The Smoking Musket

RECRUITING ALERT: 4-Star LB Travious Lathan Commits To West Virginia

RECRUITING ALERT: 4-Star LB Travious Lathan Commits To West Virginia

Twitter.com | Travious Lathan

Neal Brown and his staff pulled in a four-star linebacker

Let's see where these country roads lead me to! @voicemorgantown pic.twitter.com/4JFBPMypsv

— Travious Lathan ² (@treylathan5) August 7, 2021

The Mountaineers continue their ascent to a Top 25 recruiting class and this time they hauled in one of their top targets at linebacker in Gulliver Prep (Miami, Florida) standout Travious Lathan. Lathan, who stands 6’-2” and 200 pounds, held over 20 Power 5 offers including notable titans like LSU Tigers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Miami Hurricanes and LBU (Penn State Nittany Lions).

Lathan appears to be a dynamic player as he was named the LB MBP during the Under Armour Miami Camp in 2021. He was a two-way player in 2020 during the pandemic shortened seasons. He made 20 tackles and caught 14 passes going for over 200 yards and two scores. He was named a Miami Herald All-Dade 5A-Ind. second team selection on defense.

- Another linebacker that stood out was Travious Lathan of Miami Gulliver Prep who was fluid through drills and stood out as one of the best athletes in the backer group and then had an interception in one-on-ones. A four-star prospect, West Virginia leads on his 247Sports Crystal Ball.

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Former Mountaineers John Means and Alek Manoah continue MLB success

Former Mountaineers John Means and Alek Manoah continue MLB success

Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

Football

Three Mountaineers named to Wuerffel Award Watch List

West Virginia football seniors, quarterback Jarret Doege, safety Sean Mahone, and kicker Evan Staley, have been named to the Wuerffel Trophy Award Watch List. The Wuerffel Trophy is known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service.”

Fox Pleased To Be Recognized Among WVU’s Athletic Greats

Mike Fox is one of seven Mountaineers who will be inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame this fall. Fox was a starting defensive tackle on the 1988 West Virginia team that ran the table during the regular season and played Notre Dame for the national championship.

Basketball

WVU hoops roster breakdown: returners

Despite an offseason of turnover and a summer of questions, West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins has a roster that will feature plenty of talent during the 2021-22 season.

West Virginia Athletics

WVU debuts in Big 12 and United Soccer Coaches Preseason Polls

The West Virginia women’s soccer team was selected to finish first in the 2021 Big 12 Soccer Preseason Poll. Additionally, the Mountaineers debuted at #12 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason NCAA Division I Women’s Top 25. Five of WVU’s 2021 opponents are also ranked in the poll.

Two Mountaineers named to Big 12 Soccer Preseason Team

Senior defender Jordan Brewster and junior goalkeeper Kayza Massey of the West Virginia women’s soccer team have been named to the 2021 Preseason All-Big 12 Soccer Team. Last season, Brewster was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Mountaineer Round-up: Deuce is drafted and a duo goes for gold

From Morgantown to Tokyo, this past week was just another in which current and former Mountaineers have made headlines across the sports world.

Former WVU Standouts Manoah, Means Get Weekend Victories for MLB Clubs

Former West Virginia pitchers John Means and Alek Manoah both won games for their MLB teams this past weekend. Means helped the Baltimore Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers 5-2 and Manoah led the Toronto Blue Jays in a 4-0 over the Kansas City Royals.

Around the Big 12

After Texas announces Big 12 departure, AD Chris Del Conte comes off College Football Playoff selection committee

Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor will replace Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte on the College Football Playoff selection committee.

Around the NCAA

Five-star wing Dariq Whitehead commits to Duke Blue Devils, new coach Jon Scheyer

Five-star wing Dariq Whitehead has committed to Duke, giving Jon Scheyer and the Blue Devils two top-20 recruits in four days.

Bryson DeChambeau returns after being COVID-positive, doesn’t regret not getting vaccinated

A positive COVID-19 test kept Bryson DeChambeau from competing in the men’s Olympic golf tournament, but he does not regret his decision not to get vaccinated for the coronavirus.

Have any tips, suggestions, or requests for what you want to see in The Shotgun Throwdown? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact us on social media.

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Zen and the Art of Conference Realignment

Zen and the Art of Conference Realignment

With Oklahoma and Texas officially heading to the SEC, likely kicking off another round of landscape shifting realignment, we’ve decided to impart some wisdom to get you through these next couple years.

A decade ago, driven by madness, greed and an unhealthy need to keep up with mythical Joneses, the major conferences kicked off a series of domino moves that rebuilt the college sports world. Those same forces have now driven Oklahoma and Texas — two of the richest program in sports — to destroy yet another conference and once more unmoor the known order.

West Virginia fans are, of course, intimately familiar with conference realignment. This is, technically, our third round of it after all. Our first experience dates back to the mid-2000s when we watched helplessly as Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College were given their golden tickets to the ACC. When the ride came around a second time in the early 2010’s, we were far from passive. Then Athletic Director Oliver Luck wisely recognized that we had to get out to survive and parlayed a deal for us to join the Big 12 Conference, which had just lost Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M and Nebraska to the PAC-12, SEC and Big 10.

This whole experience gives WVU fans a fairly unique perspective. We have both been the one left behind and the one leaving for greener pastures. It is in that spirit that I offer a few suggestions for our fellow Big 12 members — current and soon to be former — to help you cope with what we’re all going to experience over the coming weeks and months.

Some Ground Rules

  1. Twitter is a Dangerous Tool. Not all of it is accounted for. This is probably good advice regardless of the situation but especially during conference realignment. Sports journalists are essentially all access journalists and many of them will just print thinly sourced bullshit.
  2. The Good Shit Happens After Dark. The incomparable WVU beat reporter Mike Casazza coined this maxim during the last round and it’s still true. Sources aren’t likely to leak info to reporters from their offices, but they are likely to do it from the comfort of their home.
  3. No one gives a shit about academics, geography or how many butts you put in seats in the Weedeater Bowl. If someone tells you X school is a lock because of their academics, or isn’t a good fit because of their academics, you can almost immediately ignore that person. All of this is driven by money and how much they can milk out of ESPN and Fox. The only conference that actually gives a shit about academic prestige is the Ivy League. Maybe the PAC-12, but even they only care so much.
  4. bUt wHat ABouT bAsKEtbaLL? No one gives a shit about that either. The only team that can credibly make a case for its basketball program being worthy of an invite to a conference is Kansas, but its football program is almost as leperous as Baylor’s entire university so.....

To Those Left Behind

It’s never easy being picked last in gym class, and this is doubly true in the rational world of college sports fandoms. Yes, yes I know your school has a great history. Yeah, yeah, I know that you have a great record in the Great Value Gasparilla Bowl. No one gives a shit.

That’s my first piece of advice for you. No one cares. They never did. If you open with that as your starting point, this whole experience is going to be a lot more fun, I promise you.

Once you’ve reached that point of zen about the situation and accept that, unless you happen to be [insert conference commissioner] or a major donor, you have near zero agency in what is about to happen to your beloved team, the sting will lessen.

If one of the schools about to parachute out of your league was also a historical — or perceived historical — rival, and you are unlikely to play them again any time soon, I understand your pain. I really do, but remember what we just discussed. No one cares. They don’t. So just cry into your pillow for a bit, and then accept your new rival will be some made for TV special with a team hundreds of miles away in a state you refuse to acknowledge is real.

Again I get that sucks. WVU basically lost all of our historical regional rivalries last time around and, as I wrote a few months back, I will never give half the shits about any of our Big 12 games as I did those in the Big East.

Also don’t take it personally if four or five of us end up in the AAC/ACC/PAC12 and you don’t (Baylor). Actually I take solace knowing Baylor is turbo screwed, and so should you.

That said, you should embrace whatever comes next because ultimately the end result of all of this won’t be much different and you should just enjoy the game and not all the keeping up with the Joneses.

To The Cheatin’ Hoes

Congratulations Texas and Oklahoma! You did it. You finally killed our fuckin’ car. Look I get it. I do. Everything is always greener on the other side of the Bravos, so don’t take this is as sour grapes because it’s not. I am not sad about the death of this conference, especially if this all ends up with WVU in the ACC where we belonged in the first place.

That said, here’s some unsolicited free advice: don’t expect everything to just be rosy. It’s going to be a big adjustment for both of y’all. I think Texas will take the most time adjusting, and not just on the field. Like, Texas hasn’t been good for like a decade and now y’all are about to play in the big boy league every week. Enjoy!

