Wednesday, June 30, 2010

World Cup Quarterfinal Predictions

Brazil vs. Netherlands

Most people were expecting this match-up in the quarters. Netherlands have yet to concede a match but it's their play that has many people worried. Their 4-3-3 format doesn't seem to match-up well with Brazil's aggressive offensive style. It will be hard for the Danes to contain Kaka and Robinho. The defense is good enough to help keep them in check for awhile, but Brazil is just too explosive.

Prediction: Brazil 2-1

Uruguay vs. Ghana

Uruguay has been a pleasant surprise thus far to most people. I actually expected them to make it out of group play and even make the semifinals (Don't believe me check my ESPN bracket). Ghana shocked the United States once again; Utilizing their speed and taking advantage of a weak and inexperienced U.S. defense. Look for this to be a back and forth, fast paced brawl, with both teams about equally possessing the ball.

Prediction: Uruguay 2-1

Germany vs. Argentina

This looks to be the match of the quarters. You have the finesse, smart play of Argentina vs. the strength and size of Germany. Which will prevail? Both teams have looked very impressive up to this point, especially Argentina. Messi has showed why he is arguably the best player in the world right now. This one should be good.

Prediction: Argentina 3-2

Paraguay vs. Spain

Paraguay looks to be the Cinderella in this one. But they are a very pesky team. They play tough defense and don't make a lot of mistakes. On the other hand, Spain has all the talent and is riding high after a big win over Portugal. But the Spaniards have look shaky at times too. Fernando Torres is still not 100% and the back line has struggled at times.

Prediction: Spain 2-0

New York Senate Uses MMA To Cut Deficit And Help State Budget

By Brent Jacobs

Brent Jacobs contacted us on behalf of MMA Industries ( Asking if we would be interested in an article he had written which discusses a major issue taking place right now in the state of New York. NY has been discussing legislation that would legalize Mixed Martial Arts throughout the state. If passed, MMA would generate millions of dollars in revenue that could help with the NY deficit and ailing budget. Additionally, it would earn mixed martial arts popularity amongst a large crowd of New Yorkers that have been relatively distant from the sport up to this point. This being a big opportunity for the industry we offered to submit his article as a guest post and help get the word out. It is also a great opportunity for us to get our readers some content on a sport that we are relatively unfamiliar with. So enjoy!

The New York state budget has had a hard time fighting off a deficit throughout all of the overall economic problems that have plagued the country. This has caused the state to consider any and all ways to save money and help balance the budget, including closing down state parks and creating food and drink taxes on everyday products like soda. Some of these choices have been met with disdain from people of the state so the Senate continues to look for additional ways to raise money. The hopeful news is that they may have just found the perfect option that gives something back to New Yorkers rather than taking it away.

On June 16th, the New York State Senate passed a bill to legalize mix martial arts in the state of the New York. It still needs to be approved by the State Assembly in order to be a law, but passing the State Senate is a big deal for both the Empire State and Mixed Martial Arts. MMA, while being legal in many other states around the country, has been banned in New York since the mid-nineties which meant that prime venues like Madison Square Garden in New York City and the 50,000 seat Carrier Dome in Syracuse were off limits for holding MMA events. This would no longer be the case if the assembly passes the bill. Dozens of great venues in the state would be open to new events that would help grow the already popular sport of MMA even further while helping the state make money.

It's hard to imagine that New York state education and other programs would be a direct beneficiary of MMA, but that would be the exact case if the bill passes. Mixed Martial Arts is one of the most popular sports in the country and its popularity grows with every passing day. This would mean that the dozens of sold out shows that MMA has every year would finally bring revenue to New York.

To put the financial benefits of legalizing MMA into perspective, just look at the numbers of the sport according to

• $340. That was the average ticket price of UFC 81 at the MGM Grand. While this may seem like a lot, people are paying it to see their favorite matches. One could imagine the amount of tax money that would go to directly financing state programs and projects. Also a factor to consider is the amount of revenue brought in by people coming from all across the country for the events that would be spending money on food and accommodations.

• 170 countries broadcast UFC and other MMA events, which brings in huge promotion for some not as well known New York state cities that may hold an event.

• MMA industries like UFC have gone from million dollar companies to billion dollar companies in less than a decade showing just how popular this sport really can be.

These numbers don't even account for New York based MMA gyms that will see new revenue to help train local fighters in a sport that was once outlawed in their home state. This will directly correlate with an increase in local sales of MMA gear, like MMA gloves. Hundreds of retailers will benefit from this boost. The increase in local fan-base will have a direct impact on the sale of MMA t-shirts that display their favorite fighter or industry brand. They have become a hot commodity as the sport has increased in popularity. There is no doubt that the reach of the bill, if passed, is not just huge for New York but is greatly important to its many citizens that are struggling because of the bad economy.

