Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. Breaking news: Pitt Panthers Athletic Director Scott Barnes has officially accepted the same position at Oregon State the school announced Thursday. I’m not surprised. That talk about the speculation not being true by Barnes last week was a crock. He could’ve just stayed quiet instead of telling a flat-out lie. Oh well, Pitt’s been this way before. They just must find another one.
  2. Just like when Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada departed for LSU last week, such as the life of sports. Everyone wants a better job opportunity and when comes along, they will take it. I don’t agree with Barnes leaving as he was only at Pitt for one year. But he did some good things while he was at Pitt, like restore the Pitt vs. West Virginia series and return the Pitt script for all the sports teams. I wish him the best.
  3. As for College Football, it’s Bowl season where there’s at least a bowl or two each day. I’m noticing a trend of certain key NFL-bound players choosing to sit out of these bowl games, just do they can get themselves ready for the NFL Draft.
  4. Excuse me, but that makes no sense. These players have played for 3 or 4 years with their teams to get to a bowl and they choose to sit out, because of the NFL?? Come on man. That’s contradictory and dumb. That’s a selfish act, period.
  5. I’m so glad that Pitt RB James Conner hasn’t chosen to go this route. He will play in the Pinstripe Bowl when his Panthers will take on Northwestern Dec 28th. If he rumbles all over the opponent, he might win MVP honors, that will increase his draft stock. Plus, he’s too classy to miss this game, since it’s his final one on the college level.
  6. Five Pittsburgh Steelers make the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl. QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown, C Maurkise Pouncey, RB Le’Veon Bell and G David DeCastro will represent the Steelers in Orlando (not Hawaii) Florida late January. Of course, it would be their desire to not play this game, which means that they will have made the Super Bowl, but the selection to this All-Star Game still counts.
  7. I’m not surprised that any of these players made it as they’ve had superb seasons. It’s Big Ben, Brown and Pouncey’s 5th time, Bell and DeCastro’s 2nd. To not surprise, it’s all offensive players that will represent. Although I felt like LB Ryan Shazier would have an outside shot and if LB James Harrison can rack up the sacks, he could be an injury replacement. Quite an honor for a 38-year old.
  8. I remember when Pouncey was hurt last season, folks thought he should be cut, because of his injuries. First, the Steelers would never do anything so foolish and second, we all know when he is healthy, Pouncey is one of the best centers in the NFL and his 5th Pro Bowl selection confirms it.
  9. As for the rest of the Pro Bowl selections, the playoff-bound Oakland Raiders lead with 7 selections, including MVP candidate Derek Carr, and the Atlanta Falcons lead the NFC with 6 selections including WR Julio Jones. The playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys have rookie QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliot making it the first time a rookie QB and RB from the same team will get the nod. Impressive.
  10. Like most all-star games, it’s not supposed to be serious and most times they’re boring, but I’m so glad that they returned the game to the AFC vs. NFC format, that other format where teams are selected was ridiculous in my opinion.
  11. Speaking of those Steelers, they have a huge game Christmas Day when they take on the Baltimore Ravens for the rights to the AFC North Division. As we know, the Ravens beat the Steelers 21-14 in their previous game in Baltimore. They basically won that game because of some splash plays by the Ravens offense and the rustiness of Big Ben, who played his first game since being injured 2 weeks before.
  12. There are many folks who feel like Ravens QB Joe Flacco isn’t too good, but I think you need to give him some credit. He knows how to get that ball downfield and it doesn’t help that he has veteran WRs Steve Smith Sr. and former Steeler Mike Wallace, who burned them for a 95-yard TD in the previous encounter.
  13. It’s no secret that the Steelers need to win this game if they want to win the division, but they need to bring their ‘A’ game vs. the Ravens. They cannot rely on Chris Boswell’s foot to solely get it done for them this time. They need several touchdowns and they need to punch the Ravens in their mouths early.
  14. I also feel like Big Ben needs to win this game for them. He lit them up for 6 TDs 2 years ago, and he needs that type of performance again. The Steelers have never been able to run against the Ravens since the days of Jerome Bettis, and I don’t think Bell and DeAngelo Williams will be able to in this game as well.
  15. If all goes well, I can see the Steelers winning 24-14 and wrapping up the division. They will also be wearing all-black for the first time in their history as part of the NFL’s color rush
  16. The NFL has also announced that they will be forming a Spring Development league with the purpose of working with NFL players who do not have contracts. They will be playing real games (6 total) and coached by experienced NFL coaches. This will take place from April 5th to April 26th. Should be interesting.
  17. As for Major League Baseball, I’m shocked that the Pittsburgh Pirates made a significant free agent signing as they signed P Ivan Nova to a 3 year-$26 million-dollar deal. Wow…just when you have this team figured out, they pull something like this.
  18. But let’s be real: It’s apparent that Nova really wanted to stay in Pgh. He knows as well as anyone that he could’ve made big bucks with another team, but he stays with the team that traded for him at the Trade Deadline. Nova was 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA with the Pirates last season. Imagine that for a whole season if Nova can keep it up.
  19. In College basketball, Duke announced that they have suspended F Grayson Allen for his tripping incident in Wednesday, his 3rd in the last 10 months. Good for Coach K for putting his foot down, because Allen’s actions are inexcusable.
  20. As for the NBA, not much happening except for the LA Lakers announcing that they will unveil a huge statue of HOF C Shaquille O’Neal soon. I think he deserves it. Congrats to him.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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