The Evster's top XI things to look forward to in the World Cup™

The Evster's top XI things to look forward to in the World Cup™

WARNING: THIS POST IS ABOUT SOCCER

1. Paul Pogba's Hair

With apologies to Arturo Vidal and the entire Japanese National Team, no one has better hair than Paul Pogba. I'm not even sure what Paul's got goin' on up there. It's like a half-Gumby, half-Prince, half-Peanut Buster Parfait-lookin' jawn and yes I realize that's too many halfs. Plus, he shaved some Nick Van Exel lines in his eyebrow and correct me if I'm wrong, is that dyed blonde chin hair? This dude is so cool looking, and also happens to be one of the best young midfielders in the world. Now that France has Paul Pogba (real name!) playing behind Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Yohan Cabaye (PSG) and the adorable Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille) / Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) combo platter, Les Bleus might actually not suck beaucoup de butt this time around.

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/1yo6K1WItIA width=620 height=349]

2. Beautiful (and I mean beeeee-yooooooo-tiful) Colombian Women

Maybe it's the cocaine. Maybe it was my sheltered Jewish upbringing. But Colombia has BY FAR the most attractive fans. For those of you out there who are like, "AYO EVSTER, WHAT ABOUT PARAGUAY?" Please note that they failed to make this year's tourney. And Sofia Vergara is Colombian. And sex on cocaine seems INCREDIBLE.

3. Spain v. Netherlands on Match Day 2!

Forget about giving players time to find the cleanest hookers, FIFA has scheduled a 2010 Final rematch on the very first Friday. The defending champs (sorry, "cup holders"), Spain, return with an even more ridiculous midfield, consisting of Xavi (Barça), Iniesta (Barça), Sergio Busquets (Barça), Cesc Fabregas (OMG WE GET IT, BARCA), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Juan Mata (Man U), Rafael Nadal (Roland Garros), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Frank Dorblestam (FC Dorbsville), Koke (Atletico) and David Silva (Man City). Unfortunately, up front they'll still be starting Fernando Torres (fart noise).

The Dutch no longer have Mark Van Bommel to regulate the midfield (he retired), but they do still have the Nigerian (not Nigerian) Nightmare, Nigel de Jong.

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/J2NqS4IBLxw width=620 height=465]

Prediction: Spain 2, Arjen Robben NOPE.

4. Andrea Pirlo's Beard and Gigi Buffon's Barrettes

Gennaro Gattuso, Pirlo's ex-teammate at Milan, summed him up best, "When I see what Andrea can do with the ball, I have to ask myself whether I am a footballer." Granted, Gattuso was one of the least-skilled midfielders to ever play, but still, I'm not telling him that wasn't a good quote. That guy's crazy.

He sometimes wears an ascot, too!

5. The Return of Michael Essien, Alex Song, Didier Drogba, and other Gigantic African Dudes

The last few years in America, we've been denied the opportunity to see these African superstars because of injury (the Bison), Barcelona's depth at midfield (thanks, Sergio Busquets) and banishment to Turkey (is that where Galatasary is?). But now these three monsters are BACK, along with their adorable African mates.

It's amazing how easy it is for Africans to endear themselves to Americans. This is partly due to the unbridled joy they play with. As well as their passion. And the fact that their continent is literally riddled with dysentery. Or it could just be Samuel Eto'o's ears. Also, is that where you're supposed to put the apostrophe in "Eto'o's"? FASCINATING.

I have an amazing idea that revolves around African footballers that I've never shared with anyone... let me know what you think. Let's say you owned a mid-tier English Premier League team -- some team like Stoke or West Ham or Sunderland -- who was never in contention for a Champions League berth, but always fighting to stay up in the top flight. Every off-season you sell your best players off and scrounge for new talent. But why not sell EVERYBODY, and simply rebuild your team with ONLY Nigerian internationals? You could still be West Ham, but you'd be made up of strictly Nigerians. That would be your team. Nigeria. You wouldn't have to pay big-time salaries (John Obi-Mikel and Victor Moses would be your only bank-breakers), and the rest of the squad would just be African warriors who would PLAY THEIR AFRICAN HEARTS OUT. Every single match. They'd take it as a personal, no, NATIONAL challenge, to beat those English pig dogs every time out. Do you think Ogenyi Onazi would let his team get relegated?! OF COURSE HE WOULDN'T. I don't even know who he is, but he wouldn't let James Milner beat him. I obviously think this is a brilliant idea. There's no reason Fulham can't also be Ghana.

As a sidenote, Ghana plays Germany on June 21st.

