2012 NCAA Football Preview

The college football landscape is changing before our very eyes. This season the SEC expands to include Missouri and Texas A&M. Pittsburgh and Syracuse will join the ACC in 2013. In 2014, of course, we finally get the four-team playoff system we’ve dreamed about. But the more things in the NCAA change, the more they stay the same. Perennial powers LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma won’t budge in this year’s top 5. All three stacked squads will compete for a national title, but INsite feels the USC Trojans (QB Matt Barkley pictured) are the ones on the verge of something truly historic—becoming the first Pac-12 team ever, and first non-SEC school since ’05, to win a BCS championship. See, some change is good. Check out the top 25 here…

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The New Gold Standard: A Chat with First-Time Olympian Blake Griffin

It has to be a humbling experience to be a superstar player, making millions as a savior of an NBA franchise, yet having to essentially audition for a spot on a basketball team. That’s basically what Blake Griffin had to do in Las Vegas last week before USA Basketball Men’s National Team coach Mike Krzyzewski and chairman Jerry Colangelo. But as the world knows by now, Blake, Andre Iguodala and James Harden dazzled enough in their respected casting calls to be granted the final three spots on Redeem Team 2.

I was in the audience for the official roster announcement on Saturday. Coach K spoke about commitment and upcoming challenges; Colangelo discussed athleticism and roster depth; Kobe Bryant and LeBron James made their usual patriotic proclamations. As for Blake, the gravity-ignoring All-Star just sat quietly on the stage, looking like the new kid in class. Thankfully, after the announcement, the Clippers’ prized pupil was in a more talkative mood, electing to chat with reporters about everything from the selection process to his humbling role on the super squad. Click this SLAMonline link to see what BG told me and the rest of the group.

Hello, My Name is Kevin Durant

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Over at SLAM.com, they’ve been publishing old stories that introduced current NBA stars when they were in high school. Before recently, I didn’t realize I was the first person to debut to the nation a skinny kid from Maryland named Kevin Durant… Yep, the same Kevin Durant currently starring for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals. But look here and you’ll see that I was. Kinda cool, huh?

Diamond Distress

There are three definites in life: death, taxes and injuries in baseball. While you may have only heard about the first two before now, Bob Murphy, head athletic trainer at Georgia State University, can assure you that the third is also a rock-solid truth.

But Murphy and his NCAA colleagues aren’t taking that last statement sitting down. In fact, over the past decade or so, there have been philosophical changes to training and working out that many feel are helping baseball players excel on the field and stay off hospital beds.

“There seems to be more of a year-round approach to sports now,” says Murphy, who’s worked with GSU’s baseball team and its other sports since 2007. “Back when I started, there used to be pretty much an offseason where you didn’t do much. But now, athletes at the college level and up pretty much are participating in their sport year-round, which is good because it kind of keeps you in shape. We just have to watch and make sure they don’t overdo it too much with certain things.”

Another change Murphy’s noticed amongst his peers is with their mental switch from merely rehabilitating to now preventing injuries altogether. It’s with that mold of thinking that FUEL approached Murphy about three common baseball ailments to get the best advice on averting them in the first place. Continue reading

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