USC shrugs off sanctions, lands No. 1 recruiting class

February 4, 2015 – 9:33 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Iman Marshall

Whatever Steve Sarkisian and his staff at USC are doing, it’s working because in their first year free of harsh NCAA sanctions, the Trojans landed the nation’s top recruiting class. For the first time since 2012, USC was able to take a full class of recruits and made the most of those scholarships, putting together a group for the ages.

Both Scout and Rivals – the generally accepted best recruiting websites – put the Trojans at the top of this year’s recruiting rankings after a signing day haul that included multiple five-star commitments.

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Was Super Bowl XLIX An Inside Job?

February 2, 2015 – 4:50 am by Hickey

pete carroll

In the hours since the stunning conclusion to Super Bowl XLIX, countless commentators, fans and players both retired and current have wondered what on earth the Seattle Seahawks were thinking on their final play call. Rather than give the ball to workhorse running back Marshawn Lynch — a man nicknamed “Beast Mode” — the Seahawks made the baffling decision to throw a slant that was intercepted by rookie defensive back Malcolm Butler to assure the Patriots of their fourth Super Bowl victory.

But the fact of the matter is Seattle’s last play call was so bad that it is more than a little fishy. In fact, the evidence overwhelmingly points in the direction that SUPER BOWL XLIX WAS AN INSIDE JOB.

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Stephen A. Smith responds to Josh Gordon’s letter

January 29, 2015 – 9:49 pm by Ryan Phillips
    stephen-a-smith-josh-gordon

On Thursday, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon wrote an open letter to Charles Barkley, Cris Carter and Stephen A. Smith ripping them for discussing his NFL and legal troubles on the air without actually knowing him personally. Never one to remain silent, Smith went on Cleveland radio Thursday afternoon to respond, and he did so with an epic rant.

Smith absolutely eviscerated Gordon and tore his letter to shreds, saying, “I’m sad for him. It’s pretty pathetic.” The key takeaway from his rant was this: “The fact of the matter is that it’s his actions that got him to this point.” I have rarely (if ever) agreed with Stephen A. Smith, but he is spot on in his take. He also said, “If I come across as disgusted and angry, it’s because I am.” That makes two of us.

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Dana White: Jon Jones vs. Anthony Johnson likely for May

January 28, 2015 – 5:37 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Jon Jones Anthony Johnson

Despite a (very) short stint in rehab for a cocaine problem, it looks like UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones will be defending his title shortly. UFC president Dana White was on the Jim Rome show Wednesday and told the host that Jones will likely fight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at some point in May.

Johnson is coming off of an impressive first-round knockout of top light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson in Sweden last week. He has won nine fights in a row including a decision win over Phil Davis last April and a knockout of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in July.

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Two D-League Teammates Ejected For Fighting Each Other

January 28, 2015 – 2:15 am by Hickey

Jarnell Stokes and Kailin Lucas were ejected from an NBA Developmental League game on Tuesday night after getting into a fight, which by itself does not warrant headlines — until you realize that Stokes and Lucas are teammates, and they got into a fight during a timeout huddle.

What happened to precipitate the skirmish is unclear, because the only thing we have to go on is a blurry, looping video with terribly cheesy background music that I find it impossible to believe a human being took the time to compose. Basically it’s like an old-timey silent movie — in the foreground a ref stands patiently waiting for play to resume, then notices a commotion in the background as the two teammates go at it. Then at the end of the video, the Iowa Energy mascot strolls by covering his mouth with his index finger. All we’re missing is a banana peel accompanied by a slide trombone sound effect.

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Kobe Bryant to undergo shoulder surgery, likely out for season

January 26, 2015 – 5:22 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Kobe Bryant

As expected, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will undergo surgery on his right rotator cuff and is listed as being out indefinitely. The Lakers have not announced a timetable for his return, but in all likelihood, the 36-year-old guard will be out for the rest of the season.

Bryant tore his rotator cuff during a dunk attempt against the New Orleans Pelicans last week and an MRI revealed the tear. The team has expected him to miss the rest of the season since reviewing the MRI. With the Lakers struggling through a terrible season, this is probably the best move for the franchise.

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Bensons play Game of Thrones, New Orleans-style

January 22, 2015 – 11:55 pm by Hickey

tom-benson

The following story is to be filed in the remarkably thin manila folder marked “Be Glad You Weren’t Raised By Rich People.”

The palace intrigue is thick in New Orleans this week as accusations and lawsuits are flying between factions of Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson’s family — i.e. his daughter and grandchildren versus he and his wife who is not their mother/grandmother.

The original chain of succession for ownership upon Benson’s death was supposed to go to his daughter Renee and her children, Rita Benson LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc. Rita had been a Saints executive since 2000 and was vice chairman of the board for the Saints and Pelicans until this week, when her company car and phone were taken away and Benson’s 67-year-old wife Gayle was announced as his successor. She is the 87-year-old Benson’s third wife, with the pair marrying in 2004.

“Gayle will own the teams upon my death and as I noted, Rita will not be involved in the ownership or management in the Saints or Pelicans,” Benson said in a written statement reiterating that his granddaughter is being cut off. “My family, just as they have been for their entire lives, will be taken care of.”

And that’s where the fun begins. The no-longer future owners of the Saints and Pelicans fired back with a lawsuit claiming their grandpappy is mentally incompetent and being manipulated by his gold-digging wife.

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Report: Peyton Manning will return to Denver Broncos in 2015

January 21, 2015 – 5:50 pm by Ryan Phillips

The Denver Broncos can stop holding their collective breath, because they will have their quarterback in uniform next season. According to Woody Paige at The Denver Post, Peyton Manning plans to return to the Broncos next season.

Paige says that Manning won’t make his decision official until after he takes the annual physical examination mandated by his contract, but he’ll be back if everything checks out. Last year the results of his physical were known at the beginning of March and Manning let the Broncos know he planned to return on March 9, which was the day before teams must exercise their rights on veteran players under contract. Manning will turn 39 on March 24 and is due $19 million next season.

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