Talking Points: Cheers to Larry Scott

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1

No commissioner has wrought more change in the last few years than the Pac-12's Larry Scott.

Six new conference regional networks and a national network have just launched for a conference that only five years ago was an afterthought on the national scene.

Scott's three-year tenure has seen the Pac-12 add Colorado and Utah, create a conference championship game, negotiate a record-breaking TV deal with ESPN and Fox, and launch a plan to expand the Pac-12 brand into Asia.

2

Bleacherreport ranks the Trail Blazers at No. 24 heading into 2012-13 and lists Portland as a squad whose stock is rising.

Here's columnist Michael Dunlap's take on the Blazers heading into training camp:

"Damian Lillard is a dark-horse Rookie of the Year candidate, and even though they paid too much, Nicolas Batum will be in Portland long-term. The center position is still a question mark, as Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland will need experience.

"A healthy LaMarcus Aldridge is a must, as he is the heart and soul of the team. I don't expect a team with two rookies playing big minutes to make the playoffs, but they could absolutely play spoiler once they learn to play together.''

By the way, his top five are: 1. Miami, 2. Los Angeles Lakers, 3. Oklahoma City, 4. Boston and 5. San Antonio.

3

While the Mariners are doomed to finish in the AL West cellar again, it's hard not to note they are flirting with a .500 record. Who'd have thought that going into this season?

Most of the Major League Baseball power rankings slot Seattle in at No. 17, which is better than projected this season for a team with precious little offense.

The top five in the power rankings include Washington, Texas, Cincinnati and, surprisingly, Oakland.