But like I said, its not just going to be on the field. Texas, y’all are used to getting whatever you want, whenever you want and that, my friend, is over. If you think anyone in Birmingham gives a single solitary shit about what you want, well... this should be fun for one of us as they say. Enjoy having to go to Bama, LSU and Georgia or Florida in consecutive weeks at some point in the season! And lol if you think that anyone will flag horns down.

For Oklahoma, I think there’s going to be a lot of adjustment that has to happen. I think there’s a sense around the Sooners that they have parity with the SEC Elite — which is probably true on some level, but bad news, the SEC is such a wringer that you’re probably going to go 8-4/7-5 every so often and still be really good. That’s just the nature of the beast.

So, in closing, I wish you both luck, but careful with the monkey paw wishes.

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Noel Devine headlines 2021 WVU Sports Hall of Fame class

Noel Devine headlines 2021 WVU Sports Hall of Fame class

Syracuse Orange v West Virginia Mountaineers
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

Football

Wright Jr. named to Paul Hornung Award Watch List

West Virginia football junior wide receiver and kickoff returner Winston Wright Jr. has been named to the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, which is awarded to the most versatile player in college football. Wright Jr. was a 2020 All-Big 12 Second Team selection and led the Mountaineers with 47 catches for 553 yards and two touchdowns.

Another four-star player commits to WVU’s 2022 class

Head coach Neal Brown and the West Virginia football team have added another four-star recruit to the 2022 class, wide receiver Kevin Thomas. The Pennsylvanian standout is on of the top recruits in the state and plays for South Philly’s Neumann-Goretti High School.

Basketball

WVU women’s basketball reveals nonconference schedule

West Virginia has announced the nonconference matchups for the 2021-22 Mountaineer women’s basketball season. The schedule features six home games, including one exhibition contest, and two trips to early-season tournaments.

West Virginia Athletics

WVU Sports Hall of Fame class selected

Seven outstanding contributors to Mountaineer athletics make up the 31st class of honorees in the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame. The 2021 class includes football stars Noel Devine, Dale Farley, and Mike Fox, Olayinka Sanni from the women’s basketball team, gymnastics standout Lajuanda Moody, Nicco Campriani of the rifle program, and cross country/track All-American Keri Bland.

Three Guys Before The Game – Conference Chatter (Episode 301)

The reality that Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12 Conference has moved the remaining eight schools into a next-move philosophy. On this episode of “Three Guys Before The Game,” the group discuss possible moves by West Virginia University and other schools left in peril by the unexpected departures.

Trio Named Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars

Three members of the West Virginia golf team have been named Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars.

McBride selected 36th overall, set to join Knicks

The decision by former West Virginia guard Miles “Deuce” McBride to forego his remaining two years of college eligibility and remain in the NBA Draft did not pay off into a first-round selection. Deuce was the 36th selection in the second round by the Oklahoma City Thunder, though the pick was made on behalf of the New York Knicks in a trade involving the 32nd pick for the 34th and 36th picks.

Tandem of former Mountaineers to compete for gold in Tokyo

A pair of former Mountaineers will play in the women’s soccer gold medal match at the Olympics following a stunning victory in the semifinals. Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence helped Canada upset the United States to earn a spot in the finals. Canada will now take on Sweden for the gold medal on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.

Manoah gets the win in his return to the mound

Former Mountaineer pitcher Alek Manoah made his return for the Toronto Blue Jays after being on the 10-day injured list. In a win over Kansas City, Manoah allowed two hits, one walk, and struck out four batters in seven innings. Both hits he allowed were singles and he retired 16 straight between them.

Former WVU runner Amy Cashin Places 24th at Tokyo Olympics

Former West Virginia track and field and cross country standout Amy Cashin finished 24th overall in the first round of the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, while representing Team Australia at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

McBride to wear No. 2 with Knicks, play in NBA Summer League

Former West Virginia men’s basketball star Miles “Deuce” McBride is officially in New York, joining the Knicks after being a second round draft pick last week.

Around the Big 12

Regents at Texas, Oklahoma vote unanimously to accept invitation to SEC

The board of regents at Texas and Oklahoma have voted unanimously to formally accept invitations for both schools to join the Southeastern Conference.

OSU’s Cunningham Top Pick in NBA Draft, Big 12 Totals Seven Selections

Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham was the first overall selection to highlight seven Big 12 players chosen in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Around the NCAA

QB Quinn Ewers, No. 2 prospect in 2022, skipping senior season to join Ohio State

Quarterback Quinn Ewers, the #2 prospect in the 2022 class, is forgoing his senior high school season to enroll at Ohio State.

Have any tips, suggestions, or requests for what you want to see in The Shotgun Throwdown? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact us on social media.

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Twitter: @smokingmusket

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What I Think About Conference Expansion

What I Think About Conference Expansion

John Radcliffe

Is anyone else experiencing deja vu? I swear, we just went through this whole thing, not that long ago and once again the Mountaineers find themselves in the middle of the another imploding conference after the premiere football team(s) are departing for greener pastures. This time it is the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns instead of the Miami Hurricanes and Virginia Tech Hokies but the effects are still quite the same - the death of a conference and the remaining teams quickly trying to find a lifeboat from the sinking ship they are standing on.

I Dont Understand

I know that Oklahoma was frustrated with the partnership with FoxSports. The Sooners, who were consistently in the mix for the College Football Playoffs, were saddled with being the biggest fish in a small pond. FoxSports chose, rightly or wrongly, that instead of trying to outdo ESPN, they would simply avoid ESPN. Fox announced “Big Noon Saturdays” and that they would showcase their premiere game at 12:00 PM instead of 7 or 8 PM like ESPN did.

Play in the mid-day sun instead of under the lights”

Because of this, the Sooners were trying to host national top 10 or top 100 players for a showcase game at 11:00 AM Central while Alabama Crimson Tide or LSU or Georgia Bulldogs got to play at night on national TV. This frustrated the Sooners so they chose to jump ship.

I don’t get it. The current format of the playoffs doesn’t guarantee anyone a shot but the “best 4” and I have my major qualms with that. The proposed model of 12 teams, featuring all 5 conference champions, a G5 champion and 6 at-large spots, would seem to benefit the Sooners more if they were still in the Big 12. Oklahoma has won the Big 12 every year but two since WVU joined and they continue to recruit at a top-5 level. They are going to be in the mix yearly. Why would you make your path harder?

For the Longhorns, you have to wonder if the 200M that the athletic department has annually generated will decrease and if the university can cope with the loss of 20-30M dollars. The Longhorns generated 200M last year but spent 180M. 15M comes from their current Longhorn Network contract with ESPN. As far as on the field goes, the Longhorns have fewer 10-win seasons than the Mountaineers this past decade and more seasons below .500. How does moving to a stronger conference help those numbers?

4 (Times) 16 (Equals) 64

I’ve long been a proponent of 128 teams in Division 1 (FBS), 8 conferences, 16 teams each. Each conference holds a conference championship game and the 8 winners make the playoffs. That is your 16-team college football playoff. The problem is that there are currently 130 teams. That means two teams would be relegated to FCS. Now I don’t care. I just want equal footing for all, but a team that is relegated is going to be mad.

The SEC’s poaching of Oklahoma and Texas is the logical first step towards the ultimate 128-goal and it is also the short-term first step towards four conferences, 64 teams. The SEC has become the first “Super Conference”. The remaining conference are likely to follow suit, because none of the conference leaders has vision so they all follow the money and the power and whoever is bold enough to take the first step.

This puts the remaining 8 teams in the Big 12 in a pickle. The SEC has 16 teams, the ACC has 15 (assuming Notre Dame). The Big Ten has 14 and the Pac-12 has 12.

16 + 15 + 14 + 12 = 57. 64- 57 = 7. Someone is getting left out.

Argue about Notre Dame separately, but the ACC is going to push for Notre Dame. Assume West Virginia finally gets in the ACC. The Big Ten could take Kansas and Iowa State.

That leaves 5 schools remaining in the Big XII and four slots in the Pac-12. To be honest, the Pac-12 could ultimately choose not to expand to any of those remaining five schools: Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech and Kansas State. If any of those five schools (or really any of the remaining 8) are somehow excluded from the next round of conference football, there are fanbases who are going to be pushed out of college football. TCU and Oklahoma State have earned a right to be in the conversation of “big-time football” and Baylor, Kansas State and Texas Tech have all been players recently. College football doesn’t need to lose fanbases right now.

