After a full month of April, in which we saw a UFC card each weekend, these last three weeks have felt much longer. But this Saturday the UFC is back in Brazil with the first of four events in the coming month. The main event will welcome the former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold into the Octagon against a mainstay of the UFC in Vitor Belfort. And with the fight in Vitor’s backyard, Rockhold will certainly have his work cut out for him.
With this being a TV card (and one that isn’t on Fox) the number of big-name fighters is pretty low. But there is still some potential for movement up the UFC Ladder (which you can view here). These fighters have the best chance to climb the ranks of their weight class with a win. Read More…
When I put out the first UFC Ladder last year, my intent was to update the rankings every month. But soon after, I realize how impractical that was. Simply put, every weight class doesn’t have marquee fights each month, so I wanted each ladder update to reflect actual change. So after updating a few weight classes in February, here we are again.
While every ladder update may not be three months in between one another, I certainly wouldn’t expect the next update to come before August. I want to put out ladder updates as the UFC begins a break from title fights, as they are for the month of May. And judging by the schedule of future events (though largely unannounced), the beginning of October seems like a good spot at the moment.
But all of that will be sorted out in the coming months. This month, every weight class has been updated, including the flyweight division for the first time. Also of note is that the entire ladder will now be in one post, because the whole eight separate posts thing was a huge hassle.
We’ll begin with heavyweight…
Seeing as this is only my second time giving a preview of potential ladder movement at a UFC event, I’m not sure if the amount of fighters on each list can tell us anything about the quality of the event, on paper. But I am willing to make the argument that this Saturday’s card, while it should be very exciting, is one of the more inconsequential that we’ve had in the past few months. Read More…
As I’ve said before, the concept of a “weak” or “strong” draft class is an overrated one to me. But when it comes to the 2013 class of wide receivers, many consider it a weaker one than last year’s. As WalterFootball.com explains,
If the two classes were merged, Patterson and Allen would go behind Wright but ahead of Jenkins. Blackmon, Floyd and Wright were all held in higher regard a year ago than Patterson or Allen is currently. Jenkins is at the point where things get interesting. Hopkins, Austin and Hunter could turn into better prospects than Jenkins off of their combine performances. Jenkins was a surprise late first-rounder in the 2012 NFL Draft, and he did nothing as a rookie to justify that lofty draft slot. Read More…
With a UFC events on all four weekends in April, I’m kicking myself for not writing about the first two events. But as a consolation, I thought I’d give a little preview of what to expect on the next UFC Ladder coming out in May. Here’s a look at the fighters on today’s card with the best chances of moving up their divisional ladder with a win. Read More…
When it comes to today’s running backs in NFL, it can be hard to separate what you hear from what you see. What you hear is that running backs simply aren’t valued anymore— teams are passing more now than ever, front offices don’t want to give backs long-term deals, etc. These things are true to some degree. there’s no doubt that the teams are throwing much more than they are running and teams do seem more hesitant to pay the league’s top-tier running backs. Read More…
It’s easy to miss how good a draft really is when there’s a “can’t-miss prospect” involved. Last year at quarterback, it was none other than Stanford product Andrew Luck, who was receiving all of the praise. Scouts such as ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. and numerous others were hailing Luck as a once-in-a-generation prospect. Put another way, his presence in the draft made the Indianapolis Colts part ways with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Not far behind him was Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III who skyrocketed up draft boards after his Heisman Trophy-winning senior year. Now it’s easy to exaggerate how small the gap was between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as prospects now, but prior to the season, there was very little doubt as to who the best quarterback of the two was. Put yet another way, had Andrew Luck not been in the picture last season, would the Colts have parted ways with Peyton Manning? I don’t believe so (early on, Mel Kiper, Jr. didn’t even have Griffin among his top five quarterbacks for 2012). Read More…
With the NFL Draft being one of the biggest sporting events of the year, I was hoping to have more draft-related posts leading up to the first day. But seeing as scouting reports take loads of time and effort (and good ones also require knowledge on scouting), I decided to forgo them. Besides, the scouting process ranks up there with meteorology when it comes to inexact sciences.
