Press Association “We always thought he was good. I was delighted when he sent him on down the back straight as we know he stays and we didn’t want a sprint. It’s great to give AP a Grade One.” Eddie O’Leary, racing manager to Gigginstown, said: “He was unlucky at Cheltenham. Things conspired against him, but that’s the real Don Cossack. “He’s a Gold Cup horse. He stays and he’s got class. We’ve also got Don Poli and just hope one of them will be lucky enough to be around next year. We’re pessimistic by nature. We’ve got to get them back sound.” Racebets introduced Don Cossack into the betting at 16-1 on the 2016 Gold Cup. Colin Tizzard was delighted with Cue Card and is thinking of running at the Punchestown Festival. He said: “He’s absolutely fine. He beat the rest easy enough, but he didn’t get anywhere near the winner. He was something else. He’ll go to Punchestown now.” Jonjo O’Neill said of Johns Spirit: “He’s a superstar. He always tries. We’ll look at more of these sort of races next season but might be tempted to head again to the Paddy Power as he loves it around Cheltenham.” Tony McCoy was the star of the show for the second day running with victory in the feature race at Aintree as he struck on Don Cossack in the Betfred Melling Chase. While it was in his boss JP McManus’s colours that he won the Aintree Hurdle on Jezki on Thursday, it was for one of the owner’s big rivals in Ireland, Gigginstown House Stud, that he was triumphant this time. McCoy stepped into the breach due to retained rider Bryan Cooper being suspended, as well as being free himself when Uxizandre was ruled out of the race. The Gordon Elliott-trained Don Cossack was making amends for an unlucky run at Cheltenham after winning his first four starts of the campaign, including the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase. McCoy chose to race Don Cossack prominently behind the pacesetting Cue Card before taking over early in the straight. The 3-1 joint-favourite was soon away and clear and flew over the final fence to win eased down by 26 lengths. Cue Card ran a creditable race to fill the runner-up spot on his first start since Boxing Day, with Johns Spirit third. There was drama early on when Balder Succes came down at the third, giving Wayne Hutchinson a bang on his shoulder, and last year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Sire De Grugy fell at the sixth. Like Hutchinson, his rider Josh Moore was stood down for the day. McCoy said: “I owe JP’s son Kieran a favour as we knew early in the week Uxizandre wouldn’t be running and I think Kieran sorted it with Eddie and Michael (O’Leary, of Gigginstown). Even though we have a healthy competition with them in England and Ireland, it’s nice of them to put me up in a Grade One given I haven’t got long left. “I got a good ride off him. Fair play to Gordon, he had him in great shape. I gave him a squeeze down the back, as it worked out he’s better with the bit high in his mouth. “Gordon told me he had a high cruising speed and not to be frightened to be positive, and saying that was like a red rag to a bull.” Elliott added: “I’m delighted, he’s always been the apple of my eye and AP gave him a great ride. It’s unfortunate Bryan Cooper got suspended at Cheltenham as he’s a big part of the team, but I’ve got brilliant staff and owners.
Nuremberg was due to play St. Pauli on Sunday but the club has asked the German soccer league to postpone the game.Hannover’s game against Dynamo Dresden on Sunday was called off after Hannover decided on Thursday to quarantine its players for 14 days.___1:55 p.m.The Greek Olympic committee says it is suspending the rest of its torch relay because of the “unexpectedly large crowd” that gathered to watch despite repeated requests for the public to stay away to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The team gathered Friday at its home gym, with no fans present, to cut down the nets in celebration of winning the league title. FGCU was the league’s regular-season champion but did not have any elaborate on-court celebration when that title was clinched because it wanted to save the real party for an NCAA Tournament berth.FGCU associate head coach Chelsea Lyles tweeted Friday that the team didn’t celebrate the regular-season championship when it happened “because we knew we had bigger goals we wanted to accomplish. So today we danced, cried, cut down our net and celebrated our Regular Season Championship. A celebration of a fantastic year.”___2:50 p.m.Sliding season in the U.S. is over. The dispersal is not mandatory. In particular, many minor league players — especially from other countries — have been hoping to remain in camps, where they have usually access to housing, food and training facilities.