"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Friday, August 18, 2017

LOOKING AHEAD TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL: BIG GAMES IN WEEK FOUR

The conference schedules, at least for the ones that play nine league games, kick off in earnest in week 4. The Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12 hit the ground running with some match-ups that will definitely effect the final standings and determine which teams advance to the championship games.

Penn State @ Iowa: Penn State is not only a favorite to win their division, but after the finish last year, they are a legitimate national championship caliber team. But their path is tough, and assuming they take care of Pittsburgh at home, this is a key game. Iowa is good defensively and will force the Nittany Lions to be patient. I don't think many Big Ten teams would like to travel to Iowa City in their conference opener, but if Penn State performs well, it will position them nicely going forward.

Oklahoma @ Baylor: It will be interesting to see how Baylor rebounds from a disappointing finish to their season and what a new coach will bring to the table. If the Sooners are going to contend for a national championship, they'll need to get out of Waco with a win, especially if they sustain a loss in their visit to Ohio State. I like Oklahoma to run the table until they face Oklahoma State, but the Big 12 is a mystery, especially with the wide open style of play throughout the conference.

TCU @ Oklahoma State: If TCU gets past Arkansas and Oklahoma State defeats Pittsburgh, both on the road, this game will take on some national significance. The Cowboys are already picked by many to win the Big 12, but to do so, they'll have to win in Fort Worth.. If one of these teams emerges from this game undefeated, they'll definitely be in playoff consideration, even at an early stage in the season.

Notre Dame @ Michigan State: Both of these teams are coming off sub-par seasons. Some would say that Irish coach Brian Kelly is on the hot seat. I disagree, but there is no doubting the importance of this game. The only thing for certain is that there will be a lot of green in the stands.

Oregon @ Arizona State: I'm fascinated by how Oregon is going to come back from a down season that saw their coach get fired. The Pac-12 juggernaut that found its way to a national championship game can't be that far away, can it? Can Willie Taggert, an east coast guy, bring back glory to Phil Knight's pride and joy? We'll have to wait and see, but an early season loss to the Sun Devils would cast a pall in Eugene.

Washington @ Colorado: What a way to start the Pac-12 slate but with a rematch of last season's conference championship game where Washington totally outclassed the Buffaloes in a 41 - 10 romp. The bad news for Colorado is that they return just two starters from a defensive unit that was the key to their division title a year ago. Washington is hoping to build on the momentum of a playoff run from last season.

Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (Arlington, Texas): Arkansas has yet to defeat A&M since the Aggies became members of the SEC. This is a big game for a number of reasons, not the least of which is recruiting. The Razorbacks can benefit from an increased presence in the Lone Star state and this will be their second consecutive game against a team from the state of Texas. For both of these teams, given the rigorous schedule in the SEC West, a win in this game is almost a necessity for a successful season.

Hear my recent interview with legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg, where we discussed his agency, concussions, franchise relocation and philanthropy at http://thechtonsports.com/cold-hard-truth-sports-radio-show-1242017/

Also listen to our conversation with author and sports journalist Mike Carey, as we discussed his latest book "Bad News" about Marvin Barnes and reminisced about Mike's coverage of the Boston Celtics during their glory years with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert Parish. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/golongmedia/2017/02/08/the-cold-hard-truth-on-sports-radio-show

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. Also check out www.thechtonsports.com for our podcasts and live broadcast on Tuesday's at 8:30 pm EST. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.









Wednesday, August 9, 2017

THE PGA TOUR: LIFE AFTER TIGER WOODS



While Tiger Woods is free diving for lobster off the coast of wherever (Jimmy Buffett could use that as a song title), the young and not so young anymore guns are bombing drives and sinking putts in professional golf tournaments around the world. But like Palmer before him, Woods’ long lasting effect on purses and style of play will be felt on tour for a generation or more. When Woods joined The Tour in September of 1996 (and by the way, entered seven tournaments, won twice and qualified for the Tour Championship), purses on the PGA Tour totaled just over $69 million. Ten years later, after Woods’ incredible run, they topped $257 million, an increase of a whopping 272%. Not even college tuition increased that much during the same time frame. Okay, you say, sports salaries and purses have been increasing like that forever. Not really. In the decade since, golfers have seen a modest increase of 27% in the amount of money they play for bringing the increase during Tiger’s career to a whopping rise of 373%. The increase from 2006 to 2016 is just a little more than the entire amount they competed for when Tiger turned professional. 

Whether Tiger Woods returns to The Tour or not, the monetary effect of his impact should be recognized and appreciated immensely by the current crop of players. This isn’t to say they don’t, but if not, they certainly need to. So where does The Tour move from here? In the absence of a truly dominant player, how does new commissioner Jay Monahan advance the brand and the prize money? It’s truly a challenge, especially as favorites like Phil Mickelson reach the end of his career, but a few things are happening that will make his job a bit easier.  The first goes by the name of Jordan Spieth, and he is beginning to look very Tiger Woods-ish.  He recently won the Open Championship to collect his third major win just before his 24th birthday.  With a victory this week, he would surpass Tiger as the youngest player to win the career grand slam. It would be quite an accomplishment at any age, considering that Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Sam Snead, Tom Watson and Raymond Floyd, among others, failed to win all of the majors in their storied careers. The important thing for The Tour is that he’s young, likable, extremely talented and an American. I know in this global age that last attribute shouldn’t matter, but there’s not a huge difference between Spieth and Irishman Rory McIlroy in terms of success, but there certainly is in how they’re received in the United States. 

Even though fellow Americans Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas haven’t had the same level of major tournament success as Spieth, they form a very strong contingent of American golfers who play at a consistent enough level to be in contention on a regular basis. The most dominant aspect of Tiger Woods was that not only did he win a lot, but for the first several years of his career he never missed a cut. Sponsors could rely on the fact that when he played, there was almost a 100% chance he would be around for weekend.  With a group of popular stars, and we can add the likes of Australian Jason Day, McIlroy when he’s interested in what he’s doing and Japanese sensation Hideki Matsuyama, someone that people want to see is likely to be at or near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon. That’s critical as network broadcast deals and tournament sponsorships are up for negotiation or renewal.  If the PGA Tour can’t keep the ratings and sponsorships flowing, those purses are likely to head in the opposite direction.

In an earlier blog, I wrote about the impact of moving the PGA Championship to May and potentially shortening the season so the FedEx Playoffs would end prior to the NFL season. Overall, I believe that’s a positive, but they’ll still need to contend with having to cut the tournaments that are currently played between the end of the playoffs and the beginning of the “silly season”. Those events had been bolstered, in part, by the decision to have FedEx points awarded and creating a wrap-around season that begins in one year and continues in the next. Not a bad idea, except it created a virtual year-round schedule that, especially for the top Americans, was very difficult to navigate since they play in the President’s Cup one year and the Ryder Cup the next. I don’t think TheTour will be able to put the ketchup back in the bottle, so they’ll need to come up with a way to keep the attraction of the fall tournaments without penalizing players who want a true offseason. Again, in an earlier post, I floated the idea of using those tournaments as qualifying for the four majors and The Players, with each one designated as a qualifier for a particular event and a cumulative system that would award the winner with entry into all five, or at least those that they weren’t already qualified for. 

Overall, I think the PGA Tour is in a solid position currently and heading into the future. The leadership and the players need to continue to adapt to a changing sports landscape and come up with creative ways to attract and retain fans. Whether it’s shorter events, a partner tournament with the LPGA or even different scoring methods, they’ll need to evolve in ways they haven’t needed to in the past. I’m definitely a traditionalist, so if I advocate that creativity is essential, then the need for continued change probably isn’t a radical idea.

Hear my recent interview with legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg, where we discussed his agency, concussions, franchise relocation and philanthropy at http://thechtonsports.com/cold-hard-truth-sports-radio-show-1242017/

Also listen to our conversation with author and sports journalist Mike Carey, as we discussed his latest book "Bad News" about Marvin Barnes and reminisced about Mike's coverage of the Boston Celtics during their glory years with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert Parish. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/golongmedia/2017/02/08/the-cold-hard-truth-on-sports-radio-show

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. Also check out www.thechtonsports.com for our podcasts and live broadcast on Tuesday's at 8:30 pm EST. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Monday, August 7, 2017

THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP MOVES FROM AUGUST TO MAY IN 2019: WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR GOLF?



The 99th PGA Championship is being contested this week at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, but in 2019, the PGA of America will move their championship to May from its current August date. That signals a move for The Players, the PGA Tour’s signature event, to go back to its traditional March date. It could also mean more significant changes to the PGA Tour, not all of them necessarily positive, but probably an improvement overall.

Significant Events March through August: Beginning with The Players and ending with the FedEx Cup playoffs, the PGA Tour will have a nice presence on the sports schedule for at least six months. Of course they will compete with the Final Four, the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup and Wimbledon, but it will keep them away from the football season and the tennis U.S. Open. 

I Repeat, Stay Away From Football: I’m an avid golf fan, but when the NFL kicks off on Sundays, it’s curtains for the final round of the PGA Tour events. There are other alternatives, of course. The Tour could stage their events Tuesday through Friday, but that would all but eliminate spectator attendance. In addition, unless the tournament was on the West Coast, the rounds would need to be delayed and shown in the evening. With the up to the minute reporting in the current “too many networks, not enough content” environment, that’s probably not feasible as the outcome would be known before airing of the action. They could also mandate participation of the top players to maximize viewer interest, but as independent contractors, the Tour can only go so far to enforce the rule with players.

March Still Early for The Players: As a regular attendee of The Players for several years when it was held in March, May is far better from a weather perspective for the fans. But for the course, it’s more difficult from a superintendent’s view to manage the condition of the venue. It’s a tough trade-off, but by teaming with the PGA of America to move their tournament, it appears it’s one The Tour is willing to make.

The Month of May  Could Exclude Some Traditional PGA Venues: Oak Hill in New York might not be able to host in May. The same is true for the Chicago area courses. But it might also open up the possibility for courses that can’t host a U.S. Open or PGA now because of heat, like those in Texas and Florida. The last time the PGA was held at Southern Hills in Tulsa, temperatures were hovering around 100 degrees, making it difficult on the spectators, players and the course. I know, because I was there. So I would call this one a draw.

Reducing the Golf Season to January to August: For many players, especially the top ones that play an international schedule, they don’t generally play in the tournaments held after the FedEx Cup is awarded. This currently puts them at a disadvantage with the FedEx Cup awarding points in those tourneys. By officially ending the season after the playoffs, it would provide a clear beginning and end. The problem is that The Tour would be eliminating four to six official tournaments that now comprise the Fall Season. I have a suggestion that would maintain the integrity of the season, yet still provide a chance for those tournaments to not only survive, but possibly thrive. If the PGA Tour, the USGA, the R&A, the PGA of America and The Masters worked together, they could come up with a system where the Fall Season could be used for qualification into the four majors and The Players. It would still give meaning to the tournaments beyond unofficial money and add some excitement. They could even have a cumulative points system that may result in some high profile players choosing to play, especially if they weren’t otherwise exempt in those events. It would also eliminate the current situation that penalizes players who choose not to play an eleven month season by putting them behind in the FedEx Cup and money categories.

Better Tournaments: By shortening the season, it would mean the top players would be playing against each other more often. That is really what the fans want to see. A great example is the recent Bridgestone World Golf Championship won by a magnificent final round 61 by Hidecki Matsuyama. He prevailed over a star-studded leaderboard that included Zach Johnson, up and comer Thomas Pieters, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson and Ricky Fowler. How great would it be to see more of those tournaments?

Hear my recent interview with legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg, where we discussed his agency, concussions, franchise relocation and philanthropy at http://thechtonsports.com/cold-hard-truth-sports-radio-show-1242017/

Also listen to our conversation with author and sports journalist Mike Carey, as we discussed his latest book "Bad News" about Marvin Barnes and reminisced about Mike's coverage of the Boston Celtics during their glory years with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert Parish. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/golongmedia/2017/02/08/the-cold-hard-truth-on-sports-radio-show

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. Also check out www.thechtonsports.com for our podcasts and live broadcast on Tuesday's at 8:30 pm EST. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Friday, July 28, 2017

LOOKING AHEAD TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL: BIG GAMES IN WEEK THREE



Week three brings the beginning of more compelling conference games, although the conference schedules will still be a week or two away from getting into full swing. The ACC boasts two contests that will have a big impact on the Coastal and Atlantic races, what most experts are calling the top four teams in action. Another ACC team hosts a squad many have as the favorite in Big Twelve, while a very important SEC East clash takes place in The Swamp.

