balls of different shapes and sizes, which are being dropped from 20ft, and trapping them into a tiny marked out space to complete the challenge.Future challenges will see players taking shots at goal in the face of a wind machine and catching balls through a wall of smoke.You can watch Manchester City compete in The Drop below.last_img read more

“Adopt female teams to help fight rape and teenage pregnancy” – Samira Suleman

first_imgBlack Queens star, Samira Suleman has urged Ghana Premier League clubs to set up female teams to help get rid of teenage pregnancy and rape in the society.The 28-year-old believes that but for football, many girls will be at the mercy of the streets where they will be exposed to the dangers such a terrain presents.In an interview with GH Footy Show, the former Hasaacas Ladies striker said the women’s league is not lucrative, however, it is one way to eradicate teenage pregnancy and rape cases in the country.“I know there isn’t much money in the men’s game, but if they adopt women’s football clubs (it will help),” Suleman told FMIG. For instance, Liberty sets up Liberty Ladies, because women’s football clubs mostly are owned by individuals. Their financial might isn’t much strong so they suffer a lot. It’s like they’ve taken us as their adopted children and catering for us all this while.“I know no club will sign us to play abroad for any big transfer fee, but taking us off the streets by playing football alone is a major social intervention,” she noted. One way to tackle teenage pregnancy and rape cases are by having women’s football clubs where you can house/accommodate players in a clubhouse. Look at Hasaacas Ladies, Ampem Darkoa. Some won’t even play to the national level but engaging in women’s football will help mould them and project them to a certain extent.“Sadly, most people do stuff in Ghana for financial gains primarily. But if they look at that, then it means the women’s football won’t get the needed support. So I will plead with them to readily offer us the needed help.” Samira Suleman concluded.Samira Suleman currently plies her trade at Icelandic club Víkingur Ólafsvík.last_img read more

Ghana U20 star Salifu relishing Club Africain challenge

first_imgGhana midfielder Seidu Salifu says he is ready for the challenge ahead after his switch to Tunisian giants Club Africain.The former Wa All Stars player completed his move after signing a four year deal in an undisclosed fee.The 19 year old was linked to so many European clubs following his impressive performance at this year’s FIFA U20 World Cup where Ghana finished third in Turkey.According to Seidu Salifu he is happy with the move and is keen on impressing his new coach Adrie Koster.“I feel very happy and great for this move to Club Africain which is a big club in Africa,” said Salifu in an exclusive interview with Joy sports“I’m always ready for the challenge and as a player you should always do your best wherever you find yourself. “I have to adapt to their style of play gradually and I believe I can fit in the team.last_img read more

With season-opener against Oklahoma City looming, J.J. Redick says Clippers need to start executing

