The following is a guest article by Aaron Walker.
With Manchester United taking its 20th Premier League trophy with four games left to play in the season, soccer fans are already looking to the next season for their team to steal the glory. But before that comes months of player trials, trading speculation, and the updates on rigorous training for their team in off-season. Fortunately, the time goes fast. That’s because during the 3 months of off season, luckily for us United States citizens, we're able to see some of the world’s most prolific soccer teams come to play on our own home turf. Here are some of the big games going on this summer.
Real Madrid vs. LA Galaxy
While this is still a tentative match with no conclusive date, soccer bloggers and online publishers are all buzzing with gossip that one of the world's biggest soccer brands, Real Madrid, will be coming to Los Angeles on August 1st, to play the home team. As part of the International Champions Cup, an annual soccer tournament to mix some of the biggest teams from across the world, Real Madrid will hope to finish on top of their group, allowing them to play the final in Miami on August 11th. Surely with Real Madrid having one of the largest sports fan base to span across the world, this will be a popular event. So make sure you reserve your tickets fast!
The following is a guest article by Russell.
There has been much speculation around the quarterbacks of this draft class and much debate if any of them are worth a first round pick. The leaders of the draft are Geno Smith from West Virgina, Matt Barkley from USC and Ryan Nassib from Syracuse. These are the standouts and what you would consider the cream of the crop. Nothing compared to what we had last year with RGIII, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Many scouts don’t even think that any of these quarterbacks are worth going in the first ten picks, let alone the first round.
However, you can read just about any mock draft online and you will see that they have Geno Smith going in the top ten and Matt Barkley going in the first round as well. So this brings up the question: are teams going to draft these quarterbacks just to draft one? Are any of these franchise guys? The answer is yes: teams will draft quarterbacks early, and no: none of these quarterbacks are franchise material.
The NFL officially released its 2013 regular season schedule last night (View Full Schedule Here) and there was not a sports channel that did not have at least an hour-long special that dissected every game. There is a really good reason for that. People really, really, REALLY love football. The season never really ends for many football fans, once the confetti is done falling at the Super Bowl, everyone just turns there attention to the next season.
Guess what? I am definitely one of those people. Free agency, the rookie combine, the upcoming player draft, I can't get enough really. I decided to quickly put together my top ten games of the 2013 season below, and if you have opinions on the list or if there is a different game you can't wait for, chime in down below in the comments.
In one night, the Los Angeles Lakers went from teetering on the brink of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005, to beating the Houston Rockets, leapfrogging them in the standings and clinching the seventh seed. NBA basketball as its best.
The Western Conference playoff teams are now set and, unlike the Eastern Conference where the Heat are far and away the favorites, the West has more teams that have a legitimate shot at going to the NBA Finals. Here is how I view the eight playoff teams out West:
Contenders: Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs
The Oklahoma City Thunder dominated their way through Western Conference in 2012 before losing to the Miami Heat in the Finals. This year could be more of the same. Kevin Durant is the best player in the NBA not named LeBron and he will not slow down in the postseason. If point guard Russell Westbrook can play up to his ability, the Thunder will be tough to take down again in 2013.
While the Thunder may be favorites, the Spurs also have a claim as contenders. Veteran leaders Tim Duncan and Tony Parker have been great all season, playing "Spurs" basketball that coach Gregg Popovich has built over the years. While San Antonio does not have the superstar players that OKC has, they may be the better team at playing as a collective unit.
Challengers: Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies
All season long, the Denver Nuggets have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA. The Nuggets are the forgotten team of the Andrew Bynum trade, but that trade landed them Andre Iguodala, who has been great for Denver all season. No team scored more points than the Nuggets and if they can carry their scoring ability into the postseason, they can beat anyone in the league.
It seemed like the NBA regular season just began yesterday, but it's now time to turn the page and look forward to the second season, the 2013 NBA Playoffs. With the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz still battling for the final spot in the Western Conference, today we will preview the LeBron James Conference... *cough*... I mean the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Contenders: Miami Heat
Like I said in the title of this post, and eluded to in the previous paragraph, the NBA's Eastern Conference has been dominated by LeBron James and the defending champion Miami Heat. The Heat finished atop the standings by a dominating 12 games, finishing 65-16, which included a 27-game winning streak. LeBron James has been by far the best basketball player on the planet and will undoubtedly win his fourth NBA Most Valuable Player Award. It's hard to imagine this Heat team, which many feel is better than last year's championship team, not going back to the NBA Finals to defend their crown.
Challengers: New York Knicks, Boston Celtics
I almost put the Knicks in the contender category due to their recent play, but I don't see how they could possibly beat the Heat. For even a glimmer of a shot, it would take a monster effort from Carmelo Anthony, who will be matched up with LeBron. The X-factor for the Knicks is their three-point shooting; during the regular season, the Knicks took and made more three pointers than any other team in the league. When they catch fire they are tough to beat.