Fan Fighting League: Syracuse Squares Off With Notre Dame!

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YouTube
I attended the University of Notre Dame from the football seasons of 1987 through 1990. During that time, I saw a Heisman Trophy winner, a national championship, and a lot of really good football.

In my student lifetime there, I attended every home game and sat in the student section, and since graduating, I've attended at least a few dozen more home games and sat in the regular civilian areas. So I can say, with a massive amount of experiential equity, that Notre Dame is largely (compared to other major college football crowds) a wine and cheese kind of crowd.

Yes, the House That Rock Built can get loud, even disruptive under the proper circumstances, but it's never somewhere that you're fearful of engaging in any hand to hand combat.

Put it this way -- in what's easily been between 50 and 60 games in the stadium, I've never seen an actual fistfight, which is an astonishing streak for that much major college football, until you realize that people at Notre Dame games who get drunk are generally more the jovial or frustrated kind of drunks, not the belligerent kind.

So that's my preface for the next chapter in the 2014 Fan Fighting League -- a short donnybrook at the Notre Dame-Syracuse football game last Saturday night.

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Zapruder Analysis of the "Wives of the SEC" Feature on GameDay

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Screenshot from GameDay's YouTube page
ESPN's College GameDay is the gold standard for preview/studio shows. While I state this as opinion, by almost any statistical measurement, it is practically fact.

The show attracts a couple million viewers every Saturday morning, draws another several thousand to whatever venue the traveling roadshow brings the circus to each week, and generally calibrates the topical college football discussion for every Saturday in the fall. It is essentially a living, breathing organism.

It's become so successful through the years that it's evolved into a three-hour show, so there is a ton of content, most of it really, really good.

Saturday's show was done live from Columbia, South Carolina, in advance of the Missouri-South Carolina game, and the most discussed feature, without a doubt, was this six-minute video about the life of a coach's wife in the SEC:



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On Cusp of NBA Season, Rockets-Mavericks Rivalry Is Going Next Level

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Monica Fuentes
As much as we'd all like to get along, as much as life becomes easier with peace and harmony, there is no doubt that conflict stokes people.

Many of you reading this live in the great state of Texas, where conflict is inherently baked into our opinions on the state as a whole and our respective cities within the state. Houston hates San Antonio, San Antonio hates Houston, and everyone hates Dallas. Hell, conflict is the basis for our state's catchphrase, for Willie Nelson's sake!

Don't mess with Texas.

Our state is one big people stew of various flavors of the "likes to fight" guy. Don't mess with our city, don't mess with our state. So in the one professional sport where the state has more than two teams (and that third team just happens to be the best in the world at that sport), it's fun to see leadership for a couple of the teams get feisty and personal.

Yes, the NBA season is here, and if the quotes from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey are any indication as to how his players and coaches feel about the Dallas Mavericks, then (to quote WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross) business is, by GAWD, about to pick up!

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College Football, Week 5: The Weekend in Tweets, Vines and YouTube

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colorblindPICASO
September is almost over, and this week the calendar will flip to October, which is the de facto beginning of fall, and in college football, the de facto beginning of the real regular season.

Yes, we've seen a rise in the number of power conference teams willing to take on other prominent power conference teams outside of the conference, and will continue to see that trend grow in years to come. But there's nothing quite like conference play kicking in full bore.

Starting next week, we should be seeing at least two or three games every weekend that are College Football Playoff shaping types of match ups, virtual elimination games that will be legacy shaping for many of the coaches and certainly some of the players involved.

Like this coming weekend, for example, is a practical playoff weekend in the SEC West, with six teams ranked in the top 15 facing off. The match ups are as follows:

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The 2014 Houston Astros: The Good and The Bad

Categories: Baseball, Sports

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The Astros haven't made the World Series yet, but the team's definitely better
And so another Astros season is in the books. Another season of good, and bad, of head-shaking stupidity and inexplicable thinking. Of outstanding individual performances and huge steps back. The team made the cover of Sports Illustrated, which projected the Astros would win the World Series in 2017. But it's still 2014, so let's take a quick look at some highlights and lowlights of the season.

THE HIGHLIGHTS:

1. The Astros won 70 games, a 19-game improvement over last season. The team didn't lose 100-plus games for the first time in four seasons, and the team finished in front of the Texas Rangers in the AL West standings. The Astros were only the fourth worst team in the majors this season, beating out not only the Texas Rangers, but also the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

2. Diminutive second baseman Jose Altuve entered the Astros record book. He owns the team record for most hits ever in a season. He's also the first Astro to ever win a batting title, playing (despite the express wishes and orders of the Astros front office) yesterday to hold off Detroit's Victor Martinez. Altuve played nearly every game this season, and he was an All-Star.

