The Stack is back today, told you I would be if big news broke, and boy did we receive some big news yesterday from the world of college football. We have that plus some other headlines to talk about so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Wednesday, June 27:
1. College football going to a four team playoff in 2014
College football fans have been demanding a playoff for a long time. And now they finally have one, at least a small one. A college presidents committee approved a plan that will create a four-team playoff beginning in 2014. The plan will go all the way through 2025. The popularity of a college football playoff will be huge. There's lots of money there and people will watch. They'll get way more viewers for this than a regular bowl game or even a BCS bowl game in my opinion. The basics of the plan include the four teams being chosen by a selection committee. The semifinals will be at current bowl sites while the national championship will awarded to the city with the highest bid. Eventually, we'll see more teams. Right now even four will be difficult enough. How do you determine the best four teams in college football? Will the committee take an undefeated Boise State or TCU? You know the little guys? Especially when there is an SEC, Big Ten or Big 12 team with only one loss? That's why an outside commmittee with no relations to the schools at the top would be best. Make it as unbaised and not peronsal as possible. If the committee can do that, this will be a success. There's always some questioning on teams that are left out. But if there is an outcry over a team that got in and shouldn't have and team that was left out that should have got in, then we have a problem. This though, is still a good start.
2. NBA news plus NBA draft thoughts
The NBA Draft is fast approaching, but before we get to our thoughts, a couple of other headlines grabbed everyone's attention yesterday. Larry Bird is reportedly stepping down as Indiana Pacers president. After such a succcessful year last year and a bright future ahead of them, this is rather stunning news. Bird had mentioned earlier that he would like to stick around for a few more years. Earlier yesterday, GM David Morway resigned. Something must have happened behind closed doors and perhaps in talks with the Pacers owner. Pacers fans are left wondering why and will probably take their frustration out on the owner. Perhaps rightfully so.
In other NBA news, a couple of trades happened yesterday that will affect Thursday's draft. First, the Houston Rockets obtained the Minnesota Timberwolves 18th overall pick for Chase Budinger and the draft rights to Lior Eliyahu. The Rockets, according to some are trying to trade up into the top five. They have the 12th, 14th and now 18th pick in the first round. Sources are saying though that the Rockets are eyeing the Orlando Magic in hopes of havng enough assets that the Magic want to trade them Dwight Howard. The trick would be to get Howard to sign an extension after this year. This is a very interesting move by the Rockets, one that could very well work out. However, if Howard is not interested in them or interested in signing an extension past next season, then why do it? That's what the Rockets have to weigh and talk to Howard about before they pull the trigger...The other trade that happened yesterday involved the Detroit Pistons shipping Ben Gordon and a protected first round draft pick to the Charlotte Bobcats for Corey Maggette. I think the Bobcats got a little better with this trade which isn't saying much. But if they can keep that protected first round draft pick, it will help a lot.
As for the draft itself, it would be absolutely shocking if the New Orleans Hornets don't select Kentucky big man Anthony Davis first overall. The Charlotte Bobcats, owners of the worst record in the NBA, have the seoncd pick. They are looking to trade down if they can find the right suitor. Perhaps someone is really enamored with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. A few other names to pay attention to include UNC's Harrison Barnes, UNC's John Henson and Weber State's Damian Lillard. Barnes probably should not have entered this year's draft. He would have been better served to come back for one more year at UNC after a subpar sophomore year. Still he's projected by some to be a top-five pick. Expect a lot of trades in the first round. We've already seen two that have impacted the draft. Some teams have multiple picks. The Hornets and Boston Celtics each have two picks and the Houston Rockets have three. The Hornets can change their fortunes with a good selection with the tenth overall pick in addition to Davis. Perhaps the Celtics try to make a move to pair someone with Rajon Rondo. Regardless, it will be an interesting night Thursday at the NBA Draft.
3. Wimbledon preview
Yes we are already a few days into Wimbledon and Venus Williams is already out. Shocker. No not really. Based on her body language, it would have been more shocking had she won. She has fought some pretty serious injuries over the last year, but perhaps there is not much more left in the tank. As for the rest of the field, Andy Roddick is not out yet. He is still playing his first match of the tournament against the young and talented Jamie Baker from Great Britain. Their match will resume today. I believe darkness was the reason for suspending it. On the men's side, it's so difficult to pick anyone other than Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to meet in the finals. Sure Roddick or even Roger Federer could make a push to get there, but right now Nadal and Djokovic are playing the best tennis in the world right now. And where as Nadal dominated on clay in their championship match, I like Djokovic to win the Wimbledon title, narrowly over Nadal.
On the women's side, it's a toss up. Victoria Azarenka will be right up there. She wants to make a stand, especially after losing so early in the French Open. But my money is on Maria Sharapova. As long as she doesn't think too highly of herself following her French Open title, she should do very well and take him the title. I think she has found her grove once again. It will be a fun and interesting couple of weeks at the All England Club.
4. What to look ahead to
Since the last blog, the Arizona Wildcats won the College World Series, beating South Carolina. And as we look ahead to the rest of the week, obviously there is the NBA Draft Thursday night on ESPN. It will be an interesting draft. There's always a bunch of trades that go down. Today, Spain takes on Portugal in the Euro Cup at 2:30 PM ET on ESPN. A lot of people like Spain, but don't for a second think that Christiano Ronaldo won't be at his best for Portugal. I'm expecting a closer than match than perhaps some experts are and it will not shock me if Portugal won. Thursday, Germany and Italy take the pitch. Germany is so talented. I think they make their way to the finals. The championship match takes place Sunday. Also, Olympic trials continue throughout much of this week on NBC Sports Network. Check out to see who is going to London.
5. Tennessee Titans 2012-13 NFL schedule highlights
Last year, the Tennessee Titans surprsied some people making a playoff push, but it ultimately wasn't enough. Perhaps that was in part to running back Chris Johnson who just didn't look like himself at all. He looked....slow. But this is a new year and Johnson and the Titans are a determined bunch. Their full schedule can be found here. Now here are some interesting notes on the Titans upcoming schedule:
- Ugh. What a brutal start to the schedule for the Titans. Four of their first six games are against playoff teams and the San Diego Chargers who they face in week 2 are no slouch. We may see quarterback Jake Locker sooner rather than later.
- Four of their final six games are division games. Perhaps that is where they can make their push.
- The Titans make back-to-back trips to Florida weeks 10 and 12 (@ Miami, @ Jacksonville. Their bye is week 11).
- The Titans have two primetime appearances this year, both at home (week 6 vs. Pittsburgh 8:20 PM ET NFL Network, week 15 vs. NY Jets 8:30 PM ET ESPN).
Final team: Washington Redskins
That does it for today. I'll be back tomorrow or Friday to talk the NBA Draft and other big stories so check back for that.
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.