Redskins

San Diego State jilts Big East, staying in MWC

San Diego State jilts Big East, staying in MWC

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) San Diego State is staying in the Mountain West and backing out on the Big East - just as Boise State did last month.

University President Elliot Hirshman said Tuesday that the school is pleased to be continuing as a full member of the Mountain West Conference.

San Diego State, a founding member, had committed to join the Big East for football only, with Boise State, starting next season. San Diego State's other teams were going to compete in the Big West.

But recent defections from the Big East caused Boise State to reconsider and strike a deal to stay in the Mountain West. Without a western partner, San Diego State retreated, too.

Unlike Boise State, San Diego State is not on the hook for an exit fee, because Boise State left first. San Diego State becomes the third school in the last 16 months to leave the Big East before ever actually joining. TCU did the same, reneging on a commitment to join the league in 2012 and instead accepting an invite to join the Big 12.

However, SDSU must pay a $1.5 million exit fee to the Big West, which was where its men's basketball team was headed next season before Tuesday's decision. That money will be defrayed by an estimated $2.5 million year-end distribution from the Mountain West.

``After substantial discussion and consideration of a broad range of factors, San Diego State University will be continuing as a full member of the Mountain West Conference in July 2013,'' Hirshman said in a statement. ``We have the deepest respect for our colleagues in the Mountain West, Big East and Big West conferences with whom we have worked collaboratively during the period of conference realignment. We are optimistic about the future of San Diego State University's athletic programs and the prospect of building on our university's rich tradition of intercollegiate athletics.''

The move leaves the Big East with only 10 football members for the forthcoming season, instead of the 12 it had planned to have. It also scraps plans to hold a conference title game, and will force the league office to come up with a new schedule. In early December, it had released a schedule with San Diego State and Boise State in a new western division.

The conference has 10 football members for 2013, but two of those - Louisville and Rutgers - are looking to leave by 2014. Louisville is headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference and Rutgers to the Big Ten, though exactly when those moves will take place is still to be determined.

Those departures, along with the seven non-FBS football members breaking away from the Big East, and the conference's inability to land a TV deal because of all the instability, caused Boise State to change course and return to the Mountain West.

Now the Mountain West will go into next season with 12 members, a restructured television contract with CBS Sports Network that allows the league to make extra money by selling some games, including Boise State home games, to other networks, and it plans to play a football championship game.

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Redskins-Cowboys Week 7 preview: A storyline, a stat and a player to watch

Redskins-Cowboys Week 7 preview: A storyline, a stat and a player to watch

This Sunday, for the 117th time, the Redskins and Cowboys will meet. 

Dallas will bring its 3-3 record into FedEx Field and face off with a 3-2 Washington squad. The winner of the contest will guarantee themselves a share of the NFC East lead heading into Week 8.

Here's a storyline, stat and player to watch for the next installment of this rivalry. Once you're done reading those, you can officially start preparing yourself for some sketchy fourth down decisions by Jason Garrett. 

Biggest storyline

Since his tidy but effective game vs. the Packers, Alex Smith turned in a disconcerting performance in New Orleans and a lukewarm effort (albeit a winning one) against the Panthers. Overall, Smith has looked very in control at times but also uneasy and ineffective at others so far in 2018.

So, the biggest storyline in this edition of the series has to do with Smith. If this game calls for it, can he lead the 'Skins to a victory?

That could be difficult vs. the Cowboys. The QB will be without Jamison Crowder again, and on Friday, Jay Gruden listed Paul Richardson as doubtful. Chris Thompson, meanwhile, is questionable.

So, it's likely Smith will be without two of his most talented weapons and possible that he'll be missing three. And on top of that, he'll be operating behind an offensive line that's had issues, which is contributing to his sometimes shaky feet in the pocket.  

To make things even harder, the Dallas defense allows the second-fewest points-per-game in the league and boasts a defensive line that Gruden is very worried about because it employs a scheme that involves a lot of movement. The Colts D-line uses a lot of stunts and movement, too, and they held the 'Skins to just 9 points in Week 2.

Smith has yet to top 300 yards this season or throw for more than two touchdowns in a single outing. He's had no problem winning when the team jumps to an early lead and the running game is going, sure, but he can't count on that each time he starts. 

At some point, his right arm is going to have to be mainly responsible for a Redskins W. And there'd be no better time for that to happen than in his first shot against his new franchise's most-hated opponent.

One key stat

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott don't know what it's like to play an NFL game vs. Washington and leave that game as the loser. Prescott is 4-0 in his four starts, while Elliott suited up in three of those triumphs. 

Elliott has been a big-time problem for the Redskins in their run-ins. The RB has scored five times against the burgundy and gold and averages 110 yards per appearance. 

Come Sunday around 7:30 or 8 p.m., when Elliott's day is done, odds are you'll be able to look at his stat line and judge the outcome of the game solely based on it.

If Greg Manusky and his defense, particularly his young stars up front, are able to bottle up Zeke, you have to like the Redskins' chances of beating the Cowboys for the first time since the 2015 season finale.

The Redskin to watch

Charley Casserly identified Fabian Moreau as a key Redskin for Week 7 (full video above). Another one worth watching is DJ Swearinger.

Swearinger terrorized Cam Newton last week and really flew around the entire field. He'll need to be as active against the Cowboys and, most importantly, be a sure tackler.

Elliott is going to churn out a few seven- and eight-yard runs. It'll be on Swearinger, plus fellow safety Montae Nicholson, to not let those become 20- or 30-yard gains. 

A lof of the attention, and deservedly so, will go toward what Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis are doing on Sunday. But if Swearinger can take smart angles, get Elliott to the ground and make a few plays in pass coverage, that'll go a long way vs. a limited Dallas offense.

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Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

The connection between athletes and their fans is a powerful thing in sports. The NBA is one of the trendiest, fashion-forward leagues in the world. From shoe design to overall wardrobe to eccentric personalities...the Association has it all on display for fans across the globe to consume. 

Lloyd Ferguson, a fan himself and native of Silver Spring, Md., is bursting onto the customized sneakers scene as an up-and-coming artist. 

His Instagram (@SwaggyPicasso) serves as his personal laboratory and a platform to share his creations. 

Prior to the start of Thursday night's Wizards-Heat game, NBC Sports Washington invited Ferguson to Capital One Arena for what would become a memorable night for the 23-year-old. 

Chris Miller and Drew Gooden featured Swaggy Picasso on the pregame show for an interview and sneaker showcase.

"The inside of my body was jiggling and moving. I was like 'I gotta keep composed and stay cool. You're on national televison, Lloyd.'" 

You would have never known it. 

Ferguson, who was a basketball player himself locally, grew up a Wizards and D.C. sports fan all around. 

Little did he know several Wizards would take notice of his artwork. 

Kelly Oubre, Devin Robinson and John Wall - each known for their wardrobes and respective styles - stopped by to take a peek at Ferguson's kicks. 

"Their reactions to my art was all I needed, honestly. They see the potential and growth. It's very overwhelming." 

It was a groundbreaking night for a young talent with lofty dreams and aspirations. 

Swaggy Picasso has no plans of stopping anytime soon. 

"I've been busting out these shoes day and night. I don't sleep. My desire to paint shoes is ridiculous." 

 

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