October 30, 2014

Horned and Dangerous: How Defensive Guru Gary Patterson Built College Football’s Most Prolific Offense at TCU

Gary Patterson first turned TCU into a winner by pairing efficient offense with suffocating defense. But what worked in the Mountain West doesn’t work in the spread-happy Big 12. Pushing his preferred identity aside, Patterson has built a prolific offense this season — and a surprise championship contender.

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Cousin Sal’s Week 9 Prop Bets!

Let’s get to the Thursday-night props.

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Eight Surprises in the NHL (So Far)

Here’s a look at eight of the league’s most surprising teams, both the good and the bad, and whether they have any chance of keeping it up.

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An Incomplete Encyclopedia of NBA Superstar Signature Moves

Basketball is about problem solving. That’s true of all sports to some degree, sure, but it’s especially true about basketball (and soccer), where the constant switch between offense and defense creates a steady flow of problems that need solving. What’s wonderful about a sport of flowing motions like basketball is that players have the opportunity […]

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NBA Shootaround: Russ Never Sleeps

So much amazing is happening, and the Shootaround crew is back to help you keep track of it all. You’ll find takes on moments you might’ve missed from the previous night, along with ones you will remember forever.

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‘The Finish Line: Landon Donovan,’ Episode 2: Chasing Happiness

As he prepares for his final regular-season home game with the L.A. Galaxy, Landon Donovan reflects on his introduction to professional soccer in Germany, and on his ultimate decision that playing in and for his home country was what would make him happiest.

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Week 10 College Football Viewing Guide: Amok, Amok, Amok

Auburn and Ole Miss both earned top-four rankings in the first College Football Playoff poll. But with a head-to-head matchup looming on Saturday, one of them is about to fall out of the race. Welcome to Week 10.

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Five Lessons We Learned From the 2014 MLB Season

Last night, Madison Bumgarner led the Giants to their third World Series title in five years, capping a topsy-turvy baseball season in which a legend said good-bye, injuries ripped through pitching staffs, and the last two teams standing were wild cards. Now that the 2014 campaign is in the books, let’s look back at what unfolded and identify five lessons we’ve learned for 2015 and beyond.

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What Happens to Soccer Wunderkinds When They Aren’t So Wonderful Anymore?

At the age of 15, my weekends mainly consisted of sitting on a darkened park bench, trying to keep down sickly swills of cheap cider while listening to tinny dance tunes playing from a cell phone. It’s fair to say that by the same age Martin Odegaard is outperforming me. Born in December 1998, the […]

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Legends of the Fall: The Giants and Madison Bumgarner Beat the Royals in Game 7 to Make World Series History

For all but the briefest, highest-leverage slivers of its season, baseball is the sport in which it’s most difficult for a team to lean on its stars. In Game 7s, though, some of those restrictions are miraculously removed as pitchers’ regular roles loosen. And in last night’s decisive game, those special conditions favored San Francisco more than Kansas City, helping the Giants seal a 3-2 victory that solidified their dynastic status and burnished the October credentials of World Series stud Madison Bumgarner.

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October 29, 2014

The Grantland NFL Podcast: Seahawks, Injury Updates, and a Chat With Clay Matthews

Barnwell and Mays break down this week’s injuries before adopting the Seahawks and talking with Clay Matthews about the Bears-Packers rivalry and his experience playing.

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Untitled: How WWE Lost Its Championship and Found Its Way

Finding the silver lining in Brock Lesnar’s prolonged absence.

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Grantland Channel Video: Tough Calls With Bradley Beal

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal joins Grantland’s Chris Ryan for another episode of Tough Calls, where Bradley decides if he’ll be playing this NBA season with poison ivy, whether he would fight Floyd Mayweather, and if he wants Nelly to join the Wizards.

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B.S. Report: Jonah Keri and Connor Schell

Bill Simmons calls Grantland’s Jonah Keri and ESPN’s Connor Schell to discuss the importance of James Shields, their frustrations with Ned Yost, and much more.

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College Football Playoff Realpolitik: The Committee Presents Its Top 25, While We Project the Final Top 10

Last night, the 12-person committee charged with selecting four teams for the inaugural College Football Playoff released its preliminary poll for 2014, the first ranking under the sport’s new postseason order. What did we learn about how the committee is going to operate, and about how its initial effort reshapes the hierarchy for the rest of the season? Here’s what we know after round one.

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The NBA Fan’s Guide to Talking Trash During Pickup Basketball

I couldn’t begin to guess what my career pickup basketball stats are, but I’d feel safe in assuming that I’ve remained somewhere near the league leaders in cussing at strangers. It’s just a thing that happens. It’s a compulsion.

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Are West Ham for Real?

What’s more strange: that the lead photo for this piece is of a “semi-robotic” mascot named Hammerhead basking in bubbles at West Ham’s Upton Park? Or that if the season ended today, West Ham would be in the Champions League? Usually the top of the Premier League table is pretty predictable. You have the usual mega-club suspects (you […]

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Q&A: Isaiah Thomas on the Suns, U-Dub Love, and Sweating Out the Draft

Isaiah Thomas has had an unusual basketball life. He’s only 5-foot-9. He bounced across the country during high school, waited until the very last pick of the 2011 draft to hear his name, and could only keep a tenuous hold on a starting job in Sacramento despite prodigious numbers. He thrived after the Rudy Gay deal delivered him the starter’s job free and clear, and then watched in July as the Kings signed a demonstrably worse player in free agency.

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World Series Game 7 Preview: Four Factors That Could Determine the Decisive Giants-Royals Showdown

The Royals blew out the Giants 10-0 in Game 6, forcing a final showdown for all the marbles. Trying to predict what will happen tonight might be a fool’s errand, but we can still forecast the major factors that could decide Game 7 — and with it, the 2014 MLB champion. So, let’s do just that!

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World Series Game 6 Wrap: The Royals Ride Spooky Halloween-Week Luck to a Blowout, Series-Evening Win

The Royals woke up on Tuesday night, crushing the Giants 10-0 to even the World Series at three games apiece and force a decisive Game 7. Credit an outstanding pitching effort from Yordano Ventura and Halloween-spooky cluster luck from K.C.’s bats.

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