The Stack is here on this Wednesday with a slightly shorter blog as we prepare for the 2013-14 NFL preview blog tomorrow. Be sure to check that one out. So let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Wednesday, September 4:
Pittsburgh Pirates will be .500 this season
For the first time since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates will not have a losing season. And unless something happens to make the Pirates implode, they will be well above .500 by the end of the season and in the playoffs. The Pirates beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 thanks to a pinch hit home run by Travis Snyder in the 9th inning. So many people have contributed for the Pirates this year. Their pitching staff has been tremendous. Andrew McCutchen is a bonafied star and Pedro Alvarez is quickly becoming one of the best power hitters in the league if he isn't already with 32 homeruns. Credit needs to be given to manager Clint Hurdle for sticking to his guns and leading these guys through some turbulent times that saw the Pirates be successful in the first half of the season the past couple of years before fading in the second half of the year. And believe it or not, the front office needs to be given proper credit and a pat on the back for building this team correctly. GM Neil Huntington has done a great job and finally ownership has backed up a winner and not selling off their best players. The Pirates are at 81 wins and counting. They are showing no signs of slowing down and it will be very fun to see them in the playoffs once again.
Alabama number one, Oregon number two in poll
To no surprise, Alabama remains number one in the land in college football, but number two has changed. Oregon rises to number two after their 66-3 beatdown of Nicholls State while Ohio State fell to three. Clemson has achieved its highest ranking in the AP poll in 25 years at number four following their huge 38-35 win over the Georgia Bulldogs who by the way have fallen out of the top ten to eleven. Stanford rounds out the top five. Five of the next seven spots belong to the SEC. It will be interesting to see if anything happens to the top ten come next week.
NFL quick hits
Coming off of a torn ACL, Brian Cushing is being shown a lot of faith by the Houston Texans. The team signed the linebacker to a six-year extension worth $55.643 million, $21 million guaranteed. Cushing is one of the top linebackers in the league, but how he responds this year from the torn ACL he suffered last year against the New York Jets that involved a dirty play by one of the Jets offensive lineman will be interesting to watch for as the season starts...In a move to bolster their offensive line, the Dallas Cowboys have signed free agent guard Brian Waters to a one-year deal. Waters will help make the Cowboys more phyiscal along the line, something the Cowboys have been working at strengthening this offseason. He last played for New England in 2011...And the St. Louis Rams have released suspended linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Dunbar was suspended the first four games of the year for violating the NFL's policy on PEDs. Head coach Jeff Fisher had made it not secret in his public comments how disappointed he was with Dunbar's choice. The Rams chose to finally part ways with him.
U.S. Open thoughts
With Roger Federer bowing out Monday night, we may have seen the last golden opportunity for Federer to win a grand slam major. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal won't be going anywhere anytime soon and Federer has struggled to regain the top spot he held for so long. Federer will still get to future semifinals and finals for a little while longer, but winning a major looks like it is going to be more difficult to do. Speaking of Djokovic, he won in straight sets yesterday 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 over Marcel Granollers yesterday. Djokovic has yet to lose a set in the Open this year.
Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic played a very good match with Azarenka getting past Ivanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, the best match of the day on the women's side.
Today's matches include Rafael Nadal against fellow Spaniard Robredo and perhaps the best match in terms of how competitive it could be the Frenchman #8 Richard Gasquet against Spain's #4 David Ferrer. We're getting closer to crowning a champion on both sides in the final major of the grand slam in tennis this year. It's been a great tournament so far.
Coming up tomorrow: 2013-14 NFL preview