Connect with us


Penn State hosts Iowa in the first announced “Big Ten” at a CBS college football game in a new TV deal.



While the Big Ten will become a regular event in the CBS-branded 3:30 pm ET time slot starting in 2024, the conference will see a number of games played online as its new TV deal kicks off at the start of the 2023 season. The first of these contests to be announced should be the real scene as Penn State hosts Iowa on Saturday, September 23 at 8:00 pm ET in the White Out game.

The Big Ten on the CBS schedule will officially begin week one on Saturday, September 2, with a selection of future games to be announced at a later date. In the meantime, however, the Happy Valley showdown between the Nittany Lions and the Hawkeyes will bring two major Big Ten programming to a national primetime audience in Week 4.

The 2023 season will be the first under a seven-year deal between CBS and the Big Ten. In 2023, the games will take place at different time slots, and in 2024 they will switch to the traditional 3:30 pm window.

Penn State is 17-14 all-time against Iowa, although it has lost two straight games after six previous straight wins.

The Nittany Lions are approaching the 2023 season with high expectations. The reigning Rose Bowl champions are bringing back five offensive linemen who started at least five games last season, including OL star Olumuyiv Fashanu, who opted to return to school for one final season instead of declaring himself in the 2023 NFL Draft. Fashanu was scheduled as an early first round pick before he decided to return to Happy Valley.

However, perhaps the most important addition to Penn State’s starting lineup will be former five-star QB Drew Allar leading the offense. Allar played in 10 games last season as a stand-in for Sean Clifford and completed 35 of 60 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns. Penn State is also bringing back a pair of dynamic runners, Nicholas Singleton and Kytron Allen, who combined for 1,928 rushing yards and 24 total touchdowns last season. Allar’s two top targets are expected to be WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith and TE Theo Johnson.

Iowa is having a poor offensive season. The Hawks ranked second on the FBS in yards per game (251.6) and ninth in points per game (17.7). In the offseason, Iowa added QB Cade McNamara and TE Eric Ali, who both played in Michigan last season. McNamara and Ali are expected to start the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeyes also received one of the best receivers available on the transfer portal in former Ohio State WR Caleb Brown, who received four stars and finished first in the standings. A total of 78 players in the 2022 recruiting cycle, at 247Sport. Brown played just 27 offensive snaps in 2022 and was buried in the Ohio State depth chart, which included Jackson Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka.


Lakers Nuggets to decide Nikola Jokic vs. Anthony Davis.



It is said that the playoff series does not start until the first adjustment is made.

The postseason is like a giant game of chess where tactical strategies are used both ways throughout the war to the best of seven. All the last four teams have good versatility in both offense and defense; they can win the game in many ways. This should lead to some fantastic tactics and stunts, especially aimed at taking away the incredible star power that every team boasts.

Throw out regular season games between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers. They don’t and won’t matter much. After their battles in the 2022-2023 season, the Lakers have completely transformed this roster into the juggernaut they are running in the Western Conference Finals. Surrounded by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, there are more specialized shooters, other big wings with different recoil and a trainer who has learned to unleash all his superpowers on the fly.

This Nuggets team doesn’t miss defensively either. Despite being average in the league throughout the regular season, the team was supported by Nikola Jokic and his semi-aggressive ball defense. Both teams have aces up their sleeves to use and can get quite a few frontcourt crossovers, which makes this series incredibly fun for X and O nerds like me.

Denver Nuggets: Put Aaron Gordon on Anthony Davis

The Lakers offense really revolves around their two star players in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. LeBron is strong, smart and versatile enough to get his way in many ways. However, Davis needs a bit more planning to get the ball in space, and Darwin Ham often used ball screens to better convey AD’s athleticism.

The Nuggets put Nikola Jokic higher against balls, allowing him to put on soft shows before recovering to paint. The Nuggets have a ton of smart, experienced rotation guards on their roster, and the covering ball moves are designed to capitalize on the scoring that goes into taking Davis’s shot away.

If Denver wants to avoid rotation altogether, they can use a rarely used strategy that worked in small doses during Phoenix Suns series: let Aaron Gordon guard Anthony Davis and put Jokic without the ball, probably one of Jarred Vanderbilt or Rui Hachimura.

