The Buffalo Bills Are In The Playoffs

The Buffalo Bills have made the 2018 NFL Playoffs, ending an 18-year drought, and it is GREAT for the NFL. Now, I say this as a die-hard Miami Dolphins fan, but really, it was time. The Bills started the day on Sunday as the most unlikely of the four teams vying for the two wild-card spots to make it, but alas they found a way.

Before anything else, of course, the Bills needed to beat my Fins. And, to be honest, I didn’t really see a highlight on RedZone of the Dolphins until the fight at the end. Ol’ David Fales did his best, but like his namesake…he failed.

Next, the Bills needed some help. They needed the Titans and Bengals to win. Blake Bortles was out there throwing the ball to the other team and it just seemed like the Jaguars didn’t really care that much. What was really exciting, was the Red Rocket, Andy Dalton marching the Bengals done the field to knock the Ravens out of playoff contention. I was super surprised because I don’t think anyone is used to Dalton being a clutch QB, but then I remembered it was the regular season. I honestly don’t know what was better, the game-winning drive or the Bills’ reaction.

Never mind. Of course, the reaction was better. Look at my boy, Zay…so excited.

So why is it good for the league, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

First of all, the Bills are “Panthers North,” as we like to call them at QMS. Just off the top of my head, the former Panthers on the Bills include Kelvin Benjamin, Joe Webb, Mike Tolbert, and Sean McDermott, who is their new Head Coach. Wouldn’t it be something if the Panthers and Bills somehow met in the Super Bowl? Rongy’s head might explode.

Secondly, BILLS MAFIA. My words couldn’t do them justice, so here are some highlights.

And finally, the most important reason that the Bills making the playoffs is good for the league…Zay “Darth Zayder” Jones. There’s no secret that I’m a big Zay Jones guy and he had an up and down year, to say the least, but he’s going to be a stud. Trust me. Hailing from ECU, better known as WIDE RECIEVER UNIVERSITY. The guy can flat out catch the football. Look for him to have a sneaky big playoff run because the playoffs gon’ be LIT.

The Bills meet the Jaguars in the first round and this game will really depend on two things. Is Shady McCoy able to play and which Blake Bortles will we see? Bortles is a total bro, but I’m picking Bills Mafia to find a way in a close game. If they win, then they go to Foxboro, and it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season, right?

I’d like to end this with a RIP to the Chargers’ season. The Cannon almost had an aneurysm knowing that a team that the Chargers beat by 30 is making the playoffs over them. Got to love tie-breakers. Also, congrats to the Browns, who now rightly own the longest playoff drought at 15 years and counting.

2018 World Cup Groups Drawn

2018 World Cup: Analysis & Predictions

The 2018 World Cup groups were drawn today and I AM HYPE. Like so many other US Soccer fans out there, I’m also pretty bummed that we aren’t going to be participating, but it’s still the World Cup. Don’t give me the “Well, we’re not in it, so I’m just not going to watch it.” You sound like a child and honestly you can get over yourself. Italy, who has been a soccer powerhouse forever, didn’t make it. Netherlands, who made some noise in the last World Cup and is downright scary to face, didn’t make it. So, like I said, get over yourself…we aren’t the only one left out. Yes, I’m going to miss going crazy at bars on match days wearing Red, White, & Blue too, but it’s going to be okay. This is a beautiful event. Root for your favorite league team’s players or pick a dark horse. Just watch the event, okay? Okay.

Now, let’s get down to it. I’m sure if you’re a true soccer fan, then you’ve been watching TV all day and listening to those bozo analyst’s picks and breakdowns, but they’re predictable. Here’s my knee-jerk picks and analysis.

 

Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

First Reaction:

Is anyone going to say it or am I going to have to? COLLUSION. The average FIFA Ranking in this group is 45, and that’s with Russia’s own 65. In the US, we know a little something about Russia colluding in the things, but seriously? I don’t think that they’ll make it out of the group anyways, but they definitely have a shot. All it takes is one slip up by Uruguay or Egypt and they could squeak by into the Round of 16.

