Miguel Cotto vs. Austin Trout World Title Fight Preview Video

Saturday at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York, former three-division world champion Miguel Cotto will be facing off with current WBA super welterweight world champion Austin Trout. Watch the video below for a preview of the two fighters and their training leading up to the fight.

Courtesy Showtime Sports

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Weekend Musings: It’s good to be back

Photo: University of Notre Dame

I went 36-8 on my week 13 picks. That’s a correct picked percentage of 81.8. The most notable upset I called was Mississippi over Mississippi State.

The Notre DameUSC primetime broadcast on ABC garnered a 10.3 national TV rating. That made it the most watched college football game of the season, and is even higher than last year’s Rose and Sugar Bowls.

I don’t know if I always believed Notre Dame could make it back to a National Title opportunity, or if I had deep down accepted that it may never happen in my lifetime. I’m inclined to say the former. As a close follower of the team, it’s clear now how far away Notre Dame was from being a contender in years past, which also makes it clear now why being a championship caliber team seemed like such a faraway thing that I doubted it’s possibility altogether. What remained constant through it all was faith. Deep down I always had faith that the ship would be righted and the echoes awoken. Nevertheless, there is still one more game to be played, and I hope the players haven’t settled, but for now, it’s good to be back (Or if you were born post-1988 like me, it’s good to finally make it).

Manti Te’o is the unquestionable leader of the Notre Dame team, but on the offensive side of the ball, Theo Riddick was the Irish’s MVP against USC. Numerous times he broke 10-yard runs to extend drives, made quick cuts to avoid defenders and pick up first downs, and turn positive gains out of potential plays for lost yards. Cierre Wood was the premiere back heading into the season, and is an NFL talent averaging 7.1 yards per carry heading into the game, but the smaller Riddick has been the pleasant surprise turning into the Irish’s power-back option toughing out carries between the tackles.

With Stanford’s 35-17 victory over UCLA, they have now defeated three top 20 teams in a row. They are in my opinion the best two-loss team in football. Had they not slipped versus Washington, I don’t doubt that they could be in competition with the Alabama-Georgia winner for the No. 2 spot in the BCS rankings and a rematch with Notre Dame in the National Championship game.

Stanford senior running back Stepfan Taylor is having another excellent season. It is his third 1,000 yard rushing and double-digit touchdown season in a row.

Just when you thought Texas was back on track, they lose 20-13 to TCU. Quarterback David Ash struggled going 10/21, 104 yards, and two picks. Case McCoy didn’t do much better, but enough to earn the start for this weekend’s game against Kansas State.

Why was there no Denard Robinson sighting in Michigan’s final offensive drive against Ohio State which resulted in an interception? I understand his passing ability is limited even without the arm injury, but he’s one of the most dynamic players in the country, and has come through numerous times in the clutch, coach Brady Hoke needed to find a way to get the ball in his hands.

How good is Ohio State? I’m still not even sure I completely know. It’s almost as if they are an undefeated mid-major. I understand that is an unfair comparison for the Buckeyes, but it’s hard to name a player from this squad off the top of your head other than Braxton Miller and John Simon, a big contrast from teams in years past. Every week seemed like the week their true colors would show, yet they would still find a way to win. Granted, they only truly faced tough competition in Nebraska and Michigan, those victories as well as wins over Wisconsin and Michigan State exceeded my expectations. Penn State turned out to be better than thought, but for the most part, the Big Ten was much weaker than expected which likely aided the Buckeyes in their undefeated campaign.

I was very close to picking Pittsburgh in my Week 13 FBS Picks, and by the result of their 21-point victory over Rutgers, I should have. Pittsburgh is much more talented than their 5-6 record would tell, but I think the effect of so many coaching changes (three different coaches for the past three seasons) showed in the Panthers’ performance this year.

In a matchup of SEC teams playing with a fired head coach, Tennessee defeated Kentucky 37-17. Nothing more to say about these two teams.

Talking about disappointing Big Ten teams, Michigan State is one of them. Can you believe their victory over Minnesota Saturday brought them to the same record and the Gophers?

It was a rough first year in the SEC for Missouri. But that’s what you would expect for a lowly Big Twelve team making the transition to big boy ball in SEC, right? Well tell that to Texas A&M, the team that defeated them by 30 on Saturday and took down a vaunted No. 1 Alabama in their first year in the SEC as well.

Louisiana Tech and San Jose State played in a great Western Athletic Conference matchup Saturday, and SJS came out on top 52-43. Tech is now 9-3 on the season and State is 10-2, not bad for two mid-majors. What catches the eye even more is that neither of them are in first place in the WAC; that honor belongs to 10-2 (6-0) Utah State. Tech played Texas A&M very close earlier in the season losing 59-57 – they are also the No. 1 scoring team in the nation. If you’re a big fan of college football, the replay of the game is available on WatchESPN.com. I’ll be tuning in later this week.

Not to leave out recognition of any other mid-major teams, Kent State improved to 11-1 with their win over Ohio University Friday and are now sitting at No. 17 in the BCS Standings, one spot shy of qualifying for a BCS bowl game. What that means, is you now have reason to tune into their game with another 11-1 MAC team, Nothern Illinois, in the MAC Championship game this Friday. Not only is it a matchup of two top-25 MAC teams, but the implications are big as well. Kent State owns a win over Rutgers, but also an ugly loss to Kentucky. NIU’s lone loss was by one point to Iowa in the first game of the season.

USC attempts to revive ‘Bush Push’

Remember the “Bush Push” from the 2005 USC-Notre Dame rivalry matchup? USC running back Reggie Bush pushed quarterback Matt Leinart into the end zone for the game winning touchdown. The whole world found out that night that it is illegal to aid any player by pushing or holding them up for extra yards. Well, maybe Lane Kiffin, or Curtis McNeal, were excluded from that category as it appears that “Bush Pushing” is exactly what they were doing in this past Saturday’s matchup with Notre Dame.

With a little over four minutes left in the game you can see McNeal twice attempt to push QB Max Wittek into the end zone from behind. Look at the 1:11 mark of the below video as well as the 1:30 mark. It may be one of the more petty and uncalled rules in football, but the rule is there for a reason. Good thing this game didn’t once again come down to the same incident.

Week 14 NCAA FBS Poll

Florida defensive back Marcus Roberson running back an interception versus Florida State on Nov. 24, 2012. (Photo: GatorZone.com)

In this weeks rankings Notre Dame has completed their first undefeated season since 1988 and firmly sealed up the No. 1 place in the PanCirco NCAA FBS poll. I said before that a win over Michigan could solidify Ohio State’s No. 2 spot — I even picked against them — and they went out and got the job done. Florida has once again gone out and defeated a top ten team, even though Alabama would likely be favored in a head-to-head matchup, I have to reward Florida for proving their worth on the field. Alabama has defeated two top-25 teams in Michigan and LSU. They need a win over Georgia in the SEC Championship game to possibly finish the regular season second or third. Georgia is a solid team both defensively and offensively, and like Alabama they need a win in the SEC  championship game to move up. Texas A&M dropped from sixth to ninth after much consideration. I may have overrated them a little too much based off their win over Alabama. With two losses it was hard to keep them ahead of one-loss Georgia and Kansas State despite the latter’s ugly loss to Baylor. Stanford has beaten three top-15 teams in a row; they are the best two-loss team in my opinion. Clemson dropped out of the rankings with a loss and Nebraska entered.

Rank Team Record
1 Notre Dame 12-0
2 Ohio State 12-0
3 Florida 11-1
4 Alabama 11-1
5 Georgia 11-1
6 Oregon 11-1
7 Kansas State 10-1
8 Stanford 10-2
9 Texas A&M 10-2
10 LSU 10-2
11 South Carolina 10-2
12 Oklahoma 9-2
13 Florida State 10-2
14 Nebraska 10-2
15 Oregon State 8-3

Week 13 College Football Picks

Projected winners highlighted in bold.

USF (Big East) at Cincinnati (Big East)

Ball St (MAC) at Miami OH (MAC)

Texas St (WAC) at UTSA (WAC)

Southern Miss (CUSA) at Memphis (CUSA)

Marshall (CUSA) at East Carolina (CUSA)

North Texas (Sun Belt) at WKU (Sun Belt)

Troy (Sun Belt) at Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt)

ULM (Sun Belt) at FIU (Sun Belt)

San Diego St (Mountain West) at Wyoming (Mountain West)

New Mexico (Mountain West) at Colorado St (Mountain West)

UAB (CUSA) at UCF (CUSA)

Tulane (CUSA) at Houston (CUSA)

Air Force (Mountain West) at Fresno St (Mountain West)

West Virginia (Big 12) at Iowa St (Big 12)

BYU (Independent) at New Mexico St (WAC)

UNLV (Mountain West) at Hawaii (Mountain West)

Notre Dame (Independent) at USC (Pac-12)***

South Alabama (Sun Belt) at Louisiana (Sun Belt)

Tulsa (CUSA) at SMU (CUSA)

Rice (CUSA) at UTEP (CUSA)

Louisiana Tech (WAC) at San Jose St (WAC)

Idaho (WAC) at Utah St (WAC)

Boston College (ACC) at NC State (ACC)

Texas Tech (Big 12) at Baylor (Big 12)

Illinois (Big Ten) at Northwestern (Big Ten)

Indiana (Big Ten) at Purdue (Big Ten)