Streaming Markets > TV Markets

Ten years ago, expansion was about bringing in new TV markets so you could negotiate TV contracts. You wanted to be able to say we had major metropolitan areas like New York City or Washington, DC or whatever other areas might have been available. Not all of the areas were about cities (Nebraska to B1G) but that was the general driving force. Now, television markets have shifted and we are looking at homeowners who are streaming their services more than they are buying from a cable company. This should mean that having households out of state would play well because you want to be able to watch your favorite team. Additionally, a majority of West Virginia residents are going to tune in to watch the Mountaineers.

This should all benefit the Mountaineers if the other conferences start expanding. West Virginia is more attractive now than they were ten or fifteen years ago. Still, they are going to have to be proactive and beat that point home.

ACC or Bust

The Big 12 experiment did its job. We can discuss the merits of whether or not West Virginia was a good fit in the Big 12 but WVU got from the Big 12 what it needed: relevancy in the way of big time football and cash. West Virginia isn’t spending 55 million on stadium renovations or millions more on locker room upgrades if its stuck in the American Athletic Conference and receiving 9M a year. The ACC is not even a potential landing spot if the Mountaineers are stuck in the AAC right now. West Virginia remained relevant because of the Big 12 and it swam in cash from the revenue sharing.

With the loss of the two flag-bearing universities from the Big 12, West Virginia needs to get into the ACC. “Academics” were the reason we were held back last time. Our current AD, Shane Lyons was “second-in-command” from 2001 - 2011 so he knows all of the conversations that were being held and being spoken about West Virginia and why we weren’t included. He, hopefully, has been trying to rectify that in case the ACC were ever available to West Virginia again. Hopefully, his network of associates and athletic directors will allow him to speak the language necessary to secure WVU a spot in the ACC.

The ACC has to be the landing spot. Nowhere else. The ACC is where WVU needs to be. West Virginia needs to play Pitt and Virginia Tech and Syracuse yearly, and it needs to renew the rivalries it developed over the past 50-plus year. If Shane Lyons is able to sprinkle fairy dust and get WVU into the ACC, it will be the miracle that all fans needed. We cannot land in the AAC or the Pac-12 and we can’t stay the Big 8. West Virginia needs to remain relevant in college football.

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An Open Letter to the ACC, From The SmokingMusket

An Open Letter to the ACC, From The SmokingMusket

Clemson v Notre Dame
Photo by Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images

Dear ACC,

I know we’ve had our differences in the past but with the current college football atmosphere I think we can both let bygones be bygones and move towards a new beginning. You see, West Virginia offers a lot to the ACC and I think you may have just forgotten or may not be aware of just how much we do offer. If I may -

Other than Virginia Tech, we Mountaineers have won more games than Miami, Boston College, Pitt and Syracuse since they left the Big East to join your conference. We would be a much stronger football team than what you have currently added. Since 2005, the Mountaineers have won over 130 games, more than anyone except Virginia Tech in that timeframe. You left the second most successful team out last time during your expansion - let’s not make that mistake again!

Perhaps our athletic achievements in football aren’t enough to sway you - I know academics have always been a sticking point between us, but they no longer have to be. Did you see the beautiful outline our Athletic Director Shane Lyons recently put out? West Virginia is a R1 Research Campus, the highest level of research activity in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. We do this as a land-grant, doctoral research university with a comprehensive medical school - not something everyone can say. We also have Rhodes Scholars, Truman Scholars and Goldwater Scholars. We’ve got the smarty-pants to go along with our athletic prowess.

Last time, everyone was worried about television markets and admittedly, West Virginia just doesn’t have the largest population to add to a budding TV market but like everything, change is evitable. TV markets aren’t really as important as they were 10 years ago - more and more households are going streaming. West Virginia currently has over 210,000 alumni living in 135 different nations. We have alumni chapters up and down the east coast with fans waiting to buy tickets and attend games and purchase network access and streaming content in order to watch our favorite team. In fact in 2018, we had the third highest viewership of a game for a Friday night ever! We make for some good viewing!

Don’t forget about our ever improving facilities. We just infused 55 million into the stadium and we continue to improve. You haven’t been by in a while, so I can forgive you if you haven’t seen the new stadium and locker room but come on by and we can show you around.

We don’t need to worry about the past but let’s look forward to a future together. One where we can become the newest member and with us, you get extra rivalries. College football is at its best when it has rivalries and our rivalries with both Virginia Tech and Pitt are legendary. Not to mention, Boston College, Syracuse, Louisville, Virginia, Miami and Clemson, we’ve got history. You have history. We should have history together.

Don’t miss out on the one program that is a perfect fit for you. Don’t miss out on a legendary team. Let’s do this thing and get to where we both should have been years ago.

Love Always,

The Smoking Musket

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Top Five Games for Mountaineer Athletics in August

Top Five Games for Mountaineer Athletics in August

WVU Women’s Soccer Beat Duke
WVUSports.com/Andy Mead

Check out West Virginia’s biggest games in the first month of the 2021-22 year!

Students will be returning to Morgantown this month to start what they hope will be a normal school year, and the return of students also means the return of West Virginia athletics. With capacity restrictions lifting for this year’s sporting events, excitement is growing, and fans are excited to see their Mountaineers play again. August will start the year out with some interesting matchups, so let’s see which games are the biggest for WVU.

5. Volleyball at Old Dominion (August 27th)

The West Virginia volleyball team continued to show improvement last season and made the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 15 Poll three times, but still left much to be desired with a 10-11 record. The Mountaineers’ improvement was evident with their two wins over ranked opponents and their 8-8 mark in conference play, which is the best they have had since joining the Big 12. WVU is now ranked sixth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll. This matchup against Old Dominion is a rematch of last year’s season finale, a match that the Mountaineers won 3-1. WVU will also face Loyola and Hampton during this road trip, as part of the Old Dominion Tournament.

4. Women’s Soccer vs Duquesne (August 29th)

Last season ended with a shocking loss to Rice in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, which was not how the West Virginia women’s soccer team envisioned its 21st-straight appearance in the national tournament. WVU only lost one senior after last season, so it will be returning a roster full of experience and talent. One standout on the roster is senior defender Jordan Brewster, who was named a 2020-21 United Soccer Coaches All-American. Brewster started all 14 games and helped the Mountaineer defense achieve three clean sheets last year. Duquesne struggled last season with a 3-5-1 record, so WVU should have no trouble in this game. The match will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

3. Women’s Soccer vs Buffalo (August 19th)

The WVU women’s soccer team is returning one of its two leading scorers from last season. Senior forward Alina Stahl scored on 21.4% of her shots last season to tally six goals for the Mountaineers. She was helped by redshirt senior forward Lauren Segalla, who led the team with five assists. This home opener against Buffalo will be the first regular season match for WVU. It will also be the first non-exhibition game for all of Mountaineer sports this fall. Despite a limited schedule, UB had a solid season last year by going 6-1-1. So WVU will need to be ready to play when it kicks off the 2021 season in this match. Mountaineer fans can watch the game on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

2. Men’s Soccer vs Pitt (August 30th)

After a 6-3-1 season in Dan Stratford’s first year as the head coach of the West Virginia men’s soccer team, the Mountaineers are preparing for a full schedule with 17 regular season matches. This will also be WVU’s final season as a member of the Mid-American Conference in men’s soccer, as it will be joining Conference USA in 2022. The Mountaineers are bringing back their top seven goal scorers from last year, including senior forward, and Fairmont native, Ike Swiger, who led the team with four goals last season. WVU will have a tough matchup in this rivalry game against Pitt. Although the preseason rankings are not out yet, it is likely that the Panthers will be in the top 25 after their run to the NCAA Tournament semifinals last season. Another team that made the semifinals was Marshall, who went on the win the national title, but was also defeated by the Mountaineers, 1-0, during the regular season. Hopefully WVU will have a similar result in this year’s edition of the men’s soccer Backyard Brawl.

1. Women’s Soccer vs Virginia (August 22nd)

The Virginia women’s soccer team and WVU faced off twice last season. The Mountaineers won the first match in Morgantown, 1-0, thanks to a late goal from midfielder Isabella Sibley. Sibley also scored a late goal in the second game in Charlottesville, which saved WVU from a loss and led to a 1-1 tie in double-overtime. The Cavaliers went on to make the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament last year. Both teams will likely be ranked when the preseason rankings are released, and it is very possible that they will remain in the top 25 leading up to this match. UVA is returning its two leading scorers from last season, junior Diana Ordonez and senior Alexa Spaanstra, who scored 12 and 10 goals, respectively. WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown will have her team prepared for these two scorers and the entire Cavs team when these two powerhouse programs square off in Morgantown. This match will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

The last two weeks in August will be full of some big games for the WVU volleyball and soccer teams. Tune in to support the Mountaineers this month and let us know what other games you’re looking forward to this fall!

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Where will Deuce be selected in the NBA Draft?

Where will Deuce be selected in the NBA Draft?

NCAA Basketball: Texas at West Virginia
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

Football

Stills named to Outland Trophy and Bronko Nagurski watch lists

West Virginia senior defensive lineman Dante Stills has been named to the watch lists for the 75th Outland Trophy, which signifies standout interior linemen in college football, and the Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player. In 2020, he finished with 35 tackles, including 15 solo stops, two sacks, and led WVU in tackles for loss with 10.5.

O’Laughlin named to John Mackey Award ­Watch List

West Virginia junior tight end Mike O’Laughlin has been named to the watch list for the John Mackey Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding tight end in college football. O’Laughlin finished the 2020 season with 15 catches for 137 yards and one touchdown for the Mountaineers.

Fan Day set for Saturday, August 7

West Virginia football fans will be given the opportunity to get autographs from Mountaineer players and coaches and watch practice at the team’s annual Fan Day on Saturday, August 7th.

Basketball

WVU bolsters men’s hoops lineup, proving new rules in college sports are “a two-way street”

The West Virginia men’s basketball team lost two of its top contributors this offseason, but head coach Bob Huggins is still reloading for 2021-22.

West Virginia Athletics

Three Guys Before The Game – Conference Tsunami (Episode 298)

On this episode of “Three Guys Before The Game,” Tony Caridi and Brad Howe provide the latest news and offer commentary regarding the dramatically changing landscape of collegiate athletics.

Mountaineer rifle unveils 2021-22 Schedule

West Virginia has announced the 2021-22 rifle schedule. It features seven contests at home, five on the road, and one neutral-site matchup. WVU finished the 2020-21 campaign with a record of 7-1, including a 5-1 mark during the GARC regular season.

Mountaineer Round-up: Goetz finishes at PA Amateur, Ferrer-vanGinkel debuts for Tigres

Between a sudden turn to conference realignment, the start of the Olympics, the upcoming NBA Draft and more, there has been a lot to keep up with across the West Virginia sports world. Here is a recap of the recent developments.

NBA Draft Preview: Mocks eye first round selection for McBride

West Virginia’s Miles “Deuce” McBride has steadily increased his standing on NBA Draft boards across the league since the season’s end. The sophomore guard finished the season leading the Mountaineers in minutes and scoring, picking up All-Big 12 Second Team honors along the way. How early will Deuce be drafted? And what team is going to draft him?

WVU’s McBride Eyes Thursday’s NBA Draft

The West Virginia men’s basketball program has had 40 players selected in the NBA Draft dating back to 1947, including six first-rounders. Will Miles “Deuce” McBride be the seventh? Some analysts have Deuce going in the mid-first round, while others see him as a second-rounder.

Long’s first experience as coach in TBT helps him take preparation to ‘next level’

Former West Virginia guard James Long has spent two seasons as the men’s basketball head coach at WVU Tech, and this summer he gained more coaching experience by being Best Virginia’s coach at The Basketball Tournament (TBT).

Around the Big 12

Report: Bowlsby sends cease and desist letter to ESPN

Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby has accused ESPN of playing a role in the joint departure of Texas and Oklahoma in a cease-and-desist letter. He later specified how he believes that the network broke its contract with the conference.

Bowlsby: Conference move was in works “for months”

Rumors were confirmed on Tuesday as Texas and Oklahoma officially applied for SEC membership in a letter to the league, but it is likely that these talks have been going on for much longer than the rumors suggest.

Oklahoma, Texas request invitation to join SEC in letter to Commissioner Greg Sankey

One day after both schools notified the Big 12 Conference that they would not renew their grant of media rights with the league upon its expiration in 2025, Oklahoma and Texas have formally requested an invite to join the Southeastern Conference that same year.

Big 12 alleges ESPN trying to ‘destabilize’ league; network says claims ‘have no merit’

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has accused ESPN of encouraging other conferences to pick apart the league so Texas and Oklahoma can move to the Southeastern Conference more quickly and without paying a massive buyout.

Is BYU a Big 12 expansion candidate? In TV, Cougars have surpassed ‘Left Behind 8’

Eight schools remain in the Big 12 Conference. Will they all try to find new landing spots in other conferences, or could they stick together by adding other schools with large audiences, such as BYU?

Around the NCAA

Texas A&M board says expansion right path, directs president to approve extending invites to Texas, Oklahoma

The Texas A&M board of regents voted 8-1 to direct president M. Katherine Banks to vote in favor of extending invitations to Oklahoma and Texas to join the SEC.

Reggie Bush won’t get 2005 Heisman Trophy returned to him after decision by NCAA

The 2005 Heisman Trophy will not be returned to former USC running back Reggie Bush. Recent changes to name, image and likeness regulations have not changed the fact that Bush and his family members illegally accepted cash, travel expenses, and a home in the San Diego area while he was a student-athlete.

U.S. women win first 3-on-3 basketball gold medal at Tokyo Olympics

The U.S. team of Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young took an early lead against the Russian Olympic Committee team, then held on for an 18-15 victory to win the title in the debut of 3-on-3 basketball at the Olympics.

Swimmer Katie Ledecky wins Olympic gold in women’s 1,500-meter freestyle after placing 5th in 200 free

U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky claimed the first-ever gold medal in the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle at the Olympics.

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WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons releases statement regarding conference realignment

WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons releases statement regarding conference realignment

Iowa State v West Virginia

Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

Football

Younger Stills Ready to Fly Solo in 2021

For the first time since he signed with West Virginia four years ago, senior defensive tackle Dante Stills is preparing to play without his brother Darius. Dante earned Associated Press All-Big 12 Second Team honors in 2020 after producing 10.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks in just 10 games.

Raleigh Collins becomes West Virginia’s 15th commit for Class of 2022

Raleigh Collins III, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound hybrid defender, became the 15th commitment in West Virginia’s 2022 recruiting class. Collins, a 3-star prospect, is a rising senior at Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and played at Caravel Academy in Bear, Delaware, before joining the South Philly powerhouse that also produced WVU running back Leddie Brown.

New Seeker Technology to Assist WVU’s Skill Players

Earlier this month, West Virginia partnered with The Seeker to improve its players’ pass-catching skills. The Seeker, developed by Monarc, is touted as the world’s “first robotic quarterback” and will allow players to utilize the technology on their own without the aid of another player throwing them footballs.

Basketball

WVU men’s basketball adds James Okonkwo

Forward James Okonkwo has signed a grant-in-aid to attend and play basketball for West Virginia during the 2021-22 academic year. Okonkwo is a native of Maidenhead, England, and came to the United States last August, where he attended Beckley Prep in Beckley, West Virginia.

West Virginia Athletics

Statement from WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons

West Virginia University Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President Shane Lyons has released a statement regarding the news of a joint exit from the Big 12 Conference by Texas and Oklahoma and the future of conference realignment in college athletics.

Gov. Justice, other onlookers sound off as Oklahoma, Texas bolt from Big 12

As another round of conference realignment now appears imminent, Governor Jim Justice is in West Virginia University’s corner. In an exclusive interview, he said that he will do whatever he can to ensure that WVU ends this saga in a favorable position.

WVU, Duquesne agree on schedule change

The West Virginia women’s soccer team’s nonconference match against Duquesne is now scheduled for Sunday, August 29th, at 5 p.m. ET.

Mountaineers named GCAA All-Academic Team

The West Virginia golf team was named an All-Academic Team by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

Deal done: McIntosh signs with Marlins as undrafted free agent

Senior Paul McIntosh of the West Virginia baseball team has signed a professional contract with the Miami Marlins. McIntosh was named an All-Big 12 honorable mention selection after hitting .256 with eight home runs and 26 RBI in 2021.

Raiders place Stills on non-football injury list

One day after rookies reported for pre-training camp, the Las Vegas Raiders placed former Mountaineer defensive lineman Darius Stills on the non-football injury list.

Around the Big 12

Texas, Oklahoma inform Big 12 of plans to exit, opening door for negotiations with SEC

Texas and Oklahoma took the first step in severing ties with the Big 12 Conference, informing the league they do not intend to extend their grant-of-rights agreements with the conference when they expire in 2025.

