08/21/2012 - Grapevine, TX (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Germany's Angelique Kerber withdrew from the $220,000 Texas Open, a final U.S. Open tune-up.
The top-seeded Kerber, who was Sunday's Cincinnati runner-up to China's Li Na, was due to play Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic. Kerber, though, pulled out of the event due to a left shoulder injury in order to focus on the final major tournament of the year.
Lucic made short work of Great Britain's Emily Webley-Smith, 6-1, 6-2, winning the match in 46 minutes.
Second-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic, a former world No. 1, rallied to beat Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 on the hardcourts at Hilton Lakes Tennis & Sports Club.
Two other seeded players to advance were No. 3 Roberta Vinci and No. 6 Peng Shuai. The Italian Vinci topped Chinese Taipei's Su-Wei Hsieh, 6-2, 6-2; and the Chinese Peng upended Japan's Ayumi Morita, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
Other players advancing on Monday were French qualifier Pauline Parmentier, New Zealand's Marina Erakovic, Canadian qualifier Eugenie Bouchard and Australian qualifier Casey Dellacqua.
The 2012 Texas Open champ will earn $37,000.
<< Bumgarner, Giants edge Dodgers to take NL West lead
Los Angeles, CA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Madison Bumgarner struck out 10 batters over eight shutout innings and the San Francisco Giants moved into first place in the NL West with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bumgarner (14-7),
<< Mauer, Willingham help Twins top A's
Oakland, CA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham each had three hits and two RBI to lead the Minnesota Twins past the Oakland Athletics, 7-2, in the opener of a three-game series. Darin Mastroianni added a pair of hits and k
<< Volquez shuts down Pirates
San Diego, CA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Edinson Volquez tied a season-high with 10 strikeouts to guide the San Diego Padres past the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game set at Petco Park. Volquez (8-9) allowed just one run on
<< Saunders powers Mariners to sixth straight win
Seattle, WA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Michael Saunders hit a pair of two-run home runs on Monday, including the go-ahead blast in the seventh inning, and the Seattle Mariners topped the Cleveland Indians, 5-3, in the opener of a three- game se
Rockies edge Mets >>
Flushing, NY (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Jonathan Herrera scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning on a passed ball as the Colorado Rockies downed the New York Mets, 3-1, in the opener of a four-game set. Herrera reached on a bu
Hellickson, Rays top Royals >>
St. Petersburg, FL (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Jeremy Hellickson struck out six over seven strong innings Monday as the Tampa Bay Rays topped the Kansas City Royals, 5-1, in the opener of a three-game set at Tropicana Field. Hellickson (8-8)
In the FCS Huddle: 2012 CAA Football Preview >>
Philadelphia, PA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - CAA Football coaches were impressed by Towson's worst-to-first turnaround last year. They just weren't shocked by what many outside the conference considered to be the storyline of the year in the FCS regu
MLB playoff races could go down to the wire >>
Philadelphia, PA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - We've reached the final quarter of the Major League Baseball season and eight teams in each league maintain legitimate playoff hopes. The extra wild card in each league will result in 10 of those 16 teams
My fellow Americans, as tempting as it may be to don the coat and HD-ready tie in order to deliver this State of the Game address before the cameras, I know better. As Brad Paisley sings on his latest album, "I'm so much cooler online."
The ideas for this annual essay to kick off the MySportsbook.com college football betting preview flowed like frat-house beer, which is to say they were cheap and spilled all over the floor. The 2007 season will be better than 2007, if only because there will be more of it. A year ago, the NCAA Football Rules Committee made two rule changes in the interest of speeding up the game. These changes went over like Kobe burgers at a vegan banquet.
To its credit, the rules committee rectified its mistakes. This season the clock once again will start when a kickoff is received, rather than when it is kicked, and the clock will not start so quickly on a change of possession.
However, kickoffs have been moved back five yards, to the 30, which will force more returns. (Thus forcing the clock to run. Clever, huh?) Special teams might decide a lot of games, because coaching strategy will come straight out of another new Paisley lyric (almost), I'd like to check you for kicks.
Paisley sings with a twang, which is why he's appropriate for this college football season. The sun coming up over the 2007 college football betting lines season rises from the south. It's a Southern football world. As the Southeastern Conference begins its 75th year, the power shift is noticeable.
Eight-figure budgets, glamorous settings -- and that's just for the head coaches. The SEC has four coaches who have won national championships -- the greatest aggregation of coaching know-how since Eddie Robinson dined alone.