Michigan (Big Ten) at Ohio St (Big Ten)

Michigan St (Big Ten) at Minnesota (Big Ten)

Wisconsin (Big Ten) at Penn St (Big Ten)

Oklahoma St (Big 12) at Oklahoma (Big 12)

Stanford (Pac-12) at UCLA (Pac-12)

Virginia (ACC) at Virginia Tech (ACC)

Miami Fla. (ACC) at Duke (ACC)

Oregon (Pac-12) at Oregon St (Pac-12)

Rutgers (Big East) at Pittsburgh (Big East)

Connecticut (Big East) at Louisville (Big East)

Maryland (ACC) at North Carolina (ACC)

Mississippi St (SEC) at Mississippi (SEC)

Kentucky (SEC) at Tennessee (SEC)

South Carolina (SEC) at Clemson (ACC)

Vanderbilt (SEC) at Wake Forest (ACC)

Georgia Tech (ACC) at Georgia (SEC)

Florida (SEC) at Florida St (ACC)

Missouri (SEC) at Texas A&M (SEC)

Auburn (SEC) at Alabama (SEC)

Adrien Broner wins second world championship

Adrien Broner (L) delivers a left hook to DeMarco (R). (Photo: Tom Hogan – HoganPhotos/Golden Boy)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (Nov. 19, 2012) – Cincinnati’s Adrien “The Problem” Broner became the youngest current American two-time world champion this past Saturday when, in an impressive showing, he defeated Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco by technical knockout in the eighth round at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. The bout was televised live on HBO’s premier boxing program, HBO World Championship Boxing. It was his seventh overall appearance on HBO.

In what most people considered to be Broner’s toughest fight to-date, he was able to control the pace throughout the whole fight and gain a commanding lead before knocking down DeMarco in the eighth. DeMarco’s corner then threw in the towel forcing referee Benjy Esteves Jr. to stop the fight and handing Broner the WBC lightweight title.

“I came into the fight looking for a war because I know DeMarco is a warrior,” Broner said at the post-fight press conference. “But, ‘The Problem’ stands.”

For his part, DeMarco said, “Without a doubt, he is a very complete fighter. I like big challenges, and I think Broner is a super fighter.”

Around the boxing world, excitement for Broner and what the future holds for him is growing. At such a young age, Broner himself acknowledges that there is a lot more to be accomplished.

“Two-time world champion, 23 years old,” Broner said. “This has just begun – the Adrien Broner, ‘Mr. HBO’ show.”

News release via R&R Promotions

Week 13 NCAA FBS Poll

Notre Dame has taken over the No. 1 spot this week with the losses suffered by Oregon and Kansas State. The losses also moved Ohio State up to No. 2. The onl notable wins they own are against Nebraska and Wisconsin, but going unbeaten is not an easy task in itself and they are finding ways to win. A victory over Michigan can solidify their No. 2 spot. Despite Albama’s weak schedule, they are a one loss team who has manhandled every other team they’ve faced besides top ten LSU. Florida has played arguably the toughest schedule in the SEC and has come out with only one loss so far putting them at No. 4. Stanford’s impressive victory slips them into the top ten meanwhile Florida State and Clemson — both with weak schedules — are hanging onto their spots in the top 15.

Rank Team Record
1 Notre Dame 11-0
2 Ohio State 11-0
3 Alabama 10-1
4 Florida 10-1
5 Oregon 10-1
6 Texas A&M 9-2
7 Georgia 10-1
8 Kansas State 10-1
9 LSU 9-2
10 Stanford 9-2
11 Oklahoma 8-2
12 Florida State 10-1
13 South Carolina 9-2
14 Oregon State 8-2
15 Clemson 10-1

Adrien Broner going for second world championship Saturday on HBO

Photo: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

CINCINNATI (Nov. 16, 2012) – This Saturday night marks another evening of the “Adrien Broner Show.” That’s what the world champion boxer called his 12-round fight against Antonio DeMarco at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., and televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

The native Cincinnatian will be attempting to gain his second world title against DeMarco, this time the WBC lightweight championship. It was nearly a year ago when Broner won the WBO super featherweight championship in his hometown. Since then Broner has continued to rise to stardom now becoming a fixture in the global boxing scene and fighting in front of HBO-televised audiences.

At the young age of 23, the future has a lot offer for Broner, and the next step is against the experienced Mexican, DeMarco. With a 28-2-1 (21 KOs) record, DeMarco is looking to finish off his best year in the sport. It started last October when he rallied for one of the most exciting knockout finishes of 2011 over Jorge Linares to win the world title. Since then, DeMarco has won twice more, the latest being a first round stoppage over a 24-1 John Molina in September.

“DeMarco is definitely my best opponent so far on paper,” Broner said in a media conference call. “It is the biggest fight of my career thus far. I am not looking past anyone. I have to take it one fight at a time.

