The Big 10’s Big Return

By Jack Riedinger

You read that right. Coming the weekend of October 24th, you’ll see the greatest conference in college football back in action and it feels so good. Early Wednesday morning of the 16th, representatives of all Big Ten teams met where they decided to reverse their decision from last month to not have a fall season of football. The original decision was met with criticism from several influential people. Ohio State quarterback, Justin Fields, started a petition that garnered over 230,000 signatures in less than a day, and even President Donald Trump chimed in, asking the schools to let them play. There were also several players for the Nebraska Cornhuskers who threatened legal action against the conference.

So after all the scrutiny and an abundance of meetings, the decision came to reinstate the season. In a statement released by the Big Ten on Wednesday, they discussed how every coach and athlete would have to take daily tests in order to maintain a healthy environment for all those involved. If a player or coach tests positive, they will be forced to quarantine for up to 21 days before being allowed back onto the gridiron. Celebration erupted over social media with players voicing their support and countless fans sharing their thanks from all over the world. The official schedules will be released later this week, with each team having eight games, four home and four away, all leading up to December 19th where a champion will be crowned.

The next pressing question is the one on every Ohio State fan’s mind: will they get a shot at the national title? I wish I had better news for you, but for now the answer is up in the air. That will be up to the FBS commissioners who will take a vote later in the season. All I can tell you right now is to get your buckeye necklaces ready because in six short Saturdays, Big Ten football is back.

Browns Week 1 Review

By Emily Layne

Week 1 did not turn out how the Cleveland Browns had hoped. With a loss against the Baltimore Ravens at 38-6 at M&T Bank Stadium, the Browns fell into a hole early in the game and could not dig themselves out. Especially with a momentum swing for the Ravens just before the end of the first half. The second half was no better than the first, unfortunate for the debut of head coach Kevin Stefanski. 

Jarvis Landry (RB) came out hot and had 5 catches for a total of 61 yards. Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb also played well with a combined total of 23 carries and 132 yards. Quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 29 out of 31 passes for a total of 189 yards and was sacked twice. 

The Browns did not help themselves with a run of penalties in quick succession at the end of the first half. The multiple face mask penalties were a turning point in the game, greatly hurting the Browns. Mayfield threw an interception on the first drive of the game and a botched fake punt sealed the deal for an early 7 points for the Ravens. 

With 2 players leaving the game due to injuries and 3 projected starters injured, the whole Browns team felt the effects. Jedrick Wills Jr. did not return to the game due to an injury to his left leg. Also linebacker Jacob Phillips did not return after a knee injury. Grant Delpit, Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson are all not able to play due to their injuries. 

Lamar Jackson lived up to his MVP title from the 2019 season throwing a total of 275 yards and three touchdown passes on Sunday. 

Although having no preseason games to work out the bugs due to COVID-19, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens brought the heat. Another big factor in the outcome of the game was the lack of fans. Not having roaring fans in the stands, the players have to create their own energy and keep it going throughout the game. Having the ability to hear the other teams calls and defense was something the Browns were not prepared for. The stadium had a different energy without the screams of adoring fans. 

Overall, the Browns made many mistakes. There were too many penalties and not enough defense. The key of this game was to shut down Lamar Jackson and his passing game and the Browns defense could not keep up. Fortunately for the Browns, these are all mistakes that can be fixed easily especially going into a short week, having their next game this coming Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals. 

The Philadelphia 76ers made the wrong moves during the offseason

By: Nikko Weathers

“Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,USA – April 2, 2012: Wells Fargo Center is part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex and is home to Philadelphia Flyers (National Hockey League), the Philadelphia 76ers (National Basketball Association), the Philadelphia Wings (National Lacrosse League), the Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football League) and the Villanova Wildcats (NCAA). The center also serves as a venue for many other city event.”

With the knee injury to Ben Simmons, Brett Brown is forced to be without his all star forward for the foreseeable future. With the absence of Simmons, all of the pressure is left to the 76ers superstar Joel Embid who is struggling to find a win against the young Boston Celtics.

Boston’s Jayson Tatum has been firing on all cylinders leading the Celtics in scoring while taking a 2-0 series lead against the injury riddled Sixers. From those two games it is obvious that the Sixers miss Simmons, without him there is absolutely no identity on the offensive end and no leader on the floor. It is no question that Embid is their best player on the floor however there are many questions that arise when he and Simmons are both on the floor, or Simmons is absent. Embid seems to lack leadership qualities, and toughness while also looking out of shape due to the 4 month hiatus.

It has never been more clear how valuable Simmons is to the team, but when he is on the floor with Embid they still can’t seem to get it done and make it out of the East. Critics knock Simmons’ inability to shoot a jumper from the perimeter, his turnovers, and his lack of offensive repertoire. What many should focus on besides his weaknesses should be what he is good at which is pushing the offense in transition, his defensive skills, and his vision on the floor.

