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Golden Rankings - NFL after Seven Weeks
Golden NFL Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average Opp. wins Last
Week
1 Denver 5-1 17.25 18 5
2
Arizona
5-1
17.24
14 1
3
Philadelphia
5-1
17.08
13 6
4
Dallas
6-1
17.05
15 3
5
San Francisco
4-3
16.91
16 4
6
Indianapolis
5-2
16.86
14 10
7
Green Bay
5-2
16.73
12 11
8
Seattle
3-3
16.66
12 2
9
Detroit 5-2
16.64
13 8
10
Baltimore
5-2
16.64
13 9

Complete Golden NFL rankings

Division Rankings
Rank Division Average Last Week
1 NFC West 16.460 1
2 NFC East 16.323 3
3 AFC North 16.185 2
4 AFC West 16.089 5
5 NFC North 16.046 4
6 AFC East 15.929 6
7 AFC South 15.714 7
8 NFC South 15.057 8

Overall: AFC 15.979, NFC 15.972
The NFC South sinks even further to the bottom after an 0-3 week.
Did You Notice? NCAA Week 8
  • Crazy Game in Gainesville
    Last week, it was the Oklahoma-Texas game that had the weird statistics.
    This week it was Missouri @ Florida.
    Plays: Florida 79 Missouri 49
    First downs: Florida 17 Missouri 7
    Yards: Florida 283 Missouri 119
    Score: Missouri 42 Florida 13
    The Tigers scored on every possible type of return:
    96y return of opening kickoff
    82y punt return in Q3
    21y fumble return in Q3
    46y INT return in Q3
    The three Q3 TDs occurred within a space of 7:04 to make the score 42-0.
    The fans loudly chanted "Fire Muschamp" during Q3 before most of them went home.
  • Pac-12 Home Woes
    Heading into last weekend's action, Pac-12 teams were 15-4 on the road in conference games. Did that trend continue?
    Utah won at Oregon State in double OT 29-23.
    UCLA won at California 36-34.
    But Colorado lost at USC 56-28 as Cody Kessler threw a school-record seven TD passes for the Trojans.
    Washington lost at Oregon 45-20 (the Ducks' 11th straight win over the Huskies).
    Stanford lost at Arizona State 26-10.
    So the road win count now stands at 17-7 in favor of the visitors.
  • Odd Duplicate Score
    56-17 is not a common final score. Yet two Big Ten games ended that way Saturday: Ohio State over Rutgers and Michigan State over Indiana. The Buckeyes' victory was their 18th straight regular season conference win and the fourth straight game in which they scored 50+ points.
    Watch the Ohio State band's halftime show from the Rutgers game - always a treat.
  • Mustangs in a Class by Themselves
    Idaho beat New Mexico State 29-17, and Kent State defeated Army 39-17 to leave only one winless FBS team: SMU
  • Baylor Breakdown
    The Bears were held to their lowest total yardage in four years. Was it Oklahoma or TCU? No, it was at West Virginia where the Mountaineers held Art Briles' high-powered O to 318y while amassing 456 themselves in the 41-27 victory that ended the Bears' hopes for an undefeated season. Baylor incurred 215y on 18 infractions. Altogether, the officials stepped off a whopping 32 penalties for a total of 353y. WVU QB Clint Trickett outplayed his more famous counterpart, Bryce Petty. The Florida State transfer went 23-of-35 for 322y to record his eighth straight 300y game going back to last season. After the game, he was informed that his father Rick, the offensive line coach at FSU, would miss that evening's game against Notre Dame because of a health issue.
  • Another Milestone
    Alabama's ridiculously easy 59-0 humiliation of Texas A&M was the Tide's largest victory margin over a ranked team in school history. It surpassed by four the 61-6 romp over Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl.
  • Dominant Second Half
    Visiting Nebraska trailed Northwestern 17-14 at the half but scored 24 unanswered points after intermission to win going away 38-17. Ameer Abdullah had four TD runs, all just 1y in length. Overall, he gained 146y to run his career total to 4,001.
Officiating - Good and Bad

Two of my teams' games this past weekend were affected by crucial penalties. One call helped my team win; the other contributed to my team's loss.

Let's start with Florida State-Notre Dame. Watch this video and be convinced the call was correct.

