Daily Noontime – Vacation Mode (Aug. 1-5)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Daily Noontime, which features six daily news stories, games to watch, as well as a video of the day will be taking a five day vacation beginning Monday August 1, 2011, but will return on Monday August 8, 2011.

Noontime Sports will continue to provide various features, articles, blogs and more throughout the week. Thanks again for all of your support and have a great week!

Willwerth: NASCAR Notebook

Paul Menard is certainly a NASCAR name that one needs to know!

By Brian Willwerth 

The list of first-time winners in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series just keeps growing.

The latest: Paul Menard, who pulled off a big upset Sunday in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This was Menard’s first win in 167 career starts.  He is the fourth driver this season to win his first Cup race, joining Trevor Bayne, Regan Smith and David Ragan.

This one was decided by pit and fuel strategy. Menard played his cards perfectly, and was able to hold off a fast-charging Jeff Gordon in the closing laps. Had the race been two or three laps longer, the outcome probably would’ve been different.

Gordon finished second, followed by Smith, Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth.  Chevrolets took the top four spots.

Carl Edwards hung on the points lead, despite finishing 14th. Menard jumped five spots in the standings, to 14th. Win Sunday’s win, he’s in contention for one of the two wild card spots for the Chase.

THE WRECK WRAP:

This was a clean race for the most part, with one exception. Landon Cassill went for a spin, as he was four-wide heading into Turn 3.  Cassill spun out. Kasey Kahne avoided the wreck, but briefly turned his #4 car into a lawnmower, as grass ended up all over the racetrack.

NEXT WEEK: the second race of the year at Pocono.  Gordon won there back in June.

The Excitement of New England Patriots Training Camp

Tom Brady took a few minutes after Sunday's morning practice to sign autographs and interact with fans!

By C.J. Legner 

Fans lined up Sunday morning outside the glorious and beautiful Gillette Stadium eager to watch some football. However, this wasn’t just any ordinary day of the week, but instead, it’s officially the very beginning for the men dressed in red, white and blue, who weren’t playing an opponent, such as the New York Jets or Miami Dolphins, but instead, themselves.

The New England Patriots, who began their preparations for the upcoming 2011 NFL season on Thursday, welcomed hundreds of fans to their magnificent facility to watch the squad stretch, pass, tackle, as well as push one another to the brink.

Yet, despite the July heat and rather early morning, myself, as well as other die-hards screamed, yelled and even screeched, as the Patriots players and coaches marched onto the practice field for their morning session. In fact, some of the biggest ovations were saved for quarterback Tom Brady and newly acquired wide receiver, Chad Ochocinco, but that’s an obvious, right?

After the clapping and screaming was done, fans were treated to a behind the scenes look of the ’11 Patriots and yep, they looked pretty darn good, but I think it’s too early to deem them Super Bowl champions. I mean, hey, it’s one thing to think it, especially now, but another thing to state it like one particular fan who shouted, “We’re Super Bowl bound!”

OK, I’ll admit, I chuckled and laughed when I heard that comment, but hey, so would you, but again, this article isn’t about a particular fan, yet instead, the awesome thing called, “NFL Training Camp.” It’s certainly something everyone and yes, I mean everyone should witness, especially those pigskin die-hards.

The New England Patriots camp experience was a blast and yes, I highly recommend it. I mean, hey, you get to watch a variety of grown men push one another around for their starting jobs, but also meet your favorite stars too.

I wish I could report that Mr. Brady and I had a nice chat after the practice concluded, although that didn’t happen, but maybe, just maybe, it’ll happen in the future, right, Tom?

All in all, I had a blast at the Patriots Training Camp and hope you, as well as others will consider attending one of their open sessions. Once the season begins, they’ll return to closed practices, especially since they won’t want any fan or “spy” to know what head coach Bill Belichick is cooking in the oven.

Could It Be True – We Need the Death Penalty?

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor opted to leave school rather than serve a five game suspension for violations

By Dan Rubin

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article posted on this website taking a number of schools to task in regards to their graduation rates on their college football programs.  I drew a direct line between the desire to make money and the desire to provide “student-athletes” with a means to getting a college degree, using their athletic skills to advance their abilities within the classroom.  I touched on how college football meant big money, that some schools transgressed, that it angered the NCAA, and ultimately, a few well-publicized slaps on the wrists would bring harmony back to college football, even if the graduation rates weren’t celebrated in the manner they should be.

The NCAA did land a few well-placed slaps on big college campuses, but it didn’t stop the big money, big-market programs from doing what they do best.  I’m not talking about their ability to draw hundreds of thousands of people to games, and I’m not talking about their ability to take in millions of dollars of revenue for their schools.  I’m talking about the other side.

The NCAA didn’t stop the cheating.

If you read no other part of this article, read this quote from legendary broadcaster Brent Musberger.  At the end of the ESPN Films 30 for 30 special on Southern Methodist University football, Musberger says it best.

“Every time I walk into a stadium, I think to myself – ‘they’re still keeping score,’ ” says Musberger.  “And as long as they’re keeping score, there will always be people who try to do everything they can to put up more points than the other guy.”

Brent Musberger, ladies and gentlemen, is a complete and utter genius.  The NCAA shuttered the SMU Mustangs for the 1988 season almost 25 years ago due to multiple, blatant infractions while under probation.  The move decimated the Mustangs program to the point where they didn’t field a team again until 1990, and they didn’t field a full complement of players until 1992.  Since then, they’ve only within the last few seasons returned to prominence and bowl games, enduring a nearly 20-year stretch of irrelevance.

Continue reading →

NFL Player Profile: Kevin Faulk (New England Patriots)

Kevin Faulk is officially back with the New England Patriots and ready to go to work!

By Matt Noonan 

Kevin Faulk (New England Patriots/Running Back): This was a no-brainer.

Kevin Faulk knew he was going to be playing for the New England Patriots this season, but it was only a matter of time until the paperwork was officially filed. On Saturday, he inked his name to a new contract, as well as expressed his excitement for the upcoming season.

He stated the following to the media: “Before the lockout started, Bill [Belichick] called me and told me, ‘Look, Kevin, I want you on my team in 2011,’ and that was motivation enough for me to go out and rehab my butt off and get ready for the season, whenever it may be and whenever it may come. So, that was pretty much enough for me,” (courtesy of ESPNBoston.com). 

The veteran halfback has spent his entire 12-year career in Foxborough, Massachusetts, as well as was a member of all three Super Bowl teams too, (’01, ’03 and ’04). He spent a majority of last season on the sidelines after he tore his ACL during the Patriots week two contest against the New York Jets.  

Faulk’s best season with the Patriots was in ’03, as the running back tallied 638 yards on 178 carries and averaged 42.5 yards per game, but didn’t record a single rushing or receiving touchdown.

All in all, this is a great move because New England has a variety of young rookies and second-year players on their roster that’ll gel quite well under Faulk’s tutelage.

Career Numbers: 154 games/3,550 rushing yards/16 rushing touchdowns/ 3,667 receiving yards/ 15 touchdown receptions