With the 2012 French Open draw now out, we can look at which players have the easiest and toughest paths to get deep in this tournament. As always, we will rank the quarters from toughest to easiest. These rankings aren’t determined by the number of top players in the draw. Rather, we will judge each section by how hard the likely paths of the top seed in that section are. Also, we will refer back to our preview several times throughout this draw analysis, so if you haven’t had a chance to see that yet it might be worth checking out.
In what is no surprise to conspiracy theorists and even level-headed tennis fans, Nadal drew Murray in his half while Djokovic drew Federer. Now, it’s unfair to ever count Murray out-he has been to the semifinals of the last five Slams-but it doesn’t quite look like Murray is anywhere near the rest of the top 3 right now, especially with his back injury. I would not be surprised at all if Murray didn’t make the semifinals, and that’s before seeing his draw.
The clear winner in free agency, unless you want to say the Broncos won because they signed Peyton Manning, were the Buccaneers, but Super Bowl’s aren’t won in FA, so could they carry that momentum over into the NFL Draft?
With so many holes to fill on both sides of the ball still, I know I just said they won free agency, but that was simply because they added already established players at positions of need now they needed to add young, impactful players as well, the Bucs had to decide what route they would take on draft day.
Without further ado, we get back to our NFL Draft Grades, with my 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Grade.
The Bucs held the fifth pick in the draft and it was pretty much consensus that they would not be drafting there; it was just a question of whether they were moving up or down.
Well when the Browns bit on the Vikings threats and moved up, the Bucs were in move down mode quickly.
Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., are no more than 40 miles apart from each other. An hour drive in either direction to catch a baseball game is certainly worth the trek, especially if it’s to catch your favorite team or player. But, the experience is enjoyed ten fold when your favorite team isn’t just playing host to a contender or when a marquee name steps onto your diamond, but when your team is the contender and has that marquee name.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals.
Well, the end of the month of May means 2 weeks of watching the top men in the world battle out best-of-five set matches on the red clay in Paris. Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in the final last year, matching Bjorn Borg’s record of six Roland Garros titles. This year he will go for the seventh. Of course, Federer and Novak Djokovic will be his main challenges, but there are several other challengers who may pose a threat as well.
The Rome final was postponed until at least Monday due to rain. Because the surface is very similar to Roland Garros (assuming it’s played on their normal court), the match between Nadal and Djokovic will give us a great insight into who looks the best right before Roland Garros. If Djokovic wins the final, Nadal will be the #3 seed at Roland Garros, meaning there would be a 50% chance that Djokovic and Nadal end up in the same half of the French Open draw.
1. Rafael Nadal- Last year we went out on a limb and called Djokovic the favorite by a slim margin. That was, of course, because he had just won almost 40 consecutive matches and had just absolutely dominated Nadal in consecutive finals. This year, Nadal shredded Djokovic in the Monte Carlo final. And even though both bowed out early in Madrid (and neither looked good doing it), but both played very well in Rome, which has a much more similar surface to the clay at Roland Garros than Madrid does anyway.
Let’s be honest, nobody had Chelsea or Bayern Munich even making this game. At the start of the competition the heavy favourites were Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona who were eliminated in the semi-finals. It was the sixth best team in England through the league season and the third best team from the city of London, Chelsea facing off against the German heavyweights, Bayern Munich. Chelsea had endured a tumultuous season where they struggled in the league and fell to sixth, including being behind local rivals Arsenal and Tottenham however they had experience some joy winning the FA Cup over Liverpool. Bayern had also experienced a disappointing year spending most of the season playing second fiddle to Dortmund, losing the German Cup final 5-2 to them and finishing the league season as runners up, eight points behind them. For both of these clubs though they would be offered the ultimate shot at salvation on club football’s biggest stage, the UEFA Champions League Final.