Jump back to Game 2 of the Suns series and you’ll see Nuggets coach Michael Malone trying so late by putting Jokic on Josh Okogi. The switch worked because Jokic, while staying close to the rim as an assistant, jumped on a rolling DeAndre Ayton and freed his teammate from a physical misfit:

The Suns adapted and used Jokic’s man to set up high picks. If it’s Hachimura, Vanderbilt, or even a guy like Troy Brown Jr., the Nuggets most likely aren’t afraid of him in the short game. While the danger can be seen from what happens in that Suns Game 2 if a short cutscene gets momentum to the ring, Denver has other strategies to make it work and protect Jokic from switches or prevent wide-open ring attacks.

The Nuggets defense deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Jokic has been solid, Malone has been creative and the rest of the team knows their role. We saw how Anthony Davis could win matches with his powerful isolation game and finishing skills. Perhaps by putting that responsibility on Aaron Gordon himself, Denver’s offensive engine will be a bit fresher for the late game.

Los Angeles Lakers: let the ads run

While the Lakers and Nuggets’ early-season games don’t say much, Darwin Ham can draw inspiration from watching other teams play the two-time MVP effectively. Let’s be clear from the start: there is no way to stop Jokic, just slow him down or choose how and if other players hit you.

Even during the regular season, the Nuggets had an NBA game on Saturday with Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia decided to put PJ Tucker on Jokic, keeping Joel Embiid for wandering duties. Embiid guarded either Aaron Gordon or Bruce Brown. Jokic’s elbow strikes and pinpoint touches were more choppy as the combination of Tucker’s length and speed ruined his plans. Jokic ended the game with seven losses.

During the Western Conference Semi-Finals, we also saw the impact Anthony Davis can make from closer to the rim. He is a sensational defender under the basket from the weak side and a terrific containment shot in the basket.

Davis likes to play in Drop mode, where he can be more of a hobo around the ring, just picking up anything that gets in his way. However, this can be a tricky strategy against the Nuggets, where Jamal Murray is an excellent scorer and Jokic can chop teams up with pocket passes or short shots.

If the Lakers can’t succeed with AD covering Drop, they’ll need to consider getting him out of the game. They did it against Golden State Warriors, as Davis switched between guarding Kevon Looney, Gary Payton II or Andrew Wiggins instead of Draymond Green. This resulted in either more rim time or fewer opportunities when Green set up the screen, thus depriving Golden State of the best short shot playmaker.

The idea here is the same. If the Nuggets wanted to use ED in screens and get him off the rim hard enough, they would have done it with someone other than Jokic — a Lakers win. If they don’t and keep rolling with Jokic in high balls, AD is ready to step up to the rim.

Denver is better equipped to counter that cover than the Warriors. There are fewer non-shooters in their composition, Jokic isolates smarter near the elbows. But the right strategy might be to combine the Joker’s acceleration with more athleticism on the ball, and finding creative ways to let Davis remain an assistant for as long as possible.

In this series, what gets so exciting is the line building. If Vanderbilt is on the floor so that the Lakers can use this cross-matching strategy, it also allows Denver to do the same on the other end, putting Jokic on Vanderbilt and Gordon on Davis, as we discussed above. Ultimately, Ham will have the final say on whether crossmatches benefit the Lakers or hinder their offense too much. Without Vanderbilt on the floor, it will be quite difficult to effectively combine actions with Jokic and keep Davis closer to the ring.

Continue Reading


Browns acquire 3-time pro bowler Za’Darius Smith from Vikings and bolster defensive line: Reports



The Cleveland Browns now have a groovy player opposite Miles Garrett in the defensive line.

On Friday, the Browns reportedly traded for three-time pro bowler Za’Darius Smith from the Minnesota Vikings.

Smith spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but he did not become a force until he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.


Za’Darius Smith of the Minnesota Vikings awaits a game during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 1, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Stacey Revere/Getty Images)

After signing a four-year deal with Green Bay, he played back-to-back Pro Bowls and was a second-team All-Pro in 2020. After missing most of 2021 due to injury, he signed a three-year contract with the Minnesota. . He requested a trade early this offseason.

Smith made his third Pro Bowl of the 2022 season by starting 16 games and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year in October.

Za'Darius Smith vs. Packers

Za’Darius Smith of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before a game against the Green Bay Packers at US Bank Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)


Smith is essentially replacing Jadevon Clooney, who was released by the Browns in March after ups and downs in office. Cleveland now has two spikes in his defensive line.

