Purdue football sends worst recruiting letter, hands down

Well, that’s one way to get a recruit to consider your school

In the college football recruiting rat race, many schools are turning to more and more elaborate photoshops to entice high school athletes to consider their program. Purdue isn’t like many schools. According to one recruit, it appears the Boilermakers have tried a more minimalist approach.

Thanks to Purdue for sending me this empty envelope. pic.twitter.com/YPUPUJjt4v

— Kamran Beitvashahi (@Big_Kam72) October 31, 2014

This isn’t the first time that Purdue has sprung for a minimalistic look with their promotional materials, which is fine, since maybe the Big Ten isn’t about all that flash and sizzle. Maybe sending empty letters is the new bold recruiting strategy! Or maybe somebody at Purdue just made a mistake. I’m told those happen sometimes with recruiting materials.

MLS Playoffs 2014: Bracket, schedule and scores

When are they playing? Where are they playing? Who plays who? Get it all here.

The MLS Cup Playoffs are here. They are six weeks of chaos that conclude on December 7, when one team will be crowned champion of it all.

The regular season set the seeding for the playoffs, with five teams from each conference making the postseason. The fourth and fifth seeds will play a knockout match, with the winner drawing the top seed in the conference semifinals. The conference semifinals and finals are both two-legged ties, while the final is a one-off at the home of the team with the better regular season record.

Knockout round

Eastern Conference semifinals
First legs
Second legs
  • D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls or Sporting Kansas City – Saturday, Nov. 8, 2:30 p.m. (NBC)
  • New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew – Sunday, Nov. 9, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Western Conference semifinals
First legs
Second legs
  • LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake – Sunday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas or Vancouver Whitecaps – Monday, Nov. 10, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Conference championships
First legs
  • TBD – Sunday, Nov. 23, 1:30 p.m. (NBC)
  • TBD – Sunday, Nov. 23, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Second legs
  • TBD – Saturday, Nov. 29, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)
  • TBD – Sunday, Nov. 30, 5 p.m. or 9 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS Cup
  • Eastern Conference champion vs. Western Conference champion – Sunday, Dec. 7, 3 p.m. (ESPN)

Marian Hossa reaches 1,000 career points against the team that drafted him

Just one more milestone in a hall of fame career.

Marian Hossa joined elite company on Thursday, becoming the 80th NHL player to reach 1,000 career points. And, as usual, he did it in style.

It was almost inevitable that Hossa would accomplish the feat this night. He needed just two points to reach the milestone, and the Chicago Blackhawks just happened to be playing in Ottawa, the team that drafted him in the first round in 1997.

Hossa notched his first point of the night in the first period by assisting on Jonathan Toews‘ goal, and then made everyone wait until the third period until the grand finale. Hossa’s thousandth point was a deft wraparound that beat Craig Anderson.

Hossa joins Jaromir Jagr, Joe Thornton and Jarome Iginla as the only active players with 1,000 points. All four will be in the hall of fame someday.

3 things we learned from the Red Bulls' comeback win over Sporting KC

New York can thank Bradley Wright-Phillips for their win and upcoming date with D.C. in the conference semifinals.

The New York Red Bulls are heading to the Eastern Conference semifinals, and it thanks to Bradley Wright-Phillips. The man who tied the MLS single-season scoring record kept his form up in the postseason, delivering twice to bring New York back from 1-0 down to deliver them a 2-1 win against Sporting Kansas City.

The first half wasn’t exactly a showcase for either team, as neither played especially well. Sporting were a mess, creating just one good chance, while the Red Bulls were sloppy and when they did get looks at goals, their finishing was atrocious. Tim Cahill had an especially rough time of it, blowing a golden chance when he fired over the bar from four yards. He was also lucky to avoid a red card when he stepped on Benny Feilhaber’s ankle.

Despite struggling to get anything going, Sporting never seemed to panic. They continued to press and keep the Red Bulls from working through the center of the pitch despite rarely having the ball. They weren’t going to create much as part of a build up, but they planned on doing it in transition from their press and in the 53rd minute, it worked.

Eric Alexander got the ball taken at midfield, allowing Sporting KC to transition quickly. Feilhaber took the ball straight down field, drawing defenders, then hit a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Dom Dwyer, who buried his shot on the first touch for the goal.