But to ignore the buildup to the draft altogether would be senseless. So since I am more interested in how teams tend to pick as opposed to how good players are, that is the premise of the mini-series that I’ll be posting over the next week, called “NFL Draft Trends”.
It’s an analysis of the first round of every NFL Draft, by position, since 1990. Why only the first round? Because in all honesty, that’s all that about 90% of football fans watch religiously or even care about (despite the fact that the best teams pride themselves on finding value throughout the draft). The NFL realized this in 2011, when they finally separated the first round from the second and third and made it a primetime event.
But the first round does more than just showcase the best players available. On a whole, it provides a great idea of how much the league values certain positions over the other. And that’s what I’m concerned about the most. So in each post, which again is broken down by position, you can expect:
- How often players at said position are drafted in the first round, with emphasis on recent years to show how the position is trending as of late. We’re in the midst of a pretty significant shift regarding X’s and O’s, and I’ll do my best to reflect that.
- I’ll then use this information to gauge how many players at the position could be selected in the first round. Though the draft is only 11 days away, a general consensus is only just now being formed by scouts and draft analysts. A lot could still change between now and next Thursday.
- Then I’ll get into the specific players who will likely be selected in the first round at the position. When breaking down the players’ strengths and weaknesses, I’ll use excerpts from some of my most highly-regarded draft analysts. You can check out their full websites in the blogroll on the side of the page.
Of course, I’ll include a few other things in the articles as well. Take a look at the full schedule of analyses below and I hope to see you again on Thursday.
Thursday (April 18): Quarterbacks
Friday (April 19): Running Backs
Saturday (April 20): Receivers & Tight Ends
Sunday (April 21) : Offensive Linemen
Monday (April 22): Defensive Linemen
Tuesday (April 23): Linebackers
Tuesday (April 23): Defensive Backs
When Florida Gulf Coast went up 19-9 midway through the first half, there was a genuine sense of excitement throughout the college basketball world. We see “mid-major” schools go on deep tournament runs, especially in the last seven years, but Florida Gulf Coast is no mid-major—they’re a bonafide small school. They shouldn’t have been anywhere near the Sweet 16, let alone 12 points away from the Elite Eight.
So when the final buzzer sounded and Florida advanced, it was more a sense of order being restored. Yes, we’ll miss the happy-go-lucky demeanor and highlight reel dunks, but this is the time of the tournament where the high seeds reign. Even in a year where we don’t have a great team (one that you see right away and think “I’d be shocked if they don’t go all the way”), the faces of the Elite Eight are familiar ones. Read More…
Coming into this year’s NCAA tournament, many expected an extra dose of “madness” compared to years past. Since mid-season, teams rose to #1 in the rankings only to be upset, oftentimes to unranked foes. More Top 5 teams lost to unranked opponents this season than any season before. Hell, more lost in February than the previous four years total.
With no real “super team” this season, brackets were bound to be broken early. Each region had at least one double-digit seed in the Round of 32. This was great news for the NCAA; more parity begets bigger ratings. Or at least they do early on. Once you get to the Sweet Sixteen, you need a little something for everyone: a mix of Cinderella’s and powerhouse programs. This year’s field has just that. The old guard is there: Duke, Michigan State, Louisville, Kansas, Indiana, Syracuse, Arizona, Ohio State, and Michigan are among the greatest college basketball programs of all time. But there are plenty of fresh faces looking to shock the world in Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State, and La Salle. Throw in recent mainstays Marquette, Miami (FL), Oregon, and Florida and you have quite the mixture of teams vying for the title.
Despite the buzz surrounding the lower seeded teams, 13 of the 16 remaining programs have won at least one national championship (only Miami, Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State have not—yes, La Salle has). But with the way the tournament has shaped up, even that stat likely won’t surprise anyone at this point.