first_imgRivers pulls no punchesRivers, whose confident mannerisms would make one think there is rarely anything wrong, was quite honest when he was asked to talk about the progress his team might have made during the preseason.“I don’t know if we’ve had progress or not,” he said. “I’m happy that we had a team together and we did all our stuff. But I think that we’ll know who we are and where we should be opening night and the next night (against the Lakers). We were happy with preseason last year and we lost the first game of the year (to the Lakers). So if I could do it over, I would rather have had a terrible preseason and then won that first game. That’s why I don’t overdo preseason.” Some early home cookingThe Clippers will play eight of their first nine games at Staples Center. One of those is officially an “away” game Friday against the Lakers. The one true away game during that stretch will come Nov. 5 at Golden State.Backup post Spencer Hawes believes this early stretch is vital.“We have got an important week of practice coming up here to get things going in the right direction,” said Hawes, the Clippers’ backup post, after the Clippers lost to the Portland Trail Blazers in their final exhibition game Friday. “We have got to hit the ground running. We have the opportunity here starting the season with a pretty long stretch at home and we have to take advantage of that.”Chomping at the bitThe look in point guard Chris Paul’s eyes told the story when he was asked his thoughts about the beginning of the regular season, which opens tonight for six of the league’s 30 teams.“No question,” he said Monday. “I can’t wait until (tonight) to actually sit there and watch games, and see it. Everybody’s going to try to get off to a good start. But there is nothing like starting the regular-season games. You’re excited.”This and thatThe Thunder will be without forward Kevin Durant on Thursday. He’s out with a fractured right foot. … Rivers said Jamal Crawford will be ready for the opener. He sat out Friday for precautionary reasons. Crawford said he was just a bit “banged up.” … Glen “Big Baby” Davis (groin strain) won’t be ready for the opener, Rivers said. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error One thing about this Clippers team, it does not seem worried about it’s less-than-impressive preseason, during which it won just two of eight exhibition games. The players are loose at practice and seem to be in a good mood. The same can be said for coach Doc Rivers.For example, shooting guard J.J. Redick was asked Monday morning before practice if the preseason seemed like it zipped by in a flash.“No, it seemed like a very long preseason,” said Redick, whose team opens the regular season Thursday against Oklahoma City at Staples Center. “Partly because of my sleeping pattern given my newborn at home. Longest preseason ever, for sure.”A lot of diaper changes? One reporter suggested. Redick laughed, as did everyone else. Then the new dad of a two-month-old son got serious.center_img “Well, you know, we didn’t have a great preseason,” he said. “Lost several games and didn’t play well in a few games. Our team is in a good place. But we need to use these next few days to prepare and get ready for when it counts.”Redick talked about the key to meeting that goal.“I think the big word for the next few days will be execution, both defensively and offensively,” he said. “When we were at our best last year and when we are going to be at our best this year, it’s going to be because we execute.”The biggest problems for the Clippers have been on defense. Their perimeter defense was poor in exhibition play, allowing opponents to shoot 41.1 percent (77 of 187) from 3-point range. That percentage was actually sitting at 43.7 (69 of 158) before Portland shot just 8 of 29 (27.6 percent) from 3-point range Friday in its victory over the Clippers in the final exhibition game.The Clippers were atrocious on the boards. Opponents average 46.6 rebounds in exhibition play, the Clippers just 36.1.last_img read more

Pjanić assists for a Goal in the Victory of Juventus against Tottenham

first_imgIn the second round of the International Champions Cup, Juventus defeated Tottenham with a result of 2:1. The BiH national team player Miralem Pjanić debuted in this match and made an assist.Juventus took the lead quite early. Pereyra took away one ball and passed it to Dybala, who scored the leading goal in the fifth minute. Only ten minutes later, after an amazing cross by Pjanić, Benatia scored a goal with his head.In the second half time, Pjanić had a big chance to score a goal in his debut, but from a great situation on the field he shot the ball over the goal. In the 67th minute, Lamela returned the hope to the English team and scored a goal, thus reducing the difference to 2:1.Almost at the end of the match Tottenham had two chances, but they did not manage to tie. Planić played until 66th minute, when he was substituted with Parodi.(Source: read more