Projected Finishes:

1. Egypt – I think that the top two or even three in this group is a bit of a toss-up, but I’m going with Egypt to win the group for one simple reason; Mohamed Salah. If you haven’t had the chance to tune into a Liverpool game this season, check this cat out. He can play anywhere up front and chances are, he’s putting one in the back of the net EVERY SINGLE GAME.
2. Uruguay – They’ve been here before and I just don’t think they let an opportunity like this slip by. They are favorites to win this group, but I think they finish 2nd.
3. Russia – I want to pick them to advance so badly, but I just can’t do it. I’m absolutely certain that something crazy is going to happen in one of their matches though.
4. Saudi Arabia – They’re lucky to be here.

Bold Prediction:

Mohamed Salah is the leading goal scorer of all groups at the conclusion of group play.

 

Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

First Reaction:

We have a neighbor battle! I love when things like this happen, because this tournament is more about countries going at it than individual players. That game is going to be crazy to watch.

Projected Finishes:

1. Portugal – Portugal was unfortunately drawn into the “Group of Death” last world cup and didn’t make it to the Round of 16. I think that Ronaldo realizes that this is his last chance to make a World Cup run and handles his business.
2. Spain – Don’t get me wrong, Spain is still a powerhouse, but they’re days of dominance are numbered. If I were them, I would give younger players a shot in this World Cup.
3. Iran – I don’t see Iran moving to the Round of 16, but I also don’t think they’ll go down without a fight.
4. Morocco – They’ll be lucky to scrape out a point in group play.

Bold Prediction:

Cristiano Ronaldo nets a late winner against Spain to secure the group.

 

Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

First Reaction:

If France doesn’t win this group then it’s going to be an all-time low for that country, and they have had some lows. Besides them obliterating everyone, I think this is going to be a very entertaining group to watch.

Projected Finishes:

1. France – Like I said, France should win this group…easily. They have some firepower up front with Pogba, Martial, Lacazette, and even more. I foresee them winning the group with a solid 9 points.
2. Peru – It’s going to be tight between Peru and Denmark, but I see Peru scrapping by on goal differential. Peru has been held out of this tournament for a long time so I think the country will rally behind the squad and push them through.
3. Denmark – They’ll score 4 points in the group and lose on goal differential.
4. Australia – The game against France is going to be a BLOODBATH.

Bold Prediction:

France finishes the group with 9 points and a +9 goal differential.

 

Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

First Reaction:

You have to root for a country that has the same population as Corpus Christi, TX, right? I’m all in…LET’S GO ICELAND.

Projected Finishes:

1. Argentina – This one is easy. They have the best player in the world as their captain. They’re winning this group.
2. Iceland – Can I get a Viking Clap? Listen, I know that this is a dark horse pick, but Iceland has heart. They’ll get by the stringiest hair in their Viking beard.
3. Croatia – I think they’re a better team than Iceland, but I’m all in on the Viking train. They barely miss out on the Round of 16.
4. Nigeria – A lot of times in group play, it counts just as much on how you play against the fourth place finishers. Nigeria is a fiery squad and I think they’ll take a point away from either Iceland or Croatia.

Bold Prediction:

Iceland makes it to the Round of 16.

 

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

First Reaction:

Switzerland is a very consistent team, but I think their FIFA Rank of 8 is a little too high. Look for them to get upset.

Projected Finishes:

1. Brazil – With Neymar Jr., Coutinho, and Firmino this Brazil team is as talented as any up front. They’ll be fun to watch going forward.
2. Costa Rica – This Costa Rican team is solid on defense, which will be very important when goal differential comes into play. It’s all about how they hold up against Brazil.
3. Switzerland – Switzerland will miss out on the Round of 16 because they’ll lose worse to Brazil than Costa Rica.
4. Serbia – I don’t see them getting any points in this group.