Clemson @ Louisville: Last year’s game was a classic and set the stage for Clemson to contend for and eventually win the national championship. Both these teams will have been tested by FBS opponents by this point, so there won’t be a significant step up in class experienced by either one. With Florida State as the favorite in the ACC Atlantic, the loser of this one will have a difficult time contending for the title, especially with Clemson also having to travel to Blacksburg in an ACC Championship game rematch with Virginia Tech. Louisville’s path is significantly easier, as they draw the other, and much worse, Virginia ACC school. Can you say early elimination game?

Miami @ Florida State: The two favorites in their respective ACC divisions meet in a crucial early season with national implications. Mark Richt, the former Florida State offensive coordinator brings what many believe will be an improved Hurricane team into Tallahassee to face a Seminole team that will already have faced Alabama in week one. The outcome of that game will have a significant impact on the what this game means for the Seminoles. A win against the Tide and they emerge as favorites to get into the playoffs. A loss would mean another one against Miami spells elimination from national consideration. Intriguing to say the least, especially considering the import of this rivalry.

Wisconsin @ BYU: BYU’s late season schedule is probably too weak to put them into playoff consideration, regardless of their record, but to go undefeated they would have had to defeat LSU in week one and then the Badgers in this game. Stranger things have happened, especially early in the season. Wisconsin is always in the mix in the Big Ten, and this year they benefit from a much easier schedule than last year’s killer stretch to open the conference slate. They trade Ohio State for Maryland, a change that gives them a real chance to win the Big Ten West and contend for a playoff spot.

Baylor @ Duke:  On the surface, this game doesn’t have the national appeal of some of the other early season, inter-conference match-ups. However, prior to beating Boise State in the Cactus Bowl to end last season, Baylor had dropped its final six regular season games and more than one of those defeats were pretty ugly. With a new coach and hopefully more disciplined approach both on and off the field, I’m interested to see how the Bears come out of the chute. Duke took a step back last season and will be coming off a game against Northwestern, so we’ll  already have seen if the Blue Devils are headed  back in the right direction.
Oklahoma State @ Pittsburgh: Even before the retirement of Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, many experts were picking Oklahoma State as the favorites to win the Big 12. I’m not necessarily one of them, but a win in a tough place for visiting teams would go a long way toward changing my mind. As mentioned in an earlier post, the Panthers will be coming off a big rivalry game at Penn State. The outcome of that game will make a significant difference in what the contest against the Cowboys might mean.  Back to back upsets for Pitt could set them up for a breakthrough season.

Arizona State @ Texas Tech: Arizona State hasn’t won a football game since October of last year and with head coach Todd Graham on the hot seat, this one is important for the Sun Devils. Neither of these teams made it to bowl game last season and finished with identical 5 – 7 records. Last season Texas Tech was inconsistent on offense and just plain bad on defense, not a great combination in the high scoring Big 12. In their last eleven games, the Red Raiders yielded an average of just under 46 points a game. That’s a very big number, so it might actually be a blessing that they only return four starters off that defensive unit. Arizona State wasn’t any better, giving up almost 47 points a game during their six game losing streak to end the season. This one might end up looking like a basketball score.

Texas @ USC: The Tom Herman era begins at Texas with the former Houston coach making the short transition to Austin. With USC having faced Stanford in a big, early season conference game the prior week, the Longhorns may have an opportunity to catch the Trojans at an opportune time. They’ll need all the help they can get as USC will most likely open the season ranked in the top five nationally. With seven returning starters coming back off a decent defense, Texas has a chance of slowing down a team that won nine games in a row to end last season, capped off with a victory over Big Ten champ Penn State in the Rose Bowl. This one will probably have significant national implications.

Tennessee @ Florida: After Tennessee defeated Florida and followed it up with a win at Georgia to start the season 5 – 0 overall and 2 – 0 in the conference, it would have been difficult to find many that would have predicted that it would be the Gators playing for the SEC Championship against Alabama. But that’s exactly what happened as the Vols proceeded to lose their next three games to fall out of the SEC East race. Despite the odd outcome of last season, this will still be a significant game for these two teams that will probably be chasing Georgia for the division title. The Swamp should be rocking!

Hear my recent interview with legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg, where we discussed his agency, concussions, franchise relocation and philanthropy at http://thechtonsports.com/cold-hard-truth-sports-radio-show-1242017/

Also listen to our conversation with author and sports journalist Mike Carey, as we discussed his latest book "Bad News" about Marvin Barnes and reminisced about Mike's coverage of the Boston Celtics during their glory years with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert Parish. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/golongmedia/2017/02/08/the-cold-hard-truth-on-sports-radio-show

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. Also check out www.thechtonsports.com for our podcasts and live broadcast on Tuesday's at 8:30 pm EST. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Friday, July 14, 2017

LOOKING AHEAD TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL: BIG GAMES IN WEEK TWO

Week One isn't the only weekend where we'll see some intriguing college football games. We see some early conference action mixed in with several inter-regional affairs that will lhelp shape the rankings and establish some early favorites for the playoffs.



Louisville @ North Carolina: Louisville has their sensational quarterback, Lamar Jackson back and this game is interesting because the Tar Heels, after losing starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky to the NFL, are looking stay competitive in the ACC Coastal division. Last year, the Cardinals started out on fire and were within a score of upsetting Clemson and potentially taking control of the ACC. I’m curious to see if Louisville can bounce back from three straight losses to end their 2016 campaign where they gave up 106 points.

Auburn @ Clemson: The defending national champs began last year’s title run with a close win at Auburn. This one should tell us something about both these teams: Can Clemson compete nationally without quarterback Deshaun Watson and will Auburn be able get its offense up to their impressive midseason form of a year ago before they dropped three of four to end the season? Other than this game, Auburn’s non-conference schedule is a cake walk so a win is a necessity if they want to impress the playoff committee. Clemson will have to keep from peeking ahead to a big ACC game at Louisville the following week.

Nebraska @ Oregon: Oregon, coming off a four win season that included a 35 – 32 loss at Nebraska, has a new head coach. ‘Husker coach Mike Riley is very familiar with the Ducks’ Outzen Stadium from his days at Oregon State. Nebraska beat the teams it was supposed to a season ago, but stumbled down the stretch, losing four of their last six, including 62 – 3 at Ohio State and 40 – 10 at Iowa. Can they take the next step in the Big Ten, or even nationally? And will new coach Willie Taggart be able to revitalize Oregon?

Oklahoma @ Ohio State: On a day with some pretty impressive match-ups, this one just might be the best of the bunch. The Buckeyes, on their way to the national semifinals, dominated an Oklahoma team in week three, but the only thing the Sooners have lost since is long-time head coach Bob Stoops. He’s replaced by former offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, who at 33 is the youngest head man in the FBS. Before Stoops’ retirement, Oklahoma was a clear contender to get to the playoffs after getting left out last season, most likely due to that loss to the Buckeyes. This one has the look of an early elimination game.
Pittsburgh @ Penn State: In the renewal of a long rivalry, Penn State lost at Pittsburgh on its way to a 2 -2 start that had head coach James Franklin on the hot seat. All they did was run off nine victories in a row, including the Big Ten Championship game over Wisconsin. A close loss to USC in the Rose Bowl did nothing to dampen expectations coming into 2017. Pittsburgh also ended the regular season well, winning three in a row, starting with an upset of eventual national champion Clemson in Death Valley. Last year’s game was decided by three points, and this one has the potential to go down to the wire again.
Iowa @ Iowa State: This one really shouldn’t be close, but there is something about playing the Cyclones on their home field, where they generally pull a stunner or two every season. Last year, they shocked Texas Tech 66 – 10, eliminating the Red Raiders from bowl eligibility. Iowa is coming off a tough schedule and this could be a trap game for them. Last year they lost early to North Dakota State, which exposed their lack of offensive firepower when they get behind. Can Ames be the site of another Cyclone shocker over their in-state rivals?

TCU @ Arkansas: After a disappointing finish to the 2016 season, coach Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks need to improve on their 7 – 6 record to keep him off a very hot seat. Arkansas squandered a promising 3 – 0 start, with one of those wins coming at TCU in double overtime. This will be an early indication of whether the Hogs can improve on their 3 – 5 conference record. TCU was equally unimpressive the last half of the season and is looking to get back in the Big 12 mix. Fourteen returning starters should help, as long as they show improvement from a year ago.

Utah @ BYU: This game is usually a gem of a rivalry, especially when both teams are nationally relevant. Given the schedules these two teams face, a win in Provo is especially important. Last season Utah was contending for a potential Pac-12 South title before dropping regular season-ending games to Oregon and Colorado. BYU lost four games to Utah, UCLA, West Virginia and Boise State in 2016 by a total of eight points and recorded wins over Arizona, Michigan State and Mississippi State. They’ll be coming off a big game against LSU as they host the Utes. With their schedule and a little better luck in 2017, we could be talking about the Cougars come playoff selection time.

Georgia @ Notre Dame: After one of the worst seasons in recent years, the Irish need to get off to an encouraging start. The schedule isn’t  brutal, but it does include USC, Miami of FL (also Miami of Ohio) and Stanford, among others. A win over the Bulldogs would go a long way to erase the memory of a four win season that included losses to Navy and Duke. But it won’t be easy against a Georgia team that returns ten defensive starters off a team that went 8 – 5 a year ago. Both teams have a lot to play for and it should be an entertaining contest.

Houston @ Arizona: This game wouldn’t ordinarily be on my radar, but Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has to be on the hot seat after a 3 – 9 campaign that included an eight game losing streak. In Houston, Major Applewhite takes over for Tom Herman, who takes over at Applewhite’s alma mater. A lot of interesting story lines in this one, but the most compelling is that Herman left the cabinet not just full, but probably overflowing with seventeen starters returning from a very good football team. The Cougars should have a field day against a bad Arizona defense and I just don’t see the Wildcats being able to keep up. That’s not such a great thing for Rodriguez and his future in Tuscon.

Stanford @ USC: It’s no mystery why this game is on the list. Stanford will be coming off an opening game against fellow rich school Rice in Australia. USC will be trying to extend a ten game winning streak, provided they get past Western Michigan in week one, which is no guarantee. The Trojans boast Sam Darnold, one of the top quarterbacks in college football while Stanford will have to replace Mr. Everything, Christian McCaffery. Can USC be relevant come playoff selection time? Can Stanford generate enough offense to compete in the Pac-12? I guess we’ll see on September 9.

Boise State @ Washington State: Last season, Washington State left Boise in week two with an 0 – 2 record and their coach, Mike Leach on the hot seat. After eight consecutive wins, the Cougars were in the hunt for a conference title before dropping their last three games. Boise lost to Air Force in the final week when they were in contention to be the Group of Five representative in a major bowl. I just like the regional appeal of this game, given Washington State’s proximity to the state of Idaho. Leach returns fourteen position starters off last year’s team, so expectations are high in Pullman. Boise State, well they lost a lot of talent so this game should be a good measuring stick for Broncos.

Hear my recent interview with legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg, where we discussed his agency, concussions, franchise relocation and philanthropy at http://thechtonsports.com/cold-hard-truth-sports-radio-show-1242017/

Also listen to our conversation with author and sports journalist Mike Carey, as we discussed his latest book "Bad News" about Marvin Barnes and reminisced about Mike's coverage of the Boston Celtics during their glory years with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert Parish. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/golongmedia/2017/02/08/the-cold-hard-truth-on-sports-radio-show

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. Also check out www.thechtonsports.com for our podcasts and live broadcast on Tuesday's at 8:30 pm EST. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.