The Red Bulls’ attack looked the same even after Sporting went in front. It wasn’t particularly dangerous, with Thierry Henry the only real threat, but in the 77th minute, that was enough. Henry got free down the left then dragged the ball back beautifully for Wright-Phillips to finish. Wright-Phillips didn’t hit his shot great, but he got a bit of a deflection to help him out and that was enough to put the ball in the back of the net.

The match looked bound for extra time, but Wright-Phillips made sure it wouldn’t happen in the 89th minute. The man who led the league in scoring was somehow left completely unmarked on a high, floated cross that he was able to head perfectly off the inside of the post and in to seal a dramatic win for New York.

New York Red Bulls: Robles, Eckersley, Olave, Sekagya, Miller, Alexander, McCarty, Sam, Cahill, Henry, Wright-Phillips.

Goals: Wright-Phillios 77′, 90′.

Sporting KC: Kronberg, Ellis, Collin, Besler, Sinovic, Feilhaber, Claros, Nagamura, Sapong, Dwyer, Zusi.

Goals: Dwyer 53′.

3 things

1. The Red Bulls’ finishing was atrocious – Cahill had the worst miss, shooting over from four yards in the first half, but he wasn’t New York’s only miss. They had four clear cut chances that they couldn’t even put on frame, let alone score. Wright-Phillips eventually found the net, but even that shot needed a deflection to find the back of the net. Wright-Phillips’ second goal was an excellent header, but if the Red Bulls did a halfway decent job of finishing, they would have had tfour or five goals.

2. Matt Besler needs this winter break – Besler established himself as one of the league’s best defenders in 2012 and 2013, and most figured that this season would be more of the same. it started well enough, and he played decently at the World Cup, but he had a terrible finish to the season. That carried over to the playoffs, where he was routinely losing markers and, along with Aurelien Collin, allowed the Sporting back line to fall into disarray. It’s stunning just how far Besler has fallen since the World Cup and he may just need a break. Hopefully he can rediscover his form next season.

3. New York vs. D.C. should be a treat – MLS keeps pushing rivalries and that is what they are getting in the conference semifinals, when New York and D.C. will revive the league’s oldest rivalry. D.C. will be heavy favorites and rightly so. They were the East’s best team in the regular season and their defense is fantastic, while the Red Bulls hardly look spectacular, but Henry and Wright-Phillips have shown they can turn nothing into something. They could do that again and leave their rivals in tears.

NCAA upholds Todd Gurley suspension for Florida and Kentucky games

Georgia sat its Heisman-contending running back for two games already, and the NCAA says he must sit out for two more.

The NCAA announced that Todd Gurley, star Georgia running back, must miss a total of four games for breaking its rules against athletes profiting off of their own names and likenesses. According to the institution, he accepted “more than $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia and other items over two years,” and the established suspension length for such a violation is 30 percent of a season, or about four games for a football player.

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Gurley already missed two games due to a school suspension during the investigation, after which Georgia moved to reinstate him. He’ll now have to miss two more, against Florida and Kentucky. He will return for No. 11 Georgia against current No. 3 Auburn. In his absence, Georgia won handily against Missouri and Arkansas.

Georgia investigated Gurley after a Florida fan tried to sell the story to media outlets. Other Florida fans, such as Alligator Army, have mixed emotions at best about the ruling.

From the NCAA:

Todd Gurley, University of Georgia football student-athlete, must sit a total of four games, or 30 percent of the season, for accepting more than $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia and other items over two years. Gurley, who acknowledged violating NCAA rules, must repay a portion of the money received to a charity of his choice and complete 40 hours of community service as additional conditions for his reinstatement. Gurley will be eligible to play on Nov. 15.

In determining the appropriate reinstatement conditions, a 30 percent withholding condition is consistent with precedent in similar cases. Additional withholding was strongly considered because the violations occurred over multiple years with multiple individuals and the student received extensive rules education about the prohibition of receiving payment for autographs. However, the university’s due diligence in its investigation and the student’s full disclosure of his involvement in the violations were factors in not imposing a more severe withholding condition.

The University submitted its original reinstatement request on Wednesday, Oct. 22. The NCAA requested additional information on Friday, Oct. 24, which it received from the university on Saturday, Oct. 25, and Sunday, Oct. 26. The NCAA issued its decision to the university on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 28.

The university indicated it will appeal the decision. A membership committee which oversees the reinstatement process will review the appeal this week. The committee can reduce or remove the conditions the staff has imposed, but cannot increase them.

Update:

Membership committee upholds Todd Gurley suspension upon appeal. He will be eligible to play Nov. 15.

— NCAA (@NCAA) October 31, 2014