Last but not least? That's the saying, but Group H may be the weakest of them all.
Is this a cakewalk in the making for Belgium?
World Football Featured Columnist Ryan Bailey joins Reese Waters to discuss who will come out of Group H in the video above.
Who are you picking to come out of Group H and why? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
I would love for Wade Barrett's next piece of bad news he declares behind his new podium to be his wrestling career isn't being treated well.
This weeks Reality Check is on the new Bad News Barrett gimmick. I talk about my reaction during it, what I like, what I don't and even toss in a little English accent.
The top of the Serie A table has been incredibly competitive throughout the season, and Matchday 15 is unlikely to change that.
Juventus entered the week in first place with a three-point lead over AS Roma. Meanwhile, Napoli is not far behind either, as the clubs fight for positioning in the table and a spot in next year's Champions League.
With a number of close battles set for the weekend, there are certain to be plenty of changes in the standings. Here is a look at the updated table, with a view of Week 15 as a whole.
Juventus showcased their strong defense to get things started on Friday. Bologna had a few decent opportunities throughout the match, but they could not maintain possession and failed to get the ball beyond Gianluigi Buffon.
An early goal from Arturo Vidal in the 11th minute got the scoring started for the first-place club, and then Giorgio Chiellini provided the second score with only minutes to go. This was all the club needed to leave with a 2-0 victory.
This was the seventh win in a row for Juventus, and it was enough to keep the club ahead of Roma in the standings.
Of course, Roma will have a difficult time matching this production with a tough battle against Fiorentina on Sunday. This pits two of the best offenses in the league against each other, although few have been able to score against the Roma defense.
If Rudi Garcia's club cannot get the full three points, it will provide an opportunity for Napoli to gain some ground. They face Udinese in a winnable home match on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Inter Milan will try to get their first win in three matches when they take on Parma at home on Sunday.
Hellas Verona, Genoa, AC Milan and a few others will also try to secure wins against weaker opponents over the course of the weekend. The question is which clubs will be able to earn all three possible points. Those that cannot will simply be left behind.
The entire slate of matches is certain to be exciting, so make sure to keep up with the action throughout the weekend.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.
Argentina should be very pleased with the results from the World Cup draw. With Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria and Iran rounding out Group F, the Argentinians are clear favorites to emerge as the top seed from their group.
Who will be the second team to make it to the knockout stages?
World Football Featured Columnist Ryan Bailey joins Reese Waters to break down Group F for the World Cup. Check out the video to hear what they have to say and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
This season was disappointing by the historically established lofty standards of Tennessee's football program, but that doesn't mean 2013's 5-7 mark was unexpected.
Virtually all of the Volunteers' offensive production from last year left for the NFL. They still returned the same dearth of talent on a historically bad defense. And Butch Jones was implementing a new offensive and defensive scheme in his first season as head coach.
Yes, 2013 was predictably doomed from the start. Unfortunately for the Vols, losing seasons have come in abundance lately.
But that doesn't change the fact that UT had the opportunity to beat Vanderbilt and Kentucky to make it to the program's first bowl game since 2010. The Vols didn't, and that is unacceptable.
There are various reasons why Tennessee couldn't close the deal. So let's examine a position-by-position report card to dissect where things went wrong and what UT must do moving forward.
Bowling Green 0, Northern Illinois 0—Pregame
Bowling Green and Northern Illinois will clash in the 2013 MAC Championship Game Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit (8 p.m. ET, ESPN 2).
Jordan Lynch is trying to lead the Huskies to back-to-back BCS appearances with a win. However, Travis Greene, Matt Johnson and the rest of the Falcons want to crush their high hopes and steal the MAC away from them.
Follow along here for all the MACtion in tonight's championship game!
After an agonizing eight months of waiting, Los Angeles Lakers fans finally have the prize for their patience within their grasp.
No more speculation. No more guessing games.
Just a highly dramatic two-plus-minute video announcement on the Lakers' official Facebook page, a somehow perfect declaration of the return of Hollywood's biggest star.
Apparently, Bryant never had his game jersey for his seven-plus months of rehab. Judging by the video, that's been hanging somewhere in the clouds.
It's hard to say those are L.A. clouds, though, with all the rainstorms and snow flurries falling around the garment. Out of nowhere, a lightning bolt strikes the jersey, slicing through the front of it, no doubt symbolic of the torn Achilles he's been nursing back to health since April.
Suddenly, the sun shines so blindingly bright that it overtakes the rest of the screen. As the light retreats into the clouds, Bryant's jersey is remarkably fixed. No more tear; just a flawless piece of purple-and-gold brilliance.
As the screen fades to black, viewers are left with one final message. You know, in case you couldn't figure out what a weather-battered, self-healing jersey signified:
The flick is not for everyone:
But to me, it's perfect.
Why? Because it's Kobe. It's L.A. And, of course, it's on Facebook.
He shared the pain this injury caused him mentally and even showed off the physical damage.
So, yes, it had to be on Facebook.
And it had to be dramatic, too.
Think about which franchise we're talking about here. The Showtime Lakers, the only team that could get away with keeping a "Hollywood Nights" jersey in its closet.
Is it a little over the top? No. That's not L.A.'s style.
It becomes larger than life the second the Hollywood music starts pumping through your speakers:
Bryant's return could never be something you pore over in the newspaper—they still make those, right?—or a message received courtesy of an insider's tip from an all-access reporter's Twitter feed.
It had to fit the role that the Mamba has played so masterfully for the Lakers over these last 17 seasons.
It had to capture the very essence of the moment—a superhero has returned.
Borussia Dortmund host Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday in the Bundesliga's big match of the weekend. But that's far from the only good game in a packed schedule.
Nurnberg and Mainz kicked off the weekend with a match on Friday evening. Then six matches were slated for Saturday, with two more set for Sunday.
In the following slides, we take a closer look at all the action.
Stats via WhoScored.com.
Click here for the league table.
The draw can be cruel sometimes. Group D features Uruguay, Italy, England and Costa Rica.
Is England in trouble?
World Football Featured Columnist Ryan Bailey joins Reese Waters to discuss who will come out of Group D in the video above.
Who are you picking to come out of Group D and why? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
The Arizona State Sun Devils will look to rebound after Sunday's loss to the Miami Hurricanes. The DePaul Blue Demons are looking to defeat there second member of the Pac-12 after beating the Oregon State Beavers 93-81 on Sunday. Action starts at 7:00 PM EST.
Arizona State's offense relies heavily on Carson. CBSsports.com's Borzello wrote that "Carson has been one of the best players in the country this season...Given the new rules, he has been borderline unguardable due to his quickness and ability to get into the lane and finish."
While much has been made of the U.S. men's national team being placed in the "Group of Death," one of the biggest stories coming out of the World Cup draw is the opening game for the Spain and Netherlands—against each other.
The two met in the final of the 2010 World Cup, with Spain winning the gritty match 1-0 to claim their first World Cup in team history. The two will meet once again on June 13, 2014 in one of the most highly anticipated matches of the group stage.
Though it likely won't produce 14 yellow cards and a red card like the 2010 Final, here are some of the keys to victory for both sides.
The Spanish have one of the best midfields in the entire tournament. With Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta shoring up the midfielder positions for Spain, it is by far their biggest strength against a team like the Netherlands.
In fact, the Spanish are still stacked with so much talent that FIFA has them coming in as the No. 1 team. But the odds look stacked against them to win the whole thing, according to ESPN:
The defensive consistency of the Dutch continues to be a problem heading into the World Cup, an issue the Spanish will look to exploit. The strong play of the Spanish midfield should create opportunities for the strikers, and Spain has more than enough talent at that position as well.
With a combination of Fernando Torres and David Villa, one of the two is likely to be a hero for Spain. Lest we forget, the Man of the Match the last time these two faced off in the World Cup was Andres Iniesta, who tallied the winning goal with just four minutes remaining in extra time.
