Daily Archives: December 16, 2010

“College Football Bowl Weekend 1 Outlook”

Northern Illinois Senior, Chad Spann (pictured above), is the best running back in the country that you have never heard of. Enjoy watching his last College Game on Saturday as he looks to help his team secure a school record 11th victory.

There are 35 Bowl Games this year.  And I will admit, a good portion of them are absolute duds.  Games that it would be hard to pay people who do not attend either of these schools money to go to, much less watch on tv.  Either way, football is football.  For College Football, money is money.  I am going to try to continue with my trend of highlighting some of the marquee CFB matchups every Thursday.  This will probably end as the games start to be played on various nights, but this week, we will stay with this format.

This week the choice is easy, since there are only 3 games this weekend.  Sure, all 3 games are not exactly what I would classify as marquee matchups.  But on Saturday, they are the big game in town.  Lets take a closer look.

New Mexico Bowl

BYU vs UTEP

At duel between a pair of 500 teams.  What other sport can you go 500 and participate in the postseason?  I am still waiting to hear of one.  Either way, these two teams are battling in Albuquerque come Saturday.  BYU struggled early this year.  But recovered in a big way down the stretch, and now are in a bowl game for the 6th straight year.  UTEP on the other hand has not been as successful in recent memory.  They have not won a bowl game since 1967!  Neither of these teams really do anything especially well in any facet of the game.  UTEP struggled down the stretch though losing 5 of 6.  Plus, the Mountain West is a stronger conference then the fledgling Conference USA.  My nod goes to BYU, just based on raw bowl game experience.  Cougars by 7.

uDrove Humanitarian Bowl

Northern Illinois vs Fresno State

This is actually a decent matchup.  It has to be the “Game of the Day.”  These are two pretty solid teams that have some players that are very fun to watch.  Northern Illinois had won 9 straight before being shocked by Miami (OH) in the MAC Championship game.  Fresno State on the other hand has been very up and down all year.  But they have won 2 straight coming into this game, including a win over Illinois, a Big Ten squad.  The best player on the blue turf will be the Huskie’s senior RB, Chad Spann.  Chad is a senior tailback out of Indianapolis who has had a phenomenal career.  This is his last chance to showcase his abilities and show that he is worthy of a shot at playing at the next level.  Northern Illinois lives on a very strong rushing attack and a tough defense.  Fresno has played a tough non conference schedule and looks to end the year on a high note.  Sadly, I expect the Bulldogs to once again struggle on the blue turf, as Northern Illinois captures a school record 11th victory.  Huskies by 9 in this one.

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Ohio vs Troy

This is not exactly a game that will steal the limelight either.  To cap off a pretty weak day of games, we get at team out of the MAC taking on a team out of the Sun Belt Conference.  Not exactly a dream come true right?  Well at least the kids from OU who decide to make the trek will get to check out Bourbon Street.  This will make the journey worthwhile for the Bobcat faithful.  Anyways, OU was riding high after winning 7 in a row until a horrible performance against Kent State in the regular season finale.  This game cost OU a shot to play in the MAC Championship game.  Troy on the other hand has never had the big win streak this year.  Their longest stretch was a streak of 3 games back in October.  Heading into this matchup though, Troy has won 2 straight games and look to have fully recovered from the smackdown South Carolina laid on them just before Thanksgiving.  These teams play two very contrasting styles.  OU lives on a solid rushing attack and a decent defensive unit.  Troy likes to play a shootout style in which they rely on an outstanding aerial attack.  Freshman QB, Corey Robinson, has been outstanding for Troy all year and looks to have an extremely bright future.  On this day though, Robinson will experience a low as OU comes out ready to play.  The Bobcats will utilize their superior defensive unit and take this one.  OU by 3 in a very close matchup that not many people will watch.

So there you have it.  3 games on Saturday.  Two pretty weak matchups and one decent one.  If you get to choose, watch the Northern Illinois vs Fresno State game.  Chad Spann is one of the best running backs in the country that you have never heard of.

Enjoy the first 3 of the 35 Bowl Games.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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“Noah Injury, A Blessing in Disguise”

Chicago Bulls starting Center, Joakim Noah (pictured above), is suffering from a major thumb injury. What effects will this have on the Bull's playoff/title chances?

Our Chicago sports expert is back at it again folks.  See his thoughts below on the Joakim Noah “thumb situation.”

Will Runzel is an  entrepreneur and sports guru out of Chicago.  Follow Will on Twitter @WillRunzel

Joakim Noah will undergo surgery on his right (shooting hand) thumb. More information will be released at an 11 am CST press conference. Noah’s injury will knock him out 8-10 weeks or roughly 30 games. Battling through the injury for nearly ten games dating back to the Sacramento Kings match on November 27, Noah has posted nine points or better in nine of 10 games and has had double digits rebounds in six of those games. Analysts and fans alike are worried about how this will affect the Bulls this season, and I see it as a blessing in disguise. Here are some pro’s and con’s to Joakim’s injury

Cons:

-The Bulls are losing a double-double machine and the best defensive post presence for 30 or so games, more than 1/3 of their season

-Noah is the heart and soul of the team, the Scottie to Rose’s Jordan

-The Bulls will definitely win less games and could hurt their playoff seeding

-This stretch includes games against top tier teams with dominant big men, including (dare I say it) the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, and San Antonio Spurs

-This lowers the chances of the Bulls trading for a scoring two guard

Keep in mind the Bulls already went through the toughest stretch of the season sans Carlos Boozer.

Pros:

-The development of Omer Asik is crucial to the Bulls success this season and for the next five seasons. He has played well this season and will get another shot to develop

-Taj Gibson is already a fantastic 6th man/reserve big man and will continue his growth. This should give him so more time to polish his offensive skill set

-Noah will be rested for the playoffs and the Bulls should still finish fourth or better in the East maintaining home court advantage in the first round.

-Joakim may provide a similar boost to what Boozer just supplied upon his return; the Bulls will learn to compete with top teams without Jo, and when he returns they suddenly have an inside defensive presence

Will Runzel out of Chicago will continue to come out with his thoughts and incites regarding the Chicago sporting scene.  If you want information on the Bears or the Bulls, you want a Runzelism.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze