What Makes a Heisman Winner?

By Tim Sever

Reading Time: 7 minutes

 

The Heisman trophy is the most prestigious individual award in all of college football. It measures personal greatness and adds to a program’s prestige; top schools brag about how many Heisman winners they have produced. With that being said, what qualifies a player as a Heisman winner? What boxes need to be checked off? After researching the topic, there seems to be a pretty clear formula to becoming a Heisman winner.

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Ideal Schedule for Making the CFP

By: Matt Newton and Ryan Barnett

In 2017, the University of Central Florida football team had an undefeated season, won the American Athletic Conference Championship, and made a New Year’s Six Bowl, but this was not unprecedented. What put the world on notice was what followed these accomplishments: a win over SEC Championship game runner-up Auburn in the Peach Bowl; then potentially another undefeated season this year despite a head coaching change, and a bold claim to the 2018 national championship on the basis of the transitive property: Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl, then Alabama went on to win the National Championship, and UCF beat Auburn. Alabama, on the other hand, has made the College Football Playoff (CFP) every year in a variety of fashions which include undefeated seasons but also one-loss seasons including last year when they made the CFP without even winning their division of the SEC. If UCF clearly proved that they were capable of beating teams in the league of Alabama, a perennial playoff participant, then how does winning every game not give them a quality shot at consideration for the playoff? Continue reading “Ideal Schedule for Making the CFP”

What’s the Number?

By: Ryan Thoms

Reading Time: 5 minutes

After one of the most peculiar and slow progressing Major League Baseball free agency periods in recent memory, the free agent class of 2018 is set to be stacked, especially with one of baseball’s most dynamic players, Bryce Harper, set to hit the open market for the first time. After Harper’s monstrous 2015, which saw him win the NL MVP, he dropped off significantly in 2016. Despite his 2017 freak injury in the season’s final months, Harper was able to bounce back nicely in every statistical category. However, 2018 was a mixed bag for Harper as he struggled with consistency and had trouble reaching his full potential with the bat.  Below is a table of Harper’s four most recent seasons and his career accolades:

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Chasing 403: How Long Will Steph’s 3-Point Record Stand?

By: Thomas O’Farrell

Reading Time: 7 minutes

In the early 1900’s, baseball was ruled by the small ball era. Players bunted, stole, and sacrificed their way into a few runs every game. This was until 1920, when Babe Ruth hit 29 homeruns, one less than the next three closest combined. One year later, Babe Ruth hit 54 homeruns, shattering his own record by an unfathomable amount. The record seemed untouchable by any other player, but the trend of the league was changing, and teams were quickly adjusting to embrace the longball. When Babe Ruth set his career high of 60, second place was 47 homeruns from his teammate Lou Gehrig. But even though teams were hitting more home runs than ever, Babe Ruth was so far ahead of his competition that it took years for his record to finally fall. It was not until 34 years later that Roger Maris finally unseated him, hitting 61.

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NL Cy Young Race 2018: Jacob deGrom

By: Tim Sever

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The NL Cy Young Award is a three horse race this year, between Aaron Nola, Max Scherzer, and Jacob deGrom. While cases can be made for all three of the aces, the case for deGrom is the strongest. While the Mets had aspirations early on to contend for the division this year, they’ll have to head into the offseason with one of the only positives being deGrom solidifying himself as an elite pitcher. To fully appreciate Jacob deGrom’s excellence this season, you’ll have to look past his mediocre 10-9 record to date. Other than win-loss record, which can be attributed to the fact that he has the second worst average run support in Major League Baseball at 3.53 per game, deGrom dominates in all pitching statistics. Many will argue that the win loss record and lack of team success will essentially eliminate deGrom from the discussion. However, the Cy Young award is for the best pitcher in the league, and deGrom has been just that this season. Continue reading “NL Cy Young Race 2018: Jacob deGrom”

2018 NL Cy Young Race: Aaron Nola

By: Robb Dehney

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Phillies fans entered the 2018 season with largely the same expectations as those of any fanbase suffering through a rebuild. Following a102-win campaign in 2011, the Phillies had descendedinto irrelevancy, bottoming out in 2015 with 63 wins and 99 losses. That year, they also traded long-time ace and 2008 World Series hero Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers. The future faced by the franchise could only be described as bleak, yet in reality, the seeds of future success had been sown. Though Hamels was gone, a then 22-year-old rookie hurler by the name of Aaron Nola would soon take his place. Little did the team know that its 2014 first round pick would go on to become an upper echelon starter, a stopper, a staff ace, and a Cy Young worthy pitcher.

Thus far in the season, the club has far exceeded expectations, though it has struggled recently. The Braves maintain what has become a significant edge for the division lead, but both clubs are far ahead of schedule in what was expected to be a pair of arduous rebuilds with the Phillies in contention until recently. It is in this context that we witness the rise of the next great National League pitcher. In recent years, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer have cast Cy Young size shadows over the league, combining for five of the last seven awards for the Senior Circuit’s top pitcher (Scherzer also won the American League Cy Young award in 2013). The status quo has been challenged this year with newcomers who have inserted themselves into the Cy Young conversation.

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Survive and Advance

By Matthew Newton

It is known that March Madness, and the subsequent bracket picking that entails, is the epitome of annual unpredictability in sports for an entire month.  It remains clear that even the most consistent and strong teams from the regular season can disintegrate and implode in an early exit.  Upsets in the first round are inevitable, but that fact is not the focus of this article.  If your team manages to escape the first round, the margin by which that victory was achieved may be more important than you think.  Merely surviving and advancing might not be enough in the long run.  Getting pushed to the limit in the first round by a low-seeded opponent could be suggestive that, contrary to what you may have been thinking all season long, this is not your year.  Continue reading “Survive and Advance”

Going to Extremes: Building a Winner in the Modern NBA

By Evan Barone and Kees Van Hemmen

There’s no other way to say it: the Chicago Bulls are better off than half the league. The Phoenix Suns are better off than half the league. Even the Nets – the Brooklyn Nets – are better off than half the teams in the NBA. Let’s get a little more specific: what we mean to say is that, if a team’s goal is to win the championship, the worst thing that team can possibly be is average. This is not because winning on its own is a negative; it is because the NBA’s talent acquisition system–the draft lottery–is set up to reward teams that perform horribly. The best players on championship teams are disproportionately taken at the top end of the draft.
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The Super Bowl Hangover, Fact or Fiction?

By William Ford

Reading Time: 4 minutes

28-3.  Too early?  It’s never too early for a 28-3 reference.

Congratulations Falcons fans!  It’s your team’s chance to experience the dreaded Super Bowl hangover!  Essentially, a Super Bowl hangover is the idea that the losing team in the Super Bowl will underperform or underachieve in the following season.  Many NFL fans, and by many NFL fans I mean Falcon fans, will argue that there is no such thing as a Super Bowl hangover.  Falcons fans should ask their division rival Carolina Panthers about it.  The 2016 Panthers are the textbook example of a team experiencing the Super Bowl hangover.  In 2015, the Carolina Panthers went 15-1 in the regular season but lost in the Super Bowl.  In the following season, the Panthers went 6-10 and missed the playoffs.  The Panthers can’t be the ONLY team to experience the Super Bowl hangover, right?  The chart below shows how teams have fared the following season after losing in the Super Bowl over the course of the past decade: Continue reading “The Super Bowl Hangover, Fact or Fiction?”

NL MVP Race – Paul Goldschmidt

By Ryan French

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Paul Goldschmidt, a household name only in the greater Phoenix region, is a true anomaly in the baseball world. How can a Major League Baseball player slashing .299/.399/.532 for his career be left relatively unknown? East coast bias? Teammates overshadowing him? The answer: The Diamondbacks haven’t been relevant in a long time. As we will explore in this article, the only knock against Goldschmidt is his lack of publicity.

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