Currently the No. 9 team in the world according to FIFA, the Netherlands are a formidable foe for Spain in the opening round. The talent on this team lies with their attacking style and midfielder Wesley Sneijder, along with strikers Robin Van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Despite all of their talent, Goal.com believes the Netherlands will be out in the group stage:
In order for the Dutch to pull out the opener, it will need to exploit a somewhat shaky defense for Spain. Part of a defense that struggles with lapses of its own, Van Persie and Arjen Robben will need to step up. If Robben can overcome his me-first attitude on the pitch, the Netherlands might stand a chance to defeat Spain and make a run.
Despite a poor performance in the World Cup Qualifiers, France will look to redeem themselves by snatching up first place in the mediocre Group E.
Will France move on to the next round?
World Football Featured Columnist, Ryan Bailey joins Reese Waters to discuss France's chances.
Which teams will advance?
Team USA midfielder Graham Zusi is excited about being drawn into the so-called "Group of Death" because it offers up three unique challenges for the Americans in the group stage.
The Yanks will see world power Germany, one of the World Cup favorites, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. There is also the 2010 World Cup rematch with Ghana, which upset the United States just four years ago.
Find out why Zusi is confident in this group and why this offers a few dream matches for the United States.
The path to World Cup glory has become clearer following Friday's draw in Bahia.
Who will pick up the famous trophy on July 13? The bookmakers feel it will be Brazil, but are they right?
We've asked five of Bleacher Report's World Football experts to give us their predictions from the group stage all the way to the final.
You can see their predictions over the following slides; let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
The Seattle Mariners signing Robinson Cano isn't the last big move you'll see this offseason.
ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas reported the team signed the All-Star second baseman to a 10-year, $240 million deal.
Even with Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury off the market, plenty of marquee names are still available. Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli have yet to find homes, while Masahiro Tanaka and Ervin Santana are among the hurlers looking for new teams.
Then you've got the multitude of possible trade scenarios that could come good in the coming months.
The free-agent market is very fluid, changing on a daily basis. Rumors can change in a matter of hours. For now, here's the latest on three of the bigger names who could be moving soon.
How about a starting rotation with Felix Hernandez as the ace and David Price as No. 2? That's what the Mariners could look like come next season.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reported that Seattle could look to trade for the Tampa Bay Rays ace.
It would make sense that the Rays would look to trade Price this offseason. He will be a free agent after 2015, and it's almost impossible that Tampa Bay will have the money to re-sign him. In addition, the team has stockpiled enough arms that it could be successful without him.
Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported that the Rays would be looking to get at least minor-league pitcher Taijuan Walker back.
The 20-year-old Walker was called up to the Mariners last season after working his way through the system. He's one of the brightest prospects in baseball and would help to provide Tampa Bay with an ace in the making.
Another free-agent target for the Mariners is Choo. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported Choo is among a host of other outfielders the team is tracking this offseason.
Should the 31-year-old outfielder sign with Seattle, it would be a bit ironic, considering he started his career with the franchise but was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2006 for Ben Broussard. It would be an expensive way for the Mariners to admit they made a mistake.
Although 2013 was far from a career year for the outfielder, he hit .285 with 21 home runs, 54 runs batted in and 20 steals.
Signing Choo would make Seattle's offense very formidable.
Despite having two good seasons in Philadelphia, Jonathan Papelbon has reportedly been made expendable by the Phillies. According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the team is trying to get away from the final three years of his contract.
In 131 appearances for the Phillies over the past two years, the veteran closer has saved 67 games and kept an earned run average of 2.67.
At 33 years old and making $13 million a year, you could see why Philadelphia might want to move on to cheaper alternatives. Closers in general are overpaid. Every year there's somebody who emerges and saves 30 games. A couple of years later, usually after he's gotten a huge contract, he struggles to get 20 saves.