AKA...

DA BATTLE OF DA BOATENG BROS!!!

6. Everything about Belgium

No longer just some cutesy European contender, the Belgians are HERE TO BELGE. They have potentially the best centre-back duo in the world with Vincent Kompany (Man City) and Daniel Van Buyton (Bayern Munich), plus loads of fire power up front: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Adnan Januzaj (Man U), Lurf Flervswan (Made Him Up), Kevin Mirallas (Everton) and Romelo LOO-KA-KU (Chelsea/Everton/$$$).

Also, if you haven't seen it, the move In Bruges is TOTALLY worth watching. Colin Farrell. Ralph Fiennes. Some other people. Awesome flick. I actually visited Bruges a few years ago and it was really, really nice.

Pic or it didn't happs, Ev!

BOOM BABY.

Why do we live in Philadelphia again?!

This church claims to have a vile of Jesus's blood!

HORSE!

7. Mesut Özil's Eyes (and yes, I also mean his field vision)

Sure, he might look like Marty Feldman, but Özil is the smoothest, silkiest, niftiest playmaker in the world. And his eyes are so bulbous! And he might have herpes on his lip there. But that's cool with me! Get 'em Ozie! I mean Özie! Adam Oatesy!

8. There's a Guy on Greece Named Sokratis Papastathopoulos

LOVIN DAT CHEST HAIR, STEPHANOPOULOS.

9. Argentina's Attack

You know when you order nachos and you can't decide to get 'em loaded or just regular and then you decide to get 'em regular 'cuz you don't wanna spend the extra $4? Then the waiter brings 'em out and you're like, "We shoulda got 'em loaded!" Well, Argentina got 'em loaded. They got 'em so, so loaded. There's sour cream and guacamole all over the place. Leo Messi (Barça), Sergio Aguero (Man City), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Ezequiel Lavezzi (PSG) and Rodrigo Palacio (AND HIS TAIL). It's stupid how many forwards they have. It's honestly stupid. Please tell me you clicked on that "tail" link. PLEASE TELL ME YOU CLICKED ON IT.

10. The Samba Boys

Nothing else matters, folks. Nothing else matters. When push comes to shove, it's all about the Brazilians. I don't care who's partnering up front with Wayne Rooney. It doesn't matter how cute my wife thinks Clint Dempsey is. The Samba Boys are the illest. They have a guy named Fred for cryin' out loud. Fred! And Hulk. And Neymar. And Os-CAR. And their two attacking fullbacks -- Marcelo and Dani Alves -- are more skilled than any other team's wingers. I know, I know, style doesn't always beat substance, but these guys are by far the most fun team to watch, and I'm not even sure if "style doesn't beat substance" is an actual saying.

11. This Uncle Drew-inspired Football Video Will BLOW YO MIND

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/VGEfNcvntno width=620 height=349]

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to shit my pants.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Ben Simmons spending his summer getting bigger and better

Ben Simmons spending his summer getting bigger and better

Ben Simmons repeatedly emphasized at summer league he wanted to work on “everything” leading up to training camp.

As a point-forward who plays multiple positions, he has more than just one role to address this offseason. But what does “everything” entail? With a wide range of responsibilities on the court, Simmons is honing in on specific areas.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

Shooting
Simmons has been criticized for his reluctance to shoot. During his one season of college ball at LSU, he averaged 19.2 points off 11.7 field goal attempts per game (56 percent made). Over six summer league games (including both Utah and Las Vegas), Simmons took 22 field-goal attempts and shot 32.2 percent. He had less than 10 attempts in four of the games, and attempted 15 in the Sixers’ finale. Simmons attempted one three in summer league action.

While in Utah and Las Vegas, the Sixers encouraged Simmons to be more aggressive. At 6-foot-10, Simmons is able to get to the rim. Once there, many times he passes it off rather than finishing himself. The Sixers don’t expect Simmons to become a 30-point-per-game scorer, but he will be a key part of their offense.

“You always want him to be as good of a shooter as he can be,” Las Vegas summer league head coach Lloyd Pierce said this earlier month. “It’s not going to be his strength. His strength is going to be passing, facilitating, playmaking. That’s going to be an added bonus, whatever the percentage or the number is.”

Dribbling
Simmons averaged 5.5 assists per game during summer league (second on the team by 0.3 dimes to T.J McConnell). Conversely, he committed 3.83 turnovers.

