Burger of Champions? Culver's could be perfect winning meal

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Burger of Champions? Culver's could be perfect winning meal

Nothing goes better in college football with an upset win than a good ol' fashioned cheeseburger, or at least that's how Oregon State feels.
The No. 14 Beavers, one of college football's biggest surprises this season, have celebrated each of their past two road wins (at UCLA and at Arizona) with stops at In-N-Out Burger, a burger restaurant chain based out of Irvine, Calif.
And as the Wall Street Journal points out, the stops were easy to make for OSU. UCLA's home stadium, The Rose Bowl, was just 4.7 miles from the nearest In-N-Out Burger. And Arizona Stadium was just three miles away, making travel easy.
But what if the Big Ten wanted to celebrate with burgers? When thinking Midwest burger chains, Culver's comes to mind. Of the 424 franchise locations, 346 (81.6 percent) are located in Big Ten country, including 124 in Wisconsin alone. Illinois (82), Minnesota (52), Iowa (27), Michigan (27), Indiana (25) and Nebraska (9) are also well-represented.
Despite the locations in Wisconsin, the Illinois Fighting Illini have a Culver's location just 1.3 miles from Memorial Stadium in Champaign, the closest in the Big Ten. Iowa (1.9 miles), Michigan State (3.4) and Wisconsin (3.5) are next closest, while team buses won't have to travel far after road games in Minnesota (4.6 miles), Nebraska (4.8), Purdue (4.9), Michigan (5.8) and Northwestern (7.3). Ohio Stadium in Columbus isn't bad, either, with a ButterBurger just 10.7 miles away.
With 25 locations in Indiana, opponents may be upset to learn that the closest Culver's is more than 35 miles away in Columbus, Ind.
Opponents of Penn State will likely want to wait until they fly back home to pick up their frozen custard. There are Culver's in 17 different states, but the Eastern-most location is in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, 312 miles from Happy Valley.
The Big Ten champion can also celebrate with Culver's, as a location sits just nine miles away from Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Rose Bowl participant would have to travel 332 miles to Arizona to find the Western-most Culver's location.
Should any Big Ten team find themselves fortunate enough to play in this year's BCS National Championship game in Miami Gardens, Fla., it's a 716-mile hike to the nearest Culver's, located in Greenville, S.C.

What’s next for Cubs and Jason Hammel?

What’s next for Cubs and Jason Hammel?

PITTSBURGH – Making a risk-reward decision, the Cubs will shut down Jason Hammel and not start him Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds, leaving his playoff status and future in the organization uncertain.

Hammel said he’s been feeling tightness in his right elbow for weeks, which may have dulled the sharpness to his slider and explained some of his second-half struggles, which have put him on the postseason-roster bubble, if not on the outside looking in. 

After Friday’s TBD, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks are still scheduled to start the season’s final two games at Great American Ball Park, putting them at the front of a playoff rotation that didn’t figure to include Hammel anyway.

“That decision lays in their hands,” said Hammel, who has been playing catch and throwing off flat ground during this week's spring-training-like series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. “Health-wise, I’m not stressing about it. Collectively, we talked about it. And for being available through October, is it really worth something right now happening in a game that – more or less – doesn’t really matter?”

[SHOP: Get your NL Central champions gear right here]

The Hammel 2.0 reboot still has to be considered a success, with another All-Star-caliber first half, a career-high 15 wins, a 3.83 ERA and an overall resume that would look dramatically different if he didn’t have three starts allowing nine or 10 runs. 

The Cubs hold a $12 million option – with a $2 million buyout – for next season that could make Hammel an attractive trade chip given this winter’s shallow pool of free agents.   

“Obviously, not happy with the way things ended,” Hammel said. “But I would say for 9/10ths of the season, I was very good. I’ll take that into the offseason and add onto what I added (last) offseason.

“Some crazy freak incident like this can derail it, but overall my body feels good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, which was to make 30-plus starts and be competitive, save for five, six starts. Out of 30, I’d say that’s pretty good.”   

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Could Jay Cutler lose his starting job as Bears QB?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Could Jay Cutler lose his starting job as Bears QB?

Tonight's panel include Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun Times, Hub Arkush from Pro Football Weekly, and NFL Analyst Dan Pompei. The guys discuss whether Jay Cutler could lose his starting job to Brian Hoyer, question if Joe Maddon is managing his starting rotation properly heading into the postseason, and talk about whether Robin Ventura will return to manage the White Sox next season.

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: