Weeks Removed: Was Kate Upton right? A social commentary.

As many people have heard in the baseball world, Kate Upton shook up the baseball scene when she remarked that her husband, Justin Verlander, was wrongfully passed over for the Cy Young Award. She said this in much more – not so friendly to post words, but I think you get the picture (google search at your own discretion).

Essentially, Justin Verlander received many more first place votes from the voting committee than the second place vote getter and eventual winner Rick Porcello of the Red Sox. Now not to take anything away from Porcello, but Upton may have a good point here.

The Baseball Writers Association of America, which votes on MLB’s awards…did not have Verlander as one of their finalists on their ballots. Of course the ballots wouldn’t be falsified, but why was Verlander left out of consideration? Surely his seasons body of work was more than enough to prove – at least one would hope.

Clearly many people voted for Verlander outright, it shows in the balloting results. Period.

So why then did the Baseball Writers Association of America disagree? Should we put faith in writers to make the right choice? Clearly they have covered baseball more than an average fan…the whole spectrum of the game should be in their eyes.

Justin may have not been hailed by the Writers Association, but he should very well have won and I believe Upton’s case of defense to be valid.

Not to mention…maybe the voting points are flawed?

 

Thoughts?

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How much is too much? Overpaid college coaches

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As the college football season is coming to a close many teams, schools all over the country are looking to reform their programs, starting with coaches. According to USA today 72 college football coaches are making over $1 million a year and 36 over $3 million a year. But its not just about their yearly salaries, it’s the amount dished out for buyout contracts as well. For example, the new head coach at University of Iowa, Kirk Ferentz, would be guaranteed $25 million dollars even if he was fired after his first year. It is the cushioned contracts that give mediocre coaches an upper hand with powerhouse football schools.

No team wants a losing record, no more than the University of Texas. Previous winning coach, Mack Brown never had a larger buyout than $3.5 million until his resignation in 2013. While the most recent coach, Charlie Strong, has a buyout of $11 million. Todays coaches have more leverage because if they’re likable, they’re payable.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is getting paid $9 million this year which makes him the highest paid coach in the country. But what makes a big name like Harbaugh so desirable? Well, it has a lot to do with recruiting. Having an asset like a respected, favored coach is worth the money to schools struggling to get top recruits.

The world of college sports is constantly changing, we see this time and time again with the flip flop of so many top football programs rising and falling each year. Perhaps it is time for schools to considering shorter contracts, or more revisions on buy-outs. Every school wants to be the best they can be, and they should not have to suffer financially to get there, well at least, not that much.

What’s up with the MLS

Major League Soccer, the MLS, is the up and coming league for the young and restless. Everyone knows about the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A. But, up until recently not so many people have known about or paid attention to the MLS. Cities like Seattle, Portland and Houston, which are reflections of the rising youthful jubilance we are seeing across this great nation.

Affordable ticket pricing, astounding competition and an incredibly strong social media presence are all contributing to the sharp rise in popularity we are seeing in the MLS. That’s not all though. The overwhelming majority of soccer fans ages 18-30 have grown up playing Fifa, one of the most popular video games on the planet year in and year out. The MLS has done marvelous work in bringing talent like David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard and many more to the United States. For many people, myself included, this has brought our youthful days of Fifa to life and brought them to real live fruition right in front of our eyes.

What truly sets the MLS apart from the NBA, MLB and NFL, America’s holy trinity of sports, is that it has a growth potential that outshines each one of these professional leagues astronomically. These leagues have each had their struggles in recent years because they have reached a ceiling and are having a difficult time finding ways to grow. The MLS is young and up and coming and through social media and the investments into famous European players has found a way to grow that suits the target market perfectly. The growth is showing no signs of stopping. With David Beckham set to bring an MLS team to Miami and after having recently added their second team in New York, the sky is the limit.

Who’s In?..not named Bama…

The latest College Football Playoff Rankings have been released:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Washington

Going into the season, everyone and their mother could tell you that Alabama would firmly state their case as the #1 all season long and they show no signs of holding up heading into the SEC Championship vs. Florida. No matter the result of that game, I can guarantee we will be seeing the Crimson Tide hold on to their number one ranking headed into New Year’s Eve.

At the #2 spot there is THE Ohio State University who proved themselves worthy as they defeated their oldest foe, the Wolverines of the University of Michigan, in a 2OT battle that even has Michigan’s name still in the College Football Playoff picture. However, OSU’s one loss this season came to #6 Penn St who is taking on #5 Wisconsin in the BIG 10 Championship this weekend. This game can stir up the entire playoff picture because not possessing a conference championship can drastically effect Ohio State’s ranking come time for the final poll.

Clemson faces an underrated and well-coached Virginia Tech team who I can see giving Deshaun Watson and his Tigers some trouble on Saturday. But, if they manage to win, they will secure the ACC Championship which will secure their spot as a top four team.

Skating on thin ice, the Washington Huskies currently hold the fourth and final spot in the College Football Playoff. Led by quarterback, Jake Browning, the Huskies face a top 10 ranked Colorado who is looking to steal that fourth playoff spot that is really up in the air. Colorado defeating Washington opens up a huge can of chaos and could turn the committee inside out.

Let me know who is in your College Football Playoff.

Tweet your top 4 to @UTadsports

Blake Lindy

The San Antonio Spurs: AD (After Duncan)

 

Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs - Game TwoThis year, when the San Antonio Spurs take the court, there is a noticeable difference. Coach Pop is still roaming the sidelines with his trademark scowl, the team still comes out in their traditional silver and black; but there’s one big thing missing, something fundamental to who the Spurs are, a Big Fundamental, if you will.

This season the Spurs have been without Tim Duncan for the first time since the 1996-1997 season. It’s certainly a weird feeling watching as a lifelong Spurs fan. I was 5 years old when Tim Duncan was drafted, which mean as far back as I can remember, Duncan has been a Spur. But as weird as it may be to watch the Duncan-less Spurs, they appear to be getting along just fine.

The Spurs have started the season with a 9-3 record and don’t appear to be significantly affected, at least in quality of play, with Duncan’s absence. The reason for this could be that Pop has done an excellent job the past few years of phasing Duncan out of having such an important role. The rise of Kawhi Leonard as a superstar is certainly a factor in the easy transition, as is the addition of NBA All-Star Pau Gasol, but the genius of Coach Popovich along with the cohesion of the Spurs organization are likely the main reason the lack of Duncan hasn’t been as noticeable on the court.

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Although we won’t be playing, Duncan will be on the court at the AT&T Center at least one more night on December 18th, when the Spurs will retire his number after their game that night. It might not be the same as seeing him play, but at least fans can get one more glimpse of the man who gave so much to the Spurs organization.

Anthony Rizzolo

The Future of Texas Volleyball

Freshman Micaya White has quickly established herself as a star this year for Texas Women’s Volleyball. She leads the team in points, with 413. She also leads the team with 366 kills. This season she has been a 5-time recipient of the Big 12 Freshman of the Week award. This ties a school record set by Michelle Kocher in 2008.

Micaya went to to my highschool, so I have witnessed her talents for many years now. For those that don’t know her, she is an outstanding athlete. Standing at 6’1″ Micaya is a powerhouse and gets amazing velocity on the ball. She was a highscool All-American, and it seems that her talents have certainly translated nicely into the college game.

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White throws down a spike against Baylor

 

With exciting young players such as Micaya and strong recruiting classes every year, the future of Texas volleyball looks bright! The Longhorns are poised to continue to be one of the top 5 programs in the country, and show no signs of slowing down. Texas Tech comes to Austin tomorrow for their next match, and Micaya will look to impose her will yet again on the red raiders.

–Josh Pike

Interview With Texas Volleyball Player Natalie Gilbert

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Natalie Gilbert, who is a sophomore libero from Coppell, Texas, allowed us to interview her about her experience playing volleyball at the University of Texas at Austin as well as being a student at the university. She has proven to be a team player both on and off the court by agreeing to take time out of her stringent student-athlete schedule to respond to our questions. Here are some of her responses:

The presidential election just happened, so who would you say is the president of your volleyball team?

I’d have to say Mirta Baselovic is the president on the team. She is not afraid to call people out and keep everyone in line on and off the court. Her sass is enough to run a country, so it definitely serves its purpose on our team, but we still love her.

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Some say pranking one another can build team chemistry, who is the biggest jokester on the team?

Everyone has a different sense of humor and jokes around in different ways. However, Morgan Johnson is constantly making everyone laugh. It’s so funny because she doesn’t mean to. Her mannerisms and word choice within a casual conversation is hilarious. Also, she has about 10 different laughs and each one is unique and contagious.

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What’re your favorite places to go on campus?

I love Gregory, obviously, because we play there. But I also love the tower and the fountain. I think they uphold the visual representation of UT, and I think the tradition of lighting the tower is really cool.

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Why did you choose UT?

I chose UT for many different reasons. I’ve been a UT fan ever since I was little because my dad graduated from here. I grew up watching Vince Young and Colt McCoy and loving Texas sports. But thinking about my own future, graduating with a degree from the University of Texas would increase my career options. Academically, Texas is competitive, and the volleyball aspect is too, so those were both huge influences. However, the volleyball team has a very big emphasis on the family culture. We treat each other like family and the coaches have a lot of respect for us and encourage us to grow as athletes, students, and especially women.

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What is your favorite memory from this season?

My favorite memory from this season so far was sweeping OU at home. This conference season, we’ve had trouble taking care of teams in three sets, so doing that on our home floor against a huge rival was awesome. Hopefully, we’ll have more memories like that as we finish conference and head into postseason.

