CHASKA, Minn. -- At first, I was going to write a column proposing 10 questions entering this weeks Ryder Cup.Then I thought about maybe turning it into 10 predictions instead.Like a golf fan with dual citizenship, I didnt know which way to lean.So I opted for both. Here are 10 questions AND predictions going into this weeks matches.1. Question: Lets start with an easy one: Who are the most important players for each team? Theres a reason why the U.S. team has adopted the slogan 12 Strong and not 1 Stronger than the Other 11. Everybodys points count the same this week. That said, there are a few guys who could spark some momentum a little bit more than their fellow teammates.Prediction: Hes no longer the best player on the U.S. team, and he might not play more than three matches, but if Phil Mickelson gets it going, his counterparts will feed off that. For the Europeans, its all about Rory McIlroy. Hes their compass; as Rory goes, so goes the team. Unless he completely stinks up the joint, expect five matches this week.2. Question: Related follow-up -- Who will be the best players for each team? Maybe these first two questions are the same thing, maybe there are some nuanced differences between them. Its my column; Ill opt for the latter.Prediction: Lets not overthink this on the U.S. side. Dustin Johnson has been the worlds best player this year and he was 3-0-0 the last time this event was held stateside. Easy call. And Id love to go contrarian for the Europeans, but McIlroy is fresh off a win, hes happy and -- uh-oh -- happy learned how to putt.3. Question: Which relative unknown will emerge as a breakout American star this week? Oh, I love the idea of breaking up the U.S. and Europe into two separate questions, so we could stretch this thing out to a total of 10. Thats some crafty column configuring right there.Prediction: There really arent any unknowns on the U.S. team. The two rookies -- Brooks Koepka and Ryan Moore -- have each played high-level golf on the PGA Tour for a while. That said, keep an eye on Moore, the last man in. Nothing tends to rattle him and hes been playing great golf lately.4. Question: Same question, for the Europeans. At least there are some options here. Darren Clarkes side comes in with six rookies, although thats never been the right term for them. Even though hes never played in a Ryder Cup before, its difficult to call Masters champion Danny Willett a rookie. These guys have all played big-event golf before, obviously.Prediction: Thomas Pieters seems like Nicolas Colsaerts 2.0 -- an improved version of the Belgian Bomber who posted nine birdies on Friday afternoon four years ago before running out of gas on the weekend. Expect him to win a few matches this week, possibly paired with a calming veteran influence. Honorable mention: Rafa Cabrera Bello.5. Question: Wait a minute -- why doesnt this thing start on Thursday instead of making us wait until Friday? Ive never understood this. As much as the Ryder Cup is about competition and country, its also all about the Benjamins. Starting on Thursday, even with just one session, would mean an extra day of television revenue, not to mention an extra day of stoking fan interest levels. As is, Thursday at the Ryder Cup is one of the most brutal days in golf. Lets get this thing moving already.Prediction: Itll happen. Someday.6. Question: Will the captains really make a difference this week? And if so, whos better? Ive finally seen the light. I used to compare Ryder Cup captains to first-base coaches: Basically, pat guys on the butt, point em in the right direction and hope you win. I changed my mind when Paul Azinger imparted strategic maneuvers to win in 2008, and my opinion was only reinforced two years ago, when Paul McGinley came prepared for every potential scenario.Prediction: Much like the matches themselves, captains often seem even until they start playing, then some weaknesses emerge. Davis Love III and Darren Clarke appear equally up to the task, though if you want to give a slight advantage, it might go to Love for having the experience from four years ago.7. Question: OK then, smart guy. Will the vice captains really make a difference? Just because I need to hit my word count in this piece, here are all the vice captains for each side: Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Tom Lehman and, yes, Bubba Watson for the U.S.; Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter, Thomas Bjorn and Paul Lawrie for Europe.Prediction: Actually? Yeah, they will make a difference. Thats because each of these captains is using his assistants much like the president leans on his cabinet. Neither Love nor Clarke is ruling with an iron fist this week. In some ways, the American vice captains might even wield greater power, as Love seems inclined to listen to their decisions -- especially those of Tiger.8. Question: Which pre-tournament controversy will most affect the competition? Mickelson dredged up old memories by criticizing 2004 captain Hal Sutton for pairing him with Woods; he later apologized. Pete Willett, brother of Danny, wrote a column calling American fans a baying mob of imbeciles among other things; Danny later apologized on his behalf.Prediction: This is the kind of stuff that makes headlines when theres so much lead time before the event and no golf being played. Neither controversy should have much of an effect on the outcome, though dont be surprised if Willett -- apology or not -- hears more than his share of jeers from the home crowd, especially during afternoon matches when the gallery has, uh, partaken in the refreshments.9. Question: What will be the key stat this week? Conventional wisdom says putting wins these things. Conventional wisdom is also the kind of thing which we took for granted before analytics showed us what really mattered. Love and his vice captains have taken a deep dive into the numbers of the last few Ryder Cups and have spent the last few months crunching the numbers.Prediction: Sure, putting matters. Putting always matters. But keep a close eye on this one: Four years ago, the U.S. played the par-5 holes in a collective 52-28-94 and nearly -- maybe shouldve -- won. Two years ago, the team played these holes in 27-51-58 and got clobbered. On a long golf course (7,628 yards) with the traditional four par-5 layout, expect performance on these holes to be a great determining factor in the overall result.10. Question: Forget all that other stuff. Whos gonna win this thing? Youre excused if you skipped everything above and scrolled straight to here. This is what you want to know; this is what everyone wants to know. Can the U.S. team, after losing the past three Ryder Cups and six of the past seven, finally win again?Prediction: Playing on home soil, with a team ranked higher collectively and -- most importantly -- inspired by the spirit of Arnold Palmer, it feels like everything is set up for a U.S. victory. Ill put it this way: If they dont win this week, with all of those factors at play, it could be a long time before they do. But itll happen. After years of in-fighting, blame-deflecting and task-forcing, the U.S. will win this week ... finally. 