Weekly Nickel 7-16-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The “Dwight Howard (pictured above) Soap Opera” continues. Most people just want it to be over with at this point.

By Josh Kramer

Baseball’s second half has begun with a bang.  NBA free agency continues at a rapid pace.  The “Freeh Report” has turned a legend into a monster officially.  And guess what?  Things are only going to get better.  Last week was one that will be remembered for a long time, but this week will fun its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  All eyes will remain focused on the no longer “Happy” Valley.  The Freeh Report has shaken up the entire college football stratosphere.  Paterno’s legacy has been forever tarnished and his role in the horrific incidents are no longer in question.  The real question now is what will be the punishment doled out to Penn State’s football program?  Are we on the verge of witnessing college football’s first death penalty in over 25 years?

4.  Start your engines, and take a deep breath.  For the first and only time until mid-November, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series takes a break this weekend.  After Kasey Kahne stole the show in New Hampshire, everyone is looking to thrust themselves into the top ten of the standings during the course of the next seven races.  Either you are in or you or out for the CHASE.  As of now, Kahne and Carl Edwards are fighting to move up just a couple of spots by the end of the day on September 8th.

3.  The NBA free agency frenzy, has been just that, an absolute frenzy.  Nobody has any clue what is going to happen next in the “Dwight Howard Soap Opera.”  I for one do not really care at this point.  It appears “Linsanity” will be heading out West officially.  Kyrie Irving is breaking bones.  And Jason Kidd is already causing trouble after joining a new team.  At least we know that Team USA is going to go all the way in London.

2.  Tuesday’s All-Star Game was perhaps the most boring one I have ever witnessed during my lifetime.  The game was over after the first inning.  For all those teams who will be dealing with Justin Verlander during the stretch run this year, take note of what the NL All-Stars did.  They jumped on last year’s MVP/Cy Young Award winner early.  That is the only way to beat this phenomenal pitcher out of Detroit.  Also, how about those Pittsburgh Pirates?  Will the two-decade long drought end?  Time will tell.  My matchup of the week is set to go down in the nation’s capital.

Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals:  Who saw these two teams leading the NL East in the middle of July?  I know I didn’t (the Phillies are still in the cellar).  Both of these teams are the real deal though and have the lasting power to be a contender come October.  I know this for one simple reason.  They both have solid pitching.  Atlanta’s is not nearly as good as Washington’s (never thought I would live to see the day where that was the case), but Atlanta makes up for it with a very dangerous lineup.  The Braves are the second best road team in all of baseball.  Look for them to demonstrate their road warrior mentality and come out of this huge four-game set with a split.

1.  The Open is nearly “open” for business.  Come Thursday, all eyes in the golf world will be focused on the Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club, where the oldest of the four golf majors is set to take place.  Darren Clarke was the man at the top of the leaderboard at the end of 72 holes last July.  Most golf fans are wondering if this is where Tiger Woods will finally claim his 15th major and prove that he is once and for all no longer in the “woods“.  Don’t get your hopes up too much though.  Tiger has not won The Open since winning back to back titles in 2005 and 2006.  Regardless of the final results, it should be a very fun four days at one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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