Bold Prediction:

2nd place comes down to goal differential with Costa Rica squeaking by.

 

Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

First Reaction:

If I was Mexico, I would be PISSED right now. I don’t think that this qualifies as a “Group of Death,” because of South Korea’s presence, but it’s certainly top heavy.

Projected Finishes:

1. Germany – The defending champs get the job done and win the group.
2. Sweden – This all comes down to Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing. If he plays they’ll ride him to the Round of 16, and I think he’ll play. Why? Because “Lions don’t compare themselves to humans.”
3. Mexico – Mexico lets the unfavorable group get to their head and don’t make it through.
4. South Korea – Poor South Korea.

Bold Prediction:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic plays and is the leading goal scorer in Group F.

 

Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama

First Reaction:

This is the draw that England needed. They missed out on the Round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup, but with this draw, they’ll make it easily this time around.

Projected Finishes:

1. Belgium – Belgium may be the best-rounded team in the whole tournament. They’ll get a tough match from England but ultimately win the group.
2. England – England will focus on getting through rather than trying to win the group. With their fans, they NEED to get through more than anything.
3. Tunisia – I admittedly don’t know much about this Tunisian squad, but I’m always excited to see African teams play.
4. Panama – They’re overmatched in this group, especially at the top.

Bold Prediction:

The top spot comes down to goal differential between Belgium and England.

 

Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal, Japan

First Reaction:

Sadio Mane and Senegal are going to ruin someone’s first place finish.

Projected Finishes:

1. Colombia – James Rodriguez and Colombia get right back on track and win the group
2. Poland – Plays solid against all three teams, but ultimately finishes second.
3. Senegal – Sadio Mane shows out against Poland and steals a point, but the African team won’t finish higher than third.
4. Japan – No points for Japan

Bold Prediction:

Sadio Mane edges James Rodriguez as top goal scorer of the group.

 

Round of 16

 

Quarter Finals

 

Semi Finals

 

Final

 

Winner

 

After many years of trying to get back to winning way, 2018 will be the one that brings it all together for this talented French squad. It’s a bold pick, I know. Usually the smart move is to go with the solid team, such as Germany, but I believe this is the year that the youngsters prevail. Any which way this tournament shakes out, I’m sure it’ll be packed with entertainment.

 

Is Zay Jones a Magician?

Zay Jones is that Dude

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Zay Jones guy. I met him a couple times when we went to ECU, he’s currently rostered on my fantasy team, and he even favorited a tweet of mine. I’m also 1000% sure that he has no earthly idea who I am, which I’m okay with. He seems like an A+ guy, and even though he’s had some trouble transitioning to the NFL, I’m still convinced he’s going to have a solid NFL career. All of this doesn’t matter, however, because I’m almost 100% sure that he is a real-life Jedi.

There are a few reasons that I believe this, but they all came to the culmination last week when he somehow floated back up from the ground.

See the video here:

The first time that I saw the video, it was in GIF form, and I honestly thought someone slyly made a GIF of him falling in rewind. Then, I saw the whole video and my mind was BLOWN. I’m not a physicist or anything, but this doesn’t seem humanly possible. I’m convinced that it’s magic. Whatever the case, I’m hoping that we see more of it. Could you imagine a TD celebration with this kind of trickery? EPIC.

P.S. After Zay’s first career NFL TD, he celebrated like this:

ABSOLUTELY convinced that he is a Jedi…or a Sith Lord.

LONG LIVE DARTH ZAYDER.

RIP Roy “Doc” Halladay

Damn man, this sucks. It seems like every time you turn around another MLB pitcher is dying in a tragic accident. First Jose Fernandez, then Yordano Ventura, and now Doc. Of course, the first two guys were in the beginnings of what were undoubtedly going to be fantastic careers and Halladay’s career had already ended, but 40 is way too young to go…especially in a fatal accident such as a plane crash.

