2014/2015 College Football Conference Previews

ACC- With Louisville joining the ACC, and the defending National Champions Florida State in the conference, the ACC should be fairly strong this year.  The Florida State Seminoles are the obvious choice to lead the ACC. Having won the national championship last year, the team should have high hopes and spirits for the upcoming season.  Coach Jimbo Fisher is considered legendary, and defending Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston only got better in the offseason. With Winston on the field and Fisher on the sideline, the Seminoles have a shot at repeating their success from last season.

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Big Ten- As the Big Ten expands to 14 teams; the competition is growing evermore fierce.  Both Rutgers and Maryland are joining the Big Ten this year, but that isn’t the biggest talk in the conference. Everyone is talking about the Ohio State program, as the Buckeyes are predicted to take first in the Big Ten this year.  Even though Michigan State was first last year, their defense was hit hard by players moving on in their careers.  The Buckeyes have the number one defensive line this year, so it is going to be hard to get any run game going. While Ohio State should be strong, Penn State and Michigan are emerging contenders, and shouldn’t be tossed aside. The best player in the Big Ten this year should be Braxton Miller, the Ohio State Quarterback. Look to this young man to put the offense on his back and carry the team to the end zone.

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Big 12- In the past, the Big 12 has been regarded as a lower tier conference when compared to the SEC, Pac-12, and ACC. However, after Oklahoma’s Sugar Bowl win against Alabama, the conference is finally getting the respect that it deserves. Baylor and Texas have also built up a highly competitive football program to help the Big 12 rep. Oklahoma is predicted to take the top spot in the Big 12 this year, but Baylor shouldn’t be far behind. The stand out player of the Big 12 is expected to be Baylor’s Quarterback, Bryce Petty. 2013 was his first year in the starting spot, but he proved that he deserved the spot. With 4,200 yards and 32 touchdowns, the returning Petty has put Baylor in contention for the conference title, as well as the national championship.

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Pac-12- Even though the SEC remains the top conference, the Pac-12 is quickly closing the gap. With four teams being top contenders for the Pac-12 championship, the Pac-12 looks like it’s going to have an exciting year. Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, and USC are all fighting for the top spot, but right now it looks like Oregon will just barely win the conference. The Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is the player to watch this year in the Pac-12 because if he stays healthy, it fares very well for Oregon.

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SEC- As always, the SEC is predicted to be the strongest conference this year. Even though the SEC didn’t take home the national title last year, there is a good chance that they reclaim the trophy. With Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia all coming into the season as favorites, the SEC has a lot of teams that could potentially by great this year.  Alabama is predicted to take the top spot over Auburn, taking revenge over the tigers for the last minute win in 2013. While ‘Bama lacks the Quarterback that they have had in past years, their running game and defense is as strong as always.  The top player in the SEC for the 2014 season is predicted to be Todd Gurley, the Georgia running back that was injured in the LSU game last year. After he got hurt, the Bulldog’s season began a downwards spiral. His previous two years Gurley carried the ball for 2,374 yards and 27 touchdowns, and he’s only gotten faster and stronger.  If Gurley stays healthy, Georgia will be a threat to every team in the country.

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AAC- Even though the conference has been fairly unstable for the last few years, American Athletic is stable once again. While no team in the American Athletic conference is looking at the national championship, some teams are looking at some large bowl games. The top of the conference is very evenly matched, with Cincinnati, East Carolina, and UCF all being top contenders. Even though Cincinnati is predicted to finish in the top spot of the conference, American Athletic is kind of a toss up. Cincinnati has a strong defense, and their offense is looking increasingly better, especially with the addition of Gunner Kiel, a Notre Dame transfer. Kiel should bring a spark to the Cincinnati offense, and help lead the team to a conference championship and even a bowl game.

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Conference USA- Even though Conference USA is not one of the strongest conferences, the C-USA teams may be able to prove themselves this year. Marshall is favored for every game in their schedule, and are predicted to go undefeated for the year.  If that happens, Marshall will definitely get a bid to a big bowl game, and they will get the chance to prove that their conference packs a punch. Marshall is the obvious favorite for C-USA, and is coming into the season with something to prove. The team will have 13 returning seniors, and the dynamic senior quarterback, Rakeem Cato, will lead the offense.  Cato is the star of C-USA, and the entire league will look to him to show the country what C-USA is made of.