The Browns also sent out picks in the 2025 sixth and seventh rounds, and received the fifth round picks back in 2024 and 2025. through the NFL network.

Last season, Garrett was named All-Pro for the fourth time after setting a career-high 16 sacks with the Browns.

Za'Darius Smith celebrates

Za’Darius Smith of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates the firing of Teddy Bridgewater from the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in October. February 16, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

The trade continues the remodeling of Cleveland, which is heading for the playoffs. The Browns will have a full season with Deshawn Watson if he stays healthy, and they also acquired wide receiver Elijah Moore in a trade for the New York Jets.


Smith is guaranteed just under $12 million this year and will be a free agent again next year.

Continue Reading


Dodgers think striped Chris Taylor can turn the corner



There’s at least one advantage to having powerball numbers run by Dodgers assistant Chris Taylor, who came into Friday night’s game against the San Diego Padres with just 18 hits of the season but seven home runs.

“I think the cool thing is when he pushes the ball forward, it goes over the fence, and some of them were big homers,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think the average will go up, the percentage on base will go up, and hopefully the bullet will stay. But now for me it is something out of the ordinary. I can’t understand it.”

Taylor, who also had three doubles and trebles early in the season leading to a strong hitting (.484) but low batting average (.198) and OBP (.267), has a simple explanation for his homer-heavy exit.

“I think everything I hit is up in the air right now,” said Taylor, the all-around guard who has played shortstop, third base and left wing this season. “You know, it’s gotten better lately, but I’ve been under the ball more than I’d like, so when I really hit it, it’s often a flying ball. I’m working on becoming more of a line drive hitter.”

Taylor’s flyball rate of 50.9% this season is nearly double his career rate of 27.1%, while his ground ball (23.6%) and lines (20%) numbers are well below than his career scores (36.8%). 29.0% respectively.

One thing that hasn’t changed from last season is his strikeout rate. Taylor entered Friday with 37 strikeouts and seven walks in 101 plate appearances, 36.6%, the highest among major league players with at least 100 plate appearances.

After earning his first All-Star selection in 2021, when he hit .254 with a .782 slugging percentage, 20 homers, 25 doubles and 73 RBIs in 148 games, and signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Dodgers the following winter. , Taylor’s production plummeted in 2022.

Slowed down by elbow and neck injuries, Taylor hit .221 with 10 homers and 160 strikeouts in 118 games for a 35.2% strikeout percentage, second only to Joey Gallo among major league hitters with 400 plate appearances.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve slow started and lost playing time at the start of the year,” right-handed Taylor, now playing more of a platoon role, said when shortstop Miguel Rojas returned from a hamstring injury. “I mean, I’ve been in this situation many times, so it’s not new to me.”

Taylor appeared to turn the corner on April 30 with a two-hit game against the St. Louis Cardinals that set off a seven-game streak in which he batted .429 (nine of 21) with 1,431 OPs, two homers, three doubles and seven RBIs, including a two-run homer in Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Padres in San Diego.

On April 30, the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor appeared to turn the corner, winning a two-hit game against St. Louis that led to a strong seven-game stretch in which he hit .429.

(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

But after a two-run homer hit Milwaukee in the ninth-inning of Monday Night’s 9-3 loss to Milwaukee, Taylor lost four games in his last two games against the Brewers.

“It was a combination of just having good rhythm and being comfortable in the box,” Taylor said of his hitting streak. “I think some of the tension is gone, so I feel more relaxed. Many times when this happens, you react better, you see the ball better. I just play a little looser.”

Roberts wasn’t about to claim that the streak-famous Taylor had recovered from his early season setbacks, but he did see some signs of progress during a productive seven-game stretch.

“He’s on time with the fastball more and that’s where when he’s not going well, he’s between or late on the fastball,” Roberts said. “Now he’s on the heater, which is good.”

Taylor is constantly fiddling with the mechanics of the swing, which gets a little long and loopy at times, and he’s always looking for the right feel in the box. Is it harder to find that rhythm when you don’t play as much as usual?

“No, I think it’s harder to find a rhythm when you know you’re struggling and you’re trying so hard to make things happen and trying to feel things,” Taylor said. “It’s easy to lose the rhythm and that creates a little more tension and anxiety.”

Continue Reading