10 Under the Radar teams to watch for 2012-13
by Gus Elvin
Alright people now that my early preseason top 25 is out, I’ve decided to start a new series of articles that will help set the table for the 2012-2013 season. This series entitled “Guru’s Top Ten”, for the most part will be list format, as I will provide a list of 10 teams, players, coaches, or anything else related to college basketball leading up to next season. For example, this list could be anything from 10 mid majors to watch, to 10 breakout players, etc. For the 1st installment, I thought I’d take a look at some teams outside of my preseason top 25 that could make some noise next season. I know college basketball is out of season so it’s not something you readers want every day, but this once a week/every other week series is a way to stay in the loop with the happenings of college basketball, without being overburdened. Like I said for our first edition of “Guru’s Top Ten” we will take a look at “10 Teams Outside of the Top 25 to Watch”. This list is not in any particular order but just a list of 10 teams that are going a bit under the radar, who could be major players next season. Here is “Guru’s Top Ten Teams Outside of the Top 25 to Watch”.
Part 2: The story of the season:
Back on August 13, the 20th season of the Barclays Premier League kicked off and what a season fans were treated to. Right up until the final day on May 13. It was a 9 month rollercoaster for fans of all teams as they experienced the highs and lows of league football and then some more. Since the early part of the 2000’s the league has been dominated by the Big 4 of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United but in the last 2 seasons the Big 4 has been brought back to earth than this year more than ever solidified the notion that the pack has caught up. The three teams that rose to contention were Manchester City, funded by a family of Middle Eastern billionaires, Tottenham, who have risen slowly to the top and Newcastle, who came out of nowhere this season looking to relive the club’s former glory days. Liverpool were the first club to drop off two seasons ago and this year found themselves mired in a battle of mediocre mid-table teams and Chelsea who, despite their solid runs in the FA Cup and the Champions League, were left wanting as they dropped down to 6th spot. While Manchester United and City set themselves apart from the pack up top and Wolves were a way off at the bottom, the 17 other teams gave us a topsy-turvey season where fans could realistically hope their team could pull off a dream result on any given match day. At the end of the day, City added their name to the list of Premier League champions, joining United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Blackburn.
Part 1: The Dramatic Final Day
One of the greatest days in sport is the final day of the English Premier League season when there is so much on the line. All 20 teams are in action at once with the 10 fixtures of the weekend kicking off at once. Going into the final day this year, Manchester United and City were locked in a battle for local bragging rights and the small matter of the Premier League title. United were going for the 20th league title in their history and 12th of the Premier League era (1992-1993 season) while City were looking for their first top flight league trophy in 44 years. Both teams were locked on 86 points but City held the tiebreaker advantage thanks to their superior goal difference of +63 to United’s +55. City hosted relegation battlers Queens Park Rangers (QPR) who needed a draw to guarantee safety while United travelled to Sunderland who were assured of a mid-table finish and would have little to play for.
While the Manchester clubs were fighting for the title, QPR had to fight to make sure that they would stay in the top flight and they needed to match or better the result of Bolton Wanderers who were sitting two points behind QPR and in the final relegation slot. Bolton sat in 18th place with 35 points and a -31 goal difference while QPR had earned 37 points and a -22 goal difference which meant that if Bolton were to survive, they would need a result at Stoke, which is one of the toughest trips in English football and hope that City would take care of business against QPR.
Although it may not be as surprising as the Kings making to the Conference Final, I certainly didn’t see the New Jersey Devils getting a chance to play for a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. The New York Rangers, despite two very hard fought series, are proving there was good reason they captured the #1 seed in the East. So for this series, get ready for a tough, muddy Atlantic Division battle.
As just mentioned, the Rangers just came out of two grueling seven game series against the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals. Are they going to be getting tired or will they be able to stay in a groove after only having one day off? The Devils, on the other hand, beat the Flyers handily in 5 games and have had plenty of rest leading up to the start of the series tomorrow night. The question for the Devils, as it is for any team in their situation, is whether or not the rest will negatively affect them in Game 1.
It’s tough to gauge the Devils. They looked terribly slow and worn down by their previous series in Game 1 in their series against the Flyers before making changes and dominating the rest of the series. They were terrible at faceoffs and the penalty kill against the Panthers, and then they looked great against the Flyers. Brodeur looked like the old Brodeur in a good portion of the series against the Panthers, but looked really blah at times against the Flyers (although he didn’t have to be any better than that).
First Round Results:
Series winner and games know.
Blowout: Miami-NY (33 points)
3-point %: Spurs