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Basketball
  
Saturday, 25 October 2014

This Sunday Oct. 25 at 5pm marks the unofficial end to a long offseason for VCU Rams fans . The 2 nd annual Black & Gold game allows Ramnation to finally move past the gut-wrenching loss to Stephen F. Austin in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Here are a few things to watch for in the game :

melvin1) How Melvin bounces back from injury

Last year, Johnson hurt his knee in the semifinal of the A-10 tournament. He was forced to sit out against St. Joe’s in the A-10 championship game as well as the Tournament game against SFA.

While all signs indicate is that he’s 100% healthy, it will still be interesting to see if he’s hesitant at all while playing , which would indicate that the knee injury is still in the back of his mind.

Fans also should lookout for what kind of shots he takes. Johnson says he is trying to be more unpredictable with his shot selection this season.

“I’ve been watching a lot of film, and like freshman year was all drives, sophomore year was three point shooting and the coaches just want me to mix it a little bit and not be so predictable,” Johnson said.

2) The highly touted freshman class

The recruiting class of 6-9 F Michael Gilmore, 6-8 G/F Terry Larrier, 6-7 F Justin Tillman and 6-0 G Jonathan Williams was ranked the 14th recruiting in the nation by ESPN.com.

Most eyes will be focused on Larrier, the highest recruit for VCU since it signed Kendrick Warren in 1990. Warren was a McDonalds All-American while Larrier was rated the 43rd best player in the 2014 class.

Treveon Graham has high hopes for Larrier and says he has unlimited potential at SF, saying “He’s a little taller than me , a lot longer than me but we have the same aspect where we can drive and we can shoot, so that position is great for him. And if looks at me he can really thrive in that position.”

3) Big man scoring

Juvonte Reddic graduated last spring and will be the toughest player to replace this season. Despite many Ram fans frustrations Ju because they felt he didn’t live up to his potential, his 11.8 PPG and 8.4 PPG was good for second and first on the team, respectively.  Redshirt Sophomore Mo Alie-Cox will replace him in the starting lineup. Everyone know that Mo Says No on defense, as witnessed by this highlight tape.

However, Shaka Smart would prefer to see Mo Say Yes more on offense this season, as he only averaged 3.3 PPG last season. Senior Jared Guest has received limited playing time in his career thus far but he has high hopes for this year, saying “I plan to lead league in rebounding”. The aforementioned Gilmore and Tillman, along with redshirt freshman Antravious Simmons will all compete for playing time, but all have no in-game experience.

The B&G game provides an opportunity for one of the big men to stand out from the rest of the frontcourt.

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Football
  
Monday, 20 October 2014

Sunday night Peyton Manning surpassed Brett Favre to become the NFL’s all-time touchdown passing leader. He now sits at 510 touchdowns thrown through the air, an astronomical number that will only continue to grow as this season, and the final years of his career continue. Assuming he plays for four more years and averages around 30 TDs a year, (a stat that could be low or high considering that the man is 38 years old) he could finish with around 620 touchdowns. At the very least I think he is guaranteed 600. So when does Manning become the best QB of all time? This is a very real and controversial question considering that one’s legacy is measured first and foremost by rings, followed by stats. He is without a doubt one of top five best regular-season* quarterbacks of all time, but having that asterisk by your name seems to imply some sort of inadequacy in your legacy.

As hard as it is to believe, we live in a world where Eli Manning has more Super Bowl rings than Peyton Manning. No one in their right mind would argue that Eli has been a better quarterback than his brother; rather this is more of an indicator as to how much of a crapshoot the post-season can be. Eli’s Giants beat Brady’s undefeated Patriots the first time around, a win that probably shouldn’t have happened. This is the effect of having a one-and-done style post-season. Now, while football is much harder on the body than the other three major sports, a lack of a five or seven game series leaves a lot more to chance than to consistent skill.

So, this considered, what would allow us to comfortably consider Peyton the best quarterback of all time? I think reaching 600 career touchdowns is a must, and a very reachable goal. Most importantly, however, is post-season success. If he can win another Super Bowl, and especially two, before the end of his career, I think that it would be safe to put Manning at number one. Now this is a lot of speculation about what’s left in the tank for an older quarterback, but as Manning proved Sunday, he is anything but over-rated.

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Football
  
Monday, 20 October 2014

This Saturday the University of Richmond Spiders hosted their CAA rivals the Rhode Island Rams (0-7) for their Homecoming game, and won in spectacular fashion. The Spiders now move to (5-2) overall, and (2-1) in the CAA. The Rams looked helpless on offense, falling prey to Richmond’s tenacious defense. The Spiders forced six turnovers including an incredible five interceptions and held the Rams to only (2-13) on third down conversion attempts. Meanwhile the Spiders scored 37 points with ease.

The obvious lack of a varsity VCU football team has created the need for fans to get their local college football fix elsewhere. As a result, Richmond homecoming games have always been the place to be for anyone living in the area, and this weekend the Spiders gave them plenty to celebrate. The weather was perfect, the tailgates were huge, and the student section was filled.

Next Saturday the Spiders will travel to North Carolina to take on the Elon Phoenix (1-6).

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Football
  
Friday, 17 October 2014

Another week, another new Jameis Winston controversy. This week the autograph authentication website revealed that it had over 2,000 Jameis Winston autographs. No one has publicly accused him of taking money for signing the autographs, but all the signs lead the public to assume that the signings were done on a large scale typical of a paid event.