Growing up, Roy Halladay was one of those pitchers that I loved to hate. Derek Jeter was always my favorite player and the Marlins were my favorite team, so to see Doc slice and dice my boys all the time really got to me. I viewed him kind of like I did Kobe…respected the hell out of his craft, but just couldn’t bring myself to pull for him. And then he retired, and I, like every other true baseball fan, raised my glass to a great player. I was glad to see him retire. I was glad that he wouldn’t be a pain in the Marlins’ side any longer. But I was also glad to witness the greatness of his career.

Roy Halladay’s career was one that will always be remembered. It included a Cy Young award in both the American (for the Blue Jays) and National (for the Phillies) Leagues, a Perfect Game against the Marlins in 2010, and a playoff no-hitter that same year against the Reds. Doc finished his career with a 203-105 record, a 3.38 ERA, and 2,117 strikeouts. Amid his ridiculous career achievements, Doc also was a man of the people off of the field, where he was nominated for the Roberto Clemente award multiple times and just seemed to be an all-around great guy.

So tonight, I encourage everyone to cheers to Doc, put in MLB 2k11, and K up some batters with that legendary Split-Change in honor of the all-time great. RIP.

TreBabs’ NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

TreBab’s NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

Short and simple. Here’s my NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 9.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (—)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (—)
3. New England Patriots (—)
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (—)
5. Buffalo Bills (+3)
6. Los Angeles Rams (-1)
7. Minnesota Vikings (-1)
8. New Orleans Saints (+2)
9. Seattle Seahawks (+7)
10. Atlanta Falcons (-3)
11. Houston Texans (-2)
12. Tennessee Titans (—)
13. Carolina Panthers (-2)
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (+3)
15. Baltimore Ravens (+8)
16. Dallas Cowboys (-3)
17. Los Angeles Chargers (+5)
18. Washington Redskins (-4)
19. Oakland Raiders (-4)
20. Green Bay Packers (—)
21. Detroit Lions (-2)
22. Denver Broncos (-4)
23. Arizona Cardinals (+1)
24. Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
25. Chicago Bears (+1)
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1)
27. Miami Dolphins (-6)
28. New York Jets (—)
29. New York Giants (—)
30. Indianapolis Colts (—)
31. San Francisco 49ers (—)
32. Cleveland Browns (—)

BREAKING: Jay Ajayi To The Eagles

Ajayi to the Eagles for a 4th-Rounder

Recently, it was reported that the Miami Dolphins traded RB Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 4th-round draft pick, and boy, do I have some things to say.

Before I get into bashing my favorite football team, I would like to wish The JayTrain the best of luck in Philly. I hope you win a Super Bowl and shove it right in the Dolphins faces.

Okay, now let’s get right to it. What are we thinking!? I understand that trades are a part of the sport, but really? A 4th-rounder? I understand that Ajayi’s numbers aren’t the best this year, but that’s the Dolphins fault. The offensive line is just that…offensive. They clearly can’t push forward for the run and they aren’t great at protecting the QB, either. Aside from the lack of blocking, the offensive scheme is all wrong for the kind of runner Ajayi is. His nickname is literally “JayTrain,” which would imply that he might need some steam before meeting the line.

Instead of putting him 7 or 8 yards behind the QB in a single back set, the Dolphins put him beside the QB like they’re going to run a read option or something. There are only a couple of RBs in the league that should be lined up that way. Le’Veon Bell can line up beside Big Ben because his running style is patient. Shady McCoy can line up beside Tyrod Taylor because his QB is mobile, so they can run all sorts of options. But Ajayi, like Zeke and LaGarrett Blount, needs to get some momentum going before they hit the line of scrimmage because they thrive on contact. They are power backs.

