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Philadelphia sports radio director says Denver shouldn’t be allowed to have home games

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Someone pass me some oxygen.

No, I’m not having trouble breathing in our crisp, thin Colorado air. I need to catch my breath after laughing at a ridiculous hot take from a Philadelphia sports radio director, tweeted last week.

“Remember when watching tonight’s game that the home court advantage in Denver is unfair and unreasonable considering the physical disadvantage that the visiting team has,” wrote Spike Eskin of WIP radio. “Denver should not have any home games if we insist on giving them pro teams.”

Eskin went on to compare Denver sports venues to a fictional pressurized arena where only the away team has trouble breathing. Wait, what?

First off, in any sports event played in Denver, both teams play on the same field, breathing the same air.

Sure, living and training at altitude can be an advantage. But the same can be said for freezing temperatures on the East Coast. Or cold, rainy weather in the Pacific Northwest. Or hot, humid conditions in the South.

Are we going to outlaw home games in those regions, too?

I suppose you have to consider the source.

Eskin’s tweetstorm aimed at Denver flared up late last week as he took aim at Nikola Jokic, the man who terrorized the 76ers in a dramatic comeback win.

“Honestly Jokic should be ashamed of himself,” Eskin wrote. “Not everyone has to be a specimen but he looks like he took his new contract right to the buffet the entire offseason.”

That wasn’t the buffet line Jokic was dining on, Spike.

It was your Sixers.

Daniel Boniface, The Denver Post


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What’s on Tap?

  • Broncos: At Vikings, 11 a.m. Sunday
  • Avalanche: At Winnipeg, 6 p.m. Tuesday
  • Nuggets: vs. Hawks, 7 p.m. Tuesday
  • Air Force at Colorado St.: 5 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: Here’s what sports are airing today

Scoreboard

NFL: Seahawks 27, 49ers 24 (OT)
Full story | Boxscore

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Quick Hits

+ Broncos Mailbag: Could Cam Newton really work for Denver?

+ CU Buffs men’s basketball enters AP Top 25 for first time since 2013-14 season

+ Best of the West top 25 poll: CSU Rams can stake state title claim with win over Air Force

+ Avalanche’s Cale Makar named one of NHL’s three Stars of the Week

+ Five big questions going into Colorado Rapids’ offseason

+ Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett to train with Arsenal in North London

+ Jackets’ Foligno suspended 3 games for hit on Avalanche forward Bellemare

+ Seahawks knock 49ers from unbeaten ranks with 27-24 OT win, Emmanuel Sanders injured

Ask The Experts

+ Broncos Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Ryan O’Halloran here.

+ Nuggets Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Mike Singer here.

+ Avs Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Mike Chambers here.

+ Rockies Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Patrick Saunders here.

By The Numbers

25th

CU Buffs basketball team’s ranking in the AP Top 25 Poll. It marks the first time CU has been ranked since a six-week period during the 2013-14 season. Read more…

Parting Shot

Don Cherry.

Hockey commentator Don Cherry fired for rant over immigrants

Don Cherry, Canada’s most polarizing, flamboyant and opinionated hockey commentator, was fired Monday for calling immigrants “you people” in a television rant in which he said new immigrants are not honoring the country’s fallen soldiers. Read more…

Get in Touch

If you see something that’s cause for question or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at [email protected] or tweet me @danielboniface.

Categories
Pitt Football

Five Takeaways From Pat Narduzzi’s Press Conference

PITTSBURGH — Thursday night primetime on ESPN, is usually a good thing for a college football program, right?

Not for Pitt, on this specific Thursday night. Not when the Pittsburgh Steelers play on that same night in an important game against the Cleveland Browns, in a game that has significant playoff implications on the line.

It’s one of the pitfalls of sharing a market with a professional sports team and one that’s likely going to rear its ugly head in the form of a significantly reduced turnout for the Panthers on Thursday night.

But the ACC, ESPN, Pitt and the NFL couldn’t work around the issue.

“What are we doing here?,” Narduzzi said about the scheduling. “It’s not good for the ACC when you are playing on the same night as an NFL franchise in your same city. It’d be different if the Cowboys were playing the Seattle Seahawks, or something like that. … But it’s the same city, two hours away.”

Pitt didn’t have a say in the process because of the way that the schedules come out.

“Our schedule came out before theirs,” Narduzzi said. “When it comes to some NFL franchises and college football conferences, they have to start to look and say, ‘What makes sense for the city of Pittsburgh?’ That obviously wasn’t done (in this case).”