The state and Governor David Paterson have estimated that allowing the sport to be legalized would bring in an extra $2 million after two years for the state's $8 billion deficit and studies have shown that holding an event in Madison Square Garden would generate $11.3 million in economic activity. This may not seem like a lot but it's a step in the right direction for the state. This bill is something that New York has been trying to do for over the last two years but has failed in doing so. Even if the bill doesn't pass the assembly, Governor Paterson has stated he will include it in his emergency extender bill giving it another way to be legalized. Yet, right now is the time for the passing of this bill because now MMA is closer than it's ever been to being a popular and helpful force in the Empire State.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2010-2011 College Basketball Preseason Rankings

Never too early to talk about next season.

1. Michigan St.- Kalin Lucas, Korie Lucious, Chris Allen, and Delvon Roe are primed to finally win that title.

2. Duke- Duke should have one of the best backcourts in the nation with Nolan Smith, Andre Dawkins, transfer Seth Curry, and top recruit Kyrie Erving. With Kyle Singler and the Plumlee brothers also back the Devils have a good shot to repeat.

3. Purdue- Purdue was in this same spot in last years preseason rankings. If Robbie Hummel stays healthy who knows how far they go. They may not have much depth, but with Hummel, Jajuan Johnson, Etwaun Moore and Lewis Jackson, there's plenty of talent around to make a Final Four run.

4. Kansas St.- Jacob Pullen is good enough to have the Cats as the early Big XII favorite.

5. Ohio St.- Add in recruits Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas with David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Willie Buford, and Dallas Lauderdale, and the Bucks could be just as good as last year.

6. Pittsburgh- 6 of their top 7 scorers return.

7. Villanova- Nova will once again have a solid backcourt lead by Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes.

8. Kansas- Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and Xavier Henry are impossible to replace. But the Jayhawks will still be a very deep team. They just need to find a consistent go-to scorer.

9. Florida- Watch out for Billy Donovan and his Gators. They return the whole squad. Look for Alex Tyus and Kenny Boynton to impress.

10. Kentucky- They'll be one of the youngest teams in the nation again. But they'll be very good again despite losing 5 draft picks.

11. Baylor- Ekpe Udoh and Tweety Carter will be big losses but recruit Perry Jones, LaceDarius Dunn, Quincy Ace and Anthony Jones will make them one of the best in the Big XII.

12. North Carolina- Regardless of what people might think UNC should be back again next season. Harrison Barnes is already regarded as the number one pick for 2011.

13. Missouri- Mike Anderson has people talking again in Columbia. They do lose 3 starters but return their top 3 scorers. Kim English is ready to break out; Tony Mitchell and Phil Pressey lead Zou's best class in several years.

14. Washington- The Huskies finally lived up to their potential in the postseason. They do lose Quincy Pondexter, but there's still plenty left in the stable with Isiah Thomas, Venoy Overton and Justin Holiday.

15. Illinois- This will be a senior-laden team that has been scratching the surface waiting to break open. Next year will be that year.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Should Stephen Strasberg be an NL Allstar?

The Sports Flow is back in action! I'm going to start off by tackling a bit of a hot debate as of late. Should Stephen Strasberg be chosen as an all-star representative for the National League? I will address both sides of the argument and then I will give my stance on the dilemma.

The allstar game is an exhibition game played for homefield advantage in the World Series in which the MLB showcases its best, most exciting, and most deserving players to help grow the sport.

Having Strasburg even in the conversation for the All-Star Game, despite pitching in the big leagues for less than a month, may be considered an insult to the game and of some its participants.But you cannot deny that he belongs on the big stage with the best players.

Each team must have one representative in the game, and Ryan Zimmerman is having a nice season -.290, 13 home runs, 37 RBIs. However, Strasburg is the best player on the Washington Nationals right now. So why not have him in the game? He is an electric commodity right now and he can energize the game and boost viewership for the allstar game even if he only pitches an inning!

There's something to be said for actually earning a spot. Strasburg has been dominant since joining the Nationals three weeks ago. Coming in to Monday night’s start against the Braves he had 41 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings against the Pirates, Indians, White Sox and Royals. Many would say that this falls short of All-Star material given who he has pitched against.

If Strasburg goes to Anaheim, some deserving pitcher will stay home.
Yes, the All-Star Game is an event for the fans, and everyone is dying to see Strasburg. However, if Strasburg is as good as he appears he will have many All-Star appearances in his future. To put him in the game already this year would be doing both him and the player he displaces a disservice. Let him go as a legitimate All-Star later and not as an attempt to boost TV ratings now.

Honestly, is there 12 better pitchers in the NL RIGHT NOW than Strasberg? I say No. He is the single biggest spark plug that baseball has right now. He should represent the NL in the allstar game.

What do you think? Is Stephen Strasberg all-star worthy or not?