____3:02 p.m.USA Diving is immediately suspending all of its activities for 30 days because of the coronavirus outbreak.That includes camps, conferences and any travel to gatherings. March 13, 2020 UEFA has postponed all Champions League and Europa League games because of the coronavirus outbreak.The quarterfinal draws in both competitions, scheduled for next Friday, have also been postponed.The decision comes four days ahead of a meeting to decide the European soccer calendar, including the possible one-year postponement of the 2020 European Championship.___3:35 p.m. The first three stages of the Italian race were scheduled to take place in Hungary in May but the country has banned large outdoor sporting events. Race organizer RCS Sport says the entire race was postponed after they were informed by the organizing committee of the Hungarian stages that those three legs could not be held on the scheduled dates.RCS Sport says “all parties have agreed that they are determined to work together to enable the Giro d’Italia to depart from Hungary at a later time.”___2:10 p.m.The first Bundesliga game has been called off because of the coronavirus outbreak. Associated Press 11:50 a.m.Soccer in Scotland has been suspended following a similar move in England.The Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League say games are off until “further notice.”Six first-division games were scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including the Old Firm game between Glasgow rivals Rangers and Celtic.___ Arsenal and Chelsea announced similar measures on Thursday.Everton says the club is in regular contact with the player in question and is monitoring the wellbeing of all players and staff. Its training complex has been closed down along with its stadium, Goodison Park.Everton is scheduled to play Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Monday.However, it is increasingly likely all Premier League matches will be suspended. League officials are holding an emergency meeting to discuss future steps.___ The league board says there is an increasing number of suspected coronavirus cases affecting German clubs.Three second-division players have tested positive for the virus. Bundesliga club Paderborn said its coach tested negative, hours before his team was due to play Fortuna Düsseldorf, and that it was waiting for test results from an unspecified number of players.___11:10 a.m.The Swiss hockey league will not have a champion this season. A spokeswoman for the women’s professional tennis tour says the WTA is going to wait “a bit more time” to make decisions on whether any additional scheduling changes might be needed because of the coronavirus pandemic.Amy Binder writes in an email to The Associated Press on Friday that the WTA “has an obligation” to players and tournaments “to provide playing opportunities.”She adds that the WTA is communicating with upcoming European clay-court and grass-court tournaments.Binder says it is important to move quickly but also not to “simply react.”She says the WTA expects to make a decision “in the week ahead.” NASCAR and IndyCar have each called off their races this weekend. NASCAR was scheduled to run Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway without spectators but said Friday it is calling off this weekend and next week’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.IndyCar was scheduled to open its season Sunday on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, but suspended it’s season through the end of April. Four races are affected. ___11:20 a.m.The German soccer league has suspended its season, dropping a plan to play this weekend in empty stadiums. The group hopes to eventually reschedule events where possible.___6:35 p.m.The International Table Tennis Federation is suspending all activities — events, development and foundation — from Monday to the end of April.The ITTF executive committee will hold an emergency meeting on Monday. The Japan Open next month had already been postponed, but Friday’s decision also affects Olympic qualifiers for Asia, Europe and Oceania next month.An announcement will be made next week regarding the Hong Kong Open and China Open, both in May, the ITTF said.___2:30 p.m.The NCAA will extend the eligibility of athletes on spring sports teams one year to make up for the season lost to the new coronavirus. The Hellenic Olympic Committee says a large crowd had gathered to watch the flame for the Tokyo Olympics pass through the southern Greek town of Sparta. The flame was lit Thursday at the birthplace of the games in Ancient Olympia in a pared-down ceremony.The committee says it took “the difficult but essential decision to cancel the rest of the program of the flame relay on Greek territory.”It says the decision was taken in coordination with the health ministry and the International Olympic Committee.The handover of the Olympic Flame to the Tokyo organizing committee will go ahead as scheduled on March 19 at the stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.___ With Italy at the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak, the Italian group that represents the three challenging teams postponed a warmup regatta set for April 23-26 in Cagliari. The group said it would ask the America’s Cup arbitration panel to set a new date. That would seem nearly impossible due to the logistical challenge of shipping the 75-foot foiling monohulls.The second America’s Cup World Series regatta is set for June 4-7 in Portsmouth, England, and will be organized by the defender, Emirates Team New Zealand.Part of the INEOS Team UK crew flew back to England on Thursday night, a team spokeswoman said. Team New Zealand’s race yacht is on a freighter in the middle of the Indian Ocean and a spokesman said the team is looking at transferring it to another ship to get it to England.Skipper Terry Hutchinson of the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic, which recently finished winter training in Pensacola, Florida, thanked the Italian organizers “for making an incredibly difficult decision that prioritized the safety of teams, race officials and all organizing authorities. We know it was not easy and taking a leadership position was critical.”SailGP, co-founded by former America’s Cup champion Russell Coutts and tech tycoon Larry Ellison, canceled its regatta in San Francisco set for May 2-3. No new dates have been set for the races but governing body FIA says it expects to begin the F1 season in May when it reaches Europe with the Dutch GP.___1:25 p.m.The first three stages of this year’s Giro d’Italia cycling race in May will no longer be held in Hungary.Writing in a Facebook post, government commissioner Mariusz Revesz says the decision came because of the coronavirus crisis in Italy and Hungary’s declaration this week to ban large outdoor sporting events. ___1:45 p.m.The Bahrain and Vietnam Grand Prix races have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.The Bahrain GP was scheduled to be held next week — at an empty track — and the inaugural Vietnamese GP was set to be held in Hanoi on April 5.The first four races of the Formula One season have all been called off. The season-opening Australian GP and the China GP were previously postponed. The English Premier League has been suspended after three clubs put their entire playing squads in self-isolation because of coronavirus.The league had expected to continue with a full schedule this weekend with fans, but later decided to suspend all matches until April 3 “at the earliest.”The same suspension applies for the three lower divisions overseen by the English Football League and to England’s top two women’s divisions.Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, leading to the cancellation of the match against Brighton on Saturday. Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi also had a positive test on Thursday, while Everton said Friday that a player had reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus and said its squad was self-isolating.Two more clubs said some players or staff would isolate. Bournemouth said Friday that reserve goalkeeper Artur Boruc and four members of staff had symptoms consistent with the virus. Leicester said Thursday that three players had “extremely mild illness” and would self-isolate as a precaution. The sport’s governing body is also recommending all sanctioned activities be suspended for the same amount of time. Its board of directors will meet Sunday to discuss plans for international competitions.___2:55 p.m.Florida Gulf Coast’s women’s basketball team was to play host to the ASUN Conference championship game at Alico Arena in Fort Myers, Florida on Sunday, before the tournament was called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.The Eagles got a celebration in anyway. The World Synchronized Skating Championships had been held every year since 2000, including four times previously in the United States.___6:20 p.m.Sampdoria has announced that four more of its players have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as a club doctor.The club says after forward Manolo Gabbiadini tested positive on Thursday, it carried out tests on defender Omar Colley, midfielder Albin Ekdal, forward Antonino La Gumina, and midfielder Morten Thorsby, who all had light symptoms, and they also tested positive. “We know how disappointing this news will be for so many — the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds, and the millions who watch the race every year,” event director Hugh Brasher said.Previously, coronavirus fears have forced the Barcelona Marathon originally scheduled this Sunday, to be postponed to Oct. 25, and the Paris Marathon on April 5 to be shifted to Oct. 18.The Rome Marathon set for March 29 was canceled earlier.___12:50 p.m. Matches were scheduled to be held in empty stadiums but the French league made its decision in an emergency meeting a day after President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation on television.No indication has yet been given as to when the league could resume. The league says it will next meet on Tuesday following a UEFA meeting.___9:55 a.m.Everton has become the third Premier League soccer club to put its entire playing squad in quarantine after a player reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus. National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman says players and staff have been told to stay away from the rink and self-isolate while the league is on a hiatus of uncertain length.Bettman said in a phone interview Friday with the Associated Press and the league’s website that, to his knowledge, no players or league employees have tested positive for the new coronavirus. But he added that he isn’t certain there isn’t someone who might not be feeling well and is awaiting test results.He told owners the first positive test result by any player would be a game-changer and that the decision to pause the season came after that happened in the NBA.Unlike NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who said his league’s season would be suspended at least 30 days, Bettman would not put a timeframe on the NHL’s break. Bettman said several contingencies are being worked on about resuming the season and still awarding the Stanley Cup, but he would not give a definitive date on when that would have to happen or how long into the summer things could go.Bettman also said it is not the NHL’s independent call when to return to games and did not rule out the possibility of playing in empty arenas. He said games would only resume when the situation is safe. The Six Nations says “we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the U.K. and global sports industries.”It’s the first time the championship hasn’t been completed on schedule since 2001, when Ireland was hit by an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.___12:25 p.m.The Real Madrid basketball player who tested positive for the coronavirus was American forward Trey Thompkins. 12:40 p.m.The Paris-Nice cycling race won’t finish in Nice because of the coronavirus outbreak, and will instead be stopped one day early at the end of Stage 7 on Saturday.The final stage would have taken the race on a 113.5-kilometer (70.5-mile) loop north of Nice. Instead, the race will stop in Valdeblore la Colmiane.___11:10 a.m. ___12:30 p.m.The last remaining Six Nations rugby match was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.The Welsh Rugby Union had earlier insisted its match against Scotland on Saturday in Cardiff would go ahead, but changed its mind by mid-afternoon.It’s the fourth match in the championship to be postponed and means the entire final round, scheduled for Saturday, is off. The second ODI was scheduled to be played in Lucknow on Sunday and the third game in Kolkata on Wednesday. The first game was washed out by rain in Dharmsala earlier this week.___10:30 a.m.The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia, has been postponed until a later date. Augusta National did not indicate when the Masters would be played. That means there will be no golf at least for the next month. The Masters began in 1934 and only World War II has kept it from being played. This was the biggest shoe to drop for golf. The PGA Tour already canceled the next three events leading up to the Masters. Tiger Woods was to be going after his sixth green jacket.___ 10:25 a.m. Revesz says Hungarian and Italian race organizers would seek contract modifications so the Giro can start in Hungary some other time.___1:20 p.m.German club Nuremberg says its whole team and coaching staff are going into quarantine for 14 days after defender Fabian Nürnberger tested positive for the coronavirus.The second-division club decided to conduct tests after two players from previous opponent Hannover tested positive for the virus. Sampdoria says they are all in good condition in their own homes in Genoa. The same applies for club doctor Amedeo Baldari.The rest of the team, as well as the staff and directors, are also in self-isolation at home. The club’s offices and training facilities have been closed and all sporting activity has been suspended. ___5:10 p.m.The London Marathon scheduled for April 26 has been postponed to Oct. 4. ___3:59 p.m.Major League Baseball is encouraging players to go home a day after canceling spring training and postponing opening day by at least two weeks amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.Ballparks in Florida and Arizona were locked down Friday as the sport considered how to proceed following an outbreak that has brought the U.S. sports schedule to a standstill. Teams speculated the season might not start until sometime in May, necessitating a reduced schedule.The league and players’ association were discussing options Friday. Many teams said in the morning they planned to close for the weekend and re-open camps Monday. But a decision was made to encourage players to leave camp in the afternoon. Bremen senator for the interior Ulrich Mäurer says Werder Bremen’s home game against Bayer Leverkusen on Monday won’t be played as scheduled.The game was supposed to be played without