I don’t know what else to say here. From the Dolphins’ perspective, it was just a bad trade. On the other hand, the Eagles might have just assured themselves the NFC East. It seems as if Ajayi will be the perfect compliment to their young QB, Carson Wentz, and the other three teams in the division are on the downtrend…unless the Redskins can find a receiver at the deadline. (Watch it be Jarvis Landry)

So the Eagles may win the Super Bowl and the Dolphins may end up getting a top-5 draft pick. These two franchises are going in very different directions just because of this one move. Every year, I say “let’s make this the best Trade Deadline ever,” no matter what the sport. I love trades, always have, so it’s only right that my team rips my heart out using one of my favorite things.

Again, I wish you the best, JayTrain. Keep running people over and get yourself a ring. Enjoy Wentzylvania.

Trade Deadline Coverage

Breaking: Panthers Deal Kelvin to Carolina North (Buffalo)

Breaking: Jimmy G to the 49ers for a 2nd Rounder

TreBabs’ NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

TreBabs’ NFL Week 7 Power Rankings

1. Philadelphia Eagles (+1)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (-1)
3. New England Patriots (–)
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (–)
5. Los Angeles Rams (+4)
6. Minnesota Vikings (+1)
7. Atlanta Falcons (-2)
8. Buffalo Bills (+5)
9. Houston Texans (+1)
10. New Orleans Saints (+4)
11. Carolina Panthers (-5)
12. Tennessee Titans (-4)
13. Dallas Cowboys (+3)
14. Washington Redskins (-2)
15. Oakland Raiders (+3)
16. Seattle Seahawks (+3)
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (+6)
18. Denver Broncos (-7)
19. Detroit Lions (-2)
20. Green Bay Packers (-5)
21. Miami Dolphins (+4)
22. Los Angeles Chargers (+4)
23. Baltimore Ravens (-2)
24. Arizona Cardinals (-4)
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
26. Chicago Bears (+2)
27. Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
28. New York Jets (-1)
29. New York Giants (–)
30. Indianapolis Colts (–)
31. San Francisco 49ers (–)
32. Cleveland Browns (–)

TreBabs’ NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (–)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (+5)
  3. New England Patriots (–)
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers (+6)
  5. Atlanta Falcons (-1)
  6. Carolina Panthers (–)
  7. Minnesota Vikings (+2)
  8. Tennessee Titans (+4)
  9. Los Angeles Rams (+5)
  10. Houston Texans (+5)
  11. Denver Broncos (-6)
  12. Washington Redskins (+5)
  13. Buffalo Bills (–)
  14. New Orleans Saints (+6)
  15. Green Bay Packers (-13)
  16. Dallas Cowboys (–)
  17. Detroit Lions (-9)
  18. Oakland Raiders (-7)
  19. Seattle Seahawks (+2)
  20. Arizona Cardinals (+6)
  21. Baltimore Ravens (-2)
  22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4)
  23. Jacksonville Jaguars (-1)
  24. Cincinnati Bengals (-1)
  25. Miami Dolphins (–)
  26. Los Angeles Chargers (+2)
  27. New York Jets (-3)
  28. Chicago Bears (+1)
  29. New York Giants (+1)
  30. Indianapolis Colts (-3)
  31. San Francisco 49ers (–)
  32. Cleveland Browns (–)

Jeremy Lin’s Season Is Over

The NBA has just started back up and we’ve already had multiple season-ending injuries. First, Gordon Hayward, and now, Jeremy Lin is done for 2017.

See the video here:

Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that Jeremy Lin is as good as Gordon Hayward, but he is one of the better players on a terrible Nets squad. Losing him means that the Nets are going to give the Bulls and Suns a real run for the top pick next year. Unluckily for them, that pick belongs to the Cavs, because it was part of multiple trades.

I haven’t brought myself to watch the Gordon Hayward injury video, but I have seen the photo, and it was bad. Jeremy Lin’s knee injury is a little different. Anytime there’s a knee injury where the knee stays intact, it’s hard to tell the severity of the injury…that is until you see the player’s reaction. Jeremy Lin knew it was bad. His reaction went from confused to distraught and it was hard to watch, honestly. I’ve had my fair share of injuries playing sports over my lifetime, but nothing like a ruptured Patella Tendon. You have to feel for the guy. To work your ass off all summer trying to be your best for a terrible squad and then it’s just over. That sucks. Hopefully, Lin will rehab and get right back out there next season, but knee injuries are no joke, especially in the NBA.