“I have been training very hard,” Broner continued. “I want to thank DeMarco and his team for taking the fight and coming to the U.S. to fight me. I know he is a great champion. He is ready and I am ready. It is going to be an electrifying fight and I am ready to go.”

Though the southpaw DeMarco is going to present a new challenge, Broner still believes that he will be able to show his opponent why he’s called “The Problem.”

“You are going to see a totally different Adrien Broner on Saturday night,” Broner said. I am going to be able to show more of my skills on Saturday night because DeMarco has such talent. They say if one good talent goes up against another good talent, it brings out something in the elite.

“DeMarco has fought good guys, but he hasn’t fought me.”

Manti Te’o Gets It

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o has made plenty of headlines this year for his play on the field and for the person he is off of it. What exactly makes him not only such a special athlete, but human being? It’s hard to pinpoint one thing. However, this interview he did with Chicago news anchor Kate Sullivan may help you figure it out.

No matter what you think about the Notre Dame football team, it’s hard to not like this player. There are certainly plenty of stand-up young men in collegiate athletics, but so often we only see and hear about the troublesome ones — players who get caught up in their honey badger egos, being paid to play, free cars (or tattoos), tweeting about their disdain for their free education. It’s good to see that Te’o has a proper perspective on the talents he’s been given and the purpose of his life.

Weekend Musings: I saw it coming?

Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Ryan Swope celebrates with the Aggie Nation after Texas A&M defeated top ranked Alabama, 29-24, on November 10, 2012 in Tuscaloosa. (Photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

I went 36-19 this weekend in my week 11 college football picks. In high school, that would be a failing grade of 65.5 percent. For picking the always unpredictable college football game, it’s average. I’ll take it.

It’s hard to say now that you saw Texas A&M’s upset of Alabama coming, but I certainly did think they had a good shot at it. My doubt of freshman Johnny Manziel against Alabama’s disciplined defense led me to pick Alabama. Not to mention the rushing attack of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon and composed quarterbacking of A.J. McCarron. But Alabama’s performance has me questioning if, or how much, we overrated Alabama. They lost some key players on defense from last year and one of the traps is trying not to rate a team on how well or bad they performed the previous year. What was most impressive to me in this game was A&M’s defense hanging on to their lead as ‘Bama surged on attempting to make a comeback and then sealing the deal with an interception as Alabama was in the red zone ready to take the lead.

I thought TCU had a legitimate chance at upsetting Kansas State , but without Casey Pachall, backup quarterback – now starter – Trevone Boykin couldn’t do enough to lead his team to victory. The statline will show a closer game than it was. TCU led in total yards, first downs, and time of possession.

While Oregon has the nation’s 30th ranked scoring defense, they gave up 236 rushing yards to lowly California . The game was 24-10 at the half and could have been closer. Against a team more prepared to play a full, hard four quarters such as Stanford, I think Oregon is going to be given a run for their money Saturday. Stepfan Taylor is one of the top running backs in the country with more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns and he’ll be running behind a big O-line from Stanford who blocks well.

After losing two straight and looking poor in winning performances against Baylor and Kansas , Texas has bounced back with consecutive wins over a ranked Texas Tech and blowing out Iowa State . Quarterback David Ash played well in both games and as long as the defense holds up, Texas is looking like a top 20 team.

So much for Indiana controlling their own destiny in the Big Ten. It was fun while it lasted. After Saturday’s 62-14 loss to Wisconsin they are left to fight for bowl eligibility needing wins against Penn State and Purdue. Even in a weak Big Ten this year, did anybody really think Indiana could make it to the conference title game?

Saturday was a day for wild finishes including Michigan over Northwestern, Virginia over Miami, Purdue over Iowa, Florida over Louisiana-Lafayette, and Missouri over Tennessee. None of the games were top 25 matchups, but they were all fun to watch – that’s part of the beauty of college football.

Kent State broke into the top 25 rankings in the AP Poll for the first time since 1973. A win over Bowling Green this weekend will seal the MAC East division for the 9-1 Golden Flashes.

In a matchup of two of the worst teams in the FBS, Massachusetts picked up their first win of the season over Akron (1-10). That now leaves Southern Mississippi as the only winless team in the nation.

After the first five weeks of the season did anyone think West Virginia would still be searching for bowl eligibility in week 12? Well, not so surprising when your team gives up 41.4 points per game (121st). Everybody should know by now, defense wins championships, unless you play Baylor 13 times a year.

Auburn was shutout against Georgia. Will Gene Chizik have a job at the end of the season? I’ll say give the man another year, hopefully there’s a junior college transfer out there waiting to be paid to play.

How good is Mississippi State? Eleven weeks in and they still might be the hardest team to get a gauge on.