  • One of the two Notre Dame receivers in front of the man who received the apparent TD pass, Corey Robinson, makes no pretense of being a receiver and simply pushes his man forward to clear him out of the way. He didn't even turn his head toward the QB as if expecting a pass.
  • The other key element of the play, which wasn't mentioned in some TV and online discussions, was the fact that the pass was completed beyond the line of scrimmage. Blocking downfield is allowed if the pass is caught behind the line. That's done all the time on traditional screen passes and bubble screens. I believe the referee gave the wrong number for the offender, which added to the confusion and lack of confidence in the call. Incidentally, former ND coach Lou Holtz said on ESPN after the game that the call was correct.
  • I want to comment on ND Coach Brian Kelly's snide, sarcastic, sour grapes remarks after the game and the next day. "Florida State blew the coverage, and they got rewarded for it." And "we'll have our conversation with the supervisor of ACC officials later this afternoon and I'm sure we'll get even less clarification." He also mentioned that they coach their players properly on such plays. Well, coach, your player didn't do what he was supposed to do. Instead of just getting in the way of the defender to keep him from running out to tackle the receiver, he clearly blocked him deep into the end zone. I'm not saying you should call out your player publicly, but you shouldn't blame the officials for calling the penalty that he committed. I already thought Kelly was an arrogant ass and think even less of him now.
  • An ironic aspect of the situation is that Notre Dame may not suffer from the loss. Since there will be at most two undefeated Power Five teams by the end of the regular season, the Irish can still make the CFP if they win out. And they also should be ardent FSU fans the rest of the season. If the Seminoles win out, Notre Dame's one loss will be "better" than most other team's lone loss, and the Irish might make the CFP as the #4 seed. Who knows? They may get another crack at the Noles.
  • Florida State, on the other hand, may have to go 13-0 (counting the ACC championship game) to make the CFP. Other than Notre Dame, the Noles have no highly-ranked foes on their schedule. So if they stub their toe against an opponent from the weak ACC, they may not make the committee's Final Four despite a 12-1 record. So you could have the scenario where Notre Dame makes the playoff with one loss and FSU does not since "strength of schedule" is purportedly one of the major criteria for selecting the semifinalists. If that happens, then Notre Dame will gain sweet revenge for 1993 when the Irish beat the Seminoles in a battle of #1 and #2 late in the season only to loss to BC the next week and end up behind Nebraska and FSU in the final poll. When the Seminoles beat the Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl, they gained the final #1 AP spot, which counted for the national championship in that pre-BCS era.

The other call in question was also a pass interference call, but it was on a Saints defender on 4th down against the Lions Sunday.

  • The play in question was 4th and 5 at the NO 9 with a little more than two minutes remaining and the Saints leading 23-17.
  • Stop this play and you take over the ball and probably win the game. Matthew Stafford threw a pass in the short left flat to Reggie Bush. S Rafael Bush (no relation but wearing the same 25 jersey that Reggie did with NO) reached his left hand in front of Reggie and knocked the ball away. Replay showed that Rafael's right hand was behind Reggie - where else could it be? - but was not grabbing and twisting him. Yet an official threw a flag for interference. If that's interference, then there's no way anyone can play pass defense. In fact, the NFL has since admitted the call was wrong. Given a first down, the Lions scored a few plays later and held on to win the game.
  • Detroit fans are commenting on websites (like this link) about how the Saints O-line was holding on every play but were rarely called for it. Naturally, they have no sympathy for the Saints, and many call the Saints in general and Drew Brees in particular "classless" for their chippy play during the game and comments afterwards. One called Payton a "scumbag." Another said Brees was "overrated."
  • Drew did not have a good Q4 at all. His INT that set up the winning TD was something you'd expect LSU's Anthony Jennings to do - throw the ball late down the middle while under duress. Brees is not performing at a Pro Bowl level this year and, in fact, may be overrated right now.
  • The frustrating and depressing aspect of Sunday's game is that I don't think the Saints can play any better than they did - at least for three quarters. They dominated the Lions and should have won.
  • The bottom line is that they still could have won despite allowing Golden Tate to get loose for a 73y pass-and-run (mostly run) to make it 23-17 and Brees' INT if the ref had made the right call on Rafael Bush's excellent play.
  • Final note: Tate left Seattle as a free agent after last season and signed with the Lions. The Seahawks are 3-3 while Detroit is 5-2.
My Live Game This Weekend

Kentucky @ LSU

The Tigers showed great improvement on defense as they held Kentucky without a TD.

  • I noticed early in the game that John Chavis employed essentially a 3-4 defense. Only three down linemen with four LBs, one of whom was often DE Jermauria Rasco. When Kentucky gave the ball to the RB, the four backers would wait to see which way he went and flow to him. If down linemen are your weakness, why not remove one of them and replace him with a LB or DB? Rasco played well, but the other DE, Danielle Hunter, was great with two passes batted down and two tackles for loss.
  • Another point to note was that Kendell Beckwith played every snap at MLB until injured in the second half. He led the Tigers with nine tackles (3 solo, 6 assist). He's seems to have finally learned Chavis's system and how to read the offense so that he moves to the right spot.
  • We're also seeing the game-by-game improvement of 5-star freshman S Jamal Adams. He even threw a key block on Tre'Davious White's punt return TD.
  • Going into the game, the Wildcats obviously had as one of their chief goals to stop Leonard Fournette. They did so, holding him to 40y on 15 carries. But they failed to stop Terrence Magee who gained 127 on nine totes for a 14.1 average.
  • Anthony Jennings was OK, 7-for-14/120, 1 TD, 0 INT. But he must be much better against Ole Miss, which has the best D the Tigers will face this year. They will force him to pass by stuffing the running game. He can't just "manage" the game next week. He has to make plays through the air and even with his feet.
  • LSU will also need another stellar performance from the special teams to have a chance to upend the Rebels.
Golden College Rankings - Week 8
Golden Rankings Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average Opp.
wins
Last
Week
1
Mississippi State
6-0
15.42
27 1
2
Ole Miss
7-0
15.08
27 2
3
Auburn 5-1
14.92
21 3
4 Florida State 7-0 14.52 25 6
5
Alabama
6-1
14.51
22 7
6
Marshall
7-0
14.48
20 4
7
Oregon
6-1
14.32
21 8
8
Notre Dame
6-1
14.06
19 5
9
Ohio State
5-1
14.04
17 19
10
Arizona
5-1
14.03
19 9

Golden Conference Rankings
Pos.
Conference
Average Impressive Non-Conference Wins
1
SEC
13.399
Clemson, K.State, Tex.Tech, Wisc, WVU
2
Pac-12
12.916
Ill.,Mich.,Mich.St.,N'western,Texas,UVa
3
Big Ten
12.742
Miami, Missouri, Pitt., Syracuse, Wash.St.
4
Big 12
12.696
Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee
5
ACC
12.725
Cincinnati, ND, Ohio St.,Ok.State, USC
6
Mountain West
11.920
BC, Colorado, UConn, Wake F., Wash.St.
7
C-USA
11.837
Akron, Houston, Navy, Tulsa
8
AAC
11.433
Mid.Tenn., UNC, Vandy, Va.Tech
9
MAC
11.156
Ind., N'western, Pitt., Purdue
10
Sun Belt
11.109
Tulsa, Utah State, Wake Forest

No change in the order from last week.

Complete Golden Rankings

Synopsis of the ranking system: Each team starts with 12 points for each game. The winning team goes up from there depending on the number of wins of the defeated opponent and the margin of victory. The loser goes down from 12 depending on the losses of the opponent and the margin of defeat. Teams can gain a bonus for road wins or a penalty for home losses. Read complete rules.

Compilation of Dozens of Rankings

Week 9 Picks

Home team in CAPS.

