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Friday, March 8, 2013
Robinson vs. Swope vote for EA is close

By Bill Speros
Special to ESPN.com



2012 saw voters choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

2013 has begun with a heated national campaign between Michigan QB Denard Robinson vs. Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope for the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 2014.

Friday is the final day of voting and the race remains too close to call. Robinson led by less than 500 votes in balloting on Facebook after more than 322,000 votes had been cast.

And those numbers have triggered an investigation of sorts by EA Sports after reports of voting irregularity surfaced.

We are aware of the voting irregularities around the #NCAACoverVote. We are in touch with the schools involved in the final round voting...

— EA NCAA Football(@EANCAAFootball) March 8, 2013

... and in the spirit of integrity and fair play, are in agreement that only votes from legitimate accounts will be counted in the vote.

— EA NCAA Football(@EANCAAFootball) March 8, 2013


According to Pastapadre.com, a thread on a Texas A&M forum, which has been taken off public view, was detailing a way to work around the rules limiting one vote per Facebook user. The site also said bloggers were complaining about several fake Facebook profiles casting ballots.

The campaigning has been furious across social media:

Everyone go vote for my brother and one of my best friends @rswope25 to be on the cover of NCAA football! facebook.com/easportsncaafo…

— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) March 8, 2013

From 1 @umichfootball Man to another-go vote 4 denard robinson for the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football '14 @ mgoblue.com/votedenard!!

— LaMarr Woodley (@LaMarrWoodley) March 7, 2013


Swope is Texas A&M’s all-time leading receiver in terms of receptions (252) and yards (3,117). He got a boost at the ballot box when the folks at Dude Perfect – who have their roots in College Station as well – posted this You Tube clip of Swope hitting some of their trademark ridiculous basketball and football shots and showing the softness of his hands by catching eggs dropped from the top deck of Kyle Field. That clip has more than 138,000 views since it was posted Wednesday and has at least partly help Swope surge at the polls, as he once trailed by more than 10,000 votes.

Voting on Facebook ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Friday. You can cast your ballot here.

Elsewhere:



• Dwight Howard doesn’t have many friends left in Orlando these days, especially after his remarks this past week saying his former teammates were players “nobody wanted.” Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi and several members of the Magic “team up” via animation for this video ode to the former Magic center, spoofing CeeLo Green’s hit “Forget You.” The video posted on OrlandoSentiel.com Thursday features cameo “appearances” from Shaquille O’Neal and former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, and offers some choice opinions on Howard and his new team.

• Dwyane Wade and bestselling author James Patterson will team up to encourage children to read by via national online webcast called "One On One: Fundamentals with Dwyane Wade and James Patterson." The webcast, produced in collaboration with NBA Cares, the Wade’s World Foundation, ReadKiddoRead and Hachette Book Group, will highlight the importance of reading for success in life and will air on April 25 1 p.m. Eastern.

The webcast will be available free of charge to schools, libraries, and for home viewing via www.JamesPattersonEvents.com. Patterson and Wade will also visit Ponce De Leon Middle School in Coral Gables, Fla., on March 21 and will answer questions submitted by children in advance via social media.

• The Baltimore Orioles will honor Earl Weaver on April 20 with a ceremony at Camden Yards before that evening's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A fan asked: How is the team going to honor Earl Weaver? Buck answered, "I hope by the way we play." twitter.com/Orioles/status…

— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) March 5, 2013


The legendary Orioles Manager and Hall of Famer died on Jan. 19 at the age of 82. Fans can visit the Orioles virtual guest book and offer their favorite memories of Weaver, who managed the Orioles to 1,480 victories, four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series championship in his 17 seasons with Baltimore.

Bill Speros is an ESPN.com contributor. He can be reached on Twitter @billsperos or via email at bsperos1@gmail.com.