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It is a cliché dragged out by fans and pundits regularly when discussions take place around which teams are better than others. University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler said the decision to indefinitely suspend 10 members of the schools football team for their alleged roles in a reported gang rape on Sept. 2 was based on the universitys values, even though the players were never criminally charged and a district attorney declined to pursue the case because of lack of physical evidence.After the university announced the suspensions earlier this week, players on the Minnesota football team on Thursday night announced they were boycotting all football activities in wake of the suspensions and might potentially boycott playing Washington State in the National Funding Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 27.In a statement emailed to Minnesota student-athletes on Friday, Kaler wrote: That certain behavior is simply unacceptable and antithetical to our institutional values. We support Gopher Athletics decision because this is much bigger than football. It is about the values every University of Minnesota student is called on to uphold. We make these expectations clear, and when they are not met, there are consequences.Kaler and Coyle met with a group of football players Friday night, the university said, as they tried to find common ground. But there were no decisions immediately announced when the meeting concluded.Sources said the National Funding Holiday Bowl likely would have to decide by Monday whether Minnesota or Northern Illinois -- 5-7 NIU would be the next postseason eligible team, based on its Academic Progress Rate score -- will oppose Washington State in the Dec. 27 game. Minnesota had been scheduled to travel to San Diego on Dec. 23.One of the attorneys representing the woman who made the allegations told ESPN on Friday that newly discovered evidence led the university to indefinitely suspend 10 players from the team on Tuesday.The womans attorney, Linda Miller, executive director of Civil Society, a nonprofit legal aid group in Minneapolis, said a previously released Minneapolis Police Department incident report did not include all the information that was available to university Title IX investigators. She said electronic evidence was discovered after the criminal investigation was concluded in September.Miller wouldnt say whether the new electronic evidence was video, text messages or something else, nor would she say what it revealed.It obviously was enough to convince the president of the university and the other people involved that this was a very serious case in the Title IX hearing, Miller said, declining to provide further details.Miller said she is working through the universitys Title IX requirements and making efforts to keep the woman safe. Once that is done, she said, she might look at trying to get the criminal case reopened using the new evidence.Amy Isenor, a former Civil Society attorney who represented the woman during hearings for restraining orders against the players, declined to comment when reached by ESPN on Friday.Five of the suspended players -- running back Carlton Djam, defensive backs Ray Buford Jr., KiAnte Hardin and Dior Johnson, and defensive lineman Tamarion Johnson -- had previously told Minneapolis police that they had consensual sex with the woman. Djam told police that he recorded a portion of the sexual encounter with his cell phone.DNA samples provided by Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson (not related) matched DNA taken from the womans body during a sexual-assault exam at a hospital on Sept. 2, according to police records.The other suspended Minnesota players are quarterback Seth Green, running back Kobe McCrary, defensive back Antonio Shenault, quarterback Mark Williams and defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr.The Hennepin County attorneys office ruled in October that it wouldnt pursue criminal charges against the players because of lack of physical evidence.According to the University of Minnesotas Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action report, which was obtained by KSTP-TV in Minneapolis on Friday, violations were broken down into three categories: sexual harassment; sexual assault, stalking and relationship violence; and student conduct code, Section IV.Four of the 10 suspended players were deemed to have violated the schools sexual-assault provision, while eight were deemed to have violated the sexual-harassment policy. All 10 were deemed to have violated the student conduct code. Part of the team boycott stemmed from the suspensions of six players who were not investigated by Minneapolis police or the Hennepin County attorneys office.Minneapolis attorney Lee A. Hutton III, who is representing each of the 10 suspended players, previously told reporters that the EOAA office recommended expulsion for Djam, Buford, Hardin, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson. He said the EOAA recommended one-year suspensions for Green, McCrary, Williams and Winfield, and probation for another player, Antonio Shenault.The woman told investigators that she was drunk and was sexually assaulted by several men in a bedroom in Djams apartment in the early-morning hours of Sept. 2. The report said the woman started drinking shortly after the Gophers 30-23 win over Oregon State in their Sept. 1 opener. The woman said she drank four to five shots of vodka before leaving her apartment. She attended several parties before arriving at Djams apartment in the Dinkytown neighborhood near the university campus.She became very drunk to a level she doesnt reach often, the EOAA report said. However, she does not believe that she was so drunk that she was stumbling or falling down.The woman previously told Minneapolis police that she was sitting on a couch between Djam and a football recruit, when Djam asked her if she wanted to see his apartment on another floor in the building. The woman ssaid Djam and the recruit took her into a bedroom, and according to the police report, says at some point her clothes were removed, but she is unsure of how it happened.dddddddddddd. She said she remembered having sex with Djam and the recruit, and then Tamarion Johnson entered the bedroom and had sex with her.