Although Papelbon still has plenty of value, the Phillies want to get ahead of the problem.
Bayern Munich's four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table over Bayer Leverkusen at the start of Week 16 leaves them assured of entering Week 17 as the team on top.
Of course, with a match against 13th-place Werder on tap, Munich shouldn't be walking away with anything less than three points anyway.
On top of that, the two teams directly behind Munich in the table will be busy battling each other.
Borussia Dortmund will host Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday at Signal-Iduna-Park. Dortmund can't let this opportunity pass. Trailing Leverkusen by three points in the table, Dortmund must use the home pitch to help send Leverkusen to defeat.
That match highlights a Saturday packed with action. Six matches are scheduled for Saturday, and they will be followed up by two on Sunday.
On Friday, Nurnberg and Mainz got Week 16 action underway. Check out the latest table and then a recap for the completed action.
Nurnberg's Per Nilsson netted a goal in the fifth minute to delight the home fans at Grundig-Stadion. Those fans are certainly anxious for something to cheer about.
Nurnberg entered this match still looking for their first win of the season. For most of Friday, it looked like they were going to get it.
With aggressive and effective play, Nurnberg showed some of their best form all year.
At match's end, they had controlled 61 percent of possession, made two more tackles and had five less fouls. It was all for naught, however. Well, all for a single point, I suppose.
Shinji Okazaki netted an equalizer in the 75th minute for the game's final score.
The point wasn't enough to push Nurnberg out of the bottom two. It was enough to help Mainz overtake Hertha Berlin for seventh.
There are very few events where people place bets quite like the World Cup.
Ever since the last World Cup, pundits and fans alike have argued as to who the favorite will be in Brazil, but that was before the draw determined each team's path.
So, following the draw, what are the odds for each national powerhouse to capture the most prestigious trophy in the world?
Find out the odds and Bleacher Report's take for the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Belgium and Spain.
The New York Knicks (4-13) will look to start their first winning streak of the season on Friday night when they square off against the Orlando Magic (6-12) at Madison Square Garden.
After defeating the Brooklyn Nets by 30 points in the Battle of the Boroughs on Thursday evening, the Knicks will look to sustain similar offensive productivity against a Magic team that's allowing 102.3 points per game, the fifth-worst mark in the NBA.
And while New York has hardly been an offensive powerhouse this season, Thursday's showing proved that the Knicks are still a formidable bunch when they're moving the ball, making extra passes and hitting from beyond the arc with regularity.
However, in order to secure a second straight win, the Knicks will need to be on their toes defensively, too. The Magic possess a number of dynamic weapons, and none has been more important to the team's success than Arron Afflalo.
Entering Friday night, Afflalo ranks ninth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 22.9 points on 48.8 percent shooting and 46.3 percent shooting from three, a mark that ranks No. 14 overall among qualified players.
For the Knicks, the offensive burden will once again fall on Carmelo Anthony, who currently sits at No. 2 overall in scoring at 25.9 points per game. Anthony leads the league in field-goal attempts per game (21.6) but is shooting just 43.1 percent from the field on the season.
Keep it locked here on Bleacher Report throughout the night for real-time updates and analysis as we get set for a 7:30 ET tip between the Knicks and Magic.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
In the aftermath of one of the craziest weeks in recent offseason history, it's natural to wonder if the winter meetings will disappoint baseball fans.
After all, with Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Curtis Granderson and Joe Nathan off the board, five of the 15 best free agents, per Yahoo! Sports, are signed, sealed and delivered before the sport ascends on Disney World.
Free agency may have accelerated a week too early for winter-meetings buzz, but the trade market has left plenty for baseball fans to look forward to in Orlando, Florida. When the baseball world arrives, expect buzz to generate around the biggest prize available on the trade market: Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price.
Already, the rumors have begun. According to Dayn Perry of CBS Sports, count the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates among teams pursuing the 28-year-old lefty. Insiders such as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and CBS Sports' Jon Heyman singled out the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers as possible suitors on MLB Network.