Yankees vs. Astros: Game 6

Tonight at 8:08 PM, EST at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Game 6 between the Yankees and the Astros will be played. The Astros started out 2-0 in the series, but have fallen to 3-2 after three straight unimpressive offensive outings. The good news for the Astros, is they’re sending out their newfound ace in Justin Verlander.

Friend of QMS and avid Yankees supporter, Tyrell Brown aka Panda, has graciously supplied us with his “5 Keys” to the Yankees taking Game 6. I delightedly agreed to play Devil’s Advocate and supply my own “5 Keys” for the Astros, so I’ll lay them out, and we’ll see who calls it.

Panda’s 5 Keys (Yankees) TreBabs’ 5 Keys (Astros)
1. Scoring First:

In this series, the team that scored first has won 4 out of 5 times. The one exception being the Yankees in Game 4, large in part to their late innings rally. Best case scenario for the Yanks is someone in their lineup sends a Verlander mistake over the wall.

 

 

1. Justin Verlander:

Verlander has been a monster ever since he joined the Astros, especially in the postseason, but his best game of his tenure came in Game 2 of this series. He only allowed 5 hits & 1 ER, while striking out 13 in a Complete Game gem. Hopefully, for his sake, he’ll get a little run support this time around.

 

2. Aaron Judge:

As we’ve seen all year, the Yankees are a completely different team when Judge produces. In this series, he has gone a respectable 5-16, with 2 HRs and 6 RBI. The Yanks have won in every game that he has hit an RBI. It really comes down to the rookie, which is scary, because he was awful against Verlander in Game 2, going 0-4 with 2 Ks.

 

2. Power From Superstars:

This series has been completely different from the ALDS, where the Astros were sending balls out of the park left and right. They’ve only hit 1 HR as a team, which was a 1st inning shot from Carlos Correa. Severino has been known to leave a ball or two up in the zone, so this is the perfect match-up to pounce on a mistake.

 

3. Production From DH:

The Yankees’ DH spot has featured primarily Chase Headly, but Gary Sanchez and Matt Holliday have also hit in the spot for a game each. Combined, the DHs have went 5-16, with most of the production coming from Headly in Game 5. I imagine that Headly will get the call again for the Yanks. At the very least, they’ll need the veteran to be a tough out in the 9-hole.

3. Hitting With RISP:

The Astros have been absolutely terrible with runners in scoring position in this series, going 4-27. This is going to have to change tonight or their October run is going to come to an end.

 

 

4. Bullpen:

Over the course of this series, the Yankees’ Bullpen is averaging over 3 innings pitched a game. They know their strengths, and they are going to play to them. The only real mishap that their Pen’s had, is the walk-off Chapman gave up in Game 1. In a perfect world, Severino will give them a strong 5 innings tonight and hand the ball off with a lead.

 

4. Chasing Severino:

Severino has been an up and down pitcher all year long. He has tremendous upside, but he tends to get in trouble early in games. The Astros need to interrupt the Yankees’ game plan tonight by getting to Severino in the first couple of innings. If he gives the ball off with a lead it’s going to much harder for them to win.

 

5. Getting To Astros Bullpen:

Other than Game 5, the Astros’ Bullpen has actually been really good, but not as good as Justin Verlander. If the Yankees can get to at least one pitcher between Verlander and Giles, then their chances of winning this game will go up immensely.

 

5. Taking Back Momentum:

This one comes down to something more than statistics. We all know that “home field advantage” can be a very real thing, especially in the postseason. Ever since the tragic Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, their fans have really rallied behind this team, and they’re going to need that support to force a Game 7.

 

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