[The woman] reported that she did not want to engage in sexual activity with [Djam] or the recruit, but felt pressured to do so and afraid to resist, the EOAA report said. [The woman] reported that she did not know that [Djam] had taken a video of her having sex with him and the recruit until she was later told by the district attorney.According to the EOAA report, the woman told investigations that several other men entered the bedroom and had sex with her as well. In addition, [the woman] recalls that numerous other men who she is unable to identify had sex with her, the report said. [The woman] believes that a total of ten to twenty men had sex with her in [Djams] bedroom. [The woman] cannot provide an exact number because she has limited memory of that time period and because she is unclear whether some of the men had multiple sexual encounters with her.The incident occurred between 3:15 a.m. and 4:20 a.m. on Sept. 2, according to the report, and the woman told investigators that she became increasingly confused and repeatedly asked where all of the people were coming from. She repeatedly yelled at the crowd to stop sending people in the bedroom. She repeatedly yelled, I cant handle this many people and I dont want this to happen.The EOAA report said an unidentified Minnesota player told investigators that he and six other men gathered around the bedroom doorway saying things and turning on and off the lights while [the woman] was having sex with one of the players. The woman told investigators that she wrapped herself in a blanket to try to shield her body from the men, who she did not want to see her naked, the EOAA report said.After the sexual contact with [Djam] and the recruit, [the woman] told every man who tried to have sex with her that she did not want to engage in sexual activity with them. She felt unable to leave the situation because there were so many guys by the door and she could not get her clothes. At times, she believes that she was being held down or that her fear was preventing her from moving.[The woman] recalls focusing on the ceiling and on the television (which was turned off), and feeling unaware and confused about what was happening. [The woman] recalls that, on multiple occasions, she suddenly realized what was happening to her and tried to push the men off of her. She remembers pushing mens stomachs in an attempt to get them off of her.The EOAA report said the accused players provided EOAA with different information from one another about key and notable facts. At times, the accused students provided information that contradicted their own reports to EOAA.These discrepancies within and between the accused students accounts led EOAA to discount their credibility, the report said.The EOAA report also said there was some degree of a collective, defensive effort to conceal relevant evidence by the accused students and other members of the football team. The EOAA accused the players of trying to conceal the identities of players who were in the apartment. One player even volunteered during his interview with investigators, I wish she didnt remember my damn name.The EOAA report said the womans account of the alleged sexual assault has become more detailed as time has passed.For the most part, we found her accounts to be relatively consistent over time, even though they generally increased in detail, the report said. We generally attribute the differences among [her] accounts over time to her gradual recollection of what she found to be a very traumatic experience, rather than to a lack of care or truthfulness.The woman had a sexual assault exam at a hospital on Sept. 2. Her mother called police and reported the alleged sexual assault the same day but said her daughter didnt want to file a police report. The mother asked if she could file a report on her daughters behalf. The mother called Minneapolis police back later that day and advised an officer that her daughter had agreed to be interviewed.On Sept. 6, according to police records, Minneapolis Police Sgt. Matthew Wente contacted Minnesota athletics director Mark Coyle and advised him of the investigation due to the higher profile nature of the case. A Minneapolis Police commander also advised University of Minnesota Police Department chief Matt Clark of the case on the same day.On Sept. 9, a police investigator called Coyle again to see if he could arrange for the involved players to call police. Coyle called the investigator back and told them Hutton was representing the players.Later that day, Wente and another investigator interviewed Buford, Hardin, Filmel Johnson and Tamarion Johnson at Huttons office. DNA samples were collected from the players to compare with evidence from the womans sexual assault exam.Speaking to reporters Friday, Governor Mark Dayton called the controversy a bad black eye for Minnesota.It would be very, very serious, and I hope the players recognize that, for their sake and the sake of the program, Dayton said. Once again, its how we make national news. We have so many successes in Minnesota that dont get national attention and these are the things that do ... its a bad black eye and it will get worse if it does not quickly resolve.ESPN reporters Paula Lavigne, Myron Medcalf and Adam Rittenberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Wholesale NFL Womens Jerseys China Womens NFL Jerseys Nike NFL Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys Outlet Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale NFL White Jerseys Discount Jerseys ' ' '