As budgets are set, depth charts altered and executives prepped on how to best alter their franchises, Price's name will emerge from the trade block and onto the headlines for three reasons: his status as one of the truly elite pitchers in baseball, below-market value of his contract and the philosophy of his current team.
Since arriving to the big leagues in 2008, and becoming a full-time starter in 2009, David Price has been among the best pitchers in baseball. Any team acquiring him wouldn't just get an ace, they would receive the potential for back-to-back Cy Young-caliber campaigns before Price's contract expired after the 2015 season.
Simply looking at Price's career ERA (3.19), WHIP (1.15), win-loss record (71-39) or K/9 (8.1), paints the picture of a dominant starting pitcher. Yet his case as one of the top 15 arms in baseball is buoyed when comparing him to other top arms in the sport. Since 2009, using criteria of an ERA+ better than 120 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio better than 3.00, very few pitchers make the cut.
As you probably imagined, Price is one of them. Some pitchers who didn't meet the standards for consistent excellence over the last five seasons: Cole Hamels, Madison Bumgarner, Max Scherzer, Mat Latos and Jordan Zimmermann. When placing Price in the context of the 10 or 11 best pitchers in baseball, along with his 2012 American League Cy Young award, a true ace emerges on the trade market.
Due to the beauty of Major League Baseball's arbitration system, Price will be compensated over the final two years of his original contract. According to Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors, Price is estimated to earn $13.1 million in arbitration for the 2014 season. If a contract extension isn't reached before 2015, Price could cost his next team around $30 million for the next two years.
Yet, considering the $100 million price tag attached to free-agent pitcher Ervin Santana, $32 million deal afforded to Jason Vargas, two-year, $35 million pact San Francisco lavished on Tim Lincecum and uncertainty over Masahiro Tanaka's posting from Japan, per ESPN, Price is virtually a steal, considering his ability, at $30 million over the next two years.
His deal is palatable to any suitor because it's not just a one-year contract. If 2014 was set to double as Price's contract year, his market would be much, much smaller. Outside of the few big-market teams that truly can afford his next contract, it would be foolish to give up significant prospects for one year.
However, two years of greatness is enough to convince general managers to part with the future.
If any team understands the power of value and leverage, it's the Tampa Bay Rays. Over the last three years, general manager Andrew Friedman has traded away two top-tier pitchers, Matt Garza and James Shields. Through no coincidence, both were two years away from free agency. This juncture represents the perfect time for a deal.
After giving Tampa Bay five outstanding seasons, Price is about to become much more expensive in arbitration and lose value by the day. If he's on Tampa's roster on Opening Day, it's an upset.
Adding to Tampa's ability to engage multiple teams in trade negotiations: the lack of desire for a particular return. As Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth described when profiling a possible match between the Rangers and Rays farm systems, Tampa excels this time of year due to its eagerness to take the best prospect available. Per Durrett's column:
Tampa Bay likely won't be picky about any specific positions of need. They'll want the best package they can get. If the Rangers put Jurickson Profar in the mix, that would put them on par with just about anything anybody else can offer.
When top prospects, not positions of need, are the cost, almost any team with a sound farm system can enter the sweepstakes. That strategy helped net the Rays two of their young building blocks, Wil Myers and Chris Archer, in the Shields and Garza trades, respectively.
Free-agent prices are soaring, inferior pitchers are asking for contracts up to $100 million and the Rays are motivated to move on of the the best pitchers on the planet.
All that adds up to rumors and the potential for a blockbuster deal at the winter meetings.
What would you give up in a trade for David Price?
NBA (and Los Angeles Lakers) fans around the country can now officially rejoice! All-Star Kobe Bryant is coming back to play against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Dec. 8. Bryant is recovering from a torn Achilles and has been rehabbing this season to return to his previous form.
Will he be able to propel the Lakers to the playoffs? It is too early to tell, but the Lakers faithful must be relieved to know that Kobe will be back in purple and gold sooner than later.