Steve Spurrier, Phil Fulmer, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer have given lie to the idea that a conference championship game is too daunting a hurdle on the road to No. 1. In six of the past 10 seasons, the national champions played and won a conference championship game -- three of the six (Tennessee, 1998; LSU, 2003; Florida, 2007) from the SEC.
There will be more of the same this season, if the preseason prognostications are correct. Six SEC teams are in the preseason coaches' poll, more than from any other conference. Only one conference has talent so deep that a team with 15 returning starters, including the best quarterback in the league, from an eight-win season is considered an afterthought. That may speak more to Kentucky's losing legacy than to the wisdom of the predictions, but there you have it. And seriously, keep an eye on Wildcats QB Andre' Woodson.
The reach of the South extends all the way to No. 1. Take a look at the team that is a consensus pick to win the national championship. The quarterback is from Shreveport. The best wide receiver is from Nashville. The top recruit is from New Orleans.
So what's the campus doing in Los Angeles? Hey, it is the University of Southern California.
USC lost two Pacific-10 Conference games a year ago, the first time that had happened in five seasons, and university officials withstood the urge to form blue-ribbon panels to unearth the cause of such a disaster. Instead, the Trojans gathered themselves and routed Michigan, 32-18, in the Rose Bowl.
USC's losses at Oregon State and at UCLA last year should have given pause to those who question the Pac-10's football prowess (such as, without naming names, L.M. from Baton Rouge). The league only got deeper this season; Dennis Erickson is taking over an Arizona State team that never quite got out of its own way under his predecessor, Dirk Koetter.
Erickson will resume his quest to become the first coach to win a national championship at two schools. Both he and Spurrier, now in his third season at South Carolina, returned to college football at schools with lower profiles than where they won their titles.
That isn't the case for the third coach looking for the national championship double. You may have missed this, but NASA reported the astronauts on the space shuttle last spring made contact with what can only be described as beings from another galaxy.
The leader of the aliens said, "We come in peace," followed by, "So how do you think Nick Saban will do at Alabama?"
The public is reacting to the new Crimson Tide coach as if he is the Barry Bonds of college football -- beloved at home for what his fans believe he is going to do, hated on the road for his intimidating attitude and for what his detractors believe he did (bend NCAA recruiting rules). I made this comparison from the dais at a charity dinner in Mobile, Ala., last month, and the chill that washed over me didn't come from the air conditioning.
Saban will attempt to prove that he can remake in Tuscaloosa what he built in Baton Rouge, much like another member of the national championship fraternity. Bobby Bowden is attempting to remake at Florida State what he built at, um, Florida State. Bowden rebuilt his offensive staff, bringing in four new coaches led by Saban's former offensive coordinator, Jimbo Fisher, to jump-start an offense that has been dead for a couple of years.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is expected to show new signs of life, too. That is said with no disrespect toward last season's champion, Wake Forest, which provided one of the best story lines of 2007. The Demon Deacons begin this season in their customary position, overshadowed by the Virginia Techs, Miamis and Florida States.
It's not that Wake will find it difficult to duplicate its success in 2007 as much as the feeling that success engendered. Surprising success is the narcotic of sport. It never feels quite so euphoric the next time. Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese has figured this out. He refers to 2007, when a league looked down upon by fans and foes alike took three undefeated teams into November, as "Cinderella."
The fairy tale may be over, but the Big East has four genuine Heisman Trophy candidates in Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm, West Virginia tailback Steve Slaton and quarterback Pat White, and Rutgers tailback Ray Rice. Rutgers, as did Wake Forest and, of course, Boise State, proved last season that the have-nots in college football occasionally have quite a lot.
The Broncos' rousing 43-42 overtime victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl has raised the profile of all schools in conferences that don't get automatic BCS bids. This season, TCU and Hawaii are the preseason favorites to burst through the BCS doors and earn an at-large bid. The Warriors return 14 starters from an 11-3 team, including quarterback Colt Brennan.
Brennan not only broke the single-season record with 58 touchdown passes in 2007, but he also led Division I-A in passing efficiency (186.0). The senior is expected to contend for the Heisman Trophy, and neither his success nor the rise of his team should come as any surprise in the 2007 season.
After all, Hawaii is the southernmost team in the country.
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Numerous College Basketball teams take final big step to March Madness betting
So, what turned on the lock spigot? Well, after what felt like weeks of teams treading water and slipping back into the bubble muck, a bunch of them finally decided to say "to heck with parity" and won games that should put them into the Big Dance.
