Categories
losers winners

Winners and losers of new SEC football schedule 2020 – AL.com

Joe Namath

Alabama head coach Nick Saban smiles as he chats with former NFL football quarterback Joe Namath, an Alabama alum, before an NCAA college football game against Arkansas, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)AP

The intense reactions came immediately.

The Southeastern Conference’s live reveal on SEC Network of each school’s two new opponents had everyone talking headed into the weekend.

The SEC still hasn’t released the full schedule with the dates of when the games will be played — that should come within the next two weeks — but now every SEC school knows the 10 opponents it will face this season. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference “made every effort to create a schedule that is as competitive as possible and builds on the existing eight conference games that had already been scheduled for 2020.”

It wouldn’t be the SEC, though, if there weren’t strong feelings about the updated schedule.

To sort out which schools got good news and which schools may already be drafting sternly worded letters to league headquarters, we give you the winners and losers of the SEC’s new 10-opponent schedules.

Winners

Alabama

The Crimson Tide made out well Friday when the SEC dished out Kentucky and Missouri as its two new opponents. It could have been better — aka Vanderbilt — but the most important thing for Alabama was avoiding Florida. Alabama already had two of the toughest SEC East teams, Georgia and Tennessee, and wasn’t eager to add the third. Instead, the nation’s preseason No. 3 team gets two very winnable games though Kentucky is no cupcake.

RELATED: What new schedule means for Alabama

Georgia

The preseason SEC East favorite added the two easiest SEC West opponents, on paper at least, headed into the season. Arkansas and Mississippi State are both on their third coaches in as many years, with extra growing pains possible given the absence of a normal spring and summer schedule. The Bulldogs have the best chance to emerge out of the East, and nothing that happened Friday changed that.

LSU

Ed Orgeron had to be smiling after seeing Missouri and Vanderbilt as his two new opponents. The Tigers may be the biggest winner of any SEC school getting the teams perceived to be the SEC East’s two weakest headed into the season. Avoiding Georgia and Tennessee — the Tigers already had Florida and South Carolina — should make the people of Baton Rouge very happy.

Ole Miss

The Rebels may now have the best foursome of SEC East opponents. With Florida and Vanderbilt already scheduled, Ole Miss added Kentucky and South Carolina. Neither one is a guaranteed win, but conversely, neither one is also an obvious loss the way Georgia would have been. Ole Miss could certainly go 3-1 with this slate which is huge given all the difficult games that come each year in the SEC West.

Losers

Arkansas

Poor Sam Pittman. The excitable “Yes Sir!” head coach got nothing but coal from commissioner Greg Sankey on Friday. Arkansas, already expected to finish last in the SEC West, added the SEC East’s two toughest teams, Georgia and Florida. Add in annual games against Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M, the Razorbacks are now scheduled to play four top 10 teams and six Top 25 teams. Ouch.

Missouri

Welcome to the SEC, Eliah Drinkwitz. Your welcome bag is having to play three preseason top five teams. If Arkansas is the big loser in the SEC West, there’s no question Missouri fared the worst in the East. The Tigers added defending national champion LSU and preseason No. 3 Alabama to their schedule. Missouri was already facing an uphill battle to win more than a couple games this season, and the SEC just added two more obvious losses.

Texas A&M

The Aggies avoided Georgia but I can’t imagine Jimbo Fisher is thrilled about adding Florida and Tennessee. This was shaping up to be an important year for Fisher headed into Year 3 of a 10-year contract with a 17-9 record to date. Even before COVID-19 changed everything, it wasn’t fair to say Fisher’s seat was even warm, but everyone seemed to understand better results in 2020 were important for the trajectory of the program. Getting Florida and Tennessee makes Texas A&M’s climb to the top of the SEC more challenging.

John Talty is the sports editor and SEC Insider for Alabama Media Group. You can follow him on Twitter @JTalty.

Tennessee v Auburn

Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.

Read More

Categories
losers winners

The Winners and Losers of the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix – Formula 1 RSS UK

Lewis Hamilton was in imperious form as he swept away the competition at the Hungaroring to bring the curtain down on Formula 1 2020’s opening triple header. It’s now time for a week off from racing, but before we have a breather, we’ve picked out the winners and losers of the Hungarian Grand Prix…

Winner: Lewis Hamilton

There was a time when Michael Schumacher’s astonishing records looked unbeatable, but Lewis Hamilton has been ticking them off, one by one, with aplomb. And his victory in Hungary – his eighth at the venue – has moved him to the verge of shattering yet more.