  • #5 Notre Dame +12.5 over #2 FLORIDA STATE
    Too many points to give the Irish against unproven Seminoles.
  • Tennessee +16.5 over #3 OLE MISS X
    Rebels finally let down a bit.
  • WEST VIRGINIA +8 over #4 Baylor
    Bears on upset alert.
  • #7 ALABAMA over #21 Texas A&M +13.5
    Tide plays much better at home.
  • #8 Michigan State over INDIANA +15.5
    Hoosiers lost their QB for the season.
  • Washington +20.5 over #9 OREGON X
    Huskies D has had two weeks to prepare.
  • #10 Georgia over ARKANSAS +3.5
    Do the Hogs finally prevail in an SEC or do they let down?
  • #14 Kansas State +7 over #11 OKLAHOMA
    Sooners
    on upset alert.
  • #12 TCU over #15 Oklahoma State +10
    Cowboys haven't beaten ranked team yet.
  • #13 OHIO STATE over Rutgers +21.5
    Rested Buckeyes pushing to make CFP.
  • #23 Stanford over #17 ARIZONA STATE +3 X
    Cardinal play tough on road.
  • NORTHWESTERN +6.5 over #19 Nebraska X
    Wildcats' run D keeps it close.
  • #22 USC over Colorado +20.5
    Trojans enjoy a breather.
  • #24 Clemson over BOSTON COLLEGE +5 X
    Tigers stop BC's run game.
  • FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL +22.5 over #25 Marshall X
    Thundering Herd don't cover on road.

Other Games

  • Kentucky +10 over LSU X
    UK 5-1 against the spread in its last six games.
  • Missouri +5.5 over FLORIDA
    Tigers cover in a battle of teams licking their wounds.
  • Purdue +14 over MINNESOTA
    Boilermakers improving.
Intriguing Numbers - Week Nine
6-0-1 Ole Miss's record against the spread this season.
15 Sacks allowed by Penn State in their three Big Ten games.
4
Consecutive weeks Ohio State has scored 50 or more points, a school record.
7 Consecutive victories by Alabama over Tennessee
9-1-1 Auburn's all-time record vs South Carolina
5 Consecutive wins by Kansas State over Texas despite being outgained in every game
5 Consecutive games in which Michigan State has covered the spread
26 Passing TDs allowed by California, most in the nation
x Q4 comeback wins by LSU since Les Miles became coach in 2005, most in the FBS in that period.
1 Team in the nation, Arkansas, with two RBs with 500y rushing
2-13 Colorado's record in Pac-12 road games
10 Consecutive victories by Oregon over Washington
Did You Notice? NFL Week 6
  • Giants Ups and Downs
    How to figure Tom Coughlin's club? Start 2014 with losses to Detroit (35-14) and Arizona (25-14). Then take three in a row - Houston (30-17), Washington (45-14), Atlanta (30-20). But in a key division matchup on Sunday night at Philadelphia, the G-men laid an egg: 27-0. It's not just the loss, but the offensive ineptness: 12 first downs, 2-14 on 3rd downs, 254y.
  • Cowboys Stay Hot
    The Giants' East rival, Dallas, extended its winning streak to five, 30-23, in supposedly the toughest place to win in the NFL - Seattle. The Cowboys didn't get flustered when they fell behind by 10 early against a team that had won 17 of its last 18 home games. DeMarco Murray added to his NFL rushing lead with 115y - his sixth straight 100y game - against what had been the league's best rush D. It was the Seattle QB, Russell Wilson, who struggled. He completed only 14-of-28 for just 126 (compared to 21-32/250 for Romo), 0 TD, and 1 INT. The much ballyhooed duel between Dallas WR Dez Bryant against Seattle CB Richard Sherman ended with two competions for 39y in six passes thrown Dez's way. Bryant summarized the bout like this: One of the best, arguably the best, and I had to bring my A-game today. And I made some plays, and he made some plays, but at the end of the day, we got the W.
  • Packers Come Back in the Heat
    Sunny, 85 degrees, humid. That was Miami last Sunday. Surely, the visitors from the frozen tundra would wilt late in the game. It looked that way midway through Q4 after Miami scored twice in the period to take a 24-17 lead with 9:13 on the clock. But the Green Bay D shut down the Dolphins the rest of the way to give Aaron Rodgers an opportunity to work his magic. He drove his team 68y in 11 plays to set up Mason Crosby's 30y FG with 4:09 on the clock. Then, taking over with 2:04 left and 60y away, the Packers scored on Aaron's 4y toss to Andrew Quarless with a measly 0:03 left to pull out the victory, 2-24. On the final drive, the Green Bay QB picked on the right side of the Dolphin D, completing 4-of-5 outside the right hash. Miami ended up rueing a missed opportunity in Q1 when they had 2nd and goal at the 1 and failed to score. Knowshown Moreno gained nothing up the middle, Ryan Tannehill threw an incompletion, and Moreno lost 2 to turn the ball over on downs.
  • Bengals and Panthers Kiss But Don't Make Up
    "It's a weird feeling," said Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton. "I've never been part of a tie. We had our chances." The crowd at Paul Brown Stadium was standing and ready to celebrate when Mike Nugent set up for a 36y FG with 0:02 left of what had been a scoreless OT. But he missed wide right. "That was the worst ball I've ever hit in my career," Nugent said. "My plant foot was way too far forward. I think there was a little excitement. I was a little too quick." The kick was the sixth he has missed this season. The crowd stood stunned. The players walked onto the field to shake hands while trying to figure out what it all meant. Both divisional leaders were frustrated and felt like they had lost.
College Football Predictions - Midyear Checkpoint [10/14]

After seven weeks, it's time to evaluate my preseason predictions. One has come true while others are almost certainly going to be false.

Don't be surprised if ...

  • LSU loses to either Mississippi State or Ole Miss at home.
    One of my predictions last year was that LSU would lose a game in which it was favored and win a game in which it was an underdog. That came to pass when the Tigers lost at Ole Miss but beat Texas A&M at home. This year, LSU has an even younger team with no experience to speak of at QB. That means inconsistent play. Ole Miss has its most talented team in some time and is predicted by many to finish ahead of LSU in the West. And the law of averages may catch up with the Tigers in regard to Mississippi State, whom they've beaten 14 times in a row.
    STATE HAS ALREADY WON, AND OLE MISS WILL BE FAVORED TO WIN IN BATON ROUGE OCTOBER 25 AS WELL.

  • LSU beats Alabama.
    No, this isn't a contradiction to the previous prediction. By November 8, both young QBs will have nine games of experience. The Tigers have the week off before the clash (although Bama does too). The Tide's QB situation is uncer­tain also. Tiger Stadium will be jumping. Miles & Company remember how close they came to an upset two years ago when A. J. McCarron led a last minute winning drive. Saban doesn't have a McCarron under C this year.
    AFTER THE AUBURN GAME, I WROTE THIS PREDICTION OFF AS PREPOSTEROUS. BUT FOLLOWING LSU'S WIN OVER FLORIDA AND ALABAMA'S ONE-POINT SQUEAKER AT ARKANSAS, THERE'S HOPE THE TIGERS CAN BEAT THE TIDE.

  • LSU's string of four consecutive double-digit win seasons ends.
    Les Miles and his staff will do well to coax nine wins out of this team. Four losses ends any hope of ten wins. Back-to-back games at Auburn and Flori­da will probably produce two of those defeats. A loss to Wisconsin in the opener will make it hard to get ten wins with the conference schedule still ahead. Defeat the Badgers and the Tigers might get to ten wins with a bowl victory.
    LSU HAS TWO LOSSES ALREADY. DESPITE THE IMPROVEMENT SHOWN AGAINST FLORIDA, IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE THE TIGERS WILL GO 4-1 DOWN THE STRETCH AGAINST KENTUCKY, OLE MISS, ALABAMA, @ARKANSAS, AND @TEXAS A&M.

  • The winner of the Georgia-South Carolina game in Week 2 wins the SEC.
    Predicting the UGa-SC winner captures the East crown is not going out on a limb. But taking the victor to win the Championship Game is a bold choice.
    THIS ONE IS NOT OFFICIALLY DEAD BUT ALMOST CERTAINLY FALSE. THE LOSER OF THE UGA-USC GAME, THE BULLDOGS, HAS A SOLID CHANCE TO WIN THE SEC EAST AND EVEN BEAT THE WEST CHAMPION IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.

