"Looking long term, they'd be wise to groom Hyde to take over."
-Rana L. Cash, Sporting News
In case you missed it, Carlos Hyde was in peak El Guapo mode last night. In the 49ers' first preseason game, the former Buckeye carried the ball five times for 39 yards. Hyde picked up 19 of those on a single carry down the left sideline.
Frank Gore, the 49ers' putative number one back, is thirty-one years old. Running backs, even great ones, have historically seen their production fall off drastically after age thirty. Gore ran for 1,128 yards in 2013--good for ninth-most in the league. But it's hard to see the oft-banged-up Gore maintaining that level of production for more than another year or so.
Enter Hyde. The bruising back is currently playing at 230 lbs on a 6-foot frame. Not only does Hyde have tremendous upside, but the 49ers backfield seems ripe for him to take and hold the No. 2 spot. Longtime second banana Kendall Hunter was waived by the team in the offseason, and former South Carolina standout Marcus Lattimore has so far failed to return to his pre-knee injury form. Speedster LaMichael James is also out with an elbow injury. Carlos Hyde's style of play and diverse skill set should set him up nicely to be San Francisco's back of the the future.
"Just like sabermetrics infiltrated baseball, similar analytics are creeping into this corner of the football universe."
-Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports
Ohio State's football program has signed on with the fledgling data company SportsSource Analytics. SSA, just three years old, will be one of the most influential voices in college football this season--besides contracts with strong programs like OSU, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Clemson, the company will also have an "intimate" affiliation with the new CFP Selection Committee. According to Steven Prather, one of the four founders of SSA, the committee will have "access to a ridiculous amount of information."
The hope, in switching to a data-over-eye-test model, is that the "right" selections will be made for the four-team playoff. While the numbers are certainly informative, how to interpret them could remain a thorny problem for the committee. Take perennial title favorites Tulane and UT-San Antonio--each finished with seven wins last year, despite the Green Wave having the best starting field position in football and the Roadrunners having the worst.
What the numbers are unquestionably good for is cementing Ohio State's superiority over Michigan. Of teams with top-10 aggregate recruiting classes since 2000 (crunched by analyst Dave Bartoo), only Michigan and Georgia have failed to reach a National Championship game. Coaches in Ann Arbor are great grocery shoppers and terrible chefs.
"It appears Philadelphia and Minnesota have a separate deal lined up that will send [Anthony] Bennett to the 76ers."
-Chris Fedor, Cleveland.com
By now, the world knows that Kevin Love will be joining LeBron James in Cleveland for the upcoming season. A minor tweak was made to the deal on Friday morning, which will purportedly send much-maligned forward Anthony Bennett to the Philadelphia 76ers via the Timberwolves. The deal will not affect the players coming to Cleveland in the deal.
Bennett, drafted first-overall in 2013, averaged just 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in his first season in the league. Bennett's slimmed-down form in this year's summer league made waves across the world of sports media--or perhaps just in the LGHL newsroom--and the sophomore looked to have found more of a groove in the team's exhibition games. (Side note--shouldn't we give Anthony Bennett credit for inspiring LeBron's #NoCarbSummer?)
Minnesota will receive Thaddeus Young as part of the deal. The deal will not be made official until August 23rd, which meets the 30-day moratorium on trading rookie draft picks after their signings.
"At the moment...the Crew does not hold any concrete offers for Gonzalez."
-Adam Jardy, Columbus Dispatch
Costa Rican World Cup standout Giancarlo Gonzalez won't be leaving the Columbus Crew just yet. Talks between the Crew and the English Premier League's Fulham broke down on Thursday, according to coach Gregg Berhalter. "I wouldn't expect that we'll be dealing with them again," said Berhalter.
Gonzalez, a central defender, played every second of Costa Rica's surprising run to the World Cup's final eight. The 26 year-old signed with the Crew in February. His short tenure has seen Gonzalez appear in eleven games.
In the 2014 World Cup, Gonzalez was named to the group stage's Starting XI by ESPN thanks to his sterling play on defense. In the round of 16, the defender converted his attempt during the team's penalty shootout against Greece.