Disagree with some of these? Then here's the challenge. Take all of the "should be ins" and make a legit case that each should be ahead of the team that's a lock. Then find 10 more teams that also should be placed in the bracket ahead of that lock team. Not so easy, is it?
If you want more evidence that these locks should be good to go, check out what our research department dug up. Since the NCAA Tournament went to 64 teams in 1985, only six teams from a "big six" conference have had a record of 10-6 or better in conference play and not been selected: Colorado (2004) and Nebraska (1999) from the Big 12, Boston College and Seton Hall (both 2003) from the Big East, Indiana (2005) from the Big Ten and UCLA, which somehow went 12-6 in the Pac-10 in 1988 and still missed out. (Note: Five teams went 11-7 and didn't get in, the latest being last season's Stanford team, which had a brutal nonconference run.)
Yes, 10 conference wins doesn't always mean what it used to because of unbalanced schedules, but this season, it should be plenty good in all but the extreme cases (see: Iowa).
In a way, this is a welcome development, because this is a bubble watch, not a lock watch. We can finally be done with teams like Maryland and Virginia Tech and start really bearing down on at-large battles such as Syracuse-West Virginia and Appalachian State-Georgia Tech.
Interestingly, all the shifting of teams into lock status appears to be more administrative than impactful. The number of remaining available at-larges didn't change one iota. The only difference is that teams on the bubble now have a clearer idea of which team(s) they are competing with for those precious bids.
|The Bubble Breakdown|
|CONFERENCE||LOCKS||SHOULD BE INS||AT-LARGES TAKEN
(assuming no auto bid outlier)
|ACC Betting Odds||6||0||5|
|Big East Betting Odds||5||0||4|
|Big Ten Betting Odds||2||2||3|
|Big 12 Betting Odds||3||0||2|
|Pac-10 Betting Odds||5||1||5|
|SEC Betting Odds||4||0||3|
|MVC Betting Odds||1||1||1|
|MWC Betting Odds||2||1||2|
As always, I've tried to be as inclusive as possible while only including teams that would have a reasonable chance of at least being discussed if this were Selection Sunday. If your team's not on here, there's probably a good reason (or three) -- start with the RPI and SOS numbers and work your way down.
(Please remember, per selection committee criteria, that records displayed are Division I only. Next update: Feb. 28)
If you have a legitimate grievance, or just like talking bubble, send an e-mail. Polite ones with fact-based arguments have a much better chance of receiving a response. I apologize in advance if I can't get back to all of you.
Atlantic Coast Conference
Work left to do: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech
The ACC moves to six locks as BC, Va Tech and Virginia all got their 10th ACC wins, which should be more than enough this season, and Maryland rallied past North Carolina to get the final piece the Terps needed. After that? It could end there unless FSU, Ga Tech or Clemson picks things up in a hurry.
Work left to do:
Clemson [19-9 (5-9), RPI: 41, SOS: 42] The Tigers are closer to locking up the collapse of the year award (in a good battle with OK State) than they are to grabbing an at-large. Clemson's been very competitive, but there's no really positive way you can spin nine losses in 11 games. They now cannot get to .500 in ACC play and still must head to Virginia Tech in the season finale (after hosting Miami). Unless the Tigers win both and/or do some serious work in the ACC tourney, they very well could be left out. There are no great nonconference wins, but ODU, App State, Miss. State, South Carolina and Georgia are all respectable W's.
Florida State [18-11 (6-9), RPI: 48, SOS: 14] The Noles got thrashed at Maryland to run their losing streak to five, but then pounded NC State at home to set the table for what likely is an elimination game at Miami. You can at least make a case for the Seminoles at 7-9 in ACC play (and some work in the ACC tourney), but 6-10 is not going to cut it. Wins at Duke and over Florida will resonate, but the computer numbers remain questionable. Beyond Florida, FSU thrashed bubble buddy Providence, but there's not a ton beyond those two games that will help. They didn't show well in big-time opportunities against Pitt and Wisconsin (before the Florida win).
Georgia Tech [18-10 (6-8), RPI: 51, SOS: 46] The Jackets beat Wake on Wednesday but couldn't get it done at UVa on Saturday, which could be a crucial loss with UNC and BC (both at home) remaining and 8-8 almost a certain need for at-large consideration. A nonconference win over Memphis helps, but the RPI and SOS are not at-large quality right now; if you combine those with a sub-.500 ACC mark, that could spell NIT for GT.
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