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Texans 23, Bills 17: Four Winners, Four Losers

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Photo by Groovehouse
Sunday's game proved J.J. Watt is a great PASOP
The way the Texans' 2014 schedule lays out, given the caliber of opponent they've played, the first quarter of the season looked a lot like the same portion of many college teams' schedules -- a few non-divisional opponents, one of them (as it turns out) that's pretty good, the remainder being lower level teams the Texans should beat.

And that's how it played out, because here they sit at 3-1. So, in theory, as well as according to oddsmakers (the Texans have been favored in all three wins and a slight underdog in their one loss), the Texans are right where they should be.

However, if you're looking for a specific positive takeaway from Sunday's hideously beautiful 23-17 win over a feisty Buffalo Bills squad (who was also looking to go 3-1, incidentally), it's that the Texans found a different way to win an ugly football game.

Here's what I mean...


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NFL: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Parker Anderson
Last weekend was an amazing bounce back weekend for me.

After back to back 2-4 stinkers, the doubters began creeping out of the woodwork again. Actually, to say they crept out of the woodwork would imply they were hiding and then being somewhat subtle about their lack of faith in my prognosticating skills.

It was actually the opposite of that.

They've been pretty much taunting me all season long, reminding me that I barely cracked the 40 percent mark last season, and telling me about the wings they added to their respective homes by going against me from October on last year. There was even a hashtag of #FadeSean making the rounds on Twitter.

So how did I respond? Like a goddamn CHAMP, that's how! 5-1, bitches! FIVE AND ONE. And there's a whole lot more where that came from. I could go on and on about how proud I am, but I'm going to let high school football star and future inspirational speaker Apollos Hester speak for me...

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The Chron's Evan Drellich Does a Great Job With a Tough Beat

Categories: Baseball, Sports

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In which I say nice things about the Houston Chronicle
I remember a Astros game from way back in the early 1990s, back when the team was really bad, but rebuilding. I don't remember the exact year, or the exact day beyond it being a midweek day game against the Montreal Expos (I think it's this game). The Dome was empty and lifeless, and the game wasn't on television. I remember the game because of a Ken Caminiti play, Caminiti drifting under a pop foul, falling into the stands to make the catch and the out.

It was a spectacular play. One of those plays that's makes even jaded video guys and sportswriters stand up and loudly applaud. The next day I checked the Houston Chronicle, and the game story by Neil Hohlfeld captured the play, and the game, in vivid color. I saw the play in person, but the description of the play was such that even if I hadn't been there, I'd be able to recreate the thing in my head.

Hohlfeld, who died several years ago, was always my favorite Chronicle beat writer. He was on the beat before everything went internet, but he had the ability to capture the game, to keep readers on top of the news about the team, better than just about anybody who posts day-to-day on the web. He didn't try to curry favor with management, or ownership, or with the players -- not that I could tell, at least. I even remember the team fan club getting mad at him when he mocked some of their banners that hung in the Dome.

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ESPN's Bill Simmons Dares His Bosses to Suspend Him, So They Do

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Don't play chicken with ESPN. You'll lose..
Inside the figurative collective "building" that is ESPN, there are few people more powerful than Bill Simmons.

As editor of the popular long-form writing haven Grantland, erstwhile podcaster and television personality (formerly NBA studio show, soon to be his own NBA show with Jalen Rose), Simmons has his hands in numerous highly profitable, high-profile projects that generate millions in revenue and viewership/readership.

In short, Bill Simmons makes money for ESPN. Lots of it. Therefore, he seemingly has a longer leash than many of his peers and counterparts when it comes to discipline.

This past week, Simmons pushed the limits of his employer's seeming latitude to the extreme with this rant about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:

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Texans Draft Woes Continue, Louis Nix III Heads to Injured Reserve

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We'll have to wait until at least 2015 to see Nix take the field.
It's too early to tell if the Texans' last couple of draft classes are cursed, just not that good or some combination of those two things.

The one thing that is undeniable is that, on the whole, it's hard to find another team in the NFL (certainly a team that is 2-1 and favored to win in Week 4 at home this weekend) that is getting less from its rookie and second-year draft picks, assuming they're still even with the team anymore, than the Houston Texans.

Aside from DeAndre Hopkins and, for the first few weeks this season, D.J. Swearinger, under-performance and injury have been the norm for the draft classes of 2013 and 2014, and based on Bill O'Brien's comments the past few weeks, you could argue that rookie nose tackle Louis Nix III encapsulated both of those things.

Texans fans have been waiting for the 350-pounder to get on the field. The wait will continue until at least 2015, as the Texans placed Nix on injured reserve late this morning.

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