any fans in the stadium, but Bremen mayor Andreas Bovenschulte says the decision was taken to call it off because of fears that several thousand fans would have gathered outside the stadium.Thousands of Paris Saint-Germain fans gathered outside the stadium on Wednesday during a Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund.Events with more than 1,000 participants were already banned in a bid to contain the virus outbreak.The rest of the Bundesliga’s 26th round was due to be played without fans present. ___10:30 a.m.The England cricket team’s test series in Sri Lanka has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.The England and Wales Cricket board says it made the decision for the players to return home after discussions with Sri Lanka Cricket.England was set to play the first test of its two-test series on Thursday, with the second test set for March 27. ___1:45 p.m.The World Synchronized Skating Championships have been canceled because of the coronavirus outreak.U.S. Figure Skating and the International Skating Union made the announcement Friday, citing concerns over the spread of the virus and the United States’ ban on travel from Europe.The event had been scheduled for April 3-4 at Lake Placid, New York. The decision comes after the NCAA announced Thursday that its winter and spring championships would be canceled as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus. Some but not all conferences have announced that their spring sports teams would not continue their regular seasons.An athletics official at an East Coast school told The Associated Press that the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee sent an email notifying schools of the eligibility decision. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to release the information.The official read the content of the email but declined to forward a copy because the official’s university monitors outgoing emails.“The Council Coordination Committee agreed that it will be appropriate to grant relief for the use of a season of competition for student-athletes who have participated in spring sports. The committee recognizes that several issues need to be addressed related to providing the additional season of competition, including financial aid implications. The committee will also discuss issues related to seasons of competition for winter student-athletes,” the email read.___ 10:40 a.m.The German soccer league says it will play this weekend’s games as planned without spectators but may suspend the league as of Tuesday.The league board says it will propose a suspension through April 2, to be voted on by member clubs on Monday.All of this weekend’s games are due to be played in empty stadiums.Borussia Mönchengladbach played Cologne on Wednesday and although there were no fans in the stadium, hundreds assembled outside. The league made the decision after canceling the season because of the coronavirus outbreak. It will be the first time since 1940 that no team will be declared champion.Games were suspended two weeks ago when the Swiss federal government prohibited large public events.___10:45 a.m.India and South Africa have called off the two remaining one-day cricket internationals and decided to reschedule the series. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on sports around the world (all times local):4:10 p.m.Two major regattas, including one on the Italian island of Sardinia that would have debuted the radical new boats that will be used in the 2021 America’s Cup, were called off Friday due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ECB says “we look forward to returning to Sri Lanka in the very near future to fulfil this important Test series.”The decision was announced with England playing in a test warm-up match against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI.England also has tests scheduled at home against West Indies in June and Pakistan in late July and August.___11:15 a.m. The Latest America’s Cup warmup regatta in Italy canceled USA Bobsled and Skeleton said Friday that it is canceling its national championships, which were to take place later this month in Lake Placid, New York. New USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Aron McGuire says “we must exercise caution when it comes to the safety of the athletes” amid the coronavirus pandemic.Also Friday, USA Luge said all of its remaining on-ice programs for the season in Lake Placid — including training sessions, youth screening camps, fantasy camps and the Masters championships — are off as well. USA Luge also is delaying its open house for the team’s new indoor refrigerated training center. It was to have been unveiled April 4.USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy says “out of an abundance of caution … we felt it necessary to terminate the season at this point.”___2:45 p.m. Baylor University says it has told its entire baseball team and staff to self-quarantine after learning that three TSA agents in San Jose, California who tested positive for COVID-19 had “indirect contact” with the school’s travel party earlier this week. Baylor said the team will self-quarantine in Waco, Texas, or at their permanent residence. The school said no players, coaches or staff are showing any symptoms of the coronavirus. ___4:55 p.m.Russia is offering to host more European Championship games as UEFA considers whether the tournament can go ahead.Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko says Russia, which hosted the 2018 World Cup, could hold more than its scheduled three group games and one quarterfinal match in St. Petersburg. According to state news agency Tass, Chernyshenko says “we absolutely could expand the tournament program.”He adds that “Russia is ready for however the situation develops, we have plans.”___2:50 p.m.The Giro d’Italia cycling race has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to delay the start of the Indian Premier League T20 tournament by two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak.The tournament will now start on April 15 instead of March 29.___11 a.m.The French soccer league has suspended all matches indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak. On Thursday, the men’s tennis tour suspended all ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour tournaments for six weeks, through April 26.Women’s events have been called off one by one through April 12.The next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, is still scheduled to begin May 24 in Paris.Also Friday, the U.S. Tennis Association said it is suspending all of its sanctioned events through April 20.That includes USTA Pro Circuit tournaments, along with adult, junior and wheelchair tournaments. 5:45 p.m.The Badminton World Federation has suspended all tournaments from Monday to April 12.The tournaments affected include the Swiss Open, India Open, Orléans Masters, Malaysia Open, and Singapore Open.The suspension of the circuit comes into effect following the completion of the All England Open on Sunday in Birmingham.The decision severely impacts Olympic qualifying, which closes on April 30. The BWF previously said it will not change the qualifying window, but said on Friday it “will make a further announcement on regulations related to Olympic qualification points” later. The positive result prompted Madrid’s basketball and soccer teams to enter quarantine because they share some facilities at the club’s training center.Thompkins wrote on Twitter he was “feeling great and just waiting for the virus to pass.”Spain has declared a state of emergency for two weeks to try to contain the virus.___11:50 a.m. The league asked fans “not to gather in front of the stadiums and to do their part to protect the population.”Second-division club Hannover has put its players into self-isolation after two tested positive for the coronavirus. Hannover’s game against Dynamo Dresden on Sunday has been called off.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6
Saturday, in Ann Arbor, will be a wonderful clash of contrasts.Good vs. Evil. Power vs. Speed. Stud vs. Whore.But most importantly, we have the polar-opposite battle of the minds that is Bret Bielema versus Rich Rodriguez. Not to use too much hyperbole, but as the Badgers and Wolverines do battle, two different breeds of coaching will be duking it out for conference supremacy as well.First, there is the obvious opposition in playing styles.The Badgers subscribe to the five yards and a spray of FieldTurf method. The Wolverines prefer to spread the field as far as possible and hit defenses with speed from all angles. Wisconsin moves the ball between 320-pound behemoths on the line, who allow running backs like James White to play peek-a-boo with defenders. Michigan prefers quicker, smaller – relatively speaking of course – O-lineman who probably aren’t even familiar with their teammates, they split so wide at the line. Denard Robinson is instructed to run whenever he sees a lane. Scott Tolzien’s 40-yard dash might not even register on a stopwatch.Yes, it will be highly amusing to see the old school versus new-fangled offense, but the differences between Bielema and Rodriguez run even deeper.When he first took the job, Rodriguez did little to temper expectations decreeing: “Our goal is to be the best program in the nation.” While there have been worse promises and goals to set – we are looking at you, Tim Brewster – it seems like the better move would have been to say something like: “We are trying to get better every day.”Which is exactly what Bielema would say. (Or you know, something about going 1-0, but it is the same difference.)Even this week, some of Rodriguez’s players were talking about Ohio State when Wisconsin was on the docket.“We need this Ohio State win bigger than anything,” senior cornerback James Rogers said this week to the Detroit Free Press. “That’s something we’ve been waiting on, and I guarantee that’s where our focus is going to be at real soon.”It’s not a crime certainly, to talk about the biggest rivalry of the year, but when you have the No. 6 team in the nation up next, it is a little peculiar. And it is certainly something Bielema would never allow. Trust me, you can’t get the Badgers to look past Austin Peay (or Indiana) in interviews.Then there are the simple ethics of each coach.No one will accuse Bielema of being a saint. He is as arrogant and audacious as football coaches come.But Bielema has never had any major violations levied against the program or an NCAA investigation into his practice hours. To an outsider, Bielema has handled every disciplinary problem with aplomb. He has kicked talented players off the team (Kraig Appleton) and likely starters (Aubrey Pleasant and Shane Carter).Rodriguez has simply decided football was more important than studying for his student-athletes.The differences in coaching styles reflect in the attitudes of their teams.The Badgers have turned the ball over the fewest times in the Big Ten and are the least penalized team in the conference. Michigan has turned the ball over more than any other Big Ten team – and three times as much as Wisconsin – and ranks in the bottom half of the conference in penalties taken.Disciplined vs. undisciplined can probably be added to the list, too.The ultimate job of the coach is to win games, so perhaps most of this is simple background noise. Very few Alabama fans or Kentucky supporters care that Nick Saban and John Calipari are more disgusting than the cast of the Jersey Shore.On the other hand, Bielema’s career record is 47-15, while Rodriguez has gone 15-19 at Michigan and will be heading to just his first bowl game this season.As any good English professor knows, there might be something to learn from these contrasts.Michael is a senior majoring in journalism and is the co-author of “Paulbunyansaxe.com.” Think RichRod is a nice guy? Let him know at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @michaelbleach.
Megan McCormick / The Badger HeraldWith apologies to Grantland Rice:Outlined against a blue-gray May sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Evans, Kleist, Brackeen and that kid who draws “Tanked Life” (Steven?). They formed the crest of the Daily Cardinal cyclone before which another fighting Badger Herald softball team was swept over the precipice at Vilas Park Friday afternoon, as a few dozen spectators peered down on the bewildering panorama spread on the muddy green plain below.A cyclone can’t be snared. It may be surrounded, but somewhere it breaks through to keep on going. When the cyclone starts from Vilas Hall, where the candle lights still gleam through the Wisconsin sugar maples, those in the way must take to storm cellars at top speed.Friday the cyclone struck again as The Daily Cardinal beat The Badger Herald, 7-6, with a set of star batsmen that ripped and crashed through a strong Herald defense with more speed and power than the warring journalists could meet.After winning last year’s game the cyclone was indeed snared early on, falling behind the Herald 4-0 after the first two innings. With that advantage, the Herald players could perhaps be forgiven the faintest hints of optimism.Maybe, they might have thought, this year would be different from the last. Maybe this team was good enough. Maybe their newspaper isn’t a visually boring bastion of the passive voice that people flip past on their way to read drivel like “SO to the coastie wearing Uggs!!!1 lolz.”But this year wouldn’t. That team wasn’t. And their newspaper is.The Cardinal cyclone soon restored order to the world, crushing that optimism in a valiant comeback and pulling past their Herald counterparts with great hitting, expert baserunning and a suffocating defense led by pitcher Matt Kleist. The Cardinal cruised to the win as Kleist pitched his way through a tense final inning that ended when Herald Sports Content Editor Kelly Erickson popped out with the tying run on third base.“It was a rocky start, but once the Herald actually started obeying its batting order and not putting the same five guys up to bat every inning, we turned it around,” Kleist said.Epic comebacks that will echo in the halls of glory for an eternity aside, Friday’s game was packed with intense action, controversial calls and the thrilling specter of a six-foot, seven-inch photo editor attempting to reverse direction in a muddy field to avoid getting doubled up on a fly out. It was truly a sight to behold.Umpire, journalism professor and cigar enthusiast James Baughman ruled over a heated but fair game between the rivals, often taking anticipation-packed extra seconds to call base runners out or safe to up the intensity whenever he could.“One of my good friends from Harvard used to always tell me, ‘Jim’ – and he’d always talk like that, and I would tell him, ‘What is wrong with your jaw?’ – anyway, he’d always tell me, ‘Jim, you simply have to make the most of the spotlight when it’s on you.’ And I’ve lived with that advice every day since,” Baughman said. “The only other place where I have so much attention on me is my cats at feeding time, but we all know how fickle Grady is.”After the game, Cardinalistas moved on to the flip cup table to dominate their foes in another arena, before shifting their focus back to kicking the Herald’s ass in the last weeks of the semester. The cyclone, as it always does, rages on.
The top-ranked Trojans will look to remain undefeated on the season as they finish out six of their final 10 regular-season matches at home. The home stand will begin with duals against Washington and No. 15 Arizona State on Friday. The Huskies will kick off the day at 4 p.m. The team is 1-0 on the season, facing a much thinner schedule than other Pac-12 teams. The main event will take place at 6 p.m. when the Trojans take on Arizona State, a top-20 program that offers competition every year. USC has come out on top of all four previous meetings between the two teams, and the team brings the momentum of a 50-match winning streak into the dual.The Trojans will follow up Friday’s dual with a trip to Manhattan Beach on Saturday for the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge. The team will face off against Loyola Marymount, rematch against Arizona State and finish up against Saint Mary’s College.While this weekend’s matches will give the Trojans a full bill of competition, they will also serve up an opportunity for seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes to reach a 100-match win streak. The team is the only Trojan pair to reach 100 wins together, posting a 118-3 overall record in their career together. The duo has helped to lead the team to win 82 of its last 84 dual matches.Despite the veteran leadership of Claes and Hughes, the rest of the Trojans’ pairs are newly formed this season. However, that hasn’t kept them from excelling on the court. Junior Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer are 22-3 overall, notching an 18-1 mark in duals, and junior Terese Cannon and senior Nicolette Martin have notched 19 overall wins on the season. The No. 2 team of seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler, along with the No. 4 team of sophomore Abril Bustamante and freshman Joy Dennis, have both notched 12 victories so far.With the goal of defending their two-time role as national champions, the Trojans are also looking to defend their seat as the Pac-12 champions this season. The team hasn’t lost a match since March of 2016. With only three weeks left until the Pac-12 championships, the Trojans are looking to continue their dominant streak to remain at the top of the conference and the country.
France’s late substitute Mathieu Valbuena scored a rare free kick goal to earn a 1-0 win away to Portugal in a friendly on Friday, their 10th victory in a row against the Portuguese.Valbuena, who came on for Moussa Sissoko in the 80th minute, netted five minutes from time, hid first goal for Les Bleus since 2007 earning a much needed win after two straight defeats.Euro 2016 hosts France have now won all their matches against Portugal since their last defeat in 1975.It was a dull game otherwise at the Jose Alvalade stadium, until France, who dominated possession but looked toothless, found the back of the net.”We put the good ingredients in the game, we had chances, we could have scored earlier,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.”We controlled the game, especially in the second half.” Valbuena added: “It was tough but we dug deep, we were in a rare state of mind”.Deschamps fielded an untypical 4-4-2 formation with Karim Benzema up front with Nabil Fekir, the Olympique Lyonnais forward being handed his first start.However, the in-form Fekir was replaced in the 14th minute by Antoine Griezmann after sustaining a knee injury.”There is a problem with his knee ligaments,” said Deschamps.Anthony Martial, who earlier this week joined Manchester United from Monaco for a reported fee of up to 80 million euros ($89.22 million), started on the bench. Portugal, who lead their Euro 2016 qualifying Group I, started with Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho in central defence.France had the first big chance after half an hour when Rui Patricio parried Blaise Matuidi’s low shot with his left foot.Five minutes from time, Cristiano Ronaldo, who produced a mediocre performance, forced Hugo Lloris into a fine save with one of his trademark free kicks.Benzema, who was substituted for Martial in the 75th minute, also had his chance with a second-half free kick but his fine effort was tipped away by Patricio.It was Valbuena who broke the deadlock when he curled a free kick from over 20 metres into the top corner. The last player to score with a direct free kick for France was Jerome Rothen in 2007 against the Faroe Islands.France next take on Serbia in a friendly in Bordeaux on Monday.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports