Saturday’s spring scrimmage might mean spring practices are coming to an end, but a number of position battles are just starting to heat up. Because of graduation and suspensions, at least 14 of 22 starters from last season won’t be on the field come the opening game of the season against Akron. The spring scrimmage is the players’ last chance to make a positive impression on the coaches before summer practice. Here’s a look at the top position battles to watch Saturday. Quarterback The most high-profile battle is undoubtedly at the quarterback position. Senior Joe Bauserman, redshirt freshman Taylor Graham, redshirt sophomore Ken Guiton, and freshman Braxton Miller are all vying to replace the suspended Terrelle Pryor for the first five games of the season, but none has made a strong enough case to be named the starter. Bauserman seems to be the first guy on the depth chart, but a senior getting the nod in a close battle is no surprise on a Jim Tressel-coached team and all candidates are getting reps with the first team offense. “They shine their own day,” redshirt junior Jake Stoneburner said. “They all seem to be getting a good grasp of the offense.” With Pryor still sidelined from surgery on his left foot, look for all quarterbacks to get equal opportunity on Saturday. Cornerback Perhaps the fiercest battle of the spring has been for the second starting cornerback position. Junior Travis Howard has arguably been the most impressive player on the Buckeye team this spring and has locked up a starting job, but the other corner spot is wide open. Coming into spring, Tressel spoke highly of sophomore Dominic Clarke. “We’ve kind of seen a transformation from (Clarke) not unlike we’ve seen from (former Buckeye Malcolm Jenkins),” Tressel said. But Clarke has some competition. Dionte Allen, a transfer from Florida State, has shown a great open-field tackling ability in addition to coverage skills. Sophomore Bradley Roby wasn’t necessarily expected to be in the picture for a starting job, but has played his way into the conversation. He’s shown playmaking ability and a nose for the football, intercepting two passes in last Saturday’s scrimmage. Howard said he’s not sure how the fight will end. “They’ve all been battling and each of them have their days,” Howard said. “I’m looking forward to see who actually comes out on top because those are three great cornerbacks.” Left tackle Senior Mike Adams’ suspension for the first five games leaves a hole on the offensive line at left tackle. Sophomore Andrew Norwell and redshirt sophomore Marcus Hall have emerged as the leading candidates to fill the gap. Norwell was the favorite entering spring practice, but Hall has been impressive, especially after being separated from the team last year because of academic issues. Saturday’s scrimmage could go a long way in determining who ultimately gets the starting job, but Adams says either one would be more than adequate to replace him. “Those guys filling in at left tackle are doing a great job. They’ve really made a lot of progress since we’ve started,” Adams said. “When you’ve got two big guys like that who are athletic, as long as they know what they’re going to do, they’ll be fine for the season.” Linebacker Senior Andrew Sweat and redshirt junior Etienne Sabino are clear starters at linebacker, but sixth-year senior Tyler Moeller, juniors Storm Klein and Jonathan Newsome, and redshirt freshman Dorian Bell all have a chance to see the field in the upcoming season. Moeller hasn’t participated in spring scrimmages thus far, so look for Klein, Newsome, and Bell to fight it out Saturday.
In college football it is widely accepted the Southeastern Conference is the best.Seven straight national championships is hard to argue with, especially when six of those title games have been by double digits.But the argument that the SEC is the deepest conference in America because any team can beat any team doesn’t seem to be realistic.From the start of the 2012 season until last Friday, the top six teams in the SEC based on their conference record: Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas A&M had a combined total of one loss to the bottom eight teams in the conference.Now after five of those teams lost to lower tier SEC squads – LSU to Ole Miss, Texas A&M to Auburn, South Carolina to Tennessee, Florida to Missouri and Georgia to Vanderbilt – the conference is being touted as the deepest in America.That just doesn’t seem logical, you cannot go from being blatantly top heavy to ultra deep just because the stars lined up one weekend and a bunch of teams lost.One week simply does not make a deep conference.If things continue along this trend and the top teams continue to falter then maybe that argument could be made, but for now, it doesn’t have enough merit.Even if you look at the SEC’s national titles over its collective run of dominance it is top heavy. Of the four championships won since Florida claimed their second in 2008-09, Alabama has won the title three times, with arch-rival Auburn being the only team to unseat them.And after the BCS rankings were released Sunday, the Crimson Tide, ranked No. 1, look poised to bring home another this year.If you are a league that supposedly boasts parity then shouldn’t those championships be more spread out? Wouldn’t you expect a team like Georgia or Texas A&M to contend for a championship?Last season the argument was made that the Big Ten conference was made up of Ohio State, who could not participate in the postseason because of sanctions stemming from tattoo-gate, and then everyone else.Couldn’t you make the same argument with Alabama this season?Sure, until someone manages to unseat the SEC as reigning national champions they will remain as the class of college football. But the conference doesn’t need the added hype making it seem better than it is.The gap in talent between conferences is closing, but until the SEC is brought back down to earth things will remain as they are in college football.
Ohio State then-freshman linebacker Baron Browning (5) attempts to stop a Scarlet Knight in the fourth quarter against Rutgers on Sep. 30. Ohio State won 56-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State entered last spring with many starters on its veteran-laden defense set. Not to mention, multiple players, including defensive ends Tyquan Lewis, Nick Bosa and Sam Hubbard and linebacker Jerome Baker, had already established themselves as playmakers.But this season, beyond defensive end Nick Bosa and defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, not many potential game-changers are known. A lot of talent exists on the defense, but most remain unproven.A number of highly regarded freshmen — including four five-star prospects — were added to Ohio State’s defense last season, but the vast majority either played in reserve roles or did not play at all. The Spring Game will offer the first chance to watch many of them play extended minutes. Here are some players on the Buckeyes’ defense to watch in Saturday’s Spring Game.Chase YoungThe moment former five-star prospect and sophomore defensive end Chase Young stepped on campus, his chiseled 6-foot-5, 265-pound frame stuck out. The enormous 18-year-old almost became a punch line with many people comparing him physically to an NFL player, despite having recently graduated from high school.Ohio State then-freshman defensive end Chase Young (2) waits in between plays in the fourth quarter of the Ohio State- UNLV game on Sept. 23, 2017. Ohio State won 54- 21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNow, with a year of experience, Young’s time has arrived.With Hubbard, Lewis and Jalyn Holmes off to the NFL, defensive end went from a position of enormous depth to a top-heavy unit manned by one stud, a duo of highly regarded, yet inexperienced players and a former defensive tackle. Therefore, it is pertinent for Young to make the leap from five-star prospect to impact player.Having spent a season backing up that trio and Bosa, the sophomore defensive end should now be ready to slide into a starting role opposite Bosa. Young picked up 3.5 sacks last season and should be in line to more than double that tally in 2018.Though quarterbacks sometimes wear a different color of jersey in the Spring Game that dictates they aren’t allowed to be hit, that likely will not be the case Saturday with no guaranteed starter. With signal-callers able to be hit, the Spring Game referees should be ready to blow their whistles quickly because Young is coming for the quarterback trio.Baron BrowningAnother former five-star prospect, sophomore linebacker Baron Browning earned special teams reps and mop-up duty on defense early in the season, but gained more playing time toward the end of the year. With Baker and Chris Worley gone and redshirt sophomore Tuf Borland sidelined with an Achilles injury, Browning has a chance to earn a starting position in his second collegiate season. However, he has to beat out a number of worthy, experienced linebackers in Malik Harrison, Keandre Jones, Dante Booker, Pete Werner and Justin Hilliard to make an impact.Browning stands out when he walks onto the field due to his uncommon combination of size and speed. His physical gifts have even impressed head coach Urban Meyer, who called him “as talented a linebacker as has ever walked through these doors.”“He’s got it all now. He’s got A to Z,” Meyer said. “An intelligent guy, a good person, and God has blessed him with an incredible skillset.”That skillset allows him to play all three linebacker positions. Though with Borland likely set as the starting middle linebacker, he will likely have his best shot at playing time on the outside.Every opportunity counts when a large group of players is interlocked in a position battle. And everyone will have their final shot to make an impression during spring practice on Saturday. The most physically gifted player at his position, Browning should stand out.Shaun WadeOne of Ohio State’s two five-star cornerbacks in the 2018 recruiting class, Shaun Wade did not get nearly the opportunity offered to fellow five-star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah. Wade’s body would not allow it. He underwent abdominal surgery during the season and never saw the field.Ohio State then-freshman cornerback Shaun Wade warms up prior to the Buckeyes’ season-opening 49-21 win over Indiana on Aug. 31 in Bloomington, Indiana. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorNow a redshirt freshman, Wade has the opportunity to make the impact many thought he would last season. Redshirt junior cornerbacks Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette, along with Okudah, stand in the way of Wade earning starter-level snaps to start the year. But considering his rank as the second-best cornerback in the 2017 class, the now-healthy Wade should push for snaps. And with Okudah sitting out spring practice and the Spring Game due to having surgery on a torn labrum that has bothered him since high school, Wade has a chance to shine.In the past, the Buckeyes relied on a three-cornerback rotation. With Kerry Coombs gone, new cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson said he intends to maintain the rotation, provided he has three starter-quality cornerbacks. With Okudah out for the spring, Wade has a chance to prove he can break into the trio of rotating starters.And with all eyes on the quarterback battle during the Spring Game, the opportunity exists for Wade to make a statement in front of a crowd.
Arsenal’s second majority shareholder Alisher Usmanov will not be launching a bid to buy Sky Bet League One side Charlton Athletic, despite reports in the British press he was mulling over a takeover bid for the club, according to Football. London.Following the news back in August that the Russian businessman would be selling his shares in Arsenal to the club’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke for £600million, many assumed that he would be investing his money in Everton.One of his companies currently sponsors the club’s training ground, while Farhad Moshiri, Usmanov’s business partner, is already in charge at Goodison Park.Merson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.After being tipped to invest money into the Toffees, it came as a shock to Charlton fans on Friday morning with reports suggesting that the 64-year-old is considering a move for the club.The Addicks have struggled since suffering relegation from the Premier League in 2007 and now find themselves in the meddling with obscurity in League One and are currently owned by Belgian millionaire Roland Duchatelet, although the unpopular owner is said to want around £20million for the club.Usmanov is keen to remain in English football but it won’t be Charlton that he invests in despite the reports.
Chevrolet ColoradoMaking its debut in the top 10 is the Chevrolet Colorado. Shown here in the tough ZR2 Bison off-road spec, the Chevy Colorado is an excellent truck and one of the two midsize pickups you can get with a diesel engine. Adding to the ZR2’s two-inch lift and front and rear locking differentials, the Bison gets beefier skid plates (trust me, that’s a good thing), steel bumpers and integrated recovery points. Heck, you can even get a snorkel.Base models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission, but a more popular choice is the 3.6-liter V6 gas engine with 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the 2.8-liter diesel pumps out 186 horsepower and a delicious 369 pound-feet of twist and is mated to a six-speed automatic. The Chevy Colorado is built in Wentzville, Missouri. 2019 GMC Sierra Denali review: So close to greatness Honda OdysseyThe feature-rich Honda Odyssey minivan also retains its number-two slot from last year’s list. While the 2019 model doesn’t see any changes from last, it’s still a darn good choice for families on the go with reconfigurable seats, Wi-Fi and an excellent rear-seat entertainment system. The Cabin Watch video system lets parents keep an eye on their little darlings without turning around in their seats, while Cabin Talk amplifies their voice so no yelling is required.The Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 rated for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Most trims get a nine-speed automatic but the top Touring and Elite trims now use a 10-speed automatic with stop-start technology. The Honda Odyssey is made in Lincoln, Alabama. 1 26 Photos 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid first drive: One posh plug-in Bentley’s first SUV is a 187-mph, all-terrain luxocrat Comment 2019 Honda Odyssey offers plenty of room and features for families Share your voice Share your voice 52 Photos Honda PilotDropping down to seventh place for 2019 is the Honda Pilot. Like its two-row Passport sibling, the three-row Pilot offers parent-focused technology like Cabin Talk as well as myriad standard driver-assistance features through the Honda Sensing tech suite. Honda’s largest crossover offers up nearly 84 cubic feet of cargo space. Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 engine shows up again, making a serviceable 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Touring and Elite trims get a nine-speed automatic transmission while lower trims have to make do with a six-speed auto. The Honda Pilot is made in Lincoln, Alabama. 12 Photos Jeep CherokeeKeeping its top-of-the-list placement, the Jeep Cherokee is 2019’s most American-made car. Refreshed for 2019, the compact crossover now features more tech, better cargo space and a slightly tweaked look. It’s available in no fewer the nine trims, including the off-road specific Trailhawk and a fancy-pants Trailhawk Elite.For 2019, the Cherokee gets a new 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, though naturally aspirated I4 and V6 choices are also available. Regardless of engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission gets the power to the pavement — or dirt as the case may be. The Cherokee is made in Belvidere, Illinois. 81 Photos 2019 Honda Passport: A well-rounded midsize offering 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec: Sharp handling, sharper looks More From Roadshow Acura MDXMoving up one slot to sixth place on the American Made Index is the non-hybrid variant of the Acura MDX. With its SH-AWD system, the MDX is one of the better handling midsize luxury crossovers, and for 2019 the company gives us the A-Spec treatment with a new front fascia and side skirts, 20-inch wheels, wider exhaust tips, unique gauges, a new steering wheel, carbon fiber trim and various Alcantara interior touches.However, both the standard and A-Spec models get a 3.5-liter V6 engine, rated for 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque going through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Acura MDX is made in East Liberty, Ohio. 2019 Honda Ridgeline: The commuter’s pickup truck Acura RDXThe third-generation Acura RDX squeaks into the top ten list with larger proportions, plenty of interior space and better handling than its predecessor. Forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control that works even in low-speed traffic, lane-keeping steering assist and road departure mitigation are all standard across the board. Like its MDX counterpart, the RDX is available with the A-Spec styling package.The RDX sports a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. Output is stated at 273 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, and it’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The new RDX is built in East Liberty, Ohio. Honda RidgelineAgain keeping the status quo, the Honda Ridgeline maintains third place on the American Made Index. This crossover-that-looks-like-a-truck provides a better ride than a traditional pickup and gets an awesome lockable trunk right in the floor of the bed. And it doesn’t do the truck stuff too badly, either, as it’s able to carry 1,860 pounds of payload and tow 3,500 pounds.The Ridgeline is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission with available all-wheel drive. It’s built in Lincoln, Alabama. 2019 GMC Canyon: A fancier Colorado 49 Photos Honda PassportThe Honda Passport is a new (well, reborn) entry to both the Honda lineup and the American Made Index. This midsize crossover comes to the fray with great driving dynamics and plenty of tech like the standard Honda Sensing suite of active safety features. An available 8-inch touchscreen gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot.Under the hood is the stalwart 3.5-liter V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. However unlike the Ridgeline, the Passport sends that power through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Having said that, just like the Ridgeline, this is the only powertrain available. The Honda Passport is built in Lincoln, Alabama. Comments Bentayga Hybrid electrifies the Bentley lineup 2019 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison: An off-road animal Tags 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport loves to hustle 68 Photos 2019 Honda Ridgeline review: Light duty, heavy punch 71 Photos Bentley Bentley,Enlarge ImageIt’s all in a day’s work for the Jeep Cherokee, the most American-made car in 2019. Jeep With high trade tensions looming and increasing talk of tariffs, more and more consumers are looking to buy American. Cars.com has released its annual American Made Index, showcasing companies that use the most American-sourced parts and labor in their vehicles. The results may surprise you.Cars.com analyzed more than 100 US-built vehicles for five key data points: manufacturing location, parts sourcing, US employment, engine sourcing and transmission sourcing. You might think something like the Ford F-150 would top the list, but it drops from its No. 5 spot for 2018 and out of the top 10 completely. Even the first-place holder, the Jeep Cherokee, is a pretty global product. It’s a Jeep, sure, but that brand is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, an Italian-owned business.Cars.com surveyed 1,000 people and found that half are concerned about automotive import tariffs, with 41% saying they are unsure if tariffs would make them more likely to buy American. Either way, we’re big fans of all the vehicles on this list. These days, buying American doesn’t necessarily mean sticking with a US-based automaker. 2020 Bentley Continental GT V8 first drive: A more athletic grand tourer Car Industry Luxury cars Hybrids Electric Cars 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison: A tougher off-roader 2019 Honda Pilot Elite: A smoother, tech-rich crossover SUV Enlarge ImageThe Bentayga Hybrid will go on sale later this year. Bentley Bentley’s first plug-in, the Bentayga Hybrid, will go on sale in the US near the end of this year. But it won’t be the brand’s only electrified model for long.”We will bring out hybrid versions of all our models by 2023,” Chris Craft, Bentley’s board member for sales and marketing, told Roadshow during a media event in California on Monday. It’s unclear which vehicles will gain electrification first, and Bentley did not say whether or not these new models will use a version of the Bentayga’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain.Bentley won’t stop there, though. “The next big focal point is to launch our first full electric car,” Craft said, “which we will do by 2025.”Craft believes electrified vehicles will fit nicely in Bentley’s portfolio, and sees a huge opportunity in this space. “Over 30% of luxury buyers are interested in electric cars,” he said. “That will be a big part of our future.” General Motors Chevrolet Honda Jeep Acura 3 18 Photos 10 Photos Chevrolet CorvetteMoving up from the 10th-place slot last year is the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette. While we’ve all been ogling the new mid-engine Corvette, it’s easy to forget what a performance bargain the current-generation ‘Vette is. From the base trim to the Grand Sport to the bonkers ZR1, the Corvette is an American icon.My preference is for the Grand Sport, which strikes a perfect balance between everyday drivability and canyon-carving performance. The 6.2-liter V8 puts out 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. You can get it with a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, but the kicker is the borrowed chassis and aero parts from the beefier Z06. Like I said, perfect balance. The Corvette is made in Bowling Green, Kentucky. 2019 Jeep Cherokee can handle the rough stuff More From Roadshow 69 Photos GMC CanyonIf you’re looking for a slightly fancier version of the Colorado that’s more focused on luxe than dirt, check out the GMC Canyon. The top Denali trim gets standard heated and ventilated front seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Maximum payload capability is 1,665 pounds while max towing is a fairly healthy 7,600 pounds.The Canyon is available with the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, 3.6-liter V6 or 2.8-liter diesel as the Chevrolet Colorado. It’s also built in Wentzville, Missouri. Tags 2019 Acura MDX adds new features and an A-Spec model 68 Photos
African Movie Channel has signed up with the new Lebara Play OTT TV service, securing distribution outside Africa for the first time.Lebara Play, the recently launched OTT service from low-cost mobile communications specialist Lebara, carries over 150 channels in 13 languages and has a catalogue of about 3,000 movie titles.The service is currently available in the UK, France, Germany and The Netherlands, and will be in the rest of Europe over the summer, and other territories worldwide by the year-end.African Movie Channel specialises in Nollywood and other African productions. The channel is available on the West African English bundle on Lebara Play.“African Movie Channel brings the best in domestic African productions to its viewers across Africa. Broadcasting on Lebara Play in Europe is a fantastic opportunity to showcase top African talent to the African diaspora, and a bigger audience. We are extremely delighted to be back in the European space where we started, serving the burgeoning need for top-notch African content,” said Yinka Mayungbo and Lola Onigbogi, founding partners and co-directors of the channel.