NFL Quarterback

NFL QBToo many NFL quarterbacks are getting hit.

Too many NFL quarterbacks are getting hurt.

That position is the focal point for both offense and defense on Sunday afternoons. He is the franchise. The offense must keep him upright to have a chance at victory. The defense must knock him down to have a chance.

Sixteen quarterbacks have been forced from games this season with injuries suffered from defensive hits – and we’re not even to the midway point of the schedule.

Tony Romo figures to miss up to eight games for the Cowboys and Matthew Stafford, the first overall pick of the 2009 draft, has already missed five games for the Detroit Lions. The NFL’s all-time leading passer, Brett Favre, is hobbling around these days with two broken bones in his ankle.

NFL offenses need to find ways to slow down that pass rush. But there’s already an offensive tool in place to do just that: the screen pass. Continue reading

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College Football Edition

Welcome to the 2010-11 edition of NCAA Football Marketwatch. The team at Sports Insights gives sports fans unprecedented insighCollege Football t into the NCAA Football point-spread market. If you ever wanted to know what was really happening on the sportsbook side, you now have an all-access pass with Sports Marketwatch!

Every week we speak directly with the line managers at some of the sports betting industry’s largest sportsbooks about which games the public is chasing and which the sharps are pounding. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for this week in College Football.

Sports Marketwatch – NCAA Week 8

Recapping Week 7

Marketwatch hit a huge upset last week, with Wisconsin, getting 4 points, beating newly #1-ranked Ohio State, 31-18. The Badgers, fueled by a raucous home crowd, jumped on the Buckeyes early, taking a 21-3 lead by halftime. Ohio State attempted to make a comeback, cutting Wisconsin’s lead to 3 early in the fourth quarter, but a James White rushing touchdown, with less than seven minutes to go, put the Badgers up 10, sealing the upset victory. Continue reading

COLLEGE FOOTBALL MAILBAG

College FootballIf it’s mid-October, and if the consensus preseason No. 1 team just lost, that can only mean one thing: That all other topics go out the window, and the Mailbag dost overfloweth with e-mails complaining about the polls.

So, why is Ohio State a consensus No. 1? You picked on Nebraska’s résumé a couple weeks ago, but Ohio State doesn’t have a win against a team currently ranked in the Top 25 either. If it’s fair to be skeptical of Nebraska, why not Ohio State?
— Scott, New York

Shouldn’t we be taking Oklahoma more seriously? A lot of attention is being paid to a lot of other teams, but Oklahoma seems to have the most quality wins at this point (Florida State, Air Force and Texas). With the Big 12 seemingly a bit down, will Oklahoma have a chance to jump some of the teams ahead of it?
— Drew, Boston

First of all, there’s a very simple reason why Ohio State is No. 1: The Buckeyes had been No. 2 since the preseason, they’ve won all their games and the team ahead of them lost. End of story. But I’d hardly call them “consensus.” They received barely half (34 of 60) of the first-place votes in this week’s AP poll, with four other teams (Oregon, Boise State, TCU and Oklahoma) garnering nods as well. The Buckeyes haven’t done anything to merit dropping them, but I won’t argue that there are more deserving teams at the present time. In fact, according to Jeff Sagarin, Ohio State has played the 117th-toughest schedule in the country so far (including FCS teams).

Mind you, I didn’t hear a single gripe about Ohio State’s schedule before Sunday. That may be because no one was focused on the then No. 2 team, or it may be because of what happened to several of its previous and future opponents. Miami, the source of the Buckeyes’ signature win to date, got crushed by Florida State. Michigan not only lost its first game, but lost to now 6-0 Michigan State, bringing to light the fact that the Spartans and Buckeyes don’t play this year. And Penn State, normally one of the marquee opponents on OSU’s schedule, clearly stinks. In August, Ohio State was looking at a schedule that included four preseason Top 25 teams (Iowa, Wisconsin, Miami and Penn State). Now that number’s down to two (Wisconsin and Iowa). Continue reading

When baseball meets football

Liverpool fans may have mixed feelings about exchanging one set Soccerof American owners for another after it emerged the Premier League club was about to be sold to the New England Sports Ventures (NESV), owners of baseball’s Boston Red Sox.

But supporters on both sides of the Atlantic may be interested in a potential link-up between two clubs that are steeped in the history of their respective sports.

Like Anfield, Boston’s Fenway Park is one of the best-known sports venues in the world, while both cities have a strong expatriate affinity with Ireland.

Liverpool’s hopes of building a new stadium stalled during the ownership of George Gillett and Tom Hicks, but despite a brief flirtation with a “new Fenway”, the Red Sox happily remain at their historic home ballpark – even while many other Major League Baseball teams have moved.

Opened in 1912, Fenway is the oldest MLB stadium in use. And while a young Liverpool player’s ambition may be scoring in front of the Kop, a prospective young slugger making it through Boston’s minor league system will probably have dreamt of hitting a home run over the “Green Monster” – the famous 37ft high left-field wall at Fenway.

Liverpool have not won the English league title since 1990 but Boston ended a much longer title drought when they won the World Series in 2004, two years after NESV’s takeover.

For decades, the so-called “Curse of the Bambino” haunted Red Sox Nation and was immortalised in Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy’s book of the same name. Continue reading