Hamilton did not put a foot wrong at the weekend, saying his 90th pole lap required “absolute perfection” and then obliterating the opposition on race day, lapping everyone up to Alexander Albon in fifth.

READ MORE: Hamilton romps to eighth Hungarian Grand Prix win, as Verstappen recovers to second

Victory moves him just five away from Schumacher’s win total of 91, and two short of the German’s podium tally, while another successive points finish moves his streak to 36 on an afternoon where he led a race for the 150th time – the first driver ever to reach this total.

And to top it all off, he snatched the championship lead from Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas. For the Briton, it was mission accomplished.

Lewis Hamilton’s 8 wins at the Hungarian Grand Prix

Losers: Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel secured his best finish of the season with sixth, though his worst in Hungary since joining Ferrari. But that position is simply not good enough for the Italian team, nor is the fact only one of their cars managed to get to the chequered flag in the points.

Worse still, both cars finished a lap down on race winner Hamilton, 61 seconds adrift in fact. The result leaves them fifth in the constructors’ championship on a paltry 27 points, almost 100 shy of leaders and reigning world champions Mercedes, after just three races.

READ MORE: ‘There’s lot of work ahead of us,’ says Leclerc after mixed day for Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel: ‘Not a surprise’ to be lapped by Hamilton

Winner: Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen was firmly in the loser column before the race had even started, when the Dutchman got caught out by the wet conditions and slid off into the barriers on his way to the grid.

The team did a phenomenal job to repair the front left-corner of the car, completing the feat with less than 30 seconds to go. Potentially motivated by the guilt, Verstappen made an electric start, rising up to third, which became second when Lance Stroll pitted.

It was a position he would not relinquish, brilliantly holding off Valtteri Bottas to split the Mercedes in a car that doesn’t seem capable of doing that in terms of pure pace. As a result, he finished second in Hungary for the second year in a row, taking his 33rd podium to surpass Jim Clark’s tally.

READ MORE: ‘Second feels like a win’ says Verstappen as he recovers from pre-race crash to podium

Crash to P2 – Max Verstappen’s incredible Hungarian GP recovery

Loser: Pierre Gasly

As Pierre Gasly put it himself, the Frenchman was “just unlucky” this weekend. He encountered engine trouble in qualifying, which subsequently led to a new ICE, turbo and MGU-H being fitted, but he still managed to make Q3.

The mechanical gremlins returned on race day, though, as he had a drivetrain issue and struggled with gearshifts from the moment he started the race. When it became clear his AlphaTauri team could not remedy the situation, he was forced to retire the car – his second non-points scoring finish in three races.

Hungarian GP: Fire in pit lane as Pierre Gasly retires

Winner: Lance Stroll

Okay, so it was not the podium Lance Stroll will have felt was genuinely possible when he lined up third on the grid, but fourth on the road is still among his top three results in Formula 1.

The Canadian had a great battle with Verstappen at the start of the race and made the most of the performance of the car to keep well clear of the pack, once Bottas had jumped him, to cross the line fourth, moving him level on points with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

READ MORE: Strategy gamble lost Racing Point chance of podium, says Stroll

Lance Stroll: We’ve ‘got to be happy with the result’

Loser: Sergio Perez

The positives were that Sergio Perez’s seventh-place was his best-ever finish in nine Hungaroring starts – and that he has now started the 2020 campaign with a sixth, sixth and seventh in the first three races to put him sixth in the championship.

However, the Mexican struggled with neck pain and felt dizzy during qualifying. And on track, he will have felt he could have had a top-four finish – and probably even a podium, given he had outpaced his team mate Stroll up until he started to feel unwell on Saturday.

WATCH: We had a ‘very poor start’ and it was hard to recover, says Perez

Hungarian GP: Watch the 2020 F1 race start

Winner: Kevin Magnussen

Haas have had a miserable start to their 2020 campaign, the car struggling for performance both in terms of aero and power unit, but when an opportunity presented itself in Hungary, Kevin Magnussen grabbed it with both hands.

The team boldly called him and Romain Grosjean into the pits before the start and fitted dry tyres on a wet but drying track. It paid off handsomely, because everyone else took the start and then was forced to pit, while the Haas cars rose up to third and fourth respectively.

Magnussen did a superb job defending from cars that were clearly much faster than him, keeping a McLaren and Ferrari at bay in the closing stages. It was unfortunate he lost a position, and a point, following a penalty from the stewards, but it was nonetheless a welcome point in a season where it will be very tight between them, Alfa Romeo and Williams for the bottom positions.

READ MORE: Magnussen praises ‘amazing call’ from Haas that helped him to first point of 2020

Hungarian GP: ‘Can you believe it?!’ – Kevin Magnussen takes P9

Loser: Nicholas Latifi

As starts go, Nicholas Latifi made one of the best on the grid, rising up into the top 10 from 15th as he judged the tricky conditions to perfection. But his fortune took a turn when he had an unsafe release into the path of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, puncturing his tyre.

He recovered to the pits, but there was significant damage to the floor and from there, it was simply about getting the car to the finish. He managed it, but the Canadian was five laps down.

WATCH: A ‘good start’ was as good as it got, says Latifi

Hungarian GP: Latifi spins with puncture following pit lane contact

Winner: Formula 1

There was an element of trepidation before Formula 1 2020 restarted, so different was the world courtesy of the coronavirus. But though the opening day was a bit strange, F1 personnel soon found a way to make everything work, and by Hungary, it was functioning like a well-oiled machine.

The Ross Brawn column: Copying in F1 is standard – Racing Point have just done a more thorough job

It’s still not the same, of course, and the races are missing something without the fans. But at least the show is back on the road, as the first international sport event to come back post-Covid. It’s no small feat, given this was also only F1’s second-ever triple header.

But everyone pulled together to make it happen and the Hungarian GP – helped in part by the weather – was a third successive entertaining race. If we keep going like this, hopefully Grands Prix as we know them won’t be far away.

Were you a winner this weekend with your F1 Fantasy team – or is it time to make some wholesale changes? Or have you not signed up yet? If not, it’s not too late, simply tap here to get started.

Race Highlights: 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

Read More

Categories
losers winners

8 winners and 5 losers after Bengals’ entire 2020 draft class – Cincy Jungle

The big weekend that is the NFL Draft is in the books and the Cincinnati Bengals made some noise. They didn’t wheel-and-deal or maneuver like we thought they would, but they largely made sound, necessary picks.

With these additions comes impacts to coaches and players alike. Here are the biggest winners and losers from the fallout of the draft.

Winners

Bobby Hart: Most folks were critical of the contract he signed with the Bengals last year and Hart didn’t start proving people wrong until the final month of the year. With University of Houston tackle Josh Jones available at both No. 33 and No. 65 overall, it would have been an opportunity to at least provide a high-level of competition for the right tackle spot. Instead, Cincinnati waited until Round 6 to address the offensive line in the form of a guard/tackle project.

But, as they’ve told us throughout the offseason, they like the state of the offensive line much more than those of us looking into the window from the outside. They might have Fred Johnson compete with Hart this offseason, but for now, he appears to be the front-runner for the spot on the right once again.

Xavier Su’a-Filo: The team didn’t draft a true interior lineman, and the only one they snagged (Hakeem Adeniji) is a former left tackle they’re looking to mold into a versatile swing tackle/guard. That project could prove to take a year or more for it to bear fruit, even if Adeniji’s talent brings long-term optimism.

The Bengals like Michael Jordan as a guard and Johnson could be in the mix here, too. But, Su’a-Filo fits their scheme well, so he may have the inside track at one of the starting spots, due to the lack of offensive line picks.

Bob Bicknell: The team’s wide receivers coach has a lot to work with in 2020. That’s music to his ears, given the massive amount of injuries that hit the position last year.

Bicknell and Joe Burrow will have Higgins, A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate and John Ross as his top options, with other contributors like Alex Erickson, Damion Willis and others grinding for spots. Cincinnati has arguably the most talented wide receiver group in the NFL, if health isn’t an issue.

Joe Burrow: Sure, the Bengals didn’t invest heavily in offensive line, but Burrow’s coming to a situation with a pretty stocked cupboard. Cincinnati does get the proverbial “extra draft pick” up front with offensive tackle Jonah Williams returning after missing his entire rookie year, while the Bengals’ offense also added Higgins as a weapon in Round 2.

Burrow has two capable backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield, while also having a receiver corps comprised of the talented names listed above. Oh, and making him the No. 1 overall pick in the draft wasn’t a bad start to the weekend for the Heisman Trophy winner, either.

The triumvirate of Lou Anarumo, Mark Duffner and Al Golden: The Bengals have not done a good job of adding quality talent at linebacker. Whether it has been with too many third-round projects (Dontay Moch, P.J. Dawson, Malik Jefferson and more), or getting veterans who were both at the end of their careers and/or poor scheme fits (James Harrison and Kevin Minter), it’s been a virtual wasteland.

With only seven picks on the weekend, Cincinnati used nearly half of them at the position. All three bring a differing skill set, with Akeem Davis-Gaither and Markus Bailey providing particularly high upside. This is after the addition of veteran Josh Bynes and the team will be counting on the continued development of Germaine Pratt.

Duffner’s NFL lineage is largely as a linebackers coach and is a defensive assistant with the Bengals, while Golden is coming into a pretty solid position as the newbie. Anarumo, on the other hand, must’ve pounded the table loudly for help this offseason, as his unit has been completely made over in the past couple of months.

C.J. Uzomah: While tight ends are not heavily-featured in the Zac Taylor offense, Uzomah should be primed for an increase in production for 2020. Tyler Eifert left in free agency and the position wasn’t addressed in the team’s seven picks, so Uzomah becomes the primary big-man target for Burrow.

Brian Callahan: Any time you’re an offensive coordinator and you get a franchise quarterback and consensus first-round talent at wide receiver with back-to-back picks, you’re excited. And, while the pressure should be on the Bengals’ coaches to see marked improvement this year, the leash may be a little longer for Callahan, as Zac Taylor still assumes play-calling duties.

Zac Taylor: With the conclusion of the draft, Taylor officially continued to put his stamp on the roster. He and his crew came late to the party last offseason, thus being rushed through the free agency and scouting processes.

Now, he gets “his quarterback”, an improved defense and a fresh start, so to speak. Looking back at what Taylor had to endure before the season started, in terms of injuries, bad luck and the like, he has to feel pretty good about the direction of his team right now.

The 2020 Bengals and their fans: Not only did the team usher in a new era with Burrow’s entrance, but they received high marks for their weekend draft haul. It’s been one of the most exciting offseasons for Cincinnati football in a long, long time.

Losers

Jim Turner: The team didn’t address offensive line until the sixth round of the draft and only added veteran journeyman Su’a-Filo in free agency to bolster the line. As mentioned above, the team apparently likes the collection of players they have set to engage in some heated battles—particularly at the guard positions.

It would appear that Taylor has supreme confidence in Turner’s ability to develop linemen who have had all kinds of different pathways to the NFL. The line was mostly a disaster last year, largely due to a smattering of injuries. The team failed to make heavy investments in the line to this point though, so Turner’s supposed lineman-whispering skills better be on point to protect the massive franchise asset that is Burrow.

Damion Willis: It’s been quite the roller coaster ride for the 2019 undrafted free agent. He started with that designation, became a preseason star and eventual opening day starter with Green out injured.

The year ended with Willis seeing very limited snaps and he now has to compete for a spot with Higgins and the gigantic undrafted rookie, Scotty Washington. Willis will need another outstanding camp to stick with the Bengals again in 2020.

Alex Erickson: It may be an even higher uphill climb for Erickson than that of Willis. As we’ve said a few times, the Bengals had two guys sniff the Pro Bowl as returners last year in Brandon Wilson and Darius Phillips. That alone could push Erickson out of the picture in what has been his primary role since he was a preseason star himself a few years back, if not the additions of Higgins and Washington.

Also clouding things is the fact that he was holdover from the previous regime. Late last year and into this offseason, Taylor and Co. have not been shy in shedding veterans to re-shape the roster in their image.

Andy Dalton: The obvious situation of being pushed out of a job by Burrow aside, it would seem that teams didn’t come calling (or offer much) for his services over draft weekend. He and his $17-plus salary currently remain on the Bengals’ books.

To piggyback on the previous point, the Bengals have publicly said they’d do right by Dalton and send him to a situation in which he is comfortable, but it’s becoming a “beggars being choosy” situation. While the Bengals may let this sit for a little bit to see what offers, if any, come their way, Dalton not getting to a new situation also could put him behind the eight-ball for the starting opportunity he’s seeking.

Any linebacker not named Josh Bynes or Germaine Pratt: With four new high-profile additions to the position group in the draft and free agency, it may be a bunch of new faces we see on the opening day roster. Cincinnati likely saw the need to corral Lamar Jackson and Co. twice a year, as well as the need to be able to diversify its looks on defense and the new guys give them that ability.

Read More