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FBS Independent- As usual, Notre Dame will lead the Independent teams, but Notre Dame isn’t in for a stellar year. While star quarterback Everett Golson is returning after a 1-year ban, he doesn’t have much to work with. Wide Receivers are going to have to step up to help put the ball into the end zone, but most of the weight rests on Golson’s shoulders.  The defense will also have to step up big time in order to help the team. While there are some good players on D, there are some big holes that still need to be filled.

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MAC- Even though the new four game playoff increases the gap between the top conferences and the lower ones, teams from the lower conferences still have the opportunity to show up on the national stage through bowl games.  This year Bowling Green has the chance to get to a big bowl game. Bowling Green averaged 38 points per game last year, and with a new head coach and returning quarterback Matt Johnson, that number is only expected to increase. Toledo is the hardest game on Bowling Green’s schedule, and even that isn’t too tough of a game. Bowling Green is rallying behind Johnson to help lead the team to a bowl game this year.

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Mountain West- The Mountain West is no longer the conference it was in 2013, or the year’s prior. The losses of coaches and players really hurt the conference’s power.  Boise State lost their head coach but acquired the offensive coordinator from Arkansas State. Injuries hurt the Broncos last year, but if they remain healthy, they should win the conference. However, if Boise suffers injuries again, the Utah State Aggies will win. Aggies’ Chuck Keeton returns to the starting quarterback position after tearing his ACL last season. If Keeton can come back strong, the Aggies have a chance to take the conference from under Boise.

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Sun Belt- The Sun Belt conference is a fairly small conference with fairly unknown teams. However, UL Lafayette is proving to be quite strong, at least for their conference. They are predicted to go 8-0 within Sun Belt and 10-2 overall.  The Ragin’ Cajuns are led by quarterback Terrance Broadway and their wide selection of running backs. Broadway led the team to average 33.8 points per game in 2013, and he will be looking to increase that number to give the Cajuns even more leverage over their opponents.

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2014/2015 Bundesliga Preview

The 2014-2015 Bundesliga season will kick off on August 22 with Bayern Munich playing VfL Wolfsburg in the first German soccer that’s being played since Bayern Munich beat VfB Stuttgart on May 10 to win the Bundesliga. In anticipation for the season, we prepared an overview of every Bundesliga team, as well as a ranking of the top five players in the Bundesliga.

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Top Five Players

5:  Philipp Lahm- Defender, Bayern Munich

When you think of Bayern, you think of offense. But Bayern’s strikers get the ball because the team is so good defensively. Lahm has been the team’s captain for several years, and has led his defense to be one of the best in the world. Lahm is one of the main reasons Bayern is so great, and he will surely maintain this level of play this season.

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4: Franck Ribery- Midfielder, Bayern Munich

While some may say that Ribery is getting old and will soon be worthless, that is false if you look at his stats. On a Bayern team where there are so many goal scorers that it is difficult to to get your shot, Ribery posted 10 goals and 10 assists. He is still a crucial part of this team, and he will keep up his scoring this season.

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3: Roberto Firmino- Midfielder, Hoffenheim

Normally, when one thinks of the Bundesliga, they think of Bayern and Dortmund, nobody else. Firmino is underrated because of this, but he is absolutely one of the best assets of the league. Firmino put up 16 goals and 11 assists last year, and while his team didn’t support him much, if he keeps it up, the team could be dangerous in the near future.

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2: Robert Lewandowski- Striker, Bayern Munich

Lewandowski is a goal-scoring machine. The fact that he put up 20 goals last year was amazing, and if you count his six assists, he has proven that he can fit into any offense, which will be good for Bayern Munich. If Lewandowski plays like he has been playing with Dortmund for Bayern, they will easily win the Bundesliga for the third year in a row.

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1: Marco Reus- Midfielder, Borussia Dortmund

Reus is one of the best offensive weapons in the entire world, it’s that simple. He may not have put up the most goals, but having 16 goals and 13 assists led the Bundesliga in points. His ability to always generate offense and make magic happen is why he is the best player in the Bundesliga. If Dortmund wants to win the title, Reus needs to play even better next year.

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Team by Team Overview:

Augsburg: Augsburg was very happy with their eighth place finish last season, yet has undergone several improvements. After losing Andre Hahn, manager Markus Weinzierl added four new strikers, and is ready to slowly, but surely improve. Expect Augsburg to have a very similar, solid finish.

Bayern Munich: Bayern Munich will win their third title in a row. Period. This is one of the greatest football teams in recent history in all the world, and the loss of Mario Mandzukic means nothing to the team, who added an even better striker, Robert Lewandowski. The team has one of the best goaltenders in the world, one of the best defenses in the world, one of the best midfields in the world and some of the best strikers in the world. This team is indestructible. Bet on Bayern to possibly even win the Champions League.

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Bayer Leverkusen: Bayer added great new coach Roger Schmidt, who has made several very good signings, such as Hakan Calhanoglu, Wendell and Vladlen Yurchenko. The problem is that the team still lacks depth in nearly all other places. Expect a solid finish from Bayer, but also expect them to barely miss a Champions League berth.

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Borussia Dortmund: While Dortmund is a fantastic team, for the team being they will have to deal with being the Scottie Pippen to Bayern’s Michael Jordan. Dortmund has arguably the best player in the Bundesliga with Marco Reus, and other great players like Mario Gotze, Mats Hummels and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The problem is that Bayern just has too much depth at every position for Dortmund to compete. Expect Dortmund to have a great finish, but come up just short in second place.

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Borussia Moenchengladbach: Borussia Moenchengladbach is a perennially well-rounded team, and they have added to that with the stellar signings of Fabian Johnson and Andre Hahn. Borussia Moenchengladbach will have an even better season this year, and will be fighting very hard to get that last Champions League berth. Keep your eye on Borussia Moenchengladbach this season.

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Eintracht Frankfurt: After a terrible end to the season last year, Frankfurt has a lot to prove. With new coach Thomas Schaaf at the helm, the team is surely going to gain experience with their new signings, and climb out of the bottom of the Bundesliga.

 

FC Koln: Koln won the 2.Bundesliga last season, and is ready to continue their success on the biggest stage in Germany, a place that they are hoping to stay. The teams has tons of new signings, and is preparing to be inching towards the middle of the Bundesliga in years to come.

 

Freiburg: Freiburg is definitely going to struggle this season, as they have been known for solid defense, and have just lost their two best defenders, Matthias Ginter and Oliver Baumann. While the team has added some new players, watch this season be a battle.

 

Hamburg: Hamburg is looking to have another stable season, as they have made some very sensible signings in Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Johan Djourou. Watch Hamburg do well, but do nothing special in the middle of the standings this season.

 

Hannover: Under the continually solid guidance of Tayfun Korkut, Hannover will again have a good season, finish right in the middle of the Bundesliga. The addition of Joselu will definitely help the team to keep up the moderate success.

 

Hertha Berlin: Hertha Berlin is definitely a dark horse to make the Champions League this season. They had a good eleventh place finish last season, and will definitely improve upon that greatly this season. They have made some fantastic signings in Roy Beerens, Valentin Stocker, Johnny Heitinga and Julian Schieber. This team is definitely going to have a good season.

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Hoffenheim: Hoffenheim finished ninth last season, and will finish even higher this season, as they retain star goal scorer Roberto Firmino. In addition, the team also signed Adam Szalai, who will put more balls in the net. Watch Hoffenheim closely, they will be very interesting to watch this season.

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Mainz: Thomas Tuchel was an extremely reliable and successful manager for Mainz, but since he has left, it will be interesting to see what happens to them this season. The team has made some small signings, but they lost Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, which is a huge blow to the team. Expect a drop in the standings this season.

 

Paderborn: Paderborn barely earned a promotion into the Bundesliga last season, and is sure to struggle this season. While the team added ten new players, there is no way that these players can compete with the rest of the Bundesliga, and they will surely finish dead last.

 

Schalke: Schalke is known for being streaky, which is something that could keep them out of the Champions League this year. The team has made several great signings, such as Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sidney Sam and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. If Schalke plays like they are capable of playing, they could be looking at a third place finish, but you never really know with them.

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Stuttgart: Stuttgart is going to be relegated. There is really nothing that new manager Armin Veh can do for the team, they just don’t have the talent. Unfortunately for Stuttgart, there are no players in their price range that are good enough to compete with the rest of the Bundesliga. Don’t bet on Stuttgart this season.

 

Werder Bremen: Manager Robin Dutt barely saved them from being relegated last season, and had them finish in twelfth place. That was a miracle, and will not happen again. The already weak team lost Aaron Hunt, and has no bright spots. Don’t expect anything from Werder Bremen this season.

 

Wolfsburg: Wolfsburg suffered heartbreak last season after barely missing a Champions League berth with their fifth place finish. That will not be the case this season, as the star-studded team retained Ricardo Rodriguez and Luis Gustavo and added Kevin De Bruyne, Sebastian Jung and Aaron Hunt. Watch them close in on Dortmund near the end of the season for the second place, but come up just short and finish in third, yet still qualify for the Champions League.

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2014/2015 English Premier League Preview

The 2014-2015 English Premier League season will begin Saturday, August 16, marking the first time the teams set foot on the pitch since Manchester City won their second title in three years on May 11. To prepare for the season, here is an overview of every Premier League team, in addition to a ranking of the five best players in the Premier League.

Top Five Players:

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5: Robin Van Persie- Striker, Manchester United

Manchester United had a disappointing seventh place finish last year, yet will surely be climbing right back to the top this year, behind the veteran leadership of Van Persie among others. Van Persie posted a solid 12 goals last season, but coming off that slump, should be expected to produce many more this season, as well as many more assists to Wayne Rooney, who should definitely have a great year.

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4: Eden Hazard- Midfielder, Chelsea

Coming off of his stellar showing in the World Cup for Belgium, Hazard is ready to bring Chelsea right back to the very top of the Premier League. While Hazard put up a great 14 goals and 7 assists last season, he has really improved, and can be expected to produce even more of the Chelsea offense, and really ascend to the very top of the league.

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3: Sergio Aguero- Striker, Manchester City

The key to Manchester City’s success is that they have so many great players who can handle the ball and do the unthinkable, and Aguero is right at the top of this list. When he gets the ball, he makes magic happen, and he made this very clear last season with his 17 goals and 6 assists. Expect Aguero to really explode in this dangerous offense this season.

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2: Yaya Toure- Midfielder, Manchester City

Toure played a massive role in Manchester City’s dominant first place finish last season, leading the team in both goals with 20, and in assists with 9. Manchester City is likely to repeat their great success again this year, and a huge part of that success will be based on Toure’s performance. And it is not lacking, Toure plays amazing soccer and will surely have an incredible season.

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1: Wayne Rooney- Forward, Manchester United

No surprises here, Rooney is the face of British soccer, and rightly so, as he finished last season with a fantastic showing of 17 goals and 10 assists. While Manchester United had a disappointing finish last season, expect them to rely heavily on Rooney. Rooney has the talent and the skills, and he should put up and even better performance this season. Rooney has also just been named captain of Manchester United, and has a lot to live up to, but he can back it up with his play.

 

Team by Team Overview:

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Arsenal: Arsenal definitely had a solid finish last season, ending up in fourth place. The main reason for this sudden drop at the end of the season was a lack of depth, something that was solved by veteran manager Arsene Wenger. Wenger signed Alexis Sanchez, a talented forward, who will play well with Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud to round out a fantastic offense that will lead Arsenal to a top three finish this year.

 

Aston Villa: Aston Villa barely avoided relegation last season, ending up in fifteenth place. Aston Villa is always a decent squad, yet they have added nothing special this offseason. If they hope to avoid relegation this year, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke will really need to step up their offensive production. Expect another bottom finish from Aston Villa, and a possible relegation.

 

Burnley: This is Burnley’s first season back in the Premier League, after earning a promotion last year, and expectations should be low. The only upside to Burnley is that they signed some players who all have experience in the Premier League, something that they will be able to help the younger members of Burnley’s side with. Expect Burnley to get relegated this season.

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Chelsea: Chelsea will win the Premier League this year, it’s as simple as that. They were excellent in their third place finish last year, and just two more wins could have won them the title. They have always been a stacked team, but legendary manager, Jose Mourinho, made some fantastic signings in Cesc Fabregas, Didier Drogba and Diego Costa. Bet on Chelsea to win it all.

 

Crystal Palace: Crystal Palace should be having a better year this season, than they did last season. The team will be solid, and will be led once again by Dwight Gayle in the scoring department. Expect Crystal Palace to have a solid, middle-of-the-pack season, something that their fans will be looking forward to, as the team won’t have to worry about relegation.

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Everton: Everton will be coming back with a vengeance this season, as they barely missed a Champions League berth last season. Everton was already a star-studded squad, but the signing of Romelu Lukaku will be a huge benefit to their team. Tim Howard will still be their goalie, and coming off of his jaw-dropping World Cup performance, he should be ready to dominate, and lead Everton to a Champions League berth.

 

Hull City: While Hull City has only been back in the Premier League for one season, they have enough knowledge and experience to maintain a decent performance this season. The signing of Robert Snodgrass was huge, and should be enough to help them move up from sixteenth if he plays well.

Leicester City: Though newly promoted teams normally don’t do very well in their first season at the top, Leicester City’s amazingly dominant performance in the Championship last season should give them the confidence to play well. Additionally, the signing of Leonardo Ulloa should help them avoid relegation this season.

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Liverpool: There is no doubt that Liverpool will still be one of the best squads in the Premier League this season, but they will feel a noticeable drop in performance this season with the absence of Luis Suarez, who lead the Premier League with 31 goals and 12 assists. However, the team made some good new signings, and should be looking at at top five, or top seven finish.

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Manchester City: Manchester City will be defending its title this season, and will surely have a difficult task ahead of them. Chelsea is looking very good this season, but Manchester City has added Fernando, who will increase the defensive depth of this squad. If Manchester City hopes to repeat as champions, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero need to have even better seasons than last year.

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Manchester United: It is no secret that Manchester United had a terrible season by their expectations last season, but new manager Louis van Gaal should be able to lead them back to a Champions League berth if Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney can step it up this season.

 

Newcastle: Newcastle finished tenth last season, and should be proud of that, yet also be expecting a better performance this season. The additions of Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong are huge for them, and could help them incrementally increase their ranking this season.

 

Queens Park Rangers: QPR is yet another decent Premier League team. They are back after being promoted from the Championship, and should be ready for a lower-tier finish, yet should not be worried about relegation. Expect them to regain their confidence, gain more experience, and be ready in the future to compete even harder.

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Southampton: Southampton had a surprisingly strong eighth place finish last season, yet they should not expect much this season. They lost several key players and their manager, and essentially need to start from scratch. Expect a noticeable drop in the standings for Southampton.

 

Stoke City: After a stellar ninth place finish for Stoke last season, they have become a more enticing team for free agents, and they have signed several new players. Expect them to keep climbing in the top half of the Premier League with a solid finish.

 

Sunderland: By a miracle, Sunderland barely avoided relegation last season. They are a solid squad, and the signings of Jack Rodwell and Billy Jones will no doubt help them. Expect Sunderland to have a low-level finish, but not have to worry about relegation.

 

Swansea City: Wilfried Bony and Pablo played huge roles in the moderate success of Swansea last season. They need to play even better this season if they want to avoid relegation. Unfortunately, this will most likely be the result of this season for Swansea.

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Tottenham Hotspur: The Spurs will surely have another solid performance this season compared to the Premier League as a whole, but a disappointing one by their standards. They will not make the Champions League, but they will still have a solid season overall.

 

West Bromwich Albion: Although there have been a few new signings by West Brom, they will not be able to avoid relegation like they did last season. Their new manager is solid, yet inexperience, much like their players. Don’t bet on West Brom to have a good showing this season.

 

West Ham United: West Ham had a solid finish last season, and they didn’t have to worry about relegation. They shouldn’t have to worry about relegation this season either, because of their solid defense. The team does need goals, so the signing of Enner Valencia definitely made sense. Expect West Ham to have a solid mid-level finish again this season.

MLL Playoffs Preview

With the 2014 Major League Lacrosse season coming to a close, it is finally time for the four-team playoffs. Let’s take a look at all the potential champions for the 2014 MLL season.

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Rochester Rattlers: The Rattlers are 10-4, and are in first place. Rochester doesn’t really have any star players, yet many players contribute to the wins. Justin Turri leads the team with 34 points, and that says a lot about the team. With so many threats and so many players with the ability to score, the opposing team must have a strong defense to shut down the Rattlers. However, Rochester must focus on their own defense as well, because most of their losses happen in high scoring games. If the Rattlers can tighten up their D and continue to let a lot of players score, they have a very good chance of taking home the cup.

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Denver Outlaws: The Outlaws have been having a very successful season, and are currently 9-5.  The Outlaws are mainly led by three players: John Grant(Attack), Eric Law(Attack), and Jeremy Sieverts(Midfield). Each of these players has exceeded 45 points on the season, and Grant has exceeded 50. With 33 goals on the season, Law needs to continue to put balls in the back of the net if the Outlaws want to take home the trophy. The Outlaws have reached the championship game four times before, but have lost every time. Denver fans are hoping that this year is finally the year to break that losing streak, and they have a good reason to believe.

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New York Lizards: Currently in 3rd place with a 8-5 record, the Lizards have already clinched a playoff spot. Rob Pannell leads the team by far, with 51 points, and 31 goals.  Pannell is star of the team, leading the team to victory over the course of the season. The Lizards won the championship in both 2001 and 2003, but didn’t even make the playoffs in 2013.  The Lizards are going to look to reclaim their former title and become the 2014 MLL champions. Even though their chances are fairly slim due to the power of both Rochester and Denver, if Pannell can start to heat up, the Lizards have a very real opportunity for the championship title.

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Ohio Machine: The Machine are sitting in 4th place. Both Peter Baum and Marcus Holman lead the team with 46 points each.  Baum and Holman need to continue to carry the team throughout playoffs. While it may be hard to win the championship this year, if the team stays strong defensively, the Machine may be able to go far.

 

Ligue 1 Preview

This Friday marks the beginning of the 2014-2015 Ligue 1 season, and there has been a lot of action since last season ended on May 17 with Paris Saint-Germain being crowned champions for the second year in a row. Here is an overview of each team in preparation for the season, as well as the five best players in the entire league.

Top 5 Players

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5: Vincent Aboubakar- Striker, FC Lorient

Aboubakar had an incredible season for Lorient last year with 16 goals and seven assists. Aboubakar will really settle into his new squad in his second year this season, and will become an offensive juggernaut. Assume a record season form Aboubakar for Lorient this year.

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4: Radamel Falcao- Striker, AS Monaco

Before Falcao suffered a gruesome, season-ending ACL tear, he was having a fantastic season in which he had already scored nine goals for Monaco. Expect Falcao to come back stronger and better than ever, and become the main offensive part of the team, as James left for Real Madrid.

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3: Edinson Cavani- Striker, Paris Saint-Germain

In his first year getting settled into the PSG offensive system, Cavani had an excellent showing with 16 goals. Now that he has gotten used to the team, Cavani can really erupt and be a dominant figure, alongside superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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2: Thiago Silva- Central Defender, Paris Saint-Germain

While PSG is known for their fantastic offense, it is their star-filled defense that allows the ball to get to their strikers. As PSG’s captain, Silva led their defense to a fantastic season, where the team allowed a league-best 23 goals. Watch Silva continue his great play this year.

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1: Zlatan Ibrahimovic- Striker, Paris Saint-Germain

No surprises here, as Zlatan won Ligue 1’s Player of the Year. Zlatan scored 26 goals and 11 assists, decimating every single opponent on PSG’s path to the Ligue 1 title. PSG’s game plan is essentially to get the ball to Zlatan and let him work his magic, so expect him to explode once again this year, scoring even more.

 

Team by Team Overview

Bastia: Bastia has lost nine players and their coach, but they hope that new coach Claude Makelele will be able to salvage the wreckage. New signings Floyd Ayite and Mathieu Peybernes will work alongside striker Junior Tallo to lead this team to a middle-of-the-pack performance this year.

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Bordeaux: New coach Willy Sagnol has already made excellent moves, signing dangerous midfielder Wahbi Khazri from Bastia. Sagnol has taken two players who have played well in Ligue 2, Emiliano Sala and Hadi Sacko, and has given them a chance to perform at the highest level. Watch Bordeaux play well, but get lost behind the top-tier talent.

Caen: Caen has a tough road ahead of the after a third place Ligue 2 finish promoted them to Ligue 1. The team will rely on their star goal scorer Mathieu Duhamel to lead the way, yet his age paired with his inexperience in Ligue 1 will prove to be a disaster as Caen will finish last this season.

Evian: After barely avoiding demotion last year, Evian has made some lackluster changes to their team. Fabien Camus will have to assume a leadership role within the team, and lead the team’s scoring, as he is their best signing and they have no decent strikers. Evian will finish at the bottom of Ligue 1 this season.

Guingamp: While Guingamp prides themselves on their solid defense, they have no goal scorers. Their midfield is decent, and their only player with more than ten goals might be leaving on loan, worrying any Guingamp fan. Guingamp will be near the bottom of Ligue 1 unless they can start scoring goals.

Lens: Right now, Lens is appealing their right to play in Ligue 1 this year, as they think they can cover their budget. If it does turn out that Lens can play, their roster is decent enough that they will be able to compete, but they might not have time to sign good players. Lens will perform poorly this season.

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Lille: Lille is coming off of a great third place finish last season, yet there is already room for concern. It is possible that the team will lose Salomon Kalou and Divock Origi to loan, and the team will struggle without their top goal scorers. However, the team still has great defense, and can definitely finish top five, if not top three, this season.

Lorient: Lorient has plenty of talent, yet the question is if they can retain them. They have already signed Vincent Aboubakar, something that was crucial to their success this season. But if they can keep Raphael Guerreiro and Alain Traore among others, they could be facing a solid season.

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Lyon: After a good finish last season, Lyon needs to keep their young talent in order to return to their former glory. If Alexandre Lacazette, Clement Grenier and Maxime Gonalons are all signed, the team is absolutely looking at a top five finish.

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Marseille: This perennially fantastic squad added famed manager Marcelo Bielsa, and is ready to bring the trophy back to Marseille. Bielsa has made excellent signings with Romain Alessandrini and Michy Batshuayi, and has the team ready to win Ligue 1.

Metz: Metz has won a few promotions, and are finally in the top tier. Metz is full of young skill, like Cheick Doukoure from Lorient, Diafra Sakho and Benjamin Cornet. What is left to be decided is if the team’s youth has enough experience to compete at the high level. Expect a solid mid-level finish for Metz this season.

Monaco: Monaco will absolutely have a top three finish this year, but it is uncertain if they can actually compete for the title this season. They sold James Rodriguez to Real Madrid, yet there are not many players available to get with the transfer fee money. It is up to Radamel Falcao to come back from an ACL tear to lead his team to victory.

Montpellier: Montpellier has been playing well, but they have seen a noticeable drop off since their title in 2011-2012. With star player Remy Cabella leaving, the rest of the team will really need to step it up and have a few players with 10+ goals. Montpellier will have a solid season, but won’t do anything special.

Nantes: Although Nantes is chock full of young talent, they are all relatively untested and inexperienced. This, paired with the fact that they can’t sign any players, means that their youth really needs to step it up. Expect Nantes to barely avoid relegation for the second year in a row until they can finally add some new talent.

Nice: Nice’s first campaign last year ended poorly, and the team needs to perform better or face imminent relegation this year. The offensive talent is there on Nice, yet they are weak defensively. They need to add more defenders to bolster their back end, and they could be in the top half of Ligue 1.

Paris Saint-Germain: There is no doubt that PSG wins their third straight title, it is just in question whether or not they perform well in the Champions League. The team is already one of the best in the world, and with the signing of David Luiz, they will surely be unstoppable next season.

Reims: Reims performed well last year, and as a result, lost a good bit of their talent. What they have going for them is their youth, and what holds for the future. Expect Prince Oniangue and Nicolas de Preville to assume larger roles within the team in order for a solid better half of the league finish.

Rennes: Between new signings and players returning from loan, Rennes has ten new players, and there is really no telling what could happen with them this season. However, all of these players are very young and have lots of talent, making for a very successful season, and possibly a trip to the Champions League.

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St-Etienne: It’s fairly simple, St-Etienne needs goal scoring. The problem is that they have no money for a striker, and need their midfield to assume the role of goal scoring. With the signing of Kevin Monnet-Paquet, St-Etienne will finish high in Ligue 1, but they are still just outside of being able to compete with the best of the best in Ligue 1.

Toulouse: Toulouse has fantastic talent in their two strikers, Wissam Ben Yedder and Martin Braithwaite. The problem with the team is depth on the back end, and this will prevent them from really competing this season. Expect a middle-of-the-pack performance.