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Thank you so much for your cooperation Natalie we really appreciated getting to know you and the Lady Horns better. Keep up the great season ladies and lets #TexasSpike!

-Matthew Johnson

Mark Cuban Revokes ESPN writers’ Media Passes

Earlier this week, Tim MacMahon and partner Marc Stein had their media passes for the 2016 Dallas Mavericks season revoked.

Early rumors suggested that Cuban was upset because MacMahon’s writing  had previously been 100% focused on the Mavs, but he had recently started writing about the Grizzlies and the NBA in general as well. This meant that MacMahon would be covering fewer Mavs games this year, but that’s only the indirect reason Cuban was upset. This rumor is only partly true.

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Cuban and MacMahon attending Mavs game.

Cuban later explained that he fears that sports writing is beginning to shift toward automated, algorithmic reporting where computers are able to report the basic facts of a game. For every game MacMahon is unable to cover, a computer could one day step in and superficially cover the game in seconds.

 

Cuban wants to stall this trend, so in an effort to make his point of not moving human resources away from covering the Mavs, he revoked the passes. I know, seems backward.

Cuban has received criticism for the move, but has not seemed to budge in his decision. Even the large sports network of ESPN doesn’t seem to intimidate him.

For now, Cuban has local news outlets covering all 82 games of the Mavs mediocre season.

Keeping the Longhorns as one of the Strongest Golf Programs of the Country

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The fall season has been an important opportunity for the Men´s Golf Team to keep growing and maintain their status of being one of the strongest golf programs across the nation.

The season started with the loss of star Beau Hossler, who already turned professional. The team has showed during the 4 tournaments of the season that they already know how to play without him, even though he is much missed. Young talents like Scottie Scheffler, Taylor Funk, Doug Ghim or Kalena Preus have been proving their capabilities and senior Gavin Hall has acted as a leader before becoming a pro.

This has made possible to achieve important results, both in individual and in team competitions.

After coming back from a tough lost against Oregon in NCAA finals, the team ended up 7th in the Fighting Illini Invitational, a tournament that is played in the Historic Olympia Fields, home of 2 US Opens among other competitions. There, Hall was the best longhorn ending tied in the 7th position. Scheffler could not participate because he was in the 2016 World Amateur.

The Nike Collegiate Invitational was the second tournament played. The team ended up in the 9th position and Hall led the team again tying in 14th position.

The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate hosted the third event where the Longhorns were able to end up in the 1st position. Both Ghim and Hall ended up 3rd and 4th respectively, very close to the leader. The team was able to climb 6 positions on Sunday with an impressive round for a total of -8.

Lastly, the East Lake Cup received the Longhorns along with Vanderbilt, Illinois and Oregon, as the last best 4 teams of the country. The event was nationally broadcasted in Golf Channel and the team finished in 3rd position after losing against Illinois and beating Vanderbilt in the consolation match. Scheffler was able to win the individual tournament proving that he is one of the strongest talents in the US.

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The team comes back again in the Amer Ari Intercollegiate in February, until that there are several Longhorns to follow in the PGA tour and the FedEx has just started with Cody Gribble winning his first tournament.

Hook´Em!!

Taming the Bears

Volleyball vs. UT

UT Volleyball is having one hell of a season. Currently the team is ranked 5th in the nation after winning 18 of their 21 games this year (their only losses happening to no. 4 Kansas, no. 3 Wisconsin, and no. 1 Nebraska). Their next opponent is that of the Baylor Bears. The Longhorns have a pretty amazing record when it comes to “taming” the Bears; during their last five meetings the Longhorns have proved victorious. That being said, Baylor has been having a pretty great season as well, they’re currently 19-7. But what exactly does this mean? Do the Longhorns have anything to worry about?

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Just coming off of a win against Texas Tech, the Bears are hungry for more and the no. 5 Texas Longhorns seem to be the perfect prey for them. After losing 3-1 during their last meeting, the Bears are out for revenge. Yet the Bears aren’t the only ones coming off a win. This past week Texas fried the frogs when they beat TCU 3-1 and their success hasn’t stopped there. The fact that they’ve only been beaten 3 times this season and by higher ranked teams does not bode well for the Bears’ chances.

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This season is all about the Longhorns demonstrating to their foes just what damage they can do. The team needs to be careful to avoid becoming cocky when facing Baylor tomorrow night. If the team is consistent, like they’ve been all season, they should have nothing to worry about. Consistency is key and they’ve consistently beaten the Baylor Bears every time they’ve met over the past 3 years. This particular game will take place on UT’s turf and to be beaten at home would be a travesty. Thus there’s only one thing the team can do and that’s WIN. While my faith in other Longhorn teams may have wavered over the course of the season, my faith in THIS team and their ability to tame the Bears has never once been questioned.

-Grayson Gilcrease