The autograph controversy comes shortly after he got suspended for the Clemson game for yelling a derogatory phrase from a popular meme in the student union. It was likely a dare from teammates that got overblown because we live in an era of Iphones and Snapchat. The autograph incident is more common and slightly more serious. However, it doesn’t appear as if he will suspended for the matchup against #5 Notre Dame Saturday.

While the initial allegations of rape last season was very severe and should have been investigated in the very serious manner that it was. However, the latest two incidents make it seem as if the media is on a mission to make Famous Jameis into Infamous Jameis. However, the signing controversy goes beyond Winston and it is an ongoing problem in college athletics.

Winston’s situation is different from the one of Georgia running back Todd Gurley. UGA suspended the Heisman frontrunner indefinitely when someone claimed they had video of him signing memorabilia.

A similar investigation occurred last year, with former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. He was only suspended a half of a game last season. It is an archaic idea that athletes shouldn’t be allowed to make money for selling autographs. This is just another example of the NCAA abusing its power. The NCAA should regulate competition on the field and not over-regulate off the field issues such as signing autographs to keep the players status as amateurs. It is a whole other debate about whether college should pay student athletes, but there is no doubt should be able to make money off their likeness. While some college athletes will go professional in sports make money and endorsements after college, most won’t get opportunity. As the Enterprise rent-a-car commercial says, most go pro in something other than sports.

College is the peak of fame and marketability for many college players. They should be able to make money off fame off court through endorsements and autograph signings.

VCU start point guard Briante Weber should be able to be in local Richmond car commercials. He is the face of VCU’s havoc defense and may break the NCAA all time steals record.

While he may make the NBA, he most likely won’t be an all-star who will get large endorsements if he makes the league. An injury could end his career at any moment without him being compensated at all for his outstanding play.

Meanwhile, universities profit off the efforts of the athletes. Universities claim not selling jersey of specific players , but this is ludicrous .When the news came out that Gurley was suspended, the number three jersey was no longer for sale on Georgia’s website. It is no coincidence that his number is three also. This proves that they are selling his likeness.

Many athletes come from poverty and are unable to get a part time employment due the time consuming nature of college athletics as well as NCAA restrictions. They should be able to make money off of the field for all that they do on the field for the university in terms of positive exposure. However athletes know the rules and now their teams have to deal with distractions they caused. Nonetheless, it is ridiculous get suspended for writing own name down on piece of paper for someone who asks for it. If there is market for a player’s autographs, they should be allowed to profit from it.

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Football
  
Tuesday, 14 October 2014

While many will argue this is Redskins country, and for the most part it is, it becomes more and more appealing to jump onto the Raven's bandwagon. This is no truer than after this Sunday’s game in which the Ravens scored five touchdowns in the first quarter and two minutes. The abysmal Buccaneers (1-5) were helpless to the gun-slinging and pass-happy Joe Flacco, who threw for all five, much to the delight of many a fantasy football owner. Next week, the Ravens will be facing the Atlanta Falcons (2-4), who, despite their record, have a very good passing game, and should prove a challenging match-up for the Ravens in Baltimore.

With the negative media frenzy surrounding Ray Rice, this season began on a low note for the Ravens. So while this game may not serve as a barometer for the Raven’s skill in general, it certainly is a good sign that they are fully intent on a run at the Super Bowl again. Baltimore (4-2) is currently in second place in the AFC North behind the Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1). Rounding out the second half of the division are the Browns (3-2), and the Steelers (3-3). Just from looking at the records it is apparent that this is a strong division where the standings for the remainder of the season could take any number of crazy turns.

The Bengals, who actually have one less win than the Ravens, are atop the list due to a bizarre and all-too-uncommon tie this week against the Panthers. The Bengals are a very well rounded team who can attack opponents through the air and on the ground. They are eighth in passing yards per game behind the arm of a very competent Andy Dalton, and eleventh in rushing yards with the two-pronged running tandem of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. They will be up for a challenge next week in Indianapolis against Andrew Luck and his crew, and worse for the ware without star receiver A.J. Green who is sidelined due to a toe injury.

Who is Johnny Football? Browns’ fans could care less right now as their focus is on current QB Brian Hoyer who just led his team to a 31-10 victory over division rivals Pittsburgh to give them a 3-2 record. Hoyer, in his five starts this season has thrown for seven touchdowns and only one interception. A relative unknown in his sixth season, Hoyer seems to be giving the people of Cleveland plenty to be happy about (Oh yeah, and LeBron came back to the Cavs in case you didn’t hear). This week they are facing the atrocious Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6) who average a league worst 13.5 points per game, and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks from now, whose defense the Ravens proved is about as formidable as a piece of drywall.

Last in this tight division, are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who currently sit at 3-3. Despite all of the similar records, the Steelers, I believe are the worst team in the division by a solid margin. They are 23rd in ppg scored against opponents, and have lost to Tampa Bay, and barely beat Jacksonville two weeks ago. They are now looking forward to a three game home stint at Heinz Field against Houston, Indianapolis, and Baltimore respectively over the next several weeks. Roethlisberger has been performing quite well this season, as well as running-back Le’Veon Bell, but these games could prove to be the true test for the Steelers, as they could either end up 6-3, or 3-6. It remains to be seen how well they will fare.

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