Browns fire Freddie Kitchens after one embarrassing season as Cleveland’s coach

first_imgWhen the Browns lost to the Steelers at the beginning of the month, we figured Freddie Kitchens had four games left in the 2019 season to prove he was the right coach for Cleveland in 2020 and beyond.He failed. The Browns now will search for the 22nd coach in franchise history. With the exception of Gregg Williams, who served in an interim role in 2018, no Cleveland coach has managed an overall record of .500 or better since Marty Schottenheimer (.620) in 1984-88. A Browns coach has not led the team to the playoffs since 2002, when Butch Davis’ team fell in the wild-card round to the Steelers.Barring an extreme roster turnover in 2020, the next coach will be working against expectations similar to those that cost Kitchens his job. Of course, based on what we know now about these Browns, at least they won’t be considered a Super Bowl 55 contender.Including Kitchens and his final stats, below is the Browns’ full coaching history.CoachStartEndGamesWinsLossesTiesW-L%Playoff gamesPlayoff winsPlayoff lossesSuper Bowls/championshipsFreddie Kitchens20192019166100.3750000Gregg Williams201820188530.6250000Hue Jackson20162018403361.0880000Mike Pettine201420153210220.3130000Rob Chudzinski20132013164120.2500000Pat Shurmur20112012329230.2810000Eric Mangini200920103210220.3130000Romeo Crennel200520086424400.3750000Terry Robiskie200420045140.2000000Butch Davis200120045924350.4071010Chris Palmer19992000325270.1560000Bill Belichick199119958036440.4502110Jim Shofner199019907160.1430000Bud Carson198919902511131.4602110Marty Schottenheimer198419887144270.6206240Sam Rutigliano197819849747500.4852020Forrest Gregg197519774118230.4390000Dick Modzelewski197719771010.0000000Nick Skorich197119745630242.5542020Blanton Collier1963197011276342.6917341Paul Brown19461962214158488.7671495 On Sunday night, after the Browns lost their season finale against the Bengals to end the year with a 6-10 record, Kitchens was fired after just one season as coach in Cleveland. The 45-year-old became just the second coach in franchise history (Rob Chudzinski in 2013) to be fired after one year. Sunday’s embarrassing loss in Cincinnati evidently was the last straw.MORE: Browns’ best candidates to replace KitchensJust got off the phone with an emotional Freddie Kitchens. He believed he had organizational support. He did not.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 30, 2019“We thank Freddie for his hard work and commitment to this organization but did not see the success or opportunities for improvement to move forward with him as our head coach,” team owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “Our focus is on hiring an exceptional leader for this football team and we will take a comprehensive approach to this process. We are excited about the core players we have to build around and develop and we look forward to bringing in a strong head coach that will put this group of players in the best position to succeed.”Added Browns general manager John Dorsey: “I would like to thank Freddie for his dedication and efforts this past season. We are disappointed in our results and feel a change is necessary. Freddie is a good man and good football coach. We wish he and his family nothing but success.”Kitchens’ firing is the product of two related factors. One was the level of sudden expectations with which the Browns entered the 2019 season, and the other was Kitchens’ apparent inability to manage a talent-stuffed roster in a way that would deliver the desired results. As we noted earlier this month, the coach was getting in the way of a team still trying to learn how to wear the label of playoff contender.When Kitchens was promoted from Browns interim offensive coordinator to head coach in January, the hiring seemed logical given his positive working relationship with quarterback Baker Mayfield. Even when Dorsey stuffed the roster with new talent in the form of Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt, Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson, giving the Browns the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl among AFC teams behind the Patriots and Chiefs, Kitchens held his own, seemingly managing these newfound expectations with ease.Then came the turbulence.Beckham didn’t show up for minicamp. Duke Johnson asked to be traded and eventually was granted his wish despite Kitchens’ reluctance. Through the media, members of the Browns’ staff were warned by Kitchens not to leak info as unidentified sources. Antonio Callaway was suspended. Cleveland lost to Denver when the Broncos started QB Brandon Allen, who had never taken a regular-season NFL snap.Then came the Browns-Steelers brawl. Kitchens said he was embarrassed by Myles Garrett’s swinging a helmet at and hitting Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph in the head, an act that got the defensive end suspended for the rest of the season. A few weeks later, Kitchens wore a T-shirt with the words “Pittsburgh started it” printed across the chest — a reference to the brawl before the teams’ rematch in Pittsburgh.After the Browns lost that game, Kitchens said his shirt wasn’t a factor. Steelers players disagreed. “I know that our coach never would have done anything like that,” Pittsburgh guard Ramon Foster said.These are just a handful of moments that defined a disastrous season for Cleveland. The majority of their wounds were self-inflicted, hence Kitchens’ firing.last_img read more