Will Texas, Oklahoma really move to the SEC? We answer the biggest questions

Why are Texas and Oklahoma deciding to do this now? What happens to the remaining Big 12 programs? These questions and more are answered in this breakdown of the domino effect of OU and Texas leaving the Big 12.

Oklahoma State Cowboys president Kayse Shrum blasts Oklahoma Sooners in statement

Oklahoma State president Kayse Shrum said that Oklahoma’s intentions to explore leaving the Big 12 are “the result of months of planning with the SEC” and a “clear breach” of the conference bylaws.

Around the NCAA

UCLA Bruins, Gonzaga Bulldogs to play in rematch of epic Final Four game Nov. 23 in Las Vegas

Preseason top-five teams Gonzaga and UCLA are set to square off in November in Las Vegas as part of the Empire Classic. The game will be a rematch of their Final Four game a few months ago that ended with a Bulldog victory.

Missouri Tigers AD Jim Sterk to step down after five years; will remain until replacement found

Missouri and its athletic director, Jim Sterk, have announced that they have mutually agreed he will step down once the school is able to find his replacement.

Green Bay Packers craft list of concessions to entice Aaron Rodgers to return at least one more season, sources say

To ensure the return of their reigning NFL MVP quarterback, the Packers now are offering concessions to try to persuade Aaron Rodgers to return to Green Bay for at least one more season.

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West Virginia’s Leddie Brown Named to Doak Walker Award Watch List

West Virginia’s Leddie Brown Named to Doak Walker Award Watch List

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 03 Baylor at West Virginia
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

Football

Brown Named to Doak Walker Award Watch List

West Virginia football senior running back Leddie Brown has been named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which is awarded to the top college running back in the nation. Heading into the 2021 season, Brown was named to the All-Big 12 preseason second team by Athlon Sports, Lindy’s, and Phil Steele’s Magazine. In 2020, he was an All-Big 12 First-Team selection and hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the first time in his career.

‘Return to tailgating’: What to expect on WVU game day

After a year of restrictions caused be COVID-19 fear, the West Virginia athletic department is prepared to fully reopen Milan Puskar Stadium with little to no restrictions in place for this football season. Mountaineer fans can also return to tailgating before games this year.

The Big 12 Plays Defense, Too!

Last season West Virginia finished fourth in the country in total defense, permitting just 291.4 yards per game, which was the best finish by a Big 12 defense since Oklahoma ranked third by giving up just 259.6 yards per game in 2003.

WVU’s Brown Gives Media a Tour of Recently Renovated Milan Puskar Center

West Virginia head coach Neal Brown gave the media a tour of the recently renovated Milan Puskar Center, the home of Mountaineer football. The facility has $55 million in renovations nearly completed.

Photo gallery: West Virginia puts new-look Milan Puskar Center on display

The Milan Puskar Center is home to the West Virginia football team’s locker room and coaches’ offices and has received significant upgrades over the past two years.

Legendary coach Bobby Bowden “prepared” after terminal illness diagnosis

Former West Virginia football coach Bobby Bowden has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition. Bowden served as the WVU head coach from 1970 to 1975, before going to Florida State in 1976. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Basketball

Your guide to six early-season 2021-22 college basketball tournaments

The schedules for some of college basketball’s early-season tournaments have been announced, including the 2021 Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic featuring West Virginia. Is WVU the team to beat in this tournament or could people be sleeping on the Mountaineers?

Wolf, Bergert ink deals with Padres

Former West Virginia pitchers Jackson Wolf and Ryan Bergert have officially signed deals with the San Diego Padres organization after their selection in the 2021 MLB Draft. Wolf was honored as an All-Big 12 Second Team pitcher after the 2021 season and Bergert missed the 2021 season.

Chase Harler Signs With Jämtland Basket For Upcoming Season

Former West Virginia guard Chase Harler has signed with Jämtland Basket, a team that is based in Östersund, Sweden, for the upcoming season. The team competes in Basketligan Swedish, which is the top tier professional basketball league in Sweden.

Best Virginia sharp at start and finish of 63-51 victory over D2

After struggling mightily during the “Elam Ending” and nearly being eliminated in the opening round of The Basketball Tournament (TBT), Best Virginia displayed better execution down the stretch to secure a 63-51 victory over D2 in Charleston.

Around the Big 12

Big 12 powers Texas, Oklahoma inquire about joining SEC in potentially massive shakeup, per report

Texas and Oklahoma have reportedly reached out to the SEC about joining the league should the two leave the Big 12. The SEC would become a 16-team “super conference,” if it added the Longhorns and Sooners, and other schools, like West Virginia, would likely have to find new homes as well.

Big 12 Football Preseason Watch Lists Candidates

Check out which Big 12 football players are candidates on preseason watch lists for 2021 national awards, including West Virginia’s Leddie Brown, Dante Stills, and Jarrett Doege.

Around the NCAA

Clemson Tigers’ Dabo Swinney not in favor of ‘inevitable’ 12-team College Football Playoff

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has said that neither he nor his players are in favor of an expanded 12-team College Football Playoff, but he also knows that change is inevitably coming to the format.

Bucks’ 50-year wait ends with a title behind 50 from Giannis

Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the 2021 NBA Finals MVP after scoring 50 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the Milwaukee’s 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns.

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Sooners and Longhorns Could Be Gone By Monday

Sooners and Longhorns Could Be Gone By Monday

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Oklahoma v Texas
Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yesterday, report Brent Zwerneman dropped a bombshell story in the Houston Chronicle that has the college football world in a frenzy - the two blue bloods of the Big 12, Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners have reached out to the SEC about joining the conference and leaving the Big 12 behind.

Houston Chronicle exclusive: Texas, Oklahoma reach out to SEC about joining conference https://t.co/tw2Qm3yeoj via @houstonchron

— Brent Zwerneman (@BrentZwerneman) July 21, 2021

At first this could be described as nothing more than your usual summer realignment story that is needed to drum up headlines and clicks but when SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey basically refused to even talk about it, everyone’s spidey senses quickly perked up as that was an usual omission.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey to @247Sports on report of Oklahoma and Texas interested in joining SEC: “I’m here to talk about the 2021 season.”

— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) July 21, 2021

The fact that Sankey specifically only mentioned the 2021 season caught everyone’s eyes and the rumor mill began to churn. Now, you could then immediately say that perhaps it was bad reporting or even just quick fingers that got us into this but now Oklahoma Sooners released a statement that also was a cryptic denial and didn’t refute the story.

Oklahoma statement on report of Sooners & Texas interest in joining SEC: "The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don’t address every anonymous rumor."

— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 21, 2021

Quick recap - exclusive story in a Houston paper leads to the SEC commissioner issuing a non-denial about this upcoming football season and then one of the two schools in questions releases a non-denial in response. Where there is smoke, there’s fire and this was a raging inferno.

Now that the fire was burning, the news has begun to quickly come in. Reports surfaced that Texas may inform the Big 12 of their intent to leave as early as next week, as reported by a Rivals article.

Orangebloods publisher Geoff Ketchum and I have checked in with multiple sources on Wednesday and asked about Texas’ desire to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC.

Texas and Oklahoma are ready to make that move.

A high-level university official informed Orangebloods the expectation is that Texas and Oklahoma would inform the Big 12 as early as next week that both schools intend to decline on extending the existing set of media rights. The contract expires in 2025.

A kicker is that this appears to be breaking up with your old girlfriend before making sure the new girl really wants you, as reports are surfacing that both will inform the Big 12 of their intent and then ask the SEC if they can join. You have to assume its just a formality but still -

#BREAKING:

SOURCES: After notifying the @Big12Conference early next week, @TexasLonghorns and @UofOklahoma will petition the @SEC for membership.

-more-

— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) July 22, 2021

In a nutshell that is all we know at this point, but from everywhere we can see, this has real legs and is definitely the next round of realignment. The reasons appear to be simple, the newest version of the college football playoffs is likely to be 12 teams and will feature 6 at-large teams. Those at large teams are going to feature at least 3, possibly 4 SEC teams so right now the teams that want a championship are vying to get into the SEC for those championships.

That leaves West Virginia and the rest of the Big 12 in scramble mode. With the addition of Texas and Oklahoma, the SEC would now be at 16 teams and 16 seems to be the magical number for conferences. The ACC, which is has 14 plus Notre Dame, would likely consume Notre Dame and then add one more piece to get them to 16. The Big Ten which also has 14, will likely add two. The Pac-12 would likely add 4.

If the rumors are true about Texas and Oklahoma, which by all account they appear to be, West Virginia Mountaineers needs to do everything possible to get into the ACC. Forget the past, forget what has been said, West Virginia needs to get into the ACC.


As we continue to monitor this situation, rumors are flying and things are beginning to heat up. First came an ESPN article that mentioned the Sooners and Longhorns could make a move in “a few weeks”.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, a Big 12 source believes the talks between the SEC and the two pioneer members of the Big 12 have been ongoing for at least 6 months. The same source indicated that a move between the two schools could happen in a matter of weeks. As of the time of that report, the schools had not explicitly expressed a desire to leave to the Big 12.

ESPN reported Thursday that both Texas and Oklahoma would likely owe the Big 12 upward of $76 million apiece to buy out the remainder of their grant of media rights agreement, which runs until 2025. A new agreement with the SEC, however, would likely make that price tag easily affordable for the two powerhouse programs.

Now a CBS Report has come out indicating that the two schools are likely to make their declaration in the next couple of days (24-48 hours)

“I’m not saying it’s 100%, but it’s close to it in terms of being a done deal,” a Big 12 source intimately involved in the process told CBS Sports.

“It could be as soon as 24-48 hours and as long as two weeks before we have any clarity in terms of timing,” said the source in reference to when Texas and Oklahoma would expect to formally join the SEC.

If the programs were to effort an SEC debut in 2022, each could owe up to $80 million to the Big 12 as a penalty for leaving before the current TV rights contract expires after the 2024-25 season. That total equals the combined revenue distribution per school of the last two years.

... Continue Reading
Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC?

Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC?

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Oklahoma v Texas
Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yesterday, report Brent Zwerneman dropped a bombshell story in the Houston Chronicle that has the college football world in a frenzy - the two blue bloods of the Big 12, Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners have reached out to the SEC about joining the conference and leaving the Big 12 behind.

Houston Chronicle exclusive: Texas, Oklahoma reach out to SEC about joining conference https://t.co/tw2Qm3yeoj via @houstonchron

— Brent Zwerneman (@BrentZwerneman) July 21, 2021

At first this could be described as nothing more than your usual summer realignment story that is needed to drum up headlines and clicks but when SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey basically refused to even talk about it, everyone’s spidey senses quickly perked up as that was an usual omission.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey to @247Sports on report of Oklahoma and Texas interested in joining SEC: “I’m here to talk about the 2021 season.”

— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) July 21, 2021

The fact that Sankey specifically only mentioned the 2021 season caught everyone’s eyes and the rumor mill began to churn. Now, you could then immediately say that perhaps it was bad reporting or even just quick fingers that got us into this but now Oklahoma Sooners released a statement that also was a cryptic denial and didn’t refute the story.

Oklahoma statement on report of Sooners & Texas interest in joining SEC: "The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don’t address every anonymous rumor."

— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 21, 2021

Quick recap - exclusive story in a Houston paper leads to the SEC commissioner issuing a non-denial about this upcoming football season and then one of the two schools in questions releases a non-denial in response. Where there is smoke, there’s fire and this was a raging inferno.

Now that the fire was burning, the news has begun to quickly come in. Reports surfaced that Texas may inform the Big 12 of their intent to leave as early as next week, as reported by a Rivals article.

Orangebloods publisher Geoff Ketchum and I have checked in with multiple sources on Wednesday and asked about Texas’ desire to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC.

Texas and Oklahoma are ready to make that move.

A high-level university official informed Orangebloods the expectation is that Texas and Oklahoma would inform the Big 12 as early as next week that both schools intend to decline on extending the existing set of media rights. The contract expires in 2025.

A kicker is that this appears to be breaking up with your old girlfriend before making sure the new girl really wants you, as reports are surfacing that both will inform the Big 12 of their intent and then ask the SEC if they can join. You have to assume its just a formality but still -

#BREAKING:

SOURCES: After notifying the @Big12Conference early next week, @TexasLonghorns and @UofOklahoma will petition the @SEC for membership.

-more-

— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) July 22, 2021

In a nutshell that is all we know at this point, but from everywhere we can see, this has real legs and is definitely the next round of realignment. The reasons appear to be simple, the newest version of the college football playoffs is likely to be 12 teams and will feature 6 at-large teams. Those at large teams are going to feature at least 3, possibly 4 SEC teams so right now the teams that want a championship are vying to get into the SEC for those championships.

That leaves West Virginia and the rest of the Big 12 in scramble mode. With the addition of Texas and Oklahoma, the SEC would now be at 16 teams and 16 seems to be the magical number for conferences. The ACC, which is has 14 plus Notre Dame, would likely consume Notre Dame and then add one more piece to get them to 16. The Big Ten which also has 14, will likely add two. The Pac-12 would likely add 4.

If the rumors are true about Texas and Oklahoma, which by all account they appear to be, West Virginia Mountaineers needs to do everything possible to get into the ACC. Forget the past, forget what has been said, West Virginia needs to get into the ACC.

... Continue Reading
Tennessee DL Transfers to West Virginia

Tennessee DL Transfers to West Virginia

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 12 Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Mountaineers get an upgrade at DL

Late last night, the West Virginia Mountaineers got a big boost to their defensive line when Tennessee Volunteers grad transfer Darel Middleton announced he has committed to the Mountaineers. Middleton will be a redshirt senior and will have one year of eligibility remaining. He is expected to arrive on campus next week.

Middleton announced his decision via Twitter and teased his SEC counterparts Ole Miss, both with the video background and in the video itself as he flashed the Ole Miss logo before cutting to the Flying WV.

After a couple of weeks of thinking and talking things over with family, friends, and mentors that love me and will always be in my corner. I’m finally getting out my own way & just putting my future in god hands & going 1k MPH with my head held high. #KeepGoing #TrustTheClimb pic.twitter.com/I8KVtm0VZ1

— Darel E. Middleton (@Darel__) July 22, 2021

The 6’-7, 305 pound defensive tackle was ranked as a composite 3-star recruit when he joined the Volunteers in 2019 as a JUCO transfer from East Mississippi Community College, who he helped lead to a 2018 national championship. He was ranked as the #4 defensive tackle as a JUCO. 247 National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins said this -

One of the top prospects in the JUCO ranks and it’s easy to see why. Jumps off the screen on tape and has a rare combination of size, length, quickness and power. Has a strong, athletic 6-6 frame and looks lean but is all of 285 pounds. Shows the positional versatility to play tackle or end and could fit in any type of scheme. First step quickness is exceptional, can beat a guard or center before they get out of their stance, has the power to toss a lineman aside and the speed to run down plays from behind. Once he gets in to a real college weight program and adds even more strength, his game will rise to another level. If he stays hungry and motivated, there is no reason why he can’t be an instant impact upper tier Power 5 starter and early-mid round NFL draft pick.

... Continue Reading
Three Mountaineers named to award watch lists

Three Mountaineers named to award watch lists

West Virginia v Oklahoma State
Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

Football

Three Mountaineers Named to Watch Lists

West Virginia football redshirt seniors Leddie Brown and Jarret Doege have been named to the watch list for the 85th Annual Maxwell Award, and senior defensive lineman Dante Stills was named to the 27th annual Bednarik Award Watch List.

Relive West Virginia’s 1982 triumph over Oklahoma

The Mountaineers and the Sooners have squared off 11 times in the regular season since 1958, but one particular matchup sticks out in the minds of West Virginia fans across the country: the 1982 game in Norman.

Bowlsby: Delta Variant Could Keep Some Competition Thresholds in Play

West Virginia head coach Neal Brown believes that the Covid-19 vaccination is an individual decision for his football players and that WVU does not have the right to force it on them.

West Virginia Athletics

2021-22 Swimming and Diving Schedule Revealed

West Virginia has announced the 2021-22 men’s and women’s swimming and diving schedule. In the Mountaineers’ third season at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park, the team is set to host eight home events, including the Big 12 Championship for the second time since 2019.

WVU earns AVCA Team Academic Award

For the fifth straight year, the West Virginia volleyball team was named as a recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award.

WVU’s McBride Up to No. 17 on CBS Sports Mock Draft List

Former West Virginia guard Miles “Deuce” McBride continues to impress in personal workouts ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft. CBS Sports now has Deuce going 17th overall in the first round to the Memphis Grizzlies. That is 11 spots higher than where USA Today has McBride at #28 to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Power threat Paul McIntosh signs free agent deal with Marlins

West Virginia baseball player Paul McIntosh has signed a free agent contract with the Miami Marlins organization. McIntosh was a breakout star in the second half of WVU’s season, leading the team with eight homers as he finished with a .256 batting average and an .824 OPS.

Nathan Adrian signs with Italy’s Happy Casa NBB

Former West Virginia men’s basketball player, and Morgantown native, Nathan Adrian has officially joined Happy Casa New Basket Brindisi of Italy’s LegaBasket Serie A, the country’s top basketball league.

Best Virginia survives scare, edges WoCo Showtime 70-67

Best Virginia, the West Virginia and Fairmont State men’s basketball alumni team, defeated WoCo Showtime, a squad largely comprised of Wofford alums, in the first round of The Basketball Tournament (TBT) on Saturday.

Best Virginia sharp at start and finish of 63-51 victory over D2 | WV MetroNews
Two days after struggling mightily during the Elam Ending and nearly being eliminated in the opening round of The Basketball Tournament, Best Virginia displayed better execution down the stretch to secure a 63-51 victory over D2 at the Charleston Coliseum.

Around the Big 12

Texas Longhorns add to offseason haul with No. 1 college basketball transfer Marcus Carr

Minnesota transfer Marcus Carr, the top transfer this offseason, has announced his commitment to Texas, giving Chris Beard’s Longhorns a legitimate case to be the preseason #1 entering next season.

Moussa Cisse transferring to Oklahoma State after one season of Memphis basketball

Former Memphis center Moussa Cisse, one of the top college basketball big men to transfer this offseason, has committed to play at Oklahoma State next season.

Around the NCAA

NCAA president Mark Emmert made $2.9 million as NCAA’s revenue dropped more than 50%

NCAA president Mark Emmert made $2.9 million during the 2019-2020 fiscal year, a period when pandemic-related closures caused the organization’s revenue to drop by more than 50%.

Bucks edge Suns 123-119 to take 3-2 lead in NBA Finals

Milwaukee earned a 123-119 road victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals. The Bucks now have a chance to win the championship tonight at home.

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RECRUITING ALERT: Indiana OL Commits to West Virginia

RECRUITING ALERT: Indiana OL Commits to West Virginia

247Sports.com

Top 25 Recruiting Class and West Virginia Mountaineers do not go hand in hand. The Mountaineers have been kinda close a few times but they haven’t pulled off a bona fide Top 25 class (2009 had Geno Smith and Eugene Smith...hmm). Well, now the world may have to rethink West Virginia because the Mountaineers are looking at getting their first ever legit Top 25 class and the newest commit could help that cause.

COMMITTED pic.twitter.com/VXXhsuAPoz

— Landen Livingston (@LandenLivingst1) July 16, 2021

Landen Livingston, a nasty offensive lineman from Indiana, is the most recent commit for the Mountaineers, joining the staff despite offers from several well renowned Power 5 offers including Iowa Hawkyes, Purdue Boilermakers, Indiana Hoosiers, Arizona State, Illinois, Michigan State Spartans and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Livingston, a 6’-4” 280 pound behemoth is ranked as the number 25 interior offensive lineman in the country and the 12th best prospect in Indiana. Watching his tape, you see an offensive lineman who loves contact and really loves taking defender so far out of the play and driving them to the ground.

Welcome to Morgantown Landen!

... Continue Reading
Neal Brown wants more explosive plays from West Virginia’s offense

Neal Brown wants more explosive plays from West Virginia’s offense

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

Football

Explosive plays, improved red zone and third down execution key for West Virginia’s offense

For West Virginia to rise to the upper tier of the Big 12 Conference in 2021, it will have to improve offensively, which starts with producing more big plays. And with the concerted effort for WVU to increase explosive plays, better red zone and third down execution is also imperative to the offensive success.

The WVU Seeker - New Technology Introduced for On-Field Player Development

New technology is being used by the West Virginia football program this summer. The WVU Seeker is the world’s first robotic quarterback that provides unlimited practice opportunities and can be calibrated to pass, punt, or kickoff to any part of the field.

West Virginia Athletics

2021 WVU women’s soccer nonconference slate announced

West Virginia has announced the 2021 women’s soccer nonconference schedule. The nine nonconference matches include home games against Virginia, Penn State, Georgetown, Duquesne, Kent State, Buffalo, and Saint Francis, many of which will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

From WVU to the Black Bears, Mountaineer ballplayers get taste of minors

Four Mountaineer baseball players have spent the summer with the West Virginia Black Bears in the MLB Draft League, a showcase league constructed to give exposure for college baseball players to professional scouts.

Pitcher Zach Ottinger to return to WVU baseball

After four Mountaineer pitchers got the call from the pros, one is coming back to Morgantown. Zach Ottinger has announced that he will return to West Virginia for his senior season after going undrafted in the 2021 MLB Draft.

Mountaineers again earn ITA academic honors

The West Virginia women’s tennis team has been named an Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team for the eighth consecutive year.

Padres lock in on WVU arms, select Bergert in sixth round

West Virginia pitcher Ryan Bergert was selected by San Diego in the sixth round of the 2021 MLB Draft at #190 overall. That pick slot is valued at approximately $250,100. Bergert joins fellow Mountaineer Jackson Wolf, who was drafted by the Padres with the 129th pick.

Dodgers select Madison Jeffrey in 15th round of MLB Draft

West Virginia reliever Madison Jeffrey was the third Mountaineer drafted in the 2021 MLB Draft after being selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 15th round. The right-hander had been on professional radars all year, speaking to scouts as early as this past fall.

Dodgers double up, select Tulloch in 17th round

Like the San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted two Mountaineers in the 2021 MLB Draft. LA selected WVU pitcher Adam Tulloch in the 17th round.

Around the Big 12

Big 12 Boss Bowlsby in Favor of 12-Team College Football Playoff

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is reasonably confident that the conference will always have at least one school in the mix if the College Football Playoff is expanded to 12 teams.

Big 12 Media Days: Here’s what to expect

The unofficial start to the college football preseason is upon us, as the Big 12 Conference has started its annual media days, hoping to set up the storylines for the upcoming 2021 season.

38 Big 12 Players Selected in 2021 MLB Draft

A total of 38 Big 12 players were drafted in 20 rounds of the 2021 MLB Draft, which is a conference record.

Around the NCAA

Clemson makes DC Brent Venables the highest-paid assistant in college football

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables became the highest-paid assistant football coach in the country when Clemson approved a contract extension that will pay him $2.5 million per year through 2026.

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Best Virginia wins final exhibition before TBT

Best Virginia wins final exhibition before TBT

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Ohio State
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

Football

Veteran Addae Now One of the Leaders of the Mountaineer Defense

West Virginia’s Alonzo Addae started 10 games last year at free safety and finished second on the team with 66 total tackles, while his 6.6 tackles-per-game average ranked 12th in the Big 12. Now Addae is one of the older players on a Mountaineer defense and the team will need him to step up as a leader.

A piece of Alonzo Addae’s past is now present in Morgantown

When Alonzo Addae joined the Mountaineers in 2019, his older cousin Jahmile Addae was on the defensive staff. Although Jahmile is now coaching at Georgia, Alonzo still has someone he considers family on the team and that is WVU’s new linebacker Deshawn Stevens.

Former Gridder Named Assistant Director of Player Relations/Transition Coordinator

Former Mountaineer Osman Kamara has joined the West Virginia football program’s administrative staff as the assistant director of player relations/transition coordinator.

Brown announces staff addition

West Virginia head football coach Neal Brown has announced that David Faulkner has joined the Mountaineer coaching staff as the special assistant to the head coach.

Mahone named to CoSIDA’s Academic All-America Football Team

West Virginia senior safety Sean Mahone has been named Academic All-America second team presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Basketball

Huggins Facing College Basketball’s Challenging New Reality

West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins has seen quite a bit of changes since his college basketball coaching career began in 1981. One of the biggest changes Huggins is now facing is the mentality of young players transferring when things don’t go their way and the dwindling attitude of winning games for the fans and the team.

Best Virginia overcomes sluggish start, defeats Underground Kings 77-63 in final exhibition

While West Virginia’s men’s basketball alumni team rolled by Southern Elite in Beckley, Friday’s game against the Underground Kings played out in far different fashion. Underground Kings jumped out to an 11-0 lead and led by eight points after the first quarter, before Best Virginia’s defense turned the game in its favor, allowing it to pull away for a 77-63 victory.

Manoah fans nine in 8th MLB start

Former West Virginia pitcher Alek Manoah started in his eighth game for the Blue Jays on Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Toronto rookie struck out nine batters and only gave up three hits in 3.2 innings. He now has a total of 52 strikeouts in 40.1 innings pitched this season, with an ERA of 2.9.

Mountaineers in the WNBA: July 12th Update

Former West Virginia women’s basketball player Bria Holmes has started in five of 17 games for the Los Angeles Sparks this season and is currently averaging 4.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Former Mountaineer Kysre Gondrezick is averaging 1.9 points per game for the Indiana Fever.

Payne invited to World Cup qualifier training camp with Nigeria

Sophomore Nicole Payne of the West Virginia women’s soccer team has been invited to join the Nigeria Women’s National Team when it participates in a World Cup qualifier training camp.

Around the Big 12

Former Kansas football player says school did little to address harassment, offered him $50K in benefits to leave and stay quiet

A former Kansas football player says the university offered him more than $50,000 in benefits if he left the program and stayed quiet about harassment he experienced from four other players on the team.

Sooners Picked First in Football Preseason Poll for Sixth Straight Year

The Oklahoma football team was chosen to win the conference title in the Big 12 Football Preseason Poll for the sixth straight year.

K-State’s Wicks and UT’s Madden Selected in MLB Draft First Round

Kansas State’s Jordan Wicks and Texas’ Ty Madden were taken in the opening round of the 2021 MLB Draft.

Around the NCAA

Offensive lineman Dare Rosenthal transfers from LSU Tigers to Kentucky Wildcats

Former LSU left tackle Dare Rosenthal has announced that he will transfer to play football at Kentucky.

Five-star DE Jeremiah Alexander commits to Alabama football team over Clemson

Alabama beat Clemson on the recruiting trail for five-star defensive end Jeremiah Alexander.

Former Georgia Bulldogs receiver Demetris Robertson transferring to SEC rival Auburn Tigers

Former Georgia receiver Demetris Robertson has announced that he will transfer to Auburn.

Bucks blowout: Giannis has 41, Suns’ NBA Finals lead now 2-1

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 41 points and 13 rebounds in Milwaukee’s 120-100 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Antetokounmpo’s back-to-back 40-point, 10-rebound games put him with Shaquille O’Neal as the only two players in NBA history to achieve that stat line in The Finals.

Stanley Cup dented amid Tampa Bay Lightning’s second boat parade in 10 months

The Stanley Cup was dented during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s championship celebration.

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Jackson Wolf Selected in 4th Round of MLB Draft

Jackson Wolf Selected in 4th Round of MLB Draft

Jackson Wolf selected by the San Diego Padres in the 4th round of the 2021 MLB Draft

Jackson Wolf, the ace of the 2020 & 2021 WVU Mountaineers, was selected in the 4th round of the 2021 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. Wolf, a towering left-hander, stands 6’-7” and is an imposing figure on the mound. Last year, the COVID shortened season he struck out 27 batters in only 25 innings before the season was shut down. This year, he finished with 104 strikeouts in only 89 innings pitched.

With the 129th pick, the @Padres select @WVUBaseball left-hander Jackson Wolf.

Watch live: https://t.co/oDjcuCzH7G pic.twitter.com/xmD67P4qeL

— MLB Draft (@MLBDraft) July 12, 2021

Wolf was just about the only reliable arm coach Randy Mazey could lean on in an year where injuries and poor play decimated the Mountaineers. Wolf saved his best performances for the end of the year where the Mountaineers won 5 of his final 6 starts and he threw a 9-inning complete game against Texas in the Big 12 Tournament.

Jackson becomes the third straight pitcher taken in the draft after the Padres selected Robert Gasser from Houston in the competitive balance round B, then Arkansas pitcher Kevin Kopps in the third round.

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RECRUITING ALERT: Michigan Safety Christion Stokes Commits To WVU

RECRUITING ALERT: Michigan Safety Christion Stokes Commits To WVU

Twitter.com | Christion Stokes

The Mountaineers continue to build their 2022 class and this time they added one of their top defensive targets in Michigan safety Christion Stokes. Currently the 13th ranked player in the state of Michigan, Stokes holds multiple Power 5 offers including Maryland, Penn State, Iowa and Michigan State among others.

100% committed @NealBrown_WVU @CoachWright37 pic.twitter.com/wWdLqRovkL

— stokioo (@ChristionStokes) July 10, 2021

The Mountaineers coaching staff and the entire state seemed to truly make a difference on Stokes.

“The coaches, the people and the love you get at West Virginia is unreal,” Stokes said. “Everywhere you look that WVU is flying. They’re in the process of building something great. The stat changes and their overall team GPA shows that they are for real about this program. Top pass defense and over a 3.0 team GPA since Coach Brown and his staff have taken over.”

Stokes commitment gives the Mountaineers 13 players in their current class and likely means that Jaden Mangham is next to commit as Stokes and Mangham have been seen as somewhat of a packaged deal.

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West Virginia’s Dante Stills named to Preseason All-Big 12 Conference Team

West Virginia’s Dante Stills named to Preseason All-Big 12 Conference Team

NCAA Football: Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

Football

Stills Named to Preseason All-Big 12 Conference Team

West Virginia senior defensive lineman Dante Stills has been named to the Big 12 Preseason All-Conference team. Stills led the Mountaineers in tackles for loss last season, with 10.5, and was tied for 11th in the Big 12. He finished with 35 tackles, including 15 unassisted tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery, and two pass breakups.

Pocket Mobility on Doege’s Summer Check List

West Virginia senior quarterback Jarret Doege has been working on his ability to move around in the pocket more effectively this season. Pocket awareness and elusiveness are some of the things Doege has been working on this summer.

Lyons: Brown’s “strategic” recruiting vision fuels summer streak of commitments

In the third year of the Neal Brown era of West Virginia football, WVU’s director of athletics praises the head coach for his recruiting efforts.

Basketball

Malik Curry, Jamel King arrive on WVU’s campus

Transfer guard Malik Curry and freshman forward Jamel Hill are both now officially West Virginia students and are set to begin their Mountaineer careers in 2020-21.

West Virginia Athletics

Mark Goetz qualifies for US Amateur

West Virginia golfer Mark Goetz is headed to Oakmont after qualifying for the US Amateur. The Mountaineer logged a 36-hole score of 138, or two-under-par, at the US Amateur Qualifier at Sunnehanna Country Club in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

WVU women’s soccer adds McCutcheon

The West Virginia women’s soccer team has announced the addition of midfielder Maya McCutcheon to the 2021 roster. McCutcheon arrives in Morgantown after playing her first two seasons at Oklahoma, where she started in 27 matches.

Nine Mountaineers recognized as CSCAA Scholar All-Americans

Nine members of the West Virginia men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been named Scholar All-Americans by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America for the 2020-21 season.

Best Virginia cruises in exhibition opener in Beckley

The West Virginia men’s basketball alumni team, Best Virginia, passed the first test on its pre-TBT schedule with ease, defeating Southern West Virginia Elite 127-122 in an exhibition game at the Beckley Raleigh County Convention Center.

Mountaineers in the WNBA: July 6th Update

Kysre Gondrezick is averaging 2.1 points per game for the Indiana Fever. Bria Holmes has played in 15 games for Los Angeles, including four starts, this season and is currently averaging 5.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

Mountaineer Round-up: Manoah, McBroom leaving mark on pro ball

Former Mountaineers all over are making their marks on the pro sports world. Here is what you may have missed and what to look out for.

Around the Big 12

Big 12 Announces Media Preseason Football Team

The Big 12 Conference has announced its 2021 Preseason All-Big 12 Football Team and individual awards. Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler was named the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Iowa State linebacker Mike Rose was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

OU’s Webb and BU’s Butler Named Big 12 Athletes of the Year

Oklahoma gymnast Anastasia Webb and Baylor men’s basketball player Jared Butler were named the 2020-21 Big 12 Athletes of the Year.

Around the NCAA

After strong pre-draft process, Maryland Terrapins forward Aaron Wiggins to remain in NBA draft

Aaron Wiggins is keeping his name in the 2021 NBA Draft and will forgo his remaining eligibility at Maryland.

Ohio Bobcats guard Jason Preston to remain in 2021 NBA draft, sign with agent

Ohio junior guard Jason Preston will remain in the 2021 NBA Draft and sign with Drew Gross of Roc Nation Sports.

Paul carries Suns past Giannis, Bucks in NBA Finals opener

Chris Paul led the Phoenix Suns with 32 points and nine assists in a Game 1 win over Milwaukee. Khris Middleton started the NBA Finals with 29 points for the Bucks.

Chase Elliott wins at Road America, now 3rd all-time in road course victories

Chase Elliott started in the 34th position, but still found a way to win the NASCAR Cup Series at Road America.

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