This Thursday night’s game against UNC will be the Panthers’ 24th game on ESPN’s Thursday night package in the history of the program.

STRUGGLES AGAINST UNC

Pitt has lost six consecutive games against the Tar Heels and UNC is currently the only ACC Coastal Division team that Pitt has yet to beat since joining the conference 2013.

UNC leads the all-time series 10-3 over the Panthers. The last time Pitt beat North Carolina was in 2009 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl (19-17).

“We’ve got a North Carolina team (coming in on Thursday) that we have struggled with in the past,” Narduzzi said. “If you ask our kids, they will tell you that North Carolina has some of the most talented guys that they play against every year.”

The Heels are now directed under head coach Mack Brown, who is back with the program for his second stint. Brown is now in his 11th season overall at UNC and has a 73-51-1 all-time record. In his 31 years as a college head coach, Brown has never faced Pitt.

Pitt has hosted North Carolina on Thursday night in three consecutive meetings. UNC won the prior two games in 2015 and 2017.

A PRIME TIME CHALLENGE

UNC has been known to put some points on the scoreboard against Pitt in recent years, but Pitt has arguably their best defense this season since joining the ACC.

North Carolina’s offense is led by freshman quarterback Sam Howell. Howell ranks No. 2 in the ACC in passing this season. He has thrown 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions in his first nine games as a college quarterback.

“He’s the difference on offense,” Narduzzi said about Howell leading UNC’s offense. “He’s really good. He’s a freshman, he makes good decisions and he’s very accurate with the ball.”

But Howell isn’t the only bright spot on Mack Brown’s offense.

“They have a talented backfield, (their) receivers are talented (and) they got players,” Narduzzi said.

Pitt’s defense is still the leading the country in sacks with 40 on the season.

Howell will certainly be pressured throughout the game, and the way that these two teams have faced off against each other in the past, the game will most likely come down to Howell being able to handle that Panther pressure and whether or not he will get his team in the end zone on the final possession of the game.

SEEKING THE END ZONE

Pitt has only scored 36 points in their last two ACC games. The offensive fire power and balance has been the kryptonite in all of the Panthers’ three loses this season.

Against Virginia, Pitt scored 14 points. Against Penn State, Pitt scored 10 points. Against Miami, Pitt scored 12 points.

Getting in the end zone on the offensive end is crucial to the success of this Pitt team. Narduzzi thinks that there have been strides of that, but it’s still not showing on a consistent basis.

“It’s game by game,” Narduzzi said of his offense being able to march down the field well enough against teams who like to score a ton of points. “I think our offense has shown, when it becomes a high scoring game that they can match it.”

LIVING UP TO 97

Just a year ago, Pitt defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman was just a redshirt freshman who only started one game for the Panthers in 2018. Twyman wore number 55 and was just a guy who put his head down and worked for the opportunity that he has been awarded with this season.

Twyman asked Narduzzi prior to this season if he could wear number 97 this year. That brings along a whole new challenge for the 6-foot-2, 290-pounder who wants to follow in the steps of former Panther legend Aaron Donald.

“I said if you study like 97 and you play like 97 then we’ll give you 97,” Narduzzi said. “(Twyman) waited his turn. He didn’t ask for it out of high school. That’s his idol, that’s who he wants to be. …and he’s played hard like (Donald).”

Twyman ranks No. 3 in the ACC with seven total sacks on the season. Twyman also has 8 tackles for loss and 26 total tackles, still with three regular season games remaining for the Panthers.

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Basketball Basketball News Featured Football Football News

This Week in UT Sports History – Nov. 11th-17th

Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

This Week in UT Sports History is a weekly column written by RTI columnist Lexie Little

November. Football fans bundle up as temperatures for 7 p.m. kickoffs dip below 45 degrees, and basketball fans break out their team-branded hoodies and vests before travelling to arenas. Regular season football comes to a close as basketball revs up, but stakes remain high both for teams trying to win out and teams trying to start strong.

Take a look back at notable November moments in “This Week in UT Sports History.”

Nov. 12, 1892

Tennessee’s football team, then a scruffy student-coached squad, entered its second season looking to make a name for itself in college football’s 23rd year. The independent team, led by captain Charles Moore, picked up Tennessee’s first-ever win in November on Nov. 12, 1892, defeating the Chattanooga Athletic Club 16-6 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

That year marked many firsts: the first win in November, the first win in program history, the first road win, and the first match-up with Vanderbilt. Tennessee lost all three games played at home, but they won on the road in the first game of the season at Maryville College, 25-0, and that day in Chattanooga.

A sport new to Knoxville, the home crowd did not seem to buy in to the sport with Ivy League origins as noted in The Knoxville Sentinel.

“Judging by the attendance at the U. of T. Sewanee game Wednesday, people don’t know that good foot-ball can be played here,” Frederick Ault wrote in the Sentinel column from Nov. 9, 1982. “The 200 or so lovers of foot-ball who went out to the game were treated to a splendid, clean, exhibition of this greatest of college games, and those who enjoy out of door sports, but are ignorant of the beauties of foot-ball lost an opportunity of seeing it played as it should be.

“…It is to be hoped that large crowds will see these contests and encourage the wearers of the orange and white in their efforts to uphold the honor of our university.”

Though it seemed Knoxville paid little attention to football, the paper did dedicate an entire column to the team and its match-up. The Chattanooga Republican, however, devoted a single paragraph:

“A game of foot-ball will be played this afternoon at the base ball park, between the Knoxville and Chattanooga teams. Both teams are in good trim, and a close and interesting contest may be looked for.”

The University of Tennessee team outscored Chattanooga by 10 points, which was surprising to some after consecutive losses to Vanderbilt and Sewanee. The Knoxville Journal said Tennessee defeated a team “much their superior in weight,” putting emphasis on brawn and on teamwork, which Tennessee displayed as the team spread the ball around with three players scoring touchdowns. Chattanooga’s brawn could not withstand cohesion from the men in orange and white.

“The athletic association’s team, while containing several good individual players, are weak in team work,” the Journal reported. The report of “Notes From the Hill,” much like that of the Sentinel, went on to encourage the community to support the budding Tennessee programs.

“Every one should attend and give the boys encouragement in trying to furnish the Knoxville public with some excellent amusement…The university band, consisting of 16 pieces, excels anything in the way of a band that the university has had for a number of years.”

The Pride of the Southland marching band celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, making it as old as college football. Knoxville caught on to the football fad and supported the band, both of which remain strong as evidenced by a come-from-behind win against Kentucky, 17-13, in Lexington on Saturday, nearly 127 years later — “Rocky Top” blaring.

Nov. 15, 2007

By 2007, few Tennesseans needed convincing to cheer for the Lady Vols basketball team on the road to an eighth national title. However, No. 9 Oklahoma tried to make the nation doubt Tennessee’s prowess in a thrilling neutral site match-up in Tampa, Florida. Shannon Bobbitt scored 22 of her 27 points in the second half, two of which sealed a 70-67 win for No. 1 Tennessee against Oklahoma with 3.2 seconds left on the clock.

Down by one point with 30 seconds left, two free throws from Alexis Hornbuckle followed by two more from Bobbitt saved Tennessee from an early season defeat in only their second game. Candace Parker scored 28 points in the match-up.

Actually, Parker scored 30 points. But two of them went to the Sooners. As she fought for a rebound off Sooner Courtney Paris’ missed free throw, Parker managed to knock the ball back in the Oklahoma hoop. She did, however, lead the Vols in scoring and picked up a double-double with 15 rebounds. Paris, at the time, held an NCAA record double-double streak of 63 consecutive games.

“Oklahoma really did a good job of staying focused and getting the ball inside,” coach Pat Summitt said of her opponent post-game. “Obviously, I’m proud of [my] team. Saw what I would call really strong character and commitment. We had to go with our veterans…Shannon Bobbitt obviously came up with a few huge things for us.”

Bobbitt’s 27 points marked a career high and set the tone for the team’s run to a second consecutive national championship, helping Parker and the rest of the Lady Vols’ front down the stretch

“I just took what the defense gave me,” Bobbitt said. “They definitely crowded Candace, and that’s what I like, and Candace did a great job of finding me, and my teammates did a great job, and I just had to knock down my shots.”

Tennessee finished the season 36-2, the only losses coming to Stanford and LSU in the regular season. The Lady Vols redeemed themselves, beating those same teams in the NCAA Tournament en route to another national title.

Nov. 13, 2004

Candace Parker and Shannon Bobbitt’s names stay in the minds of Vol basketball fans. On the men’s side, one name that comes to mind is that of Chris Lofton, a freshman in 2004. Lofton picked up 18 points while shooting 7-of-9 in an exhibition match-up with Carson-Newman on Nov. 13, 2004. The Vols routed the Eagles 95-59 in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Lofton would lead the Southeastern Conference in scoring two seasons later with 20.8 points per game and set records for 3-pointers, but early in his career, he battled for attention with teammates like fellow freshman JaJuan Smith. Smith shot 4-of-4 from the field and sank three 3-point shots, earning attention from coach Buzz Peterson.

“JaJuan Smith has had some good practices,” Peterson said. “Dane Bradshaw’s contributions are not going to show in the points column, but he had six assists and no turnovers.”

Bradshaw, a graduate of Tennessee’s journalism and sport management programs, now serves as an analyst for SEC Network’s coverage of men’s basketball. His six assists that night marked the most for the Vols, with Scooter McFadgon and C.J. Watson contributing three apiece. McFadgon scored 21 points in the game.

Despite double-digit wins in the first three games of the season, the Vols earned a losing record of 16-17 in 2004-05. Tennessee parted ways with Peterson. Tennessee named Bruce Pearl head coach on March 28, 2005, two weeks after UT terminated Peterson’s contract.

Current head coach Rick Barnes and the 2019 Volunteer squad take on Murray State at 9 p.m. in Knoxville tomorrow night. The game will be televised on SEC Network.

Categories
High School News Sport Top Sports Stories

Sports Overtime: Section IV Finals – Saturday


BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Section IV Finals continued Saturday in Class B and Class C, while regional finals took place in field hockey. Check out 12 Sports’ highlights as Sports Overtime takes you through all the action.

SECTION IV FOOTBALL SCORES

Section IV Finals

Chenango Forks (10-0), Maine-Endwell (6-4)

Susquehanna Valley (10-0), Windsor (7-3)

REGIONAL FINALS FIELD HOCKEY SCORES

Greene – 1, Johnstown – 2

Maine-Endwell – 6, Guilderland – 0

Vestal – 3, Holland Patent – 0

AHL HOCKEY SCORES:

Binghamton Devils – 2 (5-7-3), Utica Comets – 2 (9-4-0) (OT)

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CrossFit Games

Davidsdottir Joins Sport Champions in Empowering Women in Sports

The two-time CrossFit Games champion, Katrin Davidsdottir, joined more than a dozen female leaders in sport at the espnW Women + Sports Summit. In its 10th year, the summit unites world-class female athletes and business leaders to work towards creating more opportunities for women in sports across the globe. 

On the World Class Athlete Panel:

  • Liz Cambage, WNBA All-Star and single game scoring record holder
  • Becky Lynch, WWE Raw women’s champion
  • Katrin Davidsdottir
  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Olympic gold medalist in 100m

Some key exchanges: 

  • Davidsdottir: “When we fail, there’s nothing wrong with it. You just failed at that particular event; you’re not a failure.”
  • Fraser-Pryce: “I earned this and I want this just as anybody else. It’s hard being an athlete from a country that’s so male-dominated…that’s a testament to knowing who you are and knowing what you’re worth. For me, I want to do it the way I want to do it and I want to do it well.” 
  • Lynch on discovering wrestling: “For the first time in my life, I wanted to be good at something. I wanted to be better at something.”
  • Sage Steel,e moderating: “Sometimes as women, we don’t credit ourselves enough.”
  • A wrestler to Lynch: “Move more like a girl.” Lynch, responding: “Well I am a girl, and I’m moving, so I don’t know what that means.” 
  • Cambage: Growing up “I tried to shrink myself. We were born this way. We were born beautiful. We were born this way to live this life.”

One big thing: Davidsdottir’s presence at the event was a win for the CrossFit Games, and Davidsdottir herself echoed that sentiment in a post-panel interview.

  • Davidsdottir wasn’t the only CrossFitter at the summit. Fellow panelist Becky Lynch is a member of a box in LA and Noor Dajani — a member of the 2019 class of U.S. Department of State and espnW’s Global Sports Mentoring Program, is an L1 coach in Jordan.
  • Three total CrossFit athletes were representing various parts of the sport on the stage: Davidsdottir the competitive Games side, Lynch the professional athlete in another sport training side, and Dajani the coach.

The big picture: Davidsdottir is having a banner year and writing the playbook for what a successful athletic career for a CrossFit Games athlete can look like.  

Davidsdottir is definitely still considered a podium threat at the CrossFit Games (4th in 2019, 3rd in 2018, 5th in 2017), but her success as an athlete is no longer tied directly to how she performs on the field of play. Davidsdottir is the kind of CrossFit ambassador who can transcend barriers for future generations of athletes and help the Games reach the masses. 

Look at Davidsdottir’s past twelve months: