Sports Bank Founder to Give Talk at Fulbright Alumni Conference at Univ. of Arkansas

Building Bridges: The Fulbright Legacy and the Future of International Exchange” will be taking place next weekend, May 17 to 19, 2019 in Fayetteville, Arkansas and I will be on hand, hosting a round table on the state of journalism in the world today.

Hosted by the German-American Fulbright Commission, in partnership with the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, it’s a chance to discuss the Fulbright legacy and alma mater and reconnect with the Fulbright community. As a Fulbright alumni myself, I will be leading and moderating a World Café on Saturday, May 18, from 2:45 pm – 3:30 pm. The details are as follows.

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SEC Football: Oversigning (“Cheating”)=More Championships

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As Wes Bynum’s 19-yarder sailed through the desert air to split the uprights and down Oregon in the Tostitos BCS national championship there was no question Auburn was the best team in college football.  There was also no doubt which conference was at the top of the summit.  The cheers of “S-E-C” that rained down like ticker-tape on the Auburn players and coaches was evidence enough.  Fans chanting the conference’s moniker knew, and so did the rest of the nation, the SEC, with victories in the last five national championships, was college football’s king.

Fans, writers and even coaches have sought to explain this domination.  Many pegged blazing SEC speed as the reason, asserting that kids from Florida and Georgia just have better wheels than farm-boys from Ohio and Wisconsin.  For years, that reasoning has been widely accepted, but lately a new explanation has bubbled to the surface: oversigning.

By: Jeff Beck [Read more…]

Duke Blue Devils, 903 and Mike Krzyzewski: Class Acts

Duke NCAA Champions

In 1990, I was a grade-school student who loved sports, and had many teams. However, when it came to college basketball, I was at a loss.

I grew up in Chicago. I love Notre Dame football, but beyond David Rivers and LaPhonso Ells, ND basketball left a lot to be desired. In the mid-80’s I loved Dallas Comegys and Rod Strickland, but after their respective departures, DePaul hoops became lost in a vacuum.

So, when Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Duke and UNLV met in the 1990 Final Four, I was a fan without a team. Sure, I rooted for ND and DePaul, and have since, but everyone enjoys cheering for a winning team.

The ’90 Final Four was held in Denver, CO, the boyhood home of my father. And my dad had managed to land tickets to the final round of the tourney.

As my dad and I entered McNichol arena that Saturday night, I was disappointed. I had chosen to root for UConn because my best friend had recently moved to Chicago from Connecticut. But Christian Laettner ended Tate George’s and all other UConn’s fans’ hopes with his first Elite 8 buzzer beater.

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#3 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #14 Arkansas Razorbacks: Brutally Honest Game Preview

Get ready for the first of two college football national championship “elimination games” this weekend. In the SEC, you have #3 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #14 Arkansas Razorbacks. Both have legit national title aspirations as do the #7 Oklahoma State Cowboys and #8 Texas A&M Aggies. In both conferences, you have other teams in the mix for the big prize, but eventually they’ll beat up on each other, and you may have only one left standing from each league. But don’t forget the Wisconsin Badgers from my neck of the woods and the Stanford Cardinal out west. Either/both of those squads could derail a SEC/Big 12 Challenge title game.

Getting back to Saturday, this really is going to be classic, offense vs. defense, big on big, eleven on eleven. So who do I have in the Arkansas offense vs. the Alabama defense (#2 in the nation in points allowed) ? Read on…

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#11 Arkansas Razorbacks: College Football 77 in 77

The Arkansas Razorbacks suffered a big blow when they lost running back Knile Davis to a season-ending ankle injury, but it didn’t seem to affect them too much in the polls.

Arkansas is ranked #15 in the AP preseason poll, which was released two weeks before season opening Saturday. It was released more than a week after Davis went down and two weeks after Arkansas grabbed #14 in the USA Today preseason poll. Despite the season ending injury to their biggest ground weapon, the ranking is Arkansas’ highest since 1990.

The Razorbacks are also ranked in the AP’s preseason poll in consecutive season for the first time since 1989-90.

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Take It To The Bank!! Week 4, College Football

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By Paul Schmidt

Welcome back to Take It To The Bank! First things first — let’s clean up after last week.  It was a respectable 2-2, with two things blindsiding me: 1) Florida, by Urban Meyer’s own admission, saying they didn’t need to run Tennessee out of the stadium because he knew they were only playing to not get blown out.  Awesome.  Next time, could someone tell ME??  Is that really too much to ask??  2) Texas and Texas Tech playing some defense. Defense in the Big 12?  Really?  Next thing you know, someone is going to tell me Tim Tebow isn’t Jesus!

This week we’re adding a new wrinkle to things, by bringing in a guest picker.  I select the games and send them out. That week’s guest makes their picks and then I make mine.  Since I also only pick 4 games, I have a tie-breaker pick for the week, something tailored to how skilled of a gambler I think the person is.  This week, we have The Bank’s other degenerate gambler, Peter Christian, taking the podium.  Though many of you may know Pete, I asked him to write a quick intro for those of you that don’t:

“My gambling resume: I learned the ropes from one of the worst gamblers on the planet, though he’ll never admit it. Watching him gamble was like watching Paris Hilton act. It was clear he was going to keep wasting time and someone elses money trying but there was no way he was ever going to get better.

He showed me the ropes however and put me on the path to learning the way to follow the way things worked. To this day I’m still a small timer but I’ve had more big wins than big losses (though my small losses probably outweigh the small wins) with the biggest coming on the opening day of the NCAA Tournament in 2005 when I parlayed the four afternoon games into a months salary (minimum wage in Wisconsin). I haven’t won a parlay since.”

Wonders never cease — Apparently I taught Pete how to gamble.  Who knew?

Anyway, here’s this week’s games.

TCU at Clemson (-2.5)


Peter Christian: Clemson has fans with heart. We recently saw some of that “heart” after a tough loss to Georgia Tech. That kind of passion can only be found in what we’ve come to call a group home but is more well known as an asylum. Crazy things happen to crazy people, the Tigers go crazy and cover the points. PICK: Clemson -2.5


Paul Schmidt: Tiger fans definitely go crazy, but the team does too — just not in a good way. Clemson is typically one of the more schizophrenic teams in all of football, and that won’t change again this week.  TCU has something to prove, and they saw last week what happens to “BCS Buster” teams that don’t come out for big games (Utah and BYU). This is the Horned Frogs’ chance to make a statement. PICK: TCU +2.5

Michigan State at Wisconsin (-3)


PC: Let me be clear, I hate betting on the Big Ten. Despise it. I dislike it more than thinking about the type of exam I have to get when I turn 40. That being said I hate this Wisconsin team even more. I’m not sure I like Michigan State either but I want the points and the Spartans. PICK: Michigan State +3

PS: Michigan State is terrible.  I’ve been operating on that premise for several weeks, and it certainly is beneficial for betting purposes. Good teams, quite simply, don’t lose to Central Michiagn at home (no matter how good I think they are).  If you’re good, that just doesn’t happen.  Now I’m supposed to expect them to hang with Wisconsin on the road?  I don’t think so.  Remember, home teams essentially get a 3-point bump — think these teams would be equals on a neutral site?  No way.  NO WAY.  Sconnies roll. PICK: Wisconsin -3

Illinois at Ohio St. (-14)

PC: Remember when I said I hate betting on the Big Ten? I lied. If I was in one of the states where it is legal to gamble, I would bet on this game so fast that Usain Bolt would do a double take. Buckeyes at home could cover 1,000,000 points against Illinois… Though I’m only gonna lay the 14 required.  PICK: Ohio State -14

PS: Call it a hunch.  However, was there really any doubt where I was going when I decided to pick this game?  As I’ve said, you never bet with your heart, you bet with your head.  And I’ve only ever wagered on the Illini once…of course, that was November 10th, 2007, against Ohio State…and we know how that turned out.  Funnily enough, that was considered by many to be a trap game…and I got 13.5 points that day too. Again…just a hunch. PICK: Illinois +14

Texas Tech at Houston (-1)

PC: This is definitely the hardest of the four games to pick. Not because the teams are evenly matched but because you can’t ever predict what is gonna happen with Tech. They could explode for 50 or they might puke on the coffee table and struggle to find the end zone. I’m taking Tech and the point and rolling the dice on a shootout. PICK: Texas Tech +1

PS: I watched Texas Tech and was really impressed last week. I was really surprised that they could handle McCoy and the Longhorns offense, with so many weapons. Just a great effort.  However, Houston’s got the best offense in the country, hands down. Case Keenum is a helluva QB, and I think he can exploit the Red Raider D.  Especiually after finding out that, yeah, Colt McCoy probably could have too, but he was sick with the flu and on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Pedialyte…PICK: Houston -1

TIEBREAKER: Select one over/under number and make your pick.

PC: Minnesota at Northwestern O/U 48.5

I LOVE betting the over/under line. Mostly because it let’s me watch a game I normally wouldn’t watch with a reason to get invested in both teams’ offense or defense without really causing my blood pressure to go through the roof. With this game I feel obligated to take the over. After last years’ shootout I expect more of the same and the points will add up on both sides of the scoreboard. PICK: Over 48.5 points

PS: Arkansas at Alabama O/U 58

I think I developed a little bit of a man-crush last week on Ryan Mallett. He was simply unreal against Georgia, and that game and the offense in it was ridiculous.  However, Alabama’s D is juuuuust a little better than Georgia’s.  So why would I bet the over here?  Because while Alabama’s D might hold Arkansas to 20 points or thereabouts, Alabama’s offense is DEFINITELY a threat to put up 50 points on their own against a Razorback D that was…well, let’s say they were performance-challenged against Georgia. And given Bobby Petrino’s history of not necessarily caring about that so much, one has to believe that isn’t something that’s going to change. PICK: Over 58 points

Last week: 2-2
For the Season: 5-7