The Sixers signed two point guards this summer, Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez, and McConnell is returning from last season. Head coach Brett Brown said after the draft he does not plan to utilize Simmons as the primary one-guard right away as the 20-year-old learns the league. But early on, Simmons will have the rock in his hands plenty of times given his natural ball-handling abilities, especially when grabbing the rebound and running the fast break.

"I think it's the hardest position to play in the NBA,” Brown previously said. “I think to just give him the ball in that capacity is borderline cruel. He needs to feel NBA basketball. And maybe he evolves there." (See story)

Weight room
After college, Simmons put on 20 pounds from his training and entered the draft at 242 pounds. He stood out among the competition in summer league play with his NBA-ready stature. Simmons said he would like to get up to 246 or 247 pounds this offseason.

“Not too heavy,” he said.

With the size of a forward and the skills of a guard, the Sixers will be able to utilize Simmons to create mismatches both in the backcourt and at the hoop.

Tonight's Lineup: Struggling Rupp back behind the plate for Phillies

Tonight's Lineup: Struggling Rupp back behind the plate for Phillies

After scoring five first-inning runs on their way to a 7-5 win against the Braves on Thursday, Pete Mackanin decided not to tinker with the Phillies' lineup too much.

In fact, the only change will be at catcher. The struggling Cameron Rupp will get the start on Friday and bat sixth after Carlos Ruiz was behind the plate on Thursday. Rupp, who was one of the few bright spots for the offense in the first half, is just 5 for 31 since the All-Star break. On the season, Rupp is still batting .271 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs.

Aaron Altherr came off the DL with a bang, tallying three hits, including a two-run homer on Thursday. Mackanin has said Altherr will get a long look in right field and Thursday night was a glimpse of why. 

With Altherr's regular presence in the lineup, Cody Asche has been put on notice. After going on a tear from early June to early July, Asche is batting .094 (5 for 53) in his last 17 games. With Altherr and Odubel Herrera entrenched in right and center, Asche will have to get hot to stave off prospect Nick Williams, who seems to be finding his groove at Lehigh Valley.

Here is tonight's lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Vince Velasquez, P

Temple football announces future series with Boston College and Duke

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Associated Press

Temple football announces future series with Boston College and Duke

Temple football starts its training camp next week, but the Owls have made another splash in the future scheduling department. This time, the opponents come from the ACC.

The program announced Friday it has agreed to future series with Boston College (2018 at BC and 2021 in Philadelphia) and Duke (2022 in Cameron, North Carolina and 2023 in Philadelphia). Temple also announced a game with Bucknell in Philadelphia in 2019 announced dates for previously confirmed future matchups with Maryland and Rutgers and 2017's season opener at Notre Dame.

The Boston College series is intriguing because it will be the renewal of an annual series from when the programs used to meet every year in Big East conference play. The Eagles hold a 28-7-2 all-time advantage over the Owls. Temple's last win against Boston College came in 1999 when the Owls earned a 24-14 victory. Of course, the matchup will be even juicier if former Temple head coach Steve Addazio is still leading Boston College in two years. But with the way the program floundered to a 3-9 record, earned just one win against an FCS program and went winless in ACC play last season and doesn't have a bright outlook this season, don't hold your breath that Addazio will be there.

The Owls have never met the Dukies on the gridiron.

Temple's non-conference slate this season includes home dates against Army (Sept. 2), Stony Brook (Sept. 10) and Charlotte (Sept. 24) and a visit to in-state rival Penn State (Sept. 17).

Friday's announcements come on the heels of an announcement earlier this month that confirmed Temple will play a three-game set with national powerhouse Oklahoma. That series is set to start in 2024.

Below is a list of dates for Temple's future games against non-conference opponents:
2017 – at Notre Dame - Sept. 2, vs. Villanova - Sept. 9, vs. UMass  - Sept. 16, at Army - Oct. 21
2018 – vs. Villanova -  Sept. 1, vs. Buffalo - Sept. 8, at Maryland - Sept. 15, at Boston College - Sept. 29
2019 – vs. Bucknell - Aug. 31, vs. Maryland - Sept. 14, at Buffalo - Sept. 21), vs. Army - Oct. 26
2020 – vs. Idaho - Sept. 12, vs. Rutgers - Sept. 19
2021 – at Rutgers - Sept. 4, vs. Boston College - Sept. 18
2022 – at Duke - Sept. 3, vs. Rutgers - Sept. 17
2023 – at Rutgers - Sept. 9, vs. Duke - Sept. 16
2024 - at Oklahoma - Aug. 31
2025 - vs. Oklahoma - Sept. 13
2028 - at Oklahoma - Sept. 2