  • Auburn doesn't finish in the Top Ten.
    The Tigers were the biggest surprise of 2013. But their last two wins came on freak plays. One Georgia defender was ready to intercept or at least knock down the desperation pass when a teammate knocked it from him into the arms of the Auburn receiver. Nick Saban and his staff made numerous coaching mistakes in the Iron Bowl, including lobbying for a second to be put back on the clock and sending in the FG unit instead of throwing a Hail Mary. Of course, Auburn might still have won in OT. Also, the week before AU played in Baton Rouge September 21, Nick Marshall came off the bench and led a last ditch drive that culminated in a winning TD pass with 0:10 left. All in all, last season had enough breaks go Auburn's way to last a lifetime. Fur­thermore, opponents have had the entire off-season to study video of Gus Malzahn's offense.
    THIS ONE HANGS IN THE BALANCE. THE TIGERS HAVE LOST ONLY TO MSU AND REMAIN IN THE TOP TEN BUT STILL MUST FACE SOUTH CAROLINA, @OLE MISS, TEXAS A&M, @GEORGIA, AND @ALABAMA.

  • UCLA wins the Pac-12 and makes the College Football Playoff.
    This is my surprise Final Four participant. Jim Mora's Bruins have gone from nine wins his first year to ten last year. He has 16 returning starters including, best of all, QB Brett Hundley, who decided to come back for another year despite being eligible for the NFL draft.
    FORGET THIS ONE. THE BRUINS ARE ONE OF 2014'S BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS. AFTER BELTING ARIZONA STATE 62-27 ON THE ROAD, THEY'VE LOST AT HOME TO UTAH AND OREGON. UCLA IS STILL MATHEMATICALLY ALIVE IN THE PAC-12 SOUTH BUT CANNOT AFFORD ANOTHER DEFEAT.

  • At most one team nationally goes undefeated.
    Only one squad, Florida State, finished the regular season unblemished last year. With eight SEC teams, including Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia, deploying new QBs, it is highly likely no team in the nation's tough­est league will emerge without a loss. With the exception of FSU, no squad in any other conference seems capable of running the table. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Seminoles dropped a game along the way - hence the "at most one" in my prediction.
    SIX TEAMS REMAIN UNDEFEATED: MISSISSIPPI STATE, FLORIDA STATE, OLE MISS, BAYLOR, NOTRE DAME, AND MARSHALL. TWO ARE BOUND TO BE ELIMINATED SINCE FSU PLAYS NOTRE DAME AND OLE MISS HOSTS MISSISSIPPI STATE IN THE MOST IMPORTANT EGG BOWL EVER. THAT LEAVES AT MOST FOUR. IF THE SEMINOLES SURVIVE NOTRE DAME, THEY HAVE THE EASIEST SCHEDULE (EXCEPT FOR MARSHALL) TO 13-0. (THEIR BIGGEST OBSTACLE IS JAMEIS WINSTON AND HIS LEGAL PROBLEMS.) BUT BAYLOR AND THE SEC TEAMS WILL MOST LIKELY TRIP UP ALONG THE WAY. THERE COULD BE TWO UNDEFEATEDS WHEN THE REGULAR SEASON DUST CLEARS, BUT MY PREDICTION OF "AT MOST ONE" IS STILL IN PLAY.
NFL Predictions

Don't be surprised if ...

  • ... the winner of the Green Bay-Seattle game represents the NFC in the Super Bowl.
    The Packers and Seahawks are expected to be the class of the conference. So the winner of the game (which was Seattle) has the tiebreaker on the other should they finish with identical records. And that could make the difference in determining home field for a rematch.

  • ... the Saints make the playoffs.
    I don't think I buy the notion that some have advanced that this is Sean Peyton's most talented Saints team. A few writers put them in the Super Bowl. But I do think that, with continued improvement in the defense, the Saints should win the NFC South after finishing 2nd to the Panthers last year.

  • ... the following teams improve on their 2013 records.
    Lions (7 wins in 2013)
    Vikings (5)
    Texans (2)
    Bears (8)
    Titans (7)

  • ... the following teams do not do win as many games as in 2013.
    Eagles (10 wins in 2013)
    Cowboys (8)
    Panthers (12)
    Seahawks (13)
    Chiefs (11)

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About This Site
This site is devoted primarily but not exclusively to college and pro football. The unique feature of this site is the publication each fall of the author's rankings of all FBS college football teams and similar rankings for the NFL. I live in New Orleans and am a graduate of LSU and FSU. So I present a Southern and particularly an SEC point of view but one that is reasonably objective. I also publish a monthly Football Magazine with stories from the past and a monthly Baseball Magazine with a similar format. For most of the year, there's a monthly Basketball Magazine.

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