New Zealand skipper Dean Barker said his team had under-performed in both of the first downwind legs, when Oracle was able to extend its early advantage. With pressure now shifting like the winds, the low-key 41-year-old Barker admitted that Oracle had improved considerably but shook off growing questions of being at the helm of a choke of historic proportions, saying: “We have absolute belief we can win this. Nothing’s changed.” After a sluggish first few races, Oracle has clearly benefited from ongoing changes to its boat and the addition of four-time Olympic gold medalist Ainslie, who has helped the Americans go 6-2 since replacing John Kostecki in the afterguard. The Americans also have benefited from Lady Luck. Three times New Zealand held mid-race leads that were nullified — twice by winds that exceeded acceptable limits, and two days ago when they were in the clear by about a mile but could not complete the course in light winds under the allotted 40 minutes. Oracle has had challenges, too, ones Spithill was more than happy to point out on Sunday. Its first boat capsized and broke apart in a training mishap last year. More recently, its top wing trimmer was barred from competing and it was docked two points at the start of the Cup due to a cheating penalty during a warm-up race using smaller boats. Without the penalty, Oracle, which started at minus-2, would trail only 8-7. This much is sure: The race is no longer a blowout. If Spithill’s cocksure belief in his team a week ago sounded like competitive bluster, he is coming closer to one of the biggest comebacks in sailing history. Bob Fisher, a British sailing expert and author who has covered 15 America’s Cups, said he hasn’t seen a return-fromthe-dead this dramatic since Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand, erased a 1-3 deficit to beat Dennis Conner’s Liberty 4-3 in 1983. “This is a comeback from the grave,” Fisher said. A close competition also bodes well for the future of a race blemished with few competitors due to $100 million cost barriers, legal battles and the death of sailor Andrew Simpson in a May training accident.
USA Today College Football Poll 2013: Complete Week 5 Rankings Released
As a result, not much has changed in this week’s poll . Here’s a look at B/R’s ranks as well. College football fans can only hope the basketball scores give way to more upsets in Week 5. USA Today Coaches Poll Top-25 Week 5 Rank 24 USAToday.com The two-time defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide remain atop the poll after a 31-6 win over Colorado State in Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban ‘s offense converted just 20 percent of the time on third down but was able to hang more than enough points on the board to win. Riding shotgun to Alabama, Oregon took a break from putting 60 points on the scoreboard and enjoyed a bye in Week 4. The Ducks will host California in Week 5 to close out September. As for the rest of the Top 10, this past weekend featured very little adversity. Clemson defeated NC State by 12 points on the road in Thursday night’s prime-time showdown while Ohio State, Stanford, Louisville, LSU, Florida State, Texas A&M and Georgia all won by at least 14 points at home. The Buckeyes made arguably the biggest statement, though, drubbing Florida A&M 76-0 behind six touchdown passes from backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, who set a school record in Braxton Miller ‘s absence. In other early-afternoon action, Heisman Trophy candidate Teddy Bridgewater tossed four touchdowns as Louisville won 72-0 over Florida International. Ohio State’s bitter rival Michigan, survived a scare on the road at Connecticut in prime time on Saturday night. Despite trailing by 14 points in the second half, the Wolverines were able to take the lead on a late field goal and go on to win 24-21 after shutting down the Huskies on their final drive. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports Which is the best team in America after four weeks? Alabama Submit Vote vote to see results Which is the best team in America after four weeks?
Can Team USA Win The America’s Cup?
Until yesterday, a lot of people had written off the 34th Americas Cup. But now, folks are paying attention. Last week, it looked like Emirates Team Team New Zealand would walk away with the Cup; they were up seven races to one in a first-to-nine series. (Team USA must win 11 due to a penalty.) Larry Ellison has cracked a smile, finally. The tides have turned and Oracle Oracle Team USA has sailed and won four consecutive races. Team New Zealand leads with eight races while Oracle now has five. Things are getting interesting The contest has become a nail biter, the machines are incredible and the sailing has been great, said Brad Read, multi-class world champion and executive director of Sail Newport in Newport, RI. (Reads brother is one of the on-air commentators for NBC.) Team New Zealand needs one more win to take the Cupbut they just cant close. Momentum is the most under rated force in sport, said Trinity College squash coach Paul Assaiante who well understands the dynamics of winning. He coached the team with the longest winning streak in the history of any intercollegiate sport. The losing team is relentless because they are one breath away from being dead, and thats the most dangerous animal. Oracle Team USA has been pretty dangerous. Yesterday, they navigated the Bays tricky tides and fluky winds to win races 16 and 17. Oracle Tactician Sir Ben Ainslie executed a risky two-tack sequence to put Team USA firmly in the lead on the last leg of one race. (Tacks take away boat speed, the fewer tacks the better.) And while, sadly, Team USA does not have the entire nation tuning in to watch, Emirates Team New Zealand has its whole country, about four and a half million sailing fans, weighing on them. Lets hope Team New Zealand can find its closer mentality. Yankees Mariano Rivera has it, Read told me, Lets hope Team New Zealand finds it inner Rivera! Today marks the 13th day of racing, making it the longest series in the Cups 132-year history. As one commentator put it, The Summer of Racing has become a Fall Classic. I hope they dont find their inner Rivera just yet. Let the races go on and on and on Today at 1:15 PST, the races start again.
Houston Dynamo vs. Chivas USA | MLS Match Preview
The Dynamo have scored seven goals from set pieces this season. We always try and take advantage of them, said assistant coach Wade Barrett, who handled bench coaching duties vs. Philadelphia with Dominic Kinnear suspended. We have guys who have really good service and have some good guys attacking the ball. For whatever reason, we havent gotten too many of those recently, but it was nice that we did. Ricardo Clark returned to the starting lineup for the first time since coming off in the first half due to injury in the Aug. 17 game vs. Seattle, and he scored his first goal since July 6. Brad Davis returned to the starting lineup after missing the New York match while on international duty and recorded his first assist since Aug. 17. Giles Barnes played a second consecutive match in a midfield role, playing an attacking spot with Clark in a deeper-lying holding role. I think having Ricardo back brings a different kind of athleticism into the team, Barnes said. Everyone knows thats one of his strongest points. His athleticism to get in and around people and to get box-to-box and get winning tackles. That allows the midfielders to get a little more forward. Everyones got defending to do.