During the offseason the 76ers gave forward Tobias Harris a max $180 million, $97 million for Al Horford, and acquired Josh Richardson via a trade with MIami for Jimmy Butler. The 76ers valued size this offseason but didn’t focus on adding depth to compliment the main pieces on the team which are their two all stars, Simmons and Embid. Their lack of perimeter shooting, bench depth, and offensive miscues will have them plagued against the other top teams in the East.

Yes, if Ben Simmons were healthy in this series against the Celtics it would have been a far better matchup, he led the league in steals at 2.1 steals, he held Jayson Tatum to 31.3 percent shooting while he guarded him, and averaged 8.0 assists which ranked sixth in the NBA. 

If the 76ers refocused their offseason on adding pieces to compliment their two stars we could see a different year for them however, that is not the case. They overpaid for a non all star forward in Tobias Harris, they added a regressing big in Al Horford, and downgraded by trading for Josh Richardson while shipping out Jimmy Butler. They also lost their knock down perimeter shooter in JJ Reddick. If they didn’t give away Reddick, didn’t overpay for an average forward, didn’t sign a regressing big, and kept all star Jimmy Butler happy this would have been a far more successful year.

The Ultimate NFL Draft First Round Review

By: Michael Markoch

The NFL Draft is quite a spectacle for football fans. It is the NFL’s version of Christmas, where organizations can select new players for their rosters. And this year, more than ever, fans around the world need this draft, we all need live sports right now, and this is as close as we are going to get to that in these difficult times. Last night was the first round, 32 picks, 32 players, together at home making dreams come true, so let us break down what we saw last night and then mention some winners, losers, and surprises.

The first ever virtual draft went as smoothly as the NFL could have imagined. And for the teams picking at the top, it seemed easy. The Bengals confirmed the worst kept secret ever and took LSU’s Joe Burrow and the Redskins selected Ohio State’s Chase Young, who was arguably the best overall player in the draft.

The most interesting part of the first round was the number of positional runs that occurred. In the middle portion of the round, we saw huge runs on offensive lineman, cornerbacks, and a massive run on wide receivers, who are highly coveted this year, beginning with Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III going 12th overall to the Las Vegas Raiders.

The back part of the draft went as expected, teams filling needs with players they had high on their board, no matter if people knew the name or not.  The Tennessee Titans took Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson with the 29th pick, making him the second Georgia offensive lineman taken in the first round.  The Seahawks made a first-round pick for the first time in 8 years and took Texas Tech’s Jordyn Brooks over higher rated players such as Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison.  The first round ended with the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs selection LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

But now for the fun stuff, because there were some huge winners and losers and of course some major surprises.

Winners

#1- Miami Dolphins: With three first round picks, the Dolphins were in great position to add some great talent to their team, and it started with the 5th pick. The Dolphins did not draft scared, they took Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa to be their franchise quarterback despite his injury concerns and selected USC’s Austin Jackson, who is a very raw offensive line talent. You cannot get better in this league without taking risk, and Tagovailoa is one, but he was the right pick for this organization, and they didn’t overthink it, took him, and did not look back.  The Dolphins finished their first round by taking Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene with pick number 30.

#2- Cleveland Browns: The draft could not have shaken out any better for the Cleveland Browns. Their most glaring need was left tackle and because only one tackle was taken in the top 9, they basically had their choice of the pack and they got the guy they wanted in Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. Wills played right tackle at Alabama but played left tackle in high school and should be able to make a smooth transition to the left side for the Browns.  With this pick, the Browns have no more excuses, they officially have it all, especially on offense. But because they shored up their biggest need with the guy they wanted all along, they are big winners after Round 1.

#3- San Francisco 49ers: Talk about the rich getting richer, the 49ers traded DeForest Buckner for the 13th pick, which they turned into his replacement with South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw at 14 after trading with Tampa Bay. Kinlaw will make an immediate impact on their defensive line and fill in for Bucker nicely, while also being a lot cheaper. Then later, the Niners traded up to 25th overall to get Brandon Aiyuk, an athletic freak at wide receiver who will help the 49ers greatly in the pass-catching department.

Losers

#1- New England Patriots- The Patriots traded out of the first round, so how can they be losers? Well, whether the Patriots want to admit it or not, they have holes all over their roster, not just at quarterback.  They could have used the 23rd pick on another position to simply make their team better, like a linebacker like Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen, or a pass rusher like Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos. Instead, they just sound plain stubborn. They have 13 picks in the final six rounds, but due to their actions on Thursday night, they take an L this time around.

#2- Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons have glaring needs all over the defensive side of the ball, and it felt like they reached at pick 16 with Clemson’s A.J. Terrell. He is a very unpolished prospect that is going to need some development to really reach his full potential. I would’ve rather seen LSU’s Kristian Fulton or even a linebacker like Kenneth Murray or K’Lavon Chassion with their pick. It just did not feel right from the start and felt like a panic move due to the run on cornerbacks and seemed a bit high for where they were picking.

#3- Detroit Lions- They are certainly not losers because they took Jeff Okudah. Simply put, they did not want to take Okudah as high as they did. It was no secret Detroit wanted to move out of the number 3 spot, and they seemed to have suitors, but never got a deal done. The Lions need so much more help besides Okudah and the fact that they didn’t collect any more picks was a failure on their part.  I love the pick but I felt they could’ve had so much more on top of it, for that they are a loser.

Surprises

#1: Damon Arnette Goes in the First Round 

The Las Vegas Raiders stunned everyone when they selected Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette 19th overall.  Arnette had a high second round grade and was head-scratching to most because the Raiders probably could have gotten him in the second round.  There were probably more talented cornerbacks still on the board, but the Raiders showed that you should always go with your guy, no matter where you are picking.  Time will tell if it was a good pick for them.

#2: Packers Shock Everyone, Take Aaron Rodgers Successor…We Think?

The Packers traded up in the first round to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, and let us just say most people didn’t take it all that well.  Aaron Rodgers is only 36, ironically the same age as Brett Favre when the Packers took Rodgers as the succession plan, and is still playing at a high level, so why now?  What makes this pick even more surprising is that the Packers desperately need weapons on offense and there were plenty of those still on the board.  Now there is no guarantee they will be able to get one with their later picks. The Packers better hope Love is what they think he can be or else this is a all-time bust.

#3: Andrew Thomas Was the First Offensive Tackle Taken 

The Giants took Georgia’s Andrew Thomas with the number 4 overall pick. It’s not that the Giants took a tackle, but rather who that is surprising.  Thomas was not the highest rated lineman on most experts’ boards due to his balance issues in college.  It was a surprising pick considering it was expected Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr or Iowa’s Tristian Wirfs was going to be the first tackle selected.  Hopefully, Danny Dimes has the protection he needs to succeed.

#4: The Eagles Take Who? 

To say the Eagles needed a wide receiver is an incredible understatement.  Carson Wentz was throwing the college quarterbacks next season.  So with the 20th pick, the Eagles took a wide receiver, Jalen Reagor out of TCU.  When he was first drafted most asked who he was, because he had a 2nd round grade on most boards.  He’s a raw talent at receiver that has great potential, but it seemed the Eagles could have played it safer with LSU’s Justin Jefferson, who was still on the board, or Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr., who were more higher rated prospects.  But they took a chance on a player with high potential to change a receiving core that desperately needs it and proved that experts’ boards mean absolutely nothing in the NFL Draft.

Link between Hip-Hop and Sports

We have all heard the adage rappers want to be athletes and athletes want to be rappers.  A great example of this today is Toronto Raptors super fan and arguably one of the most successful rappers of this Generation is Drake. He can always be seen court-side at Raptors games.  When you see athletes today, they barrow fashion and mannerisms from the culture of Hip-Hop. The pioneer of this movement of bringing hip-hop culture into the sports world was. The National Basketball Association Hall of Famer, THE Answer Allen Iverson. A.I.  would come to the arena with long chains, earrings, and pieces of jewelry with the bagging pants, long t-shirts, and the fitted hats were all reminiscent of early 2000’s Hip-Hop fashion. Iverson’s impact on the basketball world became so prevalent that the NBA’s commissioner at the time David Stern Instituted a dress code outline of what players could wear to the games. This is why in today’s NBA many players are wearing suits and such things to the games.  Iverson’s influence has leaked into other professional leagues as well such as the National Football League. The NFL racial makeup is about 70% African American players in the league and the NBA is about 74%. This may be true because many of the athletes and rappers share the similar upbringing of impoverished neighborhoods and use their smart along with athletic ability to become the successful people they are today. Hip-Hop music is the soundtrack to many of these athletes’ lives because the music tells the story of a community of people of triumph and struggle. The rise in Hip-Hop as a mainstream genre of music and the popularity of the two biggest sports here in North America coincide with each other as The Rap music genre was taking off so was basketball with one of the most popular players of the 90’s Michael Jordan was winning his six championships in the NBA. Also, there was Prime-Time Deion Sanders who was the Iverson of the NFL with his gold chains and his flamboyant swagger. He would be seen and associated with one of the most successful Hip-Hop stars at the time MC Hammer. These two forms of entertainment however different in what they provide will be permanently linked to each other because